Cutting milk out of your diet?

“Stop using milk.”

It’s often the first advice you get from doctors when dealing with a reaction to foods.

Over 50% are milk intolerant
Over 50% are milk intolerant

But be careful, removing dairy foods from your diet can mean that you miss out on important vitamins and minerals – it’s always best to have professional guidance.

Milk is the major source of cheap and digestible calcium for most people, aside from numerous other benefits.

However milk can also be a big source of health difficulties, particularly for infant children.

You can be milk intolerant or you could be allergic. Experiencing problems in your breathing or skin and not just your stomach may well mean it’s an allergy.

Lactose intolerance is the commonest genetic disorder. If you can call it a disorder – it affects over 50% of the world population.

An allergic reaction won’t be caused by lactose sugar however but by a reaction to proteins. People can be allergic to whole milk, or to casein or whey.


If you are going to stop drinking milk there are plenty of alternatives.

Many people try goat’s milk which still contains lactose but in a more digestible form.

But coconut milk is gaining popularity because of its creamy texture and distinctively sweet taste. Kara reinforce their drink with calcium and you can now get organic coconut milk from What On Earth or reduced-fat organic coconut milk from Biona. There is a misconception about coconuts containing dangerous saturated fat but the medium-chain fats in coconuts are easily digested for use as energy for the body. It is not stored like long-chain animal fat.

Soya milk is another alternative which comes in many forms: some sugar free, others enriched with vitamins and minerals. Soy is good for lowering cholesterol, it provides antioxidants and may help prevent cancer.

There are grain milks made from oats or quinoa, or nut drinks. For example a new almond drink, made by EcoMil, comes with added calcium, but you can also drink almond milk in natural form without sweetener if you simply love the taste of almonds.

Rice milk not only has a clean taste for drinking or putting on cereal but is also good in cooking as a thickening agent. Look for ones fortified with calcium, vitamin D and vitamin A.

Finally it’s helpful to know that some people will take lactase capsules which supply the enzyme needed to break down lactose in the first place. If you are just lactose intolerant these will help you to carry on drinking milk without discomfort.

Make Your Own Elderflower Cordial and Champagne

Summer is here. Fancy a refreshing summertime drink?

Homemade cordial
Homemade cordial

What about making your own?

I love elderflower cordial. My Mum used to make it when I was a child. It’s like summer in a bottle, full of hazy summer memories. Everytime I take a sip of it I feel transported back to summers past, good times of relaxing, enjoying the fleeting two weeks of sunshine that seems alotted to us in Britain.

Return to your childhood with this easy to make elderflower recipe, a must for every picnic or summer teatime. (Makes 2 pints.)

20 heads of elderflower
1.8kg granulated sugar or caster sugar
1.2 litres cold water
2 unwaxed lemons
75g citric acid

1. Shake the elderflowers to expel any lingering insects, and then place in a large bowl.
2. Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
3. While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons off in wide strips and toss intothe bowl with the elderflowers. Slice the lemons, discard the ends, and add the slices to the bowl. Pour over the boiling syrup, and then stir in the citric acid. Cover with a cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
4. Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin (or a new j-cloth rinsed out in boiling water), and pour into thoroughly cleaned glass or plastic bottles. Screw on the lids and pop into the cupboard ready to use.

Elderflower Champagne Continue reading

Win a box of Goodness flapjacks

I don’t usually mention our own food brand, ‘Goodness’, but I should, there’s a lot to be proud of…

We offer Goodness organic breads, (from wholemeal and granary to cheesy and sundried tomato flavour – and we’ve just started pizza bases too!) There’s also a good selection of Goodness organic speciality flours and lots of organic fruit and veg like this season’s Jersey Royal potatoes and Gold Kiwis (sweeter than mangoes and less furry). So do give our veg box scheme a try.

And then there are our famous Goodness flapjacks Chunky Jacks and Lite Jacks.

It was our success in selling Chunky Jacks (back in the funky 70s) that led to GoodnessDirect existing today! Recently I got an email from a friend who was there right at the beginning:

Our famous Chunky Jacks
Our famous Chunky Jacks

One day, on the journey home from the first Goodness Foods shop in Gold St Northampton, we stopped off at the waste refuse tip. (Just to see). The person in charge of our lunchtime take-away spotted a baby belling oven… and claimed that it would be a useful addition to the shops fixtures and fittings…

A few days later we had on sale the first offering from our investment on the counter at lunch time – bread pudding, made from unsold bread from the day before and a few other things. The portions sold out instantly, and the next day we had people asking if we had any more… As we did not… a more consistent product was created (…the flapjack)

Let me just sniff back a nostalgic tear long enough to tell you that this week I’m giving away four boxes of Chunky Jacks! (As long as you don’t eat them all by yourself.) To enter the prize draw and win a box, simply send me an email (by Friday 2/7/10) and I’ll contact the winners.

Believe me, you’ll love ’em.

Oat bran porridge recipe

For porridge just like ready brek use oat bran instead of oats. The result is really smooth and creamy but with just that bit of body. Kids love it.

35g oatbran
190ml water
2 tsp dried milk powder
some seeds or nuts
salt and sweetener to taste

Bring to boil in a pan and simmer for 3 minutes, then enjoy.

Oat bran bread recipe

There are various oat bran bread recipes out there. This one uses greek yoghurt with the spiced up taste of caraway and thyme.

9 tbsp (130g) oat bran
4 tbsp greek yoghurt
1 egg
7g yeast
small amount warm water
pinch salt
pinch of sugar

Pre-heat oven to 190 C

Mix oat bran, fromage frais, egg, caraway, thyme and salt with warm water.

Add milk, yeast and sugar.

Mix together and leave in a warm place to rise. It should result in a thick mixture – if it does not stir it and add more milk or oat bran to change consistency.

Pour mixture into a bread tin. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Check occasionally to ensure a nice crust.

Organic healing food – it’s Pukka!

Do you believe that cooking should be an artform, a creation of love?

Food for health and wellbeing
Food for health and wellbeing

You may just be interested in Ayurvedic cooking – the ancient philosophy to a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Pukka herbs have been producing unique teas and supplements based  on promoting health and wellbeing.

Now they are offering organic ayurvedic gems for you to try in the kitchen.

Rosewater is delicious when added to food, particularly fresh rice and desserts, or in drinks. Distilled from roses grown at a high altitude to optimise essential oil content, the roses are hand picked at dawn and before sunrise to protect their valuable aromatic oils from being evaporated. They are then gently steam-distilled for optimum extraction of the wonderful fragrance.

Chywanaprash tastes amazing. Literally translated as “Chywana’s jam” this rich paste is made from fruit, spices, herbs and honey. It contains some of Ayurveda’s most nourishing herbs including Amla Fruit or Indian ‘Gooseberry’ – a potent natural source of vitamin C and anti-oxidants.

Traditional Ayurvedic medicine uses hemp to quicken the mind, cool fevers and induce rest. Pukka’s Hemp Seed Oil is a rejuvinating oil with nutty flavours. Hemp seed oil provides more essential fatty acids (EFA’s) than any other natural food source. EFA’s are essential for human health. The body is unable to produce them so we get what we need through our diet. Hemp seed oil is particularly beneficial for nourishing the skin, brain and joints.

Coconut oil is highly regarded in Ayurvedic medicine of India. Virgin Coconut Oil is highly nutritious as it contains lauric acid which helps to boost vitality. It is rich in medium chain fatty acids which are known to increase metabolism as they are easy to digest and immediately converts into energy rather than being stored as fat. Coconut oil supports proper function of the Thyroid so can aid weight balance.

Protein bar recipe for high protein diets

There are lots of ways to make protein bars which are quick and easy and will save you lots of money.

You can make this one in a jiffy without any cooking. The recipe is high in protein, low GI and low in fat and suitable for high protein diets.

40g oat bran
35g whey protein isolate (try soya or pea isolate if you are vegan)
20ml rich sweet freedom or agave nectar
2 tbsp water
Cinnamon or mixed spice to taste
Add nuts, seeds or dried fruit according if you like (but careful! you’ll change the nutritional value of the bar)

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
Pour on agave nectar and add water
Mix thoroughly, adding more water if necessary but do not allow to become too gooey
Shape into a bar and pop into the fridge for 30 minutes to set

Tablet to keep the mind active not naturally available in UK

Ginkgo biloba is the world’s oldest type of tree (the Maidenhair tree). Now humans are harvesting these 1000 year old trees to look after them in old age.

Ginkgo Biloba, leaves from the oldest tree help with old age
Ginkgo Biloba, leaves from the oldest tree help with old age

The leaves are used for impaired memory, poor concentration and circulation, particularly to hands and feet.

However, the trees are not natural to the UK, which means you won’t find it readily available in your diet. To gain the benefits of ginkgo biloba the best advice is for you to take it in tablet form.

After all to get anywhere near 1000 years old, you’re going to need some help aren’t you?

A course of biloba supplements keeps your blood vessels elastic and helps prevent blood clotting. Their powerful antioxidant property can keep your mind and body operating efficiently in old age.

In fact a British study of biloba products revealed that Bio-Biloba has the highest antioxidant activity of all.

Biloba is also good for treating depression, Alzheimer’s, glaucoma, vertigo and vitiligo. If you want an aid in fighting the free-radicals which lead to deterioration in later years it’s worth investing in nature’s oldest remedy.

Guilt free snacks from celeb Liz Hurley

Thank heavens for Liz Hurley!

Guilt free snacks
Guilt free snacks

I know it’s difficult to believe, but Liz Hurley is now an organic farmer. And she’s putting her celeb savvy to good use by making -100 calorie snacks that aren’t going to depress you. We’re talking about tasty beef jerky and fruit or oat bars. Something every Soil Association glamour puss would love to get their teeth into.

Banana and chocolate or orange and chocolate oat bars make a healthy alternative to crisps. And the orange and cranberry or strawberry and cherry fruit bars are juicy treats with a whole portion of fruit in every bar. A great replacement to a pudding after a meal.

But it’s the jerky that raises everyone’s eyebrows… Surely you can’t market beef as diet food? But it’s perfect if you’re on a high protein – low fat diet, and, at 74 calories a time, it’s good enough for anyone who wants to look like they belong in the company of the dazzling Elizabeth Hurley.

Joint aches and pains? Try a silent physiotherapist

What is the most beautifully intricate and valuable equipment you have?

Your body.

My first visit to a physiotherapist proved that. He warned me that I might lose my knees altogether if I continued with all the manual labour I was doing.

For those of us who experience arthritis or rheumatism, bandages can help where there is severe pain or swelling. Compressing  joints and muscles relieves painful areas and provides more confidence for movement.

But there is a danger from Deep Vein Thrombosis because bandages stem the blood flow.

Adjustable medical support
Adjustable medical support

Neo G have developed a medical support range that are designed to fit the wearer (whatever size) using adjustable straps to be tightened or loosened for comfort. That means there’s no blood flow starvation and no danger from DVT, which is why the supports are medically recognised.

Neo G Supports are designed to be fitted in the same way a physio uses compression tape.

The range has 20 Variable compression supports for every area of your body. If you’ve ever suffered from a joint complaint like me, you’ll know how important a good support can be.

Help your body to stay stronger for longer and stay safe while you are doing it.