Let’s talk chocolate cake!

If you’re looking for an easy, tasty and healthy chocolate-banana treat, look no further! This brownie-style cake/dessert is sweet, rich, creamy and chocolatey, and it’s unbelievably easy to make. It also happens to be: Gluten free, Vegan, Grain free, Paleo, Baking powder free, Yeast free, added sugar free, oil free… And it counts towards your 5 (or 10) a day!

DSC01055.JPG

All you need is three ingredients, a blender and a baking dish. As long as you don’t make it too thick, you can vary the quantities quite liberally, it’s a very forgiving dessert.

So, for this recipe you will need:

5-7 ripe bananas (depending on the size, I used 6)
2-3 heaped tablespoons nut butter (I used almond but have previously tried peanut and it worked great)
2 heaped tablespoons (or to your taste) cacao powder (I had also used carob powder and it worked well too)
Optional: fresh/frozen berries or nuts/seeds to top (this time I used a few frozen cherries and some blueberries).

DSC01045.JPG

Instructions: Blend everything! You might want to begin with bananas (chopped in smallish pieces), especially if you don’t have a powerful blender. It might be hard to start off but the end result will be quite runny, so you don’t need to add any extra liquid.

DSC01048.JPG

Pour the “batter” into the baking dish (I used 20 cm x 20 cm/ 8”x8” size) You can sprinkle some seeds (e.g. sesame) on the bottom, so that it would be easier to take it out later but it’s not necessary. Also, you can decorate with some berries or nuts/seeds but it’s good plain as it is. Bake it for approx. half an hour at around 180 degrees (356 F).

DSC01049.JPG

Et voila! Ideally, the cake should cool down and is tastiest after it’s been refrigerated.

DSC01052.JPG

Sorry for the quality of the pictures (it’s tastier than it may look!). Unfortunately I don’t know who the original author of this recipe is.

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestFacebooktwitterredditpinterest

Would you like some Magnesium? [ENDED]

I’ve recently been given Wild Nutrition Food grown Magnesium, and I am very happy to share it with someone who would like to try it!

Magnesium is so important, from nervous system to hormones. It might help you sleep, improve muscle relaxation, aid in stress, PMS as well as pains, aches or cramps… And it is very limited in foods!

So if you’d like a bottle posted to you (within UK) all you have to do is like Plantiful Nutrition Facebook page and the original Facebook post and on Monday 26th June it can be yours!

 

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestFacebooktwitterredditpinterest

Plantiful Nutrition on £1 a day

Just before Easter for one week I will be living off £1 a day. Why? Because over 1 billion people on Earth have to survive off this little (or less). Let’s change that!

I really enjoy my food: talking about it, cooking and eating. I love organic produce, “superfoods” and impossible-to-pronounce ingredients. Cutting them out, even if for a week (an even if it’s not a marathon!), is not easy. So if you can, please support me by donating to my fundraising page on Child.org that does such a great job giving children an equal chance in life – be it with food, access to education or healthcare.

If you donate, you can be entered into a prize raffle or for a more generous donation I will give you a free nutrition consultation. If you can’t donate, please share.

I’m so grateful to all our sponsors!

Our local (Gloucestershire) prizes for the raffle are kindly donated by:

Cirencester Leisure Centre – Family swim voucher

Pizza Express – £30 voucher

Poco Culina – £15 dinner voucher and a Moroccan spice box

Steamer Trading Cookshop – a Set of Cocktail glasses

Nutrition Centre – “Dr. Hauschka” kit and “Pacifica” gift set

Waterstones – a selection of books

Seasalt – A small goody bag

Coffee#1 – A bag of coffee beans

M.A.D.E. – a flamingo LED lamp & a candle

UK mainland prizes are donated by:

Riverford – a large organic veg box

WildFoodUK – £70 voucher for foraging courses

International prizes generously donated by:

Headspace app – lifetime subscription (worth over $400!)

Babbel language learning app – 3 x 12 month subscriptions

 

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestFacebooktwitterredditpinterest

Is dried fruit a health food?

Many of us these days try to choose healthier snacks, such as cereal bars, nuts, seeds, raisins and dates. But is dried fruit a health food?

Dentists would probably say that it isn’t as it can get stuck between the teeth and increase the risk of developing cavities…

Also, dried fruit is void of water, so sugar is much more concentrated than in regular fruit. In reality we might eat 2-3 apricots but eating them dried makes us consume way more: smaller volume just doesn’t fill us up, and they do taste nice and sweet. This in turn can spike our blood sugar (and crash it back down…).

Another side that we rarely think of is that sometimes fruit that is chosen for drying may be of the poorest quality – sad looking, damaged, underripe or overripe that is not deemed to be of saleable condition when fresh.

Generally fruit needs to be dried quickly, so often high temperatures are used which may cause many vitamins to be lost and damaging compounds to be created. You need to reach high temperature to kill off any bugs (“bugs” bugs, and “bacteria” bugs) as often the fruit might be already starting to go off.

Sometimes fruit is mixed with other ingredients while drying – you will often find sunflower oil in raisin ingredients, sugar in dried cranberries and cherries, rice flour or dextrose in figs, as well as preservatives, colourings, sulphites which some people can be sensitive to (if you see dried apricots that look nice and orange – they definitely have been treated with sulphites).

While dried fruit is stored, it can be affected by various toxins and mould. As if that’s not enough that many dried fruit such as raisins and prunes (aka grapes and plums) are heavily sprayed with health-harming pesticides (if not organic)!

So knowing all that, do I eat and do I recommend eating dried fruit?

Sometimes.

Prunes, for instance, have been known to alleviate constipation (better than fresh plums). Figs are a good source of calcium. Dried apricots – of iron. And they still contain good amounts of phytonutrients and antioxidants. For example, it would be quite difficult to get fresh goji or acai berries as they are very perishable. It’s probably not a perfect food for us (what is these days!) but it can still be used in a healthy diet.

So when considering dried fruit:

  • Please, buy organic when you can. Read the ingredient list and check there is no sugar and nothing nasty added.
  • Look for sun dried, slowly dried (or freeze dried!) fruit or dry them yourself. Look for fruit that doesn’t need much drying – dates, figs.
  • Try to get them as fresh as possible and eat them soon. Store them in airtight containers, and ideally in the fridge.
  • Before eating, definitely wash them, and ideally soak.
  • Look after your teeth – rinse after eating dried fruit, floss etc.
  • Limit portions – try to imagine how many pieces of the fresh fruit you would be happy to eat. Mix them with other foods, such as nuts or grains to lower GI/GL.
  • Use them instead of sugar, not on top of it.

Obviously, if you have any health conditions (e.g. diabetes) or concerns before making any changes in your diet speak to a qualified healthcare practitioner.

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestFacebooktwitterredditpinterest

Looking for presents for the “health nutters”?

These days everyone knows at least one vegan, gluten free, paleo or any other health/eco “nutter” (aka a person into healthy lifestyle). They can be a real pain at the dinner table or when thinking of presents… In case you needed some last minute Christmas gift ideas, you’re in luck! The limit is only the depth of your wallet.

plantiful_logo2

  • Obviously – some health foods! You could make up a whole hamper with chia seeds, coconut oil, spirulina, acerola powder, coconut jerky, lucuma powder, kale crisps, goji berries, herbal teas, freeze dried fruit, yacon syrup, coconut sugar – or just pick one for a healthy stocking filler! Look for some dairy free or raw chocolates while you’re at it.

  • Exotic fruit basket – make one yourself or order online, and include weird fruits like starfruit, guava, tamarind, jackfruit, mangosteen, durian, cherimoya, lychee, rambutan, longan, prickly pear, papaya, kumquat, dragon fruit and all sorts! Fun, tasty and educational.

  • A piece of natural skincare – be it hand cream, body lotion, hand wash, lip balm, bath soak, beard oil or after shave – if they are into healthy stuff (and appropriate needs), they’ll be very pleased.

  • Health-oriented book is a great idea – look for healthy recipe books such as Deliciously Ella, Oh She Glows, The World of the Happy Pear, Thug Kitchen etc. It helps if you are familiar with the person’s specific interests – a vegan might not be very happy with a paleo cookbook and vice versa.

  • A steel or glass water bottle or a lunch box – to help reduce plastic and its contact with food and water. It does matter, especially in hormonal issues!

  • A water filter – either integrated with the bottle, the one for the kitchen or for the shower (especially if they are suffering from skin problems).

  • A bottle of essential oil – for instance, lavender if they need relaxation and sleep, peppermint if they need a bit of stimulation, eucalyptus if having stuffy nose at this time of the year… A diffuser or an oil burner might go well with that.

  • Bamboo, organic cotton, hemp or linen socks or a hand towel! Natural, eco-friendly fabrics are great for sensitive skin.

  • A spiralizer – to cut those veggies into different shapes and sizes and make them look tastier! You could even pair it with a spiralizing book.

  • A nut milk (or mylk) bag – for them to make tasty almond, cashew or tiger nut (it’s a little nutty tuber, not a part of a real tiger!) milk. And of course, feel free to get them some of the nuts too.

  • A ceramic knife – a little “friendlier” piece of kit for fruits and veg. In some cultures it’s seen as bad luck to give sharp objects as presents, so make sure your healthy friend is not superstitious!

  • Sports gear – depending on the person, it could be a yoga/pilates mat, various weights such as kettlebells, a ball, a racket, pull up bar, suspension trainer etc. If they are not very sporty yeat – a gym membership or a personal trainer session might inspire and broaden their mind.
  • Squatty potty. (Just google it).

  • If you’re feeling a bit more generous – there are slow juicers, blenders, food processors, dehydrators, slow cookers, pressure cookers and gadgets like Thermomix!

  • If you’re still unsure, just get them a health food shop voucher – they’ll choose for themselves. A nutritional therapy consultation might be very well received too!

I hope you’ve found something suitable from the list (maybe even for yourself?). I know I would be happy with any of those (probably with the exception of the beard oil), just in case anyone was wondering 😉

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestFacebooktwitterredditpinterest

Why do we have nutrient deficiencies?

Obviously, it’s not the same for everyone: we have different lifestyles, finances, different eating habits, favourite foods, different absorption/malabsorption and different needs due to our genetics and state of health. But there are a few basic reasons.

plantiful_logo2

Foods that we eat are depleted. Mono-culture grown crops with artificial fertilizers probably optimize their growth but that’s about it – the most common formula is NPK, adding only Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. We need more than that! Soil used over and over loses its mineral content, they are washed off by erosion, and there is no added organic matter (like compost) to return those minerals.

Food storage reduces the nutrient content even more. Foods, especially if shipped from far, continuously lose their nutrient value and oxidise while sitting in the box or on the shelf. By the time they reach your table they are far from fresh (imagine how old your flour is, for example). That’s why there can be massive differences in nutrient content between foods – it just depends!

We don’t eat the variety of foods. And when I say we don’t, I mean none of us do, even the most chia and matcha “hipsters”. We eat what is available in the shops, aka what the commercial companies decide we’re supposed to eat – what grows easily, what keeps well, what’s more profitable. Every year amazing heirloom vegetable and fruit varieties are lost just because no one grows them. Even family farmers grow what everyone is used to and what they can sell easily.

We restrict our diets. It’s either dieting, disliking certain healthy foods, going vegetarian by simply eliminating meat and not including healthy alternatives (crisps are vegetarian…) or going gluten-free without any medical reason – it all restricts our nutrient intake.

We’re not eating enough healthy foods. Processed foods lose nutrients even further (that’s why so many of them need preservatives – they literally go off, not just lose their vitamins). Not only that, some of the foods and their ingredients are damaging to our health, so our bodies use nutrients to process those harmful foods and to reduce the damage (isn’t it ironic?).

We live stressful lives. And “stress” is not only your general “busy lifestyle” stress, but all the environmental toxins that we eat, drink, inhale, put on our bodies, all the excessive or insufficient exercise, overweight, electromagnetic pollution, already mentioned processed foods or just being unhappy in life. All these stresses require nutrients from the body and can leave us depleted.

– We are not even aware that we’re low in something! I’m mind-blown by the human body – it can take so much battering and still function. Usually, it catches up with us at some point but by then it’s not just a deficiency anymore but a full blown illness and we don’t even make the connection. Just saying, we don’t have any medication deficiency.

So what to do?

– If you’re not sure, do some testing! Speak to me and we can discuss your needs.
– It’s so common that if you think your diet isn’t perfect I would look into a good quality multi-mineral (and/or multi-vitamin) supplement. I can help you choose the most suitable one for you.
– Eat minimally processed foods.
– Buy organic.
– Buy at farmer’s markets and directly from farmers.
– Better yet, grow your own!
– Eat a variety of foods, research and source rare and unusual plants. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new foods.
– Try to maintain a healthy relationship with food.
– Minimize unhealthy habits, such as smoking (including second-hand), alcohol, recreational drugs, non-organic skincare and household supplies.
– Do some exercise and reach your ideal weight.
– Find a balance in life, reducing all kinds of stress.
– Eat more greens! You can also include “superfood” powders such as spirulina, chlorella, wheatgrass, moringa, kelp etc.

Please don’t make any dietary changes and/or take any supplements without speaking to a qualified health specialist, especially if you’re on any medication.

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestFacebooktwitterredditpinterest

Organic sugar is still sugar

I must admit I love organically grown produce for quite a few reasons: lower environmental impact, no GMOs, less chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers on the products, higher antioxidant content and if eating animal products, organic means higher welfare standards and no antibiotic overuse.

However, it’s easy to get an illusion that everything that’s organic is somehow better. Then you can buy crisps and sweets that are organic, organic pastries and cakes, organic fudge and soft drinks. And they may be “better” to some extent: the materials used probably caused less environmental damage as it was grown organically, promoting wildlife, not using bee-killing pesticides etc.

Also, these products will probably (or hopefully) be made by ethical businesses that invest in charitable causes and are more respectful of the environment, so you are supporting them over the big mainstream companies that only care about more and more profit.

But health-wise, there is no big difference between organic and non organic sugar or vegetable oil. For example, these substances are so processed that they don’t have anything else but a simple carbohydrate and fat, respectively, with no nutritional benefits and with possible health-damaging effects long term. The same can be said about almost all processed foods and white flour products.

A piece of non-organic fruit or veg is much more nutritious and beneficial than “the most organic” sweets, even if they had added vitamins, minerals, “superfoods” or friendly bacteria. I recommend reducing processed foods to a minimum, organic or not. And if you do buy them organic, be honest with yourself – it’s not any healthier!

plantiful_logo2

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestFacebooktwitterredditpinterest

How to use sugar without harming your health

Yes, that’s true, you can use sugar AND have a perfectly good health. And I’ll tell you how.

  • Use it to exfoliate your face and body with home-made sugar scrub. You can make it as simple or as fancy as you please.
  • Use sugar to clean the grease off your hands after dealing with oily, greasy substances.
  • If you tend to remove hair anywhere from your body, make your own (incredibly easy) sugar wax.
  • If you like painted nails, try sugar nail art. Make sure you use natural nail polish.

I think you get the idea… Just don’t eat it! 🙂 Do you know of any other fun uses for sugar?

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestFacebooktwitterredditpinterest

Plantiful Nutrition meets Brian Clement

It was an enjoyable seminar led by Brian Clement from Hippocrates Health Institute earlier this week. A definite food for thought!

aurelija_w_dr_clement

Hippocrates aims to educate people and help their bodies heal themselves with the power of raw foods, particularly greens and sprouts. As hard as this diet may seem, most of us can improve our health by adding these nutrient rich foods into our daily meals.

 

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestFacebooktwitterredditpinterest