There are so many recipes out there these days and so many rules and ideas about what to eat and what not to eat. I’m not here to try and tell anybody what they ought to do, but what I am here to do is share some of my passion about good, natural, wholesome food. So, look out for a few recipes from various genres in some future blogs.
Unfortunately, I don’t always get on well with food, which saddens me a lot. I am a little fussy, I have to admit, but I also suffer from an underactive thyroid which results in a sluggish digestive system and therefore a bad relationship with a lot of food. When I started teaching I was diagnosed with “stress related IBS”. Regardless of my feelings towards the existence of IBS, this made eating a real challenge as almost anything I ate would cause me some sort of discomfort. I am still battling with it and have tried all sorts of different approaches, but the most important thing for me is making sure that my everyday mood does not get affected by how my gut feels. And that can be a real struggle. More and more I try to tell myself, it’s just today, tomorrow will be different and sometimes that works and other times it doesn’t. But, it doesn’t stop me loving, thinking about and dreaming up good food.
I’m not into diets and the like, nor making things which are so healthy they look, sound and possibly taste like air, but I do really enjoy eating naturally and healthily and making food from scratch. I am SUPER lucky in that my husband is a baker (check it out www.typaned.com) and so since 2010 (when he had two months between jobs and started baking) I have not had to buy a loaf of bread (I’ll let him rave about the quality of homemade bread). But, that is just one small adjustment to our everyday life which brings with it the enjoyment of eating natural food. Cooking, baking and experimenting with flavours is something I find, on the whole, quite relaxing. So, today’s blog is a recipe, but not your average, what’s for dinner recipe, it is actually about a smoothie. I love a smoothie. A drink that has a bit more to it than your average glass. They’re thick, filling and ridiculously nutritious. Smoothies can be a snack for any time of the day and I know a lot of people enjoy them as an alternative breakfast. As a new mummy, they were a fantastic pick-me-up, especially when breastfeeding (never been so hungry and thirsty in my life, so a smoothie would hit both spots). I remember many an occasion sitting in my “breastfeeding” chair baby in one hand, smoothie in the other (often a banana and peanut butter one back then). Even Poppi has enjoyed smoothies from a very young age. At one point it was a good way of getting some greens into her in a tasty disguise. They have been renamed “smoonies” in our family as that is how Poppi always referred to them.
Smoothies can be super basic or pretty fancy. Because of my love for smoothies, I asked for some slightly more “out there” ingredients for Christmas and low and behold, Father Christmas delivered. Today’s is a little bit fancier than average, but hopefully something that’s not too out of reach and this one is vegan friendly too. I am not a vegan, nor am I even a vegetarian, but I do like to challenge myself to find something that is suitable for a wider group (sorry meat lovers, there is no meat in this smoothie, but there is still plenty of protein (and it’s not full of protein powder)).
So here we go (as I am only making a small glass for myself the quantities are small, but of course, you can upscale them):
Handful of walnuts
Heaped teaspoon coconut oil
Heaped teaspoon spirulina
Heaped teaspoon hemp seeds
1 tsp maple syrup
Handful of frozen blueberries (optional)
Milk of your choice (I use oat milk)
Basically you just chuck everything in a good blender and whizz it until smooth. I like smoothies to be more like thickies, but if you prefer them thinner then just add a bit more milk.
When you start looking at the qualities of some of these ingredients you suddenly realize how complex food is. I find it fascinating to think about the things our bodies need and the things we end up feeding it. I like to try and cover all the food groups when experimenting, but the qualities in this one smoothie alone are too many to note. I’m not going to go into great depths here (if you’re interested Google has a wealth of information) but here are a few interesting facts:
Apparently bananas are known as a mood food (so do let me know what happens to your mood after eating a banana!).
If you start looking into walnuts and coconut oil, the beneficial properties are endless. It’s crazy to think such simple things could have so many good properties.
Spirulina (I don’t know if I can even say that correctly yet!) contains significant amounts of calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. It also has essential amino acids and it’s just a green powder (so maybe there is some protein powder in it, but it’s TOTALLY natural)!
Maple syrup is high in antioxidants and full of nutrients such as riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium (one day I might look up exactly what these nutrients are, but for now just be amazed (like me) that one ingredient can contain so many quality assests).
Blueberries, a “super food”, are fibrous and rich in potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6. They also support heart hearth as the fibre content helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood.
And all that in a scrummy smoothie.