Tag Archives: health

Minimalistic Living – The Ryokan

1024px-Tamatsukuri_onsen_yado02s3648After a visit to Japan a little while ago I came across the ryokan, a Japanese inn or guest house. The rooms of a ryokan are basically empty with the exception of a small table and maybe a floor chair (picture a normal chair with no legs). In the evening unseen attendants (I’m assuming they were trained as ninjas) would come in a lay out a thin futon mattress on the floor. In the morning they would pack it up and replace it with green tea.

My first thought was that this plain, empty room would be oppressively boring, yet, having nothing to distract you actually makes for a pretty cool space.
And then I returned home to my room, filled to overflowing with…stuff. Queen sized bed. Desk. Chair. Shelves. Clutter. It was actually a stressful experience to look into my room, let alone be in it. This shit had to go. It was time to ryokan my room (little Street Fighter 2 reference there NBD).
Ryokan_Matsukaze_in_MatsumotoI sold the bed, moved the desk and shelves out and packed away any number of electronic devices and chargers I had. I replaced them with a futon mattress on the floor (which I roll up to be a low couch during the day), a low set of cube shelves and a plant.
No distractions. No useless clutter. Just a quiet contemplative space. A calm empty room for a calm empty mind, I mean we have enough ‘mind clutter’ in our lives, we don’t need it where we sleep as well.
At night it’s lit by candles and all electronic devices (including my phone) are off, on flight mode or, preferably, not in the room (which has the added benefit of a better night’s rest).
It’s like the background noise of stress that comes along with clutter is suddenly cut out. Every time you walk into the room you know it’s to relax or to sleep, and this starts being a positive feedback loop very quickly. Your body will start to automatically go into relaxation just being in that space. The result: better sleep. The result of better sleep: a reinforced feeling of relaxation.
1341222724568328There’s a lot to be said about where and how you sleep. Being ex military, I’ve slept on the ground quite a bit, yet had never considered it as an ‘at home’ thing. When you consider it though, sleeping in a bed raised off the ground is kind of a novel Western idea. There is a fair chunk of the population of human beings currently inhabiting this planet who probably don’t sleep that way. Is this just another form of our ‘pursuit of comfort’ (or laziness) rearing it’s head again. The simple fact that we don’t need to bend down, or even use our legs to get in and out of bed is something that should cause a little concern.
Have a think about that, and sleep on it.

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Filed under Natural living

Paleo Blueberry Souffle and Banana Ice-cream

Hi All,

To back up my last post on fermenting foods I thought I’d give you a sweet treat to have afterwards. So without any further ado I give you…

souffle1Paleo Blueberry Souffle and Banana Ice-cream

Ice-cream recipe

6 egg yolks

540ml coconut milk (I use 2 x 270ml cans AYAM brand)

2 ½ small ripe banana

2 Tbs raw organic honey

!/4 tsp Upgraded Bulletproof Vanilla

1 Tbs Upgraded Bulletproof MCT oil

1 Tbs Extra Virgin coconut oil

In a jug blender, puree the banana, vanilla honey and coconut milk. Pour this into a saucepan and bring to scalding point.

Whisk this liquid onto the yolks in a large bowl. Place the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water and stir the mix continually, turning the bowl every 30 seconds.

After 10 minutes the mixture should be very hot and thick but not have scrambled egg through it. Take it off the heat and whisk in the 2 oils until thoroughly mixed. Allow to cool and churn in an ice-cream machine.

Alternatively leave in the bowl and place in the freezer. Take out every half hour and run a whisk through the mix to prevent ice crystals forming. Using this method you should let it freeze hard and take out 5-10 minutes before serving.

Souffle2Blueberry Souffle recipe

3 egg yolks

3 Tbs raw organic honey

280ml Coconut water (I use green drinking coconuts for this)

2 Tbs coconut flour

200g organic blueberries

Egg whites

Cream the egg yolks and honey until pale and creamy. Sift the coconut flour onto the yolks and mix thoroughly.

Bring the coconut water to the boil and whisk onto the yolk mix. Return to a clean saucepan, bring to the simmer and while stirring cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and in a jug blender, puree with the blueberries. Set aside to cool.

Per 3tbs soufflé mix whisk 1 ½ egg whites stiff. Stir ½ the stiff whites into the mix then carefully fold in the remaining whites. Spoon into a ramekin and with a wet finger wipe around the inside of the ramekin to a depth of 1cm.

Place into a 190’c preheated oven and cook for about 10 minutes.

Serve with the ice-cream and some extra blueberries.


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Introducing the Aussie Paleo Chef: Daniel Barrett

Hey everyone, I realise it’s been a while since I’ve posted here on the Tengeri main site, as some of you will be aware I’ve been focusing my efforts into the Tengeri Daily Natural Activity site. However I will be putting up more information through this blog soon, and to start off the new year I’d like to introduce you my good friend Daniel Barrett, ‘The Aussie Paleo Chef’, who will be a regular contributor to Tengeri.com.au.

So without any further a-due in his own words…

From the Aussie Paleo Chef, Daniel Barrett.

Daniel chef head

Primal Foods for the Modern Day Hunter Gatherer

A big cheerio to all my fellow modern day HG’s out there. I’m Dan, a 38 year chef whose vision is to make modern day Paleo, sustainable and enjoyable food for the modern family. Paleo to me is a lifestyle of clean eating, active living, work life balance and above all excellent health and youthful exuberance.

I’m a single father (who has full care of my children), and as a result no longer have time to cook in restaurants. Leaving the commercial kitchen is not all bad however, as the foods I once loved compromise my principals on health and lifestyle and (possibly most importantly) after being Paleo for a few years, TASTE.

One of Daniel's Paleo creations: Seared wild boar with a cherry and ginger sauce, served with shaved fennel, braised red peppers and Chinese broccoli

One of Daniel’s Paleo creations: Seared wild boar with a cherry and ginger sauce, served with shaved fennel, braised red peppers and Chinese broccoli

I am annoyingly passionate about food, it consumes most of my thoughts, but nowadays my culinary creations are an attempt to turn Paleo, into a 5 star experience. You see, I believe that food should excite you, something that you should look forward to. Food need not be a thing you should ‘just have to force down’, or ‘I’ll eat it because it’s good for me’. Every time I eat I find it sexy, I want to paint myself in the stuff, and every single meal is tasty and satiable.

So that’s my basic philosophy on food, health and life in general. In my next post I will show you exactly what I mean by providing you a snap shot of my week in food. I will show you not only what I’m eating through a brief menu but also where and when I’m shopping in order to make the most of my time and money.

So until next time, eat clean and train dirty.

Love your Grub


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The Evolutionary Tipping Point

Have you ever stopped and thought about where we are headed? I mean where we, as a race, are going to end up? What will humans be doing in 100, 1000, 10,000 years from now? What will we look like? Well if we take a snapshot of where we are at now and extrapolate that out, the answer doesn’t look good. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer. These Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are the unfortunate reality of today’s first world societies. Diseases not borne of a virus or bacteria, but of our own choosing. Sadly these diseases have become so common place that they are seen by many as inevitable, but this is far from the truth. Not only can we prevent this from happening but we can reverse the damage we’ve done to ourselves right now by changing our patterns and habits for the better.

An obese person is much more likely to have obese children. Whether it’s from the genetics or the environment (or more likely both) the fact is that how you treat your body and what you eat now will not only affect you, but your children and even your children’s children. You’re potentially setting your family line up for failure. If enough of us continue this pattern then we’re setting up the human race for failure.

My goal has always been to fight against this trend of NCDs; to build better humans. I believe that we at an evolutionary tipping point – where our race can continue as it is, to degenerate and rely solely on modern science to save the day; OR we can take responsibility and control for not only our own personal health and wellbeing but also for those around us.

It comes down to helping others by helping yourself. If you have major health issues the last thing on your mind is helping people with theirs. According to Maslow we have a hierarchy of needs, and to successfully fulfil these needs we need to build it up like a pyramid, with the more important base needs forming the foundation. Unfortunately a lot of people today aim at fulfilling the higher needs without giving much thought to the base health needs of their own body and thus build on a foundation of sand. By concentrating on yourself, getting your own health in order, you then have the ability to help others, who in turn help others and so on. If enough of us continue this pattern then we can reverse the detrimental changes we are starting to see today.

At the end of the day it’s up to you, the individual, to stand up and take responsibility for your own actions and the consequences that they have.

It’s for this purpose – to help you help yourself – that I have created the Daily Natural Activity site. It’s an online workout resource that takes natural fitness and puts it into an easy to follow workout routine, something that anyone, regardless of previous experience or skill level, can follow. Check it out and take up the challenge to make a positive change in your life.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”

– Mahatma Ghandi

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Filed under Natural movement

What blogs I’m Reading

I’ve come across a few really interesting articles and blogs over the past 2 weeks so rather than reiterate them, I thought I might just share my top 3 thought provoking blogs for the week.

This first one is entitled “No Shoes No Problem: Why Not Train Barefoot?”  from Imprint – the University of Waterloo’s official student newspaper. It talks about the ‘modern’ trend for people to go barefoot.

In a similar vain is “Finding a Sustainable Running Stride” from the New York Times’ ‘Well’ section, written by Tara Parker-Pope. A good mini analysis at some of the alternative running styles that are starting to emerge into the popular market. Touches on Chi running, POSE technique and little on Barefoot. Good read for those interested in learning about different styles.

Lastly is a good one on the effect of Gluten on the body in “No Gluten, No Grains” from Jo Svendblad’s Nutty Kitchen blog. Good information on why to eat primal/paleo and some great recipes too!

Enjoy :)

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Filed under Exercise science, Natural movement, Nutrition

The silly season survival guide

Spending time with friends and family at this time of year is often accompanied by two things: lots of food and lots of alcohol. So I thought I’d share some of my own survival tips that help me get through the holidays without adding too many unwanted kilograms to my waistline.

Tip 1: Nothing is too bad in moderation. There are many, many temptations that usually grace our tables around this time of year. To resist them is not only very difficult but often brings scrutiny from family and friends. Although some can use this as an opportunity to engage in conversation about dietary choices, for some of us its easier to avoid the ear bashing from Gran. So I don’t actively avoid indulgent food, I just don’t fill my plate.

Tip 2: Make my own plate/fate. I can guarantee that there will be at least one healthy choice on the menu if I bring that choice myself. Bringing food to a gathering is fairly standard protocol, so people won’t think twice about it. This is a great opportunity to show people that I’m not on some weird restrictive diet, but I just enjoy eating natural, healthy whole foods. I also use it as an opportunity to show people just how delicious healthy options can be, even desserts (like my sugar-free, diary-free and gluten-free cocoa balls I made for Christmas this year).

Tip 3: Think before I drink. Around this time of year I always share a few drinks with mates and family around the BBQ or watching the cricket. The problem that I find though is that someone is almost always setting the drinking pace. This usually happens subconsciously, but it does happen all the same. So before I answer yes to another round I just think, ‘ do I really need this drink right now?’ If I’m finishing off a drink just to catch up then the answer is usually no.

I hope this helps some of you in surviving the festive season and avoiding any unwanted drinking or excessive eating. I hope everyone has had a fantastic Christmas and have a fun and safe New Years.

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Dogs – mans best friend, and training partner

The dog. Unconditional love wrapped in a slobbering fur coat. I’m alway amazed at the fact that no matter how long I’ve walked out the door, be it 5 days or 5 minutes, my dog always greats me with the same level of exuberance – utter happiness.

Dogs have been shown to reduce stress and aid in the cure of disease (through the mental effects) but dogs also have a massive benefit to health through fitness.

Owning a dog is like owning a commitment. A commitment to feed, wash and care for your dog, and importantly exercise your dog. When I’m sore from a big work out, my dog still needs a run. When I’m tired from work or just can’t be bothered getting up off the couch, she doesn’t care, she still needs to be run.
The dog is a fantastic motivator that can make runs more enjoyable. An idea I gave to a client recently was the imaginatively named dog run:

Find a park/bushland area where you can run your dog off lead. Then simply release the hound and follow where it goes. Dogs don’t really care about formed paths – they’re much more concerned about smells and noises. As a result you find yourself running on uneven terrain, dodging branches, leaping logs and crawling. All helping you improve your natural movement patterns, range of motion and stability.

So take your dog (or borrow one), go to an off-lead area and start chasing.

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Filed under Benefits of exercise