Category Archives: Nutrition

Cacao Smoothie Bowl

Cacao Smoothie Bowl

A Cooling Recipe for Summer

Try this tasty Cacao Smoothie Bowl

Try this tasty Cacao Smoothie Bowl

Since we’ve been having some proper summer weather recently (something that’s never guaranteed in the UK!), I’ve been enjoying having smoothie bowls for breakfast.

Inspired by @wellbeingsarah who posted a recipe on her Instagram I tried this cacao smoothie bowl and it has become a real favourite.

If you’d like to try this for yourself, then blend spinach, frozen banana, avocado, raw cacao power and milk (I used almond milk) together to your desired consistency. I’ve also added a greens power to mine or you could add a scoop of protein powder.

(The addition of frozen banana makes this very cooling which has been especially welcome on hot days!)

Complete your smoothie bowl with toppings of your choice and enjoy! :D

Love for Louola’s

Love for Louola’s

Louola’s Quinola – Grain-Free Granola

Louola's Quinola

Louola’s Quinola

I was introduced to Louola’s Superfood Quinola last year by a great company called Superfoodio via their healthy snack boxes, and it’s quickly become a favourite of mine!

Commercial granolas and cereals are often loaded with hidden sugars. And it can be surprising to find out how much sugar there is even in the apparently ‘healthy’ choices out there.

Vegetarian and vegan friendly, Louola’s is a delicious alternative which is not only refined sugar free, but also grain and dairy free. I’ve found this to be a great smoothie topper and have also been using Louola’s in recipes for energy balls and homemade raw chocolate (This recipe for Raw Chocolate Bark using Beetroot, Cashew & Coconut Louola’s went down a treat over Christmas!) You can find more details, plus recipe inspiration here at the Louola’s website.

Choc Chia Energy Smoothie

Choc Chia Energy Smoothie
Choc Chia Smoothie - Here's one I made earlier :)

Choc Chia Smoothie – Here’s one I made earlier :)

This is one of my favourite breakfasts on the go – I get an energy boost from the chia seeds and all that’s needed is a little overnight preparation (soaking the chia seeds).

1/4 Cup of Chia Seeds, 1 Cup of Almond Milk, 1 Apple, quartered, 1-2 teaspoons of Cacao Nibs, 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon

Soak the chia seeds in the fridge overnight in the almond milk. Put the chia, apple, and cinnamon in a blender and blend away. (NB – if you feel the mixture is too thick feel free to add some extra milk here.)

When the mixture is smooth, add most of the cacoa nibs and blend again. Serve with the remaining cacoa nibs sprinkled on top for some extra chocolatey crunch. If I have any smoothie mixture leftover, I store in a airtight container in the fridge.

I’ve also made this with coconut milk which tastes just as delicious.

Enjoy! :)

Make Your Own Raw Fruit & Nut Bars

Make Your Own Raw Fruit & Nut Bars

Homemade Cashew, Date, Chia & Cacao Snack Bars - Here's a few I made earlier

Homemade Cashew, Date, Chia & Cacao Snack Bars -Here’s a few I made earlier

Cashew, Date, Chia & Cacao Snack Bars

As I spend a lot of my time out about for work and therefore having no choice but to eat on-the-go I am always looking out for portable snacks. If I can make them myself then that’s all the better and usually cheaper too.

One of my current favourites is these Cashew, Date, Chia & Cacao Bars. I had a look at one of my favourite shop bought brands recently and decided to have a go at making my own. The result was a success! The joy of this is you can play with your own ingredient combinations (I’ve tried versions using coconut, linseeds and hemp protein, for instance). I use a high-speed blender to make mine, but a good food processor should also work though would take slightly longer.

(Makes about 8 bars)
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup cashews
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chia seeds
¼ cup cacao powder
¼ cup water*

(*NB – you may want to add more water as you go, depending on your desired consistency for your bars but I’ve found it is best to start with less to avoid a soggy mix that won’t hold together!)

Getting the ingredients together

Getting the ingredients together


Add all the ingredients to your blender – I chopped my dates beforehand and pulsed in the blender a few times to break up the nuts and dates a bit more.

Blend until all the ingredients have combined and formed into a ball. (Gauge whether you want to add more water or not as you go along.)

Place your blended ball onto a sheet of greaseproof paper (large enough to wrap). Shape and press into a big square.

Wrap your square up and put in the fridge for 1 hour (minimum).

Cut into bars – I wrap mine individually and store in the fridge, ready to eat!

Enjoy :)

Dessert for Breakfast?

Dessert for Breakfast?
Dessert for Breakfast?

Rosemary, Apple & Pear Crumble

This quick, easy dessert recipe from Honestly Healthy works just as well as at breakfast time. The addition of rosemary adds a lovely flavour too. Ever since a friend kindly gave me the Honestly Healthy cookbook as a present last year I’ve enjoyed experimenting with their various recipes.

You can find the recipe for Rosemary and Apple crumble here at the Honestly Healthy website. As I didn’t have coconut flour I tweaked my crumble topping (pictured, left) by swapping porridge oats for ground almonds and mixed those with some coconut oil and coconut sugar. I found this worked just as well, and importantly, still tasted delicious! :) I like mine served with coconut milk yoghurt.

Give it a try for yourself. Enjoy!

Creamy Banana Buckwheat Porridge

Creamy Banana Buckwheat Porridge

As the Winter sets in there are few things better than a warming bowl of porridge.

If you’re a fan of porridge too, then you’ve no doubt tried all sorts of combinations to boost your porridge bowl. One of my current favourite things is to stir in some coconut oil for extra richness and a burst of healthy good fats. I’m also enjoying this Creamy Banana Buckwheat Porridge recipe from Deliciously Ella‘s fantastic blog. So simple, speedy and tasty. Also, if you are avoiding gluten and grains, with this recipe you can have your porridge and eat it too :) In fact, if you are following a gluten-free diet and you’ve not checked out Deliciously Ella’s website and blog already, then I’d highly recommend it for lots of fantastic recipes and ideas.

Paradise Eggs

Paradise Eggs

Paradise Eggs for Breakfast

Paradise Eggs for Breakfast

Baked avocado egg recipe with Takamaka Virgin Coconut Oil.

I grew up in a household where cooking with coconut oil was the norm with my West Indian family and it seems that increasingly more people are discovering the benefits of coconut oil. I tried Paradise Eggs for the first time recently and wanted to share this simple, healthy, tasty recipe with you. With an ideal blend of protein and good fats, this recipe is taken to the next level with the addition of Takamaka virgin coconut oil. This recipe was shared with me by Jon Denoris, founder of Takamaka and a great guy I have worked with as the founder of Club 51 in Mayfair. Check out how to make Paradise Eggs here and why not try it for breakfast this weekend. Enjoy! :)

Chunky Kale & Vegetable Soup

Chunky Kale & Vegetable Soup

Chunky Kale & Vegetable Soup simmering on the stovetop

Here's some I made earlier - Chunky Kale & Vegetable Soup simmering on the stovetop

It’s a wet, cold February in London and in this kind of weather I crave comforting soups. Sally Parkes shared this recipe with me and it’s one of my favourites to make at the moment. I’ve been doing a bit more writing at home lately, working on a script, so it’s perfect for lunch and also nice for when I get home from teaching yoga in the evenings. It’s tasty as it is, though sometimes I like to serve this with quinoa. You could try it with rice too.

They always have some fantastic soups on the menu at Florence House in Seaford where I will be teaching with Sally on our twice-yearly Relax and Restore Retreat from 14-16th February. I’m really looking forward to a weekend of delicious, nourishing, hearty vegetarian food. We get to have (healthy) dessert too :) . There are still a few places left if you’d like to join us for a weekend of Yoga, Pilates and Relaxation at this lovely Sussex venue. There will also be a range of treatments on hand with therapist Jo, so you can pamper yourself with a massage too. Find out more about the retreat and details of how to book here: Relax & Restore Retreat – 14-16th Feb 2014.

Here’s that soup recipe for you :)

Chunky Kale & Vegetable Soup
Serves 4-6

With vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient packed kale, heart-healthy garlic and fibre-filled and cholesterol-lowering beans, this soup really packs a nutritional punch.

Half a tablespoon of olive oil (I’ve substituted with coconut oil)
1 small red onion
1-2 garlic cloves
1 large bunch of kale
1-2 large carrots
1 stalk of celery and inner leaves
2 courgettes
½ teaspoon of pepper flakes
5 fresh sage leaves
2 large tomatoes (or tin chopped tomatoes)
1 tin of cannellini beans
2 or 3 pints of water depending of desired level of consistency

Chop onions, garlic, carrots, celery and sauté with oil, sage and pepper flakes.

Chop tomatoes, courgettes and kale and add them to the pot. Rinse beans and add them to the pot too. Mix to coat the vegetables and beans in oil. Add water and bring to the boil..

Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

Serve on its own or for a more substantial meal, over quinoa or brown rice.

Enjoy! :)

January T-tox

January T-tox

Yoga Tea & Flexibilitea with Steeping Glass from T-tox

Yoga Tea & Flexibilitea with Steeping Glass from T-tox

This month I’ve really got into loose-leaf tea thanks to Johnny Hannis – aka Johnny T-tox (@JohnnyTtox on twitter). Johnny has been in the health and fitness industry for more than twelve years and is passionate about spreading the word on the benefits of loose-leaf tea. I had the pleasure of meeting Johnny – whose own story is compelling – at Club 51 in London. As Johnny explains on the T-tox website,

“ When I was 18, I developed Hydrocephalus (excess fluid on the brain), and it took me five years to fully recover. In that time, my priorities had changed somewhat and I shelved my original plans to study European Business at University. I had realised after my illness that the vast majority of us don’t appreciate our health until we lose it – a mantra that stays with me today.”

Johnny introduced me to the Yoga Tea and Flexibilitea flavours in the range before Christmas and I’ve really been enjoying them ever since – it’s become my favourite way to start the day (as well as some yoga of course :)), especially through the cold rainy mornings of the past month. I’ve been finding the process of brewing my tea in my special Tea Glass (a cross between a glass and teapot in one) quite therapeutic too.

Flexibilitea has fast become a favourite of mine

Flexibilitea has fast become a favourite

My favourite so far is the Flexibilitea (a blend of nettle, Burdock Root, Lemon Verbena , Jasmine Flowers and Marshmallow), but I’d like to work my way through the other T-tox teas in the coming months too, just to make sure :).

You can learn more about T-tox and check out some of the teas for yourself at And for an interesting read on the differences between loose leaf teas and teabags see Johnny’s blog here.

Eating Animals… Or Not

Eating Animals… Or Not

“There is no possibility of one’s becoming a yogi, O Arjuna, if one eats too much or eats too little…”

                                                                                                                                                        -         The Bhagavad Gita

I’ve been on a bit of a journey with the way I eat over the past few years.  My body has become much clearer about what it does and doesn’t like being put into it. And this seems to have occurred in tandem with developing a regular yoga practice. Sometimes I rebel (for instance, my meals for the duration of the Royal Wedding weekend featured way too much of my beloved cake) but I usually end up suffering for it because my body tells me afterwards loud and clear that it is not happy.

As a child of immigrant parents I am an NBC (Natural Born Carnivore) or so I have always believed.  When I was growing up, meat was the most important (and expensive) bit of the meal and, consequently, we were expected to eat ALL of it.  So why do I increasingly feel less inclined to eat meat? 

This isn’t a sudden development at all – it’s actually been roughly a couple of years in the making – a ‘leaning-in’ process that I can’t claim was conscious in the beginning.      

So, the ‘meat thing’ is all part of this trying to tune into what my body seems to want.  Or rather, not want. Though I’ve not had meat on my grocery list for the last couple of years I’m not vegetarian – I’ve eaten fish a handful of times this year and there are times when I have eaten meat too.  I’ve recently realised that the only (three) times this has occurred in the past several months have been:

a)  To placate my mother, who can’t get her head around the not eating meat idea.  Her response when I went to visit her and she tried (as usual) to give me some food:

Mum: “Oh.  Well have some of this chicken-stir fry instead.”

Me: “But chicken is meat, Mum.”

Mum:  “It’s not really though, is it…?”

Me: “Hmm.  A bit like Simon Cowell isn’t really a millionaire.”

I’ve struggled with this one as I don’t want her to feel rejected. Like most mothers she is constantly concerned about whether her children are eating (no matter how many years they have been ably feeding themselves). Food is Love after all…

b) To not feel like a nuisance if I’m round at other people’s homes and they have gone to the trouble of kindly cooking for me.  I haven’t even worked this thing out in my head yet, so how do I explain it to someone else? 

With the lack of my former protein staples of meat and fish in my diet I feel like I still haven’t got a proper handle on how to balance my nutrition.  It’s been a lot of trial and error along the way.  I was surprised to learn a while ago that I wasn’t eating enough (though my body has changed a lot over the past couple of years I am not exactly sylphlike…) and then I had a recent issue with iron deficiency so I really want to make sure I am being healthy.  So, when I saw that my yoga home was hosting a workshop on nutrition with a focus on vegetarianism and veganism I knew I wanted to go. 

What followed was a fun, informative two and a half hours mixing asana practice with Sally and discussion on how best to approach a vegetarian or vegan diet with nutritionist / heath and fitness coach, Mark Hughes

For our asana practice there was an emphasis on twists and other postures to help stimulate the digestive system such as apanasana (wind-relieving pose), dhanurasana (bow pose) and paschimotanasana (seated forward bend).  Then came the time to talk about one of my favourite subjects: Food.

We all had questions ranging from what to do about getting enough protein?  What about vitamin B12 and vitamin D?  What about getting enough iron…?  As I listened to Mark I realised that I had been implementing a fair amount of the tips he was giving us over the past couple of years.  Things like cooking with coconut oil, incorporating good fats and taking spirulina, for instance.  I found that reassuring. I now see it’s probably not a coincidence that my stopping taking spirulina was followed by a significant dip in energy levels and a diagnosis of iron deficiency. 

At the end of the two and a half hours (including a relaxation at the end where I was so chilled that I almost fell asleep!) we went off armed with our little nutrition packs from Mark and yoga for digestion handouts from Sally.   And Mark kindly said he would email us all with details of some of the supplements he talked about.

I’m really glad I went along.  It was great to have certain things reinforced as well as learning a few new things along the way.  And it helped me feel a bit more confident about going down the path of nourishing my body without eating animals… no bad thing.  Plus, it seems that even my mother might be coming round. When I went to see her the other week she offered me some lamb and I politely declined.  Then she uttered the words:

“Oh. Well have some of this Quorn stir-fry instead.”