Emotions, IBS & the power of writing

Do you have unresolved emotional experiences consuming tremendous amounts of energy? The power of writing helps bring emotions from your subconscious mind to your conscious mind. Start by taking a piece of paper and writing down the problem to help remove the emotion attached to the experience. Then crumble or burn the letter.

Most of my clients come for IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome) and have complaints include bloating, cramps, tiredness and many other uncomfortable symptoms. To start addressing their symptoms, we work together and support changes with a mind, body and spirit approach. Journalling gives them the opportunity to externalise their feelings, be reflective, and go deeper within their own thoughts. I also teach other self-care techniques such as meditation.

But why do I do this? What do your emotions have to do with IBS? Information flows all the time between the brain and the body; the brain sending signals to the gut and vice versa. And it's common for unexplained gut symptoms to be closely linked to emotional and physical trauma. Dietary changes alone may not be help many cases of IBS that arise from trauma, which is why I promote a mind, body, spirit approach.

The body is a wonderful messenger. Understanding emotional causes of any form of dysfunction in the body is key, as we learn to listen and trust our bodies’ as messengers of our spirit. The language our body speaks is vital to good health.

Chocolate Mocha smoothie (Dairy free, vegan)

There is something about having coffee and chocolate that is pretty magical.

With the beautiful sunshine, I'm enjoying early morning cycles and workouts, so afterwards I’m ready for a protein filled breakfast and coffee, so I've perfected my Chocolate Mocha smoothie.

I try to create recipes with ingredients already in my kitchen cupboard, so I've included where I bought them and most of the ingredients are available in Aldi!

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Chocolate Mocha Smoothie (Dairy free, vegan)

Ingredients

1 banana
2 tablespoon cacao powder (available in Aldi 100g for €1.99)
1 scoop of protein powder (Sunwarrior Plant-Based Protein Vanilla or Aldi's specialbuys Hemp or pea protein)
2-3 dates (available in Aldi 250g for €1.59)
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk (available in Aldi for €1.69)
1 espresso shot or strongly brewed coffee 
Handful of ice

Instructions

Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend until fully combined and creamy.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Brownies

Deliciously chocolatey & nutrient rich sweet potato brownies
Vegan, dairy free, gluten free

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The perfect treat when you need that chocolate fix or a great healthy treat for kids! 

Plus make sure to read until the end to find out whats great about the ingredients 👍

Download your free recipe here 👇👇👇

Or you can check out the recipe below! 😍

Sweet Potato Brownies

( Makes 10-12 brownies)

Ingredients

2-3 medium-large sweet potatoes (700 g)
5 tablespoons raw cacao powder
100 g ground buckwheat or gluten free oats
14 medjool dates
80 g ground almonds
4 tablespoons of maple syrup
Pinch of sea salt
3 squares of dark chocolate

Instructions

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 180*C. Peel the sweet potatoes. Cut into chunks and place into steamer for 20 minutes or until they become very soft.
  2. Once they are perfectly soft and beginning to fall apart, remove them and add them to a food processor with the pitted dated. Blend until a smooth, creamy mix forms.
  3. Put the remaining ingredients into a bowl, before mixing in the sweet potato and date combination. Stir well.
  4. Place the mix into a lined baking dish and cook for about 30-45 minutes, until you can pierce the brownie cake with a fork and bring it out dry. Remove the tray and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. While they are cooling, melt the dark chocolate and pour it over the brownies. Spread the icing and allow it to cool for another 5 minutes.
  6. If you don’t have raw cacao powder, you can use conventional cocoa powder, but you will need to use at least double the quantity.

 

WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT IT:

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a delicious low GI starchy carbohydrate, providing slow release energy for the body. Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins A, C & B (which makes them great for your immune system). They are easily digestible and high in prebiotic fibre which promotes healthy gut bacteria. 

Sweet potatoes are also full of other nutrients like manganese, copper, phosphorus, potassium, and fiber; all of which work together to keep your blood, digestion, and whole body healthy. 

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Raw cacao powder

Cacao powder comes from the cacao bean. In its raw form, raw cacao contains many beneficial rejuvenating elements, including antioxidants, magnesium, calcium, potassium and B vitamins.

Buckwheat

Buckwheat is a complex whole grain and is full of fibre. It is also high in riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), as well as phosphorus, magnesium, iron, folate, zinc copper, manganese and flavanoids.

Buckwheat is a plant-based food that contains high-quality proteins. It is a complete protein that contains all essential amino acids, along with essential fatty acids. It's high in amino acid lysine, which is great for tissue repair and can be helpful in repairing collagen.

Medjool dates

Medjool dates are helpful in satisfying a sweet tooth, while also containing dietary fiber, potassium, manganese,copper, B family vitamins, vitamin A, magnesium, and calcium.

Almonds

Almonds are a fantastic source of antioxidants, high in vitamin E, protein and fibre and magnesium.

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is high in sugar, but it also contains some minerals and antioxidants compared to refined sugar. But, as with all sugar-based sweeteners, if you're eating it, make sure to do so in moderation only.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Let me know how you get on! :) 

With love,
Fiona

Allergies Alert!

🌻 Allergies Alert 🌻

Met Éireann issued a high pollen risk for June! Do you know someone prone to hayfever?

For years, I spent summers sneezing with watery & itchy eyes, but since becoming a Nutritional Therapist, I use a natural toolkit to strengthen my immune system and reduce the symptoms naturally. What's my top tip?

🍋 Hayfever Turmeric Tonic 🍋

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I drink this every morning, as it's full of anti-inflammatory foods, curcumin & vitamin C!

Share with your friends who would benefit from this amazing natural tonic!

Six Tips For Eating a More Plant-Based Diet

 

People ask me how my health is thriving on a plant-based diet for ten years. 

So I want to share some of my top Plant Based Tips. These tips are for you whether you are;

  1. An omnivore (eating meat and plants) wanting to include more plant-based meals.
  2. Transitioning to a plant-based diet.
  3. Already vegan or vegetarian and want to ensure you are eating all the correct nutrients.
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What is a Whole Food Plant-Based diet?

A whole food plant-based diet is based on a majority of whole plant foods- whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits. This diet is generally done for health reasons, which is why processed food isn't included in this way of eating.

Vegan vs Whole food plant-based?

Don’t presume that they are the same thing, as they are not!

Veganism is the practice of minimizing harm to all animals by abstaining from animal products such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, honey, gelatin, lanolin, wool, fur, silk, suede, and leather. 

A whole food plant-based diet is about the food. 

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What are the dietary differences?

A vegan diet can technically be a diet of Oreo cookies, chips and processed fried foods (although a lot don't!), whereas people who eat a whole food plant-based choose not to eat these. 

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Vegan diets aren’t specifically for eating healthy plant based meals, which means there are unhealthy vegans and vegetarians, similarly as there are very unhealthy omnivores.

So if you are a vegan, I urge you to follow a whole food vegan diet.

So now, lets get to these tips...

Six Tips for Eating a More Plant-Based Diet

1. Find your motivation- ask yourself why?

Why are you adopting a healthier lifestyle? What goals do you plan on achieving? Reminding yourself of this will help you stay on track. Educating yourself on the benefits of making the switch will help motivate you as well.

For me, my main goal 10 years ago was to improve my digestive system, reduce inflammation and heal chronic health issues. Once I found my initial ‘why’, it helped keep me motivated and stay on track. 

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2. Find your own pace.

Some people can wake up and make drastic lifestyle or dietary changes, but for others it can take a few weeks or months to make changes.  These changes should NOT be fueled by guilt, shame or extensive pressure.

It is better to make small consistent changes that are manageable and enjoyable! Consistency is key and perfection isn’t the goal – progress is. Progress means you’re being aware and making whole food choices as much as you can. So find a pace that suits you as this is your journey.

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For me, when I initially started eating more plant-based foods, I was a typical teenager at 17 and didn’t like vegetables, nuts or most fruit. I had also never tried beans or lentils.

My dietary changes started with education. At the beginning, I had to learn how to cook plant-based meals and then change my taste buds to actually enjoy the taste of wholefoods! It was a gradual process. Learning to cook healthily took practice, but I improved!

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If you are at the very beginning of making changes;

  • Try some meat-free meals each week, include alternatives such as eggs, lentils, beans and tofu.
  • Replace some of the meat with legumes, for example only add half the amount of beef and top up with chickpeas.
  • Eat a variety of colours of fresh vegetables and fruits and buy fresh produce in season. Canned and frozen vegetables are nutritious too, choose options low in salt and sugar.

3. Remember your Macronutrients

A balanced diet includes enough of each macronutrient- carbohydrates, protein and fat. It is important to eat enough of each to fuel yourself and keep satiated. 

For me, my dinner plate normally consists of : 2 portions (handfuls) of vegetables, 1 portion of root vegetables/grains, 1 portion of protein and 1 teaspoon of fat.

Some people believe that eating a plant-based diet is about eating a giant salad with 10 different vegetables, but it is not.  Balanced meals are important that will keep you full for 4 hours and help you reach your macro and micro nutrients.

Here are some of the benefits of each macronutrient;

  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are great for energy, promoting good bowel health and reducing the risk of constipation. Not eating enough means that you’re likely to feel lethargic as you’re not operating on the most readily available (glycolytic) pathway.
  • Protein: Protein is great for preserving muscle, building and repairing tissue, boosting metabolism and feeling satiated after a meal. Remember hair and nails are mostly made of protein!
  • Fat: Fat is a great energy reserve, keeps joints supple and balances hormones. Remember the human brain is nearly 60 percent fat! Certain fats provide the essential Omega-3 fatty acid. Omega-3s are very important to help mood, memory and many brain health issues. It is also important to protect your brain as you age as numerous studies support that seniors with higher levels of omega-3s, specifically DHA, have a significantly lower risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s.

If you are concerned about your macro or micro nutrients, please contact me to book in for a Nutrition consultation as full nutrient analysis is available.

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4. Stock up on Wholefoods.

‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’ - Benjamin Franklin

This is a quote I repeat to many of my clients; whether they are trying to lose weight, gain muscle, heal their digestive issues, or really make any dietary changes.

What you keep in your kitchen, is what you will most likely end up eating. It is much easier to decide to whip up a healthy meal when the ingredients are already stocked up.

My top 10 cupboard essentials are;

  1. Chickpeas
  2. Red Lentils
  3. Oats
  4. Almonds
  5. Peanut butter
  6. Coconut oil
  7. Flaxseed
  8. Green lentils
  9. Red kidney beans
  10. Black beans.

Flavours matter! Whipping up a healthier meal is easy when you know it’s still going to be full of flavour.

Here are my top 3 cupboard essentials for flavour:

  1. Bragg Liquid Aminos (natural soy sauce alternative.)
  2. Nutritional Yeast
  3. Apple cider vinegar

Herbs and spices are delicious with powerful health benefits.

Here are my top 10 herbs and spices:

  1. Pink Salt (Himalayan salt)
  2. Black Pepper
  3. Curry powder
  4. Turmeric powder
  5. Cayenne pepper
  6. Cumin powder/seeds
  7. Mixed herbs powder
  8. Ginger Powder
  9. Cinnamon
  10. Oregano.
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5. Stock up regularly on fresh fruit and vegetables

Staying organised and buying fresh fruit and vegetables regularly is key. As said, what you keep in your kitchen, is what you will most likely end up eating.

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For me, this works great because I hate seeing fruit and vegetables go to waste. I’ve often felt like not cooking but chose to make a quick soup because I didn’t want them to spoil. It works great because I always enjoy that warm bowl of soup afterwards!

Remember to stock up on berries such as raspberries and blueberries as they are full of phytonutrients and antioxidants. However, they can sometimes spoil quickly so I often freeze some berries and add a handful at the end of cooking my porridge.

6. Meal prep is key.

Batch cooking meals is great if time is limited. This is something I do when my schedule is really busy and I don't have the time to cook each meal. 

Here are some ideas for batch cooking meals;

  • Prepare overnight oats with the berries already chopped and add 1 tsp flax seed. I normally prepare 2-3 days and keep it refrigerated.
  • Steam a large portion of vegetables and some starchy vegetables and divide them into meal sized containers with a source of protein.
  • Prepare a big batch of a curry dish like dhal (made from red lentils, which is a great source of plant-based protein) and divide it into meal sized containers. Download my free recipe below.
  • Large pot of soup and freezing portion sized meals.

We can’t always prepare meals from scratch, but at least some of the above can be frozen into meal size containers for when you need them!

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Download Free Dhal Curry Recipe! 

Dhal is one of my favourite batch meals to make and you can download the recipe here: 

I hope you enjoyed some of the tips that helped me on my plant-based journey!

Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to book a nutrition consultation.

Is there any other topics you would like me to cover? If so, please put your questions below!