Healthy Whole Me https://www.healthywholeme.com Dani's Blog about Healthy Family Recipes, Yoga and Beating Cancer Tue, 26 Mar 2019 21:46:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 https://www.healthywholeme.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/cropped-Favicon-32x32.jpg Healthy Whole Me https://www.healthywholeme.com 32 32 Dee’s smoky kidney bean soup https://www.healthywholeme.com/dees-smoky-kidney-bean-soup/ Tue, 26 Mar 2019 14:54:58 +0000 https://www.healthywholeme.com/?p=1698 Dee’s smoky kidney bean soup has been a firm family favourite ever since I married Tim. Pre-kids and with kids. Years ago I only cared about how this soup tasted...

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Dee’s smoky kidney bean soup has been a firm family favourite ever since I married Tim. Pre-kids and with kids. Years ago I only cared about how this soup tasted – and let me tell you it’s divine. Today, I also love knowing that it’s packed with nutrients and it’s a really healthy and tasty dish for the whole family.

I’ve been asked to write down the recipe but I can really not claim this my own. My lovely mother in law Dee has taught me how to make it, she’s been making it for decades. I love her added tip of using a teaspoon full of marmite. It contains vitamin B12 and makes a lovely addition to a veggie dish, plus adds a depth of flavour too. Dee’s a brilliant cook and I love everything she has taught me and I am so looking forward to cooking with her again soon.

There is not much you need to make this smokey kidney bean soup and I like the fact that you only need a few fresh ingredients, everything else lives in your cupboard. It makes it much easier as you don’t need a long list of fresh stuff to make a really healthy dish!

Below is the full recipe and click HERE for the RECIPE VIDEO on you tube or check out some of my other vids there too!

INGREDIENTS (for 4 + leftovers)

1 onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp olive oil 

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 red pepper, cut into 2cm pieces

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 tin of kidney beans, drained and washed

2 tsp smoked paprika (sweet)

500ml veggie stock 

Salt and pepper

Option: Add 1 tsp of marmite or a glug of red wine

Serve with home made croutons, a dollop of yoghurt and some fresh coriander

INSTRUCTIONS

Begin by sautéing your onion in the olive oil until soft, for a good 7 minutes.

Add garlic and red pepper and cook for another few minutes before adding the smoked paprika. Mix well, cook for a couple of minutes until the paprika starts smelling lovely. 

Add kidney beans, chopped tomatoes and stock. 

Bring to boil and then reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Before pureeing the soup, remove 2 tbsp of the paprika bits and beans and set aside for decoration. 

Puree soup. 

To serve, place some of the pepper and beans on top, add a bit of yoghurt if you wish and sprinkle over some herbs. 

To make simple croutons: 

Simply toast your favourite bread and cut into cubes. 

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Living with and loving life with the BRCA mutation https://www.healthywholeme.com/living-with-and-loving-life-with-the-brca-mutation/ Fri, 15 Mar 2019 12:37:47 +0000 https://www.healthywholeme.com/?p=1691 It is a pleasure to work across national media to share my tale. Often it’s about rediscovery and redefining and sometimes about living with and loving life with the BRCA...

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It is a pleasure to work across national media to share my tale. Often it’s about rediscovery and redefining and sometimes about living with and loving life with the BRCA mutation. A massive thank you to S magazine at the Sunday Express for giving up a whopping double spread to my words. Who would have thought that I’d be able to write big articles for big national papers one day? Life is full of surprises 😉

The full content of the article is this: Living with and loving life with the BRCA mutation

It is a Wednesday afternoon and I wake up in recovery. The distant bleeping of monitors, the nurse checking in on me and me worrying if everything had gone well. When I finally come round enough to ask, the nurse reassures me that my surgical removal of my ovaries (oophorectomy) had gone as planned. After a moment of relief I just feel numb. Physically and emotionally. 

Tired. It’s been a long journey. 

I was going from a healthy 39 year old woman to being a fully menopausal woman. Within hours of the surgery my sex hormones dropped to almost nothing.

I have drastically changed my life.

I have drastically reduced my risks of ovarian cancer. The same cancer that took two of my aunts, a grandmother and great grandmother much too early. 

As I lay there in recovery I knew it was the only right thing to do for me. However, women who undergo surgical menopause before their natural menopause period are at an increased risk of developing adverse health issues. These include heart disease and osteoporosis. In some cases the effects of the menopause can be debilitating.

Only the future will tell quite how I will cope with it all.

Six years prior to that my journey to today began. Never before then did I feel more alive, more hungry to live, laugh and love. More desperate to survive. A lump in my left boob meant cancer. This lead to a lumpectomy to remove it, an axillary clearance to remove my lymph nodes, chemo and radiotherapy. Quite a few complications meant stays in intensive care. 

Although I had the most amazing support from my family, although I knew I am one of thousands of women who get diagnosed with cancer every day, I felt so alone. Alone with my fear that I would not see my three little daughters grow up and start school. My twin girls were 2 at that time, my older daughter was 4. 

Between then and now lies a long road of transformation and recovery.

Although there were always a few days in between chemo cycles that totally wiped me out, I think as a family we did pretty well. I made a pact with myself, that I would get up every day and take my girls to nursery.

At that time I received a book about how to manage the many side effects from cancer treatment through diet. It was the first the that I realised the link between the foods I ate and what’s happening inside of my body. And although at that stage, I only dipped my toe into the water, I felt that I personally could do lots to support how I was coping and that felt great. 

A blood test confirmed that I carry a mutation in my genetic make-up. I tested positive for the mutated BRCA1 gene, also the so-called ‘Angelina Jolie’ gene. The mutated gene means an increased risk of breast cancer of up to 85% and an increased risk of ovarian cancer of up to 60% from the age of 40. Although I knew the chances that I was a carrier of the faulty gene were high, I remember being so upset when I found out. I felt disappointed, angry, low. Instead of focusing on finishing radiotherapy and then getting on with the rest of my life I knew I had another journey to embark on. A journey that I knew would be another ‘biggie’.

Although my genetic mutation had already thrown cancer at me once, the chances of more breast cancers are high. So two years after my diagnosis I underwent a risk-reducing double mastectomy. It did take quite a while to recover form that, I’m not going to lie, it was painful! But on the up side, it did teach my girls to carry their own school bags from an early age. By that time I was lucky enough to see my three girls start school. 

Although I tried to carry on with life as normal as possible, I was mentally at an all-time low. I was incredibly anxious that my cancer could return. I obsessed over every little pain, always thinking it’s more cancer. It was so hard for me to move on. 

By then I had changed my diet.

I had tried lots of different things, went on the clean-eating band wagon, went sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, cut out alcohol and anything else that I though was ‘unhealthy’. In a weird way, at the time when my diet seemed the most healthy, my mental wellbeing was at an all-time low. I knew food alone wasn’t going to be enough for me to regain some strength and rebuild my house.

After my mother in law ushered me to her weekly yoga class I kept going back, week after week. Yoga taught me to cultivate an awareness of my present moment. The times on the mat seemed like bliss, no worry about the future and not as much dwelling on my past. I got hooked, so much so that today I even teach classes and host retreats myself. Aside from yoga I went to counselling, hypnotherapy and the simple principles of mindfulness helped me to also start feeling better mentally. 

I made another big change in how I and my family eat. After a nutrition in practice course at Leith’s cookery school, I shifted my focus on all the amazing foods I wanted to eat. No more free-from, just lots of yummy family friendly dishes with lots of vegetables that are full-of nutrients. To nourish us from the side out. 

I believe it is this positive approach to food, in combination with my yoga and mindfulness practice that has led me towards a full recovery. It seems as if I now have a toolbox full of strategies that I can use when times get tough.

The decision to remove my ovaries long before I would naturally enter menopause was no light one to make. But since I have taken control over my own mental and physical wellbeing I trust the process a lot more. Trusting that just like before, I will find ways that suit me and my body. I knew I would bounce back from surgery pretty quickly. I was back teaching my yoga classes within four days after the op. 

After careful consideration with my medical team I’ve decided to go on hormone replacement therapy to minimise the effects of the menopause. This is not an option for all women, especially with a history of breast cancer. But given my specific type of breast cancer and the fact that I had a double mastectomy means it is safe for me to do so. Of course that’s not ideal and won’t suit every woman, but for me for now, that’s a good thing.

I also know that by actively taking part in my own wellbeing I gain perhaps the most important thing. And that is hope. 

Here I am doing everything I can to decrease my risks of more cancers. Here I am living an active life and taking positive steps towards good health and a happy life every single day.

Knowing fully that I can’t control it all. 

Years ago I felt hard done by that I had cancer at the age of 33, with a genetic mutation which massively increases my risks for more cancers. Today I feel so lucky to know. That science gives us all these facts. That I am strong enough to deal with them and make informed decisions. 

I see things so differently today, that sometimes it feels like the whole world has changed.

But of course it’s not the world that has changed. I have changed. Ready to tackle the next chapter. 

If you would like to speak to someone about any concerns you might have about what you have just read you can contact your GP or contact the Eve Appeal, or Breast Cancer Genetics for much more information and support.

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Broccoli and spinach soup https://www.healthywholeme.com/broccoli-and-spinach-soup/ Wed, 30 Jan 2019 21:30:21 +0000 https://www.healthywholeme.com/?p=1678 A little bit of something extra makes all the difference. Our soup was green today. Another family winner of a dish. This broccoli and spinach soup is definitely a green...

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A little bit of something extra makes all the difference. Our soup was green today. Another family winner of a dish. This broccoli and spinach soup is definitely a green super soup! And what’s best, I just needed a fresh onion and leek and all the rest came out of the freezer and staples. 🌱💪😋

I usually make big pots of soup and we all slurp away for a couple of days. When I make other soups, I make enough to freeze a couple of portions, but as we are using frozen ingredients in our broccoli and spinach soup, freeing the ready cooked soup is not an option. But I love eating ‘leftovers’ the next day. There’s nothing better than enjoying good home-cooked food and not having to cook it that day!

You might think its a little odd to add the red split lentils, but I love them in most of my soups. You won’t taste them but they add a great creaminess and a wonderful addition of plant-based protein.

But, adding some home made croutons really makes all the difference. That crunch with the creaminess of the soup and a little bit of spice coming through from the ginger. Oh oh oh. Delicious! Beautiful 🌱in my tummy.

broccoli and spinach soup

broccoli and spinach soup – before I’ve mixed it!

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion

3 cloves of garlic

1 leek

1 inch piece of ginger, peeled

7 balls of frozen spinach (or fresh works well too)

4 handfuls of frozen peas

1/2 Head of broccoli florets, in small pieces

1 tsp mixed herbs

a sprinkle of turmeric

1 tsp dried coriander

1 handful of red split lentils

1.5lt veggie stock

sourdough bread for home-made croutons

lemon juice (and chilli flakes) to serve

Recipe:

Heat oil in a large pan. Sauté 1 onion for a good 5 minutes. Add 3 cloves of garlic, minced. Add 1 leek and 1 inch slice of ginger cut into small pieces. Mix really well and cook for another 5 minutes.

Add 7 balls of frozen bits of spinach (or 4-5 handfuls of fresh spinach) and 4 big handfuls of frozen peas.

Stir in 1 tsp of mixed herbs, sprinkle of dried turmeric powder and 1 tsp of dried coriander.

Add a handful of red split lentils. Season well. Stir well and cook for a few more minutes. 

Add 1.5lt of veggie stock, bring to boil and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Take off the heat & purée. If the soup is too thick, just add a bit more water! Easy. Before serving squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the soup – it’ll add so much flavour, it’s just wonderful.

I toasted sourdough slices of bread really well and then just cut it into cubes for our croutons. And that’s it!

 

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The week that changed my life! And why it’s all about choice. https://www.healthywholeme.com/the-week-that-changed-my-life-and-why-its-all-about-choice/ Thu, 24 Jan 2019 15:03:24 +0000 https://www.healthywholeme.com/?p=1674 Being able to make choices amongst the muddy paths of life that I have no control over.  I’d like to think I have so much control over all aspects of...

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Being able to make choices amongst the muddy paths of life that I have no control over. 
I’d like to think I have so much control over all aspects of my life, but the longer I get to be here, the more I realise that’s not the case. I guess it’s surrendering in a weird kind of way. Taking control over what I can and accepting that other things are just the way they are. As difficult or as wonderful as they might be.
I wanted to pack it all in last week!
To help shape the week of my life that would change me forever. Quite literally. I made the choice to remove my ovaries, which meant that within one afternoon I was transperted from a 39 year old body into that of a menopausal woman. As daunting as that thought has been, I needed to make sure that that was not the only thing which consumed my mind.
So the night before the operation I hosted a super exciting event!
“The Kindness Method” is a book writen by sought after Shahroo Izadi, and I had the pleasure to have her speak as my guest. Looking at habit change from a very different perspective! And the evening rocked!
I loved it. I loved cooking for everyone, we had an open mind and there were plenty of light bulb moments.
It was my choice to plan the event the night before the op.
It was my choice to remove my ovaries to reduce my risks of ovarian cancer.
I have no control over the fact that I have a genetic mutation that massively increases my risks of breast and ovarian cancer.
So within the muddle of life I do what I can.
And I’m not alone either. Huge thanks go out to all the women that have embarked on this journey before me. Who are open enough to share their experiences with me. Thank you ladies.
My wonderful mum came to help us the week of the operation and again, we made a choice to end the week with a bang. A trip to Brixton market, tasty ethiopian food, stimulated our senses and our taste buds. I am now ready to start to learn who this new body of mine is. To love it and nurture it, accept the new scars and to tinker with hormone replacement therapy to see what works for me.
Recovery is a very individual thing, and I have a longer post coming about it soon as so many have asked what I do to heal, but really, family time is on top of that list for me. Listening to my daughter Rosa play her guitar for me is the best remedy ever.
 
Drawing this rather long post to an end, I guess what I want to say is this: we have almost always got a little choice of going one way or another. And as small as it may seem, it can make the biggest difference.
With love, Dani xx
Click here for the VIDEO with pictures of the event, my op and lots of food 🙂 all within 1 week.

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Warming Butter bean Soup https://www.healthywholeme.com/warming-butter-bean-soup/ Thu, 08 Nov 2018 15:08:39 +0000 https://www.healthywholeme.com/?p=1665 I often get asked how I come up with my recipes and this Warming Butter Bean Soup is a classic example. I saw a photo of this warming, rich and...

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I often get asked how I come up with my recipes and this Warming Butter Bean Soup is a classic example. I saw a photo of this warming, rich and moorish looking thick soup on social media and I felt immediately drawn to it. A hearty bean soup like that is so comforting on those cold autumn days and it looked simple to make. Plus, the lovely guy who’s posted the picture on Instagram added the ingredients he used in his captions. And I wasn’t worried about quantities, as I always make up so much that I have leftovers for at least my lunch for the next day. Additionally I just swapped some ingredients.

Using butter beans whilst the recipe said broad beans (why not!) and using a normal onion instead of spring onions means that I just use what I have available, rather than going out and buying lots of stuff. I always substitute ingredients or cut corners in cooking to make my life easier!

I always substitute ingredients or cut corners in cooking to make my life easier!

So off I went, I bought a couple of tins of butter beans  and my main meal inspo for the day was done. A few ingredients only, warming butter bean soup. Perfect! I then went to teach a class of yoga and after that my mother in law stopped by for a quick cup of tea. I love chatting and cooking at the same time, so I started to chop my onions and prepped the other bits I needed, got the soup cooking and loved talking about this and that with Dee.

This soup cooks in no time so we could have a taste of it before we had even finished our cup of tea. The verdict: Nice. Yum! A great taste. BUT…..

There is often a BUT and that’s when the MAGIC happens 😉 Dee said I could puree the majority of the soup (leaving some of the beans aside) as this will make it creamy and therefore much more appealing to the kids. And she was so right. I put a couple of spoons of beans aside, gave the soup a blitz in my food processor and then added the whole beans in again.

This process meant that our warming butter bean soup was a sure favourite with the kids and both Tim (my hubby) and I loved this absolutely delicious soup!

There are millions of fantastic recipes out there – but I feel that a recipe is only then perfect if you enjoy cooking it & you love eating it.

So for this particular recipe I have to thank @the_bethnal_greens family for the inspiration for this classic Syrian dish (aka foul mdamass) and my lovely mother in law Dee, who has always been and always will be at the core of my food and health inspiration. Without her, I might use sugar instead of salt and other crazy substitutes, just because it’s easy 🙂

Anyway, enough blabbering on, here is the recipe for this tasty

Warming Butter Bean Soup

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

1tbsp love oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tins of butter beans, drained and washed

1 tin on chopped tomatoes

500ml vegetable stock

2 handfuls of parsley, chopped

1tsp cumin powder

2 tbsp tomato puree

Juice of 1 lemon

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour olive oil into a large pot and heat.

Fry onions for a minimum of 8 minutes until soft.

Add garlic, cumin powder, tomato puree and mix well until the kitchen smells amazing.

Add beans, chopped tomatoes and parsley and cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove a couple of large spoons of the beans and set aside.

Puree the rest of the soup with a hand held blender or in your food processor.

The beans breaking up will make the soup creamy and delicious in taste.

Add lemon juice and fold under the remaining beans that were set aside.

Add chilli flakes and perhaps some more lemon juice to taste and sprinkle for parsley when serving.

Tips:

  1. You could add a handful of cashew nuts to your soup and blend this with the beans. It’ll add creaminess and good fats.
  2. Make up lots of this soup and keep it in the fridge for up to three days to enjoy for a second meal.
  3. Broad beans work very well in this recipe too. 

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Turmeric & Lemongrass Coconut Fish Curry https://www.healthywholeme.com/turmeric-lemongrass-coconut-fish-curry/ Thu, 20 Sep 2018 10:54:41 +0000 https://www.healthywholeme.com/?p=1652 Oh what a dreamy recipe this is and what a dreamy collaboration. I am so pleased that the lovely Emily, from the Wright Foodie, is sharing her yummy turmeric &...

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Oh what a dreamy recipe this is and what a dreamy collaboration. I am so pleased that the lovely Emily, from the Wright Foodie, is sharing her yummy turmeric & lemongrass coconut fish curry recipe with us all. Emily and I met on instagram and I feel continuously inspired by her amazing food shots but also by her ethos. As a busy mum to small children Emily’s recipes are family friendly and you can easily spice them up for a moorish adult meal too. Here is what she says about this recipe. Do go and take a look at all her other yummy dishes too!

And if you’d like more information about turmeric in general then head over to cognitive for a great overview.

Turmeric & Lemongrass Coconut Fish Curry

Serves 2

This is the perfect change-of-season type of meal as it is loaded with anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral ingredients that help our immune systems fight off the dreaded germs that seem to attack as soon as the kids go back to school. It is not only a deliciously tasty and warming meal but also a great cold preventer.  The fragrant ginger, turmeric and lemongrass pack a real Thai flavour punch and the spiciness from the chillies are perfectly offset by the soothing coconut milk.

Freeze individual portions for a go-to meal

I like to have individual portions stocked in my freezer, happy in the knowledge that I can have a nutrient dense dinner on tap for those days I start to feel a little under the weather. It is also a versatile broth that can be used to make a chicken curry or else form the base for a vegan stew with tofu.

 

Garlic is a powerful anti-microbial food (especially if you are brave enough to eat it raw!) and the active constituent of ginger is a compound called gingerol that is especially helpful at fighting infections in the respiratory tract. And turmeric, oh my darling turmeric, is the Queen of all of the healing spices!  Those of you who regularly follow my recipes will know that I am borderline obsessed with it and constantly live my life with stained yellow fingers as a result!  It has some of the most reliable scientific backing when it comes to its alleged super powers. The active ingredient in turmeric is called Curcumin and it has potent antioxidant capabilities that have been shown to help with a whole variety of health concerns, from arthritis to digestive problems. Western medicine has begun to study turmeric as a pain reliever, as an anti-inflammatory, and as a healing agent. Amazingly, curcumin has also shown promise as having both protective effects against cancer and even potential as part of cancer treatment itself.  But whilst the laboratory research is incredibly promising, there is currently no conclusive evidence to show that turmeric can prevent or treat cancer in humans.

However, turmeric on it’s own is not particularly well absorbed by the body.  It needs to be consumed with a fat (like the oil and coconut milk in this recipe) and some black pepper.  The active ingredient in black pepper is called piperine and research has shown that by combining the piperine and the turmeric, it can actually enhance the curcumin absorption by up to 2000%!

One serving provides 347 calories and 32g of good quality protein.  It also provides half of my daily Vitamin C and Calcium requirements, as well as a massive 87% of my Iron.

INGREDIENTS

· 100g Red Onions
· 100g Leeks

· 2 Celery Stalks
· 4 Garlic Cloves
· 15g Fresh Turmeric (or 1 tbsp Ground Turmeric Powder)
· 15g Fresh Ginger
· ½–1 tsp Fresh Red Chilli depending on how spicy you like it

· 4 Kaffir Lime Leaves (if you can find them, but not essential)
· 3 sticks Fresh Lemongrass
· Juice & Zest from 1 Lime

· 240g Skinless Boneless Haddock Fillets
· 300-400 ml Unsweetened Coconut Milk (from a drinkable carton, not a tin)
· 2 tsp Olive Oil to sauté
· Salt & fresh black pepper to taste

METHOD

· Dice the onions, leeks and celery.
· Finely dice the chilli and the lemongrass (remove the first 2-3 tough outer layers first and only use the softer bendier middle part).
· Mince the garlic and grate the ginger and turmeric.
· Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and sweat the onions, leeks and celery for 5 minutes.
· Add the garlic, chilli, lemongrass, turmeric and ginger and fry for one more minute before adding the coconut milk and kafir lime leaves (if using).

· Simmer for 10 minutes.
· Add the haddock and continue to simmer until fully cooked through (approximately 10 minutes).

· Add the juice and zest of 1 lime.

· Season with a little salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

· Remove the kaffir lime leaves.
· Serve over a bed of wholegrain rice or quinoa, alongside some tenderstem broccoli or other leafy greens.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

Calories – 347

Protein – 32g

Fat – 5g

Carbohydrates – 52g

Fibre – 4g

Vitamin A – 19%

Vitamin C – 50%

Calcium – 48%

Iron – 87%

Emily Wright (The Wright Foodie) is a nutritional cook specializing in customized cooking courses and bespoke meal planning advice to help alleviate a variety of health concerns from diabetes, to leaky gut, to weight loss to fussy kids.

www.thewrightfoodie.com

www.instagram.com/thewrightfoodie

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Back to routine gluten free pasta dish https://www.healthywholeme.com/back-to-routine-gluten-free-pasta-dish/ Fri, 07 Sep 2018 10:19:57 +0000 https://www.healthywholeme.com/?p=1643 I posted a photo of this lovely pasta dish on social media and as I called it my back to routine gluten free pasta dish I thought I’d write up...

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I posted a photo of this lovely pasta dish on social media and as I called it my back to routine gluten free pasta dish I thought I’d write up a blog post with the recipe for you. Just because this one image signals so many changes for me.

It’s September and to me that totally feels like the new year. For so many of us, this is a month of change. A change in weather also signals a change I mood: back into action. Autumn is on the horizon and many children around the world go back to school, which means routines change and the juggling-act of work, parenting, household chores and the rest commences. To me this also rustling up nutritious and quick gamily dishes. These are not meant to take long, I want little washing up and thumbs up from all of us. A tall order sometimes, but this back to routine gluten free pasta dish ticks all the boxes.

Back to routine gluten free pasta dish

Recipe – serves 4 + leftovers

Ingredients:

400g brown rice fusilli or penne

1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets

200g fine green beans

2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 tbsp tomato puree

3 tbsp olive oil

2 clove of fresh garlic, minced

juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper and chilli flakes if you wish to season

optional – a handful of grated parmesan or a handful flaked almonds

Instructions and tips to make your back to routine gluten free pasta dish super quick to make:

  1. Bring salted water to boil, add a drop of oil before adding your pasta. Boil for 5 minutes, then start tasting the pasta every couple of minutes until it is just right for you. Brown rice pasta can do with a bit of stirring in between otherwise it might clump up.
  2. Whilst the pasta is cooking place a steamer over the pot with the pasta to steam your veg at the same time.
  3. Drain pasta and transfer into your serving dish.
  4. Mix tomato puree, minced fresh garlic (garlic powder works too), lemon juice (to taste) and salt and pepper into your hot pasta and stir well.
  5. Once you love the taste, fold under your steamed veggies, sprinkle with parmesan or  flaked almonds and enjoy.
  6. Serve this with a side salad or maybe fry off some prawns to add on top?

I often cook this for when I work from home for lunch, which also means dinner is ready when the kids tell me that they are starving! 😉 Oh, and that leftover portion is obviously pack lunch for the next day.

Note: I love cooking with brown rice spaghetti or pasta as it is naturally gluten free. This means the product has not been tinkered with to remove the gluten from it, which often means other stuff is added to make up for it. I am not gluten intolerant, however, I am aware that it is very easy to have a very wheat heavy diet, if not to say overload, so by cooking brown rice pasta it means it’s a natural way to reduce this intake – quite naturally.

With love and I hope you are all having a great start at your ‘new routines’.

Dani xx

 

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My diet changed my life! https://www.healthywholeme.com/my-diet-changed-my-life/ Mon, 27 Aug 2018 18:23:48 +0000 https://www.healthywholeme.com/?p=1633 I am so chuffed that I got to share my journey with food for an article called ‘My diet changed my life’ in Health & Wellbeing magazine! I do have...

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I am so chuffed that I got to share my journey with food for an article called ‘My diet changed my life’ in Health & Wellbeing magazine! I do have to pinch myself really. I find it so important to talk about food. We all have different relationships with food. The way we eat is ever evolving and no diets fits all. By talking and listening to each other and our bodies we can develop and make changes as we go along. We can grow and change to hopefully have a healthy and positive relationship with food throughout our lives.

The opportunity for the interview made me feel excited but also really nervous at the same time. Some things are quite personal. I do like to mention the low moments also, which make some parts difficult to talk about. But Charlotte Haigh, who interviewed me is a wonderful and super experienced health and wellbeing journalist. She has done a tremendous job at writing up my journey exactly how it happened. In the article ‘my diet changed my life’ Charlotte speaks with three women. Each of us has a different reason to thank food for important positive changes in our lives.

For those of you that didn’t get the magazine, here is the full article 🙂

“Breast Cancer led me down a new healthy eating path”

Dani Binnington, 39, from Thames Ditton, Surrey, is a mum of three who transformed her eating habits – and her family’s – after being diagnosed with breast cancer. She now teaches yoga and has her own healthy eating supper clubs.

‘When I was younger, I had zero interest in healthy eating. I was born and raised in Austria and although my mum cooked nutritious Mediterranean-style food, I ate lots of sausage sandwiches. When I got older, I would have beans on toast three days in a row. I never struggled with my weight so didn’t have that as a motivator. My husband did all the cooking when the kids were little. My mother-in-law used to say I would use sugar instead of salt because it was white – and she was only half joking.’

‘I was 33 when I found my lump. After the conventional treatment ended, I thought that would mark the end of my journey with cancer, but it was the most difficult time. I felt I wasn’t actively doing anything anymore and was terrified about a recurrence. I couldn’t sleep and was up all night on the internet, looking into alternative treatments for breast cancer – even though my cancer hd been removed. I now realise I was ill with anxiety. But I did find out lots about the link between diet and health; everything from Alzheimer’s to osteoporosis and diabetes, and mental health too. I learned you could reduce the risk of so many things.’

‘I wanted to change, but wasn’t sure how to do it as there was so much advice out there. I decided to go on the clean-eating train. For a year, I had no dairy, sugar, nothing refined – I cut out so many major food groups. It was unhealthy and far too extreme because of my paranoia about a cancer recurrence. Eventually I realised I needed to be a good role-model for my three children. I didn’t want them to grow up with a controlling mum, who refused birthday cake.’

Plant Power

‘Now I know there’s no good or bad foo and we focus on eating lots of nutritious food rather than cutting out things. I think about what I need to add to give myself the best chance of being healthy. I don’t eat meat and have very little dairy, so meals are based around lots of lovely healthy veggies, plus sources of protein such as quinoa and pulses, and complex carbs. The focus is on what we want to do, so rather than say, “Never eat dairy”, I’ll say, “Let’s have some coconut yoghurt.”‘

Supper Clubs

‘My food’s been healthy for a while, but now it’s delicious too and people always compliment me on it. I’m a scatty cook so I don’t really follow recipes, but I base my ideas on Jamie Oliver recipes and dishes I find on BBC Good Food. Not only do I feel great and know I’m doing the best for my family, my healthy eating journey has also taken my life in a new direction. I teach yoga and host supper clubs, helping others to cook healthy and simple food. I’ve recently launched an online supper club plan to help everyone keep it up. It’s a little business for me now and I’m on a journey I wouldn’t have been on without cancer.’

 

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Cancer made me a better mum https://www.healthywholeme.com/cancer-made-me-a-better-mum/ https://www.healthywholeme.com/cancer-made-me-a-better-mum/#comments Wed, 22 Aug 2018 19:22:07 +0000 https://www.healthywholeme.com/?p=1629 Cancer made me a better mum is the title I was given and asked if I wanted to write my thoughts towards it. I found it so hard at first...

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Cancer made me a better mum is the title I was given and asked if I wanted to write my thoughts towards it. I found it so hard at first to get my head around this tile but as it was for the Daily Express I thought it would be a fabulous opportunity so I really tried hard.

Cancer made me a better mum. Really?

My initial difficulties lay in the fact that at first I didn’t think that cancer actually did make me a better mum. I am no more patient now than then. And I can still shout at my three children, and then feel bad about it. But I soon realised that that’s not what it is all about.

This whole parenting malarkey can be such a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It’s definitely trial and error and once I think I’m at my wit’s end, something changes and we move forward, quite naturally.

Parenting is just as multi facetted as the most beautifully cut diamond in the world. It’s the balance between teaching my children enough maths to achieve what they want and enough self love and self respect to do so emotionally healthily.

Below is the copy to the full article, let me know what you think!

Love Dani xx

Daily Express, July the 18th 2018
Daily Express article paper clipping

Daily Express article paper clipping

 

“I’m one of the lucky ones. 

I am a mum to three girls and like most parents, I have moments where I just want to cuddle and kiss my children non stop (much to their annoyance) and I have moments when I could yell from the top of my lungs as their arguing and bickering can be so frustrating. I suppose that’s normal. 

It’s also quite normal that as a parent you want to do everything you can to protect your children.  You want to make sure they grow up to become independent and happy human beings. We want to show them the way, lead in good example and to be there for them when they first have a broken heart.

I can’t tell you how sickening a feeling it was, how paralysing the pain and how the terror rippled through my entire body when I suddenly realised that the lump in my left breast might prevent me from seeing my girls grow up. 

I was 33 when I was told that my cancer was highly aggressive. My eldest daughter was 4 and my twin girls were just 2. 

After surgery to remove my lump and lymph nodes followed chemotherapy. It was like getting into a boxing fight. Over and over again. Chemo would hit me hard, I would feel sick, weak and exhausted and by the time I would feel a little more normal I was due my next round. Wham. Here we go again. When I started radiotherapy I felt as if I was on my end spurt of my very own ultra marathon. I was hoping that my last day of radiotherapy would also mark the end with my journey with cancer. But I couldn’t have been more wrong if I tried. 

Today, over five years on, I’m cancer free. I wake up and I get to enjoy my days, I am excited about my future and I feel utterly blessed to have seen my girls start school, to have taken them on holidays and to being able to make their pack lunch for them. I also know that life is uncertain, it’s precious and each day matters so much. It has taken me all this time to recover from my breast cancer diagnosis. Physically and mentally, and on some days I know that I am still on a journey. 

When my conventional cancer treatment finished I fell into a deep hole. I was scared that my cancer would return. My anxiety resulted in panic attacks and physical pains which I couldn’t explain. I had lost all trust in my body. I just didn’t know what I should be feeling anymore. What was normal?

I just wanted my old life back but I had no idea where to start. I just knew I had to do something. I needed to take control of my own recovery and wellbeing.

I turned to food, changed my diet and I learned to cook. Initially I thought I had to cut out major food groups but I soon realised that I wanted to find not only a healthy but also a sustainable and enjoyable way of eating. So I started to focus my attention to all the wonderful foods that we are lucky enough to eat and I made our diets full-of, not free-from. At first my food was just healthy but now I get loads of compliments that it also tastes amazing! Which is just great! As a result my three girls eat really well too. Of course they have the occasional pizza and ice creams too but they do also eat quinoa, pulses and loads of veggies. It’s lovely that my way of eating has rubbed off on the whole family. 

At about the same time my mother in law ushered me to my first yoga class. I can’t tell you how big the relief was when I first stepped on my mat. I could focus on my present moment, without being worried about the future or having past events rushing through my mind. Yoga also helped me to physically rebuild my house, but it was really mentally that I experienced the biggest benefits.

My lifestyle changes felt empowering. I felt that I was on the right track, but it still did take a long time to feel a sense of relief, to worry less and trust more. 

Something else happened that I still can’t quite explain. I stared to experience this urge, this drive, to be honest about my experiences, to talk about the down’s as much as the up’s, to share what’s happened. I think it’s so important to say when life is rubbish and not just pretend that we’ve got everything under control. It’s OK not to feel OK.

I started a little blog where I share family friendly and healthy recipes and tips for a healthy lifestyle. I host supper clubs, and have since cooked with hundreds of women. I also teach yoga, run wonderful retreats and get to write articles for some press. Most recently I even put everything I have learned along the way and put it into an online plan, for other families to learn how to make simple and healthy changes too.

Throughout, my husband has been incredibly encouraging and we both have this strong sensation that we need to get on and do things. That life is wonderfully precious and it is there to be experienced fully. He even became an inventor! When my hair was growing back after chemotherapy, it inspired him to invent and manufacture a new hairbrush. The Manta, which he has launched at the beginning of the year. 

We both know, that we can’t wait for anything. That certain things need to be said daily. Such as ‘I love you’ and ‘I’m sorry’. 

This is the biggest gift I can pass onto my children. To be kind to themselves and kind to others. To appreciate the rain, to be grateful for the apple. To get on and do things, however big or small they may seem. To see each day as a gift.

I always thought I wanted my old, pre-cancer life back. But no thanks! My life, just like my diet, couldn’t be fuller if I tried.”

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10 Creative Summer Holiday activities to boost your families wellbeing https://www.healthywholeme.com/10-creative-summer-holiday-activities-to-boost-your-families-wellbeing/ Tue, 31 Jul 2018 13:23:18 +0000 https://www.healthywholeme.com/?p=1621 10 Creative Summer Holiday activities to boost your families wellbeing We’re a good while into the summer holidays and I’ve had some time to think what I would like to...

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10 Creative Summer Holiday activities to boost your families wellbeing

We’re a good while into the summer holidays and I’ve had some time to think what I would like to get out of my time with the kids, apart from jumping into the lake, late nights and fun days out with family and friends. Besides, I love doing ‘things’ that fill our days with worthwhile activities that we can all remember, so I have come up with a list of 10 Creative Summer Holiday activities to boost my families wellbeing. Maybe you find the odd tip or two useful too.

Children have worked very hard over the school year and rightly deserve some time off to enjoy themselves. The summer holidays are a great time to refresh and recharge.

Establish key habits to get in touch with your inner Self!

With a careful bit of planning it can also be a great time to help develop key habits that will help children thrive when they go back to school in September. I love allowing down-time for me and my three daughters as much as possible. Remember, it is OK for your child to be bored. The school year is so busy and our days are filled with school, work, activities, sports, clubs etc. that it leaves very little time to even think what we WANT to be doing. Sometimes our children need to feel bored to come up with creative ways of how to spend their time.

In my list for 10 Creative Summer Holiday activities to boost your families wellbeing I love that some powerful and simple activities can stimulate our brains and help us get in touch with your inner self.

Here are my top 10 strategies to boost your and your child’s physical and mental wellbeing

Practice self-care. Teaching our children the important practice of self care is vital for their development and a great building block for their adult life too. Allow your child to tell you when they need to rest, when they want to read or offer them a bath in the middle of the day if they would like to relax. It is vital that we are connected to our gut-feeling, which is usually overridden by our schedule and to-do list. Learn to give your body and mind what it needs as often as possible.

Get talking. A weekly family meeting brings many benefits. Set a time and arrange a place for your family to gather. No phones or other gadgets allowed. No TV either. You can either set a topic that you would like to discuss (like the next family holiday or which rewards chart you want to get started) or allow anything to come up. You could start by asking everyone to tell each other how their week has been so far. Practice listening and teach your child not to interrupt either. It is a very powerful experience when you actually feel listened too.

Get into geocaching. Everyone loves a scavenger hunt. Families and groups of people can search for hidden ‘caches’ using the GPS on your phones. You can choose from easy to tricky and you can even choose how long you want to be on the hunt for. It’s like your very own treasure hunt and such a great way to get little ones walking much further than you would have ever imagined!

Make ‘cool stuff’. Mum or dad, can we make a – please? dadcando.com is a great site full of crafty ideas that brings adults and kids together spending quality time. From paper planes to dream catchers to quirky things it offers ideas of how to make stuff out of mostly inexpensive or recycled materials.

Bake. Whipping up treats in the kitchen can do more than just create yummy comfort food, according to a growing range of sources in both the culinary and mental health worlds. In fact, by setting some time aside baking can have a positive effect on your and your child’s relationship too. Smaller children can learn to measure out ingredients, older children can take charge of almost everything. By enjoying the end result (which is hopefully tasty!) it will leave you feeling super satisfied; emotionally and physically. But watch the sugar – how about making healthy versions of your favourite treats? Try my chocolate brownies!

Discuss goals. With hopefully a little more time at hand and longer summer evenings to be enjoyed it can be lovely to talk with your child about their goals and dreams. Allow your child to dream big! Then set a realistic goal which your child can achieve over the holidays. It can be as little or big as appropriate. From drawing a picture for each family member to learning a new skill like roller blading. Setting a goal, working towards it and achieving to meet it is an empowering and positive experience.

Borrow or purchase yoga cards. Yoga cards are a fun way for you and your child to embark on a journey that will be as exciting and varied as your child’s imagination. Each card shows a yoga pose and the colourful illustrations inspire hours of exploration, movement and creative play. It allows your child to become your teacher which is something they will love doing. You can never be too young or old to practice yoga. Now is a good time. Enchanted Wonders are really lovey yoga cards.

Try forest bathing. Most of us are aware that spending time in nature helps us to de-stress. A walk on the beach or a stroll in the countryside can make us feel so much better. But do we know why? The Japanese practice of ‘forest bathing’ is scientifically proven to improve your health. Forest bathing—basically just being in the presence of trees—became part of a national public health program in Japan back in the early 80s. So go outside, surround yourself by trees and improve your immune function!

Have a go. At something new. Discuss with your child what it is that you could try out that is new to you both. Pick something age and budget-appropriate. This does not need to be a bungee-jump! You could order some clay and try yourself at making a vase. Try out a new healthy recipe, which you could let your child pick out of a magazine. Or head to your nearest car boot sale and have a go at selling some old toys.

Go on an adventure. Without booking a holiday. Turn a normal day into an exciting adventure and see if you can take a train, a bus and a boat to get to your destination. We often go somewhere for a day out, may it be a zoo, a museum or a restaurant. But why not turn the ‘getting there’ into an adventure in itself? The journey is the destination…

And if there is water in sight! Take a plunge, give a damn about hair or make up and be as childish as can be. I’m still learning 🙂

With love from the girls and me, Dani xx

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