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Healthy Habits

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Healthy Habits: A Guide to Dairy Milk Alternatives

With so many milk options out there, from oat milks to nut milks and everything in between. It can be hard to know which ones will suit your diet and which ones are worth it. It’s great that we can get dairy milk alternatives in all the main supermarkets now, however many contain sugar, are overpriced or are not what they’re cracked up to be. To help you figure this all out, I’ve done a run down of the main types of dairy milk alternatives and the benefits of each…

Soy Milk

Soy milk has to be one of the most popular non-dairy milks. You can get soy lattes in all the main coffee chains and hotels now, which is a great sign of the increased demand for dairy milk alternatives. Commercial soy milk contains vitamins A, B and D as well as calcium, potassium and magnesium – it’s also a great source of protein. Make sure you buy the unsweetened kind.

Almond Milk 

Almond milk is loaded with vitamins E and D. Ecomil, Provamel and Plenish are the brands I tend to buy as they contain 6.5-7% almonds, other versions such as regular Rude Health or Alpro only have 1-2% almonds in! Go for a variety with no added sugar, and avoid the additive carrageenan on the ingredients list. There are many other nut milks available now too such as hazelnut, these tend to be pricier but are delicious if you fancy trying something different.

Oat Milk

Oat milk has to be my favourite, it’s so cheap and easy to make at home. Just add some oats to filtered water and blend together, then sieve and store in an airtight bottle in the fridge. Nutritionally, oat milk contains great levels of iron and fibre. Oat milk also contains many vitamins and minerals including manganese, potassium, phosphorus, B vitamins, and vitamins E and A. Wow – what a power house! Oatly is a great brand you can get in the supermarkets that works really well for frothy lattes.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is another great choice as it contains manganese and good fats. The fat (lauric acid) is converted by the body into monolaurin, an antiviral and antibacterial compound. Opt for a minimally processed variety, again avoid added sugar and additives like carrageenan. It’s also relatively easy to make at home, just add hot water (not boiling) and unsweetened coconut flakes to a blender. Sieve or strain through a cheese cloth and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Great for a turmeric or matcha latte!

Rice Milk

As far as dairy milk alternatives go, rice milk is probably my least favourite.  It’s higher in carbohydrates, and contains few nutrients than the others. Starchy water isn’t my idea of fabulous. That being said, if you have allergies to dairy and nuts, then it’s a good alternative. But do be sure to buy varieties that are fortified with calcium and protein to ensure there nutritional benefits.

Hemp Milk

Hemp milk is the Queen, she has it all. No, really! Hemp milk has all the essential amino acids, plus omega 3 and 6, protein, vitamins A ,D, and E, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, a high amount of calcium, vitamin B12 and potassium. If you are looking for an alternative milk that nourishes, go for hemp! Great in overnight oats for a post workout boost.

So, there you go. A quick guide to dairy milk alternatives, and some tips on when to use them.

Ruth x

Healthy Habits: How to Eat Healthily on a Budget

If you’re a savvy shopper and love to make your food budget go further, then a vegan diet is ideal. Eating deliciously healthy vegan food is super purse friendly, and there are some simple tips that can really help you to be a smart shopper. How to eat healthily on a budget is something that I’ve been practicing for the last few years. I share tips with friends, family, housemates, and once even my Uber driver! There’s no reason why healthy eating needs to be expensive, and there are plenty of ways to make sure you’re spending wisely and stretching your budget further. Check out these top tips…

The Cupboard Foundation

Initially, when you first change your diet to be healthier the first shop will be a bit of an investment.  You need to set a strong foundation of ingredients for your cupboard. Getting the basics right really helps, however, once you’ve done this you’ll just be topping up each week. Key ingredients will be things such as tahini, coconut oil, quinoa, tamari soy sauce, almond butter, nuts and other dried goods.

Dry Food Aisle

Some of the cheapest food at the supermarket are the beans and lentils in the dry food aisle.  Great news then that these are also super healthy and full of fibre. Great in salads, soups, curries and side dishes, they’re also a strong nutritional addition to a main meal. Energising and versatile, these are your core kitchen friends! They can be used to bulk out stews and soups, and are full of amazing plant proteins.

Bulk Up

If you have the space, then bulk buying ingredients is a great money saver. You can buy kg bags of grains, seeds, nuts and beans at great value if you order online. Amazon, Healthy Supplies and  Whole Foods Online are great places to shop. You might be able to order through your local independent health store too.

Focus on Simple Food

It’s easy to get swept up in the latest superfood craze and end up with a basked full of powders, tonics, raw chocolates and peculiar looking bits and bobs. I love health food stores, and could easily spend £100 in ten minutes.  Instead, I aim to stick to a shopping list to avoid blowing the budget.  Simple, but effective – go prepared with a shopping list and most importantly stick to it.

Preparation is Key

If you plan meals that suit your routine, and your workout/social schedule, you’ll find your food bill will go down. It’s the daily trip to the shop buying food on a whim that results in a big monthly food spend. Plan to make extra dinner for the next day’s lunch, and you’ll save lunch money too. Sunday’s are a great day for a chilled prep session, so plan these into your week and get ahead of the game.

Stock Up on Leftovers

Make extras, and have leftovers for lunch the next day or freeze some for future. You’ll save money and time, and have food ready for the end of the month when budgets are tight. Or even better, those days when you’re feeling totally ‘over it’ and cant’ be arsed to cook…

Visit Your Local Food Market

Farmers markets tend to be much cheaper than supermarkets. Most areas have good foodie markets running at weekends. You’ll also be supporting local business, and the food will have a lower carbon footprint. It’s a lovely weekend activity to mooch to the market!

Be a Savvy Organic Shopper

I’d rather buy organic where possible, however there are certain foods that are better to eat organic. The Environmental Working Group research extensively, and they’ve produced a list called Dirty Dozen. These twelve foods are the worst for absorbing pesticides and fertisliers, and are best to buy organic. There is also a Clean Fifteen list of fruits/veggies that aren’t worth buying organic. Healthy savvy shopping right there!

Stick to Seasonal

Not only are seasonal products tastier, they are much cheaper. Imported food is more expensive so it’s worth learning which foods are in seasons and incorporating these into your monthly meals and weekly meal plan. Again, buy British products just as they’re ripe and you’ll get more for your money!

Frozen Food is Your Friend

I always make sure I have certain foods in my freezer – frozen berries for smoothies, frozen garden peas, edamame beans, green beans, sweetcorn. I have frozen soy mince, sausages, and often a Fry’s, Cauldron or Linda McCartney burger/sausage pack for an easy weekend brunch.

Store Food Properly

Make sure you look after your ingredients as well as possible. Keep lids sealed, airtight containers handy and oil rich foods such as nuts & seeds need to be kept in a cool dark airtight place. I store nuts and seeds in old jars in the fridge as they stay fresher for longer. I also freeze almond meal, ground flax seed and matcha tea pouches so they stay fresh. Oily foods go rancid quickly if they get hot or exposed to oxygen.

Hearty & Homemade

You can easily learn to make condiments and sauces at home. Hummus is so easy to make, and it’s much tastier fresh and homemade too. Overnight oats or porridge with a banana and sprinkle of nuts/seeds are both super cheap breakfast ideas that are nutritionally balanced. You don’t need to be fancy every day, (but if you want to be, that’s ok too!). Stews, soups and curries are a great way to make big meals for very little money. As mentioned above, bulk out with beans and lentils, you’ll have meals for days!

Enjoy incorporating these tips into your routine to eat healthily on a budget, and please share your own tips in the comments below 🙂
Ruth x

8 Healthy Self-Love Habits to Start Today

The whole self-love thing is being talked about a lot right now, and with good reason. It’s become conventional wisdom that we’re all supposed to love ourselves, no matter what our relationship status. The common phrase being ‘the most important relationship you’ll ever have is with yourself’. However, most people still aren’t sure what self-love even means, how to go about it, where to start or what to call it. With that in mind and with Valentines day messages all around us, now is a good time to remind ourselves of the basics and how we can show ourselves some more love.

Self-love means different things to different people. It’s such a personal thing and everyone has different ways of showing self-love. The good thing is that the more attention you give your self-love practice, the more it will grow.

Self-love can be all of these things and more…

Being proud of what you’ve achieved. Embracing the things that make you different. Allowing yourself to dream big. Owning your inner and outer beauty. Making time to do what you love. Allowing yourself to make mistakes and not criticising yourself for them. Appreciating and accepting yourself, all of yourself!

Unfortunately, many of us will not love and appreciate ourselves fully until we have achieved a particular goal, be it losing weight, getting the job or the pay-rise, or the boyfriend/girlfriend and so on. But, if you start to work on your self-love now, you’re more likely to achieve these goals and be the most vibrant and powerful version of yourself.

Since there is no better time than now to get started, let’s dive right in. Do yourself a favour, take a deep breath, give yourself a little hug and have a go at incorporating some of these self-love practices into your everyday routine.

FOOD

Fill your body with food and drink that nourishes it and makes it thrive. If you are properly fuelled you will have more energy to do the things in life that you love. Feeding your body nutrient-rich foods will have you oozing love out of every pore.

MOVE

Move that gorgeous body of yours every single day and learn to love the skin you’re in. Get those feel good endorphins swimming around your body on a daily basis. Spending time stretching and strengthening your body will help you to connect to yourself and appreciate all the wonderful things it does for you.

PAMPER

Have a digital detox and spend some time winding down and getting centered. Have a bath, light some candles, put on a face mask, moisturise, make a cuppa, get cosy and read a book. Hygge at it’s best. When you take time out for yourself like this, it’s a chance to unwind and relax. Your mind and body deserve a good rest.

GOOD VIBES

There is a mean critic inside of us that can cause trouble when we believe it. Rule number 1, don’t believe everything you think. Definitely stop the comparisons. There is no one on this planet like you, so you cannot fairly compare yourself to someone else. The only person to compare yourself to is you. Be your own champion by celebrating your wins no matter how big or small. Pat yourself on the back and be proud of what you have achieved. Even if it is getting up on time, drinking lots of water, or smiling at your neighbour.

GOOD TRIBE

Everyone needs a support team around them – cheerleaders if you will. Positive energy is contagious, so surround yourself with people who love and encourage you. There’s nothing like spending time with friends and family who empower you to be yourself. Conversely, end all toxic relationships. Seriously. Anyone who you feel drags you down and drains your energy is not worth your time.

CHALLENGE

Step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. It’s an incredible the feeling when you realise you’ve achieved something that you didn’t think you could do, or you’ve faced a fear. Go and do the things that get you excited but also scare you at the same time. With every challenge comes the opportunity for growth.

JOURNAL

Writing a list of what you are grateful for is a great daily habit. It’s inevitable that you are going to have your down days, you are human! But it’s especially important on these days to find at least one thing you are grateful for as it helps to shift your perspective to focus on the positives.

If you find your head swimming with thoughts, empty it onto paper. No matter how crazy, mean, sad, or terrifying they are. Write it in your journal, or burn it. Either way, let it go.

PASSION

Set aside time to do what you love. Doing what you enjoy and are good at is a self-esteem booster. It will not only boost your endorphins, but will bring out the best version of you. If you love to cook, then cook. If you love yoga, get your butt to a class pronto! Most importantly, keep up the routine of doing the things that bring you joy.

Be patient and persistent. It’s something that needs to be practiced daily but can take a lifetime to master. So be kind and support yourself through the hard times. Love is a choice, so make the choice to put some time and energy into loving every little bit of yourself, starting now!

Ahhh, I feel better already 🙂

Ruth x

Healthy Flight Essentials – My Top Tips!

Eating well and staying healthy while travelling can be a little tricky, but after a few painful long-haul flights you soon get the hang it! I’ve learnt the importance of preparation in order to have a healthy flight, perfecting the packing essentials for on the plane and at my destination.  These steps help keep me energised, hydrated and free from the dreaded jet lag.

Have an energised trip with my top  tips for a healthy flight:

I prefer to eat before and/or after my flight, and avoid eating plane meals as much as possible.  They are full of preservatives and so I always make sure I pack some nutritious, healthy and filling snacks keep me going.  Also, the Vegan options tend to be lacking! As flying makes me feel sluggish and a bit bloated, for me it’s always best to eat light and focus on staying hydrated.

On my recent trip to Bali, I made sure to eat before the flight (which was a 9pm one) and then packed the below snacks for the journey.

healthy flight essentials

I like to take a few superfood powder sachets that contain probiotics to make sure my gut health is tip top!  I shake these up into a coconut water or bottle of mineral water.  Cacao protein balls are a no brainer – delicious and filling. You can of course make all your own homemade healthy snacks or just pop into your local health food shop to pick up some snack bars. It’s handy to have a few on you during a holiday too if you’re going to be active.  Making your own trail mix is another great idea – a bag of nuts, coconut flakes, goji berries, caco nibs, raisins, seeds etc.

One AMAZING tip is to pack a flask! I picked up this cute floral one for a super long trip from Sydney to London – it is brilliant. You can bring a few bags of your favourite herbal teas and ask the flight attendants to fill your flask with boiling water for you.  That way you don’t have to suffer with a tiny weeny cup of tea.

healthy flight flask

Another great tip is to pop a nugget of fresh ginger in your flask before you fly so that you can have fresh ginger tea.  Ginger tea improves circulation, relieves nausea, reduces inflammation and is antibacterial – everything you want when you’re stuck on a super long flight.

It goes without saying to pack a big bottle so that you can get water re-fills.  I take my favourite water filter bottle from Invigorated Water which removes any impurities or heavy metals.  By bringing your own bottle you can keep tabs on your intake much easier. It’s well known that flights are extremely dehydrating so having a large bottle is really important to help you stay hydrated.

I like to spritz my face regularly throughout the flight – it’s refreshing and hydrating on the skin. I really like a facial spritz by Swiss Phytomedics.  It is completely plantbased and full of botanical nutrients such as Chamomile, Ylang Ylang and Mandarin.  It is also free from any nasty chemicals and is vegan friendly.

I also pop in a few miniature face treatments and hydrating masks for the flight – when I’m buying my toiletries for a holiday I ask for some product samples. A great way to keep your skin hydrated and an opportunity to try new products. Win win!

If you know someone who is traveling soon and needs these tips, please share this post with them! I’m sure they will thank you for it – let’s spread the wellness hacks far and wide!

Enjoy your flight and let me know if you have any fab tips to share 🙂

Ruth x