Why You Should Alkalise Your Body

Maintaining the natural balance of your body in regards to your pH levels is important for several reasons. Both your immune system and the amount of inflammation in your body can be affected by whether or not you are in the correct alkaline range. When we consider that immune system function and inflammation are two of the biggest factors contributing to optimum health, then we can see how important it is to maintain balance in the body!

Immune System

The reason that your immune system becomes compromised when your pH is out of balance is that the cells in the body aren’t getting the minerals that they need. This means that less oxygen is being circulated and your immune system therefore doesn’t function as well as it could!

When you have the correct alkaline balance then your body is better equipped to prevent and deal with infections and illnesses.

Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a leading cause of illness and diseases, and can soon become a problem when normal levels of inflammation start to increase.

Acidic foods are known to cause inflammation in the body. When you consume excess amounts of acidic foods then your body is going to have to work extra hard to neutralise this acidity. One of the ways in which your body can do this is to take essential minerals from other parts of the body, which can of course be detrimental to your overall health.

Balancing Your pH Levels

If the foods and drinks that you are consuming are too acidic then your pH levels are quickly going to get out of whack. However, your lifestyle and overall diet also contribute to your pH levels.

Foods that are high in magnesium, phosphorous and calcium are great for restoring the alkaline balance in the body.

Unprocessed vegetables are the perfect choice for alkalising your body, especially citrus fruits. Garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar and turmeric are also beneficial choices. Eating your greens will also help with this, and you can aim to include broccoli, wheatgrass, chlorella and spinach in your diet regularly.

If you do not consume many processed and packaged foods then you are going to give yourself a head-start when it comes to alkalising your body. They can be incredibly acidic, and it is an amazing idea to replace these products with whole food options!

If you have seen my new wellness for women membership site – Truly Julie – then you will know that I am on a mission to inspire and motivate women to become healthier and happier – and I would love it if you would join me on this journey as we keep moving through 2017!

Sautéed Broccoli with Sun Dried Tomatoes

As the weather slowly starts to warm up, many of us look to find lighter meals that will still provide us with the nourishment we need. This dish does exactly that without compromising on flavour either!

Broccoli is the perfect vegetable to load your plate with during the summer months as it is filling without being heavy. Being low in calories as well as high in essential vitamins and minerals is just one of many great things about broccoli. It is a particularly rich source of vitamin C and vitamin K, as well as folate, potassium and fibre! 

Sautéed Broccoli with Sun Dried Tomatoes2The rich flavour of sun dried tomatoes is hard to beat and they are also a serious competitor when it comes to their nutritional value. Including them in your cooking regularly is an easy way to up your fibre intake, which can help you to prevent constipation as well as leave you feeling fuller. When it comes to getting minerals into your body, sun dried tomatoes are a fantastic option. they are especially rich in potassium and magnesium, which is good for your nervous system and energy production respectively.

Sautéed Broccoli with Sun Dried Tomatoes3To make this dish for two people you will need the following ingredients:

3 cups of broccoli florets
1 cup of sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon of coconut oil

The first step is to heat the onion and the garlic in a large skillet with the coconut oil. After a few moments, add in the red pepper and continue to fry for five more minutes. You can then add in the broccoli and lower the heat slightly as you continue to fry for a further ten minutes. Finally, add the sun dried tomatoes into the skillet, fry for five more minutes and then serve into two bowls. 

Sautéed Broccoli with Sun Dried Tomatoes4.pngThis 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!

Broccoli and Cauliflower Pilaf

Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower have unique nutritional properties compared to other vegetables. This is because they are packed with phytonutrients—potent anti-cancer agents.

Broccoli is great for fighting disease in the body and can really help to keep you healthy when you consume it regularly. As with many foods, it is best for your body if you eat it raw, but there are still health benefits to be gained when you cook it first. Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C as well as vitamins A, E and K! Cauliflower is also fantastic for your health and can be very beneficail when consumed often. Cauliflower is particularly good for the immune system because of the folates and vitamin C found within. Your heart also stands to benefit when you eat cauliflower because it helps to lower your cholesterol levels.

To make this dish for two to three people, you will need the following ingredients:

1 tbsp of coconut oil
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 /2 a cup / 3oz / 100g of broccoli
1/2 a cup / 3oz / 100g of cauliflower
1 inch (2.5cm) of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups / 14oz / 400g of brown rice, cooked to packet instructions
1 tsp of ground turmeric
1 tsp of ground curry powder
1 tsp of ground chilli powder
1 tbsp of ground cilantro (coriander)
1⁄2 cup / 2 3 ⁄ 4oz / 75g of cashew nuts, chopped

Broccoli and Cauliflower Pilaf2To get started you will need to place the coconut oil in a large saucepan on a high heat to warm for a couple of minutes. You can then add the garlic and then gently sauté for two to three minutes.

The next step is to add the cauliflower and broccoli and continue to cook for 10 minutes, or until it becomes slightly crisp. You can then add the ginger and brown rice to the pan before stirring in the turmeric, curry powder, chilli, and cilantro. You must then reduce the heat and cook on a low setting for a further 10 minutes, adding a splash of water if the mixture becomes dry. Finally, divide between plates, garnish with cashew nuts, 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!

Smoked Paprika, Black Beans and Sprouting Broccoli Salad

Purple sprouting broccoli is generally at its best in the spring months so now is a great time to make the most of it in your cooking! This kind of broccoli brings an amazing combination of colour and crunch to a dish and is also, of course, rammed full of nutrients. The high vitamin and mineral count of broccoli, coupled with its exciting antioxidant count, make it an all round winner for your health.

Paprika is amongst my favourite spices but not one that I use all that often! Including paprika in a dish is such a great way to boost the flavour of that meal and it packs a subtle spicy punch without completely dominating the existing taste. As well as containing a range of vitamins, paprika also has a healthy dose of iron which is essential for carrying oxygen around the body.

To quickly whip up this salad for four to six people, gather the following ingredients:

250g of purple sprouting broccoli
1 x 400g of tinned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 spring onions, thinly diced
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. honey

For the dressing:

A handful of coriander
A small handful of almonds, ideally soaked for a few hours but don’t worry if not!
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. almond milk

broccoli_sprouted_salad_flexi_foodie

So the first thing you need to do is bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the broccoli for five minutes. Be careful not to over cook the broccoli so that you don’t lose any of the nutrients. After these five minutes are up, you should drain and rinse. Next, in a frying pan over a medium heat, combine the drained and rinsed black beans and then add in the smoked paprika, cumin and honey. You can then stir this together well and cook for five minutes.

In a large bowl, you can then combine the sprouting broccoli, seasoned black beans, spring onions and avocado. And finally, combine the dressing ingredients in your food processor and blend. It will be a lovely, chunky dressing (tastes great too!) that you can coat the broccoli and bean salad well with. This is one of my favourite salads of all time!

Roasted Chickpea, Cucumber and Purple Sprouting Broccoli Salad

Salads aren’t dishes that are often associated with the winter weather, however, this one is not only incredibly filling but also full of the kind of goodness that helps to keep you healthy and smiling through the cold season. Sprouting broccoli is an ingredient that I have used once before on my blog but you may not be all that familiar with it. Growing during the winter and sprouting during the spring, this colourful vegetable is a great way to add nutrition and character to any meal. However, it is chickpeas that are the true nourishment bringer of this dish.

A cup of chickpeas only contains 4 grams of fat and absolutely none of it is the bad kind! Add to that, that they provide a decent dose of fibre and can help to lower bad cholesterol levels whilst improving digestive health. When you eat chickpeas your red blood cells benefit hugely as they are full of folate which is essential for the development of these cells.

 the_flexi_foodie2

To make this salad for two people, you’ll need the following ingredients:

For the salad:

250g of purple sprouting broccoli
1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp of paprika
2 tsp of cumin
1 small cucumber
A handful of corianderFor the dressing:A handful of coriander
1/2 an avocado
A small handful of pitted olives
1 tbsp of tahini
1 clove of garlic, crushed
7 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
The juice of 1 lemon

Firstly, bring a pot of water to the boil and blanche the broccoli for 2-3 minutes. Whilst you’re doing so, pre-heat your oven to 180C and then spread your chickpeas out on a baking tray. Take the pre-measured paprika and cumin and sprinkle over the chickpeas. You can then place the baking tray into the oven for approximately 25 minutes. Remember to put the broccoli to one side on a large bowl once it is blanched.

Whilst you’re waiting for the chickpeas to cook, chop your cucumber into small chunks and add it into the bowl with the broccoli. As soon as the chickpeas are ready, you can add them into this bowl also.
the_flexi_foodie1

The dressing is equally as simple to make as all you have to do is chuck everything into your blender and blitz until you have a smooth mixture.

As soon as you have the broccoli, chickpeas and cucumber in the same bowl, you can serve onto two separate dishes and top with the salad dressing. Add a generous amount of coriander to the top of this and your salad is ready to eat!

Tenderstem Broccoli, Sundried Tomato and Walnut Salad

I am all about dark, green, leafy vegetables these days.  I want to somehow always try to incorporate them into my day and if I can at every single meal!  This salad came to me as I was staring at my broccoli in the fridge wondering what I would do with it rather than the same ol’ boring steaming and without having to make a dressing as well.  I wanted something quick for lunch but then realised that this recipe makes a great side salad for supper too!

IMG_1279But seriously, where do I even begin with the health benefits of eating broccoli.  There are SO many!  So, I’ll hone in on a few to truly convince you that broccoli truly is a SUPERFOOD! Broccoli contains a high amount of potassium, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system and optimal brain function, as well as promotes regular muscle growth.  Along with a high amount of potassium, Broccoli also contains magnesium and calcium that help regulate blood pressure.  Broccoli also contains high amounts of Vitamin C and Calcium (YAY!)  and thanks to the glucoraphanin it contains as it helps the skin to detoxify and repair itself.

IMG_1278

But I also want to zoom in quickly on the sun-dried tomatoes which are so unbelievably yummy that I had a hard time not eating all of them before the salad was finished……oops!  Did you know that a half-cup of sun-dried tomatoes counts as a full cup or raw or cooked vegetables according to the USDA.  And the drying of the sun-dried tomatoes brings out the sweetness…. no wonder I couldn’t stop eating them!

IMG_1276So to make this salad that serves 2-3 as a side dish grab yourself these ingredients.

2-3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

large bunch of tenderstem broccoli

4 large cloves of garlic

1 cup of sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup of walnuts

sea salt (preferable pink himalayan – see my other blog post on this incredible mineral!)

freshly ground black pepper

chilli flakes

IMG_1283

IMG_1282Make sure you wash your broccoli before you begin cooking.  Slice the garlic cloves into thin slices and you’re ready to get cooking.  Turn your stove on a moderately high heat and heat 2-3 Tbsp. of coconut oil into your pan.  As it begins to get hot, add the slices of garlic and fry for 30 seconds, making sure the garlic doesn’t begin to go brown.  Next, add all of the broccoli and sauté for a couple of minutes before emptying the cup of sun-dried tomatoes into the pan.  Sprinkle the chilli flakes on top as much as desired, lower the heat slightly and continue to sauté.

IMG_1287In a separate pan, warm the walnuts for one to two minutes so that you can see that they begin to brown ever so slightly.  As soon as the nuts are ready, you can serves the broccoli and sun-dried tomato mix onto a dish, sprinkle with the walnuts and enjoy!

For more pictures like these, follow me on Instagram!

IMG_1290

Leafy Green Curry with Mushrooms

As much as I love the Christmas season I’m not too keen on the weather that comes with it! Having a delicious hot meal in the evening can make all the difference to your mood, especially if you are beginning to feel drained by everything that goes hand in hand with the festive season. This Leafy Green Curry with Mushrooms is just the thing to fill you with nutrition and satisfy your appetite at the end of your day. To make enough for two people you’ll need the following ingredients:

leafy_green_curry_with_mushrooms_the_flexi_foodie2

1 tsp of coconut oil

½ a tsp of turmeric

1 tsp of cumin seeds

¼ of a cup of fresh basil

2 large tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tbsp of fresh grated ginger

1 cup of mushrooms

2 cups of fresh spinach, finely chopped

1 cup of kale, finely chopped

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1 red chill, finely chopped

2 cups of fresh broccoli

leafy_green_curry_with_mushrooms_the_flexi_foodie5So to begin, heat the oil in a medium sized frying pan and once hot, add the cumin seeds and leave for just 30 seconds before including the chopped tomato too.

leafy_green_curry_with_mushrooms_the_flexi_foodie3Next, grate the ginger into the pan and add the chopped chilli. Lower the heat and chop your mushrooms into thin slices.

leafy_green_curry_with_mushrooms_the_flexi_foodie5If the pan begins to get dry at this point then feel free to add a splash of water. Once the mushrooms are sliced, stir together for four or five minutes before adding the kale, spinach and broccoli into the pan.

leafy_green_curry_with_mushrooms_the_flexi_foodie7Let this cook for a few more minutes and then include the chopped garlic. At this stage you can add a little bit more water if necessary as well as salt and pepper to taste if you require. Your curry is now ready to serve!

My Plenish Cleanse

When my lovely box of 6 juices for my ONE Day Cleanse last week arrived at the door…. my inner cheerleader came through and this is what I said in my head:  ‘Let’s Go, Let’s Fight, We’re Rockin’ the Gym Tonight!’  Because that is how excited and thrilled this giddy cheerleader was to start her cleanse.  First and Foremost, it must be said that the packaging is totally awesome and it comes chilled and ready to be put in your fridge.  And how cute are the straws?!?  During this cleanse day, I never felt hungry as I was spacing each juice by 2.5 hours.  So, I drank my first one at 8am (after my hot water and lemon tea!), next one at 10:30am, followed by 1pm, 3:30pm, 6pm and last one at 8:30pm.  I then headed to bed early…..9pm! And slept like a baby!

P1090359

I ordered the Plenish’s Pick of Green Dream Team which included 3 Mind Body Green and 3 Sweet Sexy Green.  Why is this their pick of the litter?  On their website www.plenishcleanse.com they say: ‘Supplement your regular diet with Plenish’s green juice. Drinking chlorophyll-packed green juice is one of the best things you can do to boost immunity, fight disease, lower acidity and balance pH’.  And after reading that, I was SOLD!

The Mind Body Green has over 5lbs of organic greens (yes, in ONE bottle!) so it really packs a chlorophyll punch while alkalising your body.  What’s in this one, you ask?  Nothin’ but goodness:  Pear, Parsley, Kale, Spinach, Lemon, Ginger, Cucumber and Romaine.  Delicious.

Sweet, Sexy Green is chock a block of antioxidants and calcium and rids your body of toxins!  Hello?!?  How amazing is that!!!  This one is filled with:  Pear, Kale, Celery, Spinach, Broccoli, Cucumber and Romaine. Yummy.

But what’s so awesome about Plenish is that you can do a 1-Day, 3-Day or 5-Day Cleanse and choose from not only the two juices I had, but also Cashew Milk, Pineapple, Spicy Lemonade and Beet Box.  Summer is here, holidays and vacations are right around the corner – so get your body back by doing one of these awesome cleanses!

P1090374

If you like this post and green juices then why not LIKE my Facebook page too?  If you are interested in nutrition consultations, head HERE to find out the options that I offer.