Self-Care Sunday – Alleviating Anxiety

The latest topic in my Self-Care Sunday series is all about alleviating anxiety. This is the fifth week and you can check out the previous videos below!

Causes of Anxiety

There are many reasons why you may experience anxiety – and the degree to which it prevents you from going about your day can also vary. Addressing underlying issues and past negative experiences can be extremely helpful for working to resolve the sources of anxiety, and it can also be helpful to look to your diet.

Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most prominent dietary contributors to feelings of anxiety. As a stimulant it can quickly cause feelings of anxiety, or exacerbate existing feelings of anxiety. Also, it can sometimes be easy to mistake the way that caffeine makes you feel for anxiety – as it may increase your heart rate and cause feelings of restlessness.

Alcohol

Some people use alcohol in order to alleviate feelings of anxiety, but doing so can actually become a difficult cycle to get out of. Although drinking alcohol can temporarily soothe these feelings, they will likely surface again once the alcohol leaves your system – causing increased levels of anxiety to return.

When you drink alcohol you are disrupting the natural balance of chemicals in your brain, and this can lead to depression and addiction.

Sugar

Studies have suggested that the presence of sugar in your system can affect how well your body and brain can cope with stress. Although sugar itself does not seem to cause the onset of anxiety, it can make symptoms worse and cause you to feel worse than you would otherwise during an anxious moment.

Furthermore, if you regularly consume sugar and then go without it, your body can actually experience withdrawal which may involve feelings of anxiety.

Your Diet

Taking a close look at your diet and making the conscious decision to remove problem foods can go a long way to helping alleviate your anxiety.

In the following video I talk more on the topic of Alleviating Anxiety! Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel whilst you’re there so you can be automatically alerted about future videos in my Self-Care Sunday series!

Also, 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 move towards the end of 2017!

Three Leafy Green Pesto

My Three Leafy Green Pesto recipe is something that you can easily throw together yourself in less than ten minutes from start to finish! It is also bursting with nutrients, meaning you can use it as your delicious go-to dip on those days when you feel you need an extra burst of goodness! Personally, I love making it for dinner parties! Continue reading Three Leafy Green Pesto

Gut Health and Your Diet

In recent years there has been an emergence of research that has shown just how important the health of the gut is! When your digestive system isn’t doing its thing, all other areas of your health can soon become compromised. Continue reading Gut Health and Your Diet

White Bean Dip

If you haven’t discovered my YouTube channel yet then don’t worry! I am going to be bringing the videos from my channel straight to you here on my blog!

Today I want to share my recent White Bean Dip Recipe video! This dish takes less than ten minutes to create and is great for serving as a side during a dinner party, or also just as a snack for one!

Several of the ingredients in my White Bean Dip, such as the garlic and olive oil, are fantastic for providing your body with the energy that it needs, as well as being helpful for protecting the immune system. Additionally, the cannellini beans are an amazing source of fibre, making them great for weight loss and optimum digestion.

Turmeric is one of my star ingredients and is something that I try to include in my diet every single day. One of the best things about turmeric is that it is super anti-inflammatory, meaning it can keep levels of inflammation in the body at a positive level. It also helps to protect against the onset of certain health conditions, such as some types of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and liver damage.

Ingredients:

400g cannellini beans
1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp of turmeric
1 inch of fresh ginger, chopped
Pumpkin Seeds
Pistachios

Method:

Take the canned cannellini beans and drain the water before adding them to your food processor with a quarter cup of olive oil. You can then add in the tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, the teaspoon of turmeric, the minced garlic and the chopped ginger.

Blitz the contents of your food processor until your dip has the consistency of hummus. You can then scoop it out and place it into a bowl to serve. Top with pistachios and pumpkin seeds and you are good to go!

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Burnt Corn, Kale and Lime Salad

Creating delicious variations on the traditional side salad is something that I love to do in the kitchen! This recipe requires minimal preperation and can be put together in the ten minutes before you serve your main meal. Kale is an ingredient that I tend to use a lot at home because of its amazing nutritious value. For those of you who don’t know, kale is among the healthiest foods in the world! With over 45 different flavonoids contained within, it provides a range of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. It is also great for lowering LDL cholesterol levels and lowering risk factors for cancer development.

Adding the juice of one lime to the salad dressing not only helps to bring out the flavour of the other ingredients but also brings a healthy boost to this side dish. They are a fantastic source of vitamin C and folic acid, the latter of which is important for cell growth and metabolism.

To make enough of this salad to serve six people, you will need the following ingredients:

2 x corns on the cob
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
250g kale, shredded
Sea salt
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
A squeeze of honey

For the dressing:
The juice of 1 lime
A handful of coriander, torn

Burnt Corn, Kale and Lime Salad2Firstly, using a sharp knife, cut the corn away from the cobs and separate the corn into kernels. In a frying pan, dry fry the corn with the paprika and the cumin for about 10 minutes until the corn starts to blacken! Next, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool.

In a large bowl, massage the kale with sea salt for ten minutes or until it becomes soft. Add the burnt corn, the avocado, the lime and the coriander. Toss well and serve!

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Beans, Beats and Herbs

This colourful dish can either be used as a very light lunch option or alternatively as a fantastic side dish to go with a healthy dinner. Beets are amongst the healthiest foods in the world and they contain a unique type of phytonutrients known as betalains. Research has shown that betalains are amazing for providing antioxidant, detoxification and anti-inflammatory support in the body. The combination of these benefits means great things for the health of the cardiovascular system in particular. Add to this that they are also known to be effective in combatting cancer growth and contain high amounts of manganese, potassium, copper and fibre and you are eating an all-round winner!

If you are a fequent follower of my blog then you will know that coconut oil is a favourite of mine – but you might not know why! Well, it is my opinion (and one widely shared) that it is one of the healthiest oils to cook with. It can help with a whole range of things, from aiding weight loss to improving digestion, as well as boosting your immune system and your metabolism.

To make this dish to serve six people, you will need the following ingredients:

8 x beets
Coconut oil
1 x 400g tin of white beans

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp. capers
1 garlic clove
A handful of mint, parsley and basil
1 tomato
The juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

To get started making this dish, you will first need to preheat your oven to 180C. You must then coat the beets with coconut oil, a splash of water and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper. You can then cover the beets with tin foil and roast in the oven for one hour or until the beetroots are cooked through. Once you are sure they are cooked, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool. Next, combine the beets and the white beans in a large salad bowl.

Now it is time to move on to make the dressing! All you have to do is combine all of the ingredients in a food processor. You must then take this mixture and coat the beets and beans with it. Before you serve, you can top with extra mint, parsley and basil as desired – enjoy!

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Black Bean and Tomato Soup

During these hot summer months the last thing you want to do is eat a heavy meal during the day. That is why soup is such a great seasonal option at the moment! It fills you up without leaving you feeling like you have over-indulged. There are countless delicious ready made varieties in the supermarkets, but if you want to be sure that you are getting the nutrition you need then it is best to make your own! Making soup at home is also a low-cost way to cook a large amount that can then be frozen and eaten at a later date.

Making soup with black beans is a fantastic way to thicken the consistency as well as to massively boost the health benefits of your meal. They are very high in protein but contain very minimal amounts of saturated fat and absolutely no cholesterol! They are also crammed full of micronutrients, fiber and those all important antioxidants. So, it is easy to see how regular consumption of black beans can do wonders for your body!

To make a batch of this soup, gather and prepare the following ingredients:

2 cups of cherry tomatoes
1 red onion, diced
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
400g tin of cooked black beans
1 stalk of celery, chopped
¼ cup of coriander, chopped
2 cups of veg stock
Salt and pepper
Coconut oil

The first thing you will need to do is heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large pan and then fry the onion, garlic and jalapeno peppers. When the onion starts to brown, lower the heat slightly and add in the celery and carrots and then continue to fry. As the vegetables start to soften, add in the tin of black beans and the veg stock, You must then stir this pan occasionally for the next ten minutes.

After this time, add in the cherry tomatoes and continue to heat for a further ten minutes. Season with the salt and pepper and then pop it all in your food processor and whiz away until smooth. Pour into bowls, top with the fresh coriander and serve!

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Superfoods: The Flexible Approach to Eating More Superfoods

The 12th of March of 2015 will see the release of my first cookbook! My book, ‘Superfoods: The Flexible Approach to Eating More Superfoods’ is currently available for pre-order on Amazon and an amazing discounted price. Ordering now will ensure you get the book for this low price, delivered to your door on the day it hits the shelves!

This hardback cookbook contains 90 of my very own recipes that prove how easy it is to incorporate plant-based foods into your diet. The 90 recipes that are found inside the book use a variety of superfoods, grains, seeds, vegetables, fruits and other whole foods in your cooking.

The essence of the book is demonstrating that a way of life that involves high energy levels, weight loss, optimum blood pressure and a low cholesterol level is possible! And all you need do to work towards it is to embrace plant-based, wholesome foods that aren’t packaged, processed or full of refined sugar! A diet of this sort will also do wonders for your skin leaving you looking as youthful as you’re bound to feel.

All of the recipes in the book are meat-free, dairy-free and sugar-free! They give you an introduction as to how simply adding more good foods into your diet can naturally crowd out the bad ones. Instead of telling you what you can and cannot eat, the book is a tool for increasing your intake of nutrients whilst still enjoying the flavors you love!

It is one of my greatest ambitions to simplify the often complex topic of nutrition so that nobody believes it to be a concept that they can’t understand. By making nutrition easy to understand, I then strive to encourage people to expand their dietary horizons. In doing so, not only will their physical health benefit, but also their mood, their motivation and their outlook on life!

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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.

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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

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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!

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Sangita’s Tofu Curry

My friend Sangita was kind enough to share this recipe with me although it was originally intended as a prawn curry dish! To give this recipe my own touch, I’ve substituted tofu in to create a veggie alternative! Curry is a wholesome dish that is perfectly satisfying at the end of a long day and with ample opportunity to include a combination of herbs and spices, it is great for your body too! To make this recipe for yourself and three others, you’ll need the following ingredients:

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2 medium onions
450g block of firm tofu, cut into small chunks
½ a block of coconut cream
1 teaspoon of cumin
4 ground cardamom pods
2 teaspoons of coriander
2 teaspoons of turmeric
2 teaspoons of chilli powder
Lime juice to taste
1 inch of root ginger
3 tablespoons of safflower oil
Lemon juice
Salt and pepper

Before you start preparing the curry, you should first add your desired amount of rice to a pan of hot water and leave to cook.

So to begin, you should chop the onions into small pieces and peel and slice the ginger. Next you can drizzle some of the safflower oil into a pan and fry these two ingredients together for two to three minutes. Whilst continuing to fry, include the cumin, cardamom, coriander plus the turmeric and chilli powder. Stir the contents of the frying pan together well before adding in all of the tofu.

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Now you can turn the heat down a tad whilst you create the coconut milk. Do this by mixing the block of coconut cream with 475ml of boiling water in a jug and stirring well before pouring into the pan. Turn the heat back up and allow everything to cook together for between five and ten minutes.

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Before you take the curry off the heat, check to see if the rice is ready and if so drain off any excess water and serve onto dishes. You can then season the contents of your pan with salt and freshly ground black pepper before serving over the rice. Garnish with a dash of lime juice and enjoy!

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Curry is often thought of as an indulgent dish that is neither good for the body or your waistline, however when prepared with the correct ingredients and not full of fatty products, curry can actually be a healthy meal. Not only this but it isn’t too difficult to make and is loved by many! Also, by using tofu as an alternative to meat in your curries, you are providing the body with numerous healthy benefits. These benefits range from lowering your cholesterol count to helping protect against certain cancers. It is also believed that consuming tofu will help keep bones strong as it is a great source of calcium. Tofu is also full of vitamin E and is a fantastic source of protein. Every 100g of tofu contains approximately 17.19g of protein, making it easy to see that you can still meet your daily recommended allowance from this meat alternative!

The inclusion of spices like turmeric, cumin and coriander are also good ways to boost the nutritional value of your meals and also add to the taste. Also, when cooking it is preferable to avoid the traditional oils which have become the norm and instead opt for a healthier alternative. Safflower oil has been used since the Ancient Egyptian times and is a bi-product of a plant which is also widely used for colouring, flavouring and medicinal purposes.

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To find out more about nutrition click here!

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