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Is it possible to get a flatter tummy
through changing eating habits in just two weeks?

Absolutely Yes!

Loosing weight around your middle is not only aesthetically pleasing but extremely healthy too. The fat that gathers around your middle is actually unhealthy fat and can ndicate other underlying health issues. If water retention, bloating or inflammation is causing you to have extrainches, getting rid of this is also extremely healthy.
But enough of healthy – what about that beach body?

Rule 1

AVOID Foods & Substances that are hard to digest,
detoxify and cause bloating:

Red Meat
Cheese /Milk
Wheat Breads and pastas
Undercooked pulses
Alcohol
Caffeine

Rule 2

Don’t eat raw or cold foods in the evening past 7pm.

Raw vegetables take a lot of energy to digest, and as we have less digestive energy at night these foods can stay in the stomach for a long time. Fruits tend to ferment when eaten at night or on top of other foods, which causes bloating. Eat fruit on empty stomach and best eaten earlier in the day.

Rule 3

Eat foods that aid digestion

Bitter dark green, red, white leaves – Rocket, watercress, endive, chicory – eat before and after, these support liver function and work their way down through the digestive system – the enzymes in the leaves help digestion.

Ginger – (raw and cooked) don’t be sparing

Ginger slices– use a lot to give a kick to your digestive fire.

Fennel – raw and cooked or in a tea. Antispasmolytic –stops spasms

Artichoke – (not the ones in oil) preferably fresh – this stimulates bile production & feeds gut flora.Arthichoke squ small

 

 

Rule 4

Change your combination of foods –

Carbohydrates without protein – Carbohydrates + fats + vegetables

Proteins without carbohydratesProtein+ fats+ non starchy vegetables

Why?

Digestion:

  • An acid environment is needed for protein breakdown in the stomach
  • An alkaline environment is needed for carbohydrate breakdown

Normally it is healthy to do this kind of combining – but can lead to such quick emptying of the stomach that a person may be left feeling hungry. Use healthy snacking to keep blood sugar levels balanced – fruit, seeds, oat cakes, spelt crackers, seeds.

Rule 5

Chew your food 15 – 30 times

Try to chew your foods as much as possible.By chewing your are doing a lot of the hard work that the stomach and intestines need to do if you wolf down your food. Chewing adds salivary amylase to the carbohydrates and starts to break down in the mouth, and grinds protein into small particles enabling the gastric juices to coat much more area of that food. Allowing for quicker breakdown.

Rule 6

Use high doses of pro-biotics and digestive enzymes

Probiotics – high Billion dose capsules x 2-3 per day. Very quickly helps establish a better balance of gut flora, this is vital for getting bowels moving or settled down if moving too much. By increasing good gut flora you reduce inflammation all over the body especially in the gut – which can really help reduce bloating.

Digestive enzymes

Helping out your digestion every now and again with some enzymes can really help with bloating and getting things moving through the system. There are different types – but a good quality broad spectrum one is best for general digestion. It helps if it contains Lactase (Breaks down Milk and Dairy) and Gluten, Protease ( Breaks down Wheat Proteins).

Rule 7

Reduce (cut out) Salt and bread intake

This will help reduce water retention. The body retains water to dilute sodium in the blood and tissues. Wheat can also increase water retention. In most breads the salt content is crazily high – some can have 6 grams in two slices! In some cases – weight around the middle (or on arms and legs) can be 30-50% Water retention!.

Rule 8Blueberries small -5

Take Vitamin C – the buffered non-Acidic kind. Not just important for the health of all tissues – it is vital for proper metabolism of carbohydrates, and can protect against insulin resistance and dibetes. Take a buffered form – I like BioCare Vitamin C with Flavonoids 500mg x 4-5 capsules. Taken 1 at a time spread throughout the day. Eat foods high in Vitamin C

Rule 9

Eat something acidic before a meal (unless you have a serious digestive problem like an ulcer) To increase acidity in a protein meal eat some pickles (preferably that don’t contain sugar – pickled ginger, vegetables, unsweetened gherkins etc. Take apple cider vinegar as a tonic before a meal – or use with dressing or sauce with the food.

Rule 10

Reduce Fluid intake with meal

Drink water around 30 minutes before a meal
Avoid drinking water with a heavy protein meal
Apple Cider Vinegar tonic just before a meal (1 capsule in glass of water).

Drinking too much fluid with foods dilutes enzymes – if the food is mainly carbs then small amounts of fluid is fine. Too much fluid can slow the release of foods from the stomach. No fruit juice or fizzy drinks increase bloating and poor digestion.

Our primitive digestions were not used to drinking as much as we do with our foods.

The 10 Rules for a flatter tummy in summary

1. AVOID Foods that are hard to digest and ones that can cause bloating.

2. Don’t eat raw or cold foods in the evening.

3. Eat foods that aid digestion.

4. Change your combination of proteins and carbohydrates.

5. Chew your food more – aiming for 30 times.

6. Use high doses of pro-biotics.

7. Use Digestive enzymes.

8. Reduce (cut out) Salt and bread intake.

9. Eat something acidic before a meal.

10. Reduce fluids with a meals.

Food supplements that can help:

Psyllium husk fiber/powder – binds to toxins, creates easy to pass stools.

Probiotics – aids digestion

Digestive Enzymes – Aids digestion

HCL – Hydrochloric acid tablets – Aids digestion

Soaked Linseeds / Flax seeds – mucilaginous – aids in bowel movement. (don’t use if have colitis or any other bowel conditions)

Lecithin crystals – helps emulsify fats making them easier for liver to digest.

Magnesium aids constipation or slow moving bowels and is vital for proper metabolism of carbohydrates.

Peppermint tea – anti carminative – gets rid of gas/bloating.

 

 

Please note that if you are experiencing any digestive problems you should get this checked by your doctor. The information in this blog is not meant as a substitute for proper medical care.

 

 

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Impress your Friends and Family with these
delicious guilt free Canapés.

Prawn tartlets 3

These recipes are designed especially for those that love Canapés but want to know that what you are eating is healthy and not full of fats, sugars and poor quality ingredients.

Buying high quality ready-made canapés can be very expensive and making your own can be so much more economical and impressive –and I think much  tastier.

You will need a baking tray especially for tiny muffins and tarts. There are various brands, I use one from Chefs Kitchen sold in various stores and websites, there are many on the market – they normally have 24 casings.

Tray with pastry for tartletsIf you plan to make a lot – I would advise you buy a couple of the trays.

You will also need something to cut the pastry circles – it should be 6.5 – 7cm, can use a glass if you don’t have a cutter.

All the following recipes can be made with or with a food processor, but I try to do most by hand as this does the least damage to the ingredients. A hand mixer can be very useful for the muffins. You may want to consider some large plastic containers with some paper towels to absorb moisture, to store the canapés or large plates with foil cover, as the following recipes will produce quite a few. These are really good for those Christmas drinks parties, or to start your Christmas day dinner.

I have used some alternative ingredients to what you might
normally find in recipes.

They are chosen for their health promoting properties and wonderful taste.

Rapa Dura Sugar is raw cane sugar and full of nutrients including iron, calcium and magnesium. As it is super sweet, less is needed to sweeten foods; it is also a mix of different sugars, which is much healthier for the body. Why not make your sugar a natural mineral supplement. You can purchase from health stores or even online.

Coconut Butter is a great alternative to processed vegetable fats and cows butter. Also perfect if you are avoiding dairy. It is a saturated fat so should not be heated to too high a degree, and the actual product should state ‘cold pressed’. Heat and processing can damage the fat structure changing it into an unhealthy fat.

Goat’s butter – delicious tasting with less cholesterol and casein proteins

Olive oil – instead of butter in pastry.

Oat milk – instead of milk.

Arrowroot thickener – instead of flour (can get from health stores or order on line).

Spelt flour – instead of normal wheat flour – easier to digest and much less gluten. If you are avoiding gluten altogether – try alternative flour like millet and use arrowroot to thicken sauces.

Seasoning – Pink Himalayan Salt, contains all necessary minerals and iodine, has a nicer flavor than normal salt and more health benefits. Organic finely ground black pepper. Use in moderation – salt can always be added later

Bite size muffins and tartlets –
create the perfect Christmas Canapés

Chocalte and coconut snawballsChocolate and Coconut Snowballs 

Dairy free (or can use Goat’s butter)

Ingredients – makes 24

70g Coconut Butter (or Goat’s butter)
70g Rapa Dura sugar
100g White Spelt Flour
3 x Eggs

20g Cocoa powder, can use raw cocoa (half the amount for a lighter chocolate taste)

Half teaspoon of baking powder

Half cup of desiccated coconut

Place coconut butter and Rapa Dura sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly, add the eggs and whisk. Gently mix in flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Add half the desiccated coconut and mix in.

Fill the muffin tray level off mixture so flatter surface.

Cook for 15-20 minutes on 160 degrees – test the middle ones with a skewer to check if fully cooked. Remove while still warm, smooth a very small amount of coconut butter on top of each one with a knife and press the rest of the desiccated coconut onto the top. It should stick – place in a fridge or leave to cool.

Store in sealed container.

Goat’s Cheese and Shallot Tartlets

Quiche minis

Crust:
Ingredients
185g flour – half whole grain spelt and half white spelt

Cold pressed olive oil – gives more flavor than light – but needs to be cooked on lower heat to avoid damaging the fat. Approx half a cup

Seasoning – Pink Himalayan Salt or sea salt, ground black pepper

A little filtered water

Heat oven to 160 degrees

Place flour in a bowel with seasoning and add olive oil slowly, stopping and rubbing it into the flour with fingers, add more until like light crumbs, now add a little water at a time until the crumbs seal together to make a dough – this should not be too dry as it will be difficult to roll or too wet, add more flour if needed.

Roll out dough on a small amount of flour to prevent sticking, cut 24 rounds out and gently push down into the tray. See picture.

Place in oven for 15 minutes until partially cooked, remove from oven.

Filling:

Ingredients

3 x eggs

3 x shallots

Half a cup of grated goat’s cheese

Fresh herbs options: Tarragon, parsley or basil

Seasoning

Whisk the eggs and season

Finely slice the shallots – for a stronger flavor, you can leave raw – or cook in small amount of olive oil on a low heat until soft but not brown.

Grate the goat’s cheese

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix. Fill each pastry cup to brim

Place back into heated oven for 15 minutes until all egg cooked.

Allow to cool slightly and remove from tray.

Prawn and Spinach tartlets – makes 24

Prawn tartlets 2

Pastry- same as mini Quiche – but allow cooking the cups for
5 minutes longer to become crisper.

Filling
Ingredients

1 cup of small cooked prawns (stronger flavour)

Half a finely lemon grass stalk finely chopped

2 x cups of chopped spinach leaves

3 x finely chopped spring onions (or can use finely chopped leek)

Teaspoon of arrowroot powder

A little water

A little olive oil

Seasoning if required

Directions

Place a little olive oil in a heated pan, add lemon grass, spring onions and prawns, heat for 2 – 3 minutes stirring. Lower heat. Sprinkle the arrowroot on top and stir in, pour a little water in until there is a small amount of watery sauce (which will be thickened by the arrowroot), add the chopped spinach leaves stir in for 1 minute until leaves are wilted. Remove from heat. Place a teaspoon full of mixture into each pastry cup. Serve warm or cold.

Chicken and Mushroom tartlets – makes 24

Chicken Tartlets

Pastry – create the same way as Prawn and Spinach tartlets.

Filling:
Ingredients:

Half a chicken breast or whole thigh – finely chopped – can be cooked or raw

3 large Portobello mushrooms – finely chopped

1 whole medium leek – very finely chopped

1 x desert spoon of finely chopped parsley

A little olive oil

1 x Teaspoon of arrowroot powder

Oat milk

Seasoning

Directions:

Place olive oil in pan and add chicken and mushrooms stir until chicken well cooked if raw.

Lower heat and add leeks. When softened sprinkle the arrowroot powder and stir in, then slowly add some oat milk until a creamy consistency sauce develops. Add parsley and seasoning.

Take off heat and cool a little. Add a teaspoonful to each pastry cup. Serve warm or cold.

Vegetarian Version

Instead of chicken, double the amount of mushrooms. You can also add different herbs like tarragon or basil.

Christmas mini Muffins – Makes 24

Christmas muffins 2

120g Softened Goat’s butter

20g Rapa Dura Sugar

2 x large eggs

70g Whole grain Spelt

70g white spelt

(Or can use all whole grain spelt)

Pinch of baking powder

Half cup of chopped prunes (organic)

Half cup of Raisins or Sultanas (organic)

The rind of one finely chopped or ground fresh organic orange

Handful of sunflower seeds.

Mixed spice

Directions

Heat oven to 160 degrees.

Place softened butter in a mixing bowl, add Rapa Dura sugar mix in, and then whisk in eggs. Fold in flour, spice and baking powder. Add all the chopped fruit, sunflower seeds and orange rind. Fill each cup in baking tray to brim and any extra leftover add a little more to each cup.

Place in oven for 20 minutes and check if cooked with skewer – if not leave for a further 5-10 minutes.

Remove from heat allow to cool slightly, and remove from tray. Store in airtight container so they don’t dry out if you are storing them for later use.

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Recently there has been information / news on Omega3 oils- essential fatty acids (Fish oil mainly). It is frustrating and quite amazing how the press are always so keen on taking a negative piece of information that they can sensationalise and scare people with so very littleFish oil caps.jp truth in it. In fact fish oil capsules did not even appear or were even tested in the study that attacked supplements.

I do suggest reading the report that Alliance for Natural health have published

anh-europe.org/news/a-tide-of-evidence-washes-away-flawed-fish-oil-prostate-cancer

Guide to Good Fats

Contrary to what the government would have you believe: Fats are good for you. Much better for you than excess carbohydrates. If you eat the natural fats in good foods this fills you up, satisfies hunger and cravings more readily. I am not advocating that you eat blocks of fat. Choose your fats wisely, eat in moderation and with other appropriate foods.

Adding olive oil to your sandwich/baguette instead of butter (or even worse a processed vegetable spread) is just unheard of and yet it is delicious and healthy. My kids prefer it to butter, they like the olive oil dripping on their plate so they can dip their last bits of crusts in.

  • Fats are concentrated source of energy.
  • Carries and transports the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  • Helps the body use protein and carbohydrates more efficiently.
  • A component of every cell wall.
  • Deposits of fat in the body serve to support and cushion vital organs, and to provide insulation.
  • The body’s chief storage form for energy and work.
  • Carries the compounds that give foods their aroma and flavor.
  • Cholesterol is vital for making hormones and Vitamin D (which actually is a hormone named wrongly)
  • Can determine the amount of inflammation there is in the body.

The following fats are ALL vital for good health – but lets get this straight:

  • 1. Omega3 is lacking or in too small amounts in most people’s diet – the ratio should be much higher than all other fats. So high quality oily fish, fish oil and flax oil should be increased.
  • 2. Don’t supplement with Omega6 oils, use these oils stated below in your diet and only supplement Omega3 oils as well as have in diet. The recommended ratio is best consumed in a ratio of about 3:1  – three omega 6 for one Omega3 or more.
  • 3. Consuming too much fat – even healthy fats can be aging and puts pressure on digestion – you must consume large amounts of antioxidant foods with these fats as even the good fats will oxidize in the body, taking an antioxidant supplement is a good idea with any fats in the diet.
  • Consuming high levels of oily fish increases your toxic load of heavy metals. You should avoid overeating tuna (eat once a month or less) due to mercury content and other heavy metals, and choose smaller fresh fish like sardines, small mackerel and other types.

To keep fats safe in the body – consume high amounts of antioxidant foods, fresh vegetables and fruits, and even consider taking Vitamin E and Vitamin C Antioxidant supplements. Omega3 oils and Vitamin E thin the blood helping to keep it healthy, however you should consult your doctor if you are taking blood thinning medications before taking these.

Keep Fish oil and flax oil liquid or capsules in the fridge and consume within the advised time.

Inflammation
There are 3 main pathways for inflammation, and all of these use fats. The pathway supported by Omega3 is the only anti-inflammatory pathway, all the others support inflammation. It is vital to get the ratios higher on the side of Omega3. This can have a huge effect in conditions like Eczema, Arthritis and other immune dysfunction conditions.

Healthy Fats

Monounsaturated Fatty Acids:

Olive Oil, sesame oil, avocado, almonds, olives, sesame seeds, tahini paste. Decrease total blood cholesterol but maintain your HDL (healthy)

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids:

Safflower, soybean, walnuts, pumpkin, sunflower seeds. Decreases total blood cholesterol by lowering both LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol

Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Highly polyunsaturated, found in high quantities in oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon, herring and sardines. Other sources are from flaxseeds, walnuts, Can help cancer, cardiovascular disease, immune function, brain health and arthritis.

Omega-6 Fatty Acids:
Safflower oil, corn oil, Evening Primrose oil, sunflower oil, Hemp oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, eggs from free-range chickens. almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.

Health benefits of omega 6 (if taken in the right ratio to omega 3):

  • Reduces the aches and pains of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Relieves the discomforts of PMS, endometriosis, and fibrocystic breasts
  • Reduces the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis
  • Clears up acne and rosacea
  • Prevents and improves diabetic neuropathy
  • Aids in cancer treatment

Further reading:

Fats that Heal and Fat that Kill – By Udo Erasamus

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Isn’t it great to indulge in wonder Christmas treats! Unfortunately most of them are what I would class as super unhealthy, but there is a way to indulge without feeling quite so guilty – plus some of these treats deliver a lot of nutrients that help balance up the ‘bad’ side of indulging.
There is no escape from the fact that even healthier treats contain sugar and fat, or lets face it they just wouldn’t be treats!

The little bit healthier Christmas Cake

Christmas cake 2012In this cake there is less sugar, and no white sugar. Only molasses, Rapa Dura and some dried fruit – all packed with minerals and vitamins. I have use sulphate free and organic dried fruit so less toxins, and spelt and Kamut flower – less gluten and easier to digest grain. I have used the icing for decoration only and not to eat, and no high fat, high sugar marzipan.

Ingredients

Icing

Ready to roll white icing, Silver or pearl balls
Decorations-I bought these in a gift shop but there are so many to choose from

Or you can just make lots of snowballs from the ready-made icing and build a snowman scene on the cake on the cake.

Cake

200grams Spelt whole grain flour
200grams white spelt flour (or you can substitute flour with coconut flour, potato flour and any other gluten free flour – the texture will be slightly different and may be heavier)
320grams soft organic butter, or goat’s butter6 x large eggs whisked
3 x large tablespoons black strap molasses
100grams molasses sugar, raw cane or Rapa Dura sugar
200grams soft (or soaked) de-stoned dates
2 x cups Sultanas
100gram or one pack of glace cherries – optional
Rind of 2 x organic oranges (needs to be organic for the rind)
Juice of the oranges
Rind of 1 x organic lemon
3 x large handfuls of pumpkin seeds, Almonds or Walnuts
Half a standard pack of ground cinnamon
Half a standard pack of mixed spices
2 x teaspoons of baking powder
Optional: Splash of brandy

Directions

Soak the dried fruit in the juice from the lemon and orange. Peel the oranges and lemon right back to the actual fruit inside so you get all the pith – this contains major antioxidants. Put the peel into a blender or food processor and pulse the power carefully until the bits are small but not too small. This can be chopped too.
Take the dates and prunes and blend in a food processor or chop by hand, add two-thirds of the pumpkin seeds semi blend so not too smooth.
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees (this lower heat will still cook all of it, but does less damage to the fats – which is vital as damaged fats are detrimental to health.
Cream the butter, sugar and molasses syrup together. Then add the whisked eggs and mix in, add the flour a third at a time along with baking powder and spices.
Add the blended fruit mixture and mix in, you can add the juice of the oranges to create more moisture. Add the orange and lemon peel, along with the glace cherries sultanas and the rest of the pumpkin seeds.
Lastly add the brandy and mix in.

Place in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on your oven being a fan one or conventional. Dip a skewer in the middle to check if cooked, if not uncooked cake mixture will appear on the skewer (or sharp knife) When cooked take out of the tin and turn upside down onto a grill or something where it can breath

When it is completely dry and cooled, you can use ready rolled or roll out the white icing place on the top and cut with a knife all the way around leaving the sides free or you can cover the whole cake – it’s up to you. Decorate as you wish.

Delicious Mince Pies with  a Healthier Bite

Below is a recipe for you to make healthier minces pies (Meaning less sugar and more minerals). They are so easy to make and really delicious, everyone I have tried them on has loved them.Mince pies 2012

You will need a cooking tin with the correct size wholes for mince pies

Ingredients

Pastry

150 grams Whole grain or white spelt wheat flour
150 grams Kamut flour (creates a slightly crisper pastry- plus very low gluten)
2 x tspns of cinnamon
2 x dessert spoons of Rapa Dura, molasses or raw cane sugar

Filling

2 x large handfuls of soft dates
2 x handfuls of apricots or figs
1 x handful organic sultanas
2 x grated rind of un-waxed preferably organic oranges plus the juice of one of the oranges
(use large-holed grater to get the white pith – this contains health promoting antioxidants)
1 x grated rind of un-waxed preferably organic lemon + juice
2 x teaspoonfuls of ground cinnamon
1 x small teaspoon of coconut butter (optional – it is better than the normal suet that is used)

Other options: Dried Cranberries, Almonds. Walnuts, Blueberries.

A little Rapa Dura or raw can sugar to sprinkle over top before serving

Directions

Mixture

Soak all dried fruit in water for approx an hour. Using a blender or food processor (or chop finely) put all ingredients for the filling together and blend in short bursts – don’t blend for too long or it will have no texture

PastryMince pie

Rub the flour together with the butter in a mixing bowl, until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs (or use food processor) add the molasses or Rapa Dura sugar and the cinnamon mix in thoroughly. Add a little water a bit at a time whilst kneading into a dough. When the dough is no longer crumbly spread some flour onto a work surface and place dough in the middle. Kamut flour is good for rolling: Cover a rolling-pin in flour and roll out dough. Roll out until approx 3mm deep. 

Using a larger cutter and a smaller cutter – depending on the size of your cooking tray (or two different sized glasses) cut out the rounds of pastry and place the bigger one in the tray ready for the mixture.

Place these in a preheated oven (160 degrees) to semi cook the base – for 5-8 minutes

Place the mixture is inside each cooked pastry cup and place the smaller one on top and squeeze down at the sides. You can make little festive leaves out of the left over pastry. Moisten the back before sticking on the smaller round as the lid. Place in oven at 160 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Sprinkle with a little Rapa Dura sugar when cooked

These pies contain lots of minerals, fibre and much less processed sugar, carbohydrates and fats than shop bought or some other homemade ones.

But best of all they taste SOOO much nicer!!

Healthier Sausage Rolls – with Christmas flavour Sausage roll turkey

Ingredients for Turkey Sausages

1 x 400gram pack of Turkey thigh mince
2 x red onions or 2 x medium leeks
Freshly chopped sage and / or thyme
Olive oil
Pinch of pink salt and black pepper

Pastry

200 grams of white spelt flour100 grams of kamut flour
Virgin olive oil
1 x tspn of pink salt
2 x dessert spoons of ground or chopped or dried rosemary (option)

Directions

Place flour and oil in a large mixing bowl or food processor, Use fingers or food processor to mix olive oil into flour until it becomes like breadcrumbs (pour a little oil in at a time – you will need approx half a cup, but if it seems dry add more. Add some water ( a small amount at a time) until the mixture becomes a dough. separate the dough into 2 or three sections as it will be easier to roll out.
Sprinkle flour on to a work top and roll out pastry, cut uneven edges off to re-roll later on and cut into strips of pastry according to how big you want you end product to be.

Filling

Place turkey thigh mince into a food processor or blender with the onion, herbs and seasoning, add a little olive oil. (You can add a little flour, ground oats to thicken the mixture – or potato flour -optional) Blend until it becomes quite smooth.Spoon the mixture onto the pastry strips and roll up, you can seal with a little water or egg.

Cook in a preheated oven of 170 degrees

Vegetarian Option – filling

Use Lots of Portobello Mushrooms, blended with onion, egg, sage and seasoning. Thicken with flour.

Turkey and Sage balls

You can easily make these with the same ingredients for the turkey sausage roll filling, take some of the mixture, roll into  medium-sized balls place them on a greased tay and sprinkle with olive oil – cook in oven for 20 – 25 minutes depending on the size. They make delicious finger food at parties.

 

Merry Christmas! & a Happy Healthy New Year

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Super Soups – Winter warmers

There is nothing like soup to warm you up, and this one warms you from top to bottom and takes little very time and uses up the veg in your fridge.

The mainstays of the ingredients are: Red Onion and beetroot, you can use any vegetable – it will just make the flavour vary – for example carrots and sweet potato will make it sweeter.

FoodSpa Red Soup – Health Boosting Chunky Vegetable Soup

Ingredients (serve 1-2)

1 x beetroot – chopped

Handful of broccoli stalks and florets

1 x Jerusalem artichoke (or potato) – chopped, can leave skin on

2 x medium red onion – chopped

Health Boosting Red Soup

Health Boosting Red Soup

3-4 cups of filtered Water

Pinch Cayenne pepper

Olive oil

1 and a half organic vegetable stock cube (see brand)

Grated goats cheese (or a little Gruyère)

Directions

Chop all vegetables, place all in boiling water with crumbled stock cubes – add chopped beetroot last, Boil for 10-15 mins – add pinch of cayenne pepper – according to how hot you like it.

It is important to not over boil to keep some of the enzymes and vitamin alive and is best eaten straightaway, but can be heated to take in a flask for lunch the next day.

Serve from pan – pour a little olive oil over and sprinkle a small amount of grated cheese on top.

This soup will make your cheeks rosy and your toes warm!

The Jerusalem artichoke and onion is packed with inulin to feed your gut flora.

A rich extra virgin olive oil is best for flavour and essential fatty acids.

The red onion and beetroot are filled with antioxidants and nutrients that look after your cardiovascular health. Plus lots of fibre!

 

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The other day I overheard someone explaining to a lady who wished to get fit and lose weight that she should eat a diet that is 60% carbohydrates. If these carbohydrates include all root vegetables, fresh fruits and things like honey, dried fruits, preserves and sweetened foods like yoghurt, ready meals, processed meat etc., then maybe for someone working out regularly this could be nearer the truth. However, I know, because I have been talking to people for years about their eating habits, that this simply isn’t how people perceive carbohydrates.

My daughter informs me about what she is told at school:

Carbohydrates are bread, pasta, sugar, rice etc. Proteins and fats are: Meat, fish, eggs, dairy and nuts and seeds. Fruit and vegetables are: All fruits, vegetables, pulses. Fluids are water and other drinks.

Everything that schools teach and doctors tell you has some truth but is very misleading:

  • Nearly all fruits and vegetable contain carbohydrates in the form of starches and sugars.
  • Some fruits and vegetable contain fats
  • Many vegetables contain protein.
  • Some fruits contain protein.
  • Dairy contains sugars, proteins and fats
  • Whole grains have a high content of protein – some even have complete protein, meaning all essential amino acids.
  • White refined products like pasta, rice or bread are basically sugar.
  • Nearly all processed proteins (ready meals and cooked meats) contain sugar.
  • Meats like sausages, burgers, pies etc can contain a lot of carbohydrates and sugars as well as fats.

Today’s Western diet can be complex due to the way it is made and presented, but ironically there is little variety. It is true that the Western diet is made up of around 17 foods (as opposed to the thousands of foods available in the world) and even then we choose just 3 foods to be our staple diet.

In all the years I have been studying, researching, practicing and eating, I am totally convinced that the way carbohydrates are consumed is one of the biggest health issues and even now a time bomb waiting to explode.

Everyone’s carbohydrate needs are different. Two friends or even siblings may have completely different needs: For example friend A has a higher metabolism because she was born that way or she is very active, or she may have less nutrient deficiencies (which can have an impact on metabolism) Friend B is smaller frame, less active, and maybe less muscle mass but more fat tissue. Friend B will have different carbohydrate needs than Friend A. She may also have different protein needs.

  • If weight loss is required – Your carbohydrate intake has to be addressed.
  • If blood sugar balancing is needed – Carbohydrates need to be addressed
  • If your hormones need balancing – Carbohydrates need to be addressed

In fact all health issues need carbohydrate intake to be considered.

The ratio’s of Carbohydrates to other foods for a normal diet. If training you may need to amend this – but in general it is relative.

If you think of your plates/dish as a pie chart this would be a healthy guide to follow:

Breakfast

Carbohydrates 50% (Includes fruits, grains and sugars)

Proteins: 35% (Includes milk, grains, eggs, meats, nuts and seeds)

Fats: 15% (Includes fish oil, flax oil, butter, coconut butter, nuts, seeds, yoghurt, fats from meats)

Lunch

Carbohydrates 25% (Grains, sugars)

Vegetables: 30% (Root veg are high in carbs so can be treated as carbohydrates – greens and other veg apply)

Proteins: 35% (Meat, fish, pulses, nuts, seeds, eggs)

Fats: 10%: Olive oil, oily fish, butter and other fats

Dinner

Carbohydrates 5-10% (Grains, sugars)

Vegetables:40%

Proteins: 45%

Fats: 10%

Importance of slow release carbohydrates: Foods which release glucose slowly into our bloodstream avoids sudden blood sugar highs then lows therefore keeps energy levels, moods, and hunger in balance. There is a lot of information on the internet about low GI foods and plenty of books which can be very helpful. A lot of the time it is common sense, if a grain is refined (white) or a food is sweet (even healthy carrot juice) it will be released into the blood quickly causing a blood sugar spike.

The rate at which carbohydrates affect our blood glucose levels are determined by the following factors:

Refined carbohydrates

These have been processed so that they produce a fine texture. The starch grains are partially broken down, increasing their surface area and the fibrous layer has been removed. This reduces the work of the digestive enzymes and gives them a greater area to act on in order to obtain the simple glucose molecules. Therefore refined carbohydrates release glucose quickly into the blood stream giving a sharp rise in blood glucose.

Wholegrain unrefined carbohydrates have not been processed, therefore their starch grains are still intact. It takes longer for our digestive enzymes to break it down, as there has been no help with the digestive process, therefore glucose is released into the blood stream at a slower rate.

When Can Fast Release Carbohydrates can be consumed?

After Exercise and sometimes during prolonged exercise: After training the glycogen levels in the muscles must be quickly replenished to avoid the break down of protein from the muscles for energy. Foods, which cause a rapid increase of blood glucose levels, should be consumed as soon as training ends. There are healthier fast release carbohydrates compared to energy drinks and sports bars, which are full of refined sugar. Carrot juice, white potatoes, ripe bananas and rice cakes all provide fast release sugar.

Slow Release Carbohydrates: Oats, basmati brown rice, brown rice, wild rice, whole grain spelt and other whole grains, apples (especially eaten with a few nuts or seeds), pears, blueberries, strawberries and other whole fruits, nuts, beans and pulses.

Cooked carbohydrates

Reducing cooking time for vegetables and grains means they will release their sugars more slowly, so rice should be slightly hard and pasta should not be too soft.

Natural Fast Release Carbohydrates: Sweet potato, pumpkin, parsnips, carrots, dried fruit, sugar, honey, watermelon, fruit juices.

Fibre –Whole grains are high in fibre as well as beans and pulses; this slows the rate at which the food is digested slowing the release of glucose into the bloodstream. The fibre pectin found in apples slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream, however when this is removed through juicing, the apple juice releases glucose quickly into the blood stream.

Presence of Fats, Protein or Acid

The combination of fat, protein or acid with carbohydrates can slow release of glucose into the bloodstream as it increases the transit time of food in the stomach.

Stimulants: such as coffee, tea, cola drinks and cigarettes affect blood sugar, as they stimulate a ‘fight or flight’ response, causing a sudden surge of glucose to be released from stores into the blood, ready for use by the muscles and brain. When the blood glucose is unused, insulin must be released to stabilise the blood glucose, this causes a blood sugar low.

 

Reduce your carbohydrate intake and look after your blood sugar – you will automatically have more energy and less health risk now and in the future. 

 

 

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Type II Diabetes was in the news again yesterday. The Public Accounts Committee are claiming that ‘Diabetes Care is depressingly poor’ and recommend that the NHS should be doing a lot more preventative and educational work with potential sufferers AND those that are diagnosed. There are at any one point in the UK (let alone the rest of the world) 1 million people who have no idea that they are suffering from either Type II Diabetes or pre-diabetes or even metabolic syndrome (which may affect even more people)

Type II is mainly self-inflicted through diet and lifestyle (Genetics may play a part but you are not born with it – it has to be expressed through lifestyle). The body becomes desensitised to sugar, insulin resistance ensues which means the body cannot work to get the sugar from the blood quickly enough, eventually not at all and it then becomes life threatening. 90% of all Diabetes cases are Type II.

I listened to an MP for Leicester East, Keith Vaz, speaking on breakfast radio yesterday morning claiming that doctors diagnosed diabetes and supplied medication, but there is shockingly no dietary advice and no real explanation as to why high blood sugar causes so much damage. This came from his own personal experience, when he found out that his symptoms of fatigue, thirst, frequent urination, lack of good sleep patterns and stress, were in fact symptoms of type II Diabetes, he was shocked that he had such little knowledge. Other symptoms can be blurred vision and skin pigmentation.

It is a wonder why the NHS and doctors don’t campaign to educate and inform the masses.

We all know that sugar is bad for you – but many people don’t want to believe it.
It seems that because manufacturers are able to continue to promote their sugary and refined products (some even claiming to be healthy) that somehow it won’t affect health. It does. It really does. That bowl of refined cereal with milk sugars you had this morning. That piece of white toast, the jam on top, the croissant, the juice, the sugary yoghurt, the sugar in your tea or coffee, the toasted tea cake, the pancake, the high sugar muesli – all this even before you had some chocolate or a biscuit mid-morning washed down with a
can of sugary drink.

In moderation or very occasionally it is okay to have some sugar, the body can cope. But the Western diet is loaded with refined carbohydrates: white bread, white cheap pasta, white products, sugary foods and drink, fruit juices, sweetened foods ready meals and foods. The sugars in dairy and all sweet fruits are implicated too. And don’t get me started on alcohol! No wonder more than half the population feels unwell at anyone time.

Sugar – I dare to say it: Does more damage than fat!. Sugar makes you put on weight more than fat does! (Good fats and eaten in moderation that is) Products that claim to be ‘Fat Free’ are not necessarily good for you – they are normally loaded with sugar – take yoghurt and cereals for example. What’s is the point of being fat-free when it’s laced with sugar?

Some people are even more susceptible to Type II diabetes; it may run in the family, it may be connected to ethnic background. For example diabetes is an even bigger problem in India than in Western countries.

The figures – £9 Billion a Year!!!

Did you know that £1 Million per hour is spent on treatment and care for Diabetes sufferers in the UK alone – that’s 10% of the NHS budget! £9 Billion a year! Think what we could do with that money for the homeless, the jobless, the economy etc. It would only take a fraction of this money to create better education and help with diet and lifestyle. More laws on food manufacturing and retailing of such products are needed. Some retailers have now signed up to putting more about the content of foods on pack.

Everybody needs to understand what sugar does to the blood and therefore the tissues and why it does so much damage – and why every time you consume sugar, coffee (causes a blood sugar rise) or alcohol your body goes into crisis management. When the insulin response is set in motion it puts a strain on the whole system.

Although Obesity is said to be one of the main causes of Type II diabetes, it can affect people who are not obviously overweight and even slim people can suffer blood sugar imbalance.

Sugar in the blood is dangerous, it damages and hardens arteries and destroys the smaller blood vessels.

In people with metabolic syndrome, pre-diabetes and diabetes, it can seriously damage the bloods vessels in the eyes and the peripheral vessels in toes and fingers. This can lead to eye problems even blindness. Damaged vessels can lead to gangrene in feet causing sores and even lead to amputation. Heart disease is very much implicated as well it affects all vessels.

As a person ages this becomes more and more serious with many health issues linked to a lifetime of consuming sugar and refined carbohydrates.

What can you do to protect yourself?

Firstly if you have any of the symptoms or are concerned – see your doctor, get tested.

When accessing your blood sugar levels in the general term you can easily get an idea from your energy levels during the day. If it fluctuates, you feel tired, then eat something are fine, then later feel tired again until by mid afternoon you are even sleepy – you need to address your blood sugar.

It applies to all ages as low or high blood sugar can affect everyone.

When simple sugars are eaten a blood sugar boost happens giving immediate energy, but the body removes this quickly as it will cause serious damage if left in the blood, then low blood sugar levels are experienced, causing a tiredness, sleepiness or fatigue – this is generally when we crave carbs.

The answer is to reduce or even remove all sugary and stimulating foods and substances and then work to balance your blood sugar levels. This will also balance hormones for men and women.

Balancing blood sugar is one of the most health promoting things you can do.

It doesn’t just improve health but also the quality of life as you will have more energy and feel more vital, you will be protecting yourself against many diseases including cancer and heart disease.

The following is a guide to reduce your exposure to high blood sugar and what you can do if you have been diagnosed with a blood sugar problem.

  1. Avoid sugary foods, sugar, white refined carbs, alcohol, coffee, and too much dried fruit.
  2. Eata substantial breakfast that contains – slow release carbohydrates (whole grains, oats, brown spelt, millet, brown rice), proteins and fats. This combination takes a lot longer to digest and the sugars from the foods are released slowly – an insulin response is avoided.

    Porridge with flax oil and cinnamon

  3. Eat healthy snacks that contain some fats and proteins like nuts and seeds, avocado, whole grain spelt bread dipped in olive oil, a handful of pumpkin seeds with some goji berries or raisins, an apple with a few fresh almonds, a spelt cracker with avocado, try my ‘Power Cookies’ recipe.
  4. Eat a slow release carbohydrates (Brown or wild rice, whole grains, some pulses, quinoa, spelt) lunch that contains some fats and protein
  5. Avoid too much dairy like milk and cheese as this can play a big part in blood sugar spikes
  6. Eat a moderate evening meal with just proteins and vegetables (i.e.: Salmon and kale with shiitake mushrooms and ginger, chicken and vegetable casserole, Or Legumes and whole grains)
  7. To keep blood sugar balanced through the night, eat a snack of home-made/ or bought spelt toast and avocado, oatcakes with a tiny smear of coconut butter. You may need to do this for first few weeks until your body adjusts.
  8. Avoid ‘Grazing’ – even on healthy foods – your digestion MUST have arrest
  9. 8 Drink herbal teas and filtered water

If you have to use sugar for anything use one that is high in nutrient so it isn’t empty and can protect you from the sugar response: Rapa Dura, Molasses, Prunes or Sweeteners like Stevia.

Please be aware: The information and advice provided in this website is not
a substitute for medical advice. If you are concerned about your health or
have any symptoms you should see your GP/healthcare provider.

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