Thursday, 23 February 2017

How to add superfoods to your diet

Superfoods are a fantastic way to add rich, powerful nutrients to your diet and transform your health and wellbeing in the process. But what are the best ways to start to incorporate them into your food? Some might taste a little strong to your palette to begin with, so you may prefer to blend them with other tastes - at least until you adjust.

Superfoods in smoothies

Green juices and smoothies are perhaps the most common way to add superfoods to your diet. Try a green juice of spinach, apple, lime, avocado and kiwi with a spoon of spirulina or wheatgrass. If you are new to green juicing, try a 50/50 vegetable and fruit blend. As you become less reliant on sugar, decrease the amount of fruit and become more adventurous with your green vegetables - celery, cucumber, fennel, lettuce and parsley will all help to transport your superfoods to every cell in your body for a powerful cleansing and reinvigorating effect.

In soups

Try stirring our Vitality green superfood blend into a soup - broccoli and coconut is a great choice made with fresh vegetable broth for vital nutrients. Allow the soup to cool slightly before stirring in your superfood sprinkle with a spoonful of toasted nuts, a swirl of coconut cream or a dusting of nutritional yeast flakes.

As a shot

If you are feeling ready for a quick health hit, then simply mix a spoon of your chosen superfood - maca, spirulina, wheatgrass or a blend - with filtered water and then knock it back!

In raw energy bites

Food process dates, nuts, vanilla and a spoonful of maca powder for some delicious raw energy bites. Experiment with other ingredients such as raw cacao, seeds, coconut flakes, nut butter, chia seeds and other healthful ingredients as you perfect your recipe. You can also roll your raw balls in superfoods for a colourful finish - try spirulina for a colourful green energy ball to enjoy after your workout!

What is your favourite way to enjoy superfoods?

3 ways to harness the benefits of turmeric

Turmeric has had a lot of media attention over the past couple of years. Although the spice has long been used in eastern medicine, in the west it has in the past largely been relegated to the kitchen cupboard – occasionally brought out to brighten up a curry or a stew.

More and more of us are now aware of turmeric's myriad of health benefits. It's main active ingredient, curcumin, is a strong anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, that fights inflammation at a molecular level. Turmeric can be used to treat everything from acne to inflammatory diseases, and is even believed to help protect against chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. 

It's a good idea then, to include more turmeric in a healthy lifestyle, and you don't have to stick to curry to gain the benefits of this super spice.

1. Start the day with a latte or smoothie

A growing trend among health conscious hipsters, why not start the day with a turmeric latte, tea or smoothie. Make a paste from turmeric powder and boiling water (or grate the fresh root if you can find it), and add it to nut milk or water with a healthy sweetener, a dusting of cinnamon and some black pepper for a delicious morning wake up.

You can also add the powder to your fruit smoothie, to give it an extra health boost.

2. Try a face mask

You don't have to eat turmeric to feel the benefits. Used by Indian brides for centuries as a beauty treatment, a turmeric facial can help treat conditions like acne, dry skin and eczema. Just add turmeric and honey to some milk or yogurt, and use as a face mask for glowing skin.

3. Get creative

While turmeric is of course a fantastic addition to an Indian curry, there are plenty of other dishes you can make with this versatile spice.
Try sprinkling it over roast vegetables or scrambled eggs, or add it to rice next time you're cooking. With so many health benefits to be felt, it's worth including turmeric in your food wherever you can.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Raw peanut butter and jam protein slice

Recipe - Raw peanut butter and jam protein slice

I am such a big fan of peanut butter and jam. The combination of sweet and salty is a classic and is a firm favourite for so many people on toast, in sandwiches, on pancakes.... However, heavily laden with refined sugar I now tend to stay away from conventional jam in favour of home-made healthy alternatives.

I wanted to create a recipe that used this winning combo but in a healthy snack that doesn't involve smothering it on top of carbs, and a slice seemed like the perfect solution. This recipe also doesn't use nuts in the base so it's really light in texture and on the tummy. 

1 cup organic rolled oats
1 cup Medjool dates
4 tbsp organic peanut butter (I always choose ones palm oil free or from sustainable palm oil sources)
4tbsp raw hemp protein powder
Drizzle of maple syrup or agave
Jam Layer
250g berries of your choice (I used raspberries and blueberries)
4 tbsp chia seeds
Top Layer
1 tbsp coconut oil
1tbsp raw cacao powder
1tbsp coconut palm sugar or sweeter of your choice

1. First make your jam, in a blender add all your berries and blend until broken down in to liquid consistency. pour in to a bowl and add the chia seeds, mix well and place in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes to set.
2. Put the oats in a food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds or until oats have a breadcrumb consistency. 
3. Add the dates, peanut butter, hemp protein powder and maple syrup and continue to blitz.  This should slowly form a dense sticky mixture, if it's too dry add a little water and blitz again. 
4. Place the base mixture in a tin lined with baking parchment and spread and press evenly to all corners.
5. Once set, speed the chia jam on to the base and pop in the freezer for 10 minutes. 
6. Melt the coconut oil in a pan on a low heat, once melted add the raw cacao powder and coconut palm sugar and mix very well. You should have a thick liquid consistency similar to melted chocolate. 
7. Take the tin out of the freezer and pour the cacao liquid on top of the jam. You can cover it evenly or make patterns. Place the tin in the fridge for 20 minutes to all it all to set together. 
8. After it has set, take out from the fridge, cut in to squares, bars or shapes and enjoy:) 

Maca powder – the superfood beneficial for an underactive thyroid

Maca powder – the superfood beneficial for an underactive thyroid

Do you feel tired and stressed out all the time? Research has indicated that the alkaloids of maca will have a beneficial effect on your endocrine system when taken regularly - and this is good news for all women. As we go through life, our hormones fluctuate. This can be unsettling enough but, when we also take the stresses of daily life into account, we can start to experience adrenal fatigue - this is our body’s first line of defence. If we don’t heed the warnings, the thyroid gland can become impacted severely. 

Many women have found that taking maca improves the function of their thyroid, reducing mental fog and fatigue in a very short space of time. 

It works best if you can use maca powder on a daily basis and it works by impacting the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus - these are significant when it comes to the health of your thyroid. The hypothalamus releases a thyrotropin-releasing hormone – known as TRH - and this stimulates the pituitary gland which in turn, stimulates the thyroid to release the thyroid hormone. So, if you want an overhaul of your endocrine system, maca may be the herb for you. Maca powder can help to stimulate the natural productivity of your thyroid and this has to be a good thing. 

As a superfood, maca root is becoming increasingly popular as it has numerous benefits. It helps to reduce glucose levels, can reduce the number of hot flushes associated with the menopause, it lowers your blood pressure and can even improve sexual desire. Maca powder is readily available and it can easily be added to meals on a daily basis. If you are interested in trying it out, simply add to your cereals or homemade smoothies and enjoy the subtle, malty taste. Note: it is generally advised that you don't cook or bake maca powder but as small quantities are all that is required, you'll find many ways of adding it to your diet. Use regularly and you’ll start to notice that your health improves.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

6 reasons spirulina is the superfood you need right now 

With its deep forest green colour, spirulina powder is often considered the king of super greens. Its unique colour is down to the fact that spirulina is actually a form of algae. And this amazing superfood is simple to add to your daily routine - all you need to do is stir one heaped teaspoon into a smoothie filled with fresh fruit once a day and you'll start feeling the health benefits. Here are six reasons spirulina is the superfood you need right now:

1. Packed with protein

Gym-going vegans have been drinking spirulina-packed smoothies for years. In fact, spirulina is 64% protein! The fact that there are 57 grams of protein per 100 grams is just mind-blowing. So, if you are looking for a protein uptake without having dairy or meat - look no further.

2. High in chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is the stuff that flushes toxins and bad stuff out of your blood. No, this doesn't mean you should continue to eat poorly or drink excessively to balance it out, but it can give you a helping hand.

3. High in iron

If you are on a plant-based diet, finding foods high in iron is a real struggle. Spirulina is packed with iron to help you solve that issue.

4. Packed with nutrients

Spirulina is also packed with the nutrients your body craves for everyday healthy functioning and wellness such as vitamin A, B6, C and D. On top of that, you'll find magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, chromium and selenium.

5. High in antioxidants

High in antioxidants means it's great for a detox and also amazing for your skin.

6. High in calcium

Spirulina is incredibly high in calcium meaning that's good news for your teeth and bones. To all those milk drinkers out there, spirulina actually contains over 26 times the amount of calcium found in moo juice.