Warming Ginger Latte


This little concoction recently got me through my winter sniffles. I say sniffles, I was an absolute snotty mess. It was revolting. This drink is creamy, indulgent but the kick of ginger definitely gives it a medicinal quality. The perfect drink when trying to beat the winter bugs.

Ingredients (serves 2)

Ginger 2-3 cm (roughly the size of your thumb)

Teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Teaspoon of ground cloves

Tablespoon of cashew nut butter (I use Meridian Foods)

3 cups of almond milk (I use Rude Health)

Method

Grate the ginger and then put in to a blender with the rest of the ingredients, whizz for 30 seconds or so. Then transfer to a saucepan and gently heat until it is hot but don’t let it boil. Serve in your favourite mug and relax. And that is it. Easy and delicious.

Love

Lea xx

New Year with New Intentions

Following on from the theme of my last post I’ve been thinking a lot about entering in to a new year and what it means to people. Seeing and speaking to a lot of patients, clients, friends and family over the last few weeks I’ve sensed a real mixed bag of thoughts and feelings as we’ve transitioned in to 2017. There’s some who are incredibly motivated and positive, some have had lots to face already and feel very sad their year hasn’t got off to the best start possible and some just aren’t phased and continue as they always have done.

What does a new year mean to you? I kind of feel that a new year should signify a resurgence of energy. I sort of feel like it’s a great time to sit and gather your thoughts from the previous year, to think about what went well and what didn’t. To then think about the year ahead and visualise the best possible year for yourselves and your loved ones. What does that entail? How do you want 2017 to play out for you? How do you want to feel in 2017? I really do feel that it’s good for us to see ourselves and the world with fresh eyes and a more optimistic outlook. People often feel rejuvenated during a holiday away, being away from their normal surroundings. Of course being on a beautiful beach somewhere, watching the sunset and listening to the waves crash to the shore is incredibly empowering for the soul but not everybody gets to taste that as a reality. So I think it’s important to take any opportunity you can to revisit yourself, your life, your goals, your intentions and the new year is a great time to do this.

Okay, so let’s say you’ve already fallen down on all your new year resolutions. That’s fine. Perhaps they were meant to be broken. Perhaps they weren’t the right resolutions for you right now, perhaps your resolutions were too big or unrealistic. Perhaps you’re too hard on yourself? What about setting smaller goals?

FOR EXAMPLE:

Rather than “I am never eating chocolate again” what about giving yourself an allowance, something you can stick to but is significantly less than you already eat? How about setting yourself a goal that is broader and more of an intention?

For instance: “I am ging to be more mindful of the amount of money I spend on…. ” This could be clothes, or food shopping, eating out, takeaways or just generally. Now this is a tricky one but it is totally achievable if you approach it in the right way. Every time you step foot in a supermarket, a clothes shop, browsing online or thinking about ordering a takeaway – ask yourself some simple questions and answer them honestly. Do I need this? Will this really make me happy? Is this healthy for me? Do I have something in the fridge that needs using up before I start buying more food? Do I have something similar I could wear in my wardrobe that I’ve forgotten about? Do I really need a glass of wine or a slab of chocolate? Or, can I make a more nutritious and healthier meal curry, stirfry, pizza at home? Let’s be honest we know the answer to all of these questions so I guess the hard question to answer is why is it so hard to adhere to? I think the answer lies within the word ‘adhere’. If you set yourself an intention or goal it is important to keep positively reminding yourself of that goal or intention and the reasons why you set them in the first place. And if you do fall off the wagon the key is to get straight back on. All is not lost. Adherence, really sticking to something, and persevering is really the recipe for long term change.
And remember to congratulate yourself. Tell yourself how flipping amazing you are. Every Friday that you decline that takeaway Chinese give yourself a firm pat on the back. Rather than berating yourself for not going for a run or attending the gym because you didn’t feel like it that day what about giving yourself a high five for all the times you have gone recently. Tell yourself how well you’ve done and how well you’re doing. And don’t be afraid to tell people how well you’re doing “I’m so proud of myself as I went swimming after work today, I was really tired but I’m really pleased I did as now I feel like a superhero”. Don’t be afraid to rejoice in those triumphs no matter how small you think they are. Positivity breeds and attracts positivity and it will be the thing that spurs you on. Now it may seem like I’m taking the easy way out and encouraging some sort of okay-ness in slacking when it suits but I think I’m just coming from a more human perspective. Knowing yourself, knowing your capabilities and looking after your emotional self is so important.

So to finish up (because quite clearly I could go on all day) as Nelson Mandela once said “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” be your own motivation and inspiration. Every time you fall down show your strength by getting straight back up again showing true fighting spirit. Work hard, surprise yourself, revisit yourself but never be disappointed in yourself. You’re in charge of you. You make the decisions that work for you and if it doesn’t work for you take a moment to check in with yourself and see how you can make it work for you.

2017 is the year for you.
Take care of yourselves
Lea x

Creamy Pistachio Chilli Dip

 

So it’s January 2nd 2017 and like many others I have a few thoughts and feelings on how I would like the new year to go. I don’t really do resolutions as such, I just try to focus my mind on a few intentions for the new year. So one of my intentions is to focus more time on my blog. I really enjoy sharing healthy and nutritious recipes with you guys but my life is quite hectic and busy at the moment (who’s isn’t) and all my sharing seems to focus on my Instagram page as it’s a bit more instantanious. The trouble is I’m not a photographer and I don’t have a decent camera and social media is filled with perfectly shot pictures of food that looks really tasty and appetising. I literally share what I’ve been cooking, baking, blending and eating day-to-day. So if you can forgive some rubbish photography I think I can dedicate more time to sharing more recipes with you lovely lot. This platform for sharing healthy, wholesome and tasty food really has changed my life. I love being inspired by others and hope I inspire a few others.

Any way, back to this dip I made for lunch today. So it’s post Christmas and New Year and somehow I managed to get my butt off the sofa and go for a run this morning. Which was actually really lovely, very cold,but lovely. I love running but anything can put me off. Cold, rain, too hot, anything! Feeling energised and productive post run I then went and did a fresh food shop and stocked up on lots of fruits and veggies. When it came to making the lunch I really fancied making my favourite dip as it’s so fresh and tangy and full of flavour. Stupidly I realised I didn’t actually buy all the ingredients I needed for it. D’oh. So I decided to improvise and this is what I concocted.

Ingredients

90-100g Unsalted deshelled pistachios (I had a 100g bag but accidentally ate a few)

5 heaped tablespoons of creme fraiche

1 garlic clove crushed or finely chopped

1 lemon (squeezed juice)

Half a red chilli finely chopped (if you like hot food add the whole thing, why not)

Handful of spinach

Salt and Pepper

Method

First, blend all the pistachios in a food processor. Then add the chilli along with the spinach, crushed garlic and squeeze half the lemon in to the processor and blitz. Once that is nicely combined add the creme fraiche and squeeze a little bit more lemon in to the mix with a dash of salt and pepper and blitz one final time. Pour the mixtire into a bowl and put in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to set. That is literally it. So simple. So tasty. I had mine with some spelt and sunflower seed bread and a side of cucumber, tomoatoes and celery in a little olive oil and squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper to taste.

This will last two days in an air tight container in the fridge. You could easily take this in a little tupperware pot and put in the fridge at work for lunchtime.

So I’ll save the original version of this dip for another blog post in the near future! In the meantime please let me know if there is anything else you would like me to blog about – food, health, exercise, lifestyle, children, advice and I’ll do my best to fulfill your request. If you do make this dip please tag me @naturallea on Instagram, Twitter (I am on Facebook but neglected for a while) and hastag #eatnaturallea. I would love to know how you found it and of course see your beautiful pics. And finally HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I really hope 2017 is filled with magic, adventure, love and laughter for each and every one of you 💖

Love Lea xx

Pecan Nutbutter

I have no idea why I haven’t made this before, but I think it is one of the best things I’ve made for a while! This is pecan nutbutter. So simple and so delicious. I definitely don’t think I’ve made enough though, as every time I’ve passed the jar of it in the kitchen I’ve been spooning it straight in to my mouth. Haha.

This will be a pretty short blog post as it’s so simple to make. Here’s what you will need to make this yourselves – pecans, coconut sugar and a food processor.
Ingredients 

1.5 cups of pecans

2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
Method 

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Spread pecans across a baking tray and put in the oven to roast for about 8-10 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to cool down.

Once they have cooled place pecans in the food processor and whizz around until they crumble. Then add the coconut sugar. Whizz around again until the mixture is beginning to become more wet in consistency. Depending on how powerful your food processor is it should blend together for about 3 minutes. Stop blending once it is completely blended and smooth and runny in consistency. That is literally it!

Providing you don’t eat this in one sitting it should last a week in an airtight container. There’s no nasties in this so you know exactly what you’re eating. Pecans are a great antioxidant and help to prevent the hardening of arteries.They are rich in healthy fats (oleic acid) with plenty of B3 so perfect at combating fatigue, if you’re feeling the slump reach for the nutbutter!

Enjoy and let me know if you make this – tag me in your creations, comment on one of my posts and feel free to let me know of any questions you might have. I’m already thinking about all the things I’m going to add it to or eat it on : )

Lots of love and light

Lea xx

Keeping On Track

 

The summer has finally decided to make an appearance and inevitably we’re going for lovely days out to seaside towns, having picnics in parks and wearing less clothes! Year on year I hear phrases like “beach body ready” and “no carbs before Marbs” which I totally understand. It’s incredibly daunting living in a country with months and months of dark, cold, wet weather where we cover every inch of skin on our bodies in coats and jumpers; then suddenly we’re in Tenerife in a bikini! Or we unexpectedly get 32 degree heat here in the UK and we’re forced to wear shorts. Unless you’re my partner who wears shorts 365 days a year. Apparently his legs don’t get cold.

So, I think where I’m going with this blog post is that getting motivation to exercise shouldn’t purely be for aesthetics. It’s so important to keep your mind and body healthy and a great way to do that is through exercise. Find something that works for you and that you enjoy. If you live an incredibly stressful and busy life stuck inside all day try and find the balance. Tell yourself you’re going to put your headphones on and power walk somewhere beautiful or where you can clear your head twice a week in your lunch break and then maybe a swim before or after work. Perhaps a cycle at the weekend? Or if you have young children and it’s impossible to leave the house without them, there are some fantastic workouts online you can follow in your living room. You can find vloggers on Youtube posting yoga flows, hiit workouts and other great exercises to get you moving and stretching. Other things to consider is taking up a hobby that you can do with your children. Maybe learn to play tennis as a family so that you can all get out in the fresh air and get some exercise together. You don’t have to have a gym membership to feel like you’re capable of keeping active. I don’t have a gym membership anymore. My life is so sporadic these days I need to pick and chose when I can and can’t exercise. I tend to mix it up with going out for a run or workouts at home in my garden with hiit sessions, weights and also some yoga on my mat. I also sometimes buddy up with a friend and do a workout together in a park, on the beach or one of our gardens. Committing to a workout with a friend makes it harder to cancel if you feel like you can’t be arsed and you’d rather sit on the sofa with Netflix and ice-cream. There’s a time and a place for Netflix and ice-cream, find the balance.

You have to try to keep yourself motivated. The only person that can do that is you. No amount of scrolling through images on Instagram or in magazines will truly keep you motivated, real motivation comes from within. You need to take a look at your lifestyle and see where the imbalances are. Perhaps you go out too much and you could benefit from a night in alcohol free and a soothing yoga flow before bed. Perhaps you really aren’t very active at all so you would be best off starting with some fresh air and walking to get you out and moving. Last night we took ourselves off to the beach for an evening walk. We took off our shoes and put our feet in the sea and felt the sand (and stones) under our feet. We talked about the electrolytes in the ground and how they were keeping us calm and restoring balance – definitely one to Google guys! We could have sat on the sofa watching TV all evening but we decided it would be a waste of a beautiful evening and we felt we needed to get out and get moving.

Enjoy this beautiful weather and use it as a catalyst to get out and get active! Not for a beach body, not for a wedding but for you. Release those endorphins and feel like a Goddess/God!!

Love

Lea x

 

Naturallea-VITL Chocolate Cookies 

So, I teamed up with VITL to come up with a few recipes incorporating their VITL Greens superfood powder. Their superfood powder is fantastic as it is a plant-based blend of 16 nutrient dense super foods and it comes in a handy sachet that can easily be added to smoothies, soups, sauces and even cookies!

I’ve already added the super convenient sachet to smoothies, a ratatouille type sauce I made and had with pasta and now I’ve discovered it goes amazingly well in this cookie creation I’ve just made. And already demolished (not entirely by myself), ha.

Full of protein, iron, calcium, zinc, copper and potassium these cookies are bursting with goodness and make a great post-workout snack, or just as an afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of tea. Which is exactly what I did this afternoon.

Enjoy, and be sure to let me know if you make them.

Lea xx

 

Ingredients 

2 sachets of VITL Greens

3 large ripe bananas

3 tablespoons of coconut oil (also a little for greasing the baking tray)

4 tablespoons of cacao powder

4 tablespoons of maple syrup

3 cups of oats

3 tablespoons of almond butter 

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan, once melted add the cacao powder to the saucepan and make sure both ingredients are nicely combined and smooth. Mash the bananas in a separate large mixing bowl. Then add the maple syrup, coconut oil/cacao mix, VITL Greens sachets and almond butter to the banana mix and ensure it’s all combined. Finally add the oats to the wet ingredients and make sure it’s completely combined and gooey.

Grease your baking tray with coconut oil. Next you’ll need to spoon out the mixture and form round cookie like shapes in your hands and put on to the baking tray. You can squish the mixture a little bit once it is on the tray to ensure they are all evenly spread. The cookies can be as large or as small as you like. I made 12 cookies. Once you’ve transferred all your mixture to your baking tray they can go in the oven for 15-17 minutes. Once you take them out the oven leave to cool and set for 5 minutes.

Voilà!

Raw Blueberry Cheesecake

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I make several variations of this cheesecake but at the moment Amelie (my two year old) is obsessed with blueberries. So this was created just for her really. If you’re new to my blog, I try to limit the amount of refined sugar, dairy, wheat, chemicals and nasty saturated fats (by no means do I mean avocados or carbs) in all the foods we eat as a family, particularly her food. This recipe is a much healthier alternative and I know every single ingredient I am putting in to this dessert. The maple syrup is 100% organic maple syrup, the oats are organic and gluten free and there is no dairy whatsoever. If you have a nut allergy then this isn’t for you, sorry!

All you need to make this cheesecake is a food processor, a freezer, a 7×7 inch cake tin with a loose bottom. Oh and the ingredients listed below as well as 20 minutes to spare.

Ingredients for blueberry topping

Frozen blueberries – 1 cup
Melted coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
Almond milk – 1/4 cup
Chia seeds – 1 tablespoon

Method

Throw all ingredients in to a saucepan, stirring the mixture together over the heat for roughly 5 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil. Pour the mixture in to a separate bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and leave to one side until later.

Ingredients for the base

Blanched almonds – 1 cup
Oats – 1/2 cup
Dates – 1/3 cup
Maple syrup – 1 tablespoon
Coconut sugar – 2 tablespoons
Coconut oil -1/4 cup

Method

Blitz the almonds and oats together in the food processor. In a separate bowl mix the remaining ingredients and then massage those ingredients together with your hands and it should start to caramelise. Once it starts mushing together wack that in the food processor with the almonds and oats and blitz again. Pour the mixture in to a 7×7 inch tin (round or square your choice). Push the mixture firmly down in to the tin with the back of a spoon, make sure it’s really compact and then put in the freezer whilst you make the next section.

Ingredients for cheesecake mixture

Overnight soaked cashews – 2 cups
Water – 6 tablespoons
Maple syrup – 1/4 cup
Melted coconut oil – 1/3 cup
Lemon – 1 tablespoon

Drain the cashews from their overnight soak and then blast in the food processor until mushy. Add the water, lemon,  coconut oil, and maple syrup and blitz again until nicely combined.

Take your base out of the freezer and sprinkle some fresh blueberries on top of the base. Then pour your cashew cheesecake mix over the top. Next splodge your blueberry sauce (mixture that you left to one side) over the top and put back in to the freezer for at least 4 hours. Take out the freezer, leave for 15 minutes before cutting in to sections. This cake needs to be stored in the freezer, however I do like to take mine out the freezer about 15 – 20 minutes before I’m going to eat it as it just tastes better that way. If it’s too frozen you can’t taste the flavours as well.

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If you make this let me know how you get on. Any feedback is appreciated.

Take care of yourselves – eat well, sleep well, get fresh air and drink plenty of water!

Love

Lea xxx

Yoga and me : )

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Before I was pregnant with Amelie, I was relatively fit and healthy, and had lots of energy. I would go to yoga classes, pilates, I did flying trapeze for a few terms, and I ran LOTS.  When I fell pregnant I was obviously intending to keep up my healthy lifestyle and had every intention of keeping my body strong and safe to house my little growing baby. I signed myself up to a pregnancy yoga class but unfortunately pregnancy sickness and exhaustion took me right in to my second semester and by the time that all subsided – well, I just couldn’t be arsed!

Nearly two years on since giving birth I really thought I deserved to give myself the time to do something I used to love. I practised a little at home on my mat but I wanted to find a class where I could leave motherhood, work and home-life at home and focus on myself for an hour or so.

Because I no longer live in London I was apprehensive about finding a good class and teacher local to me. But, as my nearly two year old says “Ta-da!” I have managed to find a class that suits me. It’s at 8pm in our local community hall and is run by a lady called Leah Braknell (http://www.leahbracknellyoga.com/). Leah is an Actress and also a Yoga Teacher and I knew within 10 minutes of being in her class that her class was the right class for me. Leah created a very peaceful and relaxing atmosphere and within a few minutes I had forgotten about the list of jobs I still had to do and had stopped worrying whether Amelie had eaten enough of her dinner blah blah blah. During the hour and fifteen minutes I had worked incredibly hard but had managed to stay completely focused and also relaxed. I left the class feeling dreamy and achy and that night I literally slept like a baby. I returned and attended Leah’s class twice in one week!! I also ached for a couple of days afterwards, but a really satisfying ache. Before Amelie I never ever ached after a yoga class, I don’t know if it’s just simply because I am no where near as fit as I was before Amelie or whether I just connected with my breath and body better. Who knows. I’ve decided I will go and try out a few other local classes but in the meantime I’m just happy I’ve found a class and teacher that is right for me at this moment in time.

I would highly recommend yoga, especially to someone with young children. It can be really hard as a parent to put in a little time for yourself and when you do you still end up thinking about everyone that needs you at home. When you get the right yoga class and teacher the health benefits are huge. Not only is it a fantastic form of exercise, it also helps combat stress and depression to name but a few. Before I became a parent going out running was definitely my go to stress buster, I would go in to a form of meditation whilst out pounding the streets of London. Since Amelie made an appearance I find running mentally quite hard, I tend to not be able to let go of everything that is going on in my head. Saying that – I encouraged everyone to find something that works for you. I know people that like going out walking on hikes with friends, people that do a few lengths at the pool in the evening and also people that like to lift weights. What ever floats your boat, I would just encourage people to stay active as the health benefits are huge!!

Namaste ; )

Honey and Pecan Cookies

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These cookies are incredibly simple to make and work really well for lunch boxes or as a quick snack if you are on the go. Equally, these make a great afternoon pick me up with a cup of tea with friends or as a cheeky little dessert if you fancy something sweet after dinner.

I make a couple of batches of these a week. Oli and Amelie LOVE them so we do get through them quite quickly. Just as a quick note – when I’m making up the cookie mixture I put a little bit of it aside before I add the pecans so that Amelie (20 months old) can have the cookies minus the crunchy pecans.

They are so delicious and I’m currently munching on one before heading off to the gym. They make a great snack prior to a work out just to keep your energy levels up.

Ingredients

3 ripe bananas

4 tablespoons of cashew or almond nut butter (Meridian Foods http://www.meridianfoods.co.uk or Pip & Nut butter http://www.pipandnut.com or you can make your own)

5 tablespoons of raw organic honey

1 tablespoon of raw organic cold pressed coconut oil

1 & 1/2 mugs of organic oats

1/2 mug of pecans

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Mash up the bananas in a mixing bowl. Once they are mashed add the nut butter, honey & coconut oil and give the mixture a good stir. Then add your oats and pecans. At this point grease up a baking tray or two with coconut oil. If you are making the cookies for little ones don’t add the pecans or spoon out a little of the mixture before adding the nuts. Next, spoon out a heaped tablespoon of mixture at a time on to the baking tray forming little cookie shapes. Make sure the cookie shapes are nice and compact, if you want larger cookies you can add mixture to your cookies a little bit at a time. The mixture should be quite gooey. I usually make about 15 cookies out of this mix. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remember, all the ingredients in these cookies are clean, unrefined, unprocessed, additive-free foods. They are also dairy-free and my oats are gluten-free. Please check all your ingredients and know exactly what you are putting in to your body. Some brands are fantastic at marketing but aren’t always good for you! These cookies are packed with good fats, vitamins, fibre and plant protein which will keep you energised and aid your digestive system. So please enjoy, guilt-free : )

Lea xxxx

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Pea, Mint and Avocado Pesto

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This pesto combination is so delicious and creamy it takes pesto to the next level. You can have this stirred in to warm pasta (brown rice pasta is gluten-free and my preference) or slathered on toast. I’m really happy with this combination and know that you’ll find it so tasty and extra bonus points for it being incredibly nutritious. I tried and tested this recipe on two toddlers, a four and 7 year old, a teenager, another Mummy and a fussy health fanatic (Oli, my partner). I can honestly say that they loved it, yay! The 7 year old took some coaxing in to initially trying it but she got there and loved it.

Ingredients

1/2 mug of Pinenuts
3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
1 Avocado
1 mug of Peas
3 sprigs of Mint
Juice of half a Lemon
A pinch of Salt and Pepper to taste

Method

Place the pinenuts into the food processor and blend, once blended add the rest of the ingredients. Once evenly combined you can either serve immediately or place in an airtight container and store in the fridge (up to 3 days).

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Important things to remember when making your own food from scratch is that you know exactly what is going in to your food. With this recipe the peas will be providing you with a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation throughout the body. Peas are a great source of fibre and protein helping you maintain a healthy digestive system. Avocado contains vitamin A, B, C, E, & K, copper, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium – just amazing! They have a rich supply of a type of fat called oleic acid, also found in olive oil, which helps the digestive tract’s ability to absorb nutrients, as well as lowering the risk of heart disease. It’s so worth investing in a little home cooking, your mind and body will thank you for it. Remember that your body needs to last you quite a while!!

Lea Xx

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