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Monday, 30 May 2016

A Guide To Non-Dairy Milks

As more and more people switch to being dairy-free the shelves in the shops are becoming more and more packed with dairy-free milk alternatives. Gone are the days where it was only soya or almond milk to choose from, there's now everything from coconut milk to hemp milk which can make it a little confusing when deciding which one is the best for your health, which tastes the nicest and which is most sustainable. I've tried my fair share of dairy-free milks and I've done my research into the pros and cons of them all, so I thought it'd be a good idea to share my experiences and my knowledge with you to help you pick the best milk-alternative for you.

But first, why should you make the switch? Dairy milk isn't the same as it once was, before it gets to be in your fridge it's been through a long process that strips it from nutrients, it's full of hormones and antibiotics and it's pasteurised. Not only this but the milk comes from animals that have been unfairly, inhumanly and cruelly treated. Modern milk production has been proven to be the cause of ever-growing dairy intolerances which causes symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, skin conditions and headaches. Modern milk consumption has also been linked to chronic disease and is actually been found to weaken bones over time.

The good news is that there are so many alternatives now on the market, so you can enjoy your cereal or afternoon cuppa without having to consume dairy milk - yippee!
I personally switch it up with my milk and don't really have a stand-out favourite; I find that different milk-alternatives work best for different things and sometimes I might just fancy one more than the other, but I'm here to tell you what your options are...

Friday, 27 May 2016

Caramel & Vanilla Blondies

Blondies aren't something I've ever tried but after a photo of less healthy, non-vegan blondies on my Instagram feed the other day I knew I had to create a healthy version so I could try these sweet treats for myself! I looked at traditional blondie recipes and did some experimenting....the result is these delicious caramel & vanilla squares of amazingness that were devoured within a couple of days in my house!

Blondies resemble brownies in texture but the cocoa is swapped out for vanilla and brown sugar (traditionally). I decided to make my blondies with coconut sugar for that brown sugar taste and date nectar which gives these yummy treats an amazing caramel-like's honestly to die for!
I used ground almonds which give the most amazing texture and almond butter for an even richer taste and added moisture.


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Gut Health Importance - Effect on Mental & Physical Health

The more I learn about health and looking after the body from the inside out the more I realise just how important gut health is. We're so focused on the health of our other organs like the heart, lungs and brain that we forget about the huge organ system that is our gut. The gut is the organ system responsible for transporting and digesting food, absorbing nutrients and expelling waste, it consists of everything from the mouth to the anus so making sure it's working correctly is of course super important and vital for a healthy body, and a happy mind (more on that later)!

What Is The Gut?
The gut (or gastrointestinal tract) processes food from the moment it's first eaten until it's either absorbed by the body or passed out as faeces. The process of digestion begins in the mouth where your teeth and enzymes break down the food, then this food passes down into the gullet on to the stomach. Chemicals produced in the stomach begin the huge job of digestion. Some foods are absorbed through the lining of the stomach but the majority are absorbed in the small intestine. Foods that can't be digested, bacteria and waste is all passed out as faeces.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Miso Aubergine, Almond, Broccoli & Brown Rice Bowl

This dish is so simple yet so tasty, rich in flavour and full of nutrients. Brown rice and miso are a flavour combination made in heaven and they go so well with amazing aubergine and delicious tenderstem broccoli, then you have the crunch of the tamari toasted almonds that makes this bowl so perfect.

Brown rice is probably the carbohydrate I reach for most often and it's a complete staple in my diet. I'm a huge lover of curry, chilli and stews so rice is my go-to grain, but it also works so well in stir-fry dishes, salads and this miso bowl. Brown rice is not only far tastier than white rice but it's packed full of so much more goodness as only the very outer layer of the rice kernel is removed during production of the grain whereas around 80% of all nutrients are stripped from white rice! Brown rice contains a huge amount of manganese which is vital for bone & nerve health and maintaining thyroid function. It is also high in fibre to keep your digestive system happy, magnesium to boost energy production and selenium to aid with hormone metabolism and immune function.


Friday, 20 May 2016

What Is Matcha & Why Is It So Amazing?

Matcha is something I've seen popping up all over the place recently, it seems to be growing in popularity more and more by the day but what is matcha and why is everyone drinking it and even baking with it?

Matcha is the highest quality green tea powder. When you drink a normal cup of green tea you're not drinking the actual fact you're throwing away valuable goodness when you put the teabag in the bin! But with matcha you consume the whole leaf that's been dried and grown down into a fine powder which means you're getting a higher source of nutrients. Due to it's amazing powers and benefits it's been consumed for over a millennium in the far east and is now considered one of the most powerful superfoods on sale today.

Anti-Oxidants & Cancer Fighting Properties
Matcha is one of the highest forms of antioxidants out there! Antioxidants are a chemical compound that we all should be getting lots of because they fight against effects of UV radiation, give us younger & healthier looking skin and even prevent chronic disease. Many fruits & vegetables contain these amazing antioxidants but none compare to matcha! Just 1 large cup of matcha tea provides over 5 times as many antioxidants as any other food....pretty cool right?
Not all antioxidants are the same, and green tea contains a specific set of compounds known as catechins which are the most potent and beneficial. One catechin called EGCg is most widely recognised for its cancer fighting properties and matcha green tea contains over 100 times more EGCg than any other tea on the market. Magical.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Superfood Rocky Road

Rocky road is such an indulgent, moreish, mouth-wateringly delicious treat everyone loves but the kind you buy in the supermarket is packed full of rubbish that not only tastes artificial but won't do your mind, your skin or your body any good at all. I took it upon myself to create a healthy alternative and I have to say I'm extremely proud of the outcome....this recipe could possibly be the most tasty sweet treat ever. You'd never realise it was vegan and refined sugar free, it tastes too damn good!

Making the chocolate is really easy, all you need is cacao butter, cacao powder, almond butter and pure maple syrup which you melt together to create the most heavenly mixture! The filling ingredients I used were raisins, goji berries, macadamia nuts and roasted buckwheat which all add something a little different to the rocky road - the raisins add a chewiness, the goji berries add a fruity taste, the roasted buckwheat add an amazing crunch and the macadamia nuts add a welcome nutty flavour and texture.

Monday, 16 May 2016

3 Things That Help My Anxiety

I've talked about the fact I used to suffer terribly with anxiety before and have credited my healthy lifestyle change for the change in me and the fact I rarely suffer with this problem anymore but I thought today I'd share some of the techniques I've used in the past that really did help me calm down, control my breathing and relax.

Anxiety is something more and more people seem to be struggling with and it's an issue that can cause so many problems, so much upset and can really effect your life. I'd say my anxiety issues started when I was very little (I'm talking 11 years old) but they got progressively worse and at the age of 15 I had my first panic attack, it was the most terrifying feeling - I couldn't breathe, I felt so dizzy I thought I might faint, I felt like I was going to throw up, my head felt it could explode and I was shaking uncontrollably. From that day onwards I started having panic attacks frequently and eventually they became almost a daily occurrence, as you can imagine this was a huge strain on my life and stopped me from doing such simple things. This went on for a long time but thankfully they're now very much under control and I've only had perhaps 3 panic attacks in the last year. I truly believe this is down to eating healthily, getting regular exercise, daily yoga practice and learning not to overthink and being more kind to myself. I do still get bouts of bad anxiety but I've learnt to control this and I'm hoping you can too with these simple tips and tricks.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Spinach, Pea & Butter Bean Soup

I find there's something really healing and comforting about a bowl of soup. I especially love to eat soup if my digestion is feeling a little off because soup is a lot kinder, more gentle and soothing on your tummy than solid foods. Making your own soup is the best way to make sure you're getting lots of nutrients, aren't consume any refined sugars, masses of salt, unhealthy oils and, it's so easy and cheap too! My go-to soup recently has been this spinach, pea and butter bean soup which is so full of flavour, packed full of protein & vitamins, super filling and leaves you feeling energised, happy and satisfied.

The one thing that sometimes puts me off about soup is that it often isn't filling enough, but that isn't a problem with this recipe thanks to the high protein and fibre content! Peas, spinach and butter beans all pack a plant-based protein power punch that'll leave you feeling super energised and awesome.


Monday, 9 May 2016

Coeliac Awareness Week - My Coeliac Story

This week it's Coeliac Awareness Week and as I have this disease I felt like it would be the perfect time to talk about my experience with coeliac, my symptoms, how I was diagnosed, how I cope with it, how it still effects me and how I dealt with the lifestyle change you have to make once you're diagnosed.

Every day more and more people are cutting gluten out of their diet, in fact in the UK alone 1 in 3 adults are currently actively avoiding gluten. Some people do this as it's been made a bit of a 'health trend' and lots of people do it to feel healthier. Whilst it's true that gluten intolerance is on the rise, thanks to the modernisation of grain production, many people do misdiagnose themselves with gluten intolerance when it could actually be something completely different giving them the symptoms. Cutting gluten from the diet can make you feel healthier and you'll probably have more energy but it isn't necessary unless you have a medical condition such as coeliac disease.

Before I move onto my experience with coeliac disease I thought I'd give you a bit of information on the condition as it's a disease I don't think many people understand.


Friday, 6 May 2016

Food For Shiny Hair & Glowing Skin

We all want luscious, shiny locks and healthy, glowing skin but if you have a poor diet it's unlikely you'll get them. Healthy outsides start from the inside and what you put into your body really does have an effect on your outside appearance, even more than we realise. You can buy all the expensive hair conditioning treatments you like and splash out on pricey moisturisers but nothing will do what a nourishing diet does. Pretty much all natural, plant-based foods will benefit your hair and skin but some are particularly packed full of beauty power!

This wonderful leafy green is packed full of nutrients including vitamins B, C and E, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium which all help to make your hair shine and your skin glow. Spinach is also loaded with lutein which keeps your eyes healthy! I love spinach because it's so easy to incorporate into your diet - try throwing a yummy salad together with lots of spinach, chuck some into a smoothie or add it to curries, stews or pasta dishes. Just don't boil spinach as the nutrients will be easily lost!

All nuts will do wonders for your hair and skin health but walnuts are particularly powerful. Walnuts contain lots of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which help retain the moisture in your hair. The protein in the nuts helps boost hair follicles making your locks stronger! Walnuts also have lots of vitamin E which is great for your hair, skin, eyes and bones too! You can snack on walnuts on their own or try adding them to salads or on top of porridge!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Staying Healthy When You Work In An Office

When you have a job in an office it means you're sitting all day, staring at a computer, stuck inside and are inactive.  It can make you feel sluggish, tired and like you're not doing your body any good when your day is like this and that can be made even worse by endless cups of coffee, picking up an unhealthy lunch from the Costa around the corner or snacking on a Mars bar whilst getting your work done. It may be a little bit more difficult to live an active, healthy lifestyle when you work in an office but it's completely do-able and the littlest things you can do make a huge difference.

Drink More Water
Making sure you're hydrated throughout the day is the easiest and best way to help you feel healthier and even increase your energy. Dehydration causes headaches, fatigue and poor concentration so keep a big bottle of water with you at your desk to avoid this becoming a problem for you. I like to put a slice of lemon in my water to make it taste really yummy and help detoxify my system but you can use mint or strawberries too!

Monday, 2 May 2016

Raw Mango & Coconut Tarts

Coming up with healthy dessert recipes is probably my favourite thing! I love experimenting with different flavours, textures and tastes and feeding my friends & family the yummy creations I come up with. I was in the kitchen the other day and decided to have a go at making some raw mango & coconut tarts and let me tell you, they're so so so good!

Mango & Coconut is a match made in heaven and the combination works so well alongside the yummy nutty base of the tart. These are definitely an amazing dessert to serve at a dinner party, for a special occasion or for when you just fancy making a bit more of a show-stopping treat.

Live Happy, Live Healthy


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