With #vegetarianweek this week we’ve been keeping our meals meat free and my Meatless Meatloaf never fails to bring the family to the table. Packed full of veggies, seeds and nuts it’s a super tasty and will fill up the hungriest of your gang. Make it and serve warm or chill and pop in a lunchbox with a side salad for lunch.
Serves 4 (with leftovers)
2 medium onions, skin removed and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed/finely chopped
150g brown mushrooms
1 red pepper
¾ cup walnuts
½ cup cashew nuts
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 ½ cups ground almond
¼ cup coconut flour
2 Tbsp psyllium husk
¼ cup each fresh parsley and basil finely chopped
2 tsp ground oregano (or 2 tsp fresh oregano)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
Heat oven to 170C
Finely chop/dice all the vegetables (I use a hand-chopper, this one). Sauté them in 1 tbsp coconut oil for about 4-5 minutes over low heat…. This is not to completely cook through, but soften the vegetables.
Place the nuts/seeds in a processor and blitz until you have a rough crumb texture, it shouldn’t be powder.
Mix the nut/seed mixture into the vegetables and mix together well. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly until well mixed.
Place into a lined loaf tin and bake for approx. 50 minutes.
Note – The first time I did this I did 1 hour and found it could have been less, this will depend on your oven, so check at 50 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before cutting into slices. I love mine with avocado pesto alongside some sweet potato wedges, salad and mayonnaise and/or some fresh green beans.
During mental health awareness week, we’ve been looking at how your gut health can affect your mental health. We’ve pulled together a range of tasty prizes in our good gut GIVEAWAY that will help to soothe and restore your gut. From Coyo we have their yummy dairy free coconut kefir, which can help to populate your gut with good bacteria. There are bottles of Lost Coast ACV to soothe your tum with their Apple Cider Vinegar based drinks. Some delicious Kimchi from Eaten Alive with all its fermented goodness and our yummy macaroons as a healthy treat for when hunger strikes.
How could you benefit from all these lovely gut friendly products? Did you know that you have two brains? One in your head and one in your…..gut. Yes, your gut! There has been an increasing amount of research in recent years into the gut-brain axis. Studies seem to be indicating that many mental wellness issues originate as imbalances in the GBX (gut-brain axis). So, what does this mean?
Good Bacteria vs Bad Bacteria
The bacterial population of your gastrointestinal tract is called the microbiome. Your microbiome should be a happy spot, full of a diverse range of both good and bad bacteria, which both kefir and kimchi can help with. In a healthy microbiome all of these bacteria are thriving, and the balance is tipped towards the good bacteria. Problems start when your microbiome becomes less balanced and the bad bacteria takes over. Bad bacteria takeover can lead to a host of health issues from inflammation of skin and joints to depression and anxiety.
So, gut health and mental health are intrinsically linked and the phrase ‘gut feeling’ is a real thing but what does this mean for your mental health? Think of your Vagus Nerve as the crossroads where your brain and gut communicate with one another. Apart from sending signals through the Vagus Nerve, the brain communicates with the gut using neurotransmitters. Again, these are sent both ways, for example, serotonin is one of the most popular neurotransmitters, and it is mostly produced in the gut.
Serotonin is referred to as the hormone of pleasure and happiness. When the gut is healthy, serotonin is produced which travels upward through the gut-brain axis towards the brain. When serotonin arrives in the mind, it can generate a good mood and feelings of confidence and peace.
Another important neurotransmitter is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It is responsible for reducing feelings of depression and anxiety. In other words, the more GABA your gut produces, the more confident you’ll feel.
Also in the neurotransmitter mix is dopamine, which is heavily involved in the motor system and is responsible for, regulating movement, attention, learning, and emotional responses. If you’re struggling to concentrate when studying for example then you probably need those dopamine receptors to be firing better.
So if you’ve been feeling low, lacking in energy or feeling anxious it’s definitely worth taking a deeper delve into your ‘gut feeling’ and maybe exploring further whether some good digestive friendly foods would worth a try.
Our quick banana cookies are the perfect snack to keep you going when hunger strikes. These have one full cup of walnuts in them, did you know that just a few of these knobbly nuts a day can help to reduce your blood pressure, aid sleep and fight inflammation? Super quick to throw together, why not make some this evening?
Makes 8-9 soft cookies
1 large ripe banana
70g soft (not melted) coconut oil
1 cup walnuts
½ vanilla paste
¼ tsp baking soda
1 cup almond meal.
Place oven on at 170C
Place first four ingredients in food processor and blitz until walnuts roughly chopped (the banana should be blended with the coconut oil).
Fold through remaining two ingredients.
Spoon large spoons of mixture onto a lined tray and bake for 20 mins. Enjoy for dessert with your favourite ice cream or as a mid afternoon snack.
Keep remaining biscuits in fridge (or could be frozen if they make it there).
Note – you could fold through a Tbsp of cacao if desired.
Have you heard of the 4 pillars of health and wellbeing? The ones we set great store by here at Nourish, are nutrition & hydration, sleep, exercise and mental health. Being healthy, fit and well is pretty much the cornerstone of wellbeing, but, it’s not always easy to achieve. Life gets in the way sometimes and it can feel like your own health and wellbeing has taken a back seat due to stress, work, lack of time, exhaustion, and more.
So, which is the most important pillar, and why? The answer is that they are all important and that they actually rely on one another. Sometimes your nutritional needs will take a back seat while you work your way through a deadline at work and that’s fine so long as your mental health takes a front seat instead. Got a pressing deadline, eating less well than normal? Take it easy on yourself and plan a great, healthy meal to celebrate getting the end of the work project. It’s all about balance, not guilt.
These pillars are used by so many health professionals and everyone has their own subtle interpretation of them. Here’s what they mean to us at Nourish!
Nutrition and hydration
Being surrounded by wonderful ingredients all day at work makes us particularly food aware at Nourish. As Hippocrates said, ‘Let food be thy medicine’. Eat well and your body will reward you with clearer skin, a functional gut, more energy and a sense of wellbeing.
Maybe you eat Organic, maybe you don’t, so long as your diet contains plenty of nourishing ingredients, that’s the most important thing. We like to use Organic ingredients in our products because we believe that food should be as unadulterated as possible and be of the highest quality. Small swaps to Organic vegetables, fruit, dairy, meat and eggs will help to cut down on your exposure to toxic pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.
However, it’s not realistic to think that we’ll be able to eat well all of the time and many of us follow an 80/20 rule. There’s nothing wrong with this, your body is built to detoxify itself and a little of what you fancy from time to time isn’t a nutritional fail.
Hydration is the detox key as it helps to keep everything moving, aiding digestion and clearing out any nasties. The EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, recommends that we drink 2 – 2.5L of water a day and that 70-80% of our fluid intake is from drinks made with water as their base. The remaining 20-30% should be from foods that are rich in soluble fibre, that’s those veggies!
As a general rule of thumb following a wholefood diet, cooking with fresh ingredients, using a wide variety of veggies, eating healthy fats (like our coconut macaroons!) and getting plenty of water will sustain you very well.
*Sometimes a gut health issue can mean that you need to follow a specific diet, we’re going to dive into this in a couple of weeks time on the blog so check back then.
Sleep, it can feel like the final frontier sometimes! If you have young children, if you’re stressed, if you’ve had coffee too close to bedtime, the list goes on and on. If you find yourself craving it then the first thing to ask yourself is why?
Often it’s our own routine that can be preventing us from getting the sleep that we need. The phase, sleep routine, has been bandied around a lot over the past few years, and with good reason. Setting yourself up for success with sleep can not just mean that you get more, but that if you don’t sometimes you’re not stressing about it.
So, what’s a sleep routine look like? It’s pretty simple and probably much like what you would have done as a child, in fact treat yourself as you would a child at bedtime and you’re pretty much there.
Quiet, wind down time prior to bedtime, no screens for at least 30 minutes before bed
A tidy, calm room to sleep in
No lights on in the bedroom to sleep and definitely no phones!
Wind down to sleep with a little reading, maybe an audio book or a warm epsom salts bath
Three words, just, get, moving. It really doesn’t matter what you do so long as you’re moving. Variety is great with exercise; like lifting weights but hate cardio, do your weights session and go for a walk instead. Conversely, hate weights and love cardio, then run whenever you fancy but maybe mix it up with some TRX, using your own body weight instead of weights.
Movement helps our bodies to function better, helping us to dissipate stress, helps with digestion and even aids with sleep. If you feel sluggish after a few days indoors then take your exercise outdoors too and get the double whammy of endorphins and vitamin D!
Planning for exercise just like you would plan anything else creates a habit, and this is the key. If you’re struggling for motivation then maybe find a challenge that you’d enjoy training for or maybe take up a new sport? Read Ellerie’s yoga journey to see how she successfully introduced a new routine.
Understanding your own mental health needs is a huge step in the pursuit of happiness. Some of us crave a little peace and quiet, that time alone that can be hard to find. For others it’s the company of friends and a chance to gossip and hang out. Just knowing what your own needs are can really help you to unwind and find that calm feeling.
Our mental health can be affected by so many things, happiness, sadness, stress, exhilaration. These emotions can manifest in the most simple situations, for instance, you run for the train in the morning and you make it, you start the day happy, you miss it, you feel a bit rubbish. Finding the best in every situation might sound trite but it may help to avoid the ups and downs that can affect our mental health.
Some start a gratitude journal, a simple way of reminding themselves day by day, that life is good in many ways. For others it might just be making yourself see the best in a bad situation. You’ve missed the train, so buy a new book on your kindle and lose yourself for a while in a great story.
Doing things with intensity and purpose can help us to be more positive too. If you don’t like a situation then think about whether you can change it. Maybe if you can’t it’s time to walk away and try something new.
A lot of people from the world of sport, the army and business, talk about how a positive mental attitude can be the best tool that they have in their mental health armoury. It can be a challenging way to live but the likes of Ant Middleton, Mo Farah and Peter Jones, have made it their life’s work to live in the positive.
These delicious Breakfast Muffins are simplicity itself to put together, and the chances are that you’ll most of the ingredients in your store cupboard too. They are a super nutritious option for breakfasts or for a little energy packed snack for post gym or school. They freeze very well too, so why not make a double batch and have plenty on hand, a batch never lasts long in our house!
Makes 9 muffins. Preheat the oven to 160.
1 mashed banana 1 grated medium sized carrot 1 grated medium apple 1/3 cup melted coconut oil 2 tbsp Maple Syrup 1 Flax seed egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed, 3 tbsp warm water. Leave to sit for a couple of minutes) 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 1/3 cup almond milk