Summer Comfort Food We all have moments where a home comfort meal makes us feel the world of good. Generally speaking, comforting food comes in the form of something which doesn’t always make you feel that great after consumption though, however with a few changes we can still enjoy these same comforts but with a healthy twist, and subsequently enjoy them guilt free.
Whether you're on the go or you just like to roll your food these fun, healthy wrap recipes are for you! They are packed full of whole plant foods, our friendly fruits and vital veggies, in other words we love the work of mother nature and so should you! 1.) Southern Black Bean Wraps These colourful wraps are full of goodness and wonder! You can practically see the health through the vibrant phytonutrients pigments of the sweet potato and green leafy vegetables! You can wrap up at least 3 servings of your 5 a day in this recipe alone! Check out the full recipe here! And for more information on why you should be eating more beans click here! 2.) Nori Burrito Just about everyone loves sushi and burritos, this sushi burrito recipe makes the best out of both worlds! Also the brown rice in this recipe whams in a punch that has been associated with increased weight loss, lower blood pressure and decreased inflammation! For more information on brown rice click here! Then roll on over here for the full wrap recipe! P.S. This is gluten free 3.) Protein Packed Hummus Wrap Throw your kale confetti in the air because this wrap is a celebration of health! This humble hummus wrap will have you humming with happiness! For the full recipe click here! 4.) Summer Rainbow Rice Paper Rolls This summer rice paper rolls all about rainbows and sunshine and are sure to leave you with a vibrant glow from head to toe! Check out the full recipe with the secret sauce here! 5.) Easy Mexican Bean Burrito Would you like to burry your worries with burritos? Well this recipe is for you! Check out the full recipe here! For more wrap recipes head on over here!
High cholesterol has become a epidemic of this century, and this century alone. Many scientists believe this is due to the change in our diet over the recent years. In this decade we have reached all new highs in the prevalence rates of high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. What can we do to conquer the diseases of our time? Well we can start by eating more fruit. Why is this an issue? High cholesterol can lead to hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes and eventually death. Having cholesterol is fine, we all have cholesterol, however high cholesterol is an issue. An issue with rates at an all time high; high cholesterol is a disease that plagues over 50% of adults in the United Kingdom alone. As this can lead to cardiac arrest and in some cases death, this is clearly an issue that we need to take to heart. Where does it come from? Cholesterol is a naturally occurring waxy substance which is necessary for healthy cell maintenance, vitamin D production, hormone production amongst other functions. Cholesterol is made by the body in the liver so we get all the cholesterol we need. However it is also a component in some foods so we need to watch our diets and consuming too much cholesterol. Get low! Get low! One of the most effective ways to keep our cholesterol levels lows to limit our intake of saturated fat, as consuming these foods has been scientifically proven to raise our cholesterol levels. Saturated fat is mainly found in animal products such as butter, lard, fatty meat and full fat dairy products. Another way to combat our cholesterols is to eat more fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in fibre and other beneficial compounds that lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and can help individuals who struggle with their cholesterol levels. Dietary fibre can be seen as a broom that works to sweep cholesterol out of the body naturally. How does this work? and what can we do? Soluble fibre found in plant foods like fruits and vegetables (as well as grains and beans) bind to and remove bile acids from the body. This means that there is less bile acid available to recirculate in the body. However we need bile acid for digestion, so the liver must use up its cholesterol reserves to produce more bile acids. This process of using up our existing cholesterol, lowers the overall cholesterol in the body. Research has shown that individuals who consume higher quantities of fruits and vegetables are at lower risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity. Additionally, experimental findings have shown that increasing daily dietary fibre intake by "5 to 10 grams have up to a 5 percent drop in cholesterol". Most fruits and vegetables are of high fibre content however some especially high in fibre such as broccoli, apples, strawberries and spinach. Additionally, dried fruits have been shown to also have been shown to offer a whole host of health benefits such as providing a high antioxidant value, help with insomnia and battle cancer. Dried apples have been especially good at lowering cholesterol. Scientists conducted a year long study that tested the cholesterol lowering effect of various dried fruits in a group of 160 older women. They found that just 12 dried apple rings a day helped to significantly drop the overall cholesterol levels! It's time to get crunching! Put simply if we are to trying to reduce our cholesterol levels, reduce our risk of heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure or just live a healthy lifestyle we should limit saturated fat intake and eat more fibre! Each fruit and vegetable crisp pack at The Giving Tree count as one of your five a day! For more information click here!
This great article for the Daily Mail features advice from our nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert on why you get those dreaded hunger pangs!
You know the feeling - you wake up with hunger pangs that even a hearty breakfast and slap-up lunch do little to diminish. But what causes those 'hyper-hungry' days when all you can think about is the next snack? We look at the science behind the stomach rumbles.
YOU'RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP
If you didn't sleep well last night, chances are you won't only feel exhausted. You will feel ravenous, too.
Those who don't go to bed until the early hours end up eating an extra 248 calories the next day, according to a study in the journal Obesity.
Those who don't go to bed until the early hours end up eating an extra 248 calories the next day
Being exhausted has also been found to encourage us to eat twice the amount of high-calorie fast food and fizzy drinks - and half the amount of fruit and veg.
If you keep skimping on sleep, scientists say you are likely to become badly overweight, because the stress on your body interrupts the balance of 'hunger hormones' ghrelin and leptin, which tell you if you are hungry or full.
As a result, people who regularly get only five hours of sleep have been found to be 50 per cent more likely to be obese than those getting eight hours.
Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert, of, says: 'If you are tired and your body hasn't had enough sleep the night before to stoke energy levels, it is going to crave glucose - sugar, carbs and fizzy drinks - like crazy because it needs more energy quickly.'
EATING TOO MANY CARBS AT DINNERTIME
If you felt famished when you woke up this morning, cast your mind back to what you had for dinner last night. If it was pizza, garlic bread and cake, you went to sleep on a major sugar high.
Refined carbohydrates such as these are made of small molecules which are quickly digested and converted into glucose - a sugar produced by the liver that fuels the brain. Eating them causes levels of these sugars not only to rise rapidly but to drop fast, too.
The resulting low means on waking up, your brain immediately craves glucose. Hunger hormones are then released, making you want to eat as soon as possible.
To avoid starting the day hungry, experts advise dinners that combine more complex carbs - brown rice, whole grain breads and pastas, which are processed more slowly by the body - with proteins, such as meat, fish or nuts, which are also more difficult to digest.
Endocrinologist Sir Stephen O'Rahilly, a professor at Cambridge University, says carbs don't switch off hunger hormones as well as other foods.
'Inside your intestines are tiny sensor cells which detect how much protein and carbs you have eaten.
'Protein stimulates these cells more strongly than carbs, which is why it's harder to eat too much steak than too much pizza. You need to include protein in meals to tell your brain you have had enough.'
A BIG NIGHT OUT WITH FRIENDS
Drinking doesn't just land you with a raging hangover the next morning. It can also give you the munchies.
Research published in the journal Alcohol And Alcoholism found just three glasses of wine can lower levels of hormone leptin, which keeps hunger at bay, by up to 30 per cent.
Also, your liver will have spent so much time breaking down the alcohol in your blood overnight it won't have been able to deliver the levels of glucose your brain needs to function.
Professor O'Rahilly, says: 'If you poison your liver with alcohol, it does not make the normal amount that your brain is used to. So when you wake up, it screams emergency because it wants glucose so badly.'
MOUTHWATERING FOOD ADS
With food adverts tempting us everywhere we go, no wonder eating is always on our minds.
Just looking at pictures of appetising meals can make you hungry, according to researchers at Germany's Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry.
They found we produce more nof the hunger hormone ghrelin when we see the images.
Tempting food smells set off cravings, too. New York-based Brookhaven National Laboratory found our brains light up when we smell our favourite foods - in the same way that those of cocaine addicts do when they think about their next drug fix.
The result of all this is that we no longer just eat when we are hungry, says Alison Clark, of the British Dietetic Association. 'Triggers like food ads can actually make people want to eat - even when they don't need to.'
NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER
You think you're peckish - but if you don't take on enough fluids, you may be misinterpreting your thirst as hunger. When we are dehydrated, these messages become confused in the hypothalamus, the part of the brain which regulates appetite hormones, so we reach for a snack when we actually need a drink.
Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert says: 'Our body is 60 per cent water and all our cells need it. If you're dehydrated, you're going to start getting moody, tired, losing concentration. However, that feeling can get confused in the brain with hunger as it has the same effects.
If you don't drink enough, you may be misinterpreting your thirst as hunge
'People should therefore aim for about two litres a day minimum, even when you don't actually feel thirsty, to avoid this confusion.'
SUFFERING THE 'BUFFET EFFECT'
The trend for importing cuisines from all over the world means we have never enjoyed a wider range of exotic flavours.
But eating lots of different types of food at one meal - known as the 'buffet effect' - can trick us into eating more than we need.
A study in the Journal Of Consumer Research found diners tend to eat 10 per cent more if offered a variety of foods.
When faced with a large choice at one meal, researchers think our eyes con us into underestimating the quantities of each dish. Over a year, this 'optical illusion' can lead to weight gain of up to 20 lb.
Therapist Marisa Peer, author of You Can Be Younger, says studies show how a new taste can also reset our appetite - even when full. 'There is only so much of one food we can have before we get bored and stop eating. When you are given a taste, even if feeling full, it stimulates your appetite again.
'This is why you still have room for dessert after a filling Sunday lunch.'
WOLFING DOWN YOUR MEAL
When you rush a meal, you may fill your stomach quickly. But your brain needs time to register you've had enough.
Experts say it starts to realise you are full only when your meal begins to be digested.
'It takes about 20 minutes for your body to register and for your receptors in your stomach to reach the brain and say: “Thanks very much. I'm full. Stop eating,”' says Alison Clark of the British Dietetic Association.
'So we suggest taking time to pause after a meal instead of going on to the next course in order to allow the chemical signals to reach the brain.'
YOUR PERIOD IS ON THE WAY
If your period is on the way, the biscuit tin will be much harder to resist.
During the second half of your menstrual cycle, levels of the sex hormone progesterone rise as your body gets ready for pregnancy by sending blood to the womb.
As part of this preparation, it also triggers hunger hormones to persuade you to eat more and give your body the reserves to grow a baby.
As your period approaches, levels of the female sex hormone oestrogen also dramatically drop off - and with it levels of the feelgood hormone serotonin.
Lucia Lukanova, founder of The Flow app, which helps women chart their cycles, says: 'Women's food cravings start in the last week before their period when their progesterone and oestrogen levels fall.
'This sudden withdrawal is like taking cigarettes away from a smoker so we crave alternatives, like comfort foods, to make us feel better.'
Forget salad plates and sushi platters: Foodies are all about the new Instagram-worthy 'power bowl'. The power bowl is a bowl filled with vegetables, whole grains and plenty of protein! It tastes as healthy as a salad, but feels heartier as a meal The recipe for the 'perfect power bowl' comes down to macrobiotics, and here we show you our favourite ones featuring Giving Tree crisps as healthy, crunchy toppings for these bowls!
Quinoa tricolore - this lovely bowl features our Apple crisps with steamed kale, with raspberries, and pomegranate, spiralized carrot and a tahini-açai! YUM
The smoothie bowls are still in, but this latest food trend is totally savoury.Introducing power bowls, or the latest way to eat your lunch like the chic, wellness-obsessed set. Basically a bowl filled with vegetables, whole grains and protein, the power bowl ticks all the right boxes. It’s as healthy as a salad, but tastes heartier, it’s highly photogenic and is low in carbohydrates while also being jam packed full of so-called ‘good fats’ (think avocado, chia seeds and brazil nuts) These recipes we feature are so simple to make and the more variety of veg the better - we like to say 'Eat a rainbow'. There’s a science to the ‘perfect power bowl’, which basically comes down to macrobiotics. The most powerful Power Bowl consists of 15 per cent lean protein, 25 per cent whole grains, 35 per cent vegetables, 10 per cent sauce and 30 per cent extras (including nuts, seeds and sprouts).
This wonderful bowl consists of Spiralized veggies, and a cucumber sesame salad, raw mushrooms, broccoli, mixed cooked beans, beetroot hummus with lots of tahini, mixed greens and @givingtreesnack apple crisps plus fresh pomegranate seeds. It adds a different dimension adding sweet and crunchy flavours to savoury too!Here are some great ingredients to add to your shopping list if you want to recreate your own at home include quinoa, beetroot, sweet potato, seeds, nuts, chicken, black beans and avocado (of course). When perfectly arranged so that you can see everything in it, the bowl provides a much more photogenic alternative to the traditional plate. Fans of the bowl say that it is like a ‘hug’ in a meal, and Instagram already has tens of thousands of posts with the hashtag #powerbowl accompanying their filtered snaps. For those who are sick of their regular plate of salad at lunchtime and who fancy something with a little bit more symmetry and harmony than a few pieces of wilting lettuce, try the power bowl in replacement.
So weekends are meant for indulging right? However, too much indulgence can lead to over indulging and consuming way too much on a weekend!
However, everything in moderation is what we believe, and these recipes are the perfect combination of what feels like a treat but in actual fact, super healthy! With thanks to our lovely nutritionist Rhiannon for the recipes!
1. Breakfast- Coconut milk, pistachio and strawberry giving tree porridge
- Giving Tree strawberry crisps
2. Lunch / Dinner - Herby garlic chicken with veggie giving tree topping
- 4 skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 clove of garlic crushed
- 100g quinoa
- 600ml hot chicken stock
- 6 tomatoes
- 1 green pepper
- 1 courgette
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 red onions, cut into thin wedges
- Mixed herbs to season
- Giving Tree Broccoli and pumpkin crisps for topping
- Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the chicken with the garlic, herbs and arrange in a single layer in a roasting tin. Bake for 20 mins until the chicken is cooked. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, cook the quinoa in the chicken stock for 15 mins until tender, blend the vegetables in a food processor in the mean time. Drain and place into a large bowl with the chicken, toss together with the vegetables sauce too.
- Top with broccoli and pumpkin crisps!
3. Dessert - Wheyhey Chocolate ice cream topped with bee pollen, chia seed and Giving Tree Peach Crisps! Simple as that
Easter is round the corner and we are here to bring you the healthiest and tastiest easter recipes to crowd please and of course, they can be enjoyed any time of the year too!
Here are our favourites..
Recipe courtesy of the lovely Rhiannon Lambert - our lovely nutritionist (www.rhitrition.com)
1. To wake you up with a chocolatey Easter twist.. This delicious bowl of Chocolate Proats goodness that's super indulgent yet absolutely guilt free!
- Add Oats, protein, cacao powder and Coconut Milk to a saucepan on a low heat and stir until creamy
- Top with Giving Tree strawberry crisps and Bee Pollen for an immunity and nutrition boost
1. Grain Free / Paleo Goey Chocolate Brownies with Giving Tree Strawberries (recipe courtesy of @londonpaleogirl / www.londonpaleogirl.com (makes 6 brownies)
- 1 Large Cooked & Mashed Sweet Potato
- l 1 Egg
- 3 large TBS of @adunaworld Super - Cocoa Powder
- 2 TSP @pipandnut Almond Butter
- 2 TSP Honey
- 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- Mix together until a smooth consistency & pour onto baking paper in a baking tray & put in a 200• pre heated oven for 15 minutes / until cooked •• To make Chocolate Icing mix @chocshot sauce with a TSP @pipandnut Almond Butter l 2 Table spoons Honey l 2 TSP @adunaworld Super - Cocoa Powder ••
- Served with Coconut Yogurt l Cinnamon l drizzle of @chocshot sauce & a frozen Raspberry on top
2. The perfect evening meal to be shared with family and friends!
Courgetti Meatballs with a sprinkling of Giving Tree Broccoli crisps - recipe courtesy of the lovely Rhiannon Lambert - our lovely nutritionist (www.rhitrition.com)
- 12 Organic MeatBalls
- 80g Brown Rice
- 200ml Passata
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Giving Tree Broccoli Crisps
- 1 White Onion
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 1 tsp Himalayan Salt
- 2 small Peppers, red and yellow
- Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tbs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Boil the Brown Rice and leave to one side
- Prepare the sauce by chopping the onion, peppers, cherry tomatoes finely
- Add the sauce ingredients into a non stick pan on a low heat and add Olive Oil and Paprika
- Meanwhile cook the meatballs with coconut oil in an Air Fryer or the Oven and place your Garlic Cloves in with them (round 15 to 20 minutes)
- Add your rice to the sauce in the saucepan, increase the heat and stir well
- Pre-heat a plate and dish up your rice, meatballs and top with crunchy Broccoli Crisps!
- I would have 6 meatballs each and feel free to add more vegetables to the sauce! :-)
Giving Tree gives the low down on carbs..
When out for dinner, it's often now perceived as a bit of a taboo to grab those hot crusty bread rolls from the middle of the table, and asking for wholegrain rice or quinoa as a side is quite the norm.
Thanks to popular carb-avoiding diets such as the Atkins and more recently the Paleo lifestyle, the once well loved staples such as rice, bread, potatoes and pasta – even poor old porridge, once considered breakfast of champions are slowly diminishing..
But are theses cupboard staples really so bad for us? Or are we just getting ployed into a big old marketing ploy of the new power grains?
In the last 12 months, sales of bread in Britain’s supermarkets has dropped by 8.9 per cent, according to a report by market analysts Nielsen. Even in Italy, pasta the staple of Italians.. has dropped by a staggering 25 per cent since 2009.
So what is the science behind all the talk.. Well first of all, carbs play a crucial part of giving us energy which when we're active in particular, is so important. Often getting rid of carbs can make people feel fatigued. This is because when we eat carbohydrates, they turn into glycogen in muscles which is the fuel that keeps us going during exercise and when we are working out.
Not only that though, when we eat carbohydrates, they turn into glycogen in muscles, which is the fuel that gives us the kick we need for maintaining exercise.
Carbohydrate-free diets have now been found to affect gut health, too. “Eating no-carb, high-protein can lead to the production of potentially harmful compounds called n-nitroso produced in the gut,” says Dr Johnstone. Indeed, studies have found that very high protein diets may increase the risk of colonic disease thanks to their production of such compounds. “Eating slow-release carbohydrates, can act as a buffer to help protect the gut from these.”
Nutritionists and health care professionals will always advise that eating the right types than none at all could be the key to keeping us more satisfied, increase our energy and actually aid weight loss.
For these experts, white and processed carbohydrates such as sugars, pasta, commercial breads, rice and potatoes should be replaced by slowly digestible complex carbohydrates, served in their most natural states.
These types of carbohydrates are low on the Glycaemic Index (GI) which relates to how quickly they turn to glucose in our blood stream; low is usually considered 55 or less (you can find a list at glycaemicindex.com).
Along with slow release carbohydrates comes the famous and fashionable quinoa, a healthy grain much loved with many foodies. These super grains are high in fibre, meaning you're likely to get fuller with smaller portions, very useful for weight loss! Not only that though, they're higher in nutrients for example - a sweet potato contains more betacarotene than a white potato.
Here are a few other top complex carbs that you're most likely going to start seeing a lot this year of..
A tiny grain – whose colour can range from white and beige to deep red and black – is gluten-free, high in protein, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Great in stews or salads, it boils like rice and can be popped to achieve a popcorn-like effect. When cooked with coconut milk, it makes for a soothing porridge – as recommended by Hemsley & Hemsley.
Similar to barley. Rich in fibre, magnesium and vitamins A, E and B, its wholewheat kernels are sweet and chewy, with a higher carb content than quinoa but with more calcium. Simmer on a low heat to make a nutty risotto.
An unprocessed form of wheat but higher in protein and B vitamins, the high-fibre flour is great for general baking.
Wheat and gluten-free, with all essential amino acids, high in protein and magnesium. The flour makes great pancakes and studies have found it helps lower blood sugar so might be helpful for diabetics.
A young green wheat that tastes smoky and is great used as a stuffing for poultry or side dishes.
Lastly, don't forget fruit and veg are carbohydrates too - aim to eat 5-7 varied portions of fruit and veg combined a day and ensure when consuming fruit you remember fruit is high in sugar too but in moderation this type of sugar is much better than having refined, processed sugared foods.
Try our Giving Tree fruit and veg snacks in 7 different varieties!