Easy to make healthy snacks

Try these easy to make healthy snacks if you are trying to put less toxins into your body like wheat, diary or refined sugar. They are both easy to make and store, have no added sugar, are gluten and wheat free and full of protein for energy. 

NO GLUTEN NO ADDED SUGAR BANANA BREAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 100g coconut flour
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1.5 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 4 large bananas
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 50g/ 3 tbs coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • Walnuts and a selection of seeds

METHOD

  • Skin the bananas and mash them smooth with a fork
  • Preheat the oven 180 degrees celcius and line a loaf tin with baking parchment
  • Wisk the dry ingredients together, the stir in the eggs, mashed bananas and the rest of the wet ingredients
  • Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin. You can top this with the walnuts and a selection of seeds
  • Bake at 180 degrees for 50-60min or until a knife comes out clean.

HIGH PROTEIN PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BITES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 140g crunchy peanut butter, unsalted
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 140g dates
  • 30g ground flaxseeds
  • 30g chia seeds
  • 20g ground almonds
  • sesame seeds to coat

METHOD

  • Place all the ingredients in a food processor – APART from the peanut butter – and pulse until the mixture starts to come together. Add the peanut butter and continue pulsing until it forms a loose ball.
  • Divide into 16 evenly sized portions and roll into balls (easier with slightly wet hands)
  • Put the sesame seeds onto a plate and roll each ball through the seeds to coat the ball.
  • Place in the freezer for 20 min (or leave and take out when you need them) and then place in fridge to keep for a few days. Best served chilled.
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Cold Weather Healthy Lunches

Here a few ideas for healthy lunches when the weather is a bit colder and you may not fancy a salad. It’s important to eat well at lunch so you don’t need to snack. So these healthy lunches are not low calorie but packed full of protein and a bit of slow releasing carbs. 

Healthy chickpea and chicken salad

1.Chickpea  & Chicken salad

Throw the following ingredients in a bowl and mix up well. For the ingredients that need chopping, chop them in small square pieces about the same size as the individual chickpeas. Serve with a few sweet potato chips or quinoa. 

  • Chickpeas
  • 1/3 of a cucumber
  • One tomato
  • Half an orange pepper
  • Spicy chicken (pre-cooked shop bought)
  • 1/3 block of feta
  • Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper
  • Parsley
  • Sprinkling of chia seeds
Healthy chickpea and pumpkin salad

2. Chickpea and Pumpkin Salad

Put the pumpkin on a baking tray with paprika, mixed herbs, salt and olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes in preheated 220 degree Celcius oven. After these 10 minutes add a different oven dish with the chickpeas sprinkled with chili powder, together for another 20 minutes. On two plates spread out the rocket with the sundried tomatoes, cut in little pieces. Add the chickpeas and pumpkin and dress with olive oil and vinegar. This is tweaked from a Deliciously Ella recipe

  • bag of pumpkin in pieces (around 250g)
  • tin of chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • bag of rocket salad
  • 80g sun dried tomatoes 
HomemadeTomato and Pepper soup

3. Homemade Tomato and Pepper soup

A great way to get some of your seven vegetable portions a day is to add a homemade soup as your lunch. When you blend the vegetables, the nutrients of the vegetables are more available for the body to absorb. Add a sprinkle of roasted seeds for additional nutrients and good fats and it also makes it more filling. It’s so easy to make! This is the recipe I use most often but in terms of vegetables you can also use broccoli (and mint), mushrooms or add carrots or anything you like!

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • Pack of tomatoes about 500g
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • fresh basil (optional)
  • Vegetable stock (homemade or from stock cube)

Method:

Heat some coconut or olive oil in a pan and add the chopped onions until they are brown. Add the vegetables and soften them for a few minutes. Add enough stock to cover the vegetables but not more. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Put in the blender with any additional fresh herbs and whizz. Put in a bowl and add a sprinkle of the roasted seed mix and enjoy! 

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What is Vinyasa Flow yoga?

Workshops

Let’s start with what is yoga? There are many ways to describe yoga. I like the description of yoga as the union of the mind and body through the breath. Vinyasa flow is a form of yoga that connects asana’s (yoga poses) together through a flow. The most important part of doing vinyasa yoga is linking your breath with your movement to create that union. 

The origin of vinyasa Flow or Flow yoga is in Ashtanga yoga which was my first yoga I came into contact with. In Ashtanga yoga poses have been put together in a fixed way, a sequence. This sequence, made famous by Pattabhi Jois, is repeated in every class – in the same way. In a vinyasa flow class I do vary the sequence and the emphasis, usually via a theme or focus. It’s a very aerobic style of yoga as you are creating warmth in the muscles – so strictly (preferably!!) no water drinking during yoga as that would cool your system down again. 

What is the vinyasa itself? Vinyasa is the linking of one asana to the next  in a serpentine flow . There are different variations possible depending on your fitness level, injuries or energetic level during that practice. Simply waiting for the next asana or sitting cross legged and pushing up, if you have less energy. More experienced practitioners might be floating to get to Chaturanga from sitting. This is all from “Ashtanga yoga Practice Manual’ by David Swenson who I trained with many times. Adding a vinyasa sequence between poses provides a flowing, dance-like quality to our yoga practice. For me the most preferred one is as follows. The base is sun salutations and the Vinyasa itself are the poses before the down dog so thats below 4 steps:

  1. INHALE – Plank pose
  2. EXHALE – Knees-chest-chin or whole body down (Chaturanga)
  3. INHALE – Cobra pose
  4. EXHALE – Downward facing dog

See you on the mat? Look at my schedule of classes here.

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Yoga Photography

One of my favorite unexpected yoga experiences has been my yoga photography by the amazing Yvonne Catterson. I was given this as a present by my husband to help start my yoga business. Social media can show you so many images of advanced practitioners so although I was grateful I was also a bit scared about the whole thing.

During the teacher training you get so much more depth into what yoga is and what the purpose is (union of the mind and the body through breath), how can you demonstrate this by showing pictures of yourself in postures? 

Yvonne is a professional photographer and has worked for many distinguished magazines, design magazines and record labels. She does yoga herself – I got to know her via my yoga teacher Nancy Campbell – so she immediately understood the postures I would like to show and had some good additional suggestions. She has a lovely gentle and honest way to her so I felt I could voice my concerns. 

On the day I found – so unexpectedly- it was a lovely experience rather than something to be worried about or it just being business thing. I would definitely recommend it and see it an experience. Finally, have a good stretch out afterwards and balance out as you mainly do the postures on one side.

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Easy Healthy Home Made Granola

In Yoga we have the Yamas and Niyamas as a way to guide us for living. Being kind to others (Ahimsa) is the first principle with non violence as another description. For me diet ie what we put into ourselves falls into this category. I have to be really careful with my blood sugar levels. I don’t have diabetes but I do get massive mood swings a few hours after I eat too much sugar.

I might get shaky and might get “hangry” (hungry and angry) even. Not nice for myself and specially not nice for the people around me. So I try to eat low GI when possible (physically ie if it’s available and mentally ie when I have enough mental energy).

Breakfast can be a time when you want a quick solution and cereal is ideal. If I have a bit more time, I might have avocado and a boiled egg OR a grated courgette omelette. I love granola on my yoghurt for a quick filling solution but it usually contains sugar when shop bought or even the healthy recipes contains things that raise blood sugar. Like banana or even medium to low GI like honey. apple, maple syrup and agave. but its still a concentrated source of carbohydrates and we should eat them in moderation. 

So I have tweaked a few recipes I have come across and created my own using cinnamon and ginger to sweeten a little. So I can start the day as I mean to go on.. and that’s yoga too. 

Healthy Granola – store in an air tight container like a Kilner jar

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups raw oats, preferably gluten free
  • 1 cup of raw nuts, chopped (any selection. This time I used: walnuts, pecans and almonds and macedemia nuts)
  • 1 cup of raw nuts, chopped (This time i used cashew nuts)
  • ¾ cup of mixed seeds (any selection. This time I used: sesame seeds, flaxseeds and chai seeds)
  • 1 cup of coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (melted)
  • pinch of salt

METHOD

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a big mixing bowl.
  3. Spread the mixture in a thin layer on a oven tray and put in pre-heated oven for 20 min, until lightly toasted. Stir the mixture every 4-5 minutes to prevent burning.
  4. Cool before serving or storing. This can be kept for 2 weeks in air tight container.

BENEFITS

  • Easyto make and store
  • Noadded sugar
  • Glutenfree
  • Fullof protein
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Yoga Retreat In Vietnam

Early July 2018 I made a beautiful physical and emotional journey to the Sivananda centre in Dalat, Vietnam.

The physical journey began a month before when traveling with my family to Asia. We had already spend a month together and, although we all love each other, a bit of space between us was needed. So I booked myself into a retreat and set off from Nha Trang. We had traveled along the coast on the train from Hanoi to Nha Trang in stages, but this part of the journey was by bus/ coach. There are many places you can book this but I ran into a bit of trouble trying to book it last thing in the day for the next morning. So my advice to give yourself a bit of time to book it. I went at midday the next day so still a good time but it just meant I missed the yoga session at the end of the Friday. The bus journey was so interesting with lots of Vietnamese people and no other Europeans and little English spoken. We went into the mountains with some amazing views back to the coast. The weather is a lot cooler in Dalat and the rain came during the journey (bring jumpers!).

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The emotional journey is more difficult to describe. Firstly there is a set programme – see below – which keeps you busy the whole day with some free time available (to sleep!). Through structure, I found so much peace and realised I am were we need to be and we are whole as we are. The day starts with Satsang, sitting in silent meditation, singing and lead by the Swami a little chat. The singing is so uplifting and gives a real sense of community and belonging. A little food followed by 2 hours of beautiful yoga. I really liked the Sivananda yoga. It’s Hatha yoga with lots of savasana’s instead of my usual down dogs to recover. It’s also got a lot of challenging postures like headstand and then others depending on the teacher. You can see the rest of the schedule below. A specific highlight was the Satsang on the mountain one morning to see the sun rise. It was an incredible early start at 4.30am but definitely worth it.

The Sivananda principles show the beauty of the yoga system and thats it’s a full system to support our daily life. We can try this through other ways but if you look closely at yoga, it offers you all the answers. Here are the principles:

  • Proper Exercise: Asana
  • Proper Breathing: Pranayama
  • Proper Relaxation: Savasana
  • Proper Diet: Vegetarian
  • Positive Thinking & Meditation

I would really recommend to go tho this retreat when you are in Asia. There are some centres in Europe too which I am hoping to visit in the future. Its such a beautiful community and I would really like to support them. To book your retreat, go to their website : sivanandayogavietnam.org

If you practice with me, you will find the influences from this retreat are now reflected in my teaching so thats a good alternative!

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