Top nutrition benefits of SPELT

As someone who suffers from IBS and who has followed a very restricted diet (mainly gluten free and low in fodmaps) in terms of quantity and variety for way too long, changing the way I approach food was certainly not an easy task. Quite frankly, it is a work in process to this day.

As an attempt of reducing my IBS symptoms, I have cut out gluten from my diet in the past. Subsequently,  this resulted in some nutritional deficiencies and in gaining fear of certain foods. As much as a specific food does not sit well with your stomach, when you leave it out of your diet, you are also leaving out all the potential health benefits that that food may have for your body. I have come to learn that micromanaging what I eat, demonising (groups of) foods and labelling them as “unhealthy”, “bad” or “off limits” is not the way to go. I ended up by wasting so much energy on obsessing over foods and it is simply not worth. We have so much mental energy per day and I realised that I could be putting it to better use.  Thus, for the past half year or so, I have been incorporating a greater and greater variety of foods into my diet. Gladly, I now feel so much better. I have gained more love and excitement for cooking new recipes and for experimenting with food. I have also gained more knowledge about what certain foods can do for us and that is one of the reasons why I am writing this post. I want to talk about SPELT today, which is one of the foods that I have introduced into my diet and that I have been loving to eat lately.

I personally do not think that it is beneficial for our bodies or minds to completely cut gluten out of our diets, unless of course we have an allergy or severe intolerance to it. Whole grains can play an important role when it comes to maintaining a well-functioning body and to having good digestion, cholesterol and blood pressure levels. They are a great source of dietary fibre, vitamins and essential minerals.

If you are not highly intolerant or allergic to gluten, I would highly recommend you to give spelt a go. The fact that there are so many different ways of preparing it, makes it really easy to be incorporated into our diet. Plus, nowadays spelt is readily available in most supermarkets and in a variety of forms (pure whole grain form, puffed or ground into flour). You can can also easily find spelt cookies, crackers and bread.

Despite not consuming gluten on a regular basis because my diet is mainly plant-based and focused on whole foods, I do eat every now and then. I like doing it so because this way I am able to keep my diet varied, which is key to getting the right nutrients in and have a well-nourished mind and body. Being mentally and physically in a good place, makes it so much easier to succeed in life and find true balance and wellbeing within.

I don’t know about you but I like to be informed about the nutrition and health benefits of the foods I put in my body. Hence, after doing some research, I have compiled some information about spelt that I would like to share with you.

First of all, spelt is an ancient grain that has been around for many years. It is a subspecies of wheat and it was actually one of the first grains used to make bread. Despite not being gluten free, it contains considerably less of it when compared to common wheat. Hence why it is actually tolerable by many people with sensitivities. When it comes to its taste, spelt has a nutty sweeter and lighter flavour when compared to whole wheat. I personally like it more as I find it to be more rich in flavour. I have gathered the 5 health benefits that I considered as being the most important. So let’s just get into it!

  • Unlike wheat, spelt has a high water solubility, making it easily digestible and quickly absorbed into the body.
  • It is high in important minerals such as copper, iron, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, thiamin and magnesium. These minerals are needed for the production of red blood cells and for a well-functioning human body with a healthy immune, nervous and cardiovascular system.
  • It boasts a higher protein content when compared to regular wheat
  • It is particularly rich in vitamin B-3 (niacin) and in B17, which is believed to be an anti-carcinoma, helping to fight against cancer.
  • When compared to wheat, it has a greater quantity of certain essential amino acids – namely cystine, isoleucine, leucine, methionine and neurotransmitters, phenylalanine and tryptophane – which our bodies cannot produce but need to be able to thrive!

That being said, I think we could all agree that spelt is undoubtedly a nutrient rich grain. So if this is a grain that does not cause us any abdominal discomfort or any physical health issue, why keep it out of our diets?

Lately, my favourite of consuming spelt has been in its puffed form for being so versatile. You can literally add it to anything you like: porridge, smoothie bowl, yogurt, granola, etc… One of my favourite go-to breakfasts at the moment is puffed spelt soaked in unsweetened soya yoghurt and topped with some fruit and/or a nut/seeds butter (see below). Even though I vary what I have for breakfast every morning and I love doing it, I know I could easily have this for breakfast 7 days in a row haha

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Breakfast this morning before heading to my usual cardio/strength training class at the gym: Unsweetened soya yogurt, finely chopped fresh strawberries and a spoon of dark tahini (my current seed butter obsession!). Easy, simple but so tasty.

I hope this post was informative enough to arouse your curiosity about spelt and I hope it has encouraged at least some of you to give it a try if you have not already. As always, I would love to hear your feedback on it. Also, if spelt is already part of your diet, I’d love to know what is your favourite way of consuming it. I am always on the lookout for new breakfast/lunch/dinner ideas where I can include it in a different way than I am used to.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

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Pumpkin and vegetable soup (VGN & GF)

It is finally pumpkin season and to celebrate it, I just came from the supermarket with various types of pumpkin (some of which are actually completely new to me). You should have seen me carrying them through the steep and narrow stairs (typically Dutch) of my house! haha but hey, they looked so cute and oh so pretty that I could not help myself! #sorrynotsorry Also, I swear they screamed “Please take me home with you!” and so I did (even though I have no idea of what I am gonna do with them because it feels like it is a waste to just cook them! haha).

Anyhoo, I am here today to share my pumpkin soup recipe, it is the perfect comfort food for brisk and cold Autumn nights. It is a bit different from the “typical pumpkin soup” because I added two of my fave veggies (cauliflower, mushrooms and spinach) to make it extra nutritious and comforting.

Whenever Fall and Winter come around, soup makes up my perfect staple diet for the week. I love to cook a pot of it in the weekend and store it in the fridge for when I come back home from work and gym feeling knackered during the week.

This soup recipe is just gently spiced with ginger powder and turmeric because I wanted to make sure that the pumpkin flavour shines above the rest. However, please do feel free to adjust the seasonings to your liking. My favourite thing about using pumpkin in my soups is the perfect silky and creamy texture it gives to it.

Ingredients:

  • 500gr pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 200g carrot, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium-sized zucchini, peeled and cubed
  • 150g cauliflower, grated
  • 100g brown mushrooms (or any type really), finely chopped
  • 2 handfuls of spinach leaves
  • 2tsp of ginger powder
  • 2tsp of turmeric
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Fill a medium-sized pan with water and bring it to a boil over high heat.
  2. In the meantime, peel and dice the pumpkin, carrots and zucchini and put them aside.
  3. Then grate the cauliflower and put it aside.
  4. When the water is boiling, add the diced carrots, zucchini and pumpkin. Cover with a lid and let it cook for 10 minutes. Then, add the spices and salt and simmer for around 20 mins until pumpkin is soft.
  5. Turn off heat, and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until smooth.
  6. Add the grated cauliflower to the soup and simmer it again until it becomes soft.
  7. Then add the mushrooms and spinach leaves and let it all cook for more 3-5 minutes.

….And this is what you end up with:

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A thick and creamy soup loaded with flavour! If you decide to make this soup recipe (which I hope you do!!), let me know in the comment section how you liked it! 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Source, York (England)

I traveled to the north of England earlier this year and I finally had the chance of visiting the lovely city of York. Going to cozy and pretty cafes and trying new and good foods are always part of my travel itinerary whenever I go on holidays. In my opinion, one of the greatest joys of wandering is discovering that little gem of a restaurant or cafe along the way. ♥

After a well-spent morning exploring York’s ancient walls and alleys, we decided to stop by at the restaurant “Source” for lunch. This time was actually my boyfriend who looked up this restaurant online and I was super glad with his suggestion! 🙂 The cloudy weather got me craving some real comfort food and I must say that the dishes I ordered totally hit the spot!

The restaurant is conveniently located in the heart of the city and all the ingredients used are locally sourced. Even though Source is specialized in slow meats, superfoods and vegetarian dishes, they also have a menu that is entirely vegan. 🙂 Despite its simple decor and relativelly small space, the restaurant has a clean and inviting atmosphere with an open kitchen (a concept that I love) and comfortable seating. The staff was accomodating and friendly.

You can see below the dishes I ordered:

Starters to share (£6.00):

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Caulliflower florets roasted with turmeric, chilli and ginger and garnished with fresh rocket leaves and pomegranate seeds. They came served with a yoghurt dip. As I do not consume dairy products I did not try the dip but boyfriend did and approved! 🙂 *small remark* can we please take all a moment to appreciate how pretty the what looks like to be handmade ceramic dinnerware is? Love it!!

As for the main, I decided to order this mouth-watering and hearty ratoutille (£12.00):

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The ratatoutille consisted of oven baked aubergine, green and yellow zucchinis with a super yummy red pepper and tomato sauce. It came served with some traditional bread, which I kindly asked to be toasted since it was supposed to be “warm” according to the menu. It was absolutely scrumptious and its aroma would leave you drooling trust me. By the way, who would have guessed that my first Ratoutille would be in England, rather than in France? haha

Given the quality and portion sizes of the dishes above, I found them to be fairly priced. I must also add that we did have to wait quite some time for our dishes but as soon as they arrived, we could understand why. It was visible how carefully they were prepared. Plus, it was totally worth the wait because the food was just excellent and wonderfully presented. So, if you guys happen to be in York and want to eat some good food, I’d totaly recommend this restaurant. 🙂

 

P.S. I apologise for not sharing any pictures of the restaurant itself or of the dish my boyfriend ordered but I guess I was too absorbed in the moment and in my food that I totally forgot.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful