Ginger-Spiced Squash & Apple Soup

30200640_UnknownWe had a small squash in our veg box last week and this afternoon I was cold to the bone after venturing outside for a short walk – I think it was 5C – so I decided to use the squash in some soup. The squash had been sitting chopped up in the fridge for a couple of days and needed to be used. My husband does it for me and leaves it in the fridge so it’s available when I want to use it.

I didn’t exactly know what I was going to put in with it, but automatically reached for some carrots and saw the baking apples on the shelf. We still have a few left from the tree, but they are starting to go a bit soft and the freezer is already overflowing with stewed apple and crumbles, I thought I’d try one in the soup.

While I was chopping, I mused over what herbs or spices would go with it and decided on ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. I was feeling cold, tired and achy, a friend had been coughing over me while recovering from a nasty flu-like virus and I felt the need to protect myself: these three spices are not only warming but also anti-inflammatory. The squash, carrots and celery are rich in anti-oxidants, while the humble onion has long been used in Ayervedic medicine to relieve coughs, fevers and flu as well as to reduce pain and inflammation in joints. I was leaving nothing to chance! I had a big bowl of it for dinner that night, I thought the combination worked really well and I would certainly make it again.

Here’s the full recipe – you might need to adjust the spices, I just guessed and I loved it. I could feel the ginger warming my insides and the one apple was enough to give it a fruity flavour, almost sweet and sour.

Made enough for 3-4 servings

Ingredients

(Organic where possible, vegan and gluten-free)

1 Tsp Coconut Oil

1 Small Butternut Squash, peeled and chopped

1 Small Onion, chopped

2 Carrots, scrubbed and chopped (peel left on)

1 Thin Stick Celery, from the inner part of the bunch, not too strongly flavoured, with leaves, chopped

1 Medium Baking Apple, peeled and chopped

Approx. 750 mls Vegetable Stock (I used a Kallo stock cube) – enough to cover the vegetables

Ground Ginger, Turmeric and Cinnamon

Black Pepper

Sprig of Watercress or Spinach or Rocket to serve (optional)

Method

Melt the oil and sweat the vegetables with half a tsp of ground ginger, a couple of shakes each of turmeric and cinnamon and some black pepper for a few minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.

Add the apple, mix well.

Add stock and slowly bring to a simmer.

30200544_UnknownCook on the lowest heat for about 25-30 minutes, until everything is cooked but not mushy.

Blend to the thickness you like – I like to leave a little texture.

Serve with a twist of black pepper, a sprig of watercress and some warm seeded bread.

(When I had a second bowl the next day, I added a small handful of mixed watercress/spinach/rocket when I served it and I really liked it).

Please note: there is no added salt in the recipe because the stock cube had salt in it.

We had it with Savoury Vegan Glutenfree ‘Cheese’ & Herb Scones

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

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Heart-Healthy Carob, Walnut & Lucuma Smoothie

29934304_UnknownI can’t describe how heavenly this is! I surprised myself, even though I love carob. This is one of those thick smoothies that can be served for breakfast or dessert. It’s very filling so maybe split between two if having it after a meal.

I used buckwheat flakes* because I had no oats left and lucuma powder as I’d run out of baobab. Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit grown at high altitudes, the powder has a subtle malty flavour. It is nutritionally healthy, containing protein, calcium, iron, B3 as well as a host of other vitamins and minerals.

Carob is also from South America and is a tasty alternative for anyone who can’t eat chocolate or cacao. I discovered it in the 1980’s when I was trying to find a healthier alternative to commercial chocolate bars and hadn’t yet come across raw cacao. It’s caffeine-free, low in sodium, contains calcium and is high in fibre. Carob contains gallic acid which is antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial, acts as an analgesic and antioxidant.

Ingredients

(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Organic)

1 Heaped Tbsp Carob Powder

1 Banana, chopped

3 Dried Figs, chopped

Good Handful Walnut Pieces (and a few to serve)

1 Dsp Peanut Butter

1 Tbsp Buckwheat Flakes or Oats

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

Coconut Water

1 rounded Tsp Lucuma Powder or Baobab Powder

***

Blend, chill (if you can wait!), add a sprinkling of chopped walnuts, and serve. Bliss.

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*See also:

Vegan Chilli with Aduki Beans & Buckwheat

Three Cheers for Chias! What Are Chia Seeds & How Do I Use Them? Recipes included

Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Ageing Cherry, Chia and Lucuma Smoothie (no bananas necessary!)

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Guess the Secret Ingredient in this Gorgeous-Looking Smoothie!

This smoothie was another quirky experiment that turned out so much better than I expected! (see Khaki Kiwi Coconut Smoothie!Have You Tried Savoury Porridge Yet?Pink Oats, Anyone?Cauliflower Oats (Don’t Laugh, It’s a Thing!) and Zoats: Mark 2 (I like this one better!)).

img_3054Following my 16 days of juicing, I had some red cabbage left over that needed using up, so I decided to try it in a smoothie. I thought it might be bitter and make the smoothie a horrible dark colour like sump oil or something, but look at it, it’s gorgeous! And it tastes as lovely as it looks.

It might be a step too far for some of you, but you might be pleasantly surprised.

Red cabbage is full of nutrients including Vitamin C and K, and is well-known for its gut healing and antiflammatory, cancer prevention qualities. 

The smoothie also contains protein, healthy fats, probiotics, B Vitamins and fibre.

All measurements are very approximate, adjust to suit your own taste buds. This is definitely a ‘thinny’. Makes enough for 2 servings.

Vegan, Gluten-free, Organic where possible, cabbage and blueberries rinsed.

Ingredients

1 Small to medium Banana

A handful of Blueberries

A small handful of shredded Red Cabbage

2 Heaped Tbsps Raw Hemp Seeds*

2 Tbsps Live Coconut Yogurt (or any other live yogurt)

About 250-300mls Coconut Water

Add a pitted Medjool Date if you’re worried! I had it without.

Blend in a high speed blender.

*The Raw Chocolate Company

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Winter Beetroot Wonder-Juice: Refreshing, Nutritious, Simple

img_2479This was a leftover juice in the sense that there were bits of veggies left over just before shopping day and they were put together to produce this very refreshing juice, full of nutrients to help you withstand the Winter bugs.

Together these ingredients have antioxidants, are anti-inflammatory and are good for your blood and circulation; they contain minerals such as calcium, potassium and iron, protein, soluble fibre, they are hydrating and their combined juice tastes good too.

If you’d like to read more about the many health benefits of turmeric, click here or for beetroot, read Make Beetroot Your New Veg Friend! (Juice Recipe Included)

I have kept the fruit to a minimum as I’ve been working on achieving the optimum balance of 80% veggies to 20% fruit to maintain good digestion and blood sugar regulation – the carrot and beetroot are sweet, however if you require it to be a little sweeter, add another apple.

Ingredients

(organic, washed, peel left on, quantities approximate)

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1 Apple

1 good-sized Carrot

1 1/2 Sticks of Celery

Small Beetroot

2″ Cucumber

3″ Broccoli stem

Small piece of Turmeric

Handful of Spinach

Method

 Begin with apple and end with apple, squash the spinach leaves up and put through the juicer followed quickly by other ingredients to get the most out of them so they don’t just go straight into the pulp container.

Juice the turmeric with another ingredient for the same reason

If you want a more substantial juice, blend with a quarter of avocado which will give you extra protein, healthy fats and lots of extra vitamins and minerals. It will also keep you fuller for longer. I didn’t this time, I just wanted juice.

For more information on how to fight winter bugs, read Juicing My Way Through The Cold Wars – Update + Golden Milk Recipe

Since I’m publishing this on America’s Thanksgiving Day, I’d like to thank you all for reading and supporting my blog; I love reading your comments and questions, thank you for keeping me out of mischief!

Cheers, stay healthy!

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Copyright: Chris McGowan

Ellen’s Latex-free Super Berry Smoothie (Just Look at the Colour!)

img_2355Ellen is a writer, she is funny, talented, a new follower and she also happens to have an allergy which causes anaphylaxis. When she told me this, it was in the context of being unable to try most of my recipes and I assumed she meant she was allergic to nuts. I then proceeded to give her a list of potential substitutions. However, I got it very wrong, it seems that Ellen is fine with nuts but allergic to latex.

Now, I assumed that being allergic to latex meant you just had to avoid wearing rubber gloves, but no, it means avoiding a long list of fruits and vegetables too. I decided to set myself the challenge of coming up with a tasty, nutritious smoothie that Ellen could enjoy with complete peace of mind. She warned me how difficult she was to ‘cook’ for, but I pointed out that as I was a vegan, juicing, gluten-free raw foodie, I know how that is!

I had a couple of days to ponder this conundrum while Hurricane Fremily (aka my 2 toddler grandchildren) hit landfall, and I did a bit of research to make sure I understood the issues.

Latex allergy is caused by a reaction to the protein in latex and can range from wheezing, itchy skin, hives to full-on anaphylaxic shock. Some people who have latex allergy may also have an allergic response to certain fruits including banana, cherries, plums, papaya, grapes, pineapple, avocado, chestnut, kiwi fruit, mango, passionfruit, fig, strawberry and soy.

Ellen seems ok with berries, oranges, lemons, melon (but not watermelon) and apples but she also can’t have squash, turnip, swede or broad beans due to a lifelong phobia! (Which I can totally understand as I have my parsnip phobia – shudders at the very word! See Pears But No More Parsnips: In Which I Confront My Parsnip Phobia! )

So there you have it, my challenge.

This is my first attempt. It’s an amazing colour! It’s a little tart, so if you want to add a little sweetness, add a medjool date, or reduce the amount of blackberries and add another apple. To ring the changes, you can substitute different berries, use coconut water or other nut milk, add oats to make it more substantial and alternate the superfood powders. I read that açaí is ok, but please do your own research. I understand lucuma has a latex sap when immature so I’m guessing that would best be avoided.

Purple berries contain powerful antioxidants which aid healthy ageing, memory, help prevent cancer and other diseases caused by inflammation. Hemp seeds have protein and healthy omega fats and are smooth and creamy to taste (see Shelled Hemp Seeds: Superfood or Psychogenic?!) Cashews are a good source of magnesium, which helps keep us calm, is essential for good mental health and prevents muscle cramps (see Magnesium: Are You Getting Enough?). Apples are all-round good for us! They contain soluble fibre and are good for the lungs.

All ingredients are organic where possible, vegan and can be made gluten-free by substituting seeds or Horchata (aka Tiger Nut Milk) if you’re sure you’re not allergic.  Measurements approximate.

Ingredients

Large handful of Blackberries (I used frozen)

Handful of Blueberries

1 Sweet Apple, washed & chopped (peel on)

Heaped Tbsp Hemp Seeds*

Handful of Cashews

1 Tbsp Açaí Powder*

Generous glass of Homemade Almond Milk (click link to see how to make your own, it’s really easy).

 Blend until smooth, and may this gorgeous vibrant smoothie give you a bright start to your day!

(When I was looking for a video to accompany this smoothie recipe, I started typing ‘berry’ and it started coming up with Berry White songs which I found highly amusing and since his outfit matches the colour of the smoothie, I decided to go with it!)

*https://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

Allergic To Latex? Foods And Products To Avoid

http://latexallergyresources.org/latex-cross-reactive-foods-fact-sheet

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

Turmeric: The Super-Supplement (Spicy Anti-Inflammatory Juice Recipe Included).

Turmeric is a member of the same family as ginger root and has many of the same health benefits. It contains iron, calcium, copper, potassium, B6, manganese and dietary fibre. It’s the spice that makes curry (and your fingers!) yellow and has been used in Indian cooking and Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

It’s active ingredient is Curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and many studies have shown it to be effective in natural treatments of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease, for example. (Such treatments tend to use Curcumin extracts rather than turmeric on its own).

IMG_8567Current thinking holds that chronic low-level inflammation is responsible for many of the conditions prevalent in Western society: heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and many degenerative conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Curcumin has been found to fight inflammation at a molecular level and to be as effective as some prescribed medications, without having the nasty side-effects.

It is also believed that Curcumin may be effective in slowing and repairing brain-related diseases, such as depression, and age-related conditions, and there is much excitement that Curcumin may one day be an active ingredient in treating Alzheimer’s.

Some research has shown Curcumin to be effective at preventing, slowing and reducing some cancers in labs and animals and in one study of men with colon lesions, they were reduced by 40%. It seems it is particularly effective in preventing cancers of the digestive system and in treating bloating, indigestion and liver problems.

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There is much research into the clinical benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin, several studies are at the trial stage.

When using Turmeric Root or Curcumin extract, it’s advisable to take black pepper at the same time to enable optimum absorption.

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Here is a great Anti-Inflammatory Juice Recipe I call Morning Glory, I have it every morning to help prevent and reduce the symptoms of colds and viruses, reduce mucus and joint inflammation.

If you feel the first signs of a cold, try drinking this juice 2 or 3 or more times a day.

I haven’t had any colds, coughs or asthma in the 3 (now 4) years I have been juicing.

Ingredients

Hot & Spicy Anti-Inflammatory Juice

(All ingredients are organic and therefore washed and the peel kept on. If using waxed non-organic lemon, thinly pare the peel, leaving as much pith as possible, this is where the micro-nutrients are).

1 Apple

Thick Slice of Lemon

1 Carrot

2 cms (at least) Chunk of Ginger Root (depending how hot you like your juice, more if you’re hardcore or it’s a particularly thin root)

2 cms Turmeric Root

 10 cms Celery

Juice the ginger, turmeric and lemon (and finally celery) between the apple and carrot.

Then add a Twist or Two of Black Pepper and stir.

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https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric/

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306981.php

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Hot, Hot, Hot Anti-Inflammatory Beetroot & Ginger Juice!

This is one of my favourites. I love ginger and have become so used to it I can stand quite a lot of it in juicies. It is anti-inflammatory, antiviral and anti-fungal and when used regularly it’s great for helping ward off colds and viruses, treating Candida, nausea and relieving inflammatory pain.

Inflammation has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions.

If you’re not used to it, begin with a thin slice of ginger root and gradually increase it.

Beetroot is well-known for its beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system, it dilates blood vessels which improves circulation – athletes, professional cyclists and gym enthusiasts are known to employ fresh beetroot juice in their training and preparation. It’s a good source of potassium.

Freshly extracted beetroot juice has also been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol when drunk regularly.

Celery, apple and lemon provide electrolytes, so altogether this is a good juice to have when exercising.

All ingredients are organic and therefore they are just washed and the peel left on. If using waxed lemon, thinly pare the peel leaving plenty of pith, it’s where the healthy micro-nutrients are.

Ingredients

Small Beetroot

2 Carrots

2 Apples

1 Stick of Celery, chopped into 3″ pieces

Thick Slice of Lemon with peel on

Thick knob of Ginger – about 2cms x 2 cms

Juice all the items, placing the lemon and ginger between the apples and putting the celery in last to avoid it clogging up the juicer.

(The picture in the background is entitled Moths and Butterflies by Sophie Whiting).

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Ever Had Purple Carrots? They’re Even Better For You Than Their Orange Cousins (Juice Recipe Included)

 

imageThese purple carrots occasionally turn up in our Able and Cole organic veg box, they come all dressed in their green finery and not a bit goes to waste.

Purple carrots are every bit as healthy as our standard orange varieties but come with the additional benefits contained in their purple hue, the same ones that make blueberries, for instance, a superfood.

Purple carrots originated in the Middle East thousands of years ago, before the orange ones from Turkey.

They contain the usual Vitamin A and Betacarotene of their orange cousins but up to 28 times the anthocyanins – the phytochemicals that give them their purple colour. These phytochemicals are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory and along with the usual carotenoids, they are believed to help promote good vision.

Blue- and purple-coloured fruit and vegetables are also believed to help improve memory, protect against heart attacks, help control weight and blood cholesterol as well as improve glucose tolerance.

Here’s where it’s really interesting though: researchers at the University of Queensland discovered that purple carrot juice may help in reversing the negative effects of a high fat/high carbohydrate diet.* The juice was low in carotenoids compared with whole raw carrots and they deduced that it was likely the anthocyanins that made the difference in increasing glucose tolerance, as well as cardiovascular and liver function. They noted also that the soluble fibre in purple carrots helps lower blood cholesterol and blood glucose.

Carrot greens are generally discarded, but you could benefit from adding some to a juice or snipping them into a salad, soup or stew. (NB I use organic carrot greens, which I know have not been sprayed, there are no known official warnings about sprayed greens, but please wash all vegetables and leaves thoroughly).

They contain protein and are rich in calcium and potassium, magnesium (in which many people are deficient) and vitamin K which is necessary for good bone health.

Carrot greens also contain up to 6 times more vitamin C than the roots.

(We find they need using within 2 or 3 as they soon wilt and start going yellow).

Watch out for a juice recipe using purple carrots and carrot greens, coming soon. For now, here’s my Purple Morning Glory using purple instead of orange carrots – it’s such a vibrant colour! (I love ginger and am used to a lot, but use your discretion and begin with a thin slice! It is a wonderful anti-inflammatory and along with the vitamin A and C in the fruit, this is an excellent juice if drunk regularly to help prevent and ease the symptoms of colds or other chronic ailments).

https://www.abelandcole.co.uk/

*http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/health-benefits-eating-purple-carrots-18228.html

If you are at all concerned about using any information in this post, please consult your doctor.

Copyright: Chris McGowan