Nurture with nature
There is a so much going on at the moment in the world, in the house, in my head.
I have spent a week working out heating wattages, where pipes can go on repointed walls, how things will work in the kitchen to leave space for a sofa in front of the fire.
How to keep character whilst losing the crumbly problem of limestone walls. How to bring in charm and warmth but not hide all the original house behind plaster board.
I have also been working on the website, well two actually, one is my new French/English one and, oh, lala lala, my French is another story.
It has been frustrating and mind boggling and I have spent way too long at the computer.
First world problems, I know.
I’m not going to talk about all the world stuff, it’s all around us, it can get depressing and I really don’t have much to say right now other than: Be kind! Think! Treat people the way you want to be treated! Help people! Don’t bitch! Don’t press that button!
This is a simple one. It’s all simple really if you want it to be (except the French!).
Like, keep the charm, don’t put a plasterboard wall up….
Lots of people are feeling skint after Christmas or generally and think it is expensive to get fit and look after yourself. Not true. Well, it doesn’t have to be anyway! Here are a few ideas.
Wake up in the morning and don’t worry about the cost of heating the water, have a cold shower, feel how your skin warms up afterwards, how you tingle from your hair to your toes – fantastic boost for your immune system and gorgeously toning for your skin.
Massage yourself with some oil, almond or coconut are good ones, maybe with a few drops of your favourite essential oils or use your favourite natural moisturiser, body balm or oil. Its good to look after yourself, it reminds you (or teaches you eventually 😉 that you are valuable, that you matter, that you can take care of yourself.
Wrap up and get outside, walk, splash in puddles, climb a few hills, skid about in the muddy fields, feel the rain sting your cheeks and the wind mess up your hair. Feel alive!
You could pick a pocket full of leaves whilst you are at it and make a wrap, a salad, a quiche, a stir fry or throw them in your bowl to pour hot soup over (check them out, I don’t mean any old leaves – there are lots of identification books around, oh, and a good soak in water and apple cider vinegar will help remove anything nasty).
Do some DIY. Ha, ha, ha.
Moving swiftly on to lunch.
On Sunday, when lots are thinking of roast this and that with Yorkshire puds and gravy (yes, I love that too!) I made this…
Deeply savoury, slightly sweet with lots of crunch and chewy bits it satisfied on all levels, really it did and there was no afternoon slump, no bloating, no “Oh, I wish i hadn’t had that extra serving” .
It is also made with all things in season and localy grown, apart from the sauce.
1/2 a black radish (Black Mooli)
1/2 red pepper
Blette stem (I used leaves as wraps see below) I think they are Chard in English.
1 spring onion
2 sundried tomatoes
A few chives
This is where a few forage leaves would come in handy too:)
1 small dried pepper
Cut Blette leaves into wraps. I’ve never seen Chard or Blette in England I don’t think! Lettuce, Romaine leaves or Savoy cabbage would all work.
Gently fry the dried pepper, mushrooms, sliced Chard stems and half the sliced red pepper, in ghee (or butter or oil) until slightly browning and caramelised.
Toss all the rest, saving half the herbs, in 1/2 TBS Coconut Teriyaki sauce (you could make your own, which is divine or use normal but the own-made or coconut are way better in all ways). That’s the most expensive and, if being pedantic, least healthy bit but you need so little!
So easy, now just lay the leaf wraps out, pile some raw and cooked mixture in, grind pepper over and sprinkle with the reserved herbs and roll up. I tied mine with chive leaves which kept them together well.
Serve with some Teriyaki in a bowl – or Tamari (or soy sauce) with a little drop of maple syrup or honey – to dip if needed.
Lastly, anytime, just …
put some music you love on, close the door, close the curtains, close your eyes and simply move the way you want to. Push it a bit, use all your body, stretch to the edges of your reach, move each side of your body, front, back, right and left. Bend, stretch, twist and turn. It doesn’t matter how it looks, it matters how it feels. Move high and move low, move fast and move slow. Roll up and down and lie on the floor and move like a baby. Roll over, push up, curl and extend. Use your fingers, your head, your hips, your ankles. Most of all, use your instinct.
If you allow yourself to include all your muscles you will begin to strengthen and relax your whole body.
And your mind will follow.
Have some chocolate. You know, raw chocs are actually very good for you 🙂
Friday bits and bobs
Just checking in here, it’s been a week of readjustment and joy.
Sometimes news knocks us off balance, not because we are not happy about it, just because it means we need to change course a bit, reballance, reappraise, realign.
That is a good thing because it actually encompasses way more than the instigating factor, we rebalance everything as we adjust.
Often, most times, we don’t realise how stuck and repetitive we have become and this can (come on, usually right?!) be in negative patterns or in things that aren’t the best for us.
Over the yard arm drink, watching that boxed set again, beans on toast again, yet another sleepless night…
Whatever, they are not terrible in their own right although you might agree none of them are the best thing for you on a loop!
Maybe worth having a think and a look at your loops.
This week I have been doing a lot of dancing, yoga, guided relaxations, walking, it’s been gorgiously warm and sunny and lovely to walk in the autumn colours with the sun on your face. It is so good to move! I can’t stress it enough. It raises your metabolism, releases your happy hormones, lightens you and if you are trying to follow a routine it is quite meditative and takes you out of your loop because you are concentrating on something else. You don’t have to be a super duper dancer, just do what feels good to you. Move more than you did even if that means walking at a snails pace. Sometimes we need to push ourselves, a bit of firm and kind encouragment never goes amiss.
And so, a couple of easy, nutritious, non-inflammatory and satisfying recipes for you.
I have given ingredient ideas, it is not rocket science, be easy, a bit more or less will be fine, adjust to what you have, it is all good!
I actually made mine with a 6 inch piece of squash, organic so I washed but didn’t bother peeling it, half a left over parsnip, 1 leek 1 miso stock cube, a pinch of cayenne, lots of pepper.
1 Butternut, or almost any squash. Depending on size use a whole one or part – you can judge!
1 onion and/or leek
1 parsnip (or turnip, swede, carrot)
1 miso stock cube
pinch cayenne or another chilli of you fancy some heat.
Chop it all up, put in pan and stir a bit over heat with a splash of olive oil. Cover with water, add stock cube and seasoning. Cook until all tender and whiz it up. I used a stick blender so I didn’t have to wash a whole blender.
Throw in a handful of frozen peas. By the time you serve and eat they will have defrosted and make lovely fresh little pops in your mouth.
Stir in a handful of baby spinach, by the tie its is on the bowls this will have wilted and be a great contrast to the silkyness of the soup.
A chunk of goat’s cheese in the bottom of the bowl (Robin loves this) goes deliciously melty.
A great dollop of yogurt (I use live sheep’s, I find goats too tangy generally but it could be a nice contrat for the sweet squash) plopped on top, especially if you used chilli in it.
Sprinkle with diced avocado, tomatoes, red onions and fresh herbs.
Drizzle with herb oil or a good plain olive oil.
Wrap and roll
Take a wrap, any wrap – Robin had flour tortillas, I had dehydrated flax and courgette wraps. You could make or buy coconut wraps, use corn wraps, Nori sheets or rice (spring roll wrapper) sheets, even make socca pancake wraps (lots of recipes online). Lets face it if you are eating bread you could simply make it into an over stuffed sandwich!
Pile on some greens – I used water cress
Layer up with coleslaw – I made a big bowl the day before using sliced white and red cabbage, cucumber, onion, red pepper, cellery and grated carrot with home made mayonaise
Add sprouted beans I used mung beans (instructions below – they are EASY, CHEAP, NOURISHING and go with anything!!)
Wrap it up and eat.
Sprinkle of spices, chilli, salt and pepper.
Scatter lots of chopped fresh herbs – mint, coriander, chives, basil, lemony sorrel…
Goats cheese (or feta would be good) rounded Robins out.
Boost the benefits with some fresh garlic in the cl-oleslaw or runn–bbed over the wrap.
Spread some humus, recipe here Tweak… and twerking would help too!
Sprouting mung beans
2 TBS mung beans (they expand a lot!) rinsed and checked for any little stones
Soak in a bowl of water (start with warm water for sweeter sprouts) for about 8 hours or over night
Drain in seive, rinse and replace in bowl.
You could put them in a jar with some mesh over the top. It’s supposed to makes it easier (so the perveyers of jars with mesh lids say) but I always end up doing it using a bowl and seive these days -so I suppose I have found that easier!
Rinse twice a day until the little tails are the same size as the bean. You can go longer but use before they grow a leave, you just want the tail.
Snack on them as they are or sprinkles with some pink himalayan salt.
Great alternative to crisps splashed with a little oil, apple cider vinigar and salt.
Add to soups, wraps, salads, stir fries.
You could add to anything savoury really!
Happy weekend xxxLearn More
Smash a mash.
How are you feeling? Have you followed anything here, changed anything?
Simply put, nothing will change unless you change something.
I know I am repeating myself but please don’t hold back until ‘all the bad stuff has been used up’, ‘after the holiday’, ‘after Christmas’ and all the other delaying tactics our heads can use. This is not a punishment!
Just choose better, mostly, now.
Right now stop reading and go and drink a big glass of water…..
Easy, useful, healthful.
Have a piece of fruit. If you don’t like biting into a juicy apple (pear, carrot, celery) cut one up and just have it on a plate next to you. Before you know you will have eaten it.
It’s the weekend in autumn, does that mean a comforting, big Sunday lunch or Saturday night pizza? OK, just change it up a bit.
Here’s a recipe to replace your stodgy mashed potatoes –
Multiply as needed but depending on the size of the vegetables this should serve about 4 or two for one meal and put the rest in a veggie soup tomorrow.
Steam or boil (don’t swamp them with water, just enough to cover) with a lid on.
When tender, drain (drink the liquid or use it in your sauce or gravy) and put into a blender or bowl if you have a stick blender with
A piece of butter, about 2 teaspoons or splash of olive oil
Pinch salt and a few grinds of pepper to taste.
Blend it all up.
Add, roughly chopped:
2-3 leaves of kale, calvo nero, chopped savoy cabbage or any dark green leaves
Pulse into the mash and serve!
Replace your pizza base with slices of aubergine with a splash of love oil smeared over them and roast until tender. When ready top as you would pizza.
There are lots of recipes circulating for cauliflower pizza base, look one up.
Use a stronger tasting cheese and less of it.
Don’t use pizza sauce just put slices of real tomatoes, a smatter of salt and a sprinkle of herbs on as your tomatoe base.
Two things today –
If there is one piece of equipment that I believe would help you have healthier meals it is a blender. A high powered one.
I use Vitamix and Blendtec. I have never used a Nutri Bullet but have only ever heard good things about them and they could be ideal for a lower price point and if you are not going to go the whole hog of grinding nuts, seeds, making flours etc. They also sound great for taking with you (I have been very tempted to get one for travelling, much easier than humping my Vitamix around!).
I am sure if you look on EBay or local second hand sale sites you could find any of the above at a good price because more people than I can count have told me over the years that they have a juicer in the back of a cupboard they never use and I am sure the same can be said for blenders.
Whilst it is important to MOVE it is equally important to rest. If you are healing mentally or physically, recuperating, dealing with and overcoming autoimmune disease or any illness you need to push the toxins out and you need to rest to heal.
On the internet there are loads of guided relaxations, meditations, peaceful relaxing music. You need to look around and try to find what suits you, some really irritate me which is the opposite effect to the one we are looking for! It doesn’t mean they are all the same; Take the time and then use it regularly.
10-30 minutes of deep relaxation, especially regularly, will make you feel so much better.
If you are working and feel that fatigue or stress creeping in pop out for a breath of fresh air or to a quiet place (the loo even) and take a few minutes out to just stop thinking. It might help if you could put a short meditation on your phone and use headphones. Make it happen.
Listen to your body and trust it to tell you.
Have a fun weekend xLearn More
Tweak… and twerking would help too!
Doing this is your choice. Everything is your choice. Everything you eat, drink, think and do will effect how you feel mentally and physically. If you have an illness, an auto-immune problem, lack energy, have hormone imbalances, mood swings, lack of concentration, brain fog, constipation, acne – you fill in the words for you – you can change how you feel if you choose to.
You only need to tweak really – tweak a salad for a pie haha, no, I am kidding! Well I am not but there are better ways; Tweak a good pie for a bad pie (suggestion in the last post), roast some sweet potatoes with cumin and smoked paprika in place of fried potatoes. Use Make almond milk instead of drinking pasteurised milk, homemade almond milk its cheaper, fresher and more natural than prepacked. Top some roast aubergine slices with onions, red peppers, mushrooms, garlic and some goats cheese instead of pepperoni pizza and so on. Lots more ideas will follow over the coming weeks.
As you tweak and add in good stuff, move more, sleep and look better you will be more inspired to do more of it.
Make it a habit to have a really fresh and juicy green salad with meals; if you don’t already love that you will start to. You just need a good dressing (recipes coming up over the next few posts) to make it just as you want it.
Be prepared for feeling a bit rubbish as you remove the bad. If you are used to drinking coffee and black tea all day, fluffy or stodgy white stuff (pasta, bread, pastry, cake, biscuits, pies you know what I am talking about) then as you remove them your body and head will probably complain a bit. Drink more water, rest if needed, move more to push the toxins through. Have warm salted baths to pull the rubbish out. You might be a bit bloated and windy (sorry) as you add more fibre to your diet – chew well, eat slowly, stop when full. Consider taking probiotics and digestive enzymes. You can find them in health food shops and online. They can help but you don’t have to. I take a course now and again and make my own probiotics which I eat and drink daily, more about that in another post.
Walk, run, jump up and down on the spot, go for a swim, walk or run up and down stairs, dance, do whatever it takes and whatever you can to move. You need to use those muscles. They support you and hold you up, keep all your bits together. Moving raises your heartbeat, increases your oxygen intake, moves your lymph and so removes some of the toxins. It helps digestion, increases metabolism and mood. That’s enough for now, trust me, MOVE!
Drain and rinse 1 tin or jar of red kidney beans or chickpeas, put in food processor. Peel and chop 1 big courgette and throw that in too.
Add 1 big TBS Tahini,
Juice of 1 lemon plus a grate or two of zest.
1 clove garlic.
1 tsp cumin.
Pinch salt (GOOD salt!).
Blend adding a few drops of very cold water until you reach the consistency you prefer.
Serve as it is or with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice (please don’t be afraid of good oils, they oil your joints, your skin, feed your cells – olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil, avocados all GOOD).
Serve with chopped veggies, in wraps preferably made from coconut or cabbage/ lettuce leaves, in baked sweet potatoes etc.
Bits and bobs meal
Last night I served this humus with:
Raw courgette, flax seed, physilium husk, onion powder wraps
Fried courgette, red onion, mushrooms, tomatoes, cumin and ground coriander
Chopped avocado, tomatoe, fresh coriander leaves, lemon juice
A pile of roquette and coriander leaves
Non dairy cheesy sauce made by blending soaked cashews, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, dash umboshi vinegar or a stoned umboshi plum, pinch salt and ground pepper. Actually I confess I used a few other ingredients (hence the interesting colour!), which have to remain secret for now, but that recipe will get you an amazing cheesy sauce!
There is no way you could feel deprived eating that!
Our diary for the last two days:
Me: corn crackers with butter and jam (homemade). Dates, soaked and sprouted almonds.
Robin: meusli type cereal (bought) homemade almond milk.
Both: 1 coffee with breakfast
Smoothie: celery, dandelion leaves, parsley, bananas, cherries, maca, spirullina, chia
Robin: Banana, Magnum ice cream!! (note to self make some sweet snacks to be at the ready!)
Humus (recipe in this post) carrots sticks and cherry tomatoes
Raw seed based Falafels with cucumber, tomatoes, tahini sauce wrapped in cabbage leaves.
Piece very delicious, old, hard cheese (using it up!) with Quince paste (homemade).
Apple cidre vinegar in water X 2, 1 ½-2 litres filtered water, green and red tea.
Walked over 10,000 steps (through forest, speedy), swam ½ KM (again, speedy).
Breakfast; Me as above, Robin whole grain toast.
Juice: celery, kale, cucumber, lemon.
Me: Chia pudding with homemade almond milk, banana, spirullina and acai.
Robin : Cereal with homemade almond milk and fruit. Ice cream (NB he is doing masses of physical work and when they are gone they are gone 😉
Grain free wraps, cooked veggies with spices, humus, chunky guacamole, Coriander and roquette from the garden, tomatoes, cheesy (non dairy sauce) recipes in the post.
Plenty of water, red tea, ACV in water x 2. Filtered water, green and red tea.
Walked over 10,000 steps (through forest, speedy), Me danced 30 mins, Robin active work. Ten minute meditation.
Wednesday so far:
Smoothie using the large quantity of juice I made and stored yesterday with banana, mango, frozen cherries, pollen.
Boiled eggs (me 1 Robin 2).
Tonight I am not sure but probably heading for roasted veggies as I haven’t given it any thought and my hands are still covered in wax from renovating a floor!
Take it easy, be kind to yourself, keep hydrated and think about your left hand (see last post here Feel better!).Learn More
First things first.
This post is the first of a few after the huge reaction I received to this Facebook post –
“If you are feeling tired, achy, demotivated, tense, cranky, ‘your age!!!’ Sleeping badly, looking and feeling bloated, sad, down, fat, floppy, grumpy, mentally fudgy, slow etc etc and would like to change that, pm me. Robin and I are doing a recharge, defrag, reboot and I’ll share what we are doing if you want to join in.
Lets peel back those layers, feel energized and find our shine!
What I am aiming for is to reduce inflammation ( a few flare-ups lately) calm my head, (can’t sleep properly as brain is whirling with ideas), calm stress (walls in wrong place, cracks appearing in ceiling of main house etc /:), reduce migraines ( Robin has been having lots of dream state and opthalmic ones lately) and in the process I’ll probably lose a few pounds.”
As this goes on I will get to the point of just journaling what I eat, drink, do plus share a recipe and maybe a bit of info. This post is word heavy just to get you going, sorry!
It is really easy to grab a piece of toast, a mug of coffee, a sandwich, a piece of cake from home, supermarket or motorway service station.
It is hard to travel or work healthily unless you are prepared either to just drink water and munch on fruit (which is a really good option if it is just for a day or so) or are prepared to be prepared.
Being prepared simply means having things with you that will taste good and do good.
FEELING STODGY Have you noticed that when you eat stodge you feel stodgy?
If I eat bread for example I feel heavy and bloated. If I weigh myself up to 24 hours after eating bread, and I am talking about a bread roll rather than a loaf, I will weigh 1 – 1 1/2 kilos more than if I hadn’t. We have been away this week and I have eaten bread each day. Almost all the food has been cooked which probably means a heavyish hand with the salt (and not the Himalayan good kind), and from the second day I have been around 59.5kg. I normally average 57-58kg. All the time we were away, between 9.30am and 7.30pm, I have only drunk water and eaten a couple of pieces of fruit. I have not eaten excessively in the evening. I’ve had a few glasses of wine, a piece of bread with a reasonably healthy meal by most people standards.
I not only feel heavy I am heavier. That is because my body is holding onto water; It actually is bloated. The bloat is all over, inside and on the outside so if you think my tummy cells are a bit bloated, so will be my brain cells and so on. Not a good thing I am sure you will agree.
Today I am 59kg. Tomorrow I expect to be about 58.5kg. All that is simply not eating processed food or bread.
So when I feel stodgy I AM stodgy. I feel bloated because I AM bloated.
That is just my reaction. If people are doing this every day it is building and growing, water retention leading to high blood pressure, fat cells filling up leading to extra padding, less movement, strain on joints and organs….
OBSESSING So, secondly, food can be obsessive.
You can eat obsessively and you can ‘not eat’ obsessively.
You can find yourself not eating because there isn’t anything healthy (so drink lots of water and have some fruit until your find something good or do your prep!) and so not eating too often or eating whatever there is and then feeling bad about it OR even saying “I’ve blown it I might as well continue eating badly, gimme another pie!”.
None of those things are healthy in any way.
1, Be prepared.
2, Eat before you are desperate and monster mind takes over rational mind.
3, If monster mind takes over and you have eaten the pie (whatever your pie might be – ice cream, chocolate, cornish pasty, stodwich …) spin round three times and put it in the past! Continue in your new, healthy way.
4, DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP!
5, Every mouthful of food or drink you take can heal or hurt. Make each one count.
Hold both hands up. Left hand good, right hand bad.
Raise a finger on each hand for relevant food –
I.E. I had two dates, 6 almonds, two crackers with butter and jam and a little coffee for breakfast.
Dates, almonds, crackers on left hand, topping and coffee on right hand. As long as the left hand is ahead we are doing OK. As we move ahead you will need to borrow your right hand for the good side 🙂
If you are dealing with an Auto immune disease, are simply out of energy, over weight, stressed, struggling to be enthusiastic, depressed, anxious, find you haven’t laughed or even smiled in a while, wake up all night long, feel bloated, get constipated, wind, acid reflux, have cellulite, beer belly, menstrual problems, hormone problems, spots, dull hair, brittle nails… then what you eat will effect all this!
Think of each morsel you eat as something that is going to cause change for the better. Flood yourself with nutrients! We are made up of nutrients, every process in our bodies is aided and abetted by how we nourish ourselves.
You know that if you eat a quiche made from pastry, bacon, eggs, cream and cheese served with chips it will not have the same effect as a quiche made with a crust of blended nuts and seeds, filled with organic eggs, spinach, sweet corn, peas and capers and served with a crispy, juicy salad (or to take it to another level a creamy filling of cashew nut cheese with tomatoes, wilted spinach, softened red onions and red peppers and sprinkled with capers) BUT I can assure you it will taste delicious.
The first will make you feel full, heavy and tired, the second will leave you feeling satisfied and the left hand will have all fingers up, the right will be close 🙂
I suggest that today you shop for fruit and vegetables with a few extras;
This is my shopping list, some will not be available or not good quality so I will use it as a guide (I get as much as I can organic, the benefits are multiple) as well as stuff I have in my cupboards that you would do well to stock. Buy enough but not too much that it goes off before you eat it or the quality is compromised. If you can shop every few days its better.
Apples, bananas, lemons, oranges, courgettes, aubergines, parsnip, garlic, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, carrots, celery, red onions, avocados, tomatoes while they are still good, butternut squash (or any squash of pumpkin), mushrooms, capers (packs that salty punch!), any good salad leaves, actually I will be getting mine from the garden including dandelion leaves (and using self seeded herbs and roquette I discovered joyfully!), curly kale and/or spinach, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds/cashews/walnuts (not salted – raw) Quinoa, tin chick peas, tin red kidney beans, tahini, dried seaweeds, tamari and/or Braggs liquid amos and/or nam shoyu for flavouring, really good olive oil, maybe add in some avocado oil, sesame oil, Himalayan salt, apple cider vinegar with the mother – the cloudy bit in the bottom which means it is alive! Any herbs and spices you like – I use a lot of cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, cinnamon. Maybe some organic eggs, goats or sheeps cheese (feta is a good one), kefir or live sheeps of goats yogurt, raw honey and agave or coconut syrup.
The main thing here is fresh, non-processed, clean, easy to digest. Any fruits or veggies you like with enough variety to cover lots of colours (eat a rainbow). Be guided by what you like, can afford, is fresh.
Following on from this will be some recipes but for tonight use some of the your veg – carrots, parsnip, courgette an onion, a clove or two of garlic an apple or some blackberries (if you have access to figs I would use those, I freeze ours as well as blackberries to use all winter) – chop them up (wash and/or peel if not organic), toss in some olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and some spices, I would use cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne and maybe a bit of cinnamon and pop them in the oven for half an hour. Add some shopped mushrooms and crumble some feta over the top. Leave another ten minutes in the oven until all is cooked through. You could plop an egg in for the last ten mins if you fancied and sprinkle some rinsed capers over the top for that extra bite!
Make extra to have for lunch tomorrow either just as it is or wrapped up in some kale or lettuce leaves with a dollop of yogurt on top and a sprinkle of cayenne for a bit of a kick.
NB Please have your doctor check out anything that is ongoing, seems strange, causes pain, where blood is evident – use common sense, I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose, I am a clinical nutritionist with 16 years of experience on myself and others who want to help themselves naturally and significantly. Also if you have had chemotherapy please take your doctors advice – if you go into a detox of any kind (this is clean eating and taken to an extreme could put you into detox) any chemo chemicals stored in your cells could flush out and your organs have to deal with that which could have a negative effect.Learn More