How to start bringing more awareness into your relationship with food

First of all: what does it mean EATING WITH INTENTION? In a few words, it’s related to the idea of being truly aware of the entire process of eating and don’t only mindless getting some fuel for your body.

You have probably noticed that the ideas of mindful eating and eating with intention are named pretty much everywhere lately. I absolutely love this kind of approach, but as soon as they became trends, it also started to be difficult to have a clear idea of how to apply them in the best way in your everyday life.

During the last years, I had the chance to apply the mindfulness-based approach to myself and I have found it pretty useful, both for general life issues and for the food-related ones. But I have tried to get a bigger view of it. When I talk with my clients about this kind of approach, I often refer to it in terms like “eating with intention”, “being present”, “being conscious of your relationship with food” – I use what I have learned during my holistic studies (I hold a diploma as massage therapist, and I have started practicing yoga in 2009), paired with science, to improve their relationship with food and with themselves.

Today, I’d like to drive your attention to the idea of bringing more awareness to the entire process of eating. First, let’s change that eating with nourishing – makes much more sense in relation to what we are talking about! Then, you may want to ask me: what’s included in that process?

  • your relationship with food
  • your relationship with yourself (your health, well-being, mind, and body)
  • what you choose to eat
  • your approach to grocery shopping
  • your approach to cooking
  • how you prepare your food
  • what you choose to put on your table
  • how you eat
  • your approach to the different meals
  • your relationship with dieting or ideal perfection guidelines or detox, etc…
  • your idea of healthy eating
  • how stress or a busy life affect your relationship with food
  • eating well seen as a form of self-respect
  • any food-related issue

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Let’s get practical with an example.

WHY WHEN YOU’RE STRESSED YOU COOK AND EAT AN ENTIRE CAKE ALL BY YOURSELF?

Eating well is a form of SELF-RESPECT. But ALSO understand the real reason why when you’re stressed you cook and eat an entire cake all by yourself is a form of self-respect. I could stay here every day telling you that eating an entire cake all at once is not healthy, how much sugar there is inside it, what happens in your body, etc… BUT if you don’t start to be more AWARE, things will remain the same.

I have always been the kind of person who puts all her energy and focus on what she does and I truly don’t think that this will ever change. But I have learned how to manage it better and how to take care of myself since I have seen on myself how much is difficult to stop before burning out. Now, I am definitely more aware of my body and its needs. BUT I also accept that sometimes I won’t be 100% connected with my body and that’s fine. I know that I’M TRYING TO DO MY BEST.

Something changes inside you when you decide to RESPECT yourself and your body.

ONE SIMPLE CHANGE that can help you on this pathway: start to bring more AWARENESS into your everyday activities. When we start to be more PRESENT, many things suddenly become much more clear. For example:

  • you stop making everything so hard for you
  • you want to know the real reason why when you’re stressed you cook and eat an entire cake all by yourself
  • you want to understand better why you are choosing to eat a specific food over another one

When you cook, eat, pack your lunch for the office, decide what to prepare for dinner, go for grocery shopping… really BE THERE. Connect with your food – really taste, smell, savour and appreciate it.

… remember: to get the best results, keep your mind open and allow changes to happen!


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My own soupe à l’oignon

Recently, I have been more focused on sharing tips and quick recipes on my social media pages, especially on Instagram, rather than publishing new stuff on these pages. I have also been busy writing some content for a lovely collaboration that started at the begin of the year. It’s with an Italian food blogger, Gaia from The Green Pantry – we are talking about how to rebalance and reconnect with your body using the idea of January as a fresh start. It’s all written in Italian, but if you love food pics, have a look at Gaia’s Instagram feed!

So I was supposed to share this recipe a while ago, but I’m only writing it now – hope you’ll like it as much as my better half does. I prepare this version of the traditional French onion soup from time to time and he loves it. Whenever I prepare this soup, I use a different cheese on top – we like to go to the farmer’s market and check out new cheese or buy what we feel on that day, so the recipe ends up being slightly different every time!

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My own soupe à l’oignon

Ingredients
(x 2)

2 medium-sized white onions
cashew or hazelnut drink
1/3 tsp cumin seeds
1/3 tsp fennel seeds
a pinch of black pepper
a pinch of grated nutmeg
extra virgin olive oil

* cheese to use on top: I usually put 2 slices to cover all the cocotte. I add 2 slices as soon as the cocotte is ready for the oven, and 2 extra slices when it’s almost ready. During the years, I have used different kinds of cheese for this recipe, and I invite you to do the same – get to know better your taste buds! Last time, I have decided to go for brie made with raw milk and it turned out great.

* bread, obviously, to dip into the warm soup! A slice of sourdough bread makes the perfect pair with this recipe.

Preparation

Peel the onions and cut them into thin slices. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pot over a medium heat, then add the chopped onions and the spices (cumin, fennel, and black pepper freshly crushed in a mortar + grated nutmeg). Stir until the onions turn golden. Pour the warm nut drink all over the vegetables (use approx. 150 ml) and leave to cook for approx. 10-15 minutes. What you aim for is a creamy result – there should be some liquid left but not too much (add a little bit more of liquid if needed).

Place the soup into the heatproof cocottes or baking dish, add a few slices of cheese to cover the top of your soup and place in the oven at 180°C for 10-15 minutes or until it starts to turn golden. Remove the soup from the oven, add some more cheese on top and put it back to roast for a couple of minutes. In the meantime, toast some bread and serve it with the soup once it’s ready.

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Let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions

I DON’T LIKE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS but I LIKE THE IDEA OF A FRESH START

January is a month filled with brand new resolutions, big promises, and a lot of talking about “new year, new me”. I have never liked all of these talking about setting big plans for the year ahead and judging yourself for what happened in the past.

From both a general point of view and in terms of “healthy resolutions”

Can you see the difference from

“I want to lose weight so I will do a diet in January”

and

“Lately I have been eating too many sweets because I look for them every time that I’m stressed, so I want to use the idea of January as a fresh start to both find a way to de-stress and try new healthier snacks”

=> the idea behind the first one is looking for a quick fix without questioning the resolution or asking yourself why you should do that and how you feel now or which benefits you will get from accomplishing this goal

=> read again the second sentence. Can you see how this one is not only more complete but is already getting you on a different pathway and motivates you to ask yourself more questions about that idea of losing weight?

  • You don’t need to COMPARE yourself to others.
  • You need to be focused on what really matters TO YOU.
  • You don’t need to fit into a general resolution but what you should do instead is create INTENTIONS with a non-judgemental approach.

Big, bright and shiny resolutions are definitely attractive

But WORKING ON YOURSELF is so rewarding in the long term!

It’s the first week of a new year, I don’t feel guilty for what I have done or not done, eaten or not eaten during the last year or month… instead, I am trying to focus on all the positive things and on my motivation to take care of myself on a DAILY BASIS. I have learned great lessons from my mistakes and I am ready to celebrate every little progress that will come.

* I am ready to celebrate myself, my body, health, and well-being
* I am focusing on my strengths and working on letting go of what is holding me back
* I am committed to reminding myself anytime that I will feel lost that I AM ENOUGH

Join me on starting the new year with this SELF-LOVE revolution!

Remember:
it’s not about “new year, new me” – you just need to have a better look inside you and… BE READY TO SHINE!

Chiara x

p.s:⠀
NEED HELP IN PUTTING ALL OF THESE THINGS TOGETHER? –>  There are ONLY 7 places still available on my 90-day program with a 10% OFF from the regular price! Hurry up, OFFER ENDS on the 10th of January.

From these 90-day nutrition coaching program YOU’LL GET:
* a better understanding of your body needs
* a new perspective on food (from simple fuel for your days to real nourishment)
* a renovated relationship with food AND yourself
* a new approach to grocery shopping and cooking
* more attention to your health and well-being
* the help that you need to set personal goals that actually fit into your lifestyle and needs

FALL IN LOVE WITH TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF⠀

More you work on yourself, more it’s easy to PUT YOURSELF FIRST.⠀

When you start to feel great, you find a completely new strength, and when you are motivated by a deep sense of self-love, your life is completely turned upside down.⠀

YOUR STARTING POINT: click HERE to know more about my program and apply to get your spot.

 

Holiday Gift Guide

For your wellness enthusiast friend, for your loved ones, for yourself. My holiday gift guide that will hopefully make everybody happy.

I always need to be connected somehow with the gifts that I’m making, feel that there is a reason why I’m choosing that option, and from a general point of view, I don’t feel that need to buy just because I need to. So, here there’s my brief wellness-inspired list – put on some Christmas songs, prepare a cup of hot chocolate (spiced, like this one) and have a look at some of my favourite gift options! Chiara x

BOOKS

Green Kitchen Travels – packed with interesting recipes from all over the world (vegetarian/vegan)

Green Kitchen At Home – for the everyday healthy cooking (vegetarian/vegan)

Veggie Hotels – for anyone passionate about veggie food and travel

Tartine Book n°3 – a must-have for anyone interested in sourdough bread and baking

The Cultured Club: Fabulous Funky Fermentation Recipes – recipes and techniques for the fermentation enthusiast or the newbie

Grown & Gathered – learn more about growing, cooking and connecting with the food that you put on your table

 

 

HOME AND SELF-CARE

Manduka yoga mats, towels, props, and clothing – great quality and a particular attention to the environment

SuperBee Wax Wraps – reusable beeswax wraps

Grown & Gathered shop – reusable bags for your grocery shopping and storage bags

Kinvara Skincare – selected ingredients and combinations to nourish your skin

Samaya Ayurveda Skincare – ayurvedic-inspired formulations to take great care of your skin

Brookfield Farm and The Bearded Candle Makers – natural candles

Velona’s Jungle b&b – why don’t give the gift of a stay in the heart of Florence? A b&b with a particular attention to the design of their rooms, the history and nature around the city – but also with an attention to the environment and veggie-friendly.

And last, but not for importance: give the gift of an Ashtanga Yoga course to a newbie or give the gift of a package of classes at their favourite shala to your loved ones who are already practising. For those of you in Dublin, check out: Ashtanga Yoga Ireland and Ashtanga Yoga Dublin.

 

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Velona’s Jungle b&b

 

 

 


 

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Pear and Nuts Crumble

Playing with oats… again! This time to make a naturally sweetened dessert that will be a great plan-ahead breakfast. I have a deep love for both granola and crumbles – this one has a great mix of nutty taste, spices and a little bit of crunchiness. There’s no added sugar and just a few simple ingredients – each of them a staple of many healthy eating pantries. I definitely try to have all the time oats, flour, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, spices, and fresh fruit in my kitchen.

Not only nutrient-packed but also a delicious and easy to make treat – it’s a win-win recipe!

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Pear and Nuts Crumble

Ingredients:

(serves 2)*
for the crumble:
3 tbsp rolled oats (choose the gluten-free option if needed)
1 ½ tbsp whole grain flour (any kind of whole grain flour will work well)
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 handful of hazelnuts, chopped
2 tsp almond butter
1 ½ tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lukewarm water
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
a pinch of salt

for the fruit layer:
1 large pear
a handful of raspberries
a splash of lemon juice
½ tsp cinnamon powder
a pinch of nutmeg

In a large bowl, mix all the things that go in the crumble – add the water as last ingredients (you will need enough water to allow the crumble to combine together but not to form one big piece).

Prepare the fruit for the bottom layer: chop in small pieces the pear and mix it with raspberries, lemon juice, and spices – mix well and place them in the single-serving pots (as you can see from the pictures, I have used a couple of oven-safe mini cocottes). Place the crumble on top of your fruit and bake in the oven at 180°C for approx. 20 minutes (check them from time to time ’cause the crumble tends to burn easily).

Serve as itself, preferably warm or with a dollop of yogurt or labneh.

*If you want to make these crumble in a larger baking tray, just increase the amount of ingredients.

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Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes

Such a tricky recipe! Using pumpkin into pancakes isn’t like using mashed or blended bananas. I had to adjust the batter a few times to get it right but, at the end, the result was delicious. If you add too much pumpkin or nut drink or both, they just remain too moist and not well cooked. So just go for roasted pumpkin, with less water, and check your batter step by step as you prepare it – I actually love this step: you learn to be more aware of what you are doing and how you prepare your food!

I have decided to top them with some tahini sauce (1 tbsp of tahini mixed well with approx. the juice of 1 lemon) and some fresh fruit. The nutty taste of tahini pairs well with the sweetness of these pancakes.

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Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients:
70 g cooked pumpkin (better if roasted)
120 g whole grain spelt flour
1 handful of pecans
1 tbsp date syrup
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp coconut oil (measured solid)
a pinch of salt
a pinch of garam masala
1/3 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp ginger powder
nut drink

To make the batter: in a medium-sized bowl, combine spices, date syrup, melted oil, pumpkin (make a puree of pumpkin+pecans with a blender, use the minimum amount of water necessary to blend it) – mix well with approx. 130 ml of nut drink. Let it rest for 5-10 min. Then add the remaining ingredients. Stir until there are no lumps. Add step by step more liquid when it’s necessary – depending on the pumpkin puree and the kind of flour that you are using. The batter tends to be particularly tricky due to the pumpkin, so learn how to check it step by step. Heat a frying pan, preferably a non-stick one, on a medium heat with ½ tsp of coconut oil. Use 3 tbsp for each pancake, moving the pan until the batter is evenly distributed. Cook each pancake until it can be easily flipped with a spatula. Keep the batter well mixed. Using these quantities, you will be able to make approx. 8/10 pancakes.

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