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healthy gut

A letter from Debbie | Yoga Retreat for Foodies


A letter from Debbie | Yoga Retreat for Foodies

I’m really looking forward to cooking for you during our Yoga Retreat for Foodies in a few of weeks. I’ve been planning the menus and feel really excited about preparing truly delicious nourishing food to share.

My love of cooking started almost 40 years ago when I learned cooking skills in home economic lessons at high school. My mum had never been keen on cooking, so my new interest and love of cooking meant I started to prepare our family meals on a regular basis. I would make buffets for parties and have made a few wedding and other celebration cakes over the years. Baking was always my great love with scones, cakes and chocolate brownies being my most popular bakes.

A number of years ago, during a difficult period in my life when I was very stressed I also became unwell with physical health issues. It was during my recovery from these health issues just over 2 years ago I attended my first yoga class. I very quickly developed a love for yoga and how it made me feel. I also decided to change my diet and began cooking in a more healthy way, focussing on the nutritional aspect of food. I gradually changed my diet, starting by cutting out refined sugar and processed foods, then began reducing meat and introducing more fish. I continued to make gradual changes as I learned more about food and nutrition. I didn’t count calories and never weighed myself and still don’t. It wasn’t about losing weight it was about how I felt. My confidence and self esteem were low and I didn’t like my body, to be honest I had never liked my body.

I really enjoyed cooking new dishes and experimenting with new recipes using more vegetables, grains, beans and pulses. I didn’t stop baking, but learned how to bake using dates, bananas and honey instead of refined sugars. It’s interesting how your taste buds change and now I wouldn’t be able to eat anything loaded with sugar, I just wouldn’t enjoy it. I still love chocolate, but eat good quality dark chocolate. As a result of my new lifestyle, which included lots of yoga and group fitness class at DP Wellbeing my body shape changed…this was a gradual process over a period time. I now wear clothes several sizes smaller than I did previously and I love my body, both how it feels on the inside and how it looks on the outside!


The food I prepare at home is inspired mainly by Ella Woodward (Deliciously Ella) and Bear Grylls. I absolutely love Bear Grylls book ‘Fuel for Life’ and have learned so much from this book. 

I’m not strictly vegetarian, vegan or gluten free but I do cook this way most of the time. I use lots of herbs and spices in my cooking, it’s really amazing the flavours that develop with fresh herbs and spices. 

The food I will be cooking during for the retreat will be vegan based and a couple of the recipes will also come from a vegetarian cook book ‘The Yoga Kitchen’ by Kimberly Parsons. There is no definition of what a superfood is and there’s no official list of superfoods, but here are some of my superfoods I will be using over the weekend - hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, maca powder, honey, avocados, garlic, ginger, turmeric, berries, oats, nuts, broccoli, kale and spinach. I love Bear Gryll’s definition of superfoods “nutrient-dense food, very high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which have heath-boosting properties and provide exceptional health benefits” and you can be sure that’s exactly what you will enjoy during the retreat!


XoXo Debbie


You can read a little bit more about Debbie and her story here. This year we have two Yoga for Foodies Retreat in Elie - check both of them here



"Good" bacteria vs. "bad” bacteria - how antibiotics may not make you healthier

As a kid I was quite frail and prompt to being unwell. One cold followed another one, every allergy ended up with a cold and it all resulted in taking another antibiotic. Back in the 80s neither my mum nor even the doctors could see the connection between antibiotics and allergies or recurring colds. Even now my mum's first reaction to a sore throat is an antibiotic! I stopped it when I grew up old enough o say ’no' and now I am against even a simple painkiller but obviously the damage has already been done and now I pay for it with various allergies or infections.

Even now, when we are constantly being told to avoid taking unnecessary drugs and both immunologists and allergists have noted a dramatic increase in the prevalence of allergies linked to antibiotics, I still personally know a lot of people who religiously run to a GP for yet another perscription and wonder why they are constantly off sick.

Your immune system is the greatest defence against foreign invaders on the planet. It’s got its watch on 24/7 and it has the ability to remember harmful agents and how to destroy them. Much of the immune work is done in the intestinal tract. Antibiotics are designed to kill or halt the growth of bacteria. They don't target your white blood cells that we normally consider our immune system but the bacterial cells, which is a completely different thing. 

The difficulty is that antibiotics do not differentiate between "good" bacteria and "bad" bacteria, thus hey just kill all of them. The good bacteria living in your digestive tract helps to fight off bad bacteria, aids in digestion, nutrient absorption, and keeps yeast in its proper balance. The absence of "good" bacteria in your gut leaves you vulnerable to repopulation or mutation by "bad" bacteria, which can cause some serious problems and having the same allergy or cold coming back within a month. This is why you'll often be told to eat some yogurt when taking antibiotics, because it'll repopulate your gut with "good" bacteria.  

Since everything changes permanently after taking just one round of antibiotics, it takes years of targeted nutrition and probiotic therapies to recover a balance in the body (do you even consider this?).  

Next time, perhaps think twice before you get the prescription. See whether this is exactly what you need to become healthier?  



Once pesto is ready why not add some gnocchi?

Following my blog about the home made pesto, here is a great example of what you can do once pesto is ready. 


What to get?

  • asparagus
  • peas
  • gnocchi (I got spinach, gluten free gnocchi from a fantastic organic shop and cafe: Jessie's Kitchen. If you are ever going to pass Broughty Ferry, make sure you visit them)

What to do?

  • put some coconut oil on the pan, add water and cook asparagus and the peas (approx. 2 min)
  • add gnocchi and continue cooking (another 2min)
  • season with salt and pepper for taste
  • remove excess water and just lightly fry everything to add some crispness to this mixture
  • once it's all on the plate, mix it with some pesto, maybe add some cheese and voilà!



Protein pancakes

There’s something comforting about pancakes. We love the taste, the making process and the smell they leave in the entire house. There is nothing better than lazy Sunday breakfast. Plus you don’t have to go to a fancy brunch or sacrifice your diet to make your fluffy dreams a reality.
What you need is:

  • 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • 1 cup of organic oats
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 rhubarb stick, apple, blueberries, strawberries, or any other fruit you love.


  • Put all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth (including banana). You can add a spoon of organic coconut oil so you don’t need to use it later on
  • Chop the rhubarb and add it to the mixture (don't blend anymore)
  • Use coconut oil to grease your frying pan. Add the mixture. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown