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!).


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

Refreshing & Hydrating Papaya, Watermelon & Cucumber Juice with a Kick!

imageI came up with this combination after my Raw Island One Day Juice Cleanse (see my Review).  It is recommended that you have watermelon and papaya as your first solid food afterwards,  to reintroduce fibre, I’ve never had papaya before and I wondered what it would be like juiced. I’d read that it could be difficult to juice and bitter but I found it was neither – just be sure to remove the seeds, they taste like peppercorns! Papaya juice tastes wonderful on its own but I decided to add the other ingredients to make a post cleanse hydrating juice.

Papaya is a delicious exotic fruit that is beneficial to good imagehealth, clear skin and aids digestion. It contains an enzyme called papain that aids regularity and helps maintain a healthy digestive tract. Papaya is also high in antioxidants and B vitamins making them a good anti-inflammatory food, and full of minerals and dietary fibre.

Papaya, watermelon, cucumber and celery are wonderfully hydrating, while ginger is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-viral and adds a nice kick to the juice. Carrot adds more antioxidants and lemon adds Vitamin C which aids absorption and helps slow down oxidation of the juice.


1 Papaya

1/4 Mini Watermelon

4″ Cucumber

Thick Slice of Wax-free Lemon

1″ or more of Ginger

1/2 Medium to Large Carrot

Small Celery Stalk

Scrub the skin of the Papaya, Cucumber, Lemon, Carrot and Celery. Discard the Papaya seeds as these can make the juice bitter and may block up your juicer. Peel the Watermelon and discard the seeds and peel.

Juice everything, add ice if liked – and if you’re not in the depths of winter!


Copyright: Chris McGowan

5 lbs in 5 Days: Day 4 Are We Nearly There Yet?

imageDid you all enjoy the Berry Banana Crunch? 

It was certainly the highlight of a wintry day here where we had bone-chilling winds and face-scalding hailstorms interspersed with steely skies and sluicing showers!

Today you can look forward to Minty Sunshine, a refreshingly fruity/spicy/minty juice that perks you up in the middle of the day.

So, are you feeling it yet? That feeling of being on cloud nine, your mind clear, alert and bursting with ideas/goals/motivation? My eyes, so often tired and strained from too much reading and not enough sleep, feel so wide open – like those characters in cartoons whose eyes jump forth on springs when they are surprised by impending disaster! I am all ready for family visits starting later today, one the oldest member of our family in her 80s, the other the 2 year old whirlwind who’s already a juicer! I need all the energy I can get 😉

Tiger nuts* are soaking to make Horchata or Tiger Nut Milk in the morning as Mum said she would like to try it, and I think the 2 year old might like it too.

Thursday’s Thoughts


From ‘The Secret’

I realised as I had my shower I hadn’t mentioned skin brushing when I talked about skin being part of the detoxing system. A great way to enhance the detox and renewal is to brush the skin with a dry loofah or Dead Sea Salts to slough off old flaky cells and stimulate the circulation. Do this before you go in the shower or bath. Work up from your toes to your belly using single upward strokes – go gently there and if you’re female avoid the breast area – use circular motions on your buttocks and upward strokes again up your back, then from your fingers to your shoulders, working your way towards your heart. It might hurt at first, but do it gently until you’re used to it and you’ll feel warm and invigorated. Then have a warm shower or bath.

You will feel so alive! (You can just see Graham Nash in this video)

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Amazing Tomatoless Sauce

For those of us who are sensitive to nightshade foods – potatoes, aubergines, tomatoes and peppers – it can be difficult to find an acceptable substitute for pasta or pizza sauce. Until now! The lovely Hanna at My Goodness Recipes has come up with the goods yet again. I tried out her Tomatoless Sauce Recipe and it really works. It keeps well too. Give it a go, you’ll be so glad you did ☺️👏🏻

Here’s my version with zoodles:


Ps Her photos are much better!

Copyright: Chris McGowan

My Goodness


Okay … this has to be my absolute favourite creation ever! I know, it’s a strange one right? How can tomato-less sauce beat raw snickers cake or dreamy caramel ice cream? Trust me, it does. Not only does it taste absolutely amazing, it also contains nothing but pure vegetables. No sneaky artificial flavourings or additives. Honestly, it’s wizardry!

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How I Juiced My Skin Clear: A Rash Decision?


You Decide!

Today I’m going to talk skin diseases, rashes and juicing, so if you are of a squeamish disposition look away now!

Skin diseases are some of the most debilitating and frustrating conditions. They are not usually life-threatening but are tricky to treat and can make the life of the sufferer miserable and exhausting. A nasty, itchy rash can undermine your confidence and self-esteem, determine what you can and cannot wear, affect your relationships and even your job prospects. They can be caused by allergies, auto-immune diseases, post-viral reactions, detoxing from medications or even appear after a juicing programme. This is my story:

My Mysterious Rash

How I was inspired by The Juicemaster* and Hanna at My Goodness Recipes* to Juice My Skin Clear

In late January 2015, I finally succumbed to a nasty flu-like virus that had bowled out every family member over Christmas. I was last woman standing and thought I had got away with it. I was juicing ginger and turmeric like there was no tomorrow, which is why I believe I held off for so long. But I became worn out coping when my husband fell ill and worrying about my daughter who had developed pneumonia. The virus found a weakness and struck me too.

In late February, I noticed small, raised blotches appearing on my right forearm, which, over several weeks, became about a 10cm patch. One or two developed on my left. Then two or three patches appeared on my left calf. A major breakout came on my right calf. I ignored them to begin with. I’ve always had itchy skin, but this was new, I thought it would go away after a while. It didn’t.

April – a small but itchy rash, nothing too major but slowly increasing, amd very itchy


In May – sore, scaly and inflamed


I googled it and discovered there are 67 different rashes!

Over the next few weeks, the itching became unbearable. I was able to control the urge to scratch during the day but would wake up in the night with my leg bleeding.

So why didn’t I go to the doctor? It’s what I would advise my mum to do.

Well, firstly I react very badly to drugs and chemicals; secondly, from previous experience with a small patch of eczema years ago – and from the experience of other sufferers – I knew they would probably want to give me steroid cream, which I didn’t want to use.

I wanted to tackle the cause, not just apply topical cream and suppress the symptoms.

I believed that my body was still continuing to detox due to regular juicing and was probably placed under further strain by the virus. Detoxifying can go on for quite some time when juice cleansing and my body had lots to cope with before I began in terms of long-term pain and asthma medication and so on.

The skin is a major player in detoxification, especially if the liver and kidneys are already taxed, and I wanted to encourage this process rather than suppress it with steroids.

I turned to the juicing community for help.

Jason Vale’s* struggle with psoriasis – an auto-immune disease – is well-documented in his books. When nothing worked, his doctors wanted to hospitalise him and cover him in coal tar and bandages for several weeks. Hanna Sillitoe of My GoodnessRecipes* also had a body covered in psoriasis and her doctors wanted to give her chemo medication!

Jason and Hanna decided to take a more gentle and natural route via juicing, skin-brushing, supplements, meditation, fresh air, exercise and essential fatty acids.

They both became regular juicers and clean eaters and both now have clear skin. I decided to follow their example.


Before and After Juicing


I followed Jason’s Clear Skin Programme to the letter: specific juices for the skin and to support the body’s natural ability to repair and heal, plus Brazil nuts for selenium together with zinc for healthy skin, Omega oils, avocados, herbs to detoxify and Dead Sea salts for skin brushing to rid the skin of dead cells and improve circulation. I also did visualisation and meditation and smoothed Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil on the rash every morning and evening.

The programme requires commitment and takes time, but it is well worth it.

Jason warns that although some people begin to see benefits almost straightaway, for some it can take weeks or even months, but perseverance will win through in the end. He was right!

I noticed an improvement within 10 days.

It took less than a month for my arms to clear up altogether, and a bit longer for the small patches on my left leg. However, I began to despair over the much larger area on my right leg.

But then in June, the whole area began to change to a lighter colour and the itching became less persistent. I could sleep and not be disturbed by it.


 I had a setback late July when my husband had a nasty cycling accident which created a lot of stress and exhaustion. I became a little disheartened, thinking it would never go away, but I stuck with the programme and gradually it started to heal again until by September I was left with just a small patch on my shin bone.

By October it had completely healed and cleared!


No more itching and I can wear wool again, just in time for the cold weather! Result!

Despite reading many medical opinions to the contrary, diet has apparently played a large part in the 3 of us regaining healthy skin and reclaiming our characters and our lives. My experience was nothing compared to Jason and Hanna’s, but it had begun to affect my personality and well-being.

The moral of the story is: Don’t Give Up!

Thank you to Jason Vale and Hanna Sillitoe for freely sharing their plans and providing support, for their inspiring positivity, and to Hanna for permission to use her photos. Both Jason and Hanna have free advice on their websites.

PS 3 years on, I am still rash-free.

UPDATE: Some people are sensitive to nightshade foods – tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, peppers – which aggravate their skin condition. For us, the ultimate sacrifice can be having to give up traditional pasta and pizza sauce. Until now. Hanna has come up with her Amazing Tomatoless Sauce. I tried it out and it really works! Here’s my version with zoodles. Take a look at Hanna’s website, her photos are much better! It works with pasta and pizza and keeps well in an airtight jar in the fridge. See also Vegan Courgetti Bolognese ft Hanna’s Vegetable Protein Sauce


PS Hanna has just had her first book published! ‘Radiant’ tells her story of how she cleared her skin through changes to her diet and lifestyle, becoming healthier and fitter in the process and also includes beautifully photographed recipes. Available on Amazon and at Waterstones.



Disclaimer: This article is based on my own experience and reading about Jason and Hanna’s decisions to try juicing and natural treatments. Do your own research and please consult your doctor first especially if you are taking medications for your condition.

Copyright: Chris McGowan