Raw Food Craze

The latest craze I’m on at the moment is raw food. My first experience of raw food was a slice of lemon raw cake (that I initially thought was cheesecake) at Pure Wholefoods in Manly. Walter got me try it as it and I could not believe a raw cake could taste so good. It had not been cooked and was all organic…I’m in heaven! The recipe is a guarded secret, but over the years I’ll always get another ingredient out of them. Tumeric is used to get the bright yellow of the cakes top. Flaxseed, agave, shreded coconut and soaked walnuts contribute to the base with coconut oil holding it all together. There a few missing pieces to the puzzle but it really is something to try if your down in Manly anytime soon.

A few weeks ago I came across Amanda, the Raw Food Chef around the corner from me in Fairlight at The Raw Food Kitchen. I am planning to do one of her raw cooking (or lack of) classes this year. In the meantime I bought her beginners book, followed by a splurge on a magimix food processor (thank heavens for the January sales!) and I’m on my way to eating a few more raw meals at home. I think desserts by far have to be the best thing to do raw. We all know how to prepare a juice/smoothie/salad, but raw desserts are simply amazing considering there is no cooking involved and the end product is a delicious, nutrient packed, healthy treat that actually tastes like the naughty equivalent. No more feeling guilty!

Last night I christened the food processor and made Amanda’s Chocolate pudding (pic attached) and it was fabulous. Her recipe is as follows: 2 avocados, 1 coconut (juice and white flesh), 1 cup of almond milk, 3 medjool dates, 1/2 cup raw cacao powder, dash of vanilla extract, a few tablespoons of agave to taste (sweetener, you can buy this everywhere now) and a pinch of salt. Pop it all in and wizz it till combined. I served it with shaved coconut and mango, but you could do whatever tickles your fancy.

Raw Chocolate Pudding

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Studio Align Pilates and Physiotherapy client Pete Jacobs has just won the 2012 Hawaii Ironman in Kona, coming 1st with a time of 8 hours, 18 minutes, 37 secs. An extrordinary achievement. Well done Pete! We can not wait to see you back in the studio and give you a huge congratulations in person.

Pete on the home run.

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Natalie Coughlin shares her story on Pilates and the lead up to the London Olympics. From gaining bronze in London in the 4 x 100 final, she has gone on the become one of the 3 most decorated female USA Olympians in history.

Natalie shares her Pilates prep in the lead up to London 2012 (Taken from Pilates Style Magazine)



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Check out this visual image of popular health foods and the evidence behind them. In each bubble you can see what it has evidence for. The info is from PubMed and the Chochrane datebase – the best source! Green tea, fish oil and cranberries are as you would expect are high on the list. Things with little evidence that may surprise you are golji berries, ginsing and acai. Things to watch are tumeric and krill oil. Tumeric can easily be added to juices and to your home made curry pastes. Curry pastes are actually super easy to make with a blender. I’ll pop up my favourite tumeric curry paste recipe later this week with some pictures.

Health Food/Supplement Evidence
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Frances was born on Saturday 9/6/12 at a hefty 3.9kgs. Was a fairly challenging labour (but aren’t they all?) for a good 24hours until she was born naturally. What an experience! I credit my pregnacy, labour and recovery to a few important things. Healthy eating (I did have cravings for the odd sausage roll and extremely salty corn chips), swimming 4kms x week, Pilates studio sessions 2 x week, meditation, the Calm Birth course with Peter Jackson and the Epi-NO (email me if you want any info).

I was finally back in the studio 3 weeks after baby Frances was born and did my first workout with the lovely Anna Le Her. Anna is fabulous at pre/post-natal Pilates and is a mother herself. My first session was basic and I felt amazing after. So nice to move again and lye on my tummy as its been a while! I am back to my regular sessions again and although I’m not doing the same things I was doing pre-pregnancy, it will not be long!

Frances and I will see you in the studio soon…

Frances Thomas x

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Pippa Middleton I know is famous for that perky bottom, but in my opinion this move is glorious! Pippa has been a fan of Pilates for years and it clearly shows shes been practicing her Pilates Swan. Check out the beautiful line on that back bend!

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With only 12 days to go till my bubba girl is due, I thought I’d post some pics of my Pilates session yesterday. Through my pregnancy I’ve done studio Pilates sessions 1-2 times per week combined with swimming a few kilometers. Pilates has always been something I’ve done for overall conditioning, well-being and ironing out all the “niggles” you get from life/work. It’s always worked for me. During pregnancy has been no different. It has helped with:

  • Maintaining strength: by using the machines you can continue resistance training in a very safe environment for your body.
  • Maintaining flexibility: again in a safe environment, with assistance from the machines you can protect your ranges of motion with stretching to avoid over-stretching. This is common in pregnancy as there is that lovely hormone ‘relaxin’ that makes a pregnant womans ligaments lax.
  • Maintain a sense of wellbeing: it’s so easy (and I know this from first hand experience!) to give into the tiredness and over-eating and feel very guity about it. Yes you do need to listen to your body and rest more and you do need to eat a well balanced diet with the right intake. However, you will feel so much better when you maintain the right type of exercise.
Rememeber though, when you do Pilates during pregnancy there are precautions and contraindications that are generic for pregnant women and specific to some individuals. Make sure you are with a well qualifed instructor and do studio sessions where you can guarantee you are doing the appropriate exercises and doing them correctly to avoid any injuries. Pilates during pregnancy is really safe if you’re in the right hands! (not to mention fun!!!)


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Artcie in the Sydney Morning Herald today on the benefits of PIlates with comments from NYC Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor, Alycea Ungaro. Unfortunately I missed out on doing a workout with her whilst I was there last year as she was presenting at a conference, but will make sure I book ahead next time!


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Having just finished the book The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge, I wanted to share with you some of the interesting ideas that were being explored. Some I have been exposed to over the years of study but they were told in another light that gave a sense of clarity to them.  All were backed up in the book by research.

Firstly I want to discuss what a “plastic” brain is. Plasticity simply means that it is mouldable and can change. For many years it was believed that the brain was like an electrical machine that could not change after the critical period (period from birth to approximately eight years of age). We now know that this is not the case and our brains are plastic and can have changes in a positive way even into our 80s and 90s. Here are a few simple ways from the book to help the brain stay active and reduce age-related cognitive decline.

  • Learn a new task. And that does not mean practicing a task you already know how to do. This means a completely new task such as a musical instrument, a language, a hobby or a new sport. Once we hit middle age we tend to stop learning new tasks. We change jobs less often, we are skilled in our careers, we rarely participate in tasks that focus our attention as closely as we did when we were younger.
  • The task must be something that requires full attention and the desire to learn, so make it something you have always wanted to learn or are really interested in. When we are really focused and have the desire to learn our brain releases chemicals from the nucleus basalis that assist with plasticity.
  • Walk as much as you can with your shoes off and on all different terrain to keep up the sensory feedback from your feet. As we age this declines and wearing shoes on our feet all the time for decades does not help either. Doidge suggests this can lead to improved balance and reduced falls.

As a final point you need to use it or you loose it! As age expectancy and our body’s lifespan increases to well into our 80s we need extend our mental lifespan to match it.

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Great article in the Sunday paper today on Jen Hawkins and how she maintains that great Bikini body through Pilates twice a week. Jen commented on her love for the PIlates equipment especially the cadillac (or trap table).

“Pilates is great because I can target the areas of my body that I want to work on. I use the cadillac – that’s a special piece of Pilates equipment, also known as a trapeze table – plus another machine called a reformer…. It’s good for your core. The day after my sessions I’m really sore but that’s good because I know it’s working.”

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