Thr1ve @ Home

Thr1ve @ Home

Ever since Thr1ve opened their first shop at MLC Centre it has been one of my go-to lunch options whenever I don’t bring my own. It has also been one of my top sources of caffeine because 1) Allpress and 2) mountain coffee (their version of bulletproof coffee). And since a few weeks ago, they are also a source of ready-made meals whenever life gets too hectic to cook.

Thr1ve meals

The ready-made meals, which follow the company’s vision (and robbwolfism) look, feel, perform, are made with quality proteins, smart carbs, good fats, and are all gluten-free. The website has a nifty filtering option so that you can select meals that are dairy free, keto friendly, nut free, post training, seafood free, snacks or vegetarian. The meals that contain grains have either a mix of brown rice and quinoa or gluten-free pasta in the case of the lasagna (which is delicious BTW).

Dinner: @thr1ve hearty bolognese with ratatouille #healthyfood #delivered #glutenfree #realfood #jerf

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They have such a wide variety of meals that is hard for me to name a favourite. We’ve ordered most of the meals they have available: beef cheeks, beef madras, beef stroganoff, cottage pie, healthy lasagna, hearty Bolognese, Mexican chilli, Rogan Josh, slow cooked brisket, pulled lamb, butter chicken, chicken cacciatore, chicken tagine, jerk chicken, green chicken curry, grilled chicken, roast chicken, fish cakes, and teriyaki salmon.

 

I’ve tried a good percentage of those meals and enjoyed all of them, but I gotta say I have yet to find a paleo-friendly meal delivery service where the cauliflower rice stays fresh for a few days. The good news? Most of the meals come with a few different choices of sides, such as ratatouille, seasonal greens, sweet potato mash, and roasted vegetables.

Lunch: @thr1ve Spanish chicken cacciatore with seasonal mash. #lookfeelperform #healthyfood #delivered #glutenfree #realfood #jerf

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Meals come in a sealed split plastic container (good for those people who can’t stand the components of their meals mixing up). The label lists all the ingredients, allergens, nutrition information, use by date and reheating instructions. That being said, all the meals can be frozen so go ahead and order a big batch (shipping is free for orders over $120).

Label

On the fence? Click here to save $25 in your first order.

Thr1ve
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Bondi Wholefoods

Review: Bondi Wholefoods (Surry Hills)

This is one of the many healthy Bondi cafes that triggered food envy every time I saw its dishes pictured on Instagram. A while ago I learned they had opened a shop in Surry Hills but the other thousand things occupying my mind wiped that fact out of my memory until last week. Turns out the Surry Hills shop is a short stroll away from where we practice Krav Maga.

Bondi Wholefoods

The shop is huge and includes a grocery store, the cafe, and a section with ready-made takeaway meals.

Takeaway

As you can imagine, I suffer from severe FOMO every time I visit a wholefoods cafe like this one. I finally decided to order the green longevity bowl even though I’m always suspicious of catchy phrases like that. However, once I read the entire description: “nutritious superfood kale & avocado, dressed in garlic, chilli, lemon and olive oil, twice baked cumin sweet potato, tricoloured quinoa, sea vegetables, sautéed miso mushrooms, fresh baby spinach, turmeric cashew cream, two gooey poached eggs, fermented veggies and fresh watercress”, I realised this meal could very well extend my life if I ate it every day. There are a few options for extra protein: free range crispy ham (my choice), smoked salmon, beef sausage or ocean trout.

Green longevity bowl

Green longevity bowl ($21.90) + free range crispy ham ($6)

Because it was too late for me to have second coffee, I ordered a turmeric latte made with organic turmeric and coconut milk, a perfect caffeine-free, anti-inflammatory beverage.

Turmeric latte

Turmeric latte ($4.50)

Alvaro had lunch elsewhere but couldn’t resist ordering an açaí smoothie, of which I had a few sips mouthfuls as the perfect end to my meal.

Açaí smoothie

Acai smoothie ($10.90)

Looking forward to trying more dishes, including their signature paleo bread.

Bondi Wholefoods

Bondi Wholefoods
517 Elizabeth St
Surry Hills NSW 2010
(02) 9300 6776
Website

Bondi Wholefoods Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Higher Ground

Review: Higher Ground (Melbourne CBD)

I caught up with my sister for a last breakfast in Melbourne before flying back to Sydney. Up until then I was under the impression that the only options near Southern Cross station on a weekend were fast food-type eateries but I was wrong. Higher Ground sits right across the road from the station, opens on weekends, and has fabulous food.

Yes, yes, the place is a little too hipster for my taste but service is friendly, which is what matters the most to me.

Open kitchen

We were not super hungry thanks to the substantial dinner we had at Supernormal the night before, so we decided to order just one dish to share. Once again our telepathic powers collided and there was no need to negotiate. The chosen dish was minced lamb fry up with eggplant, fried eggs, pickled rhubarb, smoked yoghurt, pine nut dukkah and possibly the best gluten-free bread I’ve ever had (which is made on premises, by the way). The bread was so good that my clever sister ordered some butter to enjoy the full experience. I don’t mean to sound like the bread was the highlight of the dish; it was all good.

Minced lamb fry up eggplant, fried eggs, pickled rhubarb, smoked yoghurt, pine nut dukkah, sourdough

Minced lamb fry up ($20)

I could tell they have the knowledge and the craft when it comes to coffee but the floral tones just didn’t click with me. Perhaps it was the method (I ordered a batch brew), or maybe it just wasn’t my cup of tea (bad pun intended).

Batch brew

Batch brew ($4)

For people who can tolerate gluten there are several great-looking pastries on offer. It might be a good idea to grab a few before catching the Skybus.

Pastries

Higher Ground
650 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 8899 6219
Website
Email
Instagram

Higher Ground Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Supernormal

Review: Supernormal (Melbourne CBD)

This is one of the multiple restaurants in Melbourne that have been in my radar for years. It belongs to chef Andrew McConnell of Cutler & Co., Cumulus Inc and Builders Arms Hotel fame (and a few other venues that are less known to me). Supernormal does pan-Asian food (aka Asian fusion) and, in my opinion, it does it well. Best of all, despite being extremely busy (parties of less than 5 are welcome as walk-ins only, which means a long wait list) they manage to keep their cool and provide excellent customer service.

Bar

We visited on a Friday night and waited for about an hour in a nearby bar because the bar at Supernormal was packed. When we came back, our table was waiting for us. We were served some tasty spiced sunflower seeds which we nibbled on while sipping sake. You can buy a jar of spiced sunflower seeds to take home, along with other merchandise such as t-shirts and cookbooks.

Sake

Sake

As it’s common these days, the menu is designed to share. My sister and I ordered one item from the “snacks and appetisers”, “raw bar”, “dumpling and bao”, and “plates and vegetables sections”, starting with some pretty good cabbage & radish kimchi.

Sunflower seeds, kimchi

Sunflower seeds, kimchi ($6)

Our raw dish was a sashimi of kingfish, dashi, celery & fresh horseradish, which was delicate and well-balanced.

Kingfish, dashi, celery & fresh horseradish

Kingfish, dashi, celery & fresh horseradish ($17)

Next, we ordered duck bao sans bao. They give you lettuce cups if you order the gluten-free version. Despite its pale unappetising appearance the duck was flavoursome, and even better when drizzled with vinegar & plum sauce.

Duck bao (sans bao)

Duck bao in lettuce cup

Duck bao with lettuce cups ($26)

Our vegetable dish was roast cauliflower, white miso & furikake, which I deeply enjoyed in part because I <3 cauliflower. This umami bomb was one the best vegetable sides I've had in a while.

Roast cauliflower, white miso & furikake

Roast cauliflower, white miso & furikake ($17)

My friend Christine had some vegetable dumplings and a New England lobster roll that looked great and I wouldn’t mind to try served on lettuce cups.

New England lobster roll

New England lobster roll ($16)

We could have stopped there but the words peanut butter parfait, salted caramel & soft chocolate were too hard to resist. We ordered one to share between the 3 of us, so I don’t feel too bad about it. Good dessert, although way too sweet for my taste.

Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel & soft chocolate

Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel & soft chocolate ($15)

Supernormal
180 Flinders Ln
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9650 8688
Website

Supernormal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Grain Store

Review: The Grain Store (Melbourne CBD)

I recently went to Melbourne to attend a nutrition conference. It was a great opportunity to catch up with the local sangha, a couple of old friends and, of course, my sister. We managed to squeeze in a few meals, starting with breakfast on her day off work. The chosen spot was Grain Store purely based on Google ratings and convenient location.

Despite its name, this cafe is gluten-free friendly. Some dishes are inherently gluten-free, some can be easily modified by swapping the toast. It was good to know that my sister and I still have the same taste, and thus is easy to order dishes to share. But first, coffee. They do a great cold drip served on top of coffee ice cubes. Genius.

Cold drip

Cold drip ($4)

I loved both of the dishes we ordered, especially the portobello mushroom and Gruyère potato rösti with poached eggs, spinach leaves and hazelnut hollandaise, which combined several of my favourite ingredients. The serving was huge, so consider sharing or bringing a container to take leftovers home.

Portobello mushroom and Gruyere potato rösti

Portobello mushroom and Gruyere potato rosti ($18)

The chorizo & Manchego omelette with orange cauliflower, broccoli, spinach, harissa aioli and gluten-free toast was also very tasty huge meal. Also great for sharing or for big appetites (perfect for a post-workout breakfast, for example).

Chorizo & Manchego omelette

Chorizo & Manchego omelette ($21)

If you’re in the CBD come for food and/or coffee, it’s all good.

The Grain Store
517 Flinders Ln
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9972 6993
On Facebook

The Grain Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Belles Hot Chicken

Sydney food bloggers Xmas 2016 @ Belles Hot Chicken (Sydney CBD)

I’m happy to report that I made it to this year’s Sydney food bloggers Xmas celebrations. This is the second consecutive non-picnic #sfbxmas event, which means simpler organisation and logistics. It also means less pressure on people to come up with a new/impressive/delicious recipe to make.

Food bloggers

We met at Belles Hot Chicken in Barangaroo. Even though we got there early, we got caught in catching up with bloggers we knew and getting to know to the ones we didn’t and soon there was a long queue to order food.

Food bloggers

In the true spirit of Xmas food blogging, we ordered different stuff so that our cameras and tastebuds could enjoy some variety. But first, drinks. I was surprised to learn that these guys sell natural wines. I’ve been hearing about them for a while (since the owner of this company has been interviewed in many of the podcasts I listen to) but hadn’t had the pleasure of trying one until now. The hot weather called for a white, which was surprisingly good; cloudy, low in alcohol (or at least it seemed so) and well balanced. They have a couple of orange wines, too. Other drinks at the table included iced tea and bourbon.

Drinks

Food on our table included Belles chicken sandwich with Old Bay fries, fish with pickled vegetables, chicken tenders with broccoli almond salad, chicken and waffles, chicken ribs in peach BBQ with Carolina slaw, 1/2 dozen hot clams, chicken wings with Old Bay fries.

Food

May I rant first? I ordered the chicken because it was one of the two “meat” items labelled as gluten-free (the other “meat” is mushrooms). It came, like most of the other dishes, served on a slice of white bread. Seriously? The pickles were strong and good, although I found the turmeric flavour slightly overpowering. My favourite side, as usual, was the slaw, followed by the broccoli almond salad. Everyone seemed reasonably pleased with the food, especially with the chicken ribs.

Belles chicken sandwich, Old Bay fries

Belles chicken sandwich, Old Bay fries ($17)

Pickled vegetables, fish

Fish, pickled vegetables ($17)

Tenders, broccoli almond salad

Tenders, broccoli almond salad ($18)

Chicken & waffles

Chicken & waffles ($20)

Chicken ribs in peach BBQ, Carolina slaw

Chicken ribs in peach BBQ ($14), Carolina slaw ($5.5)

1/2 dozen hot clams

1/2 dozen hot clams ($15)

Wings, Old Bay fries

Wings, Old Bay fries ($17)

Of course this was more about the company than the food. It was great to catch up with (or at least say hello to) bloggers I haven’t seen in ages (hey Suze, Helen, Tammie, Sara, Simon and Raff, and to meet new foodie friends (hey Jesse and Alice!). Once again many thanks to Suze and Helen for organising!

Belles Hot Chicken
33 Barangaroo Avenue
Barangaroo NSW 2000
(02) 8355 7879
Website

Belles Hot Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ciccone and Sons

Review: Ciccone and Sons (Redfern)

Not only Messina has opened a shop 15 min away from where I live, but our new Buddhist centre is very, very close to Ciccone and Sons. So close, you don’t get to burn any calories walking back and forth.

I’ve only been once but I already know this is the best gelato I’ve had so far. I tried two of the flavours that were recommended by a friend: buttermilk + passionfruit and black sesame ($7 for the 2 scoops). Yes, maybe not the greatest combination but I loved both flavours. It’s good to keep in mind that the scoops are massive.

Checking out @cicconeandsons finally! Buttermilk & passionfruit + black sesame gelato. #dessert #gelato #wheredidmyabsgo

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Alvaro tried the strawberry & white chocolate popsicle ($6), which was nice but not something I would order. Instead, I’m keen to try a coffee and hazelnut combo next time.

Alvaro got a strawberry & white chocolate popsicle. #dessert #gelato #wheredidmyabsgo

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You can get your gelato fix via Uber Eats. I took advantage of their free delivery offer to order a small tub ($14) of cinnamon gelato for Alvaro, which didn’t last long.

Ciccone and Sons
195 Regent St
Redfern NSW 2016
Website

Ciccone & Sons Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Cauliflower Hotel

Review: Cauliflower Hotel (Waterloo)

Hey, what’s up??!! Feels like I haven’t blogged forever! As I approach the end of my degree I feel like there’s too much on my plate (literally and figuratively) and some things have to wait. Like blogging. Like meditating more than once per day. Like going to the farmers market every Saturday. You get the drill.

On top of uni and work, our Buddhist centre recently moved so I spent a (tiny) bit of time helping out. The new centre is in Waterloo (Redfern, really) so naturally we have been exploring the area to find our new local cafes, restaurants and pubs.

Speaking of pubs, we found a pretty good one: The Cauliflower Hotel. Sounds like a name created recently to cater for low-carbers and no-grainers but no, this place has been there for a while. In fact, apparently food wasn’t very good in the past, but fortunately things have changed.

 

We’ve tried the Sunday roast ($18) a couple of times, a generous pile of slow-roasted meat (we’ve tried lamb and pork) serve on top of cauliflower mash and roasted veggies. Great bang for the buck.

Sunday roast #lamb #pub #lunch #realfood #jerf #aussie

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Sunday roast. #pork #roast #sunday #postmeditation #publunch

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We also tried the pescado del día (fish of the day – yes, there’s a Latino theme in the menu), which comes with a very nice corn purée, corn chip crust and ensalada fresca. The fish was a bit overdone for my taste, but the dish as a whole was nice.

There are also smaller meals to share, for example tacos (1 for $7, 2 for $10) with either pulled pork, barramundi or chicken. We tried them with pulled pork, adobo de Oaxaca, crisp red cabbage & cucumber salsa tacos on gluten-free tortillas. There’s also the lemon pepper calamari ($10, also gluten-free) pictured below, Latino-inspired dishes and the usual pub suspects.

Pulled pork tacos in GF tortillas. #sunday #postmeditation #publunch #tacos #glutenfree

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Calamari #pub #lunch

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There’s live music every Sunday arvo as well. Most importantly, this place doesn’t get as busy as our old locals.

Sunday aperitif: gin & soda. #postmeditation #prelunch #pub #gin

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Cauliflower Hotel
123 Botany Rd
Waterloo NSW 2017
(02) 9698 3024
Website
On Facebook

The Cauliflower Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

DNAFit – Genetic information for Fitness & Nutrition

If you know me or have read my blog before you may know I’m very passionate about self-experimentation. As a scientist, I find published research extremely valuable generally speaking, but when it comes to individual circumstances there’s nothing like testing things on yourself and finding out what works.

I had been thinking about getting a DNAFit analysis ever since I heard about this company in podcast land. It wasn’t until recently, when I grabbed a discount code from another podcast, that I finally bought 2 kits: one for me and one for my husband using his birthday as an excuse.

The process is simple: order your kit on the DNAFit website, wait until it arrives from the UK, get a sample of your cheek cells in the provided plastic tube, send your kit back and wait patiently for your results.

Results come in 3 PDFs: one with the fitness bit, one with the diet bit and a handy infographic with a summary of recommendations, perfect for people who prefer pictures over words. The reports explain in detail which genes are analysed, what is your allele (the combination of bases in that particular gene) and its effect on your body. The results are also available online.

dnafit_screenshot

There were a few things I wasn’t surprised to hear:

  • Saturated fat sensitivity = low, i.e. I can deal with saturated fat just fine, which makes absolute sense considering my blood lipids are always stellar even though my saturated fat intake is almost twice the recommended limit
  • I’m lactose tolerant which explains why I generally don’t get any digestive discomfort when consuming dairy (I do get some respiratory issues but that could be something else in the dairy rather than the lactose)
  • I have raised alcohol sensitivity (thanks mum for those Asian genes)
  • I have slow caffeine sensitivity, which means a cup of coffee after lunch will likely wreck my sleep
  • Raised omega-3 need, which makes sense because most of my health issues are inflammatory in nature
  • Raised anti-oxidant need, for the same reason
  • Raised vitamin D need due to the colour of my skin making it less efficient at absorbing sunshine
  • High injury risk – this applies to soft tissue injuries, which makes absolute sense considering all the injuries I’ve had in the past few years
  • Fast recovery speed, which explains why it takes me so little time to recover between sets when training

These were the things that made me go WTF??!!

  • Low carbohydrate sensitivity, which means I can theoretically relax my guard when dealing with CHOs… however my family history of diabetes and n=1 experience with starches and sugar tell me this is probably a case of epigenetics having a bigger impact than the genetic predisposition itself
  • Raised salt sensitivity which I didn’t expect because I have such low blood pressure even though I typically eat lots of salt
  • My power/endurance response is 18.8% vs 81.2% which is just CRAZY to me considering I’ve always SUCKED big time in endurance activities (e.g. long-distance running, swimming) and done way better in power activities (e.g. sprinting, weightlifting)

I didn’t have any expectations around the following topics:

  • I don’t have Coeliac Disease predisposition (woohoo!). The funny thing is that my husband do has a predisposition, even though he’s the one who refused to try going off gluten when I first found my gluten intolerance issues
  • Normal vitamin B need
  • Normal cruciferous vegetable need, which means that my detox pathways work just fine
  • Detoxification ability medium to fast, same as above
  • Medium VO2 max response

The diet report also comes with tips, recommendations and a suggested optimal diet (either Mediterranean, low carb or low fat), which in our case was Mediterranean. I must say I found this recommendation a bit on the “everything in moderation” camp, but I might be wrong. In summary, we’re both meant to cut down on sat fats, eat more MUFAs and PUFAs (especially omega-3), watch our glycemic load intake (Alvaro more than me), don’t go crazy on the caffeine, get more sunshine, and get more antioxidants. Alvaro also has to up his folate and cruciferous vegetable intake. We have already introduced daily citrus fruit in our diet and I’m aiming to increase our fish intake in lieu of some of the meat.

Now, for the million-dollar question: would I recommend getting this analysis? Depends. If you have the money, the curiosity and the intention to implement suggestions, go for it (especially if you can score a discount voucher like I did). Same if it’s important for you to optimise your health and/or performance, for example if you are a professional athlete.

Want to learn more? Go to the DNAFit website.

Review: Sixpenny (Stanmore)

This year we celebrated our birthdays quietly, just the 2 of us. Out of the long list of restaurants I want to try I chose Sixpenny, in part because it’s been on the list forever, in part because the winter 4-course menu ($85pp) was still available.

This isn’t a “proper” review as I only have iPhone photos posted on my Instagram page (my camera battery was dead) and I didn’t catch the full descriptions of the dishes. On the bright side, this meant a bit less stress during the meal, which is the ultimate goal of celebrating a birthday.

Service was outstanding. Highlight of the night, IMO, even though we were (knowingly) underdressed for the venue. We toasted with champagne ($29) for me and a glass of pure pressed grape juice ($8) for Alvaro. I had totally forgotten how real champagne is so different from cheap sparkling. Not a cheap drink, but definitely worth it.

Birthday cheers #champagne #wine #bday #dinner

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We were first served some courtesy snacks: lightly pickled cucumber with rose & raspberry, green tomato & cheese gougères and pumpkin scallop. We both found the cucumber/raspberry snack a bit too hipster for our taste. I also thought that it didn’t match the other snacks too well. We both liked the gougères the best, followed closely by the pumpkin scallop.

 

Next we were served warm gluten-free bread and mascarpone butter. As with most gluten-free breads out there, this one was a bit too sweet and cakey for my taste. I did appreciate the fact that it was freshly baked and still warm, making it a perfect vehicle for the delicious mascarpone butter.

GF bread and mascarpone butter #bday #dinner #glutenfree

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The first course, potatoes with oyster & raw mushroom, was very pleasing to the eye and one of my favourite dishes of the night. The round bits are raw mushroom slices dusted with roasted mushroom powder. There were tender, creamy potatoes underneath surrounding an oyster emulsion.

Raw & roasted mushrooms, potato, oyster emulsion #bday #dinner #glutenfree

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The next course was spanish mackerel with radicchio & fermented cucumber. Sadly, we weren’t particularly fond of the flavours. Limeños are hard to please when in comes to fish.

Mackerel hiding underneath #bday #dinner #glutenfree

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At this stage my champagne glass was empty. Even though the usual pairing for the next course was a Riesling, I decided to go with a Pinot Noir, recommended by the sommelier as a good alternative.

Glass a pinot noir #dinner #bday #wine #vine

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The final savoury course was a dry-aged lamb rump with caramelised pumpkin juice, served with a braised leek covered with shaved walnuts. Solid dish, and a great opportunity to eat a cut that I never cook at home.

Dry aged lamb rump w caramelised pumpkin jus, leek & shaved walnuts #bday #dinner #glutenfree

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Dessert was a reduced milk sorbet with cucumber & peppermint granita. We were encouraged to break through the layers to get a bit of everything in each bite. It was a refreshing dessert, not too sweet (which I like). I think it’s a good signature dessert, although perhaps not a crowd pleaser.

 

Sixpenny
83 Percival Rd
Stanmore NSW 2048
(02) 9572 6666
Website

Sixpenny Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato