Change a habit. Change your life

Two unexpected things happened when I attended Kara-Leah Grantʼs Habit Hacking workshop.

First I arrived sure of the habit I wanted to take on and walked out doing something completely different! And second I had no idea of the ripples changing this one thing would have in my life.

“The thing you want to change often arises out of the soul,” explains Kara-Leah. “Itʼs like following the breadcrumbs without knowing where it will lead. But deep within you there is a knowing.”

“And when you change just one thing itʼs like you pull a thread and the whole tapestry is revealed!”Kara_Leah_Grant_PRO (Small)

Since the early ’00s, yoga has been a core practice in Kara-Leahʼs life.

“Yoga was like coming home for me. There was a deep inner knowing. But I was semi regular with it. Iʼd do a little Ashtanga here and a little Bikram there. I donʼt remember a home practice.

“When I experienced psychosis, I was doing yoga in the psych ward. I knew it was my path to wellness.”

Living in a remote part of NZ Kara-Leah started practicing yoga at home as there was no teacher in the area. A year or so later, living in Queenstown, the yoga teacher asked her to take over the class as she was going on maternity leave.

“Teaching required me to step up my daily practice. I was committed to my students. I had to be on my mat.

“Thatʼs when I started to realise the yoga of yoga was overcoming the resistance. Sometimes it was like wading through molasses to get to the mat!

“Itʼs the dissolution of the ego, and it doesnʼt want to dissolve.”

Completing her teaching training took Kara-Leah deeper into her own practice.

“I started a kundalini practice where I chose to do a particular kriya (action) for 40 days. The 40-day practice became a way of giving my yoga some kind of anchor. Although I did other practices, that was my absolute.

“I developed a really good understanding of overcoming obstacles and resistance.”

Kara-Leahʼs book Forty Days of Yoga has inspired many to get to their mats and cultivate a daily yoga practice. Even if itʼs just for seven minutes.

“In essence the core of habit hacking is a yogic way of life. Itʼs a very liberating process that anyone can use for any habit they want to change.

“The big thing with habit hacking is weʼre holding one thing constant. And that which opposes it also has to change. So the resistance, the thought, the belief pattern that gets in the way of the habit has to change.”

For Kara Leah’s Habit Hacking workshops and yoga events around NZ see her events calendar


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One habit worth cultivating

It was never meant to be this one. In fact I hadn’t considered it until it came tumbling out of mouth while on Kara-Leah Grant’s Habit Hacking Workshop.

“I’m going to get up early for 40 days in a row!” I blurted out.

Deep down I was over it. Staying in bed was feeding that part of me I really didn’t like. The small part. The part that told me stuff that wasn’t true. Like, “you’re not a morning person.” “you’ll never get up early to write” and sometimes the depressing “why bother”.

But here I was facing 40 days of reinventing my normal. Rewriting my storytaking the plunge (Small)


Here are 6 things I learnt about getting up early.

1. It’s my time. Mine. Zero sharing. Zero having to be anything for anybody. I can write, roll out my yoga mat, read, or just sit and greet the dawn with a cuppa. By. Myself.

2. I’ve freed up space in my brain. There’s no “I wish I’d …” or “Will I or won’t I.” I’m up and that’s it. That equals more creative space, more inner calm.

3. Self care in any measure begets more self care. I’ve done something tender and kind for myself. It feels good. It sets a good foundation for looking after myself throughout the day.

4. It may create change in others. In other words, there may be speedbumps in your closest relationships. Why? Because when you make a commitment to something new, something empowering, your loved ones will feel a shift. And as positive as it is, that shift can kick up stuff.

5. I can. Yes I can write that book, blog, article. Yes I can cultivate a daily yoga practice. Yes I can go for an early morning walk. Yes I can reframe my overwhelm that there’s never enough time because I’ve graced myself with more. Caveat: This is distinct from just doing more. It’s more like wise management.

6. Rituals help. Weaving some simple actions around this practice has helped it feel like a daily treat. Something natural. I roll out my yoga mat the night before. My favourite blanket is on the couch. When I rise I light a candle. And yes there’s a silent cup of tea.

By day 40 I felt capable and more confident. Who knew that would be the outcome of getting up early?

So what’s next? Today is day 10 of 40 days of yoga. Wish me luck!


Vegan waffles

We were firmly a pancake family on Sundays. That was until our lovely American neighbours moved in across the street and we learnt about waffles.

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We’ve been cranking them out ever since.

This recipe is slightly adapted from Heather Crosby’s of Yum Universe. It’s a lot lower in fat than your standard waffle recipe so make sure you cook them well to avoid sticking.

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1 cup water/almond milk
1 ripe banana
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup chick pea flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch salt
Pinch ground cinnamon

1. Have the waffle iron heating while you prepare the batter.
2. Blend the wet ingredients.
3. Combine the dry ingredients and mix in the wet mixture
4. Using a pastry brush, coat your waffle iron with coconut oil.
6. Top warm waffles with warm berry or apple compote, sliced bananas and other seasonal fruit.

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Kaleslaw with cashew mustard mayo

I grew up eating coleslaw. It was simple yet utterly delicious because of one particular ingredient. And because Mum always used it. I’ve followed suit.20150624_212758 (Small)

Among a tangle of fresh herbs there must always be thyme. Preferably English. But any variety will do. Aromatic lemon thyme is especially spectacular.

Keeping the slaw simple we’re using the basics (cabbage, mixed greens, carrot, fresh herbs) adding finely sliced cavelo nero (black) kale for an extra nutritional boost.

While we do our best to keep salads lively, the dressing can make or break the experience. Your lovingly prepared coleslaw can easily convert to a fat-laden-cream-dressing-lathered throw back from the 70s.

Here’s an oil-free alternative I think you’ll love.

Cashew mustard mayo

¾ cup cashews
2 Tbl apple cider vinegar
2 Tbl dijon mustard
½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp maple syrup
¼ cup water
Pinch of salt

Blend. Splash in a little more water if it’s too thick. This dressing will take you may places. Try a dollop on steamed asparagus, baked potatoes and salady sandwiches.

1 life hack you don't want to miss

If there was a way you could boost your energy, enhance your creativity and level out your emotions would you be interested?

This is an activity that strikes a cord with me. You see – I’ve been resisting it for years.20150624_090903 (1)

With the depths of winter well and truly on us, now is a good time to be talking about rest. Or more specifically napping.

Throughout history many of our greatest minds were nappers. Leonardo, Salvador, Einstein … Winston Churchill believed all you needed was “20 minutes of blessed oblivion to renew all your vital sources.”

Doesn’t that sound divine?

Resisting that after lunch urge to close your eyes and head for oblivion is yet another way we don’t listen to our bodies. It’s another way we override what we really need.

Some cultures have got this sorted. They retire. They rest. Organisations are also getting in on it, providing workers with places to lie down. They know the benefit of listening to those primal circadian rhythms.

In her TED talk neurobiologist Sarah McKay says our desire to close our eyes is programmed into our biological clocks. And when we do, the science is there to back up the benefits. We’re more productive and creative after a nap. We’re nicer.

Let’s take it one step further

And surrender. That’s not giving in or anything weak. In fact it’s one of the strongest things you’ll ever do. It cultivates a passive energy that has it’s own kind of strength.

Think of it as melting into the love that you are. Consciously connecting with your light as you slide towards that blessed oblivion. It doesn’t take a course, or hours of meditating. You don’t need a book to show you how. Just relax. Love. And feel the calm space around you.

Now that’s a power nap.

Before you snuggle up I want to leave you with the words from Nap Queen herself – Sark.

“All at once you sail away into a nap, where tangled nerves are untied, and where time stops. Guilt and expectations are not welcome in napland. You can always find a reason. Find more reasons to let naps take you.”

Wishing you that certain kind of quiet

Sweet dreams

Kate xx


Quick lentil curry

For fast winter food that’s sustaining, easy and oh-so-delicious I can’t go past lentils in some form or other. From red, yellow, fancy French to plain brown, lentils are versatile, cheap and fit perfectly into my take-to-work thermos.

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This quick curry is oil free. Why? Because it works just fine without the added oil and reduces your intake of heated oils.

Dry toasting the spices is another way of releasing their aromas and makes life exciting, if not a bit dangerous!

As with many dishes the clincher is how you serve them. This curry goes beautifully with a spicy kasundi (chutney) and loads of fresh coriander/cilantro leaves.

Or take it to the next level with a dollop of coconut yoghurt or cilantro cashew cream.

1 onion
3 cloves garlic
1 Tbl fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
6 cups water/stock
2 cups yellow lentils
1 potato, halved & sliced
½ cauliflower, chopped
Fresh coriander/cilantro

  • In a heavy bottomed pot, dry toast curry powder and cumin, coriander and mustard seeds for a minute or until they release their aroma. Keep stirring and stay close!
  • Stir in garlic & ginger adding a splash of water to deglaze the pan. 
  • Add onion and a little more water to form a paste. Simmer gently adding the rest of stock/water after several minutes. Bring to the boil.
  • Rinse lentils under running water until the water comes clean.
  • Add lentils and simmer for 20 minutes. Add more water as needed.
  • Add potatoes & cauliflower and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are cooked.
  • Season with salt, pepper and/or a splash of tamari.
  • Serve with fresh coriander and coriander cream.


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Protein-rich lentil stew

Stuffed chick pea flour frittata

Weekends sometime call for a savoury breakfast. Especially when we’re braving wintery mornings to watch the nine-year-old-ninja play soccer.chick pea flour fritatta (Small)

The savoury option of old was an egg frittata.

I used to like the ease of throwing it together and topping with a good kasundi or other delicious home made chutney.

Luckily there are a couple of plant-based equivalents made with tofu OR a chick pea flour batter.

Today’s recipe is the latter.

You can change up the spices & fillings to suit your tastes, eg, Indian, Italian, Indonesian. Or make it plain like a crepe and serve with hot saucy veges.

Chick pea flour is a great source of protein. And an excellent gluten free option.

Once mixed it likes to sit for a while – I mix the batter before chopping veges.

If you’re super organised you can make the batter the night before.

For a richer option (and obviously higher in fat) mix the flour with a coconut cream/water combo.

Today we’re just using water and whatever I happened to have in the fridge.

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Whisk together & rest:
1 cup chick pea flour
1 cup water
1 tsp cumin seeds
Pinch of salt

1 red onion, chopped finely
Capsicum, chopped finely
Cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 Tbl capers
Handful fresh herbs, parsley, thyme, rosemary
Chilli (optional)

In a heavy pan, saute onions and vegetables until soft. Add capers, chilli & fresh herbs.
Pour in the batter, cover and cook over a low heat.
Cook until the top is firming up, watching that it’s not burning underneath – it’s a delicate dance.
Brown it off under the grill.

You could sprinkle a little dairy-free mozzarella or nutritional yeast on top before grilling.

For other recipes check out the gluten free category in the side bar.

Oh and try these chick pea flour fritters.

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A Thai pumpkin soup recipe I want you to have

Why? Because there is no one, not ever who has hasn’t swooned over this velvety bowl-licking soup.thai pumpkin soup (Small)

It makes the rounds of our small seaside community. It pops up at pot luck dinners, women’s circles, birthdays and is delivered in jars to sick friends. The recipe is passed on from mother to daughter to friends and neighbours.

Promise me you’ll make a big pot and invite your friends over. This one is for sharing.

{Special thanks to Carolyn and Gillian ~ the originators of much pumpkiny pleasure}

Most curry pastes are not vegan. The yellow curry paste I use is but I suggest you read the label carefully depending on the brand.

The secret ingredient here are the kaffir lime leaves. Hunt them out. They take the soup to the next level.

In a big pot add roughly chopped:
2 med onions
2 large carrots
1-2 large kumera (sweet potato)
1/2 a pumpkin, ~1.5 kg
2-3 tsp yellow curry paste
2-3 slivered kaffir lime leaves
5-6 cups vege stock

Cook for about 15 mins until everything is tender.

Blend and return to the pot. Take care not to burn yourself.

Stir in:SAM_2017 (Small)
1 can coconut cream
2 Tbl coconut liquid amino or tamari

Season and adjust flavours to suit, ie, adding more curry paste, tamari, chilli flakes, stock if too thick.

Reheat gently. The coconut cream may separate if boiled.
Garnish with coriander or basil.

More soup recipes you may like:

Rib sticking lentil soup
Italian kale & white bean
West African peanut & ginger
Quick & easy miso

And don’t forget how easy it is to make your own vegetable stock

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Smokey Almonds

There are some foods that smell better than they taste. Agree?

And there are some smells and tastes that are, … well, so ingrained that to reconnect with them on any level is kinda cool.IMG_20150304_162327194 (Small)

{Can you seeing me skirting around the word bacon here? I just don’t want to have to think about how it ends up on so many plates and overwhelms most cafes on a Saturday morning}

Anyway. Liquid smoke imparts that smokey hickory taste without all the bits I don’t want to think about.

Almonds are a great vehicle for this tasty marinade … and tofu, tempeh … or almost any savoury dish my beloved thinks needs pepping up!

This recipe is inspired by those crazy cats at Thug Kitchen who can handle alot more smoke than me!

If you’re new to using liquid smoke I say proceed with caution until you get the hang of it. It’s potent.

Mix up:

1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp tamari
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp water

Coat almonds in the marinade. Bake for 10-15 minutes stirring mid way through. Keep a close eye.

Chop the almonds into salads, spreads for a smokey blast!

Pst Chopped into mashed avocado is outrageous.IMG_20150326_134903682 (Small)








Are you setting yourself up?

Tell me.

Is there something that makes you feel good that you’re just not doing?

I’m talking about that thing that recalibrates you, centers you.stepping into new territory (Small)

Maybe it’s an early morning walk, 10 minutes meditation or a practice of gratitude.

Perhaps it’s as simple as drinking lots of water.

I could list a few things that come and go for me. They so easily drop off the end of the endless list. Or just plain get forgotten as life speeds past.

But lately I’ve started to do yoga again.

{Shoulders soften}

It makes me stand still.

{Deep breath}

I feel grounded and connected to my body.

It’s easy not to have the time. But the price of not doing it is really too high.

Without it there’s no pause for me. No loosening up energy and joints.

And here’s the thing. It’s part of a set up. One act of self care begets another.

I eat cleaner. Stand straighter. I face the world stronger.

It’s in these moments of mindfullness that inspirations pop in. Problems are solved. Our next step is revealed.

No matter how simple, our small but important practices help our energy spiral upwards.

They make space for self care aka self love.

Is there something you’re not doing?

Do that. SAM_2296 (Small)