MY POSITIVE DAILY LIFESTYLE AND EATING HABITS + 6 EASY RECIPES TO INSPIRE YOU IN YOUR HEALTH JOURNEY

 

My health journey started in 2011 when I was diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease. After three years of being medicated and feeling completely impotent before the idea of having to live with an illness for the rest of my life, I started to proactively learn and gain interest about health, how the body works and why I got sick in the first place. This led me to find nutrition and the amazing properties of natural food as a medicine or remedy for illness. Not only for prevention but also for healing. I read books, watched endless videos, studied plant based nutrition... The day I understood the relationship between what we eat and our health, my life changed. I changed...

I remember the day I decided to start this new chapter in my life and I haven't looked back. I made a promise to myself and that promise was that I was going to commit to taking care of myself, for life. With the start of the new year, I have been reflecting on the past year and on how I can make 2017 better, what I want to experience and how I want to feel. One of the steps I've taken is to re-commit to taking care of myself, every day. Although eating this way has become completely natural to me, I do not have to think about it or force myself to do it and I love every moment of it. I like to make a conscious decision to keep moving forward, because there is always more to learn and grow! 

If you are in a similar situation to mine two or three years ago, if you are be feeling stuck, helpless, powerless or scared, I want to remind you that you are not alone, there are many ways out of illness into true health (which to me, can ultimately be described as feeling inner peace). Not only that, but our bodies are pretty powerful, they can heal almost anything if given the necessary conditions (in other words, if we get out of the way). For me, changing my eating and lifestyle habits where the keys that unlocked a new world of possibilities, and it might be the same for you.

I have written this post to share with you some of my positive daily lifestyle and eating habits (along with some of my favourite current recipes which I make all the time)  that are assisting me in my health and spiritual journey, in the hopes that some of it resonates with you and can help you in some way. Remember that everyone is different, what works for me won't necessarily be beneficial to you. Try it out, listen to your body and keep moving forward! 


 

BREAKFAST

 

I enjoy starting the day with a specific morning practice which, over time, has now become a daily habit. I know how long this practice takes, so I make sure to schedule it into my day. I can have pretty strong signs of anxiety and pressure in my chest / diaphragm area in the mornings, this practice helps me relieve this a lot. 

Upon waking, I write my gratitude journal in bed or in my meditation cushion, training my mind to focus on the abundance that already is, instead of what is missing or not here yet. I write it down, close my eyes and feel it. After this exercise, I like to burn some type of incense or palo santo to clear the energy for a new day. Then I close my eyes and do a simple breathing exercise which consists of inhaling deeply, focusing on the bottom of the spine up towards the neck, holding my breath for a moment and releasing the breath at the same pace as I inhaled, focusing on fully emptying the lungs. I do this 12 times -- by the time I'm done, I feel truly calm and relaxed. Before opening my eyes I follow this exercise with a simple meditation which consists of observing my breath and bringing my focus to the tip of my nose or to the point right in between my eyes. If my mind wanders I bring it back to that focus, as often as necessary without judgement. I like to stay in meditation for 10 to 20 minutes, enjoying the silence. Finally, I re-read a chapter or two of some of my favourite personal growth type of books (I underline the bits that speak to me the most, which makes it easier to read when I don't have as much time!). This  practice helps me start the day with a positive mindset. 

Before breakfast I always brush my teeth and tongue (did you know our tongue is covered in toxins that have been expelled during the night?). I usually start my breakfast routine with a glass of water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or a digestive herbal tea with sliced ginger and apple cider vinegar. If I have fresh wheatgrass, I will make myself a shot and drink it immediately. After this I either have a green or citrus juice, a smoothie, a hot cacao tonic or fruit! It depends on what I feel like and how hungry I am. I tend to delay my first solid meal a few hours till I am hungry --this can be 10am and sometimes 12 noon! If I have to leave the house in the morning I usually take a 1 litre smoothie with me or a tupperware with one type of chopped fruit (my favourite at the moment are papaya and persimmon). I share recipes for my favourite green juice, citrus juice, green smoothie and hot cacao tonic down below! 

 

 

GO TO GREEN JUICE

|Serves 1 litre

  • 2-3 curly kale leaves, washed (include stems)
  • 1 small bunch of celery (lighter color variety)
  • 2-3 medium Fuji apples, washed and chopped
  • 2 small cucumbers washed (sliced in whatever shape works best with your juicer)
  • For an extra kick: 1 small lemon, fresh ginger, 1 small bunch of cilantro or parsley

 

STEP BY STEP

  • Put all the ingredients through the juicer. 
  • Pour into a mason jar and enjoy, or you can store it covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours. 

TIPS

  • If using organic produce make sure to leave the skin on as it where the food contains most of the nutrients!

GO TO CITRUS JUICE

|Serves 1 litre

  • 1 small grapefruit, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small lemon, peeled and chopped
  • 4-5 medium oranges, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 thumb sized piece fresh ginger + 1/2 thumb sized piece fresh turmeric (both optional but add amazing health benefits!)
  • Add 1 small Fuji apple for added sweetness

 

STEP BY STEP

  • Put all the ingredients through the juicer. Alternatively use a citrus juicer. 
  • Pour into a mason jar and enjoy, or you can store it covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

GO TO GREEN SMOOTHIE

|Serves 1 litre

  • 2 medium ripe bananas

  • 2 cups spinach (2 big handfuls)
  • 1 medium stalk celery (lighter color variety)
  • 3 pitted soft Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp Spirulina / barley grass / wheatgrass / Chlorella or any other green powdered superfood of your choice
  • 100 ml raw almond milk * 
  • 150 ml mineral water

* Follow this link for a easy simple raw almond milk recipe 

STEP BY STEP

  • Blend the spinach, celery and water on high speed till completely smooth.
  • Add the dates and hemp seeds and blend again.
  • Finally add the banana, Spirulina and almond milk. Blend till smooth and serve in a mason jar or store it covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours. 

MEDICINAL MUSHROOM + CACAO HOT TONIC

|Serves 1 person / 250ml approximately

  • 2 tsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp medicinal mushrooms (Chaga, Reishi or any other of your choice)
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (use other sweeteners if you prefer, 2-3 pitted Medjool dates work great too)
  • 100 ml boiling water
  • 150 ml home-made almond milk or other plant based milk of your choice, warm *

* Follow this link for a easy simple raw almond milk recipe

 

STEP BY STEP

  • In a high speed blender combine at slow speed the boiled water, cacao powder, medicinal mushrooms and coconut sugar. 
  • Pour into a mug and add the warm almond milk. Stir and enjoy. 

TIPS:

  • I like to use Superfeast's mushroom blends, the quality is very special and the company is run by the most beautiful people. As of now they ship from Australia, so if you are buying them from elsewhere be aware of customs taxes when importing the products into your country. Hopefully they will soon have stockists in Europe and elsewhere and this won't longer be an issue. Having said this, many brands do medicinal mushroom blends, so feel free to use any brand you like!  
  • Feel free to use 250 ml of water or 250 ml almond milk instead of mixing them. Water only will make it lighter whereas almond milk will make it thicker and creamier. 
  • When warming up the almond milk do it gently making sure not to bring it to a boil as this will change the texture a lot. 

 

LUNCH

 

I love eating big colourful salads for lunch (and dinner, let's be honest). I never in a million years thought I would be the kind of person who craves salad, but I am now! I believe our body asks for more of the good stuff once you give it that. I have learned to love salads by making them incredibly delicious and satisfying. Eating at least one big salad a day makes me feel great. I usually eat a big salad for lunch and a smaller salad for dinner alongside other yummy foods. My favourite salads have a good amount of leafy greens (all types of lettuce, spinach, kale, etc), crunchy colourful veggies (red pepper, cucumber, red cabbage, etc) and a delicious creamy dressing (you can find my favourite dressing recipes in my guide to plant based dressings here!). Finally, adding some type of fermented food or pickle turns, in my opinion, any salad to an orgasmic experience. Salads like this, are low in calories and high in minerals and vitamins, fibre, phytonutrients and very alkalising. 

 

RADICCHIO, AVOCADO, KALAMATA OLIVE SALAD WITH SWEET GARLIC TAHINI DRESSING

|Serves 2 people

  • 1 small head of radicchio
  • 1 medium avocado, pitted, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, diced
  • 1 small Fuji apple cored, cut in half and sliced 
  • 4 tbsp Kalamata olives
  • 4 tbsp home-made sauerkraut *
  • 1 tbsp raw almond cheese (optional)

* Follow this link for full recipe!

 

For the dressing (makes 2 servings): 

  • 4 tbsp raw tahini paste
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup (substitute for other sweetener of your choice)
  • 1 tbsp Tamari sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 small garlic clove crushed
  • 4 tbsp mineral water

* Dressing recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi's ' Sprouting Broccoli with Sweet Tahini' from his book Plenty More. 

 

STEP BY STEP

  • In a big salad bowl, combine the radicchio leaves (whole or chopped, however you prefer), the avocado, cucumber, sliced apple, olives and sauerkraut. 
  • Prepare the dressing by combining all ingredients with a hand whisk in a small bowl till totally combined and smooth. 
  • Pour the dressing over the salad, mix well and serve. 

TIPS:

  • Feel free to substitute the radicchio leaves for any other leafy greens you enjoy. 

 

SNACKS

 

Most afternoons my body craves a little something sweet to eat or drink. I love to snack on raw dark chocolate sweetened with coconut sugar (I tend to have some in the pantry), fresh fruit such as clementines or crunchy Fuji apples, or a nice warm cup of herbal tea or sweet almond milk drink. I make what is known as 'golden milk' a few times a week in the afternoon --a sweet and healing tonic which promotes the reduction of inflammation in the body. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of this drink you can find lots of information online. I've shared my favourite 'golden milk' recipe down below.

 

HEALING TURMERIC HOT MILK 

|Serves 1 person / 250ml approximately

  • 250 ml raw almond milk *
  • 1 heaping tbsp freshly grated turmeric (ground turmeric will do too)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2-3 cardamom seeds
  • 1 generous pinch ground cinnamon
  • 1 small pinch sea salt
  • 1 small pinch cracked black pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup or other sweetener of your choice

* Follow this link for a easy simple raw almond milk recipe

STEP BY STEP

  • Put a small to medium sauce pan on low heat.
  • Pour the almond milk, turmeric, ginger, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, cracked black pepper, salt and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Do not let it boil! 
  • Strain the turmeric hot milk using a very thin strainer or nut milk bag into a mug. Add the maple syrup and stir. 
  • Serve hot or enjoy it at room temperature (by placing it in the fridge for a bit) if you prefer. 

TIPS

  • If I know I am going to be out all day, I make a point to make this in the morning, pour it into my thermo and bring it with me. It is always still hot in the afternoon by the time I drink it, which is pretty amazing. 
  • Don't skip on the black pepper as it is the key ingredient which unlocks the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric!

 

DINNER

 

I usually gravitate towards more hearty, warm meals for dinner. I love baked potatoes or sweet potatoes with steamed broccoli and cauliflower and a side of green salad or a nice bowl of warm veggie stew served on its own or with some cooked quinoa. Making veggie stews is super easy and great to make in batches for the week ahead. I personally enjoy doing a little yoga in the living room whilst the stew is cooking on the stove. This practice helps me feel more grounded and relaxed before enjoying my meal. I like to have dinner at least two hours before bed time to provide with sufficient time for digestion before snoozing off. 

My night time practice consists of unplugging all electronics half an hour to an hour before I plan on going to sleep. I then make myself a cup of herbal tea, read, complete the second half of my gratitude journal (which helps you to reflect on the day, extract your favourite moments and think about how you could have made that day better), meditate and stretch a little. By the time I'm in bed, my mind has calmed down and I usually have no problem falling asleep straight away!

 
 

CREAMY CHICKPEA, BUTTERNUT SQUASH, BROCCOLI AND MISO STEW

*Inspired by Deliciously Ella's 'Coconut Thai Curry with Chickpeas' from her first book. 

|Serves 4-6 people

  • 1 tsp raw coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 medium white onion, finely diced
  • 2 x 400 grams chopped tomato tinned (or fresh)
  • 1 x 400 grams coconut milk tinned
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 400 ml hot water
  • 1 kg butternut squash, peeled and chopped 
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced 
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper / capsicum, chopped
  • 400 gr cooked unsalted chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp fermented miso
  • 1 small head of broccoli, chopped into small florets
  • 2 tbsp black sesame seeds to garnish
  • 1 bunch fresh herbs chopped to garnish (cilantro works beautifully in this recipe, but is totally optional)

 

STEP BY STEP

  • In a very large sauce pan, heat up the coconut oil till it is very hot but not smokey. Add in the curry powder, mustard seeds, cumin powder and diced onion. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes on medium heat (stirring continuously) till the onions are caramelised but not burn. 
  • Now pour the tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, salt and water into the sauce pan together with the chopped butternut squash and bring to a boil. Cook on medium to high heat covered for 25 to 30 minutes. 
  • Next add in the red pepper, carrot, cooked chickpeas and miso paste. Cover and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes or till the butternut squash and veggies are tender to the fork. 
  • Finally turn off the heat, add in the broccoli florets, stir and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes. Broccoli should be tender but still vibrant green. 
  • Serve garnished with black sesame seeds and chopped fresh herbs. Enjoy on its own, with cooked grains or pseudo grains of your choice (quinoa would be perfect here) or a leafy green salad.
  • Can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 2 days! 

OTHER LIFE-CHANGING DAILY HABITS 

- I like to go for a walk everyday, when that's not possible I do yoga at home. I try to join a yoga class in the mornings three times a week. For me it's all about moving the body and breathing fresh air. Not staying indoors for too long or sitting in front of the screen for hours on end. 

- I have started a new practice of mindful eating which consists of eating my meals away from my phone or computer. I light up a candle, put some nice music on, breath deeply, feel gratitude for the food I am going to eat and truly enjoy the flavours in every bite. Eating this way allows my body to know its time to eat and digest food. When I eat in my office space whilst watching super interesting videos on Youtube, by mind is being distracted and thus my digestion is interrupted. This mindful practice has helped a lot with some digestive issues I was suffering recently. I know this can be a problem for many of us working from home, and although it might be strange at first, I really encourage you to give it a try! 

- I usually carry with me a 1 litre thermos flask and make sure to drink 2 litres of filtered/pure water daily. In the winter I drink water at room temperature.

 


I hope this post was useful to you in some way and I send you all my love!

 

Rocío