Posts from June 2015

Meet: Tessa Mini

June 24, 2015

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I met the lovely Tess whilst we both living in Sydney through a mutual friend.  Tess is a personal trainer based in California and believes that through the means of teaching about proper clean eating habits, meal preparation, resistance and cardiovascular exercises and consistency, anyone can achieve their goals in health and fitness.

Besides having killer mermaid hair, that sweet Californian accent and a beautiful smile, Tess definitely knows a thing or two about health, nutrition and training.

Here we divulge into the world of clean eating, exercise goals and more…

Enjoy! x

To find out more about Tess check out her site – or follow her on instagram. 


What is your training and diet philosophy?

Balance. If you don’t have balance in your training and diet its not going to be maintainable. You will burn out before you even start. I don’t think there is one correct type of fitness – you should incorporate everything in your training. A little bit of lifting, Olympic lifting, crossfit, boxing, running, intervals, yoga, sports, anything you name it – just do it and get your body moving. Now of course if you are training for something specific I do believe its important to follow a specific plan that will supplement your event. But, by doing all sorts of activities you are going to keep things interesting and most importantly you are getting your body moving. With diet I do believe in clean eating and eating whole real foods but also treating yourself to a craving every once and awhile. If you are too restrictive you will miss out on opportunities, special moments, you may even isolate yourself from others, binge eat or it could lead to an eating disorder and that’s not healthy.

 What is clean eating?

Clean eating = whole foods. It’s a simplistic concept that society has grown away from because we have been blinded by marketing and boxed goods that are sugar laden (and equally as addictive!). Much of society has forgotten or has sadly never been introduced to the real foods they should be eating. When I say whole foods I mean foods that come straight from our earth. Any grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and meats are whole foods and that’s what the majority of our day to day food should be.

 Does clean eating mean no booze?

This comes back to balance and moderation. Technically, most sources of alcohol are not clean because of added refined sugars, excessive processing / distillation, additives and preservatives. However, I do believe alcohol can be enjoyed as part of a clean lifestyle in moderation, one to two servings per week but preferably you would chose organic red wine to indulge in. Beer is the second best choice and its best to purchase a locally produced beer to avoid refined sugars, flavoring and artificial ingredients. Lastly, vodka and soda water is your third cleanest choice but it is still important to try and find organic variety. If you do chose to drink, I tell all of my clients to pair your drink with a glass of water. For every sip of alcohol you take try and have a sip of water. This trick not only helps extend your drink to last longer so you wont feel the pressure to order more but will also keep you hydrated and may even fill you up so you are not tempted to order another drink.

What’s always in your fridge?

Twice a week I do a big meal prep that helps keep me on track throughout the week. This prep consists of grilled chicken, steamed veggies such as broccoli, asparagus and brussel sprouts, a container of brown rice, hard-boiled eggs, and roasted sweet potato. By having all of these options portioned out in my fridge it gives me the ability to grab and go as I run in and out of the house for appointments throughout the week.

I feel healthier when I eat low carb and gluten free food – is this necessary if you aren’t gluten intolerant? Why are carbs seen as the devil??

People generally feel healthier on a low carb diet because carbs retain water in our bodies. When you go low carb you will initially drop that water weight – this is why when people start diets they magically drop five pounds right off the bat – its water weight not fat loss. When you drop the water weight you will also feel leaner which is a great feeling but picture yourself in 3 months, 6 months and 1-2 years down the road and ask “Is this diet something I can see myself doing for that period of time?” If the answer is yes then you have found a maintainable healthy lifestyle but if the answer is no, then you are dieting and your diet ought to die. Carbs can be and should be a part of a healthy lifestyle on a day-to-day basis you just need to eat healthy carbs that fill you up longer. I always chose carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, oats and lentils these carbs generally have a lower glycemic index and are quite filing. Things to avoid are high glycemic index carbs such as white rice, white breads, pastries, cookies, cakes and white flour as your body instantly processes these carbs as sugars and rapidly absorbs them. This is why you can eat so much more of these types of carbs than the lower GI carbs because your body digests them quite rapidly. In regards to gluten, if you aren’t sensitive to gluten then don’t cut it out. Our bodies can develop allergies if we cut foods out for extending periods of times as those enzymes that process those foods will go dormant. I first hand experienced then being vegan for 7 years and then struggled for over 2 years to re-introduce eggs and red meats back into my diet and still till this I day I struggle digesting some meats.

I have seen you do cauliflower crust pizzas and banana strawberry gluten free cupcakes! What’s some of your fave recipes?

Hmmm yes I love recreating recipes and thinking how to create naughty favorites into decadent clean treats! I have really been into raw food desserts lately as Sydney had some amazing raw food cafes. Lorna Jane has some amazing recipes and one of my favorite treats is a raw carrot cake – it tastes like the real thing to me but this version is full of clean substitutes! (recipe attached)

I love yoga and running but gyming at times is a chore – do you think we should push ourselves to do different type of exercise we don’t like to challenge our muscles and keep strong?

Our bodies are designed to be pushed and challenged whatever means of athleticism you chose to participate in that gets your body moving then do it. There is no one size fits all answer for health and fitness – we are all different, enjoy different activities and should partake in what we enjoy. If you don’t enjoy your exercise regime then you are not going to do it and having a healthy body isn’t a 12 week challenge or a “diet” it’s a lifestyle, your health is a forever. Therefore find something you enjoy and do it but the key to results is to do it consistently.

What’s the best training advice you’ve ever been given?

Have goals and create a plan. Your goals need to be as specific as possible so you can work towards them and achieve them! Having a goal such as “lose weight” is too vague. What exactly do you want to achieve and how are you going to do it? Why do you want to do it? What is driving you to do this? Why does it matter to you? Your fitness journey is far more than just losing inches and thinking about calories, carbs, fats and proteins. When I think of my goals I like to think about personal growth goal as well. What in your personal life / lifestyle can change to help support this goal? Is it being more positive, optimistic, and believing in yourself? Is something holding you back from achieving your goals? What inspires you? Think back at a time that you were truly happy and you felt that nothing else matters except that moment – what were you doing then? And how can you bring more of those moments into your life? These are just some thought starters I think about for myself when I am re-evaluating my goals and creating new goals.

You have lived in the US and Aus and visited many countries including South Africa. Do you think the health culture differs from country to country?

Absolutely! In every location there are different types of foods that suit the environment and different types of lifestyles people live which ultimately effect how healthy the region is as a whole. In Australia for example living by the beach it is so easy to get active and run around the beach all day sipping on coconut water and having healthy vegetable meals as they are so easy to come by. Whereas living in Napa Valley the wine region of Cali the norm is to go wine tasting on a weekly basis and indulge in fine dining so its easy to toss the healthy lifestyle out of the door if its not a priority in your life. I have completely had to reshift my beach life and encourage a new type of fitness life with my friends to go for a hike, bike ride, long walk or try a new yoga class on the weekends rather than go wine tasting. I try and make coffee dates paired with healthy salad lunches with friends rather than go out to all the nice restaurants. Now of course I indulge every so often but I like to maintain at least 90% of the time I am eating clean and living a healthy active lifestyle.

What did you love about SA (and in particular little old Durbs)?

South Africa! Hands down one of my most favorite places in the world so far! I cannot wait to take my boyfriend there and experience it all over again. The people are so vibrant and friendly. I think what makes South Africa even more spectacular is the hesitation a lot of people particularly Americans have with it. They primarily think its unsafe so when I tell them about how beautiful South Africa is I love how it sparks curiosity in them to go visit, to go on a Safari, have bunny chow (like seriously how is that white bread so good?!) and have a braai! I mean where else in the world can you go on a safari and see animals in there naturally habitat – the big five! How cool is that!?!!! Its literally National Geographic up close and personal in your face! In Durbs I went to this incredible raw vegan café and had such a special meal there. They made this pesto veggie wrap in a raw vegan seeded wrap and then I had this amazing espresso date banana coffee shake. It was AMAZING. I also trained in this little hot box of a gym seriously must have been 35 degrees in there and had a killer workout that was heavily influenced on martial arts.

And finally, what does living with soul mean to you?

Living with soul to me is living with passion. I left Australia to pursue passion in my career, which is health and fitness. I think you are living with soul if you can wake up excited every morning to start the day and that’s what I am doing now. Teaching people about how they can enrich their lives with proper health and live a more fit lifestyle brings utmost joy into my life. I would do this for free, getting a paycheck for this just enables me to reach even more people and that’s what living with soul means to me.

Cape Town cool

June 4, 2015


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 Images: Nicole Leftwick

Cape Town – always cool, classy and breathtaking.

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted, but I have been mulling over a little winter getaway to Cape Town and as I was going through some old pics of my trip back in December I decided that this post would be the perfect segway to get me back into ‘the space.’

So if like me, you like to plan ahead here are some of my must sees if you’re in the Mother City over summer – or winter (wrapped up accordingly) x

For market meandering – Hout Bay Market

Blown.Away by this market. Set in an authentic old fish factory, Hout Bay Market is a melting pot of uniquely South African arts and crafts. It’s one of those places where the creative energy and the vibrancy of South Africa come alive and you just get that proudly Saffa shiver up your spine. There’s something for everyone there – I personally indulged in a delicious salmon and poached eggs brekky, impeccable coffee at ZA cafe and got me some blue mirrored sunnies from one of the many to die for fashion stalls.

For road trippin’ – Kalk Bay and Boulders Beach

When I’m in CT I always squeeze in a road trip to see the little penguin men at Boulders Beach – and with the picturesque little retro town of Kalk Bay en route, it’s definitely one of my highly recommended ventures. Penguins and boutique stores – what’s not to like, really?

For wining and dining–

Ok it’s no brainer – in Cape Town, we drink wine. There are so many beautiful wine farms it’s hard to recommend one – just get a driver to chauffeur you around! Some personal faves of mine are Tokara, Meerlust, La Motte, Spier and Beau Constantia. I am looking forward to visiting in the colder months – sipping on some red wine around a fireplace is my kinda holiday.

For fresh air and exercise – Lions Head

Table Mountain’s little sister, always a goodie for a Sunday morning hike with a rewarding breathtaking view at the top. No more words of persuasion needed, you’ll see why…

For the health nuts – Wellness Warehouse

I died and went to health nut heaven here. 3.5 hours later (and I had only just moved over from the food and into the skincare) and I was convinced I needed everything from coconut yoghurt to kale chips and every superfood supplement under the sun – eventually had to get outta there… My fave part was the lovely wellness café inside that offers delicious vegan, vegetarian and gluten free meals – something still lacking in Durban I am finding – but we’ll get there.

Wellness Warehouse is situated in the Lifestyles on Kloof centre, 50 Kloof Street.

For an authentic township vibes party – Mzolis

This was newbie for me and man I am glad I ventured out to Gugulethu. Mzoli’s is a butchery and grill bar on the outskirts of the township. I was at the outset, a bit concerned that it would be far too touristy for my liking, but was pleasantly surprised! Aside from the queue taking a good two hours – made a bit more fun by meeting many energized and festive spirits and being able to buy a few cold ciders and soft drinks from a mama’s homemade shebeen across the road – it was a really authentic experience. You choose and pay for your tray of meat and then head to the back where you wait in a smokey kitchen for your chosen cuts to be cooked (doesn’t sound fun but it was!). After that you take the charred cutlets back to your table inside the bar area where you proceed to devour it savagely with your hands, quickly clean up and then dance the night away to some really great African and RnB beats. A rustic and tasty African experience – I smelt like braai afterwards but it was well worth it!

For sun downers with a view – The Grand

And this is why you go to Cape Town (aside from the wine), to sip a cocktail on a private beach. A lovely spot for a Sunday sundowner x

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