Why Do We Eat Broccoli…

Hey all broccoli lovers and haters!!!
Today I will reveal WHY we eat broccoli in our house and WHY should YOU!

Interestingly enough, these mini trees are notorious for being pushed off the plates of kids around the world, but broccoli’s reputation as one of the healthiest veggies still rings true. And here is why…

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one cup of chopped raw broccoli (approximately 91 grams) contains:

31 calories
0 grams of fat
6 grams of carbohydrate (including 2 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber)
3 grams of protein.

Just one cup of broccoli provides over 100% of your daily need for vitamin C and vitamin K and is also a good source of vitamin A, folate, and potassium! (Medical News Today)

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So gotta agree with me, that it’s worth giving broccoli a go!

I meet more and more people lately who are trying to eat healthier, make some dietary changes and do something to improve or sustain their good health. If this is you – broccoli should be on the top of your grocery list!

Broccoli belongs to the cruciferous vegetable family, which includes kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, and turnips. These nutrition powerhouses supply loads of nutrients for a few calories! So why not enjoy the full plate of greens AND not overindulge on unnecessary calories! 

Not only does broccoli have great nutritional value, lost of vitamins and fiber, eating broccoli regularly offers many Possible Health Benefits :

  • Fights different types of cancer
    Eating a high amount of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a lower risk of cancer; particularly lung and colon cancer. At the end of the day – our good (or bad) health starts from the colon…
    Broccoli also contains folate, which is another important vitamin that has been found to decrease the risk of breast cancer in women.
  • Improves bone health
    The bone fracture is linked with vitamin K deficit.

 The good news is that just one cup of chopped broccoli provides 92 micrograms of vitamin K 🙂

This is well over 100% of your daily needs. Consuming an adequate amount of vitamin K also improves the absorption of calcium. Win-win!

  • Healthier skin
    In order to have a healthy-looking, glowing skin we all need lots and lots of antioxidants. Broccoli is full of antioxidant vitamin C! (Are you doing a happy dance right now?) Antioxidants, when eaten in its natural form (in fresh produce as opposed to supplements), can help to fight skin damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture. Oh yeah, baby!

    Broccoli provides 81 milligrams of vitamin C in just one cup!  That is more than what you need in an entire day.

  • Improves digestion and natural detoxification
    Broccoli has lots of natural fiber and eating foods with natural fiber can prevent constipation as well as maintain a healthy digestive tract. Recent studies have shown that dietary fiber may also play a role in regulating the immune system and inflammation. 
  • Antioxidants and fiber may aid blood sugar control
    One human study showed significantly decreased insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes who consumed broccoli sprouts daily for one month (healthline.com)

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Quick tips to enjoy more broccoli:

  • Keep it simple and sauté chopped broccoli drizzled with coconut oil, cracked black pepper, and minced garlic.
  • Chop raw broccoli and add to your next wrap or salad.
  • Top your flatbread or pizza with chopped broccoli before roasting.
  • Make your own pesto or pasta sauce and add broccoli – you won’t even know the difference but you’ll get the benefits! 😉 

Different cooking methods:

  • boiling
  • roasting
  • stir-frying
  • steaming.

All these methods alter the vegetable’s nutrient composition, particularly reducing vitamin C, as well as soluble protein and sugar. Steaming appears to have the fewest negative effects. Of course, broccoli can be eaten cooked or raw — both are perfectly healthy but provide different nutrient profiles. 

And if I haven’t convinced you yet, maybe these 7 recipes will help you fall in love with broccoli:
1. Sautéed spiced broccoli
2. Oven Roasted broccoli with cheese
3. Broccoli Frittata with feta
4. Broccoli and Quinoa soup
5. Pesto broccoli and chicken pasta
6. Lasagne with broccoli and tuna
7. Broccoli snacks

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Broccoli is a nutrient-rich vegetable that may enhance your health in a variety of ways, such as by reducing inflammation, improving blood sugar control, boosting immunity and promoting heart health.

However, keep in mind that good health doesn’t come from any single food. Broccoli is merely one of the numerous healthy foods that can contribute to optimal health.

Love,

Agne Jonele

Homemade Tomato Sauce by Agne

Do you just LOOOOOVE tomato sauce?

You could put it on anything and everything?

But you probably heard by now all these horror stories how bad tomato sauce or ketchup is for you…

According to edrugsearch.com ‘By eating just one tablespoon of this condiment, you are consuming 7% of your sugar intake and a portion of your daily intake of sodium. That is from just a single tablespoon!’ Also, a lot of brands including Heinz use corn syrup which can cause toxicity in the blood, blood pressure issues, and mineral imbalance if it is eaten too much. Sorry to break the bad news to you all…

On a positive note – you can eat tomato sauce or ketchup, but I recommend to make your own! It is sooooo simple you won’t believe it!

When you prepare your own Homemade tomato sauce or ketchup, you know exactly what you add to it, what ingredients you use and the quality of produce you are using. Moreover, you can enjoy the benefits of tomatoes because it can be good for you.

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‘Consumption of tomatoes and tomato-based products has been linked to many benefits regarding heart disease, cancer prevention and skin health.’ (healthline.com):

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Serves: 450g.

Level: super easy

Score: 9/10 (although this is the best Tomato Sauce recipe so far 😉 )

Ingredients

120g. onions
1 garlic clove
50g. extra virgin olive oil
800g. fresh plum tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan salt
5-10 fresh basil leaves

Method

  1. Cut onions in small cubes, crush the garlic and saute everything on medium heat.
  2. In the meantime soak tomatoes in Strong Kangen water pH11.5 to clean off all the chemicals from the tomatoes.
  3. Then cut the fresh tomatoes into pieces and place them to the food processor.
  4. Add sauteed onions and garlic.
  5. Season everything with sugar, Pink Himalayan salt, add basil leaves.
  6. Blitz everything together for few seconds until it’s smooth.
  7. Then transfer the mixture to the pot, cover with the lid and cook on the medium heat for approx 30 minutes.
  8. Serve with pasta, on a pizza dough or as a sauce for vegetables and other dishes.

Note: You can add various different herbs or spices for different taste. If you like spicy sauce, add chili peppers in Step 5.

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The possible downside: ‘Tomatoes are generally well tolerated, but they may cause allergic reactions in people allergic to grass pollen. Tomatoes grown in contaminated soils may contain higher levels of fluoride’ (healthline.com)

 

Pizza? Sure, why not! Homemade Pizza by Agne

Who doesn’t like pizza! Well, my mom is an exception for some mysterious reason 🙂 But honestly, I think hardly anyone can say ‘no’ to pizza. But you know what – the best pizza is homemade pizza! Why? Because once again I will repeat – you know exactly what you put in and on it! And the options are endless! What is your preference? Vegetarian? Seafood? Cheesy? Full of meat? Spicy? You name it – you can make it all!

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I love making homemade pizza for a few reasons:

  • Cheaper
  • Tastier
  • Variety
  • Quality
  • FUN!

CHEAPER

It is so much cheaper to make your own homemade pizza than order takeaway. Why? It’s a perfect solution for those days when you find hardly anything in the fridge and maybe a few more days till pay date – this is your BEST dinner option 🙂 Make sure you have flour, yeast, cheese, tomato sauce and lots of imagination!

TASTIER

And by the homemade pizza, I really mean everything made from scratch! Don’t be afraid – it’s not complicated at all! And it is so much tastier! You can add many more ingredients, anything you like or have and lots of it!

Do you find those takeaway pizzas or bought in ones have a tiny amount of cheese and few slices of pepperoni? Well, that’s sorted when you make your own homemade pizza at home 😉

VARIETY

Do you find it hard to decide which pizza to go for when ordering one in the restaurant? Well, by making your own you can add anything you like! Seriously! Anything (ok, maybe almost everything) you find in the fridge or cupboard. The options are endless…

QUALITY

Once again – you all know how important quality for me is. This is why I cook homemade meals daily. It is so important for me to serve quality meals for my family. Best way to get quality is by buying quality ingredients and cooking your own meals. I know it is not always perfect but I sincerely believe it is as close as it can get to perfect! When you cook your own meals you know exactly what you add to it!

FUN

It is always so much fun making homemade pizza! Involve kids! Make it a real party! Let them create their own pizzas, different shapes and sizes, try different toppings. Put great music on and start rocking!

So here it is – Homemade Pizza by Agne

Ingredients

Pizza Dough (2 large pizzas):

30g. extra virgin Olive oil
220g. of water (room temperature)
1tsp sugar
20g. fresh yeast or 2tsp dried instant yeast
400g. bread flour
1tsp salt

Method

  1. Suggestions for Toppings
  • Pepperoni & Mushrooms (add chili for spicy pizza)
  • Ham & Pineapple
  • Lightly grease a large bowl and set aside.
  • Place water, sugar and fresh yeast in a bowl and dissolve yeast in warm water.
  • Add flour, extra virgin olive oil, and salt, mix it well together.
  • Place dough in a prepared bowl, cover the bowl with a cling film and let the dough rise until doubled in size (approx. 1 hour).
  • Ham & Mushrooms
  • Onions, Bacon & beaten egg
  • Chicken & Pineapple
  • Chicken, mushrooms & olives (or chili for spicy)
  • Chicken & peppers
  • Tuna (canned), onions & olives
  • Roasted vegetables (sweet potato, courgette, peppers fully prepared in the oven) & goats cheese
  • Chicken, pesto & goats cheese
  • Sauteed onions & red peppers, then cooked king prawns on top
  • Chicken, bacon, onions & chili (spicy)
  • Four cheese: brie cheese, blue cheese, goats cheese, cheddar etc.

And many many more…

All pizzas are done in the same way: shape the pizza, add tomato sauce evenly, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Then add any of your toppings uncooked (except the roasted veg or other toppings sometimes can be sauteed as mentioned in the recipes). Bake for 15-20 minutes in a preheated oven (200C).

And this is it! I hope you will give it a try and make a real party for your family with these AMAZING homemade pizzas!

Lots of love,

Agne Jonele

 

 

 

Homemade Fig Sweets with Agne

I asked the question recently on one of my health talks, ‘what is the one thing people cannot stay away from?’ And you know what, the most common answer was chocolate/sweets/sugar treats. And so then you may think that no wonder so many people are struggling with weight these days.

I do love some sweet treats with my coffee too. And mind you I have 2 cups of coffee a day… So I could have a big problem. Nevertheless, I try to find alternatives or simply ignore that craving for sugar 😉 Sometimes that is needed too 🙂

If you are having a sweet tooth and looking for an alternative, you may just like this recipe. Great things about it:

  • Very quick
  • Easy to make
  • So simple
  • Homemade
  • No added flavourings, colourings, no added sugar – guilt free 🙂
  • Anyone can make it 😉

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Homemade Fig Sweets with Agne

Serves: 45 small sweets
Difficulty: Easy
Taste: 8/10

Ingredients

200g. various seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin)
50g. desiccated coconut
2 tbsp raw cacao
1tsp ground cinnamon
10-15 dried figs
1 tbsp peanut butter
1-2 tbsp honey (optional)*

Method

  1. Add all ingredients in the food processor and blitz until it forms a smooth but firm paste. It may look too dry at the start but give it time. Sometimes you may need to add an extra tablespoon of nut butter if your figs are extra dry or large.
  2. Roll the paste into small balls.
  3. Store in the fridge for at least an hour to firm them up.

 

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* I personally don’t need additional sweetness and if you are trying to reduce your sugar intake, you really don’t need to add honey. It is sweet enough.

I know there is so much information out there about added sugars, the harm of sugar, sugar-free challenges etc. All I talk about is having balance. I don’t support this massive new fashion with cupcakes, sweets, bars etc, neither do I support this complete opposite view about going on a sugar-free diet. So yes, reduce it, yes, say ‘no’ to a cupcake from time to time. But if you have a sweet tooth and really crave for something sweet, consider a healthier option, maybe a homemade treat if possible and enjoy.

A smaller portion, mindful eating and homemade I think always works 😉

Lots of love,

Agne Jonele

The Unconventional Guide to Meditation

Meditation is another popular word these days and many of us have no or very little understanding of what this thing is all about. Also, there is a lot of misconception out there about meditation and, therefore, I will share my experience, point of view to reveal what I have discovered in a few years.

Once again – I am no expert in meditation and not claiming to be one. But I had a very interesting experience in the last few years and decided to share my own insights.

Firstly, for quite some time now I work a lot on my self-development and educate myself as often as I can. Therefore, I have learned from so many successful people that one of their main practices is morning meditation. And I was like ‘uh’… I never thought I could do something like. But I tried. For a few years – on and off – to start a meditation practice. But what usually happened?

  • I fell asleep
  • My mind wandered away
  • I had no time to stick with it consistently
  • I felt no difference

More and more people around me were doing meditation practices. More and more of them were giving phenomenal feedback on how it is changing their life, how good they feel etc. And I felt like an outsider who simply doesn’t get it! But the only thing that happened during these few years was that I had a complete misconception about meditation!

  1. Meditation is a complete stillness.
    Nope! Actually, I found out that meditation is all about mindfulness, could be doing some ordinary daily activity mindfully, e.g. mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful floor mopping etc. Meditation does not necessarily mean sitting quietly with the legs crossed, but it can be with movement, saying mantras, focused and directed thinking and probably more.
  2. Meditation is staying quiet.
    Nope! As I revealed in the previous point, meditation can be repeating mantras, affirmations, letting signs out, breathing loudly. There are 7 types of meditation:

    • Mindfulness Meditation
    •  Transcendental Meditation
    •  Guided Meditation
    •  Vipassana Meditation
    •  Loving Kindness Meditation
    •  Chakra Meditation
    •  Yoga Meditation
  3. Meditation is about ’emptying your mind’
    Nope! ‘Meditation isn’t about stopping our thoughts or trying to empty our mind – both of these approaches only create stress and noisier internal chatter. We can’t stop or control our thoughts, but we can decide how much attention to give them.’ (The Chopra Centre) You can enjoy guided meditation (and this is the one I do mainly to be fair) and have an amazing effect. And I am never mad at me for having thoughts!
  4. Results from day 1 OR it takes years of practice.
    Both are incorrect! It is a new habit you’re trying to learn, to muscle to train. The mind is the biggest muscle and it is a great way to learn to manage it a bit better 😉
  5. Meditation is only for reducing anxiety and stress.
    Once again – nope. Meditation has many benefits but mainly it is learning how you can control your mind and your life. meditation-2.png
  6. Meditation is difficult.
    It doesn’t have to be. It was REALLY difficult for me until I found the way and learn a bit more about it. The one thing that worked for me is when I set up a 30-day meditation challenge for myself and announced it on Facebook… Then I kinda had to stick with it 😀 I don’t just drop things, I have to win all the time even if it is against myself 😀 So I tricked myself! Did the challenge (missed only 1 day) and this way I simply gained a habit! Now when I wake up the first thing I do is put the meditation on and follow the flow…
  7. Meditation is a spiritual or religious practice.
    ‘It doesn’t require a specific spiritual belief, and many people of many different religions practice meditation without any conflict with their current religious beliefs. Some meditators have no particular religious beliefs or are atheist or agnostic’ (Deepak Chopra, M.D.)

So you probably now wonder ‘what is meditation’? It was explained perfectly in this article of How to be Happy:

Meditation is an ancient practice that helps to control our own mind and consequently our own life and discover ourselves. Meditating helps us to control our mind and thoughts and turn off our mind when we do not need it anymore

And for this reason, I recommend looking into it. We live such a busy life now! Everyone is running like in a rat race. Everything has to be done here and now, we don’t stop, we have no time… We listen to the chatter in our head constantly! So let’s stop for a moment. Let’s do things mindfully. Let’s breathe…

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Lots of love,

Agne Jonele

 

Healthy Snacks for Young & Old

We all have heard by now that we should be having snacks throughout the day to make sure we fuel our body with nutritious food. But how can you choose a healthy snack? And why snacks are important? Today I will reveal few reasons why we should eat snacks and add a recipe of easy snack recipe that everyone – young and old, big and small will enjoy 😉

Why healthy snacks are important?

  1. Increases sustained energy, therefore, helps you to avoid a mid-afternoon crash;
  2. Improves cognitive function which helps with mental capabilities;
  3. Improves mood and helps stay focused, calm and even optimistic;
  4. Improves focus especially the snacks full of antioxidants and healthy fats;
  5. healthy snacks lead to healthy meals and healthy choices;
  6. Provides diverse nutrients;
  7. Reduces and prevents binge eating;
  8. Raises metabolism;
  9. Lowers cholesterol;
  10. Controls blood sugars;
  11. Decreases the chance of diabetes;
  12. Decreases the chance of cardiovascular disease.

And these are only the main reasons, we could probably find even more benefits. But it’s clear that snacks are important for many reasons, now it is essential to figure out what are the healthy snack options. And there are a few. But today I am talking about nut butter and fruit…  According to netdoctor.co.uk:

“Peanut butter is rich in healthy, unsaturated fats which leave you feeling fuller for longer. It also contains magnesium, which fortifies your muscles and bones, as well as potassium, which has been found to lower blood pressure. However, while it does help to control hunger, it is high in calories, so you shouldn’t overindulge.”

Like with everything else, moderation is simply essential. Don’t overdo it. Nevertheless, try these amazing options using best quality nut butter combined with fruit or veg. Trust me – even kids will love them!

Apple with Cinnamon & Peanut Butter

  1. Core apple and cut into 4 slices. Spread each slice with a little peanut butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

 

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Alternatives:

  • Sprinkle with:
    • sesame seeds
    • coconut flakes
    • chopped nuts
    • pistachios
    • dark chocolate
  • Add:
    • blueberries
    • raspberries
    • grapes
    • dried fruit

I think you figured – use your imagination! Seriously – everything works here 🙂

Bananas with Peanut Butter and Cinnamon

Peel 1 banana, cut in half. Spread a thin layer of your favourite nut butter (I used peanut butter) and sprinkle with cinnamon.

The banana offers quick carbs, and the peanut butter offers a little protein — it’s a match made in snack heaven.

Add any berries or nuts and seeds as explained above to make it even tastier! Room for your creativity!

Ants on the Log

Cut raw celery sticks in half, spread a thin layer of your favourite nut butter and place some raisins. It may not sound too appealing but trust give – give it a go and you will be surprised! The freshness of celery mixed with nut butter creates a perfect marriage!

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These are an amazing option for our little people as well as an adult would go for it! Perfect lunchbox idea or weekend snack to keep everyone going!

Hope you will love it too. Feel free to leave comments below with your options!

Lots of love,

Agne Jonele

Broccoli Snacks by Agne

The good news is that you will always find broccoli in our house 🙂 It’s crazy actually how often we eat broccoli. And all of us love it! Which makes my life so much easier! I serve broccoli with eggs for breakfast, put it in the soups or wraps for lunch, it works perfectly as a side order for dinner and much more. But today I am even more excited because my dear friend Egle shared a recipe how to make a snack with broccoli! Well, this is just awesome!

A lot of us have heard that broccoli are good, but do we really know why?

According to organicfacts.net there are 20 good reasons why we should eat broccoli:

  1. Aids in digestion
  2. Prevents chronic diseases
  3. Good liver health
  4. Boosts brain health
  5. Haircare
  6. Reduces allergies
  7. Has anti-inflammatory properties
  8. Anti-ageing properties
  9. Controls diabetes
  10. Improves metabolism
  11. Aids in treating cancer
  12. Detoxifies body
  13. Treats stomach disorders
  14. Prevents heart disease
  15. Eye care
  16. Boosts immunity
  17. Improves bone and teeth health
  18. Regulates blood pressure
  19. Treats anaemia
  20. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Here you go – tons of valid reasons why we should eat broccoli.

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So let’s have a look at the recipe I received from my friend! It was really delicious! Great a snack or side order with the main course.

Broccoli cupcakes

Ingredients

1 head of broccoli
2 cloves of garlic
200 gr of grated mozzarella cheese
150 gr of oats
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
200 gr grilled bacon in cubes (I didn’t add any bacon)

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 180C. Place the baking paper on the baking tray.
  2. Cut broccoli into smaller florets, place it in the boiling water and boil for approx 2 minutes.
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  3. Remove broccoli from the water and place in the food processor or blender. Blend it together for a few seconds.IMG_9676.JPG
  4. Add crushed garlic, then oats, eggs, cheese to the broccoli and season it with salt and pepper.
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  5. Mix it all together and make small balls from the broccoli mixture. Place them all on the prepared tray and cook for 15 minutes or until golden.

    Super delicious! Even your kids may like them! I sincerely believe that we stay creative, make it fun, try different variations, kids will come around too 😉 (hopefully). So, give it a try and if you do, let me know what you think!

Lots of love,

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‘I hate mornings’ vs ‘I love mornings’

So how many times you’ve heard a saying ‘Oh, I’m a night owl, I can not wake up early in the morning’. I used to say the same thing myself. And I still enjoy the morning snooze 🙂 Nevertheless, about a year and a half ago I found out that it is not a ‘condition’, it’s not set in stone and it can be changed. Waking up early in the morning or last minute in the morning is simply a habit and habits can be gained or changed.

A lot of people hate mornings. And even though ‘hate’ is a very strong word, many of us struggle with the early mornings and wake up moaning, complaining and, of course, rushing afterwards. Well, this is some set-up for the new day… Great start one could say 😉

The ‘night owls’ (including me) would follow the pattern above. And would press on that snooze button continuously. I even had a system – I would set up my alarm precisely the last minute I NEEDED to wake up to be able to get ready on time. I was not up for pressing the snooze button, I had a better way (ha ha ha). You can only imagine how stressful it was each and every morning running around, rushing and stressing about any unpacked school bags, unprepared clothes or lunches etc. When I started my days like this it was not easy then to rewind and switch on the positive gear. So why I kept doing this? A simple bad habit…

“Considering that our habits create our life, there is arguably no single skill that is more important for you to learn and master than controlling your habits. You must identify, implement, and maintain the habits necessary for creating the results you want in your life while learning how to let go of any negative habits which are holding you back from achieving your true potential.” (Hal Elrod)

I’ve heard so many times that in order to be successful you simply need to watch what successful people are doing and repeat their steps. Interestingly enough majority of my idols (Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, Jim Rohn and many more) would have a set early morning routine. They would never jump into their day before taking their time to set their mind and prepare mentally, physically and spiritually. And even though I love them all dearly, I would always give myself an excuse that ‘I am a night owl and cannot do that’.

Until one day in January 2017, I was introduced to an amazing book called ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod. And THAT changed my perception and had a great positive effect on my life.

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“How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive, successful days—which inevitably create a successful life—in the same way, that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.” (Hal Elrod)

According to Hal the sleeping in, and not being able to wake up, is simply having a lack of purpose in life or running away from life and troubles. And I was just like ‘whaaatttt?’. It really made me think. And start taking action. I never really thought I could do anything like that. I loved my comfy bed and pillow early in the morning. But after reading ‘My Miracle Morning’ book something shifted. I think Hal Elrod is simply very influential 😀 But it made sense!

“Remember, the moment you accept total responsibility for *everything* in your life is the moment you claim the power to change *anything* in your life.” ~ Hal Elrod

I’ll give you a quick review of what Hal talks about in this book. In simple terms, he suggests the One-hour a day formula. Powerful!

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The Miracle Morning book reveals Life S.A.V.E.R.S. — a set of six simple, life-enhancing, life-changing daily practices, each of which develops one or more of the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual aspects of your life so that you can become who you need to be to create the life you want.

Life S.A.V.E.R.S. – a set of six simple daily practices that helps me rock it!
They are:

  • Silence
  • Affirmations
  • Visualization
  • Exercise
  • Reading
  • Scribing (journaling)

What does Hal mean by this and what do I do?

Silence

‘When there are peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt’ (St. Frances de Sales)

Time for meditation. This is a biggy for me 🙂 Our minds work so much all the time and I sincerely believe that my mind is twice or three times more busy than anyone else’s… Not kidding. I feel I cannot switch off and it is a real challenge for me to sit quietly and stay centred. But again – that is another habit. So for me, tools are important. I found an amazing free app that I use for meditation called ‘Insight Timer’.

Affirmations

‘You can use affirmations to start programming yourself to be confident and successful in everything you do, simply by repeatedly telling yourself who you want to be, what you want to accomplish and how you are going to accomplish it. With enough repetition, your subconscious mind will begin to believe what you tell it, act upon it, and eventually, manifest it in your reality.’ (Hal Elrod) Not sure if you are aware how much we talk to ourselves. Which is simply talking to your mind and responding to the thoughts. Interestingly enough those thoughts naturally are somewhat negative: ‘you cannot do it’, ‘what are you thinking’, ‘how stupid was that’, ‘why did you do that’ etc. Our mind never encourages us, actually quite the opposite. That’s where affirmations help to reprogram our mind and change the direction.

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.” ~ Muhammad Ali

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I simply write them down and read them over every morning. Later I found an amazing app called ‘Think Up’ where you can record your own affirmations and then play them and listen to them anytime anywhere. You can have a few different types: affirmations for your health, money, career, self-esteem etc. Whatever you are lacking and need to work on. Listening to your own affirmations on the go recorded with your own voice works powerfully.

Visualizations

We all heard about creating vision boards, right? I hope you tried it before because it’s actually a very fun exercise. We did that with the kiddies some time ago and it’s an amazing and fun way of spending an afternoon.

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We created our vision board at least 5 years ago and in the meantime, we grew out of some wishes and desires, some have already happened and others will happen. According to Hal Elrod ‘Visualization, also known as creative visualization or mental rehearsal, refers to the practice of seeking to generate positive results in your outer world by using your imagination to create mental pictures of specific behaviours and outcomes occurring in your life.’ As human beings what we tend to do is focus on negative or things that have not happened more so than what we desire and work towards.

“Ordinary people believe only in the possible. Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible. And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.” ~ Cheri Carter-Scott

So why not try it? No harm, right? 😉

Exercise

We all know we need to exercise in order to stay healthy, fit and full of energy. But how can I have time for the exercise? Do it first thing in the morning. Get it out of your way! ‘Eat that frog’ – as Brian Tracey would say 😀

“If you don’t take time for exercise, you’ll probably have to make time for illness.” ~ Robin Sharma

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What exercise do you like? Exercise doesn’t mean it has to be a 100k cycle or half marathon. Sometimes it can simply be some yoga or pilates, a walk around a block. What about a swim? Just move that body! There is so much focus on the exercise lately because most of us are sitting in the office, at the computers the big part of the day and then move to the sofa in front of the TV…

Understandably this was not an issue 50 years ago when people were working in the fields, doing a lot of physical work, heavy lifting, carrying and much more. But what happened now? We don’t move that much. We use the car to bring kids to school, go shopping, travel to work, use the lift instead of the staircase and find any other possible shortcut. This is normal and we all do that unless we are very aware of the lack of physical activity. ‘When you exercise for even a few minutes every morning it significantly boosts your energy, enhances your health, improves self-confidence and emotional well-being, and enables you to think better and concentrate longer.’ (Hal Elrod)

Reading

My favourite part… 🙂 I love books. I LOVE reading. But… I used to go for the easy read, the reading for pleasure, anything from the fiction section. After reading ‘The Miracle Morning’ I started to gear more towards educational or motivational reads. My mornings are now dedicated to educational material and evening time I read a novel. I never thought I have time for different books nut now reading 10 pages every morning I finish a self-development or other type of educational book in a month or so. How cool is that?

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“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body and prayer is to the soul. We become the books we read.” ~ Matthew Kelly

The key is to learn from the experts—those who have already done what you want to do. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The fastest way to achieve anything you want is to model successful people who have already achieved it. And we can do that by reading their books.

Tim Ferris once said that evening time should be for helping to settle and calm your mind, therefore, evenings should be for an easy read. So I keep enjoying my novels in the evening but now also have time for the important literature 😉

Scribing

Hal uses this name for journaling. It’s simply writing down your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly. And if you struggle with stress, depression, or anxiety, keeping a journal can help you gain control of your emotions and improve your mental health. As well as your positive ideas: gratitudes, achievements, desires and plans. This exercise is simply for putting everything on paper. I find that helps me clarify my thoughts. No matter how far technologies have progressed, pen and paper is still an amazing exercise for the mental well-being. Don’t make it complicated – get a journal, start writing and keep writing. It’s your thoughts, your ideas, your emotions. No one needs to read it or see it.

“Paper is to write things down that we need to remember. Our brains are used to think.” ~ Albert Einstein

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Simple, right? As Jim Rohn would say: ‘simple, but not easy’ 🙂

I am still working on these habits. I start and I drop it. I do few things and I ignore the others. It takes time and practise. But what I love the most is the clarity and simplicity of this practice. Having an hour for myself in the morning before I start the day and jump into mummy duties is the most enjoyable and satisfying practice. This time is really precious. I would highly recommend to try it 🙂

Lots of love,

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Creamy Tuna Dip & Roasted Beetroot & Caramelised Onions Dip

We all have parties, don’t we? I don’t know about you, but I know my friends, family and I usually complain about the amount of food that was consumed during the party and how bad it is for us!

Yes, we all been there. It was bothering me also. Therefore, very slowly I started looking at the options of healthier snacks to serve to our guests. And you know what? I found them! Well, some better than others but overall these are much healthier options than crisps, bought-in sausage rolls or pizza!

My new invention (I know it’s not new out there in the world, but it’s new enough for me) are various dips. And vegetables, sometimes few breadsticks or crackers with it. You’ll see 😉

We had a small party this weekend just gone by and I made Beetroot Dip with Caramelised Onions and Creamy Tuna Dip. And you know what? It was unreal!

The best part is when kids run down to the table looking for a treat and there are carrots and broccoli all over the table 😀

Priceless! And seeing no other option on the table, kids usually grab the least scary looking option and run away! Now, this I call – A WINNING moment 🙂 So here it goes…

Roasted Beetroot & Caramelised Onions Dip

Ingredients

  • beetroots (800g)
  • red onion (340g)
  • 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1 cup (100g) of ground walnuts
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Cut beetroot in halves or quarters and wrap each piece individually in tin foil. Place beetroot in the oven and bake for approx 1 hour (until it’s cooked – check with the fork if beetroot is soft). You can use the bought-in and already boiled beetroot but I find that the colour of the dip wouldn’t as bright red as well as there is a small taste difference of the dip when you use roasted beetroots.
  3. Remove cooked beetroots from the oven, open up the tin foil and let it cool down. When they are cool enough to handle, remove and discard skins. Chop beetroot in smaller pieces ready for blending.
  4. In the meantime prepare the caramelised onions. Peel and slice the onions. In the frying pan put some oil and sautee red onions on the medium heat about 20 minutes or until tender. At the end sprinkle balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, season with some salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute.

     

  5. Place the cooked beetroot, caramelised onions, ground walnuts in the food processor and blend it all until smooth. Season to taste.

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Creamy Tuna Dip

Ingredients

  • 250g light cream cheese

  • 185g can tuna in oil, drained
  • 1/2 cup light whole-egg mayonnaise

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 1/4 cup drained capers (or chopped pickles)

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method

Place cream cheese, tuna, mayonnaise, parsley and lemon juice in a food processor. Process until just smooth. Add capers or chopped pickles and mix it together. Enjoy!
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Super quick and easy, especially tuna dip is a life saver anytime someone visits unexpectedly 🙂 I usually have some carrots in-house and could never live a day without broccoli. Hence, I prepare raw carrot sticks, raw celery sticks, fresh cucumber sticks, lightly boiled broccoli florets and sometimes breadsticks or crackers to serve with the dips and everyone just LOVE it! trust me, you will never hear a complaint that there are no crisps 😉 Well, at least not out loud 🙂

 

Hope you got inspired and you’ll have a healthy’ish party snacks next time 😉

Lots of love,

Agne Jonele