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The Flexi Foodie's ultimate guide to being happy in 2017: wellbeing challenge

Julie Delahaye

Julie Montagu, aka The Flexi Foodie, has amassed a loyal legion of thousands of followers thanks to her impressive knowledge about all things health, nutrition and wellbeing. Every week this January, Julie will be sharing some of her biggest tips exclusively with HELLO! Online readers and challenging you to have a healthy and happy 2017.

Julie will be sharing a challenge every week to get you feeling happy and healthy in 2017 - tweet us @hellomag and let us know how you're getting on!

"How did week 1 go? Did you get out and move? I know it seemed quick and easy but it’s so important to do those small things every single day for your health," Julie explains, following the fitness tips she shared last week. "Just because they're quick and easy doesn’t mean they won’t bring massive results. Spending just 10-15 minutes each day focusing on your self-care can be enough to start a lifetime of change."

She adds: "The goal with this week is to stay in the present moment and to be grateful for what we have."

EXERCISE: Legs up the Wall Pose

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"Lay down with your legs up against the wall. Try to nuzzle your tailbone as close to the wall as possible (optional: put a book under your sacrum to get your hips higher than your heart). The Legs Up The Wall Pose is really intended to be a deeply relaxing pose. When you combine a longer hold of Legs Up the Wall with slow, rhythmic breathing, you will be tapping into your “rest and digest” nervous response.

"In this state, your body will be actively digesting anything you have eaten, as well as working to heal and repair your body. When you do poses like Legs Up the Wall consistently for a period of time, you may notice that your body feels healthier overall, and that you are better able to find a calm state of mind."

WELLBEING CHALLENGE: Gratitude

"Studies have shown that appreciating what we have is the key for a healthier, happier life! And gratitude can improve your health too! When we’re healthy, we’re happy! Showing gratitude can boost your satisfaction with your life. Gratitude can improve your mentally health and wellbeing, help you sleep better, help you stick with your workout routine, makes us more optimistic, increases self-esteem, increases your energy levels, makes our memories happier, helps us relax and makes you feel good.

"Showing gratefulness doesn’t need to be big, overwhelming, time consuming, or something that you only do during the holidays. It can simply be taking a moment to write down a few things that you’re grateful for. Things like “I am grateful for my heart that beats for me every day. Sit down write 3 things that you’re grateful for each morning and each evening."

HEALTHY RECIPE: Speedy 'Pot Noodle' Soup

"For those of you who just might be addicted to Pot Noodles, this is your healthy answer and it’s almost just as quick to make," says Julie. "It's lovely thick texture makes this a super-hearty meal, plus mangetout contains 128 per cent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C per cup. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body develop resistance against infection."

Serves: 2 people

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Ingredients:

500ml (2 cups + 2 tablespoons)
Vegetable stock
2.5-cm (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 garlic clove, minced
150g (5. oz) uncooked soba noodles
60g (1 cup) fresh beansprouts, plus a few extra to garnish
60g (small handful) mangetout (snow peas), chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon chilli flakes (red pepper flakes)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lime, to garnish, optional

Serves: 2

Method:

1. Bring the vegetable stock, ginger and garlic to the boil in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat before adding the noodles and lowering the heat to a simmer.

2. Stir the noodles and then add in the beansprouts and mangetout. Continue to stir until you can see that the noodles are thoroughly cooked. Squeeze in the lime juice and chilli flakes and season to taste.

3. Stir again before removing from the heat and serving in bowls, garnished with a few more beansprouts and lime zest, if using.

WELLBEING CHALLENGE: Positive Affirmation

"Lastly, we’re going to close out with a positive affirmation. This is one of my favourite things to do and I do them every single day. You can write down this positive affirmation in a journal or repeat this to yourself over and over. The affirmation for this week is: 'I have everything I need right now to be happy.'

"Just like expressing gratitude, saying positive affirmation on a daily life will have a super positive affect on your wellbeing, happiness and your life."

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