How to accentuate the benefits of Yoga,massage and nutrition!

Answer: Create synergy!

In this post I would like to share with you just a few of the therapeutic benefits of yoga and massage and how certain foods can increase your in take of certain foods to boost these benefits for an all round improvement in health and wellbeing.

I came to massage after discovering that similar benefits to those achieved through practicing  yoga could be attained and shared on a more individualised healing level through body work therapy i.e. massage.                                                                                      And therefore I found a way to share these benefits more broadly with people who don’t have a practice but could benefit from the effects.
I grew up on an island on the West coast of Ireland, experiencing organic home grown vegetables and fresh caught fish as the norm, I was raised with an appreciation for the amazing nutritional quality and exceptional flavours of natural unprocessed foods, which I now value more than ever. I also grew up seeing and helping my mum share her cooking skills and inventive healthy and wholesome meals with the customers in her restaurant on the island. It  has always inspired me to  create my own recipe’s and to want to share the gift of nutritious food with others as well.

Flexibility
Massage and yoga both work in a way which encourages the steady development of flexibility in the body. Through yoga the muscles are encouraged to gently lengthen in each asana. And during a massage the therapist works the muscles warming and lengthening connective tissue to improve flexibility.
Increased range of motion and greater flexibility in the joints and muscles helps to promote better posture and can help towards improving breathing.
Sesame seeds are considered highly beneficial for muscle and bones they are naturally high in calcium and easily digestible.

* Foods which may decrease flexibility-alcohol, and food that is processed or refined.

 

Circulation
A good massage and a good yoga practice can increase the movement of oxygen and nutrient rich blood through the systems.
The increased free flowing movement of blood throughout the body has been shown to beneficially lower blood pressure which an overall positive effect.
Some foods to consider if you are trying to improve circulation ; Ginger-this warming root is energy building it has a stimulating effect on the blood circulation and it has an added anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic effect.
Oranges and other citrus fruits that contain high vitamin C are natural blood thinners and are said to strengthen capillary walls.

Stress less
Too much stress has been proven to have a detrimental effect on all systems of the body. We can’t remove stress completely from our lives in fact some amount of stress is necessary however we do need to find ways to manage our stress levels and to turn stress responses off when we don’t need them, yoga and massage and a healthy diet can be key elements in contributing to stress regulation. A regular yoga practice and regular massage can have the kind of effects that help to improve sleep, increase your ability to relax quickly and efficiently and improve physical and mental performance therefore helping you to cope more easily with potentially stressful situations.
A food which is highly regarded for it’s beneficial effects on improving

Depression has been linked to low levels of folic acid, vegetable that boost levels of this mood-enhancing nutrient include dark leafy green vegetable, Brussels sprouts asparagus, dried beans, peas and nuts.
Like you need an excuse to include more avocado in your life-they contain B vitamins which are essential for healthy nerves and brain cells, they also reduce tiredness and fatigue due to their important role in cell metabolism. No wonder it makes me so happy to eat them!

I hope you have found this helpful.

Please feel free to send me any questions or comments!

Feel at ease

Ana Maria Conneely

@awaytolivewell

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Quinoa and poppy seed loaf (GF) (V)

This is such a simple recipe, I can’t believe I never made this before! I will undoubtedly be making it again.

The texture is really crispy on the outside as the quinoa gets toasty and golden and the inside is soft but it all holds together really well, which is brilliant considering it does not contain even a pinch of any kind of flour.

Ingredients

1 Medium to large courgette (grated)

300g Quinoa (soaked overnight to activate and then rinsed)

60g of chia seed

2tbs of coconut oil

salt and pepper to taste

1tsp of gluten free baking powder

1 tsp cumin (optional)

poppy seeds to top

The method

Grate your courgette and mix the chia seeds in with it. Leave to sit overnight in the fridge or at least for a few hours.

Soak your quinoa in water overnight, then drain and rinse.

Place the  pre-soaked quinoa and prepared courgette and other ingredients (except poppy seeds those are for topping) in a bowl and blend with a hand blender, if you have a food processor that would be a good option as well. Make sure it all blends together really well.

Prepare a bread tin with some coconut oil to prevent sticking and then empty the quinoa mix into it. Smooth out the top and sprinkle with poppy seeds!

Bake on 180 C for about 45minutes or until golden brown all over.

Easy and delicious!

I had a slice with some home made almond butter, I also tried it with a soft goat’s cheese both options were yum!

Let me know if you try this recipe.

Post a photo on instagram and tag @awaytolivewell I would love to see your creations!IMG_3689

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Gauranteed Delicious Vegan Quiche (GF)

Texturally the crust is thin and crispy and the filling is soft and surprisingly egg like with tons of flavour.

I am not a vegan but I do enjoy eating and prepairing vegan food. Interestingly I am also not a really a fan of quiche, however this is a very delicious adaptation which I have become quite partial to.

It only takes about an hour in total to make and does not require an excessive amount of ingredients or prep. Also you dont have to role out your dough you can simply press it into shape in your pie dish, which is nice!

A bit about buckwheat; I really love this psuedo-grain(like a grain but not), it is a coplex carbohydrate power house to give you that sustained energy fuel you need! I like to sprinkle toasted buckwheat on my porridge at breakfast. Despite it’s name it is actually a seed and it’s more closely related to rhubarb than any kind of grain.
However if you are gluten intolerant or celiac pay close attention to if the buckwheat has been processed along side gluten full grains making it not quite gluten free friendly.
Or you can purchase the raw seed and grind it into flour yourself!

Ingredients

Filling

340g Tofu firm
2 medium onions
2-3 cups fresh spinach
4-5 mushrooms
5 juicy Spanish olives
2 tbs of nutritional yeast
1 tsp of onion powder
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch of salt

Crust

2 cups buckwheat flour
4 tbs of olive oil
2tbs of water (depending on the consistency you made need more)
3 crushed garlic cloves
A couple sprigs of thyme (optional)
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
coconut oil to grease the pie dish

How to…

Prepare your dough- place the flour in a mixing bowl then add the cloves of crushed garlic, olive oil, thyme (chopped), salt and water together. Add the water in a little at a time, adding more as necessary.
Until your ingredients come together to form a dough. Press the dough into your pie dish, pierce the dough with a fork and then bake blind at 180 for 10-15 minutes or until it begins to turn slightly golden.

Prepare the filling- while your crust is baking place your tofu, nutritional yeast and onion powder in a food processor blending until smooth.
Pan fry your onions and mushrooms and cooking until soft adding the spinach in last as they really don’t require much cooking. Adding salt and pepper to taste.

Once the veggie’s are cooked mix them together with your blended tofu, remove your semi baked pie base from the oven. Pour your tofu mixture into your pie base and smooth it around with the back of a wooden spoon and then garnish with slices of juicy Spanish olives.
Pop it back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until the top looks dry and it starts to get a little golden.

Let it sit for 5-10 minutes after removing from the oven then slice and enjoy!

Serve with a light salad for a tasty healthy vegan lunch!

Raw Cacao Fudge

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These are deliciously rich with a buttery texture and intensely chocolate crunch to fix any chocolate craving.

Soak the dates in some hot water for about an hour unless they are already really moist and juicy already, in which case you probably just need to soak them for 10 minutes and then drain. (you might want to keep that juice for a smoothie, sweet and nutritious) Then blend the dates in a food processor so that they form a paste. (I consider dates to be pretty much a super food. Not only do they have loads of fibre they are also packed with minerals, calcium, sulphur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium.)

Melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil together, you can do this in a microwave(just be vigilant) or in a water bath (a heat proof dish suspended over a pot of boiling water. You could also add some extra pieces of dark chocolate.

Mix the melted ingredients with the date paste and then stir in the cacao powder and nibs, pinch of salt and cayenne chilli.

Spread evenly in a baking tray or tupperware (this is convenient for storing) top each section with an almond and let them rest in the fridge for atleast an hour. Once cooled and firmed slice into individual sections.

Theobromine the phytochemical component of cacao is even more potent in darker chocolate and especially raw cacao it has a relaxing yet stimulating effect without effecting the nervous system. Helping you to feel alert but calm…

It is actually a really lovely complement to meditation, if you are so inclined.
Otherwise these cacao fudge bites are delicious with a nice cup of herbal tea!

Enjoy!

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Ingredients

10 Medjool dates
2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon of cacao nibs
1 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 tablespoon of cacao butter
pinch of salt and cayenne pepper(optional but delicious)
Almonds to top

Portobello mushroom burger with goat’s cheese and rosemary sweet potato chips.

Sometimes you just get that burger and chip’s craving! And this recipe more than satisfies that desire while staying true to  your vegetarian/ whole foods /gluten free way of life.

Tasty, nutritious and satisfying.

4 Portobello mushrooms
3 Large sweet potatoes (I always just wash them and bake them, love those crispy skins)
Sprig of rosemary (from your garden if you happen to be so lucky)
2 Chunk’s of goat’s cheese (optional)
Rocket or spinach to garnish
2 tbs olive oil or coconut oil

Marinade
1 tbs wholegrain mustard
2 tbs Tamari (or soy sauce if you don’t have a problem with gluten)
1 tsp Raw honey
1 tbls sriracha or hot sauce of your choice
pinch of salt and pepper

Combine all the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl, mix well. Place the mushrooms in the bowl and envelope them in the marinade. Cover and let them soak up all those flavours in the fridge for about an hour.

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Meanwhile…..Slice your sweet potatoes into wedges or your preferred shape of chip  and place them on a baking tin. Liberally cover them in oil and add the sprigs of rosemary and a pink of salt. Bake in the oven for 1 hour on 180 degrees. tossing as necessary.

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When your chips are getting near to ready pop your saucy marinated mushroom onto a baking tray and into the oven for about 15 minutes.

Remove everything from the oven and get ready to plate up.
You can personalise your mushroom burger with different garnishes. I went with goat’s cheese and spinach for a tangy iron rich finish!
I also used a gluten free seeded bun, you can also go bunless!

Extremely nice and a little bit bold…go on!

 

Ginger orange fire shot

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Try this recipe as a great pre or post exercise shot,  alternative to caffeine immune and energy boost!

I love coffee. I’m usually partial to having a cup a day.
Though I do go through phases when coffee just isn’t the right thing for me, on these occasions If i give into having a cup just because I’m looking for that little caffeine boost I’m usually left highly disappointed, It doesn’t even taste as good to me, as though the bitter notes and the caffeine  just don’t agree with my taste buds at those times. I guess the body know’s what the body needs (or doesn’t need) and I try to listen.

So on these occasions ginger is my ultimate boost, it’s zingy and fiery and packed with nutrients it gives me that instant energy hit that I am looking for before or after exercise or around late afternoon when it feels like it should be siesta time.

Ginger is the powerful root of a flowering plant it comes from the same family as turmeric.
Its benefits include treating nausea, boosting the immune system to fight colds and flu’s as well as helping reduce the effects of exercise induced muscle pain. Amazing! Oh and it’s really tasty.

So here is my simple three ingredient recipe for this fiery energy shot.

You will need:

A hand blender or magic bullet.
A sieve

Ingredients:

2 grams of ginger (this is the recommended dose per day for reducing muscle pain)
50ml of water
Half an orange (or more to taste)
A pinch of turmeric

Peel the ginger and place it in a glass with the water and blend with the hand blender or bullet.
Strain the ginger juice through the sieve into a glass and squeeze any of the remaining juice out of the pulp.
Squeeze half or a full orange into the glass with the ginger juice.
Sprinkle with turmeric and enjoy!

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Oatmeal,chia and cacao raw energy bars

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Looking for a recipe for some really quick and easy 5 ingredient raw energy snack?
They are gluten free (optional) have a really healthy dose of protein and provide you with that slow release sustained energy with a hint of sweetness that makes this an awesome treat and snack.

It also requires very little washing up afterwards which means more time for all the other stuff you would rather be doing.

So, grab a mixing bowl and pour the oats straight in and then basically dumb all the other ingredients on top and start mixing. Make sure you blend everything really well, I often get my hands in there to knead it all together.
I use a nice rectangular shaped tupperware to shape the bars and store them all in the same place. But you can use a baking tin.
Pour the mixed ingredients into you baking tray and press the ingredients into each corner and flatten it down on the top.

Chill for an hour in the fridge. Remove from the tray and slice into bar shaped slices.

These keep in the fridge very well for up to 2 weeks, however they probably wont last that long.

Easy to pack and transport.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 cups of oats (I used gluten free)
3 large tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter(you can use smooth but the crunchy is nice for extra texture)
2 tablespoons of agave syrup (honey is a good option if you don’t have agave,less or more depending how sweet you like it)
4 cacao beans-morter and pestel to ground them into cacao nibs.
1 tablespoon of chia seeds

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