Manuka Honey and Cider Vinegar – a winning combination

manuka honey and cider vinegar
Healing combination

Some people would swear by cider vinegar for treating weight loss, rheumatism, blood pressure and more.

Others will tell you that manuka honey is the elixir of life, its antibacterial and antioxidant properties can be used to treat complaints internally and externally.

So, why not combine them together?

The wonderfully named Picklecoombe House are doing just that with an active 5+ Manuka Honey & Cider Vinegar.

I’m looking forward to hearing what folk are going to say about this!

You’ll be surprised how much health-power is packed into a drink of Dr Oats

Dr Oats
Heart power in a smoothie

I was dubious at first.

But where other recipes had failed, this version of the drink was a roaring success?

The key ingredient?


It is reckoned that just 3g of oat beta-glucan will lower cholesterol – the key factor in heart disease. So I’ve seen several drinks companies to try mix oats into their drinks to make them healthier.

In myopinion Dr Oats smoothies succeed where others have failed because their drinks aren’t gloopy, and they don’t taste like you’ve swallowed a foreign object. Instead they are made simply with fruits and oats. No added sugar, no fruit concentrate or anything else artificial. The taste is fruity and refreshing and it counts as 2 of your five a day.

They boldly claim that a small drink has the same cholesterol lowering power as a bowl of porridge. Can’t be bad, especially if you don’t get on with porridge.

You can try Dr Oats in 3 flavours.
Dr Oats Apple, Berry & Oat Drink
Dr Oats Orange, Passion Fruit & Oat Drink
Dr Oats Mango, Pineapple & Oat Drink

A noodle so low in calories… it’s a miracle!

What do you call a noodle you can eat any amount of and not worry about calories?

Low carb pasta Shirataki Miracle Noodles
Only 5 calories in 100g of noodles!

A miracle!

Which is why the Japanese Shirataki noodle is branded as Miracle Noodle. It’s made from a root vegetable which is why it has enough natural fibre to leave you feeling full without piling on the the carbs.

It cooks really quickly too. All you need to do is drain it and boil it for 1 minute, then mix with your favourite sauce. Alternatively you can pan roast them in a skillet for a minute to give them slightly more bite.

In addition to being carb-free, big plus point however is that they are generally allergen free with no gluten, wheat or soya to trouble anyone with an intollerance.

Shirataki Konjac has been known and used in Asia for over 2000 years. It is also known as Moyu or Juruo in China, and Konnyaku in Japan.

New ice cream flavours for the summer

ice creamIce cream…

It tastes of summer.

But how about something new?

Would you venture a taste of coconut ice cream? It can only taste of the tropics after all… It’s a flavour that has led to awards for Bessant & Drury’s. The luxury ice cream makers have made this Dairy-free ice-cream with the finest real fruit and highly nutritious coconut milk.

A truly delicious treat to enjoy without a moment’s guilt

The coconut milk gives Bessant & Drury’s a rich, creamy, smooth texture – yet it still has less than half the fat of dairy ice-cream. As well as being deliciously dairy-free, Bessant & Drury’s is also vegan, and free from gluten, soya, egg, cholesterol, additives, colourings and preservatives.

Bessant & Drury Dairy Free Ice Cream
A new ice cream taste for the summer

It comes in four flavours: Strawberry, Vanilla, Chocolate and Lemon.

Bessant & Drury scooped the coveted Innovation Award as the Free From Awards in April this year and is now shortlisted for The Grocer New Product Innovation Award.

Introducing Lucy’s Oatmeal Cookies

Every so often you hear stories of mums who have set up businesses inspired by their love for their children.

Lucy’s Cookies are the latest star in this field. Dr. Lucy Gibney discovered her child had severe food allergies and began creating recipes they would enjoy. With the benefit of her medical knowledge she developed a delicious alternative cookie that can be enjoyed by almost anyone, with or without intolerances or allergies.

The cookies taste so good you wouldn’t believe they were made for a special diet. They are free from a number of allergens, including nuts, dairy, eggs, wheat, and gluten – that makes them perfect for vegans and kosher diets too.

Lucy's Gluten Free Cookies taste really good
Lucy’s Gluten Free Cookies taste really good

Available in a range of flavours the cookies are just what you’d expect from an American biscuit: crunchy, sweet, full of flavour and, thankfully, fairly light in the calorie department too.

You can choose from chocolate, chocolate chip, oatmeal, gingersnap, maple bliss, cinnamon and sugar cookies.

So what are they made of? The ingredients are a blend of gluten-free oats, garbanzo, potato starch, tapioca, sorghum and fava flours; plus other allergy friendly ingredients like soya milk.

It’s such a relief to find biscuits which not only taste as good as mainstream treats, but better.

You can find lots more gluten free foods at GoodnessDirect – just click on the link.

The lowdown on linseed

Linseed is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

It makes a useful alternative to fish oil as it is believed to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. However, it is not yet conclusive that linseed can help with arthritis as fish oil can.

Linseed is a very rich source of lignans which have antioxidant properties. Lignans are of great interest to the medical world at the moment as it is thought that they may be able to help control certain diseases.

The seed is also great for those who need more dietary fibre. It can be taken with yoghurt, breakfast cereals, milk, fruit juice or sprinkled over soups, vegetables, salads or desserts.

Linusit are proud to be producers of high quality linseed (or flaxseed). It is available in both organic and premium  seeds and is cherished for its high nutritional value. It’s also gluten and lactose free and a great source of omega-3 for vegetarians and vegans.

Heard of krill oil or red yeast rice? They may just bless your heart

If you didn’t know it’s British Heart Month. We don’t often think about protecting our heart but heart disease is the number one killer in the UK.

It’s important to consider your diet, have a good level of fitness, and keep an eye on your blood pressure. The British Heart Foundation is an excellent first point of reference for facts and advice.

There are also some interesting new supplements that have come onto the market.

The first is Red Yeast Rice. This contains a naturally forming statin found in fermented rice. As a food it is used for red colouring in Peking Duck but it has also been used in Chinese medicine for centuries.

Following a successfully study published in the American Journal of Cardiology, it has been concluded that red yeast is very useful for lowering cholesterol, but  it only may help according to the NHS.

It sits here on my desk as a product called Rice Pure in capsule form and the description says “May help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.”

The other item is Krill Oil. The description here says “A potent source of Omega 3”.

In fact it’s 48 times richer in Omega 3 than regular fish oil and it has a sustainable source to boot. It’s taken from shellfish in the clear waters of the Antarctic.

Omega 3 has been found to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and improve heart health overall, so Krill Oil looks  like a promising product. I’ve also heard that you don’t get the same smelly breath and after-taste effect as from fish oil which is a definite plus.

Simple basic changes to help with heart disease

When facing heart disease there are some things you need to sort out.

Making simple changes can help you beat the odds against heart disease which is, at the end of the day, a leading cause of death.

  • Get smoke-free
    Quit smoking and stay clear of cigarette smoke to lower your risk of a few types of cardiovascular disease
  • Watch what you eat
    Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, pulses, whole grains, fish, and avoid fats from meat, dairy, and processed foods high in hydrogenated oils
  • Stay active
    Couch potatoes have increased cardiovascular disease risk, so make sure you get regular exercise
  • Get tested
    See your doctor to find out if you have problems with high blood pressure or high blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, or glucose

It’s a good idea to chat with your doctor and get fully up to scratch on maintaining heart health with information from groups like The British Heart Foundation.

When it comes to supplements various nutritional aids are thought to be helpful such as Co-enzyme q10, L-carnitine and Taurine.

Higher Nature, a group dedicated to providing the best, natural, most effective supplements have three products which are all, in some way, thought to help reduce heart disease.

  • First up there’s Red Sterol Complex which is made from red yeast rice extract, which contains lovastatin (or statins as they are popularly known). This can be used to help lower unhelpful cholesterol in the body. (See NHS report)
  • Next, there’s Organic Flax Seed Oil which in rich in Omega 3. Having a diet which is high in Omega 3 is recommended for a healthy heart.
  • Finally there’s Maxi Multi, a good old multivitamin and mineral. It should be noted that B vitamins, vitamin C, E and A and magnesium have all been thought to be beneficial to heart health.

Heard about the connection between eating sausages and bacon and pancreatic cancer?

A link between eating processed meat, such as bacon or sausages, and pancreatic cancer has been suggested by researchers in Sweden, who said that eating an extra 50g of processed meat, approximately one sausage, every day would increase a person’s risk by 19%. The study was conducted by Prof Susanna Larsson at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden and published in the British Journal of Cancer.

Avoiding meat

That will leave many of us worried about eating processed meat and concerned about the suggested link between eating sausages and bacon and pancreatic cancer. But many of us will know just what staples sausages and bacon have become in the British diet.

There are alternatives to meat – veggie style

Award-winning ethical food firm The Redwood Wholefood Company produces tasty meat-free sausages and meat-free ‘bacon’ from 100% natural, plant-based ingredients. They are not quite the same as the real bacon but then again we have been warned…

Redwood sausages and ‘bacon’ are free  from egg, dairy, lactose, cholesterol, hydrogenated fats, artificial colours/preservatives and GMOs, so they are a great veggie bacon choice for those wanting to avoid these things including vegans.

Finding vegetarian alternatives to meat

Redwood is the leading supplier of vegan foods and is 100% British. Rated the UK’s most ethical vegetarian foods supplier by The Ethical Company Organisation, Redwood produces more than 50 different foods under the Vegideli, Cheatin‘ and Cheezly brand names at its animal-free factory in Corby, Northamptonshire. So if you are serious about finding vegetarian alternatives to meat, Redwood really can help. Everything in its range is made from 100% natural plant-based ingredients so free from animal products and derivatives as well as cholesterol, artificial colours/preservatives, lactose, hydrogenated fats and GMOs, making them suitable for vegetarians and vegans as well as those looking for healthier and more ethical lifestyles. Widely recognised as one of the most innovative and inspirational vegetarian food companies in the UK, Redwood is renowned for being at the cutting edge of food manufacturing and exports to 18 countries worldwide.

Alternatives to milk

Possibly 75% of people around the world are lactose intolerant – which might go some way to explaining why there are so many alternatives to milk.

But there are numerous other reasons too, it might be simply be beneficial to health, or autism related, or asthma, or galactosaemia, or a sensitivity to casein or one of many other problems with drinking milk.

Whatever your reason it’s important to make sure you’re still getting the calcium, iodine and vitamins that you need.

Here are some of the alternatives…

Goat’s milk
Rich in nutrients and easier to digest (even though it still contains lactose). It has less casein but almost as much fat and calories as cow’s milk. However, it can cause a vitamin B12 deficiency in children.

Sheep’s milk
Sheep’s milk has twice as many minerals, eg. calcium, phosphorus and zinc and the vitamin B-complex, as cow’s milk. But it is also higher in calories and fat. Like goat’s milk, it is easily digested. And it’s also a good source of iodine, which helps if you suffer with thyroid problems.

Camel’s milk
Five times as much Vitamin C as cow’s milk. Helps with diabetes. Contains some lactose. Not easy to source.

Buffalo’s milk
Higher in calcium, protein and iron and contains more vitamins and minerals (including calcium and iron) and 43% less cholesterol than cow’s milk. But it also has twice as much fat and still contains lactose. Not easy to source.

Hemp milk
Half the amount of protein of cow’s milk, and calcium is often added. Rich in Omega 3, minerals and vitamins, hemp milk also has a creamy consistency. No lactose.

Quinoa milk
Quinoa is a very digestive food and nutritionally well balanced. It’s protein contains all essential amino acids and it is rich in unsaturated fatty acids. No lactose.

Spelt milk
A good source of fibre and B-complex vitamins. Cholesterol free. No lactose.

Oat milk
Rich in fibre, lowers cholesterol and low-GI. It’s actually the preferred energy drink of many athletes. A pleasant milky taste. No lactose.

Barley milk
Has a higher phosphorus and potassium content than regular milk. Helpful in repairing the body, though it doesn’t contain calcium. No lactose.

Kamut-wheat milk
Highly recommended for its milk-like taste. No lactose.

Millet milk
Lower in fat, higher in fibre and less calories than cow’s milk. Rich in protein and minerals. No lactose.

Rice milk
Compared to soya, rice milk is considered closer to cow’s milk in taste and texture. It is naturally sweet, low in fat and high in fibre. But it’s also low in calcium and protein. No lactose.

Soya milk
Soya milk is high in protein so it’s useful for cooking with. It is also comparatively cheaper than other milk alternatives due to its ubiquity. However, some avoid it because it can raise estrogen levels. No lactose.

Almond milk
Tastes great, and has some of the lowest calorie counts of all milk alternatives. No lactose.

Hazelnut milk
A thicker consistency. It also provides calcium and sulphur. No lactose.

Coconut milk
Lots of phosphorus, iron, magnesium and fibre makes coconut milk a superfood. It’s low in calories, boosts immunity and has a distinctive creamy taste.

Cashew nut milk
Delicious but not easy to find. Just as well it’s easy to make… Cashew’s are a good source of copper and magnesium.

Raw milk
The argument is that pasteurisation destroys some of the goodness in milk which would actually make it digestible for people with gut problems. It remains to be seen whether ‘green top milk’ is actually helpful for people with psoriasis and high blood pressure.

UV milk
Possibly the milk of the future: milk that is treated by UV instead of pasteurisation?

Lactose-Free milk
Or, of course, you could take the lactose out of the milk

You can also make milk from peas, peanuts, or seeds!