Can’t be bothered to juice?

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I know many who would love to eat healthier, drink less and get a juicing practice going, yet don’t. Why? Because it requires an element of change – and change is hard. Here are my top tips for sticking to juicing.

  • Get your juicer out! You’d be surprised how many wanna-be juicers keep their hardware tucked away in a top cupboard – behind stuff that they never use. Is this you? I’m of the firm opinion that unless the juicer sits on your kitchen counter it ain’t going to happen. You need a daily reminder of this new habit to make it into a hard working health tool. Mine looks quite rough because it gets daily usage. No matter – I consider it to be one of my best investments.
  • Buy more veg! If you are used to buying a bag of salad, some cucumber and a punnet of cherry tomatoes for the week then you may have to rethink. Juicing takes quantities of green stuff. You need several cucumbers per week, couple of heads of celery, bag of spinach, kale, chard or whatever else you plan to put in the juice. The point is you need to buy more than you are used to. Try to buy seasonally – it is much more cost effective. Juicing expensive apples from Peru makes no sense during the wonderful English apple season, for example.
  • Put a small plastic recyclable plastic bag in the waste compartment of your juicer. That way, all you have to do is throw it away afterwards without cleaning the compartment itself. You still have to clean the filter and perhaps one or two other parts but you soon get used to it.
  • Stop thinking of it as a ‘luxury’ or a ‘fad’. The health benefits of green, leafy vegetables have been documented for years and by consuming a daily juice you stand a fab change of feeling recharged and energised as well as adding a much needed nutrient boost to your hard working body.
  • Do it with a friend. Everything is better if you share it with someone. Be creative. Get your mates in on the juicing. Compare recipes. Alternate mornings – one morning it’s the friend’s turn to juice for two and the next yours.

Today’s juice was mean and green thanks to a lovely batch of Cavolo Nero that I got at Whole Foods. Here is the recipe:

Mean, Green Cavolo Nero Juice

BIG handful cavolo nero

3 stalks kale

3 stalks celery – with leaves

1/2 cucumber

Big handful rocket leaves

1 apple

2″ piece of ginger root

Enjoy! x

Food Matters

Unless we have major reasons to change our lifestyle, we tend to be lazy and leave things as they are. Let’s face it. But you throw in a biggie, like illness, and we start to pay attention. Especially when it involves those we love.

James Colquhoin and Laurentine ten Bosch, the couple behind Food Matters, a brilliant documentary and subsequent web portal that has taken the world by storm, were shocked and devastated when James’ father Roy was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. For years they watched helplessly as Roy deteriorated into a world of his own due to the various meds and clinical advice he had been given. James and Laurentine finally decided to intervene, against the wishes of medical professionals, and began changing Roy’s diet by including healthier foods such as organic fruit and vegetables and experiment with natural supplements. Within months Roy had healed and Food Matters was born. Their documentary is a must watch and will give you a creepy feeling when the realisation sinks in that it is profit, not concern for our well-being, that drives healthcare today. Natural foods, such as fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts and seeds are abundant  in nature but because they cannot be patented they are of no interest to the pharmaceutical giants, responsible for most of our ‘healing’ today. Yet changing diet and lifestyle habits can save lives. It is that simple.

Watch, read, question, learn and investigate yourself and do what you can to find your own answers to your health – don’t just assume someone else knows better. People like James and Laurentine, who tirelessly promote a healthy way of life whilst exposing that which does not serve us, are natural crusaders and we can all become better informed rather than wait until it is too late.

Eat whole food and organic fruit and vegetables. Drink green juice. Love each other. Be kind and stand up for that which you believe in. Relax. Sleep. Meditate. I wish you a wonderful Monday. x

Cinnamon Granola

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I’m a bit obsessed by the smell of cinnamon buns – it’s a Swedish thing. There is something so wholesome and soothing about these spiced buns that conjure up memories of childhood, baking and the knowledge that all is well in the world.

And that is why this cinnamon granola has been such a game changer in our family. I can’t remember being so excited about something edible that isn’t green for a long time but here it is. As a mainly gluten free household, the kids sometimes bemoan the loss of cereal. Cereal used to play a big part on our breakfast menu in days past but it has now been replaced by gluten free bread, eggs and natural yoghurt with honey. Still, I could see where they were coming from. After doing a cereal check on various blogs I felt I had enough of an idea of what to do and what not to do to create my own version. I didn’t want a granola jam packed with dried fruit and sugar. I wanted it to be healthy, gluten free and with a strong flavour reminiscent of – you guessed it – cinnamon buns.

I’m glad to say we hit jackpot with this recipe as it features cinnamon, cardamom and ginger that, when oven baked, resemble the smell and taste of my beloved buns – sans gluten. I am sure you will love this recipe, the smell that will permeate your house when you bake it and the satisfying feeling of putting all the lovely golden kernels into a glass jar and saying you did it yourself. Now my kids can have cereal in the morning, whilst getting a good amount of nuts and seeds into their system without ‘noticing’ and a healthy dose of good fat from the coconut oil. I have it with almond milk and ground chia seeds. Here is the recipe:

 
Cinnamon Granola, Green Swede Style

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup cashew nuts

1/2 cup brazil nuts

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup pecan nuts

1/2 cup almonds, no skin

1/2 cup coconut shavings

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1/2 gluten-free oats, certified

2-3 tbsp coconut oil

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup maple syrup or raw honey

Place all the nuts and seeds in your mixer/food processor and grind until small chunks are visible. If you like the seeds whole, just leave them out and grind the nuts on their own. Once ground up, add all nuts and seeds into a bowl, add the spices, coconut fat and syrup as well and stir the lot into a sticky mixture. Already you should be tasting the yummy flavours when you have a try. Line a baking tray with grease proof paper and spread out the nutty mixture evenly. Flatten with a spatula. Place in pre heated oven at 150C (300F) and dry for about 50 min. With 10 minute intervals, stir and make sure the mixture does not burn – it can happen quickly so be vigilant. Once golden brown, take out and leave to cool. Once cooled put in a beautiful glass jar and help yourself to a bountiful serving in the morning. Enjoy! x

Warm Kale Salad with Green Beans

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Sometimes, on a cold and rainy day, a plate of raw vegetables is just not on the agenda. End of story. Still, you want to stay lean, green and crunchy and in less than 10 minutes. Top tip? Steam a few of your veg, not all. In this salad, the kale and the green beans were gently steamed for a short time only and then mixed in with the non-cooked veggies, creating a warm mixture that feels more palatable when it’s grizzly outside. The kale wilted slightly and the green beans retained their exquisite crunch which worked wonders. As the steaming was very short and the heat low, most of the nutrients remained too. Here is what went into it:

Warm Kale Salad with Green Beans

(Serves 1 generously or 2 starters)

Handful of kale, stalk removed, and chopped

Handful of green beans, topped and tailed

1/2 cup celery, chopped

4-5 cherry tomatoes, sliced lengthways

3″ piece of cucumber, chopped

3 sprigs parsley, chopped and stalk removed

3 thin slices of ginger root, sliced into skinny batons

Couple of chunks of feta cheese (less or more if you prefer, or goats cheese works too)

Generous sprinkle of ground nuts (brazil, cashew, almond, sunflower and pumpkin seeds)

Dressing:

Olive oil

Apple cider vinegar

Salt and pepper

Steam kale and green beans for a couple of minutes. Take of the heat, cover with lid and let steam for another minute or two. Chop the ‘cold’ vegetables and mix in with the steamed. Just a little reminder that ginger goes a long way so make sure you don’t overdo it (unless you are crazy for ginger of course in which case you can go for it). Add the chopped nuts and then the dressing. Mix thoroughly and add the feta last. If you’re vegan just leave the feta out completely. Enojy! X

Soup n’ Sandwich

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Many moons ago I lived in California and one of my favorite things to do was going to the local beach caf and have soup n’ sandwich for lunch. In those days, soup was inevitably a creamy chowder and the sandwich a mountain of bacon, lettuce and tomatoes with lashings of mayo. Needless to say I loved it! These days, however, I still love the soup n’ sandwich concept but I try to use ingredients that nourish rather than clog my arteries.

Today’s lunch was a leftover broccoli soup from yesterday (delicious) and sliced, sprouted rye bread with avocado and tomatoes. Sprouted bread are supposed to retain more protein than other breads and the texture is just up my street, moist and soft with a sweetish flavour.  You will find it in most health foods shops. But beware, it only keeps for a couple of days so you’ve got to eat it fast and keep it in the fridge in the meantime. I may try to make this bread at home and will share the recipe with you all if it is successful. In the meantime, here is the soup recipe that I hope you will enjoy.

Broccoli Soup

2 whole heads of broccoli, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, pressed

1 organic Kallo vegetable stock cube in 500ml water

1 tbsp cream (I used soy cream but you can try coconut or regular cream too)

Organic rape seed oil

Salt + Pepper

Sweat the onion in the oil until soft. Add the stock to the pan and bring to gentle simmer. Add broccoli and simmer with lid until soft-ish. Turn off heat and blend, using a hand mixer, until you have a smooth and creamy texture. Add a bit of cream and stir into the soup and top with a sprinkle of black pepper on top. If you don’t finish the soup then store in a glass jar in fridge and it will make a quick and easy snack for the following day. Enjoy! x

Raw Super Salad Sunday

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Lunch time!!! This raw super salad, filled with sprouts, nuts and seeds, will kick your energy levels to a new high whilst ensuring you are getting maximum nutrients into your bod. I’m actually eating it as I’m writing this blog. Why raw? Well, eating raw veg is important as many enzymes do not survive the heating process in normal cooking procedures – in other words you are not maximizing the goodness in the ingredients. Therefore, I try to keep at least 50% (or more) of all things on my plate raw.

With this multi coloured salad I also say farewell to the batch of soaked mung beans that I made a few days ago and that have proved to be such a fab and frugal ingredient in my soups, smoothies, salads and juices. Not bad for a couple of handfuls of mung beans soaked in an old glass jar. I highly recommend you try this at home. Sprouts contains live enzymes which we need for the body to thrive and aid its functions. Eating sprouts, whatever kind (radish, broccoli, mung bean, chick peas etc) is probably one of the best things you can do for your health. Here is what went into it:

Raw Super Salad, Green Swede Style

1 cup sprouted mung beans (or any other sprouted legume)

4-5 broccoli florets, cut in small pieces

1 romano pepper, cut into small pieces

1 handful spinach

1/2 LARGE avocado, or 1 small, cubed

1/2 cup ground nuts (cashew, brazil, walnut, almond, sunflower and pumpkin seeds)

Crumbled feta cheese

Dressing:

Olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper

Chop all veggies and mix in with the nuts so that you get a lovely multicoloured salad. Pour dressing on top. If you don’t have chopped nuts, get out your blender or food processor and put all the nuts you’d like to mix into it. Grind. I prefer to still have a slight crunch to the nut mixture so I don’t mix it until it is a powder but you may feel differently. Do what works for you. Put in jar and keep in cool dark place. It is a great way to have instant nuts at hand for smoothies or salads later in the week. Enjoy! X

Stress Busting Mung Bean Soup

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The mellow flavour and delicate texture of the tiny mung bean makes it one of the easiest and most versatile legumes to prepare and that is why it is a firm staple in my kitchen. My vegetarian mother used to make a mean mung bean casserole when I was little, I guess I am a bit biased, and to this day there is something incredibly soothing about eating this filling and meat free dish. But mung beans can blow both hot and cold and although they are delicious in soups and casseroles they are euqally fabulous raw and sprouted in salads – perhaps mixed with nuts and seeds, spinach, kale and a zingy ginger dressing. Just saying…

Mung beans are absolutely packed with potassium, magnesium, fibre and vitamin B which makes them ideal for:

  • combatting stress (magnesium and vitamin B)
  • cleansing your gut (good fibre)
  • manage your blood sugar (slow release of carbs)
  • cardiovascular health (potassium)

They are also considered a cleansing food, both when cooked and when sprouted raw, due to their high fibre content and ability to scoop up that which we don’t want left behind. Here in England mung beans are easy to source and available in very LARGE packs at the local supermarkets due to its frequent use in Asian cooking. While I’m there I also make sure I pick up big bags of turmeric which makes a lot more sense than those little glass jars you normally find in the shops. I invite you to try this soup at home and settle in for a mellow, warming bowl of goodness.

Stress Busting Mung Bean Soup

2 cups pre-soaked mung beans (at least 8 hours)

1 large celery stalk, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped or pressed

500 ml x Kallo organic vegetable bouillon stock

3/4 can coconut cream (thicker than the milk)

Generous sprinkling of turmeric until colour turns a warm ochre

3 large cherry tomatoes, halved

1 large tbsp coconut oil

Sprig of parsley

Salt + pepper to taste

Rinse the mung beans thoroughly in cold water. I would do this several times over until the water runs clear and without ‘froth’. Fry the onion and garlic in the coconut oil until soft, not burned. Add the turmeric and stir to distribute its colour. Add the mung beans and stir for a minute or two, let them get coated by the coconut oil and turmeric. Add the rest of the vegetables (bar the tomatoes and parsley) and stock and bring to boil. Let simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the coconut cream and tomatoes to the soup and simmer for another 5 minutes then remove from heat. Season to taste and finish off with a sprig of parsley. Enjoy! x