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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It is PUMPKIN SEASON: one of the healthiest foods of Fall.

I love to educate myself about all the different benefits that the foods I eat may have for both my health and overall wellbeing. Since it is fall and I love pumpkins, I thought I would share with you 5 amazing benefits of one of the healthiest (and yummiest!!) foods of the season.

To begin with, let me emphasize on the fact that pumpkin is such a versatile ingredient. I find it is so easy to incorporate in my diet. Even though I eat pumpkin during all year, it is for sure one of my staple foods when the chillier weather comes around.

Here is my small collection of pumpkins currently sitting at my house. Can you tell how much I love them? haha I feel so lucky to be able to find a wide range of types, colors, shapes and sizes at my local grocery store! 🙂 Okay enough of faffing around, let’s hop right into the health benefits of pumpkins:

  • It is a food rich in essential antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin A that can neutralize the free radicals that our bodies may excessively create, preventing them from damaging our cells
  • It is a source of vitamin A, which promotes good eye sight and strengthens our immune system, helping to ward off ilness and fight bacterial and fungal infections (just 100g can meet 170% of our RDA). It is also a source of vitamin C that, despite being widely-known for fighting the common cold due to its crucial role in increasing our white blood cell production, it is also very important for iron absorption as well as for tissue repair and regenaration.  Lastly but not least, it also contains vitamin E, which is equally vital for a strong and well-functioning immune system. It is also very important to regulate our endocrine and nervous systems (working in a way that balances our hormones naturally) and to repair damaged skin.
  • It is an iron and zinc rich food, the two minerals that are considered most important for a welll-functioning body. Iron is required for hemoglobin formation, which is basically the protein existing in our red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout our body; being thus essential for growth, development and normal cellular functioning. Just like iron, zinc also plays an important role in our cell growth and in protecting us from free radicals. In addition, this mineral is also required for the maintenance of our special senses (i.e vision, smell and taste), healing of wounds and thyroid function.
  • It is a great source of fiber, which as you probably know is essential for our gut health, supporting normal bowel movements, helps constipation and aids disgestion. Another reason why fiber is so important is its role in regulating blood sugar, cholesterol levels as well as in reducing the risk of heart disease.
  • Contains folate, a B vitamin vital for creating both white and red blood cells and subsequently for preventing anemia.

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Are you also a pumpkin lover like me? Please let me know in the comment section below what is your favourite fall food! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Greateful

Himalayan salt lamp and its benefits

Heya,

I finally bought myself a Himalayan salt lamp and I am pretty stoked about it as I have wanted to have one for ages. I got super curious since the very first time I heard about them.

I read a lot about the health properties of Himalayan salt lamps and their connection to ions before buying mine and I though I would share with you my findings.

First of all, it is important to understand what are ions and how they affect us.

Ions consist of molecules (i.e. groups of atoms) that have either gained or lost an electrical charge. When atoms/molecules have more positive electrons than negative, they carry a positive charge, being denominated as “positive ions”. Similarly, when they have more negative electrons than positive, they carry a negative charge and are therefore “negative ions”.

Ions are present in the air we inhale daily. Whilst negative ions can be mostly found outdoors (as Nature is their main source), positive ions can be found indoors. This is because Nature is the main source of negative ions and the electronics we possess at our house and work are the source generating positive ions.

Scientists claim that positive ions lower its delivery and sap our body of energy, which may lead to headaches, drousiness, infections, depressing mood, anxiety and breathing difficulties. On a more felicitous note, negatively charged ions are known to affect us positively because they facilitate the absorption of oxygen. They have the power of elevating our mood by increasing our levels of serotonin and of stabilising our blood pressure; boosting our immunity; increasing our body’s alkalinity;strengthening our bones and even of speeding up physical recovery. Sounds pretty amazing, does not it? This is because when negatively charged ions reach our bloodstream, they generate biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin. This subsequently improves our mood and energy levels and balances our mental health, alleviating feelings of depression, lethargy and stress.

The fact that negative ions are created in the Nature might explain why we can feel so renewed, energised and refreshed yet calm when we go on a hike in the mountains or just spend some time waterfalls or at the beach.

Now that I have shortly explained what ions are and how they can affect us, it is time to introduce the benefits of Himalayan salt lamps and show their link to negative ions.

I have gathered in the list below the benefits that are, from my standpoint, the most important:

Cleanse and purify the air. Salt lamps have the amazing power of hygroscopy, which basically consists of the process of attracting and absorbing water molecules that are present in the air into the salt crystal. Because the salt lamp warms up due to the heat generated by the light bulb inside, the water evaporates back into the surrounding environment and the particles of dust, pollen and other bad contaminants remain trapped and “stuck” to the salt.

Reduce allergies and breathing problems. Due to their cleansing property (already mentioned above), it has been commonly reported that Himalayan salt lamps reduce allergies and improve breathing problems like Asthma. The results are said to be felt within just 1-2 weeks.

Neutralise electromagnetic radiation. We are constantly exposed to electromagnetic radiation (EM) flowing from the electronics we have at both our house and workplace. These electronics produce positive ions which affect negatively our mental and physical health. Constant or long-term exposure to EM is widely known to have harmful effects to human health. Increased stress levels, chronic fatigue, insomnia and immune dysfunction are just some of its potential dangers to us. As Himalayan salt lamps emit negative ions, they assume a crucial role in neutralising this radiation.

Promote a better sleep. We all know how important it is to get good quality of sleep in order for us to feel and perform at our best. Sleep quality is worsened by the exposure to a high concentration of positive ions, which, as mentioned earlier,  reduce both the oxygen and blood delivery to the brain. If you are like me and like to sleep in complete darkness, you can simply leave the salt lamp on during the daytime and turn it off before going to sleep.

Improve our energy, mood and concentration levels. Negative ions enhance serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter known as a “mood stabiliser” and that directly influences dopamine (i.e. the so-called “happiness hormone”). Since this neurotransmitter is responsible for how much contentment, satisfaction, relaxation and peace we feel, having balanced serotonin levels is pivotal for our well-being. Thus, as salt lamps generate negative ions, they boost our serotonin levels, leading to increased energy and mental concentration and to improved mood.

Beautiful piece of decor that creates a peaceful atmosphere and space . From a decor point of view, Himalayan salt lamps are also a wonderful acquisition to our homes. I personally love the warm glow that my Himalayan salt lamp irradiates. Its amber/pink-ish colour is just so soothing and calming and helps me to have a more mindful space around me. It is such a pleasurable moment for me to sit comfortably on my bed after a long day and read a great book in the gentle and relaxing glow of a salt lamp.

Environmentally-Friendly source of light. This nice ambient light is also eco-friendly and low footprint. My research showed me that there are still many salt rocks reserves around the world and it is estimated they will still last for another 350 years if the extraction continues with the same pace it currently has. Plus, the light bulb inside the lamp consumes a really small amount of energy.

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Himalayan salt lamps exist in various sizes, shapes and colours and ech one of them is  naturally unique. The bigger/heavier the lamp, the greatest are its benefits.

I am very happy for having added this beautiful element to my little world and I can’t wait to enjoy all its amazing benefits. As I strongly believe that Himalayan salt lamps lead to a better overall sense of health and wellbeingI totally recommend you guys to get at least one for your house or workplace.

Let me know in the comment section below if you found this post useful or if you own a Himalayan salt lamp and are therefore already familiar with its benefits! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful