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Tag: nutrition

Going back to basics with nutrition.

big green salad

In my conversations with women from all walks of life, I often get asked about food and what to eat.  Not surprising, considering my profession 🙂

 

The question I get asked the most is usually phrased something like this: “what should I eat / what shouldn’t I eat / just tell me what I should be eating!”

 

There are so many different approaches to eating out there that all seem to be ‘the right thing to do’, from veganism to paleo to keto to 5:2 to low-fat to even just the idea of  ‘eating everything in moderation’.

 

No wonder there’s so much confusion about what to eat and what not to eat.

 

Here’s my take on it:

 

There’s no one sized fits all when it comes to nutrition. What works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa.  You know your body best, so it’s important for you to work out what works for you.
 

 

So before you jump into the latest approach to eating that everyone is talking about, there are some principles I’d love for you to consider:
 

1. Eat lots of vegetables every day, especially green leafy and cruciferous vegetables.

 

2. Eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables.

 

3. Drink lots of water.

 

4. Eat and drink fermented foods.

 

5. If you eat fish, eat wild caught fish a few times a week.

 

6. Eat good fats such as avocado, olive oil, oily fish and nuts and seeds.

 

7. Be mindful about the way you eat sugar and drink caffeine and alcohol.

 

8. Eat the highest quality food that’s within your budget, leaning towards free-range, pastured and organic meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables whenever possible.

 

That’s it!

 

Of course it must be said that these principles need to be adjusted to your personal health circumstances and goals.  Broadly speaking, they can act as a good rule of thumb to cut through the confusion.

 

Are you confused about what to eat?  Get in touch for a free 30 minute nutrition, hormone & menstrual health review to help clear the confusion.

 


Le’Nise Brothers is a nutritional therapist, women’s health coach and founder of Eat Love Move.

 

Le’Nise works primarily with women who feel like they’re being ruled by their sugar cravings, mood swings and hormonal acne & bloating. 
 

They want to get to grips with heavy, missing, irregular & painful periods, fibroids, PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, post-natal depletion and perimenopause.  
 

Her mission is for women to understand and embrace their hormones & menstrual cycle! 

Sweet Potato Pancakes

sweet potato pancakes

It’s nearly Pancake Day and I’ve been avidly testing out my pancake recipes. Actually, who am I kidding? I love pancakes and we eat them nearly every weekend!

 

While plain pancakes are great, I love adding different ingredients to them to give them a healthy twist.

 

Sweet potatoes are wonderful to add to pancakes. They add a lovely moistness and a depth of flavour, especially with the cinnamon.

 

sweet potato pancakes with coffee

Makes 15-20 pancakes

What you need:

200g plain flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

15g melted butter

200g steamed sweet potato

2 eggs, separated

200ml almond milk

1/2 tsp olive oil

 

How to make it: 

  1. Peel and roughly chop the sweet potato. Steam until they are soft and tender. Put them into a bowl, mash and set aside to cool.
  2. Melt the butter under low heat, ensuing it doesn’t begin to brown. Set aside when melted.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix until the flour, baking soda and cinnamon are fully combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the mashed sweet potato, egg yolks, almond milk and melted butter.
  5. Whisk the egg whites until they form foamy peaks. This helps make the pancakes light and fluffy. Set aside.
  6. Form a well in the middle of the dry mixture and slowly add the wet mixture, gradually mixing them all together until they form a smooth, thick batter.
  7. Slowly fold in the egg whites to add more air to the batter. Leave to stand for a few minutes.
  8. Put your cast-iron pan on your stove on medium heat.
  9. Turn your oven on to 170C.
  10. Take your olive oil and brush it on to the surface of the pan so it’s lightly coated.
  11. Take an ice cream scoop and add heaped portions of the batter to the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to make 3 or 4 pancakes at a time, taking care to keep them evenly spaced.
  12. Let them cook for 2 minutes or until they start bubbling on the surface. Flip them over and cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Repeat until all of the batter has been cooked.
  13. While you’re cooking the pancakes, put the already cooked pancakes on to a plate and slide them into the oven to keep warm, covering them with tin foil so they don’t overcook.
  14. Serve with a dollop of maple butter or maple syrup. You can also add some chopped banana or fresh blueberries.
  15. Enjoy!

Autumn Pumpkin Waffles

autumn pumpkin waffles

I’m still on a pumpkin kick, adding it into as many dishes as possible to fully capture that lovely autumn feeling. They’re such an amazing vegetable, full of energy producing B vitamins, immune boosting zinc and fibre for your digestive system. And the seeds are such powerhouses – don’t throw them away! Wash them, and then toast them with a bit of olive oil, sea salt and your favourite herbs for a lovely snack.

 

We recently bought a waffle maker, partly to add a bit of diversity to breakfast, partly because I had such happy nostalgia about having big waffle breakfasts when I was growing up. And what better recipe to add pumpkin to than waffles?

 

If you get your timings right, you end up with waffles that are crisp on the outside, moist and fluffy on the inside.

autumn pumpkin waffles

 

What you need:

180g chestnut flour (you can also use wholemeal flour instead!)

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 large free-range eggs

275ml almond milk (or organic whole milk, if dairy works for you)

4 tbsp fresh pureéd pumpkin

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

20g melted butter

 

How to make it:

  1. Sift the chestnut flour, baking soda and cinnamon into a medium sized bowl and stir until the ingredients are combined.
  2. Crack the eggs and separate the egg yolks and whites, setting the yolks aside.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they are frothy. This is key for really fluffy waffles!
  4. Slowly fold the milk into the dry mixture, then add the egg yolks and pumpkin.
  5. Add the butter and stir.
  6. Slowly fold the egg whites in the mixture until the egg whites can no longer be seen. Do not over fold!
  7. Leave the batter to stand for at least 10 minutes so the milk and baking soda have enough time to interact.
  8. Warm up your waffle maker.
  9. Once the waffle maker is warm, I like to brush a little oil across the plates to stop the waffles from sticking and to help the waffles get crisper.
  10. Use a spoon to to drop the batter in, making sure to cover each plate. Take care not to overfill or the batter will leak out the front and side. (Trust me on this –  I learned this the hard way!)
  11. Let the waffles cook for at least two minutes or until they are the consistency you like. I like a softer waffle, but M likes crispier waffles so I leave his on for a bit longer.
  12. Once you’ve made your waffles, top with the toppings of your choice. I like adding toppings like chopped fresh fruit, fruit compote, grated coconut and crushed nuts.
  13. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Pancakes

pumpkin cinnamon pancakes and coffee

I love making pancakes on the weekend. Something about the ritual of measuring out the ingredients and gently stirring, folding and mixing them all together is so calming to me.

 

My son loves his weekend pancakes and I now have the challenge of creating new recipes to keep things fresh and exciting and educating his palate with new flavours.

 

It’s fall and the shops are replete with pumpkins, which made me feel a bit homesick. Actually, I’m pretty sure the homesickness started around Canadian Thanksgiving when M made a butternut squash and pumpkin pie to celebrate. Nevertheless, I put together this pumpkin pancake recipe to celebrate this amazing ingredient.

 

pumpkin cinnamon pancakes

What you need:

180g chestnut flour (you can also use wholemeal flour instead!)

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 large free-range eggs

250ml almond milk (or organic whole milk, if dairy works for you)

3 tbsp fresh pureéd pumpkin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

10-15g melted butter

 

How to make it:

  1. Sift the chestnut flour, baking soda and cinnamon into a medium sized bowl and stir until the ingredients are combined.
  2. Crack the eggs and separate the egg yolks and whites, setting the yolks aside.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they are frothy. This is key for really fluffy pancakes!
  4. Slowly fold the milk into the dry mixture, then add the egg yolks and pumpkin.
  5. Add the butter and stir.
  6. Slowly fold the egg whites in the mixture until the egg whites can no longer be seen. Do not over fold!
  7. Leave the batter to stand for at least 10 minutes so the milk and baking soda have enough time to interact.
  8. After 7 minutes, warm up your cast-iron pan on medium heat. After a few minutes, add a tablespoon of your oil of choice and make sure the bottom of the pan is completely covered.
  9. Turn the stove down to medium-low heat. Cast-iron pans conduct heat really well, so a little heat goes a long way.
  10. Use an ice cream scoop to drop the batter in. I like to make pancakes on the smaller side so they are easier to flip.
  11. Once bubbles start to form on the edges of the pancakes (normally after a minute or so), flip them over. Chestnut flour tends to cook a bit faster than wheat flour so you’ll need to keep a close eye so they don’t burn. I learned this the hard way!
  12. Once you’ve made all your pancakes, top with the toppings of your choice. I like toppings such as fresh fruit, compote, dried coconut, chopped nuts and cacao nibs.

How can I make Autumn meal planning and preparation easier?

autumn salad

I was recently asked to share my top tips for Autumn health and wellness with Motherhood Reconstructed. I love what Tamu and Leah are doing to share diverse stories of motherhood in the UK. Go check out their site and events!

 

The kids are back in school and it’s time to think about lunchboxes and proper meal preparation. Here are my top tips for Autumn health and wellness.

 

Remember: you don’t have to do everything at once – just start with the first tip and then add in the others when you feel ready. The point of this is not to feel overwhelmed, but to give you a helping hand and feel better in yourself.

 

1. Preparation is key! 

Get a sheet of A4 and write out your meal ideas for the week’s packed lunches and evening meals. You can go further and add breakfast to this list – but if cereal is all you can manage in the morning, don’t stress! This meal planning chart will help you figure what ingredients you already have and what you need to add your shopping list.

 

2. Make meal prepping your best friend. 

A good meal prepping session on Sunday afternoon means that when you open the fridge / freezer after work during the week, you have plenty of meal options you can just reheat in 15 minutes or less. Here are some ideas:

  • Steam a big batch of veggies such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower or green beans so that you always have vegetables to hand.

 

  • Make freezer worthy meals like Bolognese sauce, stews, soups and casseroles, that are easy to pull out and reheat.

 

  • Prep easy protein options like meatballs, roast chicken and pulled pork that you can build meals around.

 

3. Rethink breakfast. 

Once you’ve got the hang of the meal planning and prepping, start thinking about your breakfast options. A smoothie is a quick way to pack loads of nutrients into your morning meal. Here’s a fast smoothie recipe to make in your blender or Nutribullet:

1 small banana

A handful of frozen berries, like raspberries, blueberries or strawberries

A big handful of spinach

1/2 an avocado

200mL milk (I like almond milk)

1 tablespoon of nut butter (I like almond butter)

Drop it all into your blender cup, whizz it together and enjoy! You can even make this the night before and pull it out of the fridge and eat while you’re making breakfast for your kids.

 

 4. Eat a rainbow. 

Try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables each day, building up to a minimum of 4 servings of vegetables and 3 servings of vegetables each day. If that seems like a lot, just try to add two servings to each meal and build in more over time.

 

5. Be gentle with yourself and try to achieve an 80 / 20 balance. 

If you do all of this 80% of the time, you’ll be successful! Finding a healthy lifestyle that works for you, including good nutrition, self-care and rest, is really a marathon not a race, so be gentle with yourself and give yourself a bit of grace.

 

Get in touch for to book a free, no commitment 20 minute health coaching call to find out more about how you can improve your health & wellbeing and reduce your stress.

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Stories I loved this week.

swan in kew gardens

How’s your week been? We’re in week 3 of the new school / work routine and we’ve finally started to find a new rhythm. And autumn looks like it’s finally here. Let squash season begin!

My recent yoga challenge has opened me up to what this practice can do for my body. The next challenge is to build up towards some proper inversions. They promote calm and can help release shoulder tension. (Shondaland)

True happiness is elusive but working towards good physical, spiritual and emotional health is a constant. (The Pool)

How do you know if you have a problem with your drinking? (Refinery29)

Proper education around food and nutrition in schools could be a way to reduce obesity. (The Guardian)

Education about food also includes gaining proper cooking skills. Here’s what happened when a single dad learned how to cook. (The Kitchn)

Taking a break from dieting may improve weight loss. Dieting is temporary, good eating habits are forever. (Science Daily)

I love these Sunday meal prep ideas. (Healthyish)

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How much water do you drink a day?

richmond bunting

Conventional wisdom suggests that we should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, or about 1.5 – 2L. How much water do you drink a day?

For a lot of people, even drinking a litre of water a day is tricky. When I first my husband, he didn’t drink any water, but insisted that his 8 cups of milky, English Breakfast tea met his daily water requirement. I took me a while to convince him that tea is a diuretic 😳.

One thing to consider is that if you’re already eating a good portion of fruit and vegetables a day, you’ll also be getting the water in the produce, along with the fibre, micro and macronutrients too.

Some fruit and veg contain more water than others.

For example, 1 medium sized apple contains 86% water, whilst a slice of watermelon (the clue’s in the name!) is 97% water. Courgette, radish and celery are 95% water and cauliflower, peppers and spinach are 92% water. To contrast, a banana contains 74% water.

So if you’re eating 7 to 10 portions of fruit and veg a day, do you also need to be drinking 8 glasses of water a day?

As ever, it’s important to consider how you feel on an individual level and listen to what your body is telling you.

In general, if your pee isn’t clear or a light straw colour, then you probably need to up your water intake either through food or water itself. If you’re eating lots of fruit and veg that are high in water content and you’re still thirsty with dark pee, then you probably need to up your water intake. If you’re very active or outside on a hot day, it’s probably worth increasing your water intake.

Just as you can drink too little water and end up dehydrated, you can also drink too much water and end up with something called hyponatremia, where the cells become completely waterlogged, throwing the sodium-potassium balance in the cells off, which can be fatal. So the moral of the story: observe your body’s signs, consider how much fruit and veg you eat a day and tailor your water consumption to your own lifestyle and thirst.

And a note of caution: excess thirst can be a sign of diabetes, so if you’re experiencing this, I highly recommend going to see your GP.

How much water do you drink a day?

Get in touch for to book a free, no commitment 20 minute health coaching call to find out more about how you can improve your health & wellbeing and reduce your stress.

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Alcohol and anxiety.

mother and childIt goes without saying, but of course I’ll say it anyway: Everyone’s anxiety manifests in different ways and you might be that unicorn that reads this and says, eh, this isn’t relevant to me. Great! I applaud you!

 

For everyone else: let’s have a good chat about alcohol and anxiety.

 

Are you like me and had to learn the hard way about the effects of alcohol on your anxiety? Or are you still in the mindset of “oh, it’s just a few drinks. I’ll be fine”. Then you wake up the next day with the fear, which you call a ‘hangover’. And the ‘fear’ lasts a few more days than you thought it would. Or you drink a couple days in a row because you feel fine after the first night, but then feel dreadful after the second. Whatever your relationship is with alcohol, there’s a strong connection between what alcohol does to your body and anxiety.

 

The way we tend to (binge) drink in the UK exacerbates anxiety as a growing public health issue. Did you know that in the UK, 1 in 6 adults have experienced some sort of neurotic health problem in the past week? And many people turn to drink to help them deal with their anxiety, which creates a vicious cycle of worsening anxiety, which for some people, requires more alcohol to cope with.

 

Let’s get technical for a second: alcohol depletes the body of vitamin B6, a micronutrient that is very important for the production of serotonin, the happy hormone that helps regulate our moods and keeps us on an even keel.

 

Weekend binge drinking, the glass or two of wine every night, the 3 or 4 beers after the footy, all deplete vitamin B6. This depletion has an impact on serotonin production. And here’s the thing: when you produce less serotonin, your body downregulates its production, because it thinks you don’t need as much. Which creates a  vicious cycle, which gets worse the more you drink.

 

So what can you do?

 

Let me go ahead and state the obvious: if your anxiety is crippling, just don’t drink. I’ve been trying this recently, it has helped a lot. If that’s not an option, drink less and don’t binge drink.

 

Eat vitamin B6 foods. B6 is a water soluble vitamin, which means it gets flushed quickly from the body, so you need to continually top up your reserves.  Having these foods on a regular basis is a great way to top up your vitamin B6 levels: organic, grass fed red meat, spinach, sweet potato, free-range organic chicken, bananas, avocados, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.

 

Eat tryptophan foods. Almonds, free-range, organic poultry, wild salmon, organic, free-range dairy, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds all contain high levels of tryptophan. Notice the crossover between these foods and vitamin B6 foods?

 

Find alcohol alternatives so you can still be apart of the round. Seedlip is a great brand that recently launched in the UK.

 

Explain to your friends why you’re not drinking and ask for their support on nights out. And real talk: If they don’t get it, are they really a friend?

 

How has alcohol affected your anxiety?

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What I’m Reading: Anxiety For Beginners

anxiety for beginnersIn my usual pre-flight mad dash through the airport, I did a sweep of WH Smith for my standard holiday pile of magazines (I find reading fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar so relaxing on holiday! I don’t really know why, though? 🤔) and decided to pick up a couple of books as well.

I spotted this book, Anxiety for Beginners, mainly due to its Roy Lichtenstein cover image riff and although not light reading, thought it might be interesting to dive into this topic a bit more while I had some more headspace before my exam.

The author, Eleanor Morgan, has suffered from anxiety and depression since her late teens, culminating in several breakdowns and rounds of antidepressants. She decided to write the book as a way of educating herself and others about one of the fastest growing illnesses in the UK.

As a fellow anxiety sufferer, I read this book with a lot of interest, hoping to get more insight into how other people were handling the day to day management of the signs and symptoms of the disease. What really struck me was how common anxiety is, how many different ways it manifests itself and how it really cuts through all walks of life.

The author told a fascinating story about re-connecting with the most popular girls in her school years later during the writing of this book. She discovered that what she had thought was her old friend’s ‘cool girl aloofness’ was really her way of trying to manage her anxiety in the best way possible for her – holding everyone at a distance. It made me realise how quick we are to judge others, without really knowing what’s going on in their lives. Personally, I know that I can appear withdrawn and a bit cold at times, especially when my anxiety is at its peak and social interaction with new people can all be a bit too much.  A bit more compassion is needed all around, going back to the old adage: don’t judge a book by its cover.

Overall, I thought this book was a good overview into anxiety, with a lot of the author’s personal experiences interspersed throughout. What I found disappointing was how little she discussed the effects of the various food and drink we put into our bodies  and how they can exacerbate and ameliorate anxiety symptoms. The author took a very medicalised viewpoint, emphasising the benefits of anti-depressants. Obviously, given my nutrition background, I would’ve like to see more discussion about tryptophan food and the effect they have on producing serotonin, as well as the role of gut bacteria in supporting serotonin production.

The root causes of anxiety and depression can be complex and vary per person, but it stands to reason that if you treat your body like a garbage dump, filling yourself with foods that aren’t nutritionally dense and cause blood sugar spikes, your anxiety can be worsened.

I’ve written a bit about the foods I eat to help manage my anxiety here.

I Tried It: Whole30

springtime at kew gardens

I haven’t felt like writing much about food and nutrition recently. There’s been a lot going on, personally and professionally. New job, a heavier course load at school and loads of political distraction (every morning, I wake up and think, ‘what now?’. Don’t you?). It’s times like these when it’s tempting to throw everything to the wind and drink and eat whatever I want.

After some reflection, it truly feels like an act of subversion to take care of what you put in your body, to nourish yourself with intention. Small acts of subversion matter, more than ever.

To me, it feels subversive now to give a shit about the things I put in my body, to take care not to treat it like a garbage can. To eat organic, to be mindful about the type of meat and fish I buy, to really think about the amount of sugar my family consumes.

There are so many (things) trying to grab me away from eating well; from working long hours, cartoon branded food grabbing my son’s attention while shopping, my own yearnings and desires.

I have been doing the Whole 30 this month, in an attempt to get myself back on the right food path. Not that I was eating particularly badly. I just found that I was eating without thought or intention and letting my cravings drive my nourishment. And I tend to crave things like sourdough pizzas, greasy, salty fries and sharp, cold ice cream. All washed down with lots of red wine and gin and tonics.

So I embarked on a Whole 30 as a bit of a reset. 30 days, lots of vegetables, high quality meat, nuts, seeds, fish and fruit. This is my fifth time and it’s like riding a bike. I’ve internalised the rules and know what works and what doesn’t work for me.

And this time, I’ve really enjoyed it. My cooking has improved, so I’ve enjoyed being creative within the parameters of the regimen. And I’ve enjoyed having to be a bit more intentional with my food. The health benefits are there too: I can think more clearly, I don’t get as tired, my anxiety has improved.  Being alcohol-free has made my mornings easier too.

Have you tried a Whole 30? What was your experience?

Sweet Potato Sliders

sweet potato and pulled pork sliders

This weekend, I really fancied an open-faced sandwich, but had no bread in the house. I shuffled through the cupboards and found a bag of sweet potatoes and decided to see what sweet potato ‘bread’ tasted like. Stay with me… it was pretty good.

 

I brushed an oven tray with olive oil and grilled them for 20 minutes on each side.

 

And topped with some mashed avocado, broccoli spouts and pulled pork that I had in the fridge. A simple, yet filling lunch, so these are definitely getting added into my lunch repertoire!

sweet potato and pulled pork sliders 2

What you need:

1-2 large sweet potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

Any desired toppings – the sky’s limit here! Anything you would normally put on toast, from sweet to savoury, you can put on these sliders!

A large baking tray

Baking brush

 

How to make it:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  2. Slice the sweet potatoes into 1 cm slices
  3. Brush both sides of the sweet potato slices with the olive oil
  4. Put the tray into the oven on the highest shelf and bake for 20 minutes or until they are soft and slightly browning.
  5. Take the tray from the oven and turn the sliders over and bake for another 20 minutes or until they match the texture and colour of the other side.
  6. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.
  7. Top with your chosen toppings and enjoy!

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I Tried It: Dry January

coffee-and-date-ball

Have you ever done a dry January?

After a heavy November and December, I decided that I needed to give my body a break and get on the wagon for a month. And what better month than January, when everyone’s skint, partied out and needing a bit more time at home.

I also needed to regulate my relationship with alcohol. It’s easy, especially with the UK drinking culture and in a hectic city like London, to use alcohol to relax and let a quick drink after work turn into 3 or 4. Knowing everything I know about the effects alcohol has on the body, it was time to put all of my knowledge into practice for myself.  Alcohol is a tricky one for the body – it depletes your B vitamins, which can lead to anxiety and depression, it puts stress on your liver and diverts it from other, more important functions and it can lead to weight gain, poor sleep, spotty skin and dehydration. I decided it was time to take the advice I give to clients in clinic and get a grip on my alcohol intake.

On New Year’s Eve, I drained my last glass of champagne and rang in the new year, ready to kick booze to the curb for a while.

The first few days were hard. No glass of wine at lunch, no cold and crisp G&T while watching TV on the sofa in the evenings. But this was where the foundations for all the hard work of the next month started – breaking the little habits that I had developed and putting better ones in place.

I replaced my red wine and G&Ts with lots of warming cinnamon tea in the evening and sparkling water at lunchtimes. I asked M not to offer me any drinks (except tea or water) in the evenings. I talked about my dry January with my mates, so they knew what I was doing and changed plans to lunch and coffee dates, rather than evening meals, so I wouldn’t be tempted.

By weeks 2 and 3, I started to get in the groove and was enjoying waking up without a hangover and fuzzy brain. My skin was clearer and my jeans a little looser. And the biggest plus? My anxiety levels rapidly decreased.

Last Tuesday 31st January felt great. 31 days without alcohol, a clearer head, deeper sleep at night, more money in my bank account and less anxiety. I decided to carry on through to the end of February, as I have a big nutrition exam at the beginning of March and need all the focus I can get.

What comes after that? I’m not sure. I’d love to be able to get to a place that where I can have one drink and have that be enough. Any advice?

The Easiest Frittata Recipe

easy-frittata-hot-out-of-the-oven

Aside from their significance as a major plot point in the Harrison Ford – Rachel McAdams film, Morning Glory, frittatas are one of those recipes that everyone seems to have their own little twist on. And why not? Their versatility means that even the newest of cooks can make a lovely frittata.

 

What you need:

At least 10 large free-range, organic eggs (the more eggs you use, the denser the frittata will be – no bad thing!)

Vegetables of your choice – I chose 1 cup of collard greens and 1 tomato for my version

Protein of your choice – I used 1 cup of diced chorizo in this recipe, but have also liberally used shredded pork, chicken and beef, as well as many varieties of cheese in the past

Chopped herbs of your choice – I used 1 sprig each of fresh thyme and rosemary

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Non-stick pan

Oven

 

How to make it:

1.  Break all the eggs into a bowl and beat them together, until all the yolks and whites have combined.

 

2. Add your chopped veg, protein and herbs to the egg mixture and stir until everything is combined.

 

3. Turn on your oven to 175C.

 

4. Add the olive oil to your non-stick pan, making sure that there is a light coating of oil across the pan and turn on the stove to low-medium heat.

 

5. Pour the frittata mixture into the pan, stirring so that all the veg and protein ingredients are evenly distributed. Use the tomatoes to create a nice pattern on the top of the frittata.

 

6. Leave to cook for 5 minutes or until the edges of the frittata start to crisp up.

easy-frittata-cooking-on-the-stove

7. Remove the pan from the stove (not forgetting to turn it off!) and place it into the warm oven. Let it cook for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the frittata is firm to the touch and there are no runny areas around the top.

 

8. Remove from the oven. Using a pallet knife or something similar, lift around the edges of the frittata so that it is easy to slide out of the pan, on to a plate.

 

9. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

easy-frittata-ready-to-serve

Just eat more vegetables.

dsc_0028

People like shortcuts. Maybe it’s a symptom of our modern world, where we can get pretty much anything we want at the touch of a button.

 

Speaking of shortcuts, I’m often asked by friends, family and colleagues about the fastest ways to get healthy / fit / more energy (delete as appropriate).

 

There are two answers I always give, no matter what their underlying symptoms. Then I ask more questions and give a more detailed, tailored response.

 

The first answer is always – get more sleep or go to bed earlier.

 

I’ve talked about the benefits of sleep before – it regulates your metabolism, allows your various organs to repair and heal and allows your brain to process the events of the day. Don’t give into the current masochism around sleep – most people really need at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night to be fully functional.

 

And then my second answer is always – eat more fresh vegetables, especially green leafy ones.

 

I cannot overstate that vegetables are little nutrition powerhouses! Each vegetable has many individual benefits, with its own mix of macronutrients (protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates) and phytonutrients.

 

The greater the variety in your vegetable intake, the more benefit to you. When in doubt, just eat the rainbow!

 

Ideally, everyone would eat at least 7-10 servings of vegetables a day. I know that’s hard, so  you’ll often hear nutritionists, (including me!) say to prioritise cruciferous / brassica vegetables. You know them as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kale, brussels sprouts, savoy cabbage, radish, bok choy and watercress.

 

Not only are they high in antioxidants like vitamins A and C, they are also high in folic acid and vitamin K and have a huge amount of minerals such as magnesium and potassium.

 

Cruciferous vegetables are also high in phytonutrients like glucosinolates which support your liver in clearing excess hormones, alcohol, xenoestrogens and environmental chemicals.

 

So, adding a big handful of kale to your morning smoothie after a big night out will help your liver clear the alcohol from your system and make your feel better a bit faster!

 

In a nutshell, adding more cruciferous vegetables into your diet can help you boost your energy levels, support your liver, balance your hormones, support your immune system and feed the good bacteria in your gut!

 

There are lots of ways to add cruciferous vegetables to your diet:

Add a big handful of kale to your morning smoothie

Make a big pot of soup with broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower

Make a big a*s salad with loads of different veggies in it

Grate up some cabbage for a coleslaw

Make a big tray of roasted veg

Steam some asparagus and eat them with hummus as a snack

 

How do you eat your veggies?

 

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Food is food – nutritious, cheap and tasty.

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This week, a prominent doctor in the UK talked about the need to reduce the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable intake recommendation because it was ‘unrealistic’ for low-income families to achieve this. She says that lots of families may struggle to afford the recommended amounts and that “many children are being brought up with a culture of not having any fresh fruits and vegetables at all.”

I was shocked when I read this headline (which was repeated across multiple websites) and decided to dig deeper into the story. What she is actually says, is that “in the consultation with patients, it’s vital that GPs sometimes need to tailor the advice to the family in front of them. That may be starting with one or two portions a day and building up to the five portions a day.”

My frustration with this misleading story (tailored advice is a good thing) reminded me of a quote I recently read in a profile of Jamie Oliver.

“It’s quite British, this association with having any degree of thought or love of food being upper class or middle class or whatever you want to class it up as. That’s not the rest of the world. On my travels, the best food has come from the most economically challenged areas.”

It’s easy to understand why there are such strong class associations with food in the United Kingdom – classism persists across all areas of life. It’s really quite remarkable. Even still, there has been a lot of great work by the likes of Jamie Oliver, Jack Munro and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to make food and food preparation more equalitarian and accessible.

It’s remains true that the more fresh fruit and veg you eat, the better for you.

So here are the million pound questions:

How can we continue to spread the message that eating well needn’t cost a lot?

That it is possible to get your 5 to 7-a-day without breaking the bank?

What role do supermarkets play in this? Schools?

I don’t have all the answers, clearly.

What I know, is that it’s our role as nutritionists and health professionals to present simple, easy to understand messages of food and health to our patients and clients. To teach them tasty and nutritious food can be inexpensive.

This lovely warm chickpea and bacon salad (47p per serving!) is a great example of cheap, tasty and nutritious.

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