Nutritious dairy free milk drinks

Italy is notable in its production of free from foods.

One such example is Isola Bio, makers of organic drinks: milks made from grains, nuts and soya. As such they are dairy free and gluten free.

Organic coconut and rice drink
The refreshing taste of milk and coconut

They boast that their method of making grain and nut milks maintains all the flavour and nutritional value of the original ingredients.

Recently they started combining their rice milks  with other non-dairy milks to create new refreshing flavours. The coconut and rice milk works particularly well in this way, while the almond and rice has a smoother flavour and the hazelnut and rice offers a deeper more mellow beverage.

But finally, for the chocolate lovers, there’s also a rice and chocolate drink, which comes in lunch box cartons for a sweeter experience.

Cranberry or Redcrrant sauce, which is better?

I’d like to imagine there’s a rivalry between recurrants from Europe and cranberries from North America.

Both are harvested around this time of year, both make great condiments for meat dishes and both should have pride of place at our family meals, but cranberry sauce has all the fame, especially at Christmas time.

Redcurrant sauce tends to be sweeter than cranberry sauce, so it really depends on the flavour of the meat you cook with, but in my opinion stronger the meat the tarter the sauce. Sweeter sauces like redcurrant compliment less intense palates like chicken; but turkey, which carries more flavour, is more suited by a slightly more sour dressing like cranberry.

But then turkey was never the native food for British tables was it?

Whichever you prefer, Meridian offers you both an Organic Cranberry Sauce and an Organic Redcurrant Jelly – whichever suits your taste.

Faithfully healthy hair

After thirty years experience in natural hair and skin careFaith in Nature have gained a lot of experience and know-how as to what makes a good product.

Put faith back in your hair
Put faith back in your hair

Their newest range of twin-pack shampoos and conditioners is no exception to the rule! The shampoos are packed with high levels of essential oils and herbal extracts to care for your hair, while the complementary conditioners gently coat and lubricate each strand of hair, leaving it soft and manageable.

It’s little wonder their range of natural beauty products has won so many awards!All of Faith in Nature’s products are developed with aromatherapy oils to nourish the hair and scalp using only natural ingredients which care for the environment.

So here’s the latest range:

Seaweed Shampoo and Conditioner – Seaweed is full of minerals and proteins that are highly beneficial to your hair and it is also a strong antioxident, meaning that it will reduce cellular damage.

Faith in Nature Aloe Vera Shampoo and Conditioner – Organic Aloe Vera contains many enzymes and amino acids which have been proven to benefit your hair and particularly dry scalps.

Lavender & Geranium Shampoo and Conditioner –  Blended for normal to dry hair to restore and soothe your hair and scalp with natural antiseptic and antibacterial qualities. It also strengthens the hair and balances over secretion of oils from the scalp.

Rosemary Shampoo and Conditioner – Rosemary is reputed for promoting hair growth and colour while also improving scalp condition. It is particularly effective after illnesses which can cause scurf or dandruff.

CoQ10 Helps Headaches in Women with Fibromyalgia

Women with fibromyalgia can have significantly lower levels of CoQ10 and the antioxidant catalase than healthy women, reports Kimberly Beauchamp, ND

Fibromyalgia is a complex condition characterised by widespread pain, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, headaches, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, irritable bowel syndrome, unrefreshing sleep, reduced exercise tolerance, anxiety, depression, and sensitivity to light, noise, and odours. This condition is not well understood, and is difficult to treat, so a study finding that taking a co-enzyme Q10 supplement may help reduce headaches in women with fibromyalgia is welcome news.

Searching for fibromyalgia relief

No single cause for fibromyalgia has been discovered, but it’s thought that the condition could stem from a combination of stress, trauma, genetics, hormones, and certain infections. Antidepressants like duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor) are commonly used to help reduce pain, sleep issues, and anxiety associated with fibromyalgia. But while these drugs might help relieve some fibromyalgia symptoms, they don’t really seem to address the root of the problem.

Some studies have suggested that free radical–damage might be behind some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, including headaches. Free radicals are unstable compounds that can damage tissues in the body and lead to inflammation.

Trying CoQ10

Spanish researchers studied the effect of CoQ10—a potent antioxidant and cellular energy source—in women with fibromyalgia who experienced headaches. Ten women (average age 47 years) were given 300 mg of CoQ10 per day for three months. Ten other women with fibromyalgia served as the control group. All of the women were compared with 15 healthy women. CoQ10 levels and measures of other antioxidants, oxidative stress (caused by free radicals), and cellular energy stores were assessed in all of the women.

Women with fibromyalgia had significantly lower levels of CoQ10 and another important antioxidant (catalase) than the healthy women. They also had significantly higher markers of free radical–damage and 70% less cellular energy stored than the healthy women.

After taking CoQ10, the women with fibromyalgia had

  • significantly higher CoQ10, catalase, and cellular energy stores,
  • significantly lower levels of free radical damage markers, and
  • marked improvement in headaches compared with pretreatment.

“Detection of CoQ10 deficiency and subsequent CoQ10 supplementation may result in clinical improvement in fibromyalgia,” said the researchers, recommending that future double-blind, placebo-controlled studies are needed to confirm their results.

Fibro help

There is no simple solution to healing fibromyalgia, but these tips may help keep your body in balance:

  • Exercise, even if you don’t want to. A few studies have shown that people with fibromyalgia can benefit from getting regular exercise. Start slow, with a walk around the block, and gradually build up as you gain more stamina.
  • Eat to beat fibro. Some studies have suggested that eating a vegetarian or vegan diet can help reduce fibromyalgia symptoms in some people.
  • Sleep well. If poor sleep is one of your main fibro symptoms, consider sipping a cup of warm milk with a sprinkle of nutmeg at bedtime. Melatonin may also be useful as a sleep aid in people with fibromyalgia. Talk with your doctor about how much melatonin might be right for you.

(Plos One 2012;doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035677)

Kimberly Beauchamp, ND, received her doctoral degree from Bastyr University, the nation’s premier academic institution for science-based natural medicine. She co-founded South County Naturopaths in Wakefield, RI, where she practiced whole family care with an emphasis on nutritional counselling, herbal medicine, detoxification, and food allergy identification and treatment. Her blog, Eat Happy, helps take the drama out of healthy eating with real food recipes and nutrition news that you can use. Dr. Beauchamp is a regular contributor to Healthnotes Newswire.

Dessert after Breakfast: A New Weight-Loss Strategy?

Adding a sweet treat to the morning meal may help some people lose weight and keep if off writes nutritionist, Suzanne Dixon.

Research presented at the 2012 meeting of the Endocrine Society introduces an entirely new concept in the weight loss wars: Dessert at breakfast time! At first glance, this may seem a little crazy, but the preliminary findings are interesting.

Breakfast is a piece of cake

Researchers selected 193 obese, sedentary, nondiabetic adult men and women to follow a diet that included a low-carbohydrate breakfast or a high-carbohydrate, high-protein breakfast. Study participants were an average of 47 years old, and both diets provided 1,400 calories per day for women and 1,600 calories per day for men—levels low enough to promote rapid weight loss. One unique feature of the high-carbohydrate, high-protein breakfast was “dessert”: participants on this diet ate a sweet treat, such as a small piece of cake, with breakfast every day.

A body mass index of 25 to 30 is considered overweight, while over 30 signals obesity. The participants had an average body mass index of 32, placing them squarely in the obese category. At the start of the study, and 16 and 32 weeks later, the researchers measured body weight, craving and satisfaction scores, and blood levels of ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone that rises to signal the brain that it is time to eat.

The researchers found the following:

  • At week 16, both diet groups had lost an average of around 31 pounds.
  • Between weeks 16 and 32, the low-carb group regained an average of 26 pounds; the high-carb group lost an average of 15 additional pounds.
  • Ghrelin levels were 45% lower after breakfast in the high-carb group, and 30% lower in the low-carb group.
  • Satisfaction (satiety) was significantly improved, and hunger and craving scores were significantly lower in the high-carb group compared with the low-carb group.

Finding your perfect morning meal

The authors point out that this was a short-term study, and that many people have trouble keeping weight off over a period of years rather than weeks. And research presented at conferences isn’t considered solid until it’s been peer-reviewed and published in a medical journal. Still, this study suggests that adding a sweet treat to the morning meal may help some people lose weight and keep if off. Our tips can help you balance your morning meal to meet your weight-loss goals:

  • Promote protein. The high-carbo breakfast included plenty of protein. Protein keeps hunger at bay, which can limit unhealthy morning snacking. Try hardboiled eggs, Greek yoghurt, or a high-protein, high-fibre cereal.
  • Stick to one “dessert.” Connecticut’s Griffin Hospital dietitian Samantha Heller points out, “When you look at what people are eating for breakfast, it’s things like chocolate-covered honey-dipped cereals. Isn’t this the same as dessert? So many people are eating dessert for breakfast already, which is helping to contribute to weight gain, not loss.” Stick to one small serving of a sweeter food, paired with an ample serving of lean protein.
  • Add exercise. No weight-loss plan would be complete without regular physical activity. Take a minimum 20- to 30-minute walk daily to boost health and weight-loss efforts.
  • Don’t go black and white. Some people tend toward “black and white” thinking, such as eating a “forbidden” food, feeling they’ve “blown it” on their diet, and giving in to a binge. If this describes you, starting out with a sweet treat may not be the best plan.

(Abstract MON-85; Endocrine Society Meeting: June 25, 2012)

Suzanne Dixon, MPH, MS, RD, an author, speaker, and internationally recognised expert in chronic disease prevention, epidemiology, and nutrition, has taught medical, nursing, public health, and alternative medicine coursework. She has delivered over 150 invited lectures to health professionals and consumers and is the creator of a nutrition website acclaimed by the New York Times and Time magazine. Suzanne received her training in epidemiology and nutrition at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health at Ann Arbor.

Coconut water and fruit juice is sooo refreshing

Coconut water has become so popular in the last few years.

Coconut water blended with delicious fruit juices
Coconut water blended with delicious fruit juices

They’re selling faster because people want a refreshing drink that isn’t full of chemicals and sugar.

Icoco have blended three naturally flavoured of coconut drinks, in addition to plain coconut water, for your satisfaction:

Coconut water
Cherry Vanilla Coconut Water
Minted Apple Coconut Water
Pineapple Coconut Water

But the goodness doesn’t stop there, because Icoco have also teamed up with the charity COCO headed up by athlete, Steve Cram, to guarantee a charitable donation every time you purchase a drink. It’s a worthy cause as it works internationally with children in poverty to provide them with education and healthcare.

Meusli bars have gone cute

Cereal Bars have gone cute
Cereal Bars have gone cute

Eat Natural, makers of cereals and cereal bars with “nothing dodgy” added, have gone one step further.

They’ve started making cute little bite size bars filled with fruit and nuts and wrapped in a chocolate or yoghurt coating. (They’re gluten free and veggie too.)

Those Eat Natural people keep bringing out so many new flavours enjoyably packed in new and different ways I can’t keep up.

But since a picture says a thousand words I thought I’d leave you with this Eat Natural video…

Shout yes! If you feel drinking chocolate should be treated like the finest coffee…

It is incredibly hard to look at Mortimer’s packets of chocolate powder before your mouth starts watering.

Mortimer's exquisite chocolate
Mortimer’s exquisite chocolate

You just have to read the descriptions…

Pure Dark Chocolate Powder
Delicious as a hot chocolate drink – Try making our sumptuous chocolate sauce!
Ecuador – Flavour Guide: 4 Intense
A deep tasting, full bodied dark chocolate with a seductive heady aroma.

White Couverture Powder
Ideal in your white chocolate recipes
The dairy free alternative to white chocolate. Free from soya and gluten too
Deliciously smooth white chocolate taste, with natural vanilla.

Pure Dark Chocolate Powder
Delicious as a hot chocolate drink – Try making our gorgeous chocolate brownies!
West African – Flavour Guide: 2 Mellow – Great Taste Gold Award
An exceptional rounded, mellow dark chocolate loved by all the family.

Salivating yet?

And with others to try, such as The Ghana Blend or The South America Blend, it’s obvious that the Mortimer Chocolate Company are now doing the same for chocolate as has been done for coffee for many generations: highlighting the distinctive flavours of the many varieties of cocoa bean.

Mortimer have worked hard to source the finest cocoas from around the world to make chocolates that carry the characteristic flavours of those regions, from the mellow cocoas of West Africa with their brown fruit notes, to the sharper, spicier cocoas of South America. They are also working to ensure that their cocoa is sustainably sourced and fairly traded too.

But finally, and perhaps most importantly, when it come to chocolate, Mortimer are working hard to be purists. There’s no milk, no fats or additives in their powders, just the finest pure chocolate – and rightly so, it is chocolate week after all!

Superfoods – be nurtured by nature

There’s no doubt, nuts and berries have had a revival in recent years.

Examples like goji berries, blueberries, brazil nuts and almonds have fast becoming favourites, offering health benefits through vitamins, minerals antioxidants and essential fatty acids.

Be nurtured by nature with Linwoods' superfoods
Be nurtured by nature with Linwoods’ superfoods

Linwoods are a very useful source of nuts, berries and seeds, particularly hemp and flaxseed. They’ve won Great Taste Awards and ensure all  their foods are gluten free and have no added sugar.

If you’re serious about investing in superfoods for your health and well-being Linwoods are ready to help with nutritional detail, dietary advice, lifestyle tips and a variety of different foods. Try sampling:

Flaxseed, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts & Co-Enzyme Q10
Flaxseed, Cocoa, Strawberries & Blueberries
Flaxseed & Sun Dried Goji Berries
Flaxseed, Sun Dried Goji Berries, Sunflower, Pumkin & Sesame Seeds
Organic Canadian Flaxseed
Organic Flaxseed, Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds
Organic Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds
Shelled Hemp Seeds
Whole Sun Dried Goji Berries


The best chestnuts in the world? St Dalfour think so…

Hmm, Christmas… it’s not here yet, so maybe I shouldn’t get my bah humbug on yet either…

The thing is when you think of chestnuts you tend to think of Christmas and, as amazing as they are for many other meals besides, it’s difficult not to mention one without referring to the other.

St Dalfour Whole Chestnuts
Totally natural chesnuts from St Dalfour

And if you’re looking for quality chestnuts St Dalfour are the height of reliability. St Dalfour’s packaging means the chestnuts are kept tender, plump and succulent with no preservatives whatsoever.

“They are the best chestnuts in the world.”

It’s a big boast, but St Dalfour dare to say it. Hand picked, all natural, low in fat and cholesterol, straight from France. That’s St Dalfour.