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Category: Eat

Sweet Potato Pancakes

sweet potato pancakes

It’s nearly Pancake Day and I’ve been avidly testing out my pancake recipes. Actually, who am I kidding? I love pancakes and we eat them nearly every weekend!

 

While plain pancakes are great, I love adding different ingredients to them to give them a healthy twist.

 

Sweet potatoes are wonderful to add to pancakes. They add a lovely moistness and a depth of flavour, especially with the cinnamon.

 

sweet potato pancakes with coffee

Makes 15-20 pancakes

What you need:

200g plain flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

15g melted butter

200g steamed sweet potato

2 eggs, separated

200ml almond milk

1/2 tsp olive oil

 

How to make it: 

  1. Peel and roughly chop the sweet potato. Steam until they are soft and tender. Put them into a bowl, mash and set aside to cool.
  2. Melt the butter under low heat, ensuing it doesn’t begin to brown. Set aside when melted.
  3. Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix until the flour, baking soda and cinnamon are fully combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the mashed sweet potato, egg yolks, almond milk and melted butter.
  5. Whisk the egg whites until they form foamy peaks. This helps make the pancakes light and fluffy. Set aside.
  6. Form a well in the middle of the dry mixture and slowly add the wet mixture, gradually mixing them all together until they form a smooth, thick batter.
  7. Slowly fold in the egg whites to add more air to the batter. Leave to stand for a few minutes.
  8. Put your cast-iron pan on your stove on medium heat.
  9. Turn your oven on to 170C.
  10. Take your olive oil and brush it on to the surface of the pan so it’s lightly coated.
  11. Take an ice cream scoop and add heaped portions of the batter to the pan. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to make 3 or 4 pancakes at a time, taking care to keep them evenly spaced.
  12. Let them cook for 2 minutes or until they start bubbling on the surface. Flip them over and cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Repeat until all of the batter has been cooked.
  13. While you’re cooking the pancakes, put the already cooked pancakes on to a plate and slide them into the oven to keep warm, covering them with tin foil so they don’t overcook.
  14. Serve with a dollop of maple butter or maple syrup. You can also add some chopped banana or fresh blueberries.
  15. Enjoy!

Chewy Gluten Free Oatmeal ‘Chocolate Chip’ Cookies

chewy gluten free oatmeal cinnamon cookies

When I was growing up, I loved making chocolate chip cookies. I have a great memory of biting into a warm, chewy, gooey cookie – yum!

 

In the last year, my son has become more and more interested in helping me in the kitchen. Anything from peeling potatoes to cutting the end off green beans to stirring the cooking pot, he’s into it. Since he started school in September, we have a good 3-4 hours of free time after I pick him up and I like to do little activities with him during this time.

 

We do a lot of cooking together but not as much baking. I wanted to create that special feeling of biting into a warm cookie for him, so we started experimenting with cookie recipes at the end of last year.

 

We finally got the recipe right this week, so I’m so pleased to share my gluten-free ‘chocolate chip’ cookies with you.

 

chewy gluten free oatmeal cinnamon cookies with almond butter

Makes 10-12 cookies, depending on how big you like them!

What you need: 

– 80g organic oats (I like using Flahavan’s Jumbo Oats)

– 130g almond flour (make your own by grinding up some almonds!)

– 4 tbsp coconut sugar (I prefer this sugar because it has a lower glycemic load, so it won’t spike your blood sugar as much and it also adds a lovely caramelisation to the cookies when they are baking)

– 1 heaping tsp ground cinnamon

– 2 tbsp cacao nibs

– 1/2 tsp baking soda

– 2 large eggs

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 25g melted butter

 

How to make them: 

  1. Preheat your oven to 180ºC and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, almond flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, cacao nibs and baking soda. Ensure there are no clumps left in the almond flour.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan, keeping an eye on it so that it doesn’t start to brown.
  4. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the mixture and stir.
  5. Slowly pour in the butter and mix until all the ingredients are fully combined and you are left with a sticky, gooey dough.
  6. Using a big tablespoon, scoop out the dough and drop it on to the parchment paper / non-stick baking mat. If you want evenly sized cookies, gently flatten them with the back of the spoon. Make sure to leave 2-3 cms between each cookie because they will spread when they bake.
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until the edges begin to turn golden brown. They will be slightly soft when they are baked – that’s a good thing!
  8. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. To make them extra decadent, drizzle some almond butter on top. Yum!
  10. Enjoy!

What are the benefits of coffee?

coffee break

Like many people in the UK, coffee is my go to morning drink. I love the smell, the taste and the ritual of making a lovely cup of joe. There’s also the sheer weekend pleasure of having the time to sip on a hot cup of black coffee while reading the newspaper.

 

It pains me to say this because I love it so much, but coffee is a much-maligned drink, with the downside more frequently talked about than the many positives. A recent review of studies in the BMJ showed that moderate coffee drinking is okay and has some benefits, but like all good things, you need to know when to stop.

 

So what are the benefits? 

1. A cup of coffee is so much more than just hot black water. A cup of coffee contains riboflavin (vitamin B2), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), manganese, potassium, magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3). Coffee is also packed with antioxidants.

 

2. Coffee can improve brain function. Caffeine blocks one type of neurotransmitter that can hold you back and increases noradrenaline and dopamine, leading to enhanced firing of neurons.

 

3. Coffee could lower your risk of developing type II diabetes. A number of observational studies show that coffee drinkers have as much as a 62% lower risk of developing this disease; one of the biggest health problems of our time, which is characterised by raised blood sugar and the inability to secrete insulin to lower blood sugar levels. A daily cup can typically lower your risk by 7%.

 

4. Coffee can help you burn fat. Caffeine is found in almost every fat loss supplement because it’s one of a very small number of substances proven to help with fat burning. Research shows that it can boost your metabolic rate by up to 11%, and raise the amount of fat you burn by between 10% in overweight people and 29% in lean people. The downside is that the effects are likely to diminish with time in regular coffee drinkers.

 

5. The caffeine in coffee can boost your physical performance. Caffeine stimulates production of adrenaline. This is one of the stress hormones, but primes you for physical activity. A cup of coffee can improve physical performance by up to 12%. Caffeine also stimulates the nervous system, telling it to break down the fat stored in fat cells and making the energy more available to be used as fuel. A cup of black coffee before a workout could improve your performance in the gym!

 

What’s the best way to enjoy coffee?

No coffee after 2pm. It is, after all, a stimulant and, if you drink it too late in the day, it can interfere with the quality of your sleep, or your ability to get to sleep in the first place.

 

Ditch the sugar. A sure fire way to undo all the good a cup of coffee can do is to add a few spoons of the white stuff. The downside to sugar is now pretty well documented. In a nutshell, it increases inflammation in the body, and can lead to obesity and diabetes.

 

Go organic. Coffee is routinely heavily sprayed with pesticides, so go for organic whenever you can.

 

How much can I drink?

The amount of caffeine in a single cup of coffee varies enormously. A small home brewed cup is likely to contain around 50mg per cup (unless you have an amazing coffee machine), while a large one from a coffee shop might have over 400mg. You’d expect the average cup to have around 100mg.

 

A number of studies suggest up to 400mg a day (that’s about 4 cups) is safe for most people but many people are able to enjoy more without any ill effects. Do bear in mind that tea, chocolate and some soft drinks and prescription drugs also contain caffeine, so you need to view your coffee intake in light of other things you are eating and drinking.

 

If you know you need a diet and lifestyle upgrade, but are not sure exactly what that would look like for you, get in touch. Looking forward to talking to you and helping you take the first step towards a new you!

 

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Autumn Pumpkin Waffles

autumn pumpkin waffles

I’m still on a pumpkin kick, adding it into as many dishes as possible to fully capture that lovely autumn feeling. They’re such an amazing vegetable, full of energy producing B vitamins, immune boosting zinc and fibre for your digestive system. And the seeds are such powerhouses – don’t throw them away! Wash them, and then toast them with a bit of olive oil, sea salt and your favourite herbs for a lovely snack.

 

We recently bought a waffle maker, partly to add a bit of diversity to breakfast, partly because I had such happy nostalgia about having big waffle breakfasts when I was growing up. And what better recipe to add pumpkin to than waffles?

 

If you get your timings right, you end up with waffles that are crisp on the outside, moist and fluffy on the inside.

autumn pumpkin waffles

 

What you need:

180g chestnut flour (you can also use wholemeal flour instead!)

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 large free-range eggs

275ml almond milk (or organic whole milk, if dairy works for you)

4 tbsp fresh pureéd pumpkin

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

20g melted butter

 

How to make it:

  1. Sift the chestnut flour, baking soda and cinnamon into a medium sized bowl and stir until the ingredients are combined.
  2. Crack the eggs and separate the egg yolks and whites, setting the yolks aside.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they are frothy. This is key for really fluffy waffles!
  4. Slowly fold the milk into the dry mixture, then add the egg yolks and pumpkin.
  5. Add the butter and stir.
  6. Slowly fold the egg whites in the mixture until the egg whites can no longer be seen. Do not over fold!
  7. Leave the batter to stand for at least 10 minutes so the milk and baking soda have enough time to interact.
  8. Warm up your waffle maker.
  9. Once the waffle maker is warm, I like to brush a little oil across the plates to stop the waffles from sticking and to help the waffles get crisper.
  10. Use a spoon to to drop the batter in, making sure to cover each plate. Take care not to overfill or the batter will leak out the front and side. (Trust me on this –  I learned this the hard way!)
  11. Let the waffles cook for at least two minutes or until they are the consistency you like. I like a softer waffle, but M likes crispier waffles so I leave his on for a bit longer.
  12. Once you’ve made your waffles, top with the toppings of your choice. I like adding toppings like chopped fresh fruit, fruit compote, grated coconut and crushed nuts.
  13. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Pancakes

pumpkin cinnamon pancakes and coffee

I love making pancakes on the weekend. Something about the ritual of measuring out the ingredients and gently stirring, folding and mixing them all together is so calming to me.

 

My son loves his weekend pancakes and I now have the challenge of creating new recipes to keep things fresh and exciting and educating his palate with new flavours.

 

It’s fall and the shops are replete with pumpkins, which made me feel a bit homesick. Actually, I’m pretty sure the homesickness started around Canadian Thanksgiving when M made a butternut squash and pumpkin pie to celebrate. Nevertheless, I put together this pumpkin pancake recipe to celebrate this amazing ingredient.

 

pumpkin cinnamon pancakes

What you need:

180g chestnut flour (you can also use wholemeal flour instead!)

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 large free-range eggs

250ml almond milk (or organic whole milk, if dairy works for you)

3 tbsp fresh pureéd pumpkin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

10-15g melted butter

 

How to make it:

  1. Sift the chestnut flour, baking soda and cinnamon into a medium sized bowl and stir until the ingredients are combined.
  2. Crack the eggs and separate the egg yolks and whites, setting the yolks aside.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they are frothy. This is key for really fluffy pancakes!
  4. Slowly fold the milk into the dry mixture, then add the egg yolks and pumpkin.
  5. Add the butter and stir.
  6. Slowly fold the egg whites in the mixture until the egg whites can no longer be seen. Do not over fold!
  7. Leave the batter to stand for at least 10 minutes so the milk and baking soda have enough time to interact.
  8. After 7 minutes, warm up your cast-iron pan on medium heat. After a few minutes, add a tablespoon of your oil of choice and make sure the bottom of the pan is completely covered.
  9. Turn the stove down to medium-low heat. Cast-iron pans conduct heat really well, so a little heat goes a long way.
  10. Use an ice cream scoop to drop the batter in. I like to make pancakes on the smaller side so they are easier to flip.
  11. Once bubbles start to form on the edges of the pancakes (normally after a minute or so), flip them over. Chestnut flour tends to cook a bit faster than wheat flour so you’ll need to keep a close eye so they don’t burn. I learned this the hard way!
  12. Once you’ve made all your pancakes, top with the toppings of your choice. I like toppings such as fresh fruit, compote, dried coconut, chopped nuts and cacao nibs.

Green Salads For Beginners

big ass salad

When people ask me for shortcuts for getting healthier and feeling better, I tell them two things. Firstly, that there are no shortcuts and health should be lifelong pursuit. Then, once I’ve stepped off my high horse 😎, I tell them to eat more vegetables.

 

I’ve talked before about the importance of eating at least 7-10 portions of fruit and mostly vegetables per day, and one of the easiest ways of upping your daily veg count is by adding in a big salad for lunch or dinner. You could even go off-piste and have a salad for breakfast!

 

I like to follow the protein-fat-carbohydrate formula to build my salads. Why protein, fat and carbohydrate? Proteins and fats take longer to digest, so you’re fuller for longer. The carbohydrates, in the form of vegetables, are the source of important micronutrients and fibre.

 

A satiating salad at lunch should ideally see you all the way through to dinner, with no need for snacks (unless you’ve done a really intense workout!)

 

Building blocks
The building blocks of a good, nourishing salad are generally 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein and 20% fat. Here are some good examples of ingredients for each of the macronutrient building blocks – use organic ingredients where you can!

 

Protein: Shredded chicken, pork or beef, legumes, pulses, crumbled feta, sliced mozzarella, sliced hard boiled eggs, slices of smoked salmon or anchovies

 

Fats: Sliced avocado, nuts, such as walnuts, crushed pistachios, almonds or cashews, pumpkin, sunflower or sesame seeds, olive oil

 

Carbohydrates:

  • Grated cabbage, carrots, beetroot or kohlrabi
  • Sliced radish, cucumber, red pepper, tomato, olive or red onions
  • Steamed green beans,  broccoli, asparagus or cauliflower
  • Roasted and cubed potato, sweet potato or squash
  • And of course, loads of greens. I’m a fan of spinach, cos, bibb or romaine lettuce, and have also been known to drop in a little radicchio or escarole, depending on what’s in season. The one lettuce I never recommend is iceberg. It generally lacks flavour and doesn’t really add much to a salad.
  • If grains suit you, you can add a cup of cooked quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice or couscous.
  • Fermented veg like kimchi, sauerkraut or pickles

 

The rest

  • Dressings: I tend to prefer a simple squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt & pepper. If you have the time, you could premake a lemon vinagrette and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. You can start by whisking together 3 tablespoons of EVOO and one tablespoon of lemon juice and then tweaking from there. Or substitute red wine or balsamic vinegar if you don’t fancy lemon juice.

 

  • Extras (if you want to add some more oomph to your salad): Chopped herbs like basil, dill, coriander, rosemary and chives are nice to sprinkle over, as are sliced bell peppers or chilli flakes.

 

The sky’s the limit when it comes to a big ass salad. Just open your fridge door, use the protein, fat, carbohydrate formula and see how you get on!

 

Here’s one for you to try:

Lemony Squash Salad (serves 1 – 2) 

Ingredients:

5 cups mixed greens

1 large diced tomato

4 sliced radishes (I used a mandoline to slice mine)

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1/4 cup roasted squash

1/2 cup shredded roast chicken (use the leftovers from your Sunday roast!)

3-4 tablespoons lemon vinaigrette

 

Method:

Toss together in a bowl and enjoy!

 

What are your favourite salads?

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How many portions of fruit and vegetables do you eat each day?

vegetable smorgasbord

 

This isn’t a trick question! The NHS recommend at least 5 portions of fruit and veg per day and a recent study by Imperial College London went all the way up to 10 portions per day.

 

Does that sound like a lot?

 

Let’s put in in the context of what a portion of fruit and veg actually is. 10 portions is 800g of fruit and veg. What does that add up to across the day?

 

Here is how these ten portions of veg could factor into one day’s meals.

 

Breakfast: this could be incorporated into a big smoothie or onto a big bowl of porridge. Or you could mix things up by having a vegetable omelette or frittata instead!  

1 banana

1 handful of berries, like blueberries, raspberries or blackberries

 

Snack

1 large nectarine

 

Lunch: this could be a big salad with some grilled chicken or fish 

1 medium tomato

1/2 head of broccoli

1 carrot, grated

2 big handfuls of mixed leaves, such as spinach, watercress or kale

 

Snack

1 medium apple

 

Dinner: this could be a part of a typical meat and two veg meal

1/2 head of cauliflower

1 sweet potato

 

Is this achievable for you? If it seems intimidating, build up to it, adding another portion each week until you’ve hit the 10 a day target. And if you can’t eat 10 a day every day, don’t worry about it. Even four or five days a week is better than nothing at all!

 

Try to eat organic if possible. But if you can’t, wash your fruit and veg throughly before eating or cooking with them. I like this fruit and veg wash.

 

There are no shortcuts in health, but adding in fruit and veg to your daily diet has loads of benefits, including increasing the antioxidants in your body to fight free radical damage, help to balance hormones, reducing constipation (the fibre!), supporting your immune system and feeding the good bacteria in your gut.

 

Have you tried eating 10 portions of fruit and veg a day? How did you find it?

 

Get in touch for to book a free, no commitment 20 minute health coaching call to find out more about how you can improve your health & wellbeing and reduce your stress.

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Food and anxiety.

boats in minorca

It’s has only been in the last six months that I’ve properly considered the role that food has played in exacerbating my anxiety.

When I eat badly – too much sugary food, too much bread and pasta – I can feel my anxiety building – that tight, clenched feeling in my belly that causes me to grind my teeth, ball my fists and look for the nearest exit.

Have you made the connection between what you eat and your anxiety? There is growing evidence to support the connection between nutrition and mental health – the connection between dietary quality and mental health.

It seems like a no-brainer: the way you eat affects the way you feel. But like me, it can take a while to make this connection, and once you do, eating well almost feels like a revolutionary act, the act of giving a shit about what you eat and drink and how they make you feel.

We eat three times a day, maybe more. Food is powerful stuff. It’s medicine, it’s nourishment, it’s therapy, it’s the way we fuel ourselves to do what we need to do. When you fill your body full of good stuff, you give it the nutrients – the vitamins, the minerals – it needs to keep you going, but also to keep you feeling good.

A diet lacking in important nutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc, vitamin D, omega-3s and vitamin B6 can have a knock on effect on mood. It means you won’t be able to produce enough of the feel good hormones like serotonin and melatonin and if you are an anxious person, this can make your symptoms worse.

What do you eat? Have you considered the effects of what you eat and drink and how it effects your emotional and mental wellbeing?

Alcohol and anxiety.

mother and childIt goes without saying, but of course I’ll say it anyway: Everyone’s anxiety manifests in different ways and you might be that unicorn that reads this and says, eh, this isn’t relevant to me. Great! I applaud you!

 

For everyone else: let’s have a good chat about alcohol and anxiety.

 

Are you like me and had to learn the hard way about the effects of alcohol on your anxiety? Or are you still in the mindset of “oh, it’s just a few drinks. I’ll be fine”. Then you wake up the next day with the fear, which you call a ‘hangover’. And the ‘fear’ lasts a few more days than you thought it would. Or you drink a couple days in a row because you feel fine after the first night, but then feel dreadful after the second. Whatever your relationship is with alcohol, there’s a strong connection between what alcohol does to your body and anxiety.

 

The way we tend to (binge) drink in the UK exacerbates anxiety as a growing public health issue. Did you know that in the UK, 1 in 6 adults have experienced some sort of neurotic health problem in the past week? And many people turn to drink to help them deal with their anxiety, which creates a vicious cycle of worsening anxiety, which for some people, requires more alcohol to cope with.

 

Let’s get technical for a second: alcohol depletes the body of vitamin B6, a micronutrient that is very important for the production of serotonin, the happy hormone that helps regulate our moods and keeps us on an even keel.

 

Weekend binge drinking, the glass or two of wine every night, the 3 or 4 beers after the footy, all deplete vitamin B6. This depletion has an impact on serotonin production. And here’s the thing: when you produce less serotonin, your body downregulates its production, because it thinks you don’t need as much. Which creates a  vicious cycle, which gets worse the more you drink.

 

So what can you do?

 

Let me go ahead and state the obvious: if your anxiety is crippling, just don’t drink. I’ve been trying this recently, it has helped a lot. If that’s not an option, drink less and don’t binge drink.

 

Eat vitamin B6 foods. B6 is a water soluble vitamin, which means it gets flushed quickly from the body, so you need to continually top up your reserves.  Having these foods on a regular basis is a great way to top up your vitamin B6 levels: organic, grass fed red meat, spinach, sweet potato, free-range organic chicken, bananas, avocados, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.

 

Eat tryptophan foods. Almonds, free-range, organic poultry, wild salmon, organic, free-range dairy, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin seeds all contain high levels of tryptophan. Notice the crossover between these foods and vitamin B6 foods?

 

Find alcohol alternatives so you can still be apart of the round. Seedlip is a great brand that recently launched in the UK.

 

Explain to your friends why you’re not drinking and ask for their support on nights out. And real talk: If they don’t get it, are they really a friend?

 

How has alcohol affected your anxiety?

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Sweet Potato Sliders

sweet potato and pulled pork sliders

This weekend, I really fancied an open-faced sandwich, but had no bread in the house. I shuffled through the cupboards and found a bag of sweet potatoes and decided to see what sweet potato ‘bread’ tasted like. Stay with me… it was pretty good.

 

I brushed an oven tray with olive oil and grilled them for 20 minutes on each side.

 

And topped with some mashed avocado, broccoli spouts and pulled pork that I had in the fridge. A simple, yet filling lunch, so these are definitely getting added into my lunch repertoire!

sweet potato and pulled pork sliders 2

What you need:

1-2 large sweet potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

Any desired toppings – the sky’s limit here! Anything you would normally put on toast, from sweet to savoury, you can put on these sliders!

A large baking tray

Baking brush

 

How to make it:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  2. Slice the sweet potatoes into 1 cm slices
  3. Brush both sides of the sweet potato slices with the olive oil
  4. Put the tray into the oven on the highest shelf and bake for 20 minutes or until they are soft and slightly browning.
  5. Take the tray from the oven and turn the sliders over and bake for another 20 minutes or until they match the texture and colour of the other side.
  6. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.
  7. Top with your chosen toppings and enjoy!

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Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tonic

turmeric tonic

For the last four years, I’ve had the weirdest bit of joint inflammation in my right index finger. It gets worse when I’m tired, eating poorly and drinking too much alcohol. I never thought about it too much and just chalked it up to a bit of arthritis, unless it was accidentally pushed or I needed to open a jar.

 

Last year, I went to see a naturopath at my college for some general coaching. I happened to mention my ‘dicky’ finger to her and she recommended taking two Pukka Wholistic Turmeric capsules in the morning for a few months to see if that made any difference.

 

And you know what, the capsules made a little difference. I started to wonder if there was more I could do, so started looking into ways of eating and drinking the raw turmeric root. Turmeric root has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and liver detoxification properties through its active compound curcumin, which is why you might have noticed more chatter about this plant in the last year. Research has shown that curcumin from turmeric in its food form is more bioavailable, especially consumed with a pinch of black pepper.

 

So I decided to start drinking a turmeric tonic in the morning to see if I could relieve some more of the sore feeling in my ‘dicky’ finger. After many trial runs, here’s the recipe I use every week.

 

This tonic has made a huge difference to my finger – to the point where I notice when I’ve forgotten to have my shot of tonic in the morning. Try it!

 

NB: please avoid this drink if you are on blood thinners, as turmeric and blood thinning medication can cause excess bleeding.

turmeric-tonic-ingredients

 

What you need

1 grapefruit (exclude this if you are any medication as grapefruit contains naringenin, a phytonutrient that can interfere with CYP450, an important family of enzymes that help break down toxins in phase I liver detoxification. This can cause adverse reactions to medication.)

3 lemons

1-2 orange, if you need to exclude the grapefruit

2-3 thumbs of fresh turmeric root

1 thumb of fresh ginger

1 tbsp raw organic honey

200mL filtered water

Large blender cup / Nutribullet cup

 

How to make it 

1. Cut the citrus fruits in half and squeeze the juice into your blender or Nutribullet cup. Take care to remove the seeds, but to keep the pulp.

2. Wash the turmeric and ginger and drop them in with your citrus juice.

3. Add the honey, black pepper and water.

4. Blend for at least 30 seconds and decant into a glass storage jar.

5. Drink a shot’s worth each morning.

6. Keeps in the fridge for 7 days (if it lasts that long!).

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Curried Cauliflower Soup

curried-cauliflower-soup

I’ve been a bit fluey the last couple of days. It’s almost like there’s been a dominoes of illness in my house and I was the last one standing. I dislike being ill (does anyone actually like it?) and do everything I can to get back to full health as quickly as possible.

My list of flu remedies always includes: lots of rest (or as much as I can get with a little 3 year old that loves to give Mama rough and tumble cuddles that will “make her feel better”), steaming hot showers, turmeric tonic with added oil of oregano (or this version for a kick!), Pukka lemon and ginger tea and many soups with homemade bone broth.

I tried out a warming cauliflower soup this afternoon, as I was craving soup and I had a massive head of cauliflower I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with. I love food with a little heat, a little kick, so this was exactly what I needed on this cold and rainy day in London.

What you need:

1 small onion, sliced thinly

3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly

1/2 red pepper, diced

1 tbsp cooking fat (I used ghee)

1 medium / large cauliflower, leaves removed and roughly chopped

2 tbsp garam masala

1 tbsp dried coriander

1 tsp salt

500mL bone broth / stock (or vegetable stock for vegans / vegetarians) – you may need to add less broth, depending on the size of the pot you’re using

1 large cooking pot

Optional: 1 tbsp coconut cream or 1 sprig fresh coriander to garnish (per bowl)

How to make it: 

1. Place the pot on medium-low heat and add your chosen cooking fat. Once the oil is heated (this should take 1 minute max), add the onions, garlic and red pepper. If the onions start to brown too quickly, turn the heat down slightly – you’re sweating the vegetables to bring out the flavours. Sweat for 5 minutes or until the onions and garlic are translucent.

2. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp dried coriander, 1 tbsp garam masala and stir until all the vegetables are coated in the spices. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.

3. Add the cauliflower, stirring so it is incorporated with the rest of the mixture. Then add 100mL of the stock. This will help the cauliflower soften, rather than fry. Add the rest of the salt and garam masala. Stir and let it cook for 5 minutes.

4. Add the rest of the stock, stir and bring the soup to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Taste and if necessary, add additional salt to suit your palate.

5. Stir the soup, reduce the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.

6. Take the soup off the heat and blend with an immersion blender until it is completely smooth.

7. Enjoy!

Serves 4

I Tried It: Making Ghee

Have you ever used ghee? Ghee, a clarified butter, is known as ‘liquid gold’ in some South Asian cultures because it comes from the revered cow. The process of making ghee removes the milk solids and water and leaves you with lovely golden liquid that solidifies as it goes to room temperature.

I started using ghee a few years ago when I started eating paleo. It’s a very versatile fat with an exceptionally high smoke point, which means that it’s great for high temperature cooking – frying, grilling, searing, etc.

My bug bear with ghee is that organic, grass-fed versions can be very expensive. Last week, I was chatting with my mother and she mentioned that she wanted to try making it herself, and I thought, hmmm, why don’t I try it as well. And what do you know, it was so easy that I’ll be making my own from now on!

What you need:

2 blocks of unsalted grass-fed butter

A cast iron pan

A ladle

A ceramic bowl

Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer

A large glass jar to store the ghee

How to make it:

1. Place your cast iron pan onto the stove and put the burner on medium heat.

2. Place the two blocks of unsalted butter into the pan.

3. As the blocks melt, the milk solids will rise to the top. When the blocks have completely melted and the liquid starts to bubble, turn the heat off. This should take about 5-7 minutes.

4. Use your ladle to pass the liquid through the strainer, with the ceramic bowl underneath to catch the ghee. If you end up using a fine mesh strainer rather than a cheesecloth, you may need to strain the mixture twice to completely remove all of the milk solids. Once this step is complete, you should be left with beautiful golden ghee.

5. Let the ghee cool for a few minutes before pouring into your glass container. Stored in the fridge, where the ghee will solidify, it should last for at least a month, if you use clean utensils when cooking with it.

freshly-made-ghee

P.S. When I was making this, I wondered what I should do with the leftover milk solids. I did some quick Googling and found that some people save them and crumble them onto their morning porridge, brown them to add a lovely buttery taste to stewed fruit, pancakes or anything else you would normally use butter in. Some people even spread the milk solids onto toast!

Eating to improve anxiety


Anxiety seems to be a growing problem these days, especially amongst young people. Various pressures – societal, economic, physical, technological, emotional, political – mean that people are being pulled in many directions, increasing their day to day anxiety and decreasing their ability to cope.

 

When you add in increased alcohol intake too, it’s wonder that anxiety is one of the fastest growing self-help categories.

 

The good news, is that there are foods you can eat that can help ease anxiety.

 

First a bit of science: serotonin (the happy hormone) is synthesised from an essential amino acid called tryptophan, which cannot be synthesised in the body. Eating foods abundant in tryptophan throughout the day can naturally help increase / balance serotonin levels and can have a positive effect on your mood and anxiety levels.

 

So what foods are high in tryptophan? With all of these foods, go organic and free-range wherever possible.

 

Almonds: A personal favourite, you can get the benefits through whole almonds, ground almonds, almond butter or almond milk. Buy organic and local wherever possible, as almonds are notoriously resource heavy during farming. Also, when you’re using almond milk, read the ingredients to make sure you’re not buying one with loads of fillers like carrageenan, oils and sugars. I like Plenish or Rude Health Ultimate Almond.

 

Poultry: Poultry is generally high in tryptophan, however the winner in this category is turkey, which has the highest amount. This explains that happy feeling after feasting on turkey during Christmas dinner, right?

 

Avocado: This wonder fruit is also high in B vitamins, which help convert tryptophan to serotonin.

 

Salmon: The ideal choice is wild Alaskan salmon (which is also high in vitamin D!) to avoid the antibiotics and growth hormones in farmed fish. It’s very important not to go overboard with fish (my recommendation is 2 x weekly, maximum) as its goodness must be balanced with the realities of what fish are absorbing from our very polluted water.

 

Organic, free-range dairy products: They are also a good source of healthy fats and B vitamins.

 

Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds: These seeds are also high in B vitamins and zinc.

 

Green tea and matcha: A new favourite of mine, they are both high in l-theanine, a calming amino acid that helps reduce stress.

 

To get more bang for your buck, eat these foods with a carbohydrate food (i.e. fruit and veg, gluten free grains like oatmeal, buckwheat or quinoa), as they will improve absorption of tryptophan.

 

Other ways to manage anxiety

Vitamin D: Make sure to get enough vitamin D, either from the sun or a supplement during the winter. If you’re not sure what your vitamin D levels are, you can get tested for £25 from http://www.vitamindtest.org.uk

 

Deep breathing: Taking a long deep breath, in for three breaths through your nose and out for three breaths through your mouth is a brilliant way to shift your nervous system out of sympathetic (fight or flight) mode, back to the calming parasympathetic rest and digest mode.

 

Get in touch for to book a free, no commitment 20 minute health coaching call to find out more about how you can improve your health & wellbeing and reduce your anxiety & stress.

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The Easiest Frittata Recipe

easy-frittata-hot-out-of-the-oven

Aside from their significance as a major plot point in the Harrison Ford – Rachel McAdams film, Morning Glory, frittatas are one of those recipes that everyone seems to have their own little twist on. And why not? Their versatility means that even the newest of cooks can make a lovely frittata.

 

What you need:

At least 10 large free-range, organic eggs (the more eggs you use, the denser the frittata will be – no bad thing!)

Vegetables of your choice – I chose 1 cup of collard greens and 1 tomato for my version

Protein of your choice – I used 1 cup of diced chorizo in this recipe, but have also liberally used shredded pork, chicken and beef, as well as many varieties of cheese in the past

Chopped herbs of your choice – I used 1 sprig each of fresh thyme and rosemary

Salt and pepper

1 tbsp olive oil

Non-stick pan

Oven

 

How to make it:

1.  Break all the eggs into a bowl and beat them together, until all the yolks and whites have combined.

 

2. Add your chopped veg, protein and herbs to the egg mixture and stir until everything is combined.

 

3. Turn on your oven to 175C.

 

4. Add the olive oil to your non-stick pan, making sure that there is a light coating of oil across the pan and turn on the stove to low-medium heat.

 

5. Pour the frittata mixture into the pan, stirring so that all the veg and protein ingredients are evenly distributed. Use the tomatoes to create a nice pattern on the top of the frittata.

 

6. Leave to cook for 5 minutes or until the edges of the frittata start to crisp up.

easy-frittata-cooking-on-the-stove

7. Remove the pan from the stove (not forgetting to turn it off!) and place it into the warm oven. Let it cook for 20 – 25 minutes, or until the frittata is firm to the touch and there are no runny areas around the top.

 

8. Remove from the oven. Using a pallet knife or something similar, lift around the edges of the frittata so that it is easy to slide out of the pan, on to a plate.

 

9. Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

easy-frittata-ready-to-serve

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