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As you all know I am on a journey to live a healthier lifestyle, I love healthy food, but sometimes I seem to lack inspiration, and hit the unhealthy snacks. I asked Emily from Food at One to give me some inspiration, on how I can stay healthy this Summer. Emily lives close to me in Kent, and runs her own cooking school there. Emily’s classes are all based on healthy food recipes, and the classes are very small, which means you get a lot of Emily’s attention and learn new skills. The classes are great fun; I’ve done nearly all of them including Perfect Pizzas, Gluten free Baking, and Raw Chocolate classes, and I highly recommend them. If you don’t live in Kent, you could try some of Emily’s recipes. I find them easy to follow and delicious. I’ve been trying to get back into shape this summer, so I asked Emily for her tips for making healthy summer meals, while still following my plant based diet.
Consuming a diet that is rich in plant-based foods, can not only help our body, to reduce down any unwanted symptoms related to inflammation, bloating, boatels to cleanse our bodies, making us feel bright eyed and bushy tailed too.
A healthier approach to getting in shape this summer, might be to look more closely at what plant-based foods you have in your diet. Then increase the amount of raw [plant based] food you consume such as nuts, seeds, vegetables and some fruits such as lemons, grapefruits and avocado.
Whether you juice it, slice it into salads, roast, or whizz it into soups, fennel is really versatile. Even fennel seeds used to make tea, or toasted onto salads taste great too. Nutritional benefits of fennel are that is soothes the digestive tract, as well as helping to eliminate toxins. This is so important when you are embarking on a detox, or taking a reducing down approach, for any change that happens, will incur a little natural detoxing as the body makes it changes.
Avocado is a very versatile food that can be used in sweet dishes, such as a raw chocolate mousse, or straight into a green smoothie paired with mint and coconut water. This delicious smoothie will turn even the most resistant healthy eaters, into smoothie fans. Avocados are a healthy fat, and are very hard to overeat. This is incredibly helpful, when trying to crowd out unhealthy eating habits, and switch off food cravings.
Try giving your salads more substance, it’s very easy to just throw some leaves together. Rather than just lettuce leaves, think protein, fat and carbohydrates to make a salad more filling. Protein could come from hemp seeds or quinoa; healthy fat from nuts and seeds walnuts, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or as mentioned avocado, and carbohydrates from lentils, beans, peas or vegetables such as cooked sweet potato and peppers. You can simply alter the taste by changing the salad dressing. Try my simple salad dressing as a base; to change it up, you could add more garlic, or try lots of different fresh and dried herbs too. Coriander and lime juice is epic, or swap coriander for mint for a cool crisp dressing. Why not try a Waldorf salad, and make my vegan mayo for a plant-based swap.
Try if you can to crowd out sugar, as sugar promotes inflammation in the body and this inflammation in turn can cause bloating, sluggish digestion and water retention. If you have a holiday coming up, or really have an urge to get into your Summer clothes, then aim to reduce your sugar intake. Start with focussing on removing refined sugar, (if its not in your diet great.) Look further as to where sugar could be hidden, oranges, bananas, dates are high in sugar and although they do have vitamins and minerals, sometimes it can be a catch 22 situation between being nutritious and high sugar. For example tropical fruit can be high in sugar, yet have some healthy minerals in them too. My advice is to try having very small amounts, and give your body time to adjust. On the whole berries like blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are low on the glycemic index, and are also low in sugar and don’t tend to be a problem, just monitor it to see what is right for you. Sometimes it can take up to two weeks to notice a difference, every day you choose a healthy choice it all adds up. Also eating with coconut yoghurt provides a good fat, and slows down the effects of sugar too. Keep your blood sugar stable, and this in turn, will keep you fuller for longer.
Get creative; any changes you make, make them fun. Try a new recipe, you could even try a new nut milk. Be willing to try something new each day, whether it be something to purchase on-the-go; Pret A Manger have some super plant-based salad choices, or maybe have a try at making your own salad, by adding in at least 5 vegetables, nuts/ seeds and some fresh herbs too. Whether it is focussing on removing processed foods and working with more sources of plant based foods like nuts, seeds, vegetables, seasonal produce or you want to add more so you crowd out reliance on sugar, do it in a way that is enjoyable for you, as this is more likely to stick and form a healthy habit.
Plan ahead and think about what you want to eat, then write a shopping list to buy the ingredients. If you need some inspiration, you could check out Food Matters and Oh She Glows websites for a plethora plant-based recipes, and give yourself the time to get creative in the kitchen. Whether you follow a recipe word for word, or go off on a tangent doing your own thing, you’ll end up with some new healthy recipes into your cooking repertoire. The more you work with wholesome plant-based food, the easier it will be to get trim for summer.
Thank you so much Emily for inspiring me this summer, I will definitely try some of these out. I hope you all will too. Comment below on anything you try, we would love to hear what you’re eating and how you’re getting in shape this summer.
If you live in Kent, and would like to try one of Emily’s cookery classes, you can see her full list of classes here. Or if you would like Emily’s weekly newsletter, and see more of her recipes; you can become a free member here.
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Stay healthy this Summer!