Summer cleanse, let’s do this!

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October is coming to an end, which has been a hectic (the most common Afrikaans word :D) travel-wise for me. Last time I’ve been sleeping in so many different places was on Asia backpacking trips. People who know me also know that I love healthy food and being active every day, thus I’ve occasionally missed my normal life while on the road. During the road trip across the country, we too often ate our meals as snacks in the car. I ate more milk chocolate than in years, white bread and a lot of processed food in lack of options. Then my parents arrived and eating since has been completely opposite; big breakfasts,  huge seafood and steak dinners, milky coffees and chocolate brownies. Even thinking about all the amazing food we’ve had makes me happy 🙂 but I am more than happy to invite more stable November to come. I feel slightly sluggish mentally and physically, which is why I am dedicating November to mindfulness and well-being, besides finalising my uni semester.

I always wanted to do a juice cleanse and can’t think of a better time or place than here in Stellenbosch, not that the Summer has arrived as well. I ordered a 5 day cleanse for Juice Revolution and started off this morning. I’ve now been on juices for few hours and can already feel a slight headache… My coffee lover cells are mad I guess 😉 Since I started spontaneously and the 5 days are in between my parents visit and a planned dinner on Wednesday, I could not stick to a vegetarian diet three days before and after, as I could not help myself eating lamb shank for dinner last night 😀 Oh well, 5 days is plenty of time for my body to cleanse. I wanted to keep myself motivated by doing some research on the benefits of a cleanse:

1) Rest the stomach. For the tens of millions of people who are on acid-suppressing drugs — and for older folks who often don’t produce enough stomach acid — making the stomach work less to extract nutrients can be a huge benefit.

2) Rest and repair the gut. Toxic foods (including saturated fats, refined carbs, foods with additives, pesticides and allergenic foods), taking medications (such as antibiotics or antacids), and even stress can impair the intestine’s functioning. There can easily be an imbalance in the gut microbiome (flora and fauna balance) as well as actual breaks in the intestinal barrier (“leaky gut”) — allowing substances into our bodies that should not get a free pass. Consuming a phytonutrient-dense rainbow plant-based juice diet allows food to be assimilated quickly through the intestine — consuming less energy, while the toxin-free, nutrient-dense food helps to repair the gut itself.

3) Rest the liver. The liver is our main detoxifying organ. Every molecule of food that is absorbed through the intestinal wall (fiber is not absorbed) moves into the liver for detoxification and preparation before being allowed to enter the rest of the body. Problem is, there are too many toxins for most of our livers to handle — with many passing unchecked into the general circulation to wreak havoc in distant cells. An organic juice cleanse rests the liver’s overload.

4) Reduce your appetite. Juicing doesn’t really shrink the stomach — although it feels like it does. Juicing eliminates the habit of comfort eating, and makes you feel satiated with less food than usual. This provides a big psychological boost to help get over the hurdle of changing habits.

5) Ease food decision-making. Juicing focuses on consuming fresh whole food produce every few hours — and reduces the enslavement of thinking constantly about what the next meal is going to be. Not only do we feel sated, but realize we are no longer slaves to our addictions with (often very harmful) foods.

6) Eliminate harmful foods. The juice cleanse eliminates dairy, wheat, gluten and fermented foods from the diet (as well as coffee and alcohol). In my experience, the majority of patients over 40 are relatively insensitive to wheat. Being off this — and other common trigger foods for a period — then reintroducing them can help define what foods are causing our body problems.

7) Floods our body with super nutrition. Being on an all-produce diet gives us not only the vitamins and minerals but the all-important phytonutrients that are powerhouses for the clean-up and healing process. Juices are by nature raw foods — and retain nutrients that would be destroyed by cooking, including some B vitamins and especially (digestive and anti-inflammatory) enzymes.

9) Lose weight. As you are feeling better and having more energy, you also naturally lose weight. Some of this is water bloat, but also some is fat.

9) Improve energy. After the first day’s adjustment period (mostly missing crunching, and any coffee/alcohol cessation symptoms), most people begin to feel much more energy and clarity (by consuming only fresh juices) than they ever did with frequent caffeine drinks.

10) Rehydrate the body. Drinking sufficient fluids (5-6 glasses/day) makes the body function more efficiently, increases energy (often successfully removing the afternoon blahs/brain fog), and helps insure proper elimination of toxins.

11) Reduce physical problems. You begin to feel generally better, not just with your energy, but with many chronic symptoms such as headaches, rashes, general aches, congested sinuses and chest, and bloating/cramping/gas. Too much of the time our body is fighting off the things we do to it (especially with food — but also with lack of sleep, inactivity and stress).

12) Allow maximum detoxification. To optimally support all phases of the body’s natural detox process, you need a very broad range of plant-supplied nutrients like anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories. By providing the body with super-nutrient dense foods juicing allows the body to have more of the resources it needs to support the phases of detoxification, and even to begin to help remove the cumulative toxins stored in the body.

13) Heal our cells. Switching to an organic plant-based diet allows cells to work optimally to re-establish efficient internal messaging and manufacturing processes, allowing the mitochondria to create energy without having to fight off a plethora of free radicals and inflammation, and reducing some of the impediments to proper DNA functioning.

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Yes please! I also found several arguments against juice detoxing, thus like many other things in life, you have to try it yourself to see how it affects on you. It will not be easy 5 days for sure, but I also take this as a way to challenge myself and see that I can do this. Have you guys ever done a cleanse? Would you like me to tell more on how it goes?

Vacay continues

 As funny as it afterwards sounds, after three weeks on the road, coming back to Stellie felt magical. I wish I remembered every day to appreciate the little things that felt so good this night – the Summer breeze outside, taking a shower in own bathroom, squeezing PJ out of breath, waking up next to your special person next morning… I even saw my room through new eyes. It is only when you come back and realise how much you take for granted 🙂
Though I’ve known this for years, I got a good reminded that I am a city girl by heart. I do love exploring untouched nature and being close to the beach, but it’s cities where I feel most alive and inspired. While driving, I often caught myself daydreaming about living or at least visiting New York or Hong Kong again soon. Also I spent a lot of time thinking how I want my life in Helsinki to look like whenever I go back. But, first I’ll focus making most out of my time in Stellie and later in Cape Town. I hope to move there in December and could not be more excited.
Anyway, next morning it was time to head to Cape Town to welcome my visitors to South Africa. We met at Mount Nelson where my parents and my godmother and her husband were already sophisticatedly sipping high tea 😀 A bit too fancy for me, but gorgeous pastries they had indeed. My two restaurant recommendations are Blues at Camps Bay for seafood and Black Sheep at Kloof Street. Everything has always been divine but the ostrich fillet & chocolate brownie is what brings me back to this place. People who know me well understands if I say that my relationship with this restaurant is comparable to Pastor in Helsinki… Always good vibes, food and service. We were lucky for have PJ join us for dinner, I knew my parents would love her as well. 😀
Next few days we spent in Stellies, I sent the visiting team to vineyards. I made a comeback to gym, finalised uni work and cuddled as much as possible before hitting the road again. On Saturday morning, we headed towards Hermanus for whale watching. And that’s only the first stop of our Garden Route trip. I think its safe to say this October is the most kilometre heavy so far.
Some highlights past week
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Rust En Vrede lunch. The steak and red wine combo is divine and the scenery and interior design is simply beautiful
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Grabbing a fresh juice after too long break
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Hitting the gym felt soooo good
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Endless chocolate brownies in the search of a challenger for Black Sheep’s one
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Live Bait at Simonstown. We had the most amazing fresh seafood lunch here. The interior reminds me of Hamptons and you can sit at the window by the Ocean and spot seals having a nap on the rocks
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Observing how penguins spend their days at Boulder’s Beach
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We spent few nights in Camps Bay (I can 100% recommend Atlantic Bay Suites for accommodation, simply the cosiest guesthouse with beautiful rooms, breathtaking view, perfect location, and great breakfast. I hope I have a chance to go back there). I fell for this area even more now that I had a chance to explore it better. The combination of Lions Head and Twelve Apostles mountains, the ocean, gorgeous neighbourhoods and nice beach town vibes make it my favourite area in the Mother City.
xxx

Exploring the Mother Earth high up

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Hiking in Drakensberg was definitely the highlight of our trip. I’ve never seen such beautiful, untouched sceneries as high up on these mountains. We did two major hikes – The Crack and The Sentinel Peak the next day. The Sentinel is the second highest peak in South Africa and let me just say that the feeling once you reach the top is so rewarding. I again felt that South Africa is like a mini world -within same day I felt like being in Iceland, Ireland, Finland, in an African country… Crazy. Also you may experience four seasons within one day.

 

We took a walk just before the sunset which was one of the most magical of my life. Two golden retrievers joined me and Maria, and the four of us walked across the savanna, surrounded by mountains and African trees, the sun setting behind the mountains… I learned how much I love capturing moments with camera as I was kind of devastated not having a camera with me. So the memories and iPhone photos will have to do. 

 

We stayed at Amphitheatre Lodge which turned out to be the cosiest accommodation, with stunning views of mountains surrounding 360 degrees.

 

xxx 

Wanderlust: a strong desire to wander or travel and explore the world

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From Addo we drove to Grahamstown for an overnight stop, a cute university town. (Though I must say I felt lucky again to study in the scenic and exciting Cape Town). Our next destination was Coffee Bay, a rural village, where I, for the first time, felt like being in Africa. All sorts of animals are running wild on the streets and people are carrying heavy amounts of water above their heads. In Coffee Bay we surfed, horse rid around the village, and hiked along the coast line. The sceneries were unbelievable beautiful and I truly felt like being on the edge of the world. Arian spent his time kite surfing – I decided I need to learn this sport which looks like the most exciting one. If you ever go to Coffee Bay, be sure to stay at Coffee Shack. We made some new friends here, partied a bit and joined their day trips to the beach and hiking.

Next day driving again to Port Shepster. Lovely dinner at Jaxx (great food and service), and sleeping. Morning drive to Durban to check out the third largest city. From there to the furthest part of our road trip. I drove for the first time besides my own car here, was hectic (the most used word of the locals ;). The last part really felt like being surrounded by Lion King sceneries. We arrived to Sutwana Bay through thick forest. It’s safe to say we are on a wild life area now. And it’s safe to say we successfully crossed the country. 🙂 Here for the next few days. Maria will do her driving license and I’ll dive. Arian will kite surf.

Be still, and the earth will speak to you.

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Though I try to not regret anything in life, I must say I never really forgave an opportunity I missed exactly ten years ago. Our family friend invited us to his ranch in South Africa to witness the wild animals. My parents of course took up the offer – I, however, insisted staying home, as I would’ve missed too many parties. Talk about a #fomo 😀

Though ten years has passed, I feel lucky to be here now and have another chance. Our next destination was Addo Elephant Park. I have been eating a lot of local meat, and I must say it was weird to get physical shape in my mind for all these animals, such as kudus, springboks, wildebeests, hartebeests… We saw zebras, buffalos, meerkats, warthogs and of course elephants. I could stare elephants for hours, their peaceful yet powerful presence simply makes you want to stare them. We were not lucky enough to see lions, which means that I need to go back out there later on to search for them .. 😉

In Jeffrey’s Bay my camera was mostly lying on the bed as I was busy surfing 😉 until I took it with me to the beach on the last night. If you ever go to Jeffrey’s Bay, stay at Island Vibe. Simply the place to be 🙂

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I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my bucket list

It’s time for a road trip.

If I thought that I was stepping out of my comfort by moving to Africa, I take it back. Or the stepping out of comfort zone simply got a new meaning ;). I’ve once in my life felt being as remoted as now, it was on Mabul island in Borneo, Malaysia. So far away from home you don’t even want to think about it! After Cederberg weekend, I only had few days to finalise two uni courses, say temporary goodbye to my closed ones in Stellies and preparing for the unknown… On Friday, we wrote a test and then hit the road with Maria and Arian, myfriends from MBA. We will drive all the way across the country to the Northern border of South Africa and Mozambique.

I knew that I’d realise quickly after entering the region of Eastern Cape that I have not experienced the real Africa so far. Stellenbosch and Cape Town are the most amazing places to live in, but I want to see other parts of the country as well. We first we passed gorgeous rocks along the driveway, followed by a desert. We stopped for the best apple pie in the country (we agree with trip advisor) in a town that literally was in the middle of the desert. Since then nature got greener and roads are luckily mostly good. Once entering Eastern Cape, you can see all sorts of animals crossing the road at any moment, cows, sheep, pigs, dogs…. I’ve also been surprised to learn how much unpopulated area the country has got.

Our first stop was Jeffrey’s Bay, surfers’ mecca. If you ever go, stay at Island Vibe backpackers. No explanation needed, it is simply the place to be. 🙂 About surfing… My fear of sharks has had to give in as I’m falling for surfing more and more.  I cannot think of a more exciting activity than combining the ocean, fresh air, and the need to give your full attention, body and mind in order to ride the waves. I’ve still got much to learn but I enjoy the journey…

I would not change where I am now for anything, yet I already miss my people in Stellies. Not to mention back home, but luckily I will receiving first visitors very soon. Hope everyone are doing well and cannot wait to be reunited whenever the time comes. Photos will appear later as the African signal won’t allow me to add any now 😉

Next up checking of something from my bucket list: witnessing wild African creatures in their home.

“And at the end of the day, you feet should be dirty, your hair messy, and your eyes sparkling.”

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Though daily life and routines feel sense of security and basis for going towards your vision, it is adventures that keep us feeling alive, isn’t it? When you feel excited and curious about seeing new places, never know what to expect. I tend to be highly future oriented, constantly thinking what I should do for my personal development, learning more about life and the world. Traveling is one of the greatest forms to tackle this, even the restless soul of mine is finally fully present, wanting to take all in of the new experience. You can read books to develop your intelligence, but it is living the life when you put this intelligence into practise.

You rarely regret going on adventures. Dare to take a chance, see new places, open up to new people. You just might end up finding the most beautiful landscapes, feel like walking on the surface of moon, seeing no other people besides your team… Getting a kiss on what feels like on top of the world, appreciating the beauty of the untouched nature with your dear friend on edge of a cliff. Realizing that this moment is all we’ve got, yet it does not restrict of dreaming about future adventures… Camping among huge trees, in the light of a fire and full moon, toasting marshmallows, boiling your water on a gas stove… (I so much look up to the guys who handled the skills needed!) Well, this was our adventure, every one is different yet one thing is certain: There is still so much see.

As far as I can remember, it was my first night ever in a tent. Being disconnected, out of reach of signal to be connected to the rest of the world, watching the fire for hours – my kind of activity. Truly enjoying the things you have around you: nature, friends, fire, food… The hikes itself were incredible. There’s no way I could’ve captured what we saw to photos. We took the extreme hike through caves. I truly felt like being on another planet.

The way back to Supermoon was giving light to our way back home. Though I enjoy city vibes, I might just enjoy being in untouched, non-populated nature even more. The nature teaches you wisdom.