Tag Archives: happiness

Back home to Lyon for a family reunion…

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… and the kitchen is already full of food!

(Thursday)

I arrived from the 11am Easyjet flight this morning. The pilot said it was raining in Lyon but when we landed the sun was shining and dad was waiting for me in the arrival area. We drove home to find mum in the middle of feeding lunch to her grandson, my lovely 2 year old nephew. After his afternoon nap, we all went grocery shopping for the weekend. You see, this weekend we are reuniting for the 1st time since a year ago: my parents, brother, sister and her two kids and me, all together at the same place at the same time. It’s a miracle!

There is a reason why we managed to get this organized: we are celebrating our birthdays. All of our birthdays! We were all born in February, March and April (except dad, but he will get his own special celebration later this year).

I am loving the atmosphere here today. I can feel there is something special in the air. My brother will land tonight from Vancouver and we are going to meet his girlfriend. My sister will arrive tomorrow with her eldest, who does miss his uncle Charles a lot. I can tell my parents are excited even though they are not making a fuss.

It is going to be a good weekend!

But – there is a but – I have been doing so well on my New Year’s resolutions (see the ‘About’ page) that I am getting a bit nervous about how it’s going to go here. Canapés, cheese, bread, cakes, wine, etc. It all looks so good and smells so deeeeelicious! We got the bread from a local traiteur that make the best country style bread in town. It smelled so good in the car on the way back!

Anyway, all I’m saying is I am a little concerned about this weekend going a bit overboard if not totally, but I just remembered: “When you have healthy habits, indulging every now and again won’t make a difference on your health”.

Therefore, I am now ready to enjoy this long waited for reunion, sharing good food and wine and our stories of the past year.

(Saturday)

Last night dad cooked! It’s a “once-a-year” event!! His favourite and very own recipe is stuffed tomatoes. He makes them with love and it’s always a success. Check out the recipe on my recipe page.

Stuffed tomato and rice

Stuffed tomato and rice

(Monday)

Oh dear! I just read that and I see all I was worried about was me eating too much. Well, I’m an optimist, what can I do?! Sure I ate and drank too much this weekend but honestly it’s no big deal.

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Pain au chocolat, croissant, baguette, brioche and bugnes

Kids and their mummy have just gone and the house is quiet again. It feels strange. As if something was missing. They are loud but it’s so much fun to have them around. However I must say, four days with brother, sister, nephews who fight and cry (not all the time, thank god!), and grand parents is a bit overwhelming. But hey, that’s family!

I will go back to London tomorrow feeling refreshed and ready to face revision period, yes, even immunology. I’m ready!

That’s what family does to me. I am glad we are a strong loving family and looking forward to seeing them again.

Family at work

Family working hard in the kitchen

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The Simple Things

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It’s when you get home from the airport on a cold night and find your flatmate in the kitchen preparing a plate of orange slices with cinnamon, or “How Monique turned an orange into a warm welcome back”. As she offers to share her dessert, taking out a couple of forks, we sit in the kitchen for a quick chat and catch up.

Good times and healthy food :)

February Recap

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A new month has just begun and before I start getting excited about the activities that I have planned for March, I would like to do a little recap on February.

Regarding food choices, I must admit I haven’t always been healthy last month. Nothing to worry about though, because as I said before, my New Year’s resolutions were not to become a perfect eater, but to make some changes in my eating habits. Last month, when I ate junk food or drank too much, it impacted on my mood and energy for up to four days! Which made buying healthy food and cooking look a lot less fun! Thankfully it’s all back to normal in my kitchen, fridge and cupboards and I can now start telling you about all the good things that I have done last month!

  •  I cooked a little

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  • I froze a lot
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Green vegetable soup (see recipe page)

  • I ran a fair bit: twice a week for about an hour. Feeling good about that!
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Morning riverside runs are the best!

Well it’s not always this sunny…

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But the ducks are always around

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and so are the rowers! (in the yellow boat)

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  • And the Award for Best Activity in February goes to: the live hangout with nutritionist Dr. Willett and two Food Revolution ambassadors Lindsey and Claire as part of the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution foundation. It was my 1st live hangout and as much as I would like to pretend I’m not the kind of person who gets nervous, I am. So I was pretty nervous. But discussing subjects such as “a child’s health improving thanks to healthy eating” and “school children growing veg” turned out to be so interesting that I forgot about the nervousness. Good job girls! Thank you : )
Photographs by (clockwise) Aubrey LaMedica, Peter Hawley and Lindsey Shifley

Photographs by (clockwise) Aubrey LaMedica, Peter Hawley and Lindsey Shifley

Now, what’s coming up in March?

I see cooking classes are getting popular, judging by the amount of Groupon offers I receive every day for them. So, it gave me an idea. I am thinking of setting up a cooking club. It is only just a thought yet but I might write about it soon and if I do, you will be invited to join me for some kitchen fun! Yay!

Mother’s day is coming up. I will be with my mum in France when that happens, giving us a good reason for cooking with the family. That’s something to look forward to! Don’t worry I’ll take pictures!

And then, exam stress will start. That’s NOT something I’m looking forward to, at all! Might not take pictures of that.

That is all for today. Got to get ready to go to my 11am lecture. In this beautiful weather, I am definitely walking!!

See ya!

Ready, steady, GO!

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Temperature: 1’c – starting to snow a little

Who cares! I went for a run this morning and I feel so good for it. It wasn’t easy to motivate myself to get out of the warm house but I remembered my friend blogger halezi said “getting out is the hard bit, but once you’re out and running you feel so good, you know it’s worth it”. And she is so right!

Healthy lifestyle 1 – Crappy lifestyle 0

Turmeric will lift my mood this winter

G O O D   M O R N I N G !

How I love Sundays! Right now I’m feeling happy.

But unfortunately, at times, I’ve been feeling down, and today’s post is about finding food that makes you feel better.

In the past, when I felt down, I would reach for sweets and carb-rich foods. But now that I have decided to change my diet habits, I have had to search for HEALTHY FEEL GOOD FOODS.

Here is my top 3:

1) TURMERIC

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Turmeric

A spice that I add to most my recipes. It’s not very hot, it brings flavour to a veg soup, it goes well with chilli powder and curry powder. I’ve used it in chilli con carne, Jamie’s butternut squash and chorizo soup, even in the ratatouille.

Here’s the amazing info I found when researching it:

Consumption of curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, can be used as a natural and long lasting antidepressant (1). Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a protein found in human serum and plasma, and low levels can be associated with depression (2). Studies have shown that curcumin can raise BDNF levels (1).

2) VEG and LEGUMES high in FOLATE

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Spinach

Why? Because folate (B vitamin family) participates in the production of neurotransmitter serotonin (3), which is famous for lifting the mood (4).

Foods high in folate include (4):

  • Dark green leafy veg: spinach
  • Legumes: chick peas, black eyed peas, lentils, pinto beans, navy beans and many more
  • Seeds: sunflower seeds

I find spinach being an easy veg to add to – again – any recipe. On top of an omelette, when it’s nearly done. The spinach will cook in only a couple of minutes. Or in a chicken soup. In a stir fry. In chilli con carne? Why not? Always add it at the end, just before serving. It brings freshness and this beautiful green color to dishes that are a bit boring looking.

3) MACKEREL and SALMON

Summer food, rose colored fish steak in a wine marinade

Salmon fillet

Recent studies show that Omega-3 present in oily fish may have a positive impact on mental health (5).

I love salmon cooked in a foil parcel, in the oven with pepper and olive oil. It is not only deeeelicious, but also it doesn’t smell of fish in every room of your house, and no dish to wash up! Easy :)

Next week I will post some recipes containing feel good food. Or, actually, if someone would like to post here some recipes they master and love, please I would love to know about them! Using lentils, or chickpeas or black eyed peas. I have never cooked black eyed peas and am very curious about them.

See you, very soon I hope! :)

References:

1) Hurley, Laura, L, et al., (2013) “Antidepressant-like effects of curcumin in WKY rat model of depression is associated with an increase in hippocampal BDNF”. Elsevier, 2013. Accessible on http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432812006997

2) Bun-Hee Lee and Yong-Ku Kim, (2010) “The Roles of BDNF in the Pathophysiology of Major Depression and in Antidepressant Treatment”, Published online 2010 November 23. Accessible on: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3022308/

3) Miller AL, (2008) “The methylation, neurotransmitter, and antioxidant connections between folate and depression.” Alternative Medicine Review : a Journal of Clinical Therapeutic [2008, 13(3):216-226]. Accessible on http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/18950248

4) Whitney, E and Rady Rolfes, S, (2008) “Understanding Nutrition”, eleventh edition. Thomson Learning Ltd, Belomt, California, USA.

5) Mental Health Foundation, diet and mental health. Accessible on http://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/help-information/mental-health-a-z/D/diet/

Morning run in morning sun

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I went for a run this morning, not long after sunrise, before heading to uni for my 11am lecture.

What an amazing morning! The sun was shining, and reflecting on the river. Birds woke up in a happy mood, singing, as me and my friend jogged by. While city workers were making their way to the station, we enjoyed our early outing in the village. Exercising definitely needs to be a part of my healthy resolutions. I am aiming to go again on Saturday and try make this a twice a week thing from now on. Exercising + nature + healthy breakfast = ultimate well being.

As we say in France:  P U R    B O N H E U R

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At uni, outside the cafeteria