Chocolate Chia Seed Breakfast!

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Chocolate Chia Seed Breakfast!

January and February can be the most difficult months for many, so what better breakfast to perk us up than a chocolate delight?!  Truly virtuous and delicious, chia puddings are a great way to start the day.  Super quick, super healthy and super tasty…what more could you want?

And of course, you could have them for snacks or puds too!

Here’s something I throw together (and sometimes in a jam jar if I’m rushing out the door) on many a morning.

chia pudding

 

 

Serves 1

3 to 4 tbsp chia seeds

200 to 250 ml almond or coconut milk

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 dessertspoon raw cacao (or coco powder, but cacao has more nutrients)

1tsp maple syrup

some walnuts on top for texture

 

Mix all the ingredients except the walnuts and leave for at least 15 minutes.  The chia seeds will expand and soak up the liquid.

This breakfast is rich in omega 3 fats, protein and plenty of minerals and B vitamins.  This should help to keep cravings at bay and provide you with great energy for your day.

No Need to Count Calories!

smaller-waist medWith the New Year now upon us and resolutions firmly set, a common thread is the desire to lose weight and along comes the calorie counting obsession.  Cutting calories is simply not the best way to achieve and maintain healthy weight loss for a variety of reasons.

  1. Weight loss is more likely to be caused by a diet too high in carbohydrates such as bread, cakes, pizza, soft and alcoholic drinks.  Yes, these can be high in calories, but perhaps more significantly, it is their impact on your blood sugar that leads to weight gain.  High carb foods lead to rises in blood sugar, which leads to insulin secretion.  Insulin encourages your body to make and store fat.  It also tends to create a low in blood sugar a while later, which leads to cravings for more of the same carb based foods. Fat and the high calories from an avocado or nuts, for example, will not encourage fat storage but should satisfy your body’s natural demand for fats and leave you feeling full and energised for several hours.  Of course, if you ate the whole bag of nuts, then that may be a little too much fat for your body not to store where you would prefer it not to!
  2. If we start looking at calories, we often go for low-fat options.  The problem with low-fat is that it usually equals low-taste, which means sugar or sweeteners are added by manufacturers and we have the issue of blood sugar outlined above.   We need  fat for all sorts of things (e.g.:brain, skin, hormones, energy) so if we don’t have it, we crave it.  Unfortunately, we are far more likely to crave doughnuts than coconuts so we steer clear of “fats” until we fall off the wagon and binge.  A little bit of good fat every day is far more conducive to sustained weight loss.
  3. Calorie counting is a stress.  Stress increases the production of cortisol, a hormone known to increase appetite, spike cravings for sugary carbs and increase belly fat.
  4. The formula may be wrong.  There is some discussion from scientists on how our 100+ year formula for working out calories may not be correct.  Some may contain less if some components don’t get digested, i.e, types of fibre, and some may contain more.  Also, it depends on how a food is cooked as to what effect it can have on your blood sugar.  Mashed potato has a higher impact that new potatoes and so will effect weight more, regardless of calories.  Certain foods increase metabolic rate, such as ginger and chili and so may also have an impact on weight.
  5. Studies have found that groups who eat a high level of antioxidants have a lower BMI and smaller waistline than those who consumed fewer antioxidants but the same number of calories.  It is probably the combination of nutrients derived from the healthier diet, that led to an increase in metabolism.

Rejuvenate Retreat – early bird deadline 31st Dec!

garleton lodgeDo you need a chance to detox this January?  Then come and join us for 3 nights/4 days on our fabulous Rejuvenate Retreat, a chance for your mind and body to fully relax and be nourished from the inside out.

You will have tailored  dynamic and relaxing Pilates classes with Laura and delicious and totally gluten free, sugar free and dairy free cuisine, all prepared by nutritional therapist Kate.

Our aim is to provide you with foods, exercise and beautiful surroundings that will have you feeling lighter, energised and ready to realise your full potential of 2016.

When?  4pm 22nd January to after lunch 25th January 2016

Where?  Garleton Lodge, Haddington. http://www.garletonldoge.com  Scotland

Investment?  £450 Early Bird Dec 31st,  £495 thereafter.

What to expect?

  • 1 Pilates Class on Friday and Monday
  • 2 Pilates Classes on both Saturday and Sunday
  • Varied and tasty gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free meals and snacks
  • Nutrition workshop and cooking demo
  • Time to lounge in the hot tub, walk by the sea, or relax as you please.

 

To book, please go to www.rejuvenateretreat.co.uk

Pilates at GL

 

Lovely retreat lodge

Peaceful, relaxing, warm and cosy!  We can’t promise you snow, but we can promise you peace, nourishment and warmth on our Rejuvenate Retreat. January 2016, Scotland,  Pilates and sinless but heavenly food 🙂

www.rejuvenateretreat.co.uk

https://m.facebook.com/Rejuvenate-Retreat-1503650793263959/

 

garleton lodge snow

Healthy Christmas Cake

Raw Healthy Christmas Cake

This is what I’m going to make the year. It’s brimming with nutrients from nuts, seeds and goji berries and not a grain in sight.  To make it sweet there are dates and maple syrup and some raisins, but still more nuts and seeds to help balance your blood sugars.   It’s from Juliette’s Kitchen at www.julietteskitchen.tv.  Check her out for some great ideas.

If you’re confused about American cup measures, get yourself a set of cups to do it easily (from Amazon)

Ingredients for a large cake /12 slices.

Base

  • 1 cup almonds, soaked for at least 1 hour and water discarded
  • 1 cup mixed seeds (She likes using pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp seeds)
  • ½ cup of walnuts
  • ¼ cup raisins or incan berries
  • ¼ cup of goji berries
  • ¼ cup of dried cranberries (without sulphur dioxide)
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 tbl maple syrup
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tbl grated orange zest

 

Topping

  • 3 tbl coconut butter melted
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 30 mins
  • ½ tin coconut milk
  • 1 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbl maple syrup or agave nectar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract or vanilla pod extract

 

Base

Place the seeds and nuts into a food processor and blend until it has broken down into a biscuit-like consistency. Then add the remaining ingredients and blend until all the fruit is broken down and you have a dough-like consistency. Pour into silicon mould and press firmly down with your hand making a firm base. Place in the freezer while you make the topping.

 

Topping

First place the cashew nuts, coconut butter, maple syrup and coconut milk into the food processor and blend until creamy. Then add in the vanilla, cinnamon and orange zest and re-blend until mixed in. Pour this over the base and spread out evenly. Place the cake back in the freezer to set for 30mins.

 

You can keep this cake in the freezer covered until the day you want to eat it. Take it out 1 hour prior to eating and leave to defrost. Serve chilled with some grated orange zest and enjoy a healthy and delicious Christmas.

Winter Immune Tips

BeetSoup-CremeFraicheIt’s the time of year again when many people are snuffling, coughing and sneezing.  We’re often tired at the end of the year and combine that with late nights, overindulgence and the stresses of getting Christmas organised…and we can often come a cropper to a seasonal bug.   Here are my top tips to have you fighting them off with a vengeance and staying healthy this festive time.

  1. Get creative with all the festive warming herbs and spices.  Add ginger to your cooking and smoothies or even porridge (my personal favourite), sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg on natural or coconut yoghurt and add a clove or 2 to soups and sweet mixtures.  These all contain immune supporting properties.
  2. Where possible cook with alternatives to sugar.  Molasses is rich in minerals, xylitol is anti-bacterial and good quality honey has plenty of anti-oxidants.  Refined sugar leads to an inflammatory state and feeds any negative bacteria in your gut.
  3. If you feel a cold is coming on, have a teaspoon of turmeric and honey in coconut milk (warm) before you go to bed.  Wonderful anti-viral properties.  Normal milk might make you a bit more bunged up as it can produce mucus, which is why I advise coconut milk.
  4. Make sure you are getting at least 6 (preferably 8) portions of fruit and veg per day even amidst the treats and drinks! This will help provide you with nutrients your immune system demands.  Make a smoothie to take with you for mid-morning.  Spinach, pineapple,ginger and coconut water for example.
  5. Get your vitamin D levels tested. This is such an important immune vitamin as it helps to increase the flow of white blood cells to an infection.  Supplement in winter!  When I feel a cold coming on, I supplement with 5000 iu of emulsified vitamin D every couple of hours, along with 10 drops of echinacea…does the trick providing I rest as well.
  6. Look after your gut. 70 to 80% of your immune system is based in the GALT (gut associated lymphoid tissue) and this is dependent upon your gut bacteria.  Foods like sugar, alcohol and refined carbs feed the negative bacteria and compromise your immune function.  Provide the beneficial bacteria with substrate instead: many vegetables and fermented foods such as miso, sauerkraut, tempeh or kefir.
  7. Eat mushrooms: especially “exotic” ones such as shitake.  As well as providing B vitamins, these contain beta-glucans, vital for immune function.
  8. Sleep!  Most of us need 6 to 8 hours. Less than this and you are unlikely to be resting enough, leaving no time for repair and rejuvenation.
  9. Find some down time.  If you are chronically stressed you may be over or under producing cortisol, a hormone involved in the stress response.  Too much cortisol and immunity is dampened.  Too little and ditto.  It’s all about balance.
  10. Laugh!!  Research shows that laughter increases the mobilisation of white blood cells.  Smile and you are half way there.