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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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

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

Berry Chia Breakfast Jar

This is a pretty way of making chia porridge, so if you’re feeling arty and have the time, have a go! 

This is such a healthy breakfast and will keep you going (in both senses of the word!): it has protein, calcium, minerals, fibre, healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants galore. Plus it looks pretty.

You can choose alternatives to the nuts – golden linseeds, pumpkin seeds – and vary the fruit according to what’s in season. I am making the most of organic raspberries at the moment. I always intend to put some in the freezer for during the winter, but usually end up eating them all!

Vegan, gluten-free (I used gluten-free oats) and if you substitute the cashews, nutfree too. Organic except for the maple syrup.

(Take a look at the video at the end – but you’ll have to click onto the blog if you’re reading this via email).

Ingredients

1 Heaped Tbsp Chia Seeds

3 Tbsps Oats

1 Medium Glass Chi Unsweetened Coconut Water

1 Tsp Maple Syrup (optional)

CoYo Coconut Yogurt (dairy and sugar-free)

Cashew Pieces (you can substitute with other seeds)

1 Ripe Pear or 1/3 of a Mango

Raspberries (or any other berries)

Blueberries

Desiccated or Shredded Coconut

Method

Soak the chia seeds and oats in the coconut water in a jar overnight or for ar least an hour in the fridge, stir well.

You can soak the cashew pieces, too, if you prefer, but if you want to layer them, do them separately.

Soaking nuts deactivates the phytates (which bind to minerals in the body and remove them) and makes them more easily digested, softer too.

When ready to add other ingredients, either stir maple syrup into chia porridge or drizzle it over the layers.

Layer coconut (or other dairy-free) yogurt, cashews, pear and berries. Sprinkle desiccated or shredded coconut on top.

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Hopefully, the sun will be shining and you’ll have the time to be able to sit back and enjoy at leisure, admiring the colours and  beauty of Nature.

(I know this is but a dream or wishful thinking for a lot of you, but maybe you can treat yourself on a weekend).

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Ps I was looking for an appropriate video and came across this – I never knew such things existed! How do people think these things up? I am just adding it for amusement, not promoting it in any way. Enjoy.

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Blueberry & Walnut Protein Smoothie

 

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This punily thin-looking smoothie is deceptively strong in terms of antioxidants, electrolytes, healthy fats, B vitamins, protein and fibre.

Walnuts contain a significant amount of the heart-healthy alpha-linolenic acid or Omega 3 fatty acid. They are rich in antioxidants and contain manganese, copper, vitamin E and the B vitamin, biotin.

Quinoa is a gluten-free alternative wholegrain packed with protein and fibre.

All ingredients are organic except the coconut water, which is unflavoured, unsweetened and contains no additives.

Ingredients

1 Small Ripe Banana

1 Handful of Blueberries

1 Handful of Walnut pieces (1)

1 Dsp Chia Seeds *

1 Tbsp Quinoa Flakes (1)

1 heaped Tbsp CoYo Plain Yogurt 

1 Small Glass Coconut Water

Blend, add ice if desired.

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Today’s music believe it or not is the first time I have ever listened to One Direction! It was this or Cher on the theme of Strong (get it?), I went with the boys 😊

*The Raw Chocolate Company

1. Buy Wholefoods Online

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Golden Cacao Shake

This Shake features some of my favourite nutrient-packed fruit: Peruvian Golden Berries and Blueberries.

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 Golden Berries are regarded by some as one of the Superfoods, being nutritionally dense, and with their sweetly tart flavour they are delicious on their own as a snack, in your breakfast bowl or smoothie. (There is also a recipe for GoGo Berry Fudge on my Raw Treats Recipes page using both Golden and Goji Berries).

Also known as Physalis peruviana, Inca Berry and Cape Gooseberry, Golden Berries are comparatively high in antioxidants, fibre and iron – reportedly, they contain more iron than spinach – as well as protein and Vitamin A, whilst being lower in sugar than other berries.

They contain essential fatty acids that aid in insulin sensitivity and Dr Oz believes Golden Berries also aid in burning fat.* 

So here is a recipe for a delicious and nutritious protein-rich thick shake using The Raw Chocolate Company* raw, organic Golden Berries (as I write they are still in the sale). A spoon will be required!

Golden Cacao Shake

(All ingredients are organic where possible, measurements as always approximate). 

Ingredients

1 Small Ripe Banana

Handful Blueberries

2 Tbsps Raw Organic Golden Berries*

1 Tbsp Sunflower Seeds

2 Tbsps Gluten-Free Oats

Juice of 2 Apples

2 Tbsps Yogurt of your choice

2 Tbsps Raw Hemp Seeds*

1/2 Tbsp Raw Organic Cacao Powder*

Blend, Sip from a spoon, and be like the funky Jill Scott: Live Your Life Like It’s ‘Golden!’

*http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/kate-geagan-ms-rd/how-blast-fat-after-40

*http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com

Copyright: Chris McGowan