20 Minute Coconut and Chickpea Curry

Hey guys!

It is no secret I love quick, heart warming food and this recipe is no different! It takes around 20 minutes and you can use whatever vegetables you have left over in the fridge… winner!

 

Ingredients:

1 onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 inch of ginger

1 red chilli

1 tbsp chilli powder

1 tbsp turmeric

1 tbsp curry powder

1 tsp of tomato puree

1 can of coconut milk

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 can of chickpeas

Veg of choice – I used:

Half courgette

1 yellow pepper

Handful of plum tomatoes

Handful of spinach

 

Method:

  1. Chop all the fresh ingredients and heat tbsp olive oil in a wok (this is a good time to start cooking rice if that is your serve choice)
  2. Add the onion, garlic, chilli, ginger and tomato puree and cook for around 3-4 minutes
  3. Add all the spices and after a minute add the chopped tomatoes, chickpeas and coconut milk
  4. Bring to boil then add veggies of choice, cook for around 10 minutes on a medium heat
  5. Serve with rice or naan bread and enjoy!!

 

 


Top Tips for Veganuary

Happy New Year!

Another year has gone in the blink of an eye as well as a lovely Christmas break full of extra yoga (utilising that time off work well!) or full of extra food and drink! January for many is a time where people look to make fresh starts and try new things – we have all seen the new years resolution posts haven’t we?!

One of the most popular ‘new things’ to try over the last couple of years has been Veganuary. Veganuary is a charity run campaign to encourage people to try a vegan diet for the month of January hence Vegan-uary. Last year saw an increased number of retailers and restaurants jumping on board the vegan hype, having dedicated menu sections and shopping aisles purely for vegan products.

Many people have opinions on this campaign both positive and negative, but there is no doubt veganism is rapidly growing as a lifestyle choice, with the Vegan society stating there were 542,000 vegans in the UK in 2016, a whopping 360% growth over the last ten years! So, whether you are new to the vegan scene or you just want some extra nutrition advice, here are some top tips to consider if you are opting for the plant baed diet this January.

How to get enough protein:

Protein plays several important roles in this functioning of our body such as growth and repair and the maintenance of good health. There are a variety of plant-based sources of protein on the market such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu and soya. In the UK it is advised to aim for approximately 70g of protein each day. When following a vegan diet variety is key as some sources of protein do not contain all the essential amino acids needed by the body. Foods such as soya, quinoa and hemp are thought to be the only ‘complete’ plant-based sources of protein that do not come in supplement form.

Vitamin Deficiencies:

People following a vegan diet can sometimes be more likely to be deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. Some of the vitamins to try and include in your diet are listed below.

Vitamin B12 is a very important vitamin to be aware of it you are eliminate all animal products from your diet. A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, anaemia, and potential nerve damage. The British Dietetic Association recommend eating two portions of fortified foods per day to help with your B12 intake such as breakfast cereals, yeast extract, soya yogurts and non-dairy milks. If this isn’t possible, consider taking a daily supplement with approximately 10mg of Vitamin B12. (If you have any concerns about this please see your GP or a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist)

Iron is usually found in meat and eggs with absorption being helped through Vitamin C. Plant based sources of iron are not as easily absorbed however, you can find iron in foods such as dried fruits, wholegrains, leafy green vegetables, seeds and pulses. To help absorption consume with foods high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables for example; porridge with seeds and raisins serve with a 150ml glass of fresh orange juice.

Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which means the body cannot make it itself therefore we must obtain this from food. Omegas are important for contributing to growth and development, brain function and inflammation. Omega 3 is commonly found in oily fish, so this can be hard to get from a vegan diet. The British Dietetic Association (BDA) advise those who cannot get their Omega 3 from fish sources to maximise conversion by avoiding high in saturated fat foods and to focus on adding plant foods that contains alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) as well as considering a supplement from algae derived DHA. Good sources of Omega 3 in plant-based foods include walnuts, flaxseeds, soya beans and chia seeds.

Calcium is mainly found in dairy products so when following a vegan diet then you are best to try and include foods such as; green leafy vegetables, dried figs, nuts, kidney beans and tofu to help towards your recommended intake of 700mg per day – the Vegan Society state that 100g of calcium-set tofu can provide a half of an adult’s recommended intake. Calcium is important for the maintenance of bone health.

Selenium content in plant-based foods can vary depending on the selenium content of the soil the plant is grown in. This is sometimes hard for those following a vegan diet to ensure they are getting enough however, the BDA say that by consuming just two brazil nuts a day can help you reach your recommended intake of 60mcg for females and 75mcg for males.

 

If you are taking part in Veganuary this year, enjoy it, get creative with new foods, exotic recipes, and embrace those indulgent vegan dishes in restaurants, just try not to deprive yourself of any foods your body may need. Do not feel the pressure to eliminate animal products from your diet if you don’t want to, this should not be a new year’s diet. Maybe having one day each week being vegan is enough for you… don’t feel pressured into changing your eating habits if it doesn’t suit you.

If you are unsure on anything then always speak to a medical/nutrition professional. Your body unique, nourish it well. 


Myth Busting – Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates tend to have a bad reputation, with crash diets and catchy sayings such as ‘no carbs before marbs’ it can be nutrient people are afraid of. However, carbohydrates are essential for our body as they are converted in to glucose which is used by our body for energy and keeps our organs and muscles functioning. So, why do we get so scared of them when they are our bodies main source of energy?! Knowledge is power and so before you start to cut the bread out or think fruit is just as bad as a chocolate bar lets find out more about them.

 

What are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates come in two overarching forms, there are simple carbohydrates (free sugars) and complex (starchy) carbohydrates.

Simple Carbohydrates sources are fruit, vegetables, milk and milk products.

Complex Carbohydrates sources are beans, wholegrains (bread, pasta) rice and vegetables.

All carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in our body. However, the simple/free sugars break down more quickly whilst complex carbohydrates break down over a longer period.

If we cut carbohydrates out of our diet or cannot get enough from our diets due to being malnourished our bodies turn to other sources. This may mean our bodies start converting fatty acids into energy. Using fatty acids as energy may increase ketone levels which in some circumstances can be harmful. Our brains preferred energy source is glucose and so when this is not available it has to adapt to using the ketones, whilst this is happening protein is broken down therefore potentially resulting in muscle loss.

 

Sources of carbohydrates:

Starchy, wholegrain foods are a great source of carbohydrates, they can be high in fibre and carry health benefits when consumed in a healthy, balanced diet. Foods such as wholegrain pasta, rice, grains, cereals, and wholemeal bread contain additional nutrients such as fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins too. Teaming complex carbohydrates with protein, fruit/vegetables and healthy fats are a great way to leading a healthy, balanced diet.

Sugars can be a confusing topic and has been covered by a previous blog but here is a little recap. Free sugars are sugars that are added to food or can be found naturally in honey or fruit juices. The government have recently made recommendations that we try to be aware of free sugars and try to limit our intake. The British Dietetic Association (BDA) state that an adult should be having around 30g free sugars per day which is around 7 teaspoons as they are high in energy however, have very little nutrient value.

It is important to note that free sugars do NOT include sugars naturally found in milk, fruit or vegetables.

 

Portion Sizes:

Portion sizes tend to cause confusion amongst the general public, everybody is different and so will need different amounts. The BDA state “As a general rule, a portion about the size of your fist is an appropriate meal time portion of carbohydrate. This can then be adjusted depending on your activity levels. According to scientific experts around half of our energy intake should come from carbohydrate”

 

Low carbohydrate diets:

Carbohydrates are one of the first nutrients people turn to when looking to lose weight, at first people may see weight loss but this is often associated with water loss (as carbohydrates bind to water molecules) however, maintaining a low carbohydrate diet is rarely sustainable and is not recommended for a healthy, balanced diet. As after all we eat food, not nutrients so cutting foods that contain carbohydrates out may lead to deficiencies in micronutrients. It is always worth looking at portion sizes, but this is the same for all nutrients, as carbohydrates gram for gram have less calories than fat.

 

What is glycaemic index?

The GI (glycaemic index) is a measure of how fast glucose from food is released into the bloodstream. Carbohydrates can be rated on their GI level due to how quickly they affect the sugar levels in the blood.

Low GI foods cause blood sugar levels to rise and fall slowly and are more likely to be foods such as some fruit and vegetables, beans and wholegrains. High GI foods release sugars a lot quicker however, it is important to note that just because a food is considered low GI it doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthier. Bupa use the example of how parsnips have a higher GI than chocolate and ice-cream even though parsnips are the healthier option so, it is important to bear that in mind when using the GI measure of carbohydrates.

 

In summary there is place for carbohydrates in the majority of diets, of course there are people who have to monitor their intake due to conditions such as diabetes but for the general public carbohydrates should not be a scary food source. They contain lots of other nutrients such as fibre which is great for a healthy gut and heart. Being mindful of the portion sizes is important but this goes for all foods and finding what works for you, your lifestyle and activity levels.

To find out more on carbohydrates and achieving a balanced diet, the British Dietetic Association have a great website or you can seek advice from a Registered Dietitian or Nutritionist.

 

 

References:

Bupa, British Dietetic Association, NHS

Photo Credit – The Pulse

 


Sustainable Eating

Sustainable living seems to be a new trend for 2018 and rightly so… we live on a beautiful planet, a planet in which we can help protect, so however we can protect it, is definitely worth considering.

‘Sustainable eating’ does not yet have an official definition however, there are lots of examples of good accreditation schemes, such as those certifying ‘organic’ and ‘Fairtrade’ food that are helping make sustainability more available. Understanding the journey of food from farm to fork and the different environmental impacts it has along the way is worthy knowledge because even a small change can go a long way.

 

Why is sustainable eating important?

The British Dietetic Association state “In the UK, it is estimated that well-planned completely plant-based, or vegan, diets need just one third of the fertile land, fresh water and energy of the typical British ‘meat-and-dairy’ based diet. With meat and dairy being the leading contributor to greenhouse (GHG) emissions, reducing animal-based foods and choosing a wide range of plant foods can be beneficial to the planet and our health.”

However, everybody has a choice in what they eat, and diets are personal to each individual. Not everyone wants to lead a vegan or plant-based diet however, with the most food waste in the UK coming from the household (around 20%) it may be worth considering ways to help reduce this environmental issue.

 

The consequences of the food industry on our planet:

Excessive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – the worlds current food system accounts for a third of human produced greenhouse gas emissions which is a leading cause of climate change. Livestock production is a big contributor to global warming, whether that be from the animals themselves or the resources that go into raising the animals. There is also deforestation, pollution and over fishing which are huge consequences of an unsustainable food industry.

Destroying marine habitats – fish stocks are in a state of decline with them being over exploited by 90% through fishing and climate change. This is a threat for marine life and it is expected that if nothing is done about this soon, seafood may run out by 2050.

Deforestation – through converting forestlands into farms for livestock production deforestation is now an immerging problem, not only does this affect the environment but it also results in a loss of habitat for thousands of species.

 

These are just a small number of consequences an unsustainable food chain can result in but they can be reduced by this generation.

 

Top tips for sustainable eating:

  • Eat a variety of foods – maybe try some plant-based recipes, choose a vegetarian option in a restaurant or opt for organic ingredients. Try to eat a variety of fish species to save over exploitation of household favourites such as cod and salmon. A balanced diet is not only a great way to get a range of nutrients in to your diet, it can also be a great way help the environment.
  • Meat free Mondays – for meat eaters try and make a small change and see if you can eat a plantbased/vegetarian diet for one day a week, small changes can make a big difference. Ensure when eating fish that you always opt for ‘sustainable certified’ products.
  • Reduce food waste – As previously mentioned 20% of the total food waste comes from households. Try to use up fresh ingredients before your frozen or canned items, be creative in the kitchen and use vegetables about to go out of date in one pot recipes such as curries, stews or soups. Ensure you dispose of food correctly by recycling or making your own compost heap.
  • Eat local produce – support your local farmers and farm shops, have chat with them and understand their sourcing methods, are the sustainable? Is the welfare of the animal something they are proud of? Understanding the journey from farm to fork can help with sustainable eating, if you have the space and time why not try and grow your own vegetables!

 

 

Sustainable eating can also be carried into a lifestyle, there are many ways to help the environment such as natural household cleaning products, car sharing and recycling. With the UK government currently in discussions about single use plastic, here are some top tips to reduce your plastic usage:

  • Buying loose fruit and vegetables and avoiding the unnecessary plastic packaging
  • Use a reusable coffee cup such as a ‘keep cup’ when drinking coffee out of home, some coffee shops will even discount your coffee too!
  • Reusable bags for shopping – cotton bags are great for folding into small bags, having them in handy places such as your car or at the front door for when you are in a rush
  • Reusable water bottles – there are some great bottles on the market, some even keep water hot or cold for over 12 hours, some ranges even offer personalisation too so not only are you helping the environment it can also be a great accessory.
  • opt out of using plastic straws or requesting them in a bar or restaurant and try paper straws or reusable ones when at home, this can save hundreds of straws over the course of a year by just one person making this change.

 

 

References:

https://www.sustainweb.org/sustainablefood/#good_food,

BDA Plantbased foods


The ‘F’ word

Once upon a time in the world of nutrition fats were not just the ‘f’ word because of its spelling, fats were a big no no if you wanted to lose weight (I am talking the 90’s era – we are way past this now… I hope)

Fats are an essential nutrient in the diet, not only do they provide energy for the body but they also contain important vitamins and help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D and E. So, why are people scared to eat foods that are high in fat? Why is there a huge industry purely for low fat foods? Let’s find out.

 

The different types of fat:

There are many different types of fat and yes, if we eat too much fat it can be unhealthy, but some fats are considered ‘healthier’ than others.

  • Saturated Fat – this is the type of fat you may be familiar with as it is predominately on food labels. Saturated fat can be found in foods such as butter, fat on meats/poultry, cakes, biscuits, and full fat dairy products.
  • Trans Fats – also known as hydrogenated vegetable oils have been processed to make them hard and are usually less ‘healthy’ than saturated fats. These are common in foods such as pastries and biscuits. Trans fats, like most saturated fats when consumed too much can raise cholesterol levels, particularly LDL (which is considered the bad cholesterol) and reduce the good cholesterol HDL which could lead to an increased risk of coronary heart disease. Therefore, saturated and trans fats are not considered ‘healthy fats’ unlike unsaturated fat and omega 3 fats.
  • Unsaturated fats – these are usually found in plant foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables and grains. Unsaturated fats can be found in two forms, polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. Monounsaturated fats are considered particularly healthy as they encourage the healthier type of cholesterol (HDL) in the blood. Examples of monounsaturated fats in foods are olive and rapeseed oils, avocado, almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts. However, one gram of any type of fat is around 9 calories (37kJ) so portion size is key, aim for a handful of nuts per day and half an avocado rather than a full one.

If you are a regular Nutribloom reader you may have read my blog on Omega 3 but just in case you missed it, here is an overview.

  • Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats are polyunsaturated fats and are essential fatty acids, meaning the body can not make sufficient amounts itself. Oily fish is a great source of Omega 3 such as salmon, sardines and mackerel however, for vegetarians and vegans you can get Omega-3 from foods such as rapeseed, flax, walnuts, and linseed oils. (It is worth noting that plant based foods contain smaller amounts of Omega 3 when compared to oily fish and some people consider a supplement, however always speak to a health professional before making changes to your diet.)

Omega 6 is found in vegetable oils such as rapeseed, corn and sunflower oil. In the UK Omega 6 is considered high in most diets and so getting the ratio of Omega 3 to 6 right is important. The government recommend eating two portions of fish each week (one being oily fish) to help boost Omega 3 ratio.

 

How much fat should we be having?

It is recommended that an average woman should be consuming around 70g fat each day however, this is only a guide and intake may vary from one day to the next, person to person. The recommended intake of fat equates to around one third of our daily calories (based on 2,000 calories a day.) However, the government strongly recommends that men should not consume more than 30g of saturated fat a day with women having no more than 20g.

 

Should you switch to low fat foods?

Low fat foods are now on most supermarket shelves and are a very popular choice for those who are trying to limit their fat intake, whether that be for a medical reason or personal. However, it is important to note that just because they are low fat they may not necessarily be the ‘healthier’ option. If the type of food is originally high in fat, the lower fat version may still have a high fat content compared to an alternative option. A common misunderstanding with low fat products is that they are healthy, low calorie options however, when removing the fat, not only can this be stripping the product of essential vitamins and minerals it may also be being replaced with sugar. It is important to always check the nutrition label, the NHS have some great resources available to help understand food labels and make an informed choice.

 

In summary, there is a lot of research showing evidence that monounsaturated fats can have a positive impact on our health however, fats are just one aspect of a healthy diet. Don’t let high fat foods put you off eating them, avocado is considered a high fat, high calorie food but it is packed with potassium and Vitamin E and is low in saturated fat. Enjoy your food and if you are wanting to cut back on fat try to just limit trans and saturated fats in comparison to unsaturated fats.

If you have any questions please get in touch 🙂

 

Photo Cred: Floraproactive.co.uk

References: British Dietietic Association, NHS,


Plant Based Diets

The interest in plant based diets has dramatically risen in the past few years. With campaigns such as Veganuary and meat free Mondays it is no surprise plant based diets seem to be a lifestyle, conscious choice people are switching to. There are many reasons people may choose to follow a plant based diet, whether that be the concern of animal wellbeing, environmental factors or for health reasons. Whatever the reason there is now more people following different types of plant based diets than ever and this article is here to explore the different plant based diets and how to make informed choices when cutting food sources from your diet.

 

Types of plant based diets:

From vegetarian to vegan to pescatarians there are a number of diets that fall under the plant based umbrella.

There are several different types of vegetarian diets; lacto-ovo vegetarians eat dairy foods and eggs but do not consume meat, poultry or seafood. Ovo-vegetarians do not consume anything but eggs from animal sources. Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy but do not consume eggs, meat, poultry and seafood.

Vegans do not eat anything from an animal therefore avoiding honey, dairy and eggs as well as meat, fish and poultry.

Other variations of a plant-based diet include pescatarians who consume only fish and flexitarians who occasionally eat animal products, however, their diet is mainly plant based foods.

 

There are many benefits to eating a diet rich in plant-based foods, they are usually rich in beans, nuts, wholegrains, fruits, and vegetables which all contribute to a healthy diet. This includes protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fats as well as fibre. However, when cutting food groups out of your diet and in this case food sources it is important to plan and be aware of nutrients you may be lacking by not eating meat, fish or dairy.

Below are just a handful of nutrients to be aware of if you follow a plant based diet to ensure you are including them into your daily diet. If you require any further information please see a Registered Dietitian or Nutritionist.

 

Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which means the body cannot make it itself therefore we must obtain this from food. Omega 3 is commonly found in oily fish so unless you are following the pescatarian or flexitarian diet and consuming 2 portions per week you may be lacking this in your plant based diet. There are good sources of Omega 3 in plant based foods such as walnuts, flaxseeds, soya beans and chia seeds. For vegetarians who consume eggs these are also a great source of Omega 3.

Most sources of calcium are found in dairy products so if you are vegan or an ovo-vegetarian then you are best to try and include foods such as; green leafy vegetables, dried figs, nuts, kidney beans and tofu to help towards your recommended intake of 700mg per day. Calcium is important for the maintenance of bone health.

Iron is usually found in meat and eggs with absorption being helped through Vitamin C. Plant based sources of iron are not as easily absorbed however you can find iron in foods such as dried fruits, wholegrains, leafy green vegetables, seeds and pulses. To help absorption consume with foods high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits and leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin B12 is a very important vitamin to be aware of it you are eliminate all animal products from your diet. A vitamin B12 deficiency can cause fatigue, anaemia, and potential nerve damage. The British Dietetic Association recommend eating two portions of fortified foods per day to help with your B12 intake such as breakfast cereals, yeast extract, soya yogurts and non-dairy milks. If this isn’t possible, consider taking a daily supplement with approximately 10mg of Vitamin B12. (If you have any concerns about this please see your GP or a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist)

Protein plays several important roles in this functioning of our body such as growth and repair and the maintenance of good health. There are a variety of plant based sources of protein on the market such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu and soya. If you are a lacto-ovo vegetarian, then eggs and dairy are great sources of protein. Variety is key as some sources of protein do not contain all the essential amino acids, with soya, quinoa and hemp being the only ‘complete’ plant based sources of protein.

“Did you know the BDA say you can get your recommended daily amount of selenium from just two brazil nuts each day.”

 

Top tips:

It is important when following any of the above diets to ensure you are for the right reasons, not because you feel you must for the label of ‘vegetarian’ or ‘vegan’ – a balanced diet full of a variety of fruit, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, proteins and fats is key.

Consider taking multi vitamin supplements that contain Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D. In the UK Vitamin D supplements are recommended in the winter months when there is not enough sunlight for our bodies to be able to make this itself.

Keep hydrated, you should be consuming 6 – 8 glasses of water a day (more if you have an active lifestyle) try and reduce your intake of sugary drinks opting for sugar free varieties where possible.

Eat to make you happy, food should be more than just fuel for the body. Follow plant based diets because it makes you feel good not to restrict your diet for negative reasons.

 

 

 


Super Easy Smoothie Bowl

Hi guys,

Thank you for all your messages asking about the smoothie bowl I posted on Insta this morning!

Smoothie bowls are to me literally what it says on the tin, my fave smoothie poured into a bowl so it really is that simple!

 

Ingredients:

1 banana

3 large handfuls of frozen blueberries

3-4 tbsp of oats

1 tsp honey or syrup of choice

1 tsp peanut butter

40ml of milk of choice

 

Toppings:

Frozen raspberries

Chia seeds

Extra oats

(all ingredients for those asking are from Aldi except the wholefood peanut butter, so nothing mega fancy)

 

Method (if you can even call this a method it’s that simple):

  1. Add the banana, blueberries, oats, honey, peanut butter and milk to a blender and blend on low speed until thick.
  2. Pour in to your most insta worthy bowl
  3. Decorate with your fave toppings

 

*if you are not bothered about the bright purple colour, I usually add spinach too for some veggies*

Enjoy and tag me in any snaps!

Sarah x