Spinach 3 Ways

My body is trying to murder me. I have had an aching stomach for 4 days. It feels like apologetic Johnny is playing the banjo in my tummy. I’m not pregnant. So I’m going to take the only good advice my family doctor ever gave me - eat leafy greens for a tummy ache! He also said to rest when you're sick so… 2 pieces of good advice there!

I wanted healthy comfort food and copious greens to boot! I’m making spinach 3 ways - as a pesto, slightly blanched spinach and finely chopped spinach. That’s it! You’re done, go home!

Ok, so this is what I’ve got. Easy as vegan pie!

  • Gluten free pasta
  • a lemon
  • big ol bag o spinach
  • garlic
  • chilli
  • olive oil
Into the chopinator, put chilli (only if you like it), a clove of garlic, half a lemon (flesh and all), a little olive oil and 2 cups of spinach.

And there you have something beautiful!

Finely chop 2 handfuls of spinach. Leave it on the chopping board to add at the last minute.

Lightly fry 2 cloves of garlic in olive oil. Add 2 handfuls of spinach and cook till wilted. Save some fresh spinach for tomorrows breakfast smoothie!

When the pasta's cooked I’m going to put all the pasta into the pan because I want to. Along with everything else!!

So there you have it. A meal big enough for 3-4 people or 1 hobbit. I relate to the latter.

Ok. Upon eating, I made wayyyyyy too much pasta! As it had not enough sauce! Bahhhh but it was good! Gluten free pasta also behaves differently to regular pasta… it breaks more frequently, needs to cook longer and generally feels sticky. BUT! I liked it! Good enough for me!

In other news, I’ve been haphazardly trying Raw till 4. I thought it was too extreme initially (as I thought being vegan was - and here I am, a raging vegan, 3 years later!) BUT whenever I make a connection between two people that I admire for different reasons I pay attention. Freelee, The Banana Girl, advocates raw till 4 then a big carb meal (with morning exercise). Kimberly Snyder uses the example of your intestine system being life a traffic road - why block it up with a truck (carbs, fats, heavy foods) at the beginning of the day? Allow your food to pass through you easily by eating raw and clean, then have a heavier meal in the evening. Both advocate mainly raw food, always vegan for health and animal conscious reasons and not restricting your diet. I know some people look at this way of eating as restrictive but it just about adaption. Thats it. You’re body can get used to a whole mess of things. Being attracted to shit junk food is one of them. In all honesty, I’ve craved less junk food since being my version of Raw till 4 - sometimes I’ll have a cooked meal at lunch with friends and I’ll add olive oil and a marginal amount of salt to dishes occasionally. But… I don't crave chips like I used to. Shahrina and Zac just unfriended me. Let me clarify - I don't crave them the same way that I used to. I like the oven baked version - no salt not oil (in the cooking process, some dipping perhaps after, sometimes!).

Oh yeah! And here’s one last thing for you. We had leadership training at work today. And after 2 and half days they summarised in the last five minutes that which they should have started with and flogged the whole way through:

Success (however you define it, whatever you want to achieve) is a combination of: 
  • Intention. 
  • Attention. 
  • Skill. 

I just saved you a bajillion dollars. Welcome.

Love Helena


How trying to be healthy almost killed me

I’m a sucker for a health food fad. I’ll admit it, I have an embarrassingly large arsenal of vitamins and ‘superfood’ powders. 

this isn't all of it.....

So when I read that making your own probiotics is more important that taking a pill form of probiotic, I was on it like white-on-rice (or more like macrobiotic brown rice).

This all started with my ventures into the world of Sauerkraut which had been going along pretty well, until I decided I needed more probiotics! MORE! ‘Culture, fermented food is the next big thing’ I declared at a friend’s dinner party, no amount of doubtful looks or grimaces as I described what kombucha is made from was going to stop me declaring a new found allegiance to fermented food. (Kombucha’s a fermented drink made with fungi in case you were curious).

kombucha brewing - you can see the fungi at the bottom

So the next step was to start brewing my own kombucha, this is so exciting in and of itself it will be the topic of a future blog post, so stay tuned! Also kefir!! A fermented sour milk drink (more sideways glances), which is actually a lot nicer than it sounds!! Another post to come on the world of kefir (including making coconut kefir, ooh the possibilities...)

So cut to me admiring my first successful batch of kefir milk, it’s actually so easy to make I had no right being so damn proud of myself, but I was anyway. ‘Go slowly’ my friend who graciously gave me the kefir grains had told me, but ‘bah’ I was onto the latest health food, there was no time for moderation! So I drank it all the first night. Probably about 250 mls all while patting myself on the back for being so healthy.


Have you heard of the Herxheimer reaction?? You know the one where all the toxic bacteria cells in your body die off very quickly causing you to feel like you’re dying. Yeah thats 'herxing', it occurs when injured or dead bacteria release their endotoxins into the blood (eww) and tissues faster than the body can comfortably handle it. This provokes a sudden and exaggerated inflammatory response, which makes you feel like death.

kefir grains - warning: consume with caution 

I only learnt this as I googled ‘nauseous, headache, dying’ later that evening. Turns out kefir is a very powerful probiotic and it can cause a rapid die off of bad bacteria in your gut, releasing toxins into your body faster than your organs can deal with it. Bottom line is, when your friend tells you to start with 1-2 tablespoons of kefir initially, for the love of God, listen to her!

So yeah gradual is better. Let’s see if I can learn my lesson when I sample my first batch of kambucha later this week!

I’d love to hear from you on any of your experiences with detoxing and the effect it had on you. Let me know if you’ve ever had any similar experiences making yourself sick trying to be healthier!

love Jess 

Schooled on Life

A friend of Mai Kinda Crazy recently went to a School of Life class, we’ve got a sample of the class to share with you.

I came across this wonderful quote at The School of Life when I went to their class How To Find A Job You Love. Oh the amazing School of Life – imagine learning about finding a job you love, being confident and thinking like an entrepreneur alongside calculus, the periodic table and reading Shakespeare. We’d have all come out of school sitting on a lofty perch at the top of Maslow’s Pyramid gazing down on mere mortals. 

This is what The School of Life does best, lessons in life skills and emotional intelligence through the lens of philosophy, literature and psychology. Given The School of Life is not starved for marketing, I’ll stop there. All I’ll say is that for someone feeling a little lost with their current job and needing some guidance, this was the perfect class for me. And I wasn’t alone – our class had about 20 people of all ages, ranging from successful business consultants to budding restaurateurs. Seems everyone needs a little schooling once in a while!      

Aristotle’s quote encapsulates everything I was seeking from my class – we each have talents, we should use our talents to make a difference and by doing this you can love your job.
Now let’s be real, this concept of loving your job definitely falls into the ‘first world’ category. There are many people who can’t consider whether they love their job because a job is purely a way to meet basic needs. But for the rest of us who are lucky enough not to be in this position, how do you find a job you love?

In the class we were presented with five characteristics and rated them from least to most important in our ideal job.

  • Values: finding work that embodies your values.
  • Goals: having meaningful goals to drive us in our careers.
  • Respect: feeling respected and being treated as a unique individual at work, sometimes this means attaining social status.
  • Talents: using your specific talents in a job.
  • Money: best summed up by ABBA “Money, money, money, always sunny, in the rich man’s world”.

Yes, I know these are all important characteristics and if you manage to attain them all - kudos to you! But the exercise of rating each one helps you narrow down your options and figure out those things that you just can’t budge on.
Once you have an idea about the kind of job you’d like, while you can throw in the towel and run off in hot pursuit, the class taught us a framework to work towards it.

  1. Brainstorm multiple selves: make a list of imagined selves you’d like to explore. These are different careers you might enjoy like you as a writer, you as a researcher, you as a business consultant. Your imagined selves can be as random as that assortment – whatever interests you! 
  2. Crafting experiments: pick one or two of your imagined selves and set up side projects to explore them. Find books, blogs, workshops, internet lessons, download software - whatever you need to test out the imagined self.
  3. Shifting connections: find new people and mentors working in the field you’ve identified, especially those outside your existing work and social circles.

It sounds pretty simple and I think that’s the beauty of it. You can make a big change by taking small steps. The School of Life calls it adopting a strategy of ‘small wins’.

In our class we learnt about the concept of the ‘generalist’, someone who follows several careers simultaneously and cobbles together a portfolio of different skills. You may not be a specialist in any one thing but you do get to pursue multiple talents, interests or goals. 

In fact, our class was taken by someone who I’d call a generalist – background in arts/law, current writer of teen fantasy novels, yoga practitioner and works in a bookshop part-time. Not your traditional career but if it gets you leading a class titled How To Find A Job You Love…I’d say you’re doing pretty well.

Mai Kinda Crazy