I often think about this relentless striving to be more, do more and to continue to better ourselves. The beginning of each year is a time when this message becomes excessively loud. The “how to” of creating a “new you” is E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.
Of course I believe in self development and growth, because that forms part of the work I do in my clinical practice, yet this message of striving to become a new version of ourselves feels like it carries an undertone of unworthiness to me. Why else would we want to be a NEW version of ourselves? Are we trying to eradicate the very truth that we are actually worthy human beings just by being here?
One of my ambitions last year was to attend a 9 day Vipassana retreat, which I was very blessed to actually achieve. I have done a couple of shorter silent meditation retreats in the past, so this time I had a fair idea of what to expect. What I didn’t expect though was the intense tiredness I felt for the first few days. Every spare moment, in between the formal sittings, I took naps. I meditated, ate and rested. It took a few days before I actually had enough energy and desire to go for some longer walks. My body was tired because my mind was so full and had been so overstimulated. The thing is, it is only in this intentional stillness that I can really notice how much my mind is racing.
Though I don’t consider myself someone who is extreme, doing something as radical as spending time in silence and meditating for hours over the course of a week has been one of the best forms of resting and recovering for me. I know this is not for everyone and you have to find what works for you, of course. Going on retreat where the outside stimuli is virtual nil has been the only way for me to completely let go. It’s not easy, but it has been possible, and so rewarding.
With this experience freshly in my mind one of my intentions for 2019 is definitely to let go more, to be more present and to allow my life to unfold more than me constantly pushing and striving. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have ambitions for things I’d like to happen, places I’d like to see and conversations I want to have, it just means that I am more open than attached to outcome. Basically I am taking more of a curious approach this year. Let’s see what will happen!
Before I move on to sharing my first recipe of this year, a green smoothie with some seasonal ingredients, I want to circle back to the self development topic. If we stop striving for being some different version of ourselves then what? Should we just give up on the self development project altogether?
I like to think about self development work more like a homecoming. A way to really get to know ourselves and to develop the skills, resilience and courage to live our lives on our own terms. To be able to be more of whom we are, rather than what society think we should be. So any tools and practices that helps us returning home to ourselves, to peel of all the layers of expectations and external driven motivations get my vote.
If you want to spend this year getting curious about your strengths and weaknesses, about what makes you tick and about what brings you joy, just know that I will be here cheering you on all the way. Just know that regardless of what you do, or don’t do, you are still enough and worthy just by being you.
So now to this recipe. Yeah, posting a green smoothie recipe in January does feel a little like playing into the hands of Diet Culture, but I also know that my body craves fresh foods and greens after all the holiday foods. However, when we’ve given ourselves full permission to enjoy all foods and eat (at least mostly) from a place of attunement, having a green smoothie doesn’t HAVE to mean that we are jumping on the diet bandwagon.
I have to admit that cold smoothies in cold weather is not my usual go to either, but this seasonal combination is so delicious and having a smoothie is a quick and easy way to consume something green, when you are craving it!
Apple & Kale Green Smoothie (For The Winter Season)
1 small apple, core removed & roughly chopped into chunks
1 small banana or 2 Medjool dates
A few leaves of green kale, stems removed & roughly chopped – I used cavolo nero here.
1 tbsp protein powder of choice – I tend to use an unflavoured pea protein – optional
100 ml full fat coconut milk
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
150 ml soy milk or other plant milk of choice
Place all ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. If you are using dates, don’t forget to remove the stones!
I personally like my smoothies at room temperature, but if you like them colder you can either use frozen banana slices in place of the fresh banana or ad some ice. Just make sure your blender can handle it. Enjoy!
After what feels like almost two weeks at full speed, I decided, no actually my body told me loud and clear, that it is about time to take a day which include some selfcare. To me that includes, spending time outside, preferably some walking in the forest as well as filling my body up on some colourful foods.
And since we are enjoying some Spring-like weather for the past few days, with apparently more to come, smoothies are back on the menu again.
Other parts of my selfcare practice intention for this week includes getting serious about my sleep. To get to bed in plenty of time to ensure that I can get 8h and maybe, just maybe, I’ll try taking my mobile phone out of my bedroom too…
Do you prioritise your own sleep? And if so, what does your routine look like?
It took me some time to warm to the idea of adding raw beetroot to a smoothie, but once I had tried it with some berries, there was no way of going back!
Beetroot is such a powerful veg, with phytonutrients that support our liver and blood. As well as that, as a root veg it is also full of fiber to help keep the blood sugar stable, give the stomach a sense of fullness and the bowel moving.
In this recipe I use banana as a sweetener but to be honest, mostly for texture as without it I found that you end up with a more “gritty” texture, that is not to everyone’s palate. I also tend to use raw ones, but since the consistency tends to change when they are cooked, it would be interesting experiencing using a cooked one instead. If you do, let me know! And probably best to cook a few and then use a spare one for your morning smoothie, as they take an age to cook…!
The leaves I used here are a variety that I grew last year called “Bulls Eye”. They kind of look like beetroot tops. If you can’t get hold of some, use a few leaves of spinach, rainbow chard or if you can get organic beetroots that still have their leaves attached you can use a few of them.
The talk of home grown veg together with the current warmth from the sun makes me look forward to the weekend already when my plan is to clear my raised beds to get them prepared for planting in a few weeks time. Must order some seeds too!
Ruby Red Beetroot Smoothie
1 small beetroot, peeled & chopped
1 small banana
1/2 inch of fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 cup of raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup of strawberries, fresh or frozen
A handful of red or green leaves (if your leaves are green don’t over do it or you’ll end up with a brown smoothie)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp of hulled hemp seeds – optional
1 tbsp of pea protein
250ml of plant milk of choice – other nice options are cold hibiscus tea or cold raspberry leaf tea
Place all ingredients in your blender. Blend until smooth, Drink and enjoy!
I actually made a little video for this recipe too.
Expect to see some more of these types of videos happening this year, since I’ve just bought an extension arm for my tripod!
Let the purple theme continue! And the smoothie one too, of course. Purple is my favourite colour. So of course it made total sense to create a smoothie that was purple. It seems like late summer / early autumn is the natural season for purple foods.
In the past few weeks I’ve foraged some wild blueberries / bilberries as well as blackberries from the hedgerows out the back of where I live. On my last few walks I’ve also spied some lovely damsons and lots of elderberries. If the weekend allows I think I will go ahead and make some of this, which will make a nice one to keep any colds and flues at bay as the weather shifts. This transitional time of the year is one when I’m most likely to get sick, so it may just be a good idea to stay on top of it!
You know, the idea for this smoothie came initially from creating something “hidden”. Not everybody enjoy drinking the colour green. So what I did was put a few green leaves with something that would blend them into another colour. I’ve mentioned before that blending red and green is usually not a brilliant idea. You might get away with a few leaves of spinach with beetroot as it is so bright, but if you’ve ever tried spinach and strawberries… you know what I am talking about.
In this smoothie it is the blackberries that are providing most of the purple colour, but the blueberries bring equal beauty in form of taste, colour and nutrients. And if you have some blackcurrants throw them into the mix too! All these berries are a great source of vitamin C which is a major contributor to a healthy immune system.
Purple Smoothie with Hidden Greens
1/2 cup of blackberries – fresh or frozen
1/2 cup blueberries – fresh or frozen
a handful of green leaves like kale (stems removed) or spinach
1/2 small avocado
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp pea / hemp / rice protein
1/2 tsp ground caramom – optional, but delicious!
250 ml coconut water or plant milk of choice
Place all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth.
Serve with your favourite toppings.
Feast your eyes on the purple delight.
And feel the nourishment spreading throughout your body!
In keeping with the yellow theme from last month’s blog post on the FIRE Aspect, I give you another yellow combination. And yes, it’s still a liquid one(!) *Note to self, make the next recipe something that you’ll chew*
But as I’m getting myself geared up for Whole Detox™ in about 10 days I’m enjoying a few smoothies here and there. Though I’m not really one for cold food in cold weather, (and boy is the warm winter we had turning cold and struggling to move out of the way) it can be hard to look past the convenience of smoothies when it comes to simple ways to increase the amount of fresh produce you eat. Eating enough can be such a challenge at times, and who would have thought, since the message that’s mostly thrown around it the one “eat less, move more”.
I’ve even had people on some of my programmes freaking out because of the volume of food on their plate. The beauty is though that when we increase the amount of colourful plant based foods we eat, we get to eat MORE, not less.
I remember doing this simple math’s exercise with a group I had on a weightloss programme a few years ago. Though, as you know I’m not a huge fan of counting calories but for this simple visual experiment they do serve a purpose.
So visualise this; One 500 ml bottle of soft drink (minerals / soda / fizzy drink – pick your name) contains roughly 500 kcal. Without having a label in front of me it will give you a fair amount of sugar, probably 10-14 teaspoons (remember this is a completely man-made product so any carbohydrate content will be pure sugar and count as your “added sugar intake”). There will also be some colourings and additives, more or less depending on the type and brand you choose.
Now let’s take those same 500 kcal and see how that translate into vegetables. So (from memory) 500 kcal worth of vegetable is about two full shopping bags worth! Lots of vital nutrients, fibre and volume. I would honestly think you’d struggle to chomp it all down in the course of a day.
That’s why the very handy, yet simple strategy of filling half your plate with vegetables is such a powerful way to reduce the total amount of calories yet maximise the amount of quality nutrition you get. There’s a lot to be said for keeping it simple.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 7-10 servings of fruit and vegetable a day for any diet to be disease preventable. 5-a-day is actually a minimum. And I see people who are only getting 2-3 at times.
How many portions are you eating daily?
I even know for myself when we did food diaries as project back in college, that upping it to 7-10 actually takes a conscious effort. Perhaps that’s one reason I’m so drawn to smoothies?
Anyway, another thing that I realised the other day is this; What if we look at the food we eat in a symbolic way?The majority of us want to have more energy so we can do more (and even BE more) and if we have a constant feeling of lack luster and even low mood holds this may hold us back from doing all that we want. It’s seriously frustrating. I can still remember what it felt like some years ago when my energy levels where down on 3-4, out of 10. A lot of the time I just functioned and got through the day, doing what had to be done. I was constantly tired.
So what if we focus on eating more foods that are vibrant and alive? What about adding more colour to the plate? My whole food philosophy is about feasting your eyes as much as feeding your body. In case you hadn’t noticed…
So without a degree in nutrition and if you want to keep it simple, yet knowing that you are getting lots of essential nutrients to fuel your body and mind, think colour! Think rainbow and aim to eat a rainbow of colours every day.
So with colour in mind, here is a yellow zingy smoothie that is sure to put some zest and brightness into your day.
If you are feeling brave and have a strong blender, like a Nutribullet, then go ahead and blend the whole lemon! It sure makes for some serious digestive power! Otherwise just use the juice.
And since the sun is still shining with it’s absence I am trying to brighten my days in other ways. This is one such way. Enjoy 🙂
Zingy Smoothie for Grey Spring Days
1 cup fresh pineapple – peeled, cored and diced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled
Juice of one whole lemon – or peel (if you have an organic one you can blend the whole one) and use the whole fruit!
1 small fresh root of turmeric or 1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tbsp of hulled hempseeds
1 tbsp of pea, rice or hemp protein (I like the Pulsin brand)
200-250ml plant milk of choice
Place all the ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. Drink immediately.
***Note, personally I don’t like really cold drinks (unless the weather is really hot) but if you want a colder drink feel free to add some ice too***
I’m going to continue on with the smoothie them for a little longer. Because I like smoothies. And I also have a nutribullet which I love using on a regular basis. I know, I know, smoothies are for the summer you say or for at least when the weather get warmer. Fair enough. But I happen to like having them all year round…
Since citrus season is almost over, I think I bough myself the last blood oranges for some time to come the other day. It’s kind of funny as I love eating oranges during the colder months but I very rarely buy them at other times of the year. Same with red cabbage for example.
So if you have a few oranges still knocking around in your fruit basket then here’s a cool way to use them up!
In this recipe I’ve paired my orange smoothie part with some sesame milk. As you can see I didn’t blend them together but went for a marble effect instead. Doesn’t it look cool? Making your own nut or seed milk is actually ridiculously easy. Every time I do make some I ask myself why I don’t do it more often. One thing to remember though is that since your own homemade milk, will contain no preservatives or emulsifiers it will separate and also it will only keep for 2-3 days so make sure you don’t make to much each time.
As a change from the usual nut milk, here you have a seed milk. This dairy free alternative is suitable for those who cannot tolerate nuts. Sesame seeds are also a great source of calcium so it makes a good substitute. Though the flavour is very different to cow’s milk. Obviously.
I’m a little bit behind on the blogging at the moment, but trust me it’s not for the lack of inspiration. I have lots of recipes and ideas I would like to share with you all. It’s just time… There’s been a couple of projects taking up some time recently and that’s why I didn’t manage to get this post out to last week.
One of them was the recent release of my Smoothie Ebook and if you haven’t grabbed your copy yet then feel free to do so now! It will be a nice follow on from this recipe and the lovely sunshine smoothie Agnes shared with us last month too. The other think, which you may have noticed it the addition of a video and a subtle change in layout, banner & footers. I hope you like it as much as I do. It was necessary as my business growing and evolving.
I hope you are enjoying your Easter weekend so far and if you feel like you need to balance your chocolate intake a little, then here’s a simple way to do it.
Citrus Sesame Smoothie
1 cup sesame milk (see recipe below)
1/2 banana – fresh or frozen (frozen will give you a creamier texture)
1/2 fresh mango, peeled & chopped
1 blood orange, peeled – or use a normal one if you can’t get any blood oranges.
First blend the sesame milk with the banana. Once you have a creamy mixture, pour it into your serving glass. Rinse your blender and then blend mango and orange until you have a smooth puree.
Add the orange-mango mix to the sesame part and watch the marble effect unfold.
Makes approx 4 cups ( 1000 ml)
2 cups sesame seeds, soaked for minimum of 4h & then rinsed
4 cups of filtered water
2 tbs raw honey or maple syrup
pinch of salt
Soak your sesame seeds in plenty of water, preferably overnight. Once the soaking time is up, drain & rinse them again. Discard the soaking water.
Blend the soaked seeds with the filtered water. You may have to do it in batches if you have a small blender like me. Once blended, strain your seed-water mix through a piece if muslin / cheese cloth or use a nut milk bag if you have one. Discard the pulp. Ideally in a compost.
Blend your “milk” with some honey and a pinch of salt. Done! Store in a glass container in the fridge. As I mentioned above, it will separate so give it a shake before every time you use it. Your sesame milk will keep about three days in the fridge. You’ll now when it’s gone off as it will be sour.
Here I share colourful nourishing recipes that are easy to make.
I also write about food, eating and body image from various angles as well as more broadly how we can live our lives more wholeheartedly!
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