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.

basil

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.

seeds

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!

Advertisements

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.

stirring

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.

cake

Is it Worth Choosing Organic Veggies?

By Emma Cockrell

With my ongoing emphasis on including more vegetables in the diet – whether a Nutritionhelp anti-candida diet or general healthy diet – it serves us well to consider the question of whether we should be buying organic. We are aware that produce may be carrying a residue of pesticides and fungicides, but does this really matter? You can access the government reports on pesticide residue on a number of foods here. This seems to be a fair and transparent documentation, with the main summary being “…we do not expect these residues to have an effect on health.”

However, since pesticides are designed to be toxic – to kill insects, plants and fungi – it is not surprising to know that they can have an impact on health. The problem is that the impact isn’t seen immediately or obviously. Samantha Jakuboski at Green Science writes,

After countless studies, pesticides have been linked to cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, ADHD, and even birth defects. Pesticides also have the potential to harm the nervous system, the reproductive system, and the endocrine system. Pesticides can even be very harmful to foetuses because the chemicals can pass from the mother during pregnancy or if a woman nurses her child. Although one piece of fruit with pesticides won’t kill you, if they build up in your body, they can be potentially detrimental to your health and should be avoided as much as possible.

Children, in particular, take in more pesticides relative to body weight than adults and have developing organ systems that are more vulnerable and less able to detoxify toxic chemicals.

veg

In contrast, consider the results of research at Newcastle University on the nutrient benefits of organic produce. The study concluded that there are “statistically significant, meaningful” differences, with a range of antioxidants being “substantially higher” – between 19% and 69% – in organic food. It is the first study to demonstrate clear and wide-ranging differences between organic and conventional fruits, vegetables and cereals.

So while in theory we would prefer organic produce, it is not always available or affordable. This is where the following chart, taken from Pesticide Action Network UK, can be useful. It helps us to understand which vegetables are most contaminated (follow link for information on fruits) and therefore which ones to opt for organic when possible.

The worst produce are generally those that require a shiny exterior to promote sales. These often have petroleum-based wax coatings which also encourages contamination from pesticides to ‘stick’. With non-organic produce therefore it is well worth peeling, to reduce the toxic load. In contrast, organic produce should be eaten unpeeled (but well-washed) to obtain maximum nutrients.tomatoes

A natural bristle brush is helpful for scrubbing produce thoroughly, removing as much pesticide residue as possible.

Best & Worst Food for Pesticide Residues E-mail
% of Samples That
Contain Residues
% of Residues that Exceed MRLs
 % of Samples that contain Multiple Residues
 

Best Vegetables


Corn (cob)
alt
0 0 0
Leeks
alt
8 1.4 4.2
Aubergines
alt 20 5.7 5.7
Onions
alt
29 0 2
Ginger
alt 33 0 0
Chilli
alt
9 6.5 22
Potatoes
alt
44 1 8.3
Peppers
alt 45 0 34
Celery alt 46 0 12.5
Spinach alt 47 2.5 22


Worst Vegetables


Tomatoes
alt
81 2.1 52
Parsnips
alt
77 0 67
Cucumber
alt
64 1 36
Carrots
alt
63 0 32
Lettuce
alt
59 0 27
Beans in a pod
alt
58 14 39
Peas in a pod
alt
57 4.1 37
Sweet Potatoes
alt
57 0 6.4
Courgettes and Marrows  alt  48 0 13
Yams  alt  48 22 28

The following chart, also by Pesticide Action Network UK gives a window into the endeavours of UK supermarkets into addressing pesticides on their produce. There is quite a contrast  between the attitudes of the companies compared! However, most of the companies listed below are working to increase their organic range of produce.

What are UK supermarkets doing about pesticide problems?

Print E-mail
PAN UK’s summary comparison on whether supermarkets are addressing the following issues;
Pesticide policy criterion
Aldi
ADSA co-op lidl m&s morrisons sainsbury's somerfield tesco Waitrose
Publish its residue testing results?
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
Action plans to tackle residue problems beyond legal compliance?
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
Commit to phase out specific hazardous pesticides?
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
Stated aim and actions to reduce use of pesticides?
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
Pest management strategy promotes alternatives to pesticides?
A company may be addressing the issue, but does not provide any information on it, or the information is too vague to judge whether it is making a genuine effort
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
A company may be addressing the issue, but does not provide any information on it, or the information is too vague to judge whether it is making a genuine effort
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
A company may be addressing the issue, but does not provide any information on it, or the information is too vague to judge whether it is making a genuine effort
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
Technical support for growers to reduce reliance on pesticides?
A company may be addressing the issue, but does not provide any information on it, or the information is too vague to judge whether it is making a genuine effort
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
A company may be addressing the issue, but does not provide any information on it, or the information is too vague to judge whether it is making a genuine effort
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
A company may be addressing the issue, but does not provide any information on it, or the information is too vague to judge whether it is making a genuine effort
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
A company may be addressing the issue, but does not provide any information on it, or the information is too vague to judge whether it is making a genuine effort
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
Information for consumers on pesticide use issues?
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
Engage with consumers on unnecessary use of pesticides for cosmetic appearance of fruit & vegetables?
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.
There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.

Key

green A company is taking concrete actions for a specific criterion and describes in some detail the aims and methods.
yellow A company mentions the issue but gives no detail on how this is implemented, or lacks targets or reporting on progress.
blue A company may be addressing the issue, but does not provide any information on it, or the information is too vague to judge whether it is making a genuine effort.
red There is no policy commitment or no information provided for consumers.

Summer Mint-Kale Smoothie

By Emma Cockrell

Back to my mission to get vegetables into breakfasts…!

If you enjoyed the light ginger smoothie you may like to try this Mint and Kale Smoothie recipe. Packed with seeds, this substantial smoothie makes a great start to the day during the summer months. It is nutritious and filling – keeping you going throughout the morning and is a perfect addition to an anti-candida diet. Alternatively, once made, split the smoothie into small portions and use it as mid-meal snacks over the next couple of days. This may be helpful if you are needing to gain some weight.

kale smoothie

I like to keep this smoothie thicker, and eat it with a spoon, topped with some desiccated coconut. To use it as a drink, just add more water. I have to say, it may take you a couple of days to get used to a vegetable smoothie, but it really can then become a firm favourite! Being seed and vegetable-based, is particularly helpful for those who struggle with an intolerance to grains.

Kale Smoothie

  • 20g sunflower seedsseeds
  • 10 g linseeds
  • 10 g sesame seeds
  • 15g chia seeds
  • 2 handfuls of chopped curly kale (hard bits of stem removed)
  • mint, lime gingerJuice of half a lime
  • 4cm chunk of cucumber – chopped, (and skinned unless organic)
  • 2cm chunk of fresh ginger – skinned and chopped
  • 15 mint leaves – at least! I love fresh mint!

Cover seeds with water and pre-soak for a minimum of 30 minutes or overnight to activate enzymes making them easier to digest.

soak seeds_jpg

Blend all ingredients together, adding enough water to make the required consistency.

blenderI add about ½ -1 cup in addition to the water soaking the seeds, keeping it fairly thick so I can eat it with a spoon. Alternatively add more water to make a thick smoothie drink. Serve in an attractive glass or sundae dish etc and eat /drink slowly.

kale smoothie

NB Linseeds are helpful for constipation, so if you find this smoothie causes some wind you may like to see how you get on reducing or leaving the linseeds.

 

More Veggies at Breakfast!

By Emma Cockrell

A yeast-free and sugar-free anti-candida diet really does not need to be boring or limiting. In fact, considering new and alternative foods opens up meal and menu plans. As I continue my theme of adding vegetables to breakfast meals, the standard vegetable (which is actually a fruit!) used at breakfast is, of course, the tomato. The tomato really is very versatile, and can be poached along with some eggs for an easy breakfast, or chopped with basil and added to an omelette for a flavoursome and filling start to the day.20160722_094508_resized

However, many clients cannot tolerate tomatoes, or eggs, so alternative ideas for vegetable-based breakfasts are needed. Some of my favourites are vegetable and seed-based smoothies.20160722_095741_resizedThese are flavoursome, filling and easy to eat. They make a convenient breakfast ‘on-the-go’ for those who are rushing around, but can also provide a nutrient-dense meal for those who are low in energy.  If you are underweight and need to add in some additional calories this can also make a great mid-meal snack.

20160722_094143_resizedSeeds are best soaked in water overnight, or for a minimum of 30 minutes. This can be helpful for digestion and also activates the enzymes they contain, increasing their nutritional benefits.

Light Ginger Smoothie

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons ground sunflower seeds
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger20160722_094349_resized
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 handful baby spinach

Soak seeds over night or for at least 30 minutes. 20160722_095400_resized_1Blend all together, pour into a tall glass and enjoy!

For a lighter snack serve in small glasses, to keep you going between meals.

Christmas Gift Idea!

For those of you who are struggling to find the perfect Christmas gift for ‘Someone who has Everything’, here is an idea which I have only just come across. It is the ‘Spiralizer’! Now, I have not got one, and I don’t know how well it works, but the idea is fantastic! A Spiralizer is a hand held gadget that cuts veggies into spiral strands, making a perfect alternative to pasta, or adding interest to salads. If it is hard getting vegetables into picky eaters (and I know that this doesn’t only apply to children!) this is an easy way to disguise vegetables, along with, or in place of, spaghetti.

For those of you who are reducing weight, this is a helpful way to increase vegetable consumption. In my weight loss appointments I encourage clients to fill half the plate with veg, just over a quarter  of the plate with protein (fish, chicken, eggs, pulses) and just under a quarter of the plate with whole grains (such as quinoa, buckwheat or wholegrain rice, or the more starchy vegetables, such as parsnips, butternut squash or sweet potato). For most people this is a complete ‘about change’, moving from a predominantly carbohydrate- based meal (e.g. a plate covered with rice or spaghetti with some sauce on top) to a vegetable-based meal. Using a Spiralizer may make such a transition more helpful. Vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants – all helpful for supporting and maintaining health. For those of us who already feast on veggies this gadget may provide an interesting addition to the textures on the plate.spiralizer 1

Clients who are working to support gut ecology might find the Spiralizer helps to add variety in serving vegetables – both cooked and raw, particularly benficial as you increase vegetable intake to replace fruit in the diet.

spiralizer 2I am afraid I have no idea how well this little gadget works, but I thought the discovery of this kitchen equipment was too good not to share! Amazon has several versions, starting at £6.99, going up to £17.00. I just may be getting one with any Christmas money that comes my way! I’ll let you know how I get on!

spiralizer 3

More About Sweet Potatoes!

Last week I wrote about the benefit of including some carbohydrate foods in the diet while working to support the balance of microbes in the digestive tract.

Sweet potatoes fall into this carbohydrate category as a more starchy vegetable, and with the weather beginning to become more autumnal, it is a wonderfully warming and satisfying food. One way that I like to use sweet potato is to roast it in a little extra virgin olive oil (keeping temperatures below 180 degrees Celsius) and then tossing it into a salad. This transforms the salad into a warming meal  and adds a different flavour and texture to complement green leaves. I also like to pre-bake tomatoes – either wedges or mini tomatoes cut in halves, and then add to salad leaves, as these too add a depth of flavour to bring change to a winter salad.

Last week I posted the first half of an article by Food Matters which talked about some benefits of Sweet Potatoes. The article continues below:

7. They Won’t Spike Your Blood Sugar

Unlike refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, candy and other sweets. Sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index, slowly releasing their natural sugars into the blood stream. So you won’t go on a sugar-induced rollercoaster. This helps to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy for the body, reducing fatigue during the day and excessive hunger pangs.

8. They’re Loaded With Antioxidants

That rich orange color is a sign that they’re high in carotenoids, a type of antioxidant, that are the precursors to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, a boosted immunity, and protects you against the effects of aging. They’re also powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer! Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early-stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence. So impressive!

9.  You Can Eat Them In Many Ways

They’re one of the simplest foods to cook and incredibly versatile. You can roast them, puree them, steam, bake or grill them. Add them to stews, soups, salads, and even desserts! Regardless of how you have them, add a little fat/oil to get the most nutrients.

10. They’re Anti-Inflammatory

Anthocyanin and other color-related pigments in sweet potato are equally valuable for their anti-inflammatory health benefits.

11. They Support Healthy Wound Healing

The plant nutrients in sweet potato impact fibrinogen in the body. Fibrinogen is one of the key glycoproteins in the body that is required for successful blood clotting. With the help of a coagulation factor called thrombin, fibrinogen gets converted into fibrin during the blood clotting process. Balanced amounts of fibrinogen, thrombin and fibrin are a key part of the body’s health and its ability to close off wounds and stop loss of blood!

12. Spuds With Anti-Bacterial Properties!

In sweet potatoes, researchers have long been aware of one group of resin glycosides called batatins (including batatin I and batatin II). But only recently have researchers discovered a related group of glycosides in sweet potato called batatosides (including batatodide III, batatoside IV, and batatoside V). In lab studies, most of these sweet potato glycosides have been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Cool, right?! We’re excited to see what else this line of research discovers about this impressive yet humble root vegetable!