EAT WELL // Grain-Free Porridge

EAT WELL // Grain-Free Porridge

Grain-free | Gluten-free | Dairy-free | Low Sugar

By Lilian Dikmans of Real Food Healthy Body

If you feel like a warming porridge but want to avoid grains, this is a nice alternative. I make it with unsweetened almond milk, but you could use coconut milk, a dairy-based milk or water if you prefer. I like to top it with a raspberry compote and crushed nuts and seeds, but some shredded coconut and raw cacao nibs would also be amazing!

Ingredients: 

2 x 20ml tablespoons golden flaxmeal

2 x 20ml tablespoons coconut flour

Pinch of ground cinnamon

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Handful of frozen raspberries

Handful of raw nuts and seeds

Preparation:

1.     Mix the flaxmeal, coconut flour and cinnamon together in a bowl.

2.     Warm the milk over a low heat in a small saucepan. Pour the milk over the dry mixture a little bit at a time, stirring to combine. The flaxmeal and coconut flour will absorb the liquid and thicken. Continue adding the milk and stirring until you reach your desired consistency.

3.     Place the frozen raspberries in the saucepan and heat over a low heat, squashing a few down with the back of a spoon, until they are defrosted and warmed through.

4.     To serve, tip the raspberry mixture over the porridge and top with a sprinkling of mixed nuts and seeds.

Serves 1.

Lilian Dikmans Real Food Healthy Body via INDAH

Check out Lilian's amazing food and fitness blog here.

instagram: @liliandikmans

facebook: @realfoodhealthybody

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EAT WELL // RENEE'S TOP 5 Rules for Beautiful Skin

EAT WELL // RENEE'S TOP 5 Rules for Beautiful Skin

INDAH - Renee Top 5 Rules for Beautiful Skin

BY: RENEE SEXTON

The last few months have been all about natural beauty. I’ve been talking about it a lot with my clients, and I’ve been hosting Natural Beauty Talks, and I’ve also been testing many different products that all aim and claim to give you the best and most beautiful skin.

But for me, its all comes down one thing…your diet. If you’re eating poorly and not getting loads of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet, your skin will suffer. It doesn’t matter how many face masks your slather on or how many vitamins you pop - your skin will suffer.

It doesn’t have to be a total all at once diet change, (don’t worry I’m not that mean), I do suggest that you have a read below of my five rules for beautiful skin and start slowly implementing them into your life. I have chosen these five points specifically as they have the best impact on your skin and will hopefully help you to see real results quickly.  

At the end of the day it comes down to this; start limiting the processed foods in your diet, cut down the sugar, alcohol, dairy and gluten and start replacing it with a plant-based wholefood diet. Think colour, freshness, lots of fruits, vegetables, and well…Whole-Foods (obviously!!)

So here we go, my top five rules for beautiful skin.

My Top Five Rules for Beautiful Skin:  

1.    A Healthy Gut = Healthy Skin: When your gut is healthy it ensures you can absorb all the nutrition from your food, it keeps your immune system strong, and it also keeps your skin looking beautiful. Try adding fermented foods into your daily diet for a massive dose of healthy probiotics. I love having a big glass of kombucha every few days, topping most of my meals with a tsp of sauerkraut (which tastes superb) and adding miso (the good organic kind) to my soups and stews.

INDAH - Renee Top 5 Rules for Beautiful Skin


2.    Cut the dairy: Dairy is very inflammatory for the body, it's hard for the body to break down and it’s also very acidic. Now that doesn’t sound very beautiful, does it? When a client comes to me with skin issues the first thing I do is remove dairy from their diet, and guess what? 9/10 times their skin improves. If you would like to make the switch to a dairy free life try switching to almond milk instead of cow’s milk, cashew cheese instead of cheese and coconut yoghurt instead of yoghurt.

INDAH - Renee Top 5 Rules for Beautiful Skin


3.   Eat Healthy Fats with Every Meal: Fats are amazing for the skin; they keep it supple and beautiful, they help you to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and minerals from your food, and they taste great! I love to sprinkle seeds on top of my porridge for breakfast, add coconut oil to my green smoothie, smash avocado and munch on it with vegetable sticks as a snack and of course drizzle olive oil onto my salad at dinner.

INDAH - Renee Top 5 Rules for Beautiful Skin

4.    Drink Water: Make sure to start your morning every day with a big lemon water. This wakes up your body, helps to detox your system naturally and it’s also very hydrating after a big sleep. Dehydrated skin is not beautiful or radiant so start increasing the amount of water that you drink every day. Ideally, you should be having around 8-10 glasses a day and even more if you’re a coffee drinker. I love adding slices of lemon, cucumber, turmeric, ginger and even herbs to my glass of water to mix it up and encourage me to drink more.   


5.    Eat 2 Serves of Greens a day: I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s quite easy. If you already have a green smoothie during the day, then it’s just about adding in a big handful of spinach or chopping up some kale to add to your dinner and your all set. Leafy greens are full of calcium, iron, magnesium, B vitamins and all those nutrients which keep us feeling and looking our best.

 

INDAH - Renee Top 5 Rules for Beautiful Skin

So there you have it, my top five beautiful skin guidelines. It really all comes down to eating a clean, whole-food plant based diet with lots of variety, colour and nutrition. If you eat this way and make sure to drink regularly your skin will thank you and in return it will shine.

A lot of the time we want a quick fix or a pill that will change our skin problems but at the end of the day if you’re eating a lot of processed food, meat, dairy, gluten and sugar your skin will never be it’s best. So start looking at your diet and make some changes. You’ll end up with more energy, better moods, a stable weight and of course great skin all while eating delicious food. I mean what more could you want.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s post and for more information on being a plant-based babe head over to my blog or check out last month’s article “My Top 3 Superfoods for Winter Wellness”.

Renee x

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INDAH INSPIRES // SARAH HOLLOWAY

INDAH INSPIRES // SARAH HOLLOWAY

Ever since I launched INDAH Inspires there's been one woman, in particular, I've always wanted to interview, and that's Sarah Holloway.

If you love all things wellness, then you'll know who this chic is. If you don't, then you need to know because this world-shaker isn't going anywhere. I had the pleasure of divulging all her "foodie, frolicker and funtrepreneur" secrets, how she does it all and still keeps up with her day and workouts of choice up on the priority list. It's all here - put down that cookie because you're about to be catapulted into INPSO overdrive.

Oh and while I was writing this interview up, Sarah has just been announced Lululemon Emporium Ambassador - now that's INDAH-inspiring! Go Sar!!!

Sarah Holloway INDAH Inspires

That story behind Sarah and the inspiring Matcha Maiden // Matcha Mylkbar:

Although it feels like a lifetime because we’ve packed so much in already, I’m a relative newbie to the business world. I started off as a mergers and acquisitions lawyer and spent a few years at an international corporate law firm, so I’ve undergone a pretty drastic lifestyle change over the past 18 months! Law was a great place to start my professional life – it taught me so much about business and gave me wonderful opportunities to travel and grow. But I knew from pretty early on that, while it satisfied my nerdy side, the creative side was getting heavily neglected so I started looking around for a new creative outlet or side project. When the idea for Matcha Maiden hit us, it couldn’t have been more perfect. Nic, my partner, has always been an entrepreneur and we’ve always wanted to do something together. We’re both passionate about health and wellbeing (Nic was a former athlete and I was a ballerina, so it’s part of our conditioning) and I’m a die-hard foodie, so it’s been the most perfect fit for us both. We had no idea what we were doing at the beginning - Nic’s business experience has never extended to food, retail or product based e-commerce and I had no experience at all – so we were “winging it” for a very long time! But that’s the best part – you learn so quickly when you throw yourself in and take a risk! We started growing far quicker than we ever imagined and when we locked in our first US contract 6 months in, I left the law firm and have been working full-time in matcha land ever since.

Sarah Holloway INDAH Inspires

Her food and diet secrets:

Balance is everything. I’m not particularly great at moderation, but I think balance is incredibly important in your diet. Being too rigid or too focused on particular ingredients/styles of eating isn’t good for anyone. And being too obsessive can take over your life – so just making sure to stay balanced is something I prioritise. The other thing is to listen to your body. We are so flooded with so much conflicting and confusing information these days that it’s basically impossible to know what to do. Looking outwardly is obviously beneficial to be educated and aware of your nutrition, but it really comes down to what your particular body needs. Listening to other people and tuning out the messages your own body is sending you is tempting but dangerous. I used to try lots of different types of eating styles that fell into particular categories i.e. high fat, low fat, high protein, low carb, Bulletproof, paleo etc. But the best I’ve ever felt has been since I stopped trying to follow anything particular and started listening to what my body feels like at any particular time. That changes throughout the year depending on seasons, my level of activity, my goals etc. It’s taken me a while to tune in to myself, but I’m much more conscious of it these days and I feel so good!

Sarah Holloway INDAH Inspires

Taking care of business:

It’s definitely challenging sometimes to strike the right balance, especially since I feel like my life is my business. I love our work and live and breathe what we do but, while I don’t think there’s anything wrong with passion and I know that is part of why we’ve grown so fast, I too easily forget that there are other things in life i.e. rest and play! Particularly going from a career that I wasn’t in love with to now being able to live my dreams every day, I don’t actually want to stop working. But I did that for a year and found I was often run down, got sick easily and was running a health-oriented business without taking care of my own health. I’ve since made a more concerted effort not to lose myself in the business and incorporate more down time into each week (and each day!) I meditate more, actively schedule in time for exercise and “no-phone time”, and we’ve just come back from our first holiday in a long time where we limited ourselves to an hour of wifi a day! It’s an ongoing challenge but I think we’re improving every day!

Her exercise theory:

Like I said, I don’t do it as much as I should but have recently started to be stricter with myself in terms of unwinding. I LOVE yoga as I find it helps me unwind both physically and mentally. When I don’t have time for a full class, sometimes I just meditate which I also find incredibly powerful. Walking the dog without my phone is also something I love to help me relax. When I feel like something a bit more challenging, I’ll do a HIIT class, reformer pilates or boxing (when I’m having a particularly stressful day). And when I’m too lazy for exercise, there is nothing I love more than trashy TV to take my mind away from work – the less realistic and more stupid, the better!

https://www.instagram.com/spoonful_of_sarah/

Does simplicity mean anything?

Absolutely! Obviously, how simple you can live is influenced by what you want to achieve in life. Wanting to run a global business means that we can’t go as simple as we otherwise would, but in another universe, I would strip things back and live as a minimalist. Humans aren’t designed to do a million things at once and it takes away from our full enjoyment of each moment. We overcrowd our minds and lives with so much unnecessary baggage. I love holidays especially for how much simpler your life becomes and how much my brain and body responds positively to that.

Nic and I have been lucky enough in our lives to experience true simplicity and it was one of the most liberating, eye-opening and fulfilling periods of my life. We spent a month in remote Rwanda in Africa living extremely simply and it was incredible how much more you appreciate each moment, the things around you and the people you are with. Once you come back to normal life, things start to get more multi-layered and complex pretty quickly but I try to keep things simple where I can. I’ve started to do this mentally (i.e. uni-tasking and focusing on one thing at a time more) but also looking for simplicity in other areas too like my eating and skincare – stripping back all the unnecessary and added ingredients of modern life and going back to what’s natural. It’s amazing!

Sarah is slowing down...or not:

We’ve had a pretty full on year moving into year two of Matcha Maiden and opening Matcha Mylkbar. With all the craziness, I’ve sort of been flying by the seat of my pants so I think the next step is to get on top of my routine again and maybe slow down for a little while to give myself a chance to catch up on everything. Having said that, I’m sure that won’t last long – my brain is already buzzing with ideas, so we’ll have to see!

Sarah Holloway INDAH Inspires

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Spice up your Winter Porridge with these Three Immune Boosting Superfoods

Spice up your Winter Porridge with these Three Immune Boosting Superfoods

Winter Porridge INDAH with Renee Sexton

BY: RENEE SEXTON

It’s that time of year again when the air temperature can change with chilly wintery gusts; the mornings get darker, and your kitchen sink might become a little more filled with stacks of coffee stained mugs and half drunk milky teas.

Let’s be honest; mornings are hard on a good day, but they are near impossible on a cold winters morning. I don’t know about you, but I can practically feel my feet curling under at the thought of having to leave the snug comfort of my bed to face the cold walk to the shower.

So, I decided to keep my regular schedule and not waste precious hours hitting the snooze button; I needed to add something amazing to my breakfast that would get me out of bed, help ensure that my immune system stayed strong and healthy. BUT, that also gave me that little energy kick that was rarely found outside of a strong black coffee.

Three Immune Boosting Superfoods:

I decided to upgrade my regular morning porridge and give it a little helping hand or boost if you like, by adding 3 of my favourite superfoods. These are the ones that I call to when it’s been a very long day (or week) when my skin is playing up and of course when my energy levels are feeling uninspired.  

Luckily these three superfoods are like magic when combined and taste incredible mixed into a creamy bowl of comforting porridge which will indeed help get you out of bed, and ensure you have all the energy and motivation you need to get on with your day.  

Cacao powder:

Let’s get straight into it with my favourite one - chocolate!! Now if chocolate porridge isn’t enough of a reason to eat breakfast, then I’m sorry you can’t be helped. No, I’m joking of course, but seriously cacao powder mixed into your porridge is…divine, sensational, naughty but oh-so-nice.

Cacao powder if you didn’t know already is the purest form of chocolate. It has been minimally processed and hasn’t been exposed to heat, which means all those amazing nutrients like magnesium, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, iron, etc. that are all present in Cacao are still there and ready to make you feel incredible.

All you have to do is add 1-heaped tbsp. Of this chocolaty goodness to your morning oats while they are cooking. Then let the house fill with the smell of warm chocolate. Ohh yes, it’s pretty unique.

Maca Powder:

When I think of Maca, I instantly think energy. It’s my morning friend who ensures that I can keep going and going all day. I typically add 1 tbsp to my green smoothie but as the temperature drops and my morning green smoothies start to reduce, I need to find new ways to get it in my diet.

It has a slight caramel malty taste which is why it goes so well with creamy flavours like porridge. Predominantly known for its energy boosting properties, Maca powder is high in so many nutrients like B vitamins and calcium, which is all I need to know.

Bee Pollen:

Little pellets of gold, nuggets of energy, rays of sunshine…ok I’m getting carried away here, what I’m trying to say if you haven’t tried bee pollen yet, you need to it’s amazing!!  One of my favourite things about it is that it has pretty much all of the essential nutrients we need to survive. Yes, you heard me right. You can get a lot of the nutrients you need in your diet every day just from bee pollen. How amazing is that!! Of course, that makes it a must-have daily food and is why I always start my day off with 1 tbsp. Of bee pollen sprinkled on top on my morning porridge, or blended into my smoothie (in the summer).

If you are new to bee pollen, start off slow with just one tsp. and then work up to 1 tbsp. No more. It’s very-strong and can cause reactions such as heart palpitations if you have it in excess, be warned, a little goes a long way.

That’s it. The best, most delicious, super-food porridge and all by just adding three new ingredients. Of course, I wouldn’t leave you with just that, so I have added my superfood recipe below so that you can jump straight in and start making delicious creamy bowls of porridge for breakfast every morning.

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any questions, please comment below or head over to my blog for more recipes and articles. I will see you all next month for another dose of inspiration.

Renee x

Winter Porridge INDAH with Renee Sexton

My Winter Superfood Porridge:
Serves 2

Ingredients:
•    1 1/2 cups of coconut milk
•    1 cup or organic rolled oats (soaked overnight in 1 cup of water)
•    ¼ cup of cacao powder
•    1 tbsp of maca powder
•    1 banana
•    1 tsp of bee pollen
•    organic berries
•    maple syrup to serve

In a pot add your soaked oats + coconut milk and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 5 minutes. Once cooked add banana + cacao powder + maca powder and mix well.

Transfer to two bowls and top with warm berries, bee pollen and a drizzle of maple syrup.

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MOVEMENT // DYNAMIC BODY WEIGHT EXERCISE

MOVEMENT // DYNAMIC BODY WEIGHT EXERCISE

Dynamic body-weight exercises are important for life-long locomotion and they also improve strength, stability, and coordination.

The best part is: you can do these movements pretty much anywhere and anytime.

Incorporating lateral moves is like a double whammy to your workout. We use these lateral exercises a lot in our studio at Total Reformation because they help reduce the risk of injury and they enhance the body's proprioception. Focus points are the hip, knees and ankles in which a lot of people or athletes get injured. We are always moving forward, rarely backwards or sideways, and when we have to change direction abruptly, like in a sports game or even doing the housework, this type of brain pattern and body integration can withstand the sudden change of direction with stability and ease. All in all, everybody and every trainer or coach should be using lateral movements in their repertoire to help reduce injury or to help build up strength slowly from lateral injuries.

Please note: If you have past injuries or are currently experiencing pain or discomfort please seek professional advice from your health-care practitioner before attempting these movements.

Prep: Be sure to complete myofascial release and warm up before proceeding this movement.

Use images as reference for the right side.

Start wide stance - use your yoga mat as a gauge. Breathe in.

Breathe out whilst squatting down to frog squat, activate pelvic floor.

Breathe in and crawl out to high plank - keep core, glutes and lats engaged for stability.

Place left foot to the outside of the left hand.

Using your breath and dynamic power of your left glute, spring up into a low lunge laterally to the right side. Keep shoulders down and back, activate pelvic floor and push 80% of your weight into your right glute.

Place right foot back to high plank.

Crawl and breathe back to frog squat.

Stand up and repeat opposite direction.

12 reps or 6 on each side.

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EVENT // THE BEAUTIFUL WAY WORKSHOP

EVENT // THE BEAUTIFUL WAY WORKSHOP

Teisha Lowry INDAH The Beautiful Way Workshop

NOURISH MELBOURNE PRESENTS:

THE BEAUTIFUL WAY WORKSHOP BY TEISHA LOWRY - FOUNDER OF INDAH


Saturday 23 July 2016, 1-4pm, One Roof, Southbank.
Join us on this hands-on workshop and discover a functional approach to discovering true skin health. We will learn about The 4 Pathways from her new book written by Teisha as she shares expert skin care advice for clear skin, with tips on what foods to eat, how to detox naturally to reduce the appearance of sun damage, preserve elastin, produce collagen and even skin tone.

Register your interest with Nourish Melbourne.

Image by: Peter Coulson.

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INDAH INSPIRES // LILIAN DIKMANS OF REAL FOOD HEALTHY BODY

INDAH INSPIRES // LILIAN DIKMANS OF REAL FOOD HEALTHY BODY

Real Food Health Body INDAH Inspires

Lilian: derived from the flower name Lily. Symbol of innocence / purity / beauty which is exactly what this inspirational woman is, but don't let her beauty fool you. She's a kick arse Muay Thai boxer / lawyer / blogger / author and what better way to kill time or when procrastination strikes than to thumb scroll through her nourishing desserts and meals on Instagram.

I met Lil many years ago when life was on easy street and we were two (what I like to think) down-to-earth-models busting our chops on the runways. Nothing much has changed between us - we've always been there for each other over the years, except we've overcome any junk food cravings and turned it into a healthier career.

Her passion for food, health and fitness inspires INDAH because she specialises in creating recipes and fills them with real ingredients, serving up nutrient-dense meals that can be incorporated into any busy lifestyle.

Luckily for me, we are still really good mates, always keeping it real and sharing our countless health and beautyl obsessions. I love this girl and lucky for all of us she stops by INDAH to shellout her motivations behind building her food pyramid / empire.

Real Food Health Body INDAH Inspires

Lil talks the big M: motivation:

In a nutshell, I’d have to say helping people. There’s no better feeling than helping to make someone’s life a little bit easier.

Her secret to self-management:

I think the two key things for me are a good night’s sleep and a task list. Sleep is essential for me to be functioning efficiently so I try to get 7 to 8 hours every night. I also keep a detailed task list (I use an app called Wunderlist). I find it stressful to have things floating around in my head because I worry that I might forget something, so I write things down. If I’m having a discussion with someone and a task comes up, or if I’m lying in bed at night thinking of all the things I have to do, I add it to my task list so it’s out of my head and noted down. Then each morning I look at the list and decide what I want to achieve that day, based on my priorities. It’s not always easy though and I definitely have days where I do all the wrong things and have to regroup and reorganise myself to make the next day better!

Inspiration at its best:

So many people inspire me in so many different ways, but I'd have to say my sister. She's a mental health nurse and I have so much respect for what she does day in day out for her patients. She's one of those people who everyone turns to for comfort and support because she just radiates love and kindness. Her generosity is amazing.

The first three things shes does upon awakening:

Check my email (this isn't a great habit and I'm trying to change it!). Then I have a big glass of water and take a probiotic because I'm working on building up my gut health, and have a quick stretch on my yoga mat.

Real Food Health Body INDAH Inspires

Her healthy diet tip:

I just try to focus on eating nutrient-dense food because my body works so much better when I do. I try to get a lot of vegetables into my meals because if I don’t, I really notice a drop in my energy levels. I’ve also recently been making sure I eat some protein and carbs straight after my training sessions. It’s usually just one of my homemade protein balls in the car on the way home so I don’t have to starve until I’ve made a proper meal. I’ve been finding this helps my recovery.

Real Food Health Body INDAH Inspires

Advising new business women:

Do your research and connect with people in the space that you are interested in. I don't like "networking" but I do like meeting like-minded people, getting to know them on a more personal level and forging genuine relationships. Then there are always opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other.

Scour Lilian via her countless health, beauty, travel and feel good feeds on her blog, facebook and instagram

INDAH Inspires Lilian Dikmans

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AS SEEN IN // METRO MODE SWEDEN

AS SEEN IN // METRO MODE SWEDEN

Raw Clarity Philippa

Metro Mode's health blogger Philippa Salomonsson is holistic health coach and run food company Raw Clarity Kitchen. Here she advises on three organic products she can not live without right now.
 
Filippa often choose natural and organic products both on the plate and in the bathroom cabinet. Check out the slideshow of her best tips for a fresher and more glorious summer.

Full Article

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INDAH INSPIRES // STEPHANIE WOOLLARD OF SEVEN WOMEN

INDAH INSPIRES // STEPHANIE WOOLLARD OF SEVEN WOMEN

INDAH Inspires Seven Women

By: Teisha Lowry Cox

Most of us want to improve: whether that be with our job, our relationships, career, personality, bank balance, that annoying yoga pose – we all strive to be better at being a human. I think most of us (myself included) take the little things in life for granted.

We spend so much time on improving that we sometimes forget how far we’ve actually come to create this incredible life and feel grateful for what we have. The question remains: will we ever be satisfied? Probably not hey, but that’s ok I think it’s within us, especially if we come from a competitive nature. We all have millions of things to be grateful for, just look down at your feet right now, what are you wearing – Gucci’s? The latest Nikes? Diamantes in your flip-flops? For me: comfy warm uggs. The gist of this is: We are so damn lucky and we sit here complaining about the smallest things when > there are women and children who are living in the most unimaginable conditions, enduring harsh discrimination as a result of being disabled or abandoned from domestic violence, trafficking and prostitution to child sexual abuse and harmful traditional practices, and right down to the simple things such as reading, writing and counting. THIS is real. THIS is happening. THIS is about change and THIS is something as women we need to be doing…

Empowering other women and improving the world we live in.

When I heard about Seven Women: Empowering marginalised women through skills training and employment, I immediately contacted the founder Stephanie Woollard about doing an interview for INDAH Inspires. I thought oh yeah this will be nice to feature such an inspiring story but it was challenging to get some of her precious time. I knew deep down inside of me I couldn’t give up, so I kept hassling Steph and I finally had my opportunity, and boy - all I can say - it was bloody worth it. Steph isn’t one for writing her answers, and nor does she like to talk about herself so I got her on the phone for half an hour and she passionately talked about her wonderful projects for her charity Seven Women and why when you give, you get way more than you ever thought imaginable in return.

How Steph founded Seven Women and why Nepal:

After high school, I went on a trip to Nepal to volunteer through the Duke of Edinburgh and that was a three month tour to build schools in remote communities or help the locals to build new schools and I was really inspired by the generosity and the hospitality of the Nepalese people, but it was also my first experience of seeing poverty at that level. I went back there as a tour leader with the Duke of Edinburgh leading groups of architects over to Nepal, and on one of those trips, I met seven women who were living and operating out of a tin shed and they were all disabled in some way. I went back to that tin shed every day for about two weeks and was wondering: how I could support them as an individual? So with $200 left that I had, we decided with that money to hire two trainers to come in and train them in a skill, which ended up being knitting, because the wool is readily available to access in the local markets again and again. That’s how it all began. After that, I started bringing the products back to Australia to sell them and with that money it went back to Nepal to firstly set up a room for these women to stay in and a bathroom for keeping themselves clean. From there, they develop different roles and it became kind of an operating center. We started to employ more and more women as we could then make and sell products to raise money and that grew and grew. By word of mouth we had different women coming to the center with not only disabilities but mothers, widows, and situations of domestic violence, we couldn’t have the capacity in that center which was very basic to be able to accommodate everybody, so we wanted to open another center and rent another building in Katmandu to accommodate some of these women and that’s when we started the second center which is now our Headquarters and that’s where we’ve launched our rural and remote village programs all around in and Nepal.

We now have over 5000 women and we started ten years ago from seven.

INDAH Inspires Seven Women

Steph explains what Fair Trade really means to Seven Women:

We don’t have the logo or the accreditation because for us it just works better to employ fair trade principles, which is basically: treat your workers fairly and make the supply chain equal and just. We are an organization set up for that purpose so of course we’re going to pay the staff fair wages for the work that they’re doing and 100% of the profits go back anyway to develop our organisation. It is an interesting topic to talk about because I think sometimes even the accredited companies it is not working as well as it should be for the employees, in our situation it’s quite expensive and involves a lot of paperwork and things to get that accreditation and it’s quite difficult as well because we’re not coffee, tea or cotton where you can trace the whole supply chain. Sometimes we might buy threads or materials from the local market and mainly wool which is exported from Australia and New Zealand, and so then our women will make products out of that material. The 10 fair trade principles are a good guideline to go by for example no child labor, proper facilities for the women, running water and that sort of thing at the center, we naturally employ them at our center and it makes sense and it serves the women that come in.

INDAH Inspires Seven Women

Sewing what you reap on another level:

When the women come to our center our three main programs are literacy, skills training and income generation so it provides a lot of opportunities for the women to become independent. Once they learn literacy, they then understand how to learn numbers and they have strong sense of confidence, mobility and independence after that and when they can read signs when traveling it makes them feel more secure. Skill training provides them with skills that they can then earn an income and from there we support them to open a bank account, there’s a lot of steps of progress along the way, and it takes time, but they can take as long as they need to complete our classes. Once they have these skills they become employable and go about finding a job outside of Seven Women or they can work with us or start their own business if they want to do that. It gives the women a lot of options, and this is the difference with us as a lot of organisations have set training for one or two months, but a lot of the women we get coming through the center have different disabilities or different mental tensions from being abused and things like that, so some can be fast and some can be slower, we really adapt to the individual to the program and for how long they need to learn those skills. In terms of all success stories – they’ve all definitely progressed in life and they really appreciate what we offer, some get married and have returned to their villages and become mothers and some have used the skills that they’ve learnt at Seven Women, but what they all take away is that sense of empowerment and women’s rights, freedom of choice and independence.

On turning ten:

I think the most rewarding thing for me is seeing transformation in the women and also it’s very humbling to see women that come to the center from desperation and suffering. When they come in from being abandoned from their husband, or they’ve been stranded by their family or they’ve been beaten every day, that is a powerless situation and then seeing that progress sometimes takes years and sometimes it only takes months for them to drive their own futures. There was one girl, and her bones weren’t formed properly at birth so she’s quite different to look at and received a lot of ridicule in her life, she use to wear a mask over her face when she went out in public and yet now she is very confident and has a role at the center as a literacy teacher every day at 4pm, she does the book-keeping and now she’s very confident within herself and it doesn’t bother her anymore like it use to, so seeing that transformation is very rewarding. I also have a tour company in Nepal, and the women are involved in becoming tour leaders and showing groups of Westerners around and this is another level of confidence as they need to be able to lead international guests around.

The future vision for Seven Women:

In Nepal we want to expand into remote villages by giving women teacher training at our center with literacy classes to train other women in their villages and how they can learn and earn income and even start their own businesses. We plan to expand into three to five villages a year doing that, and also create the best cooking school in Nepal. We run cooking classes for tourists at the center, and they’re really good and the women teach the Westerners about how to make a product using Fair Trade principles and how hand-made things are actually made. There’s a lot of interest with different tour companies bringing their groups to the centers for that, so the immediate plan is to develop the cooking school within one to two years at the center.

If there is any spare time Steph likes to:

I enjoy going to the movies and I love to travel. My favorite film is Beneath The Clouds, which explores the difficulties and complexities growing up as an Indigenous Australian.

How we can help:

The Seven Women story has been turned into a documentary by film maker Kim Ramsay and as part of our celebration of 10 years running, we are aiming to release this awe-inspiring full-length documentary which follows the stories of several women in Nepal, each representing challenges women face globally – domestic violence, discrimination, lack of education, poverty, young marriage, risk of human trafficking and exploitation. Our documentary maker has been following our work for the past four years, traveling to Nepal and documenting the empowerment of women in our programs. It shows the impacts of literacy, skills training, and income generation and brings awareness of important global issues. We have recently screened in Sydney and Melbourne is next (although sold out) but people can potentially host a screening, and volunteer to different things such as signing up as an ongoing donor to $20, $40 and $60 per month, which will not only helps us build a relationship with our donors but gives us the ability to plan and expand into how many villages we can expand into and to how soon.

The best thing is when people come to Nepal and they get to experience our work and they can come onto a tour, and they become long-term supporters and volunteering with us. It’s a very life-enriching experience for both participants and for the people they visit in Nepal.

Learn more and please show your support:

Seven Women has all the products available online and they are looking for more retailers to take on these amazing hand-made gifts such as pashminas, toys, rugs and clothing, and if you want to experience Nepal and Seven Women at a grassroots level they run four tours per year at Hands On Development.

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