Starting your morning with a nutritious breakfast is the best way to equip your body and mind for the day ahead. Oats are an amazing low-calorie choice that are great for many functions in the body, not least the health of your heart! The addition of pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, goji berries, chia seeds and chlorella make this a superfood option that packs a wealth of vitamins, minerals and more!
Chlorella has not featured too much in my recipes before. It is a type of algae that is so nutritious that it is often used to make nutritional supplements and medicine. It is available in powder form and as well as being full of healthy essential compounds it is also high in protein and fiber.
To make this porridge for two people, you will need the following ingredients:
1 cup of sprouted oats (Rude Health is my favourite for this)
1/4 of a cup of chia seeds
1 cup of water
1 tsp. of chlorella or spirulina
Top with pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs and goji berries
*Optional strawberry chia seed jam to garnish
To get started making this delicious breakfast dish you must first add the water and the oats into a medium sized pan. Turn up the heat and bring the oats and water to the boil before you then leave to simmer for ten minutes. After this time has passed the oats should be soft. At this point you can add the chia seeds into the oats and if it is still not as soft as you desire then leave the oats to simmer for a further five minutes. This will also give the chia seeds a chance to expand.
Once the oats have cooked and swelled, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chlorella. After a few minutes you can move the oats into a dish (such as this gorgeous bowl and plate from L’Objet!!) and top with pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs and goji berries. If you have any of your strawberry chia seed jam left in the fridge from last week then, like my eight year old, you might enjoy adding this to your porridge too!
Follow me on Twitter @juliemontagu for recipes, nutrition information, exercise tips and more!
We all know that getting between seven and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night is best for optimum health but we also know that it isn’t always easy! For some people getting this much sleep might sound like a luxury as opposed to a necessity but it is essential if you want to maintain optimum health and look and feel your best. If you are one of these people who understands the importance of sleep but does not always manage an adequate amount then the following tips could help you to remedy the problem.
The first thing you should do is turn your bedroom, or at least your sleeping area, into a sanctuary. Make sure it is always clean, comfortable and free of distractions. It is also a good idea to make sure that any outside light is blocked and also that the room is neither too hot nor too cold.
Setting yourself a bedtime might be an amusing concept and something that you haven’t been subject to since childhood but it can really help to organise your sleep. If you know that you have to be up for work at 6 a.m then make sure you are on your way to bed at 21:30. This gives you plenty of time to wind down, get comfortable and fall into an eight hour sleep.
Your actions prior to bedtime can also determine if you get a good sleep or not. Most importantly, do not consume any alcohol, refined sugar or caffeine in the hours before you go to bed. Even if it does not keep you awake to begin with, it is likely to cause you to wake in the early hours. Choosing herbal tea or a warm plant-based milk drink will help relax your body and ease you into sleep. You might also find that a warm bath with lavender oil will also help to relax you.
Meditation and mindful breathing are the perfect pre-bedtime activity. Your sleep sanctuary can also become your space for meditation. You can even try meditating lying down in bed in order to wind down from your day and eradicate any negative thoughts. You simply have to lie back, breathe through your nose and concentrate on your breathing while you imagine all negativity and stress leaving your body. Do this for between five and ten minutes and you will find that your mind is much clearer as you fall asleep.
Once you are sleeping properly you will quickly notice that your energy levels increase, your mind is more balanced and you may also find that your weight is more stable. You will soon adjust to your new routine and this positivity will follow you into other areas of your life!
Jam is a breakfast favorite of so many people but at the same time people might try to avoid the store bought varieties because of the high sugar count! Vegetarians and vegans often have a hard time finding jam that they can eat because several brands of jam do not qualify in either category! The best way to have control over your diet is to make things like jam at home yourself. It does not take as long as you might think, it will always be healthier than anything you can buy in the store and it will be delicious!
Strawberries are such an amazing way to get a wide range of vitamins and minerals into your diet. Even though some people opt to eat them dipped in sugar or cream, they are still very tasty without any added extras. Strawberries are particularly high in a certain group of antioxidants known as polyphenols and will provide protection for your heart as well as increasing good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
To make my strawberry jam, you will only need the following ingredients:
2 cups of strawberries, de-stemmed and chopped in quarters
¼ cup maple syrup / honey /coconut nectar
2 Tbsp chia seeds
Water as needed
To get started you will first need to add the strawberries to a pan and heat at a medium to high heat. You must also add the sweetner of your choice. The liquid from the strawberries will soon start to fill up the pan. Once the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a further 7-10 minutes, stirring every so often. Then, ussing a fork or masher, smash your strawberries to your desired level of consistency.
The next step is to stir in the two tablespoons of chia seeds and leave to cook for another minute – making sure to stir well. You can then remove from the heat and allow the jam to cool while the chia seeds swell up to thicken the jam. Don’t worry if it isn’t at the desired consistency as it will continue to thicken as it cools. Once the jam is cooled you can serve on your favourite piece of toast or top onto your favourite pudding! There’s no end to the many uses of delicious and healthy strawberry chia seed jam!
If you want to store this jam for later use then do so in an airtight container. If you keep it in the refrigerator then it will be good for up to two weeks.
To learn more about nutrition head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!
Anxiety is a very real but often invisible mental health problem that affects a large number of people throughout their lives. Official estimates suggest that at least 18% of the population will experience some form of ongoing anxiety problem in their lives. In previous blog posts I have discussed physical ways in which we can combat anxiety but today I want to address dietary issues that can make it worse. When a person is already suffering with an anxiety disorder, it is incredibly important not to add to this problem. There are several dietary triggers that are easy to avoid and in doing so you can potentially promote a greater sense of calm and control.
Sugar is a big one when it comes to our mood. Consuming even small amounts of refined sugar can wreak havoc with our energy levels and state of mind. This is because it causes a rapid boost in blood sugar which is then inevitably followed by a crash. When this crash occurs we can experience fatigue, irritation and anxiety. Avoiding sugar altogether and eating foods which regulate our blood sugar, as opposed to spiking it, will help us avoid this problem.
Caffeine is known to be a trigger for people with anxiety. Drinking too much coffee can have powerful stimulant effects and for many people it does become a sort of addiction. When you drink coffee you become more alert and this can lead us to overthink certain situations. Even if you do not recognise this as a trigger for your anxiety, try avoiding it for a couple of days and monitor your mood during this time. You may find that you are calmer and more relaxed throughout the day.
As well as avoiding sugar and coffee you should certainly check if you are getting enough sleep. People who have an anxiety issue can often find it more difficult to get to sleep but then this lack of sleep can cause the anxiety to intensify. This vicious cycle of sleep deprivation can be incredibly damaging to your mental health and it is important to try and get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Yoga and meditation late in the evening are both positive ways to promote relaxation and encourage sleep. Try 30 minutes of either practice before bed and see if this makes a difference to your sleep pattern. You might also find that without sugar and caffeine sleep comes more easily to you!
If you eradicate sugar and caffeine from your diet but still find that your energy is low and your mood is unstable, then it would be advisable to analyse the rest of your diet. Make sure you are eating a variety of wholesome, plant-based foods that will keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day. Also, make sure that you do not skip a meal and try to include some healthy snacks during the day. You will keep your metabolism stimulated as well as satisfying your stomach and mind!
Meatless meatballs are not as difficult to create as you might think and it is more than likely that you already have the necessary ingredients in your cupboards! The use of chia seeds is a fantastic way to get the consistency just right and to hold the meatballs together. As you will no doubt already know from previous posts of mine, chia seeds are an absolute nutritional powerhouse and something I recommend including in the diet every day! If you are unaware of their amazing health benefits then click here to find out!
To make these meatballs you will need the following ingredients:
1/2 cup of Puy lentils
1 pack of button mushrooms
1 cup of walnuts
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves
1 small handful thyme
2 small handfuls coriander
The juice from half a lemon
To get started making this recipe you will first need to preheat your oven to 180C. Next, soak your chia seeds in six tablespoons of water for 10 minutes. While the chia seeds are soaking you can begin to cook the lentils according the back of pack instructions.
Next, finely chop the mushrooms and fry with a tiny bit of tamari sauce over a medium heat until they begin to go soft. This should take between five and seven minutes. After this time you can remove the pan from the heat. You must then combine the cooked lentils, mushrooms, walnuts, chia seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic cloves, thyme, coriander and lemon juice in your food processor. Blitz all of these ingredients until a paste is formed and then roll this paste into golf ball sized balls.
Once all rolled, place the balls onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes before turning the balls and baking for another 10 minutes. After this time is up you can remove from the oven and they are ready to eat! You can either enjoy them on their own or add to your favourite pasta dish! They are especially delicious with courgetti spaghetti!
Growing up in the Midwest, corn was a massive part of my diet and we would literally have it for dinner every night in the summer months! In true Midwest style we would BBQ it fresh for each meal and enjoy whilst hot and dripping with butter and salt. It was delicious even if it wasn’t the healthiest! This recipe is my nutritious twist on this childhood summer meal that is prepared just as we used to do it – straight on the BBQ!
Corn contains an impressive range of antioxidants as well as phosphorus and manganese. It is also high in fiber which makes it great for digestion. The high fiber count also means it is beneficial for your blood sugar levels which can help to prevent diabetes. Nutritional research has shown that eating corn can help the body to absorb essential minerals, such as iron, zinc and calcium!
You will need the following ingredients to make your own:
4 fresh corn on the cobs, husks removed
4 Tbsp. of coconut oil
Zest of 2 limes & juice of 2 limes
2 tsp. red chilli flakes
Once you have your BBQ flamed up and ready to go, you can begin preparing the meal by rubbing the coconut oil, lime juice and chilli flakes onto your corn. Once you have done this, wrap each piece of corn in aluminium foil individually. Next, place the wrapped corn onto your BBQ and cook for approximately 15 minutes, being careful to keep it away from the flames. Every couple of minutes you can turn it over to ensure that it cooks through evenly.
Once the 15 minutes have passed, remove the corn from the heat and also remove the aluminium foil. You can then sprinkle each piece with some of the lime zest and enjoy!
Join me on Facebook and never miss another recipe!
When it comes to seeking happiness it is important not to negate any of your emotional responses. Often we tell ourselves that feeling sad is not an acceptable state of mind because so many people have it worse. However, in doing so we are discounting our natural response to our current situation. It is important to remember that we have to sometimes be sad if we are to be happy in other moments! Understanding your emotions and allowing yourself to feel them is essential to working past any negative ones that occur and embracing the positive ones that surface.
Many people try to find happiness in making others happy. Although this is of course a great thing to do, it can often be to distract the person in question from dealing with their own emotions. If you are one of these people that spends a great deal of time worrying about everyone else, then you may start to find that you are missing out on your own joy. Although there are of course things you can do to increase the wellbeing of others, at the end of the day their happiness is their own making. You simply cannot force someone else to be happy and you cannot truly push them to reach this state of mind before they are ready. Similarly, you are responsible for your own happiness, even though you may get help from your loved ones along the way.
If you believe that there are currently obstacles to you reaching your happiest self, then ask yourself the following questions and try to determine if your attitude could use an adjustment!
First of all, are there things in your life that are causing you pain that you could work to let go of? Are there negative thought patterns that drive you to distraction when really you could embrace positivity and work to avoid them altogether? Are there people that you allow to influence your attitude in a detrimental way?
Instead of concentrating on the negative aspects of your life, make a list of all of the things that you are doing well and remind yourself of these things each and every day. By taking pride in the small moments of success that you achieve, you create a much bigger feeling of success that can boost your sense of happiness and general wellbeing.
Make sure you own each and every decision and choice that guides your life so that you never lose that feeling of being in control. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, remember to be kind to yourself. Take the time to care for yourself and not to let others get you down! Check in on your attitude to life and happiness regularly to ensure you remain on a positive and healthy track!
Making your own hummous is great fun and can bring an interesting variety to a meal or snack! It is also easy to store in your fridge for a couple of days so you can always make a huge batch and enjoy it without worrying that it will spoil.
Tahini is the most consistent ingredient used to make hummous and it is a fantastic source of nutrition! Tahini is rich in many of the important minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, lecithin, iron and potassium! Additionally it is a great source of methionine which helps the liver during the detoxification process. When it comes to easy ways to get calcium into your diet, tahini is the perfect choice as it brings high amounts even in small quantities. On top of all of this, it promotes healthy cell growth whilst also protecting against anaemia!
To make enough hummous to serve a party of four, gather the following ingredients:
1 x 400g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
50g of coriander
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup or 60ml of tahini
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. of coconut nectar, honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup or 60ml water
All you have to do to create this delicious hummous is simply put all of the ingredients except the water into your food processer or high-speed blender. Give this a good whizz until it has reached close to the desired texture. The next step is to gradually pour in the the water until the you have that lovely hummous consistency. You can then top this with some more zest and even some chilli flakes if you like – it is now ready to serve! This hummous is especially great for corn chips or sliced red pepper!