I'm at Starbucks in Dublin drinking a green tea and waiting for my bus. Since I love tea and surely many of you do too, I thought I could elaborate this topic a bit more :)!
England my current home lives off tea, but it's the sort of tea that isn't exactly super amazing for you. Black tea with milk and sugar. Black tea has a lot of caffeine which can disrupt your nervous system and it interferes with the absorption of food. Then milk.. no need to say much about this, you know my opinion and the same goes for the sugar, it's a no-no if you want to be healthy.
My favourite teas are green tea, fresh mint tea, fennel tea, ginger and lemon tea, nettle tea and cinnamon tea. I also enjoy a match or chai latte from time to time, but always without added sugar and tea bags only. Meaning, the syrup based chai tea most coffee places do are no good for my Nutritionist body.
Green teas do have caffeine in it too and as long as you don't overdo it, it can be a good boost if you need it. It comes with a high amount of antioxidants which help your body to fight free radicals and prevent it from all sorts of diseases.
I love mint, fennel and ginger teas for their great ability to help with digestion. They are very calming and soothing for your gut and are always my go to when I feel I've eaten too much because it was too delicious or if a certain food didn't make me feel good.
Nettle tea is admittedly not the tastiest of all teas and takes a bit getting used to. But it's worth it! Also, if you don't like the taste mix it with any other tea that you like. I like to have mine with mint or green tea. Nettle is iron-building so it helps your body absorb and utilise the iron in foods you eat. It also boosts your immune system and clears up your skin.
Cinnamon tea II.. check my blog post about this delicious and naturally sweet treat!
Right! Time to go :)! Get cozy with a steaming mug of delicious tea and watch a movie - it's sunday night ;).
I'm sure you've heard of sprouting or soaking, but have you ever tried it? It's so easy!
Plus, it makes the little powerhouses even more nutritious than they already are. Soaking and sprouting activates and multiplies the vitamins and minerals present in those foods. It also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors which may otherwise interfere with your absorption of nutrients.
Simply get a sprouting jar from A. Vogel or most health shops stock them as well.. or make your own. All you need is a large glass jar, a fly screen or some other sort of mesh and a rubber band. This can be used for both sprouting and soaking.
You can pretty much sprout every seed or bean you come across, be it sunflower seeds, chickpeas, quinoa, cress or radish seeds to name a few. You can even mix them to have a nice addition to your salads. Just be careful as not all the seeds take the same amount of time to be ready.
Depending on the seeds you're using it can take 2-5 days for the sprouts to grow. When ready, drain well and store in the fridge for up to one week.
Here is a small overview of sprouting times:
The process for soaking is even easier! I mainly soak nuts or of course dried beans and pulses. For latter it shortens the cooking time and the nuts become more nutritious and digestible. Soaked nuts or beans should be used immediately as they can otherwise develop mold.
Most nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts or pistachios take up to 8 hours to soak, but some such as brazil nuts, cashews or macadamia take around 3 hours only.
It seems to become more and more popular to eat a plant based diet. For good reason! Not just one actually, but several.. see for yourself:
1. Colour up your life!
First of all, it's delicious and so versatile! There is an abundance in plants that can never be found in animal products including colour, texture and taste. It's so much fun to experiment with all of these foods to create nutritious meals.
Secondly, it protects the precious resources of Mother Earth and is a very sustainable way of feeding the world. Did you know that on one acre of land 40'000 pounds of potatoes can be grown compared to 250 pounds of beef... Or 113 litres of water are needed to produce a pound of wheat compared to 22,730 litres to produce a pound of beef. This says everything, right? I could give you many more examples, but take a look for yourself here.
3. Your health
Thirdly and not less importantly, choose a plant based diet for your health! There have been many studies showing evidence that a plant based diet supports a healthy heart and organs, smooth gut function and digestion, your energy levels or helps to maintain a healthy weight. It can even reverse conditions such as high blood pressure or cholesterol and help balance your blood sugar. Furthermore, it will promote a good sleep, reduce inflammation in your body, and provide you with amazing skin :). Simply put, you will have a longer and healthier life!
I have read many studies, but one of my favourite scientific books is The China Study.
And if studies aren't your thing, believe me when I say, I have never felt more vital in my life but since living on a plant based diet.
4. It's healthy for your wallet too
Eating a plant based diet definitely saves you money, vegetables - even when buying organic - are so much cheaper than meat and fish. Also, consider that buying whole foods and making your own will work out so much cheaper than buying processed ready meals.
Eating a plant based diet also means you are not supporting all of the cruel happenings out in the farms, slaughter houses and meat mass production places. I am not going to post links to those outrageous videos that I'm sure many of you have either heard of or seen anyways, but people if you really want to eat meat and fish and eggs and dairy, please go for sustainable organic options.
On that note, I will tell you that throughout my Nutrition course I have learnt so many interesting things and of those is the benefits of oily fish. It is incredibly good for us because it comes with a great dose of the healthy Omega 3 Fatty Acids that otherwise we don't come across very frequently on our plates. On top of that it's one of the most reliable sources of vitamin D other than sunlight. Hence why I have decided to put oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines back into my diet whenever my body feels like it. That could mean once or twice a week or sometimes less - listening to your body is key! IMPORTANT: I will only have it when I know I can support where it's coming from, meaning wild salmon, organic and never farmed. Plus, I recommend only having the smaller fish mentioned above to avoid a heavy mercury load. Ok, it's off my chest.. phew!
Also, I don't expect everyone to go vegan, I am talking about a plant-based diet. Of course, if you feel like vegan, go for it! As long as animal products are not consumed regularly, a plant-based diet can help the body detoxify and get rid of these pollutants.
Don't we all love nuts? I could live off them... only that I will need a pay rise since they are not exactly a cheap staple food to have - especially when trying to buy quality or even raw nuts. So yes, let's stick with the balanced diet, but nevertheless I want to introduce you to my nutty world by giving you a few insights to the benefits of these little darlings.
Nuts provide you with a good amount of slow-releasing energy that keeps us going throughout the day due to their protein content.
Nuts have a very good ratio of healthy fats such as Omega 3 and 6 which are your essential fatty acid meaning you need to ingest them as your body cannot make them.
They are so handy, can be taken anywhere in your bag, they don't go bad easily and are an amazing pick me up! Plus, they are guilt-free (don't overdo it please ;-) .. )
Nuts are rich in this phytonutrient which is another group of very beneficial nutrients for our bodies. They can protect against cancer, strokes, Alzheimer's, heart disease or viral/fungal infections.
This vitamin which is abundant in nuts is a very powerful antioxidant, is it also needed to maintain healthy cell membranes and and protecting the skin from free radical damage.
Nuts provide an essential dose of your B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folic acid - all just fancy names for the different Bs. Now B-vitamins are extremely beneficial to reduce stress, help with anxiety or depression, they help turning the food we eat into energy, improve memory or even reduce the risk for heart disease.
Below is a list of nuts that have the highest health benefits:
Almonds: richest in fiber which contributes to a healthy gut and they are also richest in vitamin E
Walnuts: richest in Omega 3 to fight inflammation, they also contain manganese which can reduce PMS symptoms
Brazil Nuts: extremely high in selenium which supports a healthy thyroid function and prevent certain cancers
Pecans: very high in antioxidants as well which can lower your bad cholesterol and support a healthy brain
Cashews: rich in iron and zinc, as well as a good source of magnesium which helps improve memory
Pistachios: for the weight conscious people, these are the skinniest of all nuts with vitamin E and potassium
Now, after all the nutty stuff, let's not forget about the seeds, they are just as healthy and delicious!
However, to not make this post a massive essay I will write about them in depth another time.. For now all you need to know is, seed up your meals with a lot of pumpkin seeds, sunflowers seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds!
I'm quite sure you have heard of coconut oil by now. It says everywhere that it's super healthy and everyone should be eating it.. I definitely agree! But you want to know why, right? Let me tell you.. You shall be warned though, because after this you will want to go buy bulks of this food goddess.
First of all and almost most importantly, it is incredibly delicious and can be used for all sorts of things in the kitchen from baking to frying to desserts or to eat on its own, yummy!
But there are so many health benefits to it as well:
Coconut oil has shown to reduce bad cholesterol, also called LDL and to increase the good HDL which can protect against heart disease.
It's very healthy for your brain, providing it with an instant boost when eating coconut oil. It has also been researched to reduce symptoms of Alzheimer's.
Coconut Oil can help with weight loss due to the very specific medium-chain fatty acids. These increase your energy expenditure and can reduce appetite.
It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties and can help fighting infections or candida for example.
Coconut oil provides an instant and very good source of energy and is therefore often used by athletes.
Not when eating but when putting on skin, hair or nails coconut oil is very nourishing and even comes with a natural SPF of around 5, so it's anti-aging too!
I highly recommend buying virgin organic coconut oil to ensure it comes with the maximum health benefits and no precious nutrients have been destroyed in the process.
Ok I'm off to enjoy a hot chocolate with coconut oil :)
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I enjoy studying, creating, exploring and most importantly eating nutritious food and balancing my life with yoga.