The Muddy Waters of Nutrition

I first started studying nutrition and health coaching back in 2016 when I got an unexpected redundancy from a company and found myself with a few months time out from the normal 9-5 grind. I signed up to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) to qualify as a health coach (a relatively unheard of term back then). I completed that course and really enjoyed it but did not feel in anyway ready to start taking on coaching clients.

My interest in the area of nutrition, performance and self improvement continued to grow and in 2018 I decided to undertake a Diploma in Nutritional Science to qualify as a nutritionist from the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health (IINH). Why they all call themselves institutes I do not know but anyway…

I am in the middle of Year 2 currently and this weekend just past we were focused on Cardiovascular health, a topic that is very dear to my heart (boom boom!) with my own dads history in mind. We studied the entire anatomy and physiology of the heart and cardiovascular system and the dysfunctions and disorders that can arise in this area and how to treat clients with these issues.

Now to the muddy waters…

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Morrocan Stew

Inspired by the Happy Pears harira soup, I think this dish is actually more of a rocking dinner. It is so hearty and meaty (without the meat) it is particularly suited to the colder months but good as a healthy lunch when the sun is up too. It is loaded with fiber and protein to keep you feeling full until your next meal.

I like to serve this with some baked naan bread or wholemeal pittas and some sliced avocado on the side.

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Vegan Chili

This is a super hearty chili that is sure to warm the belly of even the biggest carnivores out there! This is great on its own or served with brown rice or naan bread for dipping.

Make a double batch and freeze some for those days when you just do not have the time to cook from scratch.

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Kale + Apple Green Smoothie

I love simple recipes with a few ingredients that when whipped together provide a tasty nourishing experience for our bodies. We are all busy people, we need simple nourishing food!

This is probably why I love smoothies so much and I tend to stick to simple combinations that work well together in the blend. Each week I get an organic veg box delivered to my house that is just full of nourishment. Kale nearly always features in the box so it’s now finding its way into my breakfast smoothies. Try this simple vegan kale smoothie first thing in the morning and take your time drinking it, just as if you were eating it.

Ingredients – Serves 1 (double or triple as required)

  • 2/3 cup of non-dairy milk of your choice
  • 1.5 cups of chopped kale leaves
  • 1 stalk of celery, roughly chopped
  • Half a granny smith or gala or other sweet type of apple, skin on
  • 1 tbsp of ground flax or chia seeds
  • 3/4 cup of ice or just water
  • A dash of agave syrup (optional sweetness)

Directions

  1. Place the almond milk, kale, celery, apple, ground flax seed and ice into a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth. Taste and add agave nectar if you would like a sweeter smoothie. Serve.

Yours in health and happiness,

JP

Super Immunity

I just finished my lecture weekends on the Immune system. I thought Digestion was complicated (Its Just One Bite of Food). I thought Biochemistry was mind-blowing. I was amazed at the Liver and all the things it does for us.

However, the immune system is on another level.

Screenshot 2018-12-20 at 07.03.05

Let me give you an example. We have 2 types of immunity in our bodies.

We have “Innate” immunity which we are all born with and provides us with a universal defense mechanism against infection and invading pathogens (the bad guys – viruses, bad bacteria, toxins, parasites). It works in a non-specific way in that it looks for and kills anything that looks even remotely suspect floating around inside of us. This is a super important defense mechanism as when we are born this is the ONLY defense we have for the first 4-7 days of life. Incredible right?

After 4-7 days, a second type of immunity is born.

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A Good Start is Half the Battle

A new year is finally upon us. This can be a strange time for a lot of people, as it’s a time of change, renewal and hopefully fresh starts. The statisticians tell us that by the third week of January the majority of new years resolutions – those commitments we make to ourselves to better our health, our relationships, our jobs and everything else are all but relegated to the trash.

Why is this? Why do so many of us fail to achieve the goals that we so positively and enthusiastically set for ourselves only a few weeks before? I believe the answer is two-fold.

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Health Survival Guide for Christmas

It’s finally here and it seems to be starting earlier and earlier every year but it is the time of year where most of us put on some padding! On average most people put on between 7 and 14 lbs of extra padding at Christmas time and last year I was no exception. I finished the marathon at the end of October and just stopped running, crazy I know but I had had enough at that point! Anyway, what ensued through November and December was a lot of nights out, drinking, hangovers, a lot of evening eating (the biggest culprit) and a real lack of weekly health planning. The result was about a stone of extra weight.

So here are my best tips for surviving this Christmas with your health intact.

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