WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

We Need To Talk About The Full Moon?

Commisions, Lifestyle, Moon Time, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

Danielle Copperman, author of 'Well Being: Recipes and rituals to realign the body and mind', shares some insights into the affects of the full moon and practices to help you align with it.

The Moon and its various phases is something I have been interested in for a while now. Since first learning about how the cycles of the moon work and how they influence so many things - from animals and humans, to tides and climate - I have been curious to find out just how much the different phases can effect our day-to-day lives. There is a lot of information and many references to the moon these days, particularly to the full moon - which is mockingly blamed for manic mood swings and rolling bad luck. But just how much does the moon really influence us, how exactly does it influence us, and what can we do to really align with it in order to get the most from its powerful energy?

I believe that when we really tune in to what’s going on in the Universe, we can instantly begin to understand ourselves, our environment and others around us on a much deeper level. The phases of the moon is a good place to start, as it introduces you to the idea of energy, and how everything is interconnected. Everything is energy, and understanding how the energy of the universe influences our individual energies has been life-changing for me.

The moon holds a different energy at different times of the month. The moon’s cycle is around 28 days, and during this timeframe, it goes from new moon to waxing moon to full moon and then waning moon. When the moon is waxing, it is essentially growing, and as it grows, it brings an energy of abundance, meaning this time of the month is an ideal time for you to manifest what you want. When the moon is waning, it is essentially shrinking, and that is why this time of the month is an ideal time for letting go and cleansing; be this physically (like tidying and decluttering) or emotionally (like letting go of negative thought patterns or challenges in career or relationships, etc etc). And that’s why the full moon and the new moon are seen as such transformational times. They are the pinnacles of the moon's cycle and are therefore seen to be the most powerful. In this article I’m going to touch on the most popular and perhaps most intriguing; The Full Moon. More on the New Moon next time!

Full moons are powerful but not all are created equally. Usually, we will experience one full moon per month, however sometimes, if we’re lucky, we get two. You can get conventional full moons, but you can also get super moons, blood moons and several other more spectacular and energetically unique full moons. If you delve even deeper, you will learn that each full moon correlates with a certain star sign too, which looks at the full moon in relation to stars and other activity within the cosmos.

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What is a full moon?

The full moon is when the moon is at its fullest. It is essentially when the sun and moon are exactly aligned on opposite sides of Earth, and the entire face of the moon is illuminated by the sun. It is thought that this sense of illumination is present in aspects of our own lives, too, with certain things becoming more illuminated and amplified in the same way as the moon. For these reasons, the full moon is thought to be a time of change and transformation.

How does the full moon affect us?

Generally speaking, people tend to feel physical effects of the moon, as well as mental. Often, during or leading up to the full moon, it’s common to experience more bloating and a feeling of fullness, as well as severe fatigue. And on a more emotional level, the full moon is also thought to amplify mood swings, anxiety, more frequent low moods and sensitivity. It is also interesting to know that in our most natural and harmonious states (i.e. without drugs, alcohol, contraception, other medication and / or poor diet), women are supposed to menstruate either at the new moon or the full moon. It is not surprising, then, that if we are naturally intended to sync with nature, we must have some kind of intrinsic connection to the energies around us. When you also think about how the moon affects water and, more specifically, tides, it is interesting to notice that we humans are made up of around 75% water, and so, if the moon can dictate tides and influence the gravitational pull of our planet, it would make a lot of sense that it might also do the same to us on a smaller scale.

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How to adopt the energy of the full moon and how to handle whatever comes up:

The time leading up to and during the Full Moon is a highly energetic one. It is a time when lots is in flux; it may feel like there is a lot bubbling away and like something is building up and you may feel unsettled, uncertain and ungrounded, but not quite be able to put your finger on it. Whilst the new moon is a time of intention setting and cleansing, the full moon is a much more active time where things seem to be really in motion and up in the air. If you are able to tune into the energy, you can often ground and go with the flow, and be entirely in your power - mimicking the energy of the moon and in fact being super productive and inspired. However, if you are not aligned with its energies, you might experience a constant sense of feeling overwhelmed, confused and lacking direction.

1. My first piece of advice is to honour your energy. Sometimes at a full moon you may have bundles of energy, whilst others you may be super tired and lethargic. The key is to accept however you feel, and understand that it is not necessarily because of anything you have or haven’t done, but is in some cases out of your control. Surrendering like this feels amazing, and it really helps you to tune in to what you need. Sometimes you just need to pause. And at the other end of the spectrum, if you have high energy levels and feel highly motivated, it is also important sometimes to slow down, and not to jump into any rash decisions or make any major changes. Whilst this time can be incredibly inspiring, it is sometimes still best to be open to what comes up, analyse it for a while, and not necessarily act on in straight away.

2. My second piece of advice is to start to take note of when the full moon is approaching. I would suggest downloading one of many free apps, or investing in a moon calendar, to ensure you can schedule in certain things around the full moon (such as seeing friends, a massage, or just doing nothing) and avoid certain things (such as intense exercise, important meetings or self-set deadlines). By doing this you can be not only more aware but also more prepared.

3. Thirdly, take it easy and don’t do too much. It is not just one day that the full moon affects us, unfortunately, but it is often just as difficult or emotional a time in the lead up to the full moon. My advice is to just keep aware of how you are feeling, and take it easy. Don’t try to do too much, instead, turn inwards and dig deep to discover what’s really going on, why you are experiencing certain thoughts or moods, and take time to be grateful for what you’ve got. Having a grateful attitude will attract more experiences and opportunities of the same vibrational frequency. This may sound a bit ‘out there’, but the more positively and abundantly you think, the more of the same you will attract, according to the unwritten law’s of the universe. So, take it easy, take time to take stock, and think positively.

4. Finally, a few tips on making the most of the full moon energy. How should you utilise this powerful time and what can help you in staying grounded whilst manifesting efficiently? For me, it is about taking time to pause and ask yourself a few meaningful questions. How are you feeling, physically and mentally? How is your career? How are your relationships? How is your fitness? Delve deep and try to find the root of any troubling thoughts or emotions, then try to set them right, or do something to change them. To do this, you might do yoga or try meditation, or even sound healing if you don’t have a independent meditation practice. Another thing you can try, to really tune in, is going for a walk, alone in silence or with someone else. Being in nature is incredibly powerful, always, and especially at this time of the month. I often take a cup of tea and walk around my neighbourhood with one of my friends when night has fallen and the moon is bright. Even just gazing at the night sky is an amazing ritual for instantly feeling grounded.

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Once grounded, it can also be useful to write things down or journal. You might want to write about how you feel or write answers to the questions you’ve asked yourself, or you might want to write down things you want to manifest or goals you may have had, or just random bits of inspiration that may have surfaced. I always find it useful to brainstorm at this time of the month, as i often feel quite unsettled and unfocussed. It works for me to brainstorm what i really want to be focusing on, and sometimes this means letting go of certain things or just saving them for another time.

Another way to really nourish and ground at this time, too, is to eat a really natural meal, either during the day of the full moon or the evening of, depending on the time. I like to choose fresh, unprocessed ingredients, such as vegetables and grains, and in the summer I'll keep these raw and in the winter, i'll turn them into some kind of soup, curry or stew, for a more deeply nourishing, comforting and grounding meal.

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So, a lot of information to digest, I know, but in a nutshell, if nothing else, the full moon should act as a reminder for you to slow down a bit and turn inwards; to recalibrate, take stock and to get focused on where you are and where you want to get to. It is a very personal time and can vary from person to person, from month to month, but I would strongly recommend getting to know the phases of the moon in order to get to know yourself a little more, to ultimately live a more informed and empowered life. Honour your energy, and if you're feeling active, get manifesting, and if you're feeling fatigued, indulge and take care of yourself! If nothing else, please go and gaze out at the moon and stars tonight; it will change your mood instantly!

Sustainable Swaps to Live More Consciously ~ for The Welle Co

Commisions, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Sustainability, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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KNOWING EXACTLY WHICH EVERYDAY ITEMS YOU CAN SWAP, AND WHAT FOR, GOES A LONG WAY TOWARDS LIVING A HEALTHIER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFE. DANIELLE COPPERMAN EXPLAINS WHY.

Sustainability is a hot topic right now. It’s no secret that human behaviour is taking its toll on the earth and people can no longer deny that the way we act (and more specifically, consume) is unsustainable.

Modern life has progressed so much and whilst we now have more than ever, we also seem to want more than ever, too. We crave more and more possessions, newer and newer things… when in actuality, basic human needs are really very little. As a result of recent warnings, such as the amount of plastic in the ocean equating to more than the amount of fish come 2050 (yikes!), I’m on an ongoing journey of overhauling my lifestyle to make it more sustainable.

I know first-hand that it can seem quite intimidating to know where to start when it comes to making impactful changes. But there are so many things you can do, some large and some small, so I’ve outlined a few of my favourite ‘harmful for helpful’ sustainable swaps below that will help you to reduce your consumption and in turn reduce waste, meaning you will have a much lighter impact on the planet this year.

SAY NO TO…

Single use straws

Say NO to plastic straws! If you absolutely need to use a straw, opt for a paper or bamboo straw or a reusable straw made from glass, silicone, recycled (and reusable) plastic or wood. Luckily, many cafés and restaurants are now ditching the disposable straws for more sustainable options, so this swap is getting easier and easier to incorporate into your lifestyle. You could also buy your own and keep one in your bag ICOE.

Takeaway coffee cups

As much as we all love our coffee, the abundance of takeaway cups being tossed into landfill is absolutely killing the planet. Instead of using takeaway cups, invest in a good reusable option such as a Keep Cup, or a reusable glass, plastic or bamboo takeaway-style cup or flask. Your favourite coffee shop will gladly fill it for you.

Disposable cutlery

Say no to disposable, single-use plastic cutlery from cafés. Instead, invest in reusable bamboo cutlery – this is great because you can keep it in your bag at all times. Alternatively, just keep your standard metal cutlery in your bag (however in my opinion they’re a little heavier, louder and less convenient). This set is super handy and comes complete with straws, straw cleaners and a fabric wrap to keep them together and clean.

Standard cotton buds

Swap your standard, plastic stick cotton buds in favour of those made from bamboo, wood or paper, and ideally with organic cotton. As a bonus, the organic cotton is better for your ears as it contains less harmful dyes than the cotton from a standard cotton bud.

Disposable make up removal pads

Swap disposable, single-use cotton wool pads for reusable versions. You can find reusable cotton rounds, or bamboo options, or even make your own from old fabric. Alternatively, use a muslin cloth or flannel to remove make up (instead of going through loads of cotton pads which take a long time to biodegrade and can harm the environment in doing so). Also, buy in bulk, to save of shipping packaging and transportation miles.

Plastic toothbrushes

Swap your plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones. If you have an electric brush that lasts for longer, don’t worry too much… but for those of you going through a new plastic toothbrush every month or so, swap to bamboo! You’ll be taking care of your teeth and the environment.

Harmful beauty products

Take a look into your make up bag… how many of your products use plastics, parabens, chemicals and other fillers that are harmful for your skin? Those hidden nasties not only clog your pores but also seriously harm the environment (by circulating in our water supplies). Instead, opt for natural beauty products and keep an eye out for brands with recyclable, biodegradable or refillable packaging.

Fast fashion

We’re all guilty of impulsively spending on a trend that we just had to have… but we could all stand to stop buying so much! Next time you fancy a shopping spree, why not head to a charity, thrift or vintage store or a flea market? You’ll find something more unique whilst also finding a new home for something that could otherwise end up in landfill.

Plastic shopping bags

Not only are plastic shopping bags terrible for our planet and wildlife, they’re relatively flimsy, too… so instead, use reusable tote bags or other fabric bags when shopping. You’ll feel good about making a small swap that helps the planet and you’ll fit more in your bags, too.

Bottled water­

Bottled water costs you a pretty penny and contributes greatly to landfill, with as much as 91% of plastic bottles not recycled. Instead, invest in a reusable water bottle. Reusable bottles also come with great features that disposable bottles can’t complete with (such as fruit infusers, thermos protection and filtration), so shop around and find a bottle that fits your needs.

Supermarket shelf sanitary products

For the women out there, you should really rethink your period management and collection methods. Tampons can be dangerous (TSS, anyone?) and surprisingly, even organic tampons are quite unnatural. During menstruation, your body is detoxing itself so it’s really important to ‘let it out’, so to speak. Moon Cups are the most eco-friendly form of feminine care, and they’re cheaper too! The average period cup can last you up to a decade and has the benefit of being leak-proof (bonus!), so­­­ you won’t have to stock up on sanitary supplies every month.

Five Recipes That Will Make You Love Porridge Again

Breakfast, Brunch, Dairy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter, Recipedanielle coppermanComment
Double Oat Porridge with Sesame Oil, Sesame Seeds and White Miso

Double Oat Porridge with Sesame Oil, Sesame Seeds and White Miso

I have never, in all honestly, been much of a fan of porridge, but every now and then I find myself craving it. There’s something about how warming it is, and perhaps the memories attached to it from my childhood, that I love, and I do find it keeps me fuller for longer. If I’m being super, super healthy, I’ll force down a very simple and plain recipe using water, not salt and no sugar, and I’ll top it with fresh or stewed fruits. But if I’m feeling a little more indulgent, or if I’m cooking for guests, I’ll get more creative and I’ll swap the water (or 1/2 of it) for a plant-based milk (to make it more creamy), and I’ll flavour it will all kinds of funky things. See below five of my current faves.

Double Oat Porridge with Oatly

Serves 2

This variation is super creamy, but essentially, you could use any milk or plant-based milks if you don’t have oat milk. As with any porridge, the toppings are really the main attraction. I’m not really here for a bowl of plain porridge with a little salt here and some sugar there. I’m here for the party thats going on on top and, in this case, it’s sesame themed so come prepared; sesame oil, tahini and sesame seeds. But, by all means, run with your own theme, get seasonal or use your usual go-to favourites. As you wish!

Components

200g gluten-free oats (ideally soaked in 100ml oat or other plant-based milk for minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight)
200ml oat milk
200-400ml water (depending on how thick or runny you like it)

Optional toppings

1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon tahini
1 teaspoon white miso paste
1/2 teaspoons coconut sugar, honey, other natural sweetener or chopped dates (add more, to taste)
1 tablespoon pistachio or other nut butter

Double Oat Porridge with Homemade Pistachio Butter and Chopped Pistachios

Double Oat Porridge with Homemade Pistachio Butter and Chopped Pistachios

Method

Start by soaking the oats. Place the oats in a small to medium bowl, then cover with 100ml oat milk (or other milk or plant-based milk). Ideally use enough milk to just cover the oats. Leave to soak for a minimum of 2 hours, ideally overnight.

If you don’t have time to soak the oats, or once the oats have been soaked, transfer to a medium saucepan set over a medium heat, and add the other 200ml oat milk (or other milk or plant-based milk), along with 200ml water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed and the oats are soft and creamy. If the mixture becomes dry too quickly, add another 100ml water, and stir to combine. After a few more minutes, add another 100ml water if needed, and keep adding until you are happy with the consistency.

Once happy with the consistency, portion into bowls (if making just 1 serving, leave the rest in the pan for now and save for another day). Add the toppings or any other toppings of choice and enjoy, preferably piping hot.


Turmeric Porridge with Black Pepper, Honey, Sesame & Flax Seeds

Turmeric Porridge with Black Pepper, Honey, Sesame & Flax Seeds

Turmeric Porridge with Black Pepper, Honey, Sesame & Flax Seeds

(Serves 2)

This variation is definitely a new favourite. I love turmeric in most things, but this is like a turmeric latte in porridge-form. It’s great! I also know from previous research that black pepper helps the body assimilate (that’s absorb, to you and I), turmeric’s nutrients, and to ensure the body is making the most of what the turmeric has to offer. It doesn’t really alter the flavour too much, and adding honey is a nice way to add a gentle sweetness. You’ll notice a variation topped with a knob of butter which is something my parents used to do when I was a kid. It adds a subtly salty flavour and the fat enhances the nutritional profile, and will see that fat-soluble nutrients are assimilated. The sesame seeds and flax are just what I had on hand at the time, but you could of course add other nuts and seeds along with other toppings, such as fresh or dried fruit. Grated fresh turmeric would be a nice touch too. Jus sayin’.

Components

200g gluten-free oats
200ml milk of choice (I use oat, almond or hemp)
300ml-400ml water
1 tablespoon honey or other natural syrup of choice (like coconut sugar or nectar)
1-2 teaspoons ground turmeric (can add more to taste)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt

Optional Toppings

A sprinkle of ground black pepper
1 teaspoon honey or other natural sugar or syrup of choice (like coconut sugar or nectar)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoons ground flaxseeds
1 knob of salted butter, vegan butter or ghee (optional)

Method

Ideally, soak all of the porridge ingredients, apart from the water, overnight or for at least 2 hours before cooking. Then, simply transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan set over a medium to high heat, add the 250ml water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until thick and creamy. Add extra water, as needed, if the mixture seems too dry or too thick.

If you don’t have time to soak the oats before cooking, simply place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over a medium to high heat. Stir to combine then bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until thick and creamy. Add extra water, as needed, if the mixture seems too dry or too thick.

Pine Nut Porridge

Serves 2

Components

200g gluten-free oats
1 portion pine nut milk (simply blend 100g pine nuts with 200ml water, until smooth)
300ml-400ml water
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon maca, lucuma or mesquite (optional)

Optional toppings

2 tablespoons pine nuts (raw or toasted in the oven or in a saucepan)
1 teaspoon natural sugar or syrup of choice (like honey, coconut sugar or nectar)

Method

Start by making the pine nut milk. Blend 100g pine nuts (either raw or toasted) with 200ml filtered water, until smooth.

Ideally, soak all of the porridge ingredients, apart from the water, overnight or for at least 2 hours before cooking. Then, simply transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan set over a medium to high heat, add the 250ml water and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until thick and creamy. Add extra water, as needed, if the mixture seems too dry or too thick.

If you don’t have time to soak the oats before cooking, simply place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over a medium to high heat. Stir to combine then bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 10-15 minutes, until thick and creamy. Add extra water, as needed, if the mixture seems too dry or too thick.

Caramelised Banana Porridge

Caramelised Banana Porridge

Caramelised Banana Porridge (1) & Cacao Banana Bircher (from Well Being Book) (2)

This bircher is my favourite thing to make if I’m in a rush, as it is highly energising, filling but not too filling, and takes just minutes to prepare. The caramelised banana porridge is something I’ll make it I have guests who’ve slept over or who are joining me for brunch. It takes a little extra effort but its so worth it. The flavour of the caramelised bananas paired with the creaminess of the porridge base is out of this world.

(1)

Serves 2

Components

2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 ripe bananas
100g gluten-free oats
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon (to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, powder, paste (or vanilla protein powder)
400ml plant-based milk of choice (or 200ml milk + 200ml water)
1-2 tablespoons natural sweetener (such as honey, coconut sugar or coconut nectar)
Pinch of salt

Elevate it: 1 teaspoon maca, 2 tablespoons flaxseeds ground or 2 tablespoons ground chia seeds

Method

Start by slicing the bananas, preferably length ways, but will also work sliced into rounds. Heat 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and then fry the banana. Fry for a couple of minutes on one side, then carefully flip using a tongs, a spatula or a fork (they may become quite soft and hard to handle). Once the banana begins to caramelise and brown, remove from the heat and set aside.

Next, heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the cinnamon, vanilla and then the oats and stir to coat. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the milk. Stir to combine, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer. Take half of the caramelised bananas and mash it into the porridge mixture, whilst still on the heat. Add a splash more milk or water if the mixture becomes too dry or too thick. Stir to ensure the banana is combined, and then leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes. The longer you leave it the the more creamier and softer the oats will become.

Once you’re happy with the consistency, top with the remaining caramelised banana and finish with natural sweetener (if needed) and a pinch of salt. You could also add knob of butter, vegan butter, ghee or coconut oil, a selection of chopped nuts or seeds, fresh, sliced banana and extra cinnamon.

(2)

Components

150g gluten-free jumbo oats
200ml plant-based milk of choice, plus extra if necessary
1 ripe banana (you could substitute for 1 ripe avocado)
4–5 tbsp cacao powder
1 tsp maca powder
2 tbsp milled flax or golden linseeds
1 tbsp whole chia seeds
1 tsp coconut sugar or other natural sweetener of choice
Pinch of sea salt

Optional toppings
Nut butter
Fresh fruits
Chopped nuts or seeds
Qnola or other granola

Elevate it: 1 tbsp tocos powder, 1 tsp mucuna pruriens powder, 1 tsp ashwagandha powder or other adaptogens of choice

Method

Place the oats in a large bowl and cover with the plant-based milk. Chop the banana into the bowl and use a fork to mash it into the oat mixture. Add the cacao, maca, seeds, natural sweetener and salt along with any elevational extras of your choice, and mix to combine with a fork. If the mixture seems dry, add a little more milk. If it seems too wet, add a small handful of extra oats.

Leave to soak for 5–10 minutes (or longer if you have the time). Top with any or all of the serving suggestions above.

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The Ultimate Porridge Bowls

Instagram Consultation Sessions

Anytime, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment
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Last Sunday, I found myself snowed in at my parents house in Bath, with nothing much to do, for once. I usually fill every moment with work or writing or planning work or writing, and so instead of taking to my laptop to continue working on some to do lists, I took to my phone, to work on you.

I opened up a window of time for private, one-to-one consultations via Instagram direct messages. I’m not sure why or how the idea came to me but I felt compelled to really open up a space for people to come forth with real questions, problems, issues, challenges or concerns. We spend so much of our time online these days, and whilst we’re technically more connected than ever, we’re less genuinely connected than ever too. The connections are not deep or authentic, and they are certainly not nourishing or supportive (with some exceptions). I have been seeking a way to use Instagram as best I can, and this felt like a really simple way to actually connect with followers, readers and even friends of mine who are after advice, input or just someone to talk to.

The session was overwhelming. I had about twenty people with such varied concerns, and spend about 3 hours messaging back and forth with each one of them, finding out almost everything about them in order to understand their issues and find the root of their problems and to appropriately suggest ways in which to move forward. Whether it’s diet, fitness, mental health, relationship or career related, or anything else at all, I’ve decided to hold an open Private Consultation session once a month from now on. The response and feedback was just incredible, and just serving as someone willing to listen seemed to give some of the people I connected with the hope and encouragement they needed to really take control of things.

The sessions are completely confidential and I hope you will reach out to me in future if there is ever anything on your mind.

Follow me @dcopperman on Instagram if you’re interested and keep an eye out for the next session (likely 3rd March - although due to an ever-changing schedule, this may vary). And please leave a comment below if you like this idea, I’d love to hear from you. And if you have any recommendations or specific themes or topics you’d like to suggest, leave them in the comments too.

Vegan 'Mince Meat', Four Delicious and Even More Nutritious Ways

Dinner, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Recipe, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter, Autumndanielle coppermanComment
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I’m sitting here wrapped in my Goop Travel Wrap at my parents house in Bath, the place surrounded by snow and going nowhere very fast at all. We live in a tiny village, or a hamlet to be precise, and since not much goes on around here, not many cars pass by and apparently, not many gritters either. The lanes are beautifully but inconveniently piled with snow, and only the tractors and land rovers can take them on. Whilst some would find this frustrating, I personally love it, being so rural and detached, especially as I’m visiting from London which is, well, the exact opposite. I love moments like this that just force you to stop and slow down, quite literally.

So, finally, having tested these recipes months and months ago, I’m taking this pause as an opportunity to share them. Bolognese is winter food at it’s best; so deeply comforting, and warming like nothing else. It is a highly regarded meal by many; whether it’s a staple weeknight meal, a weekend treat or one of those things you only order in restaurants cos they just do it better. It’s a failsafe crowd-pleaser, thats for sure, but what if you’re a long standing or recently converted vegan or vegetarian, or simply want to reduce the amount of meat you’re consuming? Well, I’ve got a few options for you. I’ve experimented with all kinds of vegetarian variations, and since all of them were delicious and nourishing in their own unique ways, I just figured I’d give you them all. The meaty textures and flavours in the recipes that follow are purely and simply natures own ingredients. Take your pick, from mushrooms and lentils to carrots and walnuts, or try them all. And if you’re willing to try something completely different and a little bit out there, my favourite might just be the Green Bolognese, made with spinach, broccoli and tofu.

I’ve branded these as bolognese sauces to serve with pasta (I’d use gluten-free rice or vegetable-based fusilli, spaghetti or linguine), but you could also serve these chilli-style (Chilli Sin Carne), with rice or other grains (like buckwheat, millet or quinoa), in tacos or with tortilla chips, nacho-style (all-over or as a dip). Add a little extra chilli and maybe stir through some kidney or pinto beans to make a more traditional chilli, or leave as it is.

Each of the following recipes are also so, so good on their own, or maybe with steamed vegetables or seasonal salad. They’re delicious served cold, too, either perched next to other leftovers, rainbow-bowl-style, or part of a packed lunch.

Let me know how you get on, and tag #WellBeingAndOtherStories if you post any of your creations online!

+ Pictured, only the Carrot & Walnut Bolognese.

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Carrot & Walnut Bolognese

Serves 2

Components

3 medium-large carrots, grated
4 large tomatoes
10 medium mushrooms (button, chestnut or portobello)
1 clove garlic
1/2 white onion
120g raw walnuts
1-2 tablespoons sunflower or extra virgin olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Handful of fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoons dried oregano
5 handfuls spinach
30g sun dried tomatoes (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh or dried gluten-free pasta of choice, for two (about 200g)

Method

Start by peeling, chopping and grating the carrots. Then chop the tomatoes into 2 inch pieces. Next, finely dice the mushrooms into tiny pieces, dice the onion, crush the garlic and roughly chop the walnuts. The walnuts should be in pretty small pieces, kind of resembling the size and width of minced meat.

Next, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat, and then add the carrots, tomatoes, mushroom, onion, garlic and walnuts. Sauté for 5-10 minutes, and then add the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree. Stir to combine and then add the nutritional yeast, basil, oregano, spinach, sun dried tomatoes (if using) and salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat and leave (ideally with a lid on) to simmer whilst you prepare the pasta (for roughly 20-30 minutes). Cook according to packet instructions or if using fresh, unpackaged pasta, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook until soft (taste test a few times until you’re happy with the bite).

Stir the sauce a few times to ensure it isn’t sticking to the pan. If it seems a little dry, add a splash of water or, if you fancy, some red wine.

Once the sauce has reduced and is a thick, wet consistency, remove from the heat and set on the table, either in the pan or transferred to a serving bowl. And once the pasta is cooked to perfection, drain and set on the table, either in the pan, transferred to a serving bowl, or distributed onto each persons plate.

Top with extra walnuts, basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, along with any other toppings of choice, like pesto, cheese or vegan cheese (or just an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast).

Tempeh ‘Mince’ for Chilli, or Bolognese

Serves 2

Components

200g tempeh (could replace with firm tofu)
1 clove garlic
1/2 white onion
1-2 tablespoons sunflower or extra virgin olive oil
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons fresh coriander (if making a chilli, or basil if making as bolognese)
1-2 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon paprika
½ - 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ - 1 teaspoon chilli powder or flakes (to taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (optional)
1-2 teaspoon mustard (optional)

250g grains (such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat or millet) if making chilli, dried or fresh gluten-free pasta to serve 2 (about 200g) if making bolognese, or gluten-free corn tortilla wraps, tacos or nachos if making either of those

+ You could also serve this as a burrito or in tacos.

Method

Start by dicing the tempeh (or tofu) into tiny pieces, crumbling the pieces in your fingers until it resembles a minced meat texture. Next, chop the onion and crush the garlic.

Heat the oil in pan and then add the onion, garlic and chopped tempeh. Sear over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, nutritional yeast, fresh coriander, tamari, paprika, cumin, ground coriander, oregano, chilli and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat and leave (ideally with a lid on) to simmer (for roughly 20-30 minutes), whilst you prepare your grains (if making chilli), pasta (if making bolognese), tortilla wraps or tacos. Cook according to packet instructions. (For unpackaged grains, cook 1 cup grain to 2 cups water, bringing water to the boil and then reducing to a simmer and cooking covered with a lid until all liquid has been absorbed. If using fresh, unpackaged pasta, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook until soft (taste test a few times until you’re happy with the bite).

Stir the sauce a few times to ensure it isn’t sticking to the pan. If it seems a little dry, add a splash of water or, if you fancy, some red wine. Add the spinach just before removing the sauce from the heat, and stir it through until wilted.

Once the sauce has reduced and is a thick, wet consistency, remove from the heat and set on the table, either in the pan or transferred to a serving bowl. And once the grains or pasta is cooked to perfection, drain and set on the table, either in the pan, transferred to a serving bowl, or distributed onto each persons plate. If using tortilla wraps or tacos, you know what to do.

If serving with grains, serve with extra fresh herbs (coriander, as used above), creme fraiche (or vegan alternative) and cheese or vegan cheese. If serving with pasta, top with extra fresh herbs (basil as used above), and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, along with any other toppings of choice, like pesto, cheese or vegan cheese (or just an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast). If making burritos or tacos, serve with extra fillings, such as rice, sautéed vegetables, creme fraiche (or vegan alternative), and cheese or vegan cheese.

Mushroom & Lentil ‘Mince’, for Chilli or Bolognese

Serves 2

Components

500g medium-large tomatoes
2 red peppers (preferably the long ones, known as Marconi)
450g mushrooms (button, chestnut or portobello)
1/2 white onion
1 garlic clove
2 tablespoons sunflower or extra virgin olive oil
100g puy, beluga or green lentils (preferably uncooked, and soaked for a couple of hours)
50g uncooked quinoa (optional)
250ml vegetable stock
2 tablespoons tomato puree
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 bay leaves
1-2 teaspoons cocoa / cacao powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 tablespoons mustard (optional)
30g black or green olives - chopped (optional)
1-2 handfuls spinach

250g grains (such as rice, quinoa, buckwheat or millet) if making chilli, dried or fresh gluten-free pasta to serve 2 (about 200g) if making bolognese, or gluten-free corn tortilla wraps, tacos or nachos if making either of those

Method

Start by chopping the tomatoes and red peppers into roughly 2 inch pieces. Dice the onion and crush the garlic, and then finely dice the mushrooms, into tiny cube-like pieces. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic and mushrooms. Sauté for 5 minutes until the onions and garlic begin to brown and the mushrooms soften.

Next, add the lentils and quinoa and continue to sauté for a further 5-10 minutes. Then add the vegetable stock, tomato puree, nutritional yeast, bay leaves, cocoa powder and salt and pepper, to taste. If using, add the mustard and olives now, too. Bring to the boil then cover with a lid and leave to simmer (for roughly 20-30 minutes), whilst you prepare your grains (if making chilli), pasta (if making bolognese), tortilla wraps or tacos. Cook according to packet instructions. (For unpackaged grains, cook 1 cup grain to 2 cups water, bringing water to the boil and then reducing to a simmer and cooking covered with a lid until all liquid has been absorbed. If using fresh, unpackaged pasta, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook until soft (taste test a few times until you’re happy with the bite).

Stir the sauce a few times to ensure it isn’t sticking to the pan. If it seems a little dry, add a splash of water or, if you fancy, some red wine. Add the spinach just before removing the sauce from the heat, and stir it through until wilted.

Once the sauce has reduced and is a thick, wet consistency, remove from the heat and set on the table, either in the pan or transferred to a serving bowl. And once the grains or pasta is cooked to perfection, drain and set on the table, either in the pan, transferred to a serving bowl, or distributed onto each persons plate. If using tortilla wraps or tacos, you know what to do.

If serving with grains, serve with extra fresh herbs (coriander, as used above), creme fraiche (or vegan alternative) and cheese or vegan cheese. If serving with pasta, top with extra fresh herbs (basil as used above), and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, along with any other toppings of choice, like pesto, cheese or vegan cheese (or just an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast). If making burritos or tacos, serve with extra fillings, such as rice, sautéed vegetables, creme fraiche (or vegan alternative), and cheese or vegan cheese.

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Green Spinach & Broccoli Bolognese

Serves 2

Components

120g broccoli, chopped
2 large handfuls spinach
150ml water or vegetable stock
50g extra broccoli, diced
200g mushrooms (button, chestnut or portobello) (or green lentils)
100g firm tofu
1 onion
1 garlic clove
5 tbs olive oil
Handful fresh basil
1 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper, to taste

Fresh or dried gluten-free pasta of choice, for two (about 200g)

Method

Start by bringing a small saucepan of water to the boil. Chop the 120g of broccoli and add to the pan, along with both handfuls of spinach. Boil for 5 -10 minutes, until soft, then drain and transfer to a blender. Add the water or vegetable stock and blend on a high speed, until smooth. If too thick or paste-like, add another 50ml liquid. Leave in the blender whilst you prepare the other ingredients.

Dice the remaining 50g broccoli as finely as possible. Finely dice the mushrooms into tiny cube-like pieces, and do the same with the tofu, crumbling the tofu pieces in your fingers until it resembles a minced meat texture. Finally, chop the onion and crush the garlic.

Next, heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, diced broccoli, mushrooms and tofu and sauté for 5-10 minutes, until the mushrooms soften and the onion and garlic begin to brown. Next, add the fresh basil, dried oregano, nutritional yeast and salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat and leave (ideally with a lid on) to simmer whilst you prepare the pasta (for roughly 20-30 minutes). Cook according to packet instructions or if using fresh, unpackaged pasta, bring a pan of water to the boil, add the pasta, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt and cook until soft (taste test a few times until you’re happy with the bite).

Stir the sauce a few times to ensure it isn’t sticking to the pan. If it seems a little dry, add a splash of water or, if you fancy, some red wine.

Once the sauce has reduced and is a thick, wet consistency, remove from the heat and set on the table, either in the pan or transferred to a serving bowl. And once the pasta is cooked to perfection, drain and set on the table, either in the pan, transferred to a serving bowl, or distributed onto each persons plate.

Top with extra basil and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, along with any other toppings of choice, like pesto, cheese or vegan cheese (or just an extra sprinkle of nutritional yeast).


Since there’s a lot of information and a lot of options here, feel free to leave any questions in the comments below! Enjoy!

Simple Lifestyle Hacks for Surviving the Winter ~ for The Welle Co

Commisions, Beauty, Autumn, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Winter, Wellbeingdanielle copperman2 Comments
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WITH WINTER IN FULL SWING, THE DAYS ARE SHORTER, DARKER AND HARSHER, YET OFTEN WE FORGET TO TAKE THE TIME TO ADAPT OUR LIFESTYLES IN ORDER TO SURVIVE THEM. LONDON-BASED NUTRITIONIST DANIELLE COPPERMAN SHOWS US HOW.

Whilst we take care to brace ourselves for the freezing conditions (think more layers, bigger boots and larger coats), too often we forget to consider the areas of our lives impacted by the cooler weather other than our wardrobes. Instead, we carry on our lives as much as normal, trying to power through and forcing ourselves to continue our usual lifestyles whilst enduring winter’s side effects (such as low energy, low moods, low motivation, skin issues and much more).

For me personally, when the seasons change (and especially during the shift from summer to autumn/winter), I try to make small changes to all areas of my life to help me continue to thrive.

I find that I naturally begin to crave more seasonal foods (which I believe, if we are tuned in to listen to our bodies, is in our innate nature) and honour these cravings;

  • Swap out a few of my daily beauty products

  • Incorporate new rituals such as self-massage and natural movement (even if exercise is the last thing that I feel like doing!)

  • Make space for little moments to pause, take a breather and tune in to acknowledge and honour my energy at least once or twice a week – especially if there’s a lot going on in my life socially or with work. Sometimes, it’s important to learn how to say ‘no’ and the winter is a wonderful excuse for this, so use it!

These little life hacks make a big difference in my life.

Struggling to find the mojo to make it through to the summer with as much energy, inspiration, motivation and positivity as possible?

Try these life hacks and watch your mood improve (you’ll also benefit from supported physiological functions, a thriving immune system and vibrant, hydrated skin – bonus!)

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOUR CRAVINGS ARE TELLING YOU

We have cravings for a reason and our cravings speak to changes in our activity level, physiological responses and environments.

We crave carbs when we’ve worked out or run or walked for miles. We crave sugar if our blood sugar levels are dipping too low. We crave salt if our blood sugar levels are too high. 

Similarly, at different times of the year and in different climates, we need different things from our food, and nature knows that. It prepares itself for the ingredients that our bodies really need to flourish, and in winter, these foods are usually ones that keep our immune systems strong and keep our energy levels high. They’re also usually warming and grounding.

At the beginning of the year, my seasonal cravings usually include Brussels sprouts, apples, cabbage, chestnuts, mushrooms, dark leafy greens, earthy roots (like carrots, parsnips, pumpkin and beets), blood oranges and grains (like brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat).

I tend to prepare more cooked meals during these colder months as they are easier on our digestion, warm us internally and support circulation. I also try to incorporate apples or citrus fruits into most of my days too, for their abundance of vitamins to protect against viruses.

I also ramp up my adaptogen game during the colder months and add in some new ingredients to replace those I need during the summertime. Adaptogens, herbs and spices play a major part in my daily diet and I find the easiest way to use them is in smoothies or stirred through hot or cold water or plant-based milks. During the winter, I love the SUPER ELIXIR with cacao, mucuna puriens, ashwaganda, cordyceps, reishi, shilajit and maca that really do wonders to keep my energy levels and moods high (as well as keeping those dreaded winter illnesses at bay).

NOURISH YOUR SKIN

My skin always suffers during this time of year and becomes incredibly dry, fragile and sensitive, so I always make sure to switch my lighter and usually water-based summertime products with denser and oil-based products. I also exfoliate less (and use more gentle products when I do) and cleanse as usual. 

Once a month, I also do a steam with essential oils and throughout the season, I use all-natural, organic products made with whole ingredients (without nasty additives or chemicals) and most importantly, lots of natural oils (such as coconut, almond, shea, cacao and essential oils).

If you suffer from dry skin, I’d highly recommend using more oil-based products - or even just pure carrier oils - as they are gentler on the skin whilst providing rehydration and bringing balance back to your complexion. Many people falsely believe that oils will make their skin greasier and blemish prone, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In addition to being nourishing, these natural oils are often antibacterial and antiviral too and as such, keep skin clean.

STEP UP YOUR DAILY MOVEMENT

During the winter, one of the most important rituals to incorporate into your routine (at least a few times a week, if not daily!) is movement. It’s so important to keep things moving and keep your circulation in check with supported blood flow and oxygen intake. If you can’t bring yourself to work out or if it’s just too cold for a run, try to walk places as much as you can. Walking is enough to get your heart rate up so it’s a great option for those who struggle with finding the time or motivation for more strenuous activity during winter.  

It’s super important to find ways to move that are still gentle and not too stress-inducing, as this is a time when most other animals are hibernating… and to some extent, we should be too. But it’s important for us, as we continue to go about modern life and our daily responsibilities, to keep things moving. You’ll feel better mentally and physically for it!

SET YOUR INTENTIONS

Other rituals I like to practice during the winter and particularly at the beginning of the year in January include setting intentions and journaling. This really helps me to reflect on my achievements from the year, focus on what I have and note what I am grateful for – as well as helping me map out my goals for the year ahead.

I also like to use tarot cards or oracle cards if I’m feeling particularly lost, stuck or unmotivated in life. These cards can help to give you a sign, a message or just a nudge in the right direction, and you don’t have to be a pro tarot reader to use them. It works by simply putting your energy into the deck of cards and asking them questions on things you want to know or need some clarity or guidance on. I love this practice and even if it seems a bit ‘woo woo’, if nothing else it helps you to become present and grounded and always gives positive and inspiring information.

BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH THE COLD

This one’s going to hurt, but it’s actually really good for us - mentally and physically - to be exposed to the cold… not for a long time, perhaps, but for short intervals.

That’s why during this time of year, I try to take interval showers a few times a month, which means standing under cold water for 1 minute then returning it to warm water and repeating a few times. It’s like cryotherapy in your own home.

On the other end of the spectrum, it is of course super beneficial to be warm too, and so I’d suggest saunas or steam rooms to be incorporated into your rituals, at least once a month if you can.

When I’m in Sweden visiting my boyfriend, there are places you can go to jump naked into an iced-over lake, and then run quickly (with a robe of course) into a sauna nearby. It’s so invigorating, revitalising and energising and is a wonderful way to move energy, shift blockages and keep your metabolism active.

Danielle Copperman is a qualified nutritionist, food writer and chef based in London. She is also the founder of QNOLA. You can also find Danielle’s book, Well Being, on Amazon.

This Simple (And Cheap) Hack Will Give Your Beauty Routine An Instant Eco-Upgrade

Anytime, Beauty, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Sustainability, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment

The U.N. warned us: We have 12 years before the damage we've done to the Earth becomes irreversible. Instead of letting reports like this paralyze us, let's use them to empower us. The experts are saying it's going to take a mix of large-scale change AND individual action to save our planet—and we want to help you do what you can. Consider our new series your no-excuses guide to cleaning up your act, one step at a time. Today, we're sharing an eco-friendly hack that will clean up your beauty routine.

When it comes to eco-friendly living, I like to think I'm on top of my game. Well, as much as one can be in this day in age.

I made my first step into a more sustainable lifestyle when I worked as a model. Having a behind-the-scenes look into the fashion industry inspired me to make more conscious decisions about my own wardrobe: buy less, recycle more, and support brands championing natural fabrics. Soon enough, I was spending more time browsing secondhand shops and vintage markets than high-end stores—and it felt good. I was excited to start becoming more mindful in other parts of my life too, and my beauty routine soon took centre stage.

The problem: Some beauty tools aren't great for us—or the planet.

I probably don't need to tell you that the green beauty industry is booming. In my opinion, it's great news: Natural products just feel better on my skin, and they also tend to be healthier for the planet since they are free of ingredients like parabens, paraffins, and other artificial compounds that are resource-intensive to manufacture. A lot of them also come in more sustainable packaging, be it recyclable, refillable, or biodegradable.

All of this is great, but I recognise that it's unrealistic to ask people to overhaul their entire beauty regimen in one go. However, even if the average person can't afford to switch over to green products overnight—they CAN easily update some of the tools in their kit.

Over the years, I've made some super simple and economical swaps in my vanity (think: bamboo toothbrushes for plastic ones and refillable floss containers), but finding an alternative for the masses and masses of cotton pads I use to remove makeup is definitely the one that brings me the most pride.

There are a few problems with standard cotton balls or pads: They can't be reused, and they don't biodegrade quickly. Cotton also requires a lot of water and heavy doses of pesticides and insecticides to grow. Cotton pads are often bleached, too, making them more harmful for our skin and more dangerous to the surrounding environment. When you consider that many of us use at least one of these suckers every single day, this ain't good.

The "one small thing" solution: Ditch your cotton balls or makeup rounds for a reusable option.

I've managed to ditch disposable cotton rounds for a reusable alternative that is kinder to the planet, gentler on my skin, and super absorbent. Win, win, win!

These days, it's pretty easy to find a pack of reusable cotton pads made using 100 percent cotton, fleece, or bamboo online. They often come in the same shapes and sizes as standard cotton pads—the only difference is you can still get more than one use out of them. I usually use the same one about three or four times during the week. Then I simply add it to the rest of my laundry. Most shop-bought reusable cotton pads come in packs of five-plus, meaning you can continue to use fresh ones while the old ones are in the wash.

My Favourite options are these, these, these, these and these. Some come in quite large pack sizes, but share them out with friends or family if you don’t think you’ll get through them all yourself. The more people making small sustainable changes the better!

Keep in mind: Cotton pads are not always guaranteed to be 100 percent cotton and sometimes contain synthetics like rayon or viscose. Read your labels carefully!

If you don't want to shell out the cash for these (though they are cheap!), you can simply use a muslin cloth the same way you would a cotton pad, focusing on one corner of it at a time and rinsing with hot water between uses. When it's time for a refresh, simply add it to the rest of your laundry. You can also make these yourself from old clothes or scrap fabrics.

Even if you don't use cotton rounds to remove makeup, there's bound to be part of your beauty routine that adds up to a lot of trash. Identify it, then see what you can do to cut back.

With all the information out there about how to make eco-friendly changes urgently, it can be intimidating to know where to start. The good news is, there are an infinite amount of tweaks each and every one of us can make that will ladder up to larger change. And these changes can be as small as a cotton ball.

Read the full article here.

How to Self Massage ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Anytime, Beauty, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Massage shouldn’t be a luxury confined to the spa…

Having a massage is commonly seen to be an indulgent act of self-care; an expensive and quite frankly ‘extra’ luxury that only a fraction of us has the time and money to enjoy. It is very rarely seen as a necessary part of our wellbeing, and especially not a priority in our everyday rituals.

However, since studying Shiatsu and holistic massage last year, I became so interested in the benefits that massage has on both our bodies and minds, and how it can be used not only for relaxation but in many cases to prevent and/or to heal all kinds of physical and mental malfunctions.

When you think of massage, likely an image of a peaceful spa springs to mind, and you associate it with feeling instantly relaxed and calm. That, or it’s an unimpressive setting, maybe even a pop-up massage table in your own home, and a deep-tissue sports-style massage that leaves you grinding your teeth and in more pain than when it began. Either way, aside from it being used for pure relaxation or to reduce physical tension, there are so many other benefits of massage and issues it can ease.

Massage, of course, is relaxing, which makes it a powerful ritual to reduce stress, anxiety and even depression. Also, given the purest oils are used, it can help to make skin softer and more hydrated, and can even be used to soothe and heal irritations or imbalances. Massage can also be incredibly energising, which may seem unlikely when you think of how relaxing they can be (I almost always fall into a deep sleep during mine). But given the right techniques are used, massage can really enliven and invigorate the body and mind, and help enhance energy levels. On the contrary, it can also aid sleep and improve sleeping patterns. But perhaps one of my favourite benefits of massage is how it contributes to internal processes such as circulation, lymphatic drainage and digestion. It can help encourage circulation, reduce toxins, shift stagnant energy and diffuse internal blockages, and even improve digestive issues such as IBS, indigestion, bloating, constipation and more. And one last thing, if you think of the body in terms of energy flow and its meridians, massage used to reduce physical tension can help to redirect the energy flow of the body and mind, having major affects on the mental and emotional, reaching them through the physical and enhancing the connection and communication between the two.

Granted, this information is all well and good but it still doesn’t make going for a massage any more accessible for you, right? Well, the good news is, you can still reap the benefits of massage by doing it on yourself. Or, better yet, getting a partner or friend to help you out once in a while. Make it a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ kind of scenario? However you choose to do it, dissolve accumulated stress and toxins within the body and mind and enhance your mental and physical performance with a daily, or at least weekly, doses of massage. You can do a full body massage using your hands, with or without oil, improvising as you go, or if you need a little more guidance and inspiration, read on for massage sequences for specific areas of the body.

1. Neck and shoulders

These exercises are great for people who are especially stressed and who hold a lot of physical tension in their neck, shoulders and back. It is great for those hunched over desks all day too, and can even be done at your desk during the day. If you want to make it more of a ritual, use a little oil and take more time over this sequence at home after a long day. This sequence is also calming and relaxing as just the act of focussing solely on this massage can help activate the parasympathetic part of the brain, slowing busy thoughts and becoming a kind of gentle meditation.

How to:

Use the thin edge of your hand and in saw-like motions, gently hack at the neck, focussing on the trapezius muscle - the large muscle that holds up the neck and runs over the shoulders and shoulder blades and even around the upper back. Tilt your head to the left, first, and work on the right side of the neck, then repeat on the other side.

After you have done this ‘chopping’ motion, make a fist and gently use your knuckle to work around the shoulder. Have your right arm hanging loose and limp, and using your left knuckle, work in a sort of Mexican wave motion, moving the knuckles in a flowing motion over and around the shoulder. Then, release your fist and simply use your finger tips and predominantly your thumb to work more deeply into the shoulder area. Repeat on the other shoulder.

2. Face and head

These exercises are incredibly energising for both the body and mind, but are simultaneously calming. Working to energise the face and head increases alertness and can enhance focus and concentration, which makes these exercises perfect at the start of the day.

How to:
Using the fingertips of both hands, start by gently tapping them over the forehead and temples. Move the hands across the forehead and the temples, back and forth a few times. You can use as much or as little force as feels good. Gradually work your way in the same manner up the sides of the head to the top of the head, and move around the entire top, back and sides of the head a few times. Finish by bringing the fingertips forward again to the forehead area.

Next, using your middle three fingers, smooth the eyebrow areas from the centre of the face where they begin, out to the edges. Then get your thumb involved, smoothing it under the eyebrows as the fingers remain on the top of the eyebrows or just away from the face. Next, use the fingertips under the eyebrows on the upper eyelid bone to smooth and massage. I often get puffy here after sleeping so this is a great exercise if you experience the same.

Next, bring the fingertips once more to the temple and press with some force, massaging in a circular motion. Then bring the fingertips to the cheeks and cheekbones. Start by tapping the cheekbones with the fingertips, back and forth from the outer edges of the face towards the nose. Then massage the cheek area using circular motions. You can also smooth the area (this works best if using a light oil), starting at the edges of the nose and smoothing the cheeks a few times, out towards the edges of the face. You should work on the top area, the main middle area and the underneath of the cheekbones. Finish at the edges of the face, towards the ears, and using your index finger, press gently a few times into the bone that joins the cheeks and the upper jaw bone.

Then, work on the jaw area. From the cheek and jaw bone join, drag the fingertips down the sides of the jaw to the bottom join, where you back teeth meet. With you middle three fingers on the bottom jaw bone, had the thumb gently gripping underneath the jaw bone, and work in circular motions to move from the edges of the jaw in towards the chin. Repeat a few times and alternate between using circular motions and just smoothing in one swift movement.

Finally, use the fingertips to move above the jaw into the main fleshy cheek area, over the teeth and around the mouth. Work in circular motions or however feels good to massage into the muscles of the cheeks, and do the same around the area above the upper lip and below the lower lip.

Finish by working around the nose, smoothing up and down the sides of the nose and pressing with your index finger into the corners of the nose. Smooth from the nose slightly out towards the cheeks. This is especially good for sinus issues and to improve breathing .

Finish by using the palms of the hands to rub over the entire face, pulling and stretching however feels good or just lightly brushing over the face to complete the ritual.

*You could also try using traditional massage tools for face massage, such as a marble gua sha, a jade roller or other wooden or stone tools

3. Feet

We demand a lot from our feet to support us, perhaps more than any other body part, yet we rarely consider taking extra special care of them. The following massage technique helps to invigorate the flow of energy and relieve tension within the feet. Through working on the major muscles and pressure points (and meridians) in the feet we can aid many other organs and ailments in the body too, including aches, digestion and inflammation. These exercises are great towards the end of the day, and can also encourage lymphatic drainage, meaning diffusing toxins and waste matter. 

Read the full article here, and find out more about self-massage along with more rituals in my book, Well Being.

How to Boost Your Immunity This Fall ~ for Glasshouse Journal

Commisions, Winter, Wellbeing, Rituals, Natural Living, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment
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Earlier this winter, I shared my winter wellness tips with Glasshouse Salon - one of my favourite natural / organic hairdressers and beauty salon. Find out how I keep well during the colder, darker months, below.

What do you do during the colder months to boost your immune system? Do you incorporate different things that you might not use during the spring/summer?

Yes, totally. Naturally, my body craves different kinds of foods this time of year. I never used to pay much attention to it but as I become more aware of locally seasonal foods, its super interesting to notice how my preferences adapt. I don't know if its tradition and comfort as the temperatures drop, but i start to crave more root vegetables, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, spices, curries, soups and broths, as well as tea on tap. So in that sense, i incorporate different ingredients into my diet and cook very different (more hearty and grounding, but also energising) meals. I also take more supplements (like vitamin D, 5 HTP, multivitamins, omega fish oils, zinc, copper, probiotics - depending on how I'm feeling) to support my body's natural immune response. And i continue to drink lots of liquids - lemon and ginger, water, charcoal in water, spirulina in water, greens powders and more. I think the more antioxidants the better. It's also useful to know that sometimes, depending on the type of illness (cold/flu or sore throat or headache) will depend on which remedies work for you. Last christmas my sisters and I were all ill with sore throats (it often happens when we fully surrender and relax and our bodies just shut down!), and we were chugging ginger tea like there was no tomorrow. but it was actually aggravating our throats more. So don't just follow what you read. Do some research and use more gentle herbs, rituals and rest whenever you feel the onset of any ailment.

In terms of beauty, I change up my routine slightly as things like colder, drier weather, heating, wearing layers and more viruses in the air tend to aggravate it. I stick to the same fundamentals mostly, as i find my skin gets confused if i change my products too often - and if your regular products are natural and pure enough, they should have a variety of adaptable properties and functions that can provide for all kinds of situations, skin-types and seasons. But I will stop cleansing my face too much with water-based products (as they are more drying), and I tend to use much genteel exfoliation processes, and much fewer masks (changing to sheet masks which I find more hydrating and moisturising). I like to let the natural oils of my face stay as balanced as possible and so i try not to over-wash. I think we over-wash so much these days, that our skins normal and natural PH, oil levels and immunity gets out of whack. If you wash your face less I find the skin is trained and more prepared to cope with bacteria and dirt, as the oils of the skin are our natural protection against these things. It's only really when you've been wearing make up that you need to cleanse thoroughly. A parting note would be not to be scared or sceptical of oils, as i think many people assume they will make the skin oilier. i wear an oil to bed almost every night, and as long as your diet is in check and you are drinking plenty of water, you won't find that natural oils contribute to blemishes or clogged pores like you think they will. what clogs pores is dirt, not powerful and functional ingredients from the earth. Oils are full of essential fats (for cell growth, elasticity and renewal), as well as antioxidants and are antiviral, antibacterial and much more. I use oils as my body moisturiser too, and dry brush to encourage circulation, lymphatic drainage and to remove dead skin.

Rituals I use to elevate my immune system include yoga, movement and pranayama. Pranayama can be really cleansing for the organs and also ensure that breathing is regulated and youre sending enough oxygen around the body for vital functions. I also find movement is vital in order to keep the body feeling alive and active. I use meditation and pranayama to enhance my energy levels this time of year too, as well as yoga and other exercise. I do tapping and shaking (both rituals from my book, Well Being) in the mornings to encourage circulation, to reduce muscle tension and to warm up the body. Hot baths are great when it gets colder, as they regulate temperature. Better more, use a potent mineral-based bath soak to restore essential vitamins and hydrate. I also turn to massage more in the colder months, as the drop in temperature can lead to aching or tight joints, muscle tension and poor circulation. I have the worst circulation and am a cold person most of the year, so in the winter i get really cold hands and feet and my fingers occasionally go completely numb and lose their colour. I use oils on my body to give myself regular massages (especially on my hands, legs and face), to encourage circulation and lymphatic drainage.

I truly believe that illnesses are an indication of a much deeper emotional / mental / energetic / chakral issue. There is so much to learn in this area and it sounds pretty woo woo but it makes perfect sense to me. When I'm anxious or stressed, I always reach burnout and my body just shuts down to show me that i'm trying to make it operate at a pace that isn't normal, and to really force me to stop. When i recently felt super low-confidence, fearful and a little uncertain, I had a sore throat and my chest was tighter than ever. I went to an energy healer and she told me sore throat was associated with not speaking your truth and intense worry. And in the past I have had migraines when i've been too in my own head with thoughts and not living in the present moment. The body is so clever, so if you do feel something coming on, take time to pause and really tune in. Then the real healing can begin. It may not always be something that can be healed with food, supplements or rituals. Although, often at this time of year, illnesses are virus or bacteria based (especially in over-crowded cities), so sometimes its unavoidable and nothing personal at all! Just be aware and then you'll find what you need.

All-Natural Miso Almond Fudge

Vegan, Sweets + Desserts, Snacks, Recipe, Gluten freedanielle copperman1 Comment
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This recipe is so, so easy and, I mean, it’s just the dream. Not only is it simple and stress-free to make, it’s also all-natural, completely sugar-free, and high in functional nutritious ingredients. With almonds and coconut oil, this fudge recipe holds incredible benefits with high levels of healthy fats and protein, which support cell function and repair and growth of muscles, hair, skin and nails. I just love it. I keep pieces in the freezer for a quick snack and for a safe burst of energy during the day, before a workout or as an afternoon/evening snack that won’t spike my blood sugar levels too much. The miso bring a deliciously rich, salty flavour; you’ll see what I mean.

Components

150g dates (ideally medjool)
1 heaped teaspoon white or brown miso paste
3-4 tbs (about 30g) coconut oil, melted
150g almond butter (can use other nut butter if desired)

+ You can make these without miso, and use a pinch of salt instead; I just used it as it adds a nice, unique flavour.

Method

Simply blend all of the ingredients together in a food processor, on the highest speed. If you don’t have medjool dates and if the ones you do have seem a little tough, soften them by placing them in a bowl and covering with boiling water for a few minutes. The drain them and pat them dry, squeezing out any excess liquid before then blending in your food processor with the other ingredients.

Blend until the mixture forms a smooth and sticky paste. It should blend into a smooth doughy ball. Remove from the food processor and spread out into a shallow dish or tray. I used a tuppaware dish for mine as it was small enough to make slightly thicker pieces. Use your hands or the back of a spoon or spatula to spread the mixture across your dish or tray evenly, making it about 1-2cm high. Make sure it is completely compact. Place in the freezer for about 1-2 hours, until stiff.

Once completely stiffened, slice with a sharp knife into small individual fudge-like pieces. You could also slice into bar shapes, if desired.

Return to the freezer and store them here until ready to eat. I like mine quick tough and fudgy, but if you prefer them a little softer, remove from the freezer a few minutes before you wish to enjoy them. Alternatively, you could store in the fridge instead.

Enjoy!

Festive Favourites ~ Archived Recipes from Over the Years

Recipe, Autumn, Winterdanielle coppermanComment

Holiday Season Bliss Balls

Dairy Free, Gluten free, Recipe, Seasonal, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Vegandanielle coppermanComment

I’m stocking my freezer with these so that I’ll have something to constantly (and instantly) satisfier the snacker in me during the holidays. Of course I’m human and a live with an ethos that balance is crucial and that the less healthy foods have a place in this world too, but this January I’m heading to New York for the first time in a couple of years to launch the US edition of my book, Well Being, and to meet with new modelling agencies. So, this year I’m generally steering away from outrageously unhealthy indulgences since I need to be in the best shape of my life to meet with agencies. Thus, these babies are my answer to everything. When someone offers me a cookie, mince pie, chocolate or all of the above, I’ll be blissfully chomping down on these little mouthfuls like a proper weirdo. But, to me, it’s not going to be difficult to resist what everyone else is enjoying, since I genuinely prefer the taste of these to most processed treats which these days taste too artificial and sickeningly sweet. And these are still indulgent in their own ways. They’re high in calories and pretty sweet themselves, but its just that they’re all natural and offer actual nutritional benefits, unlike most of the other holiday treats out there. I can eat these knowing I won’t have to expect a bout of blemishes on my skin, extreme bloating, a sugar rush and a sugar crash, or a headache and general grogginess. That said, I will not say no dessert.

It took me 20 minutes to make 2 full batches of these last night, and they turned out much cheaper than shop bought health food products. I couldn’t recommend the best flavour, they’re all amazing. Enjoy!

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Gingerbread bites

Components

150g cashews
50g oats (ideally gluten-free)
225g dates (ideally medjool)
2-3 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla protein powder (optional)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Pinch of salt

Method

Start by blending the cashews, oats and protein powder (if using) in a food processor until they form a light, flour-like consistency. Next, add the dates, ginger, coconut oil and salt, and blend again on a high speed. The mixture should begin to crumble and then clump together, and eventually (after around 1-2 minutes) it should form into a smooth, sticky, dough-like ball. Keep blending until this happens, and if it doesn’t become sticky or doughy, add a few more dates and continue to blend.

Once smooth and sticky, use your hands to form the mixture into bite-sized balls, or, as per the images below, flatten them into little cookie shapes.

Place in the fridge to stiffen, or place in the freezer if you prefer them a little harder. I would suggest storing them in your fridge if you prefer them softer, or in your freezer if you prefer them stiffer and to save them from expiring (they can stay in the freezer for as long as they last).

Enjoy!

Walnut Brownie Bites

50g cashews
100g walnuts
50g oats (ideally gluten free)
225g dates (ideally medjool)
1 teaspoon vanilla protein powder
1 teaspoon coconut oil
4 heaped teaspoons cacao powder
Pinch of salt

+ A handful chopped walnuts, for extra crunch (optional)

Method

Start by blending the cashews, walnuts, oats, cacao and vanilla protein powder (if using) in a food processor until they form a light, flour-like consistency. Next, add the dates, coconut oil and salt and blend again on a high speed. The mixture should begin to crumble and then clump together, and eventually (after around 1-2 minutes) it should form into a smooth, sticky, dough-like ball. Keep blending until this happens, and if it doesn’t become sticky or doughy, add a few more dates and continue to blend.

Once smooth and sticky, use your hands to form the mixture into bite-sized balls, or, as per the images above, flatten them into little cookie shapes. If you want to add a little crunch, use your hands to roll some extra chopped walnuts and extra salt, if desired, into each bite-size.

Place in the fridge to stiffen, or place in the freezer if you prefer them a little harder. I would suggest storing them in your fridge if you prefer them softer, or in your freezer if you prefer them stiffer and to save them from expiring (they can stay in the freezer for as long as they last).

Enjoy!

Vanilla Chai Bites

150g cashews
50g oats (ideally gluten free)
225g dates (ideally medjool)
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground cloves or mixed spice - optional
1 teaspoon vanilla protein powder
1 teaspoon coconut oil
Pinch of salt

Method

Start by blending the cashews, oats and protein powder (if using) in a food processor until they form a light, flour-like consistency. Next, add the dates, coconut oil, salt ,cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and any other spices you’re using, and blend again on a high speed. The mixture should begin to crumble and then clump together, and eventually (after around 1-2 minutes) it should form into a smooth, sticky, dough-like ball. Keep blending until this happens, and if it doesn’t become sticky or doughy, add a few more dates and continue to blend.

Once smooth and sticky, use your hands to form the mixture into bite-sized balls, or, as per the images below, flatten them into little cookie shapes.

Place in the fridge to stiffen, or place in the freezer if you prefer them a little harder. I would suggest storing them in your fridge if you prefer them softer, or in your freezer if you prefer them stiffer and to save them from expiring (they can stay in the freezer for as long as they last).

Enjoy!

Roasted Brussels, Broccoli, Red Grapes and Chestnuts ~ Well Being Book

Well Being Book, Winter, Vegan, Sides, Recipe, Seasonal, Lunch, Gluten free, Dinner, Dairy Free, Autumndanielle coppermanComment

We’ve all hated Brussels sprouts at some point in our lives, and I probably still would if it wasn’t for Hu Kitchen in New York. When I was living in the city a couple of winters ago, I spent a lot of time there in between castings or on my way home from shoots. I didn’t have a kitchen in my apartment so I stocked up on their pre-cooked ingredients most nights, and became addicted to their roasted Brussels sprouts – soft and caramelised on the inside, crispy on the outside. Roasted grapes add a rich, juicy flavour to this dish and bind the other ingredients together in a subtly sweet sauce.

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Components

Serves 4-6

250g Brussels sprouts
250g red grapes
150g chestnuts
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
1⁄2 broccoli head, chopped into florets
60g chard or kale, chopped
1 quantity Basic Tahini Dressing (page 135)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For a creamy version

1 tin coconut milk

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4.

Arrange the Brussels sprouts, grapes and chestnuts in a large baking tray, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle with salt. Use a sharp knife to pierce the grapes slightly and then place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes.

Add the broccoli to the baking tray and roast for a further 15–20 minutes. When the broccoli is tender, the grapes are soft and caramelised and the Brussels are beginning to crisp, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the chard or kale for 10 minutes, until wilted. Stir the chard or kale into the tray, coating them in the juices of the roasted vegetables. Divide the vegetables among individual bowls or transfer to a larger dish if serving as a side. Drizzle with the tahini dressing and enjoy.

+ To make a creamy version, transfer the roasted Brussels, grapes, chestnuts and broccoli into a medium saucepan. Over a low-medium heat, stir in the coconut milk and heat until combined. Alternatively, you could do this in the oven, pouring the coconut milk over the roasted Brussels, grapes, chestnuts and broccoli and returning to the oven to heat through and combine for a further 10-20 minutes, at the same heat.

Enjoy as a warm salad, as a side for Christmas dinner or roasts, or serve with grains or psuedograins.

'Tis The Season

Essentials, Home + Interiors, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Styledanielle coppermanComment

‘Tis the season for, well, a lot of things. Partying, getting together with loved ones, cooking, eating, gifting, receiving and, most importantly, keeping cosy and hibernating inside. Whilst I am no advocate of buying more and more, and always buying new, I like to curate interesting and unique mood boards to share a selection of items I think you will all love. Obviously I have to say, try the charity shops first; you’ll usually find more unique and special items than shopping brand new. But if all else fails, here is a breakdown of items (some natural / ethical, but others not so much) to see you through each phase of the holidays. From going out and staying in, to drinking and cooking, enjoy getting into the spirit of things with these delights.

Keep it cosy

On the town

For the face

* To enjoy 30% off my favourite products from Showcase Beauty, use code danielle30. Offer runs from Dec 20th until the end of January. You’re welcome! Showcase Beauty have a range of the newest and most unique indie beauty brands, many of which are natural, organic or ethical in some way (but be careful when selecting as not all of them are).

Around the home

In the kitchen

Defence / after the party

Conscious Gift Guide ~ Christmas 2018

Beauty, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Style, Sustainabilitydanielle coppermanComment

This year, a lot of my family are planning to buy gifts for others from charity or second hand shops, or from charity websites where you can buy presents to be sent to people in need, sort of on behalf of your own friends or family (like this website here). Our thinking is that none of us actually really need anything new, and instead of accumulating more stuff and potentially creating more waste, we thought that buying from charity shops was a more sustainable way to do things this year. Don’t get me wrong, we will be buying some things from new, but the focus this year is on what we can find that someone might not especially need but might just like. It feels more creative and somehow more thoughtful.

Granted, you can’t find something for everyone in a charity or second-hand shop, and some people might even be offended to receive someone’s hand-me-down’s, so for other ideas (most of which are ethical / sustainable / organic / eco-friendly / natural), read on.

Goop Exfoliating Instant Facial Mask; the perfect addition to winter skin routines, made with natural ingredients, of which 86% are organic.

Aquis Quick Dry Hair Towel. Such a staple in my daily routine and an ideal gift for anyone into the latest (and healthiest) beauty hacks.

Totally obsessed with this. Apparently, they’re believed to improve energy levels, clear the air of a space, aid sleep, reduce static and electromagnetic energy and reduce stress. It also looks nice and makes my space look more warm and welcoming, so I’m sold.

A gift that’s not just for Christmas. I’ve recently been enjoying the Barbican membership in a quest to get out more and do and see new things, and with all the perks, i’m hooked.

This exfoliating coconut shell face mask.

Anything from here.

This, these, this, this, this, this, this, these and this. Oh, Missoma just has an answer to everything. And even, now, a tray for your trinkets.

Another tray for your trinkets.

For the ‘him’s out there: essential oil shaving cream and soothing essential oil post-shave balm.

Stocking fillers in the form of functional natural nourishment.

Spread sustainability this Christmas, with a Keep Cup for everyone you know. Makes a lovely gift for anyone trying to make more environmentally conscious choices.

These Himalayan pink salt tea light holders.

Cos no one can ever have too many crystals.

Rituals' Ayurveda Candle for inner calm and aligned doshas.

Someone you know has got to love these.

Give beauty lovers something new and natural (and aesthetically pleasing) to try.

Had to drop it in somewhere, didn’t I?

Always love discovering new sustainable clothing brands, and have been living in this, made from recycled materials, all Autumn.

Incredible skincare alert.

One of my favourite recently-discovered activewear brands (especially their collections made from Econyl (ocean plastics up-cycled into a unique eco-friendly thread technology)).

This Goop travel wrap (100% cashmere) is coming everywhere with me. I wear it as a scarf or use it as a wrap to keep warm around the house and on long-haul journeys. Perfect for pretty much anyone.

Palo santo and / or sage, for end-of-year cleansing and new year intention setting.

Anything for anyone from here. I’ve especially been loving this.

These for all the hot drinks to come. Definitely toddy appropriate.

This, this or this for new home owners.

Explore Catch Rhys for eco jewellery. I’m obsessed with their simple, minimal chains.

Can’t recommend Angelica Retreat’s Zone Face Lift Facial enough.

A biodegradable phone case. Clever right?

This frame was a hit with my mum as part of her birthday gift last month.

These or these would make wonderful stocking fillers for spiritually curious, and / or those looking for a little grounding, guidance and clarity as they leave behind 2018 and enter the new year.

For candle lovers who just can’t get enough.

Frederic De Malle for a unique selection of perfume, and such a variety to cater for each and every recipient on your gift list this year. The Dries Van Noten is my current fave.

Rose quartz coasters, anyone?

Some old and new book recommendations: this one, this one, this one, this one and this one. And most importantly, this one.

* My ethos and approach to natural living is to try your hardest to make conscious, sustainable and natural and nourishing decisions as much as possible, but in the modern world in which we live, it’s not always possible or, even, preferable. Whatever I buy new tends to be natural and / or sustainable, but there are the occasional items I am given or I choose to try which are not so pure of heart. That’s why you’ll sometimes find a combination of natural / sustainable and not-so-natural / sustainable suggestions in my posts.

Ginger Biscuits with Raw Chocolate and Clementine Pieces

Anytime, Gluten free, Dairy Free, Recipe, Snacks, Sugar Free, Sweets + Desserts, Vegan, Winterdanielle coppermanComment

I improvised with this recipe in desperation the day before an event I hosted last weekend, and thank god they turned out to be a huge win. I always loved gingernut biscuits as a child, and so it is with great pleasure that I present to you this healthier and all-natural variation, which, IMO, is better than the shop-bought ones I used to crave.

These biscuits are so crunchy and bake to perfection, and unlike most processed biscuits are a) only gently sweet (and only sweetened with natural and nutrient-rich sweeteners) and b) gluten-free and c) made with only 5 main ingredients, and absolutely no additives / flavourings / preservatives or anything else funky you wouldn’t recognise.

I personally love the ginger, but you could also leave the ginger out and / or swap for other spices (such as cinnamon, vanilla or cardamom).

Components

For the biscuit

200g gluten free oat flour (gluten-free oats ground in a food processor until they resemble a fine flour consistency)
50g coconut sugar
60g coconut oil
50ml natural syrup (like date syrup, coconut blossom nectar, maple syrup or organic / raw honey)
Pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons ground ginger (to taste)

For the chocolate layer

100g cacao butter (a combination of part cacao butter, part coconut oil will also work)
Pinch of sea salt
40g cacao powder
1 tablespoon coconut sugar or natural syrup (see above for options)

To top (optional)
Crushed hazelnuts or other nuts
Halved or full clementine segments (or other fresh or dried fruits)

Method

Preheat the oven to 160c.

Start by making the biscuit. Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor until they form a crumbly dough. The mixture should stick together compactly when pressed with the back of a spoon or spatula, or when squeezed between your fingers.

Tip the mixture out onto a flat baking tray. You can grease the tray with a little coconut oil, but I didn’t feel the need to, and the biscuits didn’t stick. Spread the mixture out evenly across the baking tray and then press down with the palm of your hands, your fingers and fists - whatever works for you. The aim is to make the mixture completely compact, pressing it together and spreading it evenly to about 0.5mm in thickness. Pat the mixture and bring the sides in as much as possible, then when the mixture is as flat, even and compact as you can get it, use a sharp knife to gently slice off the edges (which will look slightly uneven and loose) to make them clean-cut and straight.

Next, use the same knife to gently score the mixture into biscuit shapes. I use the knife to make small rectangle shapes, but you could make squares or other shapes, or use a cookie cutter if you’d prefer. Ensure the knife cuts through to meet the baking tray rather than just lightly scoring the mixture, as this will make it much easier to break the cookies apart when they have baked.

Place inside the pre-heated oven and bake for 12-20 minutes. The baking time will depend on the thickness of your biscuits. Just keep an eye on them after 10-12 minutes, and if they still feel a little soft, leave them baking for a little longer. The edges should begin to brown slightly. If you aren’t sure if the biscuits are done, try to break an edge piece off and leave it to cool for a few minutes before testing. It should be crisp and crunchy, and ideally not chewy - unless you prefer them a little chewy in which case, remove from the oven slightly earlier.

When you are happy with the baked texture, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before carefully breaking the biscuits apart along the lines / cutter shapes you made before baking.

Set aside on a cooling rack to cool whilst you prepare the chocolate.

To make the chocolate, fill a small saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the pan (creating a double boiler), then add the cacao butter and salt.

Once the cacao butter has melted, remove from the heat and whisk in the cacao powder. Add your natural sweetener and whisk again, until combined.

Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes ideally, and then, one by one, dip the biscuits into the chocolate, on one of the flat sides only. Place immediately in the freezer on a tray or plate, and repeat until each biscuit as been dipped. After about 5-10 minutes in the freezer, double dip, to get a thicker layer of chocolate. This time, before placing in the freezer to set, sprinkle with your crushed nuts and fruit - if using. Then, this time, place in the fridge in an airtight container to set and store them hear until ready to eat (you can also store at room temperature but the chocolate may soften a little, depending on the temperature of the surrounding area).

Updated Mince Pies

Autumn, Recipe, Sweets + Desserts, Vegetarian, Winterdanielle coppermanComment
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For someone who doesn't usually like mince pies, I ended up eating 3 of these for breakfast the day after I made them. The pastry - which is free from gluten, dairy and refined sugars, and made from all-natural, nourishing ingredients - is the perfect texture; not too crumbly; not too sweet; just doughy enough; and with the perfect amount of crunch. The filling - which is also free from gluten, dairy and refined sugars, and made from all-natural, nourishing ingredients - is also much more flavoursome and juicy than other shop-bought mince pies i've tried. I add superfoods such as blueberries and goji berries to mine, which bring a unique flavour and also additional nutrients. The apricots and dates add a really rich flavour, and mean you don’t need to add extra sugar or sweetener to the filling mixture. Combined with the natural citrus juices and spices, it’s an unbeatable combination.

Granted, its easier and often more appealing to buy mince pies from the shops, and these do take a little time and effort to make, but isn't that what Christmas is all about? Taking time, taking care and enjoying the process of each stage of preparation. It's tradition, after all! But, hey, I hear ya. Theres always enough to do, so to avoid having too much on your plate (so to speak), I'd suggest preparing these a few days (or weeks - as they freeze well) before the festivities begin, to reduce stress and take the pressure off. I'd also suggest getting children involved too, as they will love getting creative and helping.

Components

Makes 12

For the Crust

250g Buckwheat Flour
50g Ground Almonds
4 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, room temperature
Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt
5-6Tablespoons Honey, Date Syrup, Maple Syrup or other natural sweetener of choice
1 Egg

For the Filling

4 dried apricots, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract, paste or powder
6 dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 medium apple, chopped
100g blueberries
30g goji berries (optional)
The juice of half a fresh orange (and zest, if desired)
1 Teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon grated fresh or ground ginger
1-2 tablespoons chia seeds
3 tablespoons coconut oil
60ml water
1 teaspoon maca or ginseng (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven to 160c.

Grease a muffin tin with a light coating of coconut oil.

For the crust, place all of the ingredients -but only half of the flour - into a food processor. Blend to combine, until the ingredients form a crumb-like texture then transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the remaining flour and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Add a little more flour if the mixture seems too sticky, and add a little more syrup if it seems too dry.

Knead the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out until it is about 3mm thick (I do this in 2 stages, using half of the dough at a time). As you roll, gently apply pressing, pressing down onto the dough as you roll it. This ill help to ensure the dough stays together and compact and doesn’t crumble or separate.

Next, use a round cookie cutter to cut out individual crusts, and use a thin spatula to lift the dough discs if they stick to the surface. Lay each circle into each section of the greased muffin tin. Leave the leftover dough for the lids.

Bake for 8 minutes until the crusts begin to brown, but aren’t cooked through. Whilst they cook, prepare the filling.

For the filling, simply place all of the ingredients apart from the chia seeds into a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Bring to a gently boil, stirring constantly. As the blueberries soften, burst them with the back of a wooden spoon and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the fruit (particularly the apple) has completely softened. Add the chia seeds just before you take the mixture off of the heat. Leave the mixture to cool slightly and allow a few minutes for the chia seeds to swell and absorb some of the flavour.

Take about a tablespoon of the mixtures and fill each pre-baked crust.

Roll out the remainder of your dough and use either the same round cookie cutter or a more fun, festive one (like a star, a Christmas tree or holly leaves). Take each shape and arrange it on top of the mince mixture. If using another circle, I like to seal them by pressing a fork around the edges to connect them to the crusts. But if using a shape, you can just rest it on top of the fruit mixture.

* At this stage, you can use 1 egg, whisked, to brush on the pie tops. This gives them a more glossy finish.

Return to the oven and bake for a further 10-12 minutes, until the pastry turns a golden brown.

To serve, dust with buckwheat flour or desiccated coconut (or icing sugar if you prefer a sweeter option), and serve with coconut cream, runny almond cream and with an extra dollop of the fruit filling if you had some left over.

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Surviving Autumn

Autumn, Rituals, Winter, Essentialsdanielle copperman2 Comments
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Autumn is a transformational time. It is a season of constant change, and one that forces us inwards - finally! After a Summer of amplified energy and consistent buzz and opportunity, Autumn is a much more grounding season and should come as a reminder for us to slow down, simplify and take inventory. By ‘slow down’, I mean to reduce our speed and energetic output, but doing less, prioritising and refocusing on things. By ‘simplify’, I mean to let go of thing that don’t really or no longer serve us, and that we don’t really, really need. These may be physical things, or they could be relationships, duties, thoughts, feelings or desires. And by ‘taking inventory’, I mean to take stock of all that you have, and practice being grateful enough that you come to realise how fortunate and abundant your life is. These are all things we know we should do without having to think about them, but we have un-learned these simple rituals and unwritten rules of life in getting caught in the current of modern life. Take this season as an opportunity to pause for a moment, to understand what you have and what you might want, and to take it easy. The easier you take it, the easier life will come.

1. Pause

Take time to pause, either once a day, once a week, or just once at the beginning of the season or each new month. Just take a few minutes to be with yourself, acknowledge your thoughts and get present whilst everything around you insists to shift.

2. Silence

Silence is powerful and whilst there is a lot of change and perhaps a lot of noise in your mind after a busy Summertime or as you head back to work or school, it can really help to find ways to be quiet. Making this space will likely bring forth more authentic thoughts and visions that are aligned with your true self - your souls intentions - that otherwise would not have been heard.

3. Declutter

We’re all familiar with the annual Spring Clean, but there is little emphasis on the importance of an Autumnal clear out, too. For me, life seems more stressful the more things I own and the more clutter I have. So for one, being tidier at this time of year (especially as we spend more times inside, too) can have powerful effects on our overall wellbeing. For two, decluttering and actually reorganising and filtering through all that you own and getting rid of what you no longer or don’t really need, is a powerfully cleansing and refreshing process. You might also use ancient traditions like smudging (burning woods like palo santo or herbs lie sage), to cleanse the energy of a space as you shift out of one season into a new.

4. Gratitude journal / positive aspects

As I said, taking stock and taking time to notice all that you have and being grateful for it is a must, all year around but particularly at transformational times. Autumn and Winter are generally colder and darker months, in the UK, and these characteristics can bring with them low energy and low moods, but making a list of things you are grateful for can be a truly uplifting ritual.

5. Stay active

Motivation will falter, but keep you exercise routines up during the Autumn and Winter for several reasons. You’ll encourage circulation and blood flow. You’ll keep fit, strong and toned. You’ll have more energy and you’ll feel mentally more positive. And you won’t face a huge struggle come the New Year / Spring / Summer that people usually deal with after being inactive for long periods of time. It is easier to keep consistently active than it is to reduce your exercise and then try to pick it up again.

6. Nourishing foods

Autumn and Winter bring forth an abundance of healing and nourishing foods, such as root vegetables, dark fruits, cruciferous vegetables, herbs and spices and much more. Make the most of seasonal produce that is actually intended to support us season to season. Make warming foods like soups and stews. And cook with plenty of spices and citrus fruits, to protect and strengthen the immune system.

7. Keep warm but enjoy the cold too

Keeping warm is a necessity as the temperatures begin to drop, however, embracing the cold also has its benefits. New wave rituals such as Cryo therapy (standing in a cubicle at -85c) are known to increase circulation, metabolism, blood flow, detoxification, mental stamina, joint and bone health, amongst other things, but there are natural (and free) ways to achieve these results too. Alternate between hot and cold water in the shower. Stand outside with minimal layers. Brave wild swimming in the sea, rivers or lakes. And on the contrary, enjoy a sauna whenever available, to encourage detoxification, purification, deep internal cleansing, reduce muscle and joint tension and encourage relaxation and reduced stress.

8. Sleep more; literally hibernate

At this time of year, animals are hibernating, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t all be doing the same. Of course, living in a modern society we have jobs and other responsibilities to tend to, but it doesn’t mean we can’t hibernate on a less extreme level, from time to time. Do less and don’t do more than you absolutely need to. Learn to feel empowered enough to be more selective of what you say yes too, especially when there are so many things going on in the lead up to Christmas. Take pride in saying no to things and just indulging in a cosy night in doing nothing much at all.

9. Protect and prevent

Stock up on immune boosting ingredients and remedies as our immune systems are tested with a drop in temperatures and faced with local viruses. Lemon and ginger is a classic, but also experiment with turmeric, black pepper, açai, spirulina, nettle and other herbs, spices and adaptogens known to strengthen the immune system and prevent or remedy seasonal struggles.

10. Surrender

I’ve kind of covered this in points 1, 2 and 8, but I can’t emphasis enough the importance of just surrendering a little more this time of year. Surrender to the shorter days, the colder climes and the reduced amount of energy you may experience, and just embrace it. Don’t try to push past it, or work harder to stay productive. Instead, find ways to refocus your attention, redirect your energy and really take time for self cafe and self development, and you’ll end up working smarter, instead of harder.

Items and rituals to support you mentally and physically

Burts Bee’s beeswax lip balm in chai tea

Pukka herbs lemon, ginger & manuka tea

Lanolips all-natural lanolin multi-use superbalm

These bamboo socks

Bamboo blanket

Neom Natural Candles

Cosy velvet bedspread

Mugs for all the hot drinks

These cashmere gloves

An eco-friendly, rubber-less hot water bottle

A hot/cold water bottle

A recycled notebook

Autumn Outfits

As you know I am much fonder of buying second hand than buying new, but as a model I need to be up to date with the latest trends, and am constantly working with fashion brands to help sell their products. It seems a bit hypocritical, but it is my job. If you need new clothes this season, I urge you to try a few charity shops or vintage stores, or even do a swap with friends. If you’re not convinced, here’s a few of my favourite items from some of my favourite non-sustainable stores. Just promise me you’ll try to buy less, and buy quality over quantity. Only buy things you really think you will wear more than just a handful of times.

Give a Giving Gift This Christmas

Sustainability, Natural Living, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment

You’re all aware, by now, that I like to live quite a simplified life most of the time (bar some very glam and pretty extra moments as a model and public figure from time to time but, ya know, without them I may not have discovered how to balance things out and I might not have become quite as conscious about things as I am). Never the less, I like to keep things as simple as possible in all areas of my life, and to me that means using, wherever possible, ethical, sustainable, natural and / or eco-friendly products and practices.

Whilst in some ways, most of the ethical, sustainable, natural and eco-friendly brands I share on here are giving something back by refraining from doing dangerous or damaging things to the planet, the brands and items below go even further. They donate a share of their profits to charitable organisations, supporting many causes and driving forward a variety of projects and initiatives. Whether you’re buying for others or for yourself this holiday season, consider one or some of the below and you’ll be giving a lot more than you realise.

1. Love Welcomes Welcome mats

Love Welcomes is a new social enterprise working to create jobs for Syrian women in refugee camps. They make beautiful products for the home out of recycled blankets and life vests, and every time you buy a Love Welcomes product, you’re supporting a refugee and their family as they begin to rebuild lives shattered by war.

2. Soko Jewellery

Authentic and unique pieces of handmade jewellery, ethically made by local artisans in Kenya from recycled materials. Buying these will mean you reuse rather than buying new, which gives back to the environment in the long run, but also supports the communities of women in Kenya who make each piece. I particularly love these and these. Oh, and this ring.

3. Sseko Designs

Leather goods that do good. Er, yessss. Sseko Designs is an ethical fashion brand that hires high potential women in Uganda to make sandals to enable them to earn money through dignified employment that will go directly towards their college educations. Sseko products are all made in Africa and create jobs, empower artisans and help end the cycle of poverty by building healthy communities and economies. These sandals are the ideal gift for anyone with big travel plans, either this holiday season or in the New Year.

6. Kantha Bae

Kantha Bae has partnered with Basha Boutique to create fair-trade, hand-embroidered fabrics The shop supports Bangladeshi women at risk in trafficking environments and helps them to find a home, a job, and safe care for their children. Kantha Bae’s kimonos (and other items) are made from upcycled vintage silk saris and proceeds from all sales support women survivors in West Bengal, India.

6. Swell Water Bottles

You have surely heard of S’well® by now, but are you aware of the good they do with parts of their profits? They are proud partners of UNICEF USA and help to provide clean and safe water to the world’s most vulnerable communities. Through 2018, S’well is focused on supporting water programs across Madagascar – a country where nearly 50% of the population lacks access to clean drinking water. Explore their water bottles here and their full product range here.

7. Qnola Tote Bags

Throughout December, we are proud to be supporting Unicef UK, donating 25% of all tote bag sales to help support children and communities in danger and need.

8. Sezane x Demain

In 2017, Sezane founder, Morgane Sézalory, created the charity initiative, DEMAIN. The initiative raises funds for projects that improve access to education, culture, and equal opportunities for children around the world. Their latest project, the ‘Promise’ t-Shirt, in partnership with Pencils of Promise, helps support projects with the intention of providing quality educational programming in Ghana, Guatemala, Laos and Nicaragua. I adore the t-shirt and have been wearing it day in, day out.

9. Shop in charity shops

Another way to give gifts that give to others is to shop in charity shops. Anything you buy goes towards whichever charity the shop supports, and if you don’t fancy giving something thats been used, you can usually find brand new things items too. Some stores sell gifts like fairtrade chocolate, teas, hampers and card sets, some even sell fairtrade homewares (Oxfam currently have beautiful woven baskets, throws and rugs), and you can often find clothes, books, DVD’s (I know - old school!) and homewares completely unused and which still have their tags on. At least have a browse ;)

10. Mantra Jewellery x Mind

Mantra Jewllery have partnered with mental health charity, Mind, to help support and champion people living with mental illness. MIND’s intention is to encourage people to talk more about mental illness. In support, Mantra Jewellery have created a pendant with the empowering mantra, Strength, from which 25% of sales will be donated to Mind.

11. House of Sunny

House of Sunny is a super cool and creative fashion brand, specialising in effortless day to day staples. Their sustainability efforts are great and they only release a couple of super consciously-produced collections per year. What’s more, they have teamed up with Project 0, and are donating £3 of every purchase of their Save the World tee, to support Project 0’s efforts to restore and protect the ocean. 

12. Found My Animal 

Found My Animal supports animal adoption and promotes rescue over purchase. They also donate profits from their rope and leather animal collars, harnesses, and other pet accessories to animal rescue organisations around the world. If you won’t be getting or giving a pet this Christmas, why not give consciously to your current pets or those of others?

13. Rumba Time

The Jane Collection of Rumba Time’s watches supports a number of charities, with $2 of each purchase going to either Give Directly or Young Survival Coalition. Inspired by friendship bracelets, you who might like one of these?

14. Marina London

Marina London make beautiful silks in small batches and employ ethical practices and high quality silks. This holiday season, they are giving 5% of all sales within their new Black Collection (dropping soon) to Women for Women - a charity dedicated to helping female survivors of war rebuild their lives. Buy for the party season or gift to others. Or ya know, both.

15. Toms Shoes

Toms - the One For One company - gives a pair of shoes to those in need, for every pair purchased. Not only does TOMS provide shoes, they also provide sight, water and safer birth services to people in need, through a number of different initiatives. Find out more here and shop here. Particularly enjoying their new ankle boots and winter slippers.

16. Mudlove Hanging Planter

The perfect gift for plant lovers or those heading into a new home or redecorating. These handcrafted planters brighten up any space, especially in the know that each purchase provides a week's worth of clean water to a family in the Central African Republic. 

17. Anything from here