<![CDATA[The Blonde Berry - Nutrition]]>Sat, 28 Nov 2015 10:13:53 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[The 7 best places for healthy vegan food in Madrid]]>Fri, 30 Oct 2015 15:13:31 GMThttp://www.theblondberry.com/nutrition/the-7-best-places-for-healthy-vegan-food-in-madrid-spain
1) Xanacuk 

Best for: Green smoothies 

This cafe has become my pit-stop for a quick health boost. I often go twice a week, usually after yoga class. It's location is brilliant, as it's on a road just off of Fuencarral, and right around the corner from Brandy Melville. If you are not familiar with Madrid,  Fuencarral is a long road which stems off of Puerta del Sol square, where you will of course end up if you are visiting Madrid. It's the center of everything. 

Xanacuk's green smoothies are insanely good. I consider myself quite a green smoothie connoisseur considering I've been making them regularly for the past 4 years, but nothing I have made has come close to the green smoothies at Xanacuk.

Just ask for an English menu when you go in, and you will be able to choose which ingredients you want to go in, or to pick from one of their green smoothie recipes (I recommend the "Green life" ). I also never thought I could like wheatgrass shots, but Xanacuk has changed that. They just taste so fresh!! You'll never go back to powdered wheatgrass again after tasting these. They serve them with fresh lime and when you add the lime into the shot, it genuinely tastes good. 

 They also have a large selection of sandwiches. They have a menu so you can choose which ingredients you want to go in, and what kind of bread you want. I always go for the ciabatta with roasted vegetables, sprouts, hummus, and avocado. They also have a couple of ready-made vegan sandwich options, and different salads. They are not a fully vegan or even vegetarian cafe and stock items such as chocolate croissants, quiches and chicken salads, so it's the perfect place to take your non-vegan friends or family for brunch. 


​2) Vega

​Best for: Vegan tapas 

The very first fully vegan restaurant/bar I came to in Madrid, and still one of my favorites. I absolutely love the fresh, vegan comfort food they offer here. The tapas are exceptional, so you won't feel like you're missing out on this popular Spanish past-time. 

The restaurant is also extremely affordable. When I went with my mum, we ordered a selection of vegan tapas to share and also both got a dessert and a smoothie, and it still only came to about 30 euros, which is only about 21 pounds! 

The tapas
3). Crucina 

​Best for: Raw vegan cheese platter

This restaurant in Malasana is amazing, both for the atmosphere inside the restaurant and the carefully prepared vegan food, all of which is 100% organic and raw. It can be hard sometimes to find vegan restaurants which are a little more sophisticated when you step inside, but Crucina definitely fits the bill. 

The first time I went there, I can safely say it was one of the best meals I've ever eaten. I didn't enjoy it as much the second time though, as I felt like I was eating too much dehydrated food and I was craving freshness. You just have to order wisely, and make sure you opt for big salads, smoothies and soups so that you can get some fresh food in you as well as all of the dehydrated creations. 

All of the ingredients sourced are of the best possible quality. As well as the vegan cheese platter, you absolutely have to try their raw chocolate mousse. Trust me, it's out-of-this-world good! 

4). Rayen Vegano

Best for: Vegan burgers 

This place is worth going to just for the vegan burgers. Believe it or not, the burgers pictured below were only a starter. They definitely do much more generous portions in Spanish vegan restaurants! We had the burgers with the dumplings, which were also very good. I would recommend just getting starters when you come to Rayen, as they are all very big and filling, and we didn't actually really need to get mains as well. 

The restaurant itself is super cute and definitely very popular, so if you want to go I would recommend booking in advance by simply messaging them on facebook. That seems to be the easiest way to make reservations in Spain if you can't speak the language! 

5). Fit food

Best for: Smoothie bowls 

Fit food is Madrid's first and only cold-pressed, organic juice bar. I really recommend ordering one of their acai smoothie bowls. I always order the Amazonian Detox and it is delicious. They also stock lots of vegan supplements including Sunwarrior raw vegan protein powder and nut butters. They only offer smoothies and juices though, so you could only come here for a snack, not for lunch. Xanacuk is actually on the same street, so you could go there afterwards for a bite to eat!

Be aware that it is quite expensive - a cold pressed juice is 7 euros whilst an acai bowl can be up to 8.50 euros.  

6). Sanissimo 

Best for: Vegan ice cream

This is a great little place to pop into for a quick healthy meal, smoothie, or ice cream! Sanissimo is located near where I live, so I often come here to get a smoothie, or their lentil "meat balls", which I must have gotten at least six times by now. They also offer some amazing looking cakes and pastries, although I haven't tried either yet. When you first walk in it looks like you can only buy food to take away, but they actually have an area at the back where you can sit down to eat. They also stock lots of different vegan and vegetarian food products like milks, crisps, chocolate and energy bars. 

7). Punto Vegano

Best for: Vegan ravioli

The food and atmosphere in Punto Vegano kind of reminds me of an American diner. We had milkshakes and fresh lemonade to start with an appetiser of croquetas. Croquetas are a popular Spanish appetiser usually made with ham and milk. These tasted just like the real thing, if not even better! 

 For my main, I tried their fresh, homemade ravioli, which was seriously good. 

It was also very affordable. Our meal came to just under 20 euros! 

<![CDATA[Eating in Amsterdam: Vegan]]>Sun, 07 Jun 2015 15:54:08 GMThttp://www.theblondberry.com/nutrition/eating-in-amsterdam-veganPicture
This week I experienced my first holiday as a vegan.  It proved to be challenging at times (preparation is most definitely needed), as well as rewarding in having the chance to discover and help fund so many  vegan/vegetarian restaurants.  It's safe to say the vegan/health food scene in Amsterdam is expanding.  We made some awesome finds!  One thing which I discovered was that it is 100% possible to eat vegan literally ANYWHERE... even in a steakhouse!

 A couple of weeks before going, I started to research what options I would have.  I didn't expect there would be many.  However, I was incredibly relieved to find that HappyCow (A healthy eating guide) had tons of suitable restaurants/cafes listed!  

Anyone who is planning on going on holiday as a vegan with meat eating friends, I would really recommend firstly researching and finding where you want to go, and finding a map and marking them all on there (trust me, I wish I had done this!) and also finding options which are suitable for both vegans and meat eaters.  One evening we ended up at a Burger restaurant which we had thought had a vegan option... turned out their 'falafel' burger contained egg.  I had no idea where any other suitable restaurants were as I didn't have wifi at the time and only had screen shots of the post codes on my phone.  Total disaster.  We eventually ended up in Wagamama at about 10pm - which leads me to the first place we ate.  

Wagamama in fact has a vegan menu!  I had a side of veggie dumplings with chilli sauce, steamed rice, tofu, and veggies, and a miso soup.  This is definitely a great place to go to as Wagamama is pretty much everywhere these days, and will suit all different types of diet.  The vegan menu is pretty limited though - there were only about 5 options.
Juice & Salad
Every morning we went to a place called 'Juice & Salad' for breakfast as it was right by our hotel.  You can make up your own smoothie combinations, so every morning I had a spinach, celery, cucumber, pear, apple, banana and ginger smoothie (which is brought to you in a large jug!)  with their Chia seed pudding, made with coconut milk and topped with shredded coconut and dried cranberries.
Alchemist garden
One morning we decided to try somewhere different for breakfast - a beautiful little raw vegan cafe called Alchemist Garden.
I decided to have their 'Breakfast plate' which came with a smoothie and a goji berry tea.  I chose to make my own smoothie - just banana and spirulina.  Pure deliciousness!
The 'Breakfast Plate' containing a bowl of coconut yoghurt, blueberries, seed bread, coconut butter, granola & jelly.
Sami had their raw 'Club sandwich' with avocado, cucumber and mushrooms.
I came across 'Stach' whilst we were cycling around the city centre.  It had a range of delicious sandwiches to suit any meat eaters, and lots of delicious salads.  I had one with chickpeas, sweet potato, broccoli and pesto.  I also had a fresh pressed green juice and a raw energy bar made with dates and coconut.  They also had tons of fresh bread, loads of vegan snacks/goodies and juices.  A great place to pick up a quick, healthy lunch!
Lavinia Good Food
One of my favourite vegan/vegetarian finds was Lavinina Good Food, which is situated right by the city centre.  The food is just glorious.  Freshly prepared, local and organic, and each plate is so beautifully done.  Above is their 'Red' juice, which was honestly one of the best fresh pressed juices I've ever had.  It contained beetroot, carrot, orange juice, ginger, lime and dill. 
Sami and I both decided to have one of their 'Spelt Pizetta's.'  Sami's contained smoked salmon, wasabi mayonnaise, ginger and wakame. 
This was my one.  The vegan spring pizetta with spring greens, mint and vegan mayonnaise dressing.  
We decided to go back again for breakfast on our last day, as it was just so good.  I had the coconut yoghurt with berries, homemade granola and rhubarb compote, with their 'Green' juice which contained cucumber, fennel, lime, grannysmith, ginger and pear.  Sami had the toasted sourdough with mashed avocado, grannysmith and curry oil with a 'Red' juice.

I also picked up a couple of these raw chocolates from Lavinia.  They were so good!  They also had a raw vegan cheesecake and a couple of other vegan cakes.
Artis Royal Zoo
This was what I ate in the cafeteria the day we went to the zoo!  They didn't have any vegan options, it was all just burger, chips and that sort of thing.  So I opted for some fresh fruit with a mango and banana smoothie, and a strawberry and banana smoothie.  They also had hummus with vegetable sticks available.  It was very over-priced considering it was just fruit, and it probably would have been a much better option for me to have gone to the supermarket in the morning, bought a load of fruit and drinks, and just brought that with me.  The health food supermarket in Amsterdam is called 'Ekoplaza', which is basically the Netherlands answer to Wholefoods.  However, every supermarket I went into had loads of healthy options, fresh fruit, even superfoods and specialist health products.  You will also see lots of fruit stalls as you walk/cycle around.
So one night we ended up in a steakhouse as the boys wanted to have 'unlimited ribs.'  There are quite a few steakhouses in the city centre offering unlimited ribs.  I thought I wouldn't be able to order anything, but they had vegetables as a main on the menu so I decided to order that.  It came as a side... Of boiled-to-nothing veggies.  For 6 euros.  A total waste of money, but never mind.  The rice was good, although blatantly microwaved, haha.  I also ordered another rice after I ate this as they were only 2 euros.  Anyway it was filling and that's the main thing.  If you end up in a totally vegan-unfriendly restaurant, I would say just order sides.  They will only have vegetarian mains which are stuffed full of cheese!
It was funny as the man who was serving us, was in fact a vegetarian.  He was asking me why I was vegan, and I mentioned about the moral reasons behind it, and that I don't believe in the torture and rape of animals, or the corruption of the meat/dairy industry.  As soon as you see what goes on in slaughterhouses, you will never look at meat/dairy in the same way again.  Plus, the more you learn about what eating  animal products does to your body short and particularly long term... eating choices change.
  I think the problem is that people just view meat as a 'product', and have no idea what has gone in to putting that 'product' in front of them.  These past few months have been really enlightening for me, and reconnected the connection in my mind between 'product' and animal.  Now when I look at a piece of meat, I just see a dead tortured animals carcass, and wonder how anyone can think that it's healthy to put that inside of them... (I will be writing a blog post soon fully explaining why I have gone vegan due to health, moral and environmental reasons).
Anyway, just as Sami was demolishing his 4th plate of ribs (eugh) the man was telling Sami that he should go vegan too, as he, like me, doesn't believe in the suffering of animals.  He told Sami that he should listen to me as 'women are smarter.'  Haha!  We did wonder why the man was working in a steakhouse if he morally disagrees with it, though...
Addis Ababa
On the last night,  we ate at an Ethiopian restaurant.  This is a great place for all diet types too, as they had tons of options ranging from meat, to fish, to vegetarian and also vegan.  Sami and I had this gigantic platter to share.  All of the vegetables and lentils lay on a huge pancake, called 'injera', which is made from teff flour, water and salt.  It's delicious!  This was a super filling meal, and also very affordable, only 20 euros for a huge platter for us both to share.  I love how with veganism you inevitably  discover so many different cuisines!  
In general, anywhere you are in Amsterdam, you will be able to find a healthy option.  They are clearly a very health  conscious city.   Not only with the food, but also with how active everyone seemed to be. They all cycle literally everywhere, and they have extra paths next to every road specifically for cyclists.  There were also gyms and yoga studios all over the place, and loads of people running everywhere.  Apparently the Netherlands has been named the healthiest country in the world, which doesn't surprise me.  I didn't see anyone there who was overweight/obese when I was there (apart from the occasional tourist).  But I think this is mostly due to the healthy eating.  There were very few fast food places even though it's a city, and as you can see from this blog post, tons of healthy eateries.  You don't even have to be looking for one to find them as they are all over the place.  However, they do let themselves down with all of their restaurants offering 'unlimited ribs', haha. 
Although Amsterdam is best known for its lenient drug scene than its cuisine, it is also an amazing place to discover and enjoy tons of healthy eating options.

Thanks for reading!

Hanni x
<![CDATA[Restaurant Review: Pure on Raw]]>Mon, 27 Apr 2015 17:12:01 GMThttp://www.theblondberry.com/nutrition/restaurant-review-pure-on-rawPicture
So last night I finally convinced Sami that we should visit 'Pure on Raw', a raw vegan restaurant on the outskirts of Sheffield, as opposed to what we would usually do, which would be a cheat meal at the Mud Crab or something similar!   We had to walk about 40 minutes to get to the restaurant as opposed to a five minute walk to our usual cheat-meal destination, but it was a beautiful summers evening so it was the perfect opportunity to make the most of this sun we've been experiencing lately.  (That was how I managed to convince Sami we should go, anyway!)  This delightful little vegan restaurant proved to be absolutely worth the walk, as you can see from these beautifully vibrant meals we indulged in!

We both began our meal with these super fresh green juices. Mine contained cucumber, pineapple, cabbage and lemon, whilst Sami had a super spicy apple, greens, cucumber, lemon and ginger concoction. My only criticism is that these glasses were very small and thin for a juice costing £5!
Tons of delicious, raw options available! I always find it so difficult trying to decide what to eat in these kind of places. No matter what I chose I feel like I've made the wrong decision!
Some super delicious looking smoothies available. I will probably be stealing some of these ideas to make myself!
This was Sami's starter (not raw) but look at this presentation! We were both pretty impressed. This is their 'club sandwich' containing ciabatta, filled with home made pesto, cashew nut cheese, grilled onion, mushrooms, peppers, courgettes, and topped with rocket and tomatoes, served with daily dip and crunchy vegetable sticks. Yum!
This was my starter. Slightly smaller than Sami's... This is probably why I always think I've made the wrong choice! However this was also very delicious. It is a trio of fully raw bruschetta (yes, raw?!) topped with tomato & basil, mushrooms and garlic oil.
This was one of the mains we ordered - their raw pizza. The topping contained cashew cheese, marinated veg, nut meat, tomato and 'no meat pepperoni.' It was probably the best raw pizza I have ever tried, not that I have had many! However, for £10, we were expecting a whole pizza, instead of two slices and a huge salad!?
This was my main of 'cheesy pasta.' Zuccini-carrot pasta dressed in cashew nut cheese, pesto, baby tomatoes and nut meat. I loved this 'nut meat' but I have no idea what it actually was!
This was Sami's main - the 'meal taster.' It contained a burger, half Hawain pizza, 3 different creamy salads, sun seeds and live flat bread. Again, it was a bit of a shame how little pizza he received for the price.
To top it all off we shared this delectable raw dessert. Ice cream made from nut milk, topped with date syrup and some kind of minty energy balls.
If you happen to be in the area I would definitely recommend this restaurant, just be prepared for the fact that it is pretty expensive.  I will definitely be heading back here sometime in the near future.  It  made me feel 100x better than a cheat meal ever would have done!

<![CDATA[Restaurant Review: Pure Taste restaurant, London]]>Mon, 09 Feb 2015 21:10:51 GMThttp://www.theblondberry.com/nutrition/restaurant-review-pure-taste-restaurant-londonA few weeks ago I went to London's first fine dining, Paleo restaurant with my family and boyfriend. I was searching on the internet prior to our weekend trip and came across it, and thought it looked like the perfect compromise for my family and I. They are big fans of fine-dining, and I love the health food restaurants - so with this restaurant we'd finally found 'the best of both worlds.' Plus, the health food restaurants in London are usually Vegan or Vegetarian, and tend to be day time places. None of my family are vegetarian, so when we go out for meals, they prefer to have a meat/fish option available. I wasn't really sure what to expect from the restaurant but I thought the menu online sounded wonderful. Luckily, it proved a hit with all of them.  We arrived at the restaurant at about 6pm after a tiring day of shopping.  The atmosphere we were greeted with was sophisticated with a bit of a unique twist, just like the dishes they serve.  One thing which struck me was a 'primitive' painting they had on the wall.  Yes, we were definitely in a 'Paleo' restaurant, although I somehow doubt cavemen's food looked quite like the wonderfully plated meals we were served with. 

Here we have a selection of free canapés we received.
The sourdough and 'garlic & rosemary foccacia' bread we had, with a side of the most delicious avocado cream.
Cured bass, rhubarb, leaves.
This was my delicious starter - beetroot cappuccino with almond 'cheese.'
Asian pork, cabbage, potato.
This was my main - 'Halibut, dukkah, spinach and lemon.'
The trout, tiger prawns, bisque, and aioli.
Guinea fowl, cavolo nero, 'bread sauce', madeira, and prunes.
This was my mums main - the root vegetable and mushroom cobbler with purple sprouting broccoli.
This was my dessert - lime and kiwi cannelloni with basil. It was very light and refreshing, and I'm pretty sure it had avocado in it. You could just taste the healthiness!
This was Sami's dessert - he went for the sorbet as usual. (Well, I THINK it was sorbet, either that or some kind of healthy ice cream creation).
This was my mums dessert - clean eating banoffee pie anyone?
As you can see, the food was all beautifully presented.  It was one of those restaurants where you can sit back and relax knowing you aren't taking in any unnecessary salts, sugars, fats etc.  They also had a really detailed key, so it's perfect if you have any dietary requirements.  Not only are dishes marked as 'Vegan' or 'Low carbohydrate', but 'suitable for those following a Weston A Price diet.'  Don't ask me what that means - I honestly have no idea.  All of the dishes are gluten-free, so they don't need to even mark that out.

I really enjoyed the restaurant - the atmosphere was lovely, and the staff were all so friendly.  It's great to see so many health food restaurants popping up all over London, and this was definitely one of my greatest finds to date.

<![CDATA[Post exam treat - Filmore & Union, Victoria Quarter]]>Sat, 17 Jan 2015 13:32:56 GMThttp://www.theblondberry.com/nutrition/post-exam-treat-filmore-union-victoria-quarterAfter my 3 hour Medieval Literature exam yesterday morning, my friend and I decided to go to Filmore & Union to refuel.  I don't have any food in the house at the moment as I have only just come back to Leeds, so I decided that gave me an excuse to eat out even though with my student budget I can't technically afford to...  Anyway, we had a lovely little healthy lunch and I felt so much better for it as I was feeling quite drained after an intense exam, so it was totally worth it.
We both had their new 'January Detox Juice' which contains kale, broccoli, celery, cucumber, courgette, fennel, parsley & supergreens. Amazing for alkalizing the body.
I had the hemp protein pancakes with 'skinny bacon' and a side of sweet potato wedges, whilst my friend had two of their new menu items, including an omlette with rye bread and coconut milk qunioa porridge.
Looking very content with my green juice and a cozy blanket!
The hemp protein pancakes were 'American style' so they were really fluffy and delicious. If you don't drink cow's milk like me, then they can substitute the cow's milk for almond milk.
Not really an appropriate meal for a student budget, but definitely worth it! Plus, as we are members of the Yoga society, Filmore recently provided us with 10% off student discount cards for a lot of our members (as we recently held a social at their restaurant), making it a lot more affordable!
<![CDATA[Restaurant Review: Tanya's Cafe, Chelsea]]>Thu, 08 Jan 2015 18:15:57 GMThttp://www.theblondberry.com/nutrition/restaurant-review-tanyas-cafe-chelseaPicture
So, after what seems an age I finally persuaded my family that we should have breakfast at Tanya's, the new raw food restaurant that has opened up in Chelsea.  I've been so excited to go here ever since I first saw pictures of it on Instagram.  I know other people are really interested in trying it as well as I have had so many messages and questions about it since I shared it on Instagram myself.  

We were in London for a Christmas break and were off ice-skating at Somerset House in the afternoon.  My parents were therefore not in the best of moods as they suddenly felt rather apprehensive; my dad because he has never ice skated before and my mum, because one of the many broken bones she has suffered over the years was a result of, yes, ice skating.  I was hoping therefore that a good wholesome fresh meal would put them in better spirits. 

The décor and space at Tanya's is light and fresh.  The tables are mostly arranged as the high bar type which creates a really laid-back and welcoming atmosphere.  It's also really light and airy due to the conservatory-like roof.  It would be the ideal place to stop off for lunch during the summer to escape from the heat yet still enjoy the sunshine.  

We were greeted by none other than Tanya herself.  She was so friendly and was quite happy to chat and tell us all about the place and how it came about and also about the alkalising nature of food.  My Brother is a bit of a sceptic as far as these things are concerned so it was really great to have someone explain it so well, and to finally convince him that the alkaline diet isn't actually a fad. 

'My ninja milk' containing matcha green tea, almond milk, hemp seed milk, dates, salt, vanilla and fresh mint.
Picture'Rawtella Untoast' made with soft raisin bread and served with coconut yoghurt, and 'Avo Untoast' with onion bread.
We ordered drinks: smoothies, juices and coffees to begin with and decided that while we hadn't had any breakfast, lunch was now so close we might as well hang on until 12pm for the lunch menu to start as it all looked so delicious.  However, little brothers being what they are decided that he had to have some food otherwise fainting through malnourishment was going to start.  So in the end we got some breakfast courses in as well, including granola, avocado on toast and raw nutella.  The raw nutella was amazing, in fact it tasted even better than actual nutella, but you can happily eat it knowing it's doing your body good instead if the opposite. Being a raw restaurant even the 'bread' was uncooked and made of seeds and was really tasty.  They soak, activate sprout and then dehydrate nearly all of the dishes, so they're all super digestible, and come with tons of health benefits.  We then had some main courses which were also perfect to share, including raw pizza, nachos, (which were my favourite) and tacos.  

The food is beautifully presented, and looks so vibrant.  There were two minor niggles: a bit too much use of chilli-flakes on the 'avo un-toast' for my mum's taste, though everyone else was fine with it.  In fact, it was only the cost that was a little on the high side.  But for gourmet raw food which was this delicious and healthy, it's hard to complain.  By the time we left my dad said he was feeling quite 'tiggerish', so he didn't have any regrets.  My only regret is that I didn't try one of their delicious looking raw desserts!

Everyone really enjoyed the meal and I finally convinced some of my more sceptical family members that health food can be just as delicious, if not more so, than the food at a fine-dining restaurant. This restaurant definitely defeats the claim that healthy eating is boring, particularly as the food looked just as good as it tastes.  You could really tell that the absolute best quality organic ingredients had been used, and each dish had been created with the greatest care.

Tanya told us that she is planning on opening more restaurants in the UK, and I really hope she does so that more people can experience the delights of raw food.  She is also bringing out a book in September which I will definitely be purchasing!


The 'My warror' smoothie, 'Sugar free fix' and 'My vision.' Sami and I also had a coconut in its shell each, which were so fresh they still had the soft coconut flesh inside.
The raw tacos, containing walnut oyster mushroom meat, guacamole and salsa & sour cream, with a side of nivea lip balm.
Dominic's 'Grawnola'
Raw nachos and Raw pizza.
<![CDATA[Review: Filmore & Union]]>Sun, 16 Nov 2014 22:17:03 GMThttp://www.theblondberry.com/nutrition/review-filmore-unionPicture
Filmore & Union is a deliciously healthy restaurant in Leeds, and is my absolute favorite place to eat in the city.

They have a chain of restaurants throughout West Yorkshire but I go to their one in the Victoria Quarter, as this one is closest to me.  It is the perfect place in Leeds to go to when I need a healthy, superfood pick-me-up.  I often go their to get one of their delicious smoothies, which always energize me and provide me with a great dose of nutrients to power me through the rest of my day.  Going here has definitely become a part of my weekly ritual!

When Sami and my parents came up to visit me this weekend, I just had to take them here!

Sami and I both had juices, whilst my dad and I also had one of their 'hot chocolates.'  The hot chocolates contained almond milk, cacao, cinnamon and agave, and were so warming and delicious.  Sami had the 'raw energy' and I had their November special juice (as opposed to my usual Green) which consisted of sweet potato, fennel, ginger and pear!  It was an unusual tasting juice and I really enjoyed it.

My mum had the avocado on toasted rye bread with raw spinach, cottage cheese and spiced omega seeds, which she said was delicious.  It is recipes like this on the menu which make this such a great brunch spot.

Sami had their pulled pork wrap.  He said it tasted great - his only complaint was that it wasn't big enough!  

However, Filmore carefully proportions all of their dishes so that they are a healthy portion, meaning that this is a great place to go to eat if you want to go out to a restaurant and enjoy a meal without the fear of over-doing it.  (Sami just eats a lot!)
I had a new item on their menu for my main (as I have basically tried everything else!) which was the 'Healthy Man' Pie with salmon and haddock, with celeriac mash, and a warm kale, pomegranate, quinoa and sunflower seed salad.

We had a great meal, and the atmosphere is lovely in the Victoria Quarter at this time of year with all of the Christmas decorations around!  They also have standing heaters and fur blankets, making it the perfect place to stop off during the winter whilst Christmas shopping and enjoy a satisfying, nutrient-dense meal.

<![CDATA[Restaurant review: Hotel Chocolat Roast & Conch´╗┐]]>Sun, 16 Nov 2014 15:46:16 GMThttp://www.theblondberry.com/nutrition/restaurant-review-hotel-chocolat-roast-conch Picture
This weekend I went to an exquisite restaurant in Leeds called 'Roast & Conch' with my boyfriend Sami and my parents.  The restaurant is the first to be opened by Hotel Chocolat, and everything on the menu is pure cocoa/cacao-infused, resulting in many of the recipes being rich in minerals such as magnesium, as well as providing you with a high dose of antioxidants.  The alluring menu is highly innovative due to their unusual use of cacao, and the fact that it combines a variety of cuisines from all over the world.  I would definitely describe the food as uplifting 'food for the soul.' :)

The restaurant has a wonderful warm ambiance, and is the perfect blend of fine-dining and a more casual atmosphere.  All of the food comes beautifully presented, and tastes delicious too!  The result is a rather magical experience, and is the perfect place to go with your family or friends on a cold winters evening!

This was my starter of Tuna tartare with cacao guacamole, lime-ginger dressing and crispbread.  This was actually the highlight of the entire meal for me - it was absolutely delicious, particularly the guacamole and the dressing!

Sami and my dad shared this platter to start.  It consisted of cocoa gin cured salmon, seared pork terrine, market vegetable soup, and sweet potato crisps.  They both loved this starter, particularly the soup.  However, they both thought that the platter should have come with some bread to go with the pork terrine, so I would advise ordering some sourdough to go with this.

This was my mother's starter.  She had the 'Not so scotch egg' which was a hen's egg cloaked in softened pearl barley and penny bun mushrooms, cacao nib crust, and roast garlic and pumpkin puree.  Apparently it tasted as lovely as it sounds!

This was my mum's main meal.  It was slow braised cacao glazed lamb shoulder, garlic mash, and buttered carrots.  The meat was perfectly cooked, the mash was perfectly creamy, and it was bursting with wonderful flavors.

I really liked these grinders they had on every table, which contained cacao nibs as opposed to the usual pepper or salt.  I thought it was a wonderful idea, and would be a great thing to keep at home to grind over a bowl of porridge in the morning!

They also have pure cacao beans on the table to try.

This was the main which I chose.  It was a west Indian vegetable curry tasting platter, containing sweet potato and cauliflower gobi, spiced lentil dhal, cumin-spiced aubergines and cacao nib rice!  I also had a side of 'white chocolate mash' which I can never resist having whenever I come to the restaurant, as it is just so delicious!  My favorite aspect of this platter was the gobi.

This was Sami's main.  He nearly always goes for the burger no matter where we go!  He had the chopped rump steak burger, with aged cheddar, cacao beer braised onions, french fries, creole chutney and crisp dry cured bacon.  He said it was 'awesome.'

This was my mum's dessert.  It was in fact the dessert created for the BAFTA 2014 film awards dinner!  It contained 50% milk chocolate mousse, cacao beer caramel, roasted mixed nuts and almond dacquoise.  I had a taste of it myself and it was divine.

This was my dessert.  It was the sticky toffee and cacao beer pudding, with cacao infused whipped cream.  I thought the sauce which was poured on top was delicious, as was the whipped cream.  But I felt that I should have ordered something a bit more chocolatey!  One of their desserts was a 'molten chocolate lava pudding' made from the cacao bean on site, which I saw someone else having and it looked amazing!

This is their 'tray of temptation' which we never seem to be able to resist whenever we go to the restaurant!  The chocolates are so lovely, and come in many different flavor combinations.

Overall, it was a beautiful evening with wonderful food and company, and I can't wait to go back their again at some point!  You will leave feeling very satisfied and happy, probably because of the amount of cacao you would have consumed!  This is due to the fact that the same brain chemical that is released when we experience deep feelings of love, phenylethylamnin, is also found in pure chocolate. :)


<![CDATA[Review: 'Down to Earth' cafe - Kensington]]>Tue, 04 Mar 2014 12:19:15 GMThttp://www.theblondberry.com/nutrition/down-to-earth-cafe-kensington
I went to this vegan cafe in Kensington with my friend last week, and I have to say, it was a bit of a disappointment. The food was very over priced for what it was, and didn't taste too great.

We ordered the 'raw living pizza' Which was absolutely tiny, and also the raw salad which was mainly kale and beetroot. Luckily we ordered goats cheese to go with the salad - if we didn't it would have been so bland.

We also both ordered a raw smoothie, which was £5 each, and so tiny! Very over priced.

However, on the bright side, there was a great selection of raw deserts on offer although we didn't have one, and we did feel very energised and healthy after leaving. But I wouldn't particularly recommend, or go back there myself.

<![CDATA[Eating healthily whilst at University]]>Thu, 20 Feb 2014 21:37:11 GMThttp://www.theblondberry.com/nutrition/eating-healthily-whilst-at-university
Here is an article which I recently wrote for my student newspaper which I thought would be of interest to anyone who reads my blog.  It has useful tips for how to maintain a healthy diet at university, what to eat for optimal brain function, as well as the dangers of not doing so.  I was pretty shocked by some of the statistics I came across whilst researching for this article, as you will see!

Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain and Body

By Hannela Matthews

It was recently reported in the Daily Mail that more than a quarter of students at university put on up to 2st (28lb) in ‘fleshers' flab’ by the end of their university career.  Nearly two-thirds of students that gained weight had put on between 1st and 5st (14-70lb).  A culture of stress, drinking, and unhealthy eating habits were the main culprits in putting on weight, according to a recent survey.  Students reported relying heavily on convenience foods, takeaways and fast food, with almost half of those questioned admitting eating convenience foods including ready meals and pre-prepared sauces up to five times a week.  Six in 10 said they had takeaways or fast food meals between three and five times each week. Only a third ate fruit or vegetables once a week or even less.

I can’t count the number of times that people have said to me, “I don’t understand how you manage to, and can afford to, eat so healthily at University.”  I want to disprove the misconception that eating healthily is time-consuming and expensive, instead exemplifying just how affordable, delicious and easily sustainable it is.  With a little extra time and effort, you can easily afford to meet your nutritional needs whilst living away from home, and feel strong, energized and healthy simply by altering your diet.  The problem is, when you eat or drink processed foods, alcohol, bad fats and refined sugar, your body becomes overloaded with toxins, which it rejects as it is unnatural for the human body to consume such chemicals.  Due to these toxins, your body clings on to fat, hence the ’Freshers 15.’  Furthermore, all of these foods are stress-inducing

Nowadays, people think it is normal to wake up feeling tired and grumpy; it’s not.  It may be common, but it certainly isn’t normal.  Normal is waking up feeling rested, energized and ready to take on the day.  You won’t need sugar or caffeine to help you function in the morning and you won’t get that afternoon slump of crashing tiredness that only coffee or a chocolate bar can (briefly) keep at bay.

In addition, adequate and healthy intake of food is essential to healthy brain function.  If you are truly going to take up and maintain a healthy way of eating, you need to remember that nutrition is not low-fat, low calorie, or feeling hungry and deprived.  It’s nourishing your body with real, whole foods, so that you are consistently satisfied and energized, able to live life to the fullest, and excel in your studies to the best of your ability.

My Fast-Track tips to help improving your healthy eating habits today!


Water is so important because every chemical reaction in the body involves it.  Staying hydrated not only helps with your alertness, controlling appetite, and improving activity and exam performance, but it also helps every day symptoms like fatigue and headaches!  Aim for 2-3L per day.  Keep a 1L water bottle with you at all times.  There are plenty of places on campus where you can top up on filtered water, such as in the library or in the union.  Try lemon to your water to naturally flavour it.  Plus, adding lemon to your water has further benefits such as aiding digestion, boosting your immune system and increasing concentration.  If you are drinking alcohol regularly it is particularly important to stay hydrated, as alcohol is very dehydrating, and this intake of water will help to flush out the toxins from your system.  Try to sip throughout the day rather than chug a load in one go.

2).  Sunday night—make a big salad you can eat throughout the week,  If you need some inspiration, try looking at www.deliciouslyella.co.uk.  Her carrot, lentil and raisin salad of is my personal favourite.  You should also cook up a batch of protein which will keep you fuller for longer and prevent cravings as well as helping to maintain lean muscle mass—you could bake some chicken or salmon.  Alternatively, I sometimes buy a readily roast chicken from Morrison's (£5), which I can just add to salads and meals throughout the week.  If you don’t manage to do this, you could simply add tinned tuna to your salads, which is available for £1/tin in poundland.  You could also boil a load of eggs—you can buy organic eggs from outside the union on a Monday at the marketplace for an affordable price.  It will help you a great deal to prepare like this before the week has started so that you can quickly grab nutritious food out the fridge to take with you to lectures.  Trust me, you will seriously thank yourself for it.  It takes 20 minutes tops, and will save you money as you won’t have to pay an extra £5 to pick up a meal on campus when you had food at home you could have used.

3).  If you want to try and ease into a more healthy way of eating, and believe me, I appreciate how much of a challenging transition it is particularly when everyone around you is eating poorly, then you should try and at least get in a good breakfast.   Breakfast is so important as it provides you with the nutrients that are essential to your body throughout the morning and mid-day. This can lead to increased energy and concentration. 

A great way to get in a load of nutrients is to make a smoothie.  Try to make one with a handful of leafy greens (such as spinach or kale) blended with banana and an assortment of different fruits, such as mango or strawberries.  Don’t worry—the flavours from the fruit will overpower that of the greens. Adding avocado is also good to give your smoothie a lovely creamy texture.  You could also add dried dates or natural peanut butter (which you can buy cheaply from the Green Action food Co-Op in the union) to make your smoothie extra delicious.  I also like to add protein powder and chia seeds (available from Holland & Barrett for £9). Getting these raw ingredients into your system is absolutely essential as when you heat food above 46°C you lose at least 30% of the nutrients and 100% of the natural enzymes. Cooking food can change the molecular structure creating toxins and free radicals, so this is a great way to easily get some raw food into your diet daily.

Now how can you implement this information into your daily life?  Here is my affordable and health enhancing student grocery list

· Purchase a fruit and vegetable box from the Green Action Food Co-op in the Student Union.  You can order this at any time, I do it on a Monday, and they arrive on a Thursday.  I tend to get the £10 vegetable box which includes a variety of seasonal mixed produce in smallish quantities of around 9-11 items, and always includes  Potato, Carrots, Onions where possible. I also purchase their fruit box which is only £3 and includes around 8-9 pieces of easy eating lunch box type fruit, always Apples and Bananas where possible plus one or two other types of fruits like Pears, Clementine, Apricots, Peaches, Plums.  These boxes are sourced from Goosemoor Organics, and will last you at least 7 days.  You could even buy one with a flat mate and split the price—there would be plenty for both of you.

· Eating organically wherever possible is important.  Here are a few reasons why:

· organic food is higher in nutrients 

· They’re free of neurotoxins–toxins that are damaging to brain and nerve cells.

· Organic food is not exposed to gas-ripening like some non-organic fruits and vegetables (like bananas).

· Organic produce is free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Even if you wash your produce, you cannot remove all these harmful chemicals that can affect your nervous system, cause cancer and more.


· In the Green Action Food Co-op you can also stock up on some important diet staples such as:

· Oats £1.10/1 kg

· Quinoa 81p/100g

· Pumpkin seeds 63p/100g.

· A great place to stock up on your protein sources for the week is Morrison's.

· My personal favourites are:

· 2 Salmon fillets (£2 each) from the fishmonger

· Ready-to-eat-prawns (£3)

· Free range chicken fillets (£3) 

Weekly Total food cost: £16.81


FYI—Including these foods in particular will boost your brain function:

· Blueberries (“brainberries”) - in one study, they significantly improved both the learning capacity of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to younger rats.

· Wild Salmon—rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids; essential for brain function.

· Nuts and seeds—good source of vitamin E—higher levels of vitamin E corresponds with less cognitive decline as you get older.

· Avocados—a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to a healthy blood flow—resulting in a healthy brain.

· Whole Grains--every organ in the body is dependent on blood flow—if you promote cardiovascular health, you’re promoting good flow to the organ system, which includes the brain.