Kale, mango & ginger

As a health enthusiast, I can’t do a smoothie section and not have a green one, can I?
I had to do a green smoothie and don’t be scared- not every ingredient is green ok. It doesn’t consist of sprouts, runner beans and broccoli. It got some leaves in it, yes, but it’s all good. I promise you. Now go buy yourself some Kale and get making this bad boy:
greensmoothie
What you need:
  • 2 cups (~ 60 g) kale, packed, fresh or frozen (organic when possible)
  • 1 cup (165 g) ripe frozen mango cubes (organic when possible)
  • 1 cup (150 g) ripe frozen peaches (organic when possible)
  • 1 Tbsp (6 g) minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 – 2 lemons or limes, juiced (~1/4 cup or 60 ml)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups (360 – 480 ml) filtered water
  • optional: honey
  • optional: 1 cup iceWhat to do:
    1. Pop your ice, kale, mango, peaches, ginger, lemon juice (starting with 1 lemon (2 Tbsp or 30 ml) and working your way up) and 1 cup water (240 ml) into your blender/smoothie maker.
    2. Once well blended, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If too tart, add more fruit or a little honey…. For more zing, add ginger or more lemon juice.
    3. Divide between two serving glasses and enjoy 🙂

 

smoothie


Cashew nut, coconut & white chocolate – warm!

 

What you need:

  • 100ml of fresh Coconut milk
  • 30g Oats
  • 1 small Banana
  • 1 tsp Maca powder
  • A hand full of Cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 2 (or three) squares of organic white chocolate


What to do:

– Microwave 50ml coconut milk and white chocolate for 2 minutes.
– Mix the banana slices, maca powder, cashew nuts, desiccated coconut, oats and the remaining 50ml of cold coconut milk into your smoothie maker or blender.
– Blend for a minute until the oats and have been completely incorporated (add a splash of cold coconut milk or water if you think it’s too thick to blend….)
– Divide the blended oat mixture between two cups and stir in the hot milk/chocolate mix. Then just top with a sprinkle of coconut or cinnamon and you’re good to go.

 

 

 


to lift your mood

We’ve all been there. When we’re feeling a bit low, bogged down with work, stressed with assignments, due on our period or just merely having a crappy day. It’s when were having one of those days where we want…. to eat.

And its never normally spinach or seeds.

Its normally something bad, something fatty or carby. Something begining with ‘ch’ and ending in ‘ocolate’….

 

Well there’s something good and something bad to say about this:

  1. that it’s completely understandable, everyone does it when they’re not feeling too chirpy and, because of the nutritional properties of chocolate, it scientifically makes a lot of sense.
  2.  stop.

Instead of munching on a toffee crisp, snicker or chomp, how about you consider some of the other foods that can help to ‘turn that frown upside down’ (….did I really just use that?) and your mood will soon be lifted.

 

Heres five foods that can help you when you’re feeling low…. Lets get started.

 


1. Chocolate, and I don’t mean a snicker bar.

Dark chocolate. Yes, the dark one. Some people scrunch their face up and turn away at the thought of the stuff and say it’s too strong and bitter… but could I sway you if I told you it is one of the most effective mood lifters of all?

Enjoying a piece of (70% cocoa or higher) dark chocolate provides an incredible sense of comfort and warmth and that rich aroma some find overwhelming is actually a means of relaxation and can calm the senses. A small cube of dark chocolate is effective enough to promote the release of endorphins that increases the secretion of serotonin. In addition, it also helps in decreasing the release of stress hormone cortisol even in stressful situations.

2. Eggs

We all love eggs. Well, I certainly do; scrambled eggs, fried eggs, boiled eggs, egg sarnie, omelettes! They’re an absolutely amazing source of iron and protein, are naturally rich in B-vitamins  -which are responsible for converting food into energy- and are sure to give you a sustainable hit of this energy which will last throughout the whole day. feeling energetic is key to lifting ones mood.

As a result you will feel more active, will be able to focus on work more effectively and can concentrate without fatigue or stress getting in the way.

3. Kale

On the contrary, we’ve got kale. Now, not everyone loves kale but it truly is a superfood- one of the best too. Packed with vitamins and minerals, kale is one of the best vegetables you can fuel your body with and is a real energy booster as it provides you with the essential minerals of copper, potassium, iron and phosphorus. Like with eggs, kale’s impact on your energy levels correlates with an improved mental state.

(To get the most out of the energy boosting benefits of this super veggie, ensure you cook it instead of eating it raw as it makes it easier for your body to digest and absorb all those important nutrients.)

 

 

 

4. Yogurt

A diet for depression and anxiety should include dairy products such as natural yogurt due to it’s high levels of calcium and vitamin D which not only play a pivotal role in improving bone strength and density but also helps to lift the mood by reducing the level of anxiety and stress.

Foods containing calcium and vitamin D is extremely beneficial in treating PMS related mood swings and anxiety. In addition, yogurt is also an amazing natural probiotic food that helps in relieving digestive disorders and boosts the immune system.

5. Coconut

Did you know that the scent of coconut has been proven to be an instant mood lifter? Making it a perfect natural food for fighting depression and anxiety.

Coconut meat is a rich source of protein and fiber that provides much-needed energy to the body and reduces feeling of lethargy and fatigue while the coconut water is a rich source of potassium and is a natural isotonic drink rich in electrolytes.

Additionaly, the kinetin present in coconut meat helps clear the skin and keeping it youthful and glowing, which is gonna have you saying ‘I woke up like dis’ …for sure.

 


 


for better sleep

Getting enough sleep is vital for our health and, thankfully, there are several foods that may help with this.

Some foods are high in antioxidants and nutrients, such as magnesium, that are known to enhance sleep by helping you fall asleep faster or helping you to stay dreaming for longer while other foods are packed with sleep-regulating hormones / chemicals such as melatonin and serotonin.

To reap the benefits of sleep-enhancing foods, it may be best to have them a couple hours before bed as eating them right before sleep may cause digestive issues, such as acid reflux.

Here are 6 examples of foods that will indeed help you to crash out and have an overall  better quality snooze….


  1. Fatty fish

    Salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel are all incredibly healthy fatty fish that are loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. it is in fact the combination of these two cruicial elements in fatty fish has been proven to enhance sleep quality.  When these two ingredients are put together, the production of serotonin, a sleep-promoting brain chemical, increases thus, the feeling of being tired soon starts to kick in. Eating a few ounces of fatty fish in an afternoon or evening may indeed help you fall asleep faster.

    salmon.jpg

  2. Bananas

    These calorific, energy suppling fruit contain tryptophan and are a good source of magnesium, both of which are known to help relax your overworked and perhaps tense muscles allowing a deeper, calmer, better quality sleep. Bananas also have the added benefit of helping to lower your blood pressure while you sleep which is a nice bonus.

  3. Kiwi fruit

    A medium kiwi contains only 50 calories and a significant amount of nutrients, including 117% of your daily needs for vitamin C and 38% for vitamin K. They’re also packed with folate and potassium, as well as several trace minerals. Eating kiwis may benefit your digestive health, reduce inflammation and lower your cholesterol due to their high fiber and carotenoid antioxidant content.

    However, Kiwi’s are not only great for all this but they may also be one of the best foods to eat before bed. The sleep-promoting effects of kiwis are thought to be, like with fatty fish, due to their content of serotonin- the brain chemical that helps regulate your sleep cycle. It has also been suggested that the antioxidants in kiwis may be partly responsible for their sleep-promoting effects.

kiwi

 

4. White rice and Oatmeal

These grains are widely consumed as a staple food in many countries. White rice is considered less healthy than brown yet it still contains a decent amount of vitamins and minerals. White rice is significantly higher in carbs and it is just this that that contribute to its high glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly a food increases your blood sugar. It is the high glycemic index that may help improve sleep quality. Despite the potential role that eating white rice may have in promoting sleep, it is best consumed in moderation due to its lack of fiber and nutrients.

Oatmeal is similarly high in carbs and has been reported to induce drowsiness when consumed before bed. Oats are also known as a good source of melatonin, that sleep-regulating hormone I keep mentioning.

5. Turkey

It’s not just that festive meat that goes well with cranberry sauce and gets a fair bit of stick for being ‘dry’ and boring’, Turkey is actually one of the best meats one can consume, not just for sleep but in general. And here’s why….

Turkey meat is extremely high in protein, which we all know is greatly important for keeping your muscles strong and regulating our appetite. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals including riboflavin, phosphorus and selenium. Turkey, however, does contain properties that explain why some people may become tired after eating it, and not just on the 25th December after the biggest feast of the year. It has been proven that it’s high levels of the amino acid tryptophan increases the production of melatonin, another sleep-regulating hormone. The protein in turkey may also contribute to its ability to promote tiredness.

turkey

6. Nuts 

Let’s start with walnuts; these bad boys are a good source of tryptophan, a sleep-enhancing amino acid that helps make serotonin and melatonin, the “body clock” hormone that sets your sleep-wake cycles.

And don’t forget almonds…. Rich in magnesium, a mineral needed for quality sleep. Eating almonds regularly has been associated with lower risks of a few chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is attributed to their content of healthy monounsaturated fat, fiber and antioxidants. The fact that these little things can help our snoozing is because almonds, along with several other types of nuts, are a source of, you guessed it, melatonin.

Almonds are also an excellent source of magnesium which has been proven to help those who suffer with sleeping disorders such as insomnia as the magnesium counteracts the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which, obviously, can disrupt one’s sleep.


 

pillow

And there you have it. My top 6 foods for better sleep.

Ok, a little more research can and should be done before we can conclude the exact role that foods have in promoting sleep, but their known effects are very hopeful.

Hope you enjoyed reading this blog and learnt something from it.

With love as always,

Anna Vitality

xx


Cut Down on Milk

We all know how ‘good milk is for you’ right?  I mean, it’s rich in calcium, it’s good for your teeth, it’s good for your bones, it contains all the right proteins and fats to help you grow and become bigger, taller, healthier and stronger… Many of us can probably remember being told to “drink up your milk”, whether that was from a carton at school or in a mug and warmed up with honey before bed. I know I can and I loved it. When I was poorly I’d have warm milk & honey on tap! My mum would be making me a mug of the stuff several times a day and, honestly, it made me wish I was ill more often.

As I grew older I would have milk in my tea, with my cereal, in my chai tea lattes, incorporated into my cooking to make sauces and scrummy pasta dishes. As for other dairy products, well… cheese and butter were also a must have in the Beal Household.

With all that being said, Milk and Dairy have always been associated with ‘healthy’ or ‘yummy’. But, what actually is milk? Yeah, it’s good for growth, for nourishment, for bone strengthening and all the rest of it. But, for us humans? I’m not sure. I’m starting to think not.

1402393985239.cached.jpg

What IS milk?

It’s universally understood that a mother’s milk is a central part of our development and, essentially, is what Mother Nature had planned in order for us to feed our babies. It allows many species across the globe to provide their young with the nourishment they need. On top of that, it also allows a baby to share with its mother her immune system, getting the right balance of fats, hormones, vitamins, proteins, and enzymes to allow it to develop from a baby (e.g. puppy) into an adult (dog) as quickly as possible.

Yet, we humans do something that no other animal on Earth does. After feeding our babies with our nourishing, beloved milk…. we decide to let something pretty weird happen. And that is, to let Mrs Cow take over. No species on the planet consumes milk in their adult lives, let alone that of another species… but, for some reason, we do.

Although cow’s milk contains similar components as human breast milk, they will be in extremely diverse amounts. Cow’s milk, for example, contains significantly lower amounts of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) that humans will have more of due to our difference in intelligence and brain development, yet they will have far higher levels of saturated fats which helps with their rapid body growth.

Why is Cow’s milk bad for?

Expert Opinion: “Due to the extreme processes that milk goes through and the high amounts of antibiotics, hormones, and genetically-modified substances that cows are continually exposed to, I believe there are real and eminent concerns associated with drinking milk from cows. All cows release toxins through their milk, as milk is a natural exit-portal for substances that the body cannot use” – Dr. Edward Group, on the dangers of drinking cow’s milk.

Seemingly, cows milk and other dairy produce are not as good for us as we once thought. Plus, there are so many plant-based alternatives such as rice, soya, hemp, hazelnut, almond and coconut milk that are all rich in calcium and nutrients that there really isn’t a reason to drink cow’s milk. I haven’t completely cut out dairy (yet) as I’ve seen a massive difference by merely cutting down. Since I stopped consuming so much diary a few months ago I’ve noticed that my skin has improved, I feel like my energy levels have increased, I’m a lot less bloated and I’ve also lost a bit of weight too.

Some of the health issues linked with dairy milk:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cancer (such as ovarian, breast and prostate)
  • Diabetes (insulin dependent)
  • Lactose Intolerance (No, you’re just not a cow)
  • Contamination
  • Vitamin D Toxicity

There’s so much to read online about how cow’s milk really isn’t good for you and there are so many alternatives out there to try- super yummy ones too. Dairy free coconut yogurts with blueberries make a lovely snack, and in the mornings I like to use coconut milk in my smoothies and as for porridge, hazelnut milk is the one!

It can make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing if you decide to cut down on dairy milk like I did. You’d be suprised at how much variety it can actually add to your diet too.

For more info on the dangers of consuming dairy and milk, check out this aricle:

‘Heath issues linked with Dairy’ by Dr Gina Shaw


FIVE REASONS TO DRINK MORE WATER

OK so, we all know how important it is to stay hydrated but none of us really know HOW important or, more to the point- do anything about it. We may ‘drink’ plenty of liquids but coffee, fruit juices and coca cola isn’t going to do the trick. Water, on the other hand, will. Whether you suffer with headaches, belly problems, frequent breakouts or find it hard year after year to shred off those Christmas pounds- water is the answer. And here’s why…

#1  METABOLISM BOOST
I’m no nutrition expert (yet) but I know what our kidneys job is and that is to remove all the crap from our bodies. What I also know is that when we become dehydrated, our kidney’s functions are inefficient and consequently our liver has to step in and work overtime. When this happens our livers become lazy and don’t work as effectively as they should do and this my friends is what leads to weight gain. Basically, the liver metabolises fat, and if it can’t do it properly, the fat stays put. So if we drink more, we work better on the inside and out.

#2  WAKE UP TO A CLEARER HEAD
Do you often wake up with a headache and/or thinking about what’s in the breakfast cupboard? I know I do. Well, if that sounds like you,  instead grabbing the pack paracetamol or heading straight for the fridge, have a glass of water. It’s so common to mistake thirst for hunger and ultimately this leads to overeating. I find that once I have a large glass of water in the morning that I no longer feel as hungry (but still hungry. I’m always hungry.)  PLUS, it’s a natural appetite suppressant. Win.

#3  SAY FAREWELL TO FAT
When we’re dehydrated our bodies tend to hold onto fluid which is what causes bloating and sometimes weight gain. Water found within cells (such as our fat cells ) is subsequently retained to make up for the water of which we are lacking. So, the less water in our fat cells means there’s less mobilisation for energy!

#4  TRAIN BETTER
Water enables oxygen to reach our muscles which in turn aids the body’s physical performance. So, basically, the more water we intake results in more water inside our muscle cells and so the better they function. Think of it as if we were a plant – As they need water to grow and become stronger, so do we. In case you didn’t know, water is two parts oxygen and that is the fuel we need in our muscles!

#5  BLOOD PURIFICATION
Not having enough water in our bodies can cause some water to be ‘borrowed’- if you like – from our blood. I learnt that this can cause small vessels to close, thickening the blood, thus making it more difficult to pump around the body. This can result in some major health problems including heart disease and high cholesterol. Yeah… No thanks!

One last tip: next time you buy your water from the shop take a quick look at its pH level. Alkaline water (with a pH of 7.3 and over) helps to neutralize the body’s acidity levels, hydrates the body to its full potential and is rich in minerals. Acidic water on the other hand has a lower pH level and has been proven to provide a prime environment within which cancer cells thrive. Plus, it can increase the chances of health problems developing/worsening due to its lack of minerals …I know which one I’d prefer.