• Healthy Food

    Fresh Broad Bean Hummus

    Fresh Broad Bean Hummus

    Making the most of seasonal, local vegetables I made this fresh Broad Bean Hummus. It may even be appreciated by people who don’t normally like Broad Beans as the tough outer layer is removed. I adapted this recipe to include even more healthy ingredients – including wild garlic leaves, lemon balm and mint leaves.

    Ingredients

    Broad Beans

    Tin of Chickpeas

    1-2 cloves of garlic or a big handful of wild garlic leaves

    tbsp. Tahini

    Lemon juice

    olive oil

    Sea salt and black pepper plus chilli if liked

    Method

    Boil the Broad Beans for 3-7 mins depending on size. If you are using wild garlic leaves you can add them into the pan for 2-3 mins of cooking time. Drain and cool quickly with cold water and ice cubes as this keeps the colour nice and bright.

    Remove the outer layers by pinching and popping the inner Bean out.

    Put beans, drained chickpeas, garlic, lemon balm and mint if using, tahini, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tbsp Olive oil into blender – adding more oil if needed and blend until smoothe.

    Season to taste and when happy with the flavour, chill or freeze.

    This lovely as a dip, or spread on crispy crackers, pittas or toast.

    I also would suggest that it is similar to Guacamole and yet much cheaper to make. It would be lovely on top of homemade burgers, as in one of my previous posts for health fast food.

    Enjoy!

     

     

  • Health/ Healthy Food/ Nutritional Medicine

    Warming Winter Soup in 20 mins.

    Warming Winter Soup

    At this busy time of year there is nothing better than a bowl of warming Winter Soup. Here is a recipe for one of my favourites. It is a healthy mix of vegetables that increase circulation, boost the Thyroid and help the body to detox – like a bowl of sunshine!

    CARROT, APPLE & GINGER SOUP

    4-5 carrots peeled and chopped

    1-3 apples cored and chopped

    thumb sized piece of raw ginger, peeled and chopped

    2 celery stalks chopped

    Add all to a large pan with a tablespoon of coconut oil and simmer for 5 mins. Add at least a pint of hot chicken stock and simmer for 10 mins. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Blitz  and serve. I like it with gluten free seeded toast. 🤗

    For more ideas check out my other posts

    Nutritious Comfort Food for Winter

    Lunchtime Low Carb High Healthy Fats Treat

    and Fabulous Easy Salads

    Enjoy!

  • Gluten Free/ Health/ LCHF diet/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    My Quick Gluten & Dairy free Pizza

    My Quick Gluten & Dairy free Pizza

    Would you love a fresh, tasty and super-quick supper? Then here is my quick Gluten & Dairy free Pizza that you can be eating quicker than a Take-Away! Approx. 20 minutes!

    Ingredients

    One gluten free Wrap per person

    Onion – chopped

    Red Pepper – small slices

    Mushrooms – sliced

    Herbs – such as oregano, Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence

    Fresh tomato – sliced or chopped tinned tomato drained well

    Vegan Cheeses both creamy and original solid (I used ‘violife’)

    any quick cook protein – smokey bacon, pepperoni, ham, prawns, tinned tuna etc.

    Fresh Basil leaves if available

    Method

    Pre-heat Oven to 200C or preheat grill to 190C.

    Lightly grease an oven tray or grill pan. Place the wraps in position. They only take a few minutes to cook therefore put the onion, pepper and  mushrooms into a pan with a little oil and cook until soft – approx 5 minutes. Sprinkle with herbs and season, then spread evenly onto wraps.

    My Quick Gluten & Dairy free Pizza

    Top with the creamy vegan cheese – this gives a good richness and texture similar to mozzarella.

    My Quick Gluten & Dairy Free Pizza

    Then top with tomatoes, chosen protein, grated vegan cheese and torn Basil.

    Cook for 8-10 minutes until cheese is melting and protein cooked through. I personally don’t mind if the tomatoes are only lightly cooked as it as another texture to the meal. If you like them more cooked than in the photo then slice them very thinly or use well-drained tinned ones or Passata but you don’t want to burn the base.

    Serve with a side salad or coleslaw.

    My Quick Gluten & Dairy Free Pizza

    Enjoy!

     

  • LCHF diet

    Lunchtime Low Carb High healthy Fats Treat

    Low Carb High healthy Fats treat

    So don’t count Calories, don’t break out the bread, just go for a real food, Lunchtime Low Carb High healthy Fats Treat!

    Two free range eggs, asparagus spears, baby-leaf salad and olive oil mayo with celtic sea salt and black pepper.

    Yum!

    No recipe needed, just cook the eggs so that the yolks are runny and you can dip the asparagus in them.

    Cooking time approximately 5 mins so no excuse…

    I cooked the eggs gently in a little olive oil but you could use ghee, butter or coconut oil. You could also add fresh lemon juice to the mayo.

  • Autoimmune diseases/ Celiac/ Coeliac/ Food intolerance/ Healthy Food/ Ketogenic diet/ Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    Healthy Food while travelling – with Food Intolerance

    healthy food while travelling - with food intolerance

    Finding Healthy Food while travelling – with Food Intolerance problems is not easy. I am lucky enough to have just had two wonderful, mainly sunny, weeks exploring the Canadian Rockies. As my son and I are both Gluten and Dairy free, travelling and eating out generally can cause problems. Canada had many more Gluten free restaurant options than we get in the UK and restaurant staff everywhere were much more aware and helpful than here. They also seem to serve low carb main meals and do not offer fries with everything. As with the special meal pictured above – the potato was minimal, which is how we like to eat. Even when high in the Rockies, Salads and fresh fruit salads were plentiful. We also found that they have quite a few Gluten free beers. As elsewhere, we found Italian Restaurants usually had Gluten free pasta and Pizza options.

    Preparation is everything

    I started by investigating the airline food available but there was literally nothing we could eat and although most airlines can substitute Gluten free or Dairy free they seem incapable of doing both. The risk is too great and nobody wants to be ill on a 9 hour flight or at the start of their trip. I bought some Paleo Protein Bars and made some chocolate crisp protein bars to fill in for when breakfast or lunch was not possible. We took dates, dairy free chocolate and mixed nuts (which we couldn’t eat because someone on the flight had a severe nut allergy.) We have a basic standby of fruit, ham or turkey, gluten free crackers and crisps which saw us through most of the difficult days actually travelling. Each place we visited we Googled ‘Gluten free Cafes and Restaurants’ and were quite overwhelmed by how much information was out there.

    Eating Out 

    We actually found some great places!  We had a delicious, really healthy lunch of Meatballs on zucchini noodles with mushroom sauce in The Kofta Meatball Kitchen in Cambie Street, Downtown Vancouver. We had a good burger with a very acceptable Gluten free Bun in Milestones, Kelowna plus salad.

    The best meal of the entire holiday was the steak wrapped in smokey bacon with a black pepper demi-glace and lovely fresh vegetables which is the feature image above. The chef at The Marmot Lodge, Jasper, then excelled himself by producing a gluten and dairy free Hazelnut chocolate tart with a berry coulee! It was incredible – thank you, you are a star!

    hazelnut chocolate torte

    Then when in Victoria on Vancouver Island we found an amazing place called Sante Gluten Free Cafe (check out their Facebook Page) where we had a fantastic chicken risotto and we also bought pizzas, lemon coconut slice plus a Cinnamon bun for our long journey home. We also had a lovely meal in the Milestone’s on Victoria Harbour.

    We survived the whole holiday without getting ‘glutened’ and have some lovely memories – so thank you Canada! It certainly isn’t easy finding healthy food while travelling – with food intolerances but with a little planning it is possible to eat and even be a little indulgent 😉

    Let’s hope awareness keeps improving.

  • Energy/ Healthy Food/ Nutritional Medicine

    Super-nutrition for health and well-being

    Super-nutrition

    Promise to give yourself Super-nutrition for health and well-being in 2016. We are having to cope with more stress, more pollution, more illness, long working hours, frequently poor sleep as well and yet we expect our bodies to cope with it all even with inadequate fuel. You are not going to be getting enough nutrients in Fast Food restaurants or Take Away Pizzas so the balance has to shift to food that you buy and prepare yourself and it doesn’t have to be more costly or time consuming. If you live a very hectic lifestyle or you don’t have a lot of cooking experience then take a look at the services of menu/meal providers like Hello Fresh or Gousto in the UK.

    The main idea to get Super-nutrition is to eat far more nutrient rich food so that you have

    less sugar and processed carbohydrates……………….. and more real, fresh food.

    shift to super-nutrition

    Start by increasing the nutrition in your breakfast. I have just started eating some different breakfasts to do this and to have something hot on our cold winter mornings. I have finally found a way that I really like to eat Quinoa. See recipe…. Read More

  • Easy Salads/ Healthy Food/ Nutrition and Cancer

    Fabulous Easy Salads

    Easy Salads

    My favourite Easy Salads are packed with nutritional goodness, tasty with hot or cold food and very easy to prepare in advance. Eating your 5 a day is super easy with salads like these – even in winter.

    Red Winter Salad

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    Mix together lambs lettuce, quartered pre-cooked baby Beetroot, quartered Radishes, toasted pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds. It can be eaten as it is or topped with a favourite dressing like Honey mustard or a soft cheese. It is full of vitamins and antioxidants and tastes wonderful even on its own.

    Quick and easy Pepper and Sweetcorn Salad

    Quick and easy pepper and sweetcorn Salad

    A large jar of Roasted Red Peppers, a large tin of sweetcorn, season well with sea salt and black pepper and top with grated Parmesan cheese and Rocket and/or  Basil leaves.  A dressing of olive oil and a touch of balsamic vinegar just gives it an edge. If you have any left over try stirring in some cooked pasta for an instant lunch.

    Winter Coleslaw

    Winter Coleslaw Easy Salad

    Finely slice half a white cabbage and place in a bowl with 50 ml of white wine vinegar or rice vinegar, 2 finely chopped spring onions, sea salt and black pepper. cover with a plate. Finely slice half a red cabbage and place in a bowl with some sesame seeds, lemon juice, sea salt and black pepper. Peel and grate about 4/5 large carrots and 2 dessert apples then mix with some lemon juice. Then make a dressing with a large pot of natural yogurt (sheep or Goats milk yogurt is good if you are intolerant of Cows milk), 4/5 crushed garlic cloves, zest and juice of 2 lemons, a handful of chopped Coriander (Cilantro) leaves, and stir in 3 tbsp of Tahini paste. Top with smoked Paprika and sliced or chopped Spring onions. You can drain the white cabbage of any liquid that has accumulated and then mix all the other ingredients together but if you want it to look decorative for a party you can layer the vegetables as I have done and then top with some of the dressing but serve the remainder in a separate bowl for people to add to their own taste.

    Although this easy salad will take a little longer to prepare than the others it is possible to do all the prep and leave in separate bowls in a cool place and then construct it in a large bowl about 2-3 hours before use and it will not spoil due to the lemon and vinegar stopping the discolouration or oxidation. Any leftover shredded cabbage and carrot could be placed in a mason jar with sea salt and vinegar and left to ferment for a few days and this provides plenty of probiotic gut friendly bacteria to develop. Enjoy!

  • Blood sugar management/ Healthy Food/ Mediterranean diet

    Viva the Spanish Mediterranean Diet!

    Viva the Spanish Diet!

    The Mediterranean Diet has been heralded as a very healthy one for many years but the Mediterranean coastline covers many different Countries, Cultures and the diet varies from country to country. Much has been written about about it and much has been researched so I am going to just write about the diet of Southern Spain firstly because I lived there for a few years and secondly because I love and thrive on the food in Spain!

    In researching this article I read a lot of older comments that are inaccurate. Maybe because it was generally touted that the Mediterranean diet was healthier than other European Countries or the USA and that there was less heart disease, people automatically assumed that the diet was low fat. Throughout the last 50 years this is what we have been told was necessary for a healthy cardiovascular system – low total fat, low saturated fat and low dietary cholesterol but the Spanish Diet is none of these! Lots of food is fried, lots of fatty cuts of meat and sausages are eaten, plenty of cheese and dairy are consumed and yet Cardiovascular disease is 9% lower, Cancer 6% lower and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease 13% lower in a study reported on PubMed in 2008. More recent studies have confirmed that the Mediterranean Diet is much better at protecting us from chronic disease including this one from Medical News Today in 2014. Some studies claim that meat is eaten less often but this is also not true and in the winter many of the dishes are very hearty stews with Goat, Pork, bacon, lamb, Rabbit, Venison or beef and throughout the year Chorizo and Morcilla sausages are used a lot in dishes. There are also some very good cheeses – my favourite being a sheep’s cheese called Flor de Esgueva.

    So what makes this diet so Healthy? Read More

  • Blood sugar management/ Exclusion diet/ Nutritional Medicine/ Wheat and Dairy Intolerance

    Help with your detox diet – 2- Meal planning

    Gluten and dairy free fast food

    Meal Planning on your Elimination diet.

    Following on from healing your Leaky Gut and detoxing from Sugar we need to discover what foods might be causing a problem or intolerance – meal planning and appropriate shopping are important. The aim is to omit foods which can cause inflammation, slow digestion and blood sugar spikes, therefore Dairy foods, grains (gluten containing plus non-gluten) and cereals, sugar and high sugar/carbohydrate fruits like bananas and dried fruit are left out initially. The first couple of weeks on a detox/elimination diet are quite a challenge but if you plan ahead and are prepared to experiment a bit you will enjoy it. Quite often we get into a rut with our meals, with little time we throw something together at the last minute with whatever we have in the fridge. When you plan a change of diet it brings the food back into full focus and you can get more enjoyment out of cooking and trying something new. After 1 week I added in brown rice and sweet potato and had no trouble sticking to the diet because I felt so much better. Joint pain disappeared, no bloating after meals and much more energy.

    Get your mindset right. The main idea being that we are trying to make it easy for the body to digest and assimilate the nutrients it needs.

    Think protein and vegetables three times a day.

    Breakfast usually causes us the most problems. No cereal, no toast, no sugar !

    Do not try to go low fat as well, even if that is how you have been used to eating. You need those good fats because some of those essential nutrients are fat-soluble vitamins. You will lose some weight anyway because your body will adjust to the low carbs by boosting your metabolism.

    Here are just some suggestions for Breakfast

    • bacon, tomatoes and rocket
    • eggs and spinach
    • Herb omelette and bean-sprouts
    • Mushroom omelette and asparagus
    • Bacon and mushrooms with cooked spinach or Kale
    • Miso soup with grilled fish and zucchini (courgette)
    • Cashew nut yogurt or coconut yogurt(non dairy) these are available in some shops
    • Coconut kefir
    • Smoothies – there are hundreds of recipes but experiment with your own. I love Almond milk with fresh raspberries or strawberries and a teaspoon of coconut butter or a chocolate one with a hot cup of cinnamon or ginger tea, cocoa powder, a few nuts and coconut cream.

    If it is texture you are missing try a few nuts – brazil, pecan, cashew, or walnut and keep a small bag of them with you when you are out and about and need a snack to keep your blood sugar OK.

    Lunch  –  Protein of your choice and a large (and as varied as possible) salad.

    Dinner  –  Protein of your choice and a large amount of steamed or lightly cooked vegetables.

    I love stir -frys as they are quick and easy and you can make them varied and colourful.

    There are times when you just feel like you need a sweet course. You could do a less liquid smoothie with frozen berries and a spoon of coconut butter and it will come out like a mousse. Generally it is better to have fruit in between meals and not immediately after so I prefer to leave a couple of hours between a main meal and fruit, it just helps the digestion. I have made my own Raw Chocolate slightly sweetened and with nuts or peppermint essence – it is so rich you only need a little! There is caffeine in it so anyone who is caffeine sensitive should be careful eating it in the evening.

    Just enjoy trying new combinations of food end enjoy the vitality that comes from eating real, fresh food.

    After the initial phase of the detox you can add more. We found good quality Lemon, Raspberry and Mango Sorbets and a gorgeous chocolate or vanilla coconut ice cream that was dairy free and no nasty additives. Also found lots of ideas and recipes on Pinterest under Paleo Diet which should be Grain and Dairy free.

  • Healthy Food/ Nutritional Medicine

    The Amazing Olive Tree

     

    This is an amazing tree that gives us so much. There are over 500 different species of olive and the trees have grown throughout the Mediterranean regions for thousands of years. They were cultivated by the Minoan people living on the island of Crete (2700-1200 B.C.)

    Their height is usually reduced for easier cultivation but if left they can grow to a majestic 15m or more  and survive for several centuries.

    The trees have a natural resistance to most diseases and recover well from heavy pruning or even fire damage.

    Almost all parts of the olive tree are beneficial to mankind except the pollen, which an increasing number of people have a sensitivity to and several hundred even to the point of needing hospital treatment each year.

    The olive wood is used to make bowls, plates, spoons and ornaments and is still a very important fuel for home use.

    The olive branch is a worldwide symbol for peace.

    The leaves of the tree can be made into a tea and have medicinal uses.

    The olives and their oil are very valuable and the world market for these products increases as we become more aware of their health-giving properties.

    Olives and Olive Oil are

    • rich in the mono-saturated  oleic acid 55-85%  an omega-9 fatty acid. It has been shown to reduce LDL Cholesterol and raise HDL the protective Cholesterol.
    • contains the polyunsaturated fats linoleic (9%) and linolenic (0-1.5%)
    • contains good amounts of Vitamin E anti-oxidant
    • contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C (3%), E and K
    • contains minerals Calcium, Phosphorous, Iron, Sodium & Potassium
    • contains flavenoid polyphenols which have been shown to heal sunburn, lower B/P, Cholesterol and risk of heart disease. There are 5mg in every 10g of olive oil. Many other nut and seed oils have no polyphenols.
    • contains phyto-oestrogen
    • The combined anti-inflammatory effect of these ingredients have also been shown to protect against colon cancer and breast cancer.

    100_7087 OLIVE OIL

    Some of the main oil producing varieties

    In Greece  –  koroneiki and mastoidis

    In Italy  –  caratina, frantoio, leccino and moraiolo

    In Spain  –  arbequina, cornicabra, emeltre, hojiblanco, lechin and picual

    In France  –  aglandau, picholine and tanche

    There are many other varieties that can be grown in countries of the Mediterranean

    like Turkey, Portugal,  and around the world like China, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand  and the  USA.

    Some producers still harvest the oil with screw or hydraulic presses where the olives are reduced to a paste by crushing and separated from the pits and then pressed. The first cold pressing that has been allowed to drain naturally can be slightly cloudy and is called “Fleur d’huile”.  Apparently Spain’s best is Nunez de Prado from Baena Province. Cold pressed, according to EU. regulations means the paste has to be kept under 27C (80F). This is now an almost obsolete term as the vast majority of oil is made in continuous centrifugal presses and there is no second pressing. To obtain a good yield the paste needs to be warmed to about room temperature but not heated too much as that would degrade the flavour and that would be less profitable. The first pressings of oil contain components in suspension, the particles that give olive oil its most therapeutic properties.

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    Extra Virgin Olive Oil is one of the few oils that can be eaten without chemical processing. It is not an oil that should be used for general cooking. It is for salads, mayonnaise, and just enjoying on fresh bread etc. Top quality Extra Virgin oil must have less than 1% acidity. There is a growing interest in oils made from a single variety of olive. Some of these have amazing flavour and need nothing more than a chunk of fresh bread, some olives, Serrano ham or quality cheese for a wonderful lunch.

    Virgin Olive Oil has to have an acidity of not more than 2% but is also made using only mechanical or physical means and at temperatures that do not alter the oil in any way. This should also have a good flavour and the degree of acidity refers to the free fatty acids, not to the taste.

    Pure Olive Oil or Olive Oil usually a blend of refined and virgin oil, up to 1.5% acidity but usually lacking a strong flavour.

    Aceite de orugo is oil extracted chemically from the left- over paste. It might then have about 15% Virgin Oil added for the flavour. Not often sold at retail but used in food processing or certain forms of cooking.

    Refined Olive Oil is made from oil that has a high acidity or defects which can be eliminated by refining with charcoal and other chemical and physical filters. It has an end acidity of not more than 0.3%

    The grading of Olive oil in the USA is as below:

    Grade A – US Fancy with fatty acids not more than 1.4%

    Grade B – US Choice with fatty acids not more than 2.5%

    Grade C – US Standard with fatty acids not more than 3%

    Grade D – US Substandard with fatty acids not more than 3% that fails to meet the requirements of C

    Denominacion de Origen ( D.O.)

    As with the wine system, the best olive producing areas are given D.O. status and the quality of their products is carefully regulated.

    Olive Oil products include soap, shampoo (which is good for dandruff and also for treating head lice), bath oils, face creams, nail soaks and treatments for psoriasis, eczema and acne.

    The Fruit of the Olive tree – Olives.100_7088

    Olives are harvested from September to October for green olives and November to February for the ripened black olives. Olives cannot be eaten straight from the tree as they are extremely bitter and they need either chemical or soaking treatment followed by storage in brine, vinegar or oil. Olives vary in flavour depending on type and  treatment. If you have tried some and not liked them please don’t give up! I hate the ones that have been in vinegar or strong brine but if re-bottled in a good olive oil with flavourings such as sprigs of Rosemary, coriander seeds and garlic or preserved lemon they can be delicious. Olives have many health benefits. They contain over 80 nutrients including iron, vitamin E, copper and fibre. They offer beneficial anti-inflammatory effects helping with conditions like asthma, arthritis and they are high in anti-oxidants that can help to prevent heart disease, strokes and colon cancer.

    Olive Leaf Extract

    The Olive leaf has been known to have medicinal properties for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptian and Mediterranean cultures used the leaves to treat a variety of conditions. The leaf contains the anti-oxidants oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, as well as polyphenols and flavanoids like Oleocanthal.

    Olive leaf extract is used to fight viral infections and even the difficult to treat Epstein-Barr disease, shingles, herpes and yeast infections. Also good for the heart because of its ability to lower LDL Cholesterol and blood pressure. It is used to boost the immune system, treat chronic fatigue syndrome, maintain normal DNA repair and boost energy. It can also reduce blood sugar. There is some evidence that it can help in cancer treatment and it may be contained in herbal tinctures. It sounds like it could be helpful in treating Swine Flu and the post viral fatigue that follows it.

    Side Effect because the lowering of blood pressure and blood sugar can be significant Olive leaf extract should be taken with caution by anyone who is on medication for either condition or by people who naturally have low blood pressure or low blood sugar problems.

    To make Olive Leaf Tea100_7078

    Simmer a handful of leaves in a pan of water for 10 minutes and then strain off the liquid to drink as required. It is not a strong or unpleasant taste. You could add fresh mint, lemon  or ginger according to taste.

    Enjoy all this amazing tree has to offer.

    If you like the photos in this blog and would like to see more from Spain please click here.

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