Evening rituals for a good night’s sleep

Getting a restful sleep is important, from personal experience if I sleep too much or not enough it can affect me physically, mentally and emotionally.

Incorporating rituals into your evening can help your mind and body relax and fall asleep more easily.

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My first suggestion is to keep the lights to a minimum, especially after your evening meal, keep only the necessary lights on and try lighting some candles to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Try not to eat a large meal at night and avoid eating after 8pm – if your body is busy digesting food it will prevent you from sleeping well. Alcohol and caffeine both disrupt sleep so try drinking herbal tea instead.

If you watch TV, turn it off at around 9pm (same goes for the computer/tablet) and begin your wind down, try some gentle stretches, restorative yoga or meditation, you only need to put aside 10 minutes, you will find your breathing slows and as you practice your mind will slow down too. Another ritual to try is yogic breathing or pranayama, if you’ve never tried this before, here is a simple sequence:

Close your eyes and sit down in a comfortable position. Slowly breathe in for 1,2,3 counts, hold your breath in, then breathe out for 1,2,3 counts, then exhale again for 2 more counts. Repeat this process very slowly about 3-4 times. This breathing technique is lovely at any time of the day if you’re feeling stressed or anxious.

When you’re ready for bed, turn the main light off and just keep a lamp on. Avoid watching TV, or looking at your phone, keep electronic devices away from you with the sound turned down.

For those of you dealing with pain I’d suggest investing in a lavender heat bag, you can heat it in the microwave then pop it in bed with you.

Try rubbing a few drops of lavender essential oil on your hands, neck and then slowly breathe in the scent, it is very relaxing, I do this every night.

I would suggest setting a alarm for the same time everyday, even weekends, this may seem overkill but getting a good night’s sleep is also about waking at the same time to set a pattern for your body, over time you won’t need an alarm but while you’re having trouble it may be worthwhile. Another tip is to get up as soon as you wake up, if you wake at 5am instead of your usual 6am, your body is telling you it’s time to get up, sleeping longer can make you feel tired and groggy.

Happy zzz’s!

Yours in health,

Meredith

Sugar free chocolatey chia bliss balls

These protein balls are sugar free but taste delicious, they are a perfect between meal treat.

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Takes approximately 10 minutes and makes about 4-6 balls.

You can find the ingredients in the health food section of your supermarket or your local health food store.

You’ll need:

2 tablespoons of vanilla or chocolate protein powder

3 tablespoons of cacao powder (1-2 extra for the coating)

3 tablespoons of chia seeds

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla powder (I buy this online direct from the producer but it can also be found in health food stores)

3 drops of organic liquid stevia

1/4 cup of almond milk (add more if the mixture is too dry)

2 tablespoons of almond butter

Method:

Combine all ingredients using a blender (regular or stick blender is fine). Once combined the mixture should easily roll into balls using your hands, coat in either cacao powder or desiccated coconut.

Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Porridge with poached apple and spiced cashew cream

While it sounds decadent this recipe is very healthy and perfect for the endometriosis diet, it’s vegan and refined sugar free. If you are avoiding gluten, perhaps try rolled quinoa instead of oats. You can also skip the porridge and have the poached apple and cashew cream separately as a snack, or add to a smoothie. Yum!

At first glance it looks like there is a lot involved with this, but it’s actually fairly easy, there’s just a few different steps. You’ll notice the cashews need soaking prior to making the cream, if you don’t have 4 hours to soak them in cold water, then just cover with boiling water and 1 hour should do.

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Serves 2.

Porridge:

You need:

1 cup of rolled oats (I used organic, wholegrain oats, available in the health food section of your supermarket)

2 cups of almond or coconut milk (found in the long life milk section of your supermarket)

1/2 teaspoon of organic vanilla powder (I buy locally farmed vanilla bean direct from the producer, it’s expensive but one packet lasts a few months)

Method:

Bring the milk and vanilla to the boil in a saucepan, then add the oats, stir continuously for 5 minutes on low-medium heat, when it’s ready the oats will stick to the spoon. Turn off the heat the cover with a lid and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Poached apples:

You need:

2 apples, peeled, cored and halved (I used Fuji)

1 star anise

2 cups of filtered water

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of organic vanilla powder

1/2 a cup of *organic frozen raspberries (plus some reserved to top your porridge with)

2 drops of organic liquid Stevia (found in the sugar section of your supermarket or health food store)

Method:

Bring the water to boil on the stove in a medium saucepan. Add the star anise, cinnamon, vanilla, raspberries, Stevia and apples. Cover the apples with some baking paper/parchment so they cook evenly in the saucepan. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the apples from the liquid, strain and reserve the poached apple liquid.

*I always try to buy organic berries, as raspberries, blueberries and strawberries are often sprayed heavily with pesticides. Frozen berries are a great, economical way to store them (especially in winter when not in season). Organic frozen berries can be found in your local health food or organic grocer, some specialty supermarkets stock them too.

Spiced cashew cream:

You’ll need:

1/2 a poached apple

2 drops of organic liquid Stevia

1/2 cup of soaked cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours in cold water)

2 tablespoons of reserved poached apple liquid

1/2 cup of coconut milk (found in the long life milk section, or health food section of your supermarket)

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of organic vanilla powder

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a blender, blast on high for 2 minutes or until completely smooth.

To serve:

Serve the warm porridge in a bowl, ladle a few tablespoons of reserved poached apple liquid around the porridge, place some sliced poached apple around the side, top with some raspberries then spoon some cashew cream on top. Enjoy!

Yours in health,

Meredith x

Low sugar blueberry smoothie bowl

This is one of my favourite smoothie bowl recipes as it’s low in sugar and packed with nutrients. Perfect for breakfast or as a snack. The below ingredients can be found in a health food shop, organic grocer or the health food section of your supermarket.

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Serves one.

You’ll need:

1/4 cup of frozen or fresh blueberries (I use frozen organic wild blueberries)

1/4 avocado

1/2 cup of coconut milk (almond milk also works well)

1 teaspoon of acai powder

1 teaspoon of cacao powder

1 tablespoon of almond butter

1 tablespoon of vanilla protein powder (I use Amazonia, Slim and Tone)

A few drops of organic liquid Stevia

Topping:

1 tablespoon of coconut yoghurt (I use Coyo)

1/2 cup of nuts and coconut flakes (I topped mine with Paleo Pure muesli)

A handful of mixed berries

Place all ingredients (except the toppings) in the blender and process on high until smooth (about 1-2 minutes). Place in a bowl and stir through the coconut yoghurt, then top with remaining ingredients. Enjoy!

Yours in health,

Meredith x