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

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!   

How to Stay Healthy When Travelling

Eating healthily whilst travelling can sometimes be quite problematic. Whether you are just going for a weekend jaunt in Europe or you are planning something more extreme, such as backpacking through Asia, finding healthy options isn’t always as easy as you might think. Not having access to a kitchen is usually the biggest barrier to being able to prepare healthy food. Also, if you’re staying in a fancy hotel during your trip then the temptation to indulge in the restaurant, and also in the bar, can often be impossible to resist. However, if you have fitness goals and dietary aims then it is important to remember that they don’t always have to take a break just because you are!

The prominence of healthy fast food is growing rapidly in the UK and the US, but when you are in more remote parts of the world you are unlikely to come across this trend in such abundance. That is not to say that it is impossible though! A quick scout online of your target destination will reveal to you the best vegan / vegetarian / healthy places to dine – most probably accompanied by a collection of reviews from previous visitors. If you seek out a place this way then remember to leave a review of your experience for the next health conscious traveller to discover!

If you are undertaking a longer adventure on a budget then it might often seem necessary to live on instant noodles and cheap carb loaded snacks. This can be avoided by seeking out the local markets were you will usually be able to find low price fruit and vegetables to indulge on. This is a particularly good idea if you do not have access to a kitchen to prepare food. There is bound to be a great selection of local produce and you may even come across fruits and vegetables that you’ve not tasted before – make sure you always wash food properly before you eat it though!

Of course eating healthily is only half of the equation. It’s also important to remain active and make an effort to incorporate exercise into your travels. Exploring your destination on foot is a great way to do this and a day spent out walking and seeing the sights will soon amount to some serious calorie burning. It is easy to take compact exercise equipment, such as a skipping rope, with you to mix things up a bit! You can also use your own body to exercise for a short time each day, such as doing press-ups, squats, lunges and more! There’s really no limits to how you can use your own body as an exercise machine, so get creative!

Relax and Recharge Without Spending a Penny

There are few, if any, people who exist in the modern day world who are able to totally avoid stress. With busy work schedules, chaotic family lives and personal relationships to maintain, finding time for yourself can seem near impossible. The increasing average use of technology is another factor that adds to the invasion and interruption of our private time. As our lives get crazier so too grows the need to break away from the chaos and find ways to relax and recharge. Spending a small fortune on a beach getaway, or flying to a remote retreat in the middle of nowhere, are both great options but potentially not financially viable for the majority of people to do on a regular basis.

So for those of us that want to bring the harmony back into our lives without breaking the bank, here are some simple but effective ideas!

Turn it off!

Checking your phone every 20 minutes or so has become a regular action for so many people. Add to that, that large numbers of people have to be hooked to their computer for several hours during the working day and that adds up to a lot of screen time. Technology is continuously making it easier for us to be distracted by the endless amusement and communication that is possible on the internet. However, this constant stream of information and interactions is undoubtedly quite addictive and also massively time consuming. Make sure you have a break from all technology during the day. Your lunch break at work is a great time to do so. Switch your phone off, step away from the computer and go for a walk.

Breathe!

Taking time to focus on your breathing is a great way to mentally detox. During your day try to find a quiet space and take ten deep breaths in and out. Keep your mind clear or repeat a motivational mantra to yourself. You can then return to your tasks armed with a fresh sense of calm.

Mediate!

Meditation, similar to breathing exercises, allows you to understand yourself in the present moment and remove external stresses from your mind. Even just ten minutes of meditation a day can help you to relax and recharge.

Get going!

Exercising is one of the best ways to clear your mind and also to boost happiness and motivation. There are endless forms of exercise that you can do for free, either in the home or outside. It’s best to choose an exercise that you’re comfortable with in order to prevent additional stress. Pushing your body too hard won’t be of any use to your mental state. Going for a walk, doing yoga or cycling are light exercises that are also highly enjoyable.

Incorporating all of the above into your daily routine will help to keep stress levels low whilst also keeping you full of motivation. Of course the occasional break from your routine will also be great for recharging your batteries but there’s no reason why you can’t stay on top of your stress without spending a penny!