a collection of thoughts and recipes from a life enthusiast, passionate cook & photographer. i place emphasis on fresh, local & organic produce to create clean and wholesome food that tastes great.

My Metapost:

Wow so here it is! The metapost for my blog which MEANS it’s the end of the semester already! I can’t believe how quickly it has passed. 

If I could start with challenges I have to say, HTML and CSS were my biggest hurdles. I’m just not a techhie! There I said it, haha! I really did have trouble learning and applying it to my blog. Another issue I had was that my blog layout seemed airtight when it came to making custom changes. Even the insertion of my about me page didn’t go quiet to plan. Even though I had made custom HTML for coloured text, it all seem to go lost when inserted in to the add page HTML box. I really couldn’t understand how it had happened, or how to go about fixing it, as the coding was definitely correct. When I attempted to modify the page layout to allow for it, I was completely overwhelmed by the layout coding and decided rather than breaking the page, I might just leave it how it is. I am aware this will be a downfall for me in terms of marking but I felt I had no other choice. 

I was however able to turn off “endless scrolling” functionality in the coding. I researched the code for it, found it in the layout coding and removed it successfully. Now I was able to have pages which are numbered rather than an endless scroll to the end.

For my blog content I was pretty happy taking it upon myself to find relevant content for the blog. This ranged from tag searches on tumblr for graphic content, and wider internet searches for content such as Ted Talks, which I embeded in my posts. I found these to be of great personal value in terms of self education. 

I particularly enjoyed the lecture content on data visualistion. I had a really good time browsing visual.ly looking through the other data vis’s out there. This definitely inspired my major project. I decided to use data that tied in to the content of my blog. 

Throughout the semester I had gained no less than 40 followers and nearly every post I made was either “liked” or “reblogged”. Traffic analysis indicates I am getting a really good following on my blog. I had 96 page views, 60% were new visitors and average visit duration was 28 seconds. I think given this I will continue to use this blog after the semester end. 

I had integrated my blog with my twitter account, so blog posts were sent to twitter as URL’s. I didn’t have an unusual amount on new follower requests so I can’t say if this affected my twitter traffic. 

My three best posts are:

http://bellasbites.tumblr.com/post/43694920347/clean-food-what-it-is-and-why-i-support-the-concept


http://bellasbites.tumblr.com/post/44101305560/if-climate-change-were-a-bank-it-would-have-been

http://bellasbites.tumblr.com/post/48662985720/kale-often-refereed-to-as-the-queen-of
 

I hope you’ve enjoyed browsing my blog as much as I enjoyed creating it!

Production project rationale

here we are at the end of the semester already! 

I’ve uploaded my production project here (please note as it is in A3 format in Illustrator, for best graphics please view at a high resolution): http://bellasbites.tumblr.com/post/50080627023/production-project-the-rise-of-obesity-in

For my production project I chose to do a Data Visualization. I had been looking at visul.ly and was feeling really inspired by some of the data visualizations I’d seen on that site. As I’m in my first year of my graphic design bachelor, I thought it would be a really good opportunity for me to use some of my new skills to create something interesting and relevant to my blog at the same time. 

One particularly inspiring data visualization for me was Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution - you’ll find it a few posts below this on my blog. Using clever illustrations the author was able to create a really interesting and fun representation of a very serious issue. For me, this was the benchmark. I wanted my visualization to be both engaging and somewhat fun, but also representative of the seriousness of the issue at hand. 

I chose to use statistics on the obesity epidemic going on here in Australia. For me these statistics are seriously alarming, as you will know from reading through my blog I am particularly concerned about the health of the wider population. 

Using the Illustrator pen tool, I drew my own small “overweight” stick figures and “healthy” weight stick figures in both male and female. I used an A5 document because I envisioned that if my project were go to print, I would want it to be representative of a health campaign poster. Using the “group” tool I places sets of 5 figures to represent segments of 10%. I thought that I would add further separation by using different tones for the overweight group and the healthy weight group. 

Essentially I wanted to create a bar graph with overweight versus healthy weight percentiles, and I wanted it to be visually confronting. I think when you step back from the poster you can see the data for it’s raw value, a very alarming and inclining trend. When you look closer, you see the unhappy faces in the overweight percentiles. This is not me trying to make generalizations about how individuals feel about their personal situation. Rather, I am trying to represent the outcome of this trend, which is that obesity causes serious illnesses, shortens life expectancy, reduces quality of life, and increases health care costs.

I think when you compare my work to others in the same category, which would include anything to do with healthy lifestyle; the need for change or life improvement, my work is following a similar trend. We are using horrible statistics to create data visualizations that shock. Essentially we are trying to send a message to our viewers, and I think generally, shock tactics are the most effective way to do this.

I hope you enjoy my data visualization as much as I enjoyed creating it. 

Production Project: The Rise of Obesity in Australia
Best Viewed in High Resolution

Production Project: The Rise of Obesity in Australia

Best Viewed in High Resolution

(Source: bellasbites)

5 tips for Mindful eating:

5 Essential Tips for Mindful Eating

Let’s say you’re already well aware that eating wholesome living food is the best approach to complete nutrition and health. Congratulations! You’ve got rule #1 down solid.

But what if you’re eating the right food without supporting your body’s ability to absorb and maximize its’ benefits? You might still be experiencing blood sugar mood swings, cravings, and occasional digestive discomfort. Following a few simple recommendations for how to eat mindfully can help you go from feeling just ‘pretty good’ to experiencing vibrant health and energy!

Here are 5 essential tips for mindful eating:


1. Eat breakfast. It’s true, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day and should be treated with the respect it deserves. After an overnight fast, your brain and body are starving for the energy needed to function efficiently.  Having a filling breakfast that includes some protein will help keep your mind sharp and undistracted by hunger for several hours. It’ll also prevent the likelihood of unhealthy snacking, and overeating at your next meal. Start the morning off with a glass of water with lemon to hydrate you and stimulate the digestive system, then wait at least 15 minutes before eating breakfast so that your gut is fully ready for digestion action.



2. Eat your biggest meal at lunch. According to the healing tradition of Ayurveda, our digestive fire is strongest in the middle of the day, when we are best able to efficiently digest and absorb the food we eat. This varies slightly from the usual tendency to have ‘just a salad’ for lunch and then fill up during dinner (which could leave undigested food in your gut overnight and cause weight gain, sluggishness, acne, headaches, and other uncomfortable symptoms). Having a hearty lunch in the middle of the day, and then a light meal for dinner is more in harmony with the body’s natural rhythms and will do better to maintain inner cleanliness.



3. Eat until you’re full. One of the reasons that restrictive diets fail is because they leave people hungry, therefore more likely to resort to unhealthy snacking from desperation for energy. Not eating enough also causes unstable blood sugar, which can affect your mood (crankytown!). Whether you’re having breakfast, lunch, or dinner, just make sure to eat sufficient portions that leave you satisfied and not hungry again for at least 2.5 hours. Snacking between meals is ok but if your portions are the right size for you, you should only need a light snack to get you to the next meal.



4. Don’t drink too much while eating. Whenever you go to a restaurant, you get a tall glass of water with ice. That sure is refreshing, but it hinders your digestive efficiency by diluting the acidic juices in your stomach, which can result in incomplete food breakdown, acid reflux, and bloating. Just a little bit of lukewarm water is all you really need while eating your meal, and then of course hydrate between meals.



5. Chew. Most people don’t do enough of this, but it’s one of the best ways to maintain a healthy digestive system. Chewing food thoroughly, until the specific thing you just ate is transformed into an unidentifiable ball of mush, can help you reduce weight and boost the immune system. By letting your teeth do more of the physical food breakdown, you are sparing your gut of that job and therefore preserving precious energy for other processes in the body. You don’t have to chew every bite 100 times, just make sure there are no remaining unchewed pieces of food in your mouth before you swallow.

Because approximately 70% of your immune system is in your digestive tract, keeping your gut clean and clear is vital for maintaining overall health and wellness. It’ll also help you have a peaceful mind, a positive outlook, and live a long and happy life!

Words by : Diana Chaplin 

Diana Chaplin is a Holistic Health Counselor with a whole-body approach to health and wellness. She incorporates traditional and modern nutrition concepts, nourishing self-care practices, and practical lifestyle tips to help clients reach balanced health for body and mind. Check her out at LivingBodyWellness.comfacebook, and twitter.

New York school goes all-vegetarian
I read this article today on CNN and thought it was a truly brilliant step forward for more health smart and HEALTHY kids! What are your thoughts?

“
New York (CNN) — Asked which school meals were their favorites, students at a public school in the New York borough of Queens don’t say chicken fingers or meatballs. Instead, they name rice and kidney beans, black bean quesadillas or tofu with Chinese noodles.

"Whoever thought they would hear a third-grader saying that they liked tofu and Chinese noodles?" asked Dennis Walcott, New York City schools chancellor.

Walcott was at the Active Learning Elementary School this week to celebrate its move to all-vegetarian meals five days a week. The school of nearly 400 students, from pre-kindergarten to third grade, was founded five years ago on the principle that a healthy lifestyle leads to strong academic achievement.

"We decided on a vision where health and nutrition would be a part of educating the whole child," school principal Bob Groff said.

The school’s focus on healthier meals began three years ago when Groff noticed a majority of students were bringing their own vegetarian meals. The school went meatless three days a week about a year and a half ago. It also tested meals on a small group of students, gathering feedback and changing the menu accordingly.

Active Learning’s student body may be more accustomed to vegetarian diets than most, with 85% of the students being Asian and another 10% Hispanic, said Margie Feinberg, spokeswoman for the New York Department of Education.

"Rice was a staple of many of their home foods," Groff said of the students.

Study: Too much red meat may shorten life span

The vegetarian program expanded to four days a week last spring but reverted back to three days when the U.S. Department of Agriculture changed its requirements for protein per serving in the fall, he said.

The school worked closely with the city’s education department food program to ensure menu items met USDA standards. It officially went all-vegetarian in January.

"We’ve been working with tofu for a few months," Groff said. At first, the tofu was served as a seasonless block; now, smaller pieces of barbeque-flavored, oven roasted tofu are served with noodles. That, Groff said, "changes how the kids perceive it."

Other options might include roasted chickpeas, vegetarian chili and brown rice, or falafel, the city Department of Education said in a statement.

Students appear to be enthusiastic about their healthy meals.

"When you’re healthy, you can do better on tests and you can fight more diseases," student Nick Lin told CNN affiliate NY1.

Following the announcement this week, Groff said he was welcomed into a PTA meeting with roaring applause.

He told parents the children may still bring whatever meal they like for lunch.

But “the vegetarian menu fits right in with our mission, and we are thrilled that our students in pre-kindergarten all the way up to grade three understand the importance of healthy and nutritious meals,” Groff said in a statement.

New York schools — which provide meals for 1.1 million students daily — offer principals vegetarian and nonvegetarian lunch options. Groff worked closely with the department so that the menu changes came at no additional cost to the school.

He hired a school parent as a vegetarian chef to develop the menu and described his school as the vegetarian test kitchen for the city. One original recipe, called “Malini’s Curry Chickpeas” after the school’s chef, was offered as an option in schools across the city on Earth Day, he said.

The department hopes other schools will consider going vegetarian.

"As far as we know, (Active Learning) is the only public school in the nation that offers an all-vegetarian menu," Feinberg said.
source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/02/health/new-york-vegetarian-school/index.html?sr=fb050213vegetarianschool9p

New York school goes all-vegetarian

I read this article today on CNN and thought it was a truly brilliant step forward for more health smart and HEALTHY kids! What are your thoughts?


New York (CNN) — Asked which school meals were their favorites, students at a public school in the New York borough of Queens don’t say chicken fingers or meatballs. Instead, they name rice and kidney beans, black bean quesadillas or tofu with Chinese noodles.

"Whoever thought they would hear a third-grader saying that they liked tofu and Chinese noodles?" asked Dennis Walcott, New York City schools chancellor.

Walcott was at the Active Learning Elementary School this week to celebrate its move to all-vegetarian meals five days a week. The school of nearly 400 students, from pre-kindergarten to third grade, was founded five years ago on the principle that a healthy lifestyle leads to strong academic achievement.

"We decided on a vision where health and nutrition would be a part of educating the whole child," school principal Bob Groff said.

The school’s focus on healthier meals began three years ago when Groff noticed a majority of students were bringing their own vegetarian meals. The school went meatless three days a week about a year and a half ago. It also tested meals on a small group of students, gathering feedback and changing the menu accordingly.

Active Learning’s student body may be more accustomed to vegetarian diets than most, with 85% of the students being Asian and another 10% Hispanic, said Margie Feinberg, spokeswoman for the New York Department of Education.

"Rice was a staple of many of their home foods," Groff said of the students.

Study: Too much red meat may shorten life span

The vegetarian program expanded to four days a week last spring but reverted back to three days when the U.S. Department of Agriculture changed its requirements for protein per serving in the fall, he said.

The school worked closely with the city’s education department food program to ensure menu items met USDA standards. It officially went all-vegetarian in January.

"We’ve been working with tofu for a few months," Groff said. At first, the tofu was served as a seasonless block; now, smaller pieces of barbeque-flavored, oven roasted tofu are served with noodles. That, Groff said, "changes how the kids perceive it."

Other options might include roasted chickpeas, vegetarian chili and brown rice, or falafel, the city Department of Education said in a statement.

Students appear to be enthusiastic about their healthy meals.

"When you’re healthy, you can do better on tests and you can fight more diseases," student Nick Lin told CNN affiliate NY1.

Following the announcement this week, Groff said he was welcomed into a PTA meeting with roaring applause.

He told parents the children may still bring whatever meal they like for lunch.

But “the vegetarian menu fits right in with our mission, and we are thrilled that our students in pre-kindergarten all the way up to grade three understand the importance of healthy and nutritious meals,” Groff said in a statement.

New York schools — which provide meals for 1.1 million students daily — offer principals vegetarian and nonvegetarian lunch options. Groff worked closely with the department so that the menu changes came at no additional cost to the school.

He hired a school parent as a vegetarian chef to develop the menu and described his school as the vegetarian test kitchen for the city. One original recipe, called “Malini’s Curry Chickpeas” after the school’s chef, was offered as an option in schools across the city on Earth Day, he said.

The department hopes other schools will consider going vegetarian.

"As far as we know, (Active Learning) is the only public school in the nation that offers an all-vegetarian menu," Feinberg said.

source: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/05/02/health/new-york-vegetarian-school/index.html?sr=fb050213vegetarianschool9p

Add kick to your food with these natural ingredients for full-flavored, healthy, tasty-Thai inspired meals! Stir fry’s, hot soups, curries and wraps and rolls await you! 
Photography and Typography by yours truly.

Add kick to your food with these natural ingredients for full-flavored, healthy, tasty-Thai inspired meals! Stir fry’s, hot soups, curries and wraps and rolls await you!

Photography and Typography by yours truly.

(Source: bellasbites)

KALE….. often refereed to as the “Queen of Greens”
"One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.” (‘The Truth About Kale’ - webmd.com)

I’ve been really loving Kale lately, it’s best after the first frost, which means it’s about to come right in to season! Yesterday I made Kale chips. The Kale leaves cook up really nicely and they satisfy that salty snack craving. Here is my Kale chip recipe for you to try and enjoy, and when you’re eating it think about HOW DAMN GOOD FOR YOU it is. And smile :)
10 kale leaves (on a stalk)
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
2/3 tsp ground cumin powder
Preheat oven to 170C.
Tear the leaves away from the stalks and cut into 2-3 cm pieces with scissors or tear with your hands.
Wash and dry the leaves in a salad spinner or pat dry with some paper towel. You can also shake off the excess water before cutting the kale.
Toss kale leaves with olive oil, spices & sea salt. Scatter in a large oven tray and bake for 15 minutes tossing them around every 5 minutes to prevent burning and to make sure they dry out and roast evenly on all sides. Depending on your oven and the amount of leaves you can fit in your tray, you might only need 12 minutes to roast the chips. You can also do them in two batches.
Another way to do the Kale is minus the spice, and half the olive oil - add a tablespoon of soy sauce to the mix and bake as instructed. This adds a really delish Japanese flavour!

KALE….. often refereed to as the “Queen of Greens”

"One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.” (‘The Truth About Kale’ - webmd.com)

I’ve been really loving Kale lately, it’s best after the first frost, which means it’s about to come right in to season! Yesterday I made Kale chips. The Kale leaves cook up really nicely and they satisfy that salty snack craving. Here is my Kale chip recipe for you to try and enjoy, and when you’re eating it think about HOW DAMN GOOD FOR YOU it is. And smile :)

  • 10 kale leaves (on a stalk)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 2/3 tsp ground cumin powder
  1. Preheat oven to 170C.
  2. Tear the leaves away from the stalks and cut into 2-3 cm pieces with scissors or tear with your hands.
  3. Wash and dry the leaves in a salad spinner or pat dry with some paper towel. You can also shake off the excess water before cutting the kale.
  4. Toss kale leaves with olive oil, spices & sea salt. Scatter in a large oven tray and bake for 15 minutes tossing them around every 5 minutes to prevent burning and to make sure they dry out and roast evenly on all sides. Depending on your oven and the amount of leaves you can fit in your tray, you might only need 12 minutes to roast the chips. You can also do them in two batches.

Another way to do the Kale is minus the spice, and half the olive oil - add a tablespoon of soy sauce to the mix and bake as instructed. This adds a really delish Japanese flavour!

(Source: bellasbites)

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