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Discover the power of plants. Everything you need to start discovering new organic plant based meals. Made for veggies and flexitarians...

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Discover the power of plants. Everything you need to start discovering new organic plant based meals. Made for veggies and flexitarians...

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Natasha Corrett

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Natasha Corrett

Foods to Help Relieve Stress and make you Happier

Choosing healthy foods when you’re stressed is so important as it can impact your mood in a positive way and help relieve tension, stabilize blood sugars and send your stress packing. While it may seem tempting to drown your anxiety in a bowl of ice cream or calm your nerves with a bag of chips… eating junk foods while stressed may be particularly dangerous to your health. Junk foods will only give you a moment of reprieve. After the initial pleasure wears off, you may find yourself battling mood swings, irritability, and other unpleasant emotions on top of the stress, courtesy of the sugar, trans-fats, artificial colours, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and whatever other synthetic ingredients you may have consumed. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids are not only super healthy, but can also increase happiness, lessen symptoms of depression, and quell anxiety.  To date, researchers have studied the association between foods and the brain and identified nine nutrients that can combat depression and boost our mood: Calcium Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body.  It helps maintain strong bones, and healthy blood vessels.  Its often paired with Vitamin D to help regulate mood fluctuations caused by PMS.  Oestrogen plays a large role in calcium production.  Great sources of calcium include: yoghurt, ricotta cheese, sardines, tofu, salmon, and collard greens. Chromium Chromium is a trace mineral found in small amounts in the body.  It increases the brains’level of serotonin, nor epinephrine and melatonin – all of which help the brain to regulate emotion and mood.  Chromium works directly with the brains’ mood regulators and so is an effective treatment of stress and depression.  Sources of chromium include: Broccoli, grapes (and grape juice), potatoes and turkey breast. Folate (B9 or Folic Acid) Folate helps the body create new cells and supports serotonin regulation.  Serotonin is responsible for passing messages between nerve cells and helps our brains to manage a wide variety of functions.  Folate also boosts the efficiency of antidepressants.  Great sources of folate include:  spinach, black-eyed peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, avocado. Iron Low levels of iron can lead to feelings of fatigue and depression.  Iron is extremely important for our bodies.  It transports oxygen around the body and helps maintain muscle strength.  Maintaining good iron levels also prevents iron anaemia.  Good sources of iron include:  soya beans, lentils, turkey, steak. Magnesium Magnesium has over 300 uses in protecting our bodies health.  Magnesium deficiency can cause irritability, fatigue and stress.  Due to its ability to regulate emotions, magnesium is a common element in homeopathic remedies for balancing mood.  Great sources of magnesium include:  almonds, spinach, cashews, peanuts. Omega-3 fatty acids Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid important for brain health.  Our bodies cannot produce its own Omega-3’s so we need to ensure we consume enough of it through the foods we eat.  A deficiency can cause fatigue, mood swings and depression.  Food sources of Omega-3 are:  chia seeds, salmon, trout, herring, spinach. Vitamin B6 Vitamin B6 helps the body produce neurotransmitters.  A deficiency can cause anemia, weakened immune system, confusion and depression.  Consuming the correct amounts of this important vitamin can maintain a healthy brain function and healthy moods.  Highest food sources of Vitamin B6 include:  fish, beef liver, organ meats, starchy vegetables and chickpeas. Vitamin B12 Because moods depend largely on signals from the brain, B12 plays an important role in regulating depression — consuming enough vitamin B12 allows the body to synthesize a group of nutrients critical for normal neurological function.  Vitamin B12 is found naturally in meats, oily fish, eggs and cheese.  Vegetarians and vegans are most susceptible to developing a deficiency and so must be sure to take a supplement. Vitamin D If you’re feeling down in the dumps, increasing your Vitamin D intake has been proven to ward off depression.  Vitamin D regulates cell growth, maintains a healthy immune system and protects bones.  You can get your Vitamin D naturally from sunlight – just be sure to slap on your hat and slop on your sunscreen!  Food sources that contain Vitamin D include eggs, salmon and mushrooms. Zinc Zinc is an extremely important mineral for our bodies to maintain healthy immune systems, decreasing depressive symptoms and protecting the gut.  Vegetarians need as much as 50% more zinc than non-vegetarians due to the body’s lower absorption rate of plant-based zinc.  Zinc-rich foods help to balance your mood.  Food sources include pumpkin seeds, cashews, crab, pork and cheese. Our diet plays an important role in stress management.  Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and meditation are also important "release valves" that can help you manage your stress.

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Foods to Help Relieve Stress and make you Happier

Choosing healthy foods when you’re stressed is so important as it can impact your mood in a posit...

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Olympic Athletes who live a Plant-Based Lifestyle

More and more elite Olympians and athletes have chosen to keep a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle or they have chosen to exclude animal products from their diet into a diet that is rich in proteins found from vegetarian sources. Among this year’s vegan Olympians are Morgan Mitchell, competing for Australia in the 400 metre sprint, Kendrick Farris, the only male weightlifter competing for the United States, and Marquise Goodwin, who is representing the US in the long jump. Kendrick Farris Kendrick Farris, who was the only American to compete in men’s weightlifting at the 2016 Olympics, and who lifted a combined 357 kg to place 11th overall in the Rio games, also happens to be vegan. He says the birth of his second son prompted him to reflect on the example he was setting.  As the family’s main cook, Kendricks wife, Katrina shared her husband’s go-to meals and some tips for making a vegan lifestyle work with the news site. For breakfast, Farris usually has oats of (vegan) pancakes followed by a protein shake as a mid-day snack. For lunch, he will often have avocado quesadillas and then guacamole and black bean chips for a post-workout snack. More black beans are served at dinner in the form of black bean quesadillas. “I use black beans for everything,” she said.  Katrina adds that she doesn’t spend her days scouring vegan blogs or recipe books, she just adapts the meat based recipes she knows and loves to include beans or plant-based cheese substitutes.  The Rio games marked Farris’ first Olympics as a vegan and his third Olympics overall. While he didn’t medal this time, weightlifting on a world stage without animal protein is still a pretty impressive feat. Carl Lewis Carl Lewis is likely the most famous vegan past Olympian. He earned ten Olympic medals in track and field in his lifetime of competition, nine of which were gold. In 1990, he switched to a vegetarian diet when he realized that controlling his weight by skipping meals wasn’t the best way to stay slim and trim. By 1991, Lewis went completely vegan after which he claimed he had the best athletic year of this career.  Lizzie Armistead Another British vegetarian athlete, Lizzie Armistead, cycled her way to Olympic silver more recently, in London in 2012. Though Armistead missed out on earning a medal this year in Rio, it doesn't seem that her long-time vegetarianism (she first expressed interest in going meat-free at age 10!) had anything to do with it. Venus Williams Tennis queen Venus Williams already has earned four Olympic gold medals, and she began following a raw food vegan diet when she learned she had Sjögrens Syndrome, which causes dry eyes and dry mouth by attacking the healthy cells that produce tears and saliva. And she’s candid about the challenges of her plant-based diet, describing herself as a “cheagan” (cheating vegan) Athletes Protein NeedsThe most common concern when switching to a plant-based diet for athletes is getting sufficient protein. All athletes need protein at higher levels than the average person. Endurance athletes need protein in particular for muscle repair, whereas strength athletes require it for muscle mass. The general recommendations for athletes are around 1.4-1.8 g per kg body weight. There are only a few plant sources of protein (e.g soya) that supply a good balance of all the essential amino acids and many plant protein foods can be harder to utilize. To achieve optimal protein intake on a plant based diet does require more careful planning but it is possible. Focus the diet around protein-rich plant foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, soya especially fermented soya (tempeh, natto, miso) and grains like teff and quinoa in addition to leafy greens. Many athletes will benefit from using vegan protein powders like rice, hemp or soya, which can be easily added to dishes, homemade protein bars or smoothies especially post training. Read our blog on Plant-based protein sources that gives you a more in-depth understanding on alternative protein sources.  

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Olympic Athletes who live a Plant-Based Lifestyle

More and more elite Olympians and athletes have chosen to keep a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle or...

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Facts About Food Waste and How You Can Reduce Yours

According to a new report by Wrap, Britons are throwing out approximately 4.2 million tonnes of perfectly edible food and drink every year.  Here are some more facts about food waste in the UK and how you can reduce yours. Facts about Food Waste Every day in UK homes we throw away approximately: 24 million slices of bread 8 million potatoes 9 million slices of ham 5 million sausages 5 million tomatoes 4 million bananas 1 million eggs Wasting this food costs the average household £470 per year, rising to £700 for a family with children.  This equates to around £60 per month! If we all stop wasting food that could have been eaten, the benefit to the planet would be like removing 1 in every 4 cars from our roads. 4% of UK’s total water wasted is associated to the good food and drink we throw away. An estimated 20 – 40% of the UK fruit and vegetables are rejected even before they reach the shops – mostly because they do not match the supermarkets’ excessively strict cosmetic standards. In the UK every 1 tonne of food wasted is responsible for 4.5 tonnes of CO² emissions. Ways you can reduce food waste Shop Smart  Careful shopping is the fastest and easiest way to cut food waste. Make a shopping list – Research shows only about 25% of us use and stick to written shopping lists. This helps to reduce grocery bills and impulse buys. Choose a hand basket – It’s a visual thing really. Bigger dinner plates encourage you to take more food.  Similarly, big shopping carts encourage you to fill them up. Shop the bulk bins where possible – for items such as grains, dried goods, spices etc, most stores offer these in bulk bins allowing you to only purchase the exact quantity you need. Buy ‘ugly’ fruit and veg – scarred and oddly shaped foods are perfectly normal. If we don’t buy them, the store will throw them away. Watch your portions Portion calculators can help you feed a big group, but they can offer insight too — like why there’s always so much extra rice. Plan your meals Planning meals in advance can seem intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be.  Successful meal planning doesn’t have to mean hours spent with a cookbook. With Chop Healthy’s meal delivery service, we deal with the organic suppliers directly and pack the exact quantities needed for your recipes.  No waste and because we deal directly with the organic suppliers we are able to help save you a few pounds. Store Leftovers Correctly Storing food correctly in the right place is vital to reducing food waste.  After a meal, if there are any leftovers, ensure you place them in air-tight containers in the freezer or fridge. Treat Expiration Dates and Sell By Dates as Guidelines Only Bloom recommends we don’t pay too much attention to expiration and sell-by dates as they usually only identify food quality, not safety.           

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Facts About Food Waste and How You Can Reduce Yours

According to a new report by Wrap, Britons are throwing out approximately 4.2 million tonnes of p...

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How to start your own indoor organic herb garden

If you’re a novice gardener or don’t have much of a green thumb, growing an indoor organic herb garden is an easy place to start.  Cultivating an extensive herb garden is wonderful if you have the outdoor space to do so, but many people don’t. Fortunately, it’s not hard to grow the same herbs indoors, even in a small space.  They’re very easy to maintain and there truly is nothing better than picking your very own fresh herbs right in your home. You don’t need anything special or expensive.  Indoor organic gardening in containers allows you to grow nearly anything your heart desires.  Things you’ll need to get started Sunny spot - Most herbs are sun worshipers, so all you need to get started is a nice, sunny place in your house for them to call home.  To grow well indoors, herbs need as much natural light as possible. Place them in a sunny spot near a window where they’ll get at least 4 hours of sun daily. Regularly rotate the orientation of your pots with respect to the source of sunlight so that they don’t lean in one direction. Potting containers - There are many different types of containers you can use for your herbs and in fact, you could get quite creative! After selecting a container, it’s important that it provides adequate drainage for excess water. If your container doesn’t have drainage holes, carefully drill one or two in the bottom. These holes will keep your plants from drowning and prevent diseases such as root rot. Seed / Seedlings - While you can start your herbs from seed, it’s easier to buy starter plants from a local nursery or farmers market.  Here is a list of herbs that are known to grow well indoors year round: Basil Bay Chives Coriander Fennel Lemongrass Parsley Sage Rosemary Thyme Mint Potting Soil & Compost - Organic potting soil is available at any good garden center. Once you determine how much you will need for your available containers, make your purchase. Pre-packaged compost can be purchased at the same time to increase the nutrient value of the potting soil.  Before transplanting herbs out of their “nursery” pots into your ready prepared containers, water the pots well because a dry rootball is difficult to wet thoroughly once it is in the ground.  After planting firm the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil and give the herb a good start.  After planting firm the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil and give the herb a good start. Regular pruning will promote further growth.  Remove dead leaves and flowers on a regular basis but don’t cut more than a third off.If your herbs start flowering, they are not being clipped regularly enough.  Cut off the blooms and clip back down to one-third. Growing your own herbs indoors can be a rewarding experience that doesn’t require a lot of experience or effort to be successful. Their beauty and aroma are sure to inspire your cooking creativity. If you find you don’t have the space to create your own indoor organic herb garden then don’t panic.  We, at Chop Healthy, know what it is like to try and find certain ingredients.  With Chop Healthy we deal with the organic suppliers directly and pack the exact quantities needed for your recipes.  No waste and because we deal directly with the organic suppliers we are able to help save you a few pounds.

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How to start your own indoor organic herb garden

If you’re a novice gardener or don’t have much of a green thumb, growing an indoor organic herb g...

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10 Minute Beginner's Workout for Busy People

Although the decision to commit to getting fit may seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to be. If you’re not quite sure how to start because you’re so busy, then just begin by doing this quick 10-minute workout for busy people each day.  This total body workout requires just a mat, a jump rope and enough space to move around freely. What to Do:  As a beginner, it’s advisable to only complete 1 circuit of 15 repetitions of each exercise with 30-second rest between each exercise.  As you progress, you can increase the number of circuits and move onto the next exercise without rest, but rather rest 30 seconds at the end of each circuit. Warm Up:  Begin by doing a 5 minute warm up before each session.  Start by marching on the spot for 3 minutes breathing deeply to get your bodies warmed up.  Then take it up a notch by skipping with a jump rope for a further 2 minutes before going straight into the first exercise. Mountain Climbers Begin in a pushup position, with your weight supported by your hands and toes. Flexing the knee and hip, bring one leg until the knee is approximately under the hip. This will be your starting position. Explosively reverse the positions of your legs, extending the bent leg until the leg is straight and supported by the toe, and bringing the other foot up with the hip and knee flexed. Repeat in an alternating fashion for 20-30 seconds.     Push Throughs Push throughs are essentially modified crunches. Rather than crunching upwards with your hands at your sides, you pull your hands together and through your two legs for extra upper abdominal work. Full Body Squats Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. You can place your hands behind your head. Begin the movement by flexing your knees and hips, sitting back with your hips. Continue down to full depth if you are able, and quickly reverse the motion until you return to the starting position.     Power Jacks Power jacks add a deep squat to the traditional jumping jack putting additional emphasis on the legs. Stand with feet side by side, head up, shoulders back, and back straight. Arms are extended down at your sides.  Hop your feet out to the side, simultaneously bringing the arms down and to the sides as well, going into a deep squat with feet wider than shoulder width apart. Exhale, pressing through the heels, jumping up and bringing feet back together at center and arms overhead.   Plank Start by getting into a press up position.  Bend your elbows and rest your weight on your forearms and not on your hands.  Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.  Engage your core by sucking your belly button into your spine.  Hold this position for the prescribed time.   In order to live an all round healthy lifestyle, it’s always good to combine fitness with healthy eating habits.  Read our previous blog on Simple Ways to Start Living a Healthier Lifestyle Today.  We, at Chop Healthy are all about eating like you give a f*ck.  We create super healthy and unbelievably tasty plant-based recipes with fresh organic produce, and deliver them right to your door.  So sign up and start your new health adventure today!        

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10 Minute Beginner's Workout for Busy People

Although the decision to commit to getting fit may seem like a daunting task, it doesn’t have to ...

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Our mission is to help you discover the power of plants and take the hell out of healthy eating.

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