Secret weapons

Most probably don't even know what perfect health feels like!

 

All too many aren't given appropriate guidance during formative years about which foods perpetuate health.  As obesity increases, so too has nutritional deficiency.  Many are eating the wrong foods that do little other than adversely affect the body as well as the mind.  Refined sugar is now the worst offender.  In fact, evidence-based research now reveals that too much sugar is associated with energy loss, brain dysfunction and metabolic issues.  Not to mention that taking in too many sugar calories may result in weight gain and, being overweight or obese puts you at a higher risk for cancer and other diseases such as diabetes.

Yet IMAGINE shifting into positive health through simple changes in diet will completely elevate how you feel and function.  Because it's not just about improving health but getting through each moment weightlessly, breathing easier, without pain, the list goes on.

 

Foods play a major part in your wellbeing as a whole.  It starts with changing your relationship with food and addressing negative associations.  When you do this, you will overhaul your fitness, weight and health; both mental and physical.  To do this, I suggest using my affirmations guide to help you build a more supportive relationship with food.

Below are some of my own key replacement recipes that I slip into my usual diet to really help keep in tip-top condition, both mentally and physically.  Try these for just a month and witness by feeling, not just seeing the transformation for yourself.

The Supercharger

My #1 Secret Weapon!

When I began to experiment with smoothies to aid weight loss, no matter what I tried, I couldn't lose weight.  Upon researching brain fog, I identified which key fruits could not only improve cognition but also brain aging by simply reducing sugar intake. In doing so, I also realised even natural sugars are inflammatory,

which retains weight!

 

By trial and error, I noted which were the most invaluable components that packed the greatest punch with the least effort and finally created my winning formula that I still drink to this day.  Even now, when I don't drink it, within a short time, I end up getting some sort of health reminder that returns me to my supercharger.


To lose weight, I went on the premise of the 5/2 diet which is based on evolutionary responses and substituted morning and lunch meals every day rather than only 2 days a week.  Evening meals were as  

normal.  Weekends I then ate what I wanted.  The weight fell off with ease.  And best of all, I was never hungry as a whole blender full of fruit and vege kept me going until dinner.  Not to mention my skin looked amazing and I felt energetic and incredible.

 

Supercharger ingredients:

In any kind of blender, doesn't have to be a labelled contraption:

A large handful of berries such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, max 5 large strawberries (they have more sugars)  You can also buy these frozen

1 huge handful of kale

1 huge handful of spinach

2 celery sticks

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and deseeded

Wash through with cool filtered water and then leave about a quarter in the bottom (you can just see the waterline in my blender above).

Notes:

Always, always choose organic fruit and veg where available.

The apples must be Granny Smith which is key to weight loss as they have the least amount of sugars.  If you are doing this to improve health, chose red apples.

Also, remove apple seeds that have arsenic and therefore poisonous. 

Don't bother with coconut water.  I saw/felt no difference at all other than my bank account!

You can, of course, add other fruits, just be mindful of sugars.  Try adding a lemon, orange, grapefruit or lime.

You can add a spoonful of natural yogurt if you suffer from acid problems.  Or just increase the celery content which is amazing for acid reflux.

Adding supplement powders:

You can add various powders like Spirulina which has many amazing benefits.

Many choose Wheatgrass but be very careful.  I found that it made my head get very hot, to the point of feeling like it was going to explode and it also started to cause hair loss!

Cayenne Pepper is another additive for weight loss but I've never tried it.  So too is Tumeric.

Restorative food

 

When you start to engage more in how you feel, you will be better aware when your immunity is compromised so that you can take action.  Usually, as winter sets in, bugs are waiting to find a cosy home in your body.  When this happens, you can minimise their effects with this incredible restorative soup.

And then there are times when, for whatever reason, you haven't eaten at all well over a period of time and you can actually FEEL your body drawing or pulling against you.  This is a clear indication you haven't had enough nutrients, i.e vegetables.

This recipe is my secret weapon against illness, or just when you need a boost.  As soon as you feel illness invading your body, take immediate action and get this soup on the hob so that you can ladle into a dish when you need nourishment.

This serves at least 6 and is all cooked in one pot.

Ingredients:

1 onion

250gm Pancetta or bacon lardons – can leave out if you’re a vegetarian!

1/2 garlic bulb - sliced and/or diced (crushing loses some of it's flavour).

1 green capsicum/pepper

1 red bell pepper

1 fresh chilli, ideally green but you can use red, deseeded and roughly chopped.  If you don't have fresh chilli just add 1 teaspoon Chilli powder.  This is entirely optional as some people don't like hot spices.

1 large Courgette

3 celery sticks

200gm organic curly Kale, washed and roughly chopped

225gm tin tomatoes

225gm tin kidney bean or white cannellini beans

1 small tin sweetcorn

Handful black olives, sliced - can leave out if you don’t like, but I think they add a great depth of flavour.

1 teaspoon Oregano

1 teaspoon Cumin

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

handful fresh coriander

Vegetable stock in 1 ltr water

 

In a large pot, fry onions with pancetta (you can add oil here to stop sticking but you may find the pancetta will produce enough oil for this) and fry for a couple of minutes, to your liking.

Finely chop rest of ingredients (except sesame seeds and coriander) and throw them all into the pot.

Cover with stock water, bring to boil and then simmer for 15-20mins.

Add sesame seeds and coriander at time of serving.

You might want to half the recipe for just one.

Perfect served with fresh soda bread for dipping.  See my easy recipe below.

Sweet tooth?  Need cake?

 

Have you noticed shop-bought cakes have lost their flavour?  Just another great reason to bake your own and start enjoying the taste of different flavours again.

 

Reducing processed foods that, in particular, are packed with refined sugars so prevalent in ready-made food these days will greatly improve your energy levels and help you to control weight more easily.  The good news is that you don't have to go without your sweet treats, you just need to be little more creative.

 

Simply supplementing with fruits and white flour for wholemeal will give you the sweet kick you desire but with far less negative implications on your body.

Banana bread

Preparation Time 10 mins.

Cooking Time 1hr 10mins

Preheat oven to 160C°

Prepare a loaf baking tin lined with baking paper.

 

Ingredients

115gm Butter (room temperature).  Some prefer unsalted but I prefer salted.

115gm Golden caster sugar

2 Eggs

A level teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda

A pinch of salt

A teaspoon of Mixed Spice (only if you prefer a little more depth to the taste)

250grams Wholemeal plain flour

2 Overly ripened large organic bananas, mashed with a folk

Whisk butter and sugar together, then add eggs and beat again.

Throw in all the dry ingredients and mix.

Fold in the bananas and when all combined, pour into the tray and send it into the oven for an hour ten.

By placing a tray of water just above where the bread is placed to bake, helps for a more even top and moist loaf.

Too easy!

Add Pears and/or raspberries!

If you want to try and mix it up by experimenting with different fruits, with or without the banana base.

You will need to double the recipe above with the exception of the sugar:

 

230gm Butter

115gm Golden Caster Sugar

4 Eggs

1 heaped teaspoon of Bicarb of Soda

A large pinch of salt

2 teaspoons of Mixed Spice

500gm Wholemeal Plain Flour

2 Overly ripened large organic bananas, mashed with a folk

6 conference pears, peeled and sliced and/or and handful of raspberries, rinsed.  Make sure you only fold the raspberries into the mixture just before pouring into the baking tin so they don't all turn to mush.

Baking time will increase to 1 hour 25mins

Chocolate Bliss balls

 

Also known as Protein Balls, although I don't add protein powder as I prefer less processed options where possible.  Great healthy sweet treats for kids too.  AND no baking required!

 

Please note, these contain nuts!

 

Ingredients:

½ cup dark cocoa powder

1 cup rolled oats - you can omit these for gluten free.

½ cup peanuts, unsalted. Roasted gives a depth of flavour.

1 tablespoon Chia seeds (these tiny seeds expand in your stomach to make you feel full)

300gm prunes, deseeded

3 tablespoons, nut butter (I prefer organic peanut butter)

2 tablespoon coconut oil (add one at a time as sometimes you may not need all and sometimes you might actually need more, dependent on the prunes).

100gm mini dark chocolate chips

1 heaped tablespoon desiccated coconut

You will need a quality blender that is tough enough for the job!!!

Blend nuts and oats in a blender until roughly chopped. Decant into a large bowl and keep aside.

Melt coconut oil in a microwave until completely melted.

Whilst melting, place prunes in the blender and slowly blend and add the melted coconut oil and the peanut butter for extra lubrication.

Once smooth, return the nut/oat mixture with cocoa powder and chia seeds and blend again.  At this stage you can either add the desiccated coconut as well or leave out to coat the outside of the balls for a more visual effect.

Scrape out the mixture from the blender and return to the large bowl, combining the choc chips and mix.

Use a spoon or ice-cream scoop for more even measurements and roll bite-sized portions into balls with the palms of your hands.

Here you can coat with the coconut.

 

Enjoy immediately.

Keep in fridge for up to 10 days.

 

Notes: You can substitute Dates instead of Prunes but prunes have less natural sugars and are rich in antioxidants

 

One cup of dates = 112 g of sugar/approximately 28 tsp of sugar

One cup of prunes = 66g of sugar/approximately 16.5 tsp of sugar

Easy Soda Bread

 

This ridiculously easy, winning recipe will impress your friends!

 

Adding seeds, cranberries, olives or anything else you fancy offers a great dimension to the bread especially when serving with a cheese platter. I found Waitrose wholemeal flour with seeds is ideal.

Preheat the oven to 200C

Ingredients:

500gm wholemeal bread flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

1 flat teaspoon salt

420ml buttermilk

Note: Unfortunately, you have to buy 2 cartons of buttermilk which equates to 568ml and throw the rest away.  But,

because I abhor wastage, I have calculated 676gm of flour will utilise all the buttermilk.  Just choose which measurement

you prefer.  I didn't change the bicarb or salt measurements!

Simply mix with hands or with the hook on a KitchenAid machine.

Shape to how you prefer it.  For easy slicing, I shape it like a loaf.

To finish, cutting a deep cross into the top of the dough ensures an even bake.

Bake for 30mins

Cowbridge

Vale of Glamorgan

United Kingdom

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© 2017 Melinda Mulcahy, UK

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