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

BFree Foods Brand Ambassador

I have a big announcement to share here on my blog! As you probably know, healthy eating is one of my biggest passions, and this is a concept that I am always excited to share with other people. This is something that I am now eager to do within my role as Brand Ambassador for BFree Foods!

The BFree Foods Story

In case you don’t know much about this incredible company, here is why I decided to become their Brand Ambassador.

Sweet P feta wrap with product

BFree Foods was created in order to make delicious, healthy foods much more easily available. Absolutely all of their products are allergen free, which means if you have an allergy or sensitivity to a particular food, then you can consume anything from the BFree Foods range without worrying!

Although the focus of the BFree Foods range is wheat-free and gluten-free foods, their products are additionally free from soya, dairy, eggs and nuts!

As well as providing allergen free choices, BFree Foods strive to create healthy options. Their ambition with doing so is to make it easier for you to get the nutrients you need whilst also avoiding the ingredients you don’t want!

Shop Online

If you head to the BFree Food online store now then you’ll be able to see for yourself the exciting range of foods available. You can also check out their recipe section for some great suggestions on how to best enjoy their products.

26-06-17 BeFree Shot 07

Also, if you have any questions about allergen free eating then feel free to leave a question in the comments and I’ll get back to you!

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

The Super Nutrient: Vitamin D

Finding ways to boost the presence of vitamin D in the body is a great idea for improving and maintaining your general health.

With our busy modern day lives it can be super easy to negate our own health, and to pay little attention to the nutrients that we are consuming. However, this can quickly lead to our health and happiness becoming compromised.

As discussed in a previous blog post, Vitamin D is an incredibly important vitamin. And, since there is not something that can be found in abundance in many foods, it is essential that you get an ample amount from sunshine!

Your body utilises stores of cholesterol to convert sunlight into usable vitamin D. Although it is a vitamin, it actually acts more like a hormone in the body and contributes to many essential regulatory functions. Every cell in your body relies on vitamin D and a deficiency can cause long-lasting health issues.

Mental Health

The incidence of depression can be seen to increase during the winter months, and this can be linked (in part) to less sunshine during the day. In order to combat this issue it is important to aim to get more vitamin D from dietary sources during the winter, and you can also opt for supplements.

Immune System Function

Your immune system relies on vitamin D to function effectively. Low levels of vitamin D can contribute to the onset of several health conditions and ensuring you get an adequate amount is a great way to help protect yourself.

Bone Strength

This super vitamin is incredibly beneficial when it comes to the health of your bones. It helps to prevent the breakdown of the bones, as well as increasing the overall strength of your entire skeletal system.

Brain Health

It may surprise you to learn that your memory can actually be affected by long-term vitamin D deficiency. Persistent low levels of this vitamin has also been linked to the development of certain neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.

As you can clearly see, there is much to be gained from vitamin D and much to be lost by not making sure you have get an adequate amount!

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!

Plant-Based Protein

If you follow a plant-based diet then the chances are you have heard that dreaded question before – “Where do you get your protein?”

Proteins, often a hot topic in the nutrition world, are necessary for all of us. Without them the cells in our body can’t repair and regenerate themselves. When we consume protein, our body breaks it down into amino acids, which is what our cells are made of!

Plant protein comes packaged in healthy fibres and carbohydrates that your body needs to fuel itself. Animal-based protein sources are often high in cholesterol and animal fats. Despite animal proteins often being advertised as ‘complete’ sources of healthy protein, they often aren’t always so healthy after all!

When we look a little closer at the wide range of plant-based foods available to us, we can see that complete proteins can be found within these foods too. The definition of a complete protein is when it consists of all of the necessary amino acids that the body needs.

However, it is important to remember that not all protein is the same: different sources contain different amounts of amino acids. And, that’s why it is important that we mix and match!

Most amino acids are pretty easy to get from any balanced plant-based diet, but some are tougher, such as lysine. If you eat tofu, beans and tempeh, you’ll surely be just fine. But if these things are not a part of your diet then you should pay attention to your lysine intake. Another limiting factor could be methionine. But fear not! By combining your pulses and beans with grains, you are pretty much guaranteed to get enough of them both. 

One thing is obvious: variety is the key! Different foods contain different amino acids and thus a balanced and a varied diet ensures you have covered all of the bases. Not all of the ingredients need to be complete proteins, as long as your daily intake is covered.

Here are a few simple tips to give you a head-start when it comes to fulfilling your protein quota on a plant-based diet! 

First of all, mix your rice with beans. The beans complement the low lysine content of the rice and the rice compliments the beans’ methionine. Check out my delicious recipe for making baked beans at home! 

Secondly you can eat your bread with humous to create another a lysine-methionine power couple. Alternatively, try peanut butter. A two slice sandwich with two tablespoons of peanut butter contains an impressive 15 grams of protein!

Finally, add more spirulina into your diet. You can effortlessly do this by adding a dash to your grains and oats. Spirulina on its own lacks cysteine and methionine, but that’s nothing a tasty green porridge can’t fix!

To put it simply: you probably don’t have to worry about your protein count if you are eating a healthy and varied plant-based diet!

For more top tips on nutrition head to The Flexi Foodie Academy now!

Stuffed Sweet Potato

My stuffed sweet potato recipe is the perfect dish to cook up after a particularly taxing day. This is because it will re-energise your mind and nourish your body due to the combination of super healthy ingredients!

Sweet potatoes are packed full of calcium and potassium, as well as an abundance of vitamins A and C. In fact, the gorgeous colour of this vegetable is due to the presence of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. The presence of this vitamin in adequate amounts is key to the optimum health of your skin, immune system and your vision.

You may not have come across samphire in your cooking before but there are many great reasons to begin making an effort to include it in your diet. This tasty sea vegetable grows in abundance in marshland and along shorelines. It is perfect for adding to salads but some people prefer to boil it as it can often be quite salty. Samphire has a very exciting nutritional makeup, containing a wealth of vitamins A, B and C, as well as being a good source of folic acid. It is thought to be useful for aiding digestion and boosting mental clarity.

Stuffed Sweet Potato2 Julie MontaguTo make this dish for two people, you will need the following ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes
Rapeseed oil
1 onion (finely diced)
2 garlic cloves (finely diced)
100 grams of red split lentils (pre-soaked)
1 tbsp of cumin
1 tbsp turmeric
A handful of samphire

To get started making my stuffed sweet potatoes, you will first need to score each potato. Once this is complete you can drizzle them with olive oil and add a dash of salt and pepper. Place the sweet potatoes in the oven and cook them at 200C for 45 minutes. By this time they should become soft on the inside.

While the potatoes are cooking, add the onion, garlic, cumin and turmeric into a pan with a tablespoon of rapeseed oil and a dash of water. You can then cook this pan on a medium heat until the onions are caramelised. At this point you should add the lentils into the pan too and season with salt and pepper.

Once the sweet potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and serve with the lentil mix. Top with samphire and enjoy!

Eating a diet that includes foods bursting with nutrients is essential for the optimum health of your body and mind. To learn more about nutrition and healthy eating, head to my online e-learning portal, The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Lemon Coconut and Radish Noodle Salad

This dish is fantastic if you want a light and refreshing yet filling meal that is full of flavour! It doesn’t take long to make and is a great excuse for getting your spiralizer out! I often make it as an accompaniment when I’m having people over for dinner but it also works as a main dish.

Radishes are incredibly under-appreciated when it comes to cooking and making an effort to eat them more brings variety to your meals as well as nutrition to your body! They have a crunchy texture and are actually naturally cooling which helps to keep your body temperature steady. In just a few months radishes will be in season, making them the perfect choice to include in spring dinner party dishes. If you are suffering with a sore throat or are experiencing poor digestion then radishes can help to improve both of these things! They are also very useful at preventing viral infections because of their high vitamin C content. Add to that, that they work to eliminate toxins in the body, as well as protecting against certain cancers, and you have an all-round amazing vegetable!

The following ingredients will serve two people as a main dish or four people as a side:

2 x watermelon radishes
1 small cauliflower
Zest of 1 lemon
A large handful of desiccated coconut

For the dressing:

Juice of 1 lemon
1 ripe avocado
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. olive oil
A small handful of coriander
A dash of sea salt and pepper

IMG_4347The first thing you will need to do is peel the watermelon radishes and use a spiralizer to turn them into spaghetti noodles. Once complete, place the noodles in a large salad bowl. You must then chop the cauliflower into small florets and place in your food processor. Next, pulse the cauliflower until it looks like white rice and add it to the salad bowl. 

You can then sprinkle the radish noodles and cauliflower rice with the desiccated coconut. Next, in a small bowl, mash the avocado and add the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and torn coriander.  This can then be seasoned with sea salt and pepper. The final step is to mix the dressing into the noodle salad and garnish with the lemon zest. Delicious! 

To learn more about which foods are great for your body, head over to The Flexi Foodie Academy!

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!

beans_beats_herbs_the_flexifoodie

Smoked Paprika, Black Beans and Sprouting Broccoli Salad

Purple sprouting broccoli is generally at its best in the spring months so now is a great time to make the most of it in your cooking! This kind of broccoli brings an amazing combination of colour and crunch to a dish and is also, of course, rammed full of nutrients. The high vitamin and mineral count of broccoli, coupled with its exciting antioxidant count, make it an all round winner for your health.

Paprika is amongst my favourite spices but not one that I use all that often! Including paprika in a dish is such a great way to boost the flavour of that meal and it packs a subtle spicy punch without completely dominating the existing taste. As well as containing a range of vitamins, paprika also has a healthy dose of iron which is essential for carrying oxygen around the body.

To quickly whip up this salad for four to six people, gather the following ingredients:

250g of purple sprouting broccoli
1 x 400g of tinned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 spring onions, thinly diced
1 avocado, cut into small chunks
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. honey

For the dressing:

A handful of coriander
A small handful of almonds, ideally soaked for a few hours but don’t worry if not!
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. almond milk

broccoli_sprouted_salad_flexi_foodie

So the first thing you need to do is bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the broccoli for five minutes. Be careful not to over cook the broccoli so that you don’t lose any of the nutrients. After these five minutes are up, you should drain and rinse. Next, in a frying pan over a medium heat, combine the drained and rinsed black beans and then add in the smoked paprika, cumin and honey. You can then stir this together well and cook for five minutes.

In a large bowl, you can then combine the sprouting broccoli, seasoned black beans, spring onions and avocado. And finally, combine the dressing ingredients in your food processor and blend. It will be a lovely, chunky dressing (tastes great too!) that you can coat the broccoli and bean salad well with. This is one of my favourite salads of all time!