Monday, March 31, 2014

I hate daylight saving

Not because I lose an hour's sleep, not because it confuses my body when meal times are thrown out by even 1 hour. Just because I hate going from travelling to work in daylight (hopefully even sunlight) on Friday then doing so in darkness the following Monday. It feels like they've brought the winter back. So calling it British Summer Time is even more annoying.
Ah well.
Friday I didn't post due to wallowing in suicidal / homicidal depression. I don't know why I suddenly felt soooo awful, but I basically crashed. I ate 2 bags of crisps, gluten-containing mini brownies & maxi cookie, I cried in the bathroom, picked fights with my husband and was generally horrible to be around. Then I woke up on Saturday... happy.
Saturday was sunny and so warm I didn't even take a coat when I went out (usually I take one just in case then get hugely irritated at having to carry it around). I went out twice - morning & afternoon - for a total of probably 4 - 5 miles, and in the afternoon wandered slightly off my usual path to discover a really pleasant little wood to walk in, only minutes from the house.
Sunday I continued feeling good. In the morning I walked to Ascot (having forgotten it was a race day so would be really busy) - about 4 miles in total. I had intended to walk back again but my feet were warning of possible blisters so I didn't risk it, instead catching the train back and walking from the station - another mile - and then going back out later for a little shopping. In total, between 6 and 7 miles probably. I mostly enjoyed it (although I'd overfilled my rucksack for the last bit) and we followed that by watching The Hobbit in 3D. Of course it's so long that took up the whole afternoon, but we really enjoyed it. Apart from the singing - but that reflects my feelings regarding The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings books as well.
I also experimented a bit in the kitchen over the weekend - I made some pear, sage & fennel breakfast sausages (recipe in the Paleo cookbook Paleo lunches and  breakfasts on the go) - very delicious, M liked them too - and for dinner yesterday I made meatza with a beef crust - really tasty!

I did not want to go to work today and tried to think of an excuse to work from home, but failed. I sulked a little bit on the journey in but got over it eventually (it would have been quicker if there had been fewer disgusting noises invading my desk airspace from the guy who sits across from me)
I had my now standard 2 miles walk today. So the walking is continuing at a fairly undemanding level anyway.
In other news, after repeatedly failing to get through to the hospital last week to ask about my op, someone finally answered the phone today. One transfer and another call later, I discovered that I was right - no order on the system, so I wasn't on the waiting list. And one of my two months gone without anything happening. I knew they'd bloody forgotten all about me!

Food today:
Breakfast: scrambled eggs
Lunch: homemade soup & vegetable crisps
Dinner: Italian sausage & peppers zucchini noodles (I made my own 'Italian sausage' using pork mince & well fed Italian sausage seasoning, then shaped it into small meatballs to fake the chunks of sliced sausage in the original recipe)
Snacks: nuts, natural yoghurt, small amount of melon

Friday, March 28, 2014

Butternut Cookies

Another interesting way to get vegetables into your daily diet :)


  • 1 banana mashed
  • 1/3 cup butternut squash ( steamed and mashed)
  • 4 dates pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetned dessiccated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond nut butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of himalayan rock salt ( or sea salt)
  • 2 Tbsp almond milk ( start with one and omit other if mixture is moist enough)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 180deg Celcius. 
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all the ingredients in a medium shaped bowl.
  4. Drop by spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet and flatten out. 

  5. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  6. Remove baking tray once cooked and let cookies sit for a few minutes.
  7. Remove cookies and place them on wire rack to cool.

Enjoy :-)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Enough is enough

Ok, I had some chocolate again today and now I'm feeling sick of myself. I'm not happy boo hoo me but the truth is I'm not unhappy because my life lacks chocolate and now it's just starting to feel self destructively self indulgent - and a bit tedious. And not even enjoyable. Not to mention weight gain (2 miles walking a day, though a definite improvement, will not offset chocolate eating)
So that's enough.
Right. Well, I must admit I feel it hard to care about looking after myself and hard to feel like I deserve to feel good / look good / be happy right now. As a first step in changing that I've booked an appointment to get my hair cut on Saturday (I look like an unpruned shrub at the moment) and starting tomorrow I'm going to do another whole 30 though without making a big thing of it if I slip up now and then as it can only run up to April 26th, when we have a reservation at one of M's favourite restaurants for his birthday.
Food today:
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with asparagus
Lunch: salad with hot smoked salmon
Dinner: soup - turkey egg drop soup with homemade chicken stock
Snacks: chocolate again & cashews

Healthy Hair on Youtube: Naturally High

What I LOVE about Naturally High is that her kinky, natural hair is super healthy and super long (almost hip-length).  It is rare that I see naturals with my hair type who are hip-length or this close to it.  (The only other one that comes to mind is Sera before her cut.)   It further weakens the silly argument that "black girls cannot grow long hair".

Naturally High shares some great hair care tips and interesting natural hair experiences on her YouTube channel. Here is one video in which she discusses, what I would call, a natural hair experience you would NEVER want to encounter: 

Product Review || ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor

NOTE:  This product was purchased at Sally's Beauty Supply.

Purpose: Add strength and softness in one step, effective against heat and chemical damage. (Do not confuse this product with ApHogee Two Step Treatment, which is a more serious treatment and hardens the hair.)

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Stearolkonium Chloride, Cetyl Alcohol, Mineral Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hydrolyzed Hair Keratin, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Trimethysiloxyamodimethicone, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Avocado Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Linoleamidopropyl PG Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Collagen Amino Acids, Squalane, Phytantriol, Petroleum, Polysorbate 60, Amodimethicone, Cetrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium 10, Trideceth-12, C11-15 Pareth-7, C12-16 Pareth-9, Arachidonic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Citric Acid, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate.

Number of trials: an average 2x per month (~5-6 months now)

How I used it:
Applied to the ends (the last few inches) of freshly washed hair.
Left on for 2 minutes under a shower cap for the initial trials.
For later trials, left on for 5 minutes with heat.


This reconstructor does what it says --  it strengthens and softens my hair in one step.  (I find the product most effective when I leave it on for 5 minutes and with heat.) Additionally, after a few months, I noticed less split end formation.  I would say that this reconstructor is great for if you need a little to some protein.  For more severe cases, you may want to step up the the ApHogee Two Minute Treatment.  Other than the above, there is not much else to say! :o)

PROS: pleasant smell, strengthen and softens my hair, quick use, less split end formation, reasonably priced ($9.99/$11.29)
CONS: none

RATING: Overall, I give the ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor 5 out of 5 stars.  

This product is ideal for those who:
- need protein conditioning
- experience a little (but not severe) breakage and splits

Reader Advice Day: Homemade Salt Free Seasonings

Greetings everyone! I'm back with a second blog posting this week because I received a great question that needs our community input. Here's the SOS e-mail that came in:

Hi, Wendy!

I just ran into your blog - looks wonderful! Thank you for all the time and effort you put into sharing!

I have an important question that I hope you can help me with. I just ordered the Eat To Live Cookbook from It hasn't arrived yet, but already I'm concerned about some of the ingredients called for that aren't available here at all, likeVegizest and Matozest (there may be more, but I'll know that after I get the cookbook).

I need some sort of a do-it-youself, make-at-home substitute. Even the other brands you and other readers mentioned on your blog page [ ] are not available here in Germany. Because I can't get my hands on any of these products, I can't guess-timate at all what I can do here to fudge my own version - I have no idea what the original tastes like. :-s

Read more �

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Thanks Deniz for your congrats - sadly they came just as I was bingeing due to continued depression combined with the hormonal upheavals of TTOM, stomach cramps & diarrhea... Sorry to disappoint!

I worked from home today so I could let in a BT engineer to upgrade our broadband. He was due between 8 am and 1pm and of course I expected him to come at 12:59 pm, but amazingly he arrived about 8:20 and was gone in about 15 minutes - much better!

Unfortunately once that was out of the way my mood plummeted and by about 11:30 I was counting the minutes to lunchtime so I could buy some comfort food. I started with a massive chocolate milkshake and carried on from there... I wonder actually if I was feeling a little bit anaemic as well as just greedy - look at my lunch & you'll see why! The tiny positive I do get from my behaviour is at least I still went out for a bit of a walk - I'm so not enjoying it right now (too much time to think) that it almost feels like a punishment, but today it offset at least 2 or 3 mouthfuls of my binge. Even if it was specifically for the purpose of buying the binge food in the first case.

Food today:
Breakfast: smoothie of spinach,coconut milk, frozen banana & blueberries + avocado
Lunch: small rump steak with lemon garlic spinach
Dinner: Chinese roast bbq pork with veg and big dollops of zingy ginger dressing
Snacks: milkshake, 2 gf muffins, dried fruit

PS I know it's really annoying of me to mention a horrible thing and not tell you what it was, I nearly just pretended that 3 days didn't pass without a post and carried on as if nothing happened... But I'm so grumpy depressed and generally miserable right now I figured inflicting myself on the web with NO explanation was just as unfair, and staying off, well, I guess I need you anyway...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


Well, last weekend was the worst of my life and for once I'm not splurting it all out on here. That's also why I didn't post yesterday, I couldn't think of anything else to talk about.
Anyway, to today. Horrible weather didn't keep me indoors today - I walked 2 miles in the rain and though I didn't enjoy it much um sure it did me good.
Work was pretty tedious but not too stressful and not too arduous. Yesterday was worse - some software was released on Sunday and it didn't work properly yesterday morning, so that wasn't good news although the problem was solved by lunchtime. With everything that had been happening I cracked yesterday and had some mini eggs; I've also had a few drinks to relax from my sky high stress levels the last couple of days. I am pleased not to have binged at any point though. Even though I've had backache for 3 days.

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with ham & mushrooms
Lunch: ham & egg mayo salad
Dinner: pork osso bucco with veg
Snacks: cashews,

The Eat to Live Cookbook Project: Sweet Potato Lasagna with Swiss Chard and Arugula Walnut Pesto

It's not often that I feel like I have A LOT to say about a recipe, but this is a situation where I feel like I could go on for days about the pros and cons of this recipe.

First off, I want to tell you that if you are expecting the President of the United States to come over for dinner and you want to have something really special, AND Nutritarian, to feed him, you might want to consider this recipe.

Never have I made anything so healthy and yet so gourmet.

I wasn't expecting to like it.

After many days of dragging my butt to get this recipe completed I was already kind of over it before we even took our first bite.  First came the pesto making, then the mushroom and onion sauteing, then the chopping and layering of the "lasagna," and finally, the sauteing of the shallots, Swiss chard and zucchini. Forget about the hours of reducing the pomegranate juice. I blew that off and opted for the quick and easy bottled balsamic glaze.

Forget about the confusion over what size casserole dish this recipe required. That drove me up the wall! The recipe lists a dish with a 2" high wall. What is that supposed to mean? Is it an 8x8 or a 9x13 or some other size? Finally I settled on my small 8x8 (or is it 9x9, I don't know) Pyrex dish because the recipe said that it served 5. I figured ain't no way five people are consuming a 9x13 casserole in one sitting, unless they have appetites like my husband.

The whole thing was quite a production.

Frustrating as well, as the sweet potato just never got soft, no matter how long I left the casserole in the oven.

But somehow, after plating up our first dishes of this meal, the vibrancy of all of that color and all of those vegetables overtook me, and I knew that someday, maybe not soon, I would make this dish again. Because with absolutely no salt at all, it was full of flavor.

And when I do make it again, I'm doubling the recipe. There's no reason to work this hard for two dinners. I want to get a lot more nights off from cooking after I put in this kind of effort!

Sweet Potato "Lasagna" with Swiss Chard and Arugula Walnut Pesto
from The Eat to Live Cookbook by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, p. 198-199

Did I like it? Yes, I really did!

Was it easy to make with readily available ingredients? Not at all, this one is a doozy! It's not that the ingredients are hard to source, although pomegranate juice might be tricky, it just that the time involved is fairly intense.

What specifically did I like about the recipe? I love that I now have a recipe that if I want to serve guests a beautiful plate of food, I know just want to make.

What specifically didn't I like about the recipe? Well, besides the fact that the sweet potatoes never got soft, really nothing. I don't want to complain too much about the time it took to make the recipe, because I really am a believer that great food sometimes requires a lot of effort.

Oh, there us one other thing. Maybe a few other things . . . see below.

Did my husband like it? He loved it and kept thanking me for the great dinner.

Did my teenage daughter like it? She hasn't tried it yet, but I plan on serving her some of the leftovers tonight. I don't expect that she will like this, but I want to try.

Did my eight or five year old try it? Get out of town! This is seriously adult food.

Would I make it again? Yes, but only for special occasions. This is not an ordinary meal in any way.

Is there anything I would do to improve on it if I made it again? The casserole ended up very, very watery. The recipe makes no mention of pressing the tofu before slicing it, and when I make this again I will press the tofu. Also, pouring vegetable broth on top of the casserole before baking, as the recipe specified, probably wasn't a good idea either. I'd eliminate that step. I would also consider partially baking the sweet potatoes before slicing them and layering them into the casserole. That way you wouldn't end up with crunchy sweet potatoes. Nobody like crunchy sweet potatoes.

Overall Grade (completely unscientific, I admit): B+

Have you made Dr. Fuhrman's Sweet Potato "Lasagna" with Swiss Chard and Arugula Walnut Pesto? What were your impressions? Leave a comment below.

Still don't have the book? What are you waiting for? These recipes are colorful.

Follow along on this journey on FacebookPinterestInstagram and/or Twitter too!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Franks Mince

Who's Frank you say.. well he's hot and saucy :-) It's Franks hot sauce of course.
Anyway a quick easy lunch/dinner i rustled up today, who says recipes on the blog need to be over complicated. This ones simple and just 3 ingredients


  • 200g Steak Mince
  • 1 Tbsp Franks hot sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Greek Full Fat Natural Yogurt ( or Goats milk yogurt for those dairy free)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil 


  1. Heat the coconut oil in the pan and fry up the mince until cooked through. 
  2. Take off the pan and allow to cool.
  3. In a small bowl mix the yogurt and hot sauce to create a dressing/sauce.

To serve
Put the mince on the plate and the dressing on top, on the side or mix through.
I also added a nice side salad of spinach, rocket, sunflower seeds and extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar

raw choc-mint protein slice

If you�re a fan of my Peppermint & Cacao Balls, try this slice! It provides a nice dose of protein, good fats and an antioxidant hit from the raw cacao powder. I slice it up and store it in the fridge for quick snacks (i.e. when you get home from work and are starving, haven�t made dinner yet and need something to prevent inhaling whatever is closest). It tastes best straight from the fridge.

In terms of protein powder, I�ve been using Amazonia's raw protein powder (the �natural� one), which is a raw, vegan, pea and brown rice protein with added digestive enzymes. I�m not 100% raw or vegan, but I find that I digest this protein powder well. You can easily substitute another natural (i.e. not flavoured or sweetened) protein powder if you prefer.

If you're not a fan of brazil nuts, you could substitute another �creamy� nut like raw cashews or macadamias. Or if you can't eat nuts, sunflower seeds would work well instead. If you�re having trouble finding a pure peppermint oil that can be ingested (check health food shops), I�ve been using the Obbekjaers brand, which I picked up in London. You can buy it online here. Otherwise, you could substitute peppermint essence or extract (available in supermarkets).


  • 2 cups raw brazil nuts (or cashews, macadamias or sunflower seeds)
  • � cup Amazonia raw protein powder
  • ? cup raw cacao powder
  • ? cup coconut flour
  • � cup raw virgin coconut oil, softened
  • 1 tbsp rice malt syrup (or raw honey)
  • 2 drops pure peppermint oil
  • water and apple cider vinegar (if you're soaking the nuts)


1. Place the nuts in a bowl and cover with water and a dash of apple cider vinegar. Leave to soak for at least 4 hours (I leave them in the fridge to soak overnight). This helps to break down the enzyme inhibitors inherent in nuts so that they are easier to digest. But you can skip this step if you prefer.

2. Drain the nuts and rinse well (if you soaked them). Process the nuts in a food processor until you get fine crumbs that are starting to clump together. Stir through the protein powder, cacao powder and coconut flour.

3. Stir through the coconut oil, rice malt syrup and peppermint oil until everything is well combined. Now is a good time to taste the mixture - you may prefer to add a little extra rice malt syrup if you like things sweeter (but don't go crazy!).

4. Line a loaf tin with non-stick baking paper (I use a 23 x 7 cm loaf tin). Press the mixture into the tin and leave it in the fridge or freezer to set. Once it has set, remove it from the tin and cut into squares. Store it in the fridge.

NB: I use a 20ml tbsp. If you have a 15ml tbsp (if you're in the US or UK), you can measure out 4 tsp in place of each tbsp.

Friday, March 21, 2014


This morning started bright and sunny and despite a forecast of rain from noon it stayed lovely for long enough to let me walk 2 miles at lunchtime. I thoroughly enjoyed it despite the cold, fairly strong wind bringing the temperature down.
This morning one of the guys in the office brought in cakes for his birthday and I was pleased to be completely indifferent to one (a truly enormous chocolate cake with a full centimetre of chocolate icing on it) and easily able to resist the other (a very substantial New York cheesecake) - both of them were homemade too, which is generally more appealing than shop bought; he also brought 2 boxes of mixed Krispy Kremes. In the right mood I've always loved them, even since going GF, and I did have to put a little effort into avoiding looking at them too closely, but I managed to resist those too. Helped admittedly by the fact that the office is full of addicts and the boxes emptied quickly, but I still count that as a victory!
Sadly the weather turned on us after work and we had showers & dark heavy clouds that stopped more walking from happening, so I spent the next couple of hours in the kitchen.

Food today:
Breakfast: eggs scrambled with tomato and bell peppers
Lunch: chicken-bell pepper salad made with Paleo mayonnaise in romaine lettuce leaves and a snackpack of dates
Dinner: well fed 2 crispy panfried sardines with salad
Snacks: coconut, cashews, Greek yoghurt

    Thursday, March 20, 2014

    Raw Chocolate Dice

    I'm not normally a gambler, but i took a chance on these raw chocolate treats from Ciara Beauge, and it totally paid off.. Winner alright :-)

    I have to say while on my food experiments that i am on, i sometimes do miss my little chocolate treats. What better way to indulge than on homemade raw chocolate treats. With this one you can play around with flavors and enjoy them all, whatever flavors you like. For mine i used desiccated coconut, flaked almonds, raspberries and crushed oat cakes.

    • 60g raw cocoa powder
    • 60g cocoa butter
    • 35g coconut palm sugar (you could also use agave syrup/raw honey or maple syrup)

    Optional Additionals

    • 2 Oat cakes crushed
    • 1 Tbsp crushed frozen rasberries
    • 1 Tbsp desiccated coconut
    • 1 Tbsp flaked almonds


    1. Over a pan of hot water melt the cocoa butter in a bowl
    2. Remove from heat and mix in cocoa powder and coconut palm sugar
    3. Once everything is completely coated you can add in your additional fillers. *

    4. Pour the mixture into the chocolate moulds and put in fridge or freezer to set ( depending on how much patience you have )
    * Note for the frozen raspberries it is best to put the raspberries in the chocolate mould first and pour the chocolate mixture over it.

    Once set these can be stored in the fridge or freezer and gamble at your leisure.

    Back to normal

    Work was back to normal today thankfully. By which I mean boring but not too boring, busy but not too busy, and the ability to leave on time for the first day this week. I spent a lot of time testing disk installations of our software - basically involving clicking a Setup button then browsing the web on my phone till it completed; then uninstalling (more browsing) then reinstalling (guess...). It was refreshing after the last few days and I dived headfirst into a lovely site I stumbled across through a guest post on another site. This is the site, The food photography is stunning and everything looks delicious. I haven't even tried any of the recipes - though her influence affected my dinner today - and I'm still smitten.
    I didn't walk today at lunchtime - I was too busy drooling over inspiralized recipes. Unfortunately I didn't have time afterwards either as I was waiting for a Tesco delivery - but I did do some housework so it was kind of productive

    Food today:
    Breakfast: my favourite egg salad - hard boiled egg, bacon & avocado in mayonnaise.
    Lunch: soup - very mild despite being flavoured with red Thai curry paste, very rich from coconut cream
    Dinner: spiralized sweet potato noodles cooked in a homemade tomato 'pasta' sauce with tinned tuna, sliced black olives and capers stirred in
    Snacks: coconut, roast gammon, Babybel cheese

    Protective Style Lookbook || Zipper Braid and Bantu Knot Updo

    By popular demand, this is a series showcasing various protective hair styles.  Protective styling does not have to be boring. :o)

    Model: Pure Estrogen

    Difficulty level: 3/5

    Description: Braid along hairline and pinned up bantu knot-out.

    Mixology || Coconut Oil Lotion Bars

    This is a super easy recipe requiring only 2-3 ingredients!

    Recipe Source: Coconut Mama

    lotion mold, muffin pan or tins 

    1 part Coconut Oil 
    1 part Pure Beeswax
    Essential Oils (Optional)

    For the instructions, check out Coconut Mama.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

    Rush rush rush

    I was really busy at work today - and had to stay on late to finish what I was doing. With amazingly brilliant timing I also had a headache that took 4 pills & an extra coffee (full caff) to ward it off.
    Because of that great combo I couldn't enjoy the weather when it improved just before lunch - the sun was too bright for my headache when I popped out briefly - or after work, when the head was better but I had things to do. After work I did more laundry, repaired a dress whose hem was drooping in an unattractive manner, made lunches for tomorrow and dinner for today, plus whizzing up a batch of paleo mayonnaise and (my personal pet hate) unloading/reloading the dishwasher.  It was a relief to collapse in front of the TV after dinner to catch my breath!
    That combination of too much to do in too little time also stopped me from writing my post throughout the day while waiting for my tests to complete. So apologies for the greater than usual tedium!
    Food today:
    Breakfast - leftover turkey burger topped with paleo hoisin sauce + broccoli slaw
    Lunch: more leftovers - a mystery stew I found languishing in the depths of my freezer, followed by a snack pack of dried apricots
    Dinner: a stir fry of unknown white fish, mushrooms, peppers & slightly ageing lettuce leaves. A whole lot better than it sounds!!!
    Snacks: coconut flakes, a mini babybel cheese, pork scratchings

    Tuesday, March 18, 2014


    I ate chocolate today, and not quality, possibly heart healthy dark 80%+ dark chocolate, but milk chocolate filled with caramel. It was too sweet for me, but having bought it I ate it all anyway. Not enjoying it much makes me hope I'll remember that next time it seems like a good idea - I don't like chocolate seems a better place to be than I want chocolate but can't have it.
    At lunchtime I didn't walk because it looked like rain. For once I got that one right - several people came back in complaining about getting wet. Unfortunately the guy who sits opposite me here (and like me, eats lunch at his desk) is prone to loud slurping, gulping, licking & belching noises so the most I can say for lunch is that at least I wasn't rained on...
    After work I planned to take a short walk into town to pay a cheque into the bank but I worked late and then had more laundry and food prep chores to keep me in the kitchen. I quite like that mind you (though a walk would have been nice) - after spending all day sitting on my bum it's nice to stand up for a couple of hours.
    Food today:
    Breakfast: eggs scrambled with mushroom, leek & tomato
    Lunch: homemade soup
    Dinner: turkey burger (homemade) with lemon & garlic spinach
    Snacks: nuts, homemade pork scratchings, Galaxy caramel bar

    A Virtually No-oil Vegan Middle Eastern Feast

    Mujadara and Israeli Salad

    This past weekend I hosted a dinner for a friend of my daugther's and her mother. I spent pretty much the whole day in the kitchen (outside of a yoga class and a shower), and while that seems like a lot of time, I think it's worth it because we'll be enjoying the leftovers for days and days.

    The photograph above was taken on day 1 of leftovers. All I needed to do was warm up the Mujadara (lentils and onions) and Loubieh (stewed green beans), and then plate up the rest of the cold food. The toasted pitas keep ridiculously well in a large Ziplock baggie, so if you make some version of this meal, make sure to make a lot of toasted pita.

    When I posted the photo onto Facebook and Instagram, I was met with a few requests for the recipes. Hence this blog post. I hope you enjoy.

    You certainly don't need to make every single one of these recipes in one day in order to have a beautiful meal. Just pick and choose what looks good to you!
    Read more �

    Monday, March 17, 2014

    What a fabulous weekend!

    The weather was beautiful and I spent most of both days outside.
    On Saturday my brother arrived about 8:30 am and we walked to the post office to deal with a despatch and a collection, then after dropping off our collection at home headed for the train station. We started off with a brief visit to Wokingham to check out the Saturday market, then went on to Reading to check out the farmers market there, walk around in the sun, and have a Loch Fyne lunch. Then we caught the train back, and after stopping by the house to drop off some shopping we went for a walk through a park, wood and wildlife corridor. In total I think we probably came close to 10 miles walking and all of it in lovely mild spring weather.
    On Saturday evening we ordered a Nepalese takeaway and watched a movie (more or less - my brother nodded off at least once)
    Sunday we headed into London on the train. For months we've been planning vaguely to do a boat trip on the Thames and yesterday was the day. We downloaded a 2 for 1 voucher from the National Rail website and boarded at the Westminster Pier for a very short (but interesting thanks to an excellent commentary by one of the crew members) ride up to Tower Pier, where we changed boats to one for Greenwich.
    We were both so impressed with Greenwich! We walked around the Old Royal Naval College for a while (beautiful buildings, well worth a visit)



    The Chapel (above) and the Painted Room


    We were not the only ones enjoying the lovely weather!


    Then we had a little wander around the village. We found an excellent (but sadly overcrowded) market to explore as well, and both agreed we'd like to go back earlier in the day when it would hopefully be less crowded.
    Then we caught the boat back to Tower Pier, popped into our favourite eating place - Bodeans BBQ - for a late lunch, and walked along the Thames Path to get back to the train station. There was a cold breeze for some of the day but a lot of the time I was walking around in a t-shirt (with s goofy smile, probably!)
    I wasn't Paleo or even low carb all weekend - across the two days I ate white potatoes, rice, ice cream, a gf brownie and drank milky coffee - but had no untoward side effects and didn't suffer and energy crashes with all the walking so I guess it wasn't a bad idea. And I enjoyed all of it!
    Today I didn't do any walking due to sore feet. I stayed in over lunch and then plunged into cooking, laundry and other chores straight after work - I was behind after my busy weekend

    Food today:
    Breakfast: eggs scrambled with bacon & spinach
    Lunch: homemade soup
    Dinner: tandoori chicken breasts with broccoli
    Snacks: nuts, homemade pork scratchings, toasted coconut

    Sunday, March 16, 2014

    coconut for a queen

    Coconut oil. It just keeps popping up everywhere (including in my recipes!). But why should we use it? How should we use it? What should we look for when buying it? I asked Teisha Lowry, the brains and natural beauty behind INDAH organic extra virgin coconut oil, to explain. 

    Launching INDAH Beautiful Organics back in 2008, Teisha was on to the benefits of coconut oil before it became cool. Her Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is my personal favourite. It's certified organic, hand-pressed and it has THE BEST flavour of all the oils I have tried. I add it to my raw treats, roast vegetables in it, eat a spoonful (or two) for instant energy and, after speaking with Teisha, I've started dabbing some around my eyes at night - it's way better than my expensive eye cream!  

    You can't help but notice that Teisha is the picture of health. Her skin is incredible (she uses coconut oil on it daily!). But it's her inner beauty, caring nature and incredible business savvy that has made her one of the women that I look up to. After a successful career as a model, she's now a C.H.E.K. Holistic Lifestyle Coach and the founder of, where you'll find tips on organic living, vibrant detox programs, books and a healthy living blog. She has also just opened the doors to a Holistic Health & Wellbeing centre in Brighton with her fianc� Darren Cox (the founder of Total Reformation), which offers specialised health building programs, Metabolic Typing, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and Primal Pattern / Functional Training. (I visited the studio on the weekend for a session - more on this soon!).

    I often get asked about coconut oil, and I had a few questions about the stuff myself. So I asked Teisha to give us a run down on its benefits, how it's made and how we can use it!

    What inspired you to start INDAH Beautiful Organics? 
    I wanted to create a beauty brand that works harmoniously with humanity and our environment - to create honest products with the best constitution of pure ingredients. I only use organic ingredients where possible and nourishing ingredients such as virgin coconut oil, herbs, spices, fruits and flowers. The brand is not just about the products; it�s about enhancing the natural radiance of all mind-body types, through education and nurturing the truth in beauty. 

    How is INDAH coconut oil made? 
    Our Virgin Coconut Oil contains only the natural oil itself. ?It is derived from hand pressing the fresh coconut flesh to ensure vital proteins and enzymes are not lost. 

    What health benefits does it provide? 
    Coconut is the mother of all superfoods. It helps fight off the free radicals that are constantly attacking your cells. It contains a high level of important essential Saturated fats which produce energy not fat and has no effect on blood cholesterol � it actually helps fight heart disease. It�s the best all-round beauty oil because it softens and heals dry skin, removes dead skin cells and encourages new, healthier tissue. 

    What makes INDAH coconut oil different from other brands? 
    We source our wild coconuts from organic farms in the mountains of Bali. They are hand picked and only saving the best of the best. The coconut is then separated from the shell within one hour (this is why its called Virgin) and the flesh is grated by hand (No machinery). The coconut flesh is then squeezed by hand, through muslin cloth in purified water and using strong Balinese hands. From flesh to milk, it's fermented for 12 hours, then carefully collected by spoon and filtered through paper seven times and poured into hygienic (food grade) jars. 

    I�ve noticed that cheaper brands of coconut oil often have a slightly yellow-ish colour. Why is that? 
    Always do your research when looking for good quality oils, particularly your vegetable cooking oils. Find out where the oil is harvested and how it is processed, it is vitally important for you and your family's health, as you are cooking with it daily. Food manufacturers like to disclose this information.You get what you pay for. If you are using coconut oil and covering your skin in lotions, perfumes and deodorants daily then you need to invest in a premium grade - certified organic products, especially if you�re ingesting Coconut Oil straight and applying directly to the skin. In most cases, the cheaper it is the less likely it has retained any nutritional benefits; it will go rancid and live as a free-radical inside your body attacking the cells in your blood stream which leads and fastens the ageing process.

    What are your favourite ways to use INDAH coconut oil? 
    1)    Daily ritual � I take up to three tablespoons daily for internal health and wellbeing, it gives me pure energy especially before a workout. (But that is just for me and my requirements). 
    2)    Body moisturiser � The best skin drink! It softens dry skin whilst healing it at a cellular level, at the same time removing dead skin cells and encouraging new, healthier tissue � without feeling greasy, it sinks right in.? 
    3)    Lip Balm � dry or chapped lips can occur from when the body isn�t supplying the oil protection it needs, lips can suffer from dehydration or cold weather conditions.? 
    4)    Make-up remover � my personal favorite remedy. Only oil can break through oil, so I smother it over my face and let it soak in for about 15 minutes and then wash off. Perfect for when you have a face full of makeup (models � take note).? 
    5)    Hair treatment � it is seriously THE BEST hair treatment. I guarantee you won�t need to spend $50 on a bottle of Moroccan oil ever again. I smother my hair and scalp in this overnight, wash out in the morning and voila, soft shiny hair without the residue.

    What are your plans for INDAH in the future? 
    We are excited to be launching a few new organic products to the collection this year. We will continue to collaborate with retailers and brands that share similar values that carry our message in the most positive way and we hope to sustain our success for years and years to come. 

    Where can we buy INDAH products? and the best spas, retreats, health foods stores and boutiques in your state. 

    Where can we find you? 
    facebook and instagram @indahorganics 
    facebook and instagram @queencocodotcom 
    facebook @totalreformationhealthandwellbeing 
    instagram @totalreformation

    A big thank you to Teisha for sharing her knowledge and tips!