Almond, Chia & Spinach Super Smoothie

5656F9D4-244D-4343-A8A6-245F953B8B09With all the colds and coughs my family brought into the house over Christmas and New Year and the fact that I was feeling wiped out from all the festivities, I began flooding my system with nutrients as soon as they left. This smoothie has everything: antioxidants, minerals including potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium to help me relax and aid my digestion, protein, probiotics for a healthy gut, b vitamins for a healthy nervous system, healthy fats and dietary fibre. This is a thickie and intended as a meal, I had it for breakfast. So far, no colds.

The sunset scene next to the glass was hand-felted and hand-stitched by my 12 year old grandson.

Ingredients

Oats, banana, spinach, chopped almonds, medjool date, homemade almond milk,* almond butter, chia seeds,** moringa powder (high in protein, vitamins and minerals),*** live soya yogurt.

Blend and serve.

See also: Juicing My Way Through The Cold Wars + Golden Milk Recipe

This Spicy Watermelon & Grapefruit Juice Will Help Stave Off Those Winter Bugs!

Guacamole with Avocado, Coriander, Moringa & Chilli

*How To Make Almond Milk

**The Raw Chocolate Company

***Aduna

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Vegan Courgetti Bolognese ft Hanna’s Vegetable Protein Sauce

28062544_UnknownThe inspiration for this was a video on Instagram of Hanna Sillitoe (@mygoodnessrecipes) making a vegetable protein bolognese sauce to have with gluten-free spaghetti and a parmesan substitute made from almonds and nutritional yeast. (The recipe is in her new book ‘Radiant’, available on Amazon). She made it look so simple, and quick, all done in a blender and frying pan. We had some of her Tomatoless Sauce in the freezer which forms the basis of this new sauce and decided to give it a try. If you are ok with nightshade foods*, you can just use a tin of tomatoes instead. As you can see, I had it with spiralised courgette zoodles. Hanna uses blanched almonds in the ‘parmesan’ which make it look a creamy white, but mine looks more like brown sugar as they were unpeeled!

Hanna’s Instagram photos are very professional, her recipes are always quick and easy and are especially suitable for anyone trying to clear their skin.

Just over three years ago, when I first ‘met’ Hanna, she had rampant psoriasis and no relief in sight, but she began juicing and exercising, rid her diet of junk and nightshades and now has clear skin. It worked for me too, see How I Juiced My Skin Clear: A Rash Decision?

Back to this recipe: The amounts we used are somewhat imprecise, we just did a handful of this and a few spoons of that – if you want more precise measurements then do look at Hanna’s book, her website or Instagram feed. 28063136_UnknownShe uses ingredients from Aldi UK to demonstrate that you can still eat healthily on a budget: for instance, she used a pack of mixed rice and quinoa, but we had both organic brown basmati rice and organic quinoa in the cupboard so we cooked them and guessed the amount, using the leftovers for the next two meals.

(Aldi often sell budget blenders and juicers too which always receive good reviews).

Basic steps:

Cook some rice and some quinoa so that the grains are still separate, be careful not to overcook them. Cool a little while preparing the mushrooms. (The rice and quinoa can be cooked in advance if necessary).

Wash and chop some mushrooms, we used chestnut because I like the meaty texture. Pulse them a couple of times in a processor before adding several spoons of the rice and quinoa mixture and pulsing again until it looks like a vegetable protein mix.

Chop an onion, press some garlic and fry in coconut oil until it begins to soften, add the vegetable protein mix and the tomatoless sauce or a tin of tomatoes.

Add some mixed herbs, black pepper, salt.

In the blender, blitz a large handful of almonds and a couple of tablespoons of nutritional yeast until it looks like parmesan. If it makes too much, don’t worry, it will keep well in a jar in the fridge. Hanna also adds garlic powder, but we don’t use it so we had none in.

Cook some spaghetti or spiralise some courgette noodles and serve, adding some basil leaves (which I forgot for the photo!).

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Hanna has several recipe videos on her Instagram feed and on her website, all quick and easy, her enthusiasm is highly contagious!

See also Hanna’s Simple Turmeric Breakfast Pot

*Nightshade foods can exacerbate inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis and arthritis and include potatoes, tomatoes, aubergine and all peppers.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Silky Green Smoothie, Zinc-rich: One for the Men?

img_4148There is less fruit in this smoothie than normal, but don’t let that put you off. It still has a sweet flavour and smooth, creamy consistency. It is also chock full of nutrients: magnesium, potassium, protein (did you know Romaine lettuce is a good source of protein?), B vitamins, zinc, vitamin E, lots of other vitamins and minerals as well as healthy fats.

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc and therefore often recommended for men to maintain a healthy prostate. We love them as a snack or on stirfries, lightly toasted with some Tamari whch gives them a salty soy sauce flavour.

Walnuts, too, are a good source of zinc, Vitamin E, B vitamins and healthy fats – swap for sunflower or other seeds if you have a nut allergy.

Zinc is also necessary for a healthy immune system, wound healing and to help breakdown carbohydrates. It is involved in our senses of taste and smell, in healthy cell division, fighting colds and cancer, so is a pretty important mineral.

Tahini is made from sesame seeds and a good source of calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.

Potassium (from the banana too) is good for the heart while magnesium is needed to prevent muscle cramps, aid mental and physical relaxation (necessary for good sleep), good digestion and gut health.

Wheatgrass powder is full of useful nutrients including Vitamins A, C, E, and K, B Vitamins, Protein, Zinc and other minerals as well as dietary fibre.

All ingredients are organic (except the coconut water), vegan and gluten-free.

Ingredients

1 Small Banana, chilled

2 Tbsp Oats

1 Generous Tbsp Pumpkin Seeds

Small Handful Walnuts

1 Generous Tbsp Tahini

3 Romaine Leaves, washed and chopped

1 Tsp Wheatgrass Powder

Medium Glass Unsweetened Coconut Water

Blend in a high speed blender, add ice if you like it chilled or use frozen banana.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

What To Do If You Feel Hungry on a Juice Plan or Don’t Need To Lose a Lot of Weight

imageThis morning I was asked by Siobhan of Paris Here And There if there is anything she can do to avoid the hunger pangs on a juicing program and also to prevent her losing weight unnecessarily.

If you read my post yesterday, you’ll know that next Monday I am joining Jason Vale’s ‘Big January Clean-Up’ which involves doing the first 14 days of his 28 day SuperJuiceMe! plan (there is still time to sign up via the Juicemaster website, all coaching videos, shopping lists, recipes are free).

First, let me explain about hunger pangs.

It is normal to feel hunger in the first 3 days of a juice plan.

More often than not these are withdrawal pangs, not genuine hunger. Your body is getting everything it needs from the nutritionally balanced juices, blends and smoothies. What it is not getting is the caffeine, sugar, alcohol and hopefully nicotine it has become dependent upon and it is shouting at you very loudly about this restriction, as with any withdrawal from addictive substances.

And let’s make no bones about it: all these substances are addictive. Sugar has the same effect on the brain as crack cocaine and heroin!

Here are some tips and advice:

1. The way to reduce these withdrawal symptoms (headaches, cravings) is to taper off and finally quit in the 2 weeks before a juice-only program.

2. Once you begin the plan, keep well-hydrated, using herbal and fruit teas, warm water with a slice of lemon, as well as plain water; rest – go for walks in the fresh air, do yoga, rather than sessions at the gym – and watch or read inspiring films and books to keep you motivated. (See the suggested list at the end).

3. If you genuinely feel hungry, you can’t sleep for tummy rumbles etc. there are emergency rations you can turn to (see later).

4. The point of the plan is to give your digestive system a rest and allow your body to repair, renew and rest, so try to resist for the first 3 days.

5. Keep yourself occupied so you’re not thinking about food all the time.

6. Have your juices ready and don’t wait until you’re desperate before having them, then you won’t be tempted to grab a sugary snack or bag of crisps. Also, sip your juices slowly through a straw.

7. Try to find a juice buddy. If this is your first time, support is vital and you can either persuade a friend or family member to join you or find amazing support on Jason Vale’s Facebook page, where you can ask questions and get advice, or on Twitter/Instagram.

8. Keep reminding yourself why you’re doing it. Read up on the health benefits of juicing and arm yourself to fend off all the doubters and sceptics who will try to undermine your resolve.

9. Don’t be put off, the results will speak for themselves and will silence the naysayers.

10. Over 25 people, including some who tried to put me off, started juicing after they saw the amazing results from my first plan.

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For those who don’t want or need to lose a lot of weight:

When I did the last 14 day juice challenge, I didn’t need to lose weight but this time after a cold, too much comfort food and lots of family visits/festive food I could do with it!

However, there are those who just want the re-energising health benefits or want to clear up their skin or reduce aches and pains and who have no wish or need to lose weight. I have compiled a list of things you can do if you fall into these categories.

You may still lose some weight just by the fact that you have cut out a lot of snacks and high fat/sugary foods during your juice plan, but you will slowly regain what you need when your body readjusts to what is normal eating for you.

You will generally only lose the weight you need to lose. 

I do these juice challenges 4 times a year. My first 2 times I lost  2 1/2 stones (35lbs) altogether. Now, I lose about 5 lbs as I don’t need to lose any more.

And for those who really do suffer genuine hunger pangs, there are things you can eat to alleviate them, but only in a dire emergency!

Tips for emergency rations or to prevent unwanted weight loss:

1. To allay hunger pangs or to avoid a big weight loss, stick to plant foods and oils as your emergency rations. You can add an extra juice, or a tsp of flax oil or coconut oil to a glass of juice.

2. To prevent digestive issues, I reiterate: stay away from processed and sugary foods, meat and dairy, coffee and alcohol.

3. Half a ripe avocado either on its own in the evening with lemon juice and cracked black pepper or blended into a couple of juices a day (1/4 at a time) will usually do the trick. It is normal to feel hungry in the first 2 to 3 days but then your body adjusts.

4. Hunger and thirst can be confused. More often than not, it is hydration you need rather than food. Again, keep hydrated using herbal and fruit teas as well as plenty of water.

5. You can add a tablespoon of ground organic linseeds (or other seeds) to your juices (this also helps if you have any problems with constipation).

6. Half a very ripe banana in the evening can also help.

7. If out and about and the avocados and banana are not an option, a healthy version of a fruit bar can help, but make sure it does not contain refined sugar, dairy or other additives, just pure fruit and nuts.

8. My go-to emergency ration is one of Jason’s ‘Juice in a Bar’ snacks. These really do replace a juice if you need to and are very filling.  Usually, I can manage only half.

9. You could add a higher calorie vegetable to your juices like sweet potato – I use these often in my own juices (usually to replace parsnips!)

10. Whatever you decide, always chew slowly and thoroughly, otherwise your tummy will object if it is already adapting to the juice program.

Bonus tip: Try adding some good quality pea or hemp protein powder to some of your juices to stave off the hunger and give your juices some extra oomph!

Most of all, remember that if you have to miss a juice or you do feel the need for extras, it doesn’t mean you have failed and you have to give up! Just pick up where you left off. You will still gain the benefits. Even if you just have one juice a day and cut down or cut out the processed, sugary stuff, you will feel more energy, your skin, hair and nails will benefit and if you need to lose some weight, then this will help.

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I hope I have covered everything. If you have any other questions please ask in the comments and I will try to address them in another post. You may find the answers already in the Juicing Tips section of the Menu.

Finally, a list of films, books and websites for motivation and support.

These websites are excellent for books, articles, recipes, information, support

Juicemaster I recommend all of Jason’s books for their down-to-earth, lighthearted style in explaining how food works, how the food and pharma industries work, how juicing works.

Reboot with Joe Cross Aussie Joe is inspirational for his own journey, documented in his film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. He also does guided reboots and his website has a wealth of information and advice.

The Natural Juice Junkie Neil is a leading Britsh juice exponent and lifestyle coach. His articles are informative, short and easy to read. He also does guided juice challenges.

My Goodness Recipes (Hanna and Jason Vale both rid themselves of the terrible symptoms of psoriasis through juicing and offer free plans on their websites)

SuperJuiceMe! The Documentary  Jason Vale took 8 volunteers with 22 different diseases, some life-threatening, which were not improving with allopathic (conventional) treatment, some very overweight, others not. He put them on a juicing regimen of fruit and vegetables for 28 days. This documentary follows their path and I defy you to watch and not reach for the tissues then quickly determine to make some changes to your lifestyle.

Food Matters TV From 11th January, 2017 you can watch both the Food Matters and Hungry for Change films free for 5 days via this website. The Food Matters team have an excellent website bringing regular articles on current health topics and research as well as healthy recipes and tips for an all round healthier lifestyle, including environmental changes.

My Post How I Juiced My Skin Clear: A Rash Decision?

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Why Wait Until January To Think About Your Health? Perhaps Santa Might Bring You A Juicer This Christmas!

This is a busy and expensive time of year when many of us are planning family gifts and special meals for the Christmas holidays, but it’s also when some of us start thinking about all those extra pounds and that uncomfortable over-stuffed feeling when January arrives! We often turn to health plans and expensive exercise routines in the New Year in the hope of feeling and looking a younger, more energetic and slimline self.

Why not get a head start and think about adding a juicer to your Christmas list? They can be expensive purchases at any time of year, but especially now. However, with bold planning and not a little bribery and corruption, perhaps your family can be persuaded to club together to give you the one thing that you will all really benefit from and hopefully last years: a juicer. You could persuade them it will be an investment in everyone’s health rather than viewing it as an expensive gadget.

[Whilst looking for a juicer for a family member’s birthday recently, I discovered that Juicemaster.com were selling ex demo, used once only, juicers at a greatly discounted price in the UK. (I don’t know about overseas).The Retro Super Fast centrifugal juicer was  £105 off at £74.99 whle the Retro Cold Press Juicer is £100 off at £199.99.]

imageThe juicers come in several colours and with a warranty.

I have had my juicers, one of each, since they were launched and am very happy with them. They have 5* reviews.

At the time of writing, the juicers come with a cleaning brush, recipe booklet and one or two freebies, often a Jason Vale book and his new magazine, plus perhaps a couple of their new energy bars.

You can also read my posts Juicemaster Retro Super Fast Juicer: Review & Which Juicer? – Where to Begin?

Juicing is not about starving yourself or losing tons of weight fast, although that can be an effect if you have gained too much. It is about adding unsweetened unpasteurised freshly produced fruit and vegetable juices to your diet and reaping the many health benefits.

You don’t have to do a ‘cleanse’ or a ‘juice challenge’, just adding one fresh juice a day or whenever you have time will have a profound effect on your skin, your energy levels and any chronic inflammation in your body.

Regular fresh juices can help you ward off colds and viruses.

All of my family juice to varying degrees, even the toddlers! You’re never too old to begin, either: my mum’s 83 year old neighbour heard about my startling progress and weight loss and asked me to write out some juice recipes for her. She borrowed her son’s juicer and off she went!

So why not plan your post-Christmas health boost now and start the New Year in a positive frame of mind, you’ll be all set to go as soon as the festivities are over!

(Of course, you may want to start juicing now, pre-party season, and give yourself that juicy glow or the burst of energy needed to get you through all the shopping and cleaning and invasions family visits;-))

I’ve been juicing for 4 years and feel healthier than I’ve been in decades: I’ve had only one cold and no longer use an inhaler.

NB Vitamix and Nutribullet are not juicers, they are super blenders.

See also Juicing: How to Begin or Do As I Say, Not As I Did!  &  My Top 20 Tips for Juicing – updated to 25!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

The Health Benefits of Grapefruit + Heart Healthy Wake-Up Juice Recipe

I love grapefruit, always have. As a teenager, it was always a bit hit and miss as to whether I had time for any breakfast before dashing for the last possible bus I could catch to get me to school on time, which usually meant a quick slurp of black coffee and a slice of toast and Marmite eaten on the way!

Weekends, however, I generally had time for fresh grapefruit. Even then, I preferred it raw and sugarless – and not just because I was aware of its metabolism-boosting properties and was trying to lose weight! No mucking about putting it under the grill with brown sugar as was the fad then. In those days, the only variety available was the white one.

It is only in recent years, with my penchant for home-made muesli and, later, juicing, that this juicy, tangy and beneficial fruit silently disappeared from my breakfast menu.

This all changed when a gorgeous ruby red grapefruit appeared in my organic veg box last year. (They are slightly stronger, the pink are a little sweeter) I waited and waited to have it. I wanted to savour it. It was so salivatingly juicy and well worth the anticipation.

Next time, I decided to juice it. Recipe below.

It has long been known that the nutritional content of grapefruit is good for a healthy heart and in lowering blood pressure. A diet that includes fresh red grapefruit has beneficial effects on blood lipid levels, especially triglycerides.

But grapefruit has many health benefits. The high Vitamin C content in fresh grapefruit helps with the absorption of iron and calcium and also aids in unblocking the lymphatic system. The salicylic acid in grapefruit helps to remove inorganic calcium deposits which form in joint cartilage.

Grapefruit helps curb hunger, prevent cancer and is good for the skin. It also helps prevent the build-up of fat in the liver.

A glass of grapefruit juice a day is particularly beneficial in the colder months to help prevent colds and viruses.

(Pink and Red Grapefruit have slightly higher antioxidant levels than the white).

Here is a tasty, healthy juice combining heart-healthy fruit and vegetables high in Vitamin A and C. The apple and celery in this juice help to improve kidney function. Beetroot helps with circulation and lowering blood pressure. Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral ingredient, which helps to prevent colds and can reduce symptoms of chronic degenerative conditions.

Heart-Healthy Wake-Up Juice

All ingredients are organic.

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NB There should be a small piece of ginger root too.

Peel a small orange and half a grapefruit leaving as much pith as possible, this is where all the micronutrients live.

Scrub the carrots, cucumber, small slice of ginger root (no idea why it’s absent in the photo!) and 2 small chioggia beetroot but keep the skin on (you can substitute with ordinary beetroot which are a little stronger). Wash the apples and keep the peel on. Wash the celery, keep any leaves on.

Begin with an apple and end with an apple when juicing to get the most out of the softer fruit.

Add ice if liked and if it’s not going to chill you to your marrow! (Writing this on a chilly Autumn morning).

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NB Some medications interact with grapefruit so please check with your doctor or pharmacist. Grapefruit contains a compound which interferes with the breakdown of certain drugs which means there can be a build-up and possible reaction.

 Copyright: Chris McGowan

My Raw Island One Day Juice Cleanse Prize – Review

Recently, I was surprised and pleased to win a giveaway prize in a Nanabar* competition. They are the world’s first organic, gluten-free nicecream bar (ie vegan), which is opening in London. Justin, the owner, ran a fun campaign to raise awareness of the opening and put together this competition as the final push.

 imageMy prize couldn’t have been more apt: a Raw Island One Day Juice Cleanse.* I was so excited. I really needed to do this as part of my cleaning-up regime – I had let things slide in the ‘taking care of me’ department. I was stressed, overtired, not sleeping and had a lot more aches and pains than normal. My digestion was poor, I felt I had too much adrenaline and needed calming down.  (See Are You In Need of an E-Break? (I am). No-Phone Sundays, Anyone? and Taking a Break to Recharge Your Batteries Can Re-Energise & Re-Inspire (Slideshow Included))

A week-long juice cleanse usually sorts me out. This one was just for a day, so I prepared well in advance to gain the most benefit from it. I wanted to cleanse mind and soul as well as body.

In the 10 days before I received the juices, I was a woman on a mission. I took extra special care over what I ate and drank. I decluttered everything in sight, sorted out desk drawers, got up-to-date with paperwork. Even the garden was cleared of dead and dying flora (courtesy of my husband) and generally tidied up. I relaxed, meditated, contemplated, while my iPad and iPhone stayed off. image

Raw Island is owned and run by sisters Sarah and Fiona Lewis. They are qualified nutritionists based in London and are only just beginning to extend their juice delivery nationwide. All my contact was with Sarah who is friendly, supportive and responded quickly to any questions I had.

Their website explains that they work on the principle that tropical fruits are better than predominantly green juices when doing a juice detoxification and their juices contain no fats or nut milks.

I was interested to see how the juices would be packed and how fresh they were; how long they would last; whether they would be large enough and substantial enough to keep hunger at bay. Would I like the taste or would they be too sweet?

The night before delivery, I made sure I went to bed early to get a good night’s rest. Of course, this didn’t happen! I felt like I was going to drop off but never quite made it – until a couple of hours before my husband got up. Not the start I hoped for.

imageBut it was a glorious morning! Clear blue skies and sun, I couldn’t have ordered a more perfect start to the day. I began my day with gratitude, then had a drink of warm water with ginger and lemon and began my preparation. I did some skin brushing with a dry loofah to improve circulation, remove dead skin cells and encourage the excretion of toxins before having a long hot shower with Dead Sea Spa Magik Shower Gel and used Dead Sea Spa Magik Mild Exfoliant on my face* (no microbeads, see my post Ditch the Plastic: Microbeads – What Are They Good For…?)

By the time I was dried and dressed, they had arrived. image

The five 500ml bottles were packed with frozen gel packs, wrapped in bubble wrap inside polystyrene and a cardboard box. They came by courier and the box was intact.

The juices come in reusable, recyclable, BPA-free plastic bottles, all numbered in the order in which they should be consumed. They needed to be used by next day as they are cold-pressed and despatched the day before delivery.

There are 2 Raw Island One Day Cleanses to choose from named 1 and 2. I chose 2, which is formulated to aid digestion, boost metabolism and support the immune system. I liked the sound of the exotic fruits and the spices.

Kick and Conquer, the first juice, and Some Like It Hot, the fourth one, were aptly named! Wow! I have ginger and turmeric every morning but Kick and Conquer was very spicy and lemony. I loved it. Some Like It Hot nearly took my head off! It has jalapeno chilli in it, which I’ve never had. When I took the first sip, I could hardly swallow it. I thought I wasn’t going to manage it. But I really wanted to complete the cleanse and I took my time, sipped slowly and gradually became used to it. I loved it.

imageIn between, there was Black Lemonade made with Red Grapes, lemon and activated charcoal – used to remove ingested poisons and chemicals in hospitals but in this instance to remove toxins. It binds to the chemicals etc and flushes them out of the system.

Take Me To The Tropics includes tropical fruit like pineapple, mango and passionfruit as well as cucumber and spinach. Again, it was very tasty and refreshing.image

All the juices were extremely flavourful, zesty and zingy – except the Vanilla Mylk which was made with medjool dates, sweet and a lovely contrast to finish with – especially after the chilli! Tart and spicy are my favourite tastes, so these were perfect for me.

The juices were more than ample, in fact I had trouble fitting them all in – I started quite late in the morning and had to stay up later than planned to fit in the fourth. I saved the Vanilla Mylk for next day. I wasn’t hungry for a second.

Would I do it again? Most definitely. I felt fantastic afterwards. No headaches – I kept well-hydrated – I slept better, felt re-energised, my eyes and skin regained their shine, I was calm and positive. Best of all, the main aspect for me when I do a juice cleanse is that the pressure and pain in my lower spine is reduced, and I found that happened even with one day of juice only.

I wanted to prolong the benefits, so next day I continued to juice but in between, as recommended, I had some watermelon to reintroduce fibre and keep hydrated, and made a smoothie with papaya – recipe coming soon. This is the end of my third day after juicing and I have had juices, a salad and home-made hummus, and some live coconut yogurt. Tomorrow I will have my first cooked meal, probably a stir-fry or maybe some soup.

Doing a juice cleanse resets your hormones, your taste buds and your desire for high carb fatty processed or sweet foods. It gives your digestion a break, nourishes your body on a cellular level and enables it to rest and repair. This is my experience, if you have never done a juice-only program before, please check with your doctor first.

Thank you to Sarah and Fiona for giving me this opportunity to try their One Day Juice Cleanse and to Justin for organising the competition. I enjoyed it immensely, it was just what I needed!

At the time of writing, the company are offering a 10% discount off your first order when you subscribe to their newletter.

*http://nana.bar/

*http://rawislandcleanse.com/

*http://www.deadseacosmetics.co.uk/dead-sea-magik-2-c.asp

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Blended Purple Carrot Memory Juice*

As promised in Ever Had Purple Carrots?  here is a recipe using purple carrots and carrot greens.  I’ve called it the Memory Juice because the anthocyanins that make fruit and veg purple are believed to help with improved memory, among many other benefits. Click the link to find out all about why you should not turn your nose up at differently coloured vegetables or discard your greens.

All ingredients are organic, so the peel is left on. If using non-organic or waxed lemons, peel them thinly so that you retain the pith where the micronutrients lie.

If you’re new to beetroot and not sure, you can peel them so they won’t be as earthy but you’ll lose a lot of nutrients.

Ingredients

2 Purple Carrots, washed, peel left on

1 Small Beetroot, ditto

2 Apples

A Small Handful of Carrot Greens, washed and cut up (they contain protein and are rich in magnesium, potassium and calcium)

1/2 Lemon

1″ Ginger (anti-inflammatory)

3″ Broccoli Stem (also a good plant source of calcium and B vitamins)

1/2 Celery Stalk

Juice all the ingredients, placing the greens, lemon and ginger in between carrots and apple to help them through, put the celery through last so it doesn’t block up your juicer.

Blend the juice with 1/4 Ripe Avocado to make a thicker, more satisfying juice and add more protein and essential fatty acids, good for the skin, good for the brain.

Look at the rich colour – your friends could be forgiven for suspecting you’re stocking up for the next vampire convention!

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*Disclaimer: it’s not really purple but the carrots are!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Green on Green: A Blended Juice (not a smoothie!)

Has anyone tried to tell you that if you blend a juice with some avocado you are either ‘cheating’ or you’re really having a smoothie. I have read this so often. A blended juice is neither ‘cheating’ (cheating whom or what?) nor a smoothie. It is a means of adding some essential fats and protein to freshly extracted juice in order to create a more nutritionally balanced meal-in-a-glass, if doing a prolonged juicing programme, or to make a juice more satisfying and keep you fuller longer. Either way, it will help prevent drops in blood sugar levels and also help keep you from reaching for processed sugary or fatty snacks during those mid-morning or mid-afternoon slumps.

Ripe avocados are easily digested and so versatile. I love them blended into cold-pressed juices, made into guacamole or a salad dressing or with lemon and black pepper on toast or crackers.

They are so good for your skin and are said to help prevent loose skin if you are losing weight. They provide essential fats for opimum brain function. They are also hydrating, as are cucumber and celery. Fennel is a good digestive aid and adds a touch of aniseed flavour to the juice.

All ingredients are organic and therefore have their peel left on (except the avocado!)

Always wash thoroughly whether organic or not.

Ingredients

2 Small Gala Apples

3″ Cucumber

Thick Slice of Wax-free Lemon

1″ Marrow (large zucchini)

2″ Broccoli Stalk

1/2 Stick of Celery

Small Handful of Baby Spinach

1″ Fennel

1/4 Ripe Avocado

Method

Start with an apple then juice all the ingredients except the avocado, finishing with the second apple.

Blend the juice with the avocado.

If you are new to juicing or this is just too green for you, add another apple or a slice of pineapple, but try it first.

If you sip slowly through a (preferably) metal straw it will protect your teeth, aid digestion and help the environment by using straws that are reusable, chemical-free and don’t end up in landfill or the water supply.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Golden Linseeds (aka Flax Seeds): The Original Superfood?

The latest post in my mini-series Essential Vitamins and Minerals (see Menu).

imageI was asked if I would write a post about Golden Linseeds as I often use them in my recipes. They are the lighter coloured of the 3 versions of flax seeds – being a golden colour they are commonly known by that term.

They are one of my favourite things to add to smoothies, protein bars and energy balls, fruit and yogurt, muesli, gluten-free bread and so on. I’ll provide some recipe links later on.

A few facts first:

The flax plant grows easily, producing small pale blue flowers, and produces pods of seeds that have been consumed by humans for over 6000 years.

Organic are best, to avoid any potential toxicity, buy them whole rather than in powder form and grind them a little in a coffee grinder or nut and seed grinder, a jarful at a time, and keep it in the fridge. Don’t over do it or the heat will damage them and turn them rancid. Grinding releases the oils and makes the nutrients more accessible. (The most effective way to have them is soaked and sprouted, this removes phytic acid – present in nuts and seeds – which can bind to minerals in the body, and releases even more nutrients, but I haven’t tried this yet).

They have a pleasantly mild, slightly nutty, malty taste. I love them!

(To view the slideshow, click onto the blog).

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Linseeds are one of the most nutritious foods available, being rich in Protein (3 Tbsps = 6g), Fibre, B1, Manganese, Selenium, Vitamin E and especially the Omega-3 Fatty Acid Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). They are the richest plant-based source of this essential fatty acid, so good for vegans and vegetarians.

In particular, they are one of the best sources of Magnesium, necessary for preventing muscle cramps, for lifting mood, restful sleep, and a healthy gut – see my post Magnesium: Are You Getting Enough? for further information about this essential mineral that many people are defficient in.

Linseeds are also a good source of B6, Iron, Potassium, Copper and Zinc as well as Folates, which help prevent neural tube defects in the foetus if consumed prior to conception and in early pregnancy.

The healthy oils in linseeds are beneficial for healthy skin, hair and nails – try adding 2 Tbsps of seeds or 1 Tbsp of flaxseed oil daily to smoothies to benefit.

1-2 Tbsps of flaxseed oil can help improve acne, eczema and roseacea as well as help reduce symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

 People with Crohn’s or other digestive problems often find some relief when consuming linseeds as they are anti-inflammatory and can reduce gut inflammation. They are also gluten-free.

The anti-inflammatory nature of linseeds is also thought to aid in weight loss. Try adding 2 Tbsp of ground linseeds daily to your diet. They help you feel full for longer and aid the elimination of waste, which otherwise is held onto by the body and causes inflammation.

Finally, linseeds are packed with anti-oxidants called lignans. They are anti-aging and hormone-balancing, can help reduce menopausal symptoms and reduce the risk of osteoporosis as well as help regulate menstruation. 1-2 Tbsps of seeds plus 1 Tbsp of oil daily are recommended. These anti-oxidants are also antiviral and antibacterial and can help reduce the number and severity of colds.

Oh, and Dr Axe* recommends 1-3 Tbsps of flax oil and 8oz of carrot juice for the relief of constipation!

I think that just about covers everything.

(Linseeds like chia seeds can be used as egg replacement in vegan cooking when mixed with water).

As with all similar high fibre foods (chia seeds, for example), be sure to drink plenty of water and other liquids.

We buy our golden linseeds from Buy Wholefoods Online and Suma Wholefoods

As promised here are some links for recipes containing these little specs of nutritional gold:

Omega-Rich Plum & Blueberry Smoothie

Camilla’s Homemade Crispbread

Dipped Naked Tiger Nut, Mango & Orange Treats

 *https://draxe.com/10-flax-seed-benefits-nutrition-facts/

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/flax-seed.html

Copyright: Chris McGowan