Category Archives: Exercise

I can feel it in my body, I can feel it in my soul..

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There’s nothing like the feeling of your body absorbing nutrients from a healthy, well-balanced meal.

Last night I prepared some cacao-golden milk before bed (coconut milk, coconut oil, turmeric, black pepper, cacao powder, honey, cinnamon). 

There was some leftover and rather than be greedy (which I am far too often guilty of), I poured it over some gluten-free oats and chia seeds. Then mixed in some nuts I experimented in a dehydrator I’ve been kindly loaned (almond, walnut, hazelnut, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, leftover pulp from freshly juiced fruit and veg, cinnamon, honey). Tossed in cacao nibs and a couple of dates, then heated this morning with coconut oil, 1/2 a banana and handful of blueberries.
Didn’t take a photo in time and I’m sure it looks gross to most, but my oh my was it absolutely delicious. 

I did an intense Forrest yoga workshop last night, 2 sweaty hardcore hours in 30°c heat and only followed by a bit of fruit and coconut water to refuel (along with the cacao-golden milk).

So this morning my body is welcoming every single beautifully nourishing ingredient.

I’m so grateful for all the amazing things in my life – my health, the abundance of food provided naturally by pachamama, the gorgeous soul tribe who help me along my healing/growing path.

I’m truly blessed.

So yeah – random breakfast, full of goodness to set me up for a great day. In the words of that wonderful native American Indian song – I can feel it in my body, I can feel it in my soul! Heyaho!

Happy Sunday y’all!

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Can’t Blog – Busy Fermenting…..

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OK, so the title of this post may be a little of a contradiction. Considering a lot of ferments pretty much take care of themselves, it really isn’t a valid excuse for having uploaded zero posts in the past 5 months.

But it is the truth I’ve been busy… busy making plans, busy ticking stuff off the bucket list, busy fulfilling dreams… regrettably none of the ‘drafts’ I saved got finished (something not unusual for me), but I’m here right now, and that’s all that matters… right? Man, I’ll deal with the guilt of procrastination later. For now I’m here to share with the world my new found love and fascination… the art of fermentation.

When I used to hear the word ‘ferment’, I’d automatically think of bananas that have turned brown and mushy in the fruit bowl, or gone-off milk that’s been sat in the fridge for weeks, or how my teenage brother’s bedroom might smell, if I had a teenage brother.

When in reality, the process of fermenting food (and drinks) is an age-old practice, utilised by our ancestors as a means of keeping food stored and edible for months on end, especially through winter.

Not only that, the longer food ferments, the more the ‘good bacteria’ grows… good bacteria which when consumed, can actually work wonders for our guts and digestion. Everything from vegetables, fruit, tea, milk and seeds can be fermented. And let’s not forget those of us who regularly consume yogurt – this is simply cultured (fermented) dairy!

Fermentation works by natural bacteria feeding on the sugar and starch in the food, which creates lactic acid. This not only preserves the food, but also creates beneficial enzymes, Omega-3 fatty acids, b-vitamins and most importantly, a multitude of probiotics. The process also helps break down the food into a more easily digestible form.

We’ve probably all heard of ‘probiotics’, and how they can benefit our health. But most store-bought products and probiotic supplements contain substantially less probiotics than home-made versions (not surprisingly).

Admittedly, I’m really just a noob at all this culturing business. But I’ve been reading a LOT, and have dabbled in a few experiments for the past few months. And I can tell you, I have not been disappointed.

It all started when my yoga teacher gave me a sip of kombucha to try, and I was instantly hooked. My body knew straight away I was giving it something so nourishing, and it wanted more. I won’t go into it too much here (will pend for another post – no procrastination!), but it’s basically black tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. Yes, it sounds gross, but the magic happens when they all come together to create a delicious, fizzy, detoxifying beverage. And the benefits are amazing. I call it my elixir of life.

Similarly, the first time I tried sauerkaut (simply shredded cabbage left to ferment in its own juices), my body heaved a sigh of relief, like it finally found what it had been waiting for in food. I could literally feel my gut grabbing and digesting with delight, like a party going off inside there. And it’s super easy to make! Now I have multiple jars of different sauerkraut, along with things like brocolli, kale, asparagus, beetroot and apple, all stewing in their own juicy goodness (my housemates think I’m a bit mental).

There’s no going back for me now; fermented foods are part of my healing path. And I urge anybody who feels they need a health boost, wants to cleanse and re-balance their digestive system or just feel (round about) one-hundred times better in themselves to give it a try.

There’s tons of information out there and I want to reassure you not to feel too overwhelmed by it – it really is a super simple process. Honest – just give it a Google, then give it a go!

Peace and love friends 🙂

 

Healing Garlic, Ginger and Butterbean Soup

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It’s mid December! Which means it’s cold outside (cue cosy jumpers, hoodies and scarves), party season is upon us and Christmas is just around the corner. Plenty to get excited about!

But with that excitement usually comes extra strain on our bodies and minds; lack of sunlight, indulgence in naughty foods and alcohol and excess stress over pulling together the perfect Christmas can all take its toll on us physically.

So if you’re feeling a little under the weather, this nourishing soup is the perfect pick-me-up.

Garlic boasts amazing antibacterial and antiviral properties, while ginger stimulates immune function and helps fight infection, as well as reduces nausea. Together they pack a mighty nutritional punch, and combined with onion (also a natural antiviral decongestant) these benefits are boosted even further.

On top of that, butterbeans are a fabulous source of B-vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium, fibre and protein. And along with cashews, which are packed with eye, heart and blood healthy vitamins and minerals, they help give the soup a warming, creamy consistency.

Even more to get excited about, this dish is so easy to make!

Ingredients:

1 head of garlic

3 carrots

1 tin butterbeans, rinsed and drained 

2 red onions

4-6 inches ginger

3 spring onions (plus extra to garnish)

Handful cashew nuts

1 1/2 tbsp dried oregano

Pinch of paprika

500ml vegetable stock

50ml almond milk

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200°c.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a baking tray and add the carrot and whole garlic cloves. I left the skin on the garlic for added nutrients, but these can be removed before blending if you prefer. 

Coat well in oil, 1/2 tbsp oregano, paprika and a little salt and black pepper, then roast for 20-30 min until soft, shuffling and turning half way.

Meanwhile season the butterbeans with 1 tbsp dried oregano and black pepper. Roughly chop the red onion, ginger and spring onions. 

Sautée the red onions and ginger for 3-4 min, then add the butterbeans for another 5 mins. Finally add the spring onions, carrot and garlic for the last 2 min.

Stir in vegetable stock, bring to boil, cover and then reduce to simmer for about 5 mins.

Add to blender (I used an immersion blender) along with almond milk and pulse until soft and creamy.

Serve and garnish with chopped spring onion.

Enjoy, and embrace the healing feeling and delicious flavours, while those antibodies get hard at work fighting your physical corner!

6 reasons I fell in love with yoga

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Through daily practice, yoga has become my foundation for a healthy, happy life.

Just half an hour each morning sets me up with a fresh outlook and good intentions.

On top of that, my fitness levels and general physique have improved so much. And after a year and a half, I can connect my mind and body, and do things I never imagined I’d be strong enough for!

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So, just because the love has hit a deeper level recently, here are 6 reasons why I’ve fallen madly, head-over-knees in love with yoga:

  1. It clears the mind- if I’m feeling stressed, anxious or just generally down in the dumps, doing a few sun salutations or releasing some residual tension in certain areas of my body (such as the hips, where much of our past angst is stored), really helps clear that stuffy mind-fog. Sometimes, our amazing minds become so entrenched with thoughts (whether positive or negative), that it becomes overbearing and we need to just stop the flow for a while, to reset and regain some clarity.
  2. It tends to the body- physically speaking, yoga is a wonderful way to strengthen, tone and stretch our bodies, without even realising we’re doing it. Because much of the practice is so subtle- focusing on remaining calm, breathing mindfully and flowing through movements gently, it’s easy to forget we’re essentially getting a ‘workout’ the whole time. Then every few days you take a glance in the mirror and see some newly sculpted muscles here and there – awesome surprise!
  3. It reminds me how it feels to Be Alive- This feeling is so easy to forget. Too many times I’ve found myself stagnant, mooching on the sofa or playing video games for days on end, with no real activity. And the longer this goes on, the harder it is to pull yourself back. But once you do, even in that first downward dog of the day, a fire is ignited instantly and the energy flowing through your body reminds you of what it is to feel, what it is to be. And how wonderful it actually feels to be a living, breathing entity on this planet.
  4. You get back what you put in (and then some)- Like any healthy relationship, you reap the benefits when you invest the best part of yourself. Yoga has no expectations- all it asks is that you show up, and just be yourself. And in turn, the path will lead you to beautiful new places, inspiring new people and exciting new experiences.
  5. Anybody can do it- I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Every body is a yoga body. Fat or thin, tall or short, muscular or feeble. We can all reap the benefits of regular practice. Of course, every body is different and every body will adapt and grow in different ways, but the truth is yoga is not exclusive for just already-bendy dancers or skinny fitness freaks. Yoga will embrace you, whoever you are.
  6. It will never leave me…. Sure, I could leave yoga. I could roll up my mat and stop practicing for the next 6 months, become shrivelled and tight. But the philosophy of yoga and the lessons it brings won’t ever go- I’ll always remember to breathe in stressful situations. I’ll always be more aware of how individual muscles and body parts feel at different times. And I’ll always remember the mind-body connection that yoga and I chiselled together through dedication and commitment. We’ll always have that mutual love. And that I adore.

I’d love to see schools introduce yoga as part of Physical Education or maybe those odd, ‘Social Studies’ classes that encouraged even the nerdiest of kids to skive. This in turn would create the space and opportunity to learn mindfulness and stress-relief, throughout their education, which they then take with them to use later in life.

In fact, I’d just love to see everybody try it, period. Sure, some won’t be as taken as I was, and that’s fine. But just to experience it would create a newfound outlook, everybody can benefit from.

Maybe I’m being biased towards my love. But I believe in it so much, I’m even willing to share it with the world! Now that’s commitment.

Peace and love all.

Rice Krispie & Oat Energy Bars

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Since going vegan, I actually can’t get enough of puffed brown rice. I use it for so much, like when I want that naughty sensation of eating cereal and cold milk covered with sugar, I fill a bowl with puffed brown rice, almond milk and xylitol (a plant based sugar subsititute which ironically even has oral health benefits)… snap, crackle and pop.
Or I make something like these Krispy, nutty oat bars. They’re packed full of fibre and protein, and the chia seeds give them an extra energy bursting nutritional kick – great for before or after a workout. Plus they take just a few minutes to whip up.

Ingredients:

140g almond butter (or any nut butter, though almond seems to taste best as it isn’t overpowering like peanut can be)

3-4 tbsp maple/date syrup

2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 banana

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup oats

1/4 cup puffed brown rice

Method:

Melt the coconut oil, almond butter and syrup gently in a saucepan. Blend together with the banana, chia seeds and cinnamon. 

Mix oats and rice well until sticky. Transfer the lot to a baking tray lined with parchment and freeze for about an hour.

The beauty of these babies is that you can take them straight out of the freezer and they’ll be edible within a couple of minutes. Hope you’ll try and enjoy 🙂
You can also of course mix n match- try opting just for just rice krispies and setting them deeper in the pan- leaves them nice and chunky with lots of bite.

Divine Devon

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This weekend I was lucky enough to bag a visit to rural county Devon, staying with my cousin and her other half in their new(ish) home. They relocated from our home town in November, and it was my first visit.

Despite leaving loved ones behind, I can see why they easily had no regrets with their decision. Their secluded village sits atop a hill, overlooking the beautiful Devonshire countryside. Woolacombe Beach (dubbed the ‘best beach in the UK’ and I’d say easily comparable to a beach in Spain) is just an hour’s drive, and an array of other touristic gems are dotted around, an even shorter distance away.

It’s experiences like these that remind me England isn’t the dull, grey image that a lot of us often have. It’s brimming with stunning scenery, wildlife and nature spots. At one point near a place called Castle Drogo, I couldn’t believe I was still in the UK. A giant valley filled with luscious green trees, and a convenient path that lets you admire the view from different angles, literally took my breath away.

Fingle Bridge, Castle Drogo

Another trip took us into the heart of a huge gorge, with gushing waterfalls and mossy trees surrounding us on upward spiraling paths.

Lydford Gorge was around 3 miles of massive woodland, ancient tree roots underfoot and an enclosed rock cove/cavern at a spot called the Devil’s Couldron. Standing on a bridge above, you can watch the water bubble and whirlpool madly around below your feet.

Lydford Gorge

Amongst scrambling up rocks, hiking up steep hills and sitting on the edge of cliff faces, I found a sense of tranquility I haven’t experienced in a while. The freedom felt while trekking across fields hundreds of miles from home, from anywhere familiar, was exciting and exhilarating. Living in each moment to moment, taking it as it comes and accepting the fact that it all ‘is what it is’, was an emotional release, to say the least. The fresh air definitely went to my head.

Dartmoor Moors

Devon is a beautiful place and as a ‘Brit’ I feel truly blessed to know we have such serenity on our doorstep- we don’t need to skip countries to get a dose of  escapism from the everyday England we’re used to. We just need to know where to look… and the drive to want to find the rest of the hidden gems the UK has to offer.

So much brocolli 😍

Wettest Weekend in Wales

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This weekend I was lucky enough to spend 2 nights camping in the Welsh valleys, specifically Beddgelert in Snowdonia.

The aim was to hike to the summit of Mount Snowdon (invested in hiking boots and everything), but unfortunately the weather didn’t quite allow- 5 hours and 2 small children was already going to be a challenge, but in torrential rain near impossible. So we opted for the toughest route (Watkin path), but only went for a couple of hours.

Some of our group disbanded and went back down after they decided they’d had enough,  and the rest of us continued up to where we could see the clouds.

So yes, I got to stand inside a cloud, and I also drank actual mountain spring water (it was flowing beautifully clear down some slate ‘steps’ and I just had to try it). And yes, it was delicious, crisp and I didn’t die. 

So although I didn’t make it to the top, I’m grateful I have the health to try. And some people who are special to me and have always been afraid to try such ‘adventurous’ activities actually gave it a shot. Which to me is a bigger achievement and far more fulfilling than getting to the peak myself. I was very proud of my friends in those moments.

I was also grateful to bear witness to the magnificence that is the Welsh countryside; rolling hills, huge valleys, sheep running along roads that wind on the sides of cliffs, gushing rivers and sparkling springs, beautiful lucious trees everywhere I turned.. it was just incredible.

All in all it was a wonderful experience and I’d love to go back and attempt the climb again. Hopefully this time the weather holds up! 

Yoga and Life Lesson: remember to breathe!

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I’ve ‘suffered’ with a few ‘ailments’ over the past six months or so; such as hip pain/tightness and bruised knees, and as such forced to decrease the amount of exercise I do, including yoga.

Though I still practice yoga pretty much everyday (though with less intensity), I’ve missed classes etc, in order to not overdo anything. Now more recently, I’ve managed to bruise my left rib/breast bone quite badly, and have minimised even more the amount I’ve been practising.

But of course, there’s always a lesson in these things. And here I learned, I must try harder to breathe. All the time. I must be more mindful of how deep each breath is. Cos each stifling pain cutting through my swollen rib with even half a ‘real’ breath, reminds me every time that I never breathe properly. 

And here I am, 9 days later and the pain is far more bearable. I’m just trying my best not to forget how much it hurt.. so that every inhale is full and each exhale is finished, lungs depleted completely.

Each breathe should be felt. And then peace can pour through.

Since I began my yoga practise, I’ve known real breathing is the part I need to spend the most time on. Only now the universe has become bored of repeating itself, and instead chose to give me the lesson through physical pain. Well waydago universe, it’s working.

But it is kind of crazy, the way the body utilises breath; supplying the sacred heart with power to pump oxygen and life preserving/building nutrients around the body. 

Now time to embrace it, one inhale at a time, one exhale at a time…

Finding ‘blog balance’ between my 2 favourite things

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Lately I’ve been wondering why I share more food moments than yoga moments on my blog.

Like both are my main loves in life, but I guess the balance of ‘want’ and ‘need’ between the two is quite rocky at times.

Most of my days lately have been spent in the kitchen. I mean literally, if I have just an hour free time I’m back in there, looking to throw something together that will help me to get me through another day.

Yoga is a deeper experience, executed mostly by, and with, myself, in a sacred space I have devoted to the practice.

Don’t get me wrong- I still practice every single day. And to a degree this is because it’s something I ‘need’.. but it is also merely a ‘want’, from my body and mind.

Whereas food is comparatively a huge ‘need’, as clearly it’s needed for survival. Even more so now being vegan, I need to make sure I’m always a step ahead of the eating game, and that meals and snacks are prepared and on hand as and when they’re needed.

I suppose with yoga being somewhat of a ‘private’ practice (aside from when I attend classes), I’m less inclined to ‘share’ my experiences on my blog.

But I love to inspire, and I want as many people as possible to experience this wonderful practice. So I will try to incorporate more yoga posts.

Cooking has been one of my main ‘exercises’ of late, and I do want to inspire healthy eating too. Yet again we return to that issue of balance… something I am also working on👌.

Peace and love yogis, chefs and fellow humans. I love you all, unconditionally.

Spicy Veggie Burgers

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Veering into the world of the vegetable patty can be somewhat daunting; “how can vegetables surpass a juicy beef burger?” one has probably asked.

As a lifelong carnivore, I myself was always reluctant to even bother tempting my taste buds to adjust to what may be considered a travesty against meat eaters.

But after visiting an all-vegetarian restaurant for the first time this week, I’ve been convinced a meatless diet isn’t as bland or big a deal as my mind might have once tried to tell me.

I’ve dabbled with home-made falafal before (drool), but had continued to shy away from the veggie burger. And these were so easy!

So here is my first attempt, and they turned out super delicious! In fact, there’s so many variations I can’t wait to try mixing it up next time.

These were actually a combination of sweet potato, carrot and kidney beans. And if you’re keen to experiment with a wider range of veggie meals, I’ve included the recipe I used below:

Ingredients (makes roughly 4 patties):

1-2 carrots, grated
2 sweet potatoes
1 can red kidney beans
1 tsp tahini (optional, but adds flavour and helps bind everything together)
Chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Pink himalayan salt/black pepper to taste
Sesame seeds, for a crispy outer layer
1tbsp olive oil

Method:

Preheat oven to 200°

Cook the potatoes  (I boiled until soft but roast is of course an option), then mash up in a bowl.

Drain and rinse the kidney beans, mash them up or put them through a food processor until smooth (I kept a few in chunks as I enjoy the ‘bite’ of a kidney bean).

Mix beans and potato together with the carrot, garlic, tahini and chilli flakes, season with salt and pepper if needed.

Spread the olive oil evenly across a baking tray.

When all ingredients are combined well, roll into patties and sprinkle with sesame seeds (or breadcrumbs, etc) to give a nice crispy outside.

Place onto baking tray and turn over so they’re coated in oil on both sides.

Pop into the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes, turning halfway through.

Serve on toasted brioche bun, topped with houmous and crispy salad (..or however you fancy, baby).

Tasty, filling, nutritous and not an animal in sight! Enjoy 🙂