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

3 Benefits that you can get from being more aware around food

Wondering how being more aware and eating with intention can change/improve your everyday life or your relationship with food and with yourself? Wondering how starting to be truly aware of the entire process of eating and don’t only mindless getting some fuel for your body can make a difference for you? Let’s talk about 3 main benefits that you can get.

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1) RECLAIM YOUR TRUE SELF AND START FEELING YOUR BEST

Starting to be more AWARE of the entire process of nourishing, means working on the connection with your body and the food that you CHOOSE to eat, but it also means that you’ll truly put into practice the idea of moving from eating to nourishing. Learn how to listen and trust your body – start giving it what it needs, and not ignoring the messages that will eventually send you even in the busiest times. Start putting yourself first and love taking care of yourself, so you’ll be able to start felling your best!

2) LEARN MORE ABOUT YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU WANT

Check the difference between “I want to lose weight so I will start a diet next Monday” and “Lately I have been eating too many sweets because I look for them every time that I’m stressed, so I want to sort out this issue at its roots, find a way to de-stress and try new healthier snacks

=> the idea behind the first sentence 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! Being more aware means start doing this every day and get to know yourself better.

3) START BREAKING UP WITH THE DIETING MINDSET

A few days ago, I was talking with a new client about diets and why they aren’t the right tool to start having a healthier lifestyle or a better relationship with food.

For example: the idea of cheat days – when you have a healthy relationship with food, you don’t need this kind of things. The idea of a restrictive diet for 5/6 days a week and then a free day is only creating more limitations and a wrong mindset: you finally feel free to eat on that day and end up overeating because you know that all those things are NOT ALLOWED on regular days.

  • how can this approach help you to learn more about your body and its needs?
  • how can you truly enjoy your food if the idea is “I NEED to follow these restrictions today, then I will finally eat EVERYTHING that I want on my cheat day“?
  • how can you truly learn to eat with intention, and understand what you like or don’t like?
  • what will you do when your diet will come to an end? Which teachings will you get for your future?

The main goal is generally just one: lose weight. But there are a bunch of things that can help you in reaching your goal and that the classic dieting mindset doesn’t take into account, such as:

  • which are the reasons why you need to lose weight?
  • what else you can do apart from working on the food that you eat?
  • how do you feel about having to lose weight?
  • do you have a healthy relationship with your body?
  • how is your appetite? Do you recognise well when you are full or hungry?

I truly believe that it’s important to check-in with yourself very well before starting a journey like this one or any other wellness-related programs. You need to be aware of what can be disruptive for your mindset and what can help you in MOVING FORWARD.

Unfortunately, it’s so easy to lose confidence in your body or your food choices, and feeling like you are NOT ENOUGH… but, on the other hand, it’s not so easy to get back having a positive, strong and motivated mindset. So, try to PUT YOURSELF FIRST every day, try to choose what is best for you with a critical point of view and start being more AWARE. It’s NOT wasted time!

REMEMBERif you are not willing to take action, you can’t expect the results that you are looking for!

Chiara x



Would you like to start having a different approach to WHAT YOU EAT AND WHY YOU CHOOSE IT? 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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7 basic tips for a healthy skin

Your skin is the body’s largest organ and the fastest-growing one. Unless your skin is damaged or cut, your skin protects your whole body.

The skin has the ability to absorb active compounds that you use with lotions, but at the same time can use compounds that you introduce with the diet.

In this blog post, I will guide you through basic topics and pieces of advice, simple and easily adaptable to everybody’s life.

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What you eat influences not just how you feel “internally”, but it has also an effect on your skin, your energy levels, your sleep pattern, etc. (think for example at how your skin looks after a few days of not drinking enough water). A healthy lifestyle can also be helpful if you have a skin condition like acne, rosacea, or psoriasis: obviously, in this situation, you should be extra careful with your make-up, lotions, and beauty routine in general. Also, sometimes there are specific treatments to follow given by a dermatologist, considering that the reason behind these conditions can be different.

Remember that what worked for someone can be useless for you, or your skin can even react badly. That’s why is always better to do little patch tests on an arm when buying a new cream or make-up. Also “the more, the better” is not always true: putting too many products on your skin won’t make you look great faster – just find a few that work well for you and have a good list of ingredients, and use them on a daily basis. It’s like a healthy diet, you need to be consistent and slowly you will see results, but the body needs time to adapt!

7 basic tips for a healthy skin

1. Drink plenty of water: seems like the most useless advice, but it’s actually something good to remind. We are reading everywhere different pieces of advice related to health: drink this, drink that, drink those daily, a healthy shot of this, 10 glasses of that. Go back to the basics: are you drinking enough water? Your skin can tell you, also your lips, your digestive system, your ability to concentrate, your tiredness, and much more. Sometimes your body is telling you in many ways that you need more water – you should just pay more attention to the signs! There isn’t a fixed amount of water that is good for everyone, the classic rule of 8 glasses may not work for you. Consider how is your day, diet, exercise routine, etc. You will notice a big difference by start drinking more water: one of the first positive effects will be on your face’s skin!

2. Green tea: you can use it both as a beverage and as a skin treatment. It’s rich in antioxidants, that will help you fighting free-radicals and keeping a younger skin. Much research has been done about green tea, and the powerful effect of its catechins and polyphenols both for skin cells and protection from environmental damages has been proved. Using it topically, it will also help with inflammation and will give a good cleanse: you can make a concentrated cup of green tea, cool it down, and mix it with some aloe vera, then use as a cleanser with a cotton pad (after removing the makeup).

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3. Good fats: this is an important part of a balanced diet. Your body needs good fats: they are important for things like cells, metabolic processes, and vitamin absorption, just to name a few. Of course, you need them in the right amounts. Use extra virgin olive oil (that is also rich in vitamin E, great for skin), or nuts (for example almonds, that contain also minerals, vitamin A and E), or avocado (source of vitamin E, C, antioxidants, and vitamins from the B group), or seeds (source of omega-3, vitamins, and minerals).

4. Minerals: reduce sodium, go for fruit and vegetables rich in potassium (to keep a healthy sodium-potassium balance). Include foods rich in magnesium (that will also help with stress), and iron (lack of this mineral can give you a dry, itchy, aged skin). Overall, a good amount of minerals will help in keeping a radiant and hydrated skin. Green leafy vegetables, beetroots, spirulina, dried apricots, nuts, whole grains, cocoa powder, etc. are good vegetable sources of iron. Magnesium can be found in oats, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, legumes, cocoa powder, etc. Examples of food rich in potassium are bananas, sweet potatoes, peas, beans, apricots, etc.

5. De-stress: high levels of stress can mess up with your whole body, skin included. Find some relaxation techniques that work well for you, whether it’s yoga, meditation, cooking, reading, exercising, massage, or walking… find the most effective one (or ones) and include it in your daily routine. Stress is often related to emotional eating, digestive issues, lack of absorption of nutrients, high blood pressure, skin problems, etc. Also, staying active boosts your happiness-related hormones, helps to keep your digestive system working well, helps the body’s natural detox by sweating, etc.

6. Healthy gut: the more we know about our gut, the more we understand that there is a deep relationship between its health and our well-being. Your skin health is related to your internal balance because it’s related to diet, absorption of nutrients, hydration, hormones. Embrace a healthy lifestyle rich in fibre, fresh fruit, and vegetables, together with a variety of foods to get all the nutrients that you need daily. Include also healthy sources of probiotics, fermented foods, spices (like turmeric), and herbs.

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7. Exfoliate and massage: when doing a simple scrub, the important thing is using just a few basic ingredients that you know are good for your skin and don’t do this deep cleanse too often. You can easily prepare your own face scrub: taking inspiration from Ayurveda, you can use gram flour, honey, and rosewater. Or the simpler and cheaper option is using sugar as base. You can add spices like turmeric, but use small quantities and try it first on a small hidden piece of arm’s skin (it may be too much for a pale skin). By exfoliating, you will help your skin giving a breath of fresh air from dying cells, and you will also do a nice massage to stimulate the micro-circulation. To massage, or for a face mask (maybe together with honey), you can use coconut oil or ghee (they are both  rich in nutrients, that will help your skin in re-build a good external protective layer and will deeply nourish your skin): there are several kinds of oil/butter that you can use on your body or face skin, but among many options, these two are good alternatives both for nutrients (ghee is a staple in Ayurvedic treatments) and for adaptability to sensitive skin.

Fancy reading more about this topic? Below there are a few links to scientific publications related to skin health and some of the foods that are mentioned in the post.



 

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Sweet Potato Energy Balls

Whether you want to make some healthier sweets to eat during the day, or you’re looking for post-gym snack ideas, these energy balls are a good alternative. I have decided to go for a sweet potato base, not just to make them a little higher in carbs for those days when you need that extra energy but you don’t know how to include more healthy macronutrients in your diet, but because this recipe can be a way to use some sweet potato leftovers.. give it a go!

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Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Cake

Not your average chocolate cake, but a combination rich in flavour with a healthier twist.

What gives pumpkins their colour? Carotenoids, the same chemical compounds (phytonutrients) that give carrots their bright orange colour. Carotenoids are plant pigments that have many health benefits. They also have an important role in plants’ health, since they are involved in the process of absorbing light and use it in the photosynthesis.

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Spelt Pancakes with Orange Cream

In Italy we have Fat Tuesday, it’s the last day of the Carnival season. Well, actually there is Fat Thursday as well: a couple of days for indulging in traditional food before Lent. At the begin of January, when you still have a messy house full of decorations, loads of coloured and extra-sugary sweets start to pop up in the shops. And you will start hearing an imperative in your tummy: it’s time to fry! No jokes, it’s all about frying. There are so many kinds of traditional sweets for this time of the year, but 90% of them are fried. I like to cook some of them from time to time, but making a healthier version makes the sweets more enjoyable: so, for example, I use whole grain flour, cut off some of the sugar and use different toppings or fruit, or choose to prepare them in the oven. Continue reading “Spelt Pancakes with Orange Cream”