A Belly Full Of Leek and Potato soup for The Big Broth Campaign

A Belly Full Of Leek and Potato soup for The Big Broth Campaign

Today, leading youth homeless charity Centrepoint, launched their campaign The Big Broth. The campaign is seeking to bring awareness to the 86,000 young people in the UK facing homelessness (which utterly staggers and upsets me)

Young people face homelessness for a host of reasons and this amazing charity helps support over 10,000 them in accommodation and other support services in London, Yorkshire, Manchester and Sunderland. 86% of young people who come to Centrepoint move on in a positive way – but there is still so much more that can be done, with more funding and more support.

So when they got in touch with me to ask if I would create a soup recipe for The Big Broth campaign – it was a no brainer. Everyday I feel lucky to be happy, healthy and a roof over my head – and in the mill of day to day life, it can be so easy to forget how fortunate we really are. As an ode to my amazing Mum, I have created A Belly Full Of version of a family favourite – Leek and Potato soup. This is with a Bryony twist though!

A Belly Full Of Leek and Potato soup for The Big Broth Campaign, Bryony Hopkins

The pea shoots in the recipe give this a lovely peppery kick

The recipe is vegan, gluten free, dairy free and could be made low FODMAP. It’s a proper hearty, thick soup, which is the way I like it and deliciously mopped up with lots of bread! If you prefer a more liquid soup, up stock and the almond milk measurements.

Massive thanks to Riverford, for delivering me the best possible organic produce to make this recipe!

A Belly Full Of Leek and Potato soup for The Big Broth Campaign, Bryony Hopkins

Massive thanks to Riverford for delivering this super delicious, organic produce to create this recipe! The box contained pea shoots, tomatoes, carrots, kale, cauliflower, potatoes and leeks.

Serves 4 (gluten free, dairy free and vegan)

Ingredients

3 large potatoes, washed, peeled and chopped into small chunks

1 large leek, chopped

1 small red onion

1 small carrot, peeled and chopped

2 gloves of garlic

1 vegetable stock cube (make sure it’s GF!)

750 ml boiling water

300ml almond milk – unsweetened

Big handful of pea shoots + more for garnish

Olive oil

Salt & Pepper

A Belly Full Of Leek and Potato soup for The Big Broth Campaign

A proper winter warmer as it starts to get so cold!

Method

  1. Pop a glug of olive oil into a shallow pan (ideally with a lid) and add your crushed garlic, chopped red onion, chopped carrot and leek into the pan. Keep on a medium heat and sauté the vegetables for about 20 minutes. Be sure not to let the vegetables burn!
  2. Meanwhile, add the vegetable stock cube to your boiling water (or just use vegetable stock if you have it!) and whisk so it’s smooth. Add the liquid to your pan, along with a handful of pea shoots and your potato chunks. Bring to the boil and then simmer for around 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are totally tender and falling apart. Season well with plenty of black pepper and salt.
  3. Pop the mixture into a blender and add 300ml of unsweetened almond milk. Blend until smooth.
  4. Serve with black pepper on top, a swirl of olive oil and a handful of pea shoots.
A Belly Full Of Leek and Potato soup for The Big Broth Campaign

The Big Broth Campaign for Centrepoint launches 2nd November

** The vegetables from Riverford were gifted for this recipe. This is not a paid post. **

Bryony Hopkins A Belly Full of Food www.abellyfullof.com

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Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of, Sadhana Yoga

The outside of the studio had a very on point message. Sweat. Chill. Repeat.

With a really frantic few weeks moving into my new flat, when I got a mail in my inbox inviting me to try a class at Sadhana Yoga studio, I thought – YES BLOODY PLEASE! I need all the zen in my life. When I found out it was close to where I had just moved into, I really did think Christmas had come early.

So what’s the deal with me and yoga? Well, yoga has been part of my life on and off for many years. I was actually first introduced to it by my Mum back when I couldn’t have been older than 12 years old, when I desperately needed some distraction and relaxation. She took me to a class at a local leisure centre and I loved it – I had never felt such a serene feeling sweep across me when I was in the class. I loved the breathing, the feeling of totally letting go of stress from the day and just having that sacred five minutes at the end of the session to focus on your breathing and relax.

Since then I have never quite kept up consistent yoga practice, even though I know I love it. I have taken some yoga classes at various places and done a couple of beginners courses of 6 weeks – but it always seems to fall off my radar. When I saw that Sadhana was located so close to where I lived and was a studio dedicated to all different types of yoga classes, I thought yesss, this is when I can get back on this horse!

Sadhana Yoga and Wellbeing studio is based near Clapham Junction and is literally walking distance from the main train station and bus stops. The choice of classes is vast – everything from Bikram Yoga, to Vinyasa and even ‘Dynamic Body’ yoga. I had a look at the class descriptions on the website before deciding which one to go for – and decided that I would push myself out of my comfort zone and go for something different. So with that, I booked into the ‘Dynamic Body’ class, which was described as a core muscle work out, with strength building in the upper and lower body. The class will culminate deep stretches to encourage the body to open and release any lasting tension’.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of, Sadhana Yoga

The outside of Sadhana, on what was a bit of a rainy day in London. Immediately forgot about the weather as soon as I stepped in the door!

I arrived on a Saturday morning for the 1030 class and the interior of the studio were just beautiful.  The vibe was very relaxed and the front staff were really helpful, giving me a short form to fill out. This is of course quite normal for a yoga studio, so they have your next of kin details and also can be made aware of any injuries you have.

I had looked up on the website the night before to see if I needed to bring my own mat – which they did advise, although you can rent a mat if you need to when you’re there. I headed into the class five minutes early and it was already quite full. People lay with their eyes closed and it became clear that people came to Sadhana very regularly – these people looked utterly relaxed just lying with their eyes closed, whilst we waited for the teacher.

The instructor was Letitia Wilkinson, a professional dancer and what I quickly found out during the class, was this was very much about core strength – of which I massively struggle with due to so much abdominal surgery! Letitia was a fabulous teacher though, very gently motivating as we moved our bodies into many strength positions – from the plank to balancing on tip toes. I realised about 10 minutes in that the reason everyone else was just in yoga pants and a sports bra was because this is a SWEATY class. It really did push my body.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of, Sadhana Yoga

Internal scar tissue in my stomach means I really struggle with core strength exercises – but the instructor was very patient and encouraging. Which is always nice!

I am always weary of my core strength when I enter into classes like this – because mine is disastrously weak in comparison to other people’s. Lots of scar tissue has meant I’ve consistently never engaged that part of my body, always opting for work outs which focus on my lower or upper body instead. There was no where to hide in this class when it came to core strength, and Letitia was totally patient and encouraging. I spoke to her after the class and she gave me some fabulous tips about how to engage my core better in the plank and other core based exercises, and I walked away feeling like I had some tangible tools to move forward, whilst also feeling good that I can completed a very challenging class.

I can’t wait to try some of their other classes next and I would definitely recommend this yoga studio, offering  such variety and also something different in their strength and movement classes. Sadhana means ‘disciplined and dedicated practice or learning’ – so I guess I will just have to keep on going!

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**I was gifted the class for free, but was not paid to write this post. All reviews and opinions completely honest.**

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Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food, Food Dairy Co

The gorgeous pages from the Food Diary Co. Scroll down to find my 10% off discount code – exclusive for you guys!

‘Why don’t you start a food diary Bryony? You might actually be able to see what is making a difference rather than speculating’. That was my Mum, talking to me after I had my sixth open stomach surgery. I was at home undergoing a mega recovery and felt frustrated I was still in pain and discomfort. With nothing else I do, I started a meticulous food diary, which went on to dramatically change my quality of life.

That was back in 2015 and so when Laura from the amazing Food Diary Co got in touch with to share her amazing food diary, I was made up. And also in disbelief. It is so useful and life changing to document what you eat and your symptoms, that someone has actually made a business out of it? What a brilliant thing. At the beginning of the this summer, with my new diary, I started documenting my lifestyle and diet again and just as it did before, I found some hard to ignore patterns. (Scroll down for my discount code to buy your diary!)

But before I get to that, let’s rewind back to 2015. It was the first time I had even thought about documenting my diet and my symptoms and I didn’t really know where to start. I was first diagnosed with Crohns Disease when I was four years old and nobody had ever suggested to me that this might be a good idea. Which seems mad now even three years on – but back then it was a bit of a breakthrough. I started by simply writing down what I ate and rated my pain out of ten. I thought it might be quite poignant to show one of my diary entries, which I dug out of the archives below.

A Belly Full of Food, Bryony Hopkins

You can see dramatically how much my pain changes when I had a drop of milk!

Even just with this very basic method, I was able to deduce that dairy was causing me major problems. My pain shot up to 8 or 9 out of 10 on days when I had milk in my tea, a slice of cheese or even milk chocolate. When you see changes like that, it becomes incredibly hard to continue as normal. I went through a similar process in 2016 to discover gluten was having a similar effect and since I cut them both out – I’ve never looked back, and I’ve never documented what I was eating since.

So when I received my diary, it seemed like a no brainer to start again. The most brilliant thing about The Food Diary Co, is the ability to document SO much more than just your diet. Like so many other people with gut conditions, I am massively impacted by many lifestyle factors outside of my diet. A busy day can impact my stomach. A run of late shifts, lack of exercise or drinking alcohol, can all impact my stomach. Even just a bad nights sleep – that can impact my stomach! And it was brilliant to have a place to jot all this down in my new Food Diary. It became almost like a journal for me – as I was able to write down so much more than just my pain.

A Belly Full of Food, Bryony Hopkins

You can see here the layout of the page, where you can jot down everything from mood, sleep, stress, drinks, medicine and exercise.

Having a place where I could write down everything from sleep, drinks, stress and medicine essentially gave me place where I could actually identify patterns. I’m sure I’m the same as many in the fact that I am very time poor – with a demanding job, a busy social life and juggling lots of commitments constantly. It seems strange saying it out loud, but sometimes I genuinely can’t remember what I ate for breakfast – let alone how it made me feel! It actually became incredibly refreshing to see how I was doing every day – and be able to look back on it, see it in black and white and absorb the patterns appearing.

Living with a condition like Crohns Disease is a minefield – every day is different and sometimes in the fog of fatigue, it can be hard to see the wood from the trees. From looking back at every entry over a month and then looking at the ‘month’ round up page at the back, some of my triggers became clear. I am majorly impacted by stress, lack of sleep, alcohol and unfortunately my one love, coffee. My summer with The Food Diary Co has also made it pretty clear that I can’t do oats in large quantities and I can’t do soya milk everyday. Who knows why this is the case and I am still in the process for hunting for other patterns for other niggles. What I do know now though is that I have the knowledge and tools to make better decisions for my health – based on my scrawly biro writings in my Food Diary. I’ve started reserving my energy so I don’t get burnt out and I always make sure I get 8 hours sleep. These lifestyle changes have essentially made it easier for me to put one foot in front of the other.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food

A veggie pasta packed with goodness

So what top tips would I give if you are starting a diary for the very first time? Throw everything at it and literally write down everything you can possibly think of. Even if it doesn’t seem relevant – jot it down. What this diary is amazing for, is making you see that everything you do has an impact on how you feel. I will even write down ‘cried today about X’ or ‘felt really happy about Y’, because I know my mood is detrimental to my wellbeing. I’ll also write down what medication I took, as well as how much water I’ve drunk. I asked Laura, the fabulous founder of The Food Diary Co, what her advice was.

‘I would say firstly, congratulations! You’re starting a journey to taking control of your gut and health again, and I am so excited for you! Secondly, be sure to check out our blog on the website because we have lots of really great posts that can help you, including our big bumper guide to using a food diary (if you want a downloadable copy of your own to keep, be sure to sign up to the newsletter for your free download!), and the 8 ways I used my food diary to heal post. That one is all about the habits I formed to help me successfully keep a food diary.’

I hope this post has given you some food for thought on starting on a food diary journey, I would love to hear your thoughts. Better yet – to get you kick started you can use my exclusive discount code for 10% off a beautiful Food Diary Co! 

Use the code ‘BELLY10’ for 10% off at the check out – and get in there fast! The code ends on 31st October 2018. Click here to buy.

Cannot wait to hear what you think!

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** I was gifted the diary for free, but was not paid for this post. All reviews completely honest.**

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Students sometimes opt to cut out meat altogether to make meals cheaper – my brother recently told me he did this!

Today Waitrose hit the headlines for a rather different reason – no, it wasn’t a big shiny Christmas ad it was a page from their magazine which shared ‘5 Student Store Cupboard Essentials’.

If you haven’t seen the article (read it here), it shared 5 ingredients, which it said would ‘set your tastebuds alive’ and would create you a bunch of eclectic and delicious meals. On the list was Aspall Organic Cyder Vinegar priced at £1.70, Organic Italian Seasoning at £1.89 and Harissa Paste priced at £4.35 for a 170g jar1!

I went on BBC Radio London today to discuss it (you can listen back here, in at 1610) and I was very honest with my views – this list is ridiculous!! I had absolutely no idea what harissa paste was when I was at university. I lived off stir fry, fried egg and bacon and toast and beans. I have absolutely no shame in that, but there are so many factors at play when you start university. Unless you are already into cooking, lets be honest, you probably won’t be using your time to find out what to do with harissa paste!

It took me back to 8 years ago when I was a fresher myself and got me thinking about student staples I would recommend now, with cooking knowledge and how the free-from market has changed! So, I have complied my recommendations for 9 essentials for the gluten and dairy free student.

1. Garlic

Okay, I know this is probably obvious 101 but I had no idea the ability of a garlic clove at university and because it is SO versatile, and can be used in basically anything, I’ve popped it number 1. Pasta, stir fry, chicken, fish, turkey, spinach – literally add garlic and you are away. If you’re LOW FODMAP you could go for garlic oil. Costs about 80p for 2 bulbs in many supermarkets.

2. Salt and pepper

Again basic – but also, life changing. A good old season of salt and pepper really makes a difference. Especially a good quality sea salt, if the budget can stretch to it.

3. Chilli flakes and paprika

As I said on the radio, add paprika and you can get a taste upgrade on so many meals. Meats, fish, veg alike – even an aubergine with paprika baked in the oven would be delicious. A life saver, along with some chilli flakes. Cost about 90p each for a supermarket own brand (which is the same as any brand!)

The best chicken sticky recipe which is based on soya sauce and rice! Both cheap ingredients, plus the chicken can be cheaper if bought frozen (see more below!)

4.Gluten free soya sauce

Okay so perhaps I am hypocritical here because the Waitrose article did say gluten free soya sauce, but that was for nationwide application. Obviously when you’re gluten free, you have little choice in the matter! Soya sauce is incredibly useful for making bland rice and noodles interesting and so therefore, it should be on the list. Clearspring is £3.15, however Meridian comes in cheaper and so does Kikkoman. So shop around for the best price!

5. Basmati rice

Rice is hard to get right but it’s cheap. Basmati rice is not that much more expensive and essentially cooks quicker and easier. I always use basmati now – and again, not too expensive.

6. Frozen peas and sweet corn

Frozen peas and sweetcorn can go in ANYTHING! Pastas stir fries, a side for your meat or fish – and frozen is cheaper and goes a long way. You’re looking at £1-£2.

7. Chopped tomatoes

Again the base of pastas, pasta bakes, curries etc etc! Cheap and easy to store and lasts for ages.

8. Chickpeas

A cheap and filling alternative to meat and easy can make a quick curry with your chopped tomatoes, garlic, chilli, paprika, frozen peas and rice. Looking at 55p for these!

If you do fancy fish, I recommend going for frozen. Roasted veg is also filling and goes a long way!

9. Frozen chicken breasts or fish

If you do go for fish or meat, I am saying frozen because it lasts longer and is generally cheaper. You can get large packs of frozen chicken breasts or fish for under £5 in some supermarkets and is just generally a more cost effective way to consume these products.

All hail pasta!! I’ve used quorn in this spag Bol, which is actually cheaper than beef and incredibly filling.

10. Gluten free Pasta

I am putting this at the bottom because it is expensive, but I have mentioned pasta a lot above as a key staple! Unfortunately, gluten free pasta is just more expensive but all the major supermarkets have their own GF pastas now, which are generally cheaper. Sainsburys, Tescos and Morrisons are all good ones to look out for.

I’d love to know what your student essentials were or are?

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Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

I will forever look at this photo and wonder how I look so awake at 7am. (Photo: Emma Parlons

In early July, I was absolutely delighted to host my first ever A Belly Full of Food event. This has been something I’ve been keen to launch for a while and I was so excited when everything began to come together for it. I kept it super small for my first event (I’ve never even organised something like this before!), and so I really wanted to write a little about it so I could share it with more of you and hope you will be able to join me for the next one!

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

Rhiannon Lambert & I mid gut health talk!

For anyone who follows me or reads this blog, you’ll know that I am a HUGE foodie and also mega passionate about educating people on living with IBD. As a journalist by day, I am hugely motivated by getting evidence-based knowledge out there and educating others about how food can play a role in a disease of this nature. I find the online world hugely frustrating at times, when I see influencers advertising products, which are not necessarily based on evidence and the messages out there are confusing and conflicting. This is something I was really keen to address in my first event, and I was so delighted that Registered Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert came to speak and share her nutritional knowledge (more on this below!)

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

The gorgeous spread of brightly coloured fruit outside

A Belly Full of Food breakfast mingle came around when I stepped into the doors of the gorgeous Panzer’s Deli, in St Johns Wood and met the amazing team there. We worked together on hosting this first gut health foodie event under the A Belly Full Of brand (eeeeek!)

The aim of the event was mainly education – to learn about gut health, including IBD and IBS and also gathering together some foodies to eat some amazing food! I was so lucky that Panzer’s Deli put on an amazing spread, which catered for gluten, dairy free and vegan, including the most insane fruit salad, fresh berries, coconut yogurt and artisan coffee made to order. Everyone gathered to eat the delicious food, before I introduced the special guest, which was the lovely Rhiannon Lambert of Rhitrition.

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

How epic is this gluten free and vegan spread at Panzer’s Deli?

Rhiannon was absolutely focal to the goal of my event, as a Harley Street nutritionist, she knows everything there is to know about food, nutrition and gut health, and would never say anything that wasn’t rooted in evidence and research. Together over half an hour, we discussed IBS, IBD, Coeliac Disease and some gut health basics. Along with the huge support from Panzer’s Deli, a wonderful friend Sarah from BTempted Cakes bought along her brand new vegan and gluten free cupcakes for the goodie bags – what a way to start the day!!

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food event

Feeling so excited to have the first event go so well and gives me so much pleasure to announce that this isn’t the only A Belly Full of Food event. I can’t wait to share the details of the next one with you – a much bigger event which won’t start so early in the morning! I’d love to hear any other health topics you’d like me to look to cover in the future – not just gut health, but anything! This concept is really about educating on a wealth of health conditions and topics. Hit me up with your suggestions below (or via Twitter, Instagram or email). I really would love to hear from you!

Bryony Hopkins, A Belly Full of Food Events

My beaut GF girlies bought me flowers and it was just the loveliest moment. GIRLS SUPPORTING GIRLS

Bryony Hopkins A Belly Full of Food www.abellyfullof.com

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