Food & Lifestyle Blog

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Going Loco for the Coco[nut]

Coconuts are such an incredibly versatile superfood and the health benefits are endless! There are so many ways to enjoy its goodness, whether it be to consume the raw fruit, munch on dessiccated coconut chips, lather coconut oil on your skin/hair, sip on the milk or drink coconut water.

Coconut oil is made of anti-inflammatory, medium-chain fatty acids which in moderation are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease, increase circulation, heal viruses such as influenza and manage cholesterol levels. Coconut oil is also known to assist with increasing metabolic rate, and is thought to help with managing a healthy weight and provide more energy to the brain. The lauric acid in coconut oil is a powerful anti-microbial fat that kills bacteria, viruses and yeast. 

Coconut oil can be used in cooking and baking as it is heat stable, unlike oils such as olive oil. This means that it is suitable for cooking at high temperatures without the risk of it denaturing and going rancid, and creating dangerous free radicals. Coconut oil is also essential for creating raw desserts, due to being a solid at room temperature. It also makes a deep-conditioning hair mask - smooth it into your hair, plait it and sleep with it in overnight, and when you wash your hair in the morning it’ll be a lot softer and more manageable with a beautiful smell. Coconut oil is also beneficial for conditions such as eczema and makes a great moisturiser for very dry and sensitive skin.

Coconut water is the liquid extracted from young coconuts, and it's a true superfood in my opinion as it's so nutritionally rich. I use coconut water as a post workout drink as it's a powerful natural isotonic that fights dehydration quickly by replacing fluids, electrolytes and minerals lost from sweating. It's also sugar free, boosts energy and endurance and helps to repair damaged muscle tissue so it's the perfect natural alternative to a regular sports drink. It's antibacterial so it's useful in treating tooth decay and digestive issues, as well and colds and flus.

Desiccated coconut is just the dried flesh of coconuts, so it contains all of the benefits of coconut oil, but with the addition of carbohydrates, proteins and fibre - perfect sprinkled on top of porridge, smoothies, desserts or pancakes!

Coconut milk/cream adds a depth and creaminess to curries and soups, without the need for dairy products, and is also wonderful in vegan desserts and baking.

Friday, 21 August 2015


What is a superfood? Superfoods are plant based foods which contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in a  concentrated form. 

Why do I use superfoods? The simple answer is because they taste great and provide me with a burst of nutrients. They are ideal as a way to supplement a balanced diet and ensure all my nutritional requirements are met, by blending them into smoothies or sprinkling them over cereal, porridge and salads. It is not always easy to obtain all the nutrients you need from food alone, so one solution is to follow the natural route and consume superfoods, as opposed to taking extra vitamin tablets.

Some of the most powerful superfoods include: Acai, Spirulina, Maca, Cacao, Chia seeds, Baobab, Hemp, Wheatgrass, Goji berries.

My favourite of all the superfoods, acai berries are famous for being rich in antioxidants, as well as vitamin E and essential fatty acids.

Spirulina is a freshwater algae, which is made up of 60-70% complete proteins and comes in powder form. It sustains energy and helps to keep blood sugar balanced, whilst offering a source of iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, selenium and zinc.

Maca is a root vegetable found in the Andes of Peru. It can help boost metabolism, energy and focus as it supplies the body with essential vitamins and minerals: magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamins B, C and E. In its natural powder form, maca is made up of 10% protein containing 20 amino acids, and is bursting with fibre. 

Cacao is the pure unprocessed version of cocoa. It's the sort of chocolate we should all be consuming, as it doesn't contain the sugar, dairy, processing, heat damage and additives that destroy the nutritional value. Cacao is rich in various minerals, including copper, magnesium, chromium and zinc as well as essential fats and carbohydrates. Cacao also contains 20% of the RDA of iron per ounce serving, as well as sulfur which helps to form strong nails and hair.

Cacao has 4 times the level of antioxidants than green tea and has 600 antioxidants in comparison to blueberries which have 40. Great for colds and flus, cacao also contains high levels of vitamin C for immune functioning and protecting against illnesses. Cacao also promotes cardiovascular health such as lowering LDL cholesterol, protects from environmental toxins and may reduce the risk of some cancers. 

Use cacao powder in raw desserts, baking, or to make raw chocolate sauces, blend into smoothies, stir into oatmeal porridge and use the cacao nibs in place of chocolate chips.

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a fantastic source of cell-strengthening omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation and protect the skin from sun damage. Chia seeds are a wealth of plant based nutrition, with the fibre promoting satiety, the amimo acids promoting a healthy weight, improved mood and improved sleep, and the other minerals being great for overall health. 

Create your own chia-seed pudding by combining a scoop of chia seeds and enough almond milk to cover and leave in the fridge to soak overnight while the seeds form a gelatinous outer layer, for a perfect detox snack, dessert or breakfast.

Known for its immune boosting properties, baobab contains six times more vitamin C than oranges gram per gram, and is rich in iron to boost energy levels.

Hemp seeds are high in protein and omega fatty acids, ensuring healthy hair, skin and nails. Hemp hearts also contain high levels of many trace minerals such as potassium, magnesium and copper and vitamins D and E.

Bursting with chlorophyll and antioxidants, wheatgrass has a rather strong grassy taste. It is filled with fibre and vitamin A, which contributes to glowing skin and strong, shiny hair.

Goji Berries
These nutritionally dense berries are a complete source of protein, containing 18 amino acids, and are packed with Vitamin C. They contain more carotenoids than any other food and have 4 times the antioxidant level of blueberries. In addition, they contain vitamins B and E, calcium, zinc and 16 times the iron level of spinach. They also promote blood circulation, improve eyesight and support optimal organ function. Finally, goji berries have natural anti inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties that boost the immune system.

These superfoods are all nutrient packed additions to a healthy and balanced plant based diet and should be consumed in moderation. Other superfoods which you can eat in greater quantities as a part of meals and alongside your fruit and vegetables include raw nuts and seeds, avocados, quinoa, buckwheat, oats, millet, coconut, tahini, hummus and tempeh. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015

July favourites

It's crazy to think that July has already come and gone. Time is passing by so quickly but that means one thing - it's that that time of the month again to do a round-up of my favourite items this month!

1. Mykonos - From the clear blue sea to the "no sleep" vibes of the day-clubs and nightclubs, this stunning Greek island is the perfect party-holiday destination! I found every restaurant there impressive in its own way, from Interni in the market to Nobu at The Belvedere Hotel.

2. Mac matte lipstick A24 Viva Glam - I have busted this red lipstick out out from the back of my make-up drawer and rekindled my love for this product. It has become a permanent addition to my handbag and my go-to bolder lip look. 

3. The beach - I'm a sun baby, I love it, it makes me happier and I honestly feel more like me when I come home with freckles on my face, salt in my hair and sand in my clothes.

4. Clinique Repairwear Uplifting Firming Cream - Whilst I can't say that it's stopped me aging, I can say that it's really thick and creamy to apply but then it feels so light-weight and firm once you gently rub it in. You can't go wrong with Clinique!

5. Spa hotel getaways in the countryside - my mum and I just got back from spending a couple of days in Cowley Manor, located in the heart of the Cotswolds, where we pampered ourselves getting massages and facials, relaxed in the sauna and steam room, and made use of the indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
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