Time to slow down and enjoy the season?

Hopefully we now have sunny days urging us to think more about Mediterranean style eating?  By this I mean eating in a relaxed manner, preferably with good company; and savouring the flavours of fresh food.  How you eat at every meal can dramatically alter your digestion.

So out with eating on the hop or at your desk, watching TV, reading, having an argument or simply not enjoying the food.

In with pleasant aromas, convivial conversations or fond memories, enjoying textures and attractive crockery or flowers on the table – making eating a sensory pleasure.

It has been suggested (Julian Baggini, Welcome to Everytown a journey into the English mind) that us English are very out of touch with good eating, in both the quality of food and our eating styles.  We have lost (or maybe never had?)  the social function of food.  Excuses are easy in a fast life but just maybe it is time to slow down a little, enjoy some simple pleasures and find new ones.  And benefit from better digestion and vigour, leading to more productivity.  Win Win !


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Asparagus & Bacon

Serves 4

  • 500g plump asparagus  Its nearly in season
  • 4 ripe vine tomatoes
  • 12 thin rashers of streaky bacon (optional but hey you can work in off!)
  • 1 tsp organic honey
  • 16 small new potatoes preferably Jersey Royals that will be around soon!
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • couple of packets of baby leaves or rocket salad
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/fan 180C. Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and discard. Arrange the asparagus in a single layer in a baking tray with sides. Cut the tomatoes in half widthways, nestle them in with the asparagus, season with sea salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Roll each bacon rasher into a tight roll (if large, first cut in half crosswise), and arrange in the tray. Drizzle the bacon rolls with the honey and bake for 20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and the bacon is crisp.
  2. In the meantime, boil the potatoes until tender. Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, some sea salt and pepper in a large bowl until blended. Toss the salad leaves in half of the dressing, and arrange on a large serving plate
  3. Drain the potatoes and cut in half. Gently toss them in the rest of the dressing, and arrange on the plate with the asparagus. Tuck in the tomatoes and bacon…
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Spicy Red Lentil Soup

It’s  healthy, delicious and easy to make…Spicy red lentil Soup (Good with smoked bacon too!)
·  80g  tandoori paste
·  50g tomato puree
·  50g sunflower oil
·  400g tinned diced tomatoes
·  250g coconut milk
·  150g dried red lentils
·  200g carrots, peeled and 10mm diced
·  200g celery, 10mm diced
·  200g banana shallots 10mm diced
·  1 large red chilli de-seeded and sliced
·  salt and pepper
·  600ml vegetable or white chicken stock

Heat a large saucepan with the oil to a medium temperature.
Sauté the diced carrots, shallots and celery with a little bit of seasoning. Always remember to season, especially soups,a bit at a time, as during the  cooking  and reduction processes the flavours becomes stronger and it’s easy to over season. Cook until the vegetables become transparent but not coloured.
Add the sliced red chilli, tandoori paste and tomato puree, cook for 3 minutes, add the dried red lentils and stir.
Add the tinned diced tomatoes and the stock, bring the soup to the boil, turn the heat to low and cover the pan with a lid.
Simmer the soup for 40 minutes over low heat.
Add the coconut milk, turn the heat to high, bring the soup back to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Use a ladle and scoop a third of the hot soup in to a food processor  and puree until smooth, add this back to the soup and stir. By blending only a third of the soup, this will ensure that your soup has a silky thick and creamy texture with some whole bits of carrots and lentils.
Serve piping hot. (Fresh crusty bread is great with it if you wish)
It’s yummy x

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Best Diet Perfect Diet Performance Diet Fun Diet

These and countless others are being promoted for your new year purging after recent (and not so recent) binges

‘diet’ means a regulated selection
‘purge’ means to remove; rid of sin or guilt
‘binge’ means unrestrained self-indulgence

Every diet has worked for someone, yet quite probably won’t work for you.  Why?  I’ll offer just one reason for now –

We live in a culture of binge and purge.  A new diet (and diet equals deprivation) idea works for say three weeks, then temptation, hunger or convenience rise up and just a little something you like becomes bigger and bigger and…

So either you live with a few more pounds than you started with or get back onto the diet treadmill for another willpower workout.

Forget it.

Eat healthy, natural foods as much as you possibly can, avoiding all those things you know to avoid because they:

  • make you fat
  • make you tired
  • waste your hard earned money
  • raise your blood pressure
  • give you indigestion
  • bring you out in spots

and let wholesome foods do all the hard work for your body

nicola@plusnutrition for practical nutritional advice and support

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Exercises for Core Training

Learning to contract the Core.

Lay face up on the floor, in the psoas position (this means knees at 90 degrees and feet flat to the floor). Relax and practice breathing into the abdomen, with your hand rested gently over your navel. You should aim for the navel to lift about 2”

Once you have mastered this, relax and start again, but this time you need to make sure that your pelvis/spine is in a neutral position. To do this, place the heel of your hands on the prominent hip bones and your finger tips on the pubic bone. They should all be level. Now start the breathing pattern again.

Then add in the contraction of the pelvic floor, whilst keeping the breathing pattern going. “Imagine stopping the flow, when going for a wee”

Next stage is to add in the contraction of the’ core’.

The best way to achieve this is to place your hands on the side of your ribs just below the chest level. You can use the pressure of your hands to push in, on the out breath, and encourage them to expand on the in breath. When ready tighten the whole of the abdominal area, holding the navel down toward the spine, but not moving the spine from its neutral position. The idea is to keep breathing normally as you do this. You will feel your abdominal area holding firm as your lower

Ribcage expands laterally.

Lastly, try to slide one leg away from the body. There should not be any movement, tilting or adjustments of the spine to accommodate the one sided pressure. If there is then start again until there is no movement!

These exercises may take many sessions, even weeks to perfect and you should only move on a stage, once you have mastered the previous.


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Baked Chicken Parcels

Baked Chicken Parcels

This is a lovely way of cooking chicken, it keeps it moist and tasty – and best of all, once its in the oven, you have 20 minutes to yourself!

4 Chicken Breasts (1 per person)
2 Portobello mushrooms
16 tbsp (4 per parcel) of Vegetable/Chicken Stock (or Bouillon Powder made into stock – my personal favourite)
Salt and Pepper to season
4 tsp of Dried or Fresh Basil (1 tsp per breast)
Juice of half a lemon

You will need:
4 Large squares of either kitchen foil or baking parchment

To make:
1) Lay your 4 squares of foil / parchment onto the work surface, and place a breast on each one – they need to be laid diagonal in the centre.
2) Slice your mushrooms and lay a few slices on top of each breast.
3) Add basil, salt/pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice to each one.
4) Now you need to fold up one side of your parcel and make the two corners (top) meet, and scrunch together. Think of a large Cornish pasty shape – that’s the shape you’re looking for! Once you have one side and the top secured you are ready to add the stock.
5) With the remaining gap, spoon the stock into the parcel, and then secure by scrunching up the side. Your parcel should now be secure and have absolutely NO HOLES!
6) Once you have repeated this for each parcel, place all 4 onto a baking tray, and place into a pre-heated oven at about 200 degrees for 20 minutes (you can check by opening one side of a parcel to see if the meat is cooked, if in doubt place back in the oven for a further 5 minutes).

Serve with brown rice and green vegetables.

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Seasonal Nutrition Tips!

Nicola at Plus Nutrition nicola@plusnutrition.co.uk

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