Category Archives: Smoothies

Foods which can help reduce your cholesterol levels naturally.

lady holding veggies

Cholesterol.… there has been so much bad publicity about taking statins, however, if you are taking prescribed medication for your cholesterol please speak to your doctor before you stop taking any prescribed medication.

If your doctor is suggesting that you take medication then now is maybe the time to look at natural ways of reducing your cholesterol before you start medication and it does work as my mum did just that and she got her cholesterol level down and didn’t need medication so diet does work for a lot of people.

Nuts…

If you’re looking for a snack food that lowers your cholesterol levels, research shows that you should get cracking! Ha Ha… In a study published by The Medical Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that people who munched their way through 1.5 oz of whole walnuts 6 days a week for 1 month lowered their total cholesterol by 5.4% and LDL cholesterol by 9.3%. Almonds and Hazelnuts are other great options.

The picture above shows the little cob nuts we used to pick and enjoy at Christmas also known as Hazelnuts they are sweet and incredibly nutritious edible kernels from the “birch” or Betulaceae family of trees.

They are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic as well as essential fatty acid, linoleic acid that helps lower LDL or bad cholesterol and raises HDL or good cholesterol.

Spinach…

This popular green food contains lots of lutein, the sunshine-yellow pigment found in dark green leafy vegetables and egg yolks. Research suggests that just ½ cup of a lutein-rich food daily guards against heart attacks by helping artery walls “shrug off” cholesterol invaders that cause clogging.

Just take…

25g butter 

100g fresh breadcrumb

zest of a lemon

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 red chilli, finely chopped

500g spinach…. then melt the butter in a large frying pan add everything except for the spinach. Cook until golden and crunchy. Remove from the pan and put to one side. Add the spinach to the pan and wilt, Stir and season then put in a serving dish and top with the crispy crumbs and serve as a lovely side dish with a pasta or ????? You choose!

You choose!

Fruit……..

Fruits such as apples, citrus fruit, berries, apricots, cherries are high in soluble fibre and pectin both shown to be helpful in lowering cholesterol. A bowl of beautiful fruit in season is just wonderful or make it into a smoothie….I use fresh and frozen fruit for my smoothies, if you have some bananas that are getting too ripe and they do ripen so quickly don’t they?..then pop in a bag ..remove the skin of course and chop into pieces and when you do a smoothie just pop in frozen.

My smoothie recipe....  a couple of strawberries, a banana, a few frozen raspberries and 3 cheeks of lime and about half small glass of coconut milk. I like my drinks a bit tart and I don’t do sweet drinks so if you like yours sweeter you may want to cut the lime a little and add some honey to sweeten but the beauty of the smoothies is anything goes ….you can make them to order.

I also sometimes add a slice of tomato, beetroot( not in vinegar), and carrot…Play with your flavours you will be surprised and you are getting your 5 a day beautifully served in a glass of deliciousness.

If I want it colder and more frozen then I use frozen bananas.

Fatty Fish….

Omega 3 fats found in fish are one of the natural health wonders of the world these fatty acids can lower cholesterol replacing saturated fats with omega-3 like those found in salmon, sardines, and herring can raise good cholesterol as much as 4%.

Do you think that fish looks appetising? It is one of my favourite dinners and so quick and easy to do click here for the recipe     I hope you love it as much as I do. For ease, I buy a piece of fish and portion and freeze it so if you are busy or working you can just take it from the freezer before you leave the house and it is nice and thawed ready to cook when you get home.

Garlic…

Aside from adding zing to almost any dish, garlic makes the list of foods that lower cholesterol; Research also finds that it helps stop artery-clogging plaque at its earliest stage by keeping cholesterol particles from sticking to artery walls.

Oats….

If you are looking to lower your cholesterol then get out the Scotts Porridge Oats.  I grew up on those… a lovely warming bowl before I went out into the cold to walk to school. Yes…shock horror..walk to school…

Now that is another post as I still walk …my longest walk….26.2 miles which is the official length of a marathon and I did it!

Back to that bowl of oats…Eating two servings of oats for breakfast can lower LDL (Bad) cholesterol by 5.3% in only 6 weeks.

The key to this cholesterol buster is beta-glucans, a substance in oats that absorbs LDL, which your body then excretes.

Don’t like porridge then what about some lovely oat biscuits?

Coconut Biscuits

I don’t make biscuits very often..almost never but I food because of the humidity doesn’t last long here it either goes off or the ants take residence. I was guided by the desiccated coconut and the golden syrup which was a gift from afar aka visitors and the rolled oats which I mistakenly bought instead of the porridge oats.

These cookies are my basic recipe and next time will be my experimental recipe I am already planning what I can add to them.

Ingredients:

  • 150gm rolled oats
  • 100gm plain flour
  • 100gm light brown sugar( I used raw sugar)
  • 100gm desiccated coconut
  • 100gm butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1/2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp of boiling water.

Let’s Cook!

Set oven to heat at 175C, gas mark 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Combine the sugar, flour, coconut and oats mix to combine well.

In a small pan add the butter and golden syrup and melt the butter. meanwhile, bring the kettle to the boil and add two tbsps of boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda in a small cup. Add this to the melted butter/syrup mix. It will foam a little.

Make a well in the centre of your dry mix and pour in the melted butter/syrup mix. Stir to thoroughly combine and it will form a slightly sticky dough.

Roll out balls and put on a baking tray leaving a space as they will spread on cooking ( the mix made 15 balls) Slightly flatten with your hand.

Put in the preheated oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

THE BISCUITS WILL BE SOFT TO THE TOUCH BUT WILL HARDEN ON COOLING.

Don’t make the mistake I made when I first made them and thought they weren’t cooked and gave them another 10 minutes. They were a tad harder than required when they cooled down…haha…I could have built a wall with them…Opppps

Olive Oil…

Good news: This common cooking ingredient can help your health. Olive Oil is full of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids which lower LDL cholesterol—and have the welcome side effect of trimming belly fat. Use it to make your own salad dressings, marinate chicken and fish, or roast vegetables.

Isn’t healthy eating delicious???

Red Wine….

I love science especially when it tells me that a glass of what I love is healthy for me….It doesn’t get better than that…Does it???

Now, who doesn’t love a good Rioja? Well, those lovely high fibre Tempranillo grapes may well significantly lower our cholesterol levels.

A study by the Department of metabolism and nutrition at University Health News 

Confirmed this …That’s good news a glass of Red wine is beneficial to our health, isn’t it…..Cheers!

 

I hope you enjoy these posts ..my aim is to encourage healthy eating but also to help you realise that most of us only need to tweak our diets a little as much of what we eat is good for us as long as we buy fresh produce or grow our own… don’t buy processed foods but hey I don’t buy processed foods and we eat well…I also have a budget and buy foods in season, on special offer, if it is something I use, we swap vegetables and fruit here so if I have too much of something I share it with my family or neighbours and they do likewise.

Just a few little adjustments sometimes make so much difference.

I could tell you about so much more…name everything which helps lower your cholesterol…It would be akin to War and Peace BUT I want you to use google, ask and decide for yourself what you want to cook and what you want to buy……If only 1 person does this then I will be a happy bunny.

 

And if you think I am being too frivolous as health is a serious subject……..Laughter is also good for your health.

Until next time…Stay safe, laugh a lot, have a glass of red wine and  ASK a question.

 

Natural Foods to treat pain and inflamation.

lady holding veggies

I have this phobia I suppose one might call it…Even my family doctor used to smile and pat my hand and say “Carol, just take them” I am sure sometimes he even wondered why I paid him a visit …..Maybe I just wanted him to advise me on what he thought was wrong with me although I was one of these people who probably only saw my doctor every few years at most.

Now I don’t even go although if I felt really, really very unwell I would go. So I am not advocating never visit a doctor again I am just saying if you have a mild pain or some inflammation there are Natural Foods which can help and indeed many people and even some doctors are advising the use of Natural Foods and Herbs.

I have listed a few everyday foods and seeds with some recipes if you wish to incorporate some of these in your daily diet.

Ginger…..

I love Ginger and grow and use it in a lot of my food and pickled it is beautiful.

Ginger you can grate or dice finely, it is used in fish dishes here or with Scallops it is a lovely thing.

A member of the rhizome family as is Turmeric…Ginger is softly sweet and slightly spicy and medicinally it has many benefits.

Ginger tea can aid digestion and is a lovely drink.

It also is an ideal home remedy for muscle and joint problems.

In addition to drinking ginger tea, you can also use it to soak inflamed joints. Ginger is one of the best pain killers in the world having analgesic properties like the popular ibuprofen, only better.

It contains a quartet of active flavour constituents, gingerols, paradols, shogaols, and zingerone which are active ingredients to reduce pain. Ginger reduces pain-causing prostaglandin levels in the body.

All studies by researchers found that when people who were suffering from muscular pain were given ginger, they all experienced some improvement.

Turmeric……

.

Millions of people take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat their arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Many of these same people are now looking to treat their arthritis and other inflammatory conditions naturally.

Awareness and knowledge is increasing and people are now aware of available natural remedies that are possibly safer, or at the very least as effective, easily accessible, and inexpensive.

Despite decades of research and thousands of preclinical studies indicating the therapeutic value of turmeric, many people are still not aware that the common kitchen spice can serve as a valuable alternative for a number of health conditions.

A human study published in the Indonesian Journal of Internal Medicine clinically confirms the medicinal value of turmeric. Results show that the turmeric’s curcuminoid extract can reduce inflammation in patients who suffer from knee osteoarthritis.

Turmeric is a plant specifically from ginger family, used for flavouring and colouring in cooking.

The value of taking turmeric seems to be a valid one and yet many people are still not really aware of what a powerful substance it is.

It can be taken in Golden Milk, added to carrot soup, taken as a supplement or extract but as it is not readily absorbed and retained in the body it is advised to take it with black peppercorns which aid its absorption in the body.

Golden Milk Recipe using Turmeric and Virgin Coconut Oil.

Cayenne Pepper……

Cayenne pepper has many health benefits and anti-irritant properties. It can ease stomach upsets, ulcers, sore throats, spasmodic and irritating coughs, and diarrhoea.

Just a simple blend of:

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of hot red chilli powder and
8oz pulpy orange juice,

Taken with a straw, can provide almost instant relief from a sore throat.

Be sure not to use more than 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon for about every 8 ounces of orange juice, as Cayenne pepper is a highly concentrated spicy food powder, and when taken in higher amounts, can aggravate parts of your gastrointestinal tract.

 

A little word of warning although this is a very effective cure for sore throats be aware and careful that you do not use too much cayenne and to protect your stomach, a banana, some rice or potato before drinking will do that if you have a sensitive tummy.

 

Celery/ Celery Seeds……

 

As kids, we had celery with our tea on Sundays with crumpets and shellfish my mum always put it in her stews and now research backs all this up it has found more than 20 anti-inflammatory compounds in celery and its seeds and advises adding it to soups, stews or use as a salt substitute.

To me, it sounds like mum knows best….What do you think about age-old remedies which are making a comeback??

My mum probably didn’t give the benefits a thought, her only thought was that we should get good nourishing home cooked food..nothing was packets then..everything was made from scratch and that is what she taught me and I have taught my children and now my grandchildren…..

There is a lot to say about traditions and passing on knowledge and I think that all this is now making a comeback as people are questioning what is in their food and medicines.

That is good!

Oh! waffling again..sorreee we were on celery were we not?

 

I myself have used celery juice as a brine when making bacon as a substitute and natural brine if you don’t wish to use Salt-petre.

 

Celery juice is also a diuretic and can also help clear toxins that form those painful kidney stones.

 

Cherries…..

Cherries are one of nature’s best sources of health enhancing pigments called anthocyanins which provide powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect is the human body.

Anthocyanocides are particularly effective at keeping blood uric acid in check and a viable remedy for the painful condition of gout.

This lovely smoothie recipe incorporates cherries and leafy greens.

A cup of pitted cherries.

A young coconut..the meat and ½ cup of the coconut juice.

½ an apple or a pear

2 cups of fresh baby spinach (or other leafy greens)

Blitz together and enjoy!

 

Dark, green vegetables…….

Are good sources of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol thiocyanate which protects cells from inflammatory substances which can be produced in response to injury or infection in your body.

Bok Choy is one such green which is used widely in Asian countries. It can be eaten raw in salads, coleslaw or juiced. It can also be used when making fermented vegetables which are sold on every market here and very easy to do at home.

 

Walnuts…..

A valuable source of omega 3 oils walnuts are one little powerhouse.  Its anti-inflammatory properties help lower the risk of chronic inflammation. Just a handful a day or incorporate them in a lovely smoothie or shhh shh chocolate brownies..yum

Or if you want a bit of fit and healthy then look no further than this recipe for a luscious Banana Espresso Smoothie.

 

This is a recipe that my daughter gave me along with a packet of Chia seeds as I can’t always get them here. Bananas we have in spades as they grow in abundance here so my freezer always has frozen bananas ready to make a smoothie.

Ingredients:

1 frozen Banana

1 cup of coconut milk.

2 tbsp oats.

halved walnuts as in the picture or you can use 1 tbsp peanut butter

A shot of espresso.

1 cup of ice

1tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds and honey.

Put all ingredients in your blender and blitz away.

Pour into glass and enjoy!

 

I hope you are enjoying these posts and my dearest wish is that they prompt you…Yes, YOU!

To question and research what you are eating and how eating somethings can improve your health and that of your family.

Until next time….stay safe, laugh a lot and ASK a question x

 

 

Tropical sunshine in a glass…Take 5

smoothies-785678_1920

I am really getting into this smoothie making and today I think is one of my favourite smoothies. I am learning to get the right amount and what I do is take the glass I am going to drink it from and fill the glass with my fruit that way I make just enough and if I am making more than one glass then I double up but it eliminates the guesswork.

Todays smoothie was a mixture of fruit and vegetables.

I used a large chunk of  Pineapple, Watermelon, yellow melon and dragon fruit. A slice of tomato, a slice of beetroot, a piece of carrot and a little ice.

Then into the liquidiser and a blitz for a minute and voila a lovely smoothie.

Enjoy!

If you missed my previous smoothie recipes then I have put them all in this one post just for you along side a little chatter and trivia about some of the fruits.

Banana and Pineapple smoothie (4)

Banana and Pineapple smoothie.  

I have never made so many smoothies ever as I have done recently but so much fruit…

This mornings smoothie was Banana, Pineapple, Tomato and Raspberries with a touch of fresh Lime juice.

Yes, tomato...I have had tomato in a smoothie from a fruit stall but never used it at home but again I have lots of tomatoes.

So we get lots of nutritional goodies all in the one glass and it’s yummy. Not like one of those yucky coloured juices which claim to be good and you have to literally hold the nose and down it in one and at the same time hope it doesn’t come straight back up…What is the point of that??? We like nice tasting drinks don’t we girls and boys???

Put 2 small bananas, 2 rings of pineapple chopped, half a tomato skinned and I added a handful of frozen raspberries and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. All together in a blender ….blitz and pour into a chilled glass.

Enjoy!

Now for some facts about the very versatile pineapple….Well, first things first…who doesn’t like Pina Colada???? Best served cold on the beach….Delicious!

Thailand is the biggest producer of pineapple and in the wild pineapples can live and fruit for up to 50 years.

The pineapple is not an Apple or a pine but a berry….

Eaten fresh, juiced, cooked …it is lovely in a curry or fried rice or preserved. It is also great for tenderising meat.

Strawberry Raspberry banana smoothie (3)

Strawberry and Raspberry smoothie.

Phew, it is now topping 104F here and rising by the day…Lots of strawberries and bananas…The thing is the bananas we pick by the hand and it is big so I have to think of all ways to use them apart from just freezing them. Strawberries well you can only eat so many and we can’t give them away…

So it’s smoothie time again, strawberries, a banana, a few frozen raspberries and 3 cheeks of lime juice and about half small glass of coconut milk. I like my drinks a bit tart and I don’t do sweet drinks so you may want to cut the lime a little and add some honey to sweeten but the beauty of the smoothies is anything goes you can make to order.

If I want it colder and more frozen then I use frozen bananas.

Now for a little bit more about the Strawberry which is cultivated world wide, most people love a strawberry….Don’t they????

The garden strawberry was first bred in the 1750’s in Brittany, France and believe or not they are not technically berries but accessory fruits!

A member of the rose family they are the only fruit to wear their seeds on the outside. Although the seeds can be propagated they are more commonly reproduced by the runners which are then pegged into the soil.

A piece of trivia: There is a museum in Belgium dedicated to the Strawberry.

 

 

Papaya,Banana,Lime smoothie

Papaya, Banana and Lime smoothie.

This one has just 4 ingredients.

Half a papaya….  seeds removed.

1 banana

4fl oz of coconut milk

1-1 1/2 limes. I like to taste the lime so I would add one and a half hubby prefers just 1 lime.

But like with anything….and you know what I am going to say…Don’t you??? TASTE.

Blitz the papaya and banana with the coconut milk then add your lime juice, Taste and add more if required.

Pour into a chilled glass and enjoy!

If you want a more frozen smoothie then just freeze the papaya and banana. I always keep bags of frozen fruit for smoothies…I just didn’t want brain freeze today…ha ha.

 

 

Mango smoothie

Mango and Tamarind smoothie.

For 2 servings.

8 oz of ripe mango (frozen). You could use frozen mango pulp as I do when mago is out of season.

2 tbsp honey

2 tsp Tamarind paste

7oz coconut milk …chilled.

Put all the ingredients into your blender and whizz until it is nice and smooth. Spoon into 2 glasses and enjoy!

If it is too sour for you then add more honey or sweetener of your choice but I love the sourness of the Tamarind.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do…. until next time thank you for reading this post and please leave a comment if you try a smoothie and if you wish to share this post then please do.

Take 5 Tropical Sunshine in a Glass

Mix and Match have fun and experiment 🙂

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Enjoy xx