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Saturday, 12 January 2019

2019 . . .

Five Affirmations for the New Year


I release all things from the past year that have caused any negative attachment. I prepare and welcome new changes, new lessons and new adventures. I welcome new opportunities to grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually.






1. I accept myself, just as I am, right here in this moment.

2. I trust that my intuition will lead me exactly where I am supposed to be.

3. I embrace the rhythm and flow of my life and know that I have everything I need.

4. I let go of my expectations and trust the path unseen.

5. I allow each moment and experience to come into my life without placing fear or judgement upon it. 


XxX



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Friday, 23 November 2018

Red Wine?

As a holistic nutritionist, I always advise my clients against drinking alcohol on a regular basis. Although a drink once in a while is OK, the cumulative effects of drinking wine and beer can take its toll on our bodies. My main concern from a holistic nutritionist’s perspective is how alcohol is known to prevent your body from properly absorbing vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, thus causing malnutrition. Not to mention the negative affects it has on your brain and nervous system, your bone health, mental health, speech, fertility, possible birth defects in women who are pregnant, and the list just goes on and on.

Some of my clients happily forfeit alcohol in a bid to follow a sober lifestyle; however, many complain that due to career demands, and social balance giving up alcohol completely would be very difficult. I do agree, and have always understood the notion that resisting alcoholic drinks in social situations such as a special occasion and when entertaining, can cause one to feel somewhat excluded from festivities.



I have always thought, what if there was an easy to access, British, retailer of alcohol-free drinks; drinks which looked, tasted, smelt and was just like the REAL DEAL. I was entirely delighted when I came across Azanti, a London based distribution company of a large range of de-alcoholised drinks. It was evident as soon as I sampled their drinks that the quality of their products was on par with high end wines. I was told that the dealcoholisation process retains all the natural flavour and richness of that found in its alcohol-containing counterparts, but with 0.0% alcohol remaining.


100% vegan, and 100% alcohol-free – it’s a win win!

We are living in a world where our meats and dairy are unfortunately hormone and antibiotic laden and where chronic diseases are on the rise, so I always advise people to try to stay as plant-based as possible, to include as many nutrient rich vegetables and fruits in their diets as the possibly can.  

I am truly passionate about plant-based cooking. I love teaching people that healthy cooking is super easy, fun and of course tasty for all the family.


So, let me share with you here two of my all-time favourite plant-based recipes, I added a twist to these by incorporating the Pierre Zero Grand Reserve red wine from the Azanti collection. The food ingredients for both recipes can be sourced from any local supermarket, the wine is available here.

Both meals are balanced, plant based, low in saturated fats (per serving) and ideal for the grown-ups and kids alike.

For my Slimming World readers, the SYN value for the Portabella Mushroom Fajita recipe per serving would be the equivalent of 1 TSP of coconut oil and 2 TBSP of red wine. The wraps, I believe are a Healthy Extra A/B.
The Tagliatelle Bolognese has a SYN value the equivalent of  1 TSP of olive oil and 1 TSP of red wine.

Portabella Mushroom Fajitas


You will need:
2 TBSP Coconut Oil
5 Portabella Mushrooms (sliced)
1 White Onion (sliced)
1 Red Bell Pepper (sliced)
1 Mango (cubed)
Fresh Coriander
1 TSP dry Thyme
Pink Himalayan Salt
1 TSP Ground Cumin
1 TSP Ground Coriander
1 TSP Smoked Paprika
Black Pepper
125 ML Pierre Zero Grand Reserve (from Azanti)
Wholewheat tortilla wraps

  1. Mix the sliced mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper in a zip-lock freezer bag with the red wine and set aside for mushrooms to really absorb the flavour of the Pierre Zero Grand Reserve.
  2. Heat a large wok style pan, add the coconut oil and let It melt to liquid.
  3. Add to this the onions and sautee until translucent.  
  4. Now add the red pepper and cook until they begin to shrink and become soft.
  5. Season with all of the ground cumin, ground coriander and smoked paprika and mix well.
  6. To this add the contents of the zip-lock bag (mushrooms, with the liquid)
  7. Cook on medium to high heat until the wine has evaporated and the mushrooms have cooked thoroughly.
  8. At this point add in the mushrooms and coriander and mix well. You can also add a little more salt here as well, but this is entirely optional dependent upon taste.

To serve…
Warm your tortillas up slightly for about 15 seconds in the microwave to soften them up a bit; fill with the mushroom-pepper mix and roll into a wrap!
I like to serve these up with some plain white butter beans on the side, and my four-ingredient homemade salsa (diced white onion, vine tomatoes, squeeze of lime and sprinkle of coriander).



Tagliatelle Bolognese


You will need:
2 TBSP Olive Oil
Tagliatelle pasta (or any pasta of your choice)
500 G plant-based mince (I like to use organic soya mince)
1 White onion (diced)
1 Carrot (diced)
3 Celery sticks (diced)
Fresh basil
1 Bay leaf
390 G Tomato Passata
Pink Himalayan Salt
Black Pepper
100 ML Pierre Zero Grand Reserve Red WIne

  1. Heat a medium sized saucepan on medium heat and add the olive oil and onions. Sautee until the onions are translucent.
  2. Now add the celery, and carrots. Mix well and cook until the vegetables are soft.
  3. Add to this the plant-based mince, and mix well.
  4. Now season the mixture with the salt and black pepper.
  5. Add in the Pierre Zero Grand Reserve red wine and stir.
  6. Add the Passata, torn fresh basil (I find this helps the release of the flavour) and the bay leaf. Mix well, and simmer on medium heat, stir now and again.

This Bolognese yields the best taste when cooked slowly and for longer. Ideally about 45 minutes, if you have the time.

  1. Boil your chosen pasta in a large saucepan containing boiling water for the length of time stated on the packaging. Once cooked, drain and serve.

To serve…
Ideally serve the pasta immediately after it has finished boiling and, as the Italians say, ‘al dente’, top with a generous helping of the Bolognese and perhaps with some chilli flakes for the spice lovers (not the kids!)
And finally, no pasta dish is complete without a slice of crusty bread, I personally love a crusty sourdough bun or a slice or two of granary baguette.

Happy cooking all! I hope you try these recipes and enjoy them as much as my family and I do… we would love to see how you get on so please don’t forget to upload your food pictures on Instagram and tag us too. Myself @serene.ibrahim and Azanti @azantiuk.


Serene Ibrahim
Holistic Nutritionist



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Sunday, 16 September 2018

Serene's Healing Macrobiotic Rice

This recipe which I am about to share is inspired by my aunt who lives in Saudi Arabia.

It was 7 years ago during one of her trips to London when she shared with me the wisdom of Macrobiotic eating. Since then every time I smell the sweet but nutty aroma of roasted sesame oil, I am reminded of her.

The macrobiotic theory comprises of a diet of organic whole foods; this is based on Buddhist principles of the balance of Yin and Yang, in attempt to bring you physically and spiritually, to a place of zen.

The overall taste of this rice has an incredibly warming and calming effect on the body and it is high in fibre. The sesame oil is known to protect against kidney damage, prevent osteoporosis, lower blood pressure, promote bone health, prevent tooth decay and reduced hypertension. Sesame oil however, has a very low smoke point of 210 degrees Celsius (compared to coconut oil which is about 350 degrees) so I highly recommend keeping the temperature as low as efficiently possible whilst cooking.

The ingredients required for this recipe can all be bought from a Sainsbury's supermarket.





You Will Need -

Medium sized saucepan
Sesame Oil 2 TBSP

Bowl 1: 
Diced Carrots .5 cup

Bowl 2:
Frozen Peas .5 cup

Bowl 3:
Spring onions (3)

Bowl 4: 
2 cups of pre-cooked wholegrain rice

Bowl 5:
A handful of raw cashew nuts

For the sauce mix together in a small bowl:
Organic tamari 5 TBSP (I use the Yutaka brand)
Peanut butter 2 TBSP (I use Whole Earth smooth)
Sesame seed oil 2 TBSP 
Brown/coconut sugar 1 TSP
Garlic powder/granules 2 TSP


Serves 3 Approx.



Method:

1. Mix up the ingredients to create the sauce until it is of a smooth consistency, set aside.

2. Heat a medium sized saucepan and add to it 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. 

Low - medium heat

3. Add to the pan Bowl 1 and cook on low to medium heat until the carrots have softened.

4. Add Bowl 2 and sauté until the peas are no longer frozen.

5. Add Bowl 3, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.

6. Add Bowl 4, mix well until the vegetables are evenly distributed.

7. At this point add the sauce and a handful of cashew nuts and mix again.

8. Turn the heat down to very low and let the sauce set for 7 minutes.


Garnish with some extra finely chopped spring onions, serve warm with a cup of green tea or fresh ginger tea.

I would love to hear how you got on with this recipe and whether you found that it had the same warming and calming effects on you.

Enjoy
XxX

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Saturday, 15 September 2018

What To Eat Where

Transitioning to a whole foods plant-based diet requires baby steps, requires patience with yourself, knowledge, awareness and the ability to listen to ones own body. The great thing is that nowadays there is much more awareness with regards to the vegan lifestyle as compared to, say, five years ago. It is super easy to find vegan food when out and about, whether you're on your lunch break from work, or if you are just grabbing a lunch with friends.

As a Holistic Nutritionist I don't believe in dieting, restricting calories, cheat days - which turn into binge days, then followed by a strict diet from Monday. I do however believe, that with a little faith in yourself and some guidance, living a whole foods plant-based lifestyle will enable you thrive; you will nourish yourself with foods rich in vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients; you'll have lots more energy, and you'll see a host of physical benefits too.

Through a whole foods plant-based lifestyle, providing you keep your intake of saturated fats and processed foods to a minimum, your weight will drop, or increase to stabilise to your ideal, and true weight range; the best weight at which your body can function optimally.

At the beginning though, I understand that it can be quite tricky to know what to eat and what to avoid because vegan does not however, necessarily mean healthy! My aim is to ensure that this article gives you the knowledge you need to make mindful decisions when visiting food outlets and shops for food, so that the choices you make will nourish your mind, body and soul, keep you healthy, and energetic. Eating mindfully takes time to learn, and I strongly believe that mindfulness with regards to food and veganism go hand in hand; more posts to come about that in the near future.

For now though, lets talk about what sort of foods to pick at common food shops when out and about.





  • Pret-A-Manger:


I love Pret. Not only because there are so many branches all over London, but because they always tend to have something hearty, healthy and satisfying to eat be it for breakfast or lunch.

For breakfast I usually get the coconut porridge, mango or berry fruit pot, and a green tea or green juice.
My sandwich of choice from Pret is always the Avo, Olives & Toms baguette (when available) the others listed below are just as wholesome :)
If I fancy a soup or a side to my sandwich I will usually pick any vegetable, lentil or bean soup; Pret's Bean & Quinoa Chilli soup is particularly delicious.
If you're like me and need a bit of crunch with your sandwich, try to resist the temptation of crisps and reach for some popcorn, or better still some kale or vegetable crisps (all available at most Pret outlets)

Pret Breakfast:
Coconut porridge (made with gluten-free oats, red quinoa and non dairy coconut milk alternative)
Fruit pot
Herbal tea of choice / green juice

Pret Lunch:
Avo, Olives & Toms Baguette 
Avocado & Chipotle Chickpea Salad Wrap
Falafel, Avo & Chipotle Flat Bread
Grilled Artichokes & Olive Tapenade Flat Bread
Humous & Crunchy Veg Salad Wrap
Italian Summer Flat Bread

Vegetable / Lentil based soups



  • Caffe Nero

Nero Breakfast:
Soy porridge
Fruit salad

Nero Lunch:
Felafel & Houmous Flatbread
Sweet Potato Felafel & Beetroot Humous 




  • Marks & Spencer


M&S is another one of my favourites as they have an ever growing range of healthy, vegan options for lunch. I particularly love the Rainbow Veg Sandwich which is made of red pepper bread.

Lunch:
Rainbow Veg Sandwich
Super Green Sandwich
... eat with...
3 Bean Salad or any other vegan bean salad



  • Pizza Express


Finally! Lets talk pizzas!
My favourite pizza at Pizza Express has to be the Vegan Giardiniera, I usually ask for mine without vegan mozzarella (personal preference), extra spinach and no oil on top.
They have a gluten-free base option but I prefer the standard base or romana base (stretched out larger and thinner). I do not have gluten intolerance or sensitivity, and when given the choice I prefer to opt for non gluten-free as the gluten-free breads have to undergo a substantial amount of processing to become gluten-free.



  • Sushi Outlets

If you're into Japanese foods which I am occasionally, I opt for sushi rolls with vegetable only, no mayonnaise; and I usually ask for brown rice or jasmine rice in mine (plain white rice is also fine, but jasmine and brown/wholegrain contains slower-releasing carbs). I would also recommend that you avoid spring rolls or anything which has the crunch, even though they may be vegan they are also high in saturated fats and salt, as tempting as they may be, they have very little nutritional value, and consist of mainly empty/useless calories.


  • Starbucks

Starbucks now offers coconut, soy and almond milks which means that most drinks there can be veganised. Avoid drinks with syrups and sugar free syrups. I usually get plain hot almond milk, frothed, or herbal tea without any milk. 
Vegan Five Grain Oatmeal
BBQ Vegan Wrap with Jackfruit and Slaw


  • Italian Pizza/Pasta Restaurants

Mr H and I love Italian restaurants for lunches and dinners, (being the creatures of habit that we both are) if we are visiting an unfamiliar place we know that seldom can you go wrong with an Italian. 
When at Italian restaurants (such as Carluccios, Zizzi etc) we almost always opt for egg-free pasta (preferably wholewheat, for the slower releasing carbs), with or without roast vegetables in spicy tomato sauce with no oil. Pizzas usually with tomato sauce, an abundance of vegetables and no oils or cheese.


I hope this article was helpful if there are any other food outlets I haven't covered here which you would like me to advise about, do leave a comment below and I will try to address those as best I can :)

XxX








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Friday, 14 September 2018

Serene's Easy Vegan Stir-Fry

Here's the recipe of my favourite mixed vegetable stir fry; I love the versatility of this dish because you can add to it and remove whichever legume and vegetables you want. It's quick, easy and you can serve it alongside brown rice, quinoa, or inside a tortilla wrap; the options are vast!

You Will Need -

Bowl 1:
Coconut Oil 3 TBSP
Red Onions 1
Ground Cumin 1 TSP

Bowl 2:
Ginger Paste 1 TSP
Garlic Paste 2 TSP
Paprika 1 TSP
Ground Coriander 1 TSP

Bowl 3:
Portobello Mushrooms 10 (thinly sliced)

Bowl 4:
Red Pepper 1 (sliced)
Orange Pepper 1 (sliced)

Bowl 5:
1/2 Tinned Tomato puree OR Fresh Tomato 2 Medium (diced)

Bowl 6:
Green Lentils (pre-cooked tin, drained)

Spring Onion to garnish




Serves 2 approx.


Method:

1. In a heated saucepan or stir fry pan add bowl 1 and fry the onions until the become soft and translucent.

2. Add bowl 2 and mix well; at this point if the spices absorb the oil and the pan feels dry, then feel free to add another tablespoon of coconut oil.

3. Add bowl 3, mix well on medium heat.

4. Once the mushrooms have softened add bowl 4, and mix well for 5 minutes on medium heat
and cook until the peppers have softened to the desired consistency.

5. At this point add in bowl 5 and cook for 5 minutes

6. Add bowl 6 and mix, cook on low heat for 3 minutes.

Garnish with the spring onions.

XxX

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Wednesday, 12 September 2018

The Simply Delectable Vegan Chana Masala

This recipe is inspired by my grandmothers original Chana Masala recipe, she usually uses black chickpeas (garbanzo beans, much higher in fibre , and lower on the Glycemic Index, these are an excellent source of potassium too!) to make this; I have veganised my version and also made it gluten-free and milder. I have used standard chickpeas in this recipe as Mia prefers them.

I hope you will all enjoy it as much as my family & I do :)

I love being organised and neat whilst cooking so I measure out, quantify, organise and combine my ingredients into small-medium bowls, this ensures that there is no panic whilst cooking causing delay and so that spices do not become over-cooked.

The brilliant thing about this recipe is that the base of the curry (bowl 1, bowl 2 and bowl 3) can also be used as a base for any other vegetable curry; so instead of adding chickpeas you could add kidney beans, green beans, aubergines & potato, potatoes, peas & carrots the list is endless!

This Chana Masala can be enjoyed over a bed of brown rice, on its own, or over a jacket potato.
Leftovers will keep well if covered in the fridge for up to four days and in the freezer for up to one month.



Approx 4 servings

You Will Need:

|  Bowl 1 |
Coconut Oil 3 TBSP
White Onions 2 Medium
Ground Cumin 1 TBSP
Himalayan Pink Salt ( To Taste )

|  Bowl 2  |
Garlic Paste 3 TBSP
Ginger Paste 2 TBSP
Fresh Coriander .5 CUP
Fresh Chillis (2) (Optional - not suitable for children, so I usually opt out of this one)

|  Bowl 3  |
Ground Coriander 1 TBSP
Chilli Powder 1 TSP
Turmeric Powder 1 TSP

Coconut Oil 1 TSP (optional if the pan gets dry after adding all the spices)

|  Bowl 4  |
Chopped Tomato 1 Tin
Chickpeas 2 Tins (drained)

|  Bowl 5  |
Garam Masala 1 TSP
Brown Sugar 2 TSP (optional)
Fresh Lemon .5 (juice)

Coriander (to garnish)


_______

Method

1. Heat a medium sized saucepan on the stove, and add Bowl 1. Fry this for about a minute.

2. Add Bowl 2, mix well and fry for a few minutes.

3. Add Bowl 3

IF THE MIXTURE SEEMS DRY AT THIS POINT ADD SOME MORE COCONUT OIL

4. Add Bowl 4, and then mix well.

5. Increase the heat to medium-high until it reaches a rolling simmer and the oil and masala begins to separate; then reduce the heat to low-medium and maintain a timer for 15-20 minutes, or until thick stew-like. Be sure to stir occasionally.

6. When the Chana Masala is thickened and bubbly, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. add more salt to increase saltiness, chilli powder for heat, a bit of brown sugar for sweetness to offset the heat of the chillis.

7. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice and garam masala; stir to mix and and garnish with some fresh coriander.

________

Enjoy XxX

________


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Friday, 7 September 2018

Homemade Chocolate Raisin Breakfast Granola | Vegan & Healthy

By now you must know what a lover of breakfast I am. This home-made granola breakfast recipe is simple and straightforward; it's super hearty, nutritious and filling, and simply delectable when served with warm almond milk and fresh fruit - just perfect for an autumn morning.



Approx 16 Servings

You Will Need:

Coconut Oil - 4 tbsp
Maple Syrup - 125 ml
Rolled Oats - 200 g
Pumpkin seeds - 60 g
Walnuts 100 g (crushed)
Raisins 100 g
Dried apricots 120 g (chopped into thin strips)
Dark chocolate 6 squares

First preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius ...

1. Melt and heat the coconut oil in a medium sized saucepan
2. Stir in the maple syrup and remove from the heat
3. Combine rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, dried apricots
4. Stir in the oil and maple syrup mixture and mix well until the dried ingredients are fully coated; then break the chocolate into small pieces and add into the mixture.
5. Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the mixture onto it with the back of a wooden spoon.
6. Place into the oven for 30 minutes, mixing it occasionally.


Enjoy! XxX
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