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This blog started as a way for me to share my recipes + culinary adventures, tips for vibrant health + happiness, thoughts on the latest developments in nutritional medicine + the low down on the Sydney wholefoods scene and beyond...

JUNE/JULY NEWSLETTER

Star Anise

1.  WINTER SCHOOL HOLIDAY FUN & SURVIVAL GUIDE

Not only can’t I believe that we are half way through 2016 but also that the kids are now on school holidays. EEEkkk! School holidays are mixed blessings for me. I love not having that ‘gun to the head’ pressure of rushing to get out the door by a certain time like there’s a full scale emergency complete with sirens and flashing red lights with the neighbours looking on musing “There goes that crazy mother again…” No more packing of school lunch boxes and rushing the kids to an inch of their lives. I’m sure all mothers can relate. Now for lazy cosy sleep-ins (if the kids let you!) and simply letting kids be kids. The flip side is that order and routine goes out the window and the house looks like a cyclone has hit it well before mid day. And of course juggling the competing needs of work and kids, and trying to be present to both while feeling like you are not doing justice to neither! Let’s be real, the modern mother has challenges our female forbearers did not. They are different in nature, not harder or easier, just different but, I think, more complex.  

For me, summer holidays are an easier beast to tackle, despite their length.  The default in summer in Sydney is making a bee-line to the beach and spending the day there. It’s a no-brainer, especially with so many stunning beaches at our door step. Kids and adults alike can spend countless hours in the presence of 3 simple magic ingredients: sun, surf and sand. It’s the best on every level (especially for an ol’ Gold Coast chick like me!). Winter, trickier.

I used to make the mistake of loading my kids with back to back activities fearing that “they will get bored” unless there was a scheduled activity each and every hour of every day. But truth be told, while there certainly is a time and place for structured activities, I think school aged kids (especially mine) just love hanging around the house, playing with their toys and games that they rarely get a chance to do during the school week with all their dreaded homework. Relaxing, resting, being creative with drawing and paints, art ‘n craft, playing card games, marbles, back yard trampolines, building with Lego, reading books and playing their imaginary made up games. Simply giving them the space to entertain themselves and then checking in with them every so often to see how they are going or to join in if I’m so inclined, is not a bad thing. Here is an article I read a few years about why unstructured time is so important for your child’s healthy development.

In terms of activities out of the house, here are some mostly free (or cheap) school holiday outings that I like to do with my kids over the winter school holidays that you might like to draw some inspo from

  • Visiting our local library to borrow a stash of new books including talking books….these are a great alternative to screens!
  • Ice-skating at Bondi outdoor iceskating rink as part of their annual winter magic festival. There’s also one in the city neat St Mary’s Cartheral. A little small and hectic, but good to do once.
  • Visiting historic buildings like Vaucluse House, Elizabeth Bay House or the QVB in the city. My kids and I love the rich history these buildings afford. Check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art shop in the QVB and the tea room on level 1 with their exquisite tea cups and pots!
  • Art gallaries especially The Art Gallery of NSW or the Museum of Contemporary Art in the City (then coming home and drawing or painting with the inspiration from the morning outing).
  • The Grounds in Alexandria is great for kids and adults with that lovely outdoor space and also run some school holiday kids activities
  • Coastal walks… enjoy the fresh coastal air and the stunning views at our doorstep eg Bronte to Bondi, Bronte to Maroubra, Northern beaches, Middle Harbour to Manly.
  • Bushwalks especially around Ku Ring Gai National Park (I’ll be writing a comprehensive blog post on this one soon!)
  • Exploring and picnicking in the Royal Botanical Gardens in the CBD
  • Cycling, scootering, walking, horse-riding and/or hiring a peddle buggy around Centennial Park
  • The Australian Museum in the Sydney CBD. The Trailblazers exhibition that is showcasing at the moment is one that both kids and adults (and grandparents!) will enjoy. Follow it with a picnic in Hyde park across the road afterwards

 2. UPCOMING WORKSHOPS

A.   CURBING SUGAR CRAVINGS TALK

I am excited to be co-presenting this talk with Anthia Koullouros, renowed naturopath and founder of Ovvio Organics, on a topic that is near and dear to our hearts: curbing sugar cravings. Both Anthia and I think that this is a topic that many people in modern society will benefit from as both of us see this come up a lot in our consultations with clients.

In this talk we will be discussing how to curb your sugar cravings:

•    What is sugar?
•    Why we crave sugar?
•    How to curb sugar cravings?
•    Why eating a wholefood diet eliminates the craving for sugar and snacking?
•    Healthy alternatives to sugar.
•    Healthy snacks and treats.

The cost is $60 per person and includes:

•    Detailed discussion on how to curb sugar cravings.
•    Expert advice from experienced naturopath Ovvio Organics founder Anthia Koullouros, and founder of Star Anise Organic Wholefoods and Broth Bar & Larder Soulla Chamberlain.
•    Food Tasting by Star Anise Organic Wholefoods
•    Tea Tasting by Ovvio Organics.
•    Q & A.

This workshop is ideal for:

•    Those who are looking to curb their sugar cravings.
•    Those who are looking to transition from eating processed foods to whole foods.
•    Those wanting no-nonsense advice on choosing and cooking real, honest food.
•    Those who are wanting food, health and wellness inspiration.

When & Where: There are 2 dates with 2 different venues for this talk. 

1. Wednesday 20th July 6:30-8:00 pm Loft & Earth (formally The Intuitive Well), Bronte Rd Bondi Junction; OR
2. Wednesday 27th July 6-7:30pm Two Governors Café, Sydney CBD

To book you will need to:

1. Text Soulla Chamberlain on  0407 871 884 to confirm that there are spaces available (spaces strictly limited).
2. Once I confirm that there is a spot available you will need to transfer $60 referencing your name and “SugarTalk” into the following bank account within 24 hours (as places can only be reserved for up to 24 hours):
Star Anise Organic Wholefoods Education P/L
BSB 062 000
Acct 1628 4526

I will then email further details closer to the date.

PLACES WILL BOOK UP QUICKLY! PLEASE FEEL FREE TO FORWARD TO ANY FAMILY MEMBERS OR FRIENDS
CANCELLATION POLICY: ONCE FUNDS ARE DEPOSITED INTO MY BANK ACCOUNT THEY ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.

B.   ORGAN MEATS WORKSHOP

My organ meats workshop for Wed 3rd August is fully booked but there are a few spaces left for the workshop on Wed 10 August.

By incorporating a few different organ meats into your diet you can really can take your health to the next level. Organ meats are what I call one of the 3 foundational foods (along with bone broth and fermented foods) that have served mankind for millennia but have fallen by the wayside in modern society in recent times. My mission is to bring nutrient-dense traditional wholefoods, like organ meats, back to the modern table by educating people (especially time-poor parents!) on how to make them simply, easily, deliciously and affordably.

To book and for further information click here. 


3. New products

 A.   CAROB BEARS

I am delighted to see that our little artisan carob bears are being wholeheartedly embraced by young and old. And who wouldn’t love these little fellows?!

The impetus for crafting these was the lack of a healthy carob bear on the market. I’m not a fan of milk powers nor soy lethicins, so I wasn’t happy giving products containing these ingredients to my children. So as not to feel deprived, I promised my kids I would create my own. Our carob bears only contain 2 pure ingredients: carob power and raw cacao butter. That’s it! We think carob is naturally sweet enough and doesn’t require any additional sweeteners. Carob also doesn’t have the stimulatory effects of raw cacao powder so better for little ones especially near bed time!  I also have many clients who can’t tolerate the theobromine in raw cacao powder so this is an alternative treat for them. Raw cacao butter is a source of healthy fats, gives that melt-in-your-mouth cholocately smoothness and helps to slow down the release of blood sugars from carbohydrates.  Both ingredients are certified organic and with no added sweeteners these are truly no guilt treats.

Sold individually or in a pack of 2. Also sold at The Health Emporium.

Stay tuned for our new peppermint carob bears about to hit the market soon!! “Oh EM Gee!” as my 8 year old says.  We are wanting taste testers for this new mint variety so please pop into Broth Bar & Larder and tell my friendly staff that you have signed up for the role as official taste tester of the new peppermint carob bears. What a burden, I know ;-)  My staff and kids gave them the big thumbs up but I would LOVE your feedback too!

And here’s the damage…

B.   CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP & CHICKEN ZOODLE SOUP

Our latest soup offerings at Broth Bar & Larder are a chicken noodle soup made with rice noodles, chicken stock, chicken pieces off the bone, sliced kale and leek. All ingredients are certified organic and we only use filtered water in all our products. 

We also have a completely grain-free version made with spiralized angelhair zucchini “noodles”: a simple chicken zoodle soup that has proved so popular with not just little ones but adults too. This is a little more substantial than a simple cup of broth but less hearty than one of our other 6 signature soups or the meal of the day. 

At the moment these are offered as dine-in or take-away options only at Broth Bar & Larder. I would be interested to know if you would like them also available pre-packaged and frozen like the rest of our soups? 

C.   STAINLESS STEEL LUCH BOXES WITH DIVIDERS, INSULATED CONTAINERS AND NESTING TRIO OF CONTAINERS


If you follow me on social media you will see that I regularly post photos and descriptions of what I pack for my 2 monkeys to take with them to school for lunch and morning tea. I often use stainless steel lunch boxes with dividers to separate the various contents of their lunch boxes. I also use insulated containers to keep food warm (e.g. casseroles, soups) or cold (e.g. yogurt). I also use smaller containers of various sizes for morning teas and to house dips, nuts & seeds, nori strips, fruit, cheese, cured meat etc etc. 

Surprisingly, I am constantly being asked from where do I buy all these lunch containers. In fact “Where do you get those lunch boxes with the dividers?” is my most frequently asked question on social media. Who would have thought that they are so highly coveted! So to make life easier for all the mums and dads and carers out there prepping healthy school lunches I decided to sell these at Broth Bar & Larder. We have 3 different options at the moment:

1.     Stainless lunch boxes with REMOVABLE dividers. You can remove the divider when packing a salad or sandwich or other meal that doesn’t require compartmentalisation. This makes washing the container easier too than the ones with permanent dividers.  

2.     A nesting trio of 3 round containers of various sizes with coloured lids. These are so handy.

3.     Insulated containers for keeping food warm or cold. My trick to keep food warm is to pour boiling water into the container to really warm it up for 5-10 minutes. Then tip out the water and add the hot food. To chill food, place container in freezer before hand. 

Our products can be purchased in the following ways:

1.     At our retail store Broth Bar & Larder in Bronte open 7 days 8am – 6pm

2.     Through our online store. We deliver dry goods Australia wide and refrigerated items to Sydney and Wollongong. At this stage only the Star Anise Organic Wholefoods products can be purchased on our online store and not third party products like lunchboxes, Red Boat sugar-free fish source, fermented cod liver oils, raw milk cheeses, wild Canadian salmon and tuna, GelPro gelatin and collagen powders, olive oil etc. I aim to include include these their party products in our online store in the coming months.

3.     By emailing orders@staraniseorganic.com and you can either collect from Broth Bar & Larder or we can ship to you as above.

4.     At various stockists (note that not all stockists stock the entire range of our products. Best to call ahead to confirm if they have what you’re after). 


4. NEW STOCKIST:
LETTUCE DELIVER

We warmly welcome Lettuce Deliver as a new stockists to the Star Anise Organic Wholefoods family. Lettuce Deliver is one of Australia's longest running organic food home delivery services. They are a family run business specialising in the delivery of CERTIFIED ORGANIC produce and products across Sydney to most areas twice a week.

Funnily enough this story goes full circle. I started using Lettuce Deliver 10 years ago when Will was a bubba. Being new to Sydney and dealing with the struggles of being a first time mum I turned to an online organic delivery business (recommended by a mother in my mothers’ group). I thought their name was pretty cute too ;-) They were my online one stop shop as they sold so much more than just produce- from bones, to organ meats, raw milk, pantry items and personal care products.

And more than that they really care. I received a phone call from Ben one day “Um, Soulla, I just dropped off your delivery and left it on your kitchen bench. Do you often leave the house with the door wide open?"

Response: “Ben, as a sleep-deprived frazzled mother of 2 young children without family in Sydney, that is the least of my shenanigans”.  

Who would have thought that 10 years on I would now be supplying my products to them to include in their range. They are stocking a selection of our activated nuts, date coconut balls, broth (beef, chicken and veggie), broth based soups, choc power bars, sokolata (raw dark chocolate), sage & thyme chicken liver pate, and fermented veggies. 

The full list of our stockists can be found here. For enquiries about becoming a stockist please email info@staraniseorganic.com. Or if you have a local organic or health food store who you think might like to stock our products please ask them to contact me directly. 


5. KINGSMORE MEATS

Kingsleys Meats (located at 22 Plumer Road Rose Bay) have had a name change to Kingsmore Meats and have opened up a second new location at The Saporium, Sydney’s newest food destination at 61 Mentmore Ave Rosebury. They are a family owned and run artisan butcher, selling superior quality pastured meats sourced from small independent local farmers who raised animals naturally, humanely and sustainably. They will be stocking some of our product lines in the coming months. We wish them all the best with the new location. The Saporium is also home to Wholefoods House (who stock our broth and activated nuts). The Saporium also has a market every Saturday.


6. NEW RAW MILK

A new raw (unpasturised) milk recently hit the Sydney market that is allowed to be sold for consumption purposes. Currently raw cow milk is prohibited from being sold in Australia for consumption purposes. It can only be sold for cosmetic purposes e.g. Cleopatras bath wash. This new milk, produced by a NSW start-up called Made by Cow, is able to be sold for human consumption on the basis that it is ‘pasteurised’ not through traditional heat methods but through high water pressure. Approval from the NSW Food Authority involved a rigorous 2 year process. 

I spoke at length to the producer Saxon Joye recently and asked him some tough questions:

Q. “What does the high pressure do to the enzymes and beneficial bacteria content of raw milk?”

A. The upshot is that they only test whether half a dozen or so specific pathogenic bacteria exist in their milk after high water pressurisation. Because they do not test for the presence or absence of beneficial bacteria or enzymes they can not say with any certainty what happens to them. 

Now if high water pressurisation is powerful enough to destroy certain pathogens should they ever be present in raw milk, then one would presume (but can not be certain without any lab testing) that that process would also destroy at least some of the beneficial bacteria and even possibly enzymes. Saxon conceded that that is probably the case in respect of beneficial bacteria and could not say what the position was regarding enzymes. And that is my concern. 

So on the basis this high new high pressure processed milk presumably does not contain as many beneficial bacteria and possibly enzymes as completely raw milk, it would not on that basis be as health promoting as a completely raw cows milk that has not been treated or processed in any way. However, Australian law forbids me for recommending the consumption of a truly raw unprocessed cows milk. What people do in their own homes is, of course, up to them.  

Q. What are the cows eating?

The cows are fed exclusively grass except when they are being milked when they are fed grains (wheat and barley).  Note- This is not dissimilar to Cleos. 

Q. Are any petro-chemical fertilizers used in the soil? 

A. No

Q. Are the cows administered antibiotics?

A. No they are not routinely administered antibiotics. If they are given antibiotics, that cow’s milk is discarded.  

Q. Is the plastic bottle the milk comes in BPA-free and food grade?

A. Yes.
 
In summary…

I think this new milk definitely is a far healthier alternative to your standard heat pasteurised cows milk that most people are drinking which heats the milk to such high temperatures that ALL enzymes and beneficial bacteria are destroyed. This new cows milk is also unhomogenised and for that reason alone is far healthier than your standard pasteurised and homogenised milk. Homogenisation is a very outmoded concept that forces fat molecules to be evenly dispersed throughout the milk through a chemical process to avoid us lazy Westerners from simply shaking the bottle. Fat naturally rises to the top of protein so that’s why raw milk naturally has a layer of cream on the top. Ask your grandparents or even parents and they will tell you that’s how they found their milk in days gone by. All you need to do is shake the bottle to evenly disperse the cream throughout unhomogenised milk. 

Secondly I think that this is a terrific product for food and beverage businesses (like mine) to use in their commercial kitchens for recipes incorporating milk. Because Australian law forbids me to use raw milk like Cleos in my business, I now have a legal alternative that I could use if I wanted to offer, for example, hot drinks or smoothies made with dairy.

In terms of the taste, I couldn’t really tell the difference between this new product and Cleos (note that I can only recommend Cleos for cosmetic and not consumption purposes so taste testing was at my risk). 

This new milk, while more expensive than Cleos, does have a longer shelf live (21 days). 

For these reasons I commend Saxon for his commitment in bringing this product to the Australian market. I definitely think it will provide Australians with a healthier choice for dairy milk than any of the pasteurised milks on the market. 

For more information about the high water pressure process read this article. 


7. WE ARE HIRING!  


Star Anise Organic Wholefoods is expanding under the pressure of increased demand and we are seeking more kitchen hands to join our ever growing and dynamic staff at Broth Bar & Larder in Bronte to do the early morning shift starting from 5 or 5.30am working up to 38 hours a week Monday - Friday. 

The work is physical and involves making and/or straining our signature bone broth and producing our other artisan organic wholefood products. 

We are after people who: 

  • work super fast/efficiently 
  • are on the same nutritional page
  • take initiative (esp with washing up!)
  • are clean/ hygienic
  • are tidy/organised 
  • follow procedures/ instructions/ lists
  • have a sense of humour and take life's vicissitudes (aka f%#k ups) in their stride.

If you think you fit the bill, or know someone who does, contact me 0407871884. 


8. MY FAVOURITE WAYS OF STAYING WARM OVER WINTER

Sydney has had an icy blast over the past couple weeks. Being a Gold Coast girl with Mediterranean blood, the cold isn’t my friend. Over the years I’ve fine-tuned sustainable and healthy ways to stay warm down to a fine art. Read this previous blog post I wrote that sets out my 8 favourite ways of staying warm over winter.


9. COMBAT COMMON COLDS AND SORE THROATS NATURALLY

At this time of year I see many people with common colds, sniffly noses and sore throats. You might like to read this previous post I wrote about what’s in my medicine cabinet to alleviate common colds and sore throats.   In addition to the things listed there I would now also add pure essential oils such as Young Living which are reputed to be the most potent and pure on the planet. I add a few drops into the bath, in a diffuser and in a bowl of steaming water to inhale. For common colds I use eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil, and blends like Thieves and Purification to clear the air of pathogens. DoTerra’s EasyAir is also a great blend.


I DO NOT RECEIVE ANY COMMISSIONS, FREEBIES OR KICK BACKS FROM ANY SUPPLIER. I SIMPLY PROMOTE BUSINESSES WHOSE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES I PERSONALLY USE AND WHO HAVE A SIMILAR ETHOS TO MINE.  MY BLOG STARTED OVER 6 YEARS AGO AS A WAY OF EXPRESSING MY LOVE FOR REAL FOOD AND THINGS THAT MAKE ME TICK. I LOVE SHARING WHAT I KNOW. I HOPE YOU ENJOYED READING THIS NEWSLETTER.

UNTIL NEXT TIME, Kali Orexi (that’s Greek for good appetite!)

SOULLA X