GOODBYE BREAD CRAVINGS – Introducing simple olive and sundried tomato bread

Something strange has happened to me.  Like seriously strange….I am no longer addicted to bread. 

Seriously I did not think this would ever happen to me.  I am a serious bread basket.  So much so I pretend I love the end of the loaf just so I can get in there first. I have even been known to just have a huge chunk of bread for breakfast or lunch and felt quite satisfied albeit slightly guilty.

But over the last few weeks I have been experimenting with making my own bread and when my boyfriend took home the most delicious looking and smelling artisan wholemeal loaf yesterday to my absolute bewilderment I actually turned it down.  Even stranger I also lose all cravings for sweet stuff when I eat it.  I have officially created MIRACLE BREAD!!

I always say that deprivation is the fastest route to failure and it has been proven to me again and again – firstly when I stopped cravings chocolate and sugar by allowing myself to eat raw chocolate and healthy sweet treats regularly and now by eliminating my bread gorging by allowing myself bread daily.

I am by no means against carbs, but always feel slightly uneasy about the potential preservatives, fillers and chemicals in shop bought bread.  So I decided that it was time to take measures into my own un chef like hands and try to create a simple recipe that I could make part of my regular cooking schedule.

Not only does this bread reduce sugar and carb cravings but it fills me up for AGES because it is full of oats and protein rich Greek yoghurt.

So enter my new favourite bread – a simple sugar free, gluten free, fuss free, wheat free olive and sundried tomato cheeky number.

Olive and Sundried Tomato Bread

Ingredients

1 x 500g tub of Greek yoghurt
2 x 500g yoghurt tubs of (gluten free) porridge oats
1 x teaspoon of baking powder
1 x cup of sliced olives
1 x cup of sliced sundried tomatoes

Optional – a handful of seeds or nuts to top

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1. Mix all of your ingredients into a large bowl

2. Grease your bread tin with a bit of coconut oil

3. Put your mix in to the tin

4. Top the mix with seeds or nuts if desired

5. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 180

6. Leave to cool before removing from the tin and slicing.

7. Try not to eat the whole loaf in one sitting.

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Super easy Chocolate and Banana Bread

So bread is my downfall.  I LOVE it.  Not like a little bit of love.  But a lot of LOVE!!!

I recently decided that although I do not think carbs are bad for you, I was maybe eating a bit too much of the wrong kind of bread.  So I started buying a fresh loaf from the bakery instead of a preservative filled ‘I stay fresh for a week’ loaf and getting artisan bread at the weekends.

I had toyed with the idea of making my own but was really put off with all of the specialist ingredients and fancy pants techniques needed to get it just right.  Then I noticed that one of my clients had wrote ‘home-made oat bread’ on her food diary and I pounced on the chance to try it out.

I made it at the weekend and although it was nice, I felt that it would make a lovely sweet bread so I did a little experiment last night which resulted in the most delicious good for you chocolate and banana bread!  No nasty preservatives, no refined sugar, gluten free (if you use gluten free oats) and high in protein.

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Raw chocolate and banana bread

Keeps fresh for 3 days (like it will last that long…)

Ingredients

1 x 500g tub of Greek yoghurt
2 x 500g yoghurt tubs of porridge oats
1 x teaspoon of baking powder
3 x very ripe mashed bananas
1 x handful of broken up raw chocolate (you can cheat and use dark chocolate drops if you want)
1 x handful of broken pecans
Optional – a handful of seeds or nuts to top

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1. Mix all of your ingredients into a large bowl

2. Grease your bread tin with a bit of coconut oil

3. Put your mix in to the tin

4. Top the mix with seeds or nuts if desired

5. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 180

6. Leave to cool before removing from the tin and slicing

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7. Enjoy topped with hazelnut butter, mashed banana, honey or whatever else floats your boat!

See that was easy wasn’t it!!  Now try not to eat it all at once.  My record is 4 slices in a day…oops!

Ps you can eat this guilt free for breakfast – technically porridge right?!!

Leek and Sweet Potato Soup

So every week I get an Abel and Cole delivery with a huge fat box of organic vegetables.

Convenient, healthy and the best bit….you have no bloody idea what you are going to get so it is like Christmas every Friday.

Last week I received some leeks and had no idea what to do with them.  So I thought I would make a healthy alternative to traditional cream laden leek and potato soup.

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Leek and Sweet Potato Soup

Makes enough for 8 servings (portion up and freeze that baby)

1 x large leek
1 x large sweet potato
1 x cauliflower
1 x can of coconut milk
1 x teaspoon of chopped chilli
2 x vegetable stock cubes

1. Peel potatoes, de-leaf the cauliflower and ditch the green part of the leek.  Then chop those bad boys up.

2. Put all ingredients in a large pan or a slow cooker.

3. Put in enough boiling water to cover all of the vegetables.

4. If in a pan then simmer for 1.5 hours.  If in slow cooker set on low for 8 hours.

5. Blend or mash (depends whether you are the smooth or lumpy type).

I love soup because it is so nutritious.  But I have to be honest it does not fill me up!!  So I add some brown rice or rice noodles to it to make it more filling.  I then add a handful of nuts on top to give it a bit more texture and some healthy fats.

Why STRESS is making you FAT.

So the biscuits, chips and cakes make sense but could STRESS really be causing you to gain pounds?

Afraid so chum.

Looks like our hectic lifestyles are really catching up with us with 59% of us report feeling stressed on a DAILY basis.

More worryingly still is that your body may be feeling stressed out by modern day to day living without you even realising it.  Dangerous stuff…

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So how is stress worse for us than burgers??

So this weight gain is two fold….

1. Everyone has heard of fight or flight right?  Well back in the day this was pretty damn important – if a sabre tooth tiger was chasing us we needed to be able to run and run and run….

When our body goes in to fight or flight mode it diverts blood from the digestive system to the muscles (hence why animals often have a little accident when they are scared) to allow us to use all of our energy escaping that damn tiger.

But the problems is nowadays our hectic lives full of back to back meetings, family demands and the barrage of information we receive on a daily basis is enough to fire our bodies up in to thinking something is chasing us.  Thing is in the tiger escaping situation our bodies would fire up for ten minutes at a time, but now we are stressing our bodies for 8 hours plus a day with our crazy busy lives.

This leaves us feeling constipated, bloated and nutrient deficient as our bodies are not digesting or absorbing our food as it should be.

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2.  Stress makes us crave sweet, salty and high fat food.

When you are stressed your cells release hormones and adrenaline which taps stored energy to enable you to run from your sabre tooth tiger.  Then you get a surge of cortisol, which tells your body to replenish the energy which makes you very very hungry.  Thing is since we didn’t actually run we did not use any energy.  Your body keeps releasing cortisol as long as the stress continues – not ideal if you are on stressed out on the go for 8-10 hours per day.

We then crave sweet, salty or high fat foods because they stimulate the brain to release pleasure chemicals that reduce tension.  We ten become addicted to this soothing sensation so this is why every time you are stressed you crave sweet, salty or high fat foods.

So what do we do to reduce stress?

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Unfortunately retiring to a beach to avoid day to day stress is not an option for the majority of us.  So what the hell do we do to avoid this weight gain, under nourishment and constant bloating?

Exercise – It’s an old one but a good one.  Get moving to reduce both current stress levels and your ability to handle stressful situations in the future.  If you are busy the last thing you think you have time to do is exercise, but even a twenty minute walk (without staring at our damn phones #biggestpethate) will be enough to alleviate some stress.

Get more sleep – Another one you don’t think you have time for but if you watch TV until midnight or spend your evening fannying about on FB/Twitter/Whatsapp you need to reassess your priorities and get to bed earlier.

Find some peace – For some it is yoga for others it is meditation.  Maybe it is even spending time with friends and family without electronic gadgets.  Find what works for you and do it EVERY DAY.  I am no hippie but meditation can really work to bring some calm in to you life.  Headspace is a great ten minute meditation app which is free and really user friendly.

So if you are not too busy meditating why not tell me in the comments below how stress is affecting your weight and how you are going to obliterate it.

Two Ingredient Gluten/Dairy/Sugar Free Pancakes

Oh man it looks like I missed Shrove Tuesday. So we had Shrove Sunday instead with these two ingredient pancakes!

Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free and take five minutes to make. What is not to love??

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So how do you make them??

Makes 5

Ingredients:
1 x large ripe banana (easy tiger)
2 x eggs

Mash your banana and beat in the eggs (or cheat and put it in your blended like I did). Melt coconut oil in a hot pan and drop your batter in to the pan. Cook for one minute then flip.

Serve with peanut/almond/hazelnut butter and berries.

Perfect for breakfast, brunch or dessert!

Two minutes to healthy banana chocolate ice cream

So you may have picked up by now that I love a good dessert.  You should also have picked up that I detest recipes that contain more than five ingredients and if they take more than 20 minutes to make then there is no chance I am attempting it!

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At the end of the day everybody is busy and although raw vegan cheesecakes decorated with delicate dried flowers look delicious, who the hell has time to make them?!  That is why for me the aim of the game is to help my clients reduce sugar cravings and help them make healthy alternatives that take no time at all and leave them with ZERO FEELINGS OF DEPRIVATION.  After all if you feel deprived healthy living is never going to last long term.

Soooo many people are ice cream addicts, but the sugar and fat overload leaves them feeling guilty and miserable.  So enter TWO INGREDIENT TWO MINUTE BANANA AND CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM.  It tastes like Mr Whippy but has zero fat or added sugar. Winning!

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Banana and raw chocolate ice cream

Makes enough for 2

3 x skinless frozen bananas
1 x tablespoon of raw cacao (you can use cocoa if you do not have cacao, but there are numerous health benefits of cacao)

Put the bananas and cacao into a high speed blender.  Whizz until smooth and creamy.  Even more delicious topped with berries or nuts.

Do you know I do free 40 minute consultations on a Wednesday evening to help busy people reduce sugar cravings, gain more energy and generally feel amazing? Email me at thehealthybluebird@gmail.com to book in a slot.

Sugar free simple Salsa

Sometimes you just need dip.  Whether that is to compliment your fajitas, put on your sandwiches or eat with some tortilla chips.  And salsa is a firm favourite.  But did you know shop bought tomato salsa has a shit shit load of sugar in it?!  Madness right.  What is that stuff doing in there?!

So I made my own.  As you do…

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Tomato Salsa

Time taken – 4 minutes

3 medium tomatoes
1 stick of celery
1/4 red onion
1 teaspoon of chopped chilli
2 x sprigs of fresh parsley

So all you got to do is blend it….told you it was easy!!!

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