Healthy Apple Crumble

I love Apple crumble but when I am out it’s hard to find a gluten free and not- too- sugary version, so in October when lovely apples are in season, I make my own.  For this recipe, try to find the sweetest apples you can find instead of tart cooking apples (Fuji’s are ideal but Gala and Braeburn apples would work as well) so you only need a little bit of maple syrup to add extra sweetness.

It’s so easy to make and it taste and smell delicious!

INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)

For the topping

75g oats

30g gluten free flour

25g unsalted butter, melted

25g chopped pecans

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp pure maple syrup

 

For the filling

750g chopped red apples

2 tbsp cornflour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

⅛ tsp ground nutmeg

 

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C and grease an 8”-square pan.
  2. To make the topping, combine the oats, pecans, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the maple syrup and melted butter and mix well.
  3. For the filling, mix the apples with the cornflour, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl until completely coated.
  4. Transfer the filling to the pan, and gently press down with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with the topping and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the apple pieces are tender. Let it cool before serving.

Should you ditch the scale?

The short answer is maybe, and the reason might surprise you.

I am not totally against scales and I do use one in my practice but only with clients who feel comfortable with this, and only once every four or five weeks. My scale is a body composition monitor which also measures fat and muscle percentages, visceral fat rating, metabolic age and muscle mass which tell a bigger picture than just weight. This scale is part of a set of tools which can be useful for some, but not all, people.

Studies have shown that weighing yourself regularly can help you maintain long-term weight loss. However, I don’t believe that people trying to lose weight should be constantly checking in with the scale and become obsessed with it. Weight can fluctuate incredibly from one day to the next for a variety of reasons, but when the number goes up or stays the same, despite exercising and eating well, people can end up feeling defeated and demoralised. That number can trigger a lot of emotions like guilt, fear, shame, frustration and anger which can lead to poor body image and negative self-talk. A slippery slope that can push you into bingeing or overeating.

But guess what? That number is just a number, it’s not you, it does not define who you are. You are not a number; your happiness and self-worth are not dictated by a number.

The truth is that while for some people the scale is an important and useful tool for maintaining weight loss, for others, it can stand in the way of success.

As a nutritionist and health coach offering personalised advice, I need to adjust what I do according to the specific client I have in front of me, and although most of my client’s goals are about weight loss, I never directly focus on this.

This might surprise you, but for me weight is just another sign showing that something in the body is out of balance. This could be because of hormonal issues, food sensitivities, inflammation, chronic stress, lack of sleep, or some other health problem. When we focus on regaining health and balance, on a physical and mental level, then the weight loss happens as a nice side benefit.

The way you feel, how your digestion is working, how well you sleep, how your body fight infections and how you deal with stress are all important markers of health, more important than any number on the scale.

The scale won’t tell you your overall health, or if you have more energy, or less pain and bloating.  It won’t tell you if your clothes are fitting better or if you are feeling more confident. It won’t tell you if your skin is glowing.  It won’t even tell you if are able to sleep better, run faster or exercise for longer. These are the important things you can rely on to keep you motivated.

If you really want some numbers, then a better way is to measure your waist, hip, -as well as your waist to hip ratio- chest, arms and thighs.

You can also keep track of how your clothes fit, because sometimes the number on the scale might be staying the same but you need to go shop for smaller clothes. This can happen if you switch your exercise routine, for instance, and you start to lose fat and gain muscle which is exactly what you want.

Focus on healing your relationship with food, improving your everyday eating habits, getting healthier, fitter, and more active. This can take the pressure off, allowing you to lead a healthier life and flourish.

If you want to find out how nutrition and coaching can help you reach your ideal weight and regain your health, call me on 07772491975 or email me at info@stellanutrition.comand book a complementary 30 minutes session and start your journey to better health.

 

Courgettes, Leeks and Pea Soup.

Courgette are in season now, and although I mainly make courgettis with them as a lighter alternative to pasta, blending courgettes in soups is a refreshing idea.

This is one is one of my favourite’s soups involving this versatile vegetable. Roasting the vegetables first brings out their sweetness and it enriches the final flavour.

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 950 g courgettes (about 3 large courgettes)
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 750 ml vegetable stock
  • 200 g frozen peas
  • 20 g fresh basil
  • Grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF.

Trim the ends off the courgettes and the leeks and slice them into rounds of about 1cm. Place on the baking tray along with the garlic cloves (still in their skin), then drizzle everything in the olive, seasons with salt/pepper, and toss everything together.

Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, turning occasionally, until soft and slightly brown.

Meanwhile, heat the vegetable stock, add the peas and let them thaw.

When the roasted vegetables are ready add them to the stock, but first squeeze the flesh out of the garlic cloves and discard the skins.

Pour everything into a blender or food processor (I use a hand-held blender for this because it makes the washing up easier!), along with the basil.  Blitz to a smooth purée then taste and add salt and black pepper as required.

Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top just before serving if you like a richer taste.

Bon Appetit!

8 top tips to body confidence on the beach

8 top tips to body confidence on the beach

Does the thought of wearing a bikini or any swimwear fill you with dread?

Do you spend all your time on the beach covered up and/or feeling self-conscious instead of relaxing and enjoying your time away?

Would you like to throw aside any insecurities and radiate confidence on holiday -and all year round?

Here you are my 8 top tips to help you feel good in your own skin and enjoy the beach!

TWO WEEKS TO GO

1: Beat the bloat

Often the reason we don’t feel confident on the beach is not actually down to our size or shape. It’s because we feel self-conscious that our tummy is sticking out and we feel uncomfortable and bloated. The secret to beating the bloat and creating the appearance of a flatter tummy is easier than you might think.

You just need to do a little “nutritional homework” before you hit the beach. That means starting the day with a cleansing cup of fresh ginger and lemon tea (mix peeled and grated ginger and squeezed lemon juice with boiling water). This will rev up the metabolism and cleanse the digestive system.

Then you need to up your protein intake, ideally two weeks before you go away to notice results. This means eating lots of fish like salmon, cod, haddock and mackerel. The protein in the fish will make you feel fuller for longer and stop you snacking in the day, while the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats will make your skin glow!

You want to find yourself thinking ‘where’s the protein’ at every meal and snack but this is one of the key ways of keeping your energy levels (and weight) balanced. Protein-based snacks can include a piece of low sugar fruit like an apple, pear or a couple of plus a small handful of nuts, hummus and veggie sticks, or even some unsweetened nut butter on toast.

Next, stock up on asparagus, which contains high levels of amino acid asparagine – a natural diuretic. In other words, eating more of the spears can help flush out excess fluid and salt from your body, which can help you look leaner and feel more confident on the beach.

 2: Be carbs smart

Carbs certainly aren’t the enemy, and the body uses the right kinds of unrefined carbohydrates – like brown rice, lentils, and oatmeal – to generate energy. But if you’re trying to lose a few pounds pre-holiday, then ditching processed (also known as refined) carbs is an effective way to see quick results. This is because simple carbohydrates like white pasta, white bread and potatoes are metabolized very quickly into sugar by the body. And that sugar is then turned into fat – especially if not balanced by something containing protein.

Calories don’t make you feel full – nutrients like fibre, protein and healthy fats do. Sadly, refined carbs are lacking in all three so no matter how much you eat, your body will still feel hungry, meaning you’re more likely to over-eat.

So, in the run up to your holiday, you can boost your body confidence by being ‘carbs smart’ and cutting back/swapping refined carbs for high-fibre foods like beans, brown rice and nuts. Instead of white toast and sugary jam for breakfast, toast some tummy-friendly rye bread (which doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels) and eat with a protein-rich poached egg, which will fill you up until lunchtime. For lunch, have a crisp green salad with King prawns or mackerel and lots of raw veggies. Then feed your body with nutrients with a dinner of stir-fried chicken and broccoli with a little brown rice. Alternate your lunches and dinners with different proteins and vegetables, and you’ll soon see the pounds fall off.

3: Try the Toothbrush Work-out

Fitting exercise into our busy lives isn’t always easy. Even with the best intentions, after a long day at work or taking care of the kids, often a workout is the last thing we feel like doing. But you can start by just moving your body a little more, like taking the stairs instead of the lifts, and try to fit a mini workout whenever you can, even from the comfort of your own home.

For example, what about squatting once in the morning for five minutes while you clean your teeth, and again at night-time? To squat, stand with feet hip width apart. Then lower your knees and push your bum out as if you’re sitting down on a chair. Rise up to standing position and repeat until you’ve finished brushing your teeth!

The squat is a full body workout that not only helps to create a perky posterior and lean legs; it also works the abs giving you a flatter stomach and bags of bikini body confidence

ONE WEEK TO GO

4: Drink yourself slim

Water is one of the most important elements in the body. It makes up about 60 per cent of our bodies and every single cell needs water to function properly. Drinking the stuff also keeps you energized and your skin hydrated. So if you’re full of energy and your skin is glowing, that’s one surefire way to feel good on the beach.

Studies have also shown that drinking water raises your metabolism and improves your fat burning rate. And if that wasn’t reason enough to start knocking back the H2O, drinking water before a meal can help you feel fuller and eat less. A good goal is to get yourself a 1.5l bottle of water from the shops (and refill at home on subsequent days) and ensure you finish this by the end of the day – on top of any other drinks you’re having. The bottle is a visual reminder of how well you are doing. Ideally, you want to work up to having 2l a day.

Not a fan of water? Make yourself an herbal tea instead! There are tons of different ones out there to experiment with. Green tea is also an option, it’s packed with powerful antioxidants and it has been shown to raise metabolism too. Watch out though as it still has caffeine and avoid having it after lunchtime if you have troubles sleeping.

Coconut water is also great for keeping you hydrated, while controlling your blood sugar levels. Low in fat, it can help you feel fuller and reduce cravings. 

 5: Work with what you’ve got

Feeling confident in a swimming costume or bikini isn’t really about losing weight or having a supermodel body. Confidence comes also from feeling good about how you look and finding a flattering swimsuit for your body shape is key.

If you have a boyish figure, rock a bikini with ruffles to create some shape. For women larger than a C-cup, avoid triangle-style bikinis that don’t provide any support. Instead take advantage of bra-style, underwired swimwear for a customized fit.

Smaller busts can fake a cleavage by investing in one of the many great padded bikini tops out there. Go shopping, high Street stores like M&S, Boden and Topshop have lots of pretty swimwear options with inbuilt secret slimming panels to help you feel your best on the beach.

Just find something you feel confident in and rock it!

3 DAYS TO GO

 6: Embrace your uniqueness               

One of the easiest ways to feel bad about how you look is to compare yourself to others. When you feel envious of what someone else has, be it long legs, a flat tummy or toned arms, you are creating negative feelings around your own appearance, which crushes confidence and mood. Remember: to wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are.

Why not be as nice to yourself as you are to the people you love? Ask yourself: would I say this to my best friend, my sister, or my mum? If you can’t imagine saying something so nasty to them, then why are you saying it to yourself? Rather than use negative language to describe your body and the areas you dislike, pinpoint the bits you’re happy with.

Silence your inner critic and the positive feelings will soon overtake the bad. Tell yourself… aren’t I lucky to have such a peachy, curvy bum! Doesn’t my back look fantastic in that halter-neck dress! Isn’t my hourglass figure lovely! Aren’t I fortunate to have a fuller bust that really fills my bikini!

Spending time with negative people will also have an impact on how you view, and feel about, yourself. The more you complain about your own perceived flaws, the more you’re likely to believe they are real.

Confidence is contagious so banish body shaming and surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good. These kinds of friends will also make you smile and laugh more, which releases happy hormones called endorphins.

7: Stand up straight

Good posture not only makes you look confident, it also helps you appear long and lean. Even the most toned women in the world don’t look their best when they are hunched over. And no matter how flat that tummy is, slouching will naturally curve the spine forward, creating rolls on the belly. It can also make you appear inches shorter than you really are.

Posture can even affect your frame of mind. A recent study by researchers from Harvard University found that when a person stood tall and erect, it altered their hormone levels, decreasing the stress hormone cortisol and increasing testosterone, causing them to feel more powerful and in control.

For good posture simply throw the shoulders back, puff the chest out and hold your head high.

1 DAY TO GO

 8: Love the skin you’re in

Being happy and confident doesn’t mean that everything (and that includes your body) is perfect. It simply means that you’ve chosen to accept and embrace life, a little cellulite and all. Our bodies were designed to function, so think of all the amazing ways your body has been good to you. Celebrate daily how incredible you are and be grateful that you have a healthy, working body! This is fantastic exercise that sends a really empowering message to the brain to feel happy and confident.

Next, think about being 20 years older than you are right now. Would you like to look back on your life and think: “I wish I had accepted myself and been happier in my skin” or would you prefer to think: “I had the best time on that beach with my friends and family and I really enjoyed myself”? Thinking with the benefit of hindsight gives us a better sense of perspective about what we should be minding, and what really matters.

Now go, pack that bag and have a fantastic holiday!

Summer drinks

Summer parties are often filled with sweet, alcoholic drinks that can lead to weight gain and unbalance your blood sugar levels.

If you are trying to avoid sugar and alcohol, it’s not always easy to know what to drink instead without feeling deprived.

Here you are a few delicious and refreshing alternatives for you to try.

 

Strawberry lemonade

Serves 8

2 litres water

8 squeezed lemons (around 280 ml)

1/2 -3/4 tsp liquid stevia (try NuNaturals)

250g strawberries, sliced

In a large jug combine water, lemon juice and stevia. Simply stir in sliced strawberries and serve over ice.

 

Cucumber, mint + lemon fizz

Serves 6

1.5ltr sparkling water

half a sliced cucumber

10 mint leaves

1 sliced lemon

Put all the ingredients in a large jug, chill and serve.

 

Sparkling cherries

Serves 2

4tbsp Cherry Active (you can buy this in any health food store)

500ml sparkling water

Add sparkling water to the Cherry Active and serve with ice.

 

Garden Sour

Seedlip Garden (a distilled, non-alcoholic drink*), 50ml

Cloudy apple juice, 35ml

Lemon Juice, 15ml

Cider vinegar, 5ml

Sprig of rosemary & thyme

You might have heard of Seedlip, it’s a premium distilled non-alcoholic drink. The price may make you wince (it’s no cheaper than buying alcoholic spirits) but it’s hot news this year and making an appearance in all the top bars!  Find it at www.seedlipdrinks.com

 

Sparkling kombucha

Kombucha is a healthy alternative to sparkling soft drinks known for being full of naturally occurring vitamins, acids, and beneficial bacteria.

You can make your own kombucha – to be honest I haven’t tried yet….as you know I am pretty lazy when it comes to kitchen experiments- or you can buy it ready made in pretty much all the health stores out there.

 

Cheers!

5 secrets to a happy and healthy menopause.

Until recently, when celebrities like Cameron Diaz, Gillian Anderson and Kirsty Walk started speaking out about their experiences, menopause was the silent shame. Yet experts reckon that 80% of women experience the symptoms of menopause.

 

It might be that you are really suffering or perhaps you’ve just started noticing some changes. The experience is different for every woman but often means being hot, cold, moody, tired, sleep-deprived, nervy, irritable, sad, or hairy. It can mean hot flushes, memory loss, and a seemingly immovable band of fat around the middle and thighs.

 

Your fluctuating hormones are the cause of all of this, but you don’t have to accept these symptoms as the way things need to be.

Learning to rebalance your hormones naturally will help you take back control of your life. Given life expectancy increases, women can expect to spend at least a third of their life ‘menopausal’, so it’s worth getting the help you need now. Despite what you might have feared, menopause is not the death of your youth or vitality, but it can be the start of some of the best and most powerful years of your life.

 

You may not have given your hormones a second’s thought before but, given the rollercoaster you are on right now, it’s worth having some understanding of what’s going on chemically inside you and the impact it’s having.

Progesterone levels fall rapidly as you stop ovulating as regularly. Although oestrogen is likely decreasing, too, it’s falling at a slower rate, meaning you can end up being oestrogen dominant (that’s a ratio of too much oestrogen to progesterone). This is usually what’s behind many of the typical symptoms experienced during the transition to menopause.

The stress hormone cortisol can also increase (particularly if you’re used to spinning too many plates), making sleep more difficult and leading to weight gain.

 

The thyroid comes under increased pressure, and low levels of thyroid hormones can bring mood changes, weight increases, constipation

and a sluggish feeling. Your hormones work together synergistically. When one or more is out of kilter, there is an effect on the others, too.

 

So, what can you do to help your body sail through this challenging time?

 

  1. Watch what you eat.

 

Unfortunately realising that during the menopause you really cannot get away with eating the same foods you used to, can be quite tough. But, let’s face it your body has changed, and you need to learn to eat for this new way of being.

 

The drop in oestrogen levels that occurs during menopause has a side effect of redistributing body fat and excess pounds start to settle around the waist. On top of that, the change that happens in relation to oestrogen and progesterone at this stage of life is also likely to make your body less sensitive to insulin, the fat storage hormone. This is produced in response to you eating carbohydrates.

When the body’s cells are less sensitive to insulin, more insulin is needed to do the same job, and more insulin produced means more fat stored.

 

There are also lifestyle factors to consider. Muscle mass diminishes with age while fat increases. That means it’s more important than ever to switch from whatever kind of diet you’re on now to a low GL (glycaemic load) diet that balances your blood sugar levels. This means you will be eating foods that do not trigger insulin secretion in response to what you eat.

 

A blood sugar balancing diet like this focuses on REAL food: meat, fish, eggs, tofu, lentils, beans and chickpeas, lots of vegetables, some fruit, nuts, seeds and wholegrains.

You won’t feel hungry – promise – but, if this is a long way from where you are now, I’d love to help you move to this way of eating. Work with me and it will feel easy rather than an uphill struggle or – worse still – devoid of all those little props you have used to get yourself through these trying times.

 

 

  1. Eat functional foods.

 

These are foods that actually do stuff in the body.

On one level, the food you eat can help balance your blood sugar and energy levels. On another it keeps you feeling satiated and nourishes you. The cherry on top is to use the very subtle yet magical powers of food to help support your body in times of need. At this time of your life, that means phytoestrogens.

Phytoestrogens are plant-based chemicals (the good kind), which are structurally similar to oestrogen and exert a weak oestrogenic effect.

They include soy beans, lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu, barley, rye, oats, alfalfa, apples, pears, carrots, fennel, onion, garlic, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, liquorice root

 

 

  1. Manage your stress.

 

Cortisol is one of the main stress hormones and it can make you fat and feel both tired and miserable as well as using up stores of important vitamins.

You probably already know that dwindling oestrogen levels are one of the main factors behind your symptoms. However, the effects of stress can be just as debilitating.

 

Most hormones are made from the same basic ingredients. When it’s under stress, the body prioritises those jobs that are useful for sustaining life, which means that when you are stressed, your body will make stress hormones ahead of anything else. So, all those raw materials that might have gone to make oestrogen now won’t.

 

Apart from your fat cells, the only source of oestrogen after your ovaries stop making it, is the adrenal glands, which is where the stress hormones are made.

 

So self care in your 40s and 50s is no longer a ‘nice thing to do’, it is essential for managing symptoms of the transition to menopause and also – might I add – staying alive. If you have not been good (and many women aren’t) at putting your needs first and doing nice things for yourself, start now.

 

Write down 5 activities you really enjoy doing – even if it’s been a while since you did any of them! Examples might include painting your nails, doing a jigsaw, taking a bath surrounded by candles!

 

 

  1. Do the right exercise

 

As the weight creeps on, it’s very common for women to start getting into the types of exercise that are very punishing on the body, like running and high intensity interval training. What do I mean by punishing? These very intense forms of exercise stress the body and, if your body is already stressed, it’s just too much. Yoga, Pilates, Zumba and other dance-based classes could be better choices, and don’t knock a decent walking workout.

 

Resistance/ strength exercise (weights) is also great to help with the loss of muscle. Strength training also helps you shore up bone, maintain balance, and avoid injury—important for protecting your skeleton both now and when you’re older.

 

 

  1. Get better sleep

 

You have probably heard about all the good things sleep can do for you, from making you look younger and feel more energised to helping you lose weight – and so much in between. Sleep is good, and you should get more of it.

As you work on a diet and lifestyle plan to get your hormones back into balance, better sleep with start to follow. If it feels like you need some emergency assistance, ask yourself honestly how many of the ‘dos’ you are actually doing and how many of the ‘don’ts’ you are guilty of…

 

Dos:

 

  • Try to go to bed at the same time every day. Your body thrives on routine.
  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom comfortable; not too hot, nor too cold.
  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex. This may help you completely switch off.
  • Keep the bedroom completely dark, so you’re not disturbed by light, which your brain detects even when your eyes are closed. Eye masks can be useful.
  • Spend time outdoors to soak up the sun.
  • Try to take some gentle exercise every day. There is evidence that regular exercise improves restful sleep. This includes stretching and aerobic exercise. A brisk walk ticks both boxes.
  • Make an effort to relax for at least 5 minutes before going to bed – a warm bath, massage, meditation.
  • Keep your feet and hands warm. Wear warm socks and/or mittens or gloves to bed.
  • Consider getting a traditional alarm clock so your smartphone can stay out of the bedroom.

 

Don’ts:

 

  • Engage in stimulating activities – like playing a competitive game, watching an edge-of-the seat movie, or having an important conversation with a loved one.
  • Even using smartphones and tablets can interfere with sleep, because they emit the same kind of light as the morning sun.
  • Eat a heavy meal within four hours of going to bed.
  • Drink caffeine after lunch – like coffee, ‘normal’ and green tea, and colas.
  • Use alcohol to help you sleep. Alcohol can make sleep more disturbed.
  • Try to avoid daytime naps.
  • Try not to get frustrated if you can’t sleep. Go to bed in a positive mood – “I will sleep tonight”.

 

 

You should always talk to your doctor about symptoms you are particularly concerned about, but there is such a lot you can do to feel more energised than you do right now and fix that spare tyre round the middle.

 

If you are experiencing any of the issues I set out at the beginning, and you feel this is the right time for a brand new you -new eating plan, new attitude and new healthy lifestyle habits- then get in touch!

 

 

How to make the perfect cauliflower rice

If you are trying to cut down on refined carbs and need a tasty alternative or if you just want to introduce more healthy vegetables, cauliflower rice is a great choice. You just need a food processor to blitz the florets into rice-like pieces that can then be microwaved, pan-fried or roasted to create a light, fluffy rice-like addition to meals of all kinds.

Experimenting with flavours is all part of the fun. You will find your own personal favourite way of cooking it. Here’s how to get started.

MAKE IT

Remove the outer leaves, cut into florets and remove most of the thick core. If you have a large cauliflower, blitz half the cauliflower at a time. Pulse until the cauliflower resembles rice or cous cous. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate it but it will take a lot longer and you will be left with a slightly chunkier texture. Once you’ve created the cauliflower rice, you can store it covered in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for two months.
My favourite way to cook cauliflower rice is to roast it. Drizzle it with a little olive oil and spread it into a roasting tray for 15 mins at 180˚C, mixing it half way through cooking. Season with salt after cooking so it doesn’t go soggy.

I like to experiment with flavour, adding a little cumin, and chili to the mix, but I have equally experimented with a little garlic, rosemary and, sparingly, finely grated lemon zest.

The combinations are endless. Enjoy it!

Quinoa with kale and purple sprouting broccoli.

March is the start of the purple sprouting broccoli season.

Almost all cruciferous foods are known for their important health benefits, and purple sprouting broccoli contains the phytochemical sulforaphane, thought to help prevent cancer and which may provide resistance against many diseases like osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes.

This colourful vegetable is also packed with vitamin C and is a good source of carotenoids, iron, folic acid, calcium, and fibre. A true superfood!

This recipe is adapted from one of Jamie Oliver’s winter salads.

Ingredients:

100g quinoa

250g purple sprouting broccoli

200g kale

30g blanched hazelnuts

1 orange

1 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Extra virgin olive oil

Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions, then drain.

Trim the broccoli and cook on a large frying pan over a medium heat for 10 minutes.

To make the dressing, squeeze the juice of the orange into a small bowl. Mix in the tahini, red wine vinegar, 2 tbsp of oil and season to taste. Set aside.

Remove any hard stalks from the kale and place the leaves in a large bowl. With your hands, massage in a pinch of salt for 1 minute. Once the broccoli has charred, add to the kale and tip over half the dressing. Add the quinoa and toss together.

Put the hazelnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven until golden, then roughly chop.

Add a little more dressing to the salad, toss again, then arrange on a large serving platter. Add the chopped toasted hazelnuts and serve straight away. Yummy!

Kale Chips!

You might have tried the kale chips in health food shops.  Well, if you fancy trying to make your own version, this recipe is for you.

 

You will need:

75g cashew nuts (ideally soaked for 2 hours)

1 shallot, chopped

2tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

½ tsp garlic salt

4 soft large dates, chopped

2tbsp lemon juice

2tbsp water

2tbsp apple cider vinegar

250g chopped kale

 

Blend all the ingredients except the kale until thick. Add a little more water if needed.

Remove the stems form the leaves. Place the leaves in a bowl and pour over the sauce. Massage thoroughly with your hands.

Preheat the oven to 150C. Spread the kale out in a single layer on a lined baking tray and bake for 15 minutes then rotate the tray and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes. You may need several baking sheets to avoid the kale overlapping.

Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet. You can eat it right away or store it in an airtight container (it will keep for about 3-4 days).

Enjoy!

5 great ways to beat colds and flu

When the temperature drops, the chance of you coming down with a cold or the flu increases significantly. It’s widely accepted you’ll get sick more often in the winter. That’s because you’re likely to be inside more and the common cold thrives better in dry air than where there’s humidity. And, when you spend more time indoors, you’re exposed to more germs.

The flu virus is also transmitted much faster when it’s cold out because the lipid (fatty) coating of the virus becomes more resilient the colder it gets.

Your immune system is the most powerful weapon you have against disease. Strong immunity means that the body is better able to fight off viruses and germs.

Fewer colds and sick days this winter would be good, right? There are many diets and lifestyle tweaks you can make to reduce your risk of catching a cold and flu this season (and ensuring it’s shorter and less serious if you do get the lurgy).

Here are my top five tips to keep you fighting fit this month – and beyond.

 

  1. EAT REAL FOOD

Your body needs real, unprocessed food to stay healthy and not the processed foods we kid ourselves are OK for us to eat.

Focus on eating natural, unprocessed food as often as possible. Follow the 80/20 rule (for the avoidance of doubt, this means eating healthily 80% of the time!).

 

Base your diet on whole foods like good quality proteins (eggs, fish, lean meats, nuts and seeds), legumes, whole grains as well as plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit.  Avoid pre-packed, processed foods which are nutrients poor as well as being full of refined sugars, additives and all sorts of artificial ingredients.

 

  1. SPICE THINGS UP!

Adding flavour to food is a smart way to include delicious immune boosters on your plate.

Garlic, for instance, is a potent superfood. It is antimicrobial, thanks to the active ingredient allicin, which helps fight viruses, and has been used for thousands of years to boost the immune system and prevent sickness.

Most culinary herbs contain anti-inflammatory properties due to their phytonutrients, but oregano, parsley and thyme are particularly rich so make sure they appear on your dishes regularly.

Remember to add turmeric, cayenne, and ginger, too, as these are well-documented immune boosters.

 

  1. ENJOY ‘HAPPY TUMMY’ FOODS

Did you know that up to 80% of our immunity to germs and disease is in the gut? The mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) in the gut is part of the first line of immune defence, so getting the right balance between beneficial, or ‘good’ gut bacteria, and the ‘bad’, or potentially pathogenic bacteria, is key.

The gut environment takes a beating year after year, owing to poor diets, too much sugar, stress, antibiotics and other factors. Even if you have no obvious tummy troubles, digestive health is vital, so it’s worth the extra effort to take care of it.

Add probiotic and prebiotic foods to your diet, as these re-populate the gut with good bacteria and feed them well enough to crowd out bad bacteria.

Here are some gut-friendly choices to get you started:

  • Organic, probiotic, natural yoghurt (such as Yeo Valley or Rachel’s)

Always buy full-fat, as the 0% or no-fat options have increased levels of milk sugars – and fat isn’t the enemy, either in life or in weight loss!

  • Miso soup or miso bouillon paste (add these to soups and stews)
  • Oats (soak first, as you would to make overnight oats, to release the goodness)
  • Onions, garlic and Jerusalem artichokes
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Cooked, then cooled potatoes

 

  1. VITAMIN C & ZINC

Although it appears that taking vitamin C won’t prevent you from catching a cold, loading up on foods rich in this powerful antioxidant, might still help your body to fight infections and shorten symptoms if you do fall ill.

Broccoli and red peppers contain more C than oranges (contrary to popular belief) and other good sources are: kale, cauliflower, parsley, spinach, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, blackcurrants, kiwi fruit, pineapple, mango, papaya and citrus fruits.

Zinc is also essential to our immune system as it supports the functioning of our infections-fighting white blood cells. Top up your zinc levels by eating more palm-sized pieces of lean meat (especially lamb, beef, venison and turkey), pumpkin seeds, ginger root, green veggies, oats, nuts, sesame seeds, yoghurt and scallops.

 

  1. KEEP HYDRATED

When it comes to hydration, plain water is great. Water flushes germs from your system, helps your blood to carry plenty of oxygen to your body’s cells and allows those cells to absorb important nutrients.

Invest in a filter jug or bottle to avoid quaffing high levels of chlorine and fluorine along with your tap water.

Green tea and chamomile tea are also immune system supporters, as they contain antioxidants that help battle free radicals.

 

  1. SAY NO TO SUGAR

Even if you don’t consider yourself a sugar addict, it’s worth looking at how much you do consume – and trying to swap sugary treats for something more wholesome.

Sugar fans the flames of inflammation and affects the ability of white blood cells to fend off viruses and bacteria. In fact, the immune system stays depressed for hours after consuming sugar, according to recent studies.

Addicted to chocolate? Enjoy raw cocoa hot chocolate on chilly evenings, adding your favourite milk or milk substitutes (with a little xylitol or stevia to sweeten, if you like). A few squares of pure, dark chocolate will also satisfy – Green & Blacks, or any good chocolate with a higher cocoa content (at least 75%), is ideal.

 

One last thing, an age-old way to boost immunity is to follow childhood rules – wash hands, go to bed early and take some exercise.

All these simple measures may seem boring (and more difficult to achieve than popping a pill), but science proves that they work. So, why don’t you give them a go? Your immune system will thank you for it.

 

 Are you the kind of person who is ill more often than other people?  Do you feel your immune system could use some support?  I invite you to book in for a free introductory session with me by calling 07772491975 to find out how nutritional therapy can help you.