When Was The Last Time You Stopped?

When was the last time you truly stopped and started living in the moment? I’m not talking about the things we do on a regular basis to make us “stop”. Things that do not count as a true stop are: going to bed and sleeping, a 15 min break in the day, eating, watching TV, reading or finally taking a breath once you get your kids to their soccer game. It also does not count if you plan a jam packed vacation with something planned every single day, I have been there and done that, I can tell you that is not a break it is an adventure. Usually you need a vacation from your vacation in this instance.

What I’m talking about is having a day where you had nothing planned at all, you wake up and just do the things that come to your mind that day. Nothing to do with work or scheduled appointments, where you literally had absolutely nothing to do that day. To be honest with you, I do not remember the last time I had a day like this even during the times right now with living through isolation and not working, somehow I have found a way to still be working on something. Blogs, YouTube channel, videos, Instagram posts, recipes, gardening, you name it, I have found it to keep myself busy.

Staying busy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it helps to keep us structured and in a routine, but when you are only keeping yourself busy, this can take a toll on your body.

It is always very difficult to just stop; stop doing and start being. Stopping allows you to take in the true beauty of life, without feeling like you need to produce something or tend to someone else’s needs. Stopping may allow you to see the little things in life that everyone passes by everyday but never takes any notice to it because we are all just so busy. Things like that mural on the wall of the coffee shop you go to everyday, the different bark on a tree trunk that you walk by everyday, or noticing just how tired you have been the last few months while being too busy to notice it.

In the Western world, we value our work more than we cherish the time spent with a loved one. If you think about it, it’s really quite sad. All we do is work, work, work and then work some more. We are all guilty of exactly this, we make productivity our priority of everyday, this then does not leave much room for living in the now because we try to fit in as much as we can into one 24 hour day. What happens when we do not finish everything on the list for that day? 

We scrutinize and bully ourselves into thinking that we did not accomplish anything that day, when in reality, we did. You think to yourself: I got ready and went to work, got only 90 of the 100 projects I set out for myself today done and had a busy day running around. When maybe we are looking at this all wrong, what would happen if we started celebrating the small victories of each day? Instead, think to yourself: I woke up today, brushed my teeth (or at least I hope you did), went for a 15 minute walk or walked/biked to work instead of driving, I went the whole day not thinking one negative thought, I stretched for 5 minutes, and finally sat down to meditate today. Why don’t we ever feel happy for the little things in each day?

It’s a bit ironic that we work to enjoy the simple things in life and yet here we are working our buns off and never taking a break. To live a full and peaceful life, we need to stop and look inside ourselves and remember exactly what it is that lights the fire within us. This is the big part of having a mindfulness practice everyday, it allows you to have that 15 or 20 minutes in the day to truly stop what you are doing and observe your breath or just how busy your mind is with all of the thoughts running through it. If you do not have 15-20 minutes, try 5 minutes to start.

So I’m going to ask you to stop and consider the last time you truly stopped what you were doing to just be in the moment. If taking a staycation is not an option for you right now, here are some things you can do to live in the moment each day – no technology aloud. 

  1. Take a day off and go to a park or museum.
  2. Make a one day self care plan, think of it as a spa day at home. It can include naps, mediations, pedicures, reading, calming music and walks.
  3. Go on a silent retreat – I personally have not been on one of these but my brother has and absolutely loved it.
  4. Get into nature – move and breathe in it, then be still with it. Listen to the different noises, see the scenery and smell scents it has to offer. Like wind running though the leaves, water falling off a cliff or down a stream, the strong and beautiful scent of that massive lilac bush next to you or the stunning view of a sunrise or sunset.
  5. Take 3 hours and do something creative like draw, paint or play an instrument.
  6. If you cannot take a full day or a few hours, not a problem, start by doing something just for 5 minutes a day. I can almost guarantee if you do this, you will see and feel the benefits of it and that 5 minutes will turn into 15-20 minutes. Do things like a meditation practice, breath work, sit in silence while you concentrate on one object like a lit candle, draw or colour, play an instrument, or writing in your journal.

If you feel like you do not have time for any of the above, then you my friend are the exact person that needs to make this a priority. If you make something a priority in your day, I can guarantee you it will get done. What is stopping you from giving this a try? The fear of missing out on something or the opportunity to “get something done?” You may learn something about yourself if you give this a try, so set aside some time every week to stop doing and start being.


Where To Eat Gluten Free In Melbourne

Melbourne has a very large hipster vibe with lots of little shops, boutiques and restaurants all over the inner city. Not only is Melbourne known for it’s wide range of graffiti and wall art but it is also very well known for it’s food. There is a huge variety of many different types of restaurants that you can choose from, ranging anywhere from Mexican to Greek, fancy bougie pubs, and bars that have a dark atmosphere but extremely fun rock and roll vibe. Depending on the experience you are feeling, Melbourne has it all.

If you have celiac disease or you are gluten intolerant, there are many options for gluten free within the city. I have to say that I am very impressed with everywhere I have been in Australia thus far for gluten free food. This is the first time I have been to restaurants and when I say I have celiac disease they understand that it is not just the ingredients of the food we are eating but it is also where and how it is prepared. Most restaurants will tell you honestly if there is a chance of cross contamination or if they have a separate cooking space, toaster, fryer, or oven. It feels like everywhere in Australia, they take celiac disease, food intolerances or allergies very seriously. However, keep in mind that regardless it is very important to speak to the chef, manager or your server about the details of your dietary requirements to be sure you will not become sick.

I wish I could have spent more time in Melbourne but here is a list of all the restaurants I ate as someone with celiac disease. Not one of the restaurants I have mentioned made me sick or caused a reaction.

1) Stalactites

This Greek restaurant, located downtown Melbourne, is highly recommended for those with celiac disease as it is accredited by the Australian Coeliac Association. This is the first time I have been to a restaurant that has the stamp of approval from the country’s coeliac association. There is a separate workspace for the chef’s in the kitchen to avoid cross contamination of gluten into any food, this includes chopping surfaces, oven’s, and anywhere to heat up the kebab’s and fryers for the fries/chips.

Mixed Kebab

Not only is it safe for a celiac to eat at, but the food is out of this world fantastic. This was the first time in over 3 years since my diagnosis that I have been able to safely eat a kebab. The food here is so good that I went three days in a row. The first 2 days I had the mixed souvlaki (kebab) and the final day I had the lamb fillet kebab. I believe there are vegetarian options as well along with other amazingly delicious looking gluten free dishes. However, I would highly recommend the kebab as you will not believe the pita bread is gluten free, so good that I want to figure out the recipe so I can make it at home.

Coeliac Certified Sticker

Each wrap I ordered came with a napkin that had the coeliac association sticker on it. This will both ease your mind that the wraps did not get mixed up, you know the chef knew that it had to be appropriate for a celiac with no cross contamination, but also, how cool is that?!

The staff is very friendly and knowledgeable about any dietary requirements you may have. The environment is welcoming and bright with a sit down and take out option, the food was also served pretty darn quick as well.

As I mentioned, I ate here 3 days in a row, all with kebab’s, and had no reactions to gluten at all. I would highly recommend this restaurant if you are in the area and looking for a celiac safe restaurant.

Location: 177/183 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Phone Number:+61 3 9663 3316

Menu:

2) Roule Galette

This is a very sweet little French cafe located downtown Melbourne very close to the Flinders Street Railway Station and the City Library. This adorable cafe is located within the beautiful Flinders lane, mixed in with other boutiques, shops and restaurants. You will know you are down the right street when you see a pink painted mural on the back wall of the street of two kangaroos dressed up.

Chicken Avocado Crêpe

This restaurant has gluten free options suitable for a celiac along with vegan and vegetarian. They informed me that they have a separate gluten free crêpe maker to avoid cross contamination. The gluten free crêpes are fantastically delicious and have options of being both savoury and sweet. They were so good that I bought both a savoury and sweet crêpe in the same visit.

La Belle Normande Crêpe

I began with the avocado chicken crêpe, along with a French earl grey tea with almond milk and some of the best honey I have ever had. The crêpe is massive as it is the size of a standard dinner plate. The chicken was perfectly cooked, and was a perfect match with the avocado, tomato, emmental cheese, home- made basil pesto. Directly after this we ordered the La Belle Normande: Cinnamon poached apple, ice cream (can be vegan), homemade whipped cream, homemade salted caramel, my mouth was watering for hours after eating this.

The staff here are absolutely lovely, knowledgeable about dietary requirements and have some of the best French accents I have heard. The environment of the cafe will make you feel as though you have transported to France, the music is enjoyable and for over flow reasons, they have a small cafe on both sides of the cobblestone street. They offer breakfast, lunch, dinner and take away. I would highly recommend visiting this adorable French getaway for some of the best crêpes you will ever eat.

Location: Scott Alley, 237/241 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Phone Number:+61 3 9639 0307

Menu:

3) Bodega Underground

If you like Mexican food, this is the place for you. Everything in this restaurant is gluten free so there is no need for anyone with Celiac Disease to be nervous about cross contamination.

Totopos With Guacamole and Elote

We went with the ‘feed me’ option on the menu, and as fantastically good as this option was, I would not suggest it unless you are starving…it was a lot of food, hence the name. With this option you get the totopos with guacamole, papas, elote, charred cauliflower, lamb riblets, two taco servings: carnitas, tacos de frijoles and end with the churros con dulce de leche. All of this food will cost you $50 ASD per person, and is to serve two people. This is a great option at this restaurant to try almost everything on the menu.

Every single dish we ate at this restaurant, I would go back for. The nachos are perfectly crispy and a great pair with their authentic guacamole, the tacos are a perfect size and just the right amount of filling along with being jam packed with flavour. The street corn was out of this world, I never would have thought to put parmesan cheese on BBQ corn on the cob. The papas were soft and delicious potato bites, paired perfectly with their chipotle in adobo sauce. The charred cauliflower was a meal on it’s own and I would 100% go back for this one if you are a vegetarian, it is a perfectly cooked head of cauliflower covered with a delicious cheese sauce. The lamb riblets fall off the bone as you pick them up and melt in your mouth. Finally, ending with gluten free churros…I never thought I would see the day that I could eat a churros again, this was a dream come true for a celiac. They were crunchy, covered in sugar and cinnamon and the dulce de leche sauce, I wanted to drink out of the bowl.

The environment of this great restaurant is fantastic along with the staff as well, I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking for a gluten free option for Mexican food in downtown Melbourne.

Location: 55 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia

Phone Number:+61 3 9650 9979

Menu:

If you find yourself by Smith Street, seek out CIBI and Saba’s Ethiopian restaurant as they are both just a block or two away.

4) CIBI

This is a very sweet and down to earth restaurant serving Japanese cuisine. It is not just a restaurant, there is a beautiful plant store and Japanese pottery, knives and other special treasures you may not be able to find anywhere else. I truly wish I had more room in my travel bag to get some items back home.

The staff is lovely, and at first they were not too sure about cross contamination or food being 100% gluten free for a Celiac, however the chef pulled through and can I tell you how much I appreciated this! The food was very healthy, light but filling and exactly what I wanted to eat that day.

We both had chicken dishes from there that were both fantastic. My partner Chris had the lunch bowl which consisted of slow cooked chicken with green olives and herbs served with beets and daikon salad and grains. I had the chicken soboro which consisted of free range chicken mince, cooked with miso and ginger, a soy egg, greens and edamame, mizuna salad served with their CIBI rice blend. The chicken was cooked perfectly and the rice was cooked in a way that made it some of the best rice I have eaten in a long time. I did not feel bloated or as if I had eaten too much food after this meal, it is very nutritious and a perfect serving. I paired my meal with one of their in house made summer drinks. I would highly recommend checking this place out if you get the chance and you find yourself on Smith Street.

It is a great environment for doing some computer work, going in for a treat or tea/coffee, or for an early or later lunch.

Location: 33/39 Keele St, Collingwood VIC 3066, Australia

Phone Number:+61 481 398 686

Menu:


5) Saba’s Ethiopian Restaurant

Vegetarian Combination

This was my first time eating Ethiopian food and after the experience I had at this restaurant, it will surely not be my last! I found this restaurant wandering down Brunswick Street when I was very hungry, saw their menu in the window and told myself I had to give it a try. They have a celiac safe and vegan friendly menu, I was told their chef is celiac, so they know all about how to serve you safely! Music to my ears.

Injera Basket

All meals are to be eaten with your hands using the fantastic Injera bread, not using utensils, however, I did see a few people using utensils to eat so this may be an option if you prefer. I went with the vegetarian combination where you get to choose three of their delicious vegetarian dishes, and believe me when I tell you, if you are not vegetarian, you will not be disappointed. It comes in a beautiful Injera basket with a plate inside of your Injera bread, which is made of teff flour. After this you are served your three servings of the vegetarian dishes you chose. I went with the Ful, Shiro and Dinish dishes, all were very flavourful and had individual unique spices and ingredients used. The Ful is made with fava beans, spices, egg and feta cheese (this can be made vegan if preferred), the Shiro is a chickpea and berbere paste with garlic and ginger, and the Dinish is potatoes, cabbage and carrots cooked in turmeric and other spices. Every single one I want to eat again, this is a very filling and nutritious meal.

The staff is absolutely lovely and the environment is just the same with a few Injera baskets beautifully placed on the wall to admire. I cannot wait to go to this restaurant again when I am back in Melbourne.

Location: 328 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia

Phone Number:+61 3 8589 0442

Menu: