Basil and Avocado Pate

When clients are following a Nutritionhelp yeast-free and sugar-free diet, they can sometimes lack inspiration for snacks – not least spreads and pates for dips, wholegrain crackers and yeast-free breads.

dip and veg

This pate recipe is packed with nutrients, has a fresh taste, and with the help of a food processor, can be made in just a couple of minutes. It is important to realise that a diet to support the balance of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract is not just about avoiding unhelpful foods (such as sugar, yeast, fermented foods, processed foods etc). It is also about including nutrient-rich foods, which can provide the body with valuable vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fibre, to support the body in all its various functions. This includes the immune system – which needs to be working well to bring intestinal yeasts under control.

So our key ingredients in this pate are basil, avocado, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. Let’s look more closely at the benefits of these tasty foods.

Basil – This herb is exceptionally high in vitamin K, with good levels of manganese, copper and vitamin A. Research shows basil to have both anti-bacterial properties and also anti-inflammatory effects, potentially providing healing benefits and symptomatic relief for inflammatory conditions.


Avocado – This versatile fruit (don’t worry, it is not sweet, so allowed on the Nutritionhelp programme!) is high in pantothenic acid – otherwise known as vitamin B5. Clients with Nutritionhelp who have taken an adrenal lab test will be well acquainted with vitamin B5, since it is beneficial in supporting adrenal gland function. Long term stress? Eat foods high in the ‘anti-stress’ vitamin B5,  such as buckwheat, sunflower seeds, lentils and chickpeas, broccoli, brown rice and avocados. Avocados are also a source of fibre, vitamin k, folic acid, copper, potassium, vitamins B6, E and C.

Sunflower seeds are very rich in vitamin E and copper, with good levels of vitamin B1, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, magnesium and vitamin B6. Vitamin E is a major antioxidant in the body, helping to protect against heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cleaning solvents, drugs and radiation. Vitamin E is important to immune function, particularly during times of oxidative stress (i.e. intense wear and tear on the body – illness, intense exercise, high-stress life experiences), and chronic viral illness.


Pumpkin seeds contain manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper and iron. Manganese is important in blood sugar control, energy metabolism and thyroid function. Zinc plays a critical role in foetal development, immune function and male sexual function. It also shows effectiveness in the treatment of acne and macular degeneration.

basil and avocado dip

Basil and Avocado Pate

  • 1 avocado, pealed and stone removed
  • 1 handful of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds – ground
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds – ground
  • Juice of 1/2 lemonpate blender
  • Black pepper to taste

Grind the seeds and add to the food processor with other ingredients. Whizz until everything is well combined. Different food processors will vary in effectiveness, so you may need to finish mashing the ingredients together by hand. You may find that your food processor works better with a larger quantity, in which case, just double the ingredients. The pate will keep in the fridge for several days, stored in a glass jar.

Next week I will post a recipe for a yeast-free and gluten-free courgette bread – perfect topped with this pate!

Cauliflower Cake – Picnic Idea.

By Emma Cockrell

Whether or not the sun shines, we Brits know how to get out and about! You can often find us picnicking on the beach, huddled under towels and sweaters while the north wind blows, or sat in the car watching rain clouds pass, munching a packed lunch. Our determination to enjoy the ‘great outdoors’ whatever the weather, is part of what makes us British. This last week I had the pleasure of my 6 year old niece coming to stay, and we were off on adventures every day, taking our lunch with us. The new favourite lunch snack for my niece was to dip her veggie sticks in hummus, and then into sunflower seeds, adding an extra crunch, along with a fabulous increase in healthy oil, fibre, calcium, magnesium, B vits, vitamin E and protein!

Packed lunch can often be a problem for those on a yeast-fsaladree and sugar-free diet. How can we easily replace the sandwich? Getting creative and using alternative foods can be easy, but does require a bit of forethought.My usual pack-lunch is a chopped salad with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of tahini dressing- very quick and easy. However, if you are making more of a meal of your picnic, and perhaps sharing it with friends and family, you may like to try a savoury cauliflower cake. This can be made in advance, and transported in the cake tin. It is also handy for lunches at any time of year – served warm or cold, or can be eaten as a side serving with a BBQ. If sliceyou have it ready cooked in the fridge, the cauliflower cake also makes a great ‘grab and go’ breakfast – just cut a slice and pop in a small pot ready for breakfast at work. The combination of vegetables and eggs makes this a superb snack or meal for anytime. It is also simple enough to make to recruit some willing helpers, if you have children at a loose-end during the school holidays. Getting children involved in food preparation can be helpful to encourage them to eat ‘Real Food’.

Savoury Cauliflower Cake

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 9-inch cake tin with parchment paper. lining

Steam a chopped medium cauliflower for a few minutes until just tender. Meanwhile, steam-fry in a pan with a lid a chopped onion and chopped red pepper in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of water until soft. Add 2 teaspoons of mixed herbs, and a little Lo-salt. Carefully add the steamed cauliflower, and stir well.


Whisk ¾ cup chick pea flour, with ¼ brown rice flour and 6 eggs in a large bowl. Add the cauliflower mixture and gently fold the mixture together. Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared cake tin. Bake until the top is golden and the cake is set, 35 to 45 minutes.


Muffin Alternative


By Emma Cockrell

Many clients with Nutritionhelp come with a number of food sensitivities, and this is not surprising when we understand how intestinal yeast impacts the digestive tract. Intestinal yeasts – including Candida albicans – feed on sugars in the diet, so the typical Western diet provides it with an absolute feast. Combine with this the release of stored sugars in the stress response, and the wiping out of beneficial bacteria, which should keep gut yeasts in check, by antibiotics, and you have a recipe for Candida overgrowth. Other medications and hormone treatments such as the Pill and HRT, further disrupt the delicate balance of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract.

Once Candida is encouraged, it changes to its fungal form, putting out ‘legs’ or hyphae, which can burrow into the gut lining, causing inflammation and leading to gaps in the intestinal membrane. This is commonly known as ‘leaky gut’ These spaces allow partially digested food to pass into the bloodstream, where the immune system recognises them as foreign particles, and thus, over time, sets up an immune ‘allergic’ response. A number of other factors can lead to leaky gut, but it is common for Candida to be involved at some point.

So there are potentially two types of food reaction:

  1. A gastrointestinal reaction, caused by the presence of food in the damaged digestive tract. This might result in digestive complaints such as diarrhoea, pain, bloating or IBS.
  2. An immune response following eating a culprit food, which may result in symptoms such as a headache, a panic attack, depression or anxiety, increased fatigue or aches and pains.

The starting place with these type of reactions is to get intestinal yeast under control, removing the main cause of the gaps in the digestive tract wall. A nutrient-rich diet, a supplement programme to include key nutrients to support gut health, and avoiding foods which encourage yeast are all part of the Nutritionhelp protocol to kill off Candida.

However, in the meantime, many clients still have to cope with a limited diet due to a number of food sensitivities. This may affect what vegetables can be tolerated, how well meat or seeds can be digested, and may make their grain options very low, in addition to avoiding all gluten and dairy.

51ysfoyZoAL._SX382_BO1,204,203,200_Erica White’s Beat Candida Cookbook (2014) covers a basic yeast-free and sugar-free protocol and recipes to bring Candida under control, and also includes a great many recipes which are specifically designed for clients with a number of limitations in their diets, and this can be a fantastic resource. These meal and baking ideas offer a comprehensive starting-place from which you can experiment, and this week I did just that.20160701_104406_resized

Following a Skype conversation with a client who is struggling with limited foods due to a number of food sensitivities, I produced a brown rice flour muffin, using just the simple ingredients she could manage. This may not compare with a high street coffee shop muffin, but I was pretty pleased with the result. This makes a helpful ‘bun’ which I would spread with sunflower seed cream, and use as a breakfast meal, but can be eaten as a snack at any time. The inclusion of cooked carrot helps to keep the ‘muffins’ moist. Keep them in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.

Emma’s Carrot Muffins


  • 1 large carrot- 170g, finely chopped  (well scrubbed if organic, otherwise peeled)
  • 1 mug of brown rice flour
  • 3 level dessert spoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 -1 teaspoon of dried ginger – optional


Place the chopped carrot in a small pan with an inch of water. Add a lid, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer, until carrot is well cooked. Check water doesn’t boil dry. When carrot is soft, remove from the heat, pour off any remaining liquid into a jug (there shouldn’t be much left). Mash the carrot with 1 tablespoon of the cooking water, using the back of a fork or a potato masher – or a food processor. When carrot is well mashed stir in the olive oil and the brown rice flour, and dried ginger if using, and mix well. Then stir in a beaten egg. This should form a sticky, stiff batter. Place spoonfuls, about the size of a small satsuma, on a greased baking tray and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 20-30 minutes, until golden. spread with seed butter and top with some pure ground vanilla.






Sugar-Free Vanilla Custard


Vanilla custard is an easy dessert/snack/breakfast dish for those on a sugar-free and yeast-free protocol. The custard can be served hot – poured straight from the pan, or allowed to cool and set, making it handy to prepare in advance.  It is a helpful recipe for those who cannot tolerate natural yogurt, and if you pour it into a jar with a screw-top lid, this can be easy to transport for packed lunches or office-based breakfasts. I added finely grated carrot, to increase nutrient value and get more veggies into the diet. I then added a spoonful of homemade sunflower seed cream, or a drizzle of tahini, to increase protein and healthy oil content. This is particularly important for breakfast, which generally is high in carbohydrate, and low in protein, beneficial oils and vegetables. Protein foods, and products with healthy fats, such as un-roasted seeds, take longer to break down in the digestive process, and so help to provide a more sustained release of energy.


  • 100g /1 cup of finely grated carrot
  • 400ml/3 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 55g / half cup fine maize meal (organic if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon ground dried vanilla pod
  • More ground vanilla to serve


20160329_092147Version 1 – smooth. This version puts the custard through the blender before cooking to produce a more even texture. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until carrot is pulped. Place mixture in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Pour into dishes and top with sunflower seed cream.





Version 2 – with texture. Place the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Reduce to a simmer and continue to stir for a further 4-5 20160329_082958minutes. Pour into dishes to serve, topped with extra ground vanilla pod.

Version 2  keeps small pieces of carrot in the custard. I topped this dish with a little light tahini.




Sunflower Seed Cream:

Grind 50 g/ half a cup of sunflower seeds in an electronic grinder/mill. Grind until you obtain a fine powder and it starts clumping together as the oils are released. Place in a small bowl and drizzle in water, a table spoon at a time. Stir the water and ground seeds together until you obtain the required cream consistency. If you keep it thicker you can use it to spread on crackers, if you make it thinner you can pour it on top of the custard. I kept mine fairly thick. Use within 2 days or freeze in an ice cube tray.

For a quick-to-go snack, pour custard into clean jars with screw-top lids to use in packed lunches or office breakfasts. Sprinkle with ground pumpkin seeds to add protein and healthy oils.20160330_115716

Make Recipes Work for You!

Erica White’s Beat Candida Cookbook is packed full with helpful information and delicious recipes and ideas to help you follow a sugar-free diet to support the balance of intestinal microbes. For anyone getting going with Nutritionhelp’s yeast and sugar-free protocol this cookbook is an absolute ‘must’ as it comprehensively guides you through different food groups and meals, enabling you to find recipes and ideas that suit not only your taste-buds, but also your energy levels.


However, you do not need to feel that these recipes are the sum and total of what can be eaten while working to support gut ecology. Recipes in books and on websites can easily be adapted to suit your personal nutritional recommendations. For example, the current nutritional trend of the Paleo Diet (eating the foods available to our ancestors) typically means that all grains are avoided, so many paleo recipes might be adapted to be made suitable for a yeast-free programme. For example, Dr Mercola’s website back in May included an idea for an ‘Eggplant (aubergine) sandwich‘ With just a few adaptations I have made this suitable for those of you who are following Nutritionhelp’s recommendations to support the correct balance of intestinal microbes.

To make 4 ‘sandwiches’ use:

  • 3 medium aubergines
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 yellow or red peppers
  • hummus/seed butter/tahini
  • 16 small basil leaves
  • 12 roasted mini tomatoes
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Cut each aubergine lengthwise into slices, about half an inch thick. Take the largest eight slices and place on a baking pan spread with coconut oil.
  3. Dob a little coconut oil over the top side of the aubergine and place in the oven for 30 minutes
  4. Meanwhile slice the peppers into strips and add these to baking tray with the aubergine after 10 minutes
  5. After another 10 minutes add the baby tomatoes and then return to the oven  for a the final10 minutes, until veg are soft and lightly browning. Make sure the aubergine is soft and cooked through.
  6. Assemble the sandwiches by placing an aubergine slice on a plate. Spread each slice with hummus, tahini or seed butter and top as desired with slices of roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil leaves. To complete the sandwich, place another aubergine slice on top.

N.B This recipe is not suitable if you are currently needing to avoid vegetables in the nightshade family