Are you bored of waking up on a Sunday morning, feeling like rubbish and regretting that extra glass of wine that lead you to finishing a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s? We’ve all been there and during this time of lockdown, it’s been hard to stay on track when it comes to nutrition.
Now that lockdown restrictions are easing and life seems to be getting back onto the path of normality, it’s now time to focus on what we put into our bodies and feeling we get from eating the right foods. We all know which foods to avoid and which foods will nourish us, but as humans we often choose the path of convenience and think we are saving time. However, with a little bit of preparation and know how, nourishing the body is cheaper and will satisfy your nutritional requirements far greater than snacking on the sofa or hitting up Domino’s
What are Amino Acids?
The body needs 20 different amino acids to maintain good health and normal functioning. Out of these 20, there are 9 essential amino acids that the body must obtain. Amino acids break down enzymes from your food. They’re vital for functions such as protein synthesis, tissue repair and nutrient absorption. A healthy body is able to manufacture 11 of these amino acids but it is imperative that we nourish our body with the other 9 through out diet.
Foods that contain essential Amino Acids
Lean meats such as turkey which is high in amino acids and relatively low in saturated fat when compared to red meats. Cuts of pork such as loin chops, tender loin and cutlets are also a good choice. One of the amino acids found in pork is lysine. This particular amino acid is required for the formation of collagen which essentially repairs our skin and hair and promotes the formation of new blood vessels. Lysine also improves your body’s ability to heal itself. Lean cuts of beef to go for are rump and flank steak. If you’re really craving bacon, try to go for a Canadian bacon or a lean cured ham with a low fat content. These are all high in essential amino acids.
Fish such as salmon, pollock, mackerel, halibut, sole and haddock are all great sources of complete proteins. Fresh fish is preferable so if you can, get to a fresh fish counter.
Legumes such as edamame beans chick pea’s and lentils, kidney beans, black beans and peanuts are great sources of plant based proteins. However, they are not great for getting all the essential amino acids so it’s important to combine legumes with grains such as chia and flak seeds as together they will provide the right nutrition.
Nuts and Seeds such as brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts and macadamia are a great source of proteins. However, they are highly calorific but will, when eaten in small portions provide you with satiety. All nuts and seeds have different beneficial properties. Sesame seeds, for example, contain tryptophan which which help your body to build proteins and also strengthen the synapses and enable a more natural flow of serotonin which will lead to a better feeling of well being. Serotonin helps to control your mood and sleep. Sleep is the most important part of the day as this is when your mind and body is able to repair.
Eggs contain complete proteins and contain all 9 amino acids. They also contain vitamins A,D,E,K, B2, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, copper and iron. They are an energy boosting food and they help to reverse muscle atrophy. One of the amino acids within eggs is called histidine, which is responsible for maintaining a natural PH balance within the body. It is also vital for promoting higher oxygenation of the blood which leads to a happier mind and body.
Probiotics, yogurts, and kefir are fantastic sources of protein. Kefir, for example, contains isoleucine which is known for it’s ability to help endurance and assist in the repair and rebuilding of muscle. Other dairy choices that provide essential amino acids are cottage cheese, parmesan and mozzarella. If you can can get your dairy from a local trusted source, the products will be more likely to contain a higher concentration of amino acids than a block of cheap cheddar from the supermarket.
Grains such as wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat, hemp seeds, beans and pulses are all high in essential amino acids. They are also high in fibre, protein, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and many other essential vitamins.
Flavanoids come from fruits like apples, strawberries, blueberries and 80% Cacao Solid Chocolate. These guys are great for boosting the libido and positive mental health. You can never eat enough of these bad boys and once you get them into your diet on a regular basis, you will feel the difference.
I know from experience that getting the right nutrition into the body will exponentially speed up the healing and recovery time that the body requires in order to function efficiently.
There is no magic potion to reverse the aging process but eating well, exercising and providing your body with the essential amino acids will help to give you longevity, freedom of movement and a provide you with a deeper connection to your own body. Once you are in tune with your body, you will start to become more intuitive with your eating habits. You will feel the benefits of eating well both physically and mentally, you will have more energy and this will inspire you to build a better relationship with food and think twice about that tub of ice cream.
Feel good recipie’s
Breakfast – Yogurt, Oat and Fruit Pot
Take one glass and fill up to a quarter with probiotic yogurt.
Sprinkle toasted oat and corn granola
Top with banana’s and berries
Add toasted sesame and flax seed
Tbl spoon of honey, drizzled over the top
This can all be done in advance, the night before and left in the fridge to provide a delicious, nutrient packed, slow energy releasing start to the day.
Toasted oat and corn granola
Equal quantities of rolled oats and corn flakes
Crush the corn flakes with a rolling pin
Add oats and corn together
1 tsp of tumeric per 100g oat/corn mixture
2 tbl spoons of honey
Combine all ingredients, lay on a grease proofed baking tray
Bake at 140C for 10-15 minutes
Be aware this will harden as it cools
It can be made in advance and will keep in an air tight container for 2-3 months
Lunch – Salmon Salad with Onion Marmalade
Ingredients – 2 green chilli’s
1 lceberg lettuce
125g cherry tomatoes
2 salmon fillet’s
2 tbl spoon balsamic vinegar
1 tbl spoon caster sugar
Finely dice 1 onion, cook on a slow heat until translucent
Add 1 tbl spoon of sugar and 2 tbl spoon’s of balsamic vinegar
Allow to simmer away until it reaches a nice sticky consistency
Finely slice the lettuce, wash and drain. Add spinach leaves
Finely chop the spring onions. Save the green leaves for garnish
De- seed the chilli’s and finely slice, quarter the cherry tomato’s
Dress with half the zest and juice before serving.
Season salmon with salt, pepper, the rest of the lime
Allow to marinate for at least 10 minutes. You should see the citric acid change the colour of the fish. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds onto the salmon apart from the skin. Oil the skin and cook in a smoking hot pan to get a lovely crispy skin, reduce the heat and cook halfway through, finish in a moderate oven.
Add the remaining zest and juice to your salad
Toss and enjoy!
Dinner – Spicy Tofu with Mung Beans, Chard, Green Beans and Garlic
Ingredients – 150g black lentil (urad dal)
50g mung beans
480ml/17fl oz water
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 green chilli’s, finely chopped
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
Salt and pepper
1 large tomato, chopped
1 tsp caster sugar
Squeeze lemon juice
Handful of chopped coriander
Ingredients part 2 – 1 packet fermented tofu
1 tbl sesame oil
1 tsp sambal olec
1 tsp Tahini
Chilli and garlic paste
4 cloves finely chopped garlic
Method for the beans
Place the black and green lentils into a medium saucepan, add the water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain, then mash the lentils and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and fry until it starts to colour. Add the garlic and fry for a few seconds.
Stir in the finely chopped chillies, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
Stir in the chopped tomato, the sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the mashed lentils and bring to the boil.Stir in a large handful of chopped coriander and serve.
Slice fermented tofu into 1.5 cm cubes
Combine chilli and garlic paste with sambal olec, sesame oil and tahini
Cover tofu with marinade and leave in the fridge for 12-24 hours
Fry off tofu. Once mung beans have cooked, roast tofu in oven to finish.
Gently fry off green beans with garlic and wilt in chard to finish
Enjoy nourishing your body with fresh, whole foods!