Healthy soil, healthy plants – healthy you

Posted: May 22, 2017

The fresher the better

I recently wrote some guest blogs for Fresh-Range, a local company delivering high-quality fresh, seasonal produce. I loved researching the blog as I learned things I didn’t know – such as exactly how much of the vitamin content of produce is lost over time, even when it is kept in cold storage (1 fresh apple = 2 cold storage apples).

For the second blog, I touched on the subject of soil. Our quality soil is being quickly lost, which is likely to have a major impact on the health of our environment and of us. By buying organic produce from small, family-run farms where tending the soil is a priority, we can help preserve our all-important soil.

So here’s why I love a carrot with a bit of soil on it: https://www.fresh-range.com/news/fresher-the-better-part2

Courgetti and mushrooms with avocado, brazil nut and rocket pesto

Posted: May 10, 2017

Now that the sun is out, it’s a good time to start eating more salads, the better to get all those amazing anti-ageing, anti-cancer, pro-energy nutrients raw veg can give us. Plants develop these nutrients so as to protect themselves from the ravages of light, oxygen and time – and when we eat them, we get the benefits.

This makes a great lunch to have at home or at the office, and you can keep the pesto in the fridge and use it over a few days. It provides proteins, good fats, and fibre, so all the important stuff is covered. The selenium in the brazil nuts is an especially powerful anti-cancer nutrient and it also boosts our natural antioxidant and detoxification defences.

For the pesto

1 cup brazil nuts

1 large handful rocket (alternatively you can use basil or mint)

1 ripe avocado

1 clove garlic, smashed (optional)

The juice of 1 lemon

The juice of 2 limes

Salt and pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

 

For the courgetti

1 courgette, spiralised

1 carrot, spiralised

A handful of pumpkin and sunflower seeds

4-5 mushrooms, sliced

A splash of peanut oil or light olive oil

 

Heat the oil in a pan and sautée the mushrooms until they start to brown, then toss all the salad ingredients together with a couple of tablespoons of the pesto.

Aduki bean and quinoa patties

Posted: May 2, 2017

It is well-known that ultra-healthy, long-lived populations, such as the Longevity Hot Spot people I have described in my books and those in the Blue Zones such as Sardinia and Costa Rica, eat beans regularly.

Beans are a good source of protein, without having the same drawbacks as red meat, and they also provide fibre, B vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Culinarily, they are incredibly versatile, and go well in Mexican cooking, soups, stews, salads, and even healthy brownies. When I am stuck for something to eat or cook for the children, I generally turn to beans to help me out.

Aduki beans have been found to be particularly high in nutrients, and if you combine them with quinoa, as with this recipe, you will get all the eight essential amino acids you need daily.

Aduki bean and quinoa patties

All of these amounts are approximate – you can vary them according to your taste.

1 cup quinoa, soaked, rinsed and cooked

1 tin aduki beans (or the equivalent amount, soaked and boiled)

1 carrot, chopped small

1 red onion, chopped small

3 garlic cloves, chopped small

1 chicken or vegetable stock cube/1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder

Light olive oil or peanut oil

2 tablespoons miso

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Heat about 3 tablespoonfuls of water in a pan and add the stock cube or powder. When the stock is steaming, put in the carrot, onion and garlic (you can also add other veg, such as celery and/or red or orange pepper). Simmer until soft – around five to ten minutes; add a splash more water if necessary but don’t let the mixture get too wet. If you like the texture, you can also add a splash of light olive oil or peanut oil here (light olive oil is safer for cooking with than extra-virgin – you can use extra-virgin olive oil for salad dressings and general drizzling).

Pre-heat the oven to 160 C.

Combine the ingredients in a food processor with the soft ‘mixing’ blade attachment or in a bowl and mix well.

Form into small patties and place on a baking tray, using baking paper or a non-stick tray. Cook for around 10-15 minutes on each side or until they are getting nice and crusty and holding together well.

Serve with a mixed salad or vegetables.

 

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Since it's so hot, it's a good time to eat as much of this riDICulously delicious raspberry ripple ice cream as possible. I had to eat two bowls full just now as it kept melting whilst I took the photo. It's easy and fun to make - it's best if you have an ice cream maker (you can get a simple one for about £40).

INGREDIENTS: cashews, soya milk, coconut oil or manna, 1 lemon, vanilla, sea salt, maple syrup/agave syrup, 1 tin creamy coconut milk, 1 small tin coconut cream (optional), berries, cornflour.

- soak 1 cup cashews for a minimum of 2 hours (overnight is good)
- bring to a simmer 1/2 cup soya milk + 1 tin coconut milk + 2 tbsp coconut cream (optional - if your coconut milk is really creamy you may not need it) + a squirt or two of agave/maple syrup
- take a little out and mix it with 1 level tbsp corn flour to a paste, add it back, and simmer gently for 5 mins
- put the soaked cashews in a nutribullet or vitamix type blender with the rest of the ingredients + 2 tbsp coconut oil or coconut manna + the juice of 1 lemon + a pinch of salt + 1/2 tsp vanilla and blend until smooth. Cool for an hour.
- put it an ice cream maker and churn for 20-25 minutes
- just before the end add raspberries or any other berries - you can squash them up with a fork and add a squirt of agave or maple syrup if you want it sweeter.

You can get the full recipe (this is a simpler version) from Health Nut Nutrition's blog - it's called 'strawberry cheesecake icecream with a graham cracker crumble'.
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