weightloss

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

If you’d like to follow Naturya online then check out the links below:

Twitter: @Naturya_UK

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Naturya/481189888602446

Instagram: @naturya

Paleo Sunrise White Chocolate Tea

Paleo Sunrise White Chocolate Tea

This is my comfort drink, my bedtime soother, even my pain relief. You literally can’t go wrong with this as it’s ridiculously simple to make.

I didn’t want to call this a hot chocolate as… well… it isn’t one to me due to the fact that it isn’t made largely of milk, and it’s not quite a latte either for that reason so I opted for the name ‘tea’. I guess it is more of a tea as it is full of spice and flavour.

Some of you may know this (some of you may not) but I suffer from an autoimmune disease called Henoch Schonlein Purpura. It’s nothing too serious but when it flares up it can be incredibly painful. Since having my daughter Anya I have come out of remission and have been suffering from my illness for over a year now. I made a conscious decision to try not to take any painkillers and to carry on breastfeeding so I often have to figure out my own ways of pain management. This drink is my anti-inflammatory and analgesic.

Tumeric contains a powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory curcumin. Curcumin can be used to help combat depression, Alzheimers & arthiritis. it can also help to prevent heart disease. Although the levels of curcumin are fairly low in tumeric it is still beneficial to consume. I added in black pepper which aids in the absorption of curcumin into the bloodstream. I also added some ground cinnamon to help regulate blood sugar, cardamom & root ginger for anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant purposes and some raw honey as it is healing, antibacterial and helps to counteract the bitterness of the tumeric. So as you can see this drink really will do you a whole world of good.

The raw grassfed butter and coconut oil not only turn this into the perfect breakfast energy drink by increasing the nutritional density but can also help to aid in weight loss, protect against mental health issues and also reduces inflammation.

I will often drink this a few times in the day (with or without the high fat & without the honey) as a form of pain relief and in the evening I add 1-2 tbsp of Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate which aids in a great nights sleep. In fact probably the best sleep that money can buy!

So go on give it a go!!!

Serves: 1-2 (depending upon your cup size)

Preparation time: 1 minute

Ingredients:

1 tbsp raw grassfed butter (or sub with coconut oil)
1 tbsp coconut oil or MCT oil
1 heaped tsp of cacao butter solids
1cm piece of root ginger
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Seeds of 2 green cardamom pods
A generous pinch to 1/4 tsp of finely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp vanilla powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp raw honey (a few drops of stevia or 1 tsp maple syrup for Vegan option)
Small cup of boiling water
Dash of nut/ coconut milk or 1 tbsp coconut milk powder

Method:

  1. Place all of your ingredients into a blender and blend for 1 minute. Yes it really is that simple! If you are using something like a Nutribullet be sure to use 1/2 of the boiling water and then top up after blending as they are not suitable for hot liquids!

Paleo Sunrise White Chocolate TeaPaleo Sunrise White Chocolate TeaPaleo Sunrise White Chocolate TeaPaleo Sunrise White Chocolate Tea

Paleo Gingerbread Superfood Pancakes with a Gingerbread Caramel Custard!

Paleo Gingerbread Pancakes   Paleo Gingerbread Pancakes

Pancakes have slowly become a staple in my household on weekends. Every Saturday or Sunday morning is pancake morning!

I wanted to come up with something exciting for a Christmas breakfast and I have been working on two different recipes for Paleo Christmas pancakes. This one however has been the firm favourite of the two. The other is still being perfected. These pancakes are full of protein, and packed full of natural energy and nutrition so are great pre/post-workout. As they are high in sugar I wouldn’t consume these regularly if you have weightloss goals in sight!

I really love gingerbread (as you have probably noticed by now) and I thought I should capture that flavour in the form of a pancakey-superfoody-nom-nommy-brekkie! Yup I did just say all of that… So here you go, a nice and easy but indulgent spiced Christmas breakfast!!!

Makes: 8 Pancakes (serves 2 hungry people)

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

For the gingerbread superfood pancakes:

1/2 large banana (or 1 small banana)
1 tbsp vanilla extract (optional but delicious)
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp raw honey (or maple syrup)
4 eggs
1 cup tapioca flour
1 tbsp maca powder
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 tbsp almond flour
1.5 tbsp milled chia seeds
1 tbsp coconut flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
25ml almond milk (or 50:50 coconut milk:water)

1.5 tbsp coconut oil to fry these beauties in!

For the gingerbread caramel custard:

400ml coconut milk
2 tbsp almond butter
1/3 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp raw honey (or maple syrup)
1/4 tsp Himalyan pink salt
1.5 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
25g grass-fed raw unsalted butter (or coconut oil)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
2 free-range egg yolks
1 tsp tapioca flour dissolved into 1 tbsp water

Roughly chopped roasted nuts (optional topping)

Method:

  1. Mash together your banana, spices, vanilla extract, coconut sugar and raw honey in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk in your eggs thoroughly.
  3. Add your maca powder, ground flax, milled chia seeds and flours, mixing until you get a smooth batter.
  4. Add in your baking powder and bicarbonate of soda mixing thoroughly. Leave for 5 minutes to allow your chia seeds to ‘gel’ the mixture together.
  5. If your pancake mix is too thick, although you do want a thick mix that just drops off of the back of your spoon, you may want to add a nut milk of choice and whisk until smooth.
  6. Place a medium sized frying pan on a high heat and add your coconut oil.
  7. Once the oil has melted reduce the heat and place 2-3 generous sized tbsp of the batter into the pan.
  8. Using the back of the spoon shape into a perfect circle!
  9. Once the top of the pancake looks semi firm (should take about 1 minute) flip over and cook for a further minute. The pancake will ‘puff up’ even more and be golden brown when done. If you’re really that sceptical press down with a spatula to make sure that no batter seeps out.
  10. For the gingerbread caramel custard place all of the ingredients except for the egg yolks into a small pan. Place on a low heat until the mixture comes to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Make sure you whisk the mix frequently to ensure that none sticks to the bottom of the pan.
  11. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
  12. Now whisk your egg yolks in a medium sized mixing bowl. Slowly pour your mixture from the pan into the bowl whisking rapidly. Whisk for a good minute or so until it is evenly blended.
  13. Pour the mixture back into the pan, pour in your tapioca dilution and simmer on a low heat for another 5 minutes whisking frequently. Remove from the heat et voila it is done!
  14. Once you have cooked all of your pancakes, stack them high and pour your delicious custard all over that big fat stack mmmmm. You can also top with some roughly chopped roasted nuts. I used roasted almonds and they work really well with this but so would pecans or hazelnuts!

Paleo Gingerbread PancakesPaleo Gingerbread Pancakes

Paleo Pfeffernussen

Paleo PfeffernussenPaleo Pfeffernussen

I absolutely adore Pfeffernussen (pronounced ‘feffer-new-sen‘) at Christmas. They’re just such a yummy little spicy snack and perfect with a big mug of warm milk for those super cold nights in with your fave fluffy socks and big jumpers. They’re like a hug in a bite!

For those of you that don’t know what Pfeffernussen are, they are small German cookies that taste somewhat like a spiced gingerbread with a heavily peppery taste that is just to die for! They have a sort of hard exterior that has been coated with icing sugar and a softer interior.

The words ‘Pfeffer’ & ‘nussen’ literally translate to ‘Pepper nuts’.

These are so simple to make that you can do this with your little ones in a mixing bowl rather than with a food processor. They’ll love rolling them into balls before baking and then later dusting them with the icing sugar. Perfect!

Makes: 26 Pfeffernussen

Preparation Time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup almond flour
1.5 cups tapioca flour
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g raw unsalted grass-fed butter (use 75g coconut oil for Vegan option)
1 cup coconut sugar
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1 free-range egg (Vegans can substitute for a flax/chia egg replacer 1 tbsp: 3 tbsp water leave to ‘gel’ for 5 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
1/2 cup Paleo Fragrant Spiced Faux Icing Sugar (for dusting)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients except for the Paleo Faux Icing Sugar into a food processor and process until the mixture comes together into a ball.
  3. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  4. Using a tablespoon measure scoop a level scoop of dough and roll into a ball. Place the dough balls on the baking sheet 1.5-2″ away from each other to prevent them from sticking together. They don’t rise too much so don’t worry! You’ll be able to split the balls into two batches of 13.
  5. Cook for around 10-15 minutes or until the Pfeffernussen are fairly firm to the touch, golden brown and have cracks running through them.
  6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes until lukewarm to the touch. The warmth will help the icing sugar to cling all over to the Pfeffernussen.
  7. Place your Paleo Faux Icing Sugar into a deep container or bowl and toss the Pfeffernussen around individually until fully coated.
  8. Leave to cool on a wire rack completely.
  9. Enjoy!!!

Paleo PfeffernussenPaleo PfeffernussenPaleo PfeffernussenPaleo Pfeffernussen

Paleo Star Topped Mince Pies

Paleo Mince PiesPaleo Mince PiesAhhhh good old mince pies. These mince pies are buttery, crumbly, a little bit naughty and a whole lot nice! Santa will be pleased when you leave him some of these out with a glass of milk (or rum)!

This is probably the first year where I have made every little part of my Paleo Mince Pies. Yes it may be a little bit time consuming but it’s a whole lot rewarding and my kiddiewinks were more than blown away. Just seeing them get excited about Christmas all from taking a bite of one of my mince pies is well, just plain lovely!

It was quite amusing to hear my daughter say “But these taste like mince pies?!”. She was utterly shocked!

I had a play about with different depths and thicknesses of pastry. My favourite to look at was made in a muffin tin and was so incredibly deep that sadly I felt I was just eating far too much mincemeat. It looked super modern so next year I will be going on the hunt for a smaller but deeper tin!

I hope you enjoy these naughty little Paleo bites as much as I do!!!

Makes: 12-16 Mince Pies

Preparation Time: 1hr 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Pastry:

100g tapioca flour
50g Sukrin Almond Flour
100g cold raw grass-fed unsalted butter (can use 50g coconut oil as a Vegan substitute)
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
Juice of 1 orange

For the filling:

1 Slightly heaped cup of Paleo Mincemeat

For Decoration:

1 tbsp of Paleo Fragrant Spiced Faux Icing Sugar

Utensils:

7 cm/2.75″  Stainless Steel Crinkle Cutter
4.7cm/1.85″ Star Cutter (a 2″ one would work fine)
Fairy cake tin with indentations 0.5″ deep with the bottom diameter of 2″ and top 2.75″ (I picked mine up at Morrisons!)
Rolling pin

Method:

  1. Either purchase or make your own mincemeat in advance! Click the link in the ingredients and follow the cooking instructions there.
  2. In a small mixing bowl sieve in your flours and salt.
  3. Chop your butter into small cubes and throw in.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling film, give it a good shake until the butter is covered by the flour and then place into the freezer for 20 minutes. This is what makes your pastry lovely and light and crumbly.
  5. In the meantime freshly squeeze your orange juice and pop that into the fridge to chill until needed.
  6. Remove your flour and butter bowl from the freezer and pour into your food processor. Process until it comes together into small oat like sized balls.
  7. Pulse in your orange juice by the tablespoon. It is not likely that you will require much more than half of it at this stage. You just want to use enough for it to only just form the beginnings of a dough ball. Place your orange juice back into the fridge.
  8. Remove the pastry from the processor and form by hand into a ball. Cover in cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  9. Pre-heat your oven to 180C and gather all of your utensils.
  10. Remove your dough from the fridge place back into the food processor and pulse in 1 tsp of your chilled orange juice. Process on full speed until the dough has warmed up enough to be handled.
  11. Lightly dust your work surface and rolling pin with some tapioca flour.
  12. Take a small handful of dough at a time to work with (enough for 2 pies) and roll into a ball with your hands. Place the dough onto the work surface and roll it out fairly thin but not so thin that it will break when placed into your cake tin. Roll this pastry very lightly otherwise it will likely tear apart. Also keep on top of the dusting as it may stick to your work surface!
  13. Cut out your bases with the large crinkle cutter. If you want a traditional look use the crinkle side if you want to go for a more modern look like I have then use the back. If you have trouble removing the dough from the work surface use a small cake spatula to scrape underneath carefully and then lift.
  14. Cut out your stars.
  15. Pop the bases into the cake tin and gently press them down and around the outer edges.
  16. Fill with 1 heaped tbsp of mincemeat. You want them to be full to the top but not brimming!
  17. Top with your stars pressing down as gently as possible. Repeat this process until you have fille the tin. Sometimes the dough may need a quick blitz in the food processor but it should be ok.
  18. Place your mince pies into the oven for 10 minutes until golden brown. This may take less or more time so keep a watchful eye as they love to cook quickly!
  19. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before removing them and placing them onto a wire rack.
  20. Once completely cool lightly dust them with the Paleo icing sugar and enjoy!

Paleo Mince PiesPaleo Mince PiesPaleo Mince PiesPaleo Mince Pies

If you’d like to follow Sukrin online then check out the links below:

Twitter: @SukrinUK

Facebook: @SukrinUK

Instagram: @sukrinuk

Pinterest: @SukrinUK

Paleo Fragrant Spiced Faux Icing Sugar

Paleo Faux Icing Sugar

I love fragrant things. I’ve kind of given up wearing perfume since I was pregnant, and it’s now been 2 years. When I am cooking it all turns into one big olfactory experience but there is always something missing. Mince pies smell great but where is that true fragrance, the smell of Christmas?! It’s right here my friends in the form of ‘icing sugar’.

Just lightly dust your mince pies, and any other Christmas treats with this Paleo faux icing sugar and be blasted into another sensory dimension! It tastes so delicous, and when you bring that yummy mince pie to your mouth you inhale the wonderful scent of oranges, vanilla and spice.

It takes 2 seconds to whizz up so why not give it a try?!

Makes: 2/3 cup

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/2 tbsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp vanilla powder
Zest 1 orange

Method:

  1. Whizz all of the ingredients together in a food processor for 5 minutes until smooth.
  2. Sieve over your favourite dessert like some good old fashioned Paleo Mince Pies!

Paleo Faux Icing SugarPaleo Faux Icing Sugar

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!

Comvita Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey & Olive Leaf Extract Review

Comvita UK

It has been quite a long time since Comvita sent me out my lovely care package to review. I have been up to my eyeballs in all kinds of products and trying to get the right balance between reviews, recipes and some articles that I have been working on has proven to be tricky. I did however have a lot of fun sampling their products and using them in my own recipes. I was lucky enough to sample their Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey and what Comvita are calling ‘Winter’s best kept secret’ – Olive Leaf Extract.

So here we go, straight to the review!

Comvita Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey

Comvita’s Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey is a combination of their naturally fermented & unpasteurised apple cider vinegar (meaning that it includes the all important ‘mother’) made from sun ripened apples, and their New Zealand UMF 5+ Manuka Honey and bush honey.

Nutritional Information:

Ingredients:

Apple Cider Vinegar (80%)
New Zealand forest honey (15%)
UMF 5+ Manuka Honey (5%)

Nutritional Breakdown per 100ml:

Energy: 65.7kCal
Carbohydrates: 16.0g (of which 15.6g sugars)
Fat: Negligible
Saturates: Negligible
Protein: Negligible
Salt: Negligible

So as you can see it is free from any artificial flavourings, colourings, preservatives or any other additives.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of unpasteurised apple cider vinegar are:

  • Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid. Acetic acid has antimicrobial properties and can kill certain kinds of bacterias and prevent them from multiplying such as E.Coli.
  • When diluted with water it can also help to clear acne when applied to the skin – this has certainly worked for me!
  • It’s not exactly proven yet but it is thought that it could help with cardiovascular function and cancer.
  • It helps to lower blood sugar and insulin levels which is great for people who suffer from Type 2 diabetes.
  • Aids in weight loss by helping you feel full. Fantastic!
  • It helps to eliminate toxins from the body which again helps to improve the condition of your skin.

The benefits of manuka honey are:

  • As manuka honey is highly antibacterial it can help to improve immunity and prevent you from catching those nasty winter bugs and cold sores.
  • It can aid your digestive system. It helps ease bloating, symptoms of IBS, stomach ulcers and indigestion.
  • It is great for a quick burst of much needed energy.
  • It can help heal skin ailments due to it’s antibacterial properties.

What does it taste like?

It tastes like apple flavoured vinegar, like a non alcoholic cider but with a hint of honey. It’s beautiful and I love it!

What can I do with it and how do I use it?

You can pretty much do whatever you like with this – be creative! Make a salad dressing, pour into your soups and stews at the end of the cooking process, you can even drink it as a tonic.

If you want to use it as a toner in your skin care regime then dilute 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water. However you may want to have a little play with it as it can be quite drying if you have sensitive skin. I sometimes add in some rosewater too.

To make a tonic start off on 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of boiling hot water with a tbsp of raw honey and 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. You can eventually work your way up to 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp cayenne pepper. Drink this first thing in the morning to reap the benefits and last thing at night if you want to.

If you’d like a little bit of recipe inspiration then check out my Paleo Shredded Beet, Carrot and Ginger Salad recipe.

Shredded beet saladA close up of a plate of paleo spiced sweet mash, peppered mackerel and a beet, carrot and ginger salad

Where can I buy Comvita Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey from?

You can buy a 750ml bottle for £9.49 direct from Comvita. You will also find it in high street retailers such as Boots and Waitrose.

Comvita Olive Leaf Extract

Olive leaf extract is a natural immunity booster with 400% more of the antioxidant power of vitamin C  and twice the antioxidant power of green tea. It totes all kinds of health benefits such as anti-tumour/cancer properties, anti-ageing, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antibiotic. Phew! A lot of benefits as you can see!

So what’s so special about Comvita’s Olive Leaf Extract then?

Comvita have decades of experience working with Olea europaea (olive) trees; they use rich volcanic soils, organic fertilisers and rainwater to produce some of the healthiest trees in the world. Pretty impressive hey?

Comvita Olive Leaf Extract is made from olive leaves that have been harvested at sunrise to ensure that the freshest and most suitable foliage is used. It is then rushed to the Comvita GMP-certified facility in rural Queensland, Australia in order to prevent any further deterioration.  At the facility it undergoes various extraction and purification processes before being protected from heat, light, oxygen and any other contaminants. This extra protection ensures that the vital active compounds; oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, caffeic acid, tyrosol (and many others) are kept at their optimum state to increase their maximum effectiveness when administered.

This is all done before the following morning to ensure the least amount of polyphenol loss and that the polyphenic components are kept intact.

So what are the benefits of olive leaf extract then?

There are so many benefits that I could write a whole article on them. I will however try to keep it as simple as possible and write you a little bullet point list. I will focus mainly on the compounds oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol.

  • Oleuropein totes anti-viral properties which can help treat herpes and even HIV. It is also anti-fungal which aids in the fight against yeast and fungal infections.
  • Oleuropein can help with skin conditions such as psoriasis which could be because it improves cardiovascular function too. It has been proven to help prevent cardiac arrhythmia and lower blood pressure. It has also been proven to help fight chronic fatigue due to it’s immunity boosting properties.
  • The two phytochemicals oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol contained in olive leaf extract can slow down the oxidation process of free radicals via antioxidation. Free radicals basically are very reactive and will cause cell damage when they become oxidised. (Hence the ‘antioxidant’ will do the opposite!)
  • Olive leaf extract can help ‘detoxify’ the body when it is under a great deal of stress.
  • Hydroxytyrosol is boasted as ‘the most powerful natural antioxidant in the world’. Why? Because it is the only polyphenol that is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier.  This means that it can absorb free radicals throughout the entire central nervous system. It is also fat and water soluble meaning that it also has the highest bioavailability of all antioxidants.

This all sounds great! When should I take olive leaf extract?

Olive leaf extract should be taken daily to help prevent illness and also to help recover from illness too. When I received the Comvita Olive Leaf Extract I was actually ill with a virus and it helped me recover fairly rapidly. I stayed at a ‘light’ level of being ill for about a week and then I was fine. It definitely took the brunt of whatever I was suffering from. I took it twice daily at 5ml for 10 days. There is 22mg of oleuropein in 5 ml of Comvita Olive Leaf Extract. You can take 2-3 doses so up to 15ml a day.

I honestly felt a lovely boost of energy and my skin started to improve and get a bit of a glow to it. As I actually suffer from an auto-immune disease I would love to do a longer trial of this product and see if this would help improve it somewhat. Especially as we are now falling into the winter months – I will definitely have to buy myself some!

What does olive leaf extract taste like?

Although 2 other flavours were offered to me I took the natural flavour. I wanted to be able to use this in my food. If you do use it in your food do not heat it!

I am not going to lie to you. It doesn’t taste nice. At first there is a very strong sweetness but this is then overpowered by an incredibly strong bitterness.  This is due to the oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol content. The bitterness is very alike to olive oil, except… well… more concentrated! There is a definite aftertaste and a slight ‘burn’ almost in the back of your throat, but more like you’ve got a bit of a lump stuck there. This doesn’t last long so don’t worry!

I did find that it made a fab little salad dressing when I combined it with the apple cider vinegar that Comvita sent me. This made it much more palatable and I was still getting it down me the same way. Most days though I just necked it straight. You do start to get accustomed to the taste much like anything else and it becomes part of your daily routine. I just made sure that I drank a full glass of water after.

Here is a simple little salad dressing that I knocked up using both the apple cider vinegar and olive leaf extract:

Serves: 1

Preparation Time: 3 minutes

Ingredients:

5ml Comvita Olive Leaf Extract – Natural
3 tbsp Comvita Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey
1/2 tbsp raw honey
1 garlic clove minced
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A generous pinch of Himalayan pink salt

Method:

  1. Mince your garlic, mix in the salt, honey and lemon juice.
  2. Add your olive leaf extract and stir until a nice smooth paste.
  3. Finally add your apple cider vinegar and olive oil.
  4. Stir thoroughly and if you have a little bottle to keep it in give it a good shake!
  5. Serve over your favourite salad, tinned tuna or even scrambled eggs!

Who can take Comvita Olive Leaf Extract?

Comvita Olive Leaf Extract is suitable for all of the family – well almost – children over the age of 2 may take this.  Although I couldn’t find any contraindications if you are pregnant or breastfeeding then please consult your doctor before you consider taking Comvita Olive Leaf Extract. Again if you are on any medication or suffer from any particular long term health problem please consult your doctor.

So, is Comvita Olive Leaf Extract Paleo?

Let’s look at the ingredients per 15ml dosage:

Vegetable glycerol (bulking agent), Olea europaea (olive) leaf extract (water, olive leaf solids) equivalent to 15g fresh leaf (5g fresh leaf per 5ml dosage)

I can hear you now “glycerol?!!!”. Yes it contains vegetable glycerol – now this may not be as bad as you first thought. It certainly isn’t as bad as say alcohol or polysorbate 80. While it is a sugar alcohol it is not a synthesised one and is derived from vegetable fats – this makes it suitable for Vegans. Sugar alcohols are present in natural foodstuffs and are low GI carbohydrates.

Sugar alcohols are similar to both sugar and alcohol molecules and so this is where their name is derived from. They are known as polyols which are essentially carbohydrates. They don’t cause any tooth cavities (although it can prevent teeth from remineralising), they have very minimal effect on insulin production and will not cause a spike in blood sugar – good news if you are diabetic. However, if you suffer from IBS you  may want to stay clear as this can exacerbate the problem further due to fermentation caused by your colonic bacteria – yummy hey.

Is it Paleo? Well no, not really as it has been processed however it is incredibly Paleo friendly and I wouldn’t worry too much about consuming it. It’s no worse than having some blackstrap molasses and certainly the benefits of the olive leaf extract outweigh the vegetable glycerol content – it would however be your choice. If you’re using toothpaste with vegetable glycerin in I certainly wouldn’t blink an eyelid!

The glycerol in Comvita Olive Leaf Extract is derived from Palm Oil. This is from a sustainable source via a company registered to the organisation called the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, also known as the RSPO. It is not sourced from Borneo or Sumatra.

If you’d like to know more about Comvita’s Quality Certifications and Ingredient Performance Marks click here.

Will I suffer from any side effects?

It is not likely no. I did not notice any side effects myself but as part of the detoxification process headaches and slight flu like symptoms may occur. However as I mentioned before there is a slight chance that it could cause some mild diarrhea or exacerbate existing IBS.

Where can I buy this wonderful elixr?!

You can buy Comvita Olive Leaf Extract directly from the Comvita website here. You will also find it in high street retailers such as Boots and Waitrose.

Comvita Olive Leaf Extract is available in Natural, Mixed Berry, and Peppermint flavour. A Children’s Olive Leaf Extract is also available.

It is available in 3 different sizes:

100ml, 200ml, and 500ml.  The 100ml bottle is £8.99, 500ml is £22.99, the 200ml bottle however is currently on offer for £9.99! Bargain!

 

If you’d like to follow Comvita UK online then check out the links below:

Facebook: @ComvitaUnitedKingdom

Twitter: @ComvitaUK

Instagram: @comvitadotcom

Pinterest: @comvitauk

DISCLAIMER: Please note that I am not a qualified health professional nor a qualified nutritionist (nor chemist). All information has been gathered by myself from various resources. Always clarify the content you read for yourself!

Caveman Kitchen Biltong Review

Caveman KItchen Biltong

Biltong is a traditional dried beef snack from South Africa. Luckily for you guys you can now buy it in the UK!

The lovely people that sent me out the awesome Caveman Kitchen Vegetable Spiraliser also sent me a couple of packets of their biltong for my children to review (as I don’t eat meat).  Needless to say my daughter was especially happy as she is the biggest carnivore that I know!

The Caveman Kitchen is a wonderful family-run business who will only feed you what they would only ‘offer their own tribe’.

They offer a monthly biltong subscription service where members get 4x100g bags of their biltong for £30 delivered to their door, working out at less than £1 a day for a portion of biltong. They also offer 3 and 6 month subscriptions too. Oh and if you refer a friend and they sign up you get 1 month subscription for free!

The Caveman Kitchen Biltong comes from grass-fed and organically raised British beef.  They use Aberdeen Angus and Hereford Cows (moo) and feed them natural food, in fact these lucky cows get to graze on a mixed saladof 31 different herbs, clovers and grasses! They’re  left to roam free in plenty of grassy space too which is just sweet!

Their biltong is sugar and salt free and is available in traditional or peri peri flavour – or if you want you can have a 50/50 mix! It is also available sliced or uncut. Perfect!

Caveman KItchen Biltong

Certified Paleo, a natural source of creatine, high protein, low fat, low carb snack! Get in!

So if you’re wondering what the difference between biltong and jerky is I shall explain:

  • Biltong is often from thicker cuts of meat. Jerky is thinner!
  • Biltong is never smoke, however Jerky often is.
  • Biltong is marinated and cured using vinegar, Jerky is cured using salt.
  • Biltong is usually more moist than Jerky due to cutting thicker strips.

The Caveman Kitchen Biltong is made by marinating the beef for at least 48 hours.  It is then left to air dry and mature in a controlled atmosphere. It is then cut into strips and packed. In fact each piece of their lovely biltong is handpicked, and hand sliced on the day your order is placed!

Caveman KItchen Biltong

As you can see the ingredients are all listed complete with the best before date, batch number & weight!

So here’s a little nutritional info:

Biltong Ingredients:

Beef Steak (200g for every 100g of Biltong)
Black Pepper
Coriander
Vinegar
(Peri Peri spices in the Peri Peri flavour)

Allergen Information:

Manufactured in a factory that handles nuts, milk, and eggs.

Nutritional Values per 100g:

Calories: 293 Kcal
Protein: 50.7g
Total Fat: 4.87g
Saturated Fat: 3.87g
Trans Fat: 0g
Salt: 2.54g
Total Carbs: 3g

BCAA’s:
L-Leucine: 3.9g
L-Isoleucine: 1.7g
L-Valine: 2.8g

What the hell are BCAA’s I hear you ask? Branched-chain amino acids! In a nutshell they help to protect your muscles from muscle breakdown! Pretty nifty huh?

Now all of the facts and figures are out of the way what was the verdict from the little munchkins?

Caveman KItchen Biltong

Traditional Beef Biltong

The little ones said this this was very chewy with no ‘gristle’, in fact it’s tough and a bit ‘rubbery’, oh and flavoursome! It only had a little hint of vinegar to it, they said it tasted a little salty too. It had only a hint of black pepper to it but they couldn’t distinguish the coriander at all.

“It’s less greasy and leaner than normal beef and it tastes like beef gravy” – this has to be the most constructive quote I managed to get between the two of them.

photo 5(29)Caveman KItchen Biltong

Peri Peri Beef Biltong

Again this one they said was very chewy – “like overcooked meat”. The chewiness starts of quite strong and then becomes easier to chew. It’s not too fatty and very lean. The peri peri flavour is subtle, it’s definitely not spicy and a little peppery. They said that it had a ‘vinegary’ like taste similar to hot sauce but without the heat.

“It tastes like beef, dried beef” one of them said. I gather that is a very good thing because it is in fact beef.

photo 2(66)photo 4(41)

The Verdict

Caveman KItchen Biltongphoto 2(65)

This biltong is a fab little snack for when you’re on the go. As you can see in the nutritional information it is packed full of nutrition – the BCAA’s make me want to eat this myself but sadly I can’t.

It is a great snack for young and old too, for the sportsperson, for the cheeky kiddies or the cheeky kiddie inside you!

My 2 said that Peri Peri was the best flavour, and my daughter pretty much devoured the entire bag at once!

Where can I get my hands on this fantastic Caveman Kitchen Biltong?!

Great question! Just head on over to the guys at Caveman Kitchen Biltong and make an order! Simple! Buuuuuuut because they are so incredibly generous they have offered to give you all a whopping 20% off of your first order!

All you have to do to claim your discount is go through to the ‘Contact Us’ page and in the comment/question box mention  the discount code GREENSBILTONG20 – they will then contact you to take your order, and apply the discount when they send out the PayPal invoice.
They also can provide a wholesale account with a healthy discount – so if you’re a crossfit box or health food store then you may be interested!

Bag yourselves a biltong bargain guys!

Stay Primal!

Georgie!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Butter Chocolate Cups

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Butter Chocolate Cups

As you may (or may not) know, the wonderful folk over at Raw Ecstasy sent me some of their beautiful goodies for me to experiment with and review!

I used their Activated Pepitas Plain and Stone-ground Activated Almond Butter in this recipe. The almond butter is the smoothest almond butter that I have ever had (no joke). It is also the cleanest tasting and not in an overly ‘earthy’ way – trust me I have had my fair share of raw nut butters! The pumpkin seeds (pepitas) are also just divine and super crunchy! My full review of their product range will be up in the near future!

Raw Ecstasy Goodies

These chocolate butter pumpkin pie cups are just immense! They are indulgent but in a clean and euphoric way!

The maca milk chocolate adds a great twist and ‘pow’ to the cups whilst  complimenting the slight bittern undertones of the pumpkin pie butter. I promise you that your kitchen will smell great and your waistline won’t expand whilst eating these beautiful little cups!

The pumpkin pie butter can also be used to spread over some Paleo bread or pancakes! Yummmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeee!

Makes: 6 medium sized cups

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the maca milk chocolate:

2 tbsp coconut milk powder
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
50g cacao butter
50g 90% dark chocolate
1 tsp maca powder

For the pumpkin pie butter filling:

2.5 tbsp activated raw almond butter
3 tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1.5 tbsp coconut sugar
Pinch of Himalyan pink salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
(Alternatively use 1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice)

For the topping:

Method:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the maca milk chocolate into a medium heatproof bowl over a bain-marie. Heat on a low heat, stirring frequently until fully melted.
  2. Divide one half of the mixture between 6 cupcake cases. Place in the freezer to set. Set aside the remaining mixture.
  3. Now prepare your pumpkin pie butter filling. Combine all of the ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a bain-marie. Heat on a low heat, stirring frequently until the mixture comes together into a smooth paste.
  4. Remove the chocolate cups from the freezer and divide the pumpkin pie butter filling equally between the 6 cups.
  5. Return the remaining maca chocolate to the bain-marie and mix thoroughly.
  6. Evenly divide the remaining chocolate mixture between the 6 cups. Sprinkle over the pumpkin seeds and return to the freezer until set.
  7. Once set remove from the cupcake cases and enjoy! That simple but very delicious!

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Butter Chocolate CupsPaleo Pumpkin Pie Butter Chocolate Cups