Showing posts with label health. Show all posts
Showing posts with label health. Show all posts

RECIPE | Easiest Aminos Rice

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A lot of people overlook the importance of whole grains in their diet but whole grains contain so much goodness which helps every part of our bodies function properly. Whole grain rice is full of fibre, protein and so many essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to feel fantastic. And what's even better is that whole grain rice is really delicious!

Rice can be used in so many different ways but sometimes when the fridge is empty or I'm in a rush (or can't be bothered to cook anything more exciting) I always fall back on liquid aminos. We are absolutely obsessed with this dish at home as it tastes great, can be prepared quickly (especially if you have leftover rice) and it's really easy to throw some additional dishes on the table to make a complete healthy meal. 

Bragg Liquid Aminos is a really great addition to meals. It contains 16 of the 20 amino acids, some of which you can only get through diet. It's basically plant protein in a bottle and it tastes delicious. 


Ingredients:
Leftover Whole Grain Rice (or cook a batch to packet instructions)
Bragg Liquid Aminos


Directions:
Spray (or pour of you don't have the spray bottle) liquid aminos over your rice to taste, we use about 15 sprays (or 1 tablespoon) per cup of rice, and serve with some nutritious side dishes to make a delicious meal. Or eat on it's own if you're feeling glutinous. Simple. As. That.

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Unbalanced + Fatigued

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Do you ever feel like when one thing in your life gets thrown off track, everything else gets thrown off track at the same time? When I feel unbalanced I crave balance so much and it's the one thing in my life I need to work on a whole lot more. I don't meditate, I don't journal (apart from a gratitude journal I do with Orlaith some nights), I haven't practiced yoga or exercised for a few months now, and I rarely allow myself to properly wind down and relax.

And of course, while everything is so unbalanced inside, things on the outside start getting affected too. For instance when I can't keep on top of keeping my apartment tidy, at the same time I can't keep on top of planning and eating healthy meals, at which time I'm finding it hard to be productive or concentrate on anything. Plus the non stop colds and other lingering symptoms of someone who's less than healthy.

A few months ago I started getting severe headaches and migraines plus my whole body swelled up. Both lasted a month and then went away by themselves (thank goodness). I still have no idea what caused it. But the symptom that didn't go away is the fatigue. Never ending, debilitating fatigue. It's just the worst. No matter how much sleep I get, I can sleep 10 hours in one night and I can still hardly lift my head off the pillow in the morning or function throughout the day. It makes me short tempered and unable to enjoy doing fun and productive things with Orlaith. Forget taking her to the playground after school, all I want to do is lie down or sleep.

I had some blood tests done recently with my GP and when I called up for the results I was told everything was normal. I felt like banging my head against a wall. After a few more weeks of research and continued fatigue I requested some different tests. When I went in to see the nurse, she went through my blood work again and noticed that, in fact, everything was not normal. I have a ridiculously low iron count. An iron deficiency. It turns out my GP never even looked at my blood work before I was given the all clear. Got to love the NHS!

I was so relieved to finally know what was causing my fatigue and everything that goes with it. I actually felt really emotional because I knew I could finally start making myself better and stop acting like a really crappy parent.

Since I found out about my iron deficiency I've upped my intake of iron rich foods, started taking my multivitamin daily (instead of once a fortnight) and including lots of vitamin C in my diet to help my body absorb the iron. Of course the body takes time to heal and adjust and all I can do is stuff my face with food medicine and enjoy every morning I wake up with the energy to actually get out of bed without wanting to cry from tiredness.

Of course I'll have to make other changes too to regain some balance in other areas of my life. One step at a time. Do you have any tips on how you stay balanced? 

5 Easy Steps To Eliminate Dairy From Your Diet

dairy free
Dairy is bad. Scientific paper after scientific paper reports that dairy is bad for humans to consume. It leads to an increased risk of multiple cancers, leaves us with weaker bones, and countless other problems including IBS, skin disorders such as acne and eczema, and depression.

Dairy cows are treated in inhumane ways, spending their lives attached to uncomfortable machines, artificially inseminated to get them pregnant over and over again so they can continue producing milk, then having their babies taken away from them for the cycle to be repeated again. Dairy cows are routinely given animal grade antibiotics and hormones (which gets passed into the milk then into us) and if they're 'organic' cows and they get mastitis or any other type of infection they are left to suffer without any kind of pain/infection fighting medication leaving the cows in agony and their bloody puss passing into the milk. The human digestive system was not built to digest dairy, and cows were not put on this earth to be strapped to machines. 

My personal journey eliminating dairy has been a long and rocky one.  Giving up something that we've grown up eating is not easy and anyone who does it deserves a medal. It's been four years since I learnt that I was intolerant to dairy, and I can now confidently say that I'm 100% dairy free. I no longer suffer from acne (something I've suffered from severely since I was a teenager and well into my adult life) and (with the help of a meat free diet) my unpleasant journey with depression has all but come to an end. It's pretty amazing that the food we eat can affect us in so many ways.

While change doesn't happen overnight, taking the first step always helps to get you going in the right direction. So here are 5 easy steps to help you begin reducing dairy from your diet. 

1. Educate Yourself
Do some research. Watch some documentaries. Read some books. Get your facts straight and be clear on why you are deciding to reduce or eliminate dairy from your diet. Not only will this arm you with proper information when people question your decision (that's if you wish to explain it at all, some people don't), but by having a clear reason why you want to cut out dairy also helps you stay strong on your dairy free mission. On a side note, some people don't like it when others change their own habits, so be prepared for people to disagree with what you're doing. That's ok. The world would be boring if we all agreed with one another.

2. Switch Your Staples
Picture yourself at home, adding a dash of milk to your coffee and spreading delicious butter on your toast, taking that freshly baked cheese pizza out of the oven or getting the carton of chocolate ice cream out of the freezer for that movie night... I still enjoy all these things without the addition of dairy. And I promise you, the 'substitutes' on offer are good. When friends come to mine I prepare food the same way I prepare it for myself and no one ever notices the difference between my butter and theirs, my cheese and theirs or my ice cream and theirs. In fact, most people comment on how delicious what I've given them is. That's when I usually mention it's dairy free and the news is usually met with surprise.  If the dairy products are not in your house you are not going to eat them. It's as simple as that.

3. Read Food Labels
A friend of mine recently claimed he didn't eat dairy shortly before ordering and eating a croissant from a cafe. It didn't cross his mind that a croissant is made up of something like 50% butter! When you pick up food and drinks from the shops take a moment to read the label at the back. You'll probably be surprised at how many products contain dairy in them! To this day I always do a quick scan of the ingredients before buying because they sneak dairy into everything these days. When you first start this process is can be a bit overwhelming but you soon learn what does and doesn't contain dairy. In the UK they often put dairy ingredients in bold so it's very easy to see it at a glance.

4. Don't Be Afraid To Ask Questions
When I first went dairy free I would always choose the most dairy free looking thing on the menu. Well, most of the time it turned up on my plate covered in some kind of creamy sauce that wasn't mentioned on the menu. The easiest thing to do it casually mention that you don't eat dairy and ask if the dish you've selected has any dairy in it. If it does have dairy in it, ask them what else they could recommend that doesn't include dairy. If it's as simple as a buttered bun that gets in your way just ask for the bun to come without butter, or for your fish to be cooked in oil instead of butter. Don't be scared of being a 'fussy' customer, there's usually something you can eat in most restaurants and staff are generally more than happy to assist you with finding something to enjoy.

5. Bring A Dish
When eating at friends houses I never expect them to cater specifically to my dietary requirements. Instead, I always ask if I can bring a dish (no one ever says no). Ask how many people are eating, find out if there's a theme to the food (Italian, barbecue etc.) and make enough so that everyone can have some if they wanted to. No one is ever disappointed by extra food at the table.


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RECIPE | Sweet Almond Balls

Sweet Almond Balls

I'm slowly taking steps to reduce the amount of refined sugar and flour in my diet. So, instead of those lovely packets of biscuits I'm used to picking up from the shops, these days I try to make my own puddings and sweet treats when I get the chance.

These almond balls are such a winner in my house, the only problem is they are so moreish that every single one gets eaten regardless of how many I've made, so I always have to make them in small batches.


Ingredients:
(makes approximately 8 small balls)

80g ground almonds
1 tbsp manuka honey (or agave syrup)
3-4 tsp water
ground cinnamon


Directions:

If you have a grinding mill grind your almonds (I use the milling blade on the nutribullet for this). Knead the almonds with the honey or agave syrup and water with your hands until you've created a smooth mass. If it's too thick add more water until you're reached your desired consistency.  Form the paste into small balls and roll them in the ground cinnamon. These can be eaten immediately or kept in the fridge to eat later.


Quick Tip:

If you're using agave syrup for this recipe I would try adding less water (1-2 tsp). Manuka honey is thicker and therefore needs a bit more water to soften the paste up. 

Sweet Almond Balls
Sweet Almond Balls


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RECIPE | Kick Starter Juice

Kick Starter Juice

It's no secret that I'm in love with juicing and having a fresh juice first thing in the morning always gets me energised for the day. I've been juicing daily for the past couple of months and I've felt so many wonderful benefits. I've been making good choices in other areas of my diet which all goes hand in hand but one of the best changes for me is the amount of energy I have these days and living without the constant brain fog I've suffered with for so long.


Ingredients:
(Enough for 2 glasses)

half a lemon
2 carrots
2 oranges, peeled
1 grapefruit, peeled
1 apple, stalk removed
fresh ginger, thumb sized piece
health powder (optional)
water (optional)


Directions:

If you're using a health powder for that extra burst of goodness put a teaspoon or two in your juicing jug and add some water. Give it a good shake or stir until the powder has totally absorbed into the water (I currently use Baobab and Maca powder with citrus juices).

Juice all of your fresh ingredients through the juicer except for the lemon, which should be squeezed separately (you can also squeeze the oranges and grapefruit separately instead of putting them through the juicer if you prefer). Add the squeezed juice to the extracted juice, give everything a good mix with a spoon. Add water to dilute if you wish. Pour into a glass (with or without ice) and enjoy.


Quick Tips:

This is a very citrus rich juice. If your stomach is sensitive to acidic things I would probably dilute the juice even more, omit the lemon and not drink it on an empty stomach.

I am the worst at drinking water throughout the day so I often dilute my juices to get some water into my body. If you're sharing or making juice for kids always dilute with water!

Kick Starter Juice
Kick Starter Juice
Kick Starter Juice
Kick Starter Juice

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London | Tanya's Cafe

Tanya's Cafe

Last weekend I got to try the breakfast menu at Tanya's Cafe in Chelsea. Tanya's Cafe is an organic, raw cafe where I arranged to meet a friend for an early breakfast.  We had the best start to our day sipping cold pressed juices and catching up over a delightful raw breakfast.  This is my second time dining in a raw restaurant, and while the whole of the breakfast menu didn't jump out to me (I have weird food issues), there was definitely something for everyone and I really enjoyed my breakfast choice, Avo Un-Toast. My friend tried Jam Un-Toast and by the end of our meal we were all un-toasted out (in a good way).

The cold pressed juices were divine, in fact I think it's the first time I've had my juice cold pressed and, while I love my home made juices on my centrifugal juicer, the crystal clear juices at Tanya's Cafe are what dreams are made of. I had My Alkaliser for my first juice of the day and then My Doctor for an after meal treat. Both juices were lovely with a fresh ginger tang to them. My friend also had the My Calm shooter which is bursting with goodness and perfect if you don't want to fill up on a whole juice. The juices arrive so beautifully garnished with bright edible flowers.  If you're in the area but don't have time for a meal you can pop in and grab a juice to go.  Whenever I need a pick-me-up nothing does it better than a fresh juice. 

You can find Tanya's Cafe at myhotel Chelsea, 35 Ixworth place, London SW3 3QX and check out their menu online at www.tanyascafe.com.

Tanya's Cafe
Tanya's Cafe
Tanya's Cafe
Tanya's Cafe
Tanya's Cafe
Tanya's Cafe
Tanya's Cafe

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RECIPE | Eggs And Spinach On Rye

Eggs And Spinach On Rye

This is one of my favourite snacks. There's something about rye bread that is just so good. Orlaith isn't a fan of rye so this is one I get to make and devour all to myself without any chance of it being pinched by little hands (oh the luxury).


Ingredients:
(serves 2)

2 eggs
2 slices rye bread
2 handfuls fresh spinach
butter or spread (optional)


Directions:

Bring a pot of water to the boil and boil your eggs for around 5/6 minutes. While the eggs are cooking steam the spinach on a low heat for 5 minutes or until bright green and limp. In the meantime put the rye bread in the toaster (you may need to turn it over and toast the other side if you've got a small toaster).

Once everything has finished cooking spread the toasted rye bread with butter or spread (optional), put some wilted spinach on top then put an egg on top of each piece of bread. Slice the egg to cover the bread (I do this on top of the bread incase the yolk is still a bit runny).  Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly milled pepper.


Quick Tips:

This recipe is so easy to adjust. My favourite adjustments are adding marmite or mushed up avocado to the rye bread. Also toasted sesame seeds on top of the wilted spinach is lovely. Vegans or anyone with an egg allergy can replace the egg for tofu scramble!

Eggs And Spinach On Rye
Eggs And Spinach On Rye
Eggs And Spinach On Rye
Eggs And Spinach On Rye
This post was written in collaboration with British Lion Eggs.

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RECIPE | Refreshing Earl Grey Chia Seed Drink

Refreshing Earl Grey Chia Seed Drink

So, I've finally jumped on the chia seed bandwagon. When I read into them and saw how flipping amazing they are for you I went straight to the health food store and bought a bag (or two). Chia is high in fibre, protein and omega-3 and you should definitely be trying to incorporate these little guys into your diet.

It took me a while to find the perfect way to enjoy chia seeds then I finally teamed them with my favourite tea to create a refreshing and delicious chia drink that both Olaith and I love. This is double amazing because earl grey tea is an antioxidant and a natural disinfectant and is great for your digestion and teeth.  So many health benefits in one yummy drink!


Ingredients:
(makes one 300ml glass)

1 earl grey tea bag (or another black tea)
250 ml boiling water
50 ml milk (I use almond)
2 tbsp chia seeds
agave syrup (optional)


Directions:

Prepare your tea by putting the tea bag in 250ml of boiling water and leaving for around 5 to 10 minutes to infuse. Put your milk and tea into a glass or cup (please check it is shatter proof as you are using very hot water), add 2 tbsp of chia seeds and give it a good stir. If you like sweet tea you can add agave syrup until you've reached your desired sweetness. I use between 1 and 2 tsp of agave syrup per glass. Refrigerate for 4 hours (or overnight) stirring halfway through. Give it a stir before drinking.

Enjoy x

Refreshing Earl Grey Chia Seed Drink
Refreshing Earl Grey Chia Seed Drink
Refreshing Earl Grey Chia Seed Drink

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Healthy Snacks | Nakd

Healthy Snacks Nakd

One thing I like to do is snack. I have a fast metabolism and a terrible snacking habit and have just never been satisfied with three meals a day.  So for me finding healthy snacks is a must, there's nothing worse than snacking on junk all day. I've done it before and it does nothing for my energy levels, my skin or my general health.

I started buying Nakd bars a couple of years ago. They're made with whole nutritious ingredients and they taste great! Let me start by telling you first what they don't contain. Naked bars don't contain additives, preservatives, GM, dairy, wheat or gluten and they have zero added sugar (apart from the new 'Trek' bars).  All Nakd and Trek bars are vegan and they contain lots of my favourite beauty foods including nuts, oats and fruits, and one bar counts as one of your 'five a day'.

So as I said we've been eating Nakd cereal bars around here for a couple of years. Our go to bars are the chocolatey ones (of course) which are made with cocoa, but I've recently been trying more of their flavours and I'm really impressed with how great (and accurate) their other flavours are.

We always have a couple of Nakd bars in our house. They're great to eat when you're feeling peckish, or for popping in your bag for an 'on the go' snack. We take them on picnics with us and whenever Orlaith has a packed lunch she gets one in her lunchbox. There's nothing better than being able to give your child a treat without having to worry about the amount of junk going into their body or about them going crazy from the added sugar.

Have you tried Nakd bars? And if so, which is your favourite flavour?

Healthy Snacks Nakd
Healthy Snacks Nakd
This post was written in collaboration with Natural Balance Foods.


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RECIPE | Super Salad

Super Salad Recipe

I made some salad for dinner the other day and Orlaith made a bold statement: she said it was the best salad she'd ever eaten! And I don't think she's that far off, it was a mighty good salad and the perfect dish to serve to fussy eaters. It's like pick and mix and so easy to adjust and throw in your favourite veggies to the base ingredients to tailor it to your requirements because, let's face it, salads can be a bit weird sometimes.  If you're working with a lot of different taste buds you can serve optional additions on side plates for people to add as they please.


Ingredients:
(serves 2 generously | 4 side plates)

1 cup cooked couscous
1 handful of lettuce, chopped
1 handful of spinach, chopped
1 handful of baby kale, chopped
2 tbsp mixed seeds, toasted

Extra Options:
1/4 cucumber chopped
1/2 advocado, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped (or a handful of baby tomatoes)
1 handful of fresh herbs parsley/coriander/mint/basil
1/2 or 1 cooked chicken breast per person
2 tbsp feta cheese
(be creative, look at what's in your fridge, chop it up and throw it in)


Directions:

While the couscous (and chicken, if using) is cooking according to pack instructions, chop all the vegetables. Put them all in one bowl unless working with fussy eaters, in which case serve your chosen options on side plates. When the couscous is ready add it to the salad and mix everything up together.

Get your seed mix (I used almond flakes, pine nuts and sesame seeds) and gently toast them by continuously stirring them on a dry, heated pan. Once they've turned a light brown colour sprinkle them on top of the salad. If using feta cheese crumble it on now. Cooked chicken can be served on top in pieces or on a side plate.


Side Note:

Baby kale is a great alternative to regular kale when adding to salads. It's a lot more tender than regular kale which makes it more enjoyable to eat raw. And veggies are always better raw than cooked, and Florette is now selling baby kale by the bag full. On that note, if you're ever looking for salad ideas the Florette website is great with loads of interesting recipes. Check them out HERE.

Enjoy x

Super Salad Recipe
Super Salad Recipe
This post was written in collaboration with Florette Salad


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Nama | Artisan Raw Foods

Nama Notting Hill

I got a bit bored of writing about Malaysia so let's pop back to London today to talk a bit about healthy eating and that kind of stuff. This month hasn't been a great month for me in terms of eating well. Orlaith and I have been passing colds back and forth since we got back from Malaysia and my energy has been slightly zapped, plus being on a major budget, eating well got pushed way down my list of priorities.

In a week (or two) I'm going to be doing a cleanse and a couple days of juicing, and after attending some yoga classes over the last fortnight (I had to absolutely force myself to go to a couple of them) I can feel myself slowly getting back into the right mind set.

I went out for lunch with a vegan friend the other day. I always enjoy eating out with her because I get an 'excuse' to eat healthier, whether my mind's into it or not. This time we went to a raw food restaurant in Notting Hill called Nama. I was really interested to taste their food but the menu scared me a tiny bit.

My friend recommended the raw pizza for me and she went for the Thai curry. When our plates arrived at the table I was a bit confused by my weird looking pizza dish. That's not a pizza I was thinking to myself.  One bite into my raw pizza and I was totally hooked. It was delicious! No, it doesn't taste like a pizza but I wasn't really expecting it to. But it did taste very good. And a taste of my friends raw curry confirmed it: Raw food is really good!

I'll definitely be heading to Nama again to try more delights from their menu.  There's nothing nicer than coming away from a delicious lunch knowing that your body's probably healthier than when you went in.  Visit Nama's website here to find out more about their food.

Nama Notting Hill
Nama Notting Hill
Nama Notting Hill
Nama Notting Hill

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