Eating Clean

Cashew Rose Ice Cream Nom Noms


Cashew Rose Ice Cream Nom Nom

I’m not going to hang around in this post, I’ll just get to the point… these little dairy-free, gluten-free ice cream mini bites are utterly delicious!

Using cashews and coconut milk for the creamy base and adding a touch of rose flavouring, with a dose of superfood in the name of goji berries thrown in… this is the ultimate feel good treat with nothing to feel guilty about (unless you eat the whole recipe to yourself!!). Ooh I can see your mouth watering already! So let’s get to the recipe… so simple you can make it right now. (more…)

Is Going Gluten Free The Answer?


Gluten. In or Out?In my continuing quest to discover what “ultimate health” is all about and maybe see if I could shed a few pounds in the process, I recently tried a gluten-free period of eating. This meant that I ate no gluten-containing food stuffs such as wheat, barley and rye for 3 weeks. I was led to try this after having listened to many of ‘The Thyroid Sessions‘ webinars, where experts came together to discuss thyroid health and the various ways in which people suffering from thyroid disorders can help themselves. One of these such discussions claimed that (don’t quote me on exact numbers, this was the general gist of it) around 90% of people with thyroid issues also have some form of gluten sensitivity. That fact hit me right in the neck (the neck – where the thyroid is located – get it?!). If you’re not aware of my situation, I have an under-active thyroid, I was diagnosed with it around 6 years ago. So what I wondered was – could this claim mean that I may possibly improve my thyroid health, thereby reducing the amount of drugs I take for it? Maybe it would help me lose those last few pounds that refuse to leave my body? It was worth a shot.

As my trial of eating a gluten-free diet began, I switched my regular morning oats for either quinoa with blueberries or for gluten-free muesli. No problem there, easy peasy, and the best bit was that I realised that the quinoa breakfast actually filled me up for way longer than my old breakfast of porridge (oats are not themselves gluten-containing but most oats you buy CAN be cross-contaminated by other crops or at the factory so you need to buy gluten-free oats if you wish to continue with porridge). Another change I made was not having any bread, as this is made from wheat flour. This was not so much of a problem for me as I don’t eat bread more than once a week anyway. For lunch I would have an enormous salad with greens, chopped veg, salmon and quinoa, or maybe a chicken breast with 3 different veggies on the side. Following that I would have a small portion of fruit, to satisfy my sweet tooth and save myself from ‘needing’ my usual afternoon cup of Options Hot Chocolate. In the evening I would make a nice steak with garlic sautéed veggies, or a turkey/minced beef chilli with brown rice, or a chicken & lentil curry. And if was hungry between meals I just grabbed an apple with a little cashew or almond butter. Any whole foods that didn’t contain gluten were a go for my trial.

As I began, I steadily lost 0.2-0.4 lbs most days, which was nice to see on the scales. (more…)

Vegetables – The Miracle Fat Loss Food


Roasted Butternut Squash

2, 3, 5, 10 a day? How many portions of vegetables do you eat on a daily basis? My guess is that it varies from day to day but averages around 3-6, a portion being approximately half a cup of cooked or 1 cup of raw veggies. If you’re reading this post, the chances are that you are healthier than most, or at least have a greater awareness of what healthy eating looks like (or you’re my husband, who is forced to read all my posts anyway!). I want to take a few moments to try to spell out the beauty of vegetables, not only how good they are for your health, but how even more valuable they are when on a weight or fat loss plan. Later on in this post I will show you how you can use vegetables to your advantage to help you in your quest to shed the fat!

Vegetables have some really great culinary and nutritional properties, such as:

  • having very varied flavours and textures
  • containing many vitamins & minerals
  • containing lots of fibre
  • having low amounts of sugar, helping keep blood sugar levels stable
  • being easily digestible
  • containing very few calories per portion compared to similar amounts of other foods

That last point above is the killer punch that vegetables pack, which makes them a very powerful tool in your arsenal when planning a menu for weight-/fat-loss. I’ll say it again – cup for cup, vegetables contain fewer calories per portion than other foods. What this really means is you can eat a shed load of vegetables for not a lot of calories. And who wouldn’t want to eat large amounts of food that has no adverse effect on their waistline?! One cup of vegetables contains just 30 to 80 calories, depending on the variety (to be clear, we are NOT including white potatoes in this discussion – yes they are a vegetable but they are another story – useful in your diet possibly yes, but not for the context that I’m talking about). Vegetables are also nutrient-dense – you get the most amount of nutrients packed in small amounts of food. So not only can you pile them onto your plate without adding hundreds of extra calories, you are also getting the maximum amount of nutrition at the same time. Vegetables are sounding even more attractive aren’t they?

So let’s assume you agree to put more vegetables on your plate in place of other less-nutritious items, what other positive effects does this have? (more…)

Dark Chocolate Rice Cakes – Make At Home And Get Twice As Many For Half The Cost!


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Recently I have fallen in love with dark chocolate rice cakes . The brand in particular I have fallen for are these ones (in fact these are the only brand of chocolate rice cakes I have seen!):

Kallo Dark Choc Rice Cakes

I have been having 2 of these for my afternoon snack together with an apple and it’s just the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. What could be better than a fresh, crunchy apple accompanied by the delights of comforting, crispy rice cakes smothered in dark chocolate? I know! Nothing!!

BUT, I have to say that these little beauties are very expensive. Even when you buy them on BOGOHP (buy one get one half price), you still feel it in your purse. They are around £1.80 a packet and for that you only get 8 thin dark chocolate rice cakes. They don’t last long, as you can imagine.

Kallo Dark Choc Rice Cakes

So what is a girl to do when she longs after these rather expensive little items? Make her own of course (and make them cheaper)!

(more…)

Rose & Goji Berry Raw Chocolates – To DIE For!


Raw Chocolates

So the picture above means you already want to make these for yourself, right?! And so you should! These solid dark chocolates remind me of a Turkish paradise (ok, a ‘Turkish Delight’ paradise anyway) and as you crunch into them you find the delicate flavour of rose and also little chewy pieces of goji berries, all tantalising your taste buds. It’s a sensation not to be missed I promise. These are only my second venture into the world of raw chocolate making, so I’m pretty pleased they came out looking like this and also tasted so great!

After watching a programme on TV about raw chocolate making, where they showed a quick overview of the process and the types of ingredients involved, but didn’t give any quantities of each, I decided I would just have a go for myself. As with most times I decide to ‘try’ something,  I just winged the quantities and added a few of my own ingredients, weighing and writing them down in case I came up with a genius recipe I’d want to repeat. The first batch were not bad, but they weren’t perfect – they didn’t have that ‘snap’ that chocolate has when it’s bitten into or broken apart, being softer than they should be. I put this down to two things – firstly I added quite a quantity of coconut oil which, as you probably know, is fairly soft even when in its solid state; secondly, I went overboard adding powdered ingredients, so the liquid was swamped and therefore couldn’t ‘set’ into a solid again. Oh and finally, I didn’t reheat the chocolate mixture to enable it to set with a lovely glossy coat. Lessons learned. Moving on to my second batch…

(Before I go on I should say sorry to my friend Jenny, who got some of the first batch but still insisted they were lovely! The second batch was MUCH better I’m pleased to say – as verified by 2 other friends – and this is what I’m sharing with you today.)

Armed with the knowledge of how NOT to make a crisp chocolate, I started over, this time with less powdered ingredients and MUCH less coconut oil.

This is my recipe for Rose and Goji Berry Raw Chocolates.

Ingredients (makes about 30 chocolates, depending on mould size used):

Blackcurrant, Banana & Chia Layered Breakfast Recipe


Yesterday I spotted a tub of frozen blackcurrants at the supermarket and could NOT resist buying them, as they are one of favourite fruits ever. I remember eating them in a not-so-healthy way when I was young, when I would buy a blackcurrant pie from the bakers and devour it as I walked around town, but these days I can do without all that pastry around the berries and just appreciate the fruit by itself!

Blackcurrants contain a high concentrations of vitamin C, with just 100 g of fresh blackcurrants providing more than 3 times the recommended daily intake. They’re also packed full of phyto-nutrients and anti-oxidants, providing health benefits such as protection against cancer, aging, inflammation, and neurological diseases. So what’s not to love about these deep purple packets of yumminess?

In this recipe I also use chia seeds, which are powerfully healthy little seeds of wonder! They contain a high concentration of Omega-3 essential fatty acids and are also full of amino acids (protein building blocks), providing another highly nutritious and important layer to this recipe.

I’m guessing (hoping!) that as you look at the picture below, you’re thinking, “Ooh, how do I put together that absolutely delicious looking breakfast dish?”.

Well wait no longer, the recipe is right below. I have split it into sections to make your preparation easier. It’s a great idea to make the blackcurrant jam and the chia date pudding at least an hour before you’re due to assemble the layered breakfast, so that they have cooled and absorbed the liquid respectively, in time. I made these two parts of the recipe in the evening then just layered everything up in the morning ready to eat.

Blackcurrant Banana Chia Layered Breakfast

Ingredients (serves 2):

Blackcurrant Jam Layer

  • Half a cup of blackcurrants (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbsp. sweetener of your choice, eg. agave nectar, maple syrup, stevia, date syrup etc.

Chia Date Pudding Layer:

  • 200ml (almost a cup) unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 3-4 dates
  • 3 tbsp. chia seeds

Other layers:

  • 1 banana
  • 170g pot Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage but any will do)
  • ⅓ cup of your favourite granola mix (I used Lizi’s Low GI Granola)

Method:

  • Make the blackcurrant jam by heating the blackcurrants and sweetener in a pan on the stove top on a low heat, stirring until the blackcurrants fall apart somewhat, then tip the mixture into a food processor and whizz up until smooth. Set aside to cool then refrigerate.
  • Make the chia date pudding by whizzing up the dates with the milk in a blender or food processor (it doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth), then pour into a bowl with the chia seeds, mix well, cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour or overnight.
  • Layer up the breakfast by adding layers of sliced banana, Greek yogurt, blackcurrant jam and chia date pudding, until you are almost to the top of your dish/glass. Top with a sprinkle of granola and there you have a beautiful breakfast that will keep you full for hours and provide many nutrients, protein and healthy fats to start your day with.

Nutritional Info:

Per Serving: 403 calories 49g carbohydrates 14g fat (2g saturated) 12g protein

Of course if you can’t find blackcurrants you can swap them for blueberries, blackberries or raspberries and they will provide an equally tasty jam.

So there you have it, now there’s nothing stopping you from having a nutritious and delicious breakfast any day of the week!

Enjoy!

Janice.

Super Healthy Orange Pepper Hummus


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On a Saturday night, who doesn’t fancy some tortilla chips with a tasty dip? You don’t? Well you can tune out now if you don’t! For the rest of you, here’s my favourite recipe for a tasty hummus dip, that will save you lots of wasted calories and unhealthy ingredients that off-the-shelf dips are often guilty of containing.

This is literally a 2 minute recipe, all you have to do is get the ingredients out of the fridge/cupboard, wash and chop them, chuck them into the blender and blitz.

Ingredients

  • 1 orange bell pepper, washed, cored & roughly chopped
  • 1 spring onion, washed & trimmed
  • 1 200g / 8oz can chickpeas in water, drained
  • 1 heaped tbsp. tahini
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ to ½ tsp. ground cumin (adjust to taste)
  • ½ to 1 tsp. garlic powder, or ½ to 1 tsp. minced garlic (adjust to taste)
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method

  • Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend on medium/high speed until smooth.

Simple as that! Dip your favourite chips into it, knowing that you have added decent amount of proteins and healthy fats to your Saturday night treat, and have also cut out any artificial ingredients that are often contained in commercially produced dips.

Enjoy!
Janice.