Enjoying The Holiday Season

During this time of year it is easy to get stressed out by all of the additional pressures that go hand in hand with the holiday season. And, because of this, you will likely have seen article after article talking about the best ways to beat that festive stress. Continue reading Enjoying The Holiday Season

Healthy Festive Food

Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions that people make. And, it is no coincidence that this is a common idea following the festive season! Many of us use this time of year as a great excuse to cast our healthy eating ambitions aside and indulge instead!

The burst of new diets and exercise regimes in January are of course great for improving health. However, if you want to avoid having to make a dramatic change to your eating habits or activity levels in the New Year, then the best idea is to eat healthily during the festive season. That way you will have no extra weight to contend with and can start 2017 with a more positive focus!

Although Christmas is undoubtedly a time of year when there is an abundance of high sugar and high calorie foods everywhere, it is also a great time of year to experiment with healthy cooking.

Plant-Based Alternatives

Keeping meat off the table is a good way to avoid the unhealthier aspects of the festive season. And, it is super simple to create plant-based alternatives to traditional meat dishes! If you have never made a Nut Roast at home before then you are definitely missing out on a delicious plant-based meal that is also incredibly good for you. There are several amazing recipes online that you can also customise yourself to make it more to your taste.

Eat Your Veggies

With all of the meals you cook or attend during the Christmas season, there is no excuse not to pile your plate high with veggies! If you are cooking yourself at home then make sure you grill or boil your vegetables in order to keep them as healthy as possible, and avoid using too much oil or salt. You can never cook too many vegetables at Christmas as anything left over can be used to make a vegetable mash the next day!

Healthy Desserts

Creating alternative healthy desserts, instead of snacking on pre-made mince pies and Christmas puddings, is a great way to avoid over-doing it. This is also a great way to sneak some superfoods into your dessert options, such as by making my Banoffee Pudding or my Lentil Brownies!

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 this Christmas!

How to Have a Calm Christmas

Christmas can be a particularly chaotic and stressful time of year for many people. With families to prepare gifts and meals for, social engagements to attend, plus the usual work and life commitments that still have to be met, the pressures can soon add up. The added duties that many of us take on at this time of year can sometimes make the festivities seem more of a burden than a pleasure – and this is the opposite of what our Christmas celebrations should be about!

December is a wonderful time to come together with your friends and family and shouldn’t be a source of stress for anyone! If you are beginning to lose sight of that already this year then there are a few things you can do to bring the enjoyment back and have a peaceful and happy Christmas!

First of all, do not over-exert yourself. It is always nice to be invited to parties and Christmas dinners, however you are not obliged to go to all of them if you simply don’t have the time or energy. With so much to do at this time of year, nobody is going to be offended if you politely decline an invitation.

Secondly, adequately planning ahead for any get-togethers that you may be organising or contributing to will help to alleviate any last minute panic. If you do not have the time to cook then it’s of course completely fine to buy pre-made food for your guests. Alternatively, you can go to a restaurant or cafe, which will also help you to avoid any clean-up at home.

Making the time to care for yourself at this time of year is especially important if you know that you are prone to stress and anxiety. It may be extra hard to find the time to check in with yourself but it is important that you do so in order to stay on top of your feelings. Aim to include at least ten minutes of meditation and deep breathing once a day in a quiet and solitary space.

If you do not have many people to share the festive season with, or many events to attend, then Christmas can still become quite stressful. Many people feel as though there is an expectation of what Christmas should be like, and if your experience doesn’t meet this expectation then your mood may suffer as a result. If this sounds like you, then it is extra important to care for yourself and also to reach out to anybody that you do feel you are close to. Make an extra effort to eat well, exercise often and to keep your mind occupied throughout the day with positivity. Utilising positive affirmations can be particularly effective here as you work to affirm your happiness, confidence and sense of self!

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 this Christmas!

Roasted Celeriac, Mushroom & Chestnut Soup

This meal is the perfect winter warmer and is also an amazing soup to go with your Thanksgiving dinner! To make it, I have combined all of my favourite Thanksgiving flavours with an extra ingredient here and there. And I’m glad I did because it created this super heart warming and hearty soup!

Chestnuts are massively under appreciated in western cooking, especially when we consider the wealth of nutrition that they yield. These little treasures contain an abundance of vitamin C, potassium, copper, magnesium and amino acids! They are also prized for containing a compound that helps to prevent kidney stones from forming, as do the majority of nuts!

You can serve this soup as a starter for Thanksgiving and then keep the leftovers to warm up the next day!  YUMMY!

To make your own for four to six people you will need the following ingredients:

1 large celeriac, trimmed, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 portabello mushrooms
250g of pre-cooked chestnuts
2 heaped tsp. of sweet paprika
2 garlic cloves
1 litre of veggie stock (or just water is fine)
1 small apple, roughly chopped
Coconut oil

Optional:

A small handful of walnuts, toasted
A scattering of fresh thyme

Soup2So the first thing you will need to do is pre-heat your oven to 200C. You must then thoroughly rub the mushrooms and chopped celeriac with the coconut oil. I like to melt my coconut oil first and then drizzle it over the ingredients before rubbing in. Next, place the mushroom and celeriac onto a large backing sheet and sprinkle the sweet paprika over the mushrooms and celeriac to coat.

Roast the vegetables for 10-15 minutes or until they become soft. You can then remove them from the oven and place in a large pot along with the pre-cooked chestnuts, veggie stock, garlic and apple chunks. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes until the apple is soft. Finally, scoop the mixture into a food processor or high-speed blender and whizz until somewhat smooth.  Of course, if you like a chunkier soup, then be sure not to blend the mixture too much.  You can then pour into bowls and top with toasted walnuts and fresh thyme. Delicious!

For more hearty meals and nutrition advice, head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!