About Happy Healthy Strong

My goal for 2012 and beyond is to be happy, healthy and strong. I used to hate exercise and eat a typical western diet (lots of grains, low fat and at one point dabbled as a vegetarian). I was motivated to change my lifestyle in 2010 when a good friend of mine invited me to her wedding. My friend and her friends are absolutely gorgeous girls and while I knew one month wasn't going to turn years of bad habits into a stunning physique, I did know that if I had at least started upon the road to 'recovery' then I could at least hold my head up high confident that I was finally doing something about it. So I started bootcamp and counting calories and at one point I was even jogging regularly and enjoying it (shock!). It took me 12 months but I managed to lose 12 kgs and almost as many centimetres off my hips and waist. About 6 months ago I stumbled upon the concept of primal/paleo eating. I also picked up a copy of Gary Taubes' book 'Good Calories, Bad Calories'. While I'm now convinced that sugar is evil and grains are not my friend, I do struggle sometimes to resist their deliciousness. Evil or not, they still taste damn good. I also now know that calorie restriction is NOT the way to achieve a healthy mind and body (and it sure as hell wont make you happy). How many calories you consume is irrelevant - its how you consume those calories that makes all the difference. Bring on the bacon! Fortunately for me, I love to cook, so I've been finding it relatively easy to substitute bad ingredients with good ones (I did have to clear the cupboards of the bad though to avoid temptation). I'm also slightly obsessed with finding new recipes and information on the internet to enable my new found lifestyle and then sharing these discoveries with friends and family (whether they like it or not!). This blog is in part to give my friends and family (and anyone else who might be interested) the opportunity (and the choice) to share my enthusiasm in their own time. One of the biggest challenges I've faced is simply sourcing all the ingredients I want/need - ordering from overseas is often not possible (good luck getting jerky through quarantine) or prohibitively expensive (sourcing coconut cream concentrate from one very popular USA supplier could cost up to $160 per shipment!). I know I would have found it much easier to have an Australian website that said 'you can buy X from these guys' but I didn't find one, so here's my contribution to help try and fill that void. Hopefully this blog will be help me (and you) to be happy, healthy and strong.

Seasonings Greetings (3 ways with dukkah)

Happy Healthy Strong:

Great Christmas gift idea — also really keen to try the spiced honey popcorn.

Originally posted on one equals two:

[Recipe 1] PISTACHIO and ALMOND DUKKAH transforms into
[Recipe 2] SPICED LAMB PIZZA (lahm bi ajine)

It seriously feels like we packed away the Christmas tree two months ago. I cannot BELIEVE we’re half-way through November. Yikes!
Every Christmas I make a massive batch of something sweet or spicy to pop into jars for teachers, family and friends. Za’atar was popular, and dukkah is equally tasty and a cinch to whip up and package; especially if you employ child labour in your home, as we do.
I buy my fabric pieces at Amitié – they have a huge basket of off-cuts, the perfect size for topping jars. The raw tangerine string is from Araliya. It’s handmade from coconut fibre, and it was a birthday pressie (thanks Chris)!
For a more substantial gift, a small spice…

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Wholesome Lunch Ideas

Happy Healthy Strong:

Simple, fast and mighty tasty looking. #paleo

Originally posted on Studio Snacks:

Hi readers! In case you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been posting full post very consistently because I am currently away from my studio for the summer. However, I am very active on Instagram, and you can follow my shenanigans there if you must. Recently, every weekend I’ve been posting photos of my mealprep for my brother, who works the graveyard shift at the hospital as a dialysis assistant. He’s a paleo enthusiast who literally has no time to cook. He works at night time and sleeps during the day time… kind of like a vampire, I guess.

Above is one of the most recent meal preps, starting from the top:

1. Carrot, onion and sausage stir fry
2. Chicken and broccoli
3. Chorizo mushroom tomato sauce over cabbage

Here are the ingredients I used for this particular mealprep (not shown are some pantry items I also used: coconut oil

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Change Your Beliefs About Yourself to Form Better Habits

Some great advice:

“Your goal isn’t to be perfect. Your goal is simply to win the majority of the time. And if you cast enough votes for the right identity, eventually the good behaviors will win out.

For some reason, we often think that if we fail to follow our exact plan step-by-step, then we have totally blown it. The truth is that it doesn’t work that way at all. If you make a mistake, remember that it’s just one vote. Be aware of the votes you’re casting and try to win the majority. Every action is a vote for your identity.”

Whole 30 Day 23

Well, I’ve gotten this far!  Normally I cave in about now … and I must say I was really tempted yesterday as I made my family mushroom and chicken san choy bau for dinner (not my recipe choice) and while it contained some very lovely paleo ingredients, it also called for kecap manis (sweet soy) and peanuts.  In hindsight I should have just substituted coconut aminos (why didn’t I think of that last night?!).  Instead, I considered eating the very tasty looking mushroom mix v/s $300 donation to Mr Rabbit … and Continue reading

Another Whole 30

Technically, I’m only STARTING another Whole 30, rather than ‘doing’ another one, because I didn’t finish ‘doing’ the last one, nor the one before that, nor the one before that, nor … you get the idea.

Why didn’t I finish?  I decided my desire for a quinoa cracker was worth more than my desire to finally finish a Whole 30.  In hindsight, that seems silly, but it made sense at the time.  One of my goals was to break the cycle of bad eating and drinking habits, which I did, until about 2 weeks later, when I started on my bad habits again (chocolate and wine being the most notable).

I’ve just come back from a spectacularly enjoyable 2 weeks in San Francisco, where I ate and drank whatever took my fancy, and I fancied a plentiful array of varied things (though mainly soft corn tacos with pulled pork, washed down with a margarita).  My exercise routine was awesome at least; I walked almost everywhere, which meant up all those damn (but very pretty) hills.  I also made it to San Francisco Crossfit which was one of the highlights of the trip.  I’m totally in love with San Francisco – and not just because of SFCF although that does have somewhat to do with it :)

Anyhow, back to my reason for doing another Whole 30 and how I’m going to go about it a little differently this time.   Continue reading


International Women’s Day: Dreaming of Olympic Gold in Nepal

As a student enrolled in Room to Read’s Girls’ Education program in Nepal, Srijana knew she was lucky to be supported through her secondary school graduation and she was determined to be a successful student, even if it meant a tremendously challenging 6.2 mile walk to school. Each way. Every day.  After making the tenuous commute twice a day, not only did Srijana start to enjoy the solitude, she started to enjoy the challenge. Noticing that her stamina was increasing, Srijana started to pick up the pace. Before long she wasn’t just walking the distance, she was running it….

International Women’s Day: Dreaming of Olympic Gold in Nepal