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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Coconut & Almond Chia Pudding

Chia seeds are the most amazing superfoods, not just because of their mass of health benefits (that I shall get onto later), but because they have the ability to soak up liquid and expand by about 12 times their original size! This results in the most amazing pudding consistency and when mixed with delicious natural sweeteners, spices, fruits, etc creates an amazing taste and texture you can't help but love. I like to experiment with different flavours in my chia pudding but my go-to at the moment is this coconut & almond chia pudding - it's so creamy, so rich and so bursting with nourishing plant-power for your mind and body!

Chia seeds are so worthy of their 'superfood' title and despite being so tiny they certainly pack a punch with their goodness! Chia seeds are the highest plant based source of omega-3 fatty acids which are vital for heart health and lowering blood pressure & cholesterol. They're also bursting with iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, antioxidants and zinc which all help to keep your skin, hair and nails healthy, your bones strong, your metabolism functioning well and your brain happy. Not only this but chia seeds are loaded with all important fibre, in fact just 2 tablespoons provides you with half your daily fibre requirement.

Monday, 28 March 2016

3 Drinks To Start The Day

The first decisions you make in the morning are really important. If you choose to start your day in a healthy way you're setting yourself up for success - it's far more likely you'll make healthy choices throughout the day, your body will feel energised, you'll feel happier and your mind will be clearer.
There's loads of wonderful, positive ways you can kick start your morning including yoga, meditation, getting some fresh air and eating a delicious, wholesome breakfast but I thought I'd share with you the best drinks to consume first thing in the morning that will make you feel great and do wonders for your precious body. So, ditch the coffee and try out these ideas instead.


Friday, 25 March 2016

Beating The Bloat

Bloating is something I used to suffer with terribly, this was mainly before I was diagnosed with coeliac disease but for a while afterwards my digestion was very poor and I'd often be left looking about 7 months pregnant. It was something I found unbearably uncomfortable, painful, frustrating and it caused me to feel very down and self-conscious Thankfully it's not something I suffer with so much anymore, it definitely still happens but it's far less frequent, and there's been a few things that have really helped me beat the bloat.

Start The Day With Lemon Water
I swear by this and I can't start my day any other way than with a large mug of warm water with lemon juice. Lemon juice has the ability to really fire up the digestive system and get everything moving, it helps cleanse your system and banish any unwanted toxins. Lemon juice is also extremely alkalising the body so helps to kill off bad bacteria and promote a healthy, happy digestive tract.
You can read my post all about the benefits of lemon water here.


Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Tomato, Lentil & Coriander Soup

Soup is undoubtedly one of my favourite things to have for lunch. I love how warming it is, the comfort you get from a big steaming bowl and the vast variations of soup flavours. Shop bought soups are so often full of rubbish ingredients like added sugar, loads of salt, preservatives, cream and unhealthy oils but you can so easily make a soup at home super simply, with very inexpensive ingredients and it tastes far nicer fresh than from a carton or can!

I love all sorts of flavours of soup but my favourite is this hearty, nutritious, delicious tomato, lentil and coriander soup as it's just so comforting, so bursting with flavour, fills you up and the best part is it doesn't require a blender!

I know plenty of people are put off making their own soup because they think it requires lots of time, patience and leaves you with masses of washing up which can be the case, but not with this soup! You practically throw everything into the saucepan and let it cook away! On top of that, it can be kept in the fridge for 2 days and even frozen so you can make a big batch and come back to it whenever you're craving a lunch to warm your body and soul.


Monday, 21 March 2016

Raw Cacao & Almond Butter Cups

I used to love Reese's peanut butter cups, the chocolatey outside and the smooth peanut butter filling was amazing but they'd leave me feeling guilty and sluggish, my skin would suffer and I'd feel generally yucky after consuming just one. After switching to this amazing plant-based lifestyle I rarely enjoy making healthy versions of popular sweet treats and this has to be one of my favourite creations to date. These raw cacao & almond butter cups are a nutritious twist on the peanut butter cups found in your local shop, they're completely natural, refined sugar free, vegan and unprocessed but they taste absolutely heavenly!


Friday, 18 March 2016

Budget Buying Organic

Eating organic food is no-doubt better for us, it means we're not ingesting harmful pesticides or chemically enhanced produce, however it's not always realistic that we buy organic 100% of the time. Organic food costs more and the majority of us can't afford to push our budget, but there are ways of eating a good organic diet even with a smaller budget.

Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen 
These are lists of produce that are the most important to buy organic as non-organic versions contain the highest amounts of harmful chemicals and the clean fifteen is a list of produce that contain the least amount of pesticide residue when non-organic. Sticking to these lists means you don't have to worry about buying absolutely everything organic but you know that you're reducing your chemical intake dramatically if you buy the dirty dozen foods organic.
The Dirty Dozen list mainly consists of fruit & veg that has thin skins or doesn't need peeling, this means they absorb far more pesticides and even after thorough washing it's impossible to get rid of the chemicals. Produce on the dirty dozen list include -apples (99% of non-organic apples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue), potatoes (the average potato had more pesticides than any other produce), spinach, grapes (a single grape sample can show up to 15 different pesticides), cucumber and cherry tomatoes (these have around 13 different pesticides a piece). The full list can be seen below.
The Clean Fifteen list contains food that is safer for consumption when non-organic as they contain the least pesticides/chemicals, these include - avocados (only 1% of avocados show up pesticide residue), cauliflower, kiwi, sweet potato and pineapple (89% of pineapples showed no pesticide residue). The full clean fifteen list can be seen below.
It can be really overwhelming with all the information about organic & non-organic produce out there, so I find these lists to be brilliant at keeping costs down and I often refer back to them if I'm a little confused as to what I should be buying organic to help me stay the healthiest I can be.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Cauliflower & Spring Onion Burgers

Cauliflower is one of my favourite vegetables, I'm obsessed with adding it to curries and it's delicious roasted in the oven. Recently I made these cauliflower burgers with spring onion and coriander and they were too good not to share with you! They're super simple to make, don't take much time and they're perfect paired for salad for a lunch or light dinner and sweet potato wedges for a main're going to love them!

Cauliflower is quite an overlooked vegetable and it's often overshadowed by it's green cousin, but cauliflower is so delicious and packed full of goodness too. Not only is it an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate,vitamin B6 and manganese but it's considered a true superfood thanks to it's anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting properties. Cauliflower also does a good job at looking after your digestive system thanks to its high fibre content and the fact it protects the lining of your stomach. It's a truly versatile vegetable too, so definitely include it in your diet regularly...starting with these burgers!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Plant Based Iron & Why It's Important

I know a lot of people are hesitant about starting a plant-based lifestyle because they fear they'll miss out on essential nutrients, one of those being iron. Do I get enough iron on my plant based diet? Hell yeah I do! Iron is actually found in a huge range of vegan sources and it's not a challenge to get exactly what you need.

What Is Iron & Why Is It Important?
Iron is an essential mineral that we need to maintain a healthy, happy body. It's main job is to carry oxygen around our body and without it our body struggles to do this, red blood cells decrease in number & size and our organs, tissues and digestive system can't work as well as they normally would. So clearly iron is extremely important and making sure we get enough of this mineral is vital.
Plant-based iron sources are found everywhere and studies have actually shown that vegans consume as much iron as omnivores too, sometimes even more! This could be due to the fact vegans tend to get more vitamin C through their diet than meat-eaters and vitamin C boosts iron absorption dramatically.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Finding Your Own Balance

Healthy living shouldn't be at the expensive of your happiness, it shouldn't make you feel pressured and it shouldn't make you not enjoy food anymore. Healthy eating is not a diet and it shouldn't be restrictive, that's why I always encourage people to find a balance that works for them...and that'll be different for all of us. For me I do eat this way 95% of the time, I'll occasionally eat refined sugar but only at times like Christmas, I drink alcohol rarely and keep processed foods to the very minimum but that's because it makes me feel amazing, I love the lifestyle and I don't crave anything else. For you it may be different, you might feel happier occasionally having a takeaway, indulging in Lindt chocolate or buying a cupcake and that's totally okay.

Happiness should come first, and while I encourage everyone to add more veggie goodness into their lives I absolutely don't expect anyone to become 100% vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free, or processed food free, especially to begin with! What I promote is introducing healthy foods into your daily routine, so try swapping chips for sweet potato wedges, make your porridge with almond milk, add a portion of spinach to your meal, eat brown rice instead of white and reduce refined sugar. Incorporating healthy changes into your lifestyle is an amazing way to find foods you love and it doesn't feel like you're following some strict diet, you'll love the food you're eating and you'll feel great!

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Quinoa & Almond Porridge

I'm totally addicted to porridge, it's without a doubt my favourite breakfast and I even sometimes have it for lunch. However, because of my coeliac I find I don't digest oats that well (they are gluten free but have a similar structure to gluten) so often go for alternatives like buckwheat flakes or millet flakes. Something I've been enjoying recently is quinoa porridge...yes, you can make porridge out of quinoa and it's amazing so don't knock it until you try it!
I've tried a few different variations of quinoa porridge but this recipe I'm going to share with you today for quinoa & almond porridge is the ultimate! It's so mouth-wateringly delicious, beautifully creamy, sweet, satisfying and every mouthful will do your body so much good.


Monday, 7 March 2016

Reducing Sugar Cravings

One of the first steps I advice people to take when they embark on a healthy lifestyle is to quit the sugar! I don't mean fruit and natural sugars but that nasty refined sugar that's found in so many products from cookies and breakfast cereals to shop bought smoothies, bread and salad dressings, it's everywhere and it's one of the worst things we could put into our bodies.

Quitting sugar is without a doubt a vital part in your journey to a healthy, happy body but it's also a difficult thing to do if you're used to consuming it regularly. Scientists have found that sugar is highly addictive and triggers the same pleasure centres in your brain that cocaine and heroin do, and just like those hardcore drugs quitting sugar leads to withdrawal symptoms and cravings. If you plan to have a sugar detox you'll probably experience headaches, anxiety, fatigue, brain fog and cravings for a couple of weeks, however once your body is over that you'll feel better than ever before. Your brain, your body and your soul will feel happier and healthier!

Detox Your Cupboards
If it's not in the house then you can't eat it, simple! Get a bag and chuck all your sugar-laden food and drink items in to it! It may be a hard thing to do but if you're serious about quitting the bad stuff it's a must.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Why Drinking Water Is So Important

We're always told to drink plenty of water throughout the day, but why is it so important? What are the effects on our body if we get dehydrated? It's actually far more important to stay on top of your hydration than you may have thought and if our hydration levels plummet the side effects aren't good!

Water is your body's main chemical component and makes up around 60% of your body weight. Every organ and cell in your body relies on water and it's vital for flushing out toxins and carrying nutrients around your body, it's also incredibly important for energy, skin health and digestion. Throughout the day you lose a lot of water through breathing, urination and perspiration so we must replace that lost fluid in our bodies to maintain health, a happy mind and good energy levels. There are varying opinions on how much water we should drink a day, but experts say between 2.5 and 3 litres is just right (that figure goes up if you're exercising, in a hot environment, are pregnant or have an illness).

Friday, 4 March 2016

Chickpea & Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Sweet Potato

Jacket potato was always something I made as a lazy dinner, I'd just stick the potato in the oven and find something in the fridge or cupboard to pair with it for a simple and filling meal. As I've got more into food I've become obsessed with sweet potatoes - they're far more nutrient packed than regular potatoes, don't leave me feeling sluggish and I prefer the taste, so baked sweet potatoes have become the substitute for jacket potatoes in my house and they're oh so delicious! I thought I'd share with you one of my absolute favourite ways to cook baked sweet potato so you can enjoy this simple, comforting, scrumptious meal too.

This recipe kind of occurred by accident, I was looking for a super easy and comforting meal so decided to stick a sweet potato in the oven to bake and rummaged through my fridge for things to pair with it. The outcome was so tasty I had to make it again and write down everything I used for future reference (and share with you!).
I love how much flavour, colour and texture this dinner has and how satisfying it is too. It's also ridiculously easy and crammed full of plant goodness!


Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Cooking With Berries (& Eat Smart With Madeleine Event)

I have to admit that when it comes to savoury dishes I'm not that experimental. I stick with what I know and don't often venture into more unusual flavour combinations and ingredients, especially when it comes to mixing sweet with savoury. I often see amazing foodie photos of strawberries in salads and other fruits being incorporated into meals but I've always been a little reluctant to try it myself and wouldn't know where to start. When Seasonal Berries contacted me asking if I'd like to attend an interactive cooking class with superstar blogger and all round health inspiration Madeleine Shaw I was so excited, I couldn't wait to try some new recipes that included my favourite things...berries!

Seasonal Berries is a company that shares the latest information and facts with berry lovers. It's a year-round campaign funded by British Summer Fruits (an industry body that represents 98% of our berry growers). The aim is to get more people loving their berries and eating them more! They're currently seen as either a breakfast accompaniment or a dessert but they can be so much more!
Berries are totally packed full of goodness, from vitamins to antioxidants and they provide your body with a wealth of they taste amazing. I'm all for eating more fresh delicious berries, so as you can imagine this campaign excites me!
Live Happy, Live Healthy


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