Healthy Body.. Healthy Mind 

Being a food stylist and cookery writer for the last 19 years, I have battled with the daily onslaught of delicoius delights.. and I’m not one to turn down food… I LOVE IT!  So going on a nutritional cleanse has been quite a challenge, but surprisingly successful.  I have been able to enjoy food at the same time as detoxing and dropping kilos…. RESULT! Being tempted daily on photo shoots by mounds of delicious, enticing goodies, that HAVE to be tasted and nibbled has resulted in a rather chaotic yo-yoing of blood sugar highs and lows, the side effects of that kind of chaotic diet is unbalanced nervous system, poor sleep, afternoon tiredness, irritability, hormonal chaos and weight gain.

A bit of food deprivation has done me the world of good, it wasn’t long before I began to experience restful sleep and then started noticing a heightened sense of taste and smell as well as energy and stamina. As my body was clearing out the toxins from my body,  my senses began to become sensitive, and flavours jumped out at me like never before. Apparently it takes 14 days for the taste buds to renew, so now I find anything vaguely sweet is just TOO sweet! In fact by being prescriptive with the amount of food I ate it  has refreshed my creative vibe around cooking and creating recipes.

Gradually I have been weaned off my daily 2-3 coffee addiction and now enjoy green tea when I like, which is full of antioxidants and seems to satisfy the urge for caffeine. However and this is a big However… I don’t agree in complete deprivation…. so a couple of times a week I treat myself, and how I DO appreciate that flat white and sliver of cake! I used to skip breakfast or finish off my sons porridge from the pan, then constantly nibble/test/lick the spoon of something at work throughout the day and then treat myself with cake or chocolate at 4 O’clock which relieved the tiredness slump for a short period before I headed for a full stop.

On this programme I’m allowed to enjoy a sensible and delicious lunch, and I appreciate every mouthful and I savour every single flavour and texture. I eat slower too… which I’m sure has something to do with the balancing and cleansing effect of the vitamins and minerals that I’m taking.

The side effects of this cleanse has been significant, as well as loosing weight, I’m sleeping better, I’m calmer and nicer to my family, I’m  clearer thinking, less rushed and more productive at work! I’m generally a whole lot happier with being me!

My friend Nicola Sinclair who is also a food stylist and fellow mum at my son’s school, introduced me first to the programme when she was doing it with her 14 year old daughter, who has teenage skin. They both have had incredible results, Nicola gained her pre wedding weight and her daughters skin cleared. With our shared passion for all things foodie, healthy bodies and minds, we were urged by friends to combine our knowledge and create Healthy Food Lovers Forum where we meet every couple of weeks and share our mind and body food recipes in our new facebook page…Healthy Recipes for Food Lovers

In the meantime here is a recipe that is perfect for the a cleansing lunch and good nights sleep.

 

SLEEPY FOOD SALAD

There are numerous foods that contain specific substances that enhance sleep. This salad contains quite a few of them! This is a perfectly balanced lunch that is easy and quick to put together, little cooking, just a bit of chopping and under 600 calories, which includes a slice of Rye bread toast.

Serves 2

532 Calories per serving

185g canned tuna in olive oil

squeeze of 1/2 lemon or lime

handful of fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, mint, coriander dill or chives

salt and ground black pepper

200g can of kidney beans, salt and sugar free

10 spears cooked asparagus or broccoli

1/2 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped

2 cups baby spinach

1 tbsp sesame seeds

serve with 2 slices of Rye Bread Toast

Bring all your ingredients together.

Slice or flake the tuna into a bowl and cover with the oil, lemon or lime juice and chopped herbs, leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Season with salt and ground black pepper.

Meanwhile, rinse the kidney beans under running water and drain them well and tip into a mixing bowl, lightly crush with a fork.

Bring a small pan of water to the boil and cook the asparagus or broccoli for 5 minutes, then drain and add to the kidney beans.

Add the remaining ingredients; chopped tomatoes, avocado, spinach and toss through the marinated tuna flakes along with the dressing.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with toast. Enjoy in the sun if you can with a glass of chilled water with a squeeze of lemon.

What’s in a Salad?

Here is the reason why this salad is so good for you… 

Tuna

Tuna is one of the most nutritious foods full of omega-3 and EFA’s to support the nervous system. A great source of protein, benefiting insomniacs by helping to balance blood-sugar levels and providing important B vitamins to support the nervous system and combat stress.

Avocado is another super food, bursting with B group vitamins, excellent source of good fat and helps control blood pressure and nervous system, but beware they can contain up to 400 calories, so go easy. Spread it like butter on warm toast for yum factor!

Asparagus – Rich in vitaminB  to relax the mind after a busy day and also contains inulin, which has insulin- like properties to encourage good blood-sugar management.

Kidney Beans – One of the most abundant sources of calcium from a vegetarian source, they have a low glycemic index (they release sugars slowly) and reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol, factors that often contribute to sleep problems.

Sesame seeds – are high in zinc, calcium, magnesium and are wonderful nutrients for coping with stress and encouraging restful sleep. Chew well to release the nutrients.

Spinach – Eaten raw, spinach is one of the few vegetables that contains enzyme Q10; it is also full of iron, folic acid, B vitamins, calcium and magnesium which all contribute to great sleep.

Broccoli – is another superfood for its potential role in cancer protection and its other antioxidant properties, it also contains iron and abundant Vitamin C which ensures good oxygen flow to the brain.

Rye Bread – Rye is rich in minerals particulary magnesium and absorption can be improved with eaten with Vitamin D rich foods such as Tuna or sardines.

 

Get a Good Nights Sleep

Having recognised that there seems to be a common complaint of sleep deprivation and tiredness from many of my  friends who are busy mothers and are constantly juggling, I have focused this week on foods that promote a good nights sleep.

Along with avoiding stress, hormonal disruption, toxicity and emotional issues. The first and easiest thing to deal with for a goods nights sleep is to eliminate coffee and alcohol from your diet. Harsh but true.. read on!

Sleep for Coffee Addicts

Anyone with sleep problems should avoid caffeine altogether, or at least limit their intake to one cup of tea or coffee in the early part of the day. Decaffeinated coffee is not always the answer, as coffee acts as a diuretic and, although you may drift off to sleep naturally, the urge to pee may wake you up repeatedly during the night. Gradually cut down if you are more than three a day. Supplement your coffee craving with Green Tea, and watch out for many carbonated drinks and over the counter medicines for colds which may contain caffeine.

Sleep for Sauv Blanc Lovers 

Alcohol is a simple sugar, which raises blood-sugar levels quickly, resulting in a sharper than usual blood-sugar drop during the night. When blood-sugar levels are low, stored glucose is released from the muscles and liver to maintain equilibrium, and more food is required to sustain the glucose production. We experience this as hunger which in turn interrupts our sleep pattern. The same effect is often noticed when a high-sugar food is eaten late in the evening.

Avoid alcohol on week nights, and limit yourself to one glass, instead of the bottle at weekends! If you are looking for a non fattening drink – try a small dash of vodka with soda water and fresh lime juice in a long glass with ice.  This is much less fattening than wine and eating a little protein such as cottage cheese or cube of hard cheese and half an apple with slow down the glucose release promoting a deeper sleep.

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