My New Favourite Non-Alcoholic Beer

As with anything else, alcohol is something that should be enjoyed in moderation. And, the negative health effects of not heeding this advice can soon become apparent!

The number of people choosing to drink less, or not drink at all, is on the rise – which is of course great for the health of the nation! And for those of us who don’t necessarily want to drink alcohol, but still enjoy the pleasure of having a beer, there is an ever-impressive range of alcohol-free beers available!

Heineken Zero Alcohol Beer JulieMontagu

Stats show that drinking habits in the UK have experienced a change in the last 15 years, with alcohol consumption dropping by a massive 26% between 2002 and 2012! (Source).

Heineken have recently released their very own alcohol free beer, Heineken 0.0 and it is rapidly becoming a favourite amongst those abstaining. Made with the same high quality brewing process as their regular creations, the alcohol is then gently removed afterwards, leaving a slightly fruity taste with the usual malty flavour. I was able to attend the launch of Heineken 0.0 in Barcelona during the Grand Prix and it was heaven to sit on the beach and drink this delicious beer!

Spanish F1 Grand Prix - Heineken

So what are the health benefits of choosing the alcohol-free version of your drink of choice?

Well first of all, of course, there’s the calorie count. Non-alcoholic beers contain roughly half the calories of their alcoholic counterparts, making them a better option for those watching their weight. The new alcohol free Heineken 0.0, for example, has just 69 calories per bottle.

Secondly, drinking alcohol dehydrates your body, and your skin will be the most noticeable thing that pays the price for this! When you drink regularly, you will be depriving your skin of the vitamins and minerals it needs to look its best. You will probably have noticed that your face in particular looks puffy and dry after a night out!

Your body will benefit in many ways from sobriety, but your mind will also be much clearer and free of brain fuzz! What’s more is your memory will of course not be affected on a night out when you opt for a zero alcohol drink!

Apple and Avocado Smoothie

Apple and Avocado SmoothieThis is a great smoothie for a quick breakfast or for an energising snack. Once you try it you will be left with no doubt that this smoothie rocks! Having a healthy smoothie for breakfast is such a great way to start the day and can be much quicker than preparing a meal. It can also help you get large amounts of nutrients from one quick drink!

Although I often use avocado in my recipes and frequently talk about their benefits, I would like to re-touch on the health benefits of eating them every day! Research has shown that people who eat avocados tend to have a much higher nutrient intake than those who don’t and are also likely to have a lower BMI. Check out the following five reasons why you should eat a whole avocado every day!

  • Avocados  are a great source of heart healthy fats. This type of fat can reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems as well as lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Eating an avocado every day can help to manage your weight and even support weight loss. They will leave you feeling satisfied for longer which means you are less likely to snack between meals.
  • Avocados are useful for managing blood sugar levels which means they will help to lower your risk of developing diabetes.
  • Chronic inflammation in the body can cause a wide range of health problems. Eating avocados helps to fight inflammation thanks to the oleic acid contained within. This compound is also found in olive oil.
  • Avocados contain a healthy dose of vitamin K which is essential for building strong bones.

Apple and Avocado Smoothie2Getting avocado into your diet every day doesn’t have to be difficult and including this smoothie will help you on your way!

To make one for yourself, you will need the following ingredients:

1/2 an avocado, peeled and de-stoned
1 green apple, roughly chopped
1 cup / 8fl oz / 225ml of coconut milk
1 cup / 2 1/2 oz / 70g of spinach
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 ice cubes

All you have to do is place all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. When blending with ice it is best to start on a low speed and gradually speed up. Alternatively you can blitz it first and serve over ice. 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!

Win a Radiance Cleanse Gift Box!

As I’ve discussed before on my blog, I believe juice cleansing to be an amazing way to detox your body and restore the natural balance. The nutritional value of drinking fresh organic fruit and vegetable juices is incredible. When incorporated into your diet frequently, these juices can soon make noticeable changes to your energy levels and overall wellbeing.

Making your own juices is fantastic fun but can be time consuming. If you want to give your body some juice love but simply don’t have the time, then a Radiance Cleanse delivery can do all of the legwork for you!

What is a Radiance Cleanse?

beauty-diagonalFounded in 2009, by Clare Neill and Christina Agnew, Radiance is the creation of these two women who know firsthand the dramatic nutritional benefits of juicing. Having both personally experienced the life changing effects of a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, they pioneered the UK’s first organic juice cleanse programme that is available to be delivered anywhere in the country. They use only the highest quality, raw organic products to create their amazingly delicious juices.

How to win a gift box!

So, Radiance and I have come together to give you the chance to check  out these amazing juices absolutely free! The Health Box contains six different juices (Cashew Milk, Pure Greens, Power Green, Alka Green, Super Green and Vital Green) which you can sample at your own pace over two to three days. The health box will be delivered to the lucky winner for free at the end of the competition!

So, to give your start to 2014 the extra boost you might need as January comes to an end, get involved in my social media competition to win The Health Box for yourself. Become a super-active social media advocate for health, wellness and well, just feeling good! If you already write your Facebook statuses, post on Twitter and Instagram daily then this will be a walk in the park….

All you have to do to be in the running is follow these simple steps. Firstly, connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (if you haven’t already!) Then tweet or post a healthy picture or motivational image of your choice with the following message –

@juliemontagu and @radiancecleanse My #healthy today is………

And then include an image that says it all! It could be a motivational quote, your favourite workout pose or your favourite healthy foods – the list is endless! It just needs to be your healthy moment for that day. The more you join in the online conversation, the better your chances of winning this gorgeous Radiance Cleanse Gift Box!

Remember to Follow or Like both Julie Montagu and Radiance Cleanse (Facebook & Twitter) so that you can link to them in your status.

I will notify you of your win via email so it’s also imperative that you sign up for my mailing list to receive the exciting news of the Radiance Cleanse winner! Good luck!

Healthy Hot Chocolate

So, some of you may have seen this before but, if like me you’re enduring the miserable weather in London, you’ll be happy to see it again!

A gorgeous cup of hot chocolate is an indulgence that most of us love to partake in. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, after a meal or before bed, hot chocolate is always something to look forward to. However, regardless of how delicious it may be, many hot chocolate products can be full of sugar, calories and saturated fat. For all of you who love this drink but aren’t so keen on the often poor nutrition involved, I have created this recipe for healthy plant based hot chocolate!

healthy hot chocolate grassrootsandgrains1To make enough to serve six, you need only the following ingredients:

1500 ml of plant based milk. Almond is perfect!
8 tsp of raw cacao (120 grams)
20 tsp of coconut palm sugar (300 grams)
1 tsp of lucuma
1 tsp of blueberry powder
1/2 a cinnamon stick
Goji berries as your marshmallows

healthy hot chocolate grassrootsandgrains2So all you have to do is heat your chosen milk whilst whisking in the raw cacao, coconut palm sugar, lucuma and blueberry powder. Once everything is combined and heated then you can add the cinnamon stick and leave to simmer for five minutes.

healthy hot chocolate grassrootsandgrains3Next, simply pour into as many mugs as you require and top with the goji berries and wait for them to go soft before you enjoy!

Goji berries are an amazing addition to your diet and have many great health benefits. Native to China, goji berries have long been used to treat some common problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. As the goji berry is full of powerful antioxidants it is good for your bodies process of eradicating free radicals and encouraging positive health. Although it has never been proven, many people believe that a diet rich in antioxidants may slow the ageing process. It has also been suggested that goji berries have the potential to improve brain health which could prevent diseases which are age related like Alzheimer’s.

healthy hot chocolate grassrootsandgrains5The use of lucuma powder in this healthy hot chocolate is in place of the normal sweeteners you might expect in such a treat. Lucuma powder is made from the lucuma fruit which is native to Peru. It makes such a great alternative to other sweeteners as it is low on the glycemic index and also contains many nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin B3, zinc and iron, it is also rich in calcium and protein.

healthy hot chocolate grassrootsandgrains4Cinnamon can be added to almost anything and is full of goodness. By just including a little bit in your diet each day you will be lowering your cholesterol, regulating your blood sugar levels, boosting brain health and even protecting against some cancers! It is also proven to be a natural food preservative thanks to its anti-bacterial properties!

healthy hot chocolate grassrootsandgrains7

If you have tried this and loved it then check out my Facebook page and my newsletter to stay up to date!