Win Christine Bailey’s The Raw Food Diet Book

Now that a new year is fast approaching many people will be considering their health and their diet.

Our nutritionist friend, Christine Bailey, has written a helpful guide to The Raw Food Diet (that’s the book’s title).

Join the food revolution
Join the raw food revolution

Eating raw can help lose a few pounds and may well leave you feeling healthier. But you may just want to a raw diet for a little while – that’s why try Christine’s book comes with three diet plans: a weekend raw blitz, a week-long plan and instructions on going raw for life. All are accompanied by quick and easy recipes (100 in total) with advice on stocking up, key ingredients and preparing food.

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning the book then simply send me an email with “rawfooddiet” in the subject line. The competition closes on 28th December 2011 (UK addresses only).

Good luck.

Herbal remedies you may find useful now (if you didn’t before)

Here’s a couple of herbal remedies which you might find useful for this time of year.

First of all there’s Milk Thistle tablets – “A traditional herbal medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms associated with occasional over indulgence… such as indigestion or an upset stomach – based on traditional use only.”

Another is Cold & Flu Echinacea tablets – “A traditional herbal medicinal product used to relieve the symptoms of cold or influenza type infections – based on traditional use only.” (And, may I say, great as a preventative medicine if you know you regularly fall ill around this time of year.)

Now I understand
Both of these are traditional herbal remedies used for centuries by those in the know, yet both seemingly up to date and easy to understand, something anyone would be interested in…

Echinacea - a herbal remedy that makes sense

It seems that the recent regulation of Traditional Herbal Remedies by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) has had the effect of making public understanding of herbal medicine clearer. The packaging looks a lot more like the kind of item you’d expect to find in a pharmacy, as the HRI (Herbal Remedy Institute) products mentioned above show. It’s simply easier for Mr Average to recognise what type of product it is, make sense of the labeling and appreciate what it is for.

Other herbal groups like Bio Health seem to be doing the same thing with their designs and remedy names. (In front of me I have a box of ‘Periagna‘ – Angus Castus Fruit capsules used for pre menstruation, and a box of ‘Ekinalife‘ – another Echinacea product.)

The same evolution can be seen with the new Kalms Day tablets ‘slider’ pack which is designed to provide “patient information, durability, and easy access”.

But do they work?
At the end of the day the real issue is whether these remedies work? But now that more people can easily see what they’re supposed to do, herbal remedies will surely have more of a level playing field against larger pharmaceutical competition?

To find more Traditional Herbal Remedies visit GoodnessDirect’s Herbal shelf.

Do you know what you’re spraying on your kitchen surfaces?

Have you ever breathed in noxious fumes while spraying a household cleaning product and wondered what else it might be doing to your body, your skin, your eyes or blood?

Take a look at this worrying sample list of chemicals.

Ingredients from plants, not chemical plants

For completely non-toxic cleaning products try Method. When you see natural on a Method label it means that 100% of the ingredients in that bottle come from natural sources, which means you can be confident that your home is not poisoning you.

Method has a big range and their products are technically innovative so you don’t have to use as much or pay as much. They also make sure that their cleaning bottles are made from recycled material and can be recycled – they call it ‘reincarnation’. Visit Method’s website to see all their Green credentials – the way they think through their green production process is very impressive.

GoodnessDirect recently brought in some new products from Method, including Hand Soaps, Laundry Liquids and Washing-Up Liquid, but for an entire list visit the Method pages on GoodnessDirect.

Have you heard about chia seeds?

Have you managed to get your hands on any chia seed yet? The first time I tried some I could actually feel the grains expanding in my stomach!

There are numerous health claims about chia seeds (the latin name is Salvia Hispanica), most specifically that it is very high in Omega 3 and fibre, is a good source of complete protein, antioxidants and phytonutrients (they’re also gluten free).

Apparently, an ounce of chia seeds provides eight times more Omega 3 than an ounce of salmon! It has five times as much calcium as milk, twice as much potassium as bananas, three times the antioxidant strength of blueberries and three times more iron than spinach.

I think it was the high fibre effect I could feel volumising inside of me. Notably, chia seeds are believed to helpful in losing weight, because they help fill you up, reduce your appetite and help control your blood sugar levels.

The problem is that chia is only allowed to be used in foods as 5% of the finished product. This is because they are a relatively new food in Europe, having originated in South America where Aztecs would eat it before going on a long journey.

A bread mix with chia seed
A bread mix with chia seed

Chia Bia now sell the chia seed as part of an organic Whole Wheat Yeast Bread Mix and Soda Bread Mix. The Raw Chocolate Company also sell Chia Seeds unprocessed.

There’s a lot more research to be done into chia seeds, particularly their health benefits and whether they are safe to be consumed in large quantities, but they are very popular in the Americas.

There again, you could always grow your own…

Frankenstein’s pets

Super moth - the GM insectGenetically Modified insects? Does that sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock thriller and too far fetched for reality?

Don’t be so sure. I’ve just heard about a proposal the Government are considering at the moment – the  release of millions of genetically modified insects into the countryside of the UK.

Why ever would they do such a thing? Well the theory is that these GM supermoths would destroy the insects that are well known food crop pests.

GM insects flying around a neighbourhood near you

The proposal is for the ‘open release’ of a Genetically Modified strain of the Diamondback moth, developed by a UK company. Diamondback moths attack broccoli & similar crops. With the GM strain a lethal gene is inserted into the male so that when they mate with wild females their offspring die almost immediately, causing the population to crash. The company, Oxitec, based in Oxford, wants to begin trials next year. Some are objecting saying that the untested technology could threaten wildlife & human health.

What if it all goes wrong? Where is the control? How do you wind back GM?

Dr. Helen Wallace, director of GeneWatch UK, said “Mass releases of GM insects into the British countryside would be impossible to recall if anything went wrong. Changing one part of an ecosystem can have knock-on effects on others in ways that are poorly understood. This could include an increase in different types of pests. Wildlife that feeds on insects could be harmed if there are changes to their food supply. GM insects that bite animals or humans could cause allergies or transmit diseases & new diseases might evolve.”
Well said Dr Wallace!

Inner warmth and natural wholesomeness from Amy’s Kitchen Soups

As I sit here I’m enjoying spoon after spoon of Amy’s Kitchen Lentil Soup.

If you haven’t heard of Amy’s Kitchen yet you really should have. They make all natural shop bought meals and soups and their popularity is increasing.

Organically sourced ingredients
Organically sourced ingredients

When you taste something with completely natural ingredients you know that it’s good for you. And this lentil soup is warming, filling and wholesome, full of flavour – just what I need for the winter months.

What is interesting is that, because Amy’s Kitchen originally started in the USA, even though many of their ingredients are now grown in the UK without pesticides, they have to say that their ingredients are ‘organically sourced’. However, the best news is this is all due to change in 2012 as Amy’s Kitchen come up to UK organic standards.

The soups, entrees and burgers sold at GoodnessDirect continue to be cater for sensitive diets, often vegan or gluten free or nut free, so it will be good to see ‘organic’ added to that list.

Also from Amy Kitchen:
■ Black Bean Vegetable Soup
■ Chunky Tomato Soup
■ Lentil Vegetable Soup
■ Vegetable Barley Soup
■ Curried Lentil Soup

And much more…

Ginger Wine in winter time – some things never go out of style

My Dad used to like drinking ginger wine in the winter months. I wonder if it’s a traditional thing? But then I note that Gran Stead’s Ginger is based on a recipe that dates back 150 years…

What can you do with ginger wine? (Gran Stead’s is a non-alcoholic version, you  can find more ‘spirited’ varieties but not easily with as much kick – the award winning Gran Stead’s is helped along with a little capsicum chilli in the recipe.)

Ginger Wine
Invigorating warmth for the winter months

Aside from adding to a whiskey, rum or some other notable liquor, you can stir ginger wine into a mulled wine, add to lemonade, warm with fruit juice or even sprinkle into champagne! It brings a notable warmth to your average party drink.

Ginger wine is also good for cooking. Try as a marinade (think of spicing up your lamb) or in a vinaigrette or sauce. You can add it to a tomato soup, pour over ice cream or even make marmalade or cake with it.

Gluten-free and suitable for vegans, Gran Stead’s Ginger is a perfect flavouring for the cold months. With all these opportunities for gastronomic adventure it’s hard to believe that traditional ginger wine could ever go out of style.