Festivals: 3 Essential Factors for a Healthy Happy Festival

Don’t want to feel awful on Monday?

Glastonbury is easily one of my favourite long weekends of the year. It’s not just the headliners that have had me rebooking for the last four years, it wouldn’t be half as much fun if I wasn’t for the great company or the unique atmosphere we all share on Micheal Eavis’ farm once a year. 

However, there is always the impending Monday post-festival dooooom which tends to hit during the field departure debarcle. One my festival of my festival blues was actually spent in hospital… So I can definitely say i’ve learnt (the hard way) how to maximise fun and not get sick. So whether you’re off to Creamfields with ya mates or glamping at V-fest, here’s some advice to feel happy, healthy and awake on that Monday.

 

Step one: be prepared

 

1 Food

Big clue: your gut is where the majority of your serotonin is produced and where the majority of immune system is.

Don’t rely on eating from food trucks at festivals. The choices are often fried, full of sugars and unhealthy fats. What’s more is that they are also pretty pricey. Unfortunately .. they’re not just going to burn a hole in your pocket.. Pounding your stomach with fast food is not a good way to stay friends with your gut. Avoid sugar highs and lows, tiredness and get the most out of your festival. Don’t waste the Monday after.

I recommend packing breakfast so that you can promise yourself you’ll eat at least one healthy meal. It also means you don’t have to leave the tent in the morning.. Double win. I usually bring:

A loaf of gluten free homemade bread (i’m wheat intolerant)

2 nut butter Pip and Nut squeeze packs for each day 

A jar of peanut butter

Apples

Honestly these three together are the dream. They also balance out the fruit sugar with fats.

Don’t get hangry and make bad choices! So easy to do.. Instead stock up on some healthy snacks to keep with you:

Energy balls (Deliciously Ella, Bounce Balls..)

Tangerines

Brown rice cakes (I like Kallo chocolate coated)

For lunches I would recommend Jamie Oliver’s lentil packets but inevitably you’re going to want to try some of the food at the festival. I certainly did! 10/10 burrito by the Pyramid Stage. However when you’re choosing, choose well. For example if you’re wheat and dairy free, don’t choose a pizza. If you suffer from intolerances in anyway like me, you’ll be left with a foggy brain and semi-pregnant belly. Instead of a recipe for intolerance disaster, indulge in a Thai curry or some sweet potato fries.

 

2. Alcohol

Most of us enjoy a few drinks at a festival. I respect those who are t-total for health reasons. I have had periods of up to a year where I haven’t touched alcohol for the benefit of my health. However, as time has gone on, I’ve learnt that drinking alcohol is about balance. Principally the balance of mental and physical health: enjoying a few and feeling included in social situations. Undoubtedly,  I also try to balance frequency and quantity so that essentially, I feel happiest during, and after drinking.

I do often enjoy 24 hours of not drinking at a festival. Try it! You realise that you really don’t need to be under the influence to soak up the atmosphere and it’s important for me to remember every single second of some acts.

When I do choose to drink, I tend to stick to white spirits such as gin and vodka. They contains less tannins than rums, whiskeys and wines. Tannins can exacerbate a hangover. I also choose mixers with less sugar such as slim line tonic. Although alcohol already has sugar in, choosing a low sugar mixer can reduce sugar peaks and falls. 

Water is so important at a festival. Flush out toxins and stay hydrated. Bring a refillable water bottle with you. (A BIG ONE).

 

3. Sleep

I have no shame in taking a nap during the day. The amount of times I heard “sleep when you’re dead” brashed around by campsite neighbours and toilet queues. Been there. Done that. You end up moody, spotty and miserable. Festival nay. Napping allows me to make the most of the evenings.. so you’ll find me cosied up with eye mask and sleeping bag around 4pm with alarm set.

So that was three key elements to bare in mind. Maximise how much you enjoy that festival and minimise the festival Monday (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…) blues.

Get packed and have the best time!

 

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20 Sec Fudgey Sauce

It’s thick, delicious and rich. The perrrfffeccct sauce for pancakes.

 

2 ingredients

Smooth peanut butter

Date syrup

 

One serving:

  1. Once you’ve made your pancake stack, heat a pan on low temperature
  2. Add 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter and 1 of date syrup.
  3. Mix until blended
  4. Pour hot over pancakes

For an extra YAY add cacao nibs and some almond and peanut butter Propercorn.

IMG_8650

 

 

Love Plantains Love Life

When I told my mum that I had developed a new addiction whilst travelling around South America, she prepared herself for the worst. PLANTAINS MUM! I cannot get enough of my yellow friends. Plantain crisps, fried plantain halves (for breakfast, lunch & dinner), plantain flour pancakes.. they´re everywhere! I am certainly not complaining.

Despite their association with the Caribbean and Latin America, plantains originated in Asia. They became popular in Latin America centuries ago when they were harvested and consumed by slaves. Nowadays plantains feature in almost every plato principal on the menu del día in Colombia and are often served for breakfast with rice and eggs across Latin America.

Delicious and nutritious, plantains are a good source of vitamin B6, magnesium, iron and have more vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium than their closely related friends, bananas. Plantains are a fibrous alternative to other carbohydrates such as potato or white rice.

So I went on a mission to make myself some delicious plantain containing food for breakfast lunch and dinner. When I whipped this plantain lasagne out of the oven in the hostel, there were a lot of envious hungry travellers!

R E C I P E S

Here are three recipes for..

1. Gluten Free Plantain Pancakes

2. Plantain Coconut Rice

3. The Famous Plantain Lasagne

 

GLUTEN FREE PLANTAIN PANCAKES

I’m really missing making pancakes at home and I love plantains so these babies were born. I boil all the plantains I use to reduce frying.

Ingredients (one person)
1 big yellow plantain

1 cup maize flower

1 egg

Coconut oil / olive oil

Vanilla essence (optional)

Honey to put on top! (optional)

Method:

1. Cut the ends off the plantain (but keep skin on) and boil in plenty of water for 20 minutes. Leave to cool until you are able to peel the skin off.

2. Mash the plantain and add a beaten egg to the mixture. Mix them until you have a liquid consistency batter.

3. Pour in the flour and mix thoroughly.

4. Heat up the oil and pour in enough mixture to make a fist sized pancake.

5. Flip and huzzah



PLANTAIN COCONUT RICE

A filling delicious lunch or dinner.

Ingredients (one person)

1 plantain

1 cup of rice

1/2 onion

1 bell pepper

1 handful of green beans

Paprika

Aji / spicy pepper

Coconut oil/ olive oil

 

Method:

1. Cut the ends off the plantain (but keep skin on) and boil in plenty of water for 20 minutes. At the Leave to cool until you are able to peel the skin off.

2. Boil more water for the rice and simmer for 20 minutes

3. Chop the onion finely, cut up the pepper and green beans.

4. Fry the onion for 2-3 minutes in the oil then add the pepper and green beans. Keep stirring the vegetables until cooked between 10-15 minutes later

5. Meanwhile they’re cooking, cut half of the plantain up into bite size pieces and the other half slice laterally.

6. Add the bite size pieces to the pan and the other larger circles brown off separately.

7. Strain the rice, put it back into the pan, mix in the coconut milk and cook gently for two minutes on a low heat.

8. Add the vegetables to the rice pan and add paprika and aji.

9. Serve the rice with the larger pieces of plantain on top. Ta- dah.

 

 

PLANTAIN LASAGNE

Just the best thing ever. Why would you ever have pasta when you can have PLANTAIN! And it´s gluten free.

Ingredients (3 people)

4 yellow plantains

500g minced meat

1 onion

1 carrot

4 tomatoes

1 egg

1 tbs tomato paste

Aji

Salt and pepper

Method:

1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees

2. Cut the ends off the plantain (but keep skin on) and boil in plenty of water for 20 minutes. At the Leave to cool until you are able to peel the skin off.

3. Chop the onions, tomato, carrots

4. First fry the onions for 2 minutes in oil, then add the chopped carrot and tomatoes. Leave to simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile slice the plantains into roughly 5mm strips. Cover the bottom of a 20 inch baking tray with the slices, making sure to leave enough plantain for 2 more layers.

6. Stir the vegetable mixture and in a separate pan cook the meat for 5 minutes

7. Pour the beef into the tomato mix and add the paste , aji and seasoning. Simmer for 20 minutes.

8. Pour half of the mixture on top of the plantain layered baking tray, top with another layer of plantains, add the remaining mixture then finish with a final layer of plantains. For a final touch whisk an egg and pour over the top covering all of the plantain.

9. Bake for 45 minutes.

Enjoy the plaintain madness!!!!

Do you know where quinoa comes from?

Did you know it is used to produce beer? Comes in five different colours? Grows in inhospitable conditions?
Until today, I knew quinoa as a black and white gluten free carbohydrate digested as a protein and available in most supermarkets. A recent trip to Bolivia taught me a little more about the food I love and consume so much in the U.K!
Where does it come from?

Does it grow on a tree? Under the ground? Nope. It actually grows much like wheat. The quinoa plant is a small green shrub which can reach a metre or so. The “flower”, quinoa granules, are collected and then sent for purification.

Where does it grow?

The quinoa plant is a tough one. It only requires water when quinoa seeds are sowed and it grows in the desert. I’ve just passed through the Bolivian desert in between San Atacama in Chile and Uyuni in Bolivia. Quinoa production is popular here. Since this area falls on a tectonic plate border, the land is fertile from the volcanic minerals which the quinoa crop benefits from. On my journey through the desert, I saw quinoa plants growing in lines and surrounded in make shift fences marked with plastic bags to deter hungry llamas (see above). Looking further afield, you can see the mountains seem to be divided in colour. This is simply due to quinoa farming and separation of crop on the mountain side.

Types and uses

Bolivia produces five different coloured quinoas and each has a different use locally.

1. Quinoa amarilla (yellow): the most common type which is used much like rice in Bolivia.

2. Quinoa blanca (white): mostly eaten like cereal with rice unlike our western savoury uses

3. Quinoa rosada (pink/red): grinded up to produce a flour

4. Quinoa negra: sometimes eaten but mainly used to produce a gluten free beer

5. Quinoa verde: a bitter quinoa only used to make beer for example the brand Lipena (actually quite tasty).

Popped quinoa is another use. It’s popular and cheap in Bolivia. You will find it in cereal bars, upmarket chocolate and packeted on its own.

It’s a pretty impressive plant. However Bolivians aren’t too keen on it! They would prefer to exchange it for pasta or noodles. Each to their own.