learning to live a happy, healthy life

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Monday, 29 February 2016

Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Scones


Ever since I was little I've loved hot cross buns. I used to love coming home from school and tucking into one that had been toasted and smothered in butter, it was just the ultimate warming delicious snack. Now I'm enjoying my plant-based diet I needed to come up with an alternative, so I've been experimenting in the kitchen and the result is these amazing gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free apple & cinnamon hot cross scones!


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Sunday, 28 February 2016

Tackling Emotional Eating


Emotional eating is an issue I think most people struggle with at some point in their life. Whether it's you binging on chocolate after a bad day at the office or something more serious that could lead to an eating disorder.



When I was suffering horribly with depression my relationship with food was definitely an unhealthy one, and I did used to let my emotions take over my eating. I'd go days without eating hardly anything then I'd want to eat everything in sight - chocolate biscuits, cheese on toast, bread smothered in butter, creamy pasta...all the comfort foods. When I'd finished a binge I'd feel disgusting, unhealthy, I'd hate my body, I'd punish myself and then I'd go back to not eating again. It was a vicious circle that was difficult to get out of, it wasn't until I had to take my diet more seriously due to PCOS and coeliac disease that I understood more about food and learnt it wasn't the enemy.

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Friday, 26 February 2016

Lentil & Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie


There's nothing more comforting than a delicious shepherd's pie with creamy mashed potato and lots of seasonal veggies on the side. It's always been one of my favourites and I used to enjoy it made with vegetarian mince but since going plant based I needed a more nutritional twist. I tried making a shepherds pie with lentils and it was a total game changer - I actually way prefer it, especially topped with sweet potato!


This lentil shepherds pie is the ultimate comforting, hearty, filling meal that will satisfy the vegan and the meat eater. It's bursting with such wonderful flavours due to spices and tamari and the peas, sweetcorn and carrots that accompany the red lentils give this dish the best texture and taste you could imagine. The addition of sweet potato on top instead of regular potato is incredible, I just find it goes with the filling perfectly and provides your body with a load of goodness.

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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

My Favourite Green Smoothie


I love green smoothies and I have one almost every day. They've increased in popularity so much over the last year or so, with people making them to up their veggie intake and using them as a healthy snack. I thought I'd share the recipe for my absolute favourite green smoothie - it's so delicious, creamy, fresh and filling that it's perfect for a mid-afternoon pick me up snack for an energy boost or even makes a wonderful breakfast smoothie if you add some oats and almond butter!
This smoothie is also perfect if you're new to green smoothies because it's not at all earthy and the ripe banana makes it super creamy and sweet.


The base of this smoothie is the ripe banana which is ideal for masking the veggies, satisfying a sweet tooth, helping fill you up and boosting your energy levels - you really want to make sure the banana is super ripe, the skin should have little brown spots on it. The veggie goodness comes from spinach, kale and celery which all add such a nutritious hit of goodness that you'll feel like a goddess afterwards! The spinach provides your body with a wealth of vitamin A & vitamin K as well as magnesium, protein, calcium and iron, the kale is super rich in iron and vitamin K too with loads of magical antioxidant power and vital fibre. Don't forget the celery because it's so great for improving digestion and it's highly anti-inflammatory too! All this will help to protect your bones, balance your blood sugar levels, strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, improve your hair & skin health, detoxify your system and you'll love the taste too.
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Monday, 22 February 2016

Naturally Healing PCOS


Many women suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), in fact 1 in 5 in the UK do, and I am one of them. PCOS is a condition where a woman's hormones are out of balance, and their ovaries contain a large number of harmless cysts. Hormones are chemical messengers that trigger different processes in your body, including growth and energy production so they're incredibly important, and when they become imbalanced it causes side effects.
If you have PCOS your hormones get out of balance - all women produces the hormones oestrogen, progesterone, androgen and testosterone but if you have PCOS your body will produce more testosterone than usual, and normally excess androgen too. These imbalances lead to the symptoms of PCOS such as weight gain, acne, irregular periods, excess hair growth, depression and fertility problems. Your body may also have a problem using insulin, this causes blood sugar levels to go up which can be dangerous. The reasons for this condition are not yet understood, and there's currently no cure but there are things women with PCOS can do to greatly improve the symptoms and side effects.


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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Why You Should Use Natural Deodorant


Clearly I'm passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, and I try to do the right thing by my body in every way I can; I eat well, I exercise, I make sure to get fresh air and drink plenty of water. All these things are amazing at helping you stay happy and healthy, but something I feel people neglect is natural skincare products, and I was definitely the same until I looked into it more and realised just how much of a difference using natural, organic products is. I'm not going to pretend every piece of makeup, skincare and body care I own is natural but one change I've made to my routine is switching to natural deodorant, and I'm hoping to encourage more people to do the same.


I heard about natural deodorant on a blog and it got me thinking, I do so much for my body and avoid any toxic food & drink so why am I using a deodorant that's packed full of chemicals? That deodorant gets absorbed into our bodies which surely can't be good for us. When I started doing more research I was shocked to learn just how dangerous these products are, and I knew without any hesitation that I had to make the switch.
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Friday, 19 February 2016

Quinoa Pizza Base


Pizza is a dish everyone loves, right? It's the ultimate Friday night meal and delicious comfort food but traditional pizza is normally full of rubbish ingredients that leave us feeling bloated, sick and sluggish...it's also not an option if like me you follow a gluten free, plant based lifestyle. However, that definitely doesn't mean we can't enjoy a yummy pizza at the weekends (or whenever you want to!) and the best part is it tastes amazing, it's easy to make and it leaves you feeling energised, satisfied and happy. Say hello to the quinoa pizza base!




This recipe is one of my ultimate favourites because not only does it taste out of this world but it's so quick and easy to make! I've tried a few different pizza base recipes and they require a lot of time, patience and work whereas this quinoa pizza base can be thrown together in 10 minutes.
It's also inexpensive and only consists of 4 ingredients - winner!

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Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Best Online Health Food Shops


Day to day the ingredients I use in my cooking are all things you can get in your local supermarket - an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, tahini, potatoes, beans, lentils, pulses, brown rice, spices, tea, quinoa, oats, coconut oil, nuts, seeds...it is all easy to find, but there are some things that you can't pick up in your local shop and I often get asked where you can find the ingredients I use in baking and where to find healthy ready-made snacks. A lot of it can be found in health food shops, which seem to be popping up all over the place, but there are brilliant online stores you can shop at too so I thought I'd share with you my favourite sites.



Goodness Direct
I absolutely love Goodness Direct as you can find all the specialist ingredients on there, as well as amazing different things like dairy-free milks, raw chocolate, healthy snack bars, plant-based snacks, coconut yogurt, yummy hummus, falafels, superfood powders, unsweetened dried fruit and all sorts of other things! The first time I found the site I spent hours browsing at all the things they stocked and ended up making rather a large order. The other thing that's brilliant about Goodness Direct is their delivery service - it's super speedy, you get a text before they deliver and everything is packaged really well. I couldn't recommend them enough!
I especially suggest getting Luke's Organic crisps, Conscious raw chocolate bars, Clear Spot organic tofu, Coyo coconut yogurt, Biona bread, King Soba buckwheat noodles and Whole Earth baked beans.
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Monday, 15 February 2016

Plant-Based Protein


As someone on a plant-based diet I often get asked where I get my protein from, and whether I get enough protein when I eat this way and the answer is that actually it's incredibly easy to get plenty of amazing protein through plant-based sources and often these foods are much better for us than eating a steak or a chicken burger.
My blog isn't about converting anyone to veganism, it's about putting the emphasis on the importance of plant-based foods and encouraging you to eat this way even a little bit more, so hopefully this post helps you understand more about protein, how our body uses it and the best plant-based sources.


Let me start by saying we don't actually need an enormous amount of protein in our diet - yes, it's extremely important for the overall health and function of the body but in enormous amounts it can actually be deadly. Studies have shown that over-consuming protein leads to chronic diseases (like cancer and diabetes) and major inflammation in the body, and protein deficiency is practically non-existent in industrialised countries.
In the UK adults are advertised to eat 0.75g of protein for each kilogram they weigh - for example if you weigh 11 stone you should eat around 52g protein a day, and if you weigh 9 stone you should eat about 43g protein a day, but on average men should eat 55g protein and women 45g per day. In reality men and women generally eat almost double their recommend intake of protein a day, and this isn't good for us. Consuming too much protein puts pressure on the kidneys, and specifically animal protein excess is linked with kidney stones, and some research suggests a link between too much protein in the diet and cancer.

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Sunday, 14 February 2016

Self-Love


Happy Valentine's Day!
I thought today would be the perfect day to talk about something I feel is extremely important to achieve health & happiness, and that's self love. While that might sound a little hippy I promise you if you learn to love and appreciate yourself it'll be the best thing you ever do - I don't mean become arrogant, self-centred, selfish or egotistical but learn to treat yourself with kindness and be gentle.


I definitely haven't always had a lot of love for myself, in fact I used to despise myself. I was the girl who looked in the mirror, picked out every feature of my body I didn't like and I'd punish myself for looking that way. I was so obsessed with what other people thought of me as well - I'd spend my time worrying about how to impress people, overthinking every conversation I'd had in the day and feeling super low when I felt like I didn't fit in. This tortured me deeply, my soul was being destroyed and I constantly felt full of rage & despair.
It's been a long journey but I can now say I don't hate myself at all, in fact I quite like myself. That could be seen as an arrogant or self-ritious thing to say, but why should it? Shouldn't we all love the person we are? Because if we don't, then who else can?

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Friday, 12 February 2016

Chocolate Cupcakes With Raspberry Frosting


I've spend months trying to figure out how I could create a healthy cake recipe, one that was refined sugar free, gluten free and vegan and I've finally cracked it!
These chocolate cupcakes are absolutely perfect because they taste just like a normal cake, only they're not full of rubbish but they're completely natural. They're super spongey, wonderfully moist, full of flavour and perfectly sweet - I'm super proud of them!


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Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Looking After Your Heart


It goes without saying that your heart is incredibly important, and it needs to be looked after. Your heart has to last you a lifetime, but if you treat it badly then that lifetime could be cut short. There are many things we can do to keep the heart happy and healthy and prevent conditions that could lead to heart disease or heart failure.



The heart is working constantly to keep you alive and it's vital to keep all your other organs running too, so of course we have to look after it as best we can! With fast-food consumption on the rise and people exercising less the rate of heart disease is going up, and it's become the main cause of early death (under 75) in the UK and almost 3,000 Americans die from heart disease every single day. Keeping your heart healthy is actually very easy, and it's something that needs to be taken more seriously.
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Monday, 8 February 2016

Baked Turmeric Falafels


Falafel's are one of my favourite lunch time foods - they're so delicious, really fill you up, are packed full of protein and are so versatile to. You can get some amazing shop-bought falafels, but many of them contain unhealthy oils and preservatives, so I really like to make my own so I know exactly what's going into them and they're completely natural.

I made these turmeric spiced baked falafels the other day and they were so dreamy I just had to share the recipe with all of you!


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Sunday, 7 February 2016

My Top 5 Spices


I'm a huge lover of flavours and my favourite meals always contain lots of delicious herbs and spices.
Making sure you're well stocked with spices is so important when making savoury dishes especially - they just add the most wonderful warmth, flavour, scent and taste to your meals and can turn an otherwise bland and boring dish to a meal that makes your tastebuds go crazy!

I love loads of different spices and my cupboard is pretty jam-packed with jars, bottles and pots of powders and seeds but there are a particular 5 that I reach for most often. These 5 spices are used probably every single day in my house, firstly because they make food taste unbelievably yummy but they also are so beneficial to our health.


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Friday, 5 February 2016

Easy Buckwheat Pancakes


Pancakes are such an indulgent treat, there's nothing quite like a warm stack of moreish, sweet pancakes is there? I've always loved them and could easily devour a rather large portion, especially if they're drizzled in pure maple syrup!
I've experimented with a few pancake recipes, but I keep going make to these buckwheat pancakes as they're just so easy, simple and quick to make - there's no faffing around with blenders, no mashing bananas, grating apple or making nut flour, you practically throw everything together and mix it up ready for the pan! They taste really delicious and make the perfect simple pancake to top with whatever you fancy. They're also gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free too!




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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Coping With Anxiety


Anxiety is an issue for so many people, it can range from mild anxiety that doesn't really stop you doing anything but it's not a pleasant thing to experience to extreme panic attacks and frightening feelings that stop you even leaving the house.

Anxiety was a huge hurdle in my life, and it took me a long time to work around that hurdle but once I found ways to battle it I started being able to live my life properly again. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't completely disappeared but from learning how to deal with it and finding ways to keep that anxiety from emerging has stopped anxiety being life-limiting to me.
I was always told by many people that anxiety could be helped with holistic approaches, but I dismissed that as nonsense (as perhaps you do too?), I've since found that even little changes actually do make a big impact and I wish I'd listened sooner!
Whether you're struggling with major anxiety or just feel a little stressed out now and then I hope these tips help you find peace and happiness.


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Monday, 1 February 2016

Creamy Miso Buckwheat & Green Beans


I've been having this dish so much recently, I just had to share it with you! This creamy, miso buckwheat recipe is so full of amazing flavour, bursting with goodness and is unbelievably creamy & moreish. I'm hooked on it, and I think you will be too!


Buckwheat is one of my favourite gluten free grains, despite it's name it's actually not related to wheat at all and is 100% gluten  free. It's also one of the most easily digested grains I've come across, which is very important to me - I don't ever feel bloated after consuming it, it keeps my tummy satisfied for hours and it balances my blood sugar levels out. It's high in protein, iron and essential amino acids, so it's extremely beneficial to anyone on a plant-based diet!
Buckwheat is also one of the cheaper gluten free gains and extremely versatile too! The way I describe it is almost like a cross between quinoa and rice - it's got that nutty taste quinoa has but the texture is more similar to that of rice. It makes a fantastic substitute to rice in risotto!

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