Tag: nutrition

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 […]

Cinnamon Pumpkin Pancakes

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 […]

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.

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 […]

How much water do you drink a day?

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 […]

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?

What I’m Reading: Anxiety For Beginners

In 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 […]

I Tried It: Whole30

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 […]

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

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 […]

The Easiest Frittata Recipe

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 […]

Just eat more vegetables.

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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?

 

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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Food is food – nutritious, cheap and tasty.

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 […]

Chestnut and caramelised apple and pear pancakes

I’ve been on a massive pancake kick recently. It’s probably because I associate pancakes with the comfort food of my childhood and right now, I seem to like the idea of getting a bit of comfort through food. Analyse that how you will.   Other […]

Have you ever been health shamed?

Have you ever been health shamed?

I have, but at the time didn’t have a proper term to describe what was happening to me. It’s hard to pin point exactly what it is, but it’s generally those times where you’re talking about something new you’re trying (food / exercise / meditation – delete where appropriate) and you get a crazy look or a scoff in response.

In these moments, it never fails to amaze me how moralistic people can be about food and wellness, turning everything into a n=1, ‘it worked for me, therefore it will work for you’ non sequitur. And when you dare to think differently, especially when you eschew the false dogma of ‘moderation’ and ‘balance’, there will be questions.

I read this profile of Moon Juice founder Amanda Chantal Bacon recently and was struck by how often she gets health shamed.

What’s fascinating though, is her attitude to it. She says:

“The greatest thing to ever happen was the health-shaming that went down—you wouldn’t believe all the hits we got on our website. If even 2 percent of that traffic made a difference in someone’s life, if they learned just one thing, I’ll take it. Health shame me all day long!

I actually think it’s quite a good sign that it is happening. It means there are parts of the collective consciousness that are being triggered by this, and I think that’s actually a sign of massive change to come. There are going to be people who aren’t happy or healthy right now and [my lifestyle] is confronting for them. I don’t take anyone’s reactions to be anything other than great news that we’re reaching people who aren’t looking for us.”

“If they learned just one thing, I’ll take it.” I love this. She takes what could potentially be a negative, crushing experience and turning it into a positive.

And that’s the moral of the story, isn’t it? For those of us in the natural health community to remember that some people might react negatively, but you must keep going (lots of evidence and research helps too!) and your message will eventually breakthrough.

Have you ever been health shamed? What did you do?