Gut Health and Your Diet

In recent years there has been an emergence of research that has shown just how important the health of the gut is! When your digestive system isn’t doing its thing, all other areas of your health can soon become compromised. Continue reading Gut Health and Your Diet

Why You Should Alkalise Your Body

Maintaining the natural balance of your body in regards to your pH levels is important for several reasons. Both your immune system and the amount of inflammation in your body can be affected by whether or not you are in the correct alkaline range. When we consider that immune system function and inflammation are two of the biggest factors contributing to optimum health, then we can see how important it is to maintain balance in the body!

Immune System

The reason that your immune system becomes compromised when your pH is out of balance is that the cells in the body aren’t getting the minerals that they need. This means that less oxygen is being circulated and your immune system therefore doesn’t function as well as it could!

When you have the correct alkaline balance then your body is better equipped to prevent and deal with infections and illnesses.

Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a leading cause of illness and diseases, and can soon become a problem when normal levels of inflammation start to increase.

Acidic foods are known to cause inflammation in the body. When you consume excess amounts of acidic foods then your body is going to have to work extra hard to neutralise this acidity. One of the ways in which your body can do this is to take essential minerals from other parts of the body, which can of course be detrimental to your overall health.

Balancing Your pH Levels

If the foods and drinks that you are consuming are too acidic then your pH levels are quickly going to get out of whack. However, your lifestyle and overall diet also contribute to your pH levels.

Foods that are high in magnesium, phosphorous and calcium are great for restoring the alkaline balance in the body.

Unprocessed vegetables are the perfect choice for alkalising your body, especially citrus fruits. Garlic, ginger, apple cider vinegar and turmeric are also beneficial choices. Eating your greens will also help with this, and you can aim to include broccoli, wheatgrass, chlorella and spinach in your diet regularly.

If you do not consume many processed and packaged foods then you are going to give yourself a head-start when it comes to alkalising your body. They can be incredibly acidic, and it is an amazing idea to replace these products with whole food options!

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!

Creamy Super Soup

This creamy soup is a super simple way to eat spirulina without having to taste it! If you are a fan of raw foods then just skip heating the soup—it tastes great either way.

If you have heard me talk about spirulina before then it is most likely in a smoothie recipe as it is great for adding a burst of nutrition to smoothies! However, you can also add it into soups to give them a healthy boost. Far from just being good for your body, spirulina is good for your brain too.

Spirulina is a type of bacteria that grows in both fresh and salt water. Its use as a superfood dates all the way back to the Aztecs, and with good reason. Just one tablespoon of spirulina contains an impressive four grams of protein, as well as beneficial amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, copper and iron! It also contains smaller, but still beneficial, amounts of a wide range of other nutrients that the body needs.

Experts have argued that gram for gram, this could actually be the most nutritious food on the planet!

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

2 cups of raw cashew nuts
2 cups / 16fl oz / 450ml of water or vegetable stock
2 cups / 5oz / 140g of kale
2 cups / 5oz / 140g of spinach
1 avocado, peeled and de-stoned
A handful of fresh cilantro (coriander), trimmed
1 inch (2.5cm) fresh root ginger, peeled
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tbsp of spirulina
1 tsp of cumin

First you will need to place the cashew nuts and water into your blender and blitz for about five minutes. By this time your mixture should be smooth, but if it’s not then keep going until it is!

Next, add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and continue to blend until everything is completely smooth. This should take between one and two minutes. You can then pour the soup into a medium saucepan and heat on a low heat for 10–15 minutes. Finally, divide into two bowls and serve immediately. As I mentioned before, if you want to consume the soup without heating it up then that is totally fine too!

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!

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!

Sweet corn, spinach and mint pesto2

Keep up to date with all my latest recipes by following me on Facebook!

Where Are All The Antioxidants?

We all know that eating a varied diet full of natural foods is the key to good health, however, there is an abundance of such foods to choose from. It is normal that everybody has certain foods that they prefer, but in order to maximise the nutrition in your diet it is important to eat as wide a selection of plant-based foods as possible. By consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants, you are giving your body the ammo it needs to keep your immune system healthy and fight rogue free radicals.

Even though antioxidants can be found in a large number of foods, there are several that have a much higher count than others. By choosing to include these foods in your meals, and as snacks, your health will benefit dramatically. These foods are often referred to as superfoods because of the benefits of eating them! When you include these superfoods in your diet, you will be able to stop buying and consuming pricy supplements and get all of your nutrition directly from natural food sources.

Blueberries have been used in research to determine the best way to protect cells from damage. It has been suggested that consuming them every day will go a long way to protecting your body in this way. Blueberries are also good for lowering inflammation and boosting the immune system. In addition to having a high antioxidant count, blueberries also contain high numbers of phytochemicals that are believed to protect the body against certain diseases.

All nuts in their raw form are fantastic for the body. The problem comes when these nuts are cooked in refined oils and covered in salt. When eaten raw, any type of nut will provide health benefits to the body and a happy dose of antioxidants. One of the best advantages of eating nuts is that they contain high numbers of good fats which the body needs to function properly. All nuts are high in antioxidants but amongst the best for your health are almonds, brazil nuts and walnuts.

If you’ve visited my online learning portal then you’ll know that dark leafy green vegetables are an absolute favourite of mine – and for good reason! Crammed full of antioxidants, vitamins, calcium, magnesium and much more, dark leafy green vegetables are all-round winners for the body. If you don’t know which ones to choose, then give kale, spinach and broccoli a go to start!

Green Acai Berry Bowl

Green Smoothies were all the rage last year but for 2014, there’s a new Superhero in town called the BOWL!  Yup, the bowl is prettier and can be decorated easier than a boring glass.  So, here’s a twist on the smoothie:  The Green Acai Berry Bowl.  And trust me, it’s much easier to get your kids to eat this when it’s in a bowl and decorated with pure goodness.

IMG_1314It’s so quick and easy to make so grab yourself these ingredients:

1 banana (frozen is good if you want it nice and cold!)

1/2 cup coconut water

3 dates (pitted)

1 pear

large handful of spinach

1 teaspoon of acai powder (or more if you fancy!)

For the topping:

Well, you can add just about anything you like.  For this post, I added blueberries, coconut flakes and bee pollen!  Yum!

The acai berry is one of the healthiest berries you will ever find!  This antioxidant-rich fruit has been tooted for centuries as a healing, immune-stimulating, energy-boosting fruit.  Hurray!  A foreign relative of the blueberry and cranberry, studies have shown that this antioxidant-rich berry may be able to help in the prevention of diseases associated with oxidative damage, not to mention many other health benefits like digestion and weight loss!  I’m all over this berry……Enjoy!

IMG_1316

Bulgar Wheat Red Peppers

Bulgar wheat is a low cost, high nutrition whole grain food that can be used in a huge variety of meals! It has a light nutty flavour and actually ranks quite low on the glycemic index. With high fibre and protein levels, bulgar wheat is also fantastically low in fat and will give your body a helping hand in keeping your digestive system healthy! Combined with red peppers, this whole grain makes a great main meal that is sure to keep those late night snack urges away!

In total this dish will take between 40 and 50 minutes to prepare.  To make enough for two people you’ll need the following ingredients:

Four red peppers

Three medium mushrooms

Fresh or frozen spinach

A dash of turmeric

Fresh parsley

Two carrots, diced

125g of bulgar wheat

One onion

Two tomatoes

Coconut oil

Firstly, cut the tops off of the peppers and scoop out the seeds. Next, lightly brush them with coconut oil and place them in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C. Leave them for twenty minutes while you get on with the next step.

bulgar_wheat_stuffed_peppers_theflexifoodie

Add 125g of bulgar wheat to 600ml of water in a pan and bring to the boil before adding in a dash of turmeric, covering and leaving to simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. If you’re using frozen spinach then add a small handful in half way through the simmering process, if you’re using fresh then wait until later!

bulgar_wheat_stuffed_peppers_theflexifoodie2

Whilst the wheat is simmering chop the mushrooms into small pieces, dice the carrots, onion and tomatoes. In a separate pan, boil the carrots for a few moments and then after draining the bulgar wheat add it together with the mushrooms, carrots, onion and tomatoes. If you’re using fresh spinach then now is the time to add it in!

bulgar_wheat_stuffed_peppers_theflexifoodie3

You can now take the peppers from the oven and fill with the bulgar wheat mix. Position the peppers back in the oven for a further ten minutes before taking out and garnishing with the parsley before serving!

Seven Cancer Fighting Foods

Combining an active lifestyle with a healthy diet is a great way to defend your body against many forms of cancer. Some cancers develop due to genetic factors however the way you take care of yourself can play a part in preventing the onset. By incorporating a wide variety of plant based foods into your meals you can stay on top of your health! Include these seven foods in a balanced diet to help your body defend against cancer and a huge range of other health issues.

Berries
Berries

Berries

Antioxidants are great for stopping those free radicals from travelling around your body causing damage and berries are absolutely crammed full of them. Although it’s never possible to completely avoid toxins, it is possible to put up a good fight and berries are a great weapon for this. There’s so many different types of berries that you’re bound to find a selection that you love!

Garlic

Studies have shown that garlic is especially great for inhibiting the growth of cancer in the prostate, colon, stomach and bladder. Garlic will also give your immune system a boost and work to detoxify the body. You can include it in soups, stir fries, salads – in fact, practically any dish!

Garlic
Garlic

Kale

Kale is full of fiber and studies show that it is most effective in preventing cancer of the colon, stomach and lungs. Kale is a delicious addition to many meals but if it’s not your thing, then you can also get similar nutritional goodness from other vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

Spinach  Spinach is fantastic and works to prevent cancer when carcinogens enter the body. Research has shown that consuming spinach will decrease the chances of tumours occurring and growing. Spinach is delicious with salads or as an accompaniment to many main meals.

seven_cancer_fighting_foods_mushrooms_the_flexi_foodie
Mushrooms

Broccoli Sprouts

Broccoli sprouts are full of compounds that aid the liver in the detoxification process. Several of these compounds also work to stimulate the production of enzymes which protect against carcinogens. Broccoli sprouts are three-four day old broccoli plants which have been likened in flavour to the radish. These awesome sprouts will also help with lowering cholesterol levels and can be easily grown at home.

Mushrooms

Because of their ability to suppress the enzyme in the body which converts testosterone into estrogen, mushrooms are great for inhibiting breast cancer. They also contain lentinan which is thought to prevent tumour growth. Certain types of mushroom, like shitake, are also fantastic for kick-starting the immune system.

Turmeric

Turmeric

Turmeric is predominantly used in curry dishes but can also be used to flavour many other meals. Curcumin is the component of turmeric which makes it of such great value to our health. Studies have shown that curcumin helps in the fight against cancers such as that of the mouth, intestines, breasts, skin, and stomach and is also especially useful for treating colorectal cancers.

When it comes to preventative medicine, plant-based foods are a great way to go! You can have effective control over your health and your body just by making some simple lifestyle and dietary choices. Try it for yourself and see the difference!

Warm Dal with Spinach (from ‘tibits at home’ cookbook)

First and foremost, HUGE apologies for the 2  month delay in posts!  We’ve had a very busy summer and then getting all 4 kids back to school and other work life bits has consumed me…… until NOW!  So, posts are officially back and I’m so excited that they are!  I can feel the chill in the air in London that Autumn has officially arrived – and I love it!  The crisp air, the leaves falling and my kids playing so much sport…… every weekend has definitely made me crave something warm and grounding!

photo-1

So when I was sent a lovely cookbook called ‘tibits at home’ from the incredible tibits restaurant – I couldn’t wait to cook from it! Not only is there a restaurant in Soho (London), but there are locations in Zurich, Winterhur, Berne and Basel.  tibits has been serving healthy vegetarian food for over a decade and was established by three brothers and the according to the Guinness Book of World Records, their restaurant in Zurich is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world!  The cookbook is filled with delicious, seasonal recipes and it was hard to choose which one to do for this blog!  But after much deliberation, the Warm Dal with Spinach won!  So, let’s get started….

P1040076

Grab yourself these ingredients:

250g red lentils

1 onion

1 garlic clove

20g fresh ginger

4 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp turmeric

500g fresh spinach

400ml coconut milk

200ml water

freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

1/2 lemon, juiced

P1040086I was lucky enough to have some super fresh, organic spinach on hand from my inlaws kitchen garden.  I especially love the photo of the spinach in the basket, basking in the sunny autumn day!  But remember you can use any dark green leafy vegetable if you don’t have spinach on hand…. kale works just as well too!

P1040114Serves 4 as a main and 6 as a side….. you decide!

Method:

1.  Cook the lentils for about 8 minutes in water and then drain.

2. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic.  Peel the ginger and grate finely.  Heat a frying pan, then add the oil and sweat the onion until transparent.  Add the garlic, ginger and spices and fry for 1 minute, until the mixture develops its fragrance.

3.  Wash and pluck the spinach, add to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.

4.  Add coconut milk and water, and stir well.

5.  Add the drained lentils, mix in well and cook for a further 5 minutes.

6.  Season to taste with sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and lemon juice.

P1040121Serve in warm bowls with some wholewheat pita bread or brown rice or maybe just a simple side salad!  YUMMY!  The flavours in this recipe are perfection.  And I love it that it has turmeric, the new queen of spice that research says may help ward of dementia and reduce the risk of cancer.  I’m in!  Be sure to check out ‘tibits at home’ cookbook at www.tibits.co.uk and also their restaurants too!  I’m lucky enough to be heading to their Soho location in mid-October to check out their Autumn menu and will be posting my review here!  So stay tuned!!!!

And if you like this post then why not like my Facebook, or follow me on Twitter or Instagram!

P1040147

Mint CocoChip Ice Cream

I truly love mint anything!  Mint tea, mint on potatoes, mint in smoothies and now mint in my ice cream.  And this ice cream is not only dairy free and refined sugar free….. but utterly delicious.  I concocted this recipe because my 12 year old is a mint-a-holic just like his mom. 🙂  And we were gagging for something minty and cold over the weekend.  But not only is mint uber refreshing and delicious it’s nutritious too!

P1090484

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mint is amazing at aiding in:

Skin Care and Pimples: While mint oil is a good antiseptic, mint juice (yes, the juice!) is an excellent skin cleanser. It soothes skin, and helps to cure infections and itchiness, as well as being a good way to reduce pimples.

Nausea & Headache: The very strong and refreshing fragrance of mint is a quick and effective remedy for nausea. Even just the smell of freshly crushed mint leaves or eating with mint, and your stomach issues will be alleviated.

Respiratory Disorders and Coughs: The strong fragrance of mint is very effective in clearing up congestion of the nose, throat, and lungs, which in turn relieves respiratory disorders that often result from asthma and the common cold.

Weight Loss: Mint stimulates the digestion of fat! You can chop the mint leaves and add them to any dish!

P1090493

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, dust off your blenders and grab the following which serves 2!  Or ONE if you’re greedy.

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 avocado

4 drops peppermint essential oil

1/4 cup cacao nibs

1/2 cup spinach

4 mint large mint leaves

2 dates

3 ice cubes (optional)

Blend together and then fold in nibs….

P1090518
P1090525
Either serve immediately or put into a container and pop in freezer for later… although once you’ve tasted it, I doubt you’ll be able to wait that long!
P1090535