November 10, 2015

Cryotherapy - Gigi Hadid's pre-Victoria's Secret prep!

Forgot the sauna, the next extreme temperature to endure in the name of beauty is ice cold! A part of elite sports star regimes, celebrities and Park Avenue princesses, cryotherapy involves locking your body in freezing temperatures to stimulate blood circulation. 

According to Karl Benn, manager of the Cryolab in Sydney, Australia, after just one treatment a patient’s white blood cells increase four-fold and they’ll have burned hundreds of calories while inside the cryopod. Sounds easy?

This alternative health treatment originated in Japan, and is popular in Europe and the United States. The cryotherapy process involves exposure to cold, dry air for up to three minutes. Nitrogen gas chilled to below 150 degrees shocks the body by revving up blood circulation and stimulating the immune system.

In the weeks leading up to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (which just took place today), a little out-of-the-box beauty prep is to be expected. Gigi Hadid used cryotherapy as part of her preparation routine to ensure her body was looking it's absolute best. 

"I did cryotherapy yesterday, which is freezing-cold, but it's really good for blood circulation. And, you know, after having two workouts a day for a week, it's really good for healing your muscles and feeling fresh and having good energy," she tells Refinery29 backstage. 

"I did it once before, and my mom does it a lot. I wanted to do it before the show, and it’s great," Hadid says.

During the three-minute sessions, clients are placed in a 1.8m tubular machine pumping out air hovering between an icy minus 120 and minus 180 degrees Celcius. It’s the treatment du jour for people who want to boost their metabolism, loosen their muscles, flatten their stomachs, reduce cellulite and allegedly burn up to 3350 kilojoules without moving a muscle.

Science says these machines can reduce inflammation in the body but are not miracle calorie torches or a quick way to lose weight. 

The cooling of the body has an anti-inflammatory benefit,” says Park Avenue plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Levine. “But cryotherapy as you’re talking about it, is akin to a medical fad,” he says, pointing fingers at the industry’s claims that a person can burn hundreds of calories during one speedy session.

“If there was a way to burn 800 calories in three minutes it would be a whole lot more popular than it is,” says Levine, “and a whole lot more than the $90 that they’re charging for it.”

Would you try it or have before? 

November 09, 2015

Banana Bread - Skinny, Vegan and Gluten-free options

The perfect recipe to use those overripe bananas in. 

- 4 very ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup of coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 1/2 cup of stevia or white sugar
- 1/2 cup of milk of your choice
- 1/2 cup of macadamia oil (or vegetable oil)
- 1 egg or egg replacer
- 1 1/2 cup of self-raising flour or gf alternative
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
- slivered raw almonds 

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and prepare a loaf tin by coating in oil (or use a silicone non-stick pan).
2. Mash together the bananas and add in the sugars, milk, egg and oil, mix together well.
3. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and ginger. Combine with wet ingredients but take care to not over mix or beat to keep the cake light.
4. Pour mixture into a loaf or cake tin. Top with sprinkled coconut or brown sugar and the sliced almonds.
5. Bake for 1 hour until cooked through the middle.
* This recipe also makes delicious banana muffins. Put the mixture into muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes at the same temperature.

November 01, 2015

Halloween Bloody Dagger Cupcakes - gluten-free!

Bloody and gorey, these cupcakes have been stabbed to look Halloween appropriate. You could also make these cupcakes vegan if you wanted by changing the cupcake base. These cupcakes are easy to decorate and don't require a special level of cake mastery! The little daggers I purchase at Wheel and Barrow, and you could find icing decorations at speciality food stores, cake suppliers or online.


  • 1 1/4 cups (175g) Cup4Cup flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon (3.2g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5g) kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon (6g) vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (110g) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (127g) buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup of icing sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of butter/vegan butter
  • 3 tablespoons of strawberry jam
  • dagger fondants 


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

3. In a large bowl, combine Cup4Cup flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together to combine.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add in the eggs and beat for about 10-20 seconds. Add in sugar and beat on medium for about 30 seconds. Add in vanilla & vegetable oil and mix.

5. Reduce mixer speed to low, slowly add in half of the flour mixture. Add in half the buttermilk, then the other half of the flour and combine. Then add in the rest of the buttermilk and beat until just combined. The batter will be thick.

6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Spoon batter into the lined muffin pan, filling each one about ½-way full.

7. Bake cupcakes in oven for about 12-14 minutes and until cooked through.

8. Cool in the pan for 2 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

9. Beat together 4 tablespoons of vegan butter or normal butter with 1/2 cup of icing sugar to make the frosting.

10. Frost the cupcakes. Warm some jam in a small bowl and transfer to a zip lock plastic bag. Cut a small hole out of the corner of the bag and drizzle the jam onto the middle of each cupcake and around to look like droplets. Secure the dagger in the centre.