Thursday, 15 June 2017

A Personal Journey with Cancer - A Talk by Natascha Laing

We wanted to share this vlog with you by the amazing Natascha Laing discussing her personal journey with cancer.




Some words by Natascha about this talk...

"This talk was made to happen by Michael Kern, he has been gently encouraging me to share my story in the hope that I will write a book at some point. 

Though for me I am still very much in the journey of my life, and moment to moment is still very much how I live. This talk was the first time I had ever spoken publicly about myself, and though people are always telling me I have a great message to share, I myself don't know what that message is.

I am not on any social media and not used to putting myself out in that way. Life is such a great mystery for us all, and more so for me as time goes on.

For me being able to embrace my life as it is moment to moment is where I find the most peace, cancer or no cancer."



Friday, 9 June 2017

An invitation to share your life changing stories

Today's post is from Delyth, co-founder of an app we love called 'This Changed Me' - a space for people to share anything that has inspired change in their lives. Delyth got in touch with Yes to Life following her own experience with cancer in her family and would like to share the story of how this changed her life too.


It was nearly two years ago that my mum was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, to say that we were shocked is an understatement. I felt my world dissolve under my feet, I allowed the terror to come in and had a couple of complete melt downs. I remember seeing mum for the first time after we received the diagnosis and weeping on her shoulder, she stroked my hair.  I was very much her child and feeling like a child in that moment, not the 40 year old I was at that time.

Mum was amazing and still is.

The way she dealt with the diagnosis and the treatment was head on; her positivity and belief throughout was inspirational. Mum is a glass half full woman. She is incredibly positive and her mindset was strong and infallible even in dark moments.

The way I dealt with this was immediately to search for information – WHAT CAN WE DO to encourage the best outcome. I discovered that there was a lot that we could do – an incredible amount – this was empowering and gave us hope. What I uncovered was life changing in terms of how we managed mum’s treatment and how we are now.

I am a trained Nutritional Therapist but hadn’t had a practice in years, instead I had created, developed and launched an app called This Changed Me which was in part related to my experiences as a therapist. But the diagnosis connected me back to the power of food, mum’s diet had a complete overhaul, we saw a therapist working with people with cancer (that I found via Yes to Life’s website), therefore a lot of supplements, keeping mum positive, keeping her moving and exercising… giving her LOVE and support which is vital.  All of these elements are correlated with recovery.

Mum had a stem cell transplant 2 years ago and has bounced back incredibly quickly and she feels in great health. She has little ups and downs but on the whole is happy, feels vital, she is in the world pursuing all her passions.

I know that the food, supplements, her mind set and positivity, love and support got her through this and contributes greatly to her vitality today. All of this she continues with.

Personally I learnt so much: to pursue my passions, to be true to myself, to try and be much more present, to see life as a gift even in challenging times, to be compassionate and loving, I am far more resilient than I thought I was, I did all I could to be there for my mum, my connection to wellness reinvigorated, I want to help people….



I wanted to share my story with Yes to Life in part because the organisation helped us in time of huge vulnerability. And also because I want to invite the community of Yes to Life to share your life changing stories – big or small – with my community on This Changed Me. I truly believe that your learnings would be inspirational, hopeful and a source of inspiration to other people.

This Changed Me is for people who enjoy sharing life-changing stories – big or small, trivial to life-changing and for those looking for inspiration, support, motivation. 

This Changed Me received a commendation from the renowned Webby Awards last year.


Please take a look here:


This Changed Me


Download on iTunes


If you want to talk with Delyth personally about This Changed Me, please email – hello@thischanged.me


Friday, 26 May 2017

Prawn and Mango Curry Recipe

Today's post is written by Jenny Phillips who specialises in supporting cancer patients with diet and lifestyle interventions. She herself recovered from breast cancer over 10 years ago. 


Jenny has kindly shared a recipe with us which contains turmeric, a spice which can make a positive contribution to your health. 


The Golden Spice: a recipe to brighten up your day
Turmeric is the bright yellow spice most often used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It adds a golden colour and is frequently used along with other spices to create a curry flavour. In this easy to make recipe it is paired with cumin in a creamy coconut sauce. The mango adds a subtle sweetness. 
The active ingredient within turmeric is curcumin, and this has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is one of the ten supplements discussed in a review by the Society of Integrative Oncology (1), who quote:
“Curcumin has been shown to prevent a large number of cancers in animal studies. Laboratory data indicate that curcumin can inhibit tumor initiation, promotion, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis.”
Although this curry will not deliver curcumin at therapeutic levels, eating this spice within meals increases its absorption, and may make a small but positive contribution to overall health.

Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 mild red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 200g butternut squash, roasted, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp bouillon powder
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 x 420ml coconut milk
  • 200g frozen King prawns, defrosted
  • ½ medium mango, diced
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the cumin and turmeric for a few seconds. Add the garlic and chilli and continue to sauté for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the onion and sauté to soften. Tip in the butternut squash.
  3.  Stir in the bouillon powder, seasoning and the coconut milk, simmer for 10 minutes. Add the prawns and mango, stir well and garnish with chopped coriander.

To find out more about Jenny and the work she does at Inspired Nutrition, please visit the website.

Find more of Jenny's creations on the recipes page.



(1)    Moshe Frenkel et al. Integrating Dietary Supplements Into Cancer Care. Integr Cancer Ther 2013 12: 369 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

CAM Charities Under the Gun? - by Robin Daly, Founder of Yes to Life


Prompted by the threat of legal action by a charity, The Good Thinking Society (http://goodthinkingsociety.org/), the Charity Commission is currently holding a review into the use and promotion of complementary and alternative medicine (‘CAM’) by charities. 


This is a calculated action by a small group who have set themselves up as ‘acting for the public benefit’ to attempt to get charitable status withdrawn from many of the hundreds of charities which are providing a service outside the NHS, by offering patients the opportunity of receiving CAM therapies to relieve their suffering in some way. The drive of the action is to attempt to impose the flawed and inappropriate Evidence Based Medicine (‘EBM’) model onto charity regulation, so as to restrict charitable support of health to the same narrow mandate as our National Health Service, which could reasonably be characterised as ‘corporate medicine’. It’s important to note that these charities often obtain public support precisely because they offer CAM therapies, and the patients who receive the therapies have chosen them for themselves. Interested parties were invited to submit material to the Charity Commission to assist it in coming to a decision on whether to continue to allow that such charities are acting in the public benefit.


Yes to Life chose to contribute to the consultation process and the following responses have been extracted from our submission:


What level and nature of evidence should the Commission require to establish the beneficial impact of CAM therapies?


As CAM therapies are generally multi-modality, and are likely to have a strong psycho-social basis born out of the therapist-patient relationship as well as a biomedical one, evidence should not be limited to measurements of outcomes based on comparing treatments with controls in randomised controlled trials (‘RCTs’). We strongly feel that the route employed to establish the efficacy for pharmaceutical medicine is almost entirely unsuited to CAM.

There are several reasons for this, but the most prominent is that using the peer-reviewed literature will, in many or even most instances, lead to dismissing a therapy due to insufficient research of the type judged to be the ‘gold standard’ for pharmaceutical medicines. The key reason for a far lower level of research is profitability. The huge investment made in drug research is with a view to generating huge profits. The ‘bar’ for medical evidence is now set so high (and by this we are referring to cost, not quality) as to effectively rule out low-cost interventions of any type. Tragically, this fact is resulting in spiraling medical costs and lack of research into cheaper effective options.

The territory of CAM is a very different one to that of orthodox medicine, in that most CAM interventions are ‘natural’ ones, often based on foods, or they are ‘bodywork’ interventions such as massage, or work in the psychological/emotional arena. In contrast, practically all orthodox medicines are synthetic toxins and all have side-effects which are well documented. With orthodox medicines there is a fine balancing act between benefits and unwanted side effects. Hence it is critically important to ascertain that the balance is towards the beneficial side and that the side effects are not, in fact, worse than the condition being treated. Relatively speaking, CAM interventions are exceptionally safe and have few undesirable side effects. *When it comes to efficacy, the evidence for CAM interventions is undoubtedly ‘variable’. However, we feel this should not be the concern of the Charity Commission. In order to ensure that a given charity is providing benefit to the public and advancing health for the public benefit, it is sufficient for the Charity Commission to know that the public are not being put at risk by a charity providing a dangerous therapy. In our view, the beneficiaries are the only people qualified to judge whether a therapy is providing them with benefit - so it’s just a matter of asking them. A further role of the Commissioners is to ensure that money given to a charity is used for the purposes declared by the charity - ‘does what it says on the tin’. Hence if a charity advertises that it supports cancer patients with a type of complementary medicine and donations are received on that basis, then donors are particularly choosing to support the offering of such therapy to people with cancer because they have reason to believe it will be of benefit to them.

Evidence-based medicine (EBM), in the arena of CAM at least, is in many ways in direct conflict with a central policy of successive governments for the past 40 years or thereabouts - that of promoting patient choice and patient-centred care. EBM has had a stranglehold over choice to such a degree that it has required policy decisions such as the mandatory introduction of Personal Health Budgets(‘PHBs’) in the face of the resistance of the medical services, in order to even begin to introduce an element of patient choice, and some personal control over healthcare. Meanwhile, charities have been one of the very few channels through which choice has been introduced over this period. 

We are very supportive of the work now being undertaken by Clinical Commissioning Groups and GP’s who are delivering PHB’s to their patients. Their use of patient experience is one of the key evaluation measures to determine outcomes. Patients frequently ask their doctor how their health might be improved by interventions that are not usually available on the NHS, and can be provided by charities. For example, acupuncture for pain relief.  Whilst being positive on the efficacy of such interventions, GP’s have been limited in the past to offering NHS services. PHB’s have allowed a more flexible approach so that an individual personal care plan can be designed by the patient and the GP to best suit their needs. The NHS’s recently published ‘Five Year Forward View’ adopts a more patient-centred approach.  Dismissing the use of patient experience as a means for evaluation would therefore be at odds with the government’s own policy.

It should also be noted that a substantial number of cancer centres now have a CAM unit offering patients a choice of CAM therapies to relieve the enormous stresses of cancer and of going through orthodox treatments. It is our understanding that in every case it has been a charitable initiative to introduce these choices and, without continued charitable input, these would quickly disappear. With EBM as the sole guiding principle, no such development would have occurred.

The consistently rising market for CAM is evidence enough of the public’s faith in its benefits. Despite our ‘free’ healthcare service, more and more people are putting their hands in their pockets in order to escape the paternalistic style of the NHS and its narrow views on what can be described as medicine. This situation is so desperate that Macmillan (a charity which now offers CAM) is running a campaign to elevate patient experience to the same level of importance as clinical outcome. This demonstrates how patients are being excluded from the picture. EBM can prescribe a course of treatment and then also judge the outcome by its own standards, without consulting the patient at any point, or in any way. 

In summary, when dealing with CAM, we strongly believe that the term ’evidence of efficacy’ should be replaced with ‘no evidence of harm’.


How, if at all, should the Commission’s approach be different in respect of CAM organisations which only use or promote therapies which are complementary, rather than alternative, to conventional treatments?


Our major concern is for patient choice, and therefore we feel that a ‘hands off’ approach to choice of therapy, regardless of whether they might be described as ‘complementary’ or ‘alternative’ is essential. The same safety concerns should apply to both categories, but otherwise a limiting of choice when it comes to patients deciding what is best for their own healthcare is an infringement of their human rights. 

It is worth noting:
a)    There is no firm dividing line between complementary and alternative. A single therapy could be used in either way. Again this is a matter of patient choice.
b)    CAM is very quickly being replaced as a ‘category’ of medicine. We talk about Integrative Medicine (IM), which does include all aspects of CAM, but also includes all aspects of conventional medicine. IM can be described as ‘the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all the appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health’.
c)    The same limiting of choice described above also applies to charitable donors. If the Commissioners were to limit the range of complementary therapies that charities are allowed to offer, based on EBM principles, this also limits the rights of charitable donors to support safe non-conventional ways of helping people in the most difficult circumstances.


Do you have any other comments about the Commission’s approach to registering CAM organisations as charities?


The Commission is providing an essential service to the public in registering CAM providers as charities. The example given above of CAM units attached to cancer centres, shows clearly the role of these charities in bringing choice to patients and in filling some of the enormous and well-documented gaps in care in our NHS. It should also be noted that generally practitioners operating within such organisations often provide their services free or at very low costs. Hospices are another excellent example of charities with a heavy reliance on CAM that are providing a level of care that is widely acknowledged to be unavailable within the NHS.

If the Commissioners decide to move under the same philosophical umbrella as our health services, then clearly charities will only be able to offer the same narrow choices prescribed by the EBM system, with all its well-documented shortcomings. In short, one of the key roles of our UK charities - that of addressing some of the gaps in care of the NHS - will be diminished unacceptably, and patients will effectively be taken back several decades in terms of the care they receive. As the UK is already languishing well down the European league tables for diseases such as cancer,** it is both irrational and inhuman to consider degrading our healthcare still further by preventing charities from broadening the services available to patients in an effort to improve their situations.

The entire foundation of charitable giving comes under question when an outside body, subject to forces beyond the control of the public, dictates what a donor is allowed to support and what a beneficiary is allowed to receive, based on a questionable and unsuitable system of ‘evidence’. The reasons for the shortcomings of EBM are now well-documented***, and we are all paying the price for the lack of choice and expensive, ineffective results it often produces. As explained above, CAM doesn’t even have the same requirement for such a system.  Evidence is, of course, always welcome as a guide to effectiveness for patients and practitioners, but ‘no evidence of harm’ is really the only requirement that the Commissioners need be concerned with in order to establish that the therapy or therapies are beneficial. A non-patriarchal and democratic approach by the Commissioners will ensure that donors and beneficiaries are free to judge for themselves the benefits of safe therapies.

References:



Antioxidants – is it a case of too much of a good thing? - by Sophie Tully BSc, MSc, DipPT

Antioxidants are everywhere – all you have to do is pick up some real food (i.e. something natural and unprocessed) and you’ll literally be staring a wealth of these health-enhancing, wellness-promoting, disease-preventing nutrients in the face and yet, somehow, we are living in a pandemic of oxidative stress-related diseases and health complications.


Antioxidants have long been promoted as the panacea of health, with their potential to protect against a range of illnesses and aliments, but, as with so many things, too much of a good thing is, often, no longer a good thing. Despite their seemingly infallible health-enhancing potential, antioxidants have a dark side and can, when intake is too high, have negative consequences on our health. To understand which antioxidants might be safe and beneficial to you, and at what doses you should consume them, we need to consider the environment to which they are being added (i.e. your body and biology) and the systems that need support (i.e. what health concerns or risks you have), the benefits you are hoping for by taking them (e.g. improved energy, reduced ageing, less muscle soreness) and whether you are taking a form that can actually be absorbed (i.e. is it effective). So over this two part series we are going to unpick the pieces of this puzzle so you can decide if and which extra antioxidant support you might need.


What is an antioxidant and what do they do in the body?


Exactly as the name suggests, anti-oxidants inhibit oxidation (a chemical reaction that produces highly reactive compounds, called free radicals, which have the potential to cause damage to our cells, DNA and functional proteins, if left unmanaged). Antioxidants act to stabilise free radicals usually by donating an electron, hydrogen or other chemical group that, essentially, calms the free radical down and stops it going on the rampage.

Antioxidants can also act to stop the production of free radicals in the first place, by increasing our natural oxidative-stress coping capacity (e.g. upregulating super oxide dismutase transcription), or by running around after free radicals cleaning up the mess they’ve made.

Free radicals are produced by a range of internal and external factors including:
  • Cellular respiration (yes that’s right – breathing & using oxygen!)
  • Inflammation
  • Exercise
  • Stress
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Environmental pollutants
  • Radiation
  • Certain drugs
  • Pesticides
  • Industrial solvents
  • The ozone layer



As the above list shows, we are exposed to 
free radicals all day, every day, so you would not be judged harshly for thinking that ingesting ample antioxidants to appease these otherwise volatile and aggressive molecules would be a good idea. Unfortunately, to date, research is pretty lacking in terms of proving the benefits of antioxidants to health, above and beyond showing that a diet rich in them is health positive.  When we look at the consensus science, the use of antioxidants for disease management, or to treat specific conditions, suggests that in most cases they are quite unhelpful. ‘How can this be?!’ I hear you cry. Looking at the role of oxidation, free radicals and antioxidants in the body, it all starts to become clear.

Understanding free radicals and reactive oxygen species


Oxygen is vital to sustain life, and yet it is this very life-giving molecule that causes oxidative stress. Oxygen is used to generate energy in our cells, by the mitochondria, and this process generates free radicals, including reactive oxygen species (ROS). In order to prevent this from being a problem, our bodies, as well as almost all organisms on earth, have developed complex endogenous antioxidant systems to cope with this and make sure it does not pose a significant threat.
Plant foods that are rich in antioxidants contain these for the very same reasons we do, to protect them from free radical damage, caused by various stresses they face during their lifespan, including heat, light and, more recently, agricultural chemicals. By adapting these highly effective internal processes, all forms of life can maintain the delicate balance between carrying out essential, albeit ROS-generating, processes and preventing any resultant damage to cells and DNA.

Antioxidants protect us against harmful free radical – or do they?



Whilst it may seem like avoiding sources of oxidative stress and eating lots of antioxidant-rich foods would be a good idea, in many cases free radical production is actually a beneficial process that triggers a positive adaptation process that allows us to grow and thrive in harsh environments, under stressful situations and in times of increased demand on the body. Human beings, being the clever creatures we are, have also begun to manipulate the benefits of free radical damage for medical purposes, such as cancer treatments. It is because of the need for ROS in adaptation that it is not always a good idea to flood the body with excessive amounts of a few specific antioxidants, unless you have a recognised need for them.

For example, exercise is a process that, on the whole, is considered a very healthy thing; as a result of needing to quickly and significantly increase the rate of energy produced and subsequently supplied to the muscles, however, a large additional free radical load is also generated. These free radicals then cause damage to the surrounding tissues, which subsequently require repair (this is why we get sore, aching muscles when we train hard). The process of repairing the damage allows us to adapt to the stress that was placed on the muscles, and come back stronger (improved strength and fitness). Whilst we do need adequate antioxidant levels to prevent the generated free radicals from getting too enthusiastic or wandering off and causing problems elsewhere in the body, having too much antioxidants could suppress the natural adaptation process and therefore reduce the benefits you see from your training. Indeed, studies have shown that chronic supplementation of vitamin C (1000mg) and vitamin E (400IU) can blunt the beneficial adaptation process otherwise triggered in response to exercise, thus negating the positive effects of exercise.

Scientific research shows that those exposed to UV radiation in small but consistent doses do not experience the same level of skin damage as those exposed infrequently and in high doses. This is because, over time, the body’s defence mechanisms can adapt to help protect against any damage being caused, as long as it remains manageable. In short sharp bursts (such as a week’s holiday in sunny southern Spain) UV radiation causes excessive free radical damage and this can lead to genetic mutation in skin cells, and subsequently cancer.

When is an antioxidant not an antioxidant?


Another factor we have to consider when looking at the protective role of antioxidants is that they can also become pro-oxidants in certain situations, such as when they are found at high levels without the backup and support of other antioxidants. Once an antioxidant has worked its calming magic on a free radical it has now made itself unstable. The antioxidant systems in the body have, however, adapted to ensure these are also dealt with and many antioxidants work together to consistently recycle one another and ensure they are also quickly stabilised. When there is not enough ‘backup’ available, this can lead to the accumulation of unstable pro-oxidants being formed from the antioxidants, adding to the very oxidative stress load they are meant to help reduce.

Maximising the health benefits of antioxidants


In light of the above, we have to consider that artificially altering the delicate balance and coping strategies, which we have adapted over millennia, can have grave consequences and if given at the wrong time to the wrong person, certain antioxidants can make things worse.

Now whilst this all sounds very scary there are a range of benefits to be had from optimising antioxidant status, predominantly through dietary intake. Epidemiological studies show that plant food consumption (fruit and veg) directly correlates with long-term health and much of this benefit is attributed to the antioxidants and phytonutrients contained in these foods. 

Since most of us do not eat enough plant foods (recent research suggests less than 60% of the UK population eats the modest 5-a-day) and we are all subject to far more oxidative stress on a day to day basis than is ideal, ensuring your diet is rich in a broad range of natural food-derived antioxidants is a really big step in the right direction. We can run into trouble, however, when we start to look to optimise health via high intake of specifically one or two foods or nutrients. When we eat food (rather than nutrients) we are in fact eating a broad range of chemicals and plant components that work together to provide complementary, synergistic support to the overall health of our cells and body. Recent research shows that when we consume nutrients as whole foods within a healthy and varied diet (rather than isolated supplements) our body processes and absorbs them differently, allowing us to pick and choose what it does and doesn’t need at any one time. This helps to naturally regulate the nutrient levels in our body to ensure optimal balance at any one time; eating a diet rich in health-supportive nutrients will therefore ensure that you are exposed to a wide range of nutrients throughout the day and your body can extract what it needs.

When we focus on the consumption of any one specific food or nutrient, we can overwhelm the mechanisms in the body by which they would otherwise elicit their health benefits, leading to potential imbalance and subsequent problems (as mentioned above). As such, most of the research currently points to antioxidants as only consistently offering benefits when consumed via the diet and, ideally, natural plant foods. Therefore, in an ideal world, eating a rainbow of different vegetables plus some fruit, aiming to exceed your 5-a-day where possible, without relying on high doses of individual antioxidant nutrients, is the safest and most beneficial way to optimise your antioxidant status and overall health.


Targeted antioxidant support can be a good thing


Aside from the overwhelming need for us all to eat more vegetables (ideally local, seasonal, organic ones) there is a growing body of evidence to show that in certain conditions, at specific times, in some genetic backgrounds and when a malabsorption issue is present, the use of targeted and specific nutritional interventions can be beneficial.
In part two of this article we’ll be covering how to identify whether your antioxidant status might be sub optimal and which nutrients, if any, might be of benefit for your specific health concerns.


References:


Devasagayam, T. P. A., Tilak, J. C., Boloor, K. K., Sane, K. S., Ghaskadbi, S. S., & Lele, R. D. (2004). Free radicals and antioxidants in human health: current status and future prospects. Japi, 52(10), 794-804.

Kanti Bhooshan Pandey and Syed Ibrahim Rizvi, Plant Polyphenols as Dietary Antioxidants in Human Health and Disease. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2009, vol. 2, no. 5, pp. 270-278.

Sies H. Hydrogen peroxide as a central redox signaling molecule in physiological oxidative stress: Oxidative eustress. Redox Biology. 2017;11:613-619.

Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacognosy Reviews. 2010;4(8):118-126.

Pacholczyk M1, Czernicki J2, Ferenc T3. The effect of solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on induction of skin cancers. Med Pr. 2016;67(2):255-66.

Brenner, M., & Hearing, V. J. (2008). The Protective Role of Melanin Against UV Damage in Human Skin. Photochemistry and Photobiology, 84(3), 539–549.

Paulsen G, Cumming KT, Holden G, et al. Vitamin C and E supplementation hampers cellular adaptation to endurance training in humans: a double-blind, randomised, controlled trial. The Journal of Physiology. 2014;592(Pt 8):1887-1901.

Bouayed J, Bohn T. Exogenous antioxidants—Double-edged swords in cellular redox state: Health beneficial effects at physiologic doses versus deleterious effects at high doses. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2010;3(4):228-237.

Sies H. Hydrogen peroxide as a central redox signaling molecule in physiological oxidative stress: Oxidative eustress. Redox Biology. 2017;11:613-619.

Forman HJ1. Redox signaling: An evolution from free radicals to aging. Free Radic Biol Med. 2016 Aug;97:398-407.

Rui Hai Liu Health benefits of fruit and vegetables are from additive and synergistic combinations of phytochemicals Am J Clin Nutr. 2003; 78(3):517S-520S.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Luxury Chocolate Brownies

Today's post is written by Jenny Phillips who specialises in supporting cancer patients with diet and lifestyle interventions. She herself recovered from breast cancer over 10 years ago.


Jenny has kindly shared a recipe with us which is perfect for the summer season...


Here’s a tasty treat which is good for you too! This delicious recipe is easy to make, gluten free and packed with protein from ground almonds and eggs. There is natural sweetness from the banana and this is supplemented with xylitol, a sugar alcohol that doesn’t affect blood glucose levels. And because it’s so satisfying you’ll be less likely to over indulge too. A little bit of what you fancy can indeed do you good. Enjoy!


Ingredients:


150g coconut oil or butter
90g xylitol
125g 70% chocolate
2 ripe bananas
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
30g cocoa powder
150g ground almonds
200g walnuts, chopped

One 9 inch square cake tin, lined.



Method:


- Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees

- Cream the oil and xylitol together using a wooden spoon or mixer
- Break the chocolate into a bowl and melt by placing it over a pan of boiling water or place it in a steamer for a few minutes
- Mash the bananas with the vanilla extract. Beat the eggs in a bowl
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl- almonds, baking powder, cocoa and walnuts
- Add each of the wet to the dry ingredients, stir to combine well
- Pour into the lined cake tin and bake for 20-25 mins or until spongy to the touch
- Cool and cut into squares before serving

To find out more about Jenny and the work she does at Inspired Nutrition, please visit the website.


Find more of Jenny's creations on the recipes page.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Miso Roasted Mushrooms and Spring Onions with Japanese Tamari Superseeds

As the sun creeps closer and we start to think about the holiday season why not take your taste buds abroad with this Japanese inspired dish.

This delicious recipe works beautifully as a hearty side dish. Or, double the amount and make it your main.

SERVES: 2-3 as a side

TIME: 35-45 mins (15 mins prep, 20-30 mins in the oven)

DIFFICULTY: Easy - Medium

INGREDIENTS

1 pack/box brown cup mushrooms
1 bunch of spring onions
1 heaped tbsp brown rice miso paste
1 tsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp sesame oil
juice of ¼ lemon
2x tbsp Japanese Tamari Superseeds





METHOD

STEP 1. Set the oven to 200°C. Chop the mushrooms into halves and the spring onions into inch long chunks, keeping the leafy bits for later.

STEP 2. Mix all the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Add the mushrooms and spring onions and mix using your hands before transferring to a baking tray.

STEP 3. Roast for 20 - 30 mins. To get them nice and crispy you may want to drain some of the liquid 15 mins in and switch to a grill setting for the last 5 mins.

STEP 4. Remove and transfer to a plate. Finish with a sprinkle of the finely chopped spring onion leaves and Japanese Tamari Superseeds.