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

Anxiety and your Diet

Choosing which food we will nourish our bodies with is among the most important decisions that we will make each day. With our dietary choices we have the potential to either heal or harm ourselves, and this is particularly true when it comes to anxiety.

Research has shown that certain foods can exacerbate feelings of stress and anxiety, whereas other foods have the potential to combat and ease these feelings. If anxiety is something that is affecting your life in some way then taking notice of the following tips could go a long way to helping you overcome it!

Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid that has been shown to have a positive effect on reducing stress. It is a precursor to serotonin, which is extremely beneficial for promoting feelings of calm and happiness.

Tryptophan naturally occurs in several plant-based foods, most notably in bananas, oats, peanut butter and sesame seeds.

Vitamin B

There is much research to suggest a connection between the various B vitamins and the mood. In fact, a deficiency in any of the B vitamins can lead to a low mood, anxiety and even depression.

Eating a range of foods that contain B vitamins is the best way to enjoy the many benefits of this vitamin group. Good foods to include are leafy green vegetables, oranges, nuts, spirulina, watermelon, spinach, rice and legumes.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates often get a bad rep in the wellness world, but they are actually great for increasing serotonin production. Whole grain carbohydrates are the best choice and you should make an effort to avoid processed carbs, such as white rice and white bread.

When you eat whole grain carbohydrates it takes a while for your body to break them down, and this means that sugar is being released into the bloodstream relatively slowly. This is great for consistent energy levels as well as consistent mood.

The best things to include are brown rice, quinoa, oats, whole-wheat pasta and legumes.

Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to dietary choices that encourage feelings of anxiety!

Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and energy drinks, are often favoured for the quick burst of energy that they can provide, but after the high comes the inevitable crash – and this can impact your mood as well as your energy levels! Furthermore, studies have shown that the presence of caffeine can actually inhibit serotonin production. This can quickly cause you to be more prone to feelings of irritability, anxiety and depression!

This month on my wellness for women community website we are talking about the best ways to avert anxiety! You can click here to join us now and start on your journey to a happier, healthier version of yourself!

Green Sprouted Oat and Chia Porridge

Starting your morning with a nutritious breakfast is the best way to equip your body and mind for the day ahead. Oats are an amazing low-calorie choice that are great for many functions in the body, not least the health of your heart! The addition of pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, goji berries, chia seeds and chlorella make this a superfood option that packs a wealth of vitamins, minerals and more!

Chlorella has not featured too much in my recipes before. It is a type of algae that is so nutritious that it is often used to make nutritional supplements and medicine. It is available in powder form and as well as being full of healthy essential compounds it is also high in protein and fiber.

To make this porridge for two people, you will need the following ingredients:

1 cup of sprouted oats (Rude Health is my favourite for this)
1/4 of a cup of chia seeds
1 cup of water
1 tsp. of chlorella or spirulina
Top with pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs and goji berries
*Optional strawberry chia seed jam to garnish

Green Sprouted Oat and Chia Porridge2To get started making this delicious breakfast dish you must first add the water and the oats into a medium sized pan. Turn up the heat and bring the oats and water to the boil before you then leave to simmer for ten minutes. After this time has passed the oats should be soft. At this point you can add the chia seeds into the oats and if it is still not as soft as you desire then leave the oats to simmer for a further five minutes. This will also give the chia seeds a chance to expand.

Once the oats have cooked and swelled, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chlorella.  After a few minutes you can move the oats into a dish (such as this gorgeous bowl and plate from L’Objet!!) and top with pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs and goji berries. If you have any of your strawberry chia seed jam left in the fridge from last week then, like my eight year old, you might enjoy adding this to your porridge too!

Follow me on Twitter @juliemontagu for recipes, nutrition information, exercise tips and more!

Goji Berry, Coconut and Matcha Cupcakes

I’m always trying to find creative snacks to create for my 4 hungry kids when they come home from school.  I know that they’re not about to make themselves a matcha latte or grab a handful of goji berries and eat them one by one.  But I do know, having been a parent now for 16 years, that they way to get your kids to eat the ‘good for you’ stuff – is to sneak it into something that they like and like the look of….aka cupcakes!

IMG_2389Matcha is well, just incredible.  In my recipe I used White Matcha (apparently the newest thing to hit the market) but of course, green matcha is fine too!  Matcha is definitely a superhero when it comes to teas.  The amazing thing about matcha is that energises you but at the same time calms the central nervous system.  Matcha has 137 times the antioxidants of regular green tea, 70 times the antioxidants of orange juice and 9 times the beta carotene of spinach!  So, if you’re kids definitely don’t like spinach then this is a clever way to get that beta carotene in!

IMG_2391For your cupcakes you will need this:

Makes 16 – 20 cupcakes

4 cups of oat flour (or rolled oats ground to a flour)

1/2 cup ground flaxseeds

2 Tbsp. of matcha

1 1/2 cups of soaked goji berries

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

1 cup coconut palm sugar

1 3/4 cup plant-based milk ( I used coconut )

2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat your oven to 350 F or 180 C.  And in a large bowl, simply combine the above ingredients one by one, stirring well until you get a nice, thick batter.  Line your cupcake tray with paper cases and fill to the rim with your delicious batter!  Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool.  Even more delicious when you spread a bit of coconut oil on the insides!  YUM!

IMG_2397For more information on nutrition, head to www.theflexifoodie.com to sign up for the first of it’s kind online nutrition course:  Nutrition for Optimal Health.

 

Pumpkin & Quinoa Oat Muffins

Savoury snacks are a great way to satisfy cravings between or after meals and these oat muffins are just the trick. They are crammed with goodness and my kids absolutely can’t get enough of them. In this recipe, I’ve created a chia seed gel that acts as a fantastic egg replacer to hold the mixture together. It’s incredibly simple and gives the muffins an added nutritious boost too. The pumpkin seeds are also responsible for a the health boosting properties of this recipe as they are a powerful source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids.

pumpkin_quinoa_oat_muffins_theflexifoodieTo make approximately 12 muffins, grab the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups of oat flour
  • 3/4 of a cup of wholemeal flour
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 1 tbsp of baking powder
  • 1 tsp of baking soda
  • 2 cups of oat milk
  • 6 tbsp of chia seeds
  • 18 tbsp of water
  • 1/4 of a cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of pumpkin seeds

pumpkin_quinoa_oat_muffins_theflexifoodie2The first thing you’ll need to do is pre-heat your oven to 180C. You can also prepare muffin liners into a baking tray, ready for the mixture later. The chia seed gel is the first thing that we’re going to make as it requires 10 – 15 minutes to fully form. So, combine all six tablespoons of chia seeds with the 18 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and set aside.

pumpkin_quinoa_oat_muffins_theflexifoodie3Next, combine the oat flour, wholemeal flour, baking powder, baking soda and pumpkin seeds in a large mixing bowl. Stir all of these ingredients together before adding in the cooked quinoa. Then, take another bowl and combine the oat milk with the coconut oil. As soon as the chia gel is ready, you can whisk it into this bowl also. Once you’ve finished whisking you can pour the bowl of wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients. Give this a good stir and then scoop into the muffin liners before putting them in the oven.

pumpkin_quinoa_oat_muffins_theflexifoodie4Your muffins should take approximately 40 minutes to cook through but if they need a little longer then it’s fine to give them an extra ten minutes or so. These are great to eat as they are but you can also slice them in half and add some butter or avocado for more flavour.

If you want to learn more about nutrition then head over to my new e-learning portal – The Flexi Foodie Academy!