I just looooove cheese. But it doesn't seem to love me back these days, dairy makes me break out, and upsets my tummy.
Sometimes, though, you just need some comfort food (and apparently cheese is as addictive as cocaine! That explains a lot). This cheese sauce is made from cashews, and really hits the spot when paired with buckwheat pasta spirals, as shown here
| Gluten free | Dairy free | Vegan |
I use cashew butter because my blender doesn't quite make a smooth paste from raw cashews, even when soaked for 12 hours. But if you have a Vitamix or Blendtec blender, feel free to sub in cashews instead.
Recipe inspired by Megan Gilmore
1/2 jar cashew butter (I used Ceres Natural Cashew Butter)
1/4 cup savoury yeast flakes (not brewers yeast, they are different)
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon sea or rock salt
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
pinch cayenne pepper and chilli powder to taste (optional)
2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice
In a sauce pan, on low heat, place the cashew butter and water. Whisk slowly until a sauce forms. Add yeast flakes, garlic, salt, turmeric, cayenne pepper and chilli powder if using and combine. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice.
Serve with pasta or cauliflower, or use in place of cheese sauce.
This salad has quickly become a favourite because of its deep flavour, nutritional qualities and the fact that it keeps for days!
Our family eats a lot of Quinoa. My son Alfie eats "Quinoa Pudding" (yoghurt, quinoa and stevia with cinnamon) whenever his mama will let him, and my husband is from Peru so he has eaten Quinoa his whole life.
I love having a bowl of cold Quinoa in the fridge to add a protein punch to any meal, and if you've been looking for a new way to eat this superfood, give this salad a try!
Because I'm eating alkaline and dairy hasn't been agreeing with me, I used coconut yoghurt (CoYo) in this recipe. You can't even taste the coconut, but you can absolutely use regular yoghurt instead.
Recipe inspired by Elizabeth Rider
Jewelled Quinoa Salad
1 cup raw Quinoa, cooked in 2 1/4 cups water until all the water has evaporated
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup chopped raw celery
1/2 cup chopped raw carrots
Handful of parsley, finely chopped
Handful of coriander, finely chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
1/3 cup coconut yoghurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Mix everything together serve. Can be stored in the fridge for at least 3 days.
Enjoy! And let me know if you make it :)
Here's a delicious salad you can feel good about eating!
Following an alkaline diet has helped increase my energy levels so much, but as with any way of eating it is easy to get bored if you don't change up what you are eating. This can lead to cravings and binge eating, so I try to invent new ways of eating healthy foods. That said, when I find something I love, I tend to make it over and over again, and this salad is one of those recipes.
This salad packs a big nutritional punch, too. It includes:
Celery: Rich in Vitamin K
Broccoli: Rich in Vitamin C (when eaten raw)
Red Pepper: Rich in Antioxidants and very alkalising
Coriander: An amazing source of potassium, and helps rid your body of heavy metal toxicity
Parsley: Supports kidney function, and controls blood pressure
Turmeric: A potent anti-inflammatory
Lime juice: Super alkalising and helps bring all the flavours together
Pineapple: Great source of manganese and vitamin C
Olive oil: Healthy fat
Almonds: Protein and healthy fat
I haven't used quantities in this recipe because you can add as much or as little of each ingredient as you like. I tend to make lots so I have enough for 2 meals.
Chop up raw broccoli, celery, red pepper, coriander, pineapple, parsley and almonds. Combine in a bowl with olive oil, lime juice, fresh grated turmeric and Himalayan salt to taste. Leave to marinate for ten minutes or more and enjoy.
My personal nutrition journey
Back 2 years ago, before becoming a Health Coach, I read Christine Cronau’s book The Fat Revolution. Having believed up until that point that fat was essentially the worst thing for your body (read: it made you fat), this book really did revolutionise my world. I started eating lots of butter, coconut oil, meat fat, and switched to high-fat dairy. I had never eaten margarine, but I took all the canola oil out of my pantry and fried in lard instead. This is called the Low Carb High Fat diet, and trains your body to use fat for fuel instead of glucose (carbohydrates are simply long-chain glucose molecules).
I believe I had been fat-starving my body for years. Our brain needs a lot of fat to run, and research is suggesting that brain diseases such as Alzheimers may be, in part, a result of eating low-fat diets for so long. My nails and hair grew stronger, because they are the last in the body to receive nutrients, and fat carries a lot of goodness. Although I felt healthier, I wasn’t losing weight on this diet, so looked for something that was a little more.... extreme.
I tried ketosis...
I came across about the ketogenic diet through Maria Emmerich, who recommends cutting almost all carbohydrates from your diet (the allowance is around 20grams a day). I lost weight but it was so so hard to stick to this way of eating. I was consuming hardly any veggies, my meals consisted mainly of meat and fat, avocados and coconut oil. I lost my will to eat (very strange for me!) because everything I ate was over 50% pure fat and sometimes it made me feel sick to think about an omelette fried in coconut oil, drizzled with more coconut oil, washed down with a coffee blended with coconut oil and butter.
Then comfort food...
After trying the ketogenic diet and deciding I couldn't stick to it anymore, I started eating a LOT of carbohydrates, mainly because they had been off limits and the “baddies” of the ketogenic diet. This lasted for around 9 months - I was also going through some personal challenges so I used food as a crutch, and what is more comforting than carbohydrates, bad fat and sugar combined? Enter fries, croissants, pies... The irony is that eating food like that made me feel good for 30 seconds, but as soon as it was in my stomach I felt lethargic, sleepy and unenthusiastic about life.
Meanwhile I was reading articles about how by eating meat, you are eating all the emotions and suffering of that animal (if they were factory farmed, or slaughtered inhumanely, etc). It made me feel sick to my stomach, but I couldn’t really imagine a life without meat. I had tried a vegan diet for a few weeks a couple of years ago, and my main complaint was that I was constantly hungry. I would eat a massive bunch of salad leaves and 20 minutes later would be ravenous.
A few months ago I stumbled upon the Alkalinity diet via Maria Browning, who I knew of through Zumba training and met personally with her emotional fitness programme, Happy Beyond Fit. I had seen her results and was intrigued, plus I was really ready for a cleanse after eating unconsciously for many months.
What is the Alkalinity diet?
The basic premise is that we are born at a pH of 7.4, which is slightly alkaline (ph7 is neutral. Lower is more acidic, higher is more alkaline). We consume acid-forming foods and beverages like coca cola, beer, wine, coffee, processed grains, dairy and meat, and our body becomes more acidic. The theory says this is where a lot of disease is formed, from an acidic body. So to get back to an alkaline balance, we need to eat alkalinising foods and drink alkaline water.
I bought a water alkalinising jug, and love the texture and taste of the water that it produces. I based my diet on veges, both raw and cooked, alkaline fruits, and nuts, plus some quinoa. I cut out coffee which was my main vice - I’m not a huge alcohol drinker so that wasn’t a problem.
On the first day I had a massive headache - I think it was coffee withdrawals combined with all those scones coming back to bite me! After a big day at work I curled up on the couch in a cold sweat and fell asleep. From there on out I started feeling better. With my knowledge of healthy fat I made sure I included enough to keep me satisfied in the form of avocado and some coconut, plus olive oil. The best part was meal prep - I just cooked up a big batch of veggies at night and saved some for my lunch the next day. That cut my costs of eating out and made mornings very fast - I had a smoothie for breakfast, just fruits and veggies, and then a veggie salad for lunch and dinner.
This is what I noticed from ten days of this experiment:
Full disclosure: I also ate Lindt 85% cocoa dark chocolate. And I had a couple of almond milk coffees (homemade almond milk made with alkaline water). I included these two acidic foods because I like them so much, and cutting them out completely would’ve made this way of eating unsustainable.
I did lose weight, because my pants fit looser, but I don’t weigh myself so I couldn’t tell you how much. Also, weight is no longer my measure of health - nowadays i measure health in how much energy I feel, how my skin looks, and how easily tired I get.
On the tenth day I went out with some work colleagues and ate at a really beautiful restaurant. I had fish (which is more alkaline than other meat), a corn fritter and fresh tomato salsa, and a couple of bites of the brownie they served for dessert. I immediately felt nauseous, sleepy and headachy.
The part I most love about cleanses or detoxes is that once you get “clean”, your body’s signals about what is good for you are extremely clear. There was ice cream and crème fraîche served with the brownie but I had absolutely no desire to touch it - I actually felt sick at the thought of it. I had suspected that dairy didn’t agree with me for a while, but in that moment it became crystal clear that I don’t need dairy at all.
I came to this conclusion: If you want to lose weight, if that is your primary goal, almost any diet will work. Whether you go ketogenic, vegan, high protein, whatever, you are usually clearing nutrient-poor foods out, which will help your body release extra weight easily.
But if you want to be healthy (which is my primary goal), I wouldn’t recommend cutting out one macronutrient (of which there are 3: protein, carbohydrates and fat) completely. Your body will start craving whatever you don’t give it, and will nearly always result in a binge, or a “falling off the wagon”. I eat way more carbohydrates than I used to (I thought that bananas, mangoes, sweet potatoes were the enemy) and feel much better than when I was eating a lot of fat and losing a lot of weight.
Also, it comes down to self love - I approached the alkalinity diet as an experiment, not a regimen. When I had a coffee or some chocolate, I didn’t berate myself or feel like a failure, I just reminded myself I’m aiming for progress, not perfection.
When you approach your health with an inquisitive mind, rather than a dictator-like list of "good" and "bad" foods, you allow your body to tell YOU how to eat.
Also: what works for me may not work for you. Some people handle dairy better than others, some people feel great when they eat lots of red meat. I think the future of health care is not a blanket policy, but encouraging each individual to experiment to find their own bespoke way of eating that is healthful, energy-giving, and happiness inducing.
Attached is an alkaline-acid food chart if you feel like experimenting yourself :)
I'd love to read in the comments what foods make you feel best!
Trifle has never been a tradition in my family, but I had so many requests to create a healthy version that I dived in! I took it to a few parties and no one knew it was healthy - it was a hit!
We start with a homemade, sugar-free sponge, add custard, fruit jelly and a little sherry, and top with cream. Enjoy!
1 cup soft butter
1/4 cup Natvia
2 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 170.
Grease and line a round baking tin with baking paper. Mix all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend well. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and smooth out. Bake for 25-30 minutes until firm and golden.
Cool in the tin.
750g frozen berries
9 sheets leaf gelatine
Put the fruit in a pan with 200g Natvia and 1 litre water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 2 mins, then scoop out 6 tbsp fruit and 150ml juice. Now carry on cooking the fruit in the pan for 5 mins.
Meanwhile, soak the gelatine in cold water to soften it. Blend the cooked fruit, then strain through a sieve into a large bowl and push through the pulp so just the skins and seeds are left. Squeeze excess water from the gelatine, add to the hot fruit syrup and stir to dissolve. Cool, then chill until on the point of almost setting.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
Put the milk and vanilla extract into a saucepan and bring to boiling point, but do not let boil.
Beat the eggs and Natvia together in a bowl, and, still beating, pour the hot milk over it.
Rinse and dry the pot and pour the custard mix back in. Cook over medium heat until the custard thickens: about 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool with a tea towel over (so a skin doesn't form)
For a thicker custard, add 2 Tablespoon Kuzu dissolved in 2 Tablespoon milk. Simmer for 2 minutes before cooling
4 Tablespoons sherry
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons Natvia
Pile the cake into a trifle bowl, spoon over the reserved juice and berries, then the sherry. Pour over a thick layer of custard, pushing it against the side of the dish to seal in the cake below. Leave to cool and set with a skin – this makes a barrier for the jelly.
When the custard is cold and set, and the jelly is on the point of setting, spoon the jelly over the custard and chill until ready to complete.
Whip the cream with the vanilla and Natvia until just holding its shape, then spoon round the bowl over the set jelly. Chill until ready to serve.
This pavlova is totally healthful and guilt-free! It only uses a few ingredients and it sure to please the Christmas crowd. It won't raise your blood sugar, cause weight gain, irritability or bloating like normal pavlova can. So help yourself to a second slice ;)
6 egg whites (at room temperature)
pinch of salt
1 cup Natvia
1 Tablespoon egg white powder or cornflour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
Preheat oven to 180. In a stainless steel bowl (I used a saucepan ) beat the egg whites and salt for at least 5 minutes, until very thick. Add the Natvia with beater still running and beat until glossy, a further 5 minutes. Add egg white powder, vanilla extract and white vinegar and beat until combined.
Spoon pavlova mix on to a tray covered with baking paper and put into the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Turn the oven down to 130 and bake for 1 hour. Then turn off the oven and let the pavlova cool inside.
Serve with whipped cream and berries Enjoy!
For more recipes like this, check out my new ebook, Fat is Your Friend
Do you really think you're convincing anyone when you say "I'm fine"?
We humans seem to have forgotten that it's not just the words we say that convey meaning. Our body language, tone of voice, and general energy depict a whole world of emotions that can't be wrapped up in a pretty "I'm fine" package.
But we carry on pretending that everything in our life works, that we don't have fears, or hurts, or dreams.
I always thought I was the mistress of faking it. I pretended everywhere I turned. On the outside I was this bubbly, confident-seeming woman, living the life of her dreams. I thought everyone believed it.
Inside, I was like a snail who had recently moved to a bigger shell. My body felt bigger than my soul, and I wasn’t ready to fill my own shoes. I was constantly on edge because I was scared of criticism and judgement from others. I was anxious that someone would come and catch me out, as if I were some kind of thief.
Whenever anyone would ask how I was, I'd give them the standard answer of "I'm fine" and a big smile. I thought that if I pretended everything was perfect, it would somehow become perfect.
When you pretend, you push people away. You create an invisible wall between you and them, so when they reach out to you, instead of touching your hand, they get cold hard bricks.
You think you’re doing other people a favour when you act happy, but really you’re denying them the opportunity to love you.
When you say “I’m fine”, you cut the olive branch that could lead to an authentic connection. Plus, people can sense when you're not ok. Even dogs can! By denying their intuition, you're not only denying yourself support, but also creating confusion in them because they get mixed signals from you.
During a stressful time in my life, I was meant to be meeting a group of acquaintances for breakfast. I pulled out at the last minute because I just couldn’t get it together and slap a fake smile on my face. One of those people obviously recognised this and came to my house to see what was going on. The whole story came out, and I confessed that I had been taking anti depressants, therefore was clearly a complete failure at life. To my complete surprise, my friend said that he’d been on antidepressants too for a while, and it wasn’t the end of the world.
In that moment I realised that if we always put a wall up, we are only stopping ourselves from being loved. By being our imperfect selves, we allow others to also be themselves and show us their scars. We see that nothing is as it seems (especially on social media), and strong people aren’t those who have never had anything bad happen to them, but those who have gone through the fire and come out the other side. I had no idea my friend had been on antidepressants, and I’m sure that if I didn’t give him that opportunity, I still wouldn't know.
And then it happened with another friend, and another. Suddenly all my relationships were transforming simply because I was being myself! The misunderstood person inside was actually not that strange after all - I was just a human feeling normal human emotions! What a crazy concept...
When you show people who you truly are, you create a bond with that person. When you have bonds with others, you feel loved, supported, cared for, and happier. If you feel lonely, reach out to others, because when you receive their love you’ll feel better. If, on the other hand you pretend to be happy and never reveal your true feelings and thoughts, you isolate yourself. You feel no one understands you, no one knows the ‘real’ you, and you don’t have any true friends.
If you put on your happy mask, you send the message to people “I don’t need you. I have enough friends, enough love in my life. Thanks anyway”. That person innately feels your distance (even if they can’t articulate it), and they steer away from you.
It is human nature to want to help people. We are wired to feel empathy for others. Denying people the right to show their own nature will only repel them from you. If you want better relationships, start talking about real things. Talk about how you feel, what you’re afraid of. What you dream of doing.
I’ve always loved the Marianne Williamson quote “As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” - But I misunderstood it. I thought it meant, if you’re successful, happy and brilliant, you will inspire others. The way I see it now is, just be your quirky, nerdy, cheesy, badass self, and in so doing you give others permission to be whoever they are.
We are all humans. You may think your friend has everything together, doesn’t seem to have problems, handles everything fine. Just try opening yourself up a little to those people. See if they do the same back.
Do you always pretend to be fine? What are your strategies to open up to connect with people? Let me know in the comments below!
I like to make an analogy to my clients that breathing is like recharging our batteries. If we go all day without recharging, we feel exhausted by the end of the day.
If you're reaching for sugar or caffeine based stimulants during the day, it may be because you're not breathing fully, and your body is in fight-or-flight mode.
When we breathe only into our chest (shallow breathing), we unknowingly start a chain reaction in our body, which goes like this:
- Your adrenalin pumps up
- Your stress hormone cortisol rises
- Your body thinks you are about to get into a fight or run away from a tiger
- Any bodily function deemed unnecessary for survival is switched off so you can have the energy to run away or fight when needed. The main ones include reproduction, digestion and fat burning. (This often manifests as infertility, indigestion, heartburn, gas, bloating and excess fat storage)
- You take longer to fall asleep at night because you're so wound up
- Your body only allows a light sleep (so you can hear the "tiger" about to attack you), and you don't recharge effectively
- You wake up exhausted
- You fuel up with sugary, carbohydrate-based foods and/or coffee to get you through the day, which encourages a fast energy boost and a slump which leaves you feeling even more tired
- You don't feel like exercising or moving your body because you have no energy
Does this sound familiar?
On the other hand, if you breathe deeply into your tummy, you set off a different chain reaction...
- You send the message to your body that all is well.
- Your body recognises there is no immediate danger and turns Rest and Repair Mode: ON
- Digestion improves, because there is sufficient blood in the digestive system
- Fertility improves, as your body sees it is "safe" to get pregnant
- Weight stabilisation often occurs since your body has the resources to deal with what you eat, rather than storing it for later
- Because you have been recharging throughout the day, you no longer need as many pick-me-ups, and you make healthier choices
- Because your body hasn't been on an energetic rollercoaster ride all day, you have energy to move your body
- Moving your body releases endorphins and serotonin, which make you feel happier
- You go to sleep easier because you're more relaxed
- You wake up more refreshed the next day
It's not an overnight shift; it takes a small time investment to retrain your breathing (and to remember to breathe this way consistently through the day). I used to put an alarm on my phone reminding me to breathe! Over time it naturally becomes part of how your body works, and you will realise you didn't need 3 coffees today, or half a packet of biscuits before dinner was ready.
Here's a short video about the importance of breathing
Try this right now: Take 3 deep breaths right down to your belly (lie down if needed). Do you feel more relaxed? Calmer? More centred?... Let me know in the comments!
PS: If you're ready to commit to your health goals, I'm here to help... My Spring Reset programme is helping my clients feel great, and you can feel great too! Find out more here
This post is not about constructive criticism. The kind where you try a dress on and your friend says, “I think you can find something that suits you better” (thank you awesome friends).
It's also not about the direct type of criticism where someone says, “I don’t like that you did that. Why did you do that?” (thank you brave friends).
I’m talking about sideline criticism. You do something, and people on the sidelines, watching you live your life, decide you’re not doing it right. Yup, everyone is the best All Blacks coach sitting on their couch with a beer in hand!
Life changes are beautiful.
Yes, they can be shit sandwiches. Change isn’t easy.
But you get a fresh start.
You get to see what is worth keeping and what is a drain on your energy. You get to see who is really in your life because they love you, and who just wants to gossip. People show their true colours. Brave people talk to you, and the rest talk about you.
I experienced this recently, when I recounted my experience of my separation in this post.
For every person who messaged me to thank me for sharing my story, there was another who (indirectly) disapproved of it. I read the blog over and over, trying to find where I had caused offence.
Then I stopped myself. I realised that no matter what I do, I will always incur criticism.
The point of life is not: "to die having offended no one"
Aristotle said it best, 'To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.’
Sideline criticism happens all the time. It’s unavoidable.
The trick is to exterminate others judgement of you from your mind as soon as possible.
Here are my 3 ways of handling criticism.
Authenticity is magnetic. Meaning, some people will be attracted to it, and some repulsed by it. And that’s ok.
You always have a choice. You can go down the rabbit hole: start questioning your decisions, your actions, your very existence. Or you can rise above.
Most often, people who criticise you feel insecure in themselves. They wish they had the courage to do what you are doing. So, even though it doesn’t feel like one, take sideline criticsm as a compliment.
You don't need to deal directly with critics - you simply need to come to terms with your own inner critic. When you are at peace with yourself, and you realise that perfection is an illusion, you know that your best is enough. Criticism from others will not affect you as profoundly.
Take those trying moments in life to see where your garden flourishes, and where it dies. It will never be a bad thing to see who is truly on your side, and who is only there to coach you from the couch.
PS: If you're ready to take your life to the next level, this is my go-to method of pushing RESET on my body and mind!
Our lifestyle these days means that we miss out on many essential nutrients. Each time we eat out, we trade vitamins and minerals for convenience. Likewise, being inside all day means we often don't produce enough Vitamin D, which is an essential hormone for regulating our immunity, bone health, happiness and sleep.
In this video you'll learn my number one tip for improving sleep quality.