The important thing is to find the challenge that works for you

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Healthy chocolate cake

Experience. Give yourself challenges. One after the other but take breaks in between. Some won’t work for you. That’s how you will learn what does work for you. Be prepared for it to take time. In this world we want everything and we want it now! But reality is otherwise. It may take months or years. But what matters is that eventually you know yourself better. You know what you can achieve. And you know what makes you truly happy.

In my case it has been a year and a half of voluntary experiences, and it’s not over yet. I have tried lots of different diets, and by diet I mean healthy lifestyles. I have tried lots of different ways to exercise. I have thought a lot about what I want out of life. I have even tried meditation. I can see the path getting narrower every day towards shaping up my very own. I don’t know if this is making much sense to you. I hope it is because I wanted to share this thought with the idea that it might encourage some of my readers to carry on. To keep motivated.

Anyway, today I baked a healthy cake. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time but was too busy in my head to feel relaxed enough to start baking again. Here is the recipe. Hope you like it!

 

MY HEALTHY CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients:

6 table spoons of hazelnut powder

1/2 teaspoon of stevia powder (the real unmixed and unrefined stuff)

120g of coconut flower sugar

3 eggs

100g raw cocoa powder

50g dark chocolate

100g coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Instructions

Melt the coconut oil with the dark chocolate in a saucepan. Then pour in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Bake in the oven at 140 degrees Celsius for 35-40 minutes.

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I made this recipe up. I chose these ingredients because they promote good health. Coconut oil is known for many health benefits including: beautifying skin and hair; increasing energy expenditure (burn more fat); killing bacteria, viruses and fungi. Raw cocoa is know to decrease blood pressure thanks to its high amount of flavonoids. Hazelnuts like all nuts are a good source of vegetable oil and minerals. Coconut sugar does contain calories but it has a low GI which means our body makes better use of it than it would with ordinary caster sugar. This recipe is gluten free and dairy free which makes it ideal for people with intolerances or people wishing to reduce their consumption of gluten and dairy.

Green juices and healthy meals: how the so-called easy plan is working out for me…

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ImageThank you Kimberly Snyder for tricking me into believing this was going to be easy. Sure! She looks so happy on her pictures, having had her hair done, holding a bunch of green veg in the morning sun, walking bare foot on freshly cut grass and smiling like she had just found out she won the lottery. But that isn’t real life. Ok, I’m not stupid, I knew that already, but here’s my version:

It’s 6.30am, pouring rain outside and blowing cold wind against my kitchen window. I take out spinach, celery, green leaves, banana and apple and begin juicing. I prepare a snack made of vegetarian protein (nuts and seeds) and cherry tomatoes. Then I look at my watch for an hour because I can’t drink any water or tea until my digestive enzymes have done their work (according to the plan). Three hours later I can eat my snack, then 3 or 4 hours later I can eat my lunch. What lunch? I’m on my way to my 2nd job, I didn’t have time to prepare it in advance this morning, especially because I ran out of the food I can eat, you know, combining the right alkaline ones. Which ones are alkaline again? Never mind, I’ll just have a green salad with no vinegar (acidic). 3pm, I’m starving, not sure what I’m allowed. Also I’m a little thirsty because I haven’t had enough to drink because I was trying to follow the 1/2h before and 1h after meal wait. Comes dinner time I’ve had enough of thinking about what can work, what can’t. I already have to think every day about which job I’m going to (I’ve got 3) and which books I’m taking to uni, what coursework I’ve got to do and exam to revise for. ENOUGH! This is driving me crazy! I swear she promises you it’s a simple plan and easy to follow.

What planet does she live on?

In an other life, when I have money coming in from God knows where (means no need to work), when the sun is shining all the time, and the days have extended an extra 5 hours, I’ll try again. Sure πŸ˜‰

Change of plans for February challenge: Super Digestion Diet!

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  • Feeling tired all the time?
  • Puffy eyes in the morning?

I may have found a remedy! I stumbled across Kimberly Snyder’s book ‘Beauty Detox Solution’ last week, which had a chapter on digestion. Apparently, when we eat, we are asking our digestive system a lot of hard work and it can get very tired! She offers solutions to basically give it a break. I’m going to try that in February (instead of the original plan: exercising 3 times a week) because this is URGENT! I cannot stand to look like this any more! Puffy eyes, every morning people ask me: “Are you ok? you look tired”. They are right, I am tired and my eyes hurt, I feel like I’m not digesting properly despite having eaten well all January. So let’s find out if it is really digestion related, by adopting a few simple changes:

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Green smoothie

From what I read in the book, these are the main things to do:

  • Eat protein and starch at different meals. Greens are ok to be eaten with both protein and starch, but these two should not be eaten at the same time as digestive enzymes of different pH struggle working at the same time.
  • Drink water at the latest 1/2h before a meal and wait an hour after meal before drinking again (to not drown the digestive enzymes working hard at breaking down the nutrients)
  • Wait 3 to 4 hours between each meal

I will probably update this when I have received the book! But as February has started, I have started my challenge too!

Also, check it out! My first green smoothie! Meant to be the best way to start the day: spinach, romaine lettuce, celery, apple, pear, banana and lemon juice. Doesn’t taste too bad either πŸ™‚

Have a good day everyone!

January challenge: tick

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January is coming to an end and I’m kind of glad this challenge is over. The thing is, when you eat 5 or 6 portions of fruit or vegetable a day, there isn’t much space left for any other foods, which I guess is a good thing – I haven’t had pizza since before Christmas – but for someone like me who is not a huge vegetable fan, it has been a challenge indeed. The other thing is that when you are running between university and a different job every day, at different times, leaving the house at 7.45am, you need to be so organised with your meals that it’s become too much at some point. I do want to eat fresh, organic and home-made, and will keep doing so as much as possible but I have to be realistic, this is adding a stress on top of all the others.

The positive sides of this challenge are that I have lost all my Christmas pounds, and, despite still looking tired around the eyes, the rest of my skin is glowing :-). Also on the 3 occasions that I didn’t manage to eat the 5-a-day as planned, I at least had 3, because now I feel the need to have them to feel good. Maybe it’s in my head… Who knows.

On to the next challenge starting on Saturday: Exercising three times a week.

P.s: I cooked the black salsify following a simple recipe, washed, peeled, chopped into chunks, fried in butter, salt and pepper, then cooked for a few more minutes in white wine. It has an unusual taste but I’d have some again.

Black salsify

Seriously, why do we need 5 fruits or vegetables a day?

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After all I thought I should explain why I’m doing this January challenge. We are told we need to eat at least 5 fruits or vegetables a day, that’s a minimum, but why??

The World Health Organisation recommends 5-a-day for these reasons: to lower the risk of serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Good enough. But in more details, the NHS gives you 5 reasons to eat more fruits and veg and here they are:

  • Fruit and vegetables areΒ a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium.
  • They’re an excellent source of dietary fibre, which helps maintain a healthy gut and prevent constipation and other digestion problems. A diet high in fibre can also reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
  • They can help reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
  • Fruit and vegetables contribute to a healthy and balanced diet.
  • Fruit and vegetables taste delicious and there’s so much variety to choose from.

Indeed they are low in fat and they provide many nutrients that our bodies need in order to function well. There are so many of them, each providing a variety of nutrients, that it is easy to find some that you will like and enjoy eating.

So that was it for today. Oh and I received a new vegetable box this week, check it out! I’m not proud of it but I had to look up what the long dark sticks were! None of us in my flat knew what they were. Shame on us!!! But happy to be receiving these boxes and learning about new foods! I will attempt to cook them and update you on how it goes πŸ™‚

Black salsify!

See you soon guys!

Delicious surprising first-time dish

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This is the big box of organic fruits and vegetables I received this week. What to do with so many red onions, broccoli, salad, carrots, tomatoes and all the ones that don’t appear on this photo? Do you cook cabbage? I never. And with it, tonight I made the tastiest dish in a long time. ImageBoil some quinoa. Fry 1 red onion in a tablespoon of olive oil while lightly steaming broccoli and 1 cabbage. Then mix the steamed vegetables with the onions, adding 2 tomatoes, 2 spring onions, and 1 green chilli.

Shake it shake it! ImageAnd serve! Add salt and pepper and cheddar cheese to taste. Hmmm deliiiicious! (don’t let the appearance put you off)

In this plate I’d say there’s 1.5 of your 5-a-day. Finish with a tangerine to cool down your palate (from the chilli) and that’s 2!

Quinoa is a seed, rich in protein and full of goodness, and gluten free. People with gluten intolerance and vegetarians love it! And I do too!

How to make sure you get your five-a-day in

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Today is the 12th of January, I have been eating five fruits or vegetables a day for 12 days! (-1)

It is not easy to do if you are not organised but with a bit of thought and planning, I can confirm that is it totally doable.

Starting your day with a big salad is a great way to get 3 portions already. If your salad has a tablespoon of olive oil, and some protein (chopped meat, ham, chicken, fish or boiled eggs) you will stay full for a good 5 hours. Add some seeds and nuts for a super nutritional breakfast!

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Before leaving the house, I make sure I always have a couple of snacks ready.

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And that’s already about 5!

Then I am free to have whatever is available for lunch where I am (from shop, university cafeteria, work, etc).

And dinner can be creative or simple. Made in advance and defrosted. I may nibble on a raw carrot while cooking. Eiher way: needs to be enjoyed. That’s my motto!

Cauliflower and cheese (with chopped ham)