B12 and a Plant-Based Diet

Although the majority of our nutritional needs can actually be met reasonably easily on a plant-based diet, this is not always true of B12. This essential vitamin is most commonly found in meat and dairy products. If you are following a plant-based diet then it is a great idea to take the following advice into consideration so that you do not experience a deficiency in this essential vitamin!

Vitamin  Deficiency

If you do not consume an adequate amount of B12 then you run the risk of damaging your nervous system, as well as experiencing fatigue, muscle weakness, and even problems with your memory! A deficiency can take several years to present itself and can be difficult to recognise or diagnose. However, this is more the case in adults rather than children, and B12 deficiency in children will present itself more rapidly. Health problems that are caused as a result of low levels of B12 can usually be treated and reversed by working to meet the daily recommended allowance. 

If you follow a diet that is primarily focused on raw foods then it is all the more important that you work to avoid a deficiency in this vitamin, as you will naturally be exposed to it much less.

Sources of B12

The only reliable ways to get an ample amount of vitamin B12 on a plant-based diet are to either take supplements or eat foods that are fortified with B12. Fortunately the latter of these two methods has become much simpler in recent years as more foods are fortified with this vitamin. These products include plant-based milks, soy products and a variety of cereals.

If you are opting to take a supplement to ensure you meet your vitamin B12 quota, then you should aim for either 10 micrograms every day, or a once weekly supplement of 2000 micrograms.

B12 Consumption

If you are getting your B12 through fortified foods then it is advisable to do so regularly, as your body absorbs it best in small amounts. However, it is also worth remembering that there is no harm in exceeding the recommended amount. So, when considering your B12 intake – more is always better!

A healthy, varied diet that includes a large selection of whole, natural foods is the best way to avoid a deficiency of any kind.

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!

8 Essential Books for Health and Wellbeing

With such a wealth of information available when it comes to health and nutrition, it can be hard to know who to trust and what to believe. There are so many varying diets that claim to help you lose weight whilst also improving health and wellbeing that settling on just one can be complicated! I find the best way to avoid this is to devote the time to reading a good book on the topic. Consuming an entire book is a fantastic way to truly understand a topic and can inspire and motivate you to stick to your fitness and dietary aims!

The following books are some of my absolute favourites when it comes to discovering new and interesting things about health and wellbeing. These books have shaped my understanding of eating for optimum health and I absolutely can’t recommend them enough.

Plenish

plenish_bookThis book by Kara M.L Rosen teaches the reader all about juices that boost, cleanse and heal. Kara’s book teaches us all about how consuming fresh, raw juices will boost your nutrient count whilst also helping your system to detox. The book continues to explain how your health will benefit immensely, keeping sickness at bay. There’s more than 40 recipes in this book for various juice blends which will rapidly leave you feeling rejuvenated!

Honestly Healthy Cleansehonestly_healthy_cleanse_book

This book is written by Natasha Corrett and is a fantastic and creative introduction to healthy cooking. Natasha is a gourmet vegetarian chef and she has created a series of recipe plans that hep to guide the reader towards a healthier lifestyle. Her plans incorporate a number of different food types to make up a well-rounded approach to good foods. There’s over 100 recipes in this book which promote optimum nutrition and natural weight loss.

healing_with_whole_foods_bookHealing with Whole Foods

Paul Pitchford has put together this fantastic book which is not only used as a reference by students of acupuncture but also by those looking to find out more about Chinese medicine. There are over 300 recipes in this book, the majority of which are vegetarian, and focus on regeneration through diet. Pitchford has written this book with the intention of educating his readers in the areas of healing, awareness and peace.

Eating for Beautyeating_for_beauty_book

David Wolfe is one of America’s leading experts on nutrition and this book explains how a diet full of fresh produce is the best choice for everyone. Not only does the book teach how these foods can promote natural beauty but also how they can cleanse the system and nourish the body. Although this book is easy to follow, it does delve into some scientific explanations as to why the chemical processes from certain foods affect us in such a negative way.

healthy_at_100_bookHealthy at 100

This book by John Robbins shows us how our life span and our general health can be improved vastly through healthy eating. Within the book, Robbins explores several different cultures and how people within those cultures have reached old age through eating well. Countless people have already been inspired by this book which also encourages people to live life to the full and be as happy as possible while their health improves.

The Healing Path of Yogathe_healing_path_of_yoga_book

Nischala Joy Devi is the writer of this amazing book and is a known pioneer of yoga and natural healing. The book explains how yoga can reduce stress and the importance of doing so due to the dangerous effects it has on our lives. Devi uses the book as a platform to share her years of wisdom in yoga practice and teaches people how to take greater control of their lives.

big_book_of_yoga_bookThe Women’s Health Big Book of Yoga

This book is full of fantastic yoga poses which will stretch and tone your body while also building muscle and improving your stamina. This book not only demonstrates many of these poses to us but also explains why they can improve our health, boost our sex drives, help us to lose weight and also to cleanse our bodies and minds!

Loving Yourself to Great Healthloving_yourself_to_good_health_book

Louise Hay, Ahlea Khadro and Heather Dane have come together with this book to transform lives by encouraging people to create their dreams. The book combines several theories of letting go of the things that limit us whilst also focusing on nutrition and health.

These books are all available on my e-store so click the title link to buy them for yourself!

Raw Chocolate Brownie with Goji Berries

I’m always looking for ways to get the Super Hero foods into my kids diets and this recipe has come out on top!  All four of my kids love chocolate and there are some GREAT raw chocolate bars out on the market now – but with four kids, I can’t keep up with their demand and rushing out to Whole Foods all of the time!  So, I whipped this up over the weekend and as I type this on Sunday – they’ve all been greedily consumed!  I think this is going to be a household staple.  And the good news….. it’s SO easy to make!

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But the other goodie about this recipe is that it’s NOT made with refined sugar but instead made with the whole foods, a natural sweetener called DATES!  Fresh dates are composed of soft, easily digestible flesh and simple sugars like fructose and dextrose. When eaten, they replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly.  Dates are also rich in dietary fibre, which prevents LDL cholesterol absorption in the gut.  Additionally, the fibre works as a bulk laxative whereby helping to protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time and binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.

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Dates contain health benefiting flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants known as tannins. Tannins are known to possess anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, and anti-hemorrhagic (prevent easy bleeding tendencies) properties.  They are also an excellent source of IRON!  Yes, iron… can you believe it?!  And potassium is right up there as well as calcium, manganese, copper and magnesium.

So you can see, I’d much rather have my kids eat dates than refined sugar (which BTW has NO nutritional value whatsoever…..)

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So grab these ingredients if you don’t already have them!

Serves 16

2 cups walnuts

2 cups pitted dates (medjool best)

1/2 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 cup carob powder

1/4 cup goji berries

1TBSP coconut oil

1 cup almonds, chopped

1 TBSP coconut palm nectar, agave or maple syrup

sprinkling of sea salt or pink himalayan

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In  your food processor, pulse the walnuts until nicely ground.  Then add the salt, cacao, carob and continue to mix in the food processor.  While the food processor is on, add the dates one by one until you get a nice paste.  Once you get this lovely paste, add in your sweetener (coconut palm nectar, agave or maple syrup)  and the coconut oil.  Remove the paste into a mixing bowl and using your hands (much easier than a wooden spoon) mix in the chopped almonds and the goji berries.

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Place the mixture in either a 8×8 or 9×13 baking tin lined with parchment paper and press the mixture down so that it won’t fall apart.  Finally place in freezer for 30 minutes.  Once the 30 minutes are up, cut into squares and then try not to eat the entire batch!

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If you have questions about nutrition or are interested in signing up for one of my online programmes, please head to my website: www.juliemontagu.com  or LIKE my FACEBOOK page, follow me on Twitter @juliemontagu or check out more photos on Instagram!

Rose Chocolate Truffles

Let’s face it, the reality is that 3 out of my 4 kids are boys.  And boys are like dogs: they need to be walked at least three times a day!  2 of my boys are WAY into their sports – from rugby to football to cricket and then there’s our frosting on the cake, Nestor, who is 6 and the baby of the family.  When asked what he wants to be when he’s older…. he proudly replies:  ‘David Attenborough.’  So, in order to keep up with these active sportsmen and an explorer-to-be, I’ve got to fuel them with some REAL energy, some REAL foods, some NON-chemical, NON-pacakged, NON-processed foods.  So the gist of the recipe was created for my boys…. but then I do have ONE girl and I needed to include something a bit girlie, right?  And that’s where the Rose Water came in and so in all fairness, these power truffles are 3/4 boys and 1/4 girl.  I think I managed to please everyone in the family with this one……. now that’s a first!

ImageGrab yourself these cool ingredients: For 16 truffles (4 for each child if you have 4 kids!)

20 dates, de-stoned

2 Tbsp. coconut butter or oil

2 Tbsp. cacao powder

3/4 tsp. carob powder

2 tsp. lucuma

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

and the final ingredient:  1 tsp. rose water (so amazing)

You will also need Goji Berry powder, Blueberry powder and ground almonds for dusting.  The flowers in the photos are optional, but highly recommended if you have a girl!

ImageTake all ingredients and either blend in your high speed blender or simply just use your food processor to create a gorgeous paste.  Scrape out as much paste as you can into a bowl and use about a heaped teaspoon per truffle – roll in your hands to create a lovely, round ball.

ImageNext, roll those amazing truffles in some goji berry powder, blueberry powder or ground almonds.

ImageAnd Voila!  Takes no time at all to appease everyone in the family, including yourself!  If you’re having a dinner party, these are great incredibly healthy ‘after-dinner’ treats with some fresh mint tea!  These deliciOSO treats have NO refined sugar.  I used my favourite sugar replacement…. Dates…. instead.  Here are my FOUR top facts about amazing dates.

  1. Dates are free from cholesterol and contain very low fat and are also rich in vitamins and minerals.
  1. They are a rich source of protein, dietary fiber and rich in vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B5 along with vitamin A1 and C.
  1. Dates help improve the digestive system as it contains soluble and insoluble fibers and different kinds of amino acids.
  1. Dates are great energy boosters as they contain natural sugars like glucose, sucrose and fructose.

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To learn more about my online programmes such as the Green Smoothie Challenge for Juice Cleanse, head to my WEBSITE HERE for more details.

If you liked this post, I’d love it if you’d LIKE my Facebook page too!

Courgetti Spaghetti with Sundried Tomato & Almond Sauce

My good friend Russell James, the Raw Chef, is KING in the RAW arena.  I’ve pretty much tried all of his recipes, bought his amazing e-books, and think he’s one cool dude.  So, this recipe is dedicated to him and his awesome RAW recipes!  To find out more about Russell, head to:  www.therawchef.com and find even more amazing RAW recipes!

Before I get into the way to prepare this awesome recipe, I thought it best to explain why RAW is so important in our diets.

Now that summer is nearly here, we are more likely to eat raw food in summer because we are crave lighter, cooler dishes such as salads, juices, chilled soups and smoothies.   And that’s great as raw fruit and vegetables deliver far higher levels of nutrients to our body than cooked food.  I always try to have ONE RAW DAY.

One day of the week; immerse yourself into raw foods – it’s awesome!  Go to the your local store and buy a huge amount of organic fruits and vegetables. Having one 100% raw day per week can give your body a rest and let it heal and rebuild. Think of it as like a ‘detox’ one day a week.  If you’re new to RAW, then why not sign up for my Green Smoothie Challenge.  Click here for details!

And now onto the recipe!  It’s easy peasy, lemon, squeezy.  My 14-year old even said so as she helped me make and then we ate it!

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Okay, one more thing.. if you don’t have a spiralizer… it’s okay!  Although they are very inexpensive so if you think you’re going to do more recipes like this, definitely invest in one!  You can then use a mandolin or julienne slicer instead of a spiralizer.

For the Courgette Spaghetti:  2 green courgettes or in America, we say zucchini 🙂

For the Sundried Tomato & Almond Sauce:

1 cup sundried tomatoes, soaked

1/2 cup almonds, soaked for 4- 6 hours

zest and juice of one lemon

1 garlic clove

1 Tbsp. olive oil

sea salt and fresh pepper

Marinated Red Peppers

1 red pepper, sliced

50 ml apple cider vinegar

50 ml tamari

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Red peppers, red peppers, red peppers, where for art thou red peppers?  Remember, I was Captain of my Cheerleading squad in High School so my brain is all about poems, rhymes and cheers.  Well, red peppers are an awesome ‘super’ food.  A quick summary: All peppers are rich in vitamins A & C, and K, but red peppers are simply bursting with them. Vitamins A and C, awesome antioxidants, help to prevent cell damage, cancer, and disease related to ageing (am all over that one!) , and they support our immune system. They also reduce inflammation like that found in arthritis. Vitamin K promotes proper blood clotting, strengthens bones, and helps protect cells from free radical damage.  There’s LOADS more information on what Red Peppers can do for you health wise, but if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I try to keep it simple so that you can remember snippets here and there rather than slamming you with a War & Peace novel of information. 

So, slice your red pepper and marinate it with the tamari and the apple cider vinegar.  Cover your peppers and set aside in the fridge to allow the tamari and the apple cider to absorb in the red peppers.

Next, get your spiralizer… so fun!  But don’t worry , you can still have fun without one and use a mandolin or julienne slicer instead.  You’re aim is to create spaghetti or taglietelle like strips out of the courgettes.  If you think you’ll use this recipe again and again, then spiralizers are actually very inexpensive to buy.  Put your strips into a bowl to have ready for the sauce.

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Now put all of the Sauce ingredients into your blender  and whizz away.  You should get a paste-like sauce, but if that’s too thick for you add just a bit more water to thin it out.

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Pour the sauce over your Courgetti, mix well and top with your marinated red peppers!  If my 14 year-old raved about this and ate it all up, then I hope you will too!  If you like this, then why not LIKE my Facebook page too!

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