New Resolutions, New Blog

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Thank you all for having followed my blog in 2013. It’s been a pleasure to share my experiments with you, learn about you, about me, about food.

There will be a new blog coming soon about my resolutions for 2014. As I mentioned before I’ve decided to carry on with my current healthy lifestyle but I need a new challenge. In fact I have decided to create 12 new challenges this year, one for each month. In January I will aim to eat at least 5 fruits or vegetables a day, every day, for one month. How hard can it be??

Let’s find out! I already know that it is very easy to not eat any fruit or vegetable at all, so let’s see how easy / hard the opposite is.

See you soon for the answer!

Oh and the address to the new blog is: twelvechallengesof2014.wordpress.com

Eating Well In 2013 turns 1

I can’t believe it has been a year since I started writing this blog.

2013 will be over soon and with it the longest lasting New Years resolutions ever! Yes! I made it! Twelve months later I’m still following my resolutions!

In January I decided to change part of my diet to become a healthier version of me, more precisely, that meant eating fewer carbohydrates, especially the refined ones (white bread, pasta, biscuits, sugar) and more vegetables. So, I’ve got two things to say about it:


1) Having written about my New Year’s resolutions and documented my journey on here made it very official. It helped me not to forget as the months went on and helped me stay focused.

 


2) Being focused and serious about it, I started to shop and cook differently. Gradually, this new eating plan became a habit.

I have had to try out all sorts of recipes; some didn’t turn out well, but some I still cook regularly. My taste buds have evolved, I have discovered new flavours and am now more open-minded when it comes to food. It also developed my creativity because you need to get creative when designing healthy recipes that you will love, or when adjusting old favourites to healthier versions. I learned how to bake with less sugar and managed to get my family involved in healthy cooking too, so that was fun!


In summer I started eating salads for breakfast, rather unorthodox I know, but a good way to get your five-a-day in! I also try to buy seasonal fruits and vegetables now, because if they are in season, chances are they are also locally produced, therefore, they should be fresher and contain more vitamins. Need I say it is rather eco-friendly and helps local producers?

 

Anyway, as a result, I feel better, lighter and I have more energy throughout the day. I don’t need to eat much but the better quality food keeps me fuller for longer. When I eat carbohydrates, I chose wholegrain, and have small quantities. Having all this energy motivated me to exercise more. I can honestly and happily say that this new lifestyle has improved my overall wellbeing.

 

There have been times, of course, when I felt like I had other things on my mind and eating healthy became the least of my preoccupations. But these times were temporary and didn’t last long. No one is perfect, but I never forgot about my resolutions because 2013 deep down was just the start of an adventure that will last much longer I hope.

 I’m already thinking about my resolutions for 2014. It will be along these lines: “keep up the healthier lifestyle and add one new challenge” (I haven’t decided what yet).

I believe that doing things one at a time will bring greater success. This way if I add one challenge each year, it will be a slow but steady progress towards a life lasting healthy me. One challenge per year gives me time to actually think about it: why I chose this challenge in particular, why it is important to me, and what this achievement will mean to me.

Stay tuned for the New Year’s resolutions 2014  to come soon!

IMG_8786IMG_9100photo(94)DSC03483IMG_8790photo(110)Simple Summer Fruit Salad + basilHummusphoto(146)pumpkin soup

Everybody’s Talking About Juicing. What are the benefits?

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Hi guys!

Want to know everything there is to know about juicing?? I have the right person for you:

@nge the beauty builder

Since I don’t know any more than anyone about the new trend, I asked a friend of mine to tell us all about it. Ange is a health coach who gives nutrition and lifestyle advice. She created GOSH food. Here is what she says about juicing:

 

Ange, can you tell me what is juicing?

“Juicing is a process by which your juicer will extract the juice from vegetables and fruits (yes, you can juice vegetables).The water and nutrients are extracted and the fibres discarded, hence it is supposed to accelerate the absorption and get those nutrients quicker to your bloodstream.

That is why juicing fruits only is not that beneficial as you end up getting pure fructose i.e. sugar only.”

 

What are the benefits of juicing as opposed to blending (smoothie)?

“I mainly juice raw vegetables. So if you find difficult to digest raw vegetables, juicing will help you to get them down smoothly as all the tough fibres will be removed from the juicing process – For instance if my tummy doesn’t feel right and I have difficulties to digest I will drink vegetable juice till I feel better (I find celery good for tummy aches) – Hence having a smoothie will make you feel fuller for longer (versus a juice) because it will keep everything in your drink.

In any case, do what suits you and what meets your preferences. I personally alternate between both.

Obviously there are things I do not really juice like fruits (to avoid a sugar rush) at the exception of apples and lemon. Avocado and banana are also difficult to juice.

There are vegetables that are hard to blend such as carrots, beetroots, fennel, and broccoli. In that case it is preferable to juice them or to blend them cooked (steamed).

Ideally you would juice your veggies and then blend fruits in the vegetable juice.

 There are many options, I juice carrots and celery to cook them in my soups; I use my blender to bake GOSH food cakes or make GOSH food ice treats.

 Whether you juice or blend if your intake is mainly made of vegetables it should give you this healthy boost as well as a detox effect for those who are using juices & smoothies as detoxifiers.

 Important note:

·       When buying take-away, go for freshly made juices or smoothies or check the ingredients list. Most of them are fruits only and will have high sugar content. If you fancy some fruits, have them whole.

·       There is no single formula that fits us all and juicing in certain instances cannot be appropriate. You should always try, experiment and observe when it comes to food; then you can adjust your diet according to you and how you react to it. My Daughter has got a cold stomach and does not stand raw vegetables juices very well (especially in winter) she needs warming foods. It happens that something wonderfully works for you and you want others to do the same but what works for you can happen not to work for others. And this is what GOSH food is all about: finding what works for you and your family.

·       Juice only diet: I am not a big fan of single formula diets so I won’t drink juices only to feed myself or my family. You will notice that many lost weight adopting this trend though. So before going down that route you need to consider whether their weight loss lasted, whether they were not missing any nutrients and were in good health. You need also to be aware that such diets involve more vegetable juices than fruits juices. If the consequence is an increase in cravings and irritability it might not be a good choice for you.”

 

Have you tried different juicers and which one is best?

I tried different juicers and as a GOSH fooder I finally switch to the cold press ones. I bought this year the Omega VRT juicer.

My advice is to buy what you can afford. Of course I juice every day (more in summer though) so it was natural for me to invest in a cold press juicer.”

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What is your favourite juice?

 “You will notice that once you start juicing your tastes will evolve. You will need a lot of fruits to begin with and then you will appreciate the vegetable juice more and more.

I like to start the day with a green juice and I would like to share with you my mega-booster that is made of Fennel, Ginger and Apple. Simple and efficient. Most of the time I will juice what I have in the fridge and I won’t be fussy about getting this green instead of another one.

I also like the following mix: Kale, broccolis, Pak Choi, lemon, ginger and 1 apple (juiced or blended).

I blend it with a banana or strawberries for my son.

 

Hope this help. You can always drop me an email if you wish to learn more about Healthy Living.”

 

Thanks @nge!

Now I know all about juicing, I feel like getting a juicer so I can eat more raw vegetables and get loads of vitamins!

Gourmet Organic Simple Healthy food

This is not perfection, this is HAPPINESS. 
 
                

@nge offers different formula to suit busy active parents lives so they will make their families happy, healthy and beautiful through their own happiness, health and beauty.

GOSH food website will be live soon: http://www.gosh-food.com

Check @nge’s GOSH food page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GOSHfood?fref=ts

Or you can contact @nge at: goshfood@gosh-food.com

4-up on 2013-08-24 at 15.56 #5

 

Pumkin Soup or My Autumnal Comfort Food

pumpkin soup

In my journey to a healthier me, I have learnt to find alternatives to transform old habits into better ones.

I thought about comfort food last week as I was walking to uni in the rain and wind. When I arrived there I bought a hot chocolate. And I actually found it too sweet. Don’t get me wrong, it went down quite well, but had I made it myself, I wouldn’t have put that much sugar. It’s funny how you can get used to eating certain types of food and how your palate adjusts with changes. Some changes that we force ourselves to make, like swapping white bread for wholegrain, or giving up sugar in tea, for example, can seem hard at first but our taste buds really do readjust. Especially to sweetness I find. I’m sure it’s true for salt too.

Anyway, today I’m making a pumpkin soup, all because of that walk in the rain that made me want comfort food. Something with a nice colour, thick texture and good taste.

pumpkin soup ingredients

I thought about what veggies would go well together and decided for: pumpkin, parsnip, carrot, leek and onion. Very seasonal, and for a bit of a kick, I will add turmeric and chili pepper. And of course a bit of black pepper and salt. I will serve it either on its own, or with a bit of creme fraiche and grated cheddar / gruyère, or chorizo slices. For the exact recipe, scroll down to the bottom of the page :-)

Now for those interested, here is the nutritional content of each ingredient (per 100g):

(source: wikipedia, sorry haven’t got time for deeper research today)

Pumpkin: 26 kcal, pretty much 0g fat, 0g protein, carbohydrate 6g (2.8g sugar), sodium 1mg, potassium 340mg and 170% of your daily needs in vitamin A (remember to eat your vitamin A with fat as it is a fat soluble vitamin).

Parsnip: 75 kcal, pretty much 0g fat, 1.2g protein, potassium 375mg, sodium 10mg, carbohydrate 18g (4.8g sugar), calcium 3% of your daily needs, vitamin C 28%, however that will be lost in cooking because vitamin C is very sensitive to heat.

Carrot: 42 kcal, 0g fat, 0g protein, potassium 320mg, sodium 69mg, carbohydrate 10g (4.7g sugar), vitamin A 334% of your daily needs (great news!) and no need to mention vit C now we know it’s going to be lost in cooking.

Leek: 61 kcal, 0g fat, protein 1.5g,  potassium 180mg, sodium 20mg, carbohydrate 14g (3.9g sugar), vitamin A 33% of your daily needs, vitamin B6 10% of your daily needs, iron 11% of your daily needs, magnesium 7% of your daily needs.

Onion: Antioxidant (so is vit A by the way), 40 kcal, 0g fat, 1.1g protein, potassium 146mg, sodium 4mg, carbohydrate 9g (4,2g sugar)

Turmeric: said to have anti cancer properties and improve the mood :-)

Chili pepper: well, you’ll find over the internet all sorts of health related reasons to eat chili peppers but I haven’t got time to do all the research so I’ll let you do it yourself if you’re dying to know.

Note that potassium contributes to lowering the risks of cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure. And this recipe is full of it! Yey! Chemically speaking, it’s very similar to sodium (the salt we most commonly use) so this soup might not need much added salt, especially if you add cheese to it too, taste before adding any! (source: World Health Organisation)

pumpkin soup ingredients chopped

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 small to medium size pumpkins
  • 3 large parsnips
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder (or more)
  • 1 tsp chil powder (or more)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

You know me, I don’t like to complicate things. Just peel and de seed the pumpkin (that’s hard work but worth it). Peel the onions. Wash and chop all vegetables and throw in large pan with a pint of water or 2. Cook until soft. If you would like a thick texture, remove some of the cooking water (you can drink it, it’s yummy!). Finally, blend all, taste and then add the spices and salt and pepper.

Bon appetit!

Child-friendly, Super Easy and Healthy Appetizer

It is possible, and not difficult to have a drink before dinner with kids, of quick preparation and keeping it healthy. Forget the crisps, the crisps of today are mixed nuts, tomato and melon skewers, and grapes!

Obviously, don’t give a skewer to a child under 5 years old! But you can give him each piece of fruit one by one. For older children, it’s a fun presentation, that they can help you make as well. My six year old nephew loved it. If yours doesn’t like tomatoes, make it melon and grapes, or plum and tomatoes, whatever fruits and veg they like.

About the nuts, as long as your kids aren’t allergic, it’s a great appetizer if you get natural ones, not grilled, nor salted. Each nut provides a different set of nutrients and we all should eat more! Nuts are good sources of protein, fibre, unsaturated fat and each provides its own vitamins and minerals:

  • Cashew nuts contain potassium, iron and vitamin B-6
  • Brazil nuts contain potassium, iron and magnesium
  • Almonds contain potassium, calcium and magnesium
  • Walnut also contain potassium, vitamin B-6, magnesium and iron
  • (potassium = healthy salt)

Enjoy, and let me know what you made your skewers with! :-)

Summer Light Plum Clafouti

Hello from France!

I’m still enjoying the sea, sun and… the cooking and have now got with me my nephew. Not that only kids like cakes, but they do enjoy baking don’t they?!

We have made a French traditional summer cake called CLAFOUTI. The most commonly found clafoutis are made with cherries. But this time of year, cherries are no longer in season so we need to get creative and use other fruits, and basically whatever fruits we like. Last year we made one with nectarines, this time, small green plums. You can really chose the fruits you have available locally.

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 400-500g fruits (as many as you can fit in your dish, they will shrink when baking)
  • 100g flour
  • 25cl milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 70g sugar or to make it lighter like mine, use stevia, half a tsp is enough because the fruits when cooking release a lot of natural sugar.
  • small pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence (optional)
  • 20g butter to butter the dish
  1. Wash and chop the fruits in small pieces.
  2. Butter the dish, then add the fruits.
  3. In a bowl, place the flour in the centre and dig a hole, add the sugar, salt and eggs all together (and vanilla essence if using it).
  4. Mix well then add the milk gradually while stirring.
  5. Pour into the dish and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 180 degrees c, 350 degrees f.
  6. The clafouti is ready when the consistency is the one of a flan and the fruits looked cooked. Inserting a knife, as we do in sponge cakes, won’t work because the inside of the clafouti will stay a bit wet from the fruits.