Apr 242015

Balinese Sambal Matah Recipe - www.RadianceCentral.com

Balinese Sambal Matah Recipe

Here is a simple, fresh, and delicious way to spice up any fish or poultry.

Sambal Matah is kind of like a salsa or relish, it’s a condiment. It’s typically made out of raw spices like chilis, garlic, and shallots that are finely sliced and chopped, mixed with some salt and oil, and served with fish, seafood, or poultry. There’s many variations of samba matah, many using additional spices and ingredients like ginger, shrimp paste (terasi), kefir lime, lime leaf, etc. In this recipe we’ll be adding some lemongrass, which compliments fish beautifully.

Fish & Balinese Sambal Matah Recipe - www.RadianceCentral.com

Balinese Sambal Matah with Lemongrass 

(makes 2 servings)

1/2 packed cup Shallots (finely sliced)
1 stalk of Lemongrass (bruised and finely sliced)
3 Bird’s Eye Chilis (finely chopped)
1 clove of Garlic (finely chopped/minced)
1 tbsp Coconut Oil (or any oil with a subtle taste)
1/4 tsp Sea Salt

1- Finely slice and chop shallots, garlic, chilis, lemongrass and put in a small mixing bowl.
2- Add salt and oil and mix thoroughly.
3- Serve with fish or poultry (the fish or poultry can be prepared in any way, including steaming, poaching, baking, grilling, pan frying, etc).

Want to learn more great healthy recipes?! Join the next 7 Day Whole Food Challenge! 7 days of 100% real food eating! Program comes with over 75 Recipes, 3 Sample Menus, Challenge Guidelines and Food Lists, and access to the Private Forum and daily Whole Food Challenge Videos! CLICK HERE to join!!

Apr 232015

Which Carbs Are Healthy? - www.RadianceCentral.com

Which carbs are healthy?

I was recently asked, “Which carbs are healthy?”

Unfortunately, these days all carbs have a bad rap, even the healthy ones.

In my opinion, I don’t see anything wrong with any whole foods that contains carbohydrates, especially for people who are healthy, who have no health conditions, and no weight issues.

Whole, real foods that contain carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, and legumes.

Even foods like bananas, corn, potatoes, and rice which are known to be high glycemic or contain higher amounts of carbohydrates, I don’t see a problem consuming these foods. They are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and nutrients. High glycemic processed foods like candy bars, chips or crisps, and donuts, on the other hand have absolutely no nutrition.

There’s a big difference between a candy bar and a banana. And if you are concerned about the carbs in your food, I would focus on eliminating and cutting out the junk food and refined food, rather than worrying about the health foods.

If you have a sugar-related health condition:

If you do have a health condition that is sugar-related, like Diabetes, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Syndrome X, insulin resistance, acne, or you are over weight, then yes, you do need to be mindful of the carbohydrates you are eating.

Do this first:

In this situation, I recommend first focusing on eliminating all processed and refined foods (cookies, cakes, candy bars, chips or crisps, fast food, pre-made sauces and dressings, microwave meals, instant soups, pastas and noodles, white bread, sugar, etc.). Eliminate these foods for a while – not just a few days or a few weeks, but for at least a few months!

If that doesn’t work, try this:

If after a few months of completely eliminating all processed and refined foods, you see no difference in your pre-existing health condition or weight, then start cutting down on the portions of the carbohydrates you are consuming from whole foods.

I never recommend cutting out carbohydrates completely, or cutting out whole food groups containing carbohydrates (like cutting out all fruit, or all whole grains). Instead, focus on cutting down the portions. Either cut the portions in half, or instead of having carbohydrates with all you meals, just have a small portion with one or two meals a day instead.

A word of caution

I find when people cut out food groups, or cut out large amounts of macronutrients like carbohydrates or fats from their diet, strong cravings and even binge eating sets in. I can’t tell you how many people who previously never over-ate, or binged, suddenly found themselves in a terrible cycle of bingeing once they went on a super restrictive diet. And this is completely avoidable, as long as you don’t cut foods or food groups out, but instead decrease the portions.

Work with Natasha!!! Natasha offers personalized diet, health, and lifestyle coaching! To get more information, and make an appointment, CLICK HERE!


Apr 222015

Q&As About Drinking Water (Healthy Habits Monthly Challenge) - www.RadianceCentral.com

April 2015 Health Habits Challenge:

Drinking minimum 6-8 cups water/day

We’re three weeks into our Healthy Habits Challenge of drinking at least 6-8 cups of water a day for the entire month of April. I’m really loving the Challenge, I have much more energy, better focus and concentration, my skin looks good, definitely no complaints! I have to say this is the first time in my life that I have been so diligent about drinking plenty of water every day (it’s so hot here in Bali, I’m drinking 3-4 litres/quarts a day!). I feel so good, I never want to go back to being chronically dehydrated again.

Q&As about drinking water

I’ve received a few questions about water I would like to go over today.

When’s the best time to be drinking water?

The best time to be drinking water would be first thing in the morning when you wake up, and also throughout the day.

While you are sleeping you are losing a lot of fluids (we lose fluids from breathing, sweating, and urinating), and overnight you go the longest stretch of time without replenishing those fluids (because you are asleep!). First thing in the morning, you are the most dehydrated, so this is the perfect time to rehydrate yourself.

I would recommend drinking at least one cup of water first thing in the morning, and working your way up to drinking 2-4 cups every morning. For some people drinking water upon rising can be difficult, it may be the last thing they want to do, so if that’s the case for you, start small. Start with even a half a cup of water, and slowly work your way up to drinking more.

If you have a hard time remembering to drink water during the day, then getting into the routine of drinking at least 1 litre/quart in the morning can make a big difference. Not only are you hydrating yourself for the day, but you’re also getting it over with first thing in the morning.

When I drink a lot of water, I need to use the toilet often. What do I do if I’m not allowed to use the toilet frequently during my work shift?

I will first say that if you get into a routine of drinking 2 quarts/litres of water a day, eventually your body does adjust to the increase of fluids. Yes, for most people, the first week or so of any fluid or water increase means using the toilet more frequently. Eventually it does balance out!

What I suggest with your work is to drink the bulk of your water around work, not necessarily all at work. For example, you can drink an abundance of water up to 1 – 2 hours before arriving to work which allows your body enough time to process and eliminate all that water. You can also start drinking more water at the last hour of work, because you know once your shift is done you can freely use the toilet. This doesn’t mean you don’t drink water during work, what it means is drink smaller amounts during your work shift, and drink the larger amounts of water during non-work hours.

What’s the best water to be drinking? 

There are many drinking water options, some better than others!

Every person’s situation is different depending what part of the world you are living, what is available to you, the water quality in your area, your budget, etc.

I would say the best water on earth is fresh, clean spring water directly from a spring. It’s fresh from the Source! There are springs all over the world where you can collect your own drinking water, some are free, others you might have to pay a small fee.

Here is a great website to find a spring in your area: FindASpring.com

Well water is also an option (if it’s clean, drinkable water of course!).

Not everyone has access to clean drinking water, either their well water is contaminated (this is my situation in Bali), or their municipal water / tap water is undrinkable, etc. In this case you either have to buy bottled water or install a home filtration system.

If you have to buy bottled water, always make sure it’s labelled “Spring Water” with the name of the Spring or the source,  not labelled “Drinking Water” or “Water” because the ones that are just labelled “Drinking Water” or “Water” are usually just filtered tap water, and not actual water from a spring.

If it’s available to you, and your budget permits, glass bottles are always better than plastic. Not only is it better for the environment, but also you don’t have to worry about plastic leeching into your drinking water.

If you are purchasing bottled water in plastic containers, do make sure it’s BPA-free.

Another alternative is installing a water filtration system in your home. I don’t recommend the carbon filters like Brita for drinking water because even though they do remove odours and chlorine, they aren’t removing the bad stuff like heavy metals, chemicals, pesticide residues, antibiotic contamination etc., that can be found in some municipal or tap waters. Carbon filters are fine for showers and bathing, but not for drinking.

If you are looking into installing a home water filtration system for your drinking water, I recommend a reverse osmosis system. The only problem with reverse osmosis is there is a lot of energy used and water waste, but if you want clean drinking water in your home, this is one of the better, more reliable options.

What’s my drinking water situation?

From living all over the world, I’ve had to do different things at different times. Living in Bali, Indonesia, the drinking water situation is obviously very different than the drinking water situation in Montreal, Canada, where I’m originally from.

In Montreal, for the most part the tap water/municipal water was drinkable, and buying spring water in glass containers was relatively cheap. Here in Bali, we have well water that is full of bacteria and undrinkable, and currently we buy spring water bottled in plastic for drinking, cooking, and even cleaning produce/food. Where my husband is from in Lombok, Indonesia (and where we visit quite frequently), his land is right near a pristine spring that we can drink from, and even bathe in! The well water there too is completely clean and drinkable.

Every region is different, every situation is different. How I see it, it’s best to work with what you’ve got, and eventually, if need be, improve upon it!

Want to do a Juice Fast? Join the next 10 Day Juice Fasting Program starting Tuesday, May 5, 2015!!! The program includes menu planners to transition on and off the fast, fasting outline, daily videos specifically made to guide you through the fast (20-40 minutes long each) and an online forum to connect with everyone from around the world doing the juice fast with you! Natasha is on the private Juice Fasting Forum daily answering questions and offering additional support! CLICK HERE to sign-up!

Apr 182015

Living Libations Product Review (from my wish list) - www.RadianceCentral.com

Another Living Libations Review!

Two months ago I did a review of Living Libations skin care line of all the products I love, repurchased, and recommend. At the end of the review, I included my Wish List of items I still wanted to buy and try. Little did I know at the time, I would be gifted those very items!

How I was gifted my Living Libations Wish List?

I’m not sure you know this, but I’m actually a very shy person. Over the years I have featured various product reviews on Raw Radiant Health and Radiance Central, as well as in newsletters to my mailing list, but I’ve never forwarded the reviews to the companies and brands I’ve reviewed! Yes, very strange, I know! Even in cyberspace, I’m very shy! This is something I’m working on. So, a week after I posted the review of the Living Libations products, I decided to send them the link to the product review. I love their products, why not let them know?!

Well, after I sent Living Libations the link, they replied telling me they wanted to send me the products on my Wish List, all the way to Bali!!! Words can’t express just how excited, thrilled, and overjoyed I was (let’s just say I was jumping up and down like I had won the lottery!!). A few weeks later the products on my Wish List arrived, and oh my goodness are they HEAVENLY, definitely worthy of a full review!

What was on my Living Libations Wish List?

Let’s start with what was on my Wish List – Gardenia Petal Perfume, RoseGlow Creme, and Vanilla Best Skin Ever. I’m excited because each item is so different, and I’ve been using all products daily for over 2 weeks to give you a full, honest review.

My love affair with Gardenia

I’ve mentioned in my previous review of Living Libations how much I love gardenia flowers. I have gardenia trees growing in my garden, I keep making my husband plant more, and one day when we build our own home, we plan to plant gardenia trees outside the bedroom windows (who wouldn’t want to wake up to the beautiful aroma of fresh gardenia flowers every day?). I love gardenias that much!

Gardenia from my garden - www.RadianceCentral.com(Gardenia from my garden!)

As much as I love the fresh gardenia flowers, I’ve never found a good gardenia perfume I liked (especially a natural, non-toxic one) until I received Living Libations Gardenia Petal Perfume! Oh my gooooooodnessssss! I have to say they have found a way to bottle gardenia in it’s truest, most divine form. It’s that good. When people describe perfumes as intoxicating, I now understand what they mean, Gardenia Petal Perfume is intoxicating, it’s absolutely gorgeous. I normally don’t wear perfume because I am so picky about scents, but since receiving Gardenia Petal Perfume, I’ve been wearing it every single day (sometimes to bed too!). I’ll be honest and say I started panicking about what will happen when it runs out?!! I’ve now started saving money to buy the larger bottle!

Living Libations Gardenia Petal Perfume - www.RadianceCentral.com

RoseGlow Crème revisited

As mentioned in my previous Living Libations review, I love the RoseGlow line, both the serum and face cream, so I was super excited to receive a jar of the RoseGlow Creme. I finished my last jar of the RoseGlow Creme when I was pregnant with Luna Ray, so it’s been over a year and a half since I last used it. Once I started using it again, from the first day on, I was sweetly reminded just how much I love the RoseGlow products.

There’s just something about the RoseGlow Crème that is so gentle and nourishing. Being close to 40 and living in the hot tropics, I need a good moisturizer that is rich enough to deeply moisturize my skin, but light enough that it doesn’t settle on the surface of my skin or feel too heavy. What I love about the RoseGlow Crème is it’s not heavy, and it’s not too light either, it’s right in the middle, so it can be used in any climate, and probably on any skin type that needs a moisture boost, especially for those that are over 35, and their skin is starting to “mature.”

Living Libations RoseGlow Creme - www.RadianceCentral.com

The Vanilla Best Skin Ever

I will be very honest and say that I was VERY nervous about trying the Vanilla Best Skin Ever. Here’s the story why:

Not too long ago I did a blog post about how my skin care routine has changed over the years. One of the biggest changes in my skin care routine was after I gave birth to my daughter, I switched from using raw honey to wash my face, to using coconut oil. I made the switch because post-pregnancy I was having all sorts of skin issues like rashes, breakouts, and dry skin. I attributed it to nursing/breastfeeding, the fluctuating post-pregnancy hormones, sleepless nights, sleeping with air conditioning (my daughter gets terrible heat rash otherwise), and the fact I’m getting older too.

I really took to washing my face with oil, not only was it moisturizing, but gentle as well. Up until a month or so ago, I was always using coconut oil to wash my face twice a day. Aside from a small rash on my forehead, my skin seemed to respond well to cleansing with the oil. Then one day I ran out of coconut oil, and substituted it with olive oil. Two days after using the olive oil the rash on my forehead completely vanished! I had that rash for over a year, it was not a red rash, nor an itchy rash, just very tiny little bumps, like dermatitis, that I never connected to the coconut oil. For some reason I always thought the bumpy skin had to do with nursing and post-pregnancy hormones because I developed the patch of bumpy skin right after giving birth. For some reason I never connected the change of facial cleansers to the rash, perhaps because it was not something that appeared overnight, but gradually developed.

So imagine if the skin on your forehead went from bumpy to super smooth in less than an a week, all from changing your cleanser – would you switch your cleanser to something else right away, try something new? Probably not! And that was the predicament I was in. I had just switched from using coconut oil that was causing tiny bumps on my forehead, to olive oil which cleared it all up (and fast), and then I received the beautiful gift of Vanilla Best Skin Ever, which is a cleansing oil. I was terrified to try it, but at the same time it smelled so good, I couldn’t resist.

Living Libations Vanilla Best Skin Ever - www.RadianceCentral.com

Vanilla Best Skin Ever is actually giving me the best skin ever!

It’s now been 2 weeks I’ve been using Vanilla Best Skin Ever, and it is awesome! I love it! The bumpy rash never returned on my forehead (thank goodness!), my skin is clear and smooth, and instead of leaving an oily film on my skin that a lot of oils do, I find my skin is more velvety and smooth after washing it, as opposed to oily and shiny. I think this is because the oil itself is very light, not heavy at all.

Experimenting with different oil facial cleansers. 

I have to say it’s been a really good experience experimenting with all these different oils to cleanse my face with, because each one seems to do something different to my skin! As happy as I was with having the olive oil clear up the bumpy texture on my forehead, I found that within 2-3 hour of washing my face with olive oil, my skin would get terribly oily. Not just a mid-day shine, but an actual heavy layer of oil would accumulate on the surface of my skin, and by mid-day I would have the urge to re-wash or rinse my face. This never happened with the coconut oil (but I got the bumpy forehead instead), and luckily when I switched to the Vanilla Best Skin Ever, I’ve had none of these skin issues whatsoever.

So based on my experience, if one oil cleanser doesn’t work well, or causes a rash or breakouts, doesn’t mean all oils will! Do keep experimenting and trying different ones. Nowadays there’s so many different oils available, either as pure oil, or oil-blends that companies like Living Libations formulate. I have to say I’m loving the Vanilla Best Skin Ever, not only is it great as a cleanser, but it smells beautiful, and can even be used as body oil as well (or even a few drops on your wrist as a very subtle perfume). Love, love, love!!!

A huge thank you, not only for the gift, but for making such lovely products!

To end off I would like to thank Living Libations for the beautiful gift (I’m already saving-up to re-purchase the Gardenia Petal Perfume!). I truly love their products! Since doing the last review of their product line, many of you have been sharing what you’ve bought from them, and what you recommend, which has been a lot of fun!! (I love reading reviews!). From everyone’s recommendations, over and over again I keep hearing great things about Living Libations Seabuckthorn Shampoo & Conditioner, (which for some reason I never thought to try), and MANY people have been recommending the Seabuckthorn Best Skin Ever.

Have you used any of Living Libations natural skin care products? If so what have you tried? Please share!

Ready to let go of the sugar and processed food once and for all??!!
Join the NEW 7 Day Whole Food Challenge starting Monday, April 20, 2015! For 7 days you’ll be on a 100% healthy, real food diet! This program is an online program, so once you sign up you’ll immediately receive an ebook with over 75 recipes, program guidelines, sample menus, lists of meal ideas, etc..) and once the program begins you’ll have access to a private online forum for support, and daily education & motivational videos to teach you everything you need to know about eating a healthy, whole food diet. Click Here to sign-up now!

Apr 152015

How To Make Water Infusions - www.RadianceCentral.com

We’re officially half-way through this month’s Healthy Habits Challenge of drinking a minimum of 6-8 cups of water a day! I have to say, I’m really loving this Challenge, and I especially love sticking with just one simple goal for the entire month. What I love the most is it’s doable, if I forget, or I don’t drink enough water in the morning or afternoon, I can always catch-up later on, still meet my goal, and best of all, still get the benefits!

Today I’ve made a video showing how to make infused water. Forget bottled vitamin water, or store-bought flavoured water, make your own! Much cheaper, healthier, and probably purer. It’s really easy to make infused water, doesn’t take much time or effort at all, and what you get is a water that has a little more vitamins and nutrients (vitamin C, antioxidants, even chlorophyll if you’re using herbs or green vegetables).

In the video I show four different examples of infused / flavoured water using fresh mint, citrus fruit, strawberries, and cucumber. Each of these taste different, and will give the water a different nutritional boost.

How to make an infused water

All you need is water (either in a glass, bottle or jar, or even a large pitcher), and either some fruit, berries, fresh herbs, or fresh spices (or a mixture).

Here are just a few ideas of what you can infuse your water with:

  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint
  • Basil
  • Coriander / Cilantro
  • Rosemary
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Galangal
  • Lemongrass
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Vanilla Beans
  • Garlic (why not?!)
  • Cucumber
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Grapefruit
  • Pomelo
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Watermelon
  • Starfruit
  • Pineapple
  • Kiwi
  • Cucumber
  • Hibiscus

To make the infused water, you would fill up a container or glass with drinking water, and add a small handful of the fruit, herbs, or spices you want to infuse the water with. Make sure to slice or roughly crush the fruit, herb, or spice, so that it can easily infuse or dissolve it’s flavour into the water. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes before drinking. The longer the fruit, spice, or herb soaks in the water, the stronger the taste will be (like tea).

A word of caution…

Enjoy the infused / flavoured water, but make sure not to be drinking it all the time, or exclusively. Too much of anything, is never a good thing! For example, if you were to be drinking tea all day, every day, eventually your teeth would get stained. With the infused water, if you were to be drinking it all day, every day, and nothing else, it might not only stain your teeth, but the fruit sugar could erode your teeth or cause sensitivity. Enjoy a few cups once in a while, maybe even once a day, but make sure to be drinking plenty of plain water as well, so your teeth aren’t always being covered by fruit sugars or naturally occurring acids. Better safe than sorry!

How are you doing on the Challenge?

Comment below, or let us know on YouTube or Facebook!

Ready to let go of the sugar and processed food once and for all??!!
Join the NEW 7 Day Whole Food Challenge starting Monday, April 20, 2015! For 7 days you’ll be on a 100% healthy, real food diet! This program is an online program, so once you sign up you’ll immediately receive an ebook with over 75 recipes, program guidelines, sample menus, lists of meal ideas, etc..) and once the program begins you’ll have access to a private online forum for support, and daily education & motivational videos to teach you everything you need to know about eating a healthy, whole food diet. Click Here to sign-up now!