Tag Archives: Willy B Mum

Ice-climbing; not for the faint hearted

Ice-Climbing having evolved out of rock climbing is not for the faint of heart, and surely ascending a vertical surface of slippery ice does exhilarate the soul. Ice-Climbing is an adrenalin-rushing extreme sport, demanding your whole attention, which is rapidly growing as a Winter activity.

Being part of an active family with my husband, has its perks; I am healthier, fitter and stronger than I have ever been in my life, and I love that! We have also bonded, on a new level as a couple seeing our love of exercise as a daily necessity.

This winter just past, as a Christmas present, I organized a full day ice-climbing expedition for my husband. Having skied since he was a child, he enjoys nothing more than to be out on the snowy slopes. A friend suggested the idea; to develop his survival skills in such conditions. Lately he has been hiking by himself, up mountains in the dangerous off-limit areas, to ski down again, so this kind of experience was only going to compliment the time he spends doing so.

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Raw Juice and Smoothie Recipes just in time for Summer

In my family home, we love to juice fresh raw organic fruits, herbs and vegetables. During the winter months we do not do it so much, but during the warmer part of the year when our vegetable garden upstate New York is flourishing, we juice a lot! With summer finally here in the Northern Hemisphere, our juicer is officially out of the cupboard and back on the kitchen bench where it will stay, for now.

Juicing is a quick way to get your daily dose of fruit and veggies, a wonderful way to start the day and flood your body with essential nutrients. Juicing on a regular basis has been credited to a better immune system, weight loss, glowing hair and skin and increased energy (among other things).

I like to throw whatever produce we have into the Juicer (including scraps like apple cores and beetroot and carrot stalks), and hope for the best!  Unfortunately though, I can admit it, sometimes it does not taste so good. This is why unless you are a juicing genius (like my husband) following a recipe is a wonderful idea.

Today, we have 3 recipes to inspire you to start juicing. If you do not have a juicer, I suggest checking out the Omega website; they sell all kinds of different kinds HERE. They also have a ton of other juice and smoothie recipes, like this Raw Cacao Avocado Smoothie; which I must try soon. It looks so delicious! I love avocado.

Healthy green juice recipe made with spinach, collard greens, cucumber, lemon and fresh herbs.
What You Need for 1 serving at 500 ml

  • 4 cups spinach
  • 1/2 head of collard green or swiss chard (about 6 leaves)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley (about 1 cup lightly packed)
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro (about 1/2 cup lightly packed)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

If you have a ‘low’ setting on your juicer, juice all items in the recipe but the lemon juice. When complete, add lemon juice, stir and enjoy

Tropical Beetroot Juice
What You Need for 1 serving at 500 ml

  • 1 beet
  • 100 grams (1/4 of the fruit) fresh pineapple, skin removed
  • 1 pear
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon

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What Bra Size are you?

What Bra Size Are You?

For many years I have thought I was the same bra size. Excuse my naïvety, but I thought that one, pretty much, stayed the same bra size always? But, I was wrong.

Last week, I attended an event by New York City based, Momtrends which was hosted by and at the stone and mortar; Intimacy on Madison Avenue, on the Island of Manhattan.

Intimacy is a national lingerie chain, here in the United States, who, besides selling the most beautiful lingerie, excel as bra fit stylists. You can find stores in 11 states across the country; Georgia, Texas, California, Massachusetts, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Washington D.C and Florida.

I was fitted by a wonderful woman by the name of Angela, who taught me so much about wearing a bra. First of all, a women’s bra size does change. Women lose weight, and gain weight especially during pregnancy and breast feeding, and it is important to be fitted once a year to make sure you are wearing a bra which is supportive to your current size.

To put into perspective; for so many years I have thought I was a size 36D but I am actually a 32DD at the moment – which was news to me!

 

Let’s talk Sport Bras

I am an extremely active Mother, with most mornings being dedicated to exercise. Whether that be crossfit, kickboxing or running I am always on the go. At the moment, I have a chest injury and have to limit movement for the upper part of my body, so I am running a lot and far. On average 5 miles a day! Or, 8KM for the Aussies out there.

I have always worn sport bras which I have bought at a local active store. No brainer right, this is what I have always done and really I have not known any better? While I was at Intimacy, I was fitted for a sport bra. And, wow, what a difference it has made wearing it out on my morning runs. Before hand, while wearing one of my conventional sport bras, I was flopping around everywhere and squashed flat, but with my new sport bra my breasts stay nice and snug and do not move at all! This is a whole new experience to me. So much so, that as I only bought one fitted sport bra when I shopped at Intimacy, I now rinse it out in the shower post run to make sure I can wear it again the next morning. I will never buy conventional run-of-the-mill sport bras again, that is for sure!

What I used to wear…. colorful sure but not that supportive.

And, what I am wearing now…. such a difference.

If you are interested in getting fitted by a professional in-the-know bra stylist, Intimacy offers a complimentary fitting which you can sign up for HERE. With over 90 different bra sizes available for women, it is worth a visit, as there is a lot of room to move there (no pun intended)!

I just know that you will leave the store feeling a lot more beautiful in the chest area, and as a result more confident; just like me.

Thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum. We hope this posting has made you think, and lead you on to a new discovery!

For the convenience of becoming a plant eater — Vegan Cuts

You know, if I look back to where I was with my food journey before I decided to follow a  vegan diet 8 months ago, it was a very different picture. I had been a vegetarian for 26 years, but once I started learning about the cruelty inflicted on our beautiful animals who are forced to provide milk for us, I quickly decided to give up dairy too. Just like that, I went cold turkey, and became a 100% plant eater, and I could not be happier about the decision.

Was it easy, I hear you ask? Well, yes and no.

Yes it was; as it was like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I had finally done something I had talked and wondered about for a long time. I respect all animals on such a profound level and I could finally tick it off my list. My conscience is clear. I am doing what I can to reduce harm to animals. Not just that though, I lost a lot of weight, around 26 pounds to be exact! I feel healthier, my skin is clearer and I have a lot more energy…. similar to how I feel when I do a juice cleanse! Of course, I also credit this to my newly found sobriety, but not eating dairy was huge. It is a lot of saturated fat after all.

No it wasn’t; as the first month or so, I struggled with what I could and could not eat, especially in the snack food department. I went hungry a few times when not at home, and out and about. I was constantly reading labels and realizing that some products marketed to be plant-based (like most Go Veggie cheese substitute slices) are not actually vegan at all. It was also challenging ordering when eating at restaurants at times, as some meals, like deserts, mainly contain dairy. However, after a while it became easier.

Overall, it has and still is an enlightening learning experience! Thankfully, in New York City, there are now so many options available in the vegan food department, especially snacks. Many people are hip to the health benefits of following a plant-based diet and are incorporating, or completely making the change to a kinder life. Supply and Demand right!

Vegan Cuts Hits Mainstream

If you are considering traveling on this same journey another helpful and convenient service, which I just discovered, is the monthly subscription snack and/or beaty box – Vegan Cuts.

Vegan Cuts is a network of tempeh-loving, smoothie-drinking vegans coördinated by John and Jill, a vegan couple who see veganism as a way to live a life of abundance while making choices that show compassion towards all living creatures — Vegan Cuts

Check it out; my May Snack Box

For a small monthly fee of around $20, Vegan Cuts mail out a Snack Box full of vegan food goodies. And, with one great idea, it has become a lot easier to be inspired, stay focused and to enjoy the benefits of products which you may not know already know about. My first box arrived last month and I loved it. It is the perfect way to try out samples to see if I like them or not, and to be kept up to date on what is out there in the vegan food realm. Especially, as being a Stay-At-Home-Mum I do not have a lot of time to search online for new products!

My Snack Box included; a pomegranate drink from Oatworks (new to me), Organic Superfood Oat Cereal from Vigilant Eats (new to me), Organic Baked Lentil Chips from Mediterranean Foods (new to me), Organic Nii Nutrition Bar (new to me), Vegan Protein Sample from MCT-Lean (new to me), Organic Nuttzo seed butter sample (new to me), Numi organic savory tea samples (already a fan) and a reusable glass straw from Simply Straws (new to this company but am a HUGE fan of glass straws).

As you can see from my colored highlights above, after opening my May Snack Box I was exposed to more products that I did not know, than what I did. Love that, it makes it all worthwhile.

Already a fan of Numi tea, but was happy to receive some more samples

Vegan Cuts also, much to my delight, offer a Beauty Box Read More Willy B Mum

Let’s talk chutney, & convert that meat sandwich into a vegan one

Vegan, cruelty-free and delicious sandwich

When I think of chutney (also known as relish), it reminds of growing up in Australia when I was a very little girl. My Father would make these ham sandwiches with chutney, mayonnaise, cheese and salad. Of course, that was a very long time ago as I have not eaten any meat in over 26 years now but the memory still remains.

Chutney is a side dish or condiment, which is used to enhance and add flavor to another dish. It is generally plant-based and may include spices, fruits, herbs and chillies.

I have followed a vegan plant-based diet for over 7 months. When it comes up in conversation that I am a vegan, I am met with comments of awe, or disbelief. Generally speaking, people think that it is really difficult to stop eating meat and dairy products. Not so much difficult, more so, people do not know how they would still eat the same things with substitutes, or really have no idea what they would eat; period.

For me, it has been a relatively easy transition. This is because of a combination of things; One, here in New York City there are so so many vegan food options. I can walk into any store and easily find something healthy to snack on. Two, my family eats very healthy, preparing most of our meals at home. Three, I have been a vegetarian for so many years that going the extra mile to cut out dairy products was easy enough. Four, and most importantly, I love animals way too much to eat them!

Today, I want to highlight the simple (what we would call in Australia) a ham and salad sandwich and how you can easily make it vegan style, without the guilt of taking another life, as well as being way healthier for you.

Vegan ingredients for a ham and salad sandwich

What You Need

  • Vegenaise – Vegenaise is an egg-less mayonnaise that is heart healthy made from non-GMO expeller-pressed oils. I mean, personally, I love this stuff. I could never eat traditional mayonnaise again. It also comes in a variety of options like reduced-fat, organic, grapeseed and soy-free. Once you try vegenaise you will never go back to the old school unhealthy cholesterol laden kind. That I guarantee!
  • Chutney – My favorite is Mango Mania which is made by Legacy Chutney. Legacy Chutney was inspired by a Pakistani Grandmother who passed on her wonderful chutney recipes to her younger family, and is now thankfully available for us all to enjoy. If mango is not your thing, they also have Cherry Kiss Chutney, Sweet Fruit Chutney and Date Night Chutney flavors. Sweet and Spicy, Legacy Chutney is a perfect addition
  • Red Onion – This onion is one of the milder in flavor and sweetness of all so it gives a nice flavor when used in raw non-cooked meals
  • Pickles – These are cucumbers that have been fermented in a brine made of water, vinegar, salt. And, now you know
  • Tomato – If I cannot find a ripe tomato, I am not going to use it. There is nothing worse than having a tomato in your salad that is under-ripe and crystal white on the inside
  • Lettuce – Where once upon a time, I always used iceberg, I have recently learned that it is one of the least nutrient void foods available. I now always use fresh spinach leaves, or in this case, arugula aka rocket which is rich in potassium and vitamin C
  • Bread – Sprouted Bread is the best, as I understand that it has a higher mineral and vitamin content. It is also has more protein and less fat of traditional breads
  • Meatless Yves slices – My favorite is the bologna kind; it tastes just like the real deal without the sad fact that you are eating a beautiful creature that was once alive and well
  • Vegan Cheese – I am still to explore what my favorite vegan cheese is. However, for now, I use Go Veggie Rice Vegan variety which is cholesterol, saturated fat and trans fat-free and only 40 calories a slice – love that!
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

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Well hello Dragon Fruit it is very nice to meet you

The beautiful Dragon Fruit

Today, while my toddler Son and I were in the produce section of our local supermarket, my eye caught these beauties. I had no idea what they were, and when I read the accompanying sign Dragon Fruit, I still had no idea? But fascinated, I picked them up and took the home with me anyway. Lately, I have noticed a lot of fruits and vegetables available in stores that I am not familiar with, which has sparked a curiosity to develop my palette of healthy foods available. Not just for me, but for my 3-year-old Son too.

I follow a plant-based vegan diet, and my Son follows a mainly a vegetarian diet, with some fish at most twice a week. I’ll be honest, if I had my way, my Son would be, at the least, strictly vegetarian. But, as my husband eats meat, it was the compromise we made in bringing up our enlightened little spirit, together.

Not too sure

Little Munchkin and I were talking about the Dragon Fruit all the way back to our apartment. We talked about how we were going to eat them for the first time together, what we thought they would taste like and how healthy and pretty they were. You know, regular kind of chitter-chatter.

What happened once we arrived home was kind of funny!

Once I placed the fruit on the table, it became clear that my 3-year-old thought there was a real dragon inside the fruit! He has such an imagination, and it was so cute. Like too-much cute. He was very hesitant to go anywhere near the fruit or touch the fruit, so he opted to hide behind a chair and watch from a distance instead.

Dragon Fruit also known as Pitaya, is a tropical cactus plant which is very low in calories; love that! It offers many nutrients; high in Vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, iron, fiber, vitamin B’s, antioxidants and healthy monounsaturated fats (found in the 1000′s of seeds). The fruit is made up of a majority of water so yes it is great for hydration of the whole body.

To me, it tasted like a crunchy kiwi-fruit or maybe a melon? It was juicy and refreshing, and really easy to prepare; another plus being a busy Stay At Home Mum. Never enough time in the day is there.

How To Prepare the Dragon Fruit

  • Take the Dragon Fruit and cut right through it, halving it
  • You will see the flesh, in this case white, with edible black seeds inside it, this is all in the form of a soft firm solid
  • Scoop it out with a spoon, separating the flesh from the outer skin
  • Place on cutting board and chop into bite size pieces
  • Spoon back into shell and enjoy raw, noting that the outer skin is not edible

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Keeping it green with reusable sustainable glass straws

Glass Straws in fresh coconuts; perfection!

A few months back, I stumbled upon, another Eco Mummy’s blog on a posting about Glass Dharma Straws. The article started by highlighting the copious amount of straws that end up in landfills; and that was literally like a real shocker to me! I consider myself to be an advocate of the Earth, and do all I can to help preserve this beautiful Planet we call home. But WOW, I had just never thought of the damage plastic straws do.

To put that into perspective; it is estimated by environmental groups that close to 500 million, yes I said 500 million, straws are used just in the United States each day. Unfortunately, only some end up in landfills and others end up killing our precious animals, or rubbishing our Earth. The Ocean Conservancy has rated plastic straws as one of the Top 10 items of litter picked up in their annual global beach clean up day. Plastic Straws also are not biodegradable, so EVEN if they make it to the landfill, they are not going anywhere EVER. And, here was the kicker for me, plastic straws contain toxins right? I mean, another thing I should have already thought about, but just hadn’t. Of course they do; basically, plastic is just a bunch of boiled down run-of-the-mill chemicals, and research suggests that all plastics can leach chemicals if they’re scratched or heated and here we are, just sipping away.

Yes please, I will have some fresh organic kale juice with a chemical laden plastic straw, and it must be organic kale or I am not drinking it! Pesticides on my food NO WAY, but chemicals in my straw ALL GOOD! – Me in the past, at the local juice bar, completely oblivious and contradicting myself tenfold.

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Mamarazzi® “Mayim’s Vegan Table” Book Launch

I was thrilled when Willy B Mum recently gave me the opportunity to attend The Moms Mamarazzi® book launch for Mayim Bialik’s cookbook Mayim’s Vegan Table. I should start by admitting that I do not watch The Big Bang Theory, and was not allowed to watch television back when Blossom was on.  But I have been a fan of Mayim’s ever since I picked up Beyond the Sling, her insightful book on attachment parenting, and when you add that to her veganism and her PhD in neuroscience, I didn’t need to be a fan of her acting to be totally starstruck when I met her.

Dark chocolate peanut butter pie

The event was held at Café Blossom, one of my husband’s and my favorite vegan date night spots. Miss Bialik posed for some photos with each of us while vegan appetizers were passed around, and then she sat down with The Moms for a brief Q&A.  She was incredibly relatable and genuine, talking with us like she was part of the group and not the guest of honor.  As a busy working mother, she revealed that she doesn’t have time to watch t.v., not even her own show.  She still has a lot of goals, she told us, and spending time catching up on all the hottest series would keep her from reaching those goals.  Basically, Mayim is just your average, everyday, Emmy Nominated author and neuroscientist.

Trying out Mayim’s Matzoh Ball Soup

After receiving a positive response to veganized dishes she shared in Kveller, a Jewish parenting magazine, Mayim put together Mayim’s Vegan Table with over 100 recipes that she makes at home for her family.  She worked with a pediatrician, Dr Jay Gordon, to include some chapters on nutrition and veganism, as well as some tips on stocking your kitchen.  Longtime vegans are unlikely to find anything in those chapters that they don’t already know, but I think it’s great that Mayim is introducing veganism to her largely non-vegan fan base.

Mayim’s Pretzels turned out wonderful

My husband and I have tried 4 recipes from Mayim’s Vegan Kitchen Read More Willy B Mum

Carrot Apple Gluten-Free Muffins made with Blue Hill Savory Yogurt

Blue Hill has dairy in its roots. Blue Hill Farm—our family farm in the Berkshires, and the original inspiration for our Blue Hill restaurant in New York City and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, NY—was a working dairy from the 1860s through the 1960s. Three decades later, we refurbished the farm and brought the dairy back to life — Blue Hill Farm

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Basic Lip Balm Recipe

Did you know that most commercial lip balms, are made with an ingredient base of petroleum?

Petroleum jelly is made from just that—petroleum, a nonrenewable resource that may be contaminated with cancer-causing agents called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Furthermore, ingesting too much of it (which is easy to do when you slather it on your lips in winter) can lead to upset stomachs and diarrhea. — Rodale News

Once upon a time, I did not mind if I used lip balm based with petroleum, but that was just because I did not know that petroleum was harmful to the body? Or maybe it was because I never even bothered to read a lip balm ingredient label list to start with, and was none the wiser! Yes, that is more like it.

Most recently, I have started experimenting with lip balms. I am on a journey to start making as many natural products in my home as I can which, really is, an enjoyable learning experience. For sure, I am quite confident now with making super-duper body butter. But, after my lovely husband asked for a lip balm that would protect his lips from chapping when he is out on the mountains skiing, I started working on it straight away for him.

Ingredient List – Cocoa butter, grapeseed oil, shea butter, beeswax and coconut extract

This recipe is for a very basic lip balm which you can do so much with; substitute ingredients if you like. For example; Candelilla or Carnauba wax are great vegan substitutes to beeswax. Personally, I would prefer to make my products vegan but I have a ton of beeswax in my supply kit at the moment and want to use it rather than waste it. You can also add a tint for color (dried beetroot or saffron powder will work), or maybe rose petals for a visual vibe. It is really up to you, and there are so many choices out there. Let your Creative You Flow!

All of the ingredients can probably be bought in a health food store easy enough. However, for reference I buy most of my apothecary supplies from an online distributor based on the West Coast USA – Essential Wholesale and Labs

This recipe is going to make quite a lot of lip balm; around the 15 ounce mark. This is great if you are making it for friends and family, or if you use a lot of lip balm? If not, and you only want a small amount please adjust the recipe accordingly.

Ingredients in the double boiler

What You Will Need

  • 3 ounces of yellow beeswax
  • 2.25 ounces of cocoa butter
  • 3.75 ounces of shea butter
  • 6 ounces of grape seed oil
  • 2 tablespoon coconut extract

Special Equipment

  • Double Boiler
  • Digital Food Scale
  • .25 oz glass lip balm jars or substitute, I used 1 ounce + sized jars
  • glass or silicone stirrer
  • Long Spout pouring jug

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