Honestly Healthy 3 Day Cleanse

You will have seen in a previous blog that I have become a huge fan of Natasha Corrett and her way of thinking about food. She has inspired me to research into the Alkaline Diet and the lifestyle that comes with it. There is a link further down from the Telegraph about the Cleanse 🙂

I can’t claim that you’ll be a convert and live a beautifully healthy life with ease, but I know for me, Natasha has encouraged me and helped me tackle my relationship with food.

For a couple of years now, feeling bloated and in pain has become a regular occurrence after eating. I’m left feeling tired and drained of energy. Because of this though, I have read up a lot on different ‘diets’ and lifestyles, tested many recipes and developed my love of food. I am even doing short courses in diet and nutrition, and sports nutrition. I’ve adapted my lifestyle and eat a lot healthier, as well as exercise regularly. I have felt an improvement in my energy levels and the way I generally feel but my bloating and occasional pain has stayed to haunt me.

Keeping a food diary was my wake up call. It’s clear that I have a sensitive stomach and I needed to see what foods I consumed frequently. I knew that most of the things I ate were healthy, but I didn’t quite realise that the majority of my intake was carb and dairy related. The obvious conclusion was to eat more plant based food! Everything I make is from scratch using fresh ingredients, but half of my plate would be full of white rice, pasta or potatoes. Just being aware of this and reducing the portion sizes of these has made a massive difference. I feel much better now that white bread/pasta/rice has been swapped to wholemeal and takes up less space on my plate. And I LOVE sweet potato! Why had I not been eating this before!

When I came across Natasha Corrett, I bought her book straight away. The recipes were accessible, easy and delicious! She showed me that it doesn’t have to be a challenge to get more plant based produce into my daily life. I didn’t have to eliminate anything from my diet. I just had to swap the ratios around. For those that know me, you’ve seen the amount I can stack away sometimes! Never ending pit…

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This brings me onto the reason for this blog in the first place… The Honestly Healthy Cleanse.

3 days of soups, smoothies, and juices. When I saw this, I instantly told myself that it wouldn’t happen. There’s no way I could live off liquid for 3 days! My desire to constantly eat would take over and I wouldn’t get to the end. But after reading a little more on the reasons for doing a ‘cleanse’ and the benefits, I decided to give it a go. The boost of nutrients nourishing my body would help improve my skin, my hair, give me a glow, help get rid of water retention, reduce bloating, increase my energy… oh the list goes on. There wasn’t a reason I could think of not to do it! It’s only 3 days… how hard can that be! I drink a smoothie for my breakfast every morning already. I eat soup as well (might be accompanied by a big slab of buttered bread… but that’s not the point ha!)

I did have to make sure I prepared everything a day in advance because there wasn’t enough time first thing in the morning before work to start chopping veg for a smoothie. They tasted just as good kept in the fridge overnight until ready to drink.

Give this a read and see what you think 🙂 There are recipes attached too! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/11307754/Cleanse-your-body-with-the-alkaline-diet.html

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If I said it’s been plain sailing, I’d be lying. I found it tough at first. Not because I was hungry, but because I felt as though I needed to physically chew something. I haven’t felt hungry once! That was my biggest fear. I’ve even had to skip a few of the mid-afternoon snacks because I just couldn’t manage anymore liquid! Everything I’ve tasted has been delicious too! In the day, I never gave my soups and smoothies a second thought, but when it came to the evenings, I struggled. The other half would make himself dinner and sit next to me whilst I was slurping my soup. The smell from his food would send me insane! But I got through it because I knew how proud I’d feel that I had accomplished the Cleanse and I was looking forward to seeing what a difference it made. In all honesty, I never craved junk food once. What I really looked forward to was the act of chewing and a variety of flavours in one meal instead of your whole meal tasting the same.

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On the first day I felt a little irritable because I was battling with myself. Half of me wanted to give up and admit defeat. I tried to tell myself that I didn’t need to do it and it was pointless. But the other half of me was really intrigued as to whether there would be any benefits. My curiosity won! Thankfully!

It became a little easier on the second day as I was trying soups I’d never had before. Discovering new flavour combinations is wonderful! I was also very surprised at how full I felt! I had to skip the mid-morning juice and ended up having the mid-afternoon smoothie for my evening meal instead of the soup I’d planned to have originally. I can normally consume a fair amount of food! So this was a shock because I didn’t actually want or need anything else. Sitting and watching cookery programmes and reading through my new cookery books was a breeze too! I may have starred longingly at a few of the photos (particularly Jamie’s Everyday Superfood Mushroom Curry *drools*), but it never once made me feel like faltering. I went to bed tired and with a headache but feeling good.

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As I never managed to finish all of the allocated soups and smoothies the previous day, I skipped making the mid-afternoon smoothie as I knew I wouldn’t need it. I was correct. Thick blended soups really do keep you full! Good job really! I’d be making claw marks on my desk with my fingernails by now if not! I couldn’t get hold of any gluten-free oats for my breakfast smoothie, so I unfortunately had to use regular ones (does this mean I failed?). As mushrooms are one of my favourite foods, I was actually really looking forward to tucking into a big bowl of mushroom soup for my dinner and curling up on the sofa to watch the Great British Bake Off final! Not to mention the excitement at being able to eat solid food the day after! The mushroom soup isn’t on the Cleanse but I stuck to the Alkaline way of eating and created it to replace some of the suggestions Natasha makes. I can’t say I’m a fan of Cauliflower, although mixed with Pink Peppercorns, it does sound delicious (Page 38). Maybe I’ll give it a try next time!

Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I made the decision to carry on with the soups and smoothies for breakfast and lunch Thursday and Friday. Each soup I cooked made 2 portions so I wanted to make sure they didn’t go to waste J And as I already drink smoothies for my breakfast, I just chose some more from the Honestly Healthy Cleanse book. The 1 of the solid evening meals I chose was adapted from from the Cleanse. I savoured every single mouthful! Nutritious and delicious!

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What you really want to know is whether I felt a benefit to all of this…. And the answer is yes! I feel great! I’ve had a few comments on how good my skin looks and that I have an added bounce in my step. The few spots I had form being run down have faded and I’ve even lost a few inches! What’s not to like! But the main reason for the Cleanse was to give my stomach a rest from constantly digesting solid food and it has really helped. I haven’t felt bloated once and haven’t needed to undo that top button of my trousers after every meal! Just consuming liquid isn’t something I can do on a regular basis (and I don’t suggest anybody else does either), but every couple of months, I believe this is a great way to ‘Cleanse’ and put yourself back on the right track; with your mind as well as your body. Natasha recommends this cleanse of a weekend so you are relaxed and can focus your energy into really looking after yourself. It’s a great idea! I went to work every day and this made it harder because sometimes when you are having a stressful day at work, you don’t want liquidised kale! It just doesn’t cut it! My will power and determination stuck with me though and I’m glad 🙂

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There were certain ingredients that I couldn’t get hold of, so these were either substituted or left out altogether. Unfortunately, living in Stoke doesn’t lend itself to ‘exotic’ powders and ingredients! *dreams of big city life* They can all be ordered online with forward planning though! I did however take a sachet of pro-biotic everyday alongside the Cleanse. You’ll often see yoghurts with this as an added ingredient. It is a good bacteria that helps give the digestive system a boost and aids a healthy gut. I found it to really help and will continue to take every couple of months to make sure everything is working the way it should. If you’ve got IBS, taking this could really help reduce your symptoms (alongside a healthy diet of course).

Let me know if you decide to give any of the Cleanses in the book a go! I would love to hear from you! I’ll be following these as a guide throughout my food journey and discovery and I hope they help many others just like me to realise how easy it can be to really look after yourself no matter what your circumstance, budget, reason, lifestyle.

Love and Lemons xxx

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My Week – No Caffine/Solid Food (3days)/Alcohol/Dairy/Wheat or Gluten/Meat/Sugar/Processed Food

Day 1:

– Breakfast: Green Smoothie (Page 31)
– Mid-Morning: Red Juice (I don’t own a juicer so bought a pure red juice from supermarket)
– Lunch: Carrot + Coriander Soup (Adapted from Page 41 Carrot + Lime Soup)
– Mid-Afternoon: Avocado Smoothie (Page 57)
– Dinner: Spicy Butternut Squash Soup (My own, message me for recipe)

Day 2:

– Breakfast: Carrot + Tumeric Smoothie (Page 31, Acquired taste!)
– Lunch: Yesterdays leftover Butternut Squash Soup
– Dinner: Chia Green Smoothie (Page 33, Really good!)

Day 3:

– Breakfast: Kale & Oat Smoothie (Page 56, Swapped Spirulina for Matcha Powder)
– Mid-Morning: Green Juice (Shop Bought, pure)
– Lunch: Broccoli, Celery & Dill Soup (Page 42, Delicious! Chop Dill up finely unless you want it wrapped around your blender!)
– Mid-Afternoon: Fig & Almond Milk Smoothie (My own, message me for recipe)
– Dinner: Mushroom & Hazelnut Soup (My own, message me for the recipe)

Day 4:

– Breakfast: Beetroot & Blueberry Smoothie (Page 56, used shop bought red juice instead of beetroot)
– Lunch: Yesterdays leftover Mushroom Soup
– Dinner: Garlic, Kale & Spinach w/ Poached Eggs (My own, message me for the recipe)

Day 5:

– Breakfast: Beetroot & Blueberry Smoothie (Page 56)
– Mid-Afternoon: Peppermint Tea
– Lunch: Leftover Broccoli, Celery & Dill Soup (Piece of seeded toast w/ coconut oil)
– Dinner: Sweet Potato & Fennel Seed Rosti w/ Baked Eggs (Adapted from Page 110)

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Are You ‘Honestly Healthy’?

I haven’t read many UK blog posts this week where the first sentence hasn’t gravitated around the lovely weather and how you should be enjoying it. Well… thanks to being stuck inside an office where the sun has decided it doesn’t want to shine, I’m left dream up the hours spent outside, drenching myself in Vitamin D and eating homemade fruit ice-lollies. There’s always the weekend to look forward to I suppose! Oh wait… what’s that BBC Weather? Rain you say…? Welcome to the UK ^_^

There’s going to be a little twist on today’s blog. I will be focusing as always, on one particular beautiful meal I prepared and ate; but at the same time, adding a little review of the wonderful and beautifully photographed book it came out of.

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If you’ve never come across Natasha Corrett (Honestly Healthy) before, I highly recommend looking her up and reading about her way of thinking when it comes to food and lifestyle. Natasha produces some beautiful dishes that are utterly nutritious and wonderful for the body and mind.

For the past week I have been recreating some of the recipes from this book and reading up on the Alkaline Diet. As you all know, getting the right balance of goodness is vital for your health and wellbeing. A lot of the recipes taste naughty so it feels like a real treat when I sit down to tuck into these easy to make dinners! And if you read my last blog, you’ll all know that I like my food to be quick and easy!

As well as mid-week clean eating after work, I have been taking the leftovers for my lunch and making the smoothies/juices from the beginning of the book for my breakfast. Fruit and veg jam-packed into a smoothie after my morning runs are just what I’ve needed on these warm ‘summer’ mornings 🙂

It’s unbelievably easy to eat this way and Natasha Corrett certainly shows you how. As I have mentioned before, meat free days are so good for your health, for the planet, and for your wallet!

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The Spicy Smoothie could do with a very generous grating of ginger because for my tastes, it’s not spicy enough. But it’s delicious. You can almost feel the good it’s doing my body! It’s starting to become one of my firm favourites. I always make them the night before and freeze ready for the next morning. It saves time when I get up and it keeps them fresh and cold ready for drinking.

The Skin Boosting Smoothie is an acquired taste but it works wonders! Just add a little agarve or honey to sweeten and take away the sharpness. A week of drinking these and my skin will be glowing!

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I am still working my way through these liquid wonders, so when I feel satisfied, a Blog post will pop up all about Smoothies (within this book and beyond) and why I love to drink them!

I can’t resist a really good veggie burger so going straight to the recipe for Spicy Bean Burgers was a natural selection. The textures, the flavours, the goodness… Oh my. That feeling of biting into something so heavenly really makes a weekday evening that little bit more bearable. I’d start preparing them as soon as you get home if you want to eat before 9pm! Don’t forget that the mixture has to cool down before you can handle it and then the burgers need to be chilled in the fridge (or freezer) before cooking. They will fall apart otherwise!

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(Mine didn’t look like that I can assure you! I’m a messy cook! But I bet they tasted just as good!)

I like to make use of what I already have in the house (to be economical), so as always; my variation is always slightly different to that in the original recipe. If you would like any of the recipes, please do ask and I am more than happy to pass them on. But I highly recommend buying the cookbook! Or any of Honestly Healthy’s books for that matter!

I would post a photo of what my burgers looked like… But… I was really hungry and forgot to take a photo. There were only a few crumbs falling from the side of my mouth when I realised my terrible error! How am I meant to write a blog about food if I’m always too eager to shove it in my cakehole?!

In my opinion, the only thing I would change is to add more chilli and spice! This comes down to preference and I love strong powerful flavours in my veggie burgers. The other half had his in Brioche buns but I opted for a rocket and tomato chutney salad.

Not forgetting the sweet potato wedges though! Also featured in the book. They do list Cajun spice as the marinade but I happened to have a packet of BBQ Fajita seasoning that I used instead. I can still taste that oven-baked nugget of perfection now… NOM!

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be adapted in anyway you like once you’ve got the basics cracked! I personally don’t think you can beat risotto stuffed full of roasted butternut squash. The only change I made was to stir in a little cream cheese right at the end for extra luxuriousness! It really does serve 4 people generously as well! Not just 3 mouthful portions like I find a lot of recipes… Maybe that’s because I eat like there’s going to be a food shortage and I need to store fat and energy? Well that’s the reason I’m telling myself anyway!

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Chicken would make a good addition if you are looking for that further protein after a workout or long day at work. On this occasion I added beef meatballs for the boy and a generous handful of freshly chopped herbs. I’m already looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Would it be naughty of me to have an extra nibble now….

And finally I come to the last recipe I have tested so far! Another one of my favourites. I do like warming comfort food, even in the warmer weather! I can’t help but be addicted to carbs! The call my name… who am I to ignore?

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(For once it looks like the photo! Nearly…)

Whilst making this, I was coming up with lots of other variations! Such as adding sun-dried tomatoes or roasting the fresh tomatoes first until they blister before stirring into the lentils. I’m drooling just thinking about my next delicious bowl!

With this recipe, I added many handfuls of spinach and a big bunch of parsley. Being able to taste the herbs and savour their freshness is very important to me. Not to mention the B vitamins present in the parsley that protect the heart.

Mushrooms are one of my favourite ingredients, so it was only right the percentage of mushrooms was higher than any other ingredient! And only the best earthy, nutty mushrooms will do else the flavour and texture gets lost.

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Eventually, I hope to have ticked off all recipes in this wonderful book! Natasha has really inspired me and shown me that eating healthily is exciting and fun. This book has also given me much more knowledge and developed my creativity when it comes to cooking and coming up with my own recipes. I hope to teach others that eating healthily is easier than they think and it can become a lifestyle you crave.

In August, I am going to Jamie Oliver’s Feastival for the second time, and I have just learnt that Natasha will be there. I cannot wait for the possible opportunity to tell her how much of an inspiration she has been and how through her recipes, she has encouraged me to move forward and think about a happy body and mind.

Until next time!

Love and Lemons xxx

It’s Hasn’t Been Easy, And This Is Just The Beginning…

I wouldn’t usually post stuff like this but a few people have asked recently what motivates me to get up early in the mornings to workout and what drives me to put down the cake and pick up the smoothies. This….. I’ve always struggled with my weight and confidence. I’ve never been the slimmest and I’m blessed with wide child bearing hips. But waking up and seeing my hard work paying off gives me the drive and determination to work even harder, to be even better. Being happy in your skin is achievable. It’s not easy! In fact, it’s really tough sometimes… And I do slip… But I pick myself back up and I carry on. Everyday is the start of something new 😊 and it only gets better if you’re willing to put the work in. Results haven’t been overnight. For me, they’ve taken years, as I’m still improving my health and fitness, but it’s been a wonderful journey so far and it’s only the beginning.

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Green Super Smoothie

I haven’t posted for nearly two weeks due to being so busy! Why does life have to get in the way of sharing beautiful food with my wonderful followers?

I have some exciting posts to come, but for now as a little thirst quencher, let me introduce you to my utterly delicious on-the-go superfood smoothie. I created this one morning after a home workout, so I could drink it in the car on the way to work. It’s definitely my go to smoothie now when I want a boost first thing in the morning, or I feel like having a smoothie for lunch. It can be made in advance too so even more time is saved! Make the night before and put in the fridge for a quick fix the day after, or it can be frozen for up to 6 weeks in the freezer. You know what this means… MEGA SMOOTHIE BATCH MAKING for the ultimate laziness.

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I don’t usually weigh out many of the ingredients (apart from a couple) and just put in the quantity I feel like at the time. So you can adjust to your own preferences. My blender is the perfect cup size so I know stuffing that full to the brim with goodness is the right amount to make a perfect sized cup.

Ingredients: (Makes 1)
– Half a banana
– 1 Kiwi
– 1 tbsp. of peanut butter (no palm oil)
– 1-2 tsps. grated fresh ginger
– Handfuls of spinach
– Juice of half a lemon
– 1 Cup of coconut milk
– Half a cup of water (this can be adjusted depending on your preferable consistency and volume)
– Sprinkle of chia and sunflower seeds

Add to blender in this order, whizz and enjoy.

Happy slurping!

Love & Lemons xxx