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

img_3062Cherries are considered another of Mother Nature’s superfoods, reputedly containing a wondrous variety of nutrients which are both anti-inflammatory, anti-againg, pain-relieving and help prevent certain cancers.

They have been found to help relieve the pain of gout, arthritis, fybromyalgia, headaches, sports injuries and also help improve sleep patterns.

That’s a world of responsibility for one little seed!

Combined with the multitude of health benefits from the similarly super-endowed blueberries, you have a super smoothie in the making.

We also have the prebiotics and probiotics, omega fats, Vitamin E, protein and calcium of the homemade Tiger Nut milk (also known as horchata, recipe here) added to the B Vitamins, protein and healthy fats of the almond butter. (NB Tiger Nuts are not nuts but tubers and so should be suitable for people with nut allergies, you can substitute tahini for the almond butter).

And that’s not all!

Did you know Romaine lettuce is a good source of protein? Well, that’s in there too.

Have you tried Lucuma fruit powder from Peru? It is well-known in South America where it is added to desserts and has a slightly malty flavour. It is a source of beta-carotene, iron, zinc, protein, calcium and many other vitamins and minerals.

Chia seeds are a frequent visitor in my smoothies and in porridge and desserts. They are so packed full of goodness and so versatile. Did you know you can use them as egg replacers in baking when mixed with water? See Three Cheers for Chias! What Are Chia Seeds & How Do I Use Them? Recipes included for more information on the benefits and how to use them.

Finally, we have the medjool date, a mineral-rich natural sweetener that even contains Vitamin K, necessary for good bone health.

All of these ingredients are good sources of dietary fibre, which aids digestion.

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Organic where possible.

As there were no fresh cherries available, frozen cherries were used for this recipe.

All measurements are very approximate. Adjust to suit your own tastes.

Ingredients

2 Tbsps Chia Seeds* soaked for 10-15 minutes in some of the Tiger Nut Milk to form a gel, this will thicken the smoothie in the absence of banana or flakes

Large handful of Frozen Cherries

Large handful of Blueberries

A handful of chopped Romaine leaves

1 Tbsp Lucuma Powder*

About 350-400mls homemade Tiger Nut Milk, depending how thick or thin you want the smoothie

Blend in high speed blender for about 40 seconds.

*The Raw Chocolate Company

*Tiger Nuts from The Tiger Nut Company

Copyright: Chris McGowan

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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

Zingy Kale Salad Juice

Are you ready to ditch the festive food yet and get healthy again? 

I am.

Food is a real problem for me when all the family get together. My juicing routine is interrupted and meals take so much time and preparation that I end up compromising and eating things I know are going to leave me feeling uncomfortable if not in great pain.

Yesterday was one of those days.

With a houseful of meat-loving teenagers, there are only so many times you can get away with vegan nut roast or pizza, fruit salad, and raw chocolate treats, before you have a mutiny on your hands. So yesterday, their final lunch was fish and chips from the local chip shop! There was no time for juicing or making salads as they were on a tight timetable for their journey home. I ended up having a few chips, my first potatoes of any kind for 18 months. They were crisp and freshly made and tasted good with Himalayan pink salt. I ate them slowly and mindfully. I asked them to be kind.

Those few chips caused me so much heartburn and acid reflux, I was in pain all night and had no sleep! What’s more, the skin on the back of my hand began to itch (see How I Juiced My Skin Clear: A Rash Decision?).

This morning, I decided that was it. Back on the juice.

*

This is one of my husband’s concoctions. It’s a throwback to summer days in the garden. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath, hold your nose and cross your fingers, but this turned out really well!

Wash all the ingredients, keep the peel on unless you’re using a waxed lemon, in which case pare it very thinly to leave as much pith as possible, this is where the micro-nutrients live and we need them in the juice. It helps the kale to go through the juicer more easily if you chop it roughly and feed it through in scrunched-up batches between apple and cucumber. Feed the lemon in with another item and leave the celery to last if your juicer doesn’t cope with it too well.

This juice has protein, antioxidants, B vitamins, healthy omega fats, electrolytes, fibre and is hydrating and good for your skin.

Ingredients

Large handful of Kale

2 Apples

Half an unwaxed Lemon with peel

3″ Cucumber

1 Stalk of Celery

Handful of Green Beans

1/4 of Avocado

Wash and juice everything except the avocado which is blended into the juice.

(Begin with apple and end with apple for best results).

You can chop and freeze the remainder of the avocado to use for future blended juices or in guacamole etc.

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Juicing in the garden during the late summer while hb mends bikes – it’s his thing. It’s very messy and that’s as close as he gets!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

The Healing Powers of Pomegranate + Recipes

img_2392There has been some debate of late as to whether pomegranates should be added to the list of so-called superfoods, those foods which are believed to help prevent, heal and recover from disease due to their powerful nutritional content. Studies both in labs, in test tubes and on small groups of humans show promising results. Many people now believe adding pomegranate to your diet can be nothing but beneficial in the prevention and treatment of chronic lifestyle diseases like Type II diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, weight gain, clogged arteries, certain cancers and so on.

Pomegranates are berries which grow on a small shrub and it is the bright seeds which are eaten or juiced, the flesh and peel being tough and inedible.

These jewelled fruits are high in antioxidants, coming in at a massive 3 x those found in red wine and green tea, they are good sources of Vitamin A, C, and K, potassium, B5 and other B Complex compounds as well as being high in soluble and insoluble fibre. This makes pomegranates an effective anti-inflammatory weapon to help protect against asthma, arthritis, breast and colon cancers and diseases of the digestive tract.

Some studies indicate that daily pomegranate juice (unsweetened) may lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack and increase blood circulation and even reduce accumulated fat in arteries. It is also suggested this regimen can benefit heart patients by improving heart function and boosting immunity.

Due to its fat-clearing and anti-inflammatory properties, pomegranates can also help with weight loss as the fibre content helps reduce extra fat deposits and keep bowel movements regular.

All in all, this berry appears to lift above its weight in terms of nutritional and health benefits, so how do we use it?

img_2394I only recently started using pomegranates so I am still a novice, I have so far sprinkled the seeds on porridge on salad and in a smoothie.

This porridge bowl makes an excellent  start to the day or if you prefer a lighter breakfast of juice or smoothie, you could have this later as I do and it will keep you going for hours.

This breakfast contains protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, healthy fats, probiotics for a healthy gut and lots of vitamins and minerals.

All ingredients are organic, vegan and glutenfree.

Ingredients

1/2 Cup Porridge Oats

21/2 Cups Non-dairy Milk (I had homemade almond milk, see How To Make Almond Milk)

A Small Handful of Cashew pieces (presoaked if you have time, to make them easier to digest. Swap for seeds or tiger nuts if you are nut-free)

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds*

1 Tbsp Lucuma Powder* (it has a mildly malted flavour and is full of nutrients)

Seeds from Half a Pomegranate

Small Handful of Goji Berries*

1 Heaped Tbsp CoYo Coconut (ie non-dairy) Live Yogurt

Cook the oats in the milk on a medium heat, stirring to prevent lumps and sticking, when it’s nearly done add the cashews and mix in well

Remove from heat, add the chia seeds and lucuma powder, stirring well

Pour into a bowl and top with pomegranate seeds, goji berries and yogurt.

Of course, you could be really adventurous and try my Cauliflower Oats (Don’t Laugh, It’s a Thing!) with peanut butter, banana and pomegranate seeds!

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*https://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/

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

Juicy Winter Warmers – 5 Juices to Help Ward off Colds

With the cold season upon us I thought I would write a short post with some Warming Winter Juices that are full of antioxidants to help fight off colds and viruses.

These are of the ‘shot’ variety, not full meal replacements.

Drink one every day after your early morning glass of hot water and lemon or honey. As soon as you feel the first signs of a dry or sore throat or a cold coming on try having one three times a day or more.

You will see that ginger is the common denominator here. It is a natural antibiotic and decongestant, and is full of minerals. It is also anti-inflammatory, as are celery and pineapple.

(Do you remember that scene in The Great Escape where the American POWs are making Hooch to celebrate American Independence Day and when they taste it they each go Wow! and can hardly speak? That was me testing these for this post!)

I use organic produce where possible and leave the skin/peel on – except for the pineapple, unless you have a juicer that can cope with it.

It is best to put the ginger in the juicer between halves of an apple, or in first and then the apple or pineapple if using only those ingredients.

All the glasses in the pictures are 6fl oz. ie very small.

First up is my Morning Glory, it makes a bit more than a shot.

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1 Apple, 1 Small to Medium Carrot, Half a stick of Celery, Thick Slice of Waxfree Lemon, At least 1 cm of Ginger but as much as you can take! Optional: 1 cm of Turmeric plus a pinch of Black Pepper stirred into juice before pouring, to help with absorption of Turmeric.

Next up is Pineapple Bomb – Mark Beddoe’s* short but sweet and very spicy answer to winter sniffles:

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1″ thick round of Pineapple, Thumb of Ginger, as much as you can stand.

The Natural Juice Junkie’s Winter Slammer is a daily starter on his Winter Cleanse Programme.*

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Half an Apple, Half a Waxfree Lemon (rind on), 1 Thumb of Ginger. Optional: Pinch of Cayenne Pepper stirred in before pouring into glass.

Jason Vale’s* Ginger Shot was my first introduction to juicing ginger – as part of his 5lbs in 5 Days plan – it nearly took my head off! Of course now I don’t blink at all, the stronger the better.

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Half an Apple, 2-3cms of Ginger

Down in One!

Jason also does the Ginger Zinger – which is a larger juice – as part of the 7lbs in 7 Days plan.

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2 Carrots, 2 Apples, 1″ Slice of Waxfree lemon, 1/4″ Ginger. Juice and pour over ice.

(Sorry forgot the ice for the photo!)

Here’s to a Healthy You!

(Having tested all these in one go for the blog, I should be cold-free the whole winter!)

*@explorejuice  http://www.naturaljuicejunkie.com  http://www.juicemaster.com

Copyright: Chris McGowan