By Removing Sugary Drinks From Hospital Shops We Are Simply Masking A Bigger Problem

Here they are again, this government of ours, rambling on about increasing tax on sugary drinks and removing them from hospital shops. Don’t they realise they’ve missed the point?

When Jamie Oliver set about to change our diets for the better, he started in schools. Why? Because quite frankly, it’s no good aiming this information at sixty-year-olds who have created lifetime habits and most likely won’t want to change them.

If there are parents out there still giving their children Fruit Shoots and other (for lack of a better word) ‘drinks’ filled with sugar and artificial rubbish, despite the panoply of information so readily available, it is them we need to be targeting. Why are these parents still under the impression that these drinks are okay to give their children, even if it is just as a rare ‘treat’? Why are parents not waking up to the fact that if you give your child nothing but water from the offset, they will not want anything but water because we wouldn’t have created within them an unyielding addiction that leads to ‘cravings’ for sweet drinks to quench their thirst instead of water which they may then describe as ‘boring’? The human body can last up to three weeks without food, but water is a different story. Every living cell in the body needs it to function. It is essentially our life-source, so I’d say it’s anything but boring, and this is what we need to be teaching our children.

We can remove these drinks from hospital shops but the person in question can simply go and find the nearest shop or petrol station and buy their drink of choice there.

What we need to be doing is educating, on a mass level, the population of Britain about nutrition, by giving them a comprehensive understanding of nutrition and how the body responds to it, and not just by telling them to eat their five a day and cut out sugar. Because what happens when people become obsessed with one diet fad, such as removing sugar from the diet, is that they look for substitutes because they have not learnt about nutrition or the body; they have simply learnt what helps them lose weight, and at what price are we losing weight?

Weekly meet-up diet-plan groups that started popping up in the ‘80s and ‘90s are perhaps the worst thing that has happened to our collective health since cigarettes; most of them recommend substituting anything sugary with artificial sweeteners, chemicals that are (if we had to choose) worse for our health than refined sugar. The advice from these organisations to cut out fat and sugar is, in my opinion, one of the reasons that we are seeing a huge increase in early onset dementia. The brain needs fat. It cannot function or grow without it and many adults who began following this fat-free craze thirty-odd years ago are now in their middle ages being diagnosed with early onset dementia, among other things.

The ironic thing is that most of these ‘fat-free’ foods have increased amounts of sugar, which is a lot worse for the heart than healthy fats. A fruit flavoured yogurt, for example, contains about 12 grams of added sugar. This equates to eating a small cup of yogurt with a bowl of frosted corn flakes. We need to forget about all these fads, stop buying convenience food and eat fresh, whole foods that we (heaven forbid) prepare ourselves.

Studies on Aspartame (the sweetener used in Diet Coke) have shown a range of adverse effects, from nausea and dizziness to birth defects and multiple sclerosis. People substituting Coke with Diet Coke should not be under any illusion that this is better for anything other than their waistlines. MS is essentially nerve damage on the brain and the spinal cord, most likely caused by the immune system attacking the fatty myelin sheath around the brain. If we are reducing the one thing that the brain needs to function, and substituting it with a magnitude of toxins known to harm the immune system and the nervous system, we are essentially begging for multiple sclerosis.

What the government should actually be doing is making these drinks illegal, because they have a responsibility to us, the people, not to the pockets of the manufacturers and these drinks are in fact poisonous. These items need to be removed from our country altogether, and money needs to be put into education, at a grassroots level.

If midwives, ante-natal instructors and even general practitioners, most of whom have not had sufficient training in nutrition, were provided with the proper education, and this information was filtered down to new parents, we would see an entire new generation more healthy and health-conscious than ever before, and not just a generation obsessed with weight loss.

Nutrition classes could also be held in schools. Imagine the changes we would see in our society if all aspects of diet were taught to children, including reducing intake of refined sugars and not replacing them with artificial sweeteners or fat-free products, and encouraging people to understand that natural sugar like that found in fruit, in moderation—like everything—is healthy.

Despite the government’s miseducation, we are fortunate enough to live in an age where information is available wherever we are on the planet, at the touch of a button. We are hearing about the dangers of increased sugar consumption everywhere, so why are people choosing to give refined sugar to their children, especially when there are so many alternatives? There really is no excuse anymore to be shovelling this rubbish into our children.

However, the mass population will, as a general rule, do what they are told, therefore it is up to the government to take control when it comes to the health of our children and do a hell of a lot more than just removing sugary drinks from hospital shops.

 

To view this article on Huffington Post, click here

Cacao & Cashew Oaty Bites

cashew-cacao-oaty-bites

I may even go as far as to say that these are the tastiest things I’ve ever made…

I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would even work but oh dear lord they do! So simple; literally took 5 minutes, 1 spoon, 1 saucepan and a cup, and to make it even more exciting, there is no refined sugar, dairy or gluten and totally vegan. It makes giving sweet treats to kids easier. Braxton is 13 months and has never had refined sugar and I want to keep it like that. If he always has treats that taste this good, hopefully he’ll never feel the need to binge on the rubbish stuff 🙂

Cacao is also a great plant-based protein which is essential for babies, as well as the essential fatty acids in the coconut oil.

Basically, MAKE THESE!

I used Biona coconut oil, coconut palm sugar and cashew butter as I prefer their ingredients so use them wherever I can ❤

Ingredients

3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp almond milk
1.5 tbsp cacao powder
4 tbsp cashew butter
1 cup organic rolled oats

cashew-cacao-oaty-bites-2

Method

Heat all the ingredients except the cashew butter and oats in a pan, on a low heat, very gently until combined.

Once melted, turn off the heat and stir in the cashew butter and keep stirring until fully incorporated.

Now add the oats and stir until totally mixed into the mixture.

Wait until it’s cooler, then spoon a tbsp. full onto a plate that has baking paper on and press into cookie shapes.

Leave to cool then once cool put in the fridge for an hour until set.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Love and health,
Lauren

 

Turmeric Latte

Turmeric Latte

When I was going through my postpartum arthritis flare I had one of these every day. For inflammatory diseases, we’d be silly not to. Turmeric has a hugely high anti-inflammatory content so it’s amazing for inflammation but also great for daily health. In India people drink turmeric drinks every day. My friend Shivani was actually the one who told me to do this a few years ago. She started giving this drink to her son as soon as he turned 1!

It sounds like it’s going to be a bit gruesome but it’s actually really yummy and fulfilling.

Ingredients

Half a mug almond milk
Half a tsp organic, high-grade turmeric
tsp agave, maple or honey
Quarter tsp cinnamon and 1 cinnamon stick if you want

Method

Heat the almond milk in a saucepan.

When it starts bubbling gently add the sweetener and turmeric and mix well. Let it heat a bit more before transferring it to a mug and then sprinkle the cinnamon and add the cinnamon stick if using.

Love & health,
Lauren

Vanilla Cashew Butter

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I have the biggest backlog of recipes waiting to go on the blog but this turned out so unbelievably amazing that I had to share it with you! I’m a nut butter fanatic at the best of times but this has now trumped peanut and almond butter. It is so creamy and sweet and wow – just delicious! We finished one jar of it within 2 days and this is the second jar. Requests are coming in from the family now to make more for everyone. You seriously have to make this and spread it on anything – or just eat it off the spoon, whatever, just make it! Oh, and it’s really high in protein so great for spreading on toast for the kids. I actually spread a bit of it on Braxton’s porridge bars for him.

So easy to make and only 2 ingredients – there’s just no need for store bought!

Ingredients

1.5 cups cashews
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla pod

Method

You will need a high-speed blender for this, a normal blender won’t break it down enough unfortunately. I love the Vitamix – you can literally make anything with it!

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Put the cashews on a roasting tray and put in the oven for 10 minutes, until they go golden but not burnt – keep an eye on them.

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Once they’re out the oven, put them in the blender with either a tsp of vanilla bean paste or the insides of a vanilla pod scraped out and turn the blender up to the highest variable until it starts breaking it down into a thick butter – about 3 minutes.

Once it is a bulky consistency, get it all off the bottom with a spoon, then turn down the variable and the speed and start again on a low speed. Gently increase the speed keeping the variable on low. Over the course of about 3-4 minutes it will make it runny. You should wait until it goes really runny even though you think it might be tasty when it is thick. It’s worth the wait!

Vanilla cashew butter 1

Love and health,
Lauren

Maca-Chilli and Lemongrass-Wheatgrass Chocolates

Chilli & Lemongrass Chocs

The mayans believed that cacao was the drink of the gods, and with good reason! Raw cacao is high in magnesium and all the B vitamins; it promotes cardiovascular health and aids digestion; it is high in anti-oxidants, neutralising free radicals in the body and thereby preventing cancer. Cacao also promotes mental well-being due to containing phenyethylamine and theobromine, organic compounds which stimulate the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. No wonder we feel so good after eating chocolate!

Making your own raw chocolate is simpler than you would think, and means you get all the incredible health benefits of raw cacao without the added sugar, dairy or chemical additives. Make sure to buy organic and raw cacao products, rather than regular cocoa, which has been processed and stripped of nutrients.

Ingredients

For the flavoured caramel centres:

50g organic virgin coconut oil
70g raw almond butter
100g runny raw honey or 85ml organic maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 tsp Oryx desert salt
1 tbsp maca
a pinch of cayenne
5 drops organic lemongrass essential oil
1 tsp wheatgrass powder

For the chocolate:

75g raw cacao paste
25g raw cacao butter
30ml runny raw honey or organic maple syrup
1/4 tsp organic stevia leaf powder (alternatively, use an additional 30ml honey or organic maple syrup)
pinch of Oryx desert salt

 

Method

To make the caramel, place the coconut oil, almond butter, honey or maple, vanilla and salt into a blender and blend for a couple of minutes. You want everything to melt together into a creamy consistency, and the mixture will change colour as you do this. It’s important to blend for long enough, as opposed to just mixing everything together, to get the right consistency. If it doesn’t look right yet just keep on blending!

Divide the mixture in two. To one half add the maca and cayenne, and to the other add the lemongrass oil and wheatgrass powder. Taste each mixture for flavour – you may want to add another pinch of cayenne or a drop of lemongrass, according to your preference. Place the flavoured caramels in the freezer to set while you make the chocolate.

Place the cacao paste, cacao butter, honey or maple, stevia and salt in a glass or stainless steel bowl which can fit over a saucepan. Bring some water to a simmer in the saucepan, and set the bowl over it. The trick with chocolate is to only ever use gentle heat, and to heat all the ingredients together. If you try to melt the cacao over direct heat, or add cold honey to it once it’s been melted, it will seize. Use a whisk to stir the chocolate until everything is melted, well combined and glossy.

Fill your moulds with chocolate one third of the way, making sure to use only half of the chocolate.  If you don’t have moulds, ice trays work just as well. Place in the freezer until set. Now use a small spoon to make a little ball of the set caramel and drop into the centre of the mould, trying to avoid the sides of the mould. Use the maca-chilli caramel for half of the moulds and the lemongrass-wheatgrass caramel for the other half. Fill the moulds with the remaining chocolate so that it pours around the caramel, and covers it. Place in the freezer again until set.

These chocolates do need to be kept in the fridge as they can melt at room temperature. I keep mine in a glass jar, and they can last up to a month (at least, that’s the longest mine have ever lasted before being eaten!)

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

 

Cauliflower Pizza Base

Cauliflower Pizza 1

We already have a couple of pizza base recipes on the blog, but I came up with a new one recently and it’s definitely my favourite. I use a combination of cauliflower and zucchini with psyllium husks so it is gluten- and grain-free. The mixture comes out a very vivid lime green, which is fun for kids – you can tell them it’s a Shrek pizza 🙂

Ingredients

For the tomato sauce:
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 tin organic tomatoes
3 – 4 dates, pips removed
1/2 tsp dried origanum
1/2 tsp Oryx Desert Salt

For the base:
330g cauliflower
330g zucchini (you could just use 660g cauliflower if you prefer)
1 tsp Oryx Desert Salt
30ml nutritional yeast
2 eggs
125ml psyllium husks

Method

To make the sauce, sauté the onion in some olive oil until it starts to caramelise. Add the garlic and fry for a few more minutes. Add the tinned tomato, dates, and origanum. Simmer over a low heat for 30 – 40 minutes. Add the salt and blend until smooth. The key to a good tomato sauce is balancing the acidity of the tomato with sweetness. So if it doesn’t taste quite right, try adding another date.

For the base, steam the cauliflower and zucchini until tender. Blend with the eggs, salt and nutritional yeast until completely smooth. Then add the psyllium husks and blend to combine. The mixture will be quite thick and gloopy.

Cauliflower Pizza 2

Line a large baking tray (about 30cm x 40cm) with baking paper and then spread the mixture out onto the paper, as thinly and evenly as you can. The easiest is to use the back of a metal spoon, as this sticks to the mixture, helping you to pull and stretch it into a thin base (plastic doesn’t work as well.)

Cauliflower Pizza 3

Spread the tomato sauce over the base and then add your toppings. Here I’ve used a combination of organic cheddar and pecorino, but you could use nut cheese if you wanted to make it dairy-free. I topped it with olives, sun-dried tomatoes and chilli, and added fresh basil after it came out the oven.

Bake at 200 C for 30 – 40 minutes. The base will puff up while baking, but will shrink down again once removed from the oven.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Overnight Oats with Mulberries

Overnight Oats Mulberries

It’s Vitamin K central round my house! As you have probably gathered from my recent posts, I am upping my natural intake of vitamin K in the last eight weeks of pregnancy to prevent having to give my baby the injection after birth. Mulberries are the highest natural source of Vitamin K so I’m stocking up! And what better way to have mulberries than in their natural form, to sweeten up my overnight oats. This was a really delicious breakfast bowl, I’m stuffed! And so satisfied.

Ingredients

1 cup gluten free, organic, rolled oats
2 cups almond milk
1 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Toppings:
Handful of dried white mulberries
1 banana, chopped
A sprinkle of desiccated coconut

Method

Simply put the ingredients (excluding the toppings) in a bowl, mix well, cover, and leave in the fridge overnight. You don’t need to add the maple syrup, just depends how sweet you like it.

When you’re ready to eat it, add the toppings. Simples!

Enjoy,

Love,
Lauren