Today I’m sharing 5 key nutrients to include in your diet to help you get a good night’s sleep! With our hectic fast-paced lifestyles nowadays, more and more people struggle to get a sufficient amount of sleep. 

A lack of sleep can directly affect our physical and mental health, energy levels, hormones, weight, memory and creativity. The good news is that food you consume during the day has the potential to impact the quality of your sleep, so it’s time to evaluate the effect your daily diet could have on your sleep pattern…

 

1. Fibre

Melatonin is a hormone which makes you tired at nighttime and is released in both the brain and the gut, so supporting a healthy digestive system is essential. Foods rich in fibre, such as whole grains, oats and beans, are broken down slowly so do not cause blood sugar levels to spike which could lower melatonin. As a population, we are largely failing to consume enough fibre, and should aim for 25 grams per day – so be sure to try my Creamy Coconut Porridge or Cinnamon Chia Oatmeal for breakfast tomorrow to kickstart your day with a boost of fibre!

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables Recipe Eli Brecher @cerealandpeanutbutter

2. Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid which helps to boost the sleep-hormones serotonin and melatonin. It is found in protein-rich foods, including tofu, nuts, eggs, chickpeas, lentils (try my Indian Lentil Dahl!) and fish (especially tuna, halibut and salmon) and chickpeas (so try my Hummus recipe here!). It’s best to consume it later in the day, given its ability to promote a good night’s sleep.

Hummus Recipe Eli Brecher

3. Calcium

Calcium works together with tryptophan to make serotonin, and research has shown that being deficient in this mineral could make it harder to fall asleep and to reach deep sleep cycles. While milk is the most well-known source of calcium, there are plenty of dairy-free sources, including sesame seeds, bony fish, whole grains and green leafy vegetables. 

Porridge Oatmeal Recipe Eli Brecher Blog

4. Magnesium

Magnesium can help us relax and is important for normal adrenal and psychological function, as well as for muscles and nerves. Good sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens (like spinach and kale), legumes, dark chocolate, nuts and seeds, particularly pumpkin seeds (you’ll love this Quinoa, Almond & Pumpkin Seed Brittle!). I’ve also recently started taking the Link Nutriton ‘Night’ supplement which contains a substantial dose of magnesium.

Quinoa, Almond & Pumpkin Seed Brittle (Vegan, Gluten Free)

5. B vitamins

A combination of B Vitamins work to enhance your sleep by regulating the level of tryptophan in our bodies. For example, we need Vitamin B6 in order to make serotonin (the sleep-inducing hormone) from tryptophan. Dietary sources of Vitamin B6 include fish, beef, turkey, eggs, chickpeas and bananas. 

   Porridge Oatmeal Recipe Eli Brecher

Foods to avoid

It goes without saying that sugar, alcohol and caffeine all wreak havoc on our body’s circadian rhythm, which is the natural sleep-wake cycle. Excess consumption of these stimulants – or any consumption at all to an extent – may inhibit the sleep-inducing chemicals being released in the brain, so can result in restlessness and shallow sleep, while making you more likely to wake up during the night. Did you know that caffeine stays in the body for up to six hours? So that afternoon coffee could leave you tossing and turning. Swap it for this caffeine-free Golden Milk recipe instead!

 

Top Tip: Bedtime Routine

Develop a bedtime ritual to help you unwind in the evenings – this could include a warm bath, reading a book in bed, listening to a podcast and sipping on some soothing chamomile tea. Try to avoid all screens for at least one hour before bed. I know this is easier said than done – I struggle to resist a late night Instagram scroll or an episode on Netflix, but the blue light that these devices emit suppresses melatonin production so disrupts your sleep rhythm. 

I’d love to hear if you try any of the tips above! Let me know how you get along adding these into your diet, on Instagram @cerealandpeanutbutter

Bedtime Routine Golden Turmeric Milk

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Nutella Fudge Recipe - vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free Eli BrecherIf you’re a Nutella-straight-from-the-jar type of person, or a fan of the chocolate-hazelnut combination in general (everyone loves Ferrero Rochers), then this recipe is for you!

Despite naming them Nutella Truffles, which admittedly sounds ultra decadent, if you’ve read my blog you won’t be surprised to hear that they’re entirely dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan, as well as free from refined sugar depending on which chocolate you use.

They’re made with only 3 ingredients, and if you’ve got chocolate moulds at home then you’re all set! Don’t worry if not – feel free to use cupcake liners, or even a plate lined with greaseproof paper.

I love storing these Nutella Truffles in the freezer to make them a bit more firm and chewy, but they’re equally delicious when stored in the fridge and will remain soft enough to literally melt in your mouth!

The chopped hazelnuts pack in another crunchy layer of texture to the rich dark chocolates – and the best part is that you can make them from scratch in less than 30 minutes! What are you waiting for?

Nutella Fudge Recipe - vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-freeNutella Fudge Recipe - vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free @cerealandoeanutbutterNutella Fudge Recipe - vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate @cerealandpeanutbutter

Nutella Truffles Recipe – 3 Ingredients, Vegan, Paleo 

INGREDIENTS

(Makes 12 mini truffles)

  • 1/3 cup crunchy hazelnut butter (I used Meridian) (or any nut butter of choice)
  • 1/3 cup (60g) dark chocolate (make your own healthier chocolate using this recipe)
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • Optional: Pinch of sea salt

METHOD

  1. Melt the chocolate on a very low heat, stirring regularly – either in a bowl over a pan of hot water on the stove, or in the microwave.
  2. When almost entirely melted, stir in the nut butter and continue to melt together until completely smooth and combined.
  3. Fold in the chopped hazelnuts and salt.
  4. Fill each chocolate mould to the top or place 1-2 tablespoons into cupcake liners.
  5. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes until firm. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

If you make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @cerealandpeanutbutter – I LOVE seeing all your creations!

For more chocolatey recipes, check these out: 

Nutella Fudge Recipe - vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate Eli BrecherNutella Fudge Recipe - vegan, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free Eli Brecher 

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On a recent trip to Marbella in the southern Spain, I was lucky enough to spend a few days exploring the health food scene in this sun-drenched hotspot. When you think of Spanish food, the first thing to spring to mind is probably paella, so I was blown away by the extensive selection of healthy eateries offering gluten-free and dairy-free options, as well as a vast array of vegan dishes. I’m here to give you the lowdown on my 5 favourite brunch spots, so be sure to add these to your list if you’re planning a trip anytime soon!

1. Organic Market

Situated across the road  from The Marbella Club Hotel, Organic Market opened in 2014 and has already established itself as one of the prime spots in Marbella for organic healthy food. The menu ranges from creative raw vegan dishes to fish and chicken, so it truly caters for everyone. The food is served on wooden chopping boards to enhance the rustic feel of the place, while the shop inside sells all kinds of superfoods and healthy products.

See their menu here.

2. Rosa’s Cafe 

From the moment you walk into this stunning cafe, you’ll be blown away by the two giant flower walls, the swing bench and the beautiful interiors. Set in the heart of Puerto Banus, be sure to check it out – for the colourful lattes, healthy organic food, phenomenal waffles and indulgent desserts!

See their menu here.

3. Celicioso 

Celicioso started off as a gluten-free bakery and has expanded its menu to offer a huge range of food all day long. Their build-your-own smoothie bowls offer an exciting twist to the standard açai bowl and the fluffy banana pancakes with vegan salted caramel sauce are exceptional!

See their menu here.

4. Manuka

This restaurant is “flexitarian”, meaning that their menu is primarily plant-based but they still offer meat and fish, so you can bring along the whole family! They avoid refined sugars and chemicals and place an emphasis on fresh wholesome ingredients. Their breakfast menu ranges from paleo hash browns made from sweet potato, to homemade crunchy granola with passion fruit coulis and coconut yoghurt. There are two locations in Marbella but I prefer the one right by the beach so you can see and hear the waves crashing as you sip your superfood smoothie.

See their menu here.

5. Rachel’s Eco Love

Located by the gorgeous Puente Romano Hotel’s outdoor swimming pool, the setting is enough to lure you in. Pop in for brunch – avocado rye toast, smoothie bowls and savoury crepes – or go for dinner and order the falafel wrap, aubergine with yoghurt or even a hamburger. They also have a second location in El Corte Ingles shopping centre in Puerto Banus.

See their menu here.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post! For more travel recommendations, check out:

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Tahini Blondies Swirl Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free

Allow me to introduce you to the fudgiest blondies you will ever sink your teeth into! Made with a top secret ingredient (scroll down for the big reveal!), these have a slightly gooey consistency and are loaded with chunks of dark chocolate.

These are completely flourless, suitable for vegans and free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar – so anyone and everyone can enjoy them with pleasure!

All you need to do is chuck all the ingredients into the food processor and whizz together until a thick cookie dough-like batter forms. Feel free to taste the delicious raw batter – remember it’s totally vegan (no eggs/dairy) so no risk of food poisoning either!

I love adding tahini to desserts – it’s not just for hummus! I find it adds another depth of flavour and a creamy texture, which goes even further whether combined with a couple of spoonfuls of silky coconut oil! I use a variety of natural sweeteners, include my favourite coconut sugar – but you could easily swap this for regular brown sugar if that’s all you’ve got at home.

Tahini Blondies Swirl Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Eli BrecherTahini Blondies Swirl Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free RecipeTahini Blondies Swirl Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free

Tahini Swirl Blondies Recipe (Vegan, Flourless, Gluten-Free)

Ingredients

Makes 8 brownies

  • 1 can (400g) butterbeans
  • 2 tbsp cacao or cocoa
  • 1/3 cup porridge oats
  • 1/3 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave (or a mix of both)
  • 3 tbsp coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 almond butter
  • 1/3 cup tahini separated into two parts
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks (or chocolate chips)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C and line an 8×8 pan with greaseproof paper.
  2. Drain the butterbeans and rinse well under cold water.
  3. Add all ingredients, except the dark chocolate and half the tahini, to a strong food processor, and blend together until a smooth mixture forms (you may need to stop and scrape down the sides a couple of times).
  4. Stir in the chopped chunks of chocolate by hand, and transfer the mixture to the greased pan.
  5. Swirl the rest of the tahini over the top of the mixture using a spoon, and feel free to add a few chocolate chips on top for decoration!
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes, then allow to cool for 15 minutes before placing in the freezer for half an hour to make them firm and chewy. Finally, transfer to the fridge, where they can be kept for up to 5 days.

If you make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @cerealandpeanutbutter – I LOVE seeing all your creations!

For more chocolatey recipes, check these out: 

Tahini Blondies Swirl Vegan Gluten Free Dairy FreeTahini Blondies Swirl Vegan Gluten Free Dairy Free Brownies

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Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Birmingham-based food blogger Charlotte who’s sharing her recipe for CHOCOLATE CHAI-SPICED WAFFLES. Also known as @charlotteemmma on Instagram, she takes a particular interest in how the foods we eat can affect our mental and physical wellbeing. Studying psychology at both undergraduate and master’s level has helped Charlotte explore the complex interactions between food and health at both biological and social levels. Charlotte aims to show that healthy, plant-based eating can be easy, accessible and delicious and creates recipes which help promote this message. Over to Charlotte… 

Waffles are my absolute favourite weekend breakfast. There is nothing better than getting up a bit later than normal, putting on a pot of coffee and hearing the waffle iron sizzling away in the corner of the kitchen! I’ve recently started experimenting with gluten free baking and I’ve found gluten free flour to be quite a challenge to work with, but these waffles made with gluten free self-raising flour (Doves Farm) worked a treat. Better still, the chocolate and chai spices work really well with my favourite breakfast topping of all – chocolate peanut butter! 

Chocolate Chai Spiced Waffles Vegan Gluten Free Recipe Eli Brecher cereal and peanut butter

CHOCOLATE CHAI-SPICED WAFFLES RECIPE (VEGAN, GF)

Ingredients: 

  • 1 and ¼ cups gluten free self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 2 tsp raw cacao powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp carob syrup
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch salt

Method:

  1. Preheat your waffle iron and prepare according to model instructions – you may need to grease it with a small amount of vegan butter or coconut oil if your waffles tend to stick.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Stir in water and mix well using a wooden spoon.
  4. When your waffle iron is up to temperature, spoon 2 tbsp of mixture into each waffle mould and cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the waffle iron and repeat until you have used all the mixture – mine made 8 small waffles.
  5. Stack the waffles on a small plate and top with anything you fancy! I used chocolate peanut butter, stewed raspberries, banana stars and gluten free granola. Try making your own toppings such as this Almond Butter Coconut Granola, this Nutty Cinnamon Granola, and a spoonful of homemade Raspberry Chia Jam.

 

Don’t forget to check out Charlotte’s blog: poweredbypeanutsblog.wordpress.com 

 

For more breakfast inspo, check out the recipes below:

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