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A delicious green smoothie is an integral part of my wellness plan. As most of us are full of empty calories and nutrient poor, a green goddess smoothie is quick and versatile and adds that extra nutrient boost most of us are craving.

I’m not an advocate of replacing food with smoothies but they make a great snack or brekkie on the run. I used to skip breakfast but now I just whip up a quick smoothie to take with me instead.

INGREDIENTS:

Small handful of kale and/or spinach

1 inch of cucumber

1 broccoli floret

Handful of frozen blueberries (organic if possible)

1 frozen banana

Half an avocado

Tablespoon of coconut oil

Fill to the line with Almond milk/coconut water or filtered water

Optional boosters: 1 spoon of maca powder – an adaptogen that contains natural fatty acids found in food and B6 which makes it a superfood for mood. Maca is a great addition for people struggling with depression and/or anxiety. It has also been known to boost energy, fertility and even menopause symptoms.

Another great booster is spirulina powder – The incredibly powerful blue/green powder is a natural “algae” (cyanbacteria) that is incredibly high in protein and a good source of antioxidants, B-vitamins and other nutrients. It’s health benefits are endless from helping to detoxify heavy metals, boosting energy and helping to alleviate sinus issues.

Having a green smoothie helps me to stay on track with my healthy eating. You need to find what works for you but for me personally its hard to get a nice variety of veg into my diet each day. The boosters I add depend on how I feel. If I’m stressed I add spirulina as I find it helps and if I’m feeling down I reach for the maca. When you start to live more mindfully you can tune into your food and feed your mood, sleep and overall health and wellbeing in a more connected and conscious way.

Shine Bright

Ali xxx

I love my nut milks and once you get used to making them it takes no more than 5 minutes to make creamy fresh delicious almond milk.

I always buy organic nuts in bulk from the green door market THE GREEN DOOR  for my almond milk as it’s more cost effective.

I always soak my nuts to activate them as nuts contain enzyme inhibitors and phytates making the digestion and absorption of nutrients difficult to digest as the phytic acid binds to minerals in the digestive tract. So by soaking them in water with a pinch or pink Himalayan salt they can be neutralized. I soak mine for 8-12 hours and then I rinse and freeze. You can use straight after soaking, as the nuts are nice and plump from the water. I soak large batches of nuts so I always have some to hand from the freezer.

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Here are some nuts soaking and then frozen ready to use along with a nut milk bag

SWEETENED OR UNSWEETENED

You can have sweetened or unsweetened almond milk. I sweeten mine with dates. Dates are a good source of energy, iron, potassium, vitamin A, fiber and antioxidant flavonoids. I always have some soaking in a jar of filtered water in my fridge ready to go. You will also need a nut milk bag, which you can buy from Down To Earth and a bowl.

You will need a blender for this, I use my nutribullet

Ingredients and method for almond milk:

  • Place a small handful of nuts in the blender
  • A Pinch of Pink Himalayan salt
  • Dates to sweeten if desired. I use 2-3
  • Fill too the line with water

Blend for a couple of minutes till creamy and frothy. Play around with nut quantities and consistency. I find around 12-15 nuts perfect. Pour into a nut milk bag and squeeze through. This is possible the most satisfying part! Transfer into a jug or bottle and serve.

Here are some nuts soaking and then frozen ready to use along with a nut milk bag

I use the almond milk for oats, muesli, matcha lattes and as a base for soups.

#TastyTuesday

Its Monday, a day where the blues can seem all too real. Fear not because there are a lot of things you can do to avoid feeling blue primarily practicing self-care. One aspect of this means really caring about what you put into your body.

Forget fad diets and temporary fixes if you choose deeply nourishing foods instead of depriving yourself of a list of foods you can’t have you will feel fulfilled in every way helping to alleviate the cravings and avoid the pitfalls that come with a poor diet and lifestyle.

What you eat also affects your immunity, your mood, your sleep patterns and of course your weight. So even though it can be tempting to indulge in processed, high carb and sugary foods on dark cold nights it will only lead to dark days because your body needs good nutrition to be happy and every cell counts!

So what do we need to do during colder months? Well we need to eat more cooked and warming foods, include more soups and stews in our diets, use more spices, eat seasonal veggies and fruits, eat a rainbow, have more wholegrains and of course get more rest. I’ll be sharing some recipes over the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out.

There is another major reason though for cravings and overeating, which is outside of our control and that is we have less sunlight in winter. This can cause some people to suffer from SAD or seasonal affective disorder. It is said that up to 20% of people can suffer from seasonal depression or mood change so lets look at ways that we can help ourselves fell better naturally with diet and lifestyle choices.

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Making sure you get some natural light during the day is really important during the winter months. A lot of people leave their houses when it’s dark and return after work when it’s dark. If you are working in an office environment, stores, hospitals etc with artificial lights you might go all day in the winter with no natural light of any kind. For this reason it’s really important that you get outside during your breaks for a short walk. Wrap up warm and take a short walk at lunchtime when the sun (if we have it) is brightest.

probiotics, terranova, selfcare, winter, nutrition, BLUE MONDAY, SPIRULINA, meditation, mindfulness, kids meditationsMEDITATE

Taking as little as 5 minutes to work on your inner world each day can have an enormous difference on your health. Meditation has so many benefits including stress reduction, better mood, better sleep. It boost immunity, helps with craving and personally I find it gives an overall feeling of inner peace. Check out my guided meditations here or if you are a mum join my Minding Mum group for weekly live meditations and don’t forget that kids can join in too!!

PICK THE RIGHT CARBS

Less sun means a drop in your “feel-good” hormone serotonin, which can cause depression and food cravings. To help combat this you can boost your serotonin with healthy complex carbs like wholegrain breads, brown rice, veggies like sweet potato, corn and pumpkin, beans, lentils and peas. Your children will probably be craving carbs too so try and steer them away from the bad carbs like white breads, rice and sugar. These foods have little or no nutrients and they actually wipe your energy levels. They can also contribute to SAD and mood swings and can be a factor in brain fog and your ability to concentrate. Tryptophan also coverts to the neurotransmitter serotonin so increasing foods like eggs, nuts, turkey, banana, seeds and spirulina may improve depression symptoms too.

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SPICE UP YOUR LIFE

You can thank the Far East for the sensory delight that spices bring. Spices not only introduce vibrance and colour into your diet but they also boost immunity and circulation during the winter months. Cook with onions, turmeric, cinnamon, chili peppers, cardamom, curry, cayenne pepper, ginger and garlic to add a little warmth to your meals and to help winter proof your body from the inside out.

probiotics, terranova, selfcare, winter, nutrition, BLUE MONDAY, organic turmeric powder, SPIRULINAEAT FOR IMMUNITY

The guys you need on your team here are vitamin C, Zinc and probiotics yes you heard me probiotics. Not all bacteria are bad in fact we have millions of bacteria in our gut that help us to stay healthy by stimulating the immune system and helping with the absorption of essential nutrients. To help these guys grow in numbers and keep your digestive system healthy feed them with foods like kimchi, live yogurt, kefir and kombucha or you can take a supplement too Terranova probiotics are great.

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Another tip to help families boost their immune systems is to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene (vitamin A). So citrus fruits are fab as well as broccoli, sweet potato, spinach and cabbage, green leafy veg and frozen peas.

sweet-potato-1241696_1920I find frozen peas great for kids and they can be added to most meals. These foods are front line defense against colds and infections. Zinc is important too so again your green leafy veg, pumpkin and sesame seeds, lentils, tofu, almonds and wholegrains. Chicken, eggs, fish and dairy products also contain zinc. Zinc is responsible for 100’s of biochemical functions in the body and because of nutrient losses in the soil these days and in food processing deficiency or depletion can be common. Among its many important functions one in particular is that it is part of alcohol dehydrogenase, which helps the liver detoxify alcohols so post christmas this could be useful!

OMEGA 3 AND VITAMIN D

Recent research demonstrates that the consumption of omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D can play a role in reducing depression. Studies have found that people who consume fish frequently exhibit fewer depressive qualities than those who didn’t consume fish. Essential fatty acids EFA’s are a crucial part of a healthy diet, because our bodies cannot make them. When the word essential is used in a nutritional context it means that the body cannot synthesize (make) it itself and it must therefore be obtained from the diet.

If you eat oily fish twice a week it will provide a healthy dose of omega 3. However a massive 89% of Irish people are not consuming sufficient oily fish in their diet so there is often a need to take a good quality supplement such as *Eskimo Brain 3.6.9 which combines the unique stable fish oil, *Eskimo-3, high in DHA, with plant oils omega-6 and omega-9 along with Co-Q10 and vitamin D3.

eskimo_brain_caps vit dVitamin D is the sunshine vitamin so no prizes for guessing why we don’t have enough in Ireland. This sunshine vitamin is gaining a lot of attention recently (www.vitamindcouncil.org) and may be the most important “missing vitamin” for your brain and mood. It regulates the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin so as you can see nothing works in isolation in our bodies. It’s a proper team sport internally and for all our systems to function correctly they really need each other, which is why a large and varied diet is important. You can your vitamin D levels checked by your doctor but Irish people have been shown to be quite low especially during the winter months. Low levels have been connected with S.A.D and therefore supplementing can help ease symptoms and improve your mood.

B COMPLEX VITAMINS

B Complex vitamins help your body convert proteins from your diet into the neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, etc.) needed for mood and energy.  B-complex vitamins also support heart health and improve your response to stress and help boost energy levels.  While most B vitamins have some benefits for mental health, in terms of depression, the most important B vitamins include vitamin B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12. Looking to supplement, check out Terranova B Complex.

probiotics, terranova, selfcare, winter, nutrition, BLUE MONDAY, organic turmeric powder, water, hydration, SPIRULINAHYDRATE

Did you know that it is just as easy to get dehydrated in the winter as it is in the summer? Staying hydrated is so important because we lose water all the time even through breathing. Just think of your breath in those frigid temperatures!! Some of the effects of dehydration are a slower metabolism, fatigue, muscle pain and dizziness. By the time you are actually thirsty your body is actually well on its way to being dehydrated. So here are my top tips:

  • Start each day with a glass of warm lemon water or  warm water to get your digestive system moving and rehydrate after a nights sleep
  • Always carry water in your bag, have it on your desk and in the car.
  • Set hydration reminders in your phone 3 times a day. This is just a gentle nudge!
  • During the winter months hug a mug of soothing and calming herbal teas, hot cocoa, warm apple cider and my winter warmer in the recipe section.
  • During exercise sweating releases potassium, sodium and calcium- which are known as electrolytes- these are not found in water so you need to replace these in winter months too; coconut water or ¼ of Himalayan salt in preworkout smoothies or juices is a good idea
  • Eat your water in soups, stews and hydrating fruits and veggies like cucumber, celery and pears

If you have any tips please comment below. I would love to hear from you,

Ali xxx

Any products with a star * beside them means that I am collaborating and working with them. I am the brand ambassador for Eskimo Omegas

You would be forgiven for thinking that all fruit and vegetables are in season all year round, after all they are available all year round in our local supermarkets!

However, eating seasonally could actually be the best way to eat sensibly as there are real health benefits in sticking to fruit and veg that’s in season.

Here’s why:

  • Produce tastes better – When you eat produce that’s in season it’s a taste sensation as opposed to produce that’s in transit for nearly two weeks. The transit time alone and chilling reduces the flavour. When a fruit or vegetable is ripe and picked fresh not only will it taste better but it’s nutritionally superior too.
  • It’s better value – it stands to reason that when a farmer harvests produce in season it will not only be plentiful but cheaper because storage and transport are not necessary as its usually heading somewhere local.
  • It’s better for the planet too – our planet needs all the help it can get these days and every little helps. Buying local produce reduces fuel to fork costs, helping to reduce pollutant gases into the atmosphere. Growing fruit and veg in season requires lower levels of artificial inputs like heating, lighting, pesticides and fertilisers, making it better for the environment and you.
  • Seasonal vegetables suit our body – Our bodies our wise and we need to move with the seasons. What’s grown in nature each season is what our bodies crave for nourishment and optimal nutrition. In the summer we lean towards berries and salads but in the winter hearty soups and stews made from root vegetables is what we need. So build a comforting friendship with your crock-pot. After all, winter is all about grounding yourself and we can do this through food too.
  • We can support our local farmers –support and connection is really important for our health and wellbeing. When you buy local you not only help to support your local farmer but you also make a real connection to where your food came from.

Here’s a list of what’s in season now:

All year round you will have onions, carrots, chard, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, potatoes and salad leaves.

liz cook veg seasonal winter veg Liz Cook charts BUY HERE

December: Chestnuts, field mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, leeks, turnips, pumpkins, celery, rhubarb, red cabbage, kale, cauliflower, swede, cabbage, celeriac, beetroot, pears, cranberries, cooking apples and apples

January: Cabbage, Red cabbage, cauliflower, kale, swede, Brussels sprouts, celery leeks, parsnips, turnips, celeriac, beetroot, rhubarb, apples, pears, cooking apples

February: Purple sprouting broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beetroot, cabbage, kale, turnip, rhubarb, celery, celeriac, red cabbage, apples, pears, cooking apples

I love shopping local and my! it’s a very different experience to the supermarket. My son is 6 and has built a relationship with the people at my local market. He knows where food comes from and is interested in the process. From farm to fork without all the logistics is preferable where possible. So please try and support our own and shop locally. Here’s a link to the market I attend in Dublin 8. Check it out The Green Door.

Christy Stapleton greendoor

In this video I’m chatting to Maria Donlon from Life Cleanse about choosing the right juicer. I have used a centrifugal juicer for many years and I have a separate Wheatgrass juicer but more recently I have moved to a masticating juicer that has everything in one.
Maria uses and recommends masticating juicers for the following reasons:
  1. Maximise nutrient and enzyme preservation – the slow rotation of the auger in a masticating juicer cold presses the juice and minimises oxidation which help to preserve the nutrient and enzyme content. Put simply because you are introducing as little heat and oxygen as possible you will destroy as few nutrients and enzymes as possible.
  2. Versatility – I juice lots of greens and a masticating juicer will juice leafy greens and wheatgrass whereas a centrifugal juicer can’t deal with these. In addition to juice most masticating juicers make seed and nut pates and butters, healthy ice creams and baby food
  3. Efficiency – The slow process of cold pressing the juice extracts more liquid from the ingredients thus minimising food waste, and saving money on food shopping over time. This is clearly visible from how dry the pulp is coming out of a masticating juicer versus a centrifugal one. They are also much easier and quicker to clean.
  4. Durable – Most masticating juicers are built to last. All of the masticating juicers that Life Cleanse sells come with a 10 year warranty

JUICERS:

Colour white and green.

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Colours –  polished chrome, red.
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Colour polished chrome
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Happy juicing xx

Rozanna Purcell, natural born feeder, banana bread, recipe, alison canavan, food, nutrition, delicious recipes, roz purcell, tasty thursday,For this weeks #TastyThursday Roz shares her delicious banana bread recipe. This recipe is so simple and great if you’re craving something sweet. When I baked this bread, I left it sit aside until it had fully cooled. It’s perfect for re-heating or eating cool and still tastes just as delicious when reheated 3 days later!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour gluten free
  • 1 cup wholemeal spelt gluten free
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 5 bananas – 4 mashed & 1 whole
  • 1tsp vanilla powder or essence
  • 1/2cup coconut sugar
  • 12 big medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup dairy free milk – I used coconut

Method

  1. Preheat oven 190ºC
  2. Whisk egg whites till stiff (this avoids using baking powder).
  3. Add all other ingredients into blender except the whole banana. Blend until completely smooth with no bits (especially from the dates).
  4. Fold in the egg whites.
  5. Pour into baking tin (lined or greased).
  6. Slice the banana left and place on top. Glaze with a little honey.
  7. Bake at 190ºC for 40 min. Wait until it has cooled a little before removing it from the tin, however it shouldn’t fall apart its a very sturdy mix

 

FOLLOW ROZ ON:

https://www.instagram.com/naturalbornfeeder/

Sugar crash, alison canavan, sugary cereals, fizzy drinks, be complete, health and wellness, sugar, white poison, nutrition, kids health,Sugar was exposed on Monday night on RTE for the true demon we all know it is but we don’t want to admit to it because it’s so tasty. Well sorry my friends as we saw on ‘Sugar Crash’ tasty or not it’s killing us. Many doctors and experts have predicted that this generation could be the first to die before their parents if we don’t get a grip on this and soon!

I used to live on sugar, the lower I felt, the more I ate. I never joined the dots between the two until a few years ago when I became determined to get to the root cause of my problems without the pills. One of the first things I did was dramatically reduce my sugar intake and along with that the fog started to lift and there was no denying that sugar was one of the strong links to my mental health issues, low moods and energy levels.

Knowing this and having returned to college to study nutrition I was determined to do my best and encourage a healthy diet with my son. This was a breeze until he went to school and started going to birthday parties. Don’t get me wrong he’s allowed have treats but not every day. There are three golden rules in my house: no sugary cereals, no fizzy drinks and no fast food joints like McDonalds. Needless to say this doesn’t make me very popular with some parents. I would go far as to say that fizzy drinks and sugary cereals should be banned. They have absolutely no nutritional value and are harming our kids.

An excess of sugar over time has been shown to cause liver damage, heart attacks, stroke, dementia, kidney disease, blindness, amputation and depression. Is this really the future we want for our children? Worst of all this is totally preventable.

Teething biscuits, follow on milk and juice all day long are just some of the culprits that have contributed to this problem. We are one of the highest consumers of sugar in the world and a lot of it is hidden which is why we need to educate ourselves.

I know we are busy and most mornings we just want to get the kids fed and off to school but the bad habits we ingrain in them during their formative years will be setting them up for a lifetime of bad eating habits and health issues. Surely we want our kids to live a life of vitality and health? As a parent you are making that decision for your children right now!

As a nation we are on target to become the fattest nation in Europe by 2030. Low fat foods have a big part to play in this because the fat they take out is replaced with sugar for taste and as we now know its sugar not fat that’s the real problem.

I have some very simple tips:

  • Eat Wholefoods, which are foods that are as close to nature as possible so tomatoes not tomato sauce. Bascially foods that have been unchanged from their original form.
  • Stay on the outskirts of the supermarket which is in most supermarkets I have been too where the fresh produce is.
  • Stay away from processed/packages foods as much as possible
  • If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the label you should not be eating it
  • Children up to two years of age should have NO sugar or added salt in their diets!
  • If you are time poor which leads you to eat convience food. Cook in bulk and freeze for the week
  • Eliminate fizzy drinks, juices and sugary cereals from your families diets

And be careful just because you’re kids are not overweight does not mean they are not being affected. These diseases are slow burners and are damaging our internal organs, which is something simply not visible to the naked eye. As parents we all need to take responsibility not only for our own kids but for all kids. We need to respect other parent’s wishes and make an effort to keep all kids healthy.

Follow me on 

FACEBOOK  for healthy tips and daily inspiration!

Ali xxx

For this weeks Tasty Thursday Maria from Life Cleanse is sharing her delicious recipe for Creamy Vanilla & Coconut Chia pudding.

This Creamy Vanilla & Coconut Chia Pudding is the perfect back to school breakfast for kids (albeit a week late!) and also a simple sweet alternative to sugary cereals given the interest in the sugar crash programme that was on RTE on Monday evening and if you didn’t see it catch it on the Player as its truly eye opening!
This creamy vanilla & coconut chia pudding is a great because:

  •  a sweet, but sugar free, breakfast for kids.
  • It’s also great for busy parents as it can soak overnight leaving zero prep time in the morning!
  • It is rich in antioxidants and provides calcium, magnesium, fibre, omega 3, protein and phosphorus. It also makes a great dessert!

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons organic whole chia seeds
100mls almond milk
Half a tsp organic vanilla extract
1 tablespoon organic coconut flakes.

Method:

Add the almond milk and vanilla extract to the chia seeds in a small bowl or ramekin dish. Stir well with a fork to separate the seeds and leave to soak for 3-4 hours (or overnight). Sprinkle the coconut flakes on top and enjoy!

Time saving tip – these will keep in the fridge for up to three days so you can prep a few at a time for the days ahead.

 

Welcome to day 2 of my new video series and today is one of my favourite quick and easy mood boosting smoothie full of good fats including:

Avocados: I predicted and hoped last year that this little fav fruit of mine is finally going to have its year in 2016 and maybe just maybe become the new coconut oil! Avocados are nutrient dense and contain around 20 vitamins and minerals. They are great for our skin, hair, energy levels and can help with depression because of their high levels of folate. So what are you waiting for?


Ingredients:

  • Large handful of Kale or Spinach
  • 1 small Avocado
  • Large handful of frozen mixed berries (I buy them fresh and freeze them as I don’t like warm smoothies and these berries are still my wexford berries as I bought a lot and froze them!!)
  • A small handful of mixed seeds and
  • A small handful of mixed beansprouts (The Happy Pear sell them/ Supervalu)
  • 1 Teaspoon of coconova extra virgin coconut oil
  • Fill to the line with Coconut Water

BLEND AND SERVE

Each year we get an opportunity to start a new book and write it according to our own hearts desire. I consider new months to be chapters and days to be pages. Each year we store a different volume of our book away and bring with us the positive lessons and growth from the year before.

Making small changes to your diet and lifestyle can make a big difference to your health. A couple of years ago I introduced a nutribullet into my home and it gets used at least once a day. Smoothies are not intended to replace food. For me they are a great addition to a healthy diet and they come in very handy when I’m in a rush to ensure I don’t skip meals.

Todays I’m going to share my “Blast the Blues” smoothie with you, which has lots of good fats for mood which will help ease you into the new year and help prevent the january blues!!

BLAST THE BLUES

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Ingredients:

  • Large handful of Kale
  • 1 small Avocado
  • Large handful of frozen mixed berries (I buy them fresh and freeze them as I don’t like warm smoothies and these berries are still my wexford berries as I bought a lot and froze them!!)
  • Either a small handful of mixed seeds or a small handful of mixed beansprouts (The Happy Pear sell them/ Supervalu)
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconova extra virgin coconut oil
  • Unsweetened Almond milk

Method:

  • Put all the ingredients into your bullet or blender and fill to the line with almond milk; Blend and serve!
  • To get the consistency you want; play around with the amount of liquid you add; so if you want to have a thicker smoothie bowl for brekkie add less liquid and then you can add fun toppings like goji berries, coconut shavings, nuts, seeds and fruit pieces.

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE AND MAKE THIS YOUR BEST ONE YET!

ALI XXX