Monday, 3 May 2021

SWEET POTATO VEGGIE BURGER SLIDERS

I mentioned this in my last post: Healthy picnic ideas. It would be a great bulkier addition to your picnic but also I made this for dinner. They are full of flavour - so delicious! And very healthy. I like to use a veggie burger that is as natural as possible - no emulsifiers, gums and I like to stay away from fake meats such as soya. I like whole food burgers - you could find one made of mushrooms or beans. This one was a quinoa and borraja burger from Carrefour - Borraja is a plant (I had never seen it before either!) It was very tasty!

Time
30 minutes

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes

2 veggie burgers

Some lettuce - I used lambs lettuce

A tomato

 An avocado

A white onion (you could use red onion and have it raw if you would prefer. Marinating this in lime juice would be amazing)

 Alioli or mayonnaise

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 210c.

2.) Slice the sweet potatoes into disks about 1/2" thick. 

3.) Rub with some oil, salt and pepper then place on a baking tray. Put in the oven for about 20 minutes. turning after 10 mins.

4.) Meanwhile, slice some onion. You have two options: red onion and mix in a bowl with lime juice, sugar and salt. Or, slice a white onion and fry it if you would prefer it warm.

5.) Wash and drain the lettuce.

6.) Wash and slice the tomato.

7.) Halve, pit and slice avocado

8.) Heat oil in a pan and fry the burgers for about 5-6 minutes until golden. 

9.) When the sweet potatoes are tender, take two pieces and spread with mayo or alioli. 

10.) Layer 1 piece of sweet potato with lettuce, veggie patty, tomato, avocado and then the onions. Close the second piece of sweet potato and skewer with a wooden stick to secure if you prefer to.



Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe and enjoy it!

Wishing you total health and happiness!

Alice
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Thursday, 29 April 2021

HEALTHY PICNIC IDEAS

So, this blog focuses on mental health and improving it through diet and lifestyle. And what makes one happier than eating a picnic in the sun with friends?

As the world is opening up in most parts of the world and the weather in the northern hemisphere is approaching summer, it is most definitely picnic season!

Of course, you can eat a lot of junk at a picnic if that is your wish. We are not about restrictions here!! I usually munch on crisps and dips and never really get full or satiated or satisfied. I feel groggy afterwards and still hungry because the junk has no nutritional value to fill me up.

So if you want to feel happy and energised after and are interested in improving your mental health through food, then maybe you can bring some healthy (still yummy!) treats along to the party! After all, we want to eat food that makes us feel good. Good mood food!



Savoury snacks

Olives (Tip: I like the ones stuffed with red pepper and they also provide extra nutrition)

Cashew nuts – (Tip: less processed if unsalted and unroasted)

Natural grain-free crackers (Tip: make your own! But my healthy cracker snack would be fine)

Crudit̩s Рsliced red pepper, sliced cucumber Рto dip in the below dips

Tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and oregano (I am not a big fan of cold tomatoes but when drizzled with olive oil and dashed with oregano – they have a sort of pizza taste. You could also add some feta if you eat cheese)

Graze snacks – I love the flapjacks, the roasted chickpeas etc. This is a great option if you are busy and don’t have the time to make it. I love that you can sign up for a subscription so you don’t have to remember to go and buy healthy snacks.

Sourdough slices - this is a great staple to spread with dips or homemade spreads or even homemade jam.

Dips

Guacamole (Tip: choose one that is over 95% avocado and doesn’t include dairy etc. Here in Spain the guacamoles are so good – they are basically just avocado. But I remember in the UK that guacamole would often contain sour cream. It doesn’t taste as good and just isn’t healthy. You could also make your own (Smash some avocado with lime juice, maybe some coriander, onion, chilli…whatever you fancy!)

Hummus (Tip: I actually prefer hummus that has more water in it as it is more creamy. In the UK, I really liked the Tesco Organic or Waitrose Organic hummus. In Spain, I really love the hummus from Dia.)

Any veggie dip you can find (Tip: if it's free of dairy then it is much better)

Make your own! – Have a go at making your own dip. I fell in love with veggie/nut/bean dips when I went on a yoga retreat to Fuerteventura. The food was mostly vegan and these dips were honestly incredible. It was things like broad bean and basil – this book (link here) is cool for exploring recipes for dips.



Main dishes

Sweet potato sliders – see recipe coming on Sunday!

Roasted veggie hummus sandwich (I will do a recipe on my blog. I roast courgette (zucchini) and red bell pepper in olive oil. As that is roasting, I spread a good layer of hummus on both sides of m sourdough bread. I then put the veg inside. It is really filling, healthy and tasty!

Lettuce wraps (or just wraps) – fill a big lettuce leaf with spiced beans or chickpeas – season with paprika and chilli powder. You could also add sweetcorn for another flavour and texture. You could also do this with wholegrain tortilla wraps and add any veggies and beans that you would like.

Veggie skewers – roasted pepper, onions and mushrooms on skewers. These would be nice dipped in sweet chilli sauce or maybe a pesto.

Mini veggie burgers – This is self-explanatory. You could make your own bean and quinoa burgers or you could just buy them and stick them in burger buns with some salad!

Caramelised onion and tomato tarts – this is just some caramelised onion and tomato in pastry but it is divine!


Desserts

Dates filled with almond butter or peanut butter (I love these! Tip: You can also freeze them before if it is going to be a hot day!)

Frozen grapes (Tip: Green grapes when frozen taste like ice lollies/popsicles – they are so refreshing for a hot day!)

Chia seed pudding – I love a chia seed pudding. Simply add chia seeds and plant milk into a container and leave them in the fridge for minimum of 30 minutes. You can add nut butters, fresh fruit, cocoa nibs for extra deliciousness and extra nutrition. Chia seeds are so good for you and you can buy a 1kg bag of whole food raw Chia seeds from Amazon (link here)


So, I hope these ideas gave you some inspiration for healthy, filling, nutritious, tasty picnic foods. If you want more ideas, you can buy a book that gives you ideas. Link here to one on Amazon which has some great ideas!

Enjoy!


Wishing you a week full of health and happiness

 

Alice

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that any purchase you make from the links - I will get a very small commission. This does NOT result in any additional cost to you, and the affiliate money earnt will go back into creating the best content. Thanks for your support!

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Monday, 26 April 2021

RECIPE: SMOKY BEAN CHILLI

Ok so this bean chilli tastes INCREDIBLE. It is ridiculously cheap to make and SO easy to put together in only 20 minutes.

When I made it the other day, I didn’t expect it to taste SO good. The flavours blended together so well – the sweetness from the agave, the acidity from the balsamic vinegar, the freshness from the tomatoes and the spice from the chilli. Best of all, it made me feel great afterwards: satiated but not overly full. It’s a great good mood food!

If you already have the ingredients, great! If you don’t, I recommend buying them as they are staples for so many whole food recipes. I always like to have jars of beans and chickpeas in the cupboard so that when I don’t know what to make, I can easily throw together a healthy recipe like this! It also stops me buying takeaway food. Yes we have all been there when we are so hungry and then realise that we don’t have anything in the cupboard so we think ahhh lets get a pizza!!


Time

20 minutes

Ingredients (for 2 people)

❤ Olive oil (link)

 2 cloves of Garlic

 ½ Red pepper

 ½ Courgette (Zucchini)

 Black beans (link)

 Kidney beans

 Chopped tomatoes

 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar

 1 tbsp of agave nectar (You can use maple syrup or sugar – you can choose (whatever you have)

 1 tbsp sweet or smoky paprika

 1 tbsp chilli powder

 Salt and pepper to season

 

Method

1.  Start by lightly cooking the garlic, pepper and courgette in some olive oil.

2.  After a few minutes, add a tablespoon of chilli powder and paprika powder (This also depends on how spicy you want it and how spicy your chilli powder is. So adjust it based on your preferences).

3.  After a few minutes of bathing in the spices, add the black beans and kidney beans and let them be coated by the spices.

4.  After a few more minutes, add the chopped tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, the agave nectar and season with salt and pepper.

5.  Bring to a boil and then simmer on a low heat for about 20 minutes (the longer you simmer, the better the flavour). The sauce will become nice and thick but make sure you don’t dry it out

6. Serve with whatever you would like! I like quinoa for extra protein and it is a less processed grain. 


Nutrition

- Beans and quinoa are a great source of protein.

- Beans, especially black beans, enhance gut health by improving intestinal barrier function and increasing the number of bacteria. This is amazing for gut health which is so important for your mental health.

- Peppers contain lots of vitamin C which is great for your immune system. 1/2 a  raw red pepper contains 100% of your daily amount of vitamin C.

- Try use an organic tomato sauce to make the dish void of chemicals and pesticides. Tomatoes, especially when heated up, are rich in antioxidants


Please comment below if you want to make this, have made it or if you have a great chilli recipe already!

As always, I wish you the best health and happiness!

Alice


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that any purchase you make from the links - I will get a very small commission. This does NOT result in any additional cost to you, and the affiliate money earnt will go back into creating the best content. Thanks for your support!

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Thursday, 22 April 2021

HOW TO improve your mental health through diet and nutrition

Do you want to improve your mental health, whether it be anxiety or depression? Do you, like me, want to solve the problem without taking pills? Well, I will tell you how you can SIGNIFICANTLY improve your mental health through diet and nutrition.

Right now, we have a mental health crisis on our hands, not helped by the pandemic and its restrictions. Many see the solution as medication (anti-depressants etc), and as much as that helps a lot of people and I don’t necessarily disagree with them, they’re not for me as I don’t feel like they are a sustainable long term solution.

From the age of 13, I suffered from bad anxiety: I didn’t want to go to sleepovers or even leave my house sometimes. After years of struggle and some therapy, I found a more holistic ‘healthy’ lifestyle and this has really helped me. My story is on my ‘about me’ page. The way I eat now and the awareness I have of my body, really helps to control my anxiety and I haven’t had a panic attack in quite a while. I have reaped the benefits of eating this way, so I really want to share it and hope it can help you! It is the inspiration for writing this blog. I improved my mental health through lifestyle changes, not anti-anxiety medication.

What saddens me is that we don’t hear in the mainstream about the studies and data highlighting the significant impact that nutrition and diet has on our mental health.

Evidence
The smile trial conducted in Australia divided a group of moderate-severely depressed people into 2 groups. Half had their diet changed (I will discuss later what was involved in this diet) and half used talking therapy. Those that changed their diet showed much better results: over 30% went into FULL remission. I’m sorry but FULL remission of severe depression through changing diet….why do more people not know this?! 8% of those in the social support group went into full remission, so you can see why there needs to be more of an emphasis on diet and nutrition as well as therapy.

The theory: Gut health
Our GI tract is home to billions of bacteria that influence the production of neurotransmitters; chemical substances that constantly carry messages from the gut to the brain. For example Dopamine and serotonin – the happiness hormones. Our gut-brain axis is a bidirectional link between the central nervous system and the enteric nervous system so we feel better when our gut is healthy but also when we feel nervous, our gut can react (we’ve all been on the toilet before something nerve-wracking, for example).

1: Eat a whole food diet with a variety of plant-based foods
The flora in your gut needs to thrive so you need to feed it a variety of foods. You should aim for 30 different plant-based sources a week. It is easier than you think because I don’t mean full portions. For example, a sprinkling of seeds on your cereal would class as one portion. Eating this way will also ensure you reach those micronutrients, which make your body and brain work better, and give you more energy in the day. In turn, you will sleep better at night, which is a huge contributing factor in mental health. This post is just about diet and nutrition but I am going to talk about sleep another time.

So what is involved in this way of eating? Well, the diet used in the Smile trial was described as a modified Mediterranean diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, and fish. This is what I refer to when I say ‘wholefoods’ – foods in their natural form. Food that has been taken from the land – no emulsifiers, additives, etc.

When I eat this way, I literally feel less anxiety in my body. It makes SUCH a difference to how my body and brain feels – it’s amazing. For me, my anxiety can happen when I don’t feel well and I rarely feel sick or dizzy when I eat this way.

On my food Instagram page, @alicesgoodmoodfood , I post whole food recipes every week: curries, stews, stir-fries, chillis, sliders, salads, risottos, etc. I will keep adding to it, so check it out if you are in need of inspiration! I do admit that the photography needs to improve, though. Also on this blog every Sunday I will be posting a recipe.

Alternatively, I think Hello Fresh is really amazing. They provide whole food recipes along with the exact ingredients so that you don't waste any food. You can choose whether to have veggie dishes if you prefer.


2: Reduce processed foods
The diet used in the Smile trial was void of processed foods. This is because they cause inflammation in the brain and body, which can contribute to mood disorders. They often contain a lot of sugar, which in the short term, can give you a high, but with any high comes a big CRASH. This happens to me: I become lethargic and more on edge or moody.

The problem is that it is a cycle. When we’re tired, we reach for junk and sugar. When we’re stressed, we reach for highly processed foods. BUT if we can break the cycle and eat something nutritious and filling, we will feel better and in turn, will not reach for those junk foods.

I really feel the positive effect on my body when I eat whole foods, so it puts me off eating junk. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat processed food now and again, and I am a sucker for Doritos. And chocolate is just the best. But what I prefer to do, and a tip for you is to try junk food that is less processed and has fewer ingredients. For example, some crisps (chips if you’re American) can be made with only potato, oil, and a little sea salt. This is much much better than crisps with ‘natural’ flavourings, ‘natural’ colourings, emulsifiers, etc. I will come on to these in another post because there is a lot to unpack as just about anything can be described as ‘natural’.

I love websites that help you eat more natural products. I love iherb because it has healthy snacks on there and it is a great website if you don’t have any health food shops near you. It's also great for expats like me because sometimes I find it difficult to find all the natural healthy things that I used to buy so regularly in London. Natural collection is also a great website for natural things for body products too.

3: Take probiotics
A variety of foods can help our gut but sometimes it may need a little more help and this is where probiotics come in. Signs such as regular bloating, gas, and funny toilet habits may insinuate that you need this extra help. You may have taken antibiotics that have killed the good bacteria or you may eat a lot of meat or processed foods.

Once your gut is flourishing, your brain will follow suit and I really believe they are a worthwhile investment in your health. I took the 12-week programme of Symprove your life because it is so easy: you just take a shot every morning. It’s a water-based bacteria so more bacteria can reach your gut hence making it more effective than probitoic pills. I first saw Deliciously Ella talk about this, so I bought it and it was honestly amazing. Seriously. I was amazed at how good I felt. Less bloating and I felt mentally more clear-headed.

If you would rather take a pill, I like these ones from Amazon or alternatively, you could you go to iHerb as previously mentioned – they have everything! 

4: Eat regularly to keep blood sugars stable
From my experience, my anxiety and panic increase if I am in public and I don’t feel well. This often happens if I haven’t eaten in a while because my blood sugars are low. I feel dizzy and light-headed and it makes me feel very out of control. Feeling out of control is a large source of anxiety for many people, so this could be something to consider.

I don’t know about you but I have to snack regularly to feel balanced. Something I miss from England is the Graze snacks. You can sign up for a monthly membership, where you get posted a mixed box of snacks every month. I think it’s amazing because then you don’t need to worry about walking around different shops looking for healthy snacks.

5: Reduce caffeine if you have anxiety
Caffeine stimulates the body and if you suffer from anxiety, caffeine is not really a good idea. I personally don’t drink coffee but that is because I don’t like it (I KNOW, I AM CRAZY!) But, I remember in freshers week of university, I thought it was time to be an adult and I went for a coffee with a friend I had just met. I ordered a latte... yes a LATTE and I ended up in the toilets of Nandos having a panic attack. Choose caffeine free alternatives such as decaf coffee or peppermint tea. You can also get this instant herbal beverage with dandelion which also gives you antioxidant benefits.


6: Have a healthy relationship with alcohol
Alcohol is the WORST for my mental health. If I get drunk in the evening, the whole of the next day is a write-off and I can’t travel very far from home: I am an anxious mess. I am not necessarily anxious about what I said or did, but I get physical panic sensations in my body. Alcohol is a depressant and our brains rely on a delicate balance of chemicals and processes, which can easily be disrupted by alcohol.

Of course you don’t need to go tee-total but especially if you have anxiety, think bout your alcohol intake and whether this is a contributing factor to any poor mental health. I know that having alcohol-free days can really help some people.

I used to have the philosophy: get super drunk and suffer the consequences the next day or drink nothing at all. I have now learnt to have a more balanced approach to alcohol and I will sometimes drink a glass of wine with a meal, for example without much effect on my mentality. So thankfully it has improved! And I do get drunk now and again (albeit not often!)


Conclusion
I hope that I have convinced you how important diet and nutrition is to your mental health and that you will try even just one of those tips to improve your mental health. If you were to eat a variety of plant-based foods, reduce your junk food intake, take probiotics, eat regularly, and monitor caffeine and alcohol, I think you will be surprised what can happen! They all seem like big things but if your mental health is poor, you know that it is worth it. I know that if I knew this 10 years ago, I would have done anything!

Do you do any of these tips? If so, let me know in the comments below.

As always, I am wishing you a life full of health and happiness!

Alice.


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that any purchase you make from the links - I will get a very small commission. This does NOT result in any additional cost to you, and the affiliate money earnt will go back into creating the best content. Thanks for your support!

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Sunday, 18 April 2021

RECIPE: HEALTHY WHOLE FOOD VEGAN CREAMY CURRY

If you're looking for a cheap, tasty and healthy vegan recipe, you have to try this! It's brimming with flavour thanks to all the spices, it is rich and creamy and can be made more hearty if you add some basmati rice or naan bread (or both!)

Since starting a more plant based lifestyle, curries have become my saviour when I don't know what to eat. They're so easy to make and are made solely of whole foods which your body will love and appreciate you for. I always feel so good afterwards - satisfied, satiated and not overly full. My mental health always feels amazing and if you don't know, that is the whole inspiration for my whole foods lifestyle and the reason I want to share this blog with you all.

Ingredients
❤ A jar of Chickpeas
 1 Red Onion
❤  1 clove of Garlic
❤ 1 small piece of Ginger
❤ 1 tin of Coconut Milk
❤ Salt & pepper
❤ Extra veggies if you wish (I used some leftover courgette I had in the fridge)
❤ Oil (see previous post on 'clean' and 'dirty' oils)

Spices - note that you can definitely adjust this depending on what you have. I used:
- 1 tablespoon of Curry powder
- 1 tablespoon of Curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of chilli powder (more if you prefer more spice or have a milder chilli powder)
- 1 tablespoon of turmeric
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon


Method (SUPER SIMPLE)
1.) Start by cooking the sliced red onion, the crushed garlic and the grated ginger in a pan in some oil for about 3 minutes.
2.) After this, add in the courgette or any other veggies you are using including the Chickpeas. 
3.) Straight after, add all your spices in and let the ingredients coat in all of the yummy spices.
3.) After a couple of minutes, add in the coconut milk and let it simmer for as long as you want.

Remember: the longer it simmers, the better it will taste!

Nutrition

- Chickpeas are high in protein and are great for gut health. We know gut health is so important for our mental health.

- Red onions can help with blood sugars. As discussed in my post when my blood sugars are stable, my anxiety is unlikely to come on out of nowhere.

- Ginger is an anti-inflammatory food and can really help settle your stomach. When my stomach is settled, my mental health is at its best.

- Spices are great sources of anti-inflammatory foods. Cinnamon also lowers blood sugar levels. Turmeric contains Curcumin,a  substance with powerful anti-inflammatory effects.


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To keep up with all of my recipes, you can follow me on Pinterest where all of my recipes will be posted. Alternatively you can follow me on Bloglovin

My strategy going forward for the blog is recipes on Sundays and nutrition/health/wellness advice or information, will be posted on Wednesdays. 
Health and wellness is such a complex area so I hope you can learn a lot of new things from my blog!! I have healthy picnic ideas, food combining, how to eat in season (with a guest!), how to reduce inflammation, amongst many other things.

Wishing you health and happiness!

Alice


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that any purchase you make from the links - I will get a very small commission. This does NOT result in any additional cost to you, and the affiliate money earnt will go back into creating the best content. Thanks for your support!
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Thursday, 15 April 2021

TASTY HEALTHY COOKING OILS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE(STYLE)

Did you know that the type of oil you use in your cooking could really affect your health and wellness? Did you know that not all oils are created equal? Do you want to know the healthiest oils to cook with?

Oils vary greatly in terms of quality and some are extremely processed which messes with your body, especially your hormones. Also, every oil has different properties; for example, you can only heat some oils to certain temperatures because, otherwise, they release toxins and chemicals.

Sometimes, especially if you want to lose weight or reduce your fat intake, it can be useful to replace oil altogether and use alternatives. I will talk about the ways to cook without oil at the bottom of this post. 

Also, before we start, I wanted to shout out a really great site called 'iHerb' and you can order almost any health product you want! It is so good for expats living around the world because they deliver to most countries!

So what do I think are the 3 best oils to cook with?

#1 AVOCADO OIL (10/10)

In my opinion, this is the one of the healthiest oils to cook with when cooking on a high heat as it has a high smoking point and therefore doesn’t release toxins. It is an excellent choice for frying and the flavour is really nice when cooking things like stir fries. It can be expensive but this Olivado one on Amazon is only £4.50 which is amazing!

We all know the significant benefits avocados have on our health, so avocado oil is no different. I could write a whole post on this but I will try to summarise the benefits here.

 -       Rich in Oleic acid (almost 70%), a very healthy monounsaturated Omega-9 fatty acid

-       It has anti-inflammatory effects by blocking a protein that causes tissue and bone loss

-       Reduces cholesterol and improves heart health

-       High in Lutein which has a benefit to your eyesight

-       Enhances the absorption of important nutrients in the body, therefore reducing deficiencies

-       Multiple studies reported that avocado oil extract may relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis

-       Improves skin and enhances wound healing

-       Neutralizes free radicals

-       High in vitamin E

Make sure you buy it from the correct place because otherwise, it can be quite expensive. I really like this brand and it is currently on offer on Amazon right now (link here). It is three times cheaper than if you were to buy it from the health food store!


PICTURE OF AN AVOCADO

#2 OLIVE OIL (8/10)

Maybe I am bias because I am living in Spain and the quality is amazing, but olive oil has been used in the Mediterranean diet for centuries, where people live significantly longer and healthier lives.

Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, which can reduce the risk of heart disease, increase weight loss and decreases inflammation in the body. It also contains Omega 3 fatty acids, which have been linked to improving brain health (see my previous post on this)

The reason I didn’t put Olive oil as the healthiest oil to cook with, is because you should only use Olive oil raw, or when cooking on a low heat. Olive oil has a low smoking point so, if heated too high, will release toxins. Another tip is to choose extra virgin olive oil so that it is not refined and overly processed – you can get these relatively cheap in the supermarket.


#3 RAPESEED OIL (8/10)

Due to its high smoke point, Rapeseed oil does not release toxins. It is low in saturated fat and is full of Vitamin E, which regulates the immune system – something very important, especially right now! Tip: You will get the biggest health benefits if you buy cold pressed extra virgin rapeseed oil. Again, less refining and processing.

The health benefits of Rapeseed oil:

·         It contains the lowest saturated fat content of any oil.

·         It is a good source of Omega 3,6,9.

·         It contains Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.

·         It is high in monounsaturated fats (the good fats!)APESEED 



Ok, so what should we STAY AWAY from?

VEGETABLE OILS (1/10)

Vegetable oils SOUND healthy but they are far from it. They are very commonly used for cooking but they are overly processed and the process of extraction uses toxic chemicals. You need a lot of chemicals to extract them and then they use deodorisers to make them smell good, because they have a really horrible smell naturally.

Anything overly processed is bad for your body, especially your gut. Your body thinks it is a foreign substance, not food, and will react in many ways notwithstanding bloating and inflammation. Inflammation is not good for the body and can lead to a whole host of diseases, so it is important to reduce this in the body, as much as possible.

CANOLA OIL (1/10)

Canola oil was banned in the UK until recently because it was considered toxic. Sometimes it can be known as ‘low Euric acid rapeseed oil’ but please note that this is not Rapeseed oil. Canola oil contains ‘anti nutrients’ preventing iodine absorption in the body. In addition, it goes through a damaging extraction process creating higher levels of oxidation and trans-fat. We want to avoid trans-fat at all costs! Don’t get me wrong, fat is healthy, especially the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated varieties, but trans-fat is a no-go and we should not be putting these substances in to our bodies.

OTHER OILS TO CONSIDER

COCONUT OIL – THE JURY IS OUT (6/10)

Coconut oil is ok to use on a higher heat and has a lot of health benefits such as having antimicrobial effects and raising HDL good cholesterol. It also contains vitamins E and K, and iron that is retained at high temperatures.

I like to use Coconut oil for baking or pancakes and sweet dishes. I like this one by Eat Wholesome as it is raw, cold pressed virgin coconut oil (100% coconut). However, the reason it is not in my top 3 is because it has a high level of Saturated fat. This is not ideal if you are trying to lose weight or trying to reduce this type of fat in your diet.

Some people think that coconut oil is healthy because it is very natural – simply just from a coconut. Others argue that the Saturated fat content is too high and therefore just because its natural, doesn’t mean its healthy. I personally believe that it is fine, but if you’re trying to lose weight or reduce body fat for medical reasons, then I would avoid it.


Also, as a bonus, you can put coconut oil in your hair and on your skin to make it soft!

SESAME OIL (6/10)

Sesame oil has a high smoke point and has monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. In addition, sesame oil has a great flavour, especially in Asian dishes. Despite this, it is not very high in other nutrients and vitamins so, for me, I don’t bother buying it. I much prefer to cook with avocado oil as oil can be quite calorific and I like to be obtain a high proportion of nutrition too! Not just empty calories! However I wouldn’t completely avoid it as it tastes good and isn’t necessarily bad for you.


Alternatives to oil?

Ok, so did you know that you can use water or tomatoes in place of oil? The food won’t stick and you probably won’t be able to taste a difference. Especially if you use herbs, spices and seasoning. Sometimes I like to include the healthy fats but sometimes, I like to avoid it altogether. A tip for when using water: keep adding water so the food does not stick.

When using tomato, it’s also worth keeping an eye on it if you’re cooking on a really high heat – in the same way you would do with oil. I like the tomato replacement tip as you’re making food tasty AND adding nutrition as well as flavour. Cooking tomatoes increases the bioavailability of lycopene, a bright red carotenoid, which is a powerful antioxidant. Lycopene is what gives tomatoes their bright colour. Lycopene can help to prevent cancer growth and supports your health, brain and bone health by protecting the cells from damage.


There we have it, the healthiest oils to cook with and the alternatives.


Let me know your thoughts below – which is your favourite oil to cook with? If there is an oil that isn’t on here – message me or insert a comment below and I can discuss it with you.


As always, thanks for reading and I really hope my tips can help you to live a healthier and happier life!! 

Alice


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that any purchase you make from the links - I will get a very small commission. This does NOT result in any additional cost to you, and the affiliate money earnt will go back into creating the best content. Thanks for your support!

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Saturday, 10 April 2021

THE CLEAN 15 AND THE DIRTY DOZEN - ORGANIC FOOD

Is organic food worth it? Organic food can be expensive and many people question: is it worth it? The answer: it depends.

Fruits and veggies use more than 15 difference pesticides and chemicals in order to encourage rapid overturn in the production process. Whereas, some are barely touched with pesticides, or the thickness of the outer later is so thick that the edible part of the produce is protected from pesticides. We must know which are ‘clean’ and which are ‘dirty’ so we are not wasting unnecessary money.


 

CLEAN 15

1.    Avocados

2.    Sweetcorn

3.    Pineapples

4.    Onions

5.    Papayas

6.    Frozen peas

7.    Aubergine (eggplant)

8.    Asparagus

9.    Cauliflower

10.  Cantaloupe melons

11.  Broccoli

12.  Mushrooms

13.  Cabbage

14.  Honeydew melon

15.  Kiwi

 

Foods not on the official ‘clean 15’ list that are also ‘clean’: Mangoes, Sweet potatoes, grapefruit.


DIRTY DOZEN

1.    Strawberries

2.    Spinach

3.    Kale/Collard/Mustard greens

4.    Nectarines

5.    Apples

6.    Grapes

7.    Peaches

8.    Cherries

9.    Pears

10.  Tomatoes

11.  Celery

12.  Bell peppers

 

Other ‘dirty’ foods: Potatoes, Spinach, Lettuce, Cucumber, Blueberries & Raspberries


Organic food can be more expensive but look out for when it is on offer because sometimes it can work out cheaper! Also, you can grow food for free as explain in this book: Grow Food for Free: Te east, sustainable, zero-cost way to a plentiful harvest


Look, I never want to fear-mong people especially as eating disorders are so common. But if you are interested, you can find some books on the benefits of eating organic food.

    Personally, I would rather avoid pesticides and chemicals where I can. If you feel     the same way, it may be worth considering the above and then you can make        decisions based on your budget. Alternatively, if you don’t care, I hope you                enjoyed     the post anyway!!


    If your favourite food is missing from this list – leave a comment and I will reply        letting you know how ‘dirty’ or ‘clean’ it is if you buy it non-organic.

  

   Thanks for reading!


   Alice


This post links to the #1 pillar of health: plant based foods / whole foods - link to my post here


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