All posts tagged: health

A raw vegan experience


A few weeks ago, Team UNITED (so, just me) took up a raw vegan challenge – basically five days of eating in line with a raw vegan lifestyle. According to the internet, “raw veganism” is also sometimes referred to as “absolutely awful”, which we found to be more accurate.

The back-story is that when it comes to food and nutrition, about the only things I am confident in are broccoli and water. Everything else seems to be the most amazing thing ever, and dangerous, at the same time depending on who is telling the story. With this in mind, for …

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A man and some painkillers


I was at a not-for-profit networking function a few weeks ago to see what other people were up to and to see if I could steal any great ideas for Project UNITED. I met a man who was part of a project for getting young adults off painkillers. As usual, rather than gently engaging in conversation, I started hammering him with questions. Unusually, this gentleman didn’t find an excuse to leave, he stayed and answered everything I asked. After I had heard some of his answers, I told him about Project UNITED and asked if I could write about his …

UNITEDA man and some painkillers
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7 Day Barcode Ban: The outcome

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This was way harder than I expected. Seven days of meals without using any ingredients that were packaged or had a barcode on them certainly identified how convenient my eating habits had become.

[To skip to the crux of the experience, click here – dot points]

The first observation was how much preparation was required for each meal. The process of getting hungry and then eating something straight away has become a habit for me, so to actually plan ahead for every meal was a chore to begin with. I also established that without the aid of additives (oils, …

UNITED7 Day Barcode Ban: The outcome
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A ban on barcodes

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Hi team, welcome to October.

Having watched our fair share of food/health/industry related documentaries, the most recent being Food Choices, the common thread is that a plant-based whole-foods diet is favoured as the most environmentally sustainable, and best for ideal human health. Aggressive debates aside, it seemed to us that the logical progression from being an observer was to become a participant. Whilst the Project UNITED household has been a vegetarian household for about five years, we (well, me. I’m pretty sure Mrs UNITED will shake her head and leave the room) have decided to accept the challenge …

UNITEDA ban on barcodes
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What if we had to qualify for free healthcare?


With the voting element of the Federal Election having calmly and peacefully (lols) passed us by over the weekend, a few of the policies came up in conversation which manifested into the concept for this blog post.

To avoid the risk of losing any of our 11 subscribers, we won’t get into opinions or preferences, but I did hear one proposition which I thought made some sense in relation to the public healthcare system.

Having free (or basically free) education and healthcare is a pretty great thing. Sure, textbooks and uniforms cost money, and sometimes queues at the hospital are …

UNITEDWhat if we had to qualify for free healthcare?
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This is the greatest smoothie of all time

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It is impossible for something to be objectively the “best ever”, because it would need to be statically superior in every way to everything else in its class, and be able to be measured against different contexts, environments, and scenarios. But this smoothie is the best ever, without doubt.

For breakfast, a snack, a treat, or to celebrate being tops, this smoothie is the Swiss-army knife of smoothies – the Swiss-army smoothie if you will.

Prep time: 2 mins Cook time: 1 mins Total time: 3 mins
Makes about 600mls


For a change, we are actually going to suggest …

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Black bean and sun-dried tomato pasta bake

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Apart from the cheese (and the pasta if you are anti pasta), the black bean sun-dried tomato pasta bake is a ripping healthy robust performer, particularly with winter on its way.

Prep time: 30 mins Cook time: 30 mins Total time: 60 mins
Makes enough to feed six people who eat polite quantities, or four people who eat regular human quantities. 


  • 500g of pasta, your choice (long pasta probably won’t work very well though).
  • 500g of black beans. Note that a lot of the supermarket brand beans come in smart@ss sizes such as 437g and 525g. Anything between 400g
UNITEDBlack bean and sun-dried tomato pasta bake
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Experimental – black bean cold brew


We at Project UNITED are massive on research and learning and knowledge and education. For trues. But occasionally things arise that you just have to shrug off and get stuck into and see what happens, and perhaps investigate the likely outcomes/consequences after the fact. Black bean cold brew was one such case.

How black bean cold brew came to pass

Simple: the wife (who I commonly refer to as “sorry, Honey”) and I discovered a top-shelf pasta recipe which involves the use of black beans (the recipe will be published on Monday). The other night, let’s call it Thursday, during …

UNITEDExperimental – black bean cold brew
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Cauliflower-inspired imitation mashed-potato

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For those looking to reduce their use of white potatoes, cauliflower-inspired imitation mashed-potato is a healthy alternative and tastes the goods.

Prep time: 30 mins Cook time: 20 mins Total time: 50 mins
Makes about 4 cups of mash


  • 1 large cauliflower, chopped (but not too finely)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 100mls of extra virgin olive oil (or avocado oil)
  • 100mls of almond milk (or whichever milk you like)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chives, chopped
  • Optional (but highly recommended): one red chili, chopped finely


  1. Add the cauliflower to an oven tray and place in
UNITEDCauliflower-inspired imitation mashed-potato
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Things to consider when going meatless (or meat reduced)

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The popularity of vegetarianism and veganism is certainly on the rise. Whilst these dietary lifestyles aren’t for everyone, those who pursue these lifestyles may do so for various reasons, from animal welfare and humanitarian issues, to general health related issues, or simply in order to reduce the weekly grocery bill. But if you were considering adopting a plant-based diet, here are some things to consider when going meatless.

Going meatless

Once the menu-shock of removing meat from your dinner plate subsides, there are some strategies you may need to consider in order to transition to a veggie-based regime whilst …

UNITEDThings to consider when going meatless (or meat reduced)
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Apricot and oat balls

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We post a lot of these types of recipes largely because it’s really damn hard to come up with quick and easy snacks. These fellas do the job wonderfully.

Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 0 mins Total time: 20 mins
Makes about 12 golf ball sized treats


  • 2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup  sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Add apricots, water, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a saucepan on medium heat. Bring to the boil and reduce heat.
  2. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or until
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Zesty coconut balls

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Whilst it might sound like a suggestive high school nickname, zesty coconut balls are a top-shelf treat. These little babies are tasty, quick, and will take over your life.

Prep time: 20 mins Cook time: 0 mins Total time: 20 mins
Makes about 12 golf ball sized treats


  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 30ml lime juice


  1. Add the almonds and cashews to a food processor.
  2. Pulse until all nuts are finely chopped without any large chunks.
  3. Add the dates and lime juice and continue pulsing until the mixture
UNITEDZesty coconut balls
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No barcode November

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The Discomfort Zone Challenges have been one of the great initiatives of 2015 (according to us, and our mums). Having just finished up with October (30 Day Burpee Challenge), here is November’s Discomfort Zone Challenge:

No barcode November

Far less physically irritating than last months burpee madness, November is about World class food choices.

What’s the point?

Two points, and thanks for asking:

  1. Health: The more a food is handled, the less control and knowledge we have of what has been added to or removed from the item. This makes healthy decision making more complex and sometimes counterintuitive. For example,
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Four minute mango smoothie

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The four minute mango smoothie is the perfect wake-up call on a hot day, or, any other time ever.

Prep time: 2 mins Blender time: 2 mins Total time: 4 mins
Makes one crowd-pleasing smoothie


  • 1/2 a mango
  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 500ml almond milk (or whichever milk you prefer)
  • 6 – 8 ice cubes (too many will dilute the flavour)
  • Protein powder (optional)

Make it

  1. Given that it is tricky to buy half a mango, acquire a whole mango and cut it in half.
  2. Remove the skin (refer to this genius method for removing the skin with a
UNITEDFour minute mango smoothie
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Apple bagels with peanut butter

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Image courtesy of

We didn’t know what else to call them. Apple bagels with peanut butter aren’t so much a recipe as they are just a crazy genius idea. So simple, but so gadamn delicious and easy.

As the image suggests, all you need to do is take an apple, red or green, and cut it into slices. Cut the core out and spread some peanut butter on each slice. These can be eaten immediately or refrigerated for later. Basically you can’t lose either way.

We have seen these with maple syrup, oats, and dried fruit, but at Project …

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Black, white, or green?

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We’ve been hearing for a while now of the benefits that drinking a cup or two of tea each day can do for us. From hydration, to relaxation, to managing blood pressure, tea is basically a GP in the form of grass clippings. In this post we will look at the health benefits (and any potential concerns) of each type of tea – black, white, and green.

Black tea

Black tea is typically the strongest flavoured of tea varieties, has the highest caffeine content, and makes up about 90% of Western tea sales.

Black tea has been associated …

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Who is Alex Viada?

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An ultra-marathon runner who can squat and deadlift 320 odd kilograms. That’s who. Thanks for reading.

Hang on, how much?

But seriously, Alex Viada is something of an anomaly in the World of fitness and strength. A tri-athlete, distance runner, and distance cyclist, Alex is also absurdly strong – a 210kg bench press PB, and a deadlift PB of 320kg. He can also run a mile (1600m) in 4 minutes 32 seconds. That’s quick. And strong. At the same time. But that’s impossible, right?

Alex Viada is the president of Complete Human Performance and author of The Hybrid Athlete, …

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Ridiculously easy home made mayonnaise

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This is one of those “C’mon bro, you’re not even trying” type recipes, it’s that easy. Mayonnaise is a bit of trap for those trying to eat healthy. Even the fat free stuff is pretty heavy on the calories. But this one gets the job done and takes about 8 minutes.

Prep time: 8 mins Cook time: 0 mins Total time: 8 mins
Makes about a cup of mayonnaise


  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup oil (possibly up to one cup if required) – something heart healthy like an avocado oil or macadamia
UNITEDRidiculously easy home made mayonnaise
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Accidental chickpea and veggie burgers

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This came about by accident: it was either go to the supermarket, or try to make something with what was already in the house. Genius happened…

Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 10 mins Total time: 20 mins
Makes six burgers


  • 2 cups of chickpeas (or a can of chickpeas if you have it)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of baby spinach, shredded
  • 1/2 a medium carrot, grated
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • Spices to taste


  1. Add chickpeas to a food processor and blitz until they are finely diced. They don’t need to become a paste,
UNITEDAccidental chickpea and veggie burgers
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Sugar free, gluten free, paleo banana bread

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Everyone loves banana bread, and EVERYONE can love this one! Sugar free, gluten free, meat free, and paleo. Everyone’s a winner. Be advised that we have successfully executed this recipe on numerous occasions, though we have had a couple of failures for reasons we can’t be sure. If you experience failure, remember that banana bread makes a great gift.

Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 45 mins Total time: 60 mins
Makes one medium sized loaf


  • 4 eggs
  • 2 – 3 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed well
  • 3/4 teaspoon gluten free baking soda
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond
UNITEDSugar free, gluten free, paleo banana bread
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