My Favourite Green Juice

Ahhh, green juice. I love it so much!

Liquids have honestly been a massive game changer for me. I have a pretty awful system, and I know that if I need to give my body a rest, I just need to juice it up!

Although I’m pretty rubbish at actually doing this every day (mainly because I don’t want to clean my juicer!) starting my day with a green juice usually sets me up for a pretty good health day. There’s something so amazing about infusing all your cells with amazing plant goodness right when you wake up. And honestly, I can feel the difference every single time I have a juice. It’s like I’m giving my body exactly what it’s been calling out for.

This juice is not only insanely hydrating, it’s full of detoxing, anti-inflammatory and healing foods. Juicing also removes any fiber, making it easier for your body to digest – seriously, 15 minutes and your body is just flooded with the good stuff. However, if you want that extra fiber boost you can stir in a teaspoon of wheatgrass powder. Easy peasy!

If you don’t have a juicer you can still make juice! Just blend all the ingredients together and then strain using a nut milk bag.

My Favourite Green Smoothie3

Ingredients
1 large cucumber
2 apples
1 fennel
4 stalks celery
1 large handful fresh mint
1 large handful fresh parsley
1 large handful fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 large stalk-1/2 head broccoli
1-inch chunk ginger (optional)
1 tsp Organic Burst Wheatgrass (optional)
Optional add-ins: sometimes if I want to really up the nutrient density of my green juice I’ll throw in a handful of watercress, rocket, romaine or kale. Generally, just look for super high nutrient dense greens and juice until your little heart is happy!

Method
Wash everything and juice! I generally find that putting the herbs between the two apples to get the most juice out of them.

Thai Noodle Bowl & Crispy ‘Seaweed’

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day and still continuing to relax over the weekend! Wish you Merry Christmas from Nutritiously Natasha team.

I spent the day with my family. We went to visit my Grandma at her retirement home, ate a lot, saw Santa, went for a walk, crashed out in bed trying to get warm after the walk, and slumped in front of the telly for the rest of the evening!

Oh, unfortunately, my grandma didn’t enjoy my raw vegan vanilla and cranberry cheesecake…

My parents were particularly impressed at the four hours I managed to be out the house. I’m kind of impressed with myself too. Especially since the weather is starting to get really really nippy. I can’t tell you how excited I am too jet off to Marrakech on Sunday…although I have heard a whisper that it may snow. London shuts down at a dusting of the stuff, so we’ll see if I actually manage to make it out!

And now Christmas is over we can get back to the important stuff.

Today’s guest recipe is for a Thai noodle bowl with crispy ‘seaweed’ from the amazing Caitlin aka The Clean Diary.

I was lucky enough to meet Caitlin at the end of the summer, and since then have become absolutely obsessed with her blog. Over Christmas, she did a foodie advent calendar, and thanks to her amazing recipes and her gorgeous pictures, she’s definitely one of my favorite London-based food bloggers out there at the moment.

For some reason traditional Asian flavors make me feel extremely unwell. Even as a child, my parents would have Chinese food or I’d go over to a friend where Indian was being cooked and I would literally start gagging and need to leave. I don’t know if that’s some of my weird smell sensitivities that just started a lot earlier than the others, but let’s just say that when I was traveling in Asia it caused some problems!

I know a lot of you love more exciting food than I generally eat on a daily basis, so when Caitlin suggested this recipe, I just knew you’d all love it.

Over to Caitlin!

thai noodle

 

Thai food has always been one of my favorites, it doesn’t get much better than a Thai green curry. The coconut milk works in harmony with the Thai spices and herbs and makes such an aromatic dish. It may seem like this flavor is something you can only get from a Thai restaurant, but it is actually much easier than you think! This dish is made completely from scratch and therefore has no nasty surprises (restaurants often use fish sauce which is obviously not vegan and a lot of oil). This recipe is really quick to make and is the perfect comfort food for an evening in, which is why I have added my secret crispy ‘seaweed’ recipe as well, so you can make your own Thai ‘takeaway’ and know exactly what it contains! Did you know that crispy seaweed is actually made from cabbage?! Well mine is made from kale, and it isn’t fried and it doesn’t contain refined sugar! But I can assure you it tastes almost identical to the real thing! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do.

Ingredients

(serves two)
  • 1 can coconut milk (Preferably pure with no additives)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 medium red chili
  • A 2 Inch cube of fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 6 spring onions
  • 3 sticks of lemongrass
  • A large handful of coriander leaves
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp gluten free tamari (I like Clearspring)
  • 1 tbsp brown rice syrup or coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small red pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small aubergine
  • 10 baby corns
  • 75g buckwheat or brown rice soba noodles
  • 1/4 cup frozen edamame (optional)

For the crispy seaweed:

  • 3 handfuls of kale, torn finely and large stalks removed
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar

Method

  • Cut the ends off the lemongrass and using the end of a knife or a rolling pin, bash the ends on a chopping board to release the aromas
  • Finely chop and put in a processor
  • Add the ginger, chili, garlic, cumin, coriander and lime to the processor and process until the ingredients are finely ground
  • Meanwhile, chop the spring onions and add to a wok with the coconut oil and cook on a low heat until soft
  • Add the spice mixture from the processor to the wok and then add the coconut milk, continuing to cook on a low heat
  • Peel the carrot into ribbons and add this to the wok along with the pepper, chopped lengthways into strips
  • Chop the aubergine into cubes and add (this will soak up all of the flavors)
  • Finally, halve the baby corns and add to the pan and leave everything to simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are soft
  • Whilst the vegetables simmer, place the kale onto a lined baking tray and rub the olive oil into the leaves with clean hands
  • Sprinkle with the salt and coconut sugar and cook in a preheated oven at 120 degrees celsius for approximately 15 minutes until crisp but not too browned.
  • Add the water, noodles, and edamame if using, and cook for a further 3 minutes, using a fork to separate the noodles as they cook to avoid them sticking
  • Serve in bowls with a good amount of the liquid and enjoy

Stupidly Easy Breakfast Cookies

For some reason, I have been waking up at 7 am every day. I hate it. I used to rock out of bed around lunchtime, and then get on with my day. Now I’m up so early I’m not really sure what to do, especially because I still fall asleep so late. Luckily, it’s earlier than the 5 am I used to fall asleep at!

Because I’m so tired by the afternoon, I usually lose my motivation to cook and eat well. I want to grab the first bar of (raw) chocolate I can get my hands on! So I’ve started being super productive in the morning and making a lovely breakfast and often prepping my other meals for the day too.

This morning I fancied something really sweet but didn’t want porridge. I was all set and ready to make pancakes but I then remembered I still hadn’t brought over half of my cooking ingredients (come on, buckwheat flour!), so I thought I’d make cookies. Gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free cookies. Old Natasha would have been terrified at the thought! Also, sorry for the horrid lighting in all these pictures – 7 am isn’t the best time for light here!

 

These cookies are stupidly easy to make. The base just comes from two ingredients and then you can totally customize them however you like. Because I’m boring and obsessed with the banana/vanilla/almond butter/chocolate combination, I totally had to go for that. But you can add anything that you like and play around with the flavors. Cinnamon and nutmeg would be amazing for a wintery flavor.

Of course, these aren’t the cookies that you grew up eating. They have an entirely different taste and texture. But they’re super filling, delicious, nourishing and ideal for breakfast. Oats are full of slow release energy and have numerous health benefits, while chia seeds and almond butter add some great plant protein. Don’t worry, there will be some Food as Medicine 101 posts on most of these ingredients coming soon!

cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oat quick cooking oats (again, this is all I had as I haven’t fully stocked up my kitchen. You can probably take normal oats and grind them down into a chunky flour)
  • 1 very ripe mashed banana
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp runny almond butter
  • 1/4 cup Punch Foods Raw Cocoa Boost Supersedes (If you don’t have these you can sub cacao nibs or mixed seeds depending on what you fancy)
  • 1/2 Tsp raw vanilla powder
  • Generous pinch (or two) of salt (to taste)

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • In a large mixing bowl add the oats, chia seeds, super seeds, vanilla powder, and salt. Stir well to combine.
  • Stir in the almond butter and banana until all the mixture is well coated.
  • I also added a teaspoon or two of rice malt syrup (see here for why that’s my sweetener of choice) because my banana wasn’t super ripe and I knew I’d be missing out on some sweetness.
  • On a lined baking tray take about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a little ball. Gently press down with a fork to create a round cookie shape.
  • I liked to try and make them as round as possible without too many small bits poking out to prevent burning.
  • Pop the cookies in the oven for around ten minutes (depending on oven).
  • Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn. When ready, take them out and allow them to cool for a couple of minutes before tucking in.
  • I topped mine with almond butter (literally obsessed, but here’s why almonds are good for you!) and berries and it was just what the doctor (aka my brain) ordered. Cookies for breakfast?

Who knew!

 

What’s your favorite combination?

If you have any doubt regarding the recipe feel free to contact me here.

5 Methods to Apply Avocado Essential Oil

Avocado Essential Oil is extremely rich in Vitamins and minerals which make it a beneficial oil to be used for both hair and skin. This essential oil contains Vitamin A, D, and E, proteins, potassium, fatty acids, etc. which makes it really amazing for skin care and hair care.

You can use your Avocado oil in many applications so we have listed down 5 top ways to use your avocado essential oil:

Making a Shampoo

You can also make shampoo with avocado oil and moisturize your hair with it. Just take ¼ cup each of castile soap and aloe vera gel, 1 tsp. vegetable glycerin and ¼ tsp. of avocado oil and combine them together in a glass bottle. Close the lid on this bottle and shake it a little to mix the contents properly. Now, pour the whole bottle on your hair and massage the shampoo into your hair thoroughly. Leave it for a couple of minutes and then rinse it out with the help of cool water. This will make your hair look and feel healthy again.

Creating a Skin Rub

You can also use Avocado oil to rub your skin and apply a few drops of this oil onto your dry area to moisturize your skin. This essential oil can also be used by users who suffer from eczema as this oil can soothe and reduce the inflammation caused by it.

Using as a Face Mask

Take 1 avocado and mash it into a paste and then add 1 tablespoon of avocado oil to it. Mix them well and then wash your face with water and facewash and pat it dry. Now, apply the paste on your face with the help of a spatula and avoid your eyes and mouth. Let the mask work for 10-15 minutes and then take a damp towel and clean up the paste from your face. Rinse your face once to clean your face properly.

Using as a Face Mask

Anti-Aging Lotion

Take 30 ml each of avocado oil and castor oil and mix them well together. Apply this oil mixture to your aging spots and leave it for 15 minutes. Then, rinse off the oil with the help of warm water. Avocado oil is rich in sterolins which acts as a great moisturizer and helps in treating aging spots.

Make a Bath Oil

Take 1 cup of almond oil and 2 cups of avocado oil in a saucepan and heat them together.

Then, remove the pan from the stove and add 2 tea bags to this mixture. In the meanwhile, pour some essential oils like lavender, chamomile, and geranium essential oil into a glass bottle and then add the almond oil and avocado oil mixture to it. Now, put the lid of the glass bottle and store this in a cool dry place for a day.

Then, shake the bottle well and pour 60 ml of the bath oil into your water and have a relaxing and calming bath while avocado moisturizes and rejuvenates your skin.

Make a Bath Oil

5 Things I’m Eating This Week

A lot of people ask me what I eat in a typical week. It’s almost impossible for me to answer that because it depends a lot on how I’m feeling.

Experience has taught me that when my energy levels are super low and my POTS is particularly symptomatic I tend to do best on mainly liquids. Life can be so fun sometimes! To stop myself from going mad I make one ‘meal’ meal a day, and the rest of the time I am having super packed smoothies and big jars of juice.

I have been majorly struggling to eat a very ‘free-from’ diet. While a lot of people who are happy to do this may not consider it to be restrictive, to me it feels that way. I know pretty much what I should be eating and how to go about it, it’s just when you’re in a flare it’s hard to find the motivation to do it all the time – especially when you just want to get on the tube and get a gorgeous cheeseburger

I have promised myself, however, that I’m going to get back on track with my diet and hope that this helps me a bit more. As I’ve written about many times, I believe that food plays a huge role in management, but we also need to be realistic in what we’re asking it to do. I also haven’t quite figured out what works best for my body and that’s a seemingly never-ending experiment. I’m actually seeing a new doctor on Tuesday so I’m curious to see what tests he’ll run and what recommendations he will make.

5 things

In order to keep myself sane when I do this, I have to allow myself some flexibility to go and enjoy food. I don’t think of it as a ‘treat’ or a ‘guilty pleasure’ as that puts food into categories of good and bad. I am (slash should be) sensible enough to go and enjoy something if I want to go and enjoy it. This is usually at one of my favourite restaurants in town with my ‘normal’ friends who don’t think about the micronutrient content of their meals. Or a whole lot of freshly made challah if I’m visiting my parents on a Friday. I don’t feel like we should demonise food or feel guilty for the choices that we make, and so even though it may not be what’s best for me, the happiness that I get from going out and not obsessively thinking about my health more than makes up for it. It’s all about balance and not getting into dangerously restrictive mindsets.

The last few days (and what I’m continuing into this week) has been quite uninteresting when it comes to food. I have a massive smoothie for breakfast and some homemade green juice. Then depending on how I’m feeling I’ll either have another juice (Plenish juices are currently half price on Ocado, so I’ve ordered some cherry beet ones!) and another smoothie. I don’t think that juices are meal replacements, so try to have something more substantial in smoothie form if I’m only having one meal a day.

I take Vitamin D every day, as well as spirulina and chlorella. I honestly don’t know if these actually make a difference anymore, but I’m in in the habit of taking spirulina tablets in the morning and chlorella before I go to sleep, so it’s just something I keep doing! I was taking MSM tablets, but want to talk to the doctor about these. I also try to have an epsom salt bath daily.

As much as I enjoy juices and smoothies, I really miss actually chewing, so I particularly look forward to my one main meal a day. When I’m not having a special ‘fuck it I don’t care what I eat’ meal, I try to stay away from dairy, gluten and refined sugar as I do feel a difference in my body when I eat them. I eat eggs and meat (often from my local farm) a few times a week and try not to have grains every day. But I am somewhat partial to the ease of brown rice pasta! And I don’t care what anyone says, no one will believe that courgetti is pasta.

One of my favourite ways to stay motivated despite feeling too exhausted to actually cook anything is to browse some of my favourite food blogs. Below I’ve shared five of the recipes that I’ve bookmarked to make this week.

A Fresh Start, Lessons Learned & Some Changes

Sharing my health and food explorations online has been a particularly interesting experiment, not least seeing how the Wellness industry has exploded over the last year or so. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I never really thought that anybody would follow my Instagram account or be interested in my blog. The Instagram was a personal experiment with a visual food diary and my original blog was a place to rant about EDS. Because it’s a massive pain in the arse. Literally and metaphorically.

When I started getting followers I felt like it was important for me to create a Nutritiously Natasha blog, moving away from just day to day illness stuff and into food. I could see that’s what was popular. But it didn’t sit so well with me.

Here’s the thing. The reason I choose to share a lot of personal information publicly is so that I can raise awareness about living with chronic invisible illnesses (the tag line of my old blog was The Trials, Tantrums and Triumphs…) because that’s what I think is important. Things are so up and down and all over the place that there’s constantly something to document. It may be good, it may be bad, it may be ugly, but I want to be honest about it.

When I first changed my diet and saw amazing results in how I was feeling I was, understandably, shocked, overwhelmed and excited. After feeling so unwell on medication it seemed like I was making huge progress. This, understandably, was fuelled by the hundreds of “Wellness” accounts I followed on Instagram and the corresponding blogs that I followed. I started picking up the same language. Detox became a regular part of my vocabulary and I became obsessed with the foods I had deemed to be the purest and the healthiest. The information I was spouting was often coming from people who were, in all honesty, hardly more qualified than I was. I just wanted to feel as happy and as healthy as they portrayed themselves to be on their social media profiles. Of course, I’m bright enough to know that we all only show certain sides of ourselves, but the sheer amount of this that we’re exposed to on a daily basis somewhat conditions us against rational thinking, especially when we’re desperate to find ways to feel better or improve our lives.

After a while, I started to realise that the frequency and normalised demonisation of food groups among these networks provides fertile breeding ground for eating disorders. My obsession was starting to become overwhelming. It makes sense – when you find something that works, you want to tell everyone and share whatever you can. I never claimed a cure, but I did shout from the rooftops about how much better my mainly liquid, gluten free, vegan, refined sugar free, low-ish histamine, high nutrient, anti-inflammatory rotation diet made me feel and how I was sure that it was (mostly) the answer to my problems. I’m so bored of writing that.

But then I had a flare up. And then another flare up.

lessons-learned

Why wasn’t my diet working? Why were all these gorgeous, slim girls glowing and healing from illnesses while I was doing the same things and my body just wasn’t cooperating?

Here’s the thing. There’s only so much diet can do. And what diet does is different for everybody, even if they have the same illnesses. The problem is that with many multi-system and complicated disorders (especially ones that are still relatively unresearched and not well understood) there is actually very little that medical professionals can do short of trying some medications and otherwise offering lifestyle adaption techniques. And if you’re in the middle of a pretty severe flareup, there’s only so much this can help.

I am encouraged to see that more research is starting to be done. Interestingly, I received an email the other day about a research study being conducted into the link between extreme joint flexibility and food allergies. If you have EDS.

One of the traps that I fell into when I was feeling better was trying to write like a lot of other people in the ‘scene’. However, as the months went on, I realised that I was sometimes talking about things that I’m not necessarily in a place to talk about.

So, with that being said, there are a few things I’d like to make clear and a few promises I’d like to make to you all:

  • I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or dietician, and as such I will not give nutritional advice or guidance. I will share my own personal experiences with what has helped me. This does not, under any circumstances, mean that I am recommending that other people try what I try unquestioningly. My course at IIN, while interesting, is not what I would consider enough to make me an expert. My intention with the course was to increase my scope of knowledge but mainly help me frame my way of working with and supporting others who are looking to try and help themselves. It is not my place to offer dietary or lifestyle solutions, but I hope that I can serve as a source of inspiration (or mutual head nodding when times are tough!) to continue to fight and try to find things that help us feel better.
  • While I am lucky that at the moment I am pretty much medication free, I do not believe doctors are evil and all drugs are bad. I have recently gone back on the pill after refusing it for over a year (because I didn’t want to take synthetic hormones) and it has pretty much fixed my monthly suicidal feelings. That being said, I was also wary about the effect it has on joint laxity and am having to be mindful and keep that in check. Several posts about me last year didn’t focus on the fact that the reason I didn’t take medicine was because I was having the most severe side effects possible and often odd, idiosyncratic reactions that made me feel infinitely worse. Do not stop taking medication because a blogger told you to. Always seek advice of a medical professional.
  • I will share the highs and lows, honestly, about my day to day experiences. When I write about things being difficult I am not being overly negative. I am being truthful. Sometimes things are just a certain way and it’s not that I have a bad attitude. Sometimes I just physically can’t
  • I am not a chef. I love food, but I have no training in cookery. I will be working with some of my favourite food bloggers/chefs to share recipes. If my health allows it over the coming years I would love to study food and nutrition in more depth. At the moment, unfortunately, this is not possible.
  • I do not demonise food groups and will not encourage anyone else to do so. I will endeavour to frame the conversation within my own personal experiences, as well as providing the best research possible. If I do share studies, I will aim to explain the strengths and limitations of that study. I highly recommend reading this piece on spotting quack medicine and how to assess the strength of evidence in medical research here and here to help empower you when you’re doing research for yourself.
  • At this point I’d like to just reiterate that I’m not denying, in any way, the effect that changes in diet and lifestyle have had on my health. I was talking to a friend about this the other day, and she reminded me that “dude, you went from literally not being able to eat a banana to now being able to eat anything you want!” I entirely give credit to the many months I spent predominately on green liquids and the progression of reintroducing food after food. I guess my problem is faddishness when it comes to the way we talk about ‘healing’ through natural causes.
  • I do believe that lifestyle changes are also extremely important. For me, finding ways to manage my emotional health and happiness has played a huge role in my ability to manage my reactions to flare ups and get by day to day even when things are ok. I would love to share some of these with you, experiment more on myself, and start challenges that other people can join in. I’ll be sharing reviews of some of my favourite books and resources too, as well as sharing a bit more about some of the places I go and things I do.

So…yeah. That’s where I currently stand at the moment. I hope you’ll continue to stay with me and will enjoy my upcoming posts. I am working on redesigning my blog and am aiming to relaunch it in about a month. You can subscribe to my mailing list here and I’d love to hear in the comments about anything that you’d be interested in hearing about from me.

fresh-start

I also want to just quickly say thank you to everyone for all the amazing support, comments and emails you’ve sent me over the last year or so. It has been fantastic connecting with you all. Sorry if it sometimes takes a while for me to reply, I’m probably half-watching Netflix!

Love Porridge? I’ve Got You Sorted!

If you were following me on Instagram about a year ago you’d probably have seen a never ending parade of porridges popping up in your feed. I love the stuff. It’s cheap, versatile, healthy and absolutely delicious.

Although I have been limiting my grain intake (waa) to see how my body responds, I was super excited when the Porridge Cafe asked me to collaborate with them to create some limited edition recipes to be served in their awesome pop up.

heart-porridge

Tucked behind the busses just by Victoria station, the Porridge Cafe sells sweet and savoury mixed grain porridges, loaded with all kinds of good stuff, for affordable prices. One of the things that I love the most about it is it’s focus on simple, uncomplicated and healthy food. I think we sometimes forget how simple it can be when we’re scrolling through Instagram and see superfoods all over the place – we don’t need always take a trip to the specialist health food shops!

I’ve shared two of my favourite porridge combos: a classic “carrot cake” oatmeal made with gluten free oats, fresh carrot juice, raisins, pecans, walnuts and honey, and a beautifully summery  chilled mango and passion fruit overnight oats made with coconut milk.

There are also other delicious options like banana, blueberry and peanut butter or Nutella for those of you who love a cheeky spoonful of the stuff!

 

So, if you’re in London, please do head to the Porridge Cafe to try them out! If you do, make sure to take a snap and tag me @nutritiouslynatasha and @porridge_cafe_london on Instagram!  

My Favourite Online Health Courses

If you have an interest in healthy living, food, and wellbeing,  it can often be intimidating to try and find the best resources to help you learn more, especially with the constantly changing and faddy ways health is often presented in the media.

When I first realised that blindly going to the doctor and guzzling down whatever medications they gave me wasn’t the only thing I should be doing, I went on a several month long internet binge, reading and watching everything I could to try and educate myself about all the different health and dietary theories out there in order to try and start making sense of what things I could try out.

At the same time, I collected a small library of books across a wide variety of subjects, although at the beginning when I was trying to brainwash myself into becoming a vegan, there was definitely a theme to many of the books that I purchased!

Today I thought that I’d share my top online resources for those looking to either gain a more professional grounding in health and wellbeing or those just looking to learn more for free!

For me, having to spend a huge amount of time resting and in bed means that I’m often cut off from traditional educational routes, but with these courses you can learn at your own pace, anywhere. Even in your super comfy robot bed.

Institute for Integrative Nutrition

I have almost completed my year long course at IIN and it has been a great experience. A huge number of dietary theories are covered, but there are two things that really made the school stand out for me. Firstly, while there is a large focus on diet and nutrition, they work on the basis of “bio-individuality” – the idea that everyone is different. So we learn all these different, often conflicting ideas, in order to help ourselves and others figure out how to make the best choices for themselves. And if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know how important I believe this to be.

But, as I mention time and time again, diet isn’t the be all and end all. The main focus is actually on what IIN calls “primary foods” – the aspects of our lives like our social networks, family, friends, work, exercise – all those things that make us happy and the role that this plays in our health.

The course is not just a dietary course. I’m taking the specific Health Coach Training programme, so once I graduate I will be a qualified Health Coach, and I really hope to work with people suffering from chronic illnesses to support and help them figure out what works best for them in managing their conditions. If you’d be interested in working with me, please do send me an email!

Because of this, we learn a lot of coaching and business skills, and I really feel that it has impacted the way I think about my own health, and hope that I can relay this onto others in the future.

One thing I would say about IIN is it’s a very wide-reaching programme. I don’t really feel like it’s ‘school’ or a training programme in the sense of a degree or an academic course I would take. It has mainly satiated a general curiosity and opened me up to other ideas as a starting point for further research.

Rouxbe

If you’re interested in learning more about plant-based cooking, the best place to learn this online is with Rouxbe’s Online Video Cooking School. The plant-based programme is set up by the incredible chef Chad Sarno and teaches you everything you need to know from basic knife skills to advanced recipe development. I love the simple details of the in-depth look at different ways to prepare different vegetables and really understanding plant-based cooking.

This is a professional qualification, and the programme is recognised by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (phew long name!)

I started this course last year but have unfortunately been too unwell to continue with it. I really hope to be able to pick it up soon, as it’s a way to learn cooking skills from trained chefs without having to leave my own flat.

The Free Stuff!

If you’re not interested in gaining a professional qualification online at the moment, there are still a tonne of free ways to learn more – including from some of the best universities in the world. Here is my first roundup of my favourite courses and playlists that you can find!

Science & Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science – via Harvard University on edX

Nutrition and Health Part 1: Macronutrients and Overnutrition – via Wagenigen University on edX

The Ethics of Eating – via Cornell University on edX

Gut Check: Exploring Your Microbiome – via University of Colorado at Boulder on Coursera

What’s Wrong With What We Eat – Playlist via TED

What are your favourite online resources? Have you tried out any of these?

Be Kind To Yourself

For years I had doctors, therapists, family and friends tell me that I needed to “be kind” to myself. It was something I poo-pooed and waved off as some kind of hippy dippy bullshit that didn’t mean anything.

As I got more unwell (and older) I started to realise that there was something in taking a step back, taking a moment and realising that it’s ok to take time and be gentle with myself*.

We all have different ways of doing this, and just recognising that it’s ok and not selfish or lazy is a wonderful first step.

This infographic from Happify gives a wonderful introduction to those of you who are interested in practicing more self kindness. What are your favourite ways of being kind to yourself? Please do share them in the comments.

*That being said, it still feels weird for me to say it in those terms. I think it’s more just about treating myself the way I would treat anyone that I loved!

Food Revolution Day 2015

Happy Food Revolution Day, y’all!

As most of you know, I’m really passionate about food (mainly eating it), but since starting my personal experiments with how the right food can help me feel a bit better, I’ve also become really passionate about people learning and understanding food a lot more.

It was almost shocking how ill-informed I was about what I ate and the food industry. I may have gone a bit too far in my obsession to “brainwash” myself into wanting to eat a certain way (hello, orthorexia). From a young age, and because of my inability to exercise, I became overweight and often turned to restriction and low-fat, low calorie diets like weight watchers to try and help.

As I became older, developed more illnesses (non-diet related) and started on my own food experiments with whole foods, I became saddened at even how in the wellness industry, among people who were supposedly more enlightened about food, fads are still everywhere, with misinformation spreading like wildfire across social media channels.

This is why I’m a proud supporter of Jamie Oliver’s #FoodRevolutionDay.

Based the basic premise that diet-related diseases are rising at an alarming rate, and that around the world over 42 million children under the age of five are overweight or obese, it has never been more important to educate children about food, where it comes from and how it affects their bodies.

Jamie believes that “by educating children about food in a practical, fun and engaging way, we can provide them with the knowledge and skills they so urgently need to lead healthier, happier lives. We need to make practical food education a compulsory part of every school curriculum across the world”