How to Tackle Anxiety and Depression

There are such a wide range of reasons why a person might struggle with anxiety and depression that it is impossible to say that everyone can benefit from the same advice. However, there are certain things at the core of these mental health issues that people may share. These things can pertain to a prolonged traumatic experience, an isolated incident or a genetic pre-disposition – to name just a few!

Regardless of the initial reasons why anxiety or depression may have struck, there are certain ways to address these issues in order to work towards a resolution and an improved general quality of life.

First, and arguably the most conventional solution, you may find that seeking professional help and guidance is the best way to address your struggles. Talking therapy is an especially constructive way of getting to the root of your problems and for equipping yourself with coping mechanisms. The validation and clarity that therapy can provide can be a key turning point on the road to recovery for many people. Your GP will be able to put the wheels in motion for you if you are unable to seek a private therapist.

On a more personal level, finding ways to care for and have compassion for yourself is a useful skill to master. This can take many forms, but essentially means that you will always recognise and prioritise your own needs. It also means being more supportive and forgiving of yourself and your mistakes. Doing so can help you to always be aware that your feelings and emotions are completely valid and that any negativity can be overcome.

Having a belief in your own personal strength can help to build your self worth which can be useful in overcoming anxiety and depression. Every difficult thing that you have experienced in your life has helped you to grow as a person, and with each incident you will have undoubtedly become a stronger person. Take the time to give yourself credit for this and to understand that you have the potential to overcome any challenging experience.

Finally, figure out what your boundaries are and make sure that anybody who is present in your life knows what these boundaries are. Do not be afraid to say no to things you are uncomfortable with. Be sure not to compromise your boundaries in any circumstances and always re-iterate to yourself that they are important.

My online e-learning portal will soon have a new course dedicated to self-love, letting go and happiness which are all concepts that can help us to understand our passions! Head to the Flexi Foodie Academy soon to sign up and Like my Facebook page to be the first to know when it comes out!

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Kale and Tomato Breakfast Wraps

Breakfast wraps are a great, healthy way to bring some variety to your morning meal. They involve surprisingly minimal preparation and the fantastic combination of ingredients can really help you to start the day in the best way possible! One of the many great things about my breakfast wraps is that you can make them right before you head out of the door and then enjoy them on your way to work!

As you will already know from visiting my blog before, kale is an absolute powerhouse of nutrition and I recommend getting lots of it into your diet! With these wraps you get a whole cup into your body before the day has even really begun! This little leaf is full of so many antioxidants, not to mention high amounts of vitamins A, C and K.

The addition of basil to this recipe compliments the existing flavour as well as providing an additional dose of goodness. This herb has quite a distinct aroma and contains beneficial amounts of vitamin K, manganese and magnesium! Growing basil at home for yourself is so easy to do and you can more than likely grab yourself a plant from your local supermarket with your weekly shop. This will mean that you always have fresh basil to hand, and also that your kitchen will be full of the delicious smell it is loved for.

Kale and Tomato Breakfast Wraps3To make this dish for two people you will need the following ingredients:

2 cups of fresh kale
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 small onion, diced
1 large tomato, sliced
1/2 a medium avocado, mashed
The juice of half a lemon
2 tablespoons of fresh basil
2 whole-wheat tortillas

Kale and Tomato Breakfast Wraps2The first step is to heat the coconut oil in a skillet and then fry the onion and tomato at a medium heat. While this is cooking you can take the tortillas and spread the mashed avocado over each one.

Once the onions have started to brown, remove the contents of the pan and spoon onto the tortillas. Add half of the lemon juice to each tortilla with the basil, and then place the kale on top. Fold the tortillas and serve – it’s as simple as that!

Kale and Tomato Breakfast WrapsThis is a recipe from an upcoming course on my e-learning portal, The Flexi Foodie Academy – head there now to check out what’s already on offer!

Chickpea and Avocado Salad

This salad is so incredibly simple to make that even with the busiest of schedules you could still whip it up for lunch for yourself every day! Gathering and preparing the ingredients will take less than five minutes and then you will be enjoying it in no time! This salad contains a delicious range of ingredients that are all bursting with nutrients. Choosing this recipe for lunch is a great way to boost your energy levels and your mood as you head into the afternoon, especially if you have begun to feel your energy drop mid-morning.

Cumin is a super nutritious spice and, in my opinion, isn’t used nearly enough in cooking! It is most popular in cuisines from the Middle East and India, but it brings such a great punch of flavour that it can really improve a wide range of dishes, both in terms of taste and nutrition. Studies have been conducted into the possible anti-diabetic properties of this healthy little seed. The results of these studies demonstrate that cumin can help to reduce low blood sugar. Cumin has been used throughout history to aid the digestive process and ease indigestion. It is also rich in magnesium which you must obtain through dietary sources as the body does not produce it.

Chickpea and Avocado Salad2.pngTo make this salad for two people you will need the following ingredients:

1 ripe avocado, diced
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup of black olives
2 cups of pre-cooked quinoa
400g of canned chickpeas, drained
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
A handful of fresh coriander, chopped
1/2 a cup of raw cashew nuts
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
A dash of salt and pepper

Chickpea and Avocado SaladSimply add all of the ingredients into a big salad bowl and mix together well before serving onto two plates. It’s that simple! 

This is a recipe from an upcoming course on my e-learning portal, The Flexi Foodie Academy – head there now to check out what’s already on offer!

Coconut Banana Smoothie

Coconut Banana Smoothie.pngSimple smoothies are one of the best ways to start the morning and they also make the perfect pick-me-up during the day, especially when you are short on time! This smoothie only contains a few ingredients, but every single one of those ingredients brings a serious dose of nutrition to the table!

Coconut water has boomed in popularity in the last few years – and for good reason! Coconut water is the clear liquid found in green coconuts. It is bursting with electrolytes, making it the perfect choice for refreshing your body after a workout. If you consume sports drinks after you exercise then you should consider switching to coconut water. Several sports drinks contain high levels of sugar which is going to be of detriment to your fitness efforts! A cup of this water only contains 46 calories as well as a favourable amount of fibre, protein and a tiny bit of fat!

The combination of fruits in this recipe ensure that you are getting a variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants into your diet. They are also (in my opinion!) some of the tastiest fruits available and will satisfy your taste buds!

Coconut Banana Smoothie2.pngTo make this recipe for one person, you will need the following ingredients:

1 ripe banana
300ml of coconut water
1 cup of strawberries
1/2 a cup of blueberries
1 tsp. of spirulina

Simply combine all of the ingredients in your blender and blitz until smooth before transferring to a glass to drink.

This is a recipe from an upcoming course on my e-learning portal, The Flexi Foodie Academy – head there now to check out what’s already on offer!

Creamy Super Soup

This creamy soup is a super simple way to eat spirulina without having to taste it! If you are a fan of raw foods then just skip heating the soup—it tastes great either way.

If you have heard me talk about spirulina before then it is most likely in a smoothie recipe as it is great for adding a burst of nutrition to smoothies! However, you can also add it into soups to give them a healthy boost. Far from just being good for your body, spirulina is good for your brain too.

Spirulina is a type of bacteria that grows in both fresh and salt water. Its use as a superfood dates all the way back to the Aztecs, and with good reason. Just one tablespoon of spirulina contains an impressive four grams of protein, as well as beneficial amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, copper and iron! It also contains smaller, but still beneficial, amounts of a wide range of other nutrients that the body needs.

Experts have argued that gram for gram, this could actually be the most nutritious food on the planet!

To make this soup for two people, you will need the following ingredients:

2 cups of raw cashew nuts
2 cups / 16fl oz / 450ml of water or vegetable stock
2 cups / 5oz / 140g of kale
2 cups / 5oz / 140g of spinach
1 avocado, peeled and de-stoned
A handful of fresh cilantro (coriander), trimmed
1 inch (2.5cm) fresh root ginger, peeled
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tbsp of spirulina
1 tsp of cumin

First you will need to place the cashew nuts and water into your blender and blitz for about five minutes. By this time your mixture should be smooth, but if it’s not then keep going until it is!

Next, add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and continue to blend until everything is completely smooth. This should take between one and two minutes. You can then pour the soup into a medium saucepan and heat on a low heat for 10–15 minutes. Finally, divide into two bowls and serve immediately. As I mentioned before, if you want to consume the soup without heating it up then that is totally fine too!

This is one of the recipes from my book – Eat Real Foods – which was released this week!!! You can order your copy in the UK by clicking here and order your copy in the U.S by clicking here!

Eating for Younger Skin

The foods that we consume play a big part in how quickly we appear to age. This is due to a range of things, but the consumption of vitamins and minerals that protect the health of our skin is key. There are, of course, other ways that you can look after your skin. Always using sunscreen when you are going to be exposed to the sun, never smoking and being sure to moisturise frequently can help. However, it can be argued that there is no better way to protect your body and your skin then with a healthy diet!

If you are keen to embrace this concept but do not know where to start, then the following tips will help you on your journey to younger looker skin!

First of all, eating a variety of whole grain foods is a great way to increase the amount of nutrients that you consume. This does not have to be a difficult transition at all. Simply replace any refined grain products you eat, such as bread and pasta, with their whole grain counterparts. It always pays to really read the labels when you are choosing your whole grain foods. This is because some products are advertised as being whole grain even though they still contain a certain amount of refined grains.

Swapping your coffee for a green tea will boost the amount of skin-friendly antioxidants in your body. Peppermint tea is a particularly good choice and has been linked to younger looking skin. Including green juices is another fantastic way to go green. Shop around for a juicer and you can enjoy fresh green juices at home every day, even on a budget. Buying a variety of fruits and vegetables in bulk gives you the option to make up a huge batch of juice that can be stored in your freezer as individual portions. Simply take one from the freezer and place in your fridge each night and it will be ready for you in the morning!

Herbs and spices bring a burst of flavour to meals and they also contain their own range of vitamins and minerals. You can grow your own herbs at home in order to always have a supply to hand. Adding herbs and spices to your food is also a natural option for flavouring your food instead of adding salts and sauces, which can be detrimental to your health and your skin.

One of the best things you can do for the appearance of your skin when it comes to your diet, is to bin the processed, packaged foods. These foods are all too often crammed full of sugar and additives, neither of which are going to do your skin any favours. Fried foods are also big health offenders and could contain high levels of trans fats. Processed foods that are advertised as low calorie options are often high in sugar to compensate for the flavour. You are much better off sticking to a primarily plant-based diet that includes a selection of wholesome options. 

It is also important for the appearance of your skin that you stay hydrated throughout the day. The best indicator as to whether you are adequately hydrated is the colour of your urine – the lighter the better! Always drink water regularly throughout the day and keep a bottle with you when you go outside. 

To learn more about nutrition and how it can help you to look younger for longer, head to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Superfood Smoothie

Here you have two of my favourite superfoods in one super smoothie! But don’t forget that just like goji berries and raw cacao, you have a few other ‘super’ foods in this one too, such as kale, blueberries, and even lucuma. Essentially, it’s an all-round winner for your health!

Goji berries are one of the best berries you can include in your diet and also bring a touch of colour to recipes. They are especially high in vitamin C and fibre, whilst also being a great plant-based source of iron and vitamin A. They also pack a decent dose of protein and are fairly low calorie.

Blueberries are another fantastic type of berry and are generally more well-known than goji berries. Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants and research has shown that they are particularly good for brain health and the nervous system. Certain studies have even suggested they can help to improve memory function. When you freeze blueberries you will preserve the nutrients within, so it’s always a good idea to stock up when they are in season and enjoy throughout the year. A one cup serving of these berries will provide your body with ample vitamin K, manganese, vitamin C, fibre and copper, among many other health boosting vitamins and minerals.

Superfood Smoothie2To make enough of this super smoothie for one or two people, you will need the following ingredients:

1 tbsp of goji berries
2 cups / 16fl oz / 450ml of coconut water
1 banana, peeled
1 tsp of lucuma powder
1 tsp of raw cacao
1/2 cup / 2oz / 55g of blueberries
A handful of kale

You will first need to pre-soak the goji berries in a bowl of cold water for ten minutes before draining and rinsing. You can then place the berries in a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blitz for one to two minutes, or until smooth. Serve immediately and enjoy!

This is one of the recipes from my book – Eat Real Foods – which was released this week!!! You can order your copy in the UK by clicking here and order your copy in the U.S by clicking here!

Hemp Seed Smoothie Bowl

Think of this as almost like a chocolate milkshake but one that is actually filled with all things good! You might think that this is impossible…..but give this one a go and I think you’ll agree it’s thick, creamy, and slightly chocolatey too!

If you haven’t heard the hype about hemp seeds yet then you are certainly missing out! They are loaded with goodness, from healthy fats to an abundance of protein and essential nutrients. The omega-3 fatty acids found within hemp seeds are great for nourishing your mind as well as your heart. This kind of fat reduces inflammation in the body as well as promoting cognitive function and memory. For this reason, having one of my hemp seed smoothie bowls first thing in the morning can really help you to start the day with your best foot forwards!

Hemp seeds are also amazing because they contain all of the essential amino acids. This makes them a complete source of protein which is fantastic for those on a purely plant-based diet. Just three tablespoons of these seeds equates to 10 grams of seriously high-quality protein!

Hemp Seed Smoothie Bowl2To make this smoothie bowl for two people, you will need the following ingredients:

2 cups / 5oz / 140g of spinach
2 cups / 5oz / 140g of kale
1/2 a cucumber, roughly chopped
1 ripe banana
1/2 an avocado, peeled and de-stoned
1 tbsp of hemp seeds
1 tsp of spirulina
1 cup / 8fl oz / 225ml of coconut milk
1 tbsp of raw cacao
A handful of ice (optional)

Hemp Seed Smoothie BowlTo make this smoothie bowl, all you need to do is place all of the ingredients (except the ice) into a blender. You can then blitz for approximately two minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.

If you want to chill the smoothie, you can then add the ice to the blender and blitz again. Once everything is combined together, spoon it into bowls and serve immediately.

This is one of the recipes from my book – Eat Real Foods – which was released this week!!! You can order your copy in the UK by clicking here and order your copy in the U.S by clicking here!

Following Your Path of Passion

In a blog post last week I spoke of how it is possible to discover your passion in life by exploring the things that you are curious about. My advice was aimed at those who are perhaps feeling frustrated by the fact they do not yet know what they want to do with their lives.

Today I would like to continue this trail of thought. However, I want to focus more on the things that are true of life passions that only someone who has experienced theirs can tell you.

First of all, as I touched on briefly last week, many people are not born knowing what their passion is. Instead they have to cultivate theirs through self-discovery and much soul-searching. This is a process that can’t be rushed and must be allowed to develop at its own pace. 

Secondly, although society tells us that we must have a calling in life and strive to fulfil it, there is nothing wrong with not currently having a passion. This is just another example of trying to live a life that is moulded by the expectations of someone else. If you are happy with the way that you are living your life, then there is no reason to change just because of the implied expectation that you will do something different.

Thirdly, passion is often a development of first caring about something. Of course all of us care about many things. However, there are often things that stick out as being more important than others. Not ignoring these feelings and allowing them to grow can help you to find out what path in life will truly make you happy.

Your path to finding and living your passion will most likely be an unpredictable one. Your route and your focus may change along the way as your understanding of your interests changes. That does not make the journey up until each point any less valid and should not be considered a waste of your time and energy.

Remember, it is not possible to force yourself to follow a passion that you do not truly feel passionate about. You may feel like you should be doing something specific in your life. This is more than likely because people have pressured you into believing this is true. Trying to please someone else instead of following your own path will inevitably end in a negative way. Instead of rushing down the wrong route, give yourself the time you need to grow and make an effort to nurture yourself along the way. The emotional rewards you will get for doing so will far exceed any short term happiness you experience from fulfilling someone else’s expectations of your life!

My online e-learning portal will soon have a new course dedicated to self-love, letting go and happiness which are all concepts that can help us to understand our passions! Head to the Flexi Foodie Academy soon to sign up and Like my Facebook page to be the first to know when it comes out!

Mixed Nut Burgers

Not keen on veggie burgers? Well, I urge you to give this recipe a try! Top with your favourite relish, pickles, onions, tomatoes, or mustard and enjoy!

Eating a range of nuts on a daily basis is amazing for your health. Although every nut is different when it comes to its nutritional profile, they can all bring bountiful benefits to your body. This recipe calls for three different types of nut, and they all have something fantastic to bring to the table!

Cashew nuts are a good source of plant-based protein and also contain a wide range of minerals, such as zinc, magnesium and iron. Consuming an adequate amount of magnesium has been connected to maintaining your memory function as well as reducing anxiety.

Almonds are a good source of calcium which is essential for healthy bones. They also contain an abundance of vitamin E which is great for the appearance of your skin. Some people opt to eat the flaked version of this nut but I always recommend the whole thing. This is because the skin of the almond is full of heart healthy compounds known as flavonoids.

Brazil nuts are a fantastic source of selenium which helps to regulate your thyroid levels. Selenium also contributes towards the function of your immune system and helps wounds to heal faster.

Mixed Nut Burgers2.pngTo make six of these mixed nut burgers, you will need the following ingredients:

1 cup / 8oz / 225g bulgur wheat, uncooked
1/3 cup / 1.8 oz / 50g raw cashew nuts, finely chopped
1/3 cup / 1.8 oz / 50g raw almonds, finely chopped
1/3 cup / 1.8 oz / 50g raw Brazil nuts, finely chopped
2 tbsp of ground flaxseeds
6 tbsp water
1 tbsp coconut oil plus extra for cooking
1 tbsp wholewheat (all-purpose) flour
1/2 tsp ground cumin

The first step is to bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the Bulgur wheat for 10 minutes, or according to packet instructions. After this time, you can drain any excess water and set aside to cool.

Place the chopped cashew nuts, almonds and Brazil nuts into a large bowl. (To ensure that the nuts are finely chopped, you might want to give them a quick blitz in your blender or food processor.)

Mixed Nut BurgersAdd the ground flaxseed, water, coconut oil, flour, and cumin into the bowl with the nuts. Stir well to ensure that all of the ingredients are well combined. Once the Bulgur wheat is cooled to room temperature, add it to the bowl and stir well to combine.

Divide the mixture into six equal parts and then form your patties by rolling into balls and gently flattening with the heel of your hand. You can then drizzle a little coconut oil into a large skillet (frying pan) and leave to heat for a couple of minutes. When the oil is hot, add the patties and fry for five minutes each side.

Serve in whole-wheat buns or with your favourite salad dish.

This is one of the recipes from my book – Eat Real Foods – which was released this week!!! You can order your copy in the UK by clicking here and order your copy in the U.S by clicking here!