This Friday 7th April is World Health Day – but what does it actually mean to be healthy? For me, being healthy is having a handle on practical things you can do to make your life easier and make you feel better about yourself. If you feel better about yourself, your body and your emotions, then surely that is a one way ticket to feeling healthier.  So where should you be looking to feel healthier? You should be looking at YOU!
Perhaps you could start by asking yourself some of the following questions…
How is your health?IMG_4859
Okay maybe this is an alarmingly obvious question, but often we neglect to ask ourselves. How is your health? Are you on an even keel, or are you particularly tired? Are you in any pain or rundown? Are you feeling in good shape? Are you feeling happy with your body? There is often no easy ways to answer these if you have a chronic condition. Like me, suffering from Crohn’s Disease, I’m never quite sure how my health is! But I can recognise when I am over worked, over tired and stressed and I know that these are vital keys which can unlock a whole host of problems for me! It might be worth also giving my Listening to Your Body article a read, to help you get more in tune with your body! Answering all of these honestly will get you straight on the path of figuring out what tweaks you need to make to your lifestyle to start feeling healthier.
What are you eating? Is it making you feel good?
This can be a hard question to answer but I think it’s vital to start working out where you’re at with happy and healthy eating habits. Essentially – it’s not just about what you eat, it’s also about how you feel about eating. Our emotions are strongly linked to our eating habits – I think we’ve all reached for chocolate or ice cream when we’re feeling low.

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I switch to really easy foods when my stomach is playing up – like this simple turkey noodle soup

So really this question is about honestly asking yourself if your food choices are making you PHYSICALLY happy. Sure, chocolate may feed an emotion, but how do you physically feel after? For me, I love cheese (like, really love cheese), but it was making me so bloated and giving me terrible stomach pains. Despite the fact I loved it, I knew I had to cut it out and it turned out that it was dairy entirely which was causing me problems. Sure it takes willpower to cut out something you love, but if you feel better afterwards it’s a no brainer! I discovered this by writing a food diary and documenting all the things I had eaten that day and how I felt afterwards/later at the day. I think this is a fabulous way to get in sync with how your body is reacting to what you put in your mouth. Evaluating and understanding what you’re eating and how it’s making you feel is the first stop to feeling better and healthier about your diet.
Are you exercising?
We are absolutely barraged with advice on how we should be exercising these days. Running, weights, HITT, yoga, Pilates… but really you need to find w

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Me pre yoga at The Life Centre, in Notting Hill, London

hat works for you. I find it completely overwhelming sometimes, and that’s even before people have started telling you what they do to stay fit! You have to go with what feels right for you and not what everyone is telling you. I have friends who do PT sessions – but I sure as hell couldn’t think of anything worse! Instead, I signed up for a beginners yoga class and learnt the basics. It’s good for all of us to exercise – but there’s no point doing a fitness regime you hate.
Are the people around you making you happy?
Another hard question to answer, but it’s worth considering what your support network is like around you and do they actually make you happy?! This could be a colleague you always talk to or a friend who drains the life out of you… if you’re not getting anything out of a relationship, is it a relationship worth having?
How do you relax?
Arguably, I think this is the most important question of them all! How do you get your ‘me time’? It might well be exercising – or it could be reading a book, watching your favourite TV programme, meditating or practicing mindfulness.  Whatever it is, make sure you’re making time to actually do it! A relaxed soul is a happy soul – and a happy soul is a healthy soul!
Happy World Health Day 🙂
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bryonyhopkins

When I was a child, we used to go on camping holidays to northern France and play in the gorgeous french sunshine. I have so many happy memories of exploring northern France, in particularly Brittany, where we would ALWAYS round off the day with a crepe (or actually, sometimes start the day with a crepe!)
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Since I’ve gone dairy and gluten free, I don’t think I’ve eaten a crepe or a pancake. When eating out, there has never been the option for a flour or milk free crepe – and so it seemed clear that I needed to get in the kitchen to create one!
This recipe is absurdly simple – the main ingredients being just banana and eggs. The cacao replaces the chocolate that I used to gorge on when I had a chocolate filled crepe in France – and the pomegranate provides a wonderfully sweet crunch.
Ingredients 
This recipe makes six pancakes. They are dairy free, gluten free and vegetarian. 
For the pancake:
3 eggs
2 bananas
1 tbspn desiccated coconut
2 tspns raw cacao powder
Coconut oil/olive oil (1-2 tspn)
For the toppings:
Date syrup/maple syrup/honey
Pomegranate seeds (I bought a ready made packet of them from a high street supermarket)
Method

  1. Take a medium sized bowl and mash up your bananas  with a fork, until they form a sticky pulp. Try and get the pulp as smooth as possible – but a few little lumps do add a little texture!IMG_4541
  2. Add your 3 eggs, tablespoon of desiccated coconut and two teaspoons of raw cacao powder. Mix everything together – this is your pancake batter!
  3. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil (or you can use olive oil) in a medium frying pan on a medium to high heat.
  4. Once your oil is hot, fill a small ladle of mixture and place into the frying pan. If you hear a big sizzle, then turn your heat down a little. (A small sizzle is expected!)
  5. Fry for about a minute to 2 minutes on each side – or until they are turn brown. The cacao powder will mean they naturally brown them, so monitor closely so they don’t burn!
  6. Repeat this process until you have finished your batter, and begin piling them in a stack on a plate. Don’t worry if they are all different sizes – that’s part of the fun!
  7. Once you’re done, now it’s time for toppings! I sweetened mine by drizzling over date syrup, but you can also use honey or maple syrup. Now take your pomegranate seeds and sprinkle all over the pancakes – the more the better!
  8. Tuck in and enjoy!! 🙂

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*Created for Inghams Foodie Finds campaign!*

bryonyhopkins

Happy Monday gorgeous gang! This has been a jam packed year already and I’m super excited to use this post to make a few announcements – all blog related of course. Thank you to all of you who have been reading and enjoying my posts so far – it’s given me such joy to develop recipes, review my favourite eateries and share my Crohns story with you!
First off – A Belly Full Of now has its very own Instagram account!!
I’ve already reached over 100 followers in just three weeks, which has been just brilliant (everyone loves a food pic!) Give @bryonyehopkins for loads more recipes, food inspiration, Crohns updates and tips on living and managing IBD.

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Find me on Instagram! @abellyfullofbryony

Secondly – I’m starting a Nutrition course tomorrow!
This is something I’ve been thinking about starting for months now and I finally found a good’un at The College of Naturopathic Medicine in London. I’ll be taking a short course in ‘Nutrition for Everyday Living’ and will be feeding all my new found knowledge back into my posts! a138890e4646fecda59789f343ebc053The course syllabus is going to offer me a wealth of nutritional knowledge, recipe and wellness ideas – particularly focusing on food as medicine. It feels like the natural step to take this blog further into this hugely competitive market – aside from the fact that I personally want to understand more about IBD and diet! It still surprises me how much what I put in my mouth impacts the way I feel.
Thirdly – I begin my yoga journey, tonight!
Again, this is something I’ve wanted to do for years, but something I’ve always put off because I’m too busy/stressed/poorly etc. I’ve done a few ad hoc yoga classes and found them hugely strenuous on my delicate belly – being cut open 6 times doesn’t do great things for your stomach muscles! So I did my research and signed up for a fantastic Beginners Course at The Life Centre in Notting Hill, London. I felt learning under a basic environment would give me the chance to learn at a pace that is comfortable for me and my stomach. I’m really looking forward to sharing my experiences with you!
That’s all on the announcement front, but I hope you’ll check back in soon. It’s such an exciting time for my passion project and I really hope sharing my experiences benefits you too! If you have lived with IBD for a long time, have been newly diagnosed or just enjoy a healthy lifestyle – I hope my journey to health will inspire you to give something new a try.
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bryonyhopkins

This recipe is 100% inspired by my recent holiday to the gorgeous Caribbean island Dominican Republic. We spent two whole weeks consuming all the food in sight – a lot of it Latin America themed food. One night at the resort, we had this amazing stir fried sweetcorn dish. They fried it up on a huge flat iron oven right in front of us, with loads of olive oil. It tasted amazing and I was determined to recreate it on returning to ye ol’ England.
So here is my vegan, vegetarian and gluten free Tex Mex rice bowl recipe.  I’ve split it up into three tex mex layers – rich tomato kidney bean mexican rice, the paprika fried sweetcorn and topped with a big dollop of homemade guacamole. It can be whizzed up super quickly and makes a delicious on the go lunch the next day. The beauty of the layers is you can mix and match with other bits for other meals!
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

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This is such a delicious weekday dinner

Serves 2. Gluten free, dairy free, vegan and vegetarian.
Ingredients 
For the Rice
1 packet of microwave brown rice (you can get these for around 50p in a supermarket and I am queen of speed – but feel free to boil brown rice from scratch)
1 red onion
2 large garlic cloves
400g (1 can) red kidney beans
2 tbspn tomato puree
1 tspn dried oregano
1 tspn chilli flakes
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to season
Coriander to garnish
For the sweetcorn
150g sweetcorn (1 can)
1/2 sweet red pepper
1/2 yellow pepper
2 tspn of paprika
3 beef tomatoes
For the guacamole
1 avocado
Handful cherry tomatoes
Juice of 1 lime
Glug of olive oil
Method

  1. Everything needs cooking at once with this recipe so do your chopping first! Chop your red onion, half the yellow pepper, half the sweet red pepper and the 3 beef tomatoes into small pieces. Slice up your garlic finely or crush with a garlic crusher.
  2. Get a large frying pan on a medium to high heat with a large glug of olive oil. Add the red onion and garlic when hot and stir until they start to soften.
  3. When soft, add two tablespoons of tomato paste, the chilli and the oregano. Mix together – it’ll start to look a bit like a paste. Add the can of kidney beans, with the water, and stir together. Bring the heat down to simmer.IMG_4028.PNG
  4. Get another smaller pan on a medium to high heat with some olive oil. Once hot, add the peppers, tomatoes and the can of sweetcorn. Mix together and then add 2 teaspoons of paprika. Keep on this heat, stirring regularly.
  5. Season your bean and tomato mix and you can add your packet rice. Turn the heat up a tad and stir in. If the mixture is thick, add a little water.
  6. Whilst your rice and sweetcorn mix are frying – it’s time to make your guacamole! Chop up an avocado until mushy and chop your cherry tomatoes into tiny pieces. Chop roughly together on a chopping board until combined and then add to a bowl. Squeeze in the juice of one lime, a teaspoon of olive oil and a sprinkle of black pepper and mix together. Put your guac to one side!
  7. Check your sweetcorn mix – you want it so the yellow sweetcorn pieces start to look a little charred, that’s where some of the smoky flavour is! If ready, take off the heat.
  8. Squeeze the juice of one lime into your rice mix, stir and take off the heat.
  9. Serve with the rice layer at the bottom, a generous layer of sweetcorn mix and then a massive dollop of guacamole! Sprinkle some chopped coriander on to garnish. Enjoy!

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bryonyhopkins

When I was a kid I used to absolutely love it when my Dad made us ‘eggy bread’ – AKA French Toast! (Although I actually only discovered that was it’s real name very recently!) So I took to the kitchen to find a gluten and dairy free alternative and came up with these cracking sweet and savoury options. Perfect for breakfast or brunch!
Savoury – French toast with Balsamic Cherry Tomatoes, Mushrooms  & Spinach
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Serves 1. Dairy free, gluten free and vegetarian. 
Ingredients 

  • 2 (or 3 if you’re hungry) slices of gluten free bread
  • 2 eggs
  • Splash of almond milk (I like Rude Health)
  • Black pepper
  • 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Handful of spinach
  • 8-10 Chestnut mushrooms, chopped in half
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Coconut oil

Method
1. Whisk together the two eggs and a splash of almond milk in a bowl, with a little bit of black pepper. Pour into a large shallow dish – big enough to put your bread in to soak! Add your bread and let the egg absorb to one side, below flipping over to soak the other side.
2. Whilst the bread is soaking up the gorgeous creamy egg mixture (the almond milk makes it creamy!), put two frying pans with coconut oil on a medium-high heat and let the oil melt into the pan.
3. As it melts, quickly chop up your mushrooms. Add these to one of the frying pans to sizzle away. In the other pan, gently put your egg soaked bread onto the frying pan and let fry for 1-2 minutes. In the other pan, add the cherry tomatoes whole and drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar. Let these sizzle together with the mushrooms! After 1-2 minutes, turn your bread and fry the other side. They should start to go golden and brown! Add a handful of spinach to the tomato and mushroom pan and let this gently wilt.
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4. When your happy with the golden colour of the french toast, take off the heat and serve topped with the spinach, mushrooms and balsamic cherry tomatoes! You can even add another drizzle of balsamic vinegar here for good measure!
Sweet – French Toast with Warm Berries 
Serves 1. Gluten free, dairy free and vegetarian.
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Ingredients

  • 2-3 slices gluten free bread
  • 2 eggs
  • Almond milk
  • Coconut oil
  • Frozen berries
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut yogurt (Co yo, Rebel Kitchen and Coconut Collective all do gorge coconut yog!)

Follow steps 1 and 2 to get your french toast going!
Once your french toast is frying, put a bowl of frozen berries in the microwave for 3 minutes. This is basically my cheat to a quick berry compote!! Once your french toast is done, serve with a generous helping of maple syrup, warmed berries on the top and a big dollop of coconut yogurt. This is such a naughty sweet decadent breakfast!
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bryonyhopkins