Mango “Cheeze” Cake

This incredible “Cheeze” Cake is another of the amazing dishes that I discovered during my stay at the Amatara Wellness Resort in Thailand! It makes for such a beautiful dessert and the added bonus is that it packs a healthy punch too! Continue reading Mango “Cheeze” Cake

Fruit & Fructose

If you have been following my blog for a while then the chances are you will have often heard me speak of the dangers of consuming refined sugars!

It is widely acknowledged that too much of the sweet stuff can lead to weight gain, heart disease, disruption of the hormones, fluctuating energy levels, premature ageing of the skin and more! What’s more, is that refined sugar is added in excess to many of the processed and packaged foods that are easily available in the supermarket!

One of the most contentious points up for discussion when it comes to sugar is whether the natural sugars from fruit should be considered ‘bad’ as well!

Fruit contains glucose and fructose – both of which are simple sugars. Glucose can be used by the majority of the cells in your body, but only your liver is able to metabolise fructose.

If you are eating large amounts of fruit, and therefore consuming high levels of fructose, then your liver may have a hard time working through it all. This can then lead to excess fructose being stored as fat in the body. Furthermore, this can also lead to the onset of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Eating fruit provides a wealth of health benefits thanks to the delicious amounts of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients contained within. However, because of the natural sugars that are present, many fruits should be enjoyed in moderation.

There are some fruits that you can enjoy without worrying too much about the fructose content, such as avocados, kiwis, pears and berries. However, fruits that are especially high in sugars, such as grapes and mangoes, should be included only in small amounts.

It should be noted that if you are a very physically active person then you have much less to worry about when it comes to fructose in fruit. This is because when the body is active, it is much better equipped to handle simple sugars. So, if you want to continue to enjoy the fruits that you love without being overly concerned about fructose, then be sure to engage in an ample amount of exercise!

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!

Prioritising Plant-Based Foods

We all know that there is much to be gained health-wise from including more fruits and vegetables in our diets. You do not have to always be eating the latest superfoods in order to stay healthy, and there is an abundance of goodness to be found in common fruits and vegetables.

If you know how great these plant-based foods can be but struggle to include them in your diet, then the following tips can help you overcome this problem.

Learn to Love Salad

Salad is something that you may more commonly enjoy as a side dish than a main meal, and adjusting your thinking on this is encouraged! There are many amazingly filling and super healthy salad recipes that you can enjoy regularly as a main meal. Doing so will go a long way to ensuring that you eat more greens, as well as all the other exciting fruit and vegetables that you can easily include in a salad.

Say Yes to Healthy Snacks

Snacking on junk food late at night is where many dieters find their downfall to be. Making the decision to only snack on fruit after dinner, instead of trying to avoid snacking entirely, is a great way to satisfy your cravings whilst also nourishing your body. Frozen bananas are a particularly good choice for those with a sweet tooth, and they can be enjoyed with a light topping for extra flavour, such as peanut butter or maple syrup.

Fresh Fruit for Breakfast

The majority of breakfast dishes can be very well complimented by the addition of one piece or more of fresh fruit. Try adding berries to your cereal, avocado to your toast or cherry tomatoes to your eggs. Whatever your go-to breakfast dish is, the chances are you will enjoy it even more once it is accompanied with some plant-based goodness!

Mix Up Your Smoothies

Smoothies are a simple and delicious way to consume several portions of fruit and vegetables at one time. If you primarily make your smoothies with fruit then the time has come to throw some vegetables into the mix. Try carrots, beets and fennel to get started!

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!

Aubergine Dip

This dip is absolutely amazing both hot and cold, and is bursting with both flavour and nutrition! Aubergines are packed full of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. They are particularly prized for their ability to help lower cholesterol and assist those who are trying to lose weight.

Sweet red peppers are an excellent source of carotenoids, which are thought to help to prevent the onset of several diseases. Carotenoids are particularly beneficial for preserving the health of the eyes, as well as the appearance of the skin.

To make this dip you will need the following ingredients:

1 aubergine
2 sweet red peppers
1 clementine, peeled
1 tsp of miso paste
Pitta bread
Olive oil
Sea salt

The first thing that you will need to do is take your aubergine and chop it into small chunks. You can then slice the sweet red peppers in half. Place the aubergine chunks and the sweet red pepper halves onto a baking tray and drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Add a sprinkling of sea salt on top of the olive oil and then you can place the tray into your oven at 180C.

Leave the aubergines and the sweet red pepper in the oven to roast for approximately 30 minutes. After this time you can remove the baking tray from the heat and place all of the aubergine into your food processor with half of the sweet red pepper. You should also add the clementine into the food processor with half a teaspoon of sea salt and the miso paste. Before you turn the food processor on to blitz your dip, add in four tablespoons of olive oil and then you’re good to go!

Once you have blitzed your dip you will notice that it is still hot once it is ready! This means you either have the choice to serve as a hot dip, or leave to cool down and enjoy it later. All that is left to do is break up the remaining sweet red pepper and add it to the top of your dip as a garnish.

Enjoy this dip with hot or cold pitta bread, or as a creative side-dish to a main meal!

If you want to see this recipe in action then you can head to my YouTube channel and watch me creating it!

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!

Strawberry Cacao Ice Cream

This ice cream recipe is incredibly simple to make and will literally take you five minutes from start to finish (excluding the freezing of the bananas obviously)! I always like to have a stash of frozen bananas in my freezer so whenever the mood strikes – or one of my children asks – I can quickly whip up a batch of healthy ice cream.

Using raw cacao in ice cream is such an amazing way to make your dessert super healthy. Cacao beans come from the cacao tree, which is native to Mexico and Central America. Raw cacao generally has a nutty taste but can be quite bitter. Cacao beans are absolutely bursting with antioxidants, which as we know are essential in the fight against free radicals in the body. Cacao beans also contain a happy dose of iron, calcium and magnesium. The health benefits of consuming raw cacao regularly range from alleviating depression, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation.

Including a cup of strawberries in your ice cream recipe not only gives this dish a beautiful colour and luxurious flavour, but it also brings a wealth of nutrients to the dish. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as folate and fibre. Similarly to raw cacao, strawberries are bursting with antioxidants. Strawberries also contain an abundance of potassium. Potassium is essential for many functions in the body, not least of all balancing your electrolytes. Potassium also helps the muscles to function properly and works to keep your blood pressure at an optimum level by combatting the presence of sodium in the body. Just one serving of strawberries is enough to provide a daily dose of potassium – so my ice cream is the perfect answer!

To make enough for two people to pile their bowls high you will need the following ingredients:

2 frozen bananas (remove the peel, chop and then freeze overnight)
1 Tbsp. of raw cacao
1 tsp. of vanilla essence
1 cup of strawberries
200ml of almond milk
A squeeze of honey (or any other natural sweetener)

All you have to do is place the frozen bananas in your blender with the almond milk and then blitz until creamy. You can then add in the rest of the ingredients and blitz again for a few moments. Serve into two bowls and enjoy!

You can find a raspberry variation of this delicious recipe on my soon to be released second course on 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!

Goji Berry Quinoa Bars

These bars make a wonderful on-the-go snack or quick breakfast, and they are full of goodness! I find it is a great idea to make up a batch over the weekend and then you will have a supply of healthy snacks during the week. These delicious bars do not require many ingredients and they do not take long to make either.

You may not use cherries very often in your baking, which is a shame as they are bursting with flavour and nutrition! Consuming cherries regularly is known to soothe aching joints, protect the health of your colon, help to keep your cholesterol levels down and also to maintain your eyesight. Regular consumption of cherries can also help you to get a good nights sleep as they are a natural source of melatonin. Cherries can be expensive when compared to other fruits so shop around and check out your local markets for a good deal!

Goji Berry Quinoa Bars2To make six of these bars you will need the following ingredients:

1 tbsp of coconut oil
1 cup / 6.5oz / 185g of quinoa, cooked
1 cup / 5oz / 140g of almonds, chopped
1 cup / 5 1/2 oz / 150g of dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup / 2oz / 55g of goji berries
2 tbsp of brown rice syrup
1/2 cup / 4fl oz / 125ml of water

The first step is to preheat the oven to 425F / 220°C / gas mark 7 and grease an 8 × 8 × 1inch (20 × 20 × 2.5cm) square bake pan (cake tin) with a light layer of coconut oil. On a separate baking tray, you can spread the cooked quinoa and almonds together before placing in the preheated oven for ten minutes.

When the mixture is toasted, remove the tray from the oven and reduce the heat to 350°F / 180°C / gas mark 4. You can then place the cherries, goji berries, brown rice syrup and water into a food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes until everything is smooth. Once this is complete, transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the toasted almonds and quinoa. Stir well to combine.

Goji Berry Quinoa BarsNext, spoon the mixture into the bake pan and press down firmly with the back of a spoon. Ensure the mixture covers the bottom of the pan evenly. Then place in a preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Once cooked, cut the mixture into bars before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. These bars will keep fresh in an airtight container for up to five days.

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!

Natural Foods for Better Energy

Increasing your energy levels is a concept that the majority of us would love to know more about. As our days become busier and more hectic, finding a way to get through till bedtime is often at the forefront of our minds. I am always excited to discover new ways to manage this naturally and, of course, food is my favourite weapon when it comes to doing so! Altering your diet to include high energy options is arguably the best way to keep yourself motivated and energised during the day. The following foods are easy to work into your diet every day and you will soon feel the health benefits of doing so.

Edamame makes for a great snack and will help your energy levels to soar. Also known as soybeans, they are high in nutrients that work to energise the body. When you eat edamame every day, you will be naturally increasing the B vitamins in your body, as well as your phosphorous and copper levels. It is a great idea to have an adequate amount of B vitamins because they help to break carbohydrates down into glucose, which the body then uses as fuel! They are also a fantastic source of fibre and protein so get them on the menu!

Opting for a whole grain cereal in the morning will help to prepare you for the day ahead when it comes to keeping your energy up. Whole grain cereals are high in fibre and this will help glucose to be released slowly throughout the day, thereby giving you more consistent energy levels. It is not difficult to find whole grain cereals that have been fortified with a range of vitamins and minerals, which means that your body will get even more of a boost!

Keeping a bag of nuts and dried fruit with you at all times is a great emergency go-to when you feel your energy levels begin to drop. Nuts and dried fruit contain an amazing combination of protein, fibre and healthy fat which is exactly what you need in a moment of low energy. It is best to make your own mix of fruit and nuts so that you can select the raw, unsalted varieties. Put together a huge batch and you can then take smaller portions with you each day.

Including these three things in your diet regularly will soon have you bursting with the energy that you need to approach your days full of positivity!

If you want to learn more about how nutrition can help you to maintain optimal health and high energy levels, then head over to the Flexi Foodie Academy!

Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

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!

Superfoods for Seniors!

Food is one of the most enduring and consistent parts of our lives – and the old adage “You are what you eat” has never been truer, especially for seniors looking to improve their diets and their bodies.

As we get older, there’s a certain tendency to wonder if healthy eating still matters – after all, we may not have long to experience any effects, right? That’s true, but our daily nutrition still has a major impact on how well our body functions. Today, we’re going to look at a collection of fantastic superfoods for seniors that could help reduce the chances of certain medical issues.

How To Make A Super Meal

Before that, though, we need to know how to make a great meal. Blueberries are fantastic for getting dietary fiber and antioxidants, but a meal consisting of nothing but these tiny blue marvels wouldn’t be a good idea. Instead, let’s think about combining these foods with a few simple recipes.

The Super Salad

Start with a base of Kale, whose impressively high levels of omega-3 fatty acids can help fight off pain in your joints. Top with a handful of Blueberries, as fresh as you can get them, and a small handful of Walnuts. Add your favorite dressing, and congratulations – you’ve just created a super salad that’s full of nutrition.

The Ultimate Smoothie

It takes practice to make smoothies just by eyeballing them, and we all prefer to drink different amounts – so think about proportions, not size. Once you’re ready to start, pour in equal amounts of pomegranate juice and acai juice – making sure you’ve got actual juice, not merely a fruit-flavored sugary drink. Add some ground flaxseed (whole seeds aren’t nearly as nutritious), greek yogurt, and as much fresh fruit as you’d like. This last one will determine the ultimate thickness of your drink – if you prefer meal replacement smoothies, the fruit should make up at least half the drink.

The Easiest Dinner

While cooking a slice of salmon in the oven, arrange a set of beans and an avocado on your plate. For added value, you can add some pumpkin seeds to the beans – mixing them in to make the meal even healthier while adding a nice degree of crunch. Every part of this meal is packed with nutrients that will help boost your body up, giving you the energy you need to continue enjoying your life.

Mixing It Up

These recipes focus on packing as many superfoods into your diet as possible, but they’re far from the only way to do things. For example, you could also mix greek yogurt and blueberries into a bowl of steelcut oats, topping the whole concoction with chia seeds – or you could make superfoods a part of your meals instead of the focus. Other foods also have nutritional value, and it’s important to have a balanced diet.

To get the most benefit, though, you’ll need to get up and move around as best you can – summer activities are particularly helpful for staying active and allowing the body to process nutrients, though it’s important to avoid excessive heat, which is one of the most significant dangers to any senior. Activities should be enjoyed in the morning or evening hours – or at least somewhere that has air conditioning.

How Much Do Superfoods Cost?

That depends on a wide variety of factors, including the season, your geographic location, and various matters in agriculture and business. However, most superfoods are widely available at grocery stores and supermarkets, and many of them can be purchased in bulk at a reasonable price. You don’t have to destroy your savings just to eat healthy foods – so go ahead, take a look around, and start making a plan to add these fantastic treats to your diet!

This post was a contribution by Felicity Dryer. Check out her infographic below!

Originally born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Felicity Dryer was raised by her parents (more or less modern-day hippies) to always make her health a top priority. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue her career as a freelance health writer, and continues to help those seeking encouragement to keep moving forward to achieve their goals. @FelicityDryer

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