Sunday, 29 December 2013

Quote of the day

"Every man has his own vocation. The talent is the call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him. He has faculties silently inviting him thither to endless exertion.
He is like a ship in a river; he runs against obstructions on every side but one; on that side all obstruction is taken away, and he sweeps serenely over God's depths into an infinite sea.
This talent and this call depend on his organization, or the mode in which a general soul incarnates in him. He inclines to do something which is easy to him, and good when it is done, but which no other man can do.
He has no rival.
For the more truly he consults his own powers, the more difference will his work exhibit from the work of any other. When he is true and faithful, his ambition is exactly proportional to his powers. By doing his work he makes the need felt which only he can supply."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Plank Exercise for Building core strength

Benefits of The Plank Exercise

*It strengthens your lower back
*It develops your core muscles – which include the abs, back, hips and the butt.
*Helps you to avoid injuries and encourage good posture.
*It increases blood and lymphatic circulation.
*It regenerates bone and builds muscles by increasing blood circulation.
*Can be done anywhere
*Develops your abdominals by targeting the rectus abdominis.

The Plank Challenge

Begin on day 1 holding the position for 20 seconds. On day two add 10 seconds to the hold and so on and so forth.

Day 1 - 20 seconds
Day 2 - 20 seconds
Day 3 - 30 seconds
Day 4 - 30 seconds
Day 5 - 40 seconds
Day 7 - 45 seconds
Day 8 - 45 seconds
Day 9 - 60 seconds
Day 10 - 60 seconds
Day 11 - 60 seconds
Day 12 - 90 seconds
Day 14 - 90 seconds
Day 15 - 90 seconds
Day 16 - 120 seconds
Day 17 - 120 seconds
Day 18 - 150 seconds
Day 20 - 150 seconds
Day 21 - 150 seconds
Day 22 - 180 seconds
Day 23 - 180 seconds
Day 24 - 210 seconds
Day 25 - 210 second
Day 27 - 240 seconds
Day 28 - 240 seconds
Day 29 - 270 seconds
                                            Day 30- Hold the Plank for as long as possible

How to Do the Plank Correctly

Friday, 13 December 2013

Pesto alla Trapanese

If you have ever been lucky enough to visit Sicily then you will know how incredible their fresh produce is. Pretty much everything available to buy in terms of fruits and vegetables is grown in Sicily, even the Pistachios and Pine nuts and Almonds available in the supermarket are from the Island.  I dish i enjoyed often when I was WWOOF'ing there a few years back was 'Pesto alla Trapanese' (which translates as 'Pesto of Trapani' or 'Pesto Trapani style' if my Italian is correct). I would go to the garden daily to pick the tomatoes and basil then whiz this up back in the kitchen with the rest of the ingredients.  The main difference between this pesto and the classic green 'Pesto Genovese' is the addition of fresh tomatoes and the omission of cheese and the replacement of pine nuts with Almonds which grow abundantly on the Island. I have also added black garlic to the recipe as i find it gives the dish an added depth. The pesto works really well with raw zucchini pasta or an organic brown rice fusilli if you dig your pasta cooked. 

Remember Italian mamas that this is my take on Pesto alla Trapanese not the Pesto alla Trapanese so dont get offended by what i may have left out or by what I have added in ha ha! Enjoy and do visit Sicily if the opportunity arises for you.


All ingredients can be adjusted to suite taste.

6 large organic tomatoes on the vine or 300 grams of organic cherry/baby tomatoes
80 grams of organic whole almonds (preferably soaked and dehydrated although not essential)
2 cloves organic garlic
2 cloves black garlic
1 big bunch organic basil leaves
6 organic white peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon sun dried sea salt
2 tablespoons  organic stone crushed olive oil (optional)


Add everything to the blender and blend to desired consistency. Pour over hot cooked pasta and stir through or if using raw zucchini pasta heat on the stove at a very low heat until warmed through.

Jia Aili Painting and Installation

Friday, 29 November 2013

Superior liver function the fun and easy way

Liver health is important, we (me and you reading this) understand this on some level. Achieving superior liver function can be a hard and unpleasant process (fasting, liver flushes etc) or it can be a fun, smooth and easy process (eating and drinking delicious food). If you desire your health upgrades to be fun and easy then do give both these recipes a go, either having one or both on a daily basis.

After having these drinks in your routine for around a five month period (alongside other liver friendly health modalities i.e high organic raw food diet, exercise etc etc) then by all means do dip into the more "hardcore" of the liver cleaners out there such as flushing and juice/water fasting, not beforehand though. Upgrading your health (your liver in this case) can be a slow and pleasant experience or it can be a faster and more harsh experience. My own experience has taught me that slow and steady (interchanged with much smaller periods of fast and hard) wins the race when it comes to upgrading your health. Therefore, this is what I suggest to others when queried on the matter. If you have severe liver damage and/or are close to death as a result then you may be best served to ignore my suggestions and seek out someone who is skilled in dealing with such matters. If however, your just the average Joe (overweight and feeling shite on many levels) then these drinks my friend are for you.

Much love and respect on your journey toward a happy shiny liver.

Electrolyte Lemonade

  • 3 organic lemons, yellow skin removed, white pith intact
  • 3 tablespoons organic raw oil: flax, olive or coconut oil
  • 1 organic pear
  • 1 teaspoon sun dried sea salt
  • 6 cups fresh spring water
  • 3 tablespoons organic raw honey, maple syrup, or liquid stevia herb to taste
  • 1 tablespoon organic chia seed
  • 1 teaspoon of organic cayenne pepper

    Add all ingredients to a high speed blender (blendtec, nutribullet or vitamix) and blend until very smooth and oil has emulsified into beverage. Oil and sweeteners can be adjusted to suite taste and texture and other organic fresh fruit can added in place of pear.

    Thank you Dr David Jubb for introducing me to this drink.

    Liver Elixir

Place herbs and 6 cups of spring water into a pot and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Add tea with all other ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Kombucha Vinegar Flu Tonic

As winter approaches, it can be helpful to strengthen our immune system and try to get a leg up on colds and flu.  This remedy/booster uses kombcha vinegar as it’s foundation.  Being an avid kombucha maker (I make 2 gallons at a time), I often end up with more than I can drink, so every once in awhile I make some kombucha vinegar.
In case you haven’t accidentally discovered how to make kombucha vinegar on your own, I’ll share a quick parallel.  I have a teacher who once gave some simplified instructions on how to do a certain meditation which he referred to as the “non-doing meditation.”  The point of the meditation is to pay attention to your experience, whatever it may be, and not monkey with it in any way.  His guidance couldn’t have been more simple: “Put your butt on a cushion.  End of instruction.”  Making kombucha vinegar is a little like that.  If you want to quote me, it’s: “Put kombucha in bottle. Wait until it turns to vinegar.  End of instruction.”
Once you have this vinegar, what to do with it?  Aside from using it for dressings and sauces, this particular recipe is a great way to use up a bunch of vinegar and make something healthy for you in the process. This recipe is for a small amount, so you can test if you like it, but there’s no reason you couldn’t make much larger batches.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 4 weeks (or longer)
Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Kombucha Vinegar Flu Tonic-1 

2 1/2c kombucha vinegar
1/2c (2 oz.) grated ginger
1/2c (2 oz.) grated fresh horseradish (warning – can be much stronger than onions when grating)
1 medium onion (7 oz.) diced
3/4c (3 oz.) grated daikon radish
4 cloves garlic diced
1 jalapeno pepper diced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1Tbsp turmeric powder or 2 oz grated turmeric

  1. Kombucha Vinegar Flu Tonic-3 

  1. In a 1 quart jar, place all ingredients including kombucha vinegar
  2. Put lid on. If using a jar which has exposed metal in the lid, it can be helpful to place some wax paper over the jar opening and screw the lid down over that.  This can help to prevent the metal from corroding.
  3. Place in the refrigerator and wait about a month. This could benefit by steeping for much longer and continuing to get stronger.
  4. Strain out the solids and pour into a jar and keep it in the refrigerator
  5. Drink a Tbsp or more each morning

Some commonly claimed benefits of the various ingredients in this tonic are:
  • kombucha vinegar – probiotic, blood sugar balance
  • ginger – reduce nausea and ease digestion, fights colds and chills
  • horseradish – antioxidant, sinus clearing, cough, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial
  • onion (7 oz.) – colds, bronchitis, antihistamine, high in vitamin C
  • daikon radish – anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, respiratory aid
  • garlic – immunity, cardiovascular health, antibacterial
  • jalapeno pepper – sinusitis, combat infection, breaks up mucous
  • cayenne pepper – circulation, mucous breakup and fever relief
  • turmeric – anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory

Friday, 15 November 2013

Existential Bummer

 "Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever"
-Ernest Becker.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Snow by Tokujin Yoshioka


"In recent years, I have been studying the essence that human beings would sense. It is neither arranging nor minimizing the forms, but integrating the phenomena and the low of the nature into the design, and see how it would affect and inspire ourselves. Because I believe there is a hint for the future somewhere in-between the essence of the design and the nature, I would like to pursue designing works with this aspect. The Snow is a 15-meter-wide dynamic installation. Seeing the hundreds kilograms of light feather blown all over and falling down slowly, the memory of the snowscape would lie within people's heart would be bubbled up. This work would show unimaginable beauty by capturing the irregular movement of the nature. This is designed after the installation in 1997 that expressed the "snow" by the concept of the color "white". The material is feather, which I believe is the lightest material of the present day. The snowscape created with the feather would be more like the memory of snow lying with people rather than the actual snow. The theme of the exhibition is to rethink the Japanese perception of nature, which is to question how the unconscious power to sense the nature and the value of nature in Japan would affect the contemporary art and design.I do not really know about the value of nature in Japan, but what I would like to do is not to reproduce the nature but to know how human senses function when experiencing nature. The most beautiful things I believe in this world is what is irreproducible, accidentally born, and disorder that cannot be understood by the theory. I believe the nature is the ultimate beauty in this world. The sunlight, soft breeze, and the harmony that leaves create, the variety of the essence in the nature touches our emotions. I intend not to reproduce them, but to pick the element that inspires our heart and integrate it into the deign."

Crystalize by Tokujin Yoshioka

Mineral crystals grown on thin threads form the shape of a chair in this installation by Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka. Tokujin Yoshioka
Mineral crystals grown on thin threads form the shape of a chair in this installation by Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka. Tokujin Yoshioka created the Spider's Thread sculpture of a chair by suspending just seven filaments within a frame that was sat in a pool of mineral solution.The solution was drawn up the threads and gradually formed into crystals around them, fleshing out into the shape of a piece of furniture. "Spider's Thread applies the structure of natural crystals in an advanced way aiming to produce a form even closer to the natural form," said Yoshioka. The designer says this iteration references a traditional story by Japanese writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa. "The Buddha takes a thread of a spider in Heaven and lowers it down to Hell so that the criminal can climb up from Hell to Paradise," explains Yoshioka. "In the story, the thread of a spider is a symbol of slight hope and fragility."