Wednesday, 22 March 2017

How to make kimchi...


If you have not yet been introduced to kimchi then I promise you, and your gut, are going to love it. Hailing from Korea and similar in style to sauerkraut, kimchi is a spicy, tangy, fermented food that is traditionally served as a side dish.

This recipe uses red cabbage as the base, but white cabbage and other vegetables can be used in it's place. And the spicy flavour comes from a whole lot of ginger, chilli and garlic.

Fermented foods like kimchi go through a fermentation process in which the natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the vegetables, converting them in to lactic acid. This process in turn preserves the food but also forms multiple strains of probiotics, as well as B-vitamins and omega 3 fatty-acid.

The probiotics, or 'good' bacteria, formed in the fermentation process have huge benefits for your digestive health when eaten. The bacteria helps with digestion, metabolism and absorption of essential nutrients. Having a healthy gut also contributes to a strong and resilient immune system, helping to keep away acute and chronic disease.

Making your own kimchi is easy, the fermentation process takes a few days and you can play with the recipe to suit your taste. You'll need an airtight container, a glass kilner jar is ideal but a large Tupperware tub would work too.

Ingredients

750g (1 medium size) red cabbage, finely sliced
50g table salt
50g fresh ginger, grated
4 large fresh garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 tbsp filtered water
3 tbsp of chilli flakes
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tsp Himalayan crystal salt
A few grinds of black pepper
Optional - 2 tbsp fish sauce, 4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, 1 tbsp sambal paste.

Method

Add sliced cabbage to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle over table salt, thoroughly massage the salt in to the cabbage. Let this set for 2 hours to allow the salt to draw out the moisture. After 2 hours rinse salt completely away. Rise the mixing bowl ready for re-use.

Add the ginger, garlic, water, chilli flakes, sugar, salt, black pepper and any of the optional ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix very well until it forms a paste. Add in the cabbage and again mix in thoroughly.

Transfer the mixture in to your jar and pack down, all the cabbage should be submerged in liquid, you may need to add a little extra water to ensure it is submerged. Close the lid (this has to be airtight as you want as little air in the jar as possible) and leave to ferment at room temperature for 3-7 days.

Each day open the jar and press the kimchi mixture back in to the liquid. After 3 days the kimchi is ready to taste, it will be strong and spicy. You can leave it for longer if necessary, for best results leave for the full 7 days but continue to check everyday and it's fine to eat from day 3 or 4 if it's to your taste.

Once ready store in the fridge, it will continue to develop and can last for months.

Enjoy x

Thursday, 23 February 2017




How to add superfoods to your diet

Superfoods are a fantastic way to add rich, powerful nutrients to your diet and transform your health and wellbeing in the process. But what are the best ways to start to incorporate them into your food? Some might taste a little strong to your palette to begin with, so you may prefer to blend them with other tastes - at least until you adjust.

Superfoods in smoothies

Green juices and smoothies are perhaps the most common way to add superfoods to your diet. Try a green juice of spinach, apple, lime, avocado and kiwi with a spoon of spirulina or wheatgrass. If you are new to green juicing, try a 50/50 vegetable and fruit blend. As you become less reliant on sugar, decrease the amount of fruit and become more adventurous with your green vegetables - celery, cucumber, fennel, lettuce and parsley will all help to transport your superfoods to every cell in your body for a powerful cleansing and reinvigorating effect.

In soups

Try stirring our Vitality green superfood blend into a soup - broccoli and coconut is a great choice made with fresh vegetable broth for vital nutrients. Allow the soup to cool slightly before stirring in your superfood sprinkle with a spoonful of toasted nuts, a swirl of coconut cream or a dusting of nutritional yeast flakes.

As a shot

If you are feeling ready for a quick health hit, then simply mix a spoon of your chosen superfood - maca, spirulina, wheatgrass or a blend - with filtered water and then knock it back!

In raw energy bites

Food process dates, nuts, vanilla and a spoonful of maca powder for some delicious raw energy bites. Experiment with other ingredients such as raw cacao, seeds, coconut flakes, nut butter, chia seeds and other healthful ingredients as you perfect your recipe. You can also roll your raw balls in superfoods for a colourful finish - try spirulina for a colourful green energy ball to enjoy after your workout!

What is your favourite way to enjoy superfoods?



3 ways to harness the benefits of turmeric

Turmeric has had a lot of media attention over the past couple of years. Although the spice has long been used in eastern medicine, in the west it has in the past largely been relegated to the kitchen cupboard – occasionally brought out to brighten up a curry or a stew.

More and more of us are now aware of turmeric's myriad of health benefits. It's main active ingredient, curcumin, is a strong anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, that fights inflammation at a molecular level. Turmeric can be used to treat everything from acne to inflammatory diseases, and is even believed to help protect against chronic illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. 

It's a good idea then, to include more turmeric in a healthy lifestyle, and you don't have to stick to curry to gain the benefits of this super spice.

1. Start the day with a latte or smoothie

A growing trend among health conscious hipsters, why not start the day with a turmeric latte, tea or smoothie. Make a paste from turmeric powder and boiling water (or grate the fresh root if you can find it), and add it to nut milk or water with a healthy sweetener, a dusting of cinnamon and some black pepper for a delicious morning wake up.

You can also add the powder to your fruit smoothie, to give it an extra health boost.

2. Try a face mask

You don't have to eat turmeric to feel the benefits. Used by Indian brides for centuries as a beauty treatment, a turmeric facial can help treat conditions like acne, dry skin and eczema. Just add turmeric and honey to some milk or yogurt, and use as a face mask for glowing skin.


3. Get creative

While turmeric is of course a fantastic addition to an Indian curry, there are plenty of other dishes you can make with this versatile spice.
Try sprinkling it over roast vegetables or scrambled eggs, or add it to rice next time you're cooking. With so many health benefits to be felt, it's worth including turmeric in your food wherever you can.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Raw peanut butter and jam protein slice

Recipe - Raw peanut butter and jam protein slice

I am such a big fan of peanut butter and jam. The combination of sweet and salty is a classic and is a firm favourite for so many people on toast, in sandwiches, on pancakes.... However, heavily laden with refined sugar I now tend to stay away from conventional jam in favour of home-made healthy alternatives.

I wanted to create a recipe that used this winning combo but in a healthy snack that doesn't involve smothering it on top of carbs, and a slice seemed like the perfect solution. This recipe also doesn't use nuts in the base so it's really light in texture and on the tummy. 

Ingredients
Base
1 cup organic rolled oats
1 cup Medjool dates
4 tbsp organic peanut butter (I always choose ones palm oil free or from sustainable palm oil sources)
4tbsp raw hemp protein powder
Drizzle of maple syrup or agave
Jam Layer
250g berries of your choice (I used raspberries and blueberries)
4 tbsp chia seeds
Top Layer
1 tbsp coconut oil
1tbsp raw cacao powder
1tbsp coconut palm sugar or sweeter of your choice

Method
1. First make your jam, in a blender add all your berries and blend until broken down in to liquid consistency. pour in to a bowl and add the chia seeds, mix well and place in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes to set.
2. Put the oats in a food processor and blitz for about 30 seconds or until oats have a breadcrumb consistency. 
3. Add the dates, peanut butter, hemp protein powder and maple syrup and continue to blitz.  This should slowly form a dense sticky mixture, if it's too dry add a little water and blitz again. 
4. Place the base mixture in a tin lined with baking parchment and spread and press evenly to all corners.
5. Once set, speed the chia jam on to the base and pop in the freezer for 10 minutes. 
6. Melt the coconut oil in a pan on a low heat, once melted add the raw cacao powder and coconut palm sugar and mix very well. You should have a thick liquid consistency similar to melted chocolate. 
7. Take the tin out of the freezer and pour the cacao liquid on top of the jam. You can cover it evenly or make patterns. Place the tin in the fridge for 20 minutes to all it all to set together. 
8. After it has set, take out from the fridge, cut in to squares, bars or shapes and enjoy:) 










Maca powder – the superfood beneficial for an underactive thyroid

Maca powder – the superfood beneficial for an underactive thyroid


Do you feel tired and stressed out all the time? Research has indicated that the alkaloids of maca will have a beneficial effect on your endocrine system when taken regularly - and this is good news for all women. As we go through life, our hormones fluctuate. This can be unsettling enough but, when we also take the stresses of daily life into account, we can start to experience adrenal fatigue - this is our body’s first line of defence. If we don’t heed the warnings, the thyroid gland can become impacted severely. 

Many women have found that taking maca improves the function of their thyroid, reducing mental fog and fatigue in a very short space of time. 

It works best if you can use maca powder on a daily basis and it works by impacting the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus - these are significant when it comes to the health of your thyroid. The hypothalamus releases a thyrotropin-releasing hormone – known as TRH - and this stimulates the pituitary gland which in turn, stimulates the thyroid to release the thyroid hormone. So, if you want an overhaul of your endocrine system, maca may be the herb for you. Maca powder can help to stimulate the natural productivity of your thyroid and this has to be a good thing. 

As a superfood, maca root is becoming increasingly popular as it has numerous benefits. It helps to reduce glucose levels, can reduce the number of hot flushes associated with the menopause, it lowers your blood pressure and can even improve sexual desire. Maca powder is readily available and it can easily be added to meals on a daily basis. If you are interested in trying it out, simply add to your cereals or homemade smoothies and enjoy the subtle, malty taste. Note: it is generally advised that you don't cook or bake maca powder but as small quantities are all that is required, you'll find many ways of adding it to your diet. Use regularly and you’ll start to notice that your health improves.




Thursday, 2 February 2017


6 reasons spirulina is the superfood you need right now 

With its deep forest green colour, spirulina powder is often considered the king of super greens. Its unique colour is down to the fact that spirulina is actually a form of algae. And this amazing superfood is simple to add to your daily routine - all you need to do is stir one heaped teaspoon into a smoothie filled with fresh fruit once a day and you'll start feeling the health benefits. Here are six reasons spirulina is the superfood you need right now:

1. Packed with protein

Gym-going vegans have been drinking spirulina-packed smoothies for years. In fact, spirulina is 64% protein! The fact that there are 57 grams of protein per 100 grams is just mind-blowing. So, if you are looking for a protein uptake without having dairy or meat - look no further.


2. High in chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is the stuff that flushes toxins and bad stuff out of your blood. No, this doesn't mean you should continue to eat poorly or drink excessively to balance it out, but it can give you a helping hand.

3. High in iron

If you are on a plant-based diet, finding foods high in iron is a real struggle. Spirulina is packed with iron to help you solve that issue.

4. Packed with nutrients

Spirulina is also packed with the nutrients your body craves for everyday healthy functioning and wellness such as vitamin A, B6, C and D. On top of that, you'll find magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, chromium and selenium.

5. High in antioxidants

High in antioxidants means it's great for a detox and also amazing for your skin.

6. High in calcium

Spirulina is incredibly high in calcium meaning that's good news for your teeth and bones. To all those milk drinkers out there, spirulina actually contains over 26 times the amount of calcium found in moo juice.


Friday, 20 January 2017

Get your chocolate fix, superfood style…

Get your chocolate fix, superfood style…

If, like us, you’re a massive chocoholic, you may be wondering how you can get all the goodness you need while enjoying your favourite snack. The good news is that with the variety of cacao products available, it’s perfectly possible to eat chocolate and enhance your health and wellness.

Raw cacao beans, although an acquired taste, are definitely worth trying, just for their health benefits. They are categorised as a superfood because they contain so many antioxidants and micronutrients. Cacao beans help you to feel more energised, support your immune system and can do wonders for your hair, teeth, nails and skin. 

If you fancy trying something different with your cacao beans, we recommend toasting the beans in a pan. After they’ve popped, you can put the shells in a cup and pour over hot water to make cacao tea – it’s absolutely delicious! For those who prefer a rich hot chocolate, take the shelled beans and grind them into a paste before adding hot nut milk or water, along with vanilla and some natural sweetener.

Your preference may be to have something closer to the chocolate you know and love instead but without the refined sugar and dairy. If that’s the case, then you could try making your own organic raw chocolate blocks. Using coconut oil, raw cacao powder, raw cacao butter, and coconut palm sugar you can create your own version of chocolate heaven, it will taste great and you'll benefit from the wide range of nutrients that raw cacao provides. You could even try adding your own flavours, from banana powder or goji berry powder to dried mulberries and pumpkin seeds 

We really love adding blueberry powder and hulled hemp seeds, the flavour combo works really well and comes with the added benefit of the protein, omega 3 and antioxidants found in these special ingredients.



Hopefully that gives you some good ideas but if you’re a chocoholic on a superfood mission and you’ve got any recommendations, we’d love to hear from you!