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The Not So Great Outdoors

Hawkes Bay Camping

Is Camping Worth The Hassle?

Here in New Zealand, the hottest days of summer are upon us. With many a warm weekend in our futures before the season ends, it’s time to pose this generations-old question: is camping really worth it?

Sure, the idea of it is nice.  Communing with nature.  Spending time in close quarters with people you love.  Or rather, people you thought you loved, until you spent three sleepless nights in a clammy, leaking tent with them, listening to them snore and thinking of imaginative ways they could meet their demise that would look like an accident.  But I digress.

What is it about camping that has us continuing to forgo all our modern creature comforts, to return as tourists to the tent-dwelling lifestyle of our ancestors? It turns out, scientists around the world have been asking themselves the same question.  Many recent studies have attempted to measure what it is exactly that’s so good for us about being in nature, and why it’s so important to make it a regular part of our lives.

The Three Day Effect

There are no two ways about it, camping requires a lot of planning and organisation only to then spend a long weekend searching for insect repellent you now cannot find, and showering in a communal bathroom of a dubious standard.  But David Strayer, a cognitive psychologist from the University of Utah, is here to tell you it’s worth it.

Strayer has documented a phenomenon he calls “The Three Day Effect”.  Basically, his research shows that our brains operate much better after spending three days decompressing in nature.  Having a break from all the commuting and Instagram scrolling gives our pre-frontal cortex (the decision-making, problem-solving part of the brain) a chance to have a rest from the stressors of modern living like you would rest a muscle in between sets at the gym.  Strayer’s studies showed participants performing 50% better at problem-solving tasks after three days of hiking in the wilderness.

Yes, that’s all very well I hear you say, but remember?  The NASA level planning and organisation that’s required! The dodgy campsite bathrooms!  Fear not, MISA is here to help. Our rPET Mesh Bags are super handy when packing for your outdoor adventure – the mesh material gives you a storage option that lets you see what you’ve packed (and what you, unfortunately, haven’t). 

The Mesh rPET Bag also makes an excellent, fast-drying shower caddy – the handy loop allows you to hang your bag on a hook or the showerhead, so you never have to put your shampoo on the questionable shower floor.  Just, for the love of all that is holy, make sure you wear jandals.

Shower Caddy MISA Mesh
The MISA Collective rPET Mesh Bag makes a handy dandy shower caddy
Face Brush https://www.clarisonic.com/
Face Cloth https://shopnz.norwexbiz.nz/

 

Beach, Please.

Here in NZ, where you can’t really drive east or west that far before hitting the ocean, camping is often synonymous with beach time.  But for those of us who would much rather lounge poolside with a frosty Mojito, it may seem the cons outweigh the pros.  Never mind the mosquitoes, the wind, the unpredictable shade, and/or people lying next to you playing Pitbull too loudly on a tinny i-speaker.   Let’s talk SAND, friends.  The stuff that somehow works its way all through your car, every nook and cranny of your house and into shoes you swear you never even brought to the beach.

Before you give it all up as a bad job, you should know there are some very easy solutions to help make the seaside time more palatable for even the most beachophobic among us.  At the frontlines of combatting the dreaded sand, a mesh bag, (like, ahem, the MISA rPET Mesh Bag, par example) is a super handy beach accessory.  Residual sand falls right through when you give it a shake, so you’re not finding it all in the bottom of your bag later.  For like, weeks.

The old fitted sheet trick also works like a charm – bring one with you and at each corner place a sturdy item – the chilly bin, your bag, your two year old (just kidding, two-year-olds are notoriously bad at this).  This gives you a clean area with raised sides, protecting the things placed within from sandmageddon.

But why bother? I hear you ask/sigh/wail.  Well, it turns out being at the beach is actually really good for the human body. The action of pounding surf on the seashore creates negative ions, free-floating particles in the air that, when absorbed by our bodies, stimulate an increase in serotonin (the “happy” brain chemical).  In some cases, this mood alteration can be as effective as taking an antidepressant, as one Columbia University Study recently showed.

Sunglasses MISA Mesh
After beaching, give your MISA rPET Mesh Bag a shake before stashing it in the car or your tent.  The sand falls right through, preventing it from ending up in unwanted places (e.g. the INSIDE of your cellphone case…).
Reusable Drink Bottle https://www.mirabrands.com/

 

An Appetite For The Outdoors

If your idea of dining al fresco is more patio brunch with bottomless mimosas than a coin-operated BBQ with endless mosquitos, the idea of having to organise, cook and eat every meal outside may be enough to make you abandon the entire camping endeavour.  Possibly for life.

However, if you are a fan of your aforementioned life, eating in the great outdoors may be a great way to prolong it, according to University of Sunderland Clinical Exercise Psychologist Dr Paul Innerd.  Innerd suggests that eating outside can instantly lower our cortisol levels (elevated levels of Cortisol have been linked to depression, anxiety and heart conditions).  This is especially true if we are eating in the company of family and friends. 

Eating in a group setting rather than alone can also encourage us to make healthier food choices, says Innerd.  Not only this, but there is some evidence to suggest that eating alone can put a person at an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes.

So how to make sure that the benefits of campsite dining outweigh the many pain points (bugs, hassle, potential food poisoning…)?

Obviously at MISA, we know a lot about keeping things fresh.  Yes, pun intended.  Our rPET Everything Bag isn’t just as fly as heck, the breathable recycled material actually works to keep fresh produce fresher and crisper for longer.  This is especially helpful if you’re at a campsite where your only source of refrigeration is a chilly bin (aka cooler).   

If you do decide to stay at a campsite without any kitchen or fridge facilities, a good way to manage that efficiently is to bring two coolers, one larger and one smaller.  Each day, take only the food you need for the day out of the large cooler and put it in the smaller one.  That way, the large cooler gets opened only once per day and stays cold for longer.

Speaking of cool, our rPet Mesh Bag is also super handy in the campsite kitchen if you prefer your food bug-free.  It can be used to cover plates or food while you finish preparing your meal, keeping insects out of your hard-earned mouthfuls, without letting hot food get soggy.

Camp Cooking MISA Mesh
MISA rPET Everything Bag, serving the freshest produce (in the freshest lewks) al fresco.
Portable Butane Stove https://campmaster.co.nz/
Cutting Board https:https://www.epicureancs.com/about/

 

In Camp-clusion

Whether you’re a nature nut or a confirmed city slicker, camping offers a bounty of health and wellness benefits for those who brave the elements.  If you choose to answer the call of the wild this summer, we at MISA Collective hope our handy (and stylin’) little bags make it easier to for you to embrace the great outdoors.

Happy Camping!

 

 

Location

Birch Hill, Central Hawkes Bay

www.canopycamping.co.nz/

 

Sources

nationalgeographic.com “Call to the Wild: This is Your Brain on Nature” by Florence Williams, January 2016

webmd.com  “Negative Ions Create Positive Vibes” By Denise Mann, May 6, 2002

sunderland.ac.uk   “Why eating outdoors wards off disease and illness” July 2016

Time Magazine (time.com) – “Why Eating Alone May Be Bad for You”

By Amanda McMillan, October 25, 2017

 

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Vegetable/Juice Pulp Crackers

Vege Cracker

So if you ended up making the Celery Juice with our MISA Bags or any juice for that matter you’ll know that juicing creates a fair amount of waste and leaves behind pretty much all the fibre.

If you’re looking for a way to reduce food waste and don’t have/want to compost this cracker recipe is delicious.

Crackers are one of my favourite things and also one of those foods that can be incredibly hard to find package free.

This recipe is vegan-friendly, gluten and dairy-free and can easily be adapted to your tastes and whatever nuts and seeds you have in the pantry, so get creative.

Would love to hear if you try this recipe out and see your pictures.

Tag us @misacollective! Happy Snacking 🙂

Ingredients

  • 1C juice pulp
  • 1 C Nuts – I like ½C Raw Almonds, 1/2C Cashews
  • 1/2C Sunflower Seeds
  • ½ C Pumpkin Seeds
  • ⅓ C Flaxseeds
  • 1/4t tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp White & or Black Sesame Seeds for sprinkling on top
  • 1 Tbsp Spices/herbs of your choice
  • Optional: Nutritional Yeast, Tamari or Tomato Puree – Offers more Umami
  • 1-3 Tbsp of water – dependant on how much juice pulp

        YIELD: Makes two trays

 

Equipment

Food proccessor/Personal Blender
Parchment Paper/Silicone Baking Mats

Method

  1. Preheat oven on fab-bake 150 (302 Degrees F).
  2. In a food processor add the nuts, blitz until it resembles a rough breadcrumb texture. 
  3. Add the sunflower, pumpkin and flax seeds and chia seeds, herbs and spices, salt & blitz again.
  4. Add the nutritional yeast/tomato puree/tamari, juice pulp and blitz – the mixture should come away from the sides creating a sticky dough, add water until this is a spreadable mixture. (If you’re using a personal blender you may need to tip the dry ingredients out into a large bowl before adding wet ingredients for more mixing room).
  5. Place parchment paper or silicone baking mats on an oven tray, if your tray isn’t flat flip it over and out the paper/mat on the bottom surface to create a flat tray for more even cooking.
  6. Spread the mixture out as evenly as possible (TIP: sandwiching between parchment paper/mats and using a rolling pin/jar allows for a less sticky situation and more even spreading)
  7. Make cuts in the mixture to create your shapes or leave whole to be broken up into shards once cooked.
  8. Sprinkle over seeds and herbs.
  9. Bake low and slow to dry the crackers out, checking on them and moving regularly – once they hold their shape it’s a good idea to spread them out – the outer edges will cook faster. I like to shuffle them around and space them out on a grilling rack to get the optimal crunch. 

Vege Cracker Method Photos

 

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Home Sprouting

mung beans unsprouted in jar

Sprout jar blog

 

Buying sprouts at the supermarket – why would you? In a single-use plastic container and costing 500% more than the cost of the small handful of seeds it takes to make the same amount. Home sprouting is a no brainer.

Home sprouting is an easy, inexpensive way to grow your own superfood and a fun experiment for kids. Sprouting is the process of germinating seeds, beans and grains to be eaten raw or cooked and are a great way of adding extra nutrients to your meals, add them to a, stir fry, sandwich or salad. Sprouting helps to neutralize anti-nutrients & phytic acid. They also help to increase beneficial enzymes, vitamins & minerals. Some of the more common seeds to sprout are lentils, mung beans, broccoli seeds, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

There have been a number of reports of commercially grown sprouts causing food poisoning – namely E-Coli and Salmonella. But don’t be afraid or deterred! Home sprouting is a whole different kettle of fish to commercially grown sprouts. You can control the environment and conditions of your home and if you follow some basic safe sprouting rules of thumb you can’t go wrong. 

So Here They Are…

 

*CLEAN WATER 

For both soaking and rinsing of the seeds/beans/grains, ideally filtered.

*AVOID STANDING WATER

The sprouts should never be sitting in water, rinsed, drained with good air circulation.

*RINSE REGULARLY

To remove any unwanted substances being released from the sprouts ie; starch

*TEMPERATURE

Be mindful of warm and humid conditions as this can be a breeding ground for bacteria. With adequate rinsing and airflow, this should not be a problem. You can rinse 2-3 times a day if it is really warm.

*STORAGE

Make sure sprouts and well-drained, washed and fairly dry before storing to avoid excess moisture.

*BEST BEFORE

Consume in timely fashion Make sure to eat the sprouts within 3-5 days to enjoy them at their best. Only sprout what you need so they can be eaten at their freshest and to avoid any unnecessary food waste.

Here’s how to sprout with MISA Bags

 

  1. Place seeds in a MISA Bag and rinse well with cool water and drain, removing any stones, debris or damaged seeds.
  2. Place the rinsed seeds in a  bowl and fill it ¾ full with cool water. Cover the jar/bowl with the MISA Bag, use the cord and toggle to secure around the lip of the bowl. The mesh allows airflow. On average you should soak your seeds for at least 8 hours, some larger seeds can require more time for example kidney beans and chickpeas can often take 24 hours. You are looking for the seeds to have doubled in size.
  3. After soaking, invert the bowl, tipping the seeds into the bag, rinse well, shaking out excess moisture.
  4. Lay them flat and spread out – I like to use an oven tray and cover them with a slightly damp tea towel to keep them moist but not sitting in any water.
  5. Rinse and drain the seeds under cool running water. The seeds will need to be rinsed 2 times a day until the sprout tails appear – usually 2-5 days. You’re looking for the tails to grow at least the length of the bean, seed or grain.
  6. Hang to dry, before storing them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Will last for up to a week.

 

Home Sprouting Steps

 

7. Enjoy, raw or cooked, in a salad, stir fry, buddha bowl or a wrap. Yum! Too easy and so worth it!

Finished Sprouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Celery Juice

Celery Juice

Celery, one of the more ‘boring’, less eaten and often overlooked ‘non-exciting’ vegetables actually deserves a little bit of love and a lot more limelight on its health benefits.

Celery belongs to the Apiaceae family and is a marshland plant that has been around since, well, forever – by which I mean earliest reports of celery coming in around the middle ages.

So what are the benefits of celery?

Research has shown that celery has been known to help with weight loss, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing arthritic pain, detoxifying benefits, gut health, eczema, autoimmune disorders, IBS, vertigo, cancer, and heart disease. 2019 seems to be not only the year of the pig but the year of celery juicing.

Here’s why. Celery is rich in Vitamins (including B Vitamins, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Thiamin, B6 & B12, A, C, D, E & K), Minerals ( Potassium, Zinc, Copper, Iron, Zinc, Calcium, and Sodium)  and fiber according to the USDA National Nutrient Database.

Who started the celery juice movement?

The Medical Medium Anthony William swears by celery juicing as a medicinal drink and has been drinking it straight on an empty stomach as a child since 1975. He is responsible for the Global Celery Juice Movement which is showing up all over social media and being supported by sports people, musicians, models and actors including Novak Djokovic, Pharrell, Miranda Kerr, Debra Messing & Jenna Dewan.

Why did I give celery juicing a go?

As someone who has IBS symptoms, bloating and eczema – possibly autoimmune related I decided to give celery juicing a go. It seemed like a healthy and natural possible solution to the other treatment options I had previously tried. Let’s face it leafy green vegetables are a winner either way and are obviously a lot less harmful than steroids, lotions, potions, and tablets.

So I tried out the Medical Medium’s recipe, bearing in mind this is a one ingredient juice/medicine not some fancy green smoothie with all the extras. I found it surprisingly delicious, easy to drink, especially over ice and psychologically I felt like I was treating my body more kindly than the usual strong coffee first thing in the morning. But that still followed… just a little later.

And the verdict….

The benefits of this green tonic became apparent very quickly, alleviating bloating symptoms, helping with my digestion and relieving me of the fatigue I often felt over the course of the day. My skin, chronically covered in eczema started to clear, felt less itchy and irritated. It’s now become part of the daily routine. With a little prep, I wash and chop the celery the night before for quicker blending in my Nutribullet to make the mornings a little bit less chaotic. One thing I can say about celery juice is that it hasn’t improved my ‘I’m not a morning person’ persona. Sorry, husband.

It has also created a lot of celery remnants in my house from the leaves to the juice pulp which has spurred on my zero food waste mission. More on that later.

Celery Juice Recipe

Ingredients

1 bunch of celery (organic wherever possible) well washed.

Equipment

Juicer

Or

High Speed Blender with strainer (fine mesh bag/ cheesecloth or duh a MISA Reusable Produce Bag).

Method

I prefer the high speed blender option because the clean up is SO EASY – juicers are way too much of a hassle to clean for a lazybones like me. Just throw the celery in and blitz to a pulp. Literally squeeze the juice from the pulp through a MISA Mesh bag.

Aim for 16oz/473 mls every morning, drink immediately on an empty stomach.

 

 

Don’t forget to scoop out the pulp and keep it for making celery crackers – recipe to follow. Meanwhile, turn the MISA Produce Bag inside out, rinse and chuck into your next cold machine wash. Sometimes if I’m in a hurry I just turn the bag inside out and let it sit in a jug of cold water – all the pulp settles at the bottom for an easy rinse out and clean up later.

 

 

Stay tuned for what to do with all that leftover pulpy goodness soon….recipes to come!

 

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MISA RPET Mesh Bags

Bet you didn’t think you could fit a watermelon in our MISA Bags! Not that you’d ever do that … Baby from Dirty Dancing didn’t need one.

 

 

 

 

MISA mesh produce bags are so much mightier than they seam… (typo on purpose!). With enforced double stitching they are super strong and can hold 2-3 kgs. That’s a heavy watermelon! Or a bucket load of apples for apple pie.

The mesh itself is also pretty special. It is super expandable. Like how you wish your waistband would be after an amazing potluck dinner. You know the feeling. That’s another reason why this watermelon picture explains so much. But it’s not just about fitting in more… it’s also about straining out less.

With the perfect mesh hole size, MISA Reusable Mesh Produce Bags are the best thing when you’re looking to get all home-makery in the kitchen. No fussing around with deteriorating cheesecloth, or moldy cotton or scrubbing strainers… use a MISA mesh bag instead! We love to use ours for easy clean up juicing (dream!)because we hate washing all the finicky bits of a juicer machine. Making milk alternatives on the cheap is our new hobby – cue dairy intolerant partners requests!

If you’re like me, you really are making attempts to ditch the single-use bags- but I get to the checkout counter and all my fruit is rolling around and I get the checkout sweats as I try to wrangle them. Let’s be real friends, these beauties are gonna make your checkout a breeze. Oh and that mesh I keep on harping about- makes a grand difference here too because MISA Mesh bags are truly transparent. There’s no need for the checkout person to manhandle your fruit and open up the bag to identify them. Then it’s straight home to wash, dry and store, keeping them in the bag the whole time. So much less fuss. Did you know they also help in keeping your fruit last longer? The breathable mesh allows ethylene gas to escape which prevents the over-ripening of fruit. Sayonara squishy, bruised fruit.

Seriously, MISA reusable produce bags are the easiest alternative to single-use plastic bags. They weigh nothing so stash some in your handbag, tote, backpack, reusable shopping bag and march along to the farmer’s markets, shops or local greengrocers like the eco-conscious boss that you are. Guys can even scrunch them into pockets- in case you’re the type that gets weird about carrying a man purse.

‘Nuff said. These MISA Reusable Mesh Bags are a win!

Now… I’m off to get some fresh groceries and organize a potluck dinner.

#makeityours