learning to live a happy, healthy life

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Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Lentil, Mushroom & Sage Nut Roast


I absolutely love a good roast on a Sunday. There's nothing better than sitting around the table with your family tucking into roast potatoes, wonderfully cooked veggies and feeling so satisfied afterwards. 

Being plant-based I obviously don't have the conventional roast with meat, instead I have a veggie alternative that is honestly so full of flavour, texture and filling that you wouldn't miss the meat!
One of my favourites is this lentil, mushroom and sage nut roast. Nut roasts have a little bit of a bad reputation, they're seen as the boring flavourless thing you give a vegetarian as Christmas, but when they're cooked with the right ingredients and lots of amazing herbs & spices there's nothing better!



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Monday, 28 December 2015

Chilli & Basil Hummus



Hummus is my go to savoury snack, it's safe to say I'm pretty obsessed with the stuff! I used to always buy my hummus from the supermarket, but since becoming more health-conscious and enjoying making all my own food I decided to make my own and I haven't looked back. 



Before I started making my own hummus I thought I'd be expensive or tricky to do but it's actually super easy (you just chuck everything into a blender) and far cheaper than buying the small tubs of hummus from the shops. Making your own hummus is also a lot more healthy as the shop bought ones can often contain preservatives and even if they don't they're made with a high amount of rapeseed oil that just isn't the healthy powerhouse olive oil is.
I love experimenting with different hummus flavours, and recently came up with this chilli and basil mix which is so delicious I just had to share the recipe!
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Sunday, 27 December 2015

Healthy Simple Swaps


Healthy eating can seem daunting. I often speak to friends and family about switching to a healthier diet and they can seem quite overwhelmed by the whole thing - there are so many products in the supermarkets that are branded as healthy when in fact they're riddled with sugar, chemicals and preservatives. There's also a huge problem with us just not being education, for example a lot of people think all rice is healthy or orange juice from a carton is an excellent source for your 5 a day when that's not the case.


If you don't really watch what you eat and aren't sure about what's healthy and what's not then it probably seems really confusing if you start trying to make changes.
I always say to people that you can always start with really simple, easy swaps that although aren't dramatic they'll make your diet a much more nutritional and beneficial one. You have to think of it like a lifestyle change too (NOT a diet!), these are changes you're going to permanently stick to....which is easy because these swaps are all for more tasty alternatives, as well as more healthy.
So, even if you manage only 2 of these then that's amazing but try and work through them all - your mind and body will thank you for it!

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Friday, 25 December 2015

Reflection


2015 has been quite an odd year for me, there's been definite ups & downs but I feel like I've learnt a lot this year, I've discovered more about who I am and it's been a valuable time.


I started 2015 not feeling particularly happy - I felt trapped, anxious and scared of the future. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I was extremely ill, had constant chronic fatigue and I was feeling lost. A few months into the year I was diagnosed with coeliac disease, which obviously was a horrible thing to be diagnosed with but I was so relieved to finally get answers.
I've realised now I'm actually grateful for the diagnosis, I'm not happy I've got coeliac by any means, but it did bring me to this healthy way of life which I can only be thankful for.
2015 was the year I embarked on a plant-based diet and a more active lifestyle - I educated myself on nutrition, got more into yoga, became fitter and stronger, learnt to cook and found things I'm so passionate about.

Not only did this new way of living change how I feel physically but I can now say I rarely suffer with depressive episodes and anxiety. They're definitely not gone for good; they sometimes rear their ugly heads but they're less active and they no longer control my life like they used to.
I'm thrilled to say I have the most beautiful relationship with food now, I no longer count calories or look at the fat contents of everything and if I eat something with sugar in I don't spend the rest of the week feeling ashamed, instead I embrace the natural amazing food that I'm blessed to eat and if consume something with refined sugar in occasionally who cares? I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I also have a better relationship with myself - I don't hate myself anymore, I don't feel angry & upset when I look in a mirror and I'm not obsessed with what other people are thinking about the way I look.

During 2015 I've felt more and more in tune with my body and my mind, I know what helps keep it feeling the happiest and healthiest and I think that's a truly magical sense that many people don't have (because they don't try). It's so amazing to feel in control and content with myself! 2015  has given me light into areas of my life that were dark - I've got a clearer idea of where I want my life to go and I've discovered huge passions that I want to incorporate into whatever career I end up having.

This year has definitely been a struggle, but the positive moments outweigh the negatives.
I feel like I'm ending 2015 with a clearer mind and a happier body than when I entered the year!

I'm off to spend time with my family, open presents, give gifts to my loved ones and eat a lot...including a delicious looking Christmas Pudding from Waitrose that I can't wait to devour! (Hey, it's all about balance!)

Merry Christmas 
x
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Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Ultimate Warming Winter Porridge


Porridge is by far my favourite breakfast, I'd go as far as to say I have quite an obsession with the stuff. I always come up with different flavours, yummy new topics and love switching it up but I've been having the same porridge quite a lot recently because it's just so warming and comforting.

When the mornings are so dark, cold and grey you don't really want a bowl of cereal do you? Surely something warm and delicious is much more suited. Porridge fits the bill perfectly, and it's far more nutritious and will keep you feeling fuller for longer too.

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Monday, 21 December 2015

Store Cupboard Basics


When I talk about healthy eating I know some people automatically assume it'll be expensive, that's thanks to the superfood craze and all the fancy (& pricey) ingredients a lot of health bloggers cook with. Those ingredients definitely have a place in my kitchen as they are must-have products for healthy baking - creating foods like energy bites, gluten free vegan cake and biscuits is not really possible without superfoods such as chia seeds and I love adding hemp powder or baobab to my smoothies, but that doesn't mean you can't have a perfectly healthy and delicious diet without them. The superfoods are a bonus, but they're not 100% necessary.


When you embark on a healthy lifestyle change and maybe decide to have a more plant-based diet you may need to have a revamp of your cupboards. This means getting rid of the white pasta, the baked beans, the Heinz ketchup and the Nutella to replace them with whole foods that will do your mind and body so much more good.
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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Healthy Mince Pies


I couldn't let the festive season pass without sharing a mince pie recipe. Before I started my healthy lifestyle journey I loved a good mince pie with cream, but sadly the supermarket pies are totally crammed full of sugar, syrup and preservatives. They're also not vegan or gluten free.

My mince pies are not only refined sugar free but they don't contain eggs, dairy or gluten and you don't need masses of ingredients to make them either! 



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Friday, 18 December 2015

Food To Fight Depression


I've had quite a long and difficult history with depression. It all started when I was about 8 years old and got badly bullied at school, from then on other things happened and my depression worsened.
I grew increasingly down and my life started to be badly effected by this disease. I withdrew from the world, lost friends, had to drop out of college and was at a total loss. On top of this I suffer with anxiety and experience panic attacks, which thankfully I'm a lot more on top of now.



For so many years I didn't know how to get out of this dark place I was in, I didn't think there was a way out and I was certain nothing I could do would make me feel any better. One day, I don't know how, but I managed to somehow find the strength and determination to decide I was going to change.
I'd had enough, I needed to at least try and make things better - which is where my passion for leading a healthy lifestyle comes in.
I'd been told by a few people that regular exercise and a wholesome diet could really make a difference but I always thought it was nonsense, truth be told, I never thought moving my body or eating more vegetables would help me escape the torturous feelings I was experiencing. When I decided to give it a go I didn't have a huge amount of hope, but the more I learnt about nutrition and the more I got into exercise I started to realise the real me was coming out again.
I was happier, less stressed, I had more energy, I looked better, I wasn't so anxious about going out in public anymore and I wasn't getting so many spells of depression.
I want to go into this more at a later date because I truly feel like my lifestyle change saved my life, but today I'm focussing on food and how what I eat impacts me.

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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Ginger & Cinnamon Biscuits


Ginger and cinnamon are two of my favourite winter spices. I love the tastes individually but when they're combined something magic happens, it's just the most delicious and comforting flavour which totally screams 'Christmas'. I wanted to create a recipe which combined the two and came up with these delicious biscuits that are 100% gluten free, refined sugar free and vegan too.


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Monday, 14 December 2015

Plant Based Calcium Sources


One concern I know a lot of people have about a plant-based diet is that they might find it difficult to get enough calcium.

We are brought up to believe the best and strongest sources of calcium are all from animals but that's not strictly true, and studies have actually shown that cows milk weakens bones long term! This is because it's very difficult for our bodies to absorb, and can actually cause calcium loss in our bones due to cows milk causing the pH in our bodies to become acidic which triggers a reaction to bring that pH level back down. Calcium is very good at neutralising that acidity, so that means when we drink the cows milk the calcium is actually being drained from our bones to rebalance the acidity...bet they didn't teach you that at school!



Calcium is the mineral that we have the most of in our bodies, with 99% of it being stored in our bones and teeth and the remaining 1% is in our blood and soft tissues. Therefore it's undeniably incredibly important, and vital for maintaining strong, healthy bones and also preventing things like blood clots and keeping the heart beating.

Plant-based calcium sources tend to contain other important minerals to help with bone health too, including magnesium, vitamin D & potassium - making them extra good for us, and they're surprisingly easy to find.
The NHS recommends adults need at least 700mg of calcium a day, which sounds like a lot but it's easily achievable. My favourite sources of calcium are kale, tahini, almonds and chickpeas...all delicious and nutritious! Basically, needing to get in extra calcium is an excuse to eat loads of hummus and almond butter (just not at the same time).

Here are some of the best plant-based calcium sources -
1. Kale (1 cup approx. 180mg)
2. Tahini (2 table spoons approx. 130mg)
3. Almond Butter (2 tablespoons approx. 85mg)
4. Broccoli (1 cup approx. 95mg)
5. Chickpeas (1/2 cup 50mg)
6. Almond milk (1/2 cup approx. 250mg)

You could make a wonderful stir-fry with broccoli and tahini, a kale salad accompanied by hummus, deliciously porridge with almond milk, almond butter on toast or throw some greens into your smoothie each day to really up your calcium intake and protect that body of yours.

Getting your much needed calcium on a plant-based diet isn't hard at all!


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Sunday, 13 December 2015

Butternut Squash, Pine Nut & Lemon Quinoa



Butternut squash is one of my favourite vegetables throughout Winter. It's wonderfully seasonal, filling, nutritious and of course delicious. I love the rich, almost sweet taste it has that is brought out so much when you roast it with only a little salt & pepper. The taste goes absolutely perfectly with this dish as the tanginess from the lemon compliments the sweetness, the mustard is a welcome bit of spice and the pine nuts add a gorgeous crunch to the dish. 


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Friday, 11 December 2015

Staying Healthy At Christmas


Christmas is the best time of year - there's always so much going on, so many pretty decorations, gift giving, parties and lots of amazing food. We all love letting go a bit during the festive period, eating more than we usually would, indulging and enjoying ourselves! However this can lead to feeling sluggish, bloated and rubbish - nobody wants that!
I thought I'd share some of my tips for staying that little bit healthier over Christmas - that doesn't mean don't enjoy a mince pie and mulled wine, it means perhaps put some simple actions into place to make yourself feel that bit better and keep your body & mind happy.


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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Christmas Pudding Energy Balls


Christmas, we all love it, but for those of us who'd like to be a little healthier over the festive period it can be tricky - especially if you're avoiding gluten, animal products and sugar!
I decided to come up with a few Christmas recipes to make this time of year still so exciting because of the yummy food and to make my tummy happy. I've got a few coming your way over the next 2 weeks, but I'm starting with these yummy Mini Christmas Pudding Energy Bites!


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Monday, 7 December 2015

A Happy, Healthy Journey


Nourishing Amelia is a blog dedicated to learning to live a healthy and happy life.



I'm starting this blog as a way of documenting my thoughts, my recipes, my feelings and share all I've learnt and continue to learn along my journey to nourishment.
My interest sparked about 2 years ago. I was battling depression and an anxiety disorder, I felt unhealthy, unhappy and unsure of the future but it wasn't until I was diagnosed with PCOS that I started taking it more seriously.
PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is a very common condition in women where our hormones aren't quite balanced. It causes small cysts to grow on the ovaries, which can be painful - especially if they burst. PCOS is not curable, nor are there any medicines you can take that really help so I decided to do my own research into more holistic approaches and found a whole load of articles where women state that diet dramatically improved their symptoms. I did more and more research and came to the conclusion I had to give it a go, which led me to cutting out refined sugar, coffee and I started exercising more. I found this transition quite easy and I started noticing differences in my mood and my energy levels.

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Live Happy, Live Healthy

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