Pesto con Kale e Basilico

(read in English)

Estate significa abbondanza di basilico fresco… quale modo migliore di utilizzarlo se non preparando un po’ di pesto? Per quanto mi piaccia quello tradizionale con formaggio e pinoli, mi annoio anche facilmente e mi piace dunque sperimentare un po’ in cucina con nuove ricette! Questa, ad esempio, è incentrata su basilico, kale (o cavolo riccio), e semi di zucca: il sapore è ovviamente un po’ diverso da quello del pesto classico, ma è comunque un mix dal gusto ricco e che si sposa benissimo con una fetta di pane o con un piatto di pasta.

Parliamo un pochino della kale! Siete tra quelli che vanno matti per la kale o no? Durante gli ultimi anni, la kale è stata uno dei cibi “healthy” piĂą di tendenza, ma onestamente, se non vi piace, non c’è ragione per forzarsi a mangiarla! Ci sono tanti altri tipi di verdura che potete includere nelle vostre giornate e sono comunque ricchi di nutrienti. Da me la kale è uno dei punti fissi della spesa della settimana e la usiamo principalmente nelle insalate, ma anche per preparare delle chips al forno e, ovviamente, per il pesto! Una piccola curiositĂ : sapete che qui in Irlanda in realtĂ  la kale è sempre stata coltivata, ma era passata un po’ in disuso ed è ritornata in auge negli ultimi anni?

La kale fa parte della famiglia dei cavoli, è ricca di vitamine come la C, A, K, B6, ma anche minerali come magnesio, ferro, potassio, calcio. Insieme alla vitamina C ed al beta-carotene, ha anche altri composti che svolgono il ruolo di antiossidanti, come i flavonoidi ed i polifenoli (gli antiossidanti sono composti molto importanti che ci aiutano rivestendo un ruolo protettivo dagli effetti dello stress ossidativo e dei radicali liberi – quindi, ad esempio, possono aiutarci con fattori come l’infiammazione o l’invecchiamento). La kale contiene anche alcuni composti che possono essere d’aiuto per abbassare il livello di colesterolo. Una verdura ricca di sorprese, giusto?

Alcune ricerche interessanti:
Antioxidants and kale
Binding of bile acids by kale (for cholesterol)
Kale and postprandial glucose level

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PESTO CON KALE E BASILICO

Ingredienti

  • 100 g semi di zucca
  • circa 40 g di basilico, gambi inclusi
  • circa 150 g di kale
  • succo di 1 limone
  • circa 100-120 ml di olio extra vergine d’oliva
  • 1 cucchiaio e mezzo di capperi (opzionale – un’alternativa buonissima ispirata da un post di Green Kitchen Stories)

Fai tostare i semi di zucca in forno preriscaldato a 150°C per alcuni minuti, giusto finchè non inizieranno a diventare dorati. Lasciali raffreddare, poi aggiungili nel frullatore insieme al succo di limone, ed una parte del basilico: risulta pratico aggiungere il basilico e la kale in piccole parti, frullando man mano – ogni tanto ferma il frullatore e togli il mix dalle pareti del frullatore, per poi continuare a prepare il pesto. Quando questi ingredienti saranno tritati grossolanamente, inzia ad aggiungere l’olio, sempre in piccole parti. Puoi adattare secondo le tue preferenze sia la quantitĂ  di olio che quella di limone. Conserva il pesto in frigorifero in un vasetto chiuso per alcuni giorni con un sottilissimo strato d’olio sopra (giusto la minima quantitĂ  necessaria per tenere il pesto coperto con l’olio).



Vorresti iniziare ad avere uno stile di vita ed un’alimentazione piĂą sani, creando anche una serie di abitudini che possano diventare parte della tua vita d’ora in avanti? Non sai esattamente da dove iniziare? Clicca sul link qui sotto per fare il primo passo:

INIZIAMO!

Come inziare a prenderti cura del tuo tratto gastrointestinale al meglio

Molti studi sottolineano l’importanza di mantenere un tratto gastrointestinale sano, perchè esso costituisce un vero e proprio supporto per la nostra salute e per il nostro benessere da un punto di vista generale. Ecco alcune cose da tenere a mente:

  • fai diventare parte della tua quotidianeitĂ  uno stile di vita sano ricco di fibre, frutta e verdura, insieme a tutta quella varietĂ  di cibi che ti permette di includere nell’alimentazione i nutrienti di cui hai bisogno
  • includi fonti di probiotici/prebiotici, spezie, ed erbe aromatiche
  • fai attivitĂ  fisica e trova un modo per gestire lo stress che fa per te

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Altre informazioni che ti potrebbero essere utili:

1) PARLIAMO UN PO’ DI FIBRE

Cerca di trovare un equilibrio nella tua alimentazione tra fibre solubili ed insolubili. Questi due tipi di fibre agiscono in modi diversi una volta che entrano nell’organismo, ed abbiamo bisogno di entrambe.

Quando si parla di solubile/insolubile, si intende solubilitĂ  in ACQUA.

FIBRE SOLUBILI: necessitano di acqua per formare una specie di gel nel tratto digerente che aiuta a mantenerlo pulito. Le troviamo ad esempio nell’avena, nella frutta secca, nei semi, nei fagioli, nelle lenticchie, nei ceci, nell’orzo, in molti tipi di verdura, ed in alcuni tipi di frutta come le mele, le pere, e le banane. Questo gel aiuta anche a rallentare la digestione => di conseguenza, il senso di sazietĂ  dopo aver consumato questi cibi, sarĂ  maggiore.

FIBRE INSOLUBILI: aiutano a far muovere il tutto attraverso il tratto digerente. Le troviamo ad esempio in molti tipi di frutta e verdura, nei cereali integrali, nei semi, e nella frutta secca.

INZIA ad aumentare il tuo consumo di fibre da oggi per mantere in salute il tuo tratto gastrointestinale… ne vedrai presto gli effetti positivi!

Ricorda che è importante modificare la propria alimentazione PASSO DOPO PASSO – concedi sempre al tuo corpo un certo tempo per adattarsi a nuovi cibi e nuove abitudini.

2) I PROBIOTICI NON FANNO PER TE? (O ALMENO, NON ANCORA)

Inizia con cibi fermentati semplici come lo yogurt ed il kefir (quello che cerchi, è una fonte di probiotici)

  • quando scegli questi prodotti in un negozio, preferisci le opzioni non zuccherate – spesso la quantitĂ  di zucchero aggiunto in questi cibi (specialmente nello yogurt) può essere considerevole, se pensiamo che un vasetto di yogurt è solo una piccola parte della tua alimentazione giornaliera. Opta per uno yogurt o kefir bianco e, se vuoi, accompagnalo con della frutta fresca
  • scegli un prodotto che contenga soltanto gli ingredienti chiave
  • falli diventare parte della tua quotidianeitĂ  (magari in quantitĂ  piĂą piccole all’inizio, per capire come reagisce il tuo corpo e per dargli un po’ di tempo per adattarsi alla novitĂ )
  • accompagnali con frutta fresca, frutta secca, o semi per colazione o per una merenda semplice e ricca di nutrienti
  • sia lo yogurt che il kefir sono disponibili anche in versioni preparate con ingredienti di origine vegetale
  • perchè non considerare, ad un certo punto, di iniziare a prepararli in casa?

3) UNA RICETTA MOLTO SEMPLICE PER INZIARE AD INTRODURRE IL KEFIR NELLA TUA ALIMENTAZIONE…

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FRULLATO CON KEFIR, FRUTTI DI BOSCO, ED UN MIX DI SEMI

(x 2 frullati)

  • 1 pera piccolaâ €
  • 1 bananaâ €
  • 1 manciata di lamponi/mirtilliâ €
  • 150 ml di kefirâ €
  • 1 cucchiaino di zenzero fresco grattugiatoâ €
  • 1 cucchiaio di semi di canapa apertiâ €
  • 2 cucchiai di semi di chia macinatiâ €
  • acqua (in base alla consistenza che preferisci)â €
  • sopra: yogurt di cocco e fave di cacao crudo (opzionale)

Frulla tutti gli ingredienti ed aggiusta la quantitĂ  di acqua in base alle tue preferenze. Di solito, invece di aggiungere semplicemente il kefir ed i semi di chia nel frullatore, preparo un pudding con questi due ingredienti per ottenere un risultato piĂą cremoso (aggiungo il pudding al resto degli ingredienti, poi frullo) – questo mi permette anche di lasciare che i semi di chia rilascino il loro caratteristico “gel” in presenza della parte liquida.



Vorresti iniziare ad avere uno stile di vita ed un’alimentazione piĂą sani, ed allo stesso tempo iniziare ad avere abitudini piĂą sane che facciano parte della tua vita d’ora in avanti? Sei pronta per un cambiamento, ma hai bisogno di un po’ d’aiuto per iniziare? Clicca sul bottone qui sotto per fare il primo passo:

SONO PRONTA!

 

How to start taking a good care of your gut

(read in 🇮🇹️)

There are plenty of studies that underline the importance of a healthy gut to support our health and well-being from a general point of view. Keep a few things in mind:

  • embrace a healthy lifestyle rich in fibre, fruit and vegetables, together with a variety of foods to get all the nutrients that you need daily
  • include sources of probiotics/prebiotics, spices, and herbs
  • stay active and de-stress

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Here there are also a few information that you may find useful:

1) KNOW YOUR FIBRE:

Look for a balance between soluble and insoluble fibre. They work in a different way once they get in the body, and we need both of them to stay healthy.

We talk about them as soluble/insoluble in WATER.

SOLUBLE FIBRE: they form a gel-like substance in the gut which attracts water and helps to keep clean the digestive tract. Found for example in oats, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, chickpeas, barley, vegetables, some fruits such as apples, pears, and bananas. This gel also helps to slow down the digestion => “full sensation” that lasts longer.

INSOLUBLE FIBRE: they help to move the things through the digestive tract. Found for example in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts.

START increasing your fibre intake today to keep a healthy gut => start discovering a healthier and happier you.

Remember that is important to change your diet STEP BY STEP – give your body enough time to adapt to the new habits.

2) NOT A BIG FAN OF PROBIOTICS (YET)?

Start with basic fermented foods like yogurt and kefir.

  • when choosing one of these products in the shop, look for unsweetened options – the amount of added sugar in this kind of products can be a lot, and it won’t help you with either your overall health or gut
  • choose one with only your key ingredients
  • make them part of your daily life (in smaller amounts at the begin, to check how you feel and to give your body time to get used to them)
  • pair them with fresh fruit, nuts, or seeds for breakfast or snack time
  • you can find both yogurt and kefir made with plant-based ingredients
  • at some stage, why don’t consider to start making your own?

3) A SIMPLE RECIPE TO START ADDING KEFIR TO YOUR DAYS…

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SMOOTHIE WITH KEFIR, BERRIES, AND MIXED SEEDS

(x 2 smoothies)

  • 1 small pearâ €
  • 1 bananaâ €
  • 1 handful of raspberries/blueberriesâ €
  • 150 ml kefirâ €
  • 1 tsp freshly grated gingerâ €
  • 1 tbsp shelled hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp milled chia seeds
  • water (adjust to your preferences) â €
  • on top: coconut yogurt + cacao nibs (optional)

Blend all the ingredients and adjust the amount of water according to your preferences. To get an extra smooth finish, I like to prepare in advance a chia pudding using kefir and chia seeds – so instead of adding directly these two ingredients in the blender, I add the pudding (this is also useful to allow the seeds to mix properly with a liquid and release their characteristic “gel”).

 



Would you like to start having a healthier diet and lifestyle, but also start building lifelong healthy habits? Are you ready for a change but need some help to get started? Click on the button below to take the first step:

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Noodles with Asparagus and Courgettes

Asparagus is one of those veggies that many people avoid to cook at home because of their characteristic taste, not so easy to pair and to prepare. The key is actually “keep it simple” – find a way to eat asparagus that you like and that at the same time allows you to celebrate them and really appreciate their flavour.

This Spring vegetable comes in several colours (green, purple, white) and it’s actually packed with nutrients*

  • low in calories
  • good amount of fibre (important to keep the body overall healthy)
  • rich in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, A, K, and E – folate, potassium, phosphorus (folate is important for many processes in the body (among them, cognitive functions) and it’s a key nutrient for women who are pregnant or are planning a pregnancy – many other nutrients come in a smaller amount in asparagus, making this veggie really useful for our health and well-being)
  • good amount of antioxidants (important compounds that help us working as a protection from the effect of oxidative stress and free radicals – so, for example, they may help us dealing with inflammation and ageing)
  • being a source of potassium, they are one of those foods that help us get our daily intake of this important mineral (potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and the amount of sodium in the body – for many people, the daily diet is often rich in sodium and lacks in potassium)

Asparagus is also pretty famous for something else… the smell! Wondering why? What’s the chemistry behind asparagus? Asparagus contains asparagusic acid, which our body converts into sulfur-containing chemicals that stink. In this interesting study published in the British Medical Journal, the researchers tried to know more about asparagus and our metabolism.

* if you have a specific medical condition, for example, uric acid kidney stones, talk to your doctor about having asparagus as part of your diet.

LET’S GET PRACTICAL! Here there is a simple recipe that will help you to fall in love with asparagus – it’s simple, rich in flavour, and really quick to prepare. You can use your favourite noodles, I have decided to go for the brown rice ones, that are pretty basic, and are a staple in my pantry (you never know when you’ll want to make a bowl of ramen or a stir-fry!).

Hope you’ll like it!

Chiara x
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Noodles with Asparagus and Courgettes

Ingredients
(serves 2)

  • 1 medium-sized courgette
  • approx. 200 g asparagus
  • 120 g brown rice noodles
  • 100 g plain tofu
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • a pinch of hot paprika
  • black sesame seeds
  • some finely chopped Spring onions (to add on top before serving) – approx. 1 tsp of chopped pieces for each person, but you can also put some in a bowl and leave it on the table
  • extra virgin olive oil

Cut the vegetables (courgettes and asparagus) in thin slices (leave the tops of asparagus as they are) – chop the tofu into small cubes and mix it with the tamari, black pepper and paprika. Heat a little bit of olive oil in a pan and then cook the tofu until it starts to get golden brown on the outside, then add the vegetables, mix well, and keep cooking for a minute (the vegetables are thin and you want to keep them crunchy).

Cook the noodles in boiling water following the instructions on the package and when they will be ready, rinse with cold water, drain the excess of liquid, and add them to the pan – add also the grated ginger, mix well, and get ready to serve. Add a little bit of olive oil just before serving, together with black sesame seeds, and some finely chopped raw Spring onions.

 



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CELEBRATE your body
TAKE GOOD CARE of yourself
FILL your days with love, attention to your well-being, and positive vibes
LEAVE behind all the negativity
LOVE the food that you CHOOSE to put on your table

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Greens on Tofu

Sometimes things are just totally unplanned! This is what happened for the recipe that you’ll find below. A combination of grocery shopping day, plenty of inspiring fresh ingredients in the kitchen, not too much time to cook, and a warmer weather that calls for green and fresh meals! What came out is something that I suddenly called “not your average toast”, because the idea is the same behind a toast: a thick base with a distinctive flavour (marinated tofu, in this recipe), covered with delicious toppings.

Hope you will like it! Chiara x

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Greens on Tofu

Ingredients
(serves 2)

100 g plain tofu
a pinch of garam masala
1 1/2 tbsp tamari
2 medium-sized courgettes
2 handful of rocket
some microgreens (here I have used the ones made from coriander)
1/3 tsp black sesame seeds
extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Make 4 thick slices out of the block of tofu and toss them with a little bit of olive oil, the tamari sauce and a pinch of garam masala – be sure that the marinade is well distributed around all your tofu, then place it in the fridge for 30 minutes (or you can cook it straight away if you’d have time). Roast the tofu in a pre-heated oven at 180°C until it starts to turn golden and crispy on the outside (approx. 15-20 minutes).

Cut the courgettes into slices (not too thin – so you’ll ensure that they will keep well a crunchy texture) and cook for only a couple of minutes in a warm pan with a little bit of olive oil.

Place the tofu on a plate* (I have used 2 slices for each person) – cover it with the courgettes first, then add the rocket and the microgreens. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds on top before serving.

* you are mixing cooked and raw ingredients, so it’s better to leave the tofu and courgettes to cool down a little before serving.

 



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5 Simple Ways to Reduce Waste in Your Kitchen

Today is Earth Day, so I thought that would be nice to talk about some ways in which you can easily reduce waste in your kitchen. I truly see being creative while cooking, re-connecting with the nature around me and having an attention to reducing waste as things included in a healthy lifestyle.

In this way, HEALTHY LIFESTYLE means to me more than just choosing to pair some veggies with my bowl of pasta to add more nutrients to my meal. From my point of view, it includes having a completely different perspective of

myself
food
health
well-being
people around me
nature

It’s always a good idea asking yourself from time to time “is my lifestyle exactly how I’d like it to be?“, “what can I change/improve?“, “great, I’m eating in a healthier way, but I’d like to do something more. Let’s step back and check my lifestyle from a different point of view!“, etc…

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Let’s talk about 5 ways to start having a more Earth-friendly lifestyle.

1) GET CREATIVE, SAVE MONEY, REDUCE WASTE

You can put this idea into practice in several ways, for example:

  • leftovers can be a chance to have some food ready for your next meal or a way in which you can get more creative in the kitchen
  • since they can take up some time to prepare, you can decide to cook cereals or legumes in a large amount (plain) and keep them in the fridge for a few days: in this way, you will be sure to have them ready whenever you need to put together a quick meal, simply add fresh fruit or vegetables and healthy fats
  • start cooking more from scratch: no need to suddenly go from only putting together a toast to start making bread, yogurt, tomato sauce, and fresh pasta for all your family everyday! Start doing it step by step, following your own schedule, cooking skills, and needs – there’s always room for improvements!
  • start discovering food markets, local producers, organic products and cook more seasonal foods. It’s a good way to reduce waste (usually in food markets most of the products have less or zero packaging), eat more according to the seasons, and get involved in all the social part that’s around food markets
  • do you have some empty glass jars? Recycle them properly or give them a new life!
  • when possible, try to buy more products in bulk or without packaging

2) BRING YOUR OWN REUSABLE BAGS

Whenever you plan to go for your grocery shopping, remind yourself to bring the bags with you – it’s also handy to always have one of them with you: keep it in the car, in your purse or in the pocket of your coat (some of those foldable bags can become so tiny!).

3) RECYCLE

Get organised with the different bins and be sure that everybody in the house knows how to use them. Wondering if you can or can’t recycle something? Check with your local recycling station or have a look online for specific guides made for your city/area.

4) CUT DOWN ON ALL THE SINGLE-USE STUFF

I’m talking about paper towel, cling film, parchment paper, aluminium foil, plastic bags, etc… First, take a step back and check how much of this kind of stuff are you using and start choosing reusable alternatives more often. Here there are some examples:

  • get a few beeswax wraps to cover bowls, plates, or to fold around an open watermelon (check out, for example, Bee’s Wrap and Abeego)
  • get a reusable baking mat
  • be sure to have always a tea towel and a sponge on hand so it will be easier to swap the paper towel for them for example when you spill something
  • get cotton produce bags and air-tight containers to store everything properly
  • what do you use to pack your lunch for the office? What can you change/improve?

5) GIVE “UGLY” FRUIT AND VEGGIES A CHANCE!

It’s pretty common to choose the apple that looks perfect over one that has some imperfections – we have all done that! But by choosing every time those perfect looking fruit and veggies, you keep sending a message to the shop about customers’ preferences so they will adapt the offer. The result? More waste! So, give those not-so-perfect apples a chance and you’ll find out that they are tasty and nutritious exactly like they are supposed to be!

Now it’s your turn! Have a look at your cooking/buying habits and check what you can start improving right now. And remember… every day is Earth Day!

Chiara x



Would you like to start being more aware of what you eat and why you choose it?