Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Classic Basil Pesto

Wild Country Organics (wildco.co.uk) has been selling really nice basil at my local farmers market in the last weeks. Pesto is always very popular in my family and we have been making it twice a week for about a month now!

I used some leftovers of Biona spelt penne biona.co.uk. This penne is wholegrain and made from spelt flour which means it contains more vitamins, fibre and proteins than wheat pasta. Spelt is an excellent source of vitamin B2, manganese, niacin, thiamin, and copper. As we get older we need to make sure we consume nutrient-dense food. For example manganese is very important for our bone density which slowly diminishes with age. Manganese also helps with collagen production. Collagen is very important in the rejuvenation process as we slowly loose our own ability to produce it as we age. This effects joints and skin. It is therefore important to consume food rich in manganese daily.

Basil is so gentle, so beautifully fragrant and this particular one ended up being slightly sweet. Delicious!  This little green plant is quite rich in phytonutrients and vitamins. It has some anti-inflammatory properties (inflammation is one of our worst enemies when it comes to aging). It is rich in Vitamin A which helps fight free radicals.
Olive oil is one of those special things that every diet talks about. The latest advise says that we should consume a couple of tablespoon a day for good heart health.

Garlic is a superhero in all diets. A tiny little stinky superhero that seems to be able to save you from almost any trouble. It kicks viruses and bacteria in the behind and I read about some research regarding garlic being able to prevent dementia!

Using unrefined sea salt in your dishes is not only good to enhance the taste of the food but can also contribute to the nutritional aspect of the meal - it brings more minerals to the table, such as magnesium, which is great to ease muscle aches after a hard workout.
Parmesan is not only a good source of proteins but also tastes amazing. It is rich in calcium which is important for our bone health. I personally believe in the importance of eating food full of good bacteria which can then establish healthy digestion. Parmesan has an ability to promote the development of Bacillus Bifidus, useful for the maintenance of a healthy digestive system.

Pine nuts, other than containing anti oxidants and magnesium, contain pinolenic acid. Some studies have been done regarding this acid's ability to trigger the release of an appetite-suppressing hormone. There are some companies that sell pine nut oil as part of a weight loss program. Weather this is actually true or not, they are yummy! 
Recipe for a classis pesto:
100g of basil (I used all of it; just washed it and used leaves, stalks and even the little flowering bits)

100g of pine nuts (I toasted mine; just because I like it that way but it is not necessary)

100g  - 120g of parmesan cheese (this depends on the intensity of the flavor; try to put less and then add some more if you want to taste it more in the pesto)

Half a cup of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

A large pinch of salt

A generous amount of pepper
Just blend it all in and you are done in no time........

It should look like this:
Add it to your pasta of choice and enjoy.......
Let me know if you like it just as much as we do!


Monday, 27 June 2016

A healthy after school snack

My fifteen-year old daughter and her friend came home from school really hungry today. Of course, the first thing they reached for was a sweet treat. I quickly offered them an alternative (well, I know the cookies would travel to the room with them anyway). I sliced some rye sourdough, mashed up an avocado on it, sprinkled it with a little bit of granulated garlic, sea salt, pepper and topped it up with some alfalfa sprouts and a tomato slice.......

Sweet melon and a couple of strawberries nicely complimented the toast.
They really enjoyed it.

Even little Sparkle was interested.....

It is often very hard to offer interesting, yet nutritious food to teenagers. If you want to convince them to snack on something like this then you need to keep presentation in mind. Colors on this toast compliment each other. I believe that a nice colorful plate stimulates our taste buds, making food really appetizing, and it can be energizing for the brain.

Nutritional facts:

Rye sourdough - I bought mine from my local farmers market; it was baked by http://www.astonsbread.co.uk/ and it is incredibly tasty. Sourdough bread is full of nutrients and vitamins, such as B vitamins. It contains good bacteria and  it aids our digestion.

Avocado - Avocados are incredibly nutritious as they contain many vitamins and other nutrients, such as folate, vitamin E and C. They are one of the best foods we can eat for getting the glow.

Alfalfa - Just like avocados, we always have alfalfa sprouts in the house. I buy mine from different health food stores or order them from riverford.co.uk. The company that manufactures them is skysprouts.co.uk. Alfalfa sprouts contain folate, just like the sourdough and avocado. They are also a good source of vitamin K and C. 

This snack is so easy to put together and it offers a great amount of nutrients. I think that teenage girls would especially benefit from a simple snack like this - keep their hormones balanced, brain activated and skin glowing.



Sunday, 26 June 2016

Where I am now...

I started this blog 3 years ago with the goal of achieving a red carpet-worthy body by my 40th birthday. I was 39 back then. I kept my blog alive for only a week but I continued my journey for a little longer. After a lot of researching, studying, reading, experimenting, exercising, cooking and eating, trying and failing and mainly procrastinating, I decided to come back. This time my goal is to achieve and maintain my dream body by living a happy, healthy life.

I feel much healthier and stronger now than 3 years ago. I don't feel tired and agitated and even though I am facing far more obstacles in my life now than I did back then, I can stand face to face with stress without letting it get to me. And even though my financial situation is dire at the moment, and my workload is monumental and unfortunately not yet rewarding, I am handling it all with newly-found strength.  

I took these pictures 12 days ago. I wanted to see if the changes I made paid off. I wanted to compare these to the ones I took 3 years ago. Even though I don't look as good as I wished I did and maybe on the inside I feel more changed than on the outside, I do see a difference.
    now                                  3 years ago

    3 years ago
    now                                  3 years ago
    now                                  3 years ago 

    now                                  3 years ago
My lifestyle was not perfect in the last 3 years, but a lot has changed. I worked hard, I ate well, but I also went through a month-long reward period and that is not the way to do it.
However, in the last 3 months I stepped up. I now exercise 5-6 days a week. Some days it is just for 15 minutes but I stick to it. I eat healthily. I do body brushing when possible and I cleanse my skin every night.
My biggest challenge is lack of sleep. There is just so much to do in a day and sleep seems to be that something that has to give.
Since I took these pictures 12 days ago, I started to include foam rolling into my daily routine. In a couple of days I will take some more pictures to see if that made any difference.
Today's post is my new beginning. For a chronic procrastinator like myself this new beginning feels more like an evolutionary leap than a first step but I am happy I am here now.