Anti-Stress Low Sugar Green Smoothie

I love smoothie’s as much as the next person, but when you have a big appetite like I do, generally they’re not filling enough.  Plus, when your focus is real health, which to me means limiting sugar and balancing your blood sugar as well as your hormones, fruit laden smoothies just aren’t a good fit.

However, after a few experiments, I came up with the recipe I’m sharing with you today.  It isn’t sweet but it is deliciously creamy.  It’s genuinely filling thanks to all the good fats it contains, and it’s completely free of anything artificial, it has no added sugar and is loaded with hormone balancing ingredients that help your body to manage stress.  For me, this is a hands down winner and I hope you’ll love it too.

Ingredient spotlight:

Cauliflower – A cruciferous veggie with incredible cancer prevention properties via the phytonutrients it contains, notably indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane that may help to lower the risk of several cancers including prostate, ovarian, cervical, colon and lung cancers.  It is massively rich in vitamin C – a 100g portion will get you 77% of the recommended daily allowance.  Vitamin C-rich foods help reduce your body’s production of stress hormones while boosting your immune function to better ward off stress-induced illnesses.  Plus it gives a lovely thickness to the smoothie without the sugar.

Spinach – We all know that we should eat more leafy greens for a healthier diet; that’s a given.  Spinach is loaded with minerals and phytonutrients for every part of your body.  It’s also great source of magnesium, which is a massively overlooked mineral needed for over 600 functions in the body! But magnesium is also the precursor for serotonin – the feel good hormone – meaning that we need magnesium to make serotonin in order to lower our stress, anxiety and in turn risk of depression.

Ashwaghanda – An adaptogenic herb that helps your body better handle stress, lower blood sugar and relieves depression and anxiety.  As a side note, it has also been shown to relieve pain and inflammation – particularly in the case of arthritis.

Cacao – This is essentially the raw and unprocessed version of cocoa powder.  It is full of antioxidants that come with a myriad of benefits including lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s, temporarily blocking feelings of pain and anxiety, reducing stress hormones and reducing inflammation.

Sugar – Technically a non-ingredient since this recipe doesn’t contain any, but it is worth mentioning that the lack of sugar serves the purpose of balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones and reducing stress, since sugar contributes to the opposite of these.  In particular a high sugar diet is linked to depression and anxiety.

Ok let’s get to the recipe…here’s how to make it:

In a blender add the following:

Add the first 4 ingredients, blend until smooth, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend again.

Enjoy!

 

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How to Set Goals

I hate New Year’s Resolutions!

In my experience, resolutions are usually vague and and quickly forgotten. Total waste of time…! But goal setting is very different.

Setting goals gives you a list of specific, measurable, achievable actions, that, importantly, resonate with you, are meaningful and you can see the benefits from them on a much shorter and defined timescale.

I have had goals since my early to mid twenties (albeit loosely and inconsistently) but I started setting goals in the way I’m going to write about today around May last year.  I was in a place where, I’d had two babies and I was just trying to get through the days and figure out what the hell I was doing! I was overwhelmed and overweight, I had no energy and I pretty much felt like I was failing at life if I’m honest. I didn’t have anything I did outside of that, and I was feeling pretty low – both emotionally and in terms of my self confidence.  When I looked in the mirror I felt like I was looking at somebody else; I distinctly remember being reminded of some fairy tale type scenario where the person looks in a pond and sees an ogre staring back at them.  I have no idea if that’s normal I’m just being honest.  It wasn’t nice though.

That was the time I came across the Beachbody home workouts.  It honestly was the catalyst for a major life change, and as a result of joining the community of women who were all doing these workouts I was told about a book called ‘The Miracle Morning’.  I ordered the family version, read it, and immediately set goals in the way it was outlined in the book.  It was an incredibly transformational time for me personally and I now keep goal setting and fitness very much at the top of my list – not just for physical health but, crucially for my mental health too.  There is something very important about actively working towards what you actually want, rather than working against yourself, and seeing progress.

Since then I’ve refined and simplified my goal setting method and merged it with some other techniques I tried.  I sincerely hope it’s of help to others like it was to me.  Do remember though that this is just how I do it, ultimately the best method for goal setting is the one you’ll actually use.

HOW TO SET GOALS

Step 1: Get a blank sheet of paper and a cup of tea.

Step 2: Using the following headings (and do feel free to create some of your own, split them down, merge them, or whatever works for you) think about how YOU feel about that area of your life.  I’ve added a few starting points to get you thinking.  And rate each category on a scale of 1-10.  Think about the things you want to work on and jot them down.  Think about what you want and write that down too.  At this point don’t worry about wording, just get it down.

{Love / Relationships}  This can be your partner, friends, your children, wider family.  How do you feel about those relationships?  Perhaps your in a toxic relationship and need to do something about it.  Are you single and 100% happily so.  Are there some friends that you could do without?  Are YOU being the wife / friend / mother you want to be?

{Personal Development} Are there technical skills you want to acquire?  How’s your spirituality?  Are you the worst procrastinator on earth (like me 😉 oops!).  What kind of person do you really want to be?

{Hobbies / Passions / Purpose} Do you feel constructive?  How many things do you do for the sheer JOY of it?  Have you found your niche?

{Physical Health} Do you lack energy?  Are you unfit, overweight, underweight? Suffering from a medical condition? Whatever it is, think about what you can do to improve your physical health.

{Mental Health} Do problems send you off in an irrational spin?  Are you feeling down generally? Are you angry?  Do you take time to rejuvenate?

{Finances} Are you happy with your financial situation?  Are you able to cover your needs?

These questions are all just prompts / examples to get you thinking, rather than specific questions you need to answer.  It can mean whatever sits right with you.

Step 3: Now it’s time to get to work turning this into actual goals! These will be specific actions, that are tangible, measurable and achievable (yet still a bit challenging) within the next 3 months maximum.  So, for example,

“I want to lose weight” is not going to cut it.

On the other hand; “I will prioritise a 30 minute workout four times per week no matter what” – now that is a goal.

Instead of just focusing on what you want, it is specific about what you’re going to DO in order to achieve it and how often you’re going to do it.

Another example could be:

Instead of “I want to spend more time with the kids” write “I will read to the kids for 15 minutes every evening before bed” or “I commit to taking the kids for a family swim every other Sunday morning.”

The place to start is the area of your life that you rated the lowest and then work through the rest.

Step 4: Put your goals in a place where you will see them and read them every day.  You could get fancy and laminate them and put them up in the shower, personally I’m not fancy.  I stick mine on the side of the fridge so I see them every time I make a cup of tea.  A friend of mine puts hers on the inside door of her wardrobe.  It doesn’t matter where, just ensure that you see them naturally without having to dig them out.  I believe that the act of just having goals and seeing them, is beneficial in itself.  Once you start acting on them too – you’ll be amazed I promise.

Step 5: Every month, review your goals, recognise any progress you’ve made and update them as you need to.  Don’t be afraid to tweak them.  In the beginning I personally found that I had so many it was overwhelming and so I cut it down to a few and that was much better for me.  Keeping them relevant and alive is key, and so is seeing your progress. It will keep you motivated.

That’s it!

I really, genuinely and wholeheartedly hope that this helps you.  Please do let me know if it does.

Nat x

Eden’s Daughter Gift Guide 2017

We are a bit against the grain when it comes to Christmas; it’s not a big deal in our house simply because my husband doesn’t celebrate it.  But I know from first hand experience that Christmas can be a stressful time; one of endless preparations and shopping.  On the one hand I’m grateful that I get to avoid the consumerist chaos that descends at this time of year, on the other hand I cannot help but love the lights, the atmosphere and the time spent with loved ones.  And oh my the food!  And the port – I love port! It’s a time to show love to the people in your life, so I thought I’d share some gift ideas of mine. These are some of my favourite items that I own and love to give to others as gifts – all of them have a theme of wellness, because what’s better than a gift of wellness for your loved ones? They’re a bit unconventional, but then so am I!

Do remember that family is the most important thing, so try not to feel the pressure and overspend too much.  And do everything online!!!

FOR EVERY WOMAN WHO WANTS TO GET FIT:  

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Annual membership to the Netflix of fitness!

This is the whole package – a year’s fitness, meal plans, peer support, amazing community, exclusive access to my Fit Sister Squad, c

heck-ins and me as your coach.  Yes I may be slightly biased, but THIS has seriously transformed my energy and my life.  It’s amazing.

 

 

FOR THE AMBITIOUS WOMAN NEEDING SELF-BELIEF AND A POSITIVE VIBE:

You are a Badass and The 5 Second Rule.  Two books to transform your outlook.

Another alternative is an audible subscription; a great way to give audio books and it comes with a 30 or 90 day free trial too.  Bargain.

 

FOR THE WOMAN WHO LOVES READING UP ON NUTRITION:

The Ethical Carnivore – this one is next on my reading list,

or The Case Against Sugar which is what I’m reading right now; so interesting.

 

FOR THE NON TOXIC EVERYTHING WOMAN:

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This is an investment, but it’s an amazing one.  The Berkey Water Filter is not cheap but it IS economical since the filters last so long.  We have the Big Berkey (which we LOVE) and the filters last 12 years! This is the best water filter on the market right now for removing chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, fluoride and much more.  It will even filter pond water and make it safe to drink.  And the water tastes really good.  I even use it for cooking.

 

 

FOR THE ACTIVE WOMAN WHO CARES ABOUT THE PLANET:

The Lifefactory Glass Bottle with Active Flipcap 650ml (£29) is perfect.  Of all the reusable bottles I’ve tried – this is my favourite for carrying plain water.  Unlike vacuum flasks, because this is made of glass it leaves no metallic taste in your water.  Also, the silicone cover was even enough to keep the bottle safe in my 3 year old’s lunchbox when she used to go to nursery (she has the 350ml one £20).

If you want to keep your drinks hot, social media is abuzz with these S’well flasks (£34.99).  They’re essentially a pretty version of a stainless steel vacuum flask and will keep drinks ice cold or piping hot for 12 hours.  Simple Modern have an almost identical one for half the price (£12.99) as do SHO (£16.99).  My husband uses his daily for work and loves it.

 

FOR THE BODY CONSCIOUS WOMAN WHO’S NOT AFRAID TO TALK PERIODS:

The Lunette Menstrual Cup (£23) is a reusable alternative to tampons that avoids both the exposure to many nasty chemicals in the most absorbent part of your body and avoids the waste.  Not to mention never running out of tampons again.

 

AND FOR THE WOMAN WHO LOVES A MASSAGE BUT CAN’T GET ONE OFTEN ENOUGH: 

These Massage Balls (£13) are fantastic at getting knots out.  Hands down one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.  I use them at least weekly and are great for anyone who can’t get out to a massage therapist (mums) or it’s not in their budget.

Enjoy!

MY NUTRITION PRINCIPLES

I don’t subscribe to many of the ‘diets’ out there.  I think most are unsustainable and create a mental state where we are consumed by thoughts of food – what we can eat, what we can’t eat, how many calories that is – and the list goes on.  They create a state of deprivation and hunger where we eat too little and think too much.  It’s a prison and it’s exhausting.

The best diet in my opinion is one that frees you from thinking about food all the time, and simultaneously removes that irrational emotion – guilt – from ever being associated with your food.

We should eat when we’re hungry and eat until we’re full and satisfied.  Food should be the fuel that nourishes our bodies, and eating it should be a joy.

I passionately believe that balancing blood sugar, eating to nourish our cells and removing artificial substances and chemicals are the key to achieving those objectives.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t LOVE food – I definitely do –  so there’ll be no starvation nonsense here.

Coming from the average western diet, understanding how to do that and gradually implementing changes can take time.  But that’s ok.  Strive for progress rather than perfection and what you build is a new way of life that comes naturally, as opposed to a crash diet that does just that – crashes.  It’s a learning curve.  I’m still learning.  I still make improvements.  Because my concern is health, not calories.

Will you lose weight?  Probably, yes.  But that should be a nice side effect, rather than a sole focus. My ethos is 100% about nourishing our bodies so that we can have the energy we need for work, kids, partners, exercise, and for keeping our immune systems strong.

BALANCING OUR BLOOD SUGAR IS SO IMPORTANT..

Ever felt grumpy, nauseous, shaky, tired when you’re hungry? These are all signs of  blood sugar imbalance. We take them as normal since so many people experience it, but it’s really not. Hangry is not a normal state!

When we eat sugar, it enters our bloodstream. If we eat too much of it and/or it enters too quickly, an ‘alarm’ goes off and insulin is released to bring our blood sugar down again.  Essentially, our bodies panic!  It pre-empts the sugar to come and produces too much insulin, and so our blood sugar crashes causing the symptoms I just mentioned.

Then what do we do?  We eat more sugar or drink caffeine (hello coffee/tea + muffin at 10am) to feel normal and the cycle continues. Meanwhile that extra sugar that the insulin just dealt with? It gets stored as fat.  Wonderful.

So, how do you balance your blood sugar?

#1 Eat less sugar.  Our bodies are not designed to deal with the amount of sugar we as a society are eating, it’s a very new thing to have that amount of sugar available; our bodies just can’t deal with it.  Plus sugar weakens our immune system, ages our cells and is generally pants.

  • Limit your added sugar as much as possible, between 4-6 teaspoons (1.5 – 2 tablespoons) per day is ideal. This means all granulated sugar, honey, dried fruit, even fruit juice.
  • Limit fruit to 2 servings per day. I know, this sounds crazy; fruit is full of nutrients –  and this is true. But veg has more but without the sugar.  I’m not saying don’t eat fruit (that would be silly) we just don’t need to load up on it that’s all.
  • Reduce carby things like bread, pasta and rice. That doesn’t mean cut them out, just don’t rely on them. Fill your plate with colourful veg, protein and good fats, THEN add a little carbs if you need them (about 1/2 cup of rice/pasta or 1 slice of bread = 1 portion).  Personally I try to skip the carbs at dinner and have them earlier in the day, but that’s just my preference.

#2 Slow the rate that the sugar we do eat is absorbed into the bloodstream by pairing it with good fats and/or protein. This means that less insulin needs to be released and we don’t store anywhere near as much fat. As a bonus, you have more energy, mental clarity and stay fuller for longer. #Winning.

  • Try to add some protein at every meal such as eggs, meat, fish or natural yoghurt.
  • Make sure you eat some fat or protein with your fruit (some nuts or nut butter work really well).

EAT MORE (GOOD) FAT..

Yes I know this sounds crazy, but fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar makes you fat.

We need fats to lubricate our intestines, to absorb fat soluble vitamins in our food and for our cells to work properly.  They are very necessary for health.  Aim for 6-8 tablespoons per day made up of real butter, healthy oils like coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and nut butters, seeds and cheese.

EAT MORE VEG..

Try to get as much veg on your plate at each meal as you can, and choose things you like!  Personally I try to get about four cups worth per day.  This will help you to feel full and the fibre is great for your digestion, not to mention the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals.  Add some good fat to your veggies while you’re at it – it will help you to absorb more of their vitamins.

HYDRATE..

Our bodies are made up of mostly water.  I’m sure you’ve heard that a thousand times -but it’s true.  And every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs adequate water in order to function properly.  Additionally, drinking enough water will keep you keep you feeling fuller for longer (and prevent you from confusing thirst with hunger), help to flush out toxins, hydrate your skin and reduce headaches.  Around two litres a day is enough for most people, so that’s a good goal to start off with.

DON’T FORGET GUT HEALTH…

Many new nutritional studies are showing the importance of keeping your gut lining healthy.  Up to 80% of our immune system is located in our guts.  Removing processed foods and getting enough digestive enzymes and probiotics are the best way to maintain your gut health.  This doesn’t necessarily mean supplements – raw salad, nuts and veggies all contain digestive enzymes.  Probiotics are found abundantly in natural live yoghurt and fermented foods like saurkraut and kombucha and just one portion per day is plenty.

MOST OF ALL..

We eat for pleasure as well as nourishment, and enjoying your food is important.  Never give that up!

Thankfully real food ALWAYS tastes better.

Nat x

 

 

 

 

Donate Clothes and Earn Cash

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Generally, I’m pretty thrifty.  Yes I do buy new clothes very occasionally, but when I do I like to have at least a vague idea that I’m not subjecting a man, woman or child many thousands of miles away to a life that I could never imagine.  Equally I don’t have unending cash to throw around.  Enter H&M…  I quite often buy from them because they have a massive selection, are cheap and have ethical options via their ‘Conscious’ range.  You can read more about H&M’s ethics here.

When it comes to clearing out our cupboards – I will never throw anything in the bin.  Everything goes to either a charity shop or a clothes bank so that it can either be used again or recycled.

Recently a friend of mine mentioned that you can donate a bag of clothes at your local H&M store, and in return receive a £5 voucher to spend on new purchases.   It’s a marriage of two things I care about, and so I was thrilled to hear about it and wanted to share it with you.

Once you drop them off, textiles are sorted into three categories:

  • Rewear – clothing that can be worn again will be sold as second hand clothes.
  • Reuse – old clothes and textiles will be turned into other products, such as cleaning cloths.
  • Recycle – everything else is turned into textile fibres, and used for things like insulation.

What a brilliant idea!  Donate and pay for your new stuff.

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According to H&M – as much as 95% of clothes thrown away could have been re-worn or recycled.  That is a lot.

I seriously encourage you to think sustainably when clearing out your closets, and donating at one of the H&M stores is a great way to do it, or if not at your local charity shop or clothes bank.  Even if the clothes are in terrible condition – still donate – because they can be sorted and recycled, keeping it out of landfill.

Nat x

 

 

 

DIY Hydrating Hair Treatment

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This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you for using them.

It’s a DIY hair mask kinda day today; it’s rainy and cold outside so the kids and I are snuggled up in the warm.  Not to say that I wouldn’t go out with my hair like this – I do actually, quite often, because I’m a mum and ‘glamour’ is definitely NOT my first name.

If you wanted to you could mix this up in a bowl.  I don’t.  I just estimate the quantities straight into my hand.  It saves washing up.  It’s no fuss and it does the job perfectly, so why complicate it?

About the ingredients:

Aloe vera and vegetable glycerine are natural humectants, meaning they draw water into the hair shaft to leave it plumped and hydrated.  The conditioner provides protein to repair and therefore prevent water loss to keep hair hydrated for longer.  The oils seal in moisture and provide softness – I use a mixture of coconut and rosehip; these are penetrating oils that won’t sit on the hair and make it greasy.  (I also use the rosehip oil on my face daily).

Instructions:

Wash your hair as normal.  Once out of the shower, squeeze 1tsp of natural aloe vera gel into the palm of your hand. Add 1/2tsp glycerine and rub your hand together.  Distribute from roots to tips – focus on your ends as the driest part.

Squeeze 1tbsp of conditioner into your palm (I use this one) and repeat.

Lastly mix a kidney bean sized lump of coconut oil and a roughly equal portion of rosehip oil in your palm, rub together and coat the hair gently, focusing on the ends.  Your hair doesn’t need to be dripping in oil, otherwise it’ll be too hard to wash out.

You can leave this on for as long as you like – all day and overnight works well.  I just leave it until I’m ready to restyle – sometimes that might be two days.  When you’re ready, wash your hair as normal.  Personally I don’t use shampoo – but whatever works for you.

Let me know how it turns out!

Nat x

 

Homemade Natural Toothpaste Recipe

21475955_10155641364207008_1979624385_nI have been using and making my own toothpaste for some months now, but we have been using fluoride-free toothpaste for many years prior to that.

The reason I switched to homemade was because of the rising price of the brand we were using, plus, just because it was fluoride-free, it didn’t mean that it was particularly natural and it still contained sodium lauryl sulphate (a foaming agent used to de-grease car engines that is absorbed through the skin and mimics oestrogen).  With shop bought natural toothpastes between £3.50 and £5 a tube, whilst still containing fluoride most of the time, I decided to just give it a go.  I have been really pleasantly surprised.

There are many reports and discussions about whether or fluoride is safe.  I do believe that everyone should read up on the subject and come to their own conclusions.  We choose to avoid it because it’s an endocrine disrupter (meaning it disrupts hormones) which is the reason that those with thyroid problems are advised to avoid it.  Hormone disruption is a precursor to cancer, but that aside, once we discovered that prior to 1938 fluoride was sold as rat poison, it took the appeal off of putting it in our own, or more importantly, our children’s mouths.

Since there is no fluoride in this recipe, it means that this toothpaste is safe for babies, toddlers and children (dependent on the essential oils you use), which is important for our family as well as being safe for those with thyroid issues.

Making your own toothpaste is ridiculously easy.  It’s cheap and it works brilliantly well.

You will need:

  • 40g calcium carbonate
  • 25g bicarbonate of soda
  • 18g softened coconut oil
  • Essential oils of choice for antibacterial purposes and flavour – good ones to use are peppermint, orange, lemon, fennel and cinnamon or a mix of these.  I personally use 15 drops of Young Living’s Thieves essential oil (a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary) plus 10 drops of peppermint essential oil.

Instructions:

Combine the ingredients in a small bowl and mix well with a teaspoon.  Decant into your chosen jar.  You can use a small spoon or a short lolly stick to scoop some of the paste onto your toothbrush.

Done!