Eat your way to great health…

by Rebecca Lori

When we have a headache, we take painkillers. When we have dry hair, we try intensive hair conditioners and when we start to see early signs of ageing on our skin, we invest in expensive face creams which promise to leave us looking ten years younger. But how do we get to the root of the problem? What if there was a new ‘miracle’ way of treating these problems from the inside-out?

The good news…


The secret to great skin, shiny hair and strong teeth and bones lies within. Let’s compare our bodies to a car; what does it need to run smoothly? Good quality fuel and lots of care and attention and it’s the same for our bodies; we need a fresh intake of fruit and vegetables washed down with plenty of water in order to maintain our energy levels and make our eyes sparkle and skin feel soft. The benefits of a healthy diet combined with an active lifestyle greatly outweigh expensive creams and quick medicinal solutions. So what’s stopping us?

Changing your diet is easy…


Making dietary changes doesn’t have to be difficult and you don’t even have to give up your favourite treats. It’s all about eating good quality fresh ingredients; avoid ready-meals and food with no vitamin content, such as soft drinks and sweets. Aim to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, and try to drink between six to eight glasses of water each day.

Alongside a healthy diet, it is important to get active – 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day is highly recommended. Try taking a refreshing walk in your lunch hour, try a fun exercise class or join your local gym. Regular exercise will keep your heart in tip-top condition, help you lose or maintain weight, tone up your body and make you happier and more energetic. Try to get eight hours sleep each night – lack of sleep can make you feel stressed and understandably very tired! Relaxation is also a vital aspect of healthy living and it important that we take time out for ourselves, reading our favourite books, taking long scented baths and enjoying luxurious spa treatments.


Top tips for a healthier lifestyle…


  • If you’re feeling hungry have a large glass of water as people often confuse thirst for hunger
  • The brighter and fresher the fruit and veg, the better for you…
  • Swap white rice and pasta for wholemeal varieties
  • Skinless chicken breast and grilled fish are both incredibly low in fat and packed with protein
  • Eat nuts, seeds and pulses for happy bowels!
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables are the best way to get your essential vitamins
  • Get to know your ‘good’ and ‘bad’ fats



Try these delicious and healthy recipes:



Healthy Salad

 

This dish is packed with antioxidants, which is great for your skin…

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

4 cooked beetroots

1 red pepper

4 large tomatoes

50g alfalfa sprouts

1 large bag of mixed leaves

Small handful of hemp & sunflower seeds

Extra virgin olive oil

Method

Slice the tomatoes, beetroot, red pepper and combine with the salad leaves and alfalfa sprouts.

Finish with a sprinkling of seeds and drizzle of oil.

To make this dish more substantial, add a grilled skinless chicken breast.



Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sweet Apricots

 

Contains essential fibre, zinc and selenium, which is great for healthy skin and strong teeth and bones…

(Serves 2-4)

Ingredients:

1 large butternut squash

1 inch ginger

1 onion

8 dried apricots

2 pints of vegetable stock

½ cup milk

Spray oil (like Fry Light or Filippo Berio Oil Spray)

Salt & pepper


Method:


Slice the squash in half and remove the seeds and fibrous centre – there’s no need for peeling - cut into 2 inch cubes. Place the squash pieces on baking tray and lightly spray with oil, bake at 200 degrees for 30 mins or until soft and going slightly black around the edges. Roughly chop the onion, add to a pan and spray with a little oil. Sauté until transparent, then add the roasted squash, chopped apricots and peeled and chopped ginger, sauté again for a few minutes, giving the ingredients enough time for the flavours to merge. Add two pints of vegetable stock, bring to the boil, and simmer gently for around 30 minutes. Finally, blend the soup, add half a cup of milk and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reheat and serve.



Cauliflower and Spinach Soup


This dish is rich in vitamin c and antioxidants, essential for reducing the risk of diseases…

(Serves 2- 4)

Ingredients:

1 large cauliflower

100g washed spinach leaves

1 onion

2 pints vegetable stock

½ cup of milk

Spray oil (like Fry Light or Filippo Berio Oil Spray)

Nutmeg

Salt & pepper


Method:

Chop the onion and spray a medium size pan lightly with the oil. Sauté the onion until transparent, then chop the cauliflower and add to the pan along with the spinach. Stir the ingredients then add two pints of vegetable stock. Bring to the boil, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Blend the soup, add half a cup of milk and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reheat and serve with freshly ground nutmeg and a chunk of fresh wholemeal bread.



Vegetable Stock Recipe (makes 4 pints)


2 carrots - chopped
2 sticks celery - chopped
1 onion - chopped
1 inch of fresh root ginger sliced
2 bay leaves
Couple of sprigs of rosemary
Couple of sprigs of thyme
(note any fresh herbs such as sage or parsley can be used but only use mint or lemon balm if making pea soup)
10 black or red peppercorns
Pinch of salt
3 cloves garlic peeled and whole
4 pints water

Method

Add chopped carrots, celery, onion to a large pan with sliced ginger and whole, peeled garlic cloves. Add the remaining ingredients and cover with four pints of water. Bring to the boil, and simmer for an hour. Strain the stock through a sieve and discard the vegetables and herbs.

This stock is ideal for soups, casseroles and gravy.

















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