health

Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala

Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala

So here it is, possibly one of the most loved curries of the British, the Chicken Tikka Masala and boy is it delicious! This is ultimate comfort food at it’s best! In fact it is thought to have originated in the an Indian restaurant in the UK! You can read more about that here.

This dish doesn’t take a particular amount of skill to make but it will require you to marinade your chicken the night before if you want it to taste that little bit more special. You will then have to bake it before making your masala sauce.

This curry is pretty spicy so if you’re not a spice fiend just add 1/4-1/2 tsp of chilli powder to your masala rather than the 1/2 tbsp.

Most of all – enjoy!!!

Serves: 4 people

Preparation Time: 20 minutes (plus overnight wait for marinating chicken)

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

For the marinated chicken:

3 cloves garlic (peeled)
2″ piece of root ginger (peeled)
Seeds from 5 green cardamom pods
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg or mace
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground red chilli powder
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 cup coconut yogurt
Juice 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp good quality olive oil
500g chicken breast (cubed)
2 tbsp raw grass-fed butter (to baste)

For the masala sauce:

4 large tomatoes
3/4 cup tomato purée (roughly 200g)
2 cups of water
2 garlic cloves (peeled)
1″ piece root ginger (peeled)
1 green chilli (deseeded & finely diced)
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (ground)
1/2-3/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt (dependent upon your tastes)
1 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tbsp red chilli powder
6 green cardamom pods (crushed)
2 tbsp raw grass-fed butter
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp raw honey

To garnish:

Small piece of root ginger (julienned)
Small handful of fresh coriander (roughly chopped)

Method:

  1. The night before cooking start by making the marinade for your chicken. In a pestle and mortar grind your garlic, root ginger and spices into a paste
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl mix together the coconut yogurt, lemon juice and olive oil. Add in your spice paste and mix thoroughly. Add your cubed chicken breast and mix until covered evenly. Cover the bowl in cling film and place into the fridge overnight.
  3. The following day pre-heat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and place your marinated chicken into a pyrex/baking dish.
  4. Melt your butter and set aside.
  5. Bake the chicken for 10 minutes but give it a quick stir and baste it twice with some of the melted butter. Drain off the excess marinade and juices and baste with the remaining melted butter. Return to the oven for a couple more minutes until it is lightly golden on the outside but still slightly undercooked. Remove from the oven and leave to one side.
  6. In a pestle and mortar grind your ginger and garlic into a smooth paste.
  7. In a large saucepan combine the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and water. Stir until evenly mixed then add your ginger and garlic paste, diced green chilli, salt and the rest of the spices. Cook on a low heat for roughly 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced and become very thick. Remove the pan from the heat.
  8. Strain the sauce through a large sieve into another container. Pour the strained sauce back into the saucepan and then bring to the boil.
  9. Reduce the heat to a low heat and then add the butter, coconut milk and raw honey. Stir thoroughly.
  10. Stir in the chicken and warm through.
  11. Serve up and garnish with ginger juliennes and chopped fresh coriander.

Paleo Chicken Tikka MasalaPaleo Chicken Tikka MasalaPaleo Chicken Tikka MasalaPaleo Chicken Tikka Masala

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Paleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib Marmalade

Paleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib MarmaladePaleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib Marmalade

Yeah this stuff is pretty darn special! As you can clearly see!

I have always had a thing for jams and marmalade. I used to absolutely love making jams but what I always had hated was the sheer amount of sugar that you had to put into the damn stuff! Not this marmalade, no siree – this marmalade uses only 1/3 of a cup of sugar to 6 oranges. Not too shabby.

The texture of this marmalade isn’t a solid jelly type that you would get it is a lot softer and more spreadable but it still tastes like marmalade and not any ordinary marmalade. Yes it is bittersweet but the flavour is just so much more than that – it is a fresh orange taste coupled with a complex chocolate flavour. It truly is beautiful. In a nutshell it smells and tastes like the best and freshest chocolate orange you could ever imagine.

This is perfect generously spread over some of my Paleo Granary Bread, Superfood Pancakes or even spooned over some coconut yogurt!

So, what an earth made me chuck some cocoa nibs into my marmalade mix? Quite simply I love anything chocolate orange but the wonderful folk over at Naturya supplied me with some of their exquisite products to get creative with and I have had these gorgeous nibs sat around getting nibbled on and sprinkled over everything and anything. All I will say is that there will be a lot more of the cocoa nib coming your way in the near future, but in a savoury form!

I have made the method for this recipe as simple as possible as real marmalade making is all faff, muslin cloths, you name it – it is just not for me, at least not when I am running a house full of children and animals. All you will require for this recipe is a stove top, a pan, a wooden spoon and something to store your marmalade in. Simples.

This recipe will require you to add in some orange rind, however if you aren’t a fan of the rind in marmalade simply zest 1 of the oranges before juicing.

Yields: Roughly 350g 

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 20- 30 minutes

Ingredients:

Juice & pulp of 6 blood oranges (reserve the rind of 1/2 blood orange)
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup Naturya cocoa nibs
1 tsp tapioca flour dissolved into 1.5 tsp water

Method:

  1. Juice all of the oranges and save the pulp too – I find that this gives the marmalade that bit more of a fruity bite to it. Ensure that you save the rind of 1/2 of an orange.
  2. Cut the rind in half and slice thin strips lengthways, I definitely wouldn’t cut a strip any thicker than 5mm.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients (except for the tapioca flour) into a pan and place onto a medium heat. Bring the mix to the boil being sure to stir frequently to prevent burning.
  4. Once boiling reduce the heat and leave the mixture to simmer. Simmer until the majority of the liquid has reduced and it coats the back of your spoon well.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in your tapioca flour thickener stirring vigorously. Return the pan to the heat and heat for 1 minute until thick.
  6. Pour the marmalade into a clean airtight jar and cover with a wax disc or cellophane lid before closing. Store in a cool dark place and use within one month.

Paleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib MarmaladePaleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib MarmaladePaleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib MarmaladePaleo Blood Orange & Cocoa Nib Marmalade

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The Paleo Isotonic Super Booster

Paleo Isotonic Super Booster

Well with such a boring picture I had to give this an interesting name! This is the ultimate Paleo sports performance drink!

When I first got back into running after having my first two kids I started to drink those awful sugary isotonic drinks, and well I started to learn that they were actually no good for performance and I would often burn out fairly fast. I deecided to switch back to regular water and up my salt intake. This did work well but not well enough. Fast forward 5 years and going strong on the Paleo diet I started to become more familiar with chia seeds and their benefits within sports performance. I also started to become more aware of the roles of carbohydrates, citrus and sea salts aiding in hydration and electrolyte/isotonic balance. That’s when I came up with this little number.

It is super quick to make and will help you blast out a good endurance run or hour and a half of intensive exercise.  This is best consumed about 30 minutes before you do exercise but you can also drink this first thing in the morning as it will hydrate you and help get those adrenals going!

This drink is also ideal for kids – my kids love this because it is nice and fizzy from the bicarbonate of soda! But this drink isn’t just for athletes and kiddies it is great for the elderly and anyone who is suffering from the flu or a stomach bug with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea.

So what is so great about all of the ingredients in this drink and what do they do?!

  • Carbohydrates from the raw honey will help to replenish your muscle glycogen whilst increasing the intestinal water absorption rate. It also contains fructose, glucose and maltose which all absorb into the bloodstream at different rates thus making it the ultimate energy source for sports performance.
  • The Himalayan pink salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements including the electrolytes sodium, magnesium, potassium & sulfate.
  • The bicarbonate of soda contains sodium chloride which again aids in topping up your electrolytes.
  • The lemon and lime juice is a great substitution for potassium citrate as it contains high levels of both potassium and citric acid. It also chelates calcium which basically means that it stays firmly attached for better absorption.
  • On to my favourite little power houses – chia seeds. Chia seeds are hydrophillic meaning that they love water, so much so in fact that they can hold up to 12 times their weight in water! This again extends your timeframe for hydration. Chia seeds are also hight in omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants. These beauties were used by the ancient aztecs and I have never turned back. They fuel you for a good hour or so of exercise.
  • Water… well yes I think we all know what water is good for!

But anyway now onto the actual recipe! Just to let you know these make excellent freeze pops too for the summer!

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

400ml filtered cold water
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tbsp raw honey (or maple syrup for Vegan substitution)
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp milled or whole chia seeds

Method:

  1. Start by pouring your water, lemon juice & lime juice into a large glass container and stir.
  2. Add in your raw honey and Himalayan pink salt and leave to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in your bicarbonate of soda and chia seeds and leave to sit for another 10 minutes to allow the chia seeds to absorb the water thoroughly.
  4. Alternatively you can place all of the ingredients except for the bicarbonate of soda into a blender and blend for a couple of minutes before leave to sit the 10 minutes. You can then stir in your bicarbonate of soda at the end before drinking otherwise the gases will build up and you will be likely to have a little explosion on your hands!!!

Paleo Isotonic Super BoosterPaleo Isotonic Super Booster

Paleo Bagels

Paleo BagelsPaleo Bagels

So it was my protein fast today and I had a bit of a craving for bagels (probably because 1/4 of my blood is Israeli) … So I just went ahead and made some… like you do! I remembered that I had some potato starch that was given to me rather generously from the lovely Molly over at Perfectly Paleo who I have promised to make some gnocchi for (and I will sorry Molly) but I couldn’t help but give it a go in my dough. Potato starch is renowned for making bread nice and doughy.

This has to be my best bread dough that I have ever made – you don’t have to turn this dough into bagels if you don’t want to, you could make a braided bread loaf, and I’m pretty sure these could even be turned into doughnuts with a little bit of tweaking. But anyways, yes, bagels…

I sat there and contemplated over a few ways of making this dough and it was a big scientific experiment for me, I used xanthan gum to add to the chewiness and also vitamin C to aid with the rise.  This dough kneads like real dough, it also rises pretty much like real dough which is a first for me – I managed to squeeze double the rise which I think is pretty amazing for a Paleo bread! This recipe will require you to boil the bagels first and then to plunge them into a cold water bath before baking – but it’s all worth it just to get that awesome bagel flavour and chew that we all love!

So hell yeah! I bring you gluten-free, grain-free and bulls**t free bagels!!!

Enjoy!

Paleo BagelsPaleo Bagels

Makes: 6 medium bagels or 8-10 mini bagels

Preparation Time: 1 hour (plus 1-1.5 hr rise time)

Cooking Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

For the yeast mix:

60 ml boiled water
3 tbsp coconut sugar
90ml almond (or any nut milk of your choice)
1 tbsp dry active yeast

For the bagel mix:

1 cup Sukrin Almond Flour
3/4 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp milled chia seeds
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp vitamin C
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
1 egg
1 tbsp coconut oil (plus 2 tbsp extra for kneading)
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the boiling mix:

Medium sized pan 2/3 filled with boiling water
1/4 cup raw honey
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp Himalayan pink salt

Optional toppings:

2 tbsp poppy or sesame seeds

Method:

  1. Firstly prepare your yeast mix. In a measuring jug pour in your freshly boiled water and stir in the coconut sugar until dissolved. Add your almond milk and mix well. Finally stir in your active dried yeast until fully dissolved and leave for 10 minutes until it forms a very frothy head.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the bagel mix ingredients except for the egg, coconut oil, almond extract and apple cider vinegar. Stir the ingredients until everything is mixed thoroughly.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to its lowest setting (50C usually).
  4. Add in your egg, coconut oil, and almond extract. Stir your yeast mix and pour into the bagel mix. Now add your apple cider vinegar. Using a wooden spoon (or even a handheld whisk) mix until it forms a very tacky dough.
  5. Oil your hands using the 2 tbsp of coconut oil that are remaining. Break a small amount off and work into the dough. Knead your dough repeating the coconut oil process until you have no oil left. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a clean and lightly floured work surface. Knead for around 10 minutes until you have a nice smooth dough.
  6. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a damp towel or oiled cling film.
  7. Turn your oven off and place the mixing bowl onto the lowest shelf of the oven and shut the door. Leave the dough to rise for at least 1 hour. If you feel that the oven is losing heat then turn it back on and heat it back up to 50C and turn it off again. You want to let the dough rise until it has roughly doubled in size. If after one and a half hours it is no longer rising don’t leave it to rise any longer as it probably won’t. If you want a more authentic bagel dough you can leave it overnight to ferment and then cook in the morning if you wish.
  8. Once risen remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a lightly dusted surface for 10-15 minutes until the dough is silky smooth. Divide the dough into 6 pieces.
  9.  Now it is time to place your pan of water, honey, bicarbonate of soda and salt onto the stove and bring to the boil.
  10. Whilst the water is coming to the boil roll your pieces of dough into balls and shape into circles that are about 1″ thick. With a well greased index finger, push it through the centre of your dough circle and begin to spin it around onto the work surface. Flip sides and do the same until you have something that resembles a doughnut. You want the hole to be fairly large and the dough expands upon boiling. Repeat the process until you have made all 6 bagels.
  11. Fill a large mixing bowl with very cold water. This is necessary to plunge the bagels into after boiling to help make them even chewier although you can skip this step if you wish.
  12. Pre-heat your oven to 180C.
  13. By now your water should be boiling. Lower 2 bagels into the pan as carefully as you can and set a timer for 3 minutes. Once your time is up flip the bagels using two chopsticks and boil for a further 3 minutes. Remove your bagels using the chopsticks and drop into your cold water bath. Repeat the process until all of your bagels are cooked.
  14. Line and lightly grease a baking tray and place on your bagels. If you wish to top your bagels you can do with poppy seeds or sesame seeds, or anything else that takes your fancy that is!
  15. Place your bagels into the oven and cook for around 10-15 minutes or until they are golden brown and the inner ring of the bagel is no longer tacky to the touch.
  16. Serve toasted with lashings of butter and some smoked salmon!

Paleo BagelsPaleo BagelsPaleo BagelsPaleo Bagels

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How to find time for motherhood, fitness, health & maintaining a Paleo lifestyle!

Minime

Yup mini me, some things never change!

So I often get asked by a lot of people how do I have time (and willpower) to cook all of this delicious food, exercise and maintain my knowledge of health whilst running a household with 3 children (including a 1 year old), 2 dogs – of which one is a crazed husky with bags of energy, and 4 cats.

The simple answer is time management. It all boils down to having a timetabled routine that would put any military operation to shame, or at least I am pretty sure it would.  I am not Wonderwoman, I suffer from depression & anxiety, I have an autoimmune disease, however I am no different to anyone else in the world – I don’t want to get out of bed in the morning, I can’t be arsed washing the dishes, I don’t want to scrub everyone’s shit off of the toilet or wipe my son’s urine off of the toilet seat 5 times a day, but it all has to be done in order to stay sane and keep things running smoothly.

I do however realise that I have trained my brain into having a different mindset than most. I don’t want to wake up in the morning and feel so groggy for the rest of the day or to feel like I can’t do the things that I need to do.  I want to feel the energy I had as a child, I want to set myself mental and physical challenges so that I can hang on to my confidence and self worth. If I don’t exercise, eat healthily, and sleep well then all of those things don’t happen. I am a miserable zombie and my depression, anxiety and illness all worsen.

If all of this sounds all to familiar then and you don’t want to be a miserable zombie then maybe you have to ask yourself if you are ready to make the changes, because if you truly 100% don’t want it or aren’t ready then you won’t let it happen anyway. You’ll have to then face the disappointment that comes with those decisions. What I will say is it’s not as hard as you think – once you get past the first hurdle of just doing it it becomes easier, you gain confidence, the world becomes more beautiful and you grow into the person you have always secretly been but has just been in a deep sleep like Sleeping Beauty herself.

Now before I go any further I have to do that serious bit that goes all bold and italic and remind you all that I am not a qualified fitness instructor, nutritionist, scientist or therapist. I am merely one person with an interest in all of these things and the knowledge possess I have gained through various means. Please always do your own research before embarking upon new ways of living. Although this is what works for me I can recognise that this may not work for everyone.

Anyway I’m not all bold or italic anymore so it’s time to crack onto the good stuff!!!

My Family’s Weekday Routine

As I said before having a routine is imperative for a fully functioning household to be possible. This sums up how our weekdays go except for a Tuesday as the both kids have Thai boxing until 16:30 – this means the kids can either do chores or homework but are not expected to do both. Before you read through my terrifying looking routine you can take a mosey at some pictures of my beautiful but crazy family!

Luna & MeAnyaphoto 2(21)1662544_10152709125411702_2661821971575212819_n

The Timetable of Doom

5:00 Alarm goes off – my partner takes the dogs out to the loo and runs our little dogface Charleston. I will either wake the baby up and breastfeed her or let her sleep and get myself dressed, go downstairs and start prepping breakfast.
5:30 I drink a glass of salt water (I will go into this later) wait for my partner to return and go out on my run with Luna our rather energetic husky.6:00-6:30 I return and either eat breakfast or if the baby isn’t awake yet I’ll breastfeed her and then wake up the kids then feed everyone breakfast.
6:30 I send the kids off to get dressed, brush their teeth and get all of their things for school ready.
7:00 I’ll quickly jump in the bath whilst the kids get to have their free time – this means watching TV, listening to music but any devices like tablets etc. are limited to 30 minutes. My partner will watch the baby and when I come down will go to work.
07:30 by now I am usually dressed and ready to roll. I play with the baby, get her dressed for the day and the kids are enjoying a huge amount of relaxation time before they have to get to school.
08:20 I get everyone to get their shoes and coats on, place Luna in her crate with her food, same for Charleston. I get Anya into her baby carrier and leave the house at 08:30 to do the school run.
09:00-09:15 If I manage to escape the nattering mums of the school run then I get home at a good time. I take the dogs out to the loo straight away.
09:20-10:45 I will play with Anya before she has her nap, I chase her around the living room, this can be doing bear crawls, or a bit of a Russian dance, anything that gets my muscles working and blood pumping. I then will do a basic Yoga flow for 20-30 minutes and Anya often interacts within this. It is this little bit of exercise that sets me up for the day. I will have a little snack of some 90% dark chocolate and a herbal tea.
10:45-11:00 I pop the dogs into the crate for a time out. I then get Anya ready for her nap and then put her down.
11:00-12:30 This can be my free time – I will workout, try and write some blog content or even just sit down and chill out. This is rare for me.
12:30-13:30  I will prepare lunch, eat mine, put Anya’s in the fridge and have a quick wash if I need to.
13:30-14:15 I will wake Anya up and feed her her lunch. If I have any social media stuff to catch up on now is usually a good time to do so.
14:15 I get Anya cleaned up, pop her into her baby carrier and then walk Luna for an hour.
15:15 I return home pop Luna in her crate with some food, then go straight back out and do the school run.
16:00 I get back with the kids take the dogs out to the loo, let the kids grab a snack, remove Anya from her carrier and for the next hour it is free time for the kids – this time they have to play out for 30 minutes and the remaining 30 they can choose what they want to do. I play with Anya in the living room during this time. I might make myself a Bulletproof Tumeric Tea if I feel like I am lacking energy.
17:00 I take Anya upstairs for her nap and crack on with making dinner. The kids do their chores for an hour.
18:00 My other half comes back from work and Anya wakes up. We then all have dinner.
18:30 Dinner finishes and one of the 2 kids goes upstairs for a bath whilst the other does homework.
19:00 The next one goes up for a bath and the other does their homework.
19:30 Anya gets bathed and then breastfed, then put down for the night. The kids get 30 minutes free time.
20:00 Kids go upstairs for ‘winding down time’ this entails staying in their own rooms and being quiet. A time to read, play and well unwind. This is the beginning of mine and my partner’s freetime but about 30 minutes is usually consumed washing up and doing lunch prep.
21:00 Lights out for the two. This means sleep time! Me and my other half will watch something or play a board game etc in this last half hour.
21:30 Take the dogs out to the toilet and go to bed!

As you can see, on a weekday we do not get much unwinding/free time to ourselves but to be fair by that point neither of us care because we are exhausted and the majority of what we aimed to achieve often happens fairly succesfully. On the weekend there is still a similar structure but no homework or chores for the kids. They largely get free time but we do have chunks of family time where we all have to play board games and whatnot if we are not going out anywhere special. This is generally a time to catch up on major cleaning and to just relax.

Now this schedule doesn’t have to be stuck to but just having it gives us something to work towards, if someone gets ill then obviously it can’t always work but the key is to pick back up where you left off and not to put so much pressure or stress on yourself (or others) when things fail to happen to schedule. It is there to utilise in order to do the things that we enjoy in life and to help keep us healthy and happy. Chaos has never been the basis for happiness – it might be fun for a while but in the end it ends up as a big sticky mess!

How to stay on track, stay positive and lose weight

Every mum I know wants all three of these things without having to ignore their children or at the cost of their partners. Or if they don’t have a partner they think that these things aren’t possible to do on their own. Life can feel overwhelming but when you break it down into small little bits and figure out what the necessities are the rest will fall into place. I have been a single parent before and whenever I had a routine and was organised I felt my life was incredibly easy to manage it was only ever my own brain that made things harder and more complicated!

Post PregnancyPost Pregnancy Now

The photo on the left is me a couple of months after having my 3rd child Anya, and the photo on the right is me currently which is about 14 months after this photo.

These are my bulletpoints that keep me on track. My life essentials if you will:

  • Drinking salt water and Bulletproof Coffee first thing in the morning along with a little protein for brekkie
  • Staying hydrated – if you’re thirsty drink, if you’re not don’t drink it’s simple.
  • Stay well fed and keep on a high fat diet – Make vegetables (especially greens) your best friend and eat plenty of raw grassfed butter if you can! Try and stick to higher carb foods for your evening meal. You are what you eat, if you eat crap you will be crap. Fuel your body with the best quality energy it can have.
  • Eat your desserts and treats after dinner/at night – this believe it or not aids in a restful sleep, if you have these things in the day you will crash out.
  • Use tumeric and ginger for anti-inflammatory purposes – can be used as pain relief and great after working out too.
  • Add cinnamon to your hot drinks and food as it helps to prevent blood sugar spikes.
  • Have a tablespoon of raw honey straight before bed (do not heat it or put into a hot drink) and sleep like a baby.
  • Set yourself goals, these don’t have to be big goals, just little goals. Maybe you want to be able to do 5 minutes of exercise a day. Keep it small and realistic until things settle in. If you go the whole hog you will most likely burn out (trust me I know).
  • Get moving, little things like doing 20 star jumps will warm you up and get you feeling alive. It’s nothing strenuous and it’s not scary so what’s the harm.
  • Take up a hobby, i.e. go to a class – get out there get away from the kids and enjoy yourself. If this is going to take you outside of your comfort zone then great – you will build confidence, you will lose your inhibitions and your fears. If like me you can’t get out anywhere then you will have to bring the hobbies to you. Think of something you always wanted to do as a kid but couldn’t i.e. skipping, hula hooping, sewing, cooking just anything. Take an interest in something and you will be taking an interest in yourself.
  • Read. Yes not news feeds on Facebook but read a real book in something that intrigues you. Set aside 20 minutes a day for this if you can, your brain needs to switched on too!
  • Get off of the social media. A bit difficult when you write a blog but think of something you can do that is more positive and more constructive. Indulge when you like but believe me you can do something even better with yourself and I bet you save a lot of time along the way.
  • Say something positive to somebody you love and one positive thing to yourself daily. Sounds a bit cliche I know but I really do think this works.

You are what you eat!

So like I said earlier if you eat crap you will feel crap. You might remember me mentioning drinking a glass of salt water every morning. I had heard about this before but only drinking a teaspoon of the diluted solution in a glass not drinking an entire glass. It was in Dave Asprey’s book that I had read about doing this and so gave it a go. Before I go to bed I dilute 1/2 tsp of Himalayan pink salt into a glass of cold filtered drinking water – this little solution is known as sole and has been around since the crack of dawn. This will kick start your adrenals and get you feeling less groggy in the morning. Himalayan pink salt contains over 80 minerals and trace elements that all aid in getting your electrolyte balance regulated, lowers your blood pressure, improves your skin and even aids against muscle cramps. If I do a pretty heavy workout I like to drink it after that as well. If you choose to do this then use a plastic spoon not a metal one!

I have also found that drinking Bulletproof Coffee helps me to have sustained energy throughout the day and any hunger that I felt becomes non existent. High fat diets don’t make you fat they make you healthy and encourage weight loss. If you use butter it must come from grassfed cows. I like to use raw butter personally even if it has been salted with sea salt I would rather just go there for the nutritional benefits (sorry Mr Asprey!).

Grassfed butter contains a whole host of vitamins and aids in weightloss. To read more about grassfeed butter and it’s benefits click here. I personally use coconut oil in conjunction with the butter as I can’t yet afford MCT oil but the results have been fantastic. I definitely think you need the mix of the two rather than just one of them.

If you want to purchase some grassfed butter then this is the best stuff that money can buy, not only is it grassfed but it is raw:

beurres_2

http://www.ocado.com/webshop/product/Isigny-SainteMere-Unpasturised-Raw-Butter-with-Sea-Salt/86223011

Now I thought that you had to avoid Kerrygold as it is not 100% grassfed butter it is a mix but it appears to now be labelled as fully grassfed? Anyone with any knowledge of this please do drop me a message! What I do find is that French butters tend to do be made traditionally and are typically from grassfed cows milk. A brand called Echire is grassfed and I think that President & Yeo Valley Organic also are but I cannot vouch for that myself.

If you want to learn more about Bulletproof Coffee then click the link here.

As for my eating I am currently following a Bulletproof Diet which is an upgraded version of a Paleo diet. It does exercise a form of intermittent fasting but my diet consists mainly of grassfed butter, coconut oil, some activated nuts, wild caught fish (you can eat grassfed meat), green vegetables followed by the starchier kinds and not much of the nightshade family (peppers, tomatoes, aubergine etc.). I also only consume fruit in the evening (sticking to berries as they are low in sugar) and I pretty much eat a whole bar of Lindt 90% dark chocolate daily. If you’re interested in tracking my progress then check out my Instagram account. I would highly recommend Dave’s book it’s a simple read and only took me less than a day to complete.

What exercises should I do?!

Me getting my yoga on...

Me getting my yoga on…

Unless your hobby is strength training or endurance running keep your exercise simple and short. I am currently training for a half marathon however and I often try to PB myself on my weightlifting.

I did read somewhere that you will reap the same benefits of running for 5 minutes as you would for running one hour, although rather unhelpfully I cannot for the life of me remember where I read this. If I can’t be bothered or don’t have the energy for a workout I will run on my treadmill or skip for 5 minutes. Sometimes when I walk through the doorway where my pull up bar is i’ll do a couple of pull ups. That’s it.

If you are new to exercise or it has been a while then this is a good point to start at but always consult your doctor before trying a new training routine especially if you have any existing health problems.

Get your Yoga pants on girl because you will love to get bendy. Being flexible is exhilirating and empowering, not just for women but for anyone. The energy that is generated from even the simplest yoga flow is immense and your mind will feel clear and content. Not only will you tone your body, yoga will come in handy in the bedroom.. ahem… Here is a little basic flow, see what you make of it!

If you are looking to lose weight then HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts will become your best friend (and your worst enemy). These typically last for less than 15 minutes and will get you working so hard you will want to puke, cry and then die. Lovely huh? But the good news is they won’t actually kill you and the fat will just melt off (sexy). If you want to learn some great skills whislt enjoying a HIIT workout get yourself off to a CrossFit class locally and you won’t regret it – in fact they often run free trial weeks. The atmosphere is great, instructors are brilliant and won’t let you injure yourself, they teach you proper form and you will pick up a whole range of athletic skills that you probably never even thought you could. Don’t think you’re going to go in there and see some meatheads working out like in a regular gym, I mean yes you will but they are nice meatheads and in the classes you will meet people of all sizes, ages and backgrounds.

Anyway here is a little video of a HIIT workout you can try out at home with no equipment.

If you’re not ready for this then grab a skipping rope. Firstly aim to skip for 1 minute and every week add an extra minute, or if you’re ready sooner just go for it – before you know it you will be skipping like a pro. Make sure to take gentle jumps (with knees slightly bent) just high enough to clear the rope and move your wrists not arms, in fact you don’t really use your wrists much as the momentum will move the rope around anyway. Do not be alarmed by the way if you slightly pee yourself whilst skipping, this will be due to a weak pelivic floor, just get onto your pelvic floor exercises ASAP –  see I will tell you the unglamorous things that will happen to you after childbirth.

Anyway even if you do pee yourself who cares you had fun doing it! Skipping is not only a really efficient tool for burning fat but it also helps to drain your lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system is responsible from removing toxins and waste from your blood but as it doesn’t have a pump like your heart it relies on muscles contracting. Skipping is a whole body workout and helps to massage the lymph nodes around your body thus draining them! It will really boost your energy levels and can even help to clear up acne.

Strength/resistance training is your best friend. It’s so true, you will not bulk up and look like a man unless you take heavy amounts of unnatural, awful & unlawful supplements. Start out with basic bodyweight exercises like press-ups, chair dips, and pull-ups. If you can’t do these exercises you will be able to find some good progression exercises online. What people don’t realise is that if you do the negative action to these exercises the full ones will come. I.e. if you can’t do a press up you practise lowering yourself to the floor as slowly as possible as many times as you can. The same goes for pull ups, you jump up and slowly lower yourself down. I am halfway through writing an article about this so hopefully I can share that with you all soon. We all start out not being able to do one so never feel daft! It can and will happen with time and dedication. Always use proper form though otherwise you will find that you may become injured or are just short changing yourself.

Kettlebells are my favourite weights of choice but I have been learning some olympic lifting too. I think kettlebells are great as they don’t take up much space, and just the simple kettlebell swing can kick your arse and work your whole body. It’s pretty much a cardio workout mixed with strength training. Get a small one to start with like a 6kg or 8kg. If you’re a bit stronger then start at 12kg. There are millions of great videos online. My favourite lady is the beautiful Lauren Brooks. She’s a momma and a hottie too!

Have some ‘playtime’

Yes this takes exercise to another level. You can mix things up but nothing is better than grabbing a hula hoop and flipping some tricks, or throwing down your best dance moves to your fave songs… and even better going to the park and doing the monkey bars! Make things fun when working out at home, learn how to inchworm, crabwalk, tuck jump and bearcrawl your way around your house. Yes you will look like an idiot but these simples exercises will help work your whole body especially your core. Which brings me on to the next exercise – the plank. Start off just trying to do 3 sets of 15 seconds and add on more time when you become comfortable until you can hold it for 1 minute straight. Then start looking into plank variations.

Ok, sorry I have to admit that the last part wasn’t fun but I couldn’t help but share. I think I shall leave the rambling for today and if you have any questions about anything at all just drop me a comment. I’m a pretty honest and open person and would always love to help. I am hoping to interlink with some future fitness posts and also meal plans too for those of you new to Paleo.

Lots of Primal love to you all…

Georgie xxx

Agave nectar – to consume or not to consume on a Paleo diet?!

GOTSA

The great agave nectar debate…

Before I get verbally attacked when I post my reviews on certain products containing agave nectar, I would just like to put out my rationale on the matter of agave and also why I am reviewing products containing agave. I want to inform those of you new to Paleo on the matter as it is an absolute minefield and very confusing to gain a grasp on!

Firstly agave is Paleo Friendly but not Paleo Certified. What is the difference between the two?

Well.  Paleo Friendly products are essentially products that have labeled as being Paleo buuut within a grey area – like say blackstrap molasses, xylitol or dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has been processed, it contains sugar but it still sort of sits within the realms of the Paleo diet. These products can be called ‘Certified Paleo Friendly’ Confusing huh?! It is up to you to make the decision to include these products within your diet or not.

Paleo Certified products fit perfectly within the bounds of a Paleo diet and are not within any grey area. They contain no legumes, grains, dairy, preservatives, or additives.

So agave nectar comes from the agave plant, it’s not a legume, grain, it’s not dairy it’s not a lot of things but it is indeed a plant. The processing is what makes it Paleo Friendly rather than Paleo Certified.

If I am going to consume agave then it’s likely going to be organic so that is why I am focussing on organic agave within this article.

Now that we have got that out of the way let’s go onto the processing of organic agave nectar.

Organic Agave nectar is made by extracting the milky white juice from the ‘pinas’ (a sort of juicy core) of the Agave plant, filtering it (removing any pulp from the extraction process) and then heating it (typically at a low heat) until it turns into a concentrated ‘syrup’. It doesn’t have any enzymes added to it artificially however during the heating process an enzymatic change occurs and the inulin contained within the agave is broken down into approximately 80% fructose and 20% glucose (worst case scenario). So the good news is that it has minimal processing. Don’t forget that bees also go through an enzymatic process when making honey.

But what about the fructose? Doesn’t that lead to obesity?

No, fructose is not the direct cause of obesity, people are. Through and through. If you consume excess amounts of sugar your body will eventually process and store it as fat. All sweeteners should be used minimally and never as part of your everyday regular diet.

Do not forget that when people are consuming fructose and it is leading to obesity it is generally being consumed in the form of high fructose corn syrup soda/fizzy pop drinks and sweets. The calorific intake is way in excess of what you would consume in an agave sweetened product and also most people won’t have a can of pop and not eat anything else either.  I’m sure you can all figure out what an excess in calories can cause. A glass of fruit juice over a glass of say – coke is always going to be better for you.

But back to the fructose. So the positives about fructose are that fructose is very low on the Glycemic Index (somewhere in the late 20s) so it won’t spike your blood sugar like glucose or high fructose corn syrup would and as it is 1.5 times sweeter than regular sugar a lot less needs to be used to reach the desired sweetness. It is also classed as containing some probiotics. It is also a good option for a Vegan sweetener.

The Agave plant does contain saponins and phytochemicals that are great immune boosters but I cannot vouch for how much of these components are kept intact through the processing of the agave.

The negatives about fructose is that it is metabolized by the liver into triglycerides and so stored as fat and in the long term high fructose consumption can lead to inulin resistance and essentially cause diabetes. If you have liver or renal problems then I would avoid agave nectar like the plague. Like any sugar it is high in carbohydrates that will not fuel your body efficiently either.

Now agave is typically somewhere between 50-80% fructose (depending upon how it is processed) and a tablespoon of agave will typically yield 12g fructose per tablespoon. High fructose corn syrup is somewhere between 50-90% fructose depending upon the manufacturer and will yield around 8g-13g fructose per tablespoon. So they’re around the same. But remember before? when I said that agave is 1.5 times sweeter than normal sugar? Well you’re typically going to use less than high fructose corn syrup – a whole 330ml can of coke (in the UK) contains roughly 35g of fructose. A 50g bar of Conscious raw chocolate contains anywhere from 6g to 10g. I think I rest my case in saying that the fructose consumption is going to be fairly low. I myself cannot eat a 50g bar of any chocolate and usually have a square a day if I have a bar in the house. It’s also a good point to note that a whole mango contains 27.5g of fructose – and I dread to think what a whole dried one contains. Now I will agree that a mango contains more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals without a doubt and I would rather eat me some mango than some pure agave nectar.

Can I consume agave if I am pregnant?

I thought I would add this question in here as there has been research to indicate high levels of saponins leading to miscarriage. Consult your doctor or midwife before consumption. Personally I wouldn’t take the risk.

So would I consume agave nectar and allow my children to? being that I am Paleo and all?

No I certainly wouldn’t buy a bottle of agave nectar and use it in my cooking, I prefer raw honey, maple syrup and cocont sugar because they bring flavour to my cooking, agave is relatively flavourless.

Would I consume agave nectar in a product? Yes I would. Would I consume it regularly? No. I don’t believe in consuming any kind of sugar on a regular basis (which can prove to be a hard task being a food blogger) as it is not healthy to do so. Agave I would certainly consume less regularly than the others but this is because my body does not react well to it in large quantities as I suffer from an autoimmune disease that effects my renal function. If I am out and about with my kids and they want some chocolate and there is a little agave in it, yes I am willing to turn a blind eye. If Santa brings us some agave filled treats will I throw them away? No? In my eyes a treat is a treat – it’s something that you consume less regularly than most other items.

What I am trying to say is that ultimately it is your choice what you want to consume responsibly and I am trying to inform you of what products are available on the market at the moment that you can make a choice from. That is the purpose of a review. When I have finished getting my ‘Paleo Product Guide’ section finished I will be rating products as being green, amber and red. Red being something that you should consume rarely and this would fall into that category.

DISCLAIMER: All information within this article has been gathered from multiple sources and all opinions voiced are solely my own. Please always do your own research too 🙂

What is your take on agave and high fructose intake? Will you have the odd sneaky treat? Please feel free to comment below and if there any mistakes within my writing please feel free to voice those too!

Paleo Tahini Mixed Veggie Noodles & Sweet Egg Omelette

Tahini Noodles and Sweet Egg Omelette

So, the lovely people at the Caveman Kitchen sent me their Vegetable Spiraliser to have a play with and I created this wonderful meal!

It’s a sort of Middle Eastern and Asian fusion dish that I knocked together with all of my favourite ingredients I had left in my kitchen. It’s comforting, it’s flavoursome and it’s spicy!

Serves: 4 people

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

For the ‘noodles’:

4 large carrots
4 courgettes
1 large aubergine
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp coconut oil (for frying)

For the tahini dressing:

Juice of 1 lime
6 garlic cloves (peeled)
3″ piece root ginger (peeled)
1/2 large bunch fresh coriander
5 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp raw honey
1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

For the sweet egg omelette:

9 free-range eggs
2 tbsp raw honey (melted)
3 tbsp coconut/liquid aminos
1 tsp coconut oil (for frying)

Optional seasonings:

1 tbsp Nanami Togarashi
1 tbsp sesame oil
Handful of chopped fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Spiralise your carrots and courgettes and place into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Slice your aubergine into slices lengthways and then slice again into thin ‘ribbons’. Place into the mixing bowl with the rest of your vegetables.
  3. Pour over your lime juice and mix thoroughly. Set aside until later.
  4. Now prepare your dressing. Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside until you cook your noodles!
  5. For the omelette whisk together all of the ingredients into a medium sized mixing bowl until thoroughly mixed.
  6. In a large frying pan melt your coconut oil over a low heat and pour in your egg mixture. Cook on a low heat for around 5 minutes. Once the top starts to look as though it is wanting to form transfer to a grill until fully set. Remove and set to one side.
  7. In a large wok melt your coconut oil over a medium heat. Transfer your veggie noodles and fry for 2 minutes.
  8. Pour over your tahini sauce and mix evenly. Reduce the heat to a low heat and cook for a further 3 minutes stirring every minute. Turn off the heat.
  9. Flip your omelette pan upside down over a chopping board. Fold the omelette into four or just simply roll the omelette up swiss roll style! Cut your omelette width ways into mouthsized chunks.
  10. Transfer your noodles into your serving dish, top with your sweet omelette and any of your desired toppings. Enjoy!!!

Tahini Noodles and Sweet Egg OmeletteTahini Noodles and Sweet Egg OmeletteTahini Noodles and Sweet Egg OmeletteTahini Noodles and Sweet Egg Omelette

Paleo Chilli Chai Chocolate Fondants

 

Overhead view of a Paleo chilli chai chocolate fondant surrounded by cinnamon bark and cardamom pods

Jump into that molten spicy river!!! Mmmm…

I am LOVING Chocolate Week so far!!!

This spicy Paleo Chilli Chai Chocolate Fondant will warm you up in this nasty, miserable, ice-cold weather.  When asking my fellow Paleo followers for some Chocolate Week requests, the grand Paleo Virtus (check out his blog here) requested something with chilli and chocolate.  I thought this would be perfect.

I had never made a fondant until today, so as you can imagine I am quite happy with the outcome and actually really surprised at how easy it is! A couple of weeks ago a good friend of mine asked me to make them a fondant recipe and it seemed to work out ok so it has been stuck in my head since then. I just had to make one!

Anyways, I have always been a huge fan of chai spices, the aroma is just so beautiful, the taste so complex and there is something so warming about the combination which makes me crave it even more.  The best thing about this recipe is that you will have left over spice mix! I add 1/4 tsp to my hot chocolate and coffee to spice it up!

You’ll need some pudding moulds, I bought these 7.5cm moulds from Ocado. You could quite easily use ramekins too but I think moulds are best.

Now what you’ve all been waiting for … the recipe!

Makes: 4 small fondants

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 8-12 minutes

Ingredients:

For the fondant:

125g unsalted raw grass-fed butter
125g 90% chocolate (if you use cacao you probably want to the sugar by at least 25g)
5 tsp chai spice mix (see below)
3/4-1 tsp red chilli powder
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
125g coconut sugar
2 tbsp tapioca flour
1 tbsp almond flour

For the chai spice mix:

2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground nutmeg/mace
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp cacao powder (for dusting)

Dusted chocolate fondant mouldPaleo chocolate fondant ready to go into the oven

Method:

  1. Grease your pudding moulds with a little butter or coconut oil. Dust the inside with cacao powder.  Cover the top with cling film and shake the cacao powder about until it’s evenly distributed.  This is a lot faster and it’s much cleaner.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (gas mark 4).
  3. Place the chocolate, butter, chai spice mix & chilli powder in a bain-marie, on a gentle heat until fully melted. Leave to cool for 5 mins.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and coconut sugar.
  5. Pour the chocolate mixture into egg mix and whisk until fully blended.
  6. Fold in the flours.
  7. Spoon equal amounts into the pudding moulds.
  8. Cook for about 8-12 minutes or until just set (so they have a nice crust on top but wobble when you shake them).
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 30-60 seconds, turn over onto a plate and serve straight away! Gotta be quick with these bad boys as you don’t want them to cook for too long and for you to miss out on the ooey gooey-ness!

photo 4(20)photo 3(28)photo 1(34)photo 2(34)photo 5(13)photo(19)

Paleo Spirulina Egg Rolls with Courgliatelle Ceviche Style!

Close up of Paleo Spirulina Egg Roll Salad

I fancied something a little bit different today so I decided to knock together this little lunch.  It was absolutely delicious! And most of all it didn’t taste of spirulina one bit!!!

Serves: 1

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the egg rolls:

3 eggs
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp spirulina
Pinch Himalayan pink salt
1 tsp coconut oil (for frying)

For the salad:

1 courgette (sliced into ribbons)
1 mushroom (finely sliced)
Juice 1/2 lime
1/2 pink grapefruit (segmented)
1/2″ piece shredded root ginger
1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (with the mother)
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Nanami togarashi (optional but tasty!)

Method:

  1. Start by preparing your salad.  Using a potato peeler, peel your courgette into ribbons.
  2. Add all of the ingredients into a bowl except for the coriander and nanami togarashi.  Mix thoroughly to ensure that everything has been coated in a layer of the lime juice.
  3. Whisk together your eggs, coconut sugar, spirulina and salt. Make sure that your egg mix is completely smooth.
  4. In a medium sized frying pan melt your coconut oil on a low heat.  Pour in the egg mix and leave for 5 minutes.
  5. Once the top looks like it is starting to solidify transfer the pan under a grill.  Grill for 5 minutes or until fully firm to the touch.
  6. Leave your egg roll to cool for a few minutes.  Transfer your egg roll onto a flat surface and begin to roll tucking in as you go along.
  7. Once your egg roll is in a roll shape, cut into thin slices.
  8. Transfer your egg roll onto your salad.
  9. Add your chopped coriander and nanami togarashi and serve!
Bowl of Paleo Spirulina Egg Roll Salad

Yummy!