Wellness // Part One. Food and Health.

January 04, 2018

Happy New Year! This is the first of two posts about health & wellbeing for 2018. Of course I'm not an expert in nutrition or fitness but it's something that I practice a lot and many of you on Instagram have asked for my thoughts on it all and some tips. So part one talking food, recipes and batch cooking.

Eating as well as I can is something that I try to do year round {I mean, aside from December's diet with a lot more gingerbread, chocolate, turkey and cheese than usual...} rather than just January. I'm not really into this monthly 'quick fix' of resolutions. You'll also notice that I'm not here to talk specifically about dieting and weight loss. It's not something I want to promote, except from the occasional detox for a couple of days if you really feel like you need a bit of a reset {you can read about my past struggles with eating disorders here}. But if you eat well and keep active obviously maintaining a healthy weight is a side effect but shouldn't be your sole purpose.

In an ideal world we should all try and keep ourselves well and nourished in as healthy way as possible. And this definitely doesn't mean starving yourself. I for one actually eat a lot, and have a huge appetite because I keep active but as long as you're eating the right stuff, you shouldn't worry about how much you're eating. Health I guess means different things to different people, for some it may be low carb, cutting out bread/pasta etc, some would even go as far as veganism. But for me I don't want to cut anything out. But what I try to aim for is to eat things in their most natural/whole state as possible with lots of fresh fruit & vegetables to bulk out any 'naughty' food. I don't exclude any food group but when I eat carbohydrates I like them to be brown so that they're more nutrient dense and filling or I'll have vegetables on the side so I don't need as much. I don't drink alcohol {at all!} or smoke, or eat any fried foods/crisps/fizzy drinks. But everybody has their vices and mine is sugar! I try to cut it out completely occasionally but often that just makes me want it more so I just cut back from time to time, trying to remember that it should be a treat and not an everyday food... I guess I've still got some work to do on that front.

In the end though it's all about balance isn't it. And after having my eating disorders years ago in a way I'm lucky that it made me fall in love with certain foods and has on the whole left me with good habits, but not in a dangerous way anymore. I want to be strong over skinny so I find that focusing on health and wellness as a whole is the way forward. Not just for working out but for staying well both mentally and physically. I feel that nutrition can play a huge part in eating ourselves well for a whole host of issues. We try and buy organic as much as possible, I don't think pesticides or growth hormones do anybody any good? And one other thing that my husband & I try to practice is eating dinner early. So we finish dinner by 6/6.30pm at the latest unless we're eating out with friends/family. It makes you sleep better but also we feel it's beneficial if you can have a long period of fasting overnight. {I know that Dr Walsh may read this and tell me that scientific studies won't back any of this up? Hi Dr Walsh! I get frustrated with the hundreds of studies sometimes, you get told something different every week. But to me it makes sense to try and fast for a large part of the night if possible}.

A few healthy swaps that we've made recently is from ice cream to greek 0% fat yogurt in the week {don't worry, nothing will take away Haagen Daaz from my weekends!} and using venison instead of beef sometimes for a lot more health benefits. We try to minimise red meat as a whole {especially when processed like ham/sausages which are now mainly occasional treats} and when we do have it only buy organic, and most of the time only eat fish during the week or meat-free recipes. I've even gone off cooking chicken these days.

I've talked more in the past here about some of my food 'mantras', I'm probably mostly repeating myself in this post but hopefully if you're new here then you'll have liked reading.

We're still on the green smoothies every morning as part of our breakfast and I love them to start the day. My husband is a pro at making them now. I talked about them a couple of years back but since then we've adapted them slightly and mostly our recipe goes like this in our nutribullet; half fill with frozen broccoli and spinach, add in frozen blueberries or mixed berries {we buy the big bags from Costco to keep in the freezer}, add lots of turmeric, some black pepper and coconut oil to aid the absorbency and then we add some green superfood powders in, maca powder, matcha green tea powder, and our most recent addition which is this collagen powder made out of gelatine. It basically gives you the benefit of drinking bone broth {so so many health benefits} but without the jelly which freaks me out a little! Add some boiling water to the nutribullet and some cold to the max fill line then blend it all up. I add a berry flavoured efferescevent vitamin C tablet to mine which makes it taste good! Eating raw broccoli/berries like this is a great insurance nutrition wise to wake up on.

I've shared some of our favourite, mostly healthy, recipes over time here and here.

// But a couple more recipes I've promised some of you;

Jamie's Salmon Burgers, from his most recent cookbook which we're obsessed with {online here}.
You can find the recipe online here. We serve this with a stir fry pack of veg, often using both a 'nice' pack with a more basic pack to bulk the veg out and some King Soba brown rice wakame seaweed noodles.

// Super Green Omelette

A new favourite that's high in protein and low in carbs if you're after that. For 2 people we used half a white onion, diced, whole bag of organic spinach, leftover Christmas ham {or you could use smoked fish or omit altogether}, frozen peas, 6 eggs. 

Just fry off the ingredients above and then add the eggs. Grill at the end with a little sharp cheddar if you like. We ate this with a watercress salad topped with broccoli, asparagus and sugar snaps that I microwaved for 2 mins.

// Quick & easy spiced prawn, spinach and pea curry.

For two hungry adults; 1 x pack of prawns {fresh or frozen, cooked or raw}, the best you can find.
1 x white onion, diced
1 x tablespoon of Patak's masala paste
1 x small tin of tomato puree
1 x tin of chopped tomatoes {Cirio are the best}
Frozen peas, as many as you like
Around 8-10 frozen spinach balls, or a big bag of fresh spinach
Rice to serve {we use Microwave brown basmati}

- Fry off the onion in a heavy based pan/wok with some oil or fry light. I use frylight. 
- Once softened, add the masala paste and puree and stir for a couple of minutes
- Add the chopped tomatoes and the frozen spinach and peas. Stir until cooked through and hot
- Add your prawns. If cooked then just heat them through. If raw, make sure they're in the sauce long enough to turn pink so they're fully cooked.
-Serve with rice. That's it!

// Batch Cooking; 

If we're short on time in a week or have lots going on early evening where we won't have a chance to cook and eat at a sensible time then we get ahead by batch cooking some meals so that all we have to do is heat them up and add some extra vegetables to them. This only works if you don't mind having the same thing for a couple of nights running!
  • Chilli is one of our favourites as it keeps so well. We'll often have it with brown rice & kale one night, the next with spaghetti squash or pasta and kale {trust me pasta with chilli is even better than rice & chilli as we found out by accident one day and have been eating ever since!}. Can be veggie or meat.
  • Risotto scales up well, if you're cooking one lot then you might as well double up. It microwaves like a dream the next day. My favourite risotto recipe is here.
  • Any kind of stew
  • Aubergine parmiagana
  • Most weeks I also batch cook some roasted vegetables, often using up what's left in the fridge {sprouts, cauliflower, carrots and squash are our favourites} because they all taste so much better when roasted. You don't have to peel them, just cut them up and chuck them onto an oven tray and roast in an oven around 180c for about an hour or until soft/just blackened a little. Then keep in the fridge and add them to lunches or dinners for the rest of the week. I particularly like them with some salad and lentils, olives and parmesan for a yummy quick lunch.
  • Lasagne, either meat or veggie.
  • I don't own a slowcooker but so many people swear by them. I might invest for next autumn/winter. 

What have I missed? What are your thoughts on staying healthy and well? I'll talk more about exercise in part two!

R <3 xx

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  1. Great inspiration as always! Thank you! Going to try making green smoothies but my tastebuds might take some persuading��

  2. With all the healthy eating and exercise you do I've noticed you are often tired and under the weather.You recently mentioned on your holiday that its the only time you get up not feeling tired...have you had your bloods checked for anaemia. Other than that your body is probably telling you to slow down.

  3. Concentrating so much on healthy eating is still a sign of disordered eating. If eating any foods e.g. fried foods, or eating after a certain time makes you anxious at all then it is important to consider you mental health. Wellness bloggers often forget that a healthy relationship with food is more important than what you eat, and mental health is as important as physical. If healthy eating ever makes you skip social events then it is not wellness, as social interactions are much more important to health than food and weight. It probably the reason why moderate drinkers live longer than tee totallers https://www.beateatingdisorders.org.uk/types/orthorexia


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