SIMPLE BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES (gluten, sugar, dairy free)

IMG_8517
Here’s a delicious, nutritious pancake recipe you can use this Pancake Tuesday!
I’ve listed some savoury and sweet filling ideas below. Remember that choosing a sugar-free breakfast is crucial in keeping insulin levels balanced and keeping you fuller for longer. It also helps you better tune in to what your body truly needs – sugar often craves more sugar so watch out!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup coconut or rice milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Coconut oil to grease the pan

Savory filling ingredients

  • Sauteed spinach and grated courgette
  • Scrambled egg with turmeric
  • Avocado and mixed leaves

Dessert filling ingredients

  • Stewed apple
  • Smashed blueberries and almond butter
  • Raspberries and coconut cream
Directions
  • Preheat a non-stick chemical-free pan / cast iron pan.
  • Whisk all the ingredients together.
  • Turn the heat up – moderate to high.
  • Grease the pan with a decent amount of coconut oil. Pour in the batter to fill the pan, cook, flip, plate, stuff with your choice of filling, consume.
Advertisements

THE MARVELLOUS CAT STRETCH

IMG_5298

Awakening deep intrinsic primal and developmental movement patterns, the moving cat stretch is one of my all time favourite movement patterns. It can be done any time of the day, all you need is a little bit of floor space and the ability to get up and down from it!

First thing in the morning it acts like a big yawn to help gently wake you up, centre and focus you for the day ahead; in the middle of the day it re-energises and better directs your attention – a much healthier pick me up than  reaching for the chocolate or caffeine hit; and done slowly before bed it helps to unwind and cleanse the day from your body and mind so you can go off to bed free from any unwanted mental or physical baggage.

Here are just some of the benefits:

  • stretches, strengthens and stabilises your arms, spine and torso
  • moves the breath deeper into your lungs helping to cleanse and better oxygenate all the tissues throughout your body
  • massages and opens the deep lower back and hips which in turn flushes the digestive system with fresh nutrient dense blood – great digestive aid!
  • strengthens and connects the deep abdominal muscles helping stabilise the torso and flood your system with all your feel good hormones! (dopamine and serotonin are largely manufactured in the gut)
  • opens the nerves through the spine, hands and arms helping to undo tension caused from slouching over a computer, smart phone or steering wheel, or constantly lugging kiddies around!
  • massages and opens the kidneys and resets the adrenal glands, helping you swap stressy fight or flight mode to calm cruise control – read more here
  • SO..helps relieve headaches, RSI, back pain, digestive troubles, anxiety, fatigue, disordered breathing…to name a few!

1) BEGIN ON ALL FOURS

tasha16

Knees under hips, hands under shoulders

CUES:

  • Keep the spine long and spacious. Imagine your spine being pulled from either end – out through the crown of the head and out through the tail bone
  • To help get the arm bones connecting well into the shoulder sockets and the shoulder blades well placed, bend your arms and point the elbows out to the sides then turn the arms so the elbows point in towards your body, straighten the arms.
  • Keep shoulder blades wide on the back of your rib cage and press the floor away from you, ie. don’t hang the torso down between your arms and collapse the shoulder blades together
  • Make sure head isn’t dropped – keep the back of the neck long just as it would be if you were standing

2) ARTICULATE

tasha17

Inhale to prepare. Exhale to draw the belly in towards your spine and gently articulate the spine into a curved cat shape. Inhale to pause…

CUES:

  • Your pubic bone should be looking at you and you should be looking at your pubic bone
  • Gently press through your hands to help widen the middle back
  • Gently use your lower abs to help pull your tail between your legs and lengthen the lower back. Imagine plugging your tail into your belly button
  • Keep the hands and fingers alive! spread them wide and feel equal weight through each finger

3) STRETCH

tasha18

Exhale to travel the cat curve backwards so you sit back on the heels, keeping your hands connected to the same spot on the floor. Inhale to pause…

CUES:

  • Relax your neck, jaw, throat and eyes as you release back into the stretch
  • Let your ankles roll out to the sides if the top of the feet or inner thighs are tight
  • Keep gently hugging the belly back in towards the spine

4) EXTENSION & STABILISATION

tasha19

Exhale to bend your arms, place the forearms on the floor, roll your shoulders back, lift your head, chest and spine into a lengthened position. Inhale to pause…

tasha20

Exhale to travel your spine forward stopping when your head gets to your wrists. Inhale to pause…

CUES:

  • Arms are parallel to each other, elbows draw towards each other so you can feel a little squeeze at your arm pits
  • Connect the abs by drawing the belly inward and upward
  • Keep your eyes towards the floor – this doesn’t mean dropping the head though!
  • Draw your breast bone forward to the wall in front of you and draw your shoulders and elbows backwards towards your knees
  • Your spine is parallel to the floor – not on a diagonal diving towards the floor

5) STRENGTH

tasha16Exhale to press the hands into the floor and stretch the arms back up to the beginning position. Repeat another 5 times beginning with your hands slightly more forward each time.  

CUES:

  • Keep your elbows towards each other to help connect the back of your arms and sides of the spine
  • Keep your knees over your hips – when you press up don’t avoid the hard work by moving your butt backwards!
  • Keep your abs drawing inward and upward
  • Spine stays long and connected like in plank position

CUT THE GLUTEN & REGAIN YOUR HEALTH

loaves-of-bread

These days most people are familiar with the term “gluten-free”, and many will have a vague understanding of what a gluten-free diet consists of. For many, gluten is assumed to only be a problem for people who have celiac disease; a strong physical reaction to gluten, and that gluten is fine (or even good) for everyone else. After all, we’ve been eating it for years and seem fine, our grandparents and great grandparents probably still eat it, and it’s promoted by mainstream health practitioners – how can we possibly not eat it?!

In this post I hope to inform you of the effect gluten has on both celiac and non-celiac individuals through the way it damages the gut, which can switch on a host of (often non-digestive) physical and mental illnesses. I’m not wanting to scaremonger nor to place judgement, I simply wish to inform, encourage enquiry and promote the idea that what you eat powerfully impacts your current and future health. Taking gluten out of your diet is not just a fad associated with certain “types” of health-conscious people. A gluten-free diet for many unwell adults and children is critical – the vital key to unlocking better health and a happier more vibrant life.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, bran, farina and kamut.

What foods contain the protein gluten?

  • Flour
  • Bread
  • Pasta/noodles
  • Oats milled with wheat products
  • Couscous

And also the following products where flour can be used as an ingredient:

  • Baked goods – cookies, cakes, doughnuts, pastries, waffles, pancakes
  • Sauces/dressings – soya sauce, can be used to thicken soups, gravies, salad dressings, marinades, curries, Japanese sushi rolls, Chinese dishes
  • Batter/crumbs/crusts – pizza, fishcakes, burger patties, tempura, fritters, pies, sausage rolls, samosas, hot chips/wedges
  • Snacks – breakfast cereals, cereal bars, crackers, croutons, processed lunch meats, imitation meat, pretzels, liquorice
  • Drinks – beer, some ciders, sake, gin and whiskey
  • Beauty products – toothpaste, lip balm, lipstick, make-up
  • Medication and vitamins

_________

What’s so wrong with gluten?

The composition of gluten’s two amino acid sequence (gliadin and glutenin) is still too new and too tricky for our digestive systems to properly deal with.

Gluten is not digestable by ANYONE on the planet” – Dr. David Perlmutter.

We need to appreciate that we did not evolve to deal with these proteins. As a matter of fact, for almost 99.9% of humankind’s evolution our ancestors have been gluten-free” – Dr. Alessio Fasano.

_________

What does this mean?

When we eat gluten it breaks down the protective lining of our gut. Despite the gut having an incredible ability to heal itself, it really struggles to when it’s constantly bombarded with pollutants such as antibiotics, painkillers, pharmaceutical medications, a poor diet, stress, chemical toxins in the air and household products, the contraceptive pill and so on. Our gut lining houses virtually our entire immune system, and it has more neurons than our brain, so if we break this lining down we essentially lessen our ability to fight off the many bugs and emotional stresses that we are exposed to. This could mean that we become more susceptible to:

  • Catching colds, flus, viruses, wheezing, cough, tummy bugs; less resilience to food poisoning
  • Developing allergies to animals, grasses, moulds, cosmetics; dermatitis, rashes, eczema, athsma
  • Developing allergies to different foods; feeling bloated; having intestinal pain, bad wind, diarrhea, constipation
  • Feeling tired or wired, irritable, sad, anxious; having “brain fog”; difficulty concentrating and remembering things
  • Low or no sex drive; acne; weight gain/loss; sleep and menstrual cycle irregularity

…to name a few

When we consume gluten regularly our gut lining becomes so thin that undigested food particles break through our gut wall and get into our bloodstream – this is known as leaky gut syndrome. Our poor immune system gets so messed up with all this floating debris that it confuses what is good and bad and starts attacking our own system, creating autoimmune disorders and switching on genetic disorders you may have inherited from your parents that have otherwise been lying dormant.

By the time the gluten protein reaches the brain its chemical structure has changed to one similar to addictive opiates such as morphine and heroin. These opiates act to block off certain areas of the brain causing inflammation and triggering any number of mental health-related disorders.

So our guts and brains are on fire and the rest of the body is smoldering – was that cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner really worth this? Most people eat these things and have no idea of the havoc they are wreaking until major illnesses show up and can’t be ignored. Some of these illnesses include:

  • Psychological problems – seizures, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, depression, autism, schizophrenia
  • Blood sugar and cardiovasular disorders – Diabetes Types I,  II, and III / Alzheimers, asthma, cardiovasular disease
  • Autoimmune diseases – Hashimoto’s, Alopecia, Graves’ disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis
  • Cancer
  • Gut diseases – Chron’s disease, celiac, leaky gut syndrome
  • Muscular skeletal diseases/disorders – rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, cerebella ataxia, Ankylosing Spondylolisthesis
  • Hormonal disturbances – PCOS, endometriosis, infertility, miscarriage or still births

What is so profound is that this is a mechanism that happens in all humans, not just the 30% or more of us who have blood tests that show that we are sensitive to gluten. This is all comers. It’s all of us who mount an increased permeability of the gut when exposed to this perverse protein called gluten

Dr. David Perlmutter. Hello Paleo.

_________

How can we put the fire out and not just fan the flames with various medications?

Removing the fuel that’s feeding the fire, i.e. gluten, will stop the damage so the healing process can begin. Even small amounts of gluten can halt the healing process and begin damaging tissue again, so you must be gluten zero. Of course some people can slowly reintroduce gluten once their gut is healed, but many simply choose to remain gluten-free after feeling so well without it.

Supplementing with probiotics, gelatin from organic grass-fed animals or bone broth, colostrum from grass-fed organic cows, and fish oils are fabulous ways to help heal and seal the gut.

_________

 

Why don’t our doctors tell us this? Why isn’t it more common place?

Translational research is research that changes the way doctors think and the way they practise. Now, it sounds utterly preposterous, but it is sadly true, that it will take around 17 years for mainstream doctors to act from this new information. This is an average, not an exception.

It was 21 years ago (in 1992) that Professor Michael Marsh authored a research paper that connected gluten consumption with celiac disease. How is it that still SO many people out there, including doctors, do not either know about or value the importance of a gluten-free diet when it comes to health and well-being? It was only 2 years ago that research about non-celiac gluten sensitivity came out – we cannot wait another 15 years until this vital information becomes mainstream.

What this research tells us is that there are MANY more people who are sensitive to gluten but do not have celiac disease. For every 1 person that has a problem in the gut after eating gluten (bloating, pain, constipation and so on) there are 8 people that have problems somewhere else in their body which they don’t directly connect with eating gluten (brain fog, depression, anxiety, arthritis, psoriasis, ADHD).

_________

Seeking guidance

If you are suffering from any kind of ailment that your doctor has been unable to help you with, and he or she has not asked you about your diet, then I URGE you to go out and find a Functional Medicine Practitioner. A FMP is someone who practises mainstream medicine but also has the view that you can regenerate anything in your body depending on the environment you give it – be that with relation to food, exercise, sleep and so on. They will not send you off with a prescription or make the conclusion that you are just a ‘sickly’ person or that your child is just naughty.

If you want gain a deeper understanding follow the links here to hear 29 of the world’s experts and opinion leaders on the topics of gluten-related disorders, nutrition and healthy living.

_________

Try it out

  • Mainly eat: vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, avocado, coconut oil, butter, animal fats
  • Moderately eat: fruit, coconut, nuts, seeds, rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, gluten-free oats, organic corn.
  • Become a label reader. Choose good quality gluten-free labelled products – you should be able to pronounce and recognise every ingredient on the label. Avoid all chemical additives and preservatives – no numbers!
  • Follow my recipes (all gluten-free), or google gluten-free recipes, or buy a recipe book –  there are loads out there!

* If you have gut-related disturbances you may want to also cut out all dairy products or at least replace them with raw dairy from a trusted source.

_________

If our bodies are expending less energy to deal with this tough protein, they have more energy for other more productive processes. Our liver, digestive and immune systems will get back to properly cleansing, nourishing, energising and strengthening us. We will feel happy vibrant and ourselves again.

_________

“The fate of your health, including that of the brain, is a choice,

not a destiny dictated by your genes”  

 – Dr David Perlmutter

(IMG)

Recipe: PIZZA BASE (gluten, grain & dairy free)

IMG_4827

We can eat pizza and be nourished!!! A far cry from the heavily processed sugar laden white flour, gut fermenting quick yeast and artery clogging hydrogenated plant oils, this pizza base is made with 100% natural unadulterated ingredients. Packed full of essential nutrients, fats and proteins and it hasn’t even bet dressed yet!

_________________________

Ingredients
1 medium sized head of cauliflower (3 cups once chopped up in the food processor)
2 TBSP almond flour
1 TBSP coconut oil
1 egg
1/4 TSP salt
1/2 TSP dried basil
1/2 TSP dried oregano

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 230 deg celsius
Cut one big square of non-stick baking paper or greased baking paper
Place a baking tray or pizza stone in the oven
Wash and throughly dry the cauliflower

Directions
Discard most of the cauliflower stem and pulse the florets in a food processor until you get a powdery snow like quality.

Transfer the cauliflower snow to a covered pot and cook on a medium heat for around 5 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool.

Once cool enough to handle wrap the snow up in the tea towel and ring the water out of it, squeezing out as much water as possible!

In a bowl place the cauliflower and mix in the spices, almond flour, coconut oil and egg. Use your hands to ensure best mixing.

Place the mixture on the baking paper and press it firmly and tightly into a crust shape before transferring it onto the hot pizza stone or baking tray.

BAKE FOR ABOUT 12 MINUTES, or until it starts to turn golden brown and the edges crisp up

Top with your favourite toppings, serve and devour!

_________________________

Tips to tweak

Vegan base – substitute eggs for chia mixture: 1/4 cup of chia seeds +  3/4 cup of water, stirred well and refrigerated for 15 mins before use.

Fluffier base – add more eggs

Crunchier base – add extra almond flour and coconut oil and increase cooking time

Cheesy base – add 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

Healthy topping ideas

Sliced up and fried/grilled: courgette / carrot / mushroom / tomatoes / peppers / garlic / onion / bacon (nitrate-free) / salami (nitrate free) / salmon (wild)/ chicken (organic)

Placed raw on top: avocado / baby spinach / coriander / rocket / mayo / sour cream / olives / sun-dried tomato / capers

Grilled on top: raw cheese / nuts / seeds

THE BEAUTY OF FERMENTED FOODS

img_3016

Fermented foods are all the rage again and rightly so! Different cultures around the world have been participating in this artisanal craft for thousands of years – it is a way of eating that our systems are very familiar with and serves them beautifully. Thank goodness we are harking back to sauerkraut, raw dairy, kombucha and pickle eating after becoming tired, sick and lost amongst bleach, chlorinated water, pasteurisation and obsessive cleaning.

Before we had fridges and gross DPB tin cans we had to preserve our food through lacto-fermentation. This process is basically taking some veg, chopping it up, putting it in some kind of storage container, pouring water and salt over it, then leaving it weeks or months (you can actually do this with any veg, meat, fish or fruit). During this storage time the starches and sugars from the food (the bits that can cause the bloat) are eaten up by loads of different bacteria which then produce enzymes that preserve the food! Coolest of all is how this process enriches the food and water with various strains of probiotics, beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids…all brilliant for our digestion and us as a whole.

 To really appreciate why it’s so good to eat fermented foods rich in bacteria, consider this:

 If we unravelled our digestive system it could cover the space of a tennis court. Spread all over the tissues would be the trillions of bacteria, virus, fungi and micro creatures: all of them ready to support and protect us from all the variety of things that we come into contact with. They help us utilise the good stuff from what we eat and drink, they clean out or detox our system, control parasites, produce antibiotics, grab onto and throw out the toxic biproducts we breathe in….the list goes on and on. They are our delightful little housekeepers! We are in fact 90% bacteria remember.

———————-

Awesome things that go on when eating and drinking fermented foods:

Digestive aid

Lactofermented food normalises the acidity of the stomach and promotes the growth of healthy flora throughout the intestines – this flora is fab at gobbling up starches and sugars that slow down our metabolism & make us crave sugar. Helping peristaltic movements of the intestine this stuff is also great for constipation.

 

Happy vibes

With more than 95% of the ‘good feeling’ neurotransmitter serotonin being found in the gut (only 5% in the brain) it’s no wonder a healthy gut makes a happier person. When given a healthy environment to thrive, serotonin increases its ability to help calm the digestive tract and strengthen the communication between the gut and the brain. Good communication = decreased levels of anxiety and depression.

 

Get more from your food

The vitamin levels of the original prepared ingredients are increased after fermentation. Their digestability is also increased which saves us wasting energy and nutrients in breaking down the food matter – rich in enzymatic juices or organic acids means we can get to the goods easy as!

 

Pollutant zapper

The production of lactic acid produces anticarcinogenic substances that help inhibit and deactivate toxic material we come into contact with like car fumes and chemical laden beauty products. Perhaps this is why lowered rates of athsma, skin problems and autoimmune disorders have been linked to the probiotic nature of fermented foods.

 

Immune booster

Fermented foods help support the immune system by not only being high in vitamin c but by also producing antibiotic substances that help fight off viruses and infections that may come into the system.

 

Pancreas pumper & liver lover

Lactic acid activates the secretions of the pancreas which is great news for us all but particularly diabetics. And the liver, which can get laden with fat, welcomes the production of the fat metaboliser, choline.

 

It seems Hipocrates really was right when hundreds of years ago he stated that “all diseases begin in the gut” as it is well proven that around 85% of our immune system is held in our gut. Sounds like it’s times to reintroduce this ancient practice of lacto-fermentation and move away from a diet in which everything has been pasturised and processed! Yes!

———————-

 

FERMENTED FOODS & DRINKS: sauerkraut/vegetables, salsa, ketchup, raw dairy, pickles, water/milk/coconut kefir, kombucha….

WHAT BRAND? organic, raw/unpasturised, simple whole ingredients – no vinegars or sugars! My favs are Culture Probiotics RAW, GO Kombucha and Hook & Son Dairy

HOW? Add sauerkraut/veges to salads or as a side with any meal. Raw dairy can be consumed however you fancy! yoghurt with fruit or as a dip, cheese to nibble or melted on top of veges, milkshakes…Kefir beverages and kombucha can be sipped first thing in the morning or before meals.

WHERE TO BUY? from the links above or in health food stores and farmers markets that stock good quality organic produce.

HOW MUCH? introduce fermented foods slowly and gradually, starting with a few sips of juice from plain fermented vegetables and notice your reaction. Do the same if you are a first timer to raw dairy products – start with butter and cheese then move on to yoghurt and milk. Being full of active enzymes and active nutrients you can experience “detox” reactions as healing and restructuring of the bodies tissues take place….which is all good but can be uncomfy if you go too hard and fast! Some people of course won’t have any reactions, in which case, guage how much feels good and is enjoyable to eat.

GET SOAKING!

IMG_3747

 

Do you ever get a bloated sore tummy, or perhaps a little stiff in your joints, or just feel plain tired and spaced out after eating a meal loaded with grains, legumes, nuts and seeds? If you’re unsure, then pay a bit more attention to the feedback your body is giving you – try taking a break from these foods for a few days, or if that’s too tough, follow my suggestions below and see if you notice any difference. We often don’t realise how small changes to the way we prepare our food can make quite remarkable transformations to our digestive health.

What’s in them then?

Grains (like wheat, rye, barley), legumes (like beans, chickpeas, lentils), nuts and seeds are all coated in toxins that are difficult for us to digest: phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, lectins, polyphenols and goitrogens. In nature these substances are there to keep them safe from predators until they come across ideal moist and warm conditions to germinate. However, because we eat these foods before this natural process has taken place, our bodies have to break down the exterior toxins. Whether we are aware of it or not these toxins cause undue stress on our bodies – deplete our essential mineral and vitamin stores, block the absorption of calcium/magnesium/iron/copper/zinc in the intestinal tract, take loads of energy to break down, interfere with protein absorption and deplete amino acids. This can manifest in symptoms like digestive upsets, tooth decay, immune deficiency, skin irritations, mood irregularities, thyroid issues, stiff and swollen joints, sluggish energy levels and anxiety.

I am not a huge advocate of eating grains especially those containing gluten (wheat, rye, barley, oats…) as there are no nutrients in grains that are not found in other foods. Vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, fish, meat, eggs etc. are all easier to digest and offer many more nutrients. However, if you are going to eat grains then it is very sensible to mimic nature’s germination process by soaking them.

Soaking your grains, legumes, nuts and seeds overnight in warm water is harking back to yet another age old way of preparing food – “activating” them in this way allows for the following benefits:

  • Increased nutritional content that is right and ready for absorbing = better energy levels and less water retention/cellular inflammation
  • Less digestive tract inflammation as the toxins have been neutralised and released = less digestive pain and bloating. A healthier gut means you’re less likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and irregular mood patterns.
  • Increase of naturally occurring digestive enzymes = increased metabolism and reduced use of our own body’s enzymes so they can be put to use for a whole host of better things!

GET SOAKING!

Cover with fresh warm water, add between a tsp and tbsp of good quality salt, or apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice to help break down the toxins even further. Store in a warm place. After soaking, you drain them, rinse them, then either cook or dry them out. If you want to get even more out of your grains you can let them sit out for a couple days so they sprout (rinse and drain them a couple times each day until sprouts emerge).

Legumes

Soak for 24 – 48 hours. Change the water 2-3 times.

Grains

Soak for for 12 – 24 hours. Change the water once or twice.

Nuts and seeds

Soak hard nuts for 12 – 24 hours, drain off the water (do not rinse them) and pat dry. Lay the nuts out on a baking tray and dry in a dehydrator or an oven on the lowest possible setting* for 6 – 24 hours (until all moisture is removed). *Less than 65 C; for gas ovens – on the pilot light.

Soak seeds and soft nuts for no more than 6 hours, drain (do not rinse them), pat dry. Lay the nuts out on a baking tray and dry out at room temperature, in a dehydrator, or in an oven on the lowest setting.

If you are struggling for time to dry out your nuts and seeds then go to your local health food store and seek out some activated nuts and seeds – here are my favourite brands I’ve tried from London, New York, New Zealand, Australia. Please message me if you can recommend good quality activated nuts in your area so I can add them to the list!