Liebster Award

 

leibster-award

 

This is a long over-due post, but thank you to Foodradical for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Foodradical’s blog is a feast for the eyes, and a ceaseless inspiration for healthy recipes and mindful eats. The Liebster Award  award is nominated for up and coming blogs with fewer than 500 followers. Its aim is to enable new blogs to have greater visibility and to foster greater connection. As a nominee I have been asked to answer a few questions, and nominate two blogs I find inspiring and engaging for the Liebster Award.

Here’s the Award Rules:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Answer the questions you were given.
3. Nominate other blogs with less than 500 followers.
4. Post questions for your selected nominees to answer.
5. Tag and link the nominees and post a comment to let them know you have nominated them and appreciate their hard work.

The questions asked of me:

What do you hope to achieve through blogging? I hope to communicate my journey and perhaps inspire others towards a more mindful way of living– nourishing body, mind and soul.

If you work outside the house, do you pack your own lunch? Usually I take my own lunch into work, taking a variety of raw vegetables, and fruit to meet my ‘five a day’.

Who was your childhood celebrity crush? Well- I don’t remember! Perhaps Louis Theroux?

What inspires you to continuing blogging? I think I am inspired to continue blogging, knowing that there are others out there that get pleasure from reading my posts.

What is your favorite color? It’s changes, but at the moment- turquoise.

Do you shop at your local farmers market? I’ve recently moved area, but when I lived in the city, I frequently shopped at my local farmer’s market, getting as much as I could- from fish, to goats cheese, vegetables and grains. I loved the atmosphere, and getting to know the people who produced the food I’ll be eating.

What is your favorite “out to eat” place and why? I don’t have a particular favourite place to eat out, but I do love Italian and French food!

I am nominating…

A Yogi in Training: Yogi in Training is an excellent resource for guidance through the theory of yoga- great for anyone interested in yoga, and wanting to go a little deeper.

Move. Eat. Live: A wonderful blog with healthy recipes, mindfulness, and meaningful personal memoirs on the fight against perfectionism in the pursuit of self-acceptance.

 

And here are your questions:

Why inspired you to start blogging? 

What practices do you find useful for fostering mindfulness in each day?

What do you do to move your body?

What gives you joy? 

Favourite healthy comfort food?

What are you feeling in this present moment? 

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Today I am thankful…

Today I am thankful for raindrops pitter-pattering on my window, nourishing the soil and easing the heads of Spring’s new growths. 

Today I am thankful for the ease which I could bite down on hot buttered toast. For the person who milled the flour, who manned the machine to bake the bread, who packaged it in the factory, who drove it to the shop, who stacked it on the shelf, who served me when I bought it.

So much thankfulness in one bite.

At the end of my day, I try to practice gratitude. I take my journal and write down 10 things I am thankful for that day. From the smallest cup of tea, to a text from a friend. I find it realigns me to what’s important in life and how blessed I am each and every day. It uplifts my spirits, and even on the darkest days, I find that there are at least 10 thankful rays of light.

 

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Vege Fajitas

This is one of my ‘go-to’ recipes, that I was taught by a friend I met in university. 

Vegetable Fajitas

Ingredients: 

– 1 tin of kidney beans (on equivalent amounts of dried kidney beans soaked over night)

– 1 tin of chopped tomatoes

– 2 cloves of garlic minced (I like a lot of garlic!)

– 1 tbs of coconut oil (or rapeseed)

– 2 tbs of tomato puree

– 1 onion (red or white) diced 

– 1 pepper cut into strips

–  shakings of oregano, cumin and paprika

– fajita wraps

Step 1: Fry the onion and garlic in the coconut oil until soft. 

Step 2: Add the kidney beans to the pan and cook until soft. Squash the kidney beans in the pan with whatever cooking utensil you’re using. 

Step 3: Add tomatoes, puree, chopped peppers, and seasonings. 

Step 4: Cook until consistency of mixture is fairly dry. 

Step 5: Add to wraps, and either bake in the oven for a crispy finish (with cheese, if wish), or serve them as they are. 

Simples!

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Why I Write

Why, I write- or specifically, why I keep a journal

I’ve always been drawn towards chronicling life events, but my daily practice of writing stems from my experience of completing Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. This fantastic 12-week course aims to encourage the lost artist within, and reignite your innate creativity.

Part of the course includes three pages of stream of consciousness style writing, daily. Putting to paper ANYTHING that comes into your head, without evaluation, without editing. No perfect writing required. No one to judge your writing, thoughts or feelings, in your own private space. Just spilling the contents of your thoughts, out onto the page. She calls it, ‘morning pages’.

And why do I do it? 

Because it helps me to reconnect with how I’m feeling about what’s going on in my life: past, present and future. It enables me to self-reflect, to be aware of my thoughts, and what’s important to me, cultivating mindfulness. It is through writing that I develop insight into my inner gut feelings and intuition. It is through writing, that I am able to develop my creative self. 

Writing is the key to self-awareness.

 

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Wholeness and Whole Foods

The journey towards detoxing my life, started with a standard calorie counting diet at the end of last Summer. My first attempt at a diet of any kind, I had a limited amount of calories per day (1,400), and a daily requirement to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg. As a result, I started to look towards foods which were high in bulk and low in calories, and which would fill me up for longer. This led to a rediscovery of whole foods. I say rediscovery, because this was the diet I was brought up on (and hated) as a child. No white bread in the house, no crisps or biscuits on the shopping list. I remember sleeping over a friend’s house, and having white toast for breakfast was such a treat!

I digress…

Back to the present.

So, I started incorporating whole foods back into my diet, such as wholegrains, fresh and dried fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. This also meant a move away from processed foods. The definition of wholefoods is going back to food in its most raw state. This means no artificial flavourings, or preservatives, no processing of any kind. Just raw ingredients. So when it came to cooking meals, I knew exactly what was going into my meal. No hidden nasties, or unnatural elements. A more connected, mindful way of eating- respecting my body, and what I was putting into it.

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Best way to start your day?

Drinking warm water with a slice of lemon.

According to Ayurveda, drinking warm water with lemon first thing upon waking helps to aid digestion and is great for detoxing. It prompts the liver to produce bile, which is a key acid in digestion. Lemons are also high in vitamin C and Potassium, which are great for brain function, and reduces blood pressure. Due to our SAD (Standard American Diet) way of eating, most of us have acidic bodies. Counter-intuitively, drinking acidic lemon can also help to alkalise our bodies, and bring them back into balance.

Top tip! The water must be warm, not hot, as pouring boiling water onto lemon will destroy the vitamin C in the lemon.

So, when life hands you lemons, drink lemon water 🙂

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And breathe…

An important part of detoxing is learning to relax. Relaxing is important because when we’re stressed our body produces the stress hormone cortisol to prepare us to literally ‘fight or flight’. High levels of cortisol causes increased blood flow to the brain, whilst suppressing non-vital bodily functions, such as the immune system and digestion. This suppression of the immune system can lead to disease, and affect wellbeing. 

Meditation, or ‘mindfulness‘, can be an incredibly powerful tool in countering cortisol production, and aiding relaxation.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a method through which one can cultivate mindfulness. And what is mindfulness? This is the practice of being able to observe thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, without your mind getting caught up in judging yourself or spiralling off into further thoughts. It is about the process of trying to stay in the present moment, or the ‘now’, instead of dwelling in the past or zooming off into the future. Life doesn’t exist in the past that has been, or the future that hasn’t happened yet. The only moment in which our real experience of life exists, is now

Why Meditate? 

Meditation has been shown to increase levels of….

– Calm, Peace and Relaxation

– Self-compassion 

– Empathy

– Memory 

And decrease: 

How to meditate? 

You don’t need any specialist equipment to meditate. Just yourself, a quiet space, and to begin with, 10 minutes. 

10 minutes is a comfortable introduction to meditation. A company called Headspace offer a free ‘Take 10’ programme: 10 minutes, for 10 days guided meditation introduction. 

An excellent book I would recommend is ‘Mindfulness’ by Professor Mark Williams and Doctor Dan Williams. This book, and accompanying CD, leads you through an 8 week course on mindfulness, taking up to two 15 minutes sessions a day. If you follow the practice, after 8 weeks benefits have shown to be compassion and increased well-being (I’m on week 2!). 

 

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