Beat The Morning Blues with this Berry Yoghurt Granola

Beat The Morning Blues with this Berry Yoghurt Granola

Breakfast

Berry Yoghurt Granola

Quick, simple and easy, this breakfast option is a bountiful source of antioxidants, fibre, protein and good bacteria – for a happy, healthy mind and body.

Recipe

Berry Yoghurt Granola

Portion: 1

Ingredients: 

  • 100g granola 
  • 200ml coconut yoghurt or kefir
  • 2 handfuls of fresh or frozen berries
  • Fresh berries to top

Variation: Cooked apple & berry compote 

  • 1/2-1 cooking apple 
  • 1 handful of fresh or frozen berries
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp date syrup

Instructions:

  1. If you are having this on-the-go or just want it to look pretty, use a glass jar such as a yoghurt pot or jam jar, otherwise, a regular bowl will suffice!
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  2. To make the berry compote, simply blend the berries. I don’t add sweetener to berries here.

    If you are making the cooked apple & berry variation, chop the cooking apple into small pieces (1/2 or use it all if you have no other use of it) and place it in a pan. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and cook on a low heat with the lid on. Once soft, add the cinnamon (1 tsp), date syrup (1/2 tsp) and blended berries. Mix together.
    .

  3. Spoon a layer of yoghurt or kefir as the base, add a layer of berry compote over this and then a layer of granola. Repeat until you have used up all of your ingredients. 

Serving suggestion: Top with fresh berries 🙂

Storing: As this only takes a couple minutes to put together, it’s best to store each element separately. If you have any leftover apple & berry compote, you can store this in air airtight container in the fridge and use for breakfast the next day.

 

Health Notes

Granola

DIY Granola contains healthy fats in the form of nuts and seeds as well as being a source of plant-based protein, important for supporting the liver to function optimally.

Live (Dairy-free) Yogurt or Kefir

A happy gut is the foundation of a happy body! Chronic digestive issues such as leaky gut, food intolerances and bloating alongside infections such as Candida are often associated with endometriosis and chronic fatigue. Tipping the scales in the favour of good bacteria was of utmost importance to me in healing from CFS and managing my endometriosis and can greatly impact the whole body – including mood.

 

Berries

Research is being conducted into how polyphenols (found in berries) can help preserves bone density after the menopause. Since hormonal treatments for endometriosis may play a part in bone-loss, this is of interest!

 

Ginger Snap Granola – Make 1kg in Minutes!

Ginger Snap Granola – Make 1kg in Minutes!

breakfast

Ginger Snap Granola

My medical herbalist recommend a seed breakfast to help reduce excess oestrogen (endometriosis being oestrogen-dominant), so here’s one way I get my seed quota! Granola is so easy to make and there are numerous flavour variations – I’m going to try a dark chocolate variation next! …Or maybe honey & almond, so many possibilies!

So why make your own?

Well, the two prominent ingredients in many supermarket granolas are wheat-based flakes (a common intolerance) and refined sugar (highly inflammatory and fuels Candida, a common yeast infection). 

Another commonly-found ingredient in granola and other cereals is palm oil, often labelled as “vegetable oil”. Palm oil is cheap to produce, hence why it’s widely used in processed foods, but unsustainable plantations are changing the face of our earth drastically. 

More on that here: Say No To Palm Oil

Plus, the seed and nut content is typically not much to write home about. I checked the labels of my supermarket granolas – we’re talking 3% seed content. 

So if you’re looking for nourishment, making your own granola is the way to go. It’s quick, easy and versatile (no picking out the bits you don’t like).

This DIY version contains:

  • 35% seeds
  • 30% nuts (15% whole nuts + 15% flaked)
  • 25% nutritious flakes 
  • 5% dried fruit
  • 5% additional ingredients: spices, coconut oil and natural sweetener (honey or date or maple syrup)

While a DIY granola may cost more to create than the store-bought counterpart, the nutrient-density is vastly different. With more nuts and seeds, you may find that you get filled up on less, which can help balance out the costs.

As granola is so easily customised, you can change it how you like to suit any dietary or budget needs – this recipe is just a guideline.

For example, you can increase, reduce, eliminate or swap out any of the ingredients – flakes, nuts, seeds, natural sweetener…

Recipe

Ginger Snap Granola

Portion: Makes 1kg, roughly 20 servings

Ingredients: 

 

  • 250g of gluten-free flakes (quinoa, buckwheat or uncontaminated oats)
  • 150g of soaked nuts (I used pecan)
  • 350g seeds (I used 150g of sunflower, 100g sesame seeds and 50g each of chia and pumpkin seeds)
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 50g dried cranberries 
  • 50g coconut flakes
  • 3 tbsp date syrup or blackstrap mollasses
  • 2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1-3 tsp maca as desired
  • Couple pinches of ground cloves

Instructions:

  1. Set the oven to 130 degrees C. 
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  2. In a small pan, melt the coconut oil (2 tbsp) and add the date syrup (3 tbsp), mixing well. 
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  3. Measure out your flakes (250g), nuts (150g), seeds (350g), dried fruit (50g), flaked almonds (100g) and flaked coconut (50g) and tip into a large mixing bowl.
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  4. Sprinkle the spices over the top and work the mixture well, adding the coconut oil and date syrup as you go.
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  5. Spread the mixture over two baking trays and place them in the oven for 45 mins. If you can’t place both trays on one shelf, (ideally the middle shelf) use the top and middle shelf and swap the trays over after 25 mins.

    Serving suggestion: Add a dollop of coconut yoghurt/kefir or a glug of nut milk and top with fresh berries.

    Storing: Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. As this recipe contains whole nuts and seeds (as opposed to chopped), it will store well – likely longer than it will take you to eat your way through it. If you want to take an extra precaution, you can freeze it!

Health Notes

Swaps for Budget 

 

  • Oats are cheaper than pseudo grains – just remember that while oats are naturally gluten-free, they can be contaminated with gluten during processing, so choose gluten-free cert. oats if you wish to be gluten-free.
  • Mixed bag nuts can sometimes be more affordable than just almonds, or just pecans etc.
  • Lessen the nuts and increase the seeds.
  • Increase, reduce or eliminate the flakes.

Swaps for Sugar-Free 

 

  • You can omit the natural sweetener completely.
  • Make a little more of the spices – use the ground cloves to add warmth and depth and a tad extra cinnamon for flavour.
  • You can use fresh fruit or berries as a topping to sweeten (cooked apple would be nice!). The fibre in fruit helps to release the sugar more slowly. 

Swaps for Grain-Free

 

  • Use pseudo grains such as buckwheat and quinoa or ditch the flakes completely and up the nuts! In this instance, I’d recommend baking the granola as whole nuts and then when you go to eat a portion, give it a quick blast in the blender (on the grinder blend). This way, you get chopped nuts (easier to eat) but it stores better. 

Try This Creamy Turmeric Latte for Relief from Cramps

Try This Creamy Turmeric Latte for Relief from Cramps

Drinks

Pain Relieving
Creamy Turmeric Latte

So I take a curcumin supplement (the main active ingredient found in turmeric) to help reduce inflammation, though I thought it would be good to add more turmeric into my diet where I could, as well as other anti-inflammatory ingredients such as cinnamon. I’d seen “turmeric lattes” around so thought I’d try one myself. It’s creamy and soothing and a really nice way to get these spices into your day.

Recipe

Turmeric Latte

Portion: 1 

Ingredients: 

  • Cup full of seed or nut milk (I use almond milk though coconut would be nice)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil 
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder 
  • 1 tsp raw honey 
  • Dash of ground black pepper 
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp blackstrap molasses 

 

Instructions:

  1. Melt the coconut oil in a pan and then add the milk, and gently bring to the boil.
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  2. Add the turmeric (1 tsp), cinnamon (1 tsp) and ground black pepper (dash) to a little cold milk to make a paste (you can do this in the cup you will be drinking from). Then add this to the hot milk and stir well.
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  3. Add the honey (1 tsp) and blackstrap molasses (1/2 tsp) if using and stir well.
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  4. Pour into your cup and enjoy 🙂

Health Notes

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has anti-spasmodic properties which can help ease menstrual cramping. 

As well as reducing pain, a study into dysmenorrhea found that cinnamon lessened menstrual bleeding considerably¹ as well as nausea and vomiting. 

Turmeric Tri0

Turmeric has long been used for its potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Since turmeric is fat-soluble the coconut oil is used to help aid absorption.

Black pepper makes the active ingredients in turmeric accessible to the body and is reported to increase the absorption rate by 2000%!²

 

Curcumin, the active ingredient found in turmeric, is responsible for much of the health-promoting benefits – though makes up just 5% of turmeric. I use a curcumin supplement to achieve a higher-level dose (1000mg).

Honey

Raw honey preserves the all of the precious nutrients and enzymes and so is the main aspect I look for when buying honey. 

See if you can find a local beekeeper – beekeeping has become increasingly popular and this can help support hobbyists as well as ensure that the honey you buy is truly raw.

 

 

 

Grab-and-Go Berry Crumble Energy Bars

Grab-and-Go Berry Crumble Energy Bars

Snacks

Berry Crumble Energy Bars

Getting your quota of nuts, seeds and health food powders needn’t be a chore. These Berry Crumble Energy Bars are the perfect grab-and-go option and, unlike regular flapjacks, are densely packed with nutrients – including a seed mix to help balance hormone levels.

Recipe

Berry Crumble
Energy Bars

Portion: 6 slices

Ingredients: 

  • 100g flakes (gluten-free oats, quinoa etc)
  • 50g chia seeds
  • 50g soaked almonds
  • 30g flaked almonds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 handfuls fresh or frozen berries
  • Maca as desired
  • 3 tbsp date syrup 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Nut butter if desired

Variations: 

  • Nut butter flavour 
  • Chocolate flavour (cacao powder)
  • Spiced ginger (ginger powder)
  • Figs instead of berries

Instructions:

  1. Set the oven to 150 degrees C. 
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  2. Place the chia seeds into a glass and add 2 tbsp water. Give this a good mix.
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  3. Grind the almonds (50g), sesame seeds (2 tbsp) and sunflower seeds (2 tbsp) together.
    .
  4. Measure out and combine the oat or quinoa flakes (100g) with the ground mixture, flaked almonds (30g) and maca if using. Mix well.
    .
  5. Add the coconut oil (2 tbsp) and date syrup (3 tbsp) and work into the mixture using your hands.
    .
  6. Separate roughly 1/3 of the mixture into a new bowl – this will be the crumble topping.
    .
  7. The chia seeds should have soaked up the water by now. Tip them into the larger 2/3 mixture and mix in. 
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  8. Spoon the larger 2/3 mixture into the end of a deep baking tray. The bottom should be quite thick, so don’t spread the mixture across the whole tray. Pack it in well.
    .
  9. Blend the berries with 2 tbsp water and spread over the top of the flapjack base. 
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  10. Sprinkle the 1/3 mixture over the top. This too should give good coverage.
    .
  11. Place on the middle shelf of the oven for 35 mins. Remove and leave to cool before extracting from the tray. You can cut the flapjacks into pieces here to help you remove them.

Storing: Store in the fridge and eat within a few days.

Serving suggestion: These will not be very sweet, but this is because we have become accustomed to more and more sugar. Drizzle a little date syrup over the top if you feel the need as you wean yourself off sugar.

Health Notes

Healthy sugar?

At the end of the day, sugar is sugar. So while date syrup may be a healthier option than refined sugar, I wouldn’t go overboard with it.

As sugar is added to all sorts of products, including savoury, we have gone somewhat sugar-blind. So you may find that these bars to be not very sweet, however, resetting your taste buds through a plant-based diet will bring your tolerance down and kick any cravings to the curb.

 

Hormone balancing seeds

 I’m using sesame and sunflower seeds again – these both promote the production of progesterone which can help balance out excess oestrogen. 

Chia seeds are a wonder; a great source of protein, high in fibre and full of nutrients that support hormone balancing and lowering inflammation.

As chia seeds have the ability to absorb water, they are very handy for sticking recipes together!

 

Oil-free

If you don’t want to use any oil, I’d recommend using a nut butter. This will help moisten the mixture to prevent it from drying out and also create extra stickiness for the flapjack base.

Hazlenut butter would be a nice choice for a ‘chocolate’ (cacao powder) flavoured version. 

This Dairy-Free Cashew ‘Cream Cheese’ is Perfect on Pizza (Raw Vegan)

This Dairy-Free Cashew ‘Cream Cheese’ is Perfect on Pizza (Raw Vegan)

alternatives

Dairy-free
Cashew ‘Cream Cheese’

Making your own alternatives can seem daunting, but this dairy-free cashew ‘cream cheese’ is about as quick and easy as it gets! Use it as a dip or try it as an alternative to cheese on a gluten-free pizza or seed crackers.

Recipe

Dairy-free Cashew ‘Cream Cheese’

Portion: 1 cup

Ingredients: 

  • 250g soaked cashews 
  • 250ml water
  • 1.5 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (This is what gives it the cheesy flavour – try it with 1 tbsp to start and add more to ramp up the cheese factor.)
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth. (If you have a low-powered blender, don’t overcook the motor – use short blasts with rest in between.)

 

Health Notes

Cashews

All nuts should be soaked before using. While this may seem like an annoying step, it is not without good reason. 

Firstly, if you have ever struggled to digest nuts, this is because they contain high levels of enzyme inhibitors. When you soak the nuts, you neutralise these enzymes, allowing for easier digestion. 

Secondly, nuts contain phytic acid which binds to minerals during digestion and prevents them from being properly absorbed – and as minerals are the start of good health, we really don’t want that! Soaking nuts breaks down the phytic acid.

So by this point, you may be thinking why eat them at all… Well, most good things in life don’t come easy. Once you’ve soaked nuts, they are a nutritional powerhouse full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and protein.

250g cashew contains 45g protein. 

Nutritional Yeast Flakes

Nutritional yeast is soy, dairy and wheat-free (check the label though as brands can add weird stuff like whey) and is not the kind of yeast that aggravates Candida. It is instead a nutritional powerhouse.

A complete protein, it is also a source of iron, zinc and B vitamins. Some are also fortified with B12 (handy if you are vegetarian).

Relatively inexpensive, you can find it in most health food stores or online. 

Garlic

With most foods, you want to eat as soon as you’ve cut into them. As oxidation begins to occur and so the food begins to degrade.

Garlic, however, likes to be different. After you’ve cut into a garlic clove, it is best to let it sit for 5-10 minutes before eating or cooking.

Why? Well garlic contains a compound called alliin and an enzyme called alliinase. In its whole form, the clove’s cell structure keep these two separate. However, once you break into that cell structure, allinn and alliinase come into contact and begin to form a super compound called alliicin.

…And it’s alliicin that is responsible for many of garlic’s health-promoting benefits – and you could compile quite a list of those. Notably, it’s ability to help strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and detoxify the body.

Finely chopping, pressing or mincing garlic helps get the most bang for your buck. 

This Roast Veg Tabbouleh with Cashew ‘Cheese’ Dip is Full of Flavour and Naturally Cleansing

This Roast Veg Tabbouleh with Cashew ‘Cheese’ Dip is Full of Flavour and Naturally Cleansing

Mains

Roast Veg Tabbouleh
with Cashew ‘Cheese’ Dip

This middle-eastern dish is one of my favourites – so much so I even had tabbouleh at my wedding! Packed with fresh herbs and lemon juice, it is full of flavour and helps support the body’s natural detoxing function. As tabbouleh is often a cold dish, I used roasted vegetables to warm it up for the winter season.

Recipe

Roast Veg Tabbouleh

Portion: 2+

Ingredients: 

  • 100g quinoa 
  • 200ml water 
  • 1 lemon + 1/2 lime (you can stick with lemon if you like) 
  • Pinch of Himalayan salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1 courgette/zucchini
  • 1/2 small aubergine/eggplant
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 tbsp oil (either high-quality extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil)
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • Handful of fresh parsley (*Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing)
  • Smaller handful of fresh mint
  • 1/2 pomegranate to top if desired
  • Optional: I had some honey & mustard dressing leftover so I poured that over the top. It’s not necessary, but a nice addition.

Cashew ‘Cheese’ Dip | Honey Mustard Dressing

Instructions:

  1. Set the oven to 180 degrees C. 
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  2. Measure out the quinoa (100g) and rinse well – it can be bitter when unwashed (use a fine sieve or cheesecloth).
    .
  3. Roughly chop your courgette (1), aubergine (1/2) and red onions (2) into small chunks and place on a baking tray with 1 tbsp avocado oil. Mix well and cook for 30 mins.
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  4. Add 200ml water to a pan and bring to the boil.
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  5. Reduce boiling water to a simmer and add the quinoa, along with the juice of 1/2 lemon and salt and pepper. Give the pan a shake to help the quinoa settle evenly and simmer for 10-12 mins.
    .
  6. Dice 1/4 cucumber and set aside. 
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  7. Grab a handful of parsley and a smaller handful of mint and roughly chop these – I use scissors. 
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  8. If topping with pomegranate, cut in half and submerge one half underwater in a large bowl. Break apart the pomegranate. The seeds will fall to the bottom and the fleshy bits will rise to the surface to scoop out and discard.
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  9. Now that the quinoa is cooked, remove from the pan and place in a large mixing bowl. Do not rinse again as you will wash the flavour out.
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  10. Mix the roast veg into the quinoa, along with the herbs and cucumber. Add more lemon to taste.
    .
  11. Top with pomegranate seeds and the cashew ‘cheese’ dip. I poured over some leftover honey & mustard dressing too.

Storing: Store any leftovers in the fridge and consume within a couple days.

Serving suggestion: Add a dollop of cashew ‘cheese’ dip, a drizzle of honey & mustard dressing and you can serve with a spicy salsa.

Health Notes

High smoke point oil

When cooking with oil, I use an oil with a high smoke point, meaning the oil can withstand high temperatures well. The smoke point of avocado oil is 270, while a high-quality extra virgin olive oil is 206℃. 

This is important because smoking an oil creates harmful free radicals in the body which can lead to degeneration of cells.

Fresh herbs

Mint is reported to have one of the highest antioxidant content of any food, which can help fight inflammation, disease and oxidative stress. Its cooling and calming effects have been made use of for thousands of years.

Parsley is packed with antioxidants too and is a source of iron. Notably, parsley contains volatile oils that help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). 

 

Quinoa

Quinoa is a pseudo-grain, meaning that it can be used like a grain but is actually gluten-free. 

Containing all 9 essential amino acids, it is a complete source of protein. 

Quinoa is rich in fibre and also a source of iron and magnesium, both important minerals in endometriosis and fatigue.