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!

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

This salad looks fantastic as a side dish to a main meal at a dinner party but can also make an indulgent meal for one! Not only does it look amazing but it will also do great things for your body due to the wealth of goodness found within! Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables that contain a unique range of antioxidants. They are super low in calories at just 28 calories for half a cooked cup! Brussels sprouts are also full of fibre which makes them perfect for digestive health as well as preventing constipation and keeping your colon healthy.

The addition of raisins to this salad not only helps to make it look more interesting but also gives the flavour a nice twist. Raisins are known to improve eye health and the health of your bones so double bonus!

To make a huge portion of this for yourself, you will need the following ingredients:

For the salad:

450g of uncooked Brussels sprouts
2 large handfuls of rocket
A large handful of parsley
100g of toasted pine nuts
A large handful of raisins
A large handful of dried cranberries
1 avocado, sliced or cut into cubes

For the dressing:

Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. of honey
1 Tbsp. of olive oil

Using a hand grater or mandoline, grate the Brussels sprouts and then add the shaved Brussels sprouts to a large salad bowl. You can then add the rocket, parsley, toasted pine nuts, raisins and cranberries into the bowl too. And, of course, the avocado. Next, in a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour them over the salad. 

This is wonderful and delicious salad where you and your guests will be surprised that Brussels sprouts make such a wonderful meal!  I also find that it is perfect for American Thanksgiving too!

For more healthy recipes like this one plus some great nutrition advice, head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Carrot Salad with Broccoli, Coconut and Almonds

This recipe uses both solid and blended foods together to create a delicious meal that also has a range of consistencies. Broccoli and almonds mixed with the coconut milk, veg stock and lemon is such an amazing flavour as well as an incredible source of goodness! Lemons might be small but they are often referred to as powerhouses thanks to the high nutrient count within. Just one squeeze of lemon juice is enough to provide your body with a dose of phytonutrients and antioxidants! Lemon juice is also known to be healing with antibiotic effects. The almonds, which you will have to pre-soak before you get started, also contain a selection of antioxidants as well as a multitude of vitamins and minerals. Almonds are also a fantastic source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are essential for keeping LDL cholesterol levels down!

In addition to the nutrition, making this dish involves spiralizing the carrots which is a fun and interesting way to prepare them! If you don’t own a spiralizer yet then you can click here to buy one!

So to make this dish for four people, you’ll need the following ingredients!

4 medium carrots, spiralized
50g of almonds (soaked for 3-4 hours)
200g of broccoli
1/2 a tin of coconut milk
1/2 a cup of veg stock
Squeeze of 1 lemon
A large handful of pumpkin seeds
A large handful of currants
Salt and pepper

When making this dish, I prefer to steam the broccoli so that it’s soft but not overcooked!  However, if you don’t have a steamer then it’s absolutely fine to boil, just make sure  you don’t overdo it! Once the broccoli is cooked, combine it with the almonds, broccoli, coconut milk, veg stock and lemon in your food processor or blender. You should then blitz it well until it’s nearly a puree.  The next step is to thoroughly mix with the spiralized carrots and then top with currants and pumpkin seeds before you season with salt and pepper.  Yes, it’s that easy and super yummy too!

Carrot Salad with Broccoli, Coconut and Almonds

Sweet Corn, Spinach and Mint Pesto

Pesto is a great side dish to add to so many different meals. It brings a burst of flavour and when made with colourful ingredients it is also an aesthetically pleasing addition to the dinner table. The combination of sweet corn, spinach and mint is not only great for your health, as these three ingredients are full of nutrients, but also creates an amazing taste! Research has suggested that a certain acid found in sweet corn can prevent certain cancers as well reduce inflammation in the body. The high antioxidant count in spinach makes it the perfect choice for improving all-round health, plus it only contains 27 per calories per cup! Finally, mint is an absolute winner when it comes to aiding essential functions in the body. It is good for digestion as well as the health of your blood and bones!

Sweet corn, spinach and mint pesto3To make a bowl of this pesto at home, collect the following ingredients:

500g cooked corn, but put aside 100g
50g pine nuts
1 large handful spinach
1 small handful mint
Squeeze of one lemon
120ml olive oil
Salt and pepper

Put all ingredients into a food processor except for the 100g of corn and whizz away. Garnish with the rest of the corn and a few more mint leaves and it’s ready to serve!

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The Best Natural Skin Masks

When you purchase face masks and skin products from the supermarket, it isn’t uncommon that they will have a long list of ingredients, some of which you may not be familiar with. Unfortunately, not all of these things are going to be as good for your skin as the manufacturer would have you believe. Avoiding toxic chemicals is very important when it comes to the health of your skin. Making skin masks yourself at home is the best way to know what you are using on your body and it’s also not at all difficult.

Lemon

Lemons are full of vitamin C which is great for your skin. Try mixing two tablespoons of lemon juice with a teaspoon of unrefined organic sugar. Then using your hand, rub the mixture into your face. This is amazing for exfoliating the skin and once you wash it off a few minutes later, you’ll notice that your face is brighter and smoother.

Raw Cacao

The caffeine that is present in raw cacao is great for your face as it tightens the skin, not to mention the mass of antioxidants that are present in raw cacao. It is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and is revered for its cancer combating properties and ability to tackle signs of premature aging.  To get the best results from this miracle ingredient, mix two tablespoons of raw cacao powder with one mashed banana, two tablespoons of ground raw oats and two tablespoons of organic honey. Make sure you mix it together well and then apply evenly to your face. Wait for 20 – 30 minutes before washing off.

Avocado

Avocado is absolutely bursting with Omega fatty acids which work wonders at moisturizing your skin. Not only that, but avocados are full of many all important vitamins and minerals too.  If you have dry skin then the best way to treat it is to combine the flesh of an avocado with a dash of olive oil and leave on the face for 15 – 20 minutes. Be sure to use an organic olive oil or an Extra Virgin variety.

Spirulina

Spirulina is famous for its antibacterial properties which means great things for your pores. It is a member of the algae family and comparably has more antioxidants than blueberries! This is good news for your face if you are trying to reduce the impact of sun damage or are attempting to alleviate blemishes or fine wrinkles.

For a face mask that will leave you looking rejuvenated, add just ½ a teaspoon of spirulina with a mashed banana. You can also add a squirt of lemon juice in for good measure but it’s not essential. After 15 – 20 minutes on the face, rinse away and dry.

Roasted Chickpea, Cucumber and Purple Sprouting Broccoli Salad

Salads aren’t dishes that are often associated with the winter weather, however, this one is not only incredibly filling but also full of the kind of goodness that helps to keep you healthy and smiling through the cold season. Sprouting broccoli is an ingredient that I have used once before on my blog but you may not be all that familiar with it. Growing during the winter and sprouting during the spring, this colourful vegetable is a great way to add nutrition and character to any meal. However, it is chickpeas that are the true nourishment bringer of this dish.

A cup of chickpeas only contains 4 grams of fat and absolutely none of it is the bad kind! Add to that, that they provide a decent dose of fibre and can help to lower bad cholesterol levels whilst improving digestive health. When you eat chickpeas your red blood cells benefit hugely as they are full of folate which is essential for the development of these cells.

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To make this salad for two people, you’ll need the following ingredients:

For the salad:

250g of purple sprouting broccoli
1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp of paprika
2 tsp of cumin
1 small cucumber
A handful of corianderFor the dressing:A handful of coriander
1/2 an avocado
A small handful of pitted olives
1 tbsp of tahini
1 clove of garlic, crushed
7 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
The juice of 1 lemon

Firstly, bring a pot of water to the boil and blanche the broccoli for 2-3 minutes. Whilst you’re doing so, pre-heat your oven to 180C and then spread your chickpeas out on a baking tray. Take the pre-measured paprika and cumin and sprinkle over the chickpeas. You can then place the baking tray into the oven for approximately 25 minutes. Remember to put the broccoli to one side on a large bowl once it is blanched.

Whilst you’re waiting for the chickpeas to cook, chop your cucumber into small chunks and add it into the bowl with the broccoli. As soon as the chickpeas are ready, you can add them into this bowl also.
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The dressing is equally as simple to make as all you have to do is chuck everything into your blender and blitz until you have a smooth mixture.

As soon as you have the broccoli, chickpeas and cucumber in the same bowl, you can serve onto two separate dishes and top with the salad dressing. Add a generous amount of coriander to the top of this and your salad is ready to eat!

Radish Avocado Salad with Chia Tahini Dressing

I’m always looking for quick, easy salads that I can just chop up and whip together and this is one of them.   But lately I’ve been reading about the MANY benefits of radishes and wanted to incorporate them into something yummy and thus this recipe was born.  I get it, radishes aren’t the tastiest of all veggies out there, but combined with a killer dressing or dip, you’re getting a delicious treat with SOOOOOOO many benefits!

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So let’s talk radishes! First of all, they’re kind of pretty to look at and the health benefits are unbelievable……Radishes are a serious Super Hero Food that come in a little package.  Researchers at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University found that radishes induce apoptosis – meaning they kill cancer cells. Compounds called isothiocyanates and anthocyanins are found in abundance in radishes and have been proven effective in the fight against cancer in several studies.  If you have chronic bronchial flare-ups, sinus infections or asthma, radishes can act as a natural decongestant.  They’ve been shown to lower cholesterol, manage diabetes and regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.  The water and fiber content make radishes surprisingly filling, and the lack of calories (19 calories per cup!) puts them at the top of the “best diet” foods. The surprising number of nutrients found in these small vegetables means you aren’t skimping on nutrition while cutting back on fats, sugars and carbs.  So, let’s eat this Super Hero food, like now!

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so if you’re anything like me…. I always wanted to make them work in a recipe but it’s sort of hard, right?  Well, not anymore.  Here is a quick and delicious recipe to whip up for lunch or even for a dinner party!

Serves 3-4

2 cups radishes, diced

1 cup red pepper, diced

large handful of black olives

large handful of coriander, chopped

1 small avocado, diced

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 spring onion, chopped

Chia Tahini dressing

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons tahini

1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoons fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon tamari

1 tablespoon agave or honey

pinch of himalayan sea salt

pinch of chill powder

fresh coriander and spring onions for garnish

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In a large pretty bowl add all the ingredients for the salad.  Blend all the dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth.  The dressing will be quite thick but when you mix it through the salad it will become thinner.  Toss until well combined and garnish with the coriander and spring onion.  Enjoy!

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Now this is what I call a truly Super Food, Super Hero Salad!  If you like this blog post then why not LIKE my Facebook page or check out my website at www.juliemontagu.com for more healthy lifestyle tips!

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My Plenish Cleanse

When my lovely box of 6 juices for my ONE Day Cleanse last week arrived at the door…. my inner cheerleader came through and this is what I said in my head:  ‘Let’s Go, Let’s Fight, We’re Rockin’ the Gym Tonight!’  Because that is how excited and thrilled this giddy cheerleader was to start her cleanse.  First and Foremost, it must be said that the packaging is totally awesome and it comes chilled and ready to be put in your fridge.  And how cute are the straws?!?  During this cleanse day, I never felt hungry as I was spacing each juice by 2.5 hours.  So, I drank my first one at 8am (after my hot water and lemon tea!), next one at 10:30am, followed by 1pm, 3:30pm, 6pm and last one at 8:30pm.  I then headed to bed early…..9pm! And slept like a baby!

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I ordered the Plenish’s Pick of Green Dream Team which included 3 Mind Body Green and 3 Sweet Sexy Green.  Why is this their pick of the litter?  On their website www.plenishcleanse.com they say: ‘Supplement your regular diet with Plenish’s green juice. Drinking chlorophyll-packed green juice is one of the best things you can do to boost immunity, fight disease, lower acidity and balance pH’.  And after reading that, I was SOLD!

The Mind Body Green has over 5lbs of organic greens (yes, in ONE bottle!) so it really packs a chlorophyll punch while alkalising your body.  What’s in this one, you ask?  Nothin’ but goodness:  Pear, Parsley, Kale, Spinach, Lemon, Ginger, Cucumber and Romaine.  Delicious.

Sweet, Sexy Green is chock a block of antioxidants and calcium and rids your body of toxins!  Hello?!?  How amazing is that!!!  This one is filled with:  Pear, Kale, Celery, Spinach, Broccoli, Cucumber and Romaine. Yummy.

But what’s so awesome about Plenish is that you can do a 1-Day, 3-Day or 5-Day Cleanse and choose from not only the two juices I had, but also Cashew Milk, Pineapple, Spicy Lemonade and Beet Box.  Summer is here, holidays and vacations are right around the corner – so get your body back by doing one of these awesome cleanses!

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