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Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

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Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

A simple chocolate cake that can be served as a dessert or serve a slice with a cup of your favourite tea. No eggs, flour or sugar and sweetened using only dates. 

Shopping bag

  • 15 small dates soaked in boiling water for at least 30 mins (medjool dates are best)

  • 200g ground almonds

  • 1 teaspoon gf baking powder

  • ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • 4 tablespoons coconut or olive oil

  • 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder

  • 60 ml non-dairy milk

  • Pinch salt

Directions

Pre-heat oven 180 or gas 4. grease and line a round cake tin.

Drain most of water just leaving a small amount and blend dates and water in a food processor. Add the pureed dates to a bowl with all other ingredients and mix well before pouring into the greased tin. Bake for around 20 minutes. 

Blend coconut cream and fresh berries of your choice to serve with the cake. 

 
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Vegan Banana Muffins

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Vegan Banana Muffins

Shopping list

Makes 12 muffins

  • 3 ripe bananas mashed

  • 3 ½  tablespoons coconut milk

  •  3 tablespoons coconut oil melted

  • 230g spelt flour 

  • 170g coconut sugar

  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder 

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • A handful of dried fruit, nuts or chopped apple of your choice

Instructions

Heat the oven 200 degrees c  (180 fan) and line a muffin tin with paper cases. Mix the first three ingredients together in a large bowl before adding all the dry ingredients. Pour into muffin cases and sprinkle with chopped nuts, apple or ground cinnamon if you like. 

Bake for 25 mins. Once cooked cool in the tin for 10 minutes to allow them to firm before transferring to a wire cooling wrack. 

Enjoy on their own or with some coconut yoghurt. 

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If you made the sticky toffee pudding then you need some...Vegan Caramel Sauce

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If you made the sticky toffee pudding then you need some...Vegan Caramel Sauce

You can't have the sticky toffee pudding without the sauce !!

What do you need?

  • 13.5 oz tin full fat coconut milk 
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

How do you make it?

Combine milk, sugar and salt in a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Immediately lower heat and simmer for 30 – 40 mins stirring occasionally. For the last 5 minutes stir continuously. Remove from the heat and stir in coconut oil and vanilla. Serve warm or store in a sterilised jar in fridge and use as required.

Won't blame you for wanting to lick the bowl lol

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Ultimate king of all deserts -  vegan sticky toffee pudding

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Ultimate king of all deserts - vegan sticky toffee pudding

This sticky toffee cake is delicious and is so simple to make. Served warm with vegan caramel sauce it has all the taste of an indulgent, traditional sticky toffee pudding but it’s made with healthier ingredients. Give it a try and we guarantee you will not be disappointed.  

What do you need to make this heavenly indulgance?

  • 250g dates pitted and chopped (medjool dates are best)

  • 100ml dairy free milk

  • 85g coconut oil

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 3 large eggs or equivalent flax eggs

  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Pinch of salt

How?

Pre-heat oven 180 or gas 4. Grease and line a square baking tin.

Soak dates in 190ml boiling water for 10 mins then blend dates (and water) with all other ingredients in a food processor and pour into prepared tin. Bake for 35 – 40 mins. 

Delicious served warm with vegan caramel sauce. 

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Coconut, almond and lime energy balls

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Coconut, almond and lime energy balls

Those are an amazing energy boost, easy to make (you don’t need a fancy food processor) and yummy.

All you need is:

  • 120g desiccated coconut plus just a wee bit more for coating
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 2 table spoons of melted coconut oil
  • 3 table spoons of agave syrup (or any other syrup you like)
  • Zest and juice of 2 limes
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tea spoon of matcha powder
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Preparation is even easier. Put all ingredients into one big bowl and use your palms to mix it all together. You can add more oil or almonds depending if the mixture is too dry or wet. Trust the process and spend some time mixing it together and maybe even forming a test ball before you start adding oil. A lot of our clients thinks that it’s too dry to stick but you just need to squeeze it a little bit and wait for the juices to release.

After everything is mixed together, start forming little or larger balls. Once they are ready, coat them in spare coconut flakes.

Refrigerate for 30mins

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy and use when you are on the go.

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craving something sweet? Quick hazelnut cacao butter

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craving something sweet? Quick hazelnut cacao butter

Your own butter as a response to a very strong urge for something sweet? nothing easier...

you just need to...

  • 300g hazelnuts roast for 19 mins at 180 degrees C
  • Allow to cool in tin
  • Blend to a butter in a powerful food processor for 10 mins
  • Transfer to a clean bowl with 3teaspoons raw cacao, pinch salt, splash of maple syrup (about 2 teaspoons and a teaspoon of vanilla essence 
  • Transfer to sterilised jars

It's THIS easy!

Just put it on a slice of bread, pancake and leak it straight of the spoon...crazy...isn't it?

You can eat clean and healthy every day and it takes less time than going to shops. 

 

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Vegan chocolate berry muffins - yummy HEAVEN

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Vegan chocolate berry muffins - yummy HEAVEN

Who doesn't love muffins? What makes them so amazing and yummy?Even the name 'muffin' is amazing in makes you crave one right when you hear it.

Are you already thinking about a muffin?

Or maybe it's their unique shape. I reckon a muffin without its distinctive dome wouldn't be anywhere near as enjoyable. Just like a bagel without that circular shape and the hole in the middle. 

Mmmmm.... muffins....

Those muffins will revolutionise your world. 

What do you need?

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  • 1.5 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 60g raw cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 100g buckwheat flour
  • 20g arrowroot or tapioca flour
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 150g coconut sugar
  • 170ml maple syrup
  • 120ml coconut oil
  • 170ml coconut cream
  • 1 smalll sweet potato - peeled cooked and mashed
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 100g raspberries

Instructions

Pre-heat oven 180 degrees C. This will allow you to make 8 muffins

Combine the flax seed with 90 ml water and let it stand for a few mins. Add raw cacao, bicarbonate of soda, buckwheat flour, ground almonds, arrowroot and coconut sugar stir until well combined.

Stir in the coconut oil, coconut cream, mashed sweet potato and salt and combine together before gently folding in raspberries last.

Line a muffin tin with paper cases and divide mixture between the paper cases. I like to add more sea salt on top before cooking.

Cook for around 25 minutes in the centre of the oven. Remove from the oven and cool in the tin.
As there are no refined sugars and due to the fresh berries and sweet potato content the muffins will only stay fresh for a few days in an airtight container.

NOTE: If you don’t have arrowroot or tapioca just add 20g extra buckwheat or ground almonds.

 

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Cashew butter turmeric chai yumminess

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Cashew butter turmeric chai yumminess

We all have our go-to-remedies and one of my favourites is turmeric! This immune-boosting remedy is one of the world’s most powerful natural healers. Its active ingredient - curcumin, has been known for centuries to have extremely potent medicinal properties.

This Turmeric Chai Tea is an easy and nourishing morning beverage. The tea gently wakes you up, turmeric coats your body in protective cloak and the ritual of drinking a slowly and purposefully made drink is a perfect morning elixir bringing mindfulness to the day.

Allowing yourself to slowly drink the tea while setting your intent for the day feels amazing. Maybe you can even squeez in a little bit of yoga? 

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Cashew Butter Turmeric Chai

  • 1 cup of hot water (let it cool a little bit before you put it into your nutribullet) 
  • 1 tea bag of your favourite chai tea
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Sometimes I add a couple of black peppercorns but not always
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 
  • I don’t like it sweet but if you find it too blunt then I suggest 1/2 tsp of agave syrup or a banana

Place your chai tea in a mug with hot water and let it brew for 3-5 minutes. Add all ingredients to nutribullet and blend max 2 minutes. It will quickly turn smooth and frothy.

Enjoy with a smile. 

**Version with non-dairy milk

Heat your favourite non-dairy milk (mine is almond) in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to steam. Remove from the heat, add in the teabags and cover with a lid. Let steep for 5 minutes.

Remove the tea bags and place the milk into your nutribullet with the other ingredients. Mix for 1min and voila!

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Most yummy retreat!

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Most yummy retreat!

Debbie if our amazing food magician. She can flick her fingers and create most delicious, full of flavour and colours dishes. Let's see what she thinks about a yoga retreat...

What was your favourite thing and why?

I have so many amazing memories from my first yoga retreat I co-hosted last September in Elie. Relaxing with the guests in the lounge on arrival I knew instantly we were in for a great weekend. There were so many amazing things we enjoyed together full of fun and laughter. From having photographs taken on a sunny day in the beautiful grounds to having more photographs taken the next day doing crazy yoga poses with a group of amazing women holding me up in splits! Whilst preparing lunch throwing my apron off and a second later heading off to the beach for a walk with everyone, as we had collectively decided getting out in the fresh air was what we needed and lunch could happen 2 hours later! Sleeping on the top bunk for the first time in around 45 years because my roommate was scared of heights! Making connections and new friendships. Switching off from technology because the phone signal was rubbish!

What inspired your food?

I’ve always loved cooking ever since I was a teenager. Today my cooking is inspired by my desire to take care of my body in the best way I can; this includes regular yoga practice, exercise classes and cooking foods from scratch using the best possible ingredients. Removing refined sugar and all processed foods from my diet have made such a difference to how I feel as well as my energy levels. I love experimenting with new healthy and wholesome ingredients and cook with lots of grains, pulses, seeds and nuts. I still bake cakes and treats, but much healthier versions! I gain so much pleasure from cooking and sharing what I have cooked with others, as well as showing how they can cook in this way too. My cooking is inspired by Ella Woodward (Deliciously Ella), Kimberly Parsons (The Yoga Kitchen) and Bear Grylls (Fuel for Life). A selection of my cookery books are always on hand for people to browse and chat with me about the recipes they may want to try.

Why do you love yoga retreats?

Yoga retreats are so special, offering an opportunity to truly relax and recharge your batteries. Everything is taken care of allowing you to switch off from the usual responsibilities and stresses and indulge in some well deserved me time. Spending the weekend with a small group of like minded people who engage, support and inspire one another can feel very uplifting and leave you feeling refreshed. There’s something unique, perhaps powerful even about the yoga and the yoga space when your mind and body are so relaxed. I often reflect on the yoga retreats I’ve attended and when I take myself back to the yoga and the yoga space I instantly feel comforted and relaxed.

Hosting a yoga retreat is special too...an honour and privilege to be able to nourish and care for those attending through my delicious food prepared with love.

Why Treescape was so unique and special?

Treescape really is a true home from home where you can instantly feel comfortable and relaxed. The house is spacious, but still small enough to feel cosy and offers a feeling of togetherness for the group. Everything you could ever need is right there with some special little luxuries too that make if feel even more indulgent, such as an area on the landing to chill and read a book! The kitchen met all my expectations and more, making it a fabulous space to busy myself preparing food. The grounds and garden area are so peaceful just to sit in and relax, enjoy some outdoor yoga or have a little wander to stretch your legs.

What did you think about the area?

The East Neuk of Fife offer fabulous walks along the Fife Costal Path and Elie itself boasts a gorgeous beach worth exploring whatever the weather. Walking around Elie gives a sense of being away from it all without having to travel too far from home. There are several little gift shops and coffee shops too, if like me you need real barista coffee to help you function at your best! The Ardross Farm shop is worth a visit as well as nearby Bowhouse whee they often have food festivals.

Temped? Visit our calendar and join us...

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Best vegetarian and vegan bistros in Prague

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Best vegetarian and vegan bistros in Prague

Prague is a great place for yummy vegan restaurants ( which I didn’t know prior to going there). I had a wee list of all the places I wanted to visit but sadly managed only a handful (as there are so many!). Some places offer only vegan or vegetarian options but some aren't as strict and if you ask for meaty options they will accommodate your request. Here are some of my favourites that I personally tried and recommend. Let’s stat with my absolute favourite:

Bistro 8

Located in a new hipster neighbourhood next to a really cool park Letna. Our hotel was just around a corner so I went there a few times and loved the place, my 3 course lunch (light and delicious) and fruit ice tea (all home made and yummy). 

Homekitchen

They have 4 locations all over the city, some of them are bigger bistros and some are just cafes so make sure you double check before you go. It was one of my favourite places! They use great spacious design, good food and super friendly waiters. Definitely a must on your visit! It’s funny as they have a wee display of all the dishes available and the waiters just walk around (everything is very open and there is no actual ‘bar’ where you can order your food). The menu is small but its perfect as everything you need is there: good selection of fats, protein, long lasting carbs and a multitude of flavours. Definitely your taste buds will love it. 

Lehka Hlava 

Means: ‘Clear Head’. This place is located in old town area in a building that is over 500 years old. They serve great drinks, cakes and vegan dishes. The decor is really interesting and deftly not what I have expected. The remarkable interior design is the work of three friends and acclaimed artists: Žanda Gebauer made the tables with lights, the fireplace and the starry sky; Viktor Koreis designed the upholstered sofas, bar and the ceiling and grafics of the small salon; Ivan Vosecký designed the stencils that we used to decorate the walls throughout the restaurant. The magic mushroom lamps as well as the painting of the Aztec lizard is the work of Tomas Kuthan.

They say that Lehka Hlava is a place whose "genius loci" (spirit of the place) will clear your head, entice your appetite and delight your soul. All you need to do is: sit back, relax and allow your senses to be immersed in the delightful display of colours, tastes, smells and sounds. 

The sister restaurant Maitrea is located near the main square and also has wonderful dishes and more space.

Plevel at Krymska is lovely too as well as Radost FX by I.P. Pavlova.

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A letter from Debbie | Yoga Retreat for Foodies

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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!

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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

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Cool things about Prague

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Cool things about Prague

Prague is a gorgeous city. It is so well preserved and renovated after the wars, with a rich history, expansive parks, Vegas-style nightlife, and even a hint of romance. It really does remind me a little bit of Paris or Venice with the mesmerising river and cute little pubs. I used to come to Prague often when I was much younger but haven’t been here for over 12 years and a lot has changed. There are way more tourists, prices are higher, the food is more international, everybody can speak English, and more foreigners live in the city. But the city’s core - cobblestone streets, quaint medieval houses, incredible charm that make Prague — is still there.

We spend 3 days here and it was good amount of time to explore the city. Our friends were Czech, which made it easier and wonderful but you can do all of this alone too as the city is really safe and easy to discover and explore.

Don’t be afraid to stay a little bit outside the main city centre as the trams and metro are really easy to use and Uber is affordable although apparently illegal in Czech Republic. I wouldn’t use it in rush hour as you will get stuck like everybody else and you will quickly realise that it was much better to just walk (talking from experience, we were once late over 30 minutes). 

Yoga

As a yogi who loves to try classes in different languages I dragged my tired legs to one of the classes available at Dům jógy Anděl which was lovely. Great little studio with lots of classes, even Aerial Yoga and really friendly staff. Loved the tea they make for everyone. Who doesn’t like a nice cup of tea??? 

You can also do Yoga during summer for free! There are free yoga lessons at Letna park, the meet-up is at Sparta tram stop, every Thursday at 7 PM, then there’s 50 CZK (2 euros) Yoga on Tuesday, same place & time. It’s a beginner’s yoga in Czech but it’s not so hard to follow others. They speak really fast though, I normally can understand Czech if they speak slowly as Polish is similar but even I was struggling:) it was great fun though!

Ice-creams

Summers in Prague can be excruciatingly hot. Especially in the past few years, as Czechia (they are now using the new abbreviated name for the Czech Republic, although all Czechs I have met absolutely hate it) has been getting more tropical weather from the South. As temperatures reach 30C, the cobblestoned streets heat up, and air-conditioning is hard to find in the Unesco-protected historical centre. So be careful and eat Ice-creams(which are delish…)

Random info that I have discovered: Trdelnik 

This is pretty random piece of information, but somebody must write about it. Trdelnik aka chimney, the donut-like pastry baked on metal rolls is literally everywhere! You can buy it in every shop and cafe or stall in the city centre. It may also be the most Instagrammed thing from Prague. All those stands with the “traditional Bohemian” pastry weren’t here some years ago when I used to come here with my family. Apparently trdelnik is the essence of a tourist trap in Prague. (And it's NOT a donut, people!). It is a great piece of street food tho: the caramelised sugar and cinnamon smells amazing and very tempting and the rotating movement practically spins money out of your wallet. It’s not as great as you think and from what I have heard it’s not even an old recipe! 

Beer! (now that’s a better topic)

Naplavka is the Prague’s best and newest hipster hangout. I don’t remember if it was there when I was younger but even if it was my parents wouldn’t probably take me with them. 

Prague has an endless amount of beer gardens and parks. While there are often long, never-solved debates as to which of Prague’s famous beer gardens is the best place to beat the heat or enjoy a nice autumn day, Naplavka, has emerged as something just a bit different and my absolute favourite.

Naplavka is a stretch of pavement next to the banks of the Vltava, under the Jiráskův bridge. In the colder months it doesn’t even exist as the boats hide away, but it is in the summer when its warm this place truly comes alive. Bordered by boats and modest riverfront restaurants, during summer evenings Naplavka transforms from a boring stretch of riverbank into one of the liveliest and nicest social pace in Prague. You can sample a variety of local beers and listen to different kind of live music. If you are feeling a bit peckish, Naplavka will not disappoint. The culinary choices are dizzying and you can either grab a meal from a nearby food truck or even a passing grill boat, or cash out on a restaurant (on a boat of course). We opted for burgers and my vegetarian burger was mouth-watering!

Beer cosmetics

This probably should be in the ‘random information’ section but Czechs love their beer so much that they even have beer cosmetics which will moisturize your skin and soften your hair. Beer cosmetics by Manufaktura with high content of beer, vitamins B and glycerine is suitable for everyday use.

What to see in Prague is coming soon...

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"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?  

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A MAGICAL ELIXIR FOR CLEANSING

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A MAGICAL ELIXIR FOR CLEANSING

3 Easy Ways To Get Started

The greatest journeys start with a single step.  Here are 3 ways to start small and build it from there:

1) Put your phone on airplane mode an hour before going to bed

2) Turn your emails off around 8pm and don’t turn them on until you get to the work the next day

3) Spike up you digestion by drinking a beverage with lemon first thing in the morning, at least 30 min before breakfast. This will stimulate digestion and elimination. You can either drink a glass of warm water with ¼ to ½ of fresh lemon juice or prepare this:

Magical Elixir

Juice of ½ lemon or lime
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
Pinch cayenne
Small cup of warm water

Stir together, sip slowly then step out into the day!

Becoming more conscious of the habitual patterns that deplete your energy and build toxins in you body and mind will add new depth to the detoxification process and make it more successful.

Read more on MFML's website.

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Cabbage with sweet potato in coconut milk

Even I didn't know that this soup is going to be so yummy. If you don't like cabbage then don't add it but it does add a hell a lot of delicious texture!

Ingredients

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  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup of chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tin of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 small cabbage, shredded
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1 cup of peas

Directions

  • In a large pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the pepper flakes, onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, ground cumin, curry powder and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
  • Add the vegetable broth, coconut milk, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  • Put potatoes, cabbage, peas and carrots into your slow cooker. Add the lime juice. Cover and cook over night on low heat. Serve warm on top of white rice.

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'I'm strong to the finich, cause I eats me spinach'

As all Popeye fans know, whenever the sailor needs some extra strength, he simply downs a tin of spinach and instantly grows bulging biceps. That cartoon made even me eat this greasy, slimy veg that my mum used to put on my plate! Interestingly, at the end of 19th century, a German chemist Erich von Wolf correctly ascertained the amount of iron in spinach, but then, the poor man accidentally misplaced a decimal point: instead of recording that spinach had 3.5 milligrams of iron per 100-gram serving, he wrote that it had 35 milligrams. An here we have a fantastic but misleading cartoon boosting spinach-growing industry.

Today, many people around the world are iron deficient. Funny enough, back in Palaeolithic time, iron deficiency was probably uncommon as people used to eat animal muscle tissue, plants and lots of vit C (alas you probably would have been eaten by some wild animal at the age of 30 anyway). Too little iron can impair body functions, but most physical signs and symptoms do not show up unless iron deficiency (anaemia) occurs. Iron deficiency will make you feeling tired and weak, your performance will decrease and you will feel absolutely knackered at the end of the day. Maintaining body temperature will be an issue and your immune system will slow down so you will be catching every possible infection. But you can improve your iron status by changing your diet. 

What you need to know about iron is that the foods with high iron content aren’t necessarily the best sources of iron. By weight, soybeans have roughly twice the iron as beef. But only about 7% of the iron in soybeans is absorbed. Spinach, as we already know, is also high in iron, but less than 2% of the iron in cooked spinach is absorbed.

We have got two types of iron:

  • Heme iron is the most absorbed form of iron, and it’s found in shellfish, red meat, poultry, and fish. This one is absorbed two to three times more efficiently than iron from plants. 
  • Nonheme iron is found in plant foods, as well as in eggs, milk, and some meat. This one can be literally carried through the digestive tract unabsorbed (I know it sounds ugly, but this is one of the reasons why mom elephant would stick poop into it’s son’s mouth…I still love elephants, I really do:)

You can enhance iron absorption by adding vitamin C when eaten at the same meal. 

If you are taking supplements or trying to increase your iron intake you should definitely avoid:

  • drinking tea, wine or fizzy drinks within 30 - 45min of taking iron supplements or eating your iron based foods. So no diet-coke ladies!
  • leave 30 - 45min between the consumption of iron and milk (e.g. in cereal) and other diary products. Phytates in cereal can also inhibit iron absorption. 

Those of you who are currently really struggling with iron or are pregnant I would encourage to make bone broth (use good quality meat and slow cooker, cook for at least 5h), alternatively if meat is not part of your diet, then smoothies are a great idea too: just mix spinach, nuts (esp. sesame, pumpkin, almonds), avocado, orange maybe strawberry and kiwi.  I also recommend using this superfood powder: Green Superfood All Natural Drink Powder. Just add a spoon of this powder to your smoothie and in a few weeks you will notice that your hair and nails look so much better. 

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Morning sugar bomb

This is another of my overnight breakfasts. This one is an ultimate sugar bomb but it's perfect if your have to wake up at 5am and you are not a coffee drinker! 

  • you can either buy granola or make it. If you make it yourself it will probably contain less sugar ('probably' - unless you use maple syrup:) but if you are running out of time you can just buy one. If you want less sugar make sure to check it. Normally, the more fruits it contains the more sugary it is.
  • 1-2 apples
  • 3-4 rhubarb sticks
  • unsweetened greek yoghurt (you don't have to add any more sugar, trust me;)
  • raisins (if you wish)

Grate rhubarb and apples, add granola, raisins and a lot of yoghurt. You want the mixture to be quite runny. Cover the jar and put into your fridge. It will be ready when you wake up.

Enjoy! 

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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. 

gnocchi

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!

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