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 🙂
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
Quick, tasty and bursting with energy.
Here are a couple of recipes for you. Easy to make. Quick. Very good and won’t give you that saggy feeling after eating it AND you will feel as though you have eaten!
I didn’t actually weigh or measure anything, just threw it all in. You can do the same or follow my measuements. When I need something to eat fast or have other things to do rather than enjoy the food prep I like to throw it all together, no fuss. I used what I had, there are substitution suggestions at the bottom of the post so that you can use what you have.
6 soaked sundried tomatoes chopped small – I didn’t wait for these to soak (I hadn’t planned to make this, if I had I would have soaked them an hour or two earlier). I put them in a cup of warm water when I started then used them as soon as I need them.
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds ground in blender or food processor or with elbow grease with a pestal and mortar.
1/4 cup pistachio nuts ground in blender or food processor or with elbow grease with a pestal and mortar.
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 hand full of basil, parsley and coriander chopped
1 TBS chia seeds
Juice half a big lemon
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS tomatoe soak water
1 tsp dried herb de provence
1 tsp ground cumin
Several grinds of black pepper
Good pinch of Himalayan or other mineral rich salt
Mix it all together and roll into balls.
At this point you could serve with the sauce or store in the fridge till later or dehydrate for a few hours and serve warm.
1/2 cup Tahini
Zest of half a lemon
Juice of one lemon
3 cloves black fermented garlic
1 Umboshi plum, stone removed
1/2 cup warm water (or more if you want it runnier, wait until it is blended up to decide)
Blend it all up. If you do not have a high speed blender chop the garlic and plum finely or squidge through a garlic press then whisk it all up. Add more water if needed.
Plate with salald leaves, any salad ingredients you like, drizzle with the sauce, scatter with sesame seeds and nasturtium flowers – or any flowers or fresh herbs, make it pretty!
If you want to stuff it all in a pitta bread or a wrap. Wholemeal is best.
Braggs – pinch salt/ tamari/ soya sauce
Umboshi plum – Dash Umboshi vinigar or leave out.
Black garlic – one clove fresh, remove central shoot
Herbs de provence – Italian herbs, dried oregano
Pumpkin seeds – sunflower seeds
Pistachio nuts – wallnuts/ almonds/ pecans/ mix of all or any of these nuts/ more seeds for nutfree version
Hemp seeds – replace with any of the seeds or nuts
Sundried tomatoes – half a fresh tomatoes and 6 chopped black olives.
Fresh herbs – use any mix of the herbs I used, even just one.
A bit of what you fancy actually does you good!
And we all know that is true don’t we?
So, we are doing our ‘especially lean and clean’ week and it is going, as MM would say, very well indeed. We are juicing first thing. Well, after our lemon water. Green smoothies around lunch time followed by more juice (one I made earlier with the first and put in the fridge). It’s hot here so we are also hydrating with cucumber and water melon juice, also juiced at the same time because washing the juicer is not my favourite pass time, with half a lemon squeezed into it and cut half and half with water; so refreshing.
But, yes, after a few days that can get boring, too sweet, too wet, too…..good!
So how to balance it? Sometimes it needs more time and preparation. Sometimes you can just add in a less ‘clean’ ingredient, as long as the balance is tipped more in the clean direction.
Here are a couple of examples:
For a really fast fix, say you are craving and leaning towards a cheese sandwich, burger, pizza or all three, or just getting really grumpy. Whatever, you need it NOW!
Get a few courgettes (which you will always have on standby as they are so versetile – courgette post needed) and spiralise them or use a vegetable peeler to peel them into ribbons. Splosh on some fruity olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon, sprinkle of salt and pepper, a crushed clove of garlic and toss it all together. Put into individual bowls (easier with this one than a serving bowl otherwise one person will get all the topping and another almost none). Now for the really good and a bit naughty (if you are doing an especially lean n clean week) bit – top each serving with a generous grating of delicious parmesan cheese, torn basil leaves and a sprinkle of chilli flakes or ground black pepper. Et voila!
The night before last we had Mexican – Tortillas piled high! I was so excited about them and the football that I forgot to take a photo.
I made and dehydrated my tortillas, from vegetables and flax, but lets face it, bought corn tortillas softened or crisped up in the oven (no fat!) depending on how you like them would not be a bad choice.
I warmed halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red peppers and spring onions all sprinkled with spicy, smoked paprika outside in the sun; I put them on a tray and covered them in cling film, it worked a treat.
We put that mix on the tortillas and topped with the following:
Guacamole – I simply pulsed (you could chop and mix by hand, of course) an avocado, spring onion and tomatoe with the juice of a lime, a sprinkle of sea salt and scattered it with chopped coriander leaves.
Salsa – I blended a couple of tomatoes, 4 sundried tomatoes (my own from last year whoop, whoop!), 2 dates, a glug of apple cider vinegar, a dried chilli and a clove of garlic.
Sour cream – for this you could use natural yogurt or kefir (strain through a coffee filter resting in a sieve to make it nice and creamy). This time I made a cashew sour cream with-cheesy-on-top flavour by blending a handful (I have small hands so its cheaper 😉 of soaked natural cashews with some of their soak water (judge how much you need as you make it), a squirt of lemon juice (adjust to taste at the end), a tablespoon of lecithin (not necessary if unavailable) and the same of nutritional yeast (which gave it the cheesy flavour. It would have worked without as plain sour cream) plus a sprinkle of sea salt and a good few grinds of mixed pepper.
Yumaloo! It took about three hours for the bits in the sun though they would have been fine fresh or even warmed through and softened in the oven.
And it was still lean and clean and full of natural goodness. Perfect for watching the footy match.
Apart from my team lost. Oh, Wales, we love you!