Some recipes don’t need an introduction…..this just so happens to be one of them!
Peanut Butter Cups
3 tbs coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup raw cacao powder (I use Iswari….you can buy it here)
Date paste (made from 5 dates approx)
4 tsp of peanut butter
1. Whisk the cacao into the melted coconut oil & add the date paste
2. Put a tsp (approx) into each mini muffin case & pop in the freezer for 15 minutes to set
3. Add 1/2 tsp of peanut butter to each & divide the remaining chocolate mix equally.
4. Put them back in the freezer to set
Move over Coconut Water, there’s a new kid in town!
Sealand Birk Organic Birch Tree Juice
Like many industries, trends in Health & Wellness move fast. Just as coconut water has become a household name, with everyone from your yoga teacher to your Granny singing its praises, it would seem that it’s about to have some tough competition in the form of Birch Tree Water.
So what exactly is it?
Birch water is the sap that flows through the tree every spring, awakening new growth, and it is said by many to be a health elixir. While people in the Tropics have been drinking coconut water for many years, it would seem that our neighbours in Northern & Eastern Europe have been enjoying birch water. It can be tapped directly from the trees, in much the same way as maple is collected. Tapping does not harm the health of the tree, but the tapping season itself is relatively short. Harvesting only takes place for one month each year, usually March to April, before the first green leaves have appeared. Birch water is highly perishable, lasting only between 2 -5 days. So unless you’re lucky enough to have a tree in your garden, all birch water that you buy will be treated in some way, pasteurisation being the most likely.
Why should I be drinking it?
Birch water has a similar chemical profile to coconut water, think natural energy and rehydration, but it does have some extra benefits. As well as some protein, enzymes and electrolytes, it also has saponins which are thought to be anti-inflammatory and may help lower cholesterol. Birch Water has xylose-derived xylitol, which may strengthen enamel and reduce dental decay. It is a powerful diuretic and has been used historically to treat many disorders including fluid retention, obesity, cellulite, high blood pressure and arthritis to name but a few. It’s beauty-boosting credentials come from vitamin C (antioxidant), zinc (necessary for growth and repair of cells) and copper (thought to be anti-aging).
What else should I know?
Even though I’m not one for counting calories personally, for those of you that are interested, birch tree water has approximately 18 calories per 100ml and 4g of naturally occurring sugars. I bought the one pictured (Sealand Birk Blueberry) in TK Maxx and paid €2.99 for 330ml. I loved the taste. It was akin to a very lightly flavoured spring water. It would have been great to try the natural flavour but alas, they didn’t have it. I’ve read that it has a slight sweetness with some reporting a “woody” or “pine” after taste. Although I’ve known about it for some time, this is the first time I’ve seen it for sale. I would expect this to change as it’s popularity grows. Overall, I feel that birch tree water is a great alternative for those times when you want something more than plain water. Oh! and it gets the kid seal of approval too!
Have you tried it? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Mango & Avocado
Down through the years I’ve been told on an occasion or two that I have good skin.
As a teenager I didn’t believe it. I didn’t suffer from breakouts like some, but I just couldn’t see past the freckles and pale Irish complexion. In my twenties, it was a nice thing to hear, but I took it somewhat for granted accrediting it to good genes. However now that I’ve passed the thirty mark, it is definitely something I think about more often.
Our skin is our largest organ and the only one that is exposed to the outside world 24/7.
We are all aware of the damage that the sun can do, but how often do we think of the dangers of stress, sugar and nutrient deficiencies? The condition of our skin gives us valuable clues as to what’s going on inside our bodies. For example dry skin may indicate that we are not getting enough water or omega 3’s, while blemishes may be a result of a sluggish digestion due to a lack of fibre and exercise.
I’m definitely not afraid of aging.
It is a privilege denied to so many; but I want to do so on my terms….gracefully! I am more conscious now than every before about the importance of actively looking after my skin. I am a firm believer in nourishment from the inside out. Nutrients to promote healthy skin & slow down the signs of aging include antioxidants, vitamins A C & E, B-complex, essential fatty acids, zinc, sulphur, amino acids (particularly arginine), fibre, probiotics and water. Phew, that’s quite a list but it’s not as daunting as it first seems!
Eating a wide variety of plant-based foods is the best way to ensure these nutritional needs are met.
I don’t mean exotic “superfoods” either. Take a look at some of the following nutrient powerhouses!
- APPLES contain quercetin, an antioxidant flavonoid, which has been shown to have a rejuvenating effect on the skin.
- PUMPKIN SEEDS contain zinc which is essential for repair, as well as essential fatty acids and vitamin E.
- AVOCADOS are a great source of vitamin E
- GRAPES are rich in resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps to fight aging free radicals.
- GARLIC is an excellent source of sulphur, aka the beauty mineral.
- CINNAMON, GINGER & CLOVES all contain compounds that iinhibit AGE’s (advanced glycation end products).
- NUTS have the amino acid arginine which has been shown to improve collagen production.
- MANGOES are an excellent source of pro-vitamin A & the antioxidant vitamin C
- RAW CACAO contains both quercetin & arginine (and is oh so delicious!)
One of my fellow Health Coaches, the beautiful Ms. Carla Davis, specialises in “Beauty through Nutrition” & I would encourage any of you interested in finding out more, to sign up for her newsletter & free beauty guide here.
When my Little Love was born, I promised that I would do my utmost to protect her precious little taste buds from all the “edible” rubbish out there.
I was doing really well until she started attending a pre-school that provided meals. Up until this point I had full control over everything that passed her sweet little lips, and I was definitely uneasy with this new situation. Alas my fears were justified, and it quickly became evident that the dietary requests I made on my daughters behalf were largely ignored! Even though we left that particular establishment, a tiny seed of rebellion had been planted in my Little Love’s mind. It was soon after that, that the tantrums over sweets at the checkout started, and she began refusing all sorts of food at home.
To say I was exasperated was an understatement. After all, I had a background in nutrition!I was the teenage waitress that looked on in horror as toddlers were passed sippy cups filled with fizzy drinks! How could it be that my own child’s diet was anything less than perfect?
And there it was….my “ah ha” moment. The perfect diet doesn’t exist! Not for me, and not for my daughter. An adult can make educated decisions regarding food, but the same can not be said for a child. As a parent, it is my job to gently guide and support my Little Love as she figures it out. It is not my job to come over all “Dickensian” and control absolutely every morsel she eats! We work together. She is involved in all the food making decisions, from what she wants for breakfast to what we’ll cook for dinner. Over all we do quite well, but I do still need to take the reins when it comes to sugar. We have a strict no treats rule monday to friday, and yes, some days she does feel like the most hard done by Kid in the world! For the really bad days, I have a few recipes up my sleeve, one of which you’ll find here.
If it’s shaped like a biscuit and looks like a biscuit, it must be a biscuit right?
These are free from gluten, dairy & most importantly refined sugar. They take less than 5 minutes to put together, and are a big hit with my Little Love.
Give them a try and see what you think!
1 cup of gluten-free oats
1 tbs desiccated coconut
1 tbs chia seeds
Handful of cacao nibs
1. Blitz the oats, banana and dates
2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients
3. Roll into balls & flatten (this makes approx 8 depending on what size you make them)
4. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes & leave to cool on a baking tray
Oat & Banana Biscuits
What a treat to wake up to a beautiful blue sky this morning….And a beautiful morning deserves a beautiful breakfast for sure!
Rose & Strawberry Mousse
A handful of frozen strawberries (10 approx)
A little liquid of your choice (nut milk etc….I used kefir)
A sprinkling of chia seeds & desiccated coconut
A handful of cacao nibs
A dusting of rose petals
(As you can see, scientific measurements aren’t my strong point!)
1. Blend the strawberries, banana, avocado & a few rose petals with a little liquid
2. Layer the mousse with the coconut & chia seeds
3. Top with the cacao nibs & remaining rose petals
4. Dig in & enjoy!!