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Tamarind Roasted Sweet Potato, Green Lentil, Chilli & Mint Salad

Ingredients
  • 8 oz Cooked Green Lentils
  • 4 oz Walnuts, Toasted.
  • 3 Spring Onions
  • 2 Small, Green Chillies
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • Tablespoon of Olive oil for roasting
  • 2 Teaspoons of Tamarind Paste
  • 5-6 Fresh Mint Leaves, chopped

For the dressing

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Teaspoon of Honey
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper for taste
Method
  • Preheat the oven at 220 c for fan.
  • Slice the sweet potato with the skin on into 3 cm pieces. Mix the sweet potato in a bowl with the Tamarind paste. Transfer to a roasting pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. Roast for approximately 20 minutes until soft and golden brown.
  • Toast the walnuts in a griddle or frying pan for 8 minutes until crisp. Break into pieces afterwards.
  • Chop the spring onions
  • Tear up the mint leaves
  • De-seed the chillies and chop finely
  • Place all the ingredients into a large glass bowl.
  • For the dressing – Mix the  lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, honey and salt & cracked pepper for taste. Pour over the salad and serve!

For an extra non-vegan bite to this salad, crumble some Feta cheese on top!

Healthy tip

Green lentils are a delicious source of complete protein; they are high in fibre, vitamins and minerals and work perfectly in a salad. They are also a rich source of prebiotics providing food for our friendly gut bacteria which supports a healthy immune system.  I always like to add fresh herbs to my salads making them tastier and more alkalising. Mint is incredibly fresh and helps to promote good digestion as well as soothe the stomach. The walnuts and sweet potato inject a different texture to the salad, adding further nourishment to this dish. The zesty lemon dressing works really well in conjunction with the ingredients, it enhances the nutritional value contributing a wealth of Vitamin C and compliments the salad perfectly.

Red Cabbage & Carrot Sauerkraut With Caraway Seeds & Garlic – A Natural Probiotic

Ingredients

  • One medium size red cabbage
  • 2 Medium size carrots
  • 2 Heaped teaspoons of quality sea salt
  • 2 Heaped teaspoons of caraway seeds
  • 2 Cloves of garlic – grated
  • 1 Litre size mason jar with tight fitting lid
  • Filtered or Natural spring water

Method

  • Shred or grate the cabbage and carrots into a large glass bowl.
  • Add the salt and massage with your hands rubbing the salt into the mixture until it draws out the juice and the cabbage becomes limp (more salt takes longer to ferment)
  • Add the grated garlic and caraway seeds and mix the ingredients together
  • Spoon the mixture into the jar, pressing the cabbage down continually until it is immersed in the brine.
  • Top up with a little water allowing the mixture to absorb the water slowly. Push the mixture down so the top is immersed in the brine. Allow approximately a 2 inch gap between the top of the mixture and the lid. This is necessary as the mixture will expand as the cabbage soaks up the water and will bubble over whilst it ferments.
  • Cover the jar. Leave at room temperature for 3 days-2 weeks, checking daily for the first few days that all the cabbage remains under the water. By opening the lid, burps the jar too. Keep pushing the cabbage under the brine.
  • If left longer, a disc will form on top. Simply peel off and discard. The Sauerkraut is still edible and richer in beneficial bacteria.
  • Once opened, keep refrigerated.
  • Enjoy as a condiment with anything and everything!

Healthy Tip

Lactic acid fermentation, which incidentally can be carried out on any food with a complex or simple sugar content, has been an efficient method of preserving food for hundreds of years dating back to our ancestors. Apart from producing the good bacteria (Lactobacillus) necessary for supporting good health, the fermentation process will increase the activity of vitamin C and vitamin A in the case of  sauerkraut. It also increases the bio-availability of any micro and macro nutrients, particularly the amino acid, Lysine which has an antiviral effect in the body.

Based on many studies, it is understood that if you suffer with digestive problems it will be almost impossible to permanently eliminate them unless you improve the balance between the beneficial bacteria and the build up of bad bacteria that exist naturally in your gut (an imbalance is called Dysbiosis) There are ways of targeting and eliminating bad bacteria that cause flatulence, pain, bloatedness and erratic or irregular bowel movements (please get in touch or leave a comment below if you would like to know more) as well as increasing the good guys.

Eating fermented or cultured foods which are naturally rich in probiotics is one way to increase our friend army of good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Having a little sauerkraut as a condiment on the side and eaten on a daily basis with any meal will go a long way in improving your gastrointestinal health and therefore supporting good health in general.

It’s so easy to make! Give it a go and let me know how you get on!

Rich & Raw Chocolate Fudge Bites

Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons of Flax seeds
  • 3 Tablespoons of Raw Cacao nibs
  • 5 oz Almonds
  • 2 Tablespoons of Raw, Cold Pressed, Organic Coconut oil
  • 1 Medium size organic Apple, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 Medjool dates (optional)

Method

  • Preheat oven at 180c fan; 200c non-fan
  • Scatter the Almonds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown
  • Whilst the Almonds are toasting, mill the Flax seeds and Cacao nibs until a fine powder is produced.
  • Melt the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a pan and mix in the flax and cacao nib powder until a paste is formed. Cook for approx 2 minutes. Remove from heat
  • Make the Almond nut butter by placing the nuts into a high powered blender (I use a Nutri-Bullet) and pulse, and keep pulsing until a smooth oily butter is formed. You may need to keep stopping and scraping the mixture away from the sides in order to keep blending.
  • Add the flax and cacao nib paste to the almond butter in the blender and leave to one side.
  • In the same pan used for the flax and cacao nib paste, melt another teaspoon of coconut oil and add the chunks of apple. Cook the apple for approximately 5 minutes until it is softened slightly.
  • Add the apple to the mix and blend everything together for a minute until all is combined. (add the Medjool dates here too, if required)
  • Spread the mixture out on a baking tray lined with grease-proof paper, into a square, allowing for your preferred thickness. I did a depth of about 3 inches
  • Place in the fridge for about 1 1/2 hours for it to set.
  • Cut into bite size pieces and enjoy with a coffee!
Healthy tip

These raw chocolate fudge bites are a perfect fix to curb any cravings for sugary snacks and go so well with a cup of coffee. They are fairly rich and provide a real kick so these are not for the faint hearted! Rich in raw, dark chocolate they have a slight bitter taste to them. However, the chocolate adds a potent fix of antioxidants to the mix. The flax seeds inject a burst of fibre to help support a healthy gut whilst also providing a healthy boost of Omega 3’s.  The coconut oil and almonds are rich in healthy fats too which our bodies are so in need of and need to be eaten in the absence of sugar. The apple adds a gentle sweetness to the combination, as well as vitamins, pectin, polyphenols and fibre all of which help support good digestion and detox processes in the body. Apples are also a natural source of prebiotic which is needed to feed our good bacteria, as well as providing protection against inflammation damage to the intestinal tissues.

Don’t forget that our immune system in the gastro-intestinal tract is a high component of human health, estimated to be around 70-80%.  It is so important to nourish and nurture your inner eco-system with foods rich in micro and macro nutrients that feed our gut bacteria and provide the right kind of information to our bodies to keep prevent disease and keep us healthy.

Free from dairy, gluten and sugar these bites make an ideal accompaniment with a warm drink and are super healthy.   If you prefer a sweeter version, add a couple of Medjool dates to the mix alongside the apple.  Keep them in the fridge for up to a week.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Antioxidant-Rich, Roasted Beetroot, Pomegranate & Walnut Salad

Serves 2 People

 

Ingredients
  • 400g Beetroot
  • 3 Tbsp Rapeseed Oil
  • 1/2 Pomegranate
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 50g Walnuts
  • 100g Feta Cheese; cubed or broken into pieces
  • Bag of mixed Salad Leaves
  • 1 Sweet Potato
For the dressing
  • Juice of half ruby Grapefruit
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tsp Honey or Maple Syrup
  • Rock Salt & Black Pepper to taste
Method
  • Preheat Oven at 200c (fan)
  • Place the oil in a large roasting tin and start to heat in the oven.
  • Top and tail the Beetroot and cut into quarters ( or eighths if beetroot are particularly large).
  • Peel the Sweet Potato and cut into good size wedges
  • Pop the Beetroot, Sweet Potato and Garlic cloves (still in their skin) into your roasting tray and roast for 45 minutes
  • Toast the Walnuts in a griddle or flat based pan for about 5 minutes until they are crispy brown. Be careful, as these can burn quickly. Once these are done, break them down in a pestle and mortar into smaller pieces .
  • Bash the sides of a whole Pomegranate all the way round to loosen the seeds before cutting in half and removing them. Remove the seeds and then put these to one side.
  • Prepare the dressing by mixing the juice of one Grapefruit, extra virgin olive oil, honey (or maple syrup) and salt and pepper into a small jug.
  • Remove the roasties from the oven. Bash the Garlic cloves in a pestle & mortar together with a little oil from the roasting tin.
  • Mix the toasted Walnuts with the crushed garlic.
  • Place a handful of salad leaves onto 2 plates. Bring the salad together by sharing out the Beetroot, sprinkle over the Walnuts combined with the crushed Garlic cloves, Pomegranate seeds and lastly the Feta cheese.
  • Dress liberally with the Grapefruit dressing and serve with a side portion of the Sweet Potato wedges.
Healthy tip

Not only is this whole food salad incredibly nourishing and delicious, the array of colours on this plate gives you an idea just how nutritious this meal really is.

Pomegranate is considered a super-food and has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The seeds are abundant in antioxidants and polyphenols which help fight off damage to our cells. They are a good source of fibre and rich in Vitamin A, C & E. Don’t forget that Vitamin C & E work in synergy helping to combat the damage caused by free radicals in the body. They are considered to be two of the most important antioxidants for cell repair. These ruby-red seeds really compliment the taste of the roasted Beetroot, too. Beetroot, as you probably already know, is one of my favourite vegetables. It is rich in Iron and Folate; high in Vitamin C and other antioxidants all of which help towards maintaining healthy blood pressure, hormone balance and a healthy immune system.

The toasted Walnuts add a fantastic crunch to this salad providing the much-needed healthy fix of Omega 3’s that oil the workings of a healthy mind (amongst others). Walnuts are also high in minerals, protein and fibre which is essential for a happy gut too. They are low on the glycemic scale helping to regulate our blood glucose and prevent any cravings. The sweet potatoes inject a lovely and satisfying sweet texture to the mix and are loaded with beta carotene helping to keep our eyes, skin and mucous membranes healthy.

The Grapefruit dressing is another delicious complement to this dish and is extremely high in Vitamin C; as is all citrus fruit. The Extra Virgin Olive oil, also high in antioxidants and abundant in healthy fats increases the nutrient density of this vibrant dish and together with the green salad, provides extra Vitamin C, fibre and other phyto-nutrients.

Delicious and nourishing on so many levels, you can’t really go wrong with this totally balanced, nutrient-dense meal which scores highly on the ANDI scale (Aggregate Nutrient Dense Index).

For a vegan salad, omit the feta cheese!

Wonders of the Vitamin C & Vitamin E Partnership

Air Pollution has been a hot topic in the news recently which has compelled me to write this piece on how we can limit the negative effects of toxins in our body, aid our defences to protect against disease and support our detox processes.

What are free radicals?

Environmental pollution today is a major concern to us all, we are under constant attack from millions of toxins, 24/7. Free radicals are the unstable molecules that are formed by our metabolism when we fight the toxins in our body. These have the ability to cause oxidative stress within our cells that can lead to damaged tissue in our bodies, premature ageing, hormone disruption and disease. Oxidative stress happens when the amount of free radicals exceeds the amount of antioxidants that we supply our body with resulting in damage to the mitrochondria and DNA of our cells.

Toxins are everywhere in the atmosphere, radiating from our wireless devices; from traffic pollution, electricity supplies; and chemicals in building materials. They are found in cosmetics, creams, lotions and potions that we rub into our skin, cigarette smoke, household cleaners, laundry soaps and pesticides. Fried and processed foods, sugar, alcohol and stress hormones also generate free radicals in the body, causing inflammation and oxidative stress. Little do we know of the silent battle we are constantly fighting within our cells.

How do you know if you have oxidative stress?

When we are not supporting our natural defences with good nutrition, including an abundance of antioxidants, these free radicals can have a low level and taxing effect on our bodily functions causing fatigue, inflammation, low mood, brain fog, muscle aches, poor digestion, ageing and our ability to eliminate toxins from the body. Oxidation increases when we are physically or emotionally stressed too but as long as you are supplying your body with enough antioxidants, a careful balance is maintained and damage can be prevented.

How to reduce oxidative stress

The obvious way to reduce oxidative stress is to limit our exposure to environmental toxins.  Swapping our cleaning and laundry products for non toxic ones helps to reduce toxins in the home; switching off Wifi devices when they are not in use limits the EMF’s in our environment; taking long walks in the countryside and woods, away from traffic pollution, helps to detox our lungs; and by using only 100% natural skin care products will help nourish our skin cells from the outside-in as well as working with the defences of the skin.

By developing a Yoga or Meditation practice is a fabulous and effective way of helping to reduce stress in the body but that is a topic for another time!

Finally, I can’t emphasise enough just how important it is to load our body with antioxidants to help our crucial fight with inflammation and protect against disease. The two key players namely Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

Vitamin E and Vitamin C in synergy

Antioxidants are abundant in plant based foods, especially colourful fruits and vegetables. Two of the most powerful ones are Vitamin C and Vitamin E. Not only do these vitamins have individual roles to play within our cells but they complement each other too.  Beautifully, these two vitamins work in conjunction, supporting each other’s antioxidant function. Vitamin C restores Vitamin E’s antioxidant function so that it can continue to protect the mitochondria in the cell from damage. Some would argue that we need to supplement with both of these antioxidants because despite our best efforts in trying to incorporate foods containing these vitamins into our diet on a daily basis, this still may not be enough ammunition to overcome our constant fight with free radicals.

Synergistic Benefits for Skin

It is easy to forget that our skin is one of the body’s first lines of defence and acts like a barrier against a chemical attack of pathogens or infection. Vitamins C and E have complementary roles to play in skin health. Both these nutrients play a vital role in protecting our skin cells from sun damage because they neutralize the free radicals generated during sun exposure. They work together to maintain healthy collagen, a protein important for skin strength as well as our bones & ligaments. Recent research suggests that having both vitamins in your skin helps to prevent sun damage better than Vitamin C or E on its own.

Which foods contain Vitamin C and Vitamin E?

Vitamin C is water soluble and found in a vast array of fruits and vegetables; the greatest source are the citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits followed closely by fruits such as the kiwi, strawberries and dark leafy green vegetables.

Vitamin E is fat soluble and found in foods such as Avocado, raw nuts and seeds, sweet potatoes, broccoli & tomatoes.

Healthy tip

Sneak citrus fruits into your cooking where ever possible by squeezing lemon or lime juice on fish or chicken. Think about making salad dressings with citrus juices combined with Extra Virgin Olive oil which contains Vitamin E. Load your plate with an array of colourful vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and red peppers, carrots, sweet potato and beetroots all of which contain different antioxidants.

Avocado is fantastic source of Vitamin E and combined with raw nuts and seeds makes for a fabulous thick and creamy smoothie. I have one of these most days combined with spinach and a little frozen banana! Avocados are so versatile that they can be included in desserts as well as savoury dishes.

 

 

Alkalising Raw Beetroot & Fennel Vegan Dip 💚

Ingredients
  • Half a Fennel bulb (including stalks); chopped into small pieces
  • One medium size Beetroot; peeled and chopped into small pieces
  • 1 Spring Onion; chopped into small pieces
  • Handful of Parsley
  • 1 Small clove of Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon of Tahini
  • 1 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
  • Pinch of ground Black Pepper
  • Juice of 1/4 Lemon
Method
  • Place all the ingredients into a high powered blender and blitz until a smooth consistency is formed. It may be that you will need to pulse gently at first to break down the beetroot pieces.
  • Serve and enjoy with homemade flax seed crackers or vegetable crudites
    Healthy tip 💚

Both the Beetroot and Fennel are personal favourites of mine, partly because of their distinct flavours and textures that I love to include in a healthy salad or soup but also due to their incredible nutritional value. However, despite their individuality, I’ve discovered that they marry up so well together in this highly alkalising and nourishing dip.

Beetroots are an excellent source of fibre, folate and iron and abundant in other essential nutrients. They are rich in the immune-boosting, antioxidant Vitamin C which we all need so much of these days to protect us from the unstable, free radicals that are floating around in our environment, and which can cause so much damage to our cells. Eating Beetroot or drinking beetroot juice is a great way to help towards balancing hormones, supporting healthy blood and lowering blood pressure too.

Like the Beetroot, Fennel also contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals including the two powerful antioxidants, Vitamin A & C. Fennel, again is high in fibre and contains a compound that really supports digestion and helps to settle the stomach, relieve flatulence, bloating and discomfort.

I have added parsley to the mix which injects another burst of wonderful healing properties. It is also a rich source of folic acid and antioxidants, including Vitamin C. Highly alkalising, this herb also helps to support detox processes in the body, along with the Lemon, Beetroot and Fennel.

Enjoy!

 

Nourishing Green Leek, Celery & Romaine Lettuce soup💚

Ingredients

  • 1 Large leek, sliced
  • 4 Sticks of celery including the leaves, chopped
  • 4 Cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 12 oz Sweet potato, chopped into approx 5 cm cubes
  • 1 Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1.5 Pints of vegetable stock (I use Boullion)
  • 4 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper for seasoning

Method

  • Saute the leeks and celery together in a large pan with the olive oil for 5 minutes until the leeks and celery start to soften
  • Add the crushed garlic. Saute for another 3 minutes.
  • Add the sweet potato and stock. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes until the potato is relatively soft.
  • Add the chopped Romaine lettuce and allow the heat to wilt the leaves. Simmer for another 2 minutes.
  • Blend in the pan with a handheld blender
  • Season with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Enjoy!

Healthy tip

You must make this awesome detoxing soup which tastes divinely fresh and is so incredibly nourishing. This soup is packed full of alkalising & energising plant goodness providing an abundance of antioxidants that contain anti-inflammatory properties, phytonutrients, fibre and prebiotics which feed the good bacteria in the gut and hence supporting good immune function.

You’ll be surprised to hear that both Celery and Romaine lettuce have so many health benefits.  They are high in Vitamin K which is needed to synthesize Vitamin D in the body which supports good immune function along with healthy bone & muscle formation. They contain B vitamins, folate and Vitamin C, which ultimately is one of the most important of  antioxidants needed to source energy from our cells as part of the Krebs cycle. Romaine lettuce is also an excellent source of Vitamin A needed for good immune function and vision.

I would love to hear your feedback on this tasty and highly detoxing soup, so please do post a comment here… Have a wonderful weekend ☺

 

Flax, Sesame & Sunflower Seed Crackers

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Ingredients
  • 2 Cups of Flaxseeds (or Linseeds)
  • 1 Cup of Sunflower seeds
  • 1 Cup of whole Sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 Cups of filtered or mineral water
  • 1 Tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 Tsp Sea salt
  • 2 Tsp dried parsley
Method
  • Preheat oven at 180c (fan), 200c (normal)
  • Grease a baking sheet and line with greaseproof paper
  • Using a high powered blender (I use a Nutri -Bullet) blitz the flaxseeds and sunflower seeds into a powder.
  • Mix the powder in a bowl with the sesame seeds, garlic powder, salt and dried parsley
  • Add the water and mix until a stiff doughy mixture is formed
  • Spread the mixture out thinly on the baking tray. I use my fingers and then smooth the mixture out with a knife. If you have a small rolling pin then this might be useful too.
  • Place on the middle shelf and cook for 20-25 minutes until crisp and golden brown. It may be after this time that the crackers aren’t quite crisp enough. If this is the case, put the tray back in the oven and allow for the crackers to dehydrate a little more in the heat.
  • Outline the squares with a knife whilst the mixture cools down, ready to cut once cold enough.
  • Enjoy with homemade houmus or guacamole.
Healthy tip

I can’t tell you just how incredibly nutritious these savoury, superfood crackers are! Apart from being vegan, gluten free, sugar free and dairy free, these crispy crackers are anti-inflammatory and packed full of soluble and insoluble fibre, healthy fats, minerals and antioxidants.

Flaxseeds support healthy hair & skin, digestive health, weight loss and hormone balancing. They are one of the richest sources of the essential fatty acid, Omega 3 needed for good hormone balancing and contain the powerful antioxidant, Lignan which supports good digestive health. They are also one of the richest sources of mucilage which is a gel-forming fibre that protects the gastro-intestinal lining and helps support good digestion and improve symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

I have added whole sesame seeds to this mix for their high calcium content. Did you know that just a quarter of a cup of whole sesame seeds provides more calcium than a whole cup of milk? They taste great too.

As well as flaxseeds, sunflower seeds are an excellent source of magnesium too which is a much needed mineral used for many different functions in the body. They are powerhouses of Vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant which protects our cell membranes from free radicals and damage, and provides your skin with a healthy glow – just to name a couple.

These crackers taste delicious eaten as a snack with houmus and capers. Try them and let me know what you think!

Fiery Korean Kimchi – A Natural Source of Probiotics

Ingredients
  • 1 Chinese cabbage
  • 2 Carrots
  • 4 Spring onions
  • 1 Medium size onion chopped
  • 7 Cloves of garlic peeled
  • 5 Flat Tbsp Korean chilli powder/flakes.
  • Filtered water or spring water (chlorinated water will inhibit fermentation)
  • 2 Tbsp of Sea salt (important to use salt free from iodine and anti-caking agents which can inhibit fermentation.
  • 3 Clean and sterilised large jam jars or 1 litre size mason jar
Method
  • Cut the bottom off the Chinese cabbage. Separate the leaves and rinse in clean, filtered water.
  • Place the leaves in a large bowl, sprinkle each one with sea salt and massage the leaves until it starts to soften a bit. Then add water to cover the cabbage. Place a plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy such as a jar of pickles or can of beans. Allow it to stand for 30 minutes-1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, blitz the medium onion, garlic and chilli powder together in a high powered blender to form a paste. Add a little warm water from the kettle to loosen the paste if necessary
  • Chop the spring onions and grate the carrots
  • After an hour. Rinse the cabbage under cold water and drain in a colander for 10 minutes.
  • Take each leaf and spread the paste liberally on each one. Fold each leaf into a parcel (the stalks are likely to break so don’t worry about this) if you are using small jars, split the leaves length ways down the middle, before pasting and make smaller parcels.
  • Pack the parcels tightly into the jar, adding a few spring onions and grated carrot as you go along, on top of each layer.
  • Press down the parcels so all the ingredients are tightly compact in the jar and then top up with a little filtered water so the top layer is immersed in brine. Allow approximately 1 inch of headspace. Place the lid firmly on.
  • Check the kimchi daily for the first week to ensure the cabbage is immersed, pushing the parcels down under the brine if need be. You may see it start to bubble inside the jar which is the release of gases as the cabbage ferments.
  • Store in a darkened cupboard for a minimum of four weeks. This gives the Kimchi enough time for the fermentation to take place. The longer the Kimchi is left the more mature it will become. Don’t be afraid if the Kimchi forms a film on top. This can be removed and the Kimchi will be perfectly ok underneath.
  • Keep refrigerated once opened.
  • Be prepared to be blown away by the smell and the taste!
Healthy tip

Lactic acid fermentation, which incidentally can be carried out on any food with a complex or simple sugar content, has been an efficient method of preserving food for hundreds of years dating back to our ancestors. Apart from producing the good bacteria necessary for supporting good health, the fermentation process can increase the activity of vitamin C and vitamin A in the case of kimchi or sauerkraut. It also increases the bio-availability of any micro and macro nutrients, particularly the amino acid, Lysine which has an antiviral effect in the body.

Based on many studies, it is understood that if you suffer with digestive problems it will be almost impossible to permanently eliminate them unless you improve the balance between the beneficial bacteria and the build up of bad bacteria that exist naturally in your gut (an imbalance is called Dysbiosis) There are ways of targeting and eliminating bad bacteria that cause flatulence, pain, bloatedness and erratic or irregular bowel movements (please get in touch if you would like to know how) as well as increasing the good guys.

Eating fermented foods which are naturally rich in probiotics, is one way to increase the good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. Having a little kimchi or sauerkraut as a condiment on the side and eaten on a daily basis with any meal will go a long way in improving your gastrointestinal health and therefore supporting good health in general.

Go on, give it a go and let me know how you get on!

 

 

Butternut Squash, Lentil & Ginger soup

Today, just before I posted this to my blog, I became aware that several of my recent recipes have included the wonderful, butternut squash and the medicinal and zingy, fresh ginger. Without being conscious of this fact at the time I was producing my recipes, I have since pondered over why I have been drawn to cooking with these ingredients. I know that when I made this soup I was feeling the cold weather and fighting off a head cold; and reflecting upon this I now realise I had an inadvertent craving for the warmth and cold-busting properties of fresh ginger and the seasonal, comforting and subtle sweetness of a butternut squash in a soup. ‘Seasonal’ and ‘cold-busting’ being the operative words here.

Since I put this delicious soup together I thought I may as well share the recipe which I hope you will like and enjoy. After all, it is highly nourishing, comforting, seasonal, high in fibre and tip-tip protein from the lentils; as well as being fuelled with pre-biotics for a healthy gut. The compound gingerol found in the ginger acts within the body helping our defenses fight off germs and disease. The garlic also helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and harmful free radicals.

So in conclusion: ‘You can’t have too much of a good thing!’

Ingredients
  • 1.5 Llb Butternut squash, cut into 5cm cubes
  • 6 Oz Red lentils
  • 1 Medium sized onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large chunk (size of a small thumb) of fresh ginger
  • 4 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 1.5 pints of vegetable stock. I use vegetable Boullion.
Method
  • Gently heat the oil
  • Sautee the onions for 2 minutes
  • Add the lentils and butternut squash together and cook for another 5 minutes stirring regularly
  • Add the chopped garlic and stir for 1 minute.
  • Pour in the stock.
  • Simmer for 10 minutes until the squash is soft and the lentils have cooked. Add the chopped ginger 2 minutes before it has finished cooking.
  • Blend to your preference. I used a handheld blender for this one producing a texture with a bit more ‘bite’ It somehow makes this a more hearty meal.

Why not try this soup together with some turmeric and lemon flat breads? The combination of flavours will work very well together.

Healthy tip

When we eat foods that are in season, we eat as nature intended. This also allows our body to align itself with the natural energy that surrounds us and return to its natural rhythm.