7 Health Benefits of Eating Broccoli

I recently worked with someone on healthy ways to prepare her body for pregnancy. Broccoli kept coming up as one of the healthiest vegetables to get a lot of her necessary nutrients in. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients such as Vitamins A, C, K and B complex, zinc, iron, calcium and magnesium; perfect for our bodies whether you are pregnant or just wanting to maintain a healthy body.

Yes broccoli and other vegetables in the cruciferous family such as brussels sprouts and cauliflower can cause bloating and gas, and if that is you read here about ways to ease gas and bloating.

Here are some of the benefits of eating broccoli:

  • Broccoli is high in protein so if you do not eat any animal products then this is a good way to get your daily protein requirements in.
  • It has anti-cancer compounds such as sulforaphane which helps with the prevention of liver, colon, skin, breast and stomach cancers.
  • Broccoli is high in vitamin K, folate, iron, vitamin C, choline, all minerals required for a healthy pregnancy.
  • It has antihistamine properties which helps with fending off seasonal allergies, sinus infections, watery eyes and colds and flu.
  • It is high in fibre and low in calories so it helps with keeping you full therefore stopping you from over eating and then aiding in weight loss.
  • Due to its high vitamin A content it is known to be really good for eye health, lowering your risk of macular degeneration.
  • Increase in broccoli intake can aid in the reduction of the LDL-cholesterol

Preparing Broccoli:

Steaming broccoli is one of the healthiest ways to cook it as it leaves a lot more of the nutrients intact.
I like to boil water and add my broccoli in for about 4-5 minutes or when it just starts to change colour and get a little bit softer. This way it also retains a lot of its nutrients.
I then sprinkle a little bit of rock or sea salt and lemon over it as it enhances the flavour beautifully.

One of my absolute favourite ways to consume broccoli is in its sprout form.
Gram for gram the sprouts have way more nutrients than when fully grown and are a lot easier to digest.
You can add these to just about any meal such as salads, soups or your main dish.

How to ease gas and bloating after meals

Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables are some of the most nutritious foods available to us. I recently did some research on helping a client prepare their body for pregnancy with what to eat and take while being pregnant. These 3 foods came up over and over again as being full of so many nutrients and especially helpful while being pregnant. These nutrients include protein, vitamin K, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, choline and vitamin C to name a few.
So we really want to be eating a lot of these foods to enjoy their benefits.

Suggested Read: 7 Health Benefits of Eating Broccoli

But what if they cause you gas?

The cruciferous foods are high in fibre and a specific complex carbohydrate (raffinose) which some people have a hard time breaking down, perhaps due to not enough stomach acid, or enough of the particular bacteria that breaks down these foods. So it’s not the broccoli causing the gas but the bacteria working overtime in your intestines, resulting in cabon dioxide, nitrogen and methane.

Here are 7 ways to help with the gas from the broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts or any foods you eat:

  • Chew your food really well so your stomach has a lot less work to do in the digestive process
  • Start with really small amounts of these specific foods so there is less for your body to process, reducing your amount of gas. You can build up the amount you eat over time to give your body chance to adjust and get used to digesting these foods.
  • Cook them a little longer so it is easier for your body to break it down.
  • Eat the broccoli sprouts. These are packed with way more nutrients gram for gram and they are really easy for our bodies to digest.
  • Sip on peppermint or rooibos tea after eating. Peppermint has antispasmodic and relaxing properties and can help relieve cramps and bloating in the digestive tract.
  • Chew on caraway seeds or anise seeds after eating or add them to hot water and let them steep for a few minutes and drink as a tea. They are very helpful in easing indigestion as they have antispasmodic properties which help to release gas and ease the bloating.
  • Fennel seeds are also beneficial in reducing gas and bloating. The compounds found in fennel are anti inflammatory and antispasmodic which relax the muscles in the intestines and help pass the trapped gas.

If you have indigestion and you’re not eating many of these foods consider doing the following:

  • Stop drinking carbonated beverages
  • Cut down on allergy causing foods such as dairy and wheat
  • Stop chewing gum
  • Stop smoking
  • Do some exercise after eating like a little walk around the neighbourhood
  • Take a probiotic supplement to increase the beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract

It may be really uncomfortable now, but by adjusting your diet and making small changes the indigestion, gas and bloating can improve.

Look after your body like you would look after your dream car

​Getting healthy isn’t just a once off thing where you do a cleanse for a week or 2 or maybe for a month, and then get back to your normal diet. ​

It is an ongoing lifestyle that needs to evolve over time as your body evolves. 

Our bodies are finely tuned machines that are meant to run optimally, and will run optimally given the right fuel on a daily basis, both physically and mentally. You wouldn’t put cooking oil in your car, or even give it a green juice as petrol (even though that would be amazing for our bodies). You take it for a regular service and probably clean it fairly regularly. But not many people do this for their bodies. The car can be traded in but our body cannot. 

There are constant toxins that we are bombarded with on a daily basis, from petrol fumes, to chemicals in our household products, body ‘care’ products, aftershave, make-up, nail polish, and possibly the worst of all is the adrenaline and cortisol that floats around our bodies from stress. 

For a lot of people stress is constant which means these hormones are going around the body all the time. This causes oxidative stress on the body and ages you more rapidly among other things. 

In order to counteract this we need a few things:
* daily antioxidant rich foods
* lots of good quality water
* daily mindfulness practice to check in with how you’re feeling such as journaling, breath work, time in nature, talking to a coach or a friend
* some form of exercise
* stretching

Play around and find the lifestyle that keeps you feeling your best which you can continue with for the rest of your life, adjusting here and there as you need! 

Why I Eat as Healthy as Possible

People often used to ask me why I eat as healthy as I do.
And I think that until you feel so uncomfortable in your body, in so much pain and really struggling every day, that you are so desperate to try anything, you don’t really understand why anyone would be really particular with their food intake.

I used to have such painful knee and elbow joints. I couldn’t even go to the movies and sit there with bent knees as it hurt too much. I had to sleep with straight arms and legs to avoid pain, and to top it off I had insomnia or would sleep walk.
My skin was all blotchy and red, with acne marks and pigmentation.
My digestive system was not working properly and I had constipation.
I still actually get small patches of eczema but at least I know how my triggers(for me it’s gluten and high amounts of stress).

Thankfully I found a way of eating that helped my body heal itself. It is so liberating and energising to feel healthy and I definitely do not want to go back to feeling that way, so I continue to eat a really healthy plant-based diet.
Of course I have ‘soul-food’ every now and again where I might have some bread or normal chocolate cake etc, but the next day I continue eating healthy, and I have extra digestive enzymes and green powders just to flush it out my system. I find that if you become too restrictive it can lead to eating disorders and obsessions, which is a topic for another post.

There is a saying that goes “Nothing tastes as good as good health feels” and as someone who has been in pain, I completely agree.

7 Healthy Smoothie Recipes

I love smoothies.
They’re quick to make and a quick way to get an abundance of nutrients into your body. You can mix a number of different fruits to get a variety of nutrients and antioxidants.
If you put green powders or medicinal herbs in, you can easily hide them with chocolate powders or other superfood powders. (I love to do this)
They’re easy on the digestive system as they have been pre-digested by the blending process. It also helps to get a lot of water in as you use a lot with making smoothies.
Smoothies are also a perfect healthy snack in between meals.

Here are some of the smoothies I enjoy drinking. Blend these ingredients together with a high speed blender. If you don’t have one use less frozen fruits so you don’t burn out the motor. Add more water or fruit to get your desired consistency. Also add in any extra medicinal herbs or superfoods as desired.

Sunshine in a glass
1 cup pineapple
1 papaya
2 bananas
1 1/2 cups of water or non-dairy milk or coconut water

King Kale
2 cups kale
1 1/2 cups of water or non-dairy milk or coconut water
1 cup frozen berries of choice (strawberries or blueberries work well)
1 teaspoon of honey or sweetener of choice
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds

Superfood Energy
2 cups spinach
1 1/2 cups water, or coconut water or almond/hemp milk
1/2 cup frozen mango
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon Lucuma powder

Chocolate Berry Bomb
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen cherries (fresh optional)
2 cups water, or coconut water or almond/hemp milk
1 cup spinach
1 small handful parsley
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey or sweetener of choice

Nutty Chocolate
1 Cup water, or coconut water or almond/hemp milk
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon almond butter (or nut butter of choice)
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 tablespoon honey or sweetener of choice
1 teaspoon barleygrass powder

The Orange Blitzer
1 cup spinach
1 orange, peel removed
1 1/2 cups water, or coconut water or almond/hemp milk
1/2 banana
1 handful parsley
5 mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder

Fruit Green Machine
2 cups spinach
1 1/2 cups water, or coconut water or almond/hemp milk
1 cup chopped pineapple
1 avocado
1 teaspoon baobab powder

I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do 🙂

Happy blending!

4 Ways to Eat a Healthy Plant Based Diet

I know a lot of people would like to transform to eating a much healthier diet but do not know how to or where to start. There are so many diet’s ‘out there’ that you can get confused with what to eat. Transforming to a vegan/plant-based lifestyle can also be quite confusing.

I have worked with a few clients who are vegan and are doing it for animal rights purposes. I think it is amazing that people are standing up for what they believe in and being a voice for animals who cannot speak for themselves, however these clients were very unhealthy and not eating the right foods for their body. I want to be the voice of everyone’s body’s and say we have to listen to our bodies more than our heads to keep us thriving.

If people have not done their research before they cut out animal products they are at a loss for what to eat and then consume the same foods day in and day out, missing out on beautiful foods that could help them thrive. I’ve seen numerous people go back to eating meat again because they said while eating vegan they had so little energy and it just wasn’t working for them, and they really didn’t want to do it but had to if they were going to function properly.

Just as there are junk food meat eaters, there are junk food vegans.
I want to help people eat a vegan diet, but I want it to be a healthy one.

Here are 4 ways you can eat healthier on a plant based diet (although the below could also work for anyone):

  • Add in green powders or capsules daily (I tell most people to take these but it is very beneficial for when you’re not consuming animal products). My favourites include Barleygrass, Wheatgrass, Moringa and Spirulina.
  • Eat more green leafy foods such as lettuces, kale, baby spinach. Try and include one of these daily.
  • Have a variety of fruits and vegetables. More colours and more different types of foods means a variety of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
  • Make freshly squeezed juices with lots of greens such as celery and cucumber. Juicing allows you to get more in nutrients while not filling yourself up too much. (This is supplementary to your normal meals so as to not miss out on the fibre)

If you would like to transition to a more plant-based lifestyle or are vegan and would like to eat healthier add in the above. If you are in need of help and more tips in doing so get in touch with me and we can work together to get your body thriving.

Investing in Your Health is Your Wealth

I was speaking with some people this weekend and the topic of healthy eating came up. As usual the general consensus is that eating healthy is expensive. And yes it can be pricey. But what could the cost be to not eat healthy?

There is a show on one of the BBC channels that I just happened to see called “The Truth About …” and this particular episode was on Takeaways/fast foods’. They did a study with 15 young adults around 18-21 years old. They had to eat two fast food meals a day for two weeks. For a lot of people this could perhaps be exciting or just the normal way of eating.
After only a few days the test subjects were starting to feel lethargic and foggy brained, lacking motivation to do simple tasks and some were not even looking forward to eating another fast food meal.

At the end of the two weeks they did some tests to see how their body’s fared as well as how they were feeling.
They reported feeling very tired and they couldn’t sleep properly, their skin was breaking out, their hair was more oily, their digestive systems weren’t functioning properly and they couldn’t concentrate on their studies.
The majority gained weight, which was a gain in body fat, and their concentration of fat in the blood increased which is a marker of increased cardiovascular disease risk. Thankfully this was just a short term study, but if they continued with this diet they could develop heart disease as well as many other lifestyle diseases.

The scary thing is that for a lot of people this is their normal life. Imagine what the cost of living like this is.
Fast food and takeaways can be expensive vs cooking from scratch. When you cook at home you also know what is going into your food so it is usually healthier.
Eating a lot of takeaways may cause you to be foggy brained and not be able to concentrate on your work properly. You would get less done or even make errors, which could cost the company you’re working for a lot of money. Imagine there are 10 or even hundreds of people working for the company that are feeling the same way, making similar mistakes. If you run this business it will be an expensive one for you.
(I worked for a company who provided their staff with a daily morning smoothie and a healthy lunch, which was amazing because we didn’t have to think about what to bring for lunch and also great for the company because we performed better and didn’t have the after lunch slump)

Then there is your health that starts to cost you money. You end up needing to pay more for your medical insurance, buying pills to help your digestive system, or your blood pressure, or help your sleep problems. It all adds up and is very costly.
And you don’t get to fully enjoy life.

Now imagine spending your money on healthy meals at home and at restaurants.
– In my opinion the nourishment your body gets from the nutrients in the food far out-ways the cost.
– You can make the meals at home with the family, involving the kids so they learn about foods and a valuable skill for later in life.
– You feel light and happy which helps everyone around you feel happy.
– You have a clear head so you are more productive and able to do your work properly saving you time to enjoy other activities.
– You sleep well so you have more energy to exercise, which helps maintain your ideal weight as well as releasing endorphins enabling you to feel good.
– Your immune system is strong so there is less chance of getting sick
– And you spend less money on pills trying to get your health back.

You don’t have to change overnight, but I encourage you to try a cooking a new meal from scratch each week, or trying a new healthy food each week.
I am really not a fan of Brussels sprouts but I kept searching for a way to enjoy them, (as I know how incredibly good they are for us) and came across this recipe and I actually enjoyed it!

The first wealth is health!

My 5 Top Supplements

I think these days whether you are vegan or a big meat eater or somewhere in between we all need to supplement.

My opinion on this is because of the mass production of food nowadays. Crops are not rotated enough anymore, and the soil is not given the time to recuperate.
Only a handful of minerals that our bodies require are put back into the soil in the form of fertilizer.

So how else do we get these minerals? We would have to supplement.

I love a more natural way of eating and also love natural when it comes to supplementing.

Supplementing for me can come in a few different forms.

1 – Juicing – I love to have green juices and other healthy fruit and vegetable juices. Juicing the fruit and vegetables removes the pulp/fibre and concentrates all the nutrients into a smaller quantity so you can consume more. You can make the juicers with a juicer (My favourite is the Oscar juicer) or a blender. If you use a blender you can strain the juice out of a sieve or a nut-milk bag. Green juices for me are the most beneficial because I feel we do not eat nearly enough greens. Wheatgrass shots are also incredibly beneficial. You can have juices throughout the day not as a meal replacement but supplementary to your normal meals.

2 – Green powders – such as Barleygrass, wheatgrass, moringa powder. These are 3 of my favourite green powders. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, as well as containing 8 of the essential amino acids. They contain enzymes, chlorophyll, and are all round wonderful for us for helping boost our immune systems and keep us healthy in general.

3 – Spirulina – I just love spirulina. Not only does it cleanse and remove toxins, it helps you maintain your health and helps prevent disease. It is full of nutrients and antioxidants, including vitamin B, iron, chlorophyll, magnesium and protein which especially beneficial for athletes. I’ve worked with a few athletes and they have felt the benefits of increased stamina and energy.

4 – Superfood powders and seeds – such as baobab which is rich in calcium, hemp powder which is rich in protein and helps boost the immune system, hemp seeds which are high in omega 3 and 6 and help digestion and improve hair, skin and nail health, chia seeds which help aid digestion and are a rich source of fibre which helps push the toxins out the body, and the list goes on.

5 – Medicinal mushrooms – such as reishi (known as the Queen of the Medicinal Mushrooms), chaga (known as the King of the Medicinal Mushrooms), lion’s mane, cordyceps, maitake to name a few. These little fungi help boost the immune system, help with the digestion system, have the ability to protect against viruses, bacteria, and pathogens, help improve the quality of your hair and skin, help you perform better athletically and in the bedroom, increase energy, improve memory and concentration and so much more.

I could write about Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D3 and a host of others but these ones above are my favourites. They are plants sources of potent vitamins and minerals.
Play around and see what works for you. Start off small and work your way up to larger amounts as some of these could have a strong detoxifying effect on your body.

I’m sure that if you start adding in 1 or 2 of these daily you should start to notice a difference in your life.

Journey of Self Love

Self-Love. I’ve read these words on numerous websites and social media pages. But I never really took much notice of it because I thought that I’d done a pretty good job of loving myself.

I thought that because I feed my body well with really healthy food, I put toxic chemicals in and on my body as infrequently as possible, drink clean spring water, exercise often and read empowering books, that I was doing the act of self-love.

In actual fact I had been talking fairly negatively to myself, putting pressure on myself for various different reasons, comparing myself to other people’s highlights on social media. And that can virtually out-way everything else that I had done which is good for me.

Below I’ve paraphrased out of a book written by Michael Neill titled ‘The Inside Out Revolution’:
“We seem to have an innate desire to know ourselves at deeper and deeper levels. For most of us this begins with our own individual psychology. This self-awareness can soon turn into self-consciousness, and each new aspect you learn about yourself is often coupled with a judgement. We then try to fix our faults and improve ourselves which turns into a struggle against ourselves, and we spend months if not years trying to be the person we think we should be. When really what we find out is that most of what we thought was wrong with us is simply a part of the human condition.”

I’ve been down this road and been my own biggest critic.

For me self love is taking the time in getting to know who you really are, what you really like and don’t really like, what you value in your life and in those around you. It is getting to know your quirks and accepting them as a part of who you are, as well as looking after the body you are living in. It is limiting the negativity surrounding you on social media and the mainstream media and feeding your mind with joy as much as possible.
It is listening to yourself/Inner Being/Intuition rather than what a hundred different people online think you should be doing. It may have worked for them but it may not really work for you.
We have given our power over to everyone else and have lost the ability to listen to ourselves.

Here are some positive phrases you can say to yourself:

* I recognise that awareness is the first step in healing or changing. I become more aware with each passing day.
* I value myself.
* I love and approve of myself.
* I am willing to love and approve of myself. (If the above is too difficult to say for now)
* I am my own best friend. I love what I see in me.
* I am perfect for just being me.

A question I have found really helpful is:
What would someone who loved themselves do?

When you love yourself everything else around you reflects what you are feeling inside. When you take care of yourself first, you have more with which to give to others.

9 Benefits of eating sprouts + sprouting tips

For anyone who knows me or has worked with me you’ll know how much I love sprouts, I always recommend everyone to grow them. Come to my kitchen and no doubt you’ll see them growing on my windowsill or sitting draining in the drying rack. 
My favourite ones are alfalfa, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, fenugreek, and sunflower.

Some of the benefits of sprouting:

  1. Sprouts are some of the most nutrient rich foods we could eat. The seeds have the highest nutritional value when they are seedlings about 3-10 days old. The sprouts contain a greater concentration of nutrients like Vitamin E, potassium, iron, antioxidants and protein. They also contain other nutrients like folic acid, zinc and magnesium.
  2. They are living foods. They feed your cells (or batteries) the energy required to maintain all your bodily functions.
  3. They are quick growing and require little attention, so if grown frequently you always have a healthy food to add to your salads, smoothies, juices, sandwiches and to pop on top of your soups or other main meals.
  4. Sprouts are a very cost effective way to eat extremely nutrient rich foods.
  5. If you are looking to lose weight, sprouts are perfect to consume on a regular basis as they have fewer calories and are so nutrient rich which helps to keep your weight under control because your body is getting the nutrients it needs.
  6. Sprouts are also an amazing detox food.  They are rich in water and fibre, so it’s the ideal food to add to a healthy clean eating detox diet.
  7. Sprouts are the perfect home-grown food. When you grow them yourself you are helping the environment and ensuring that you are not getting unwanted pesticides, food additives, and other harmful chemicals.
  8. They have high levels of proteins. Sprouts such as sunflowers are a complete protein. The quality of the protein in the sprouted seed, nut, bean or grain improves when it is sprouted so our bodies can better utilize the protein.
  9. They are loaded with enzymes. Some people battle to eat the bean, nut or seed raw but once sprouted they contain loads of enzymes and are easy to digest and therefore the intake of nutrients increases.

How to grow sprouts:

  • Choose your seed or bean and place in a glass jar. 
  • Cover the seeds with filtered or spring water. Some seeds soak up a lot of water so make sure to add enough for this to happen. I often add a couple grains of sea salt for more minerals in the germinating process too. 
  • Place cheesecloth or a sprouting gauze over the top of the jar.
  • Soak the seeds overnight or for about 8-12 hours
  • After soaking rinse thoroughly and leave to drain so all the water comes off. Rinse 2-3 times a day
  • Once sprouting begins and you can see the shoots, place the jar in in-direct sunlight for about 1/2 an hour so chlorophyll can be produced. 
  • Allow the sprouts to grow for about 2-5 days in warmer climates and about 4-8 days in cooler climates or depending on your preference. 
  • Refrigerate once ready and add to your salads etc. 

* Make sure to keep the sprouts in shaded cooler parts of the kitchen, rinse thoroughly and pop them in the fridge as soon as they are ready as bacteria can grow on them if it is too warm and humid. If you are purchasing them from a store make sure you have checked the source and that they are fresh sprouts and have been properly refrigerated.