Need a quick lunch?

biona chilli beans
Lunch comes easy-peasy with Chilli Beans

If you need a quick lunch, how about Biona Organic’s Red Kidney Beans in a Chilli Sauce?

Simply heat them up in a pan or microwave and enjoy them on buttered toast?

Can’t get simpler than that.

The sauce is a mouthwatering combination of tomato, oregano and various spices including chilli. Not exactly, your usual tinned spaghetti on toast.

But then Biona are brilliant at making good organic food, whether it’s cranberry superjuice, 5 litre bottles of cider vinegar, pizza bases or virgin coconut oil – you’ll always find something wholesome and healthy from Biona.


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!

My mum, the molasses and conversations about pine bark

For as many years as I can remember my mum has been drinking beverages with blackstrap molasses to help with arthritis. That’s not so surprising as it’s a good source of calcium and minerals like copper, manganese and potassium which are essential for building bones. (It’s useful to note that vitamins D and K and protein also help. Exercise is helpful too.) But I often wondered what that strange, strong smelling syrupy stuff she put in her drinks was.

82562398Blackstrap molasses seems to be one of those ancient cure-alls, a bit like cider vinegar (which is also famous for helping with arthritis – Sir Ranulph Fiennes swears by it.) Because the causes of arthritis are not known the focus remains on relieving the pain. And now there’s a new kid on the block: pine bark extract.

When I say “new kid” you have to understand that while the benefits of vinegar were supposedly noted by Shennong 7000 years ago, we have to wait until around 400BC for Hippocrates to write about pine bark. However, pine bark was only successfully marketed in the 1990s while molasses and cider vinegar have been in the public eye for a lot longer.

However, when my mum reads this she’ll probably scold me for not heeding her wisdom about drinking pine needle tea if ever I get scurvy?

Anyway, I digress. Researchers from Chieitl-Pescara University and Munster University have now found that the pine bark extract sold under the name Pycnogenol significantly relieves the inflammation of osteoarthritic joints which causes arthritis sufferers so much pain; they even found that patients who took the supplements felt relieved from pain for a further two weeks.

That’s good news as at this point my mum will probably regain interest in the conversation. It’s also interesting to note that while blackstrap molasses helps with heavy periods, pine bark has been found to significantly reduce menstrual pain.

As a cure-all the extract has long been known for it’s aid in healing wounds (and scurvy). Research is now being done into its ability to reduce stress, particularly in children with ADHD (google Dr Peter Rohdewald). And because it destroys free radicals it’s being used in many beauty care products too. Though, you know, I think I’ll pass over talking about anything to do with mum’s need to look more beautiful – or I might find myself ducking a jar of flying molasses.

Cider Vinegar, the cure all?

Years ago a doctor friend of mine raved on to me about the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar combined with a little honey. He advocated drinking this on a daily basis, not even in a medicinal way, but as a beverage of choice! Oh la la, it is vinegar after all!

I tentatively tried a teaspoon of Cider vinegar with a teaspoon of honey in hot water. It was a taste I needed to work on acquiring, but now I love it, in fact I go for a couple of cupfuls of the cider vinegar to get a good tang. It smells a little as those around me remind me every time I drink it, but its worth it.

The reason for my doctor friends’ advice was that cider vinegar (or cyder vinegar) is a bit of a ‘cure all’, helping to ward off colds ( I hardly ever get one), helping with arthritic issues and it can help you lose weight.

There is loads of info available on the net about it so I won’t waffle on here, it’s just that this week someone asked me how you take it, or use it, so here is my advice:

As a drink as mentioned above, especially great first thing in the morning. The honey can be adjusted to taste. The great thing about this drink is that it is still drinkable when its gone cold because you have forgotten to drink it. It is also really refreshing in cold water for a summer drink, thirst quenching.

Use cider vinegar as a salad dressing, or anytime you would use malt vinegar, in fact get rid of your malt vinegar as this can increase the build up of toxins in your joints and replace with cider vinegar which doesn’t do this.

Once you have acquired the taste try it without the honey, especially refreshing as a cold drink.

There is one cider vinegar on the market which has honey already added, its called Honeygar and is worth a try.

Bottoms up!