Summer Taster Recipe: Raw Fresh Whole Fruit Jam

Raw Jam 2x

For the past three months I have been experimenting with incorporating more raw fresh and ‘cleaner’ foods in my diet and trying a number of ‘raw food recipes’. ‘Raw’ mostly means fresh or not cooked above 42-45 degrees Celsius, it keeps most of its anti-oxidants, vitamins and mineral and some believe enzyme content. Food therefore keeps more of its nutritional values and often tastes more flavoursome, so you need smaller amounts than when using standard products.  The best thing is that it is quite easy to do as no cooking is involved! There will be more posts on my thoughts around the ‘raw food diet’, its benefits and potential pitfalls soon – so watch out!

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Here is my latest summer taster recipe of favourite flavours that I have created, see picture with Strawberry Jam (left), Apricot jam (middle) and Raspberry Jam (right).

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For these tasty raw whole fruit jams you whizz up the any chosen fruit in a handheld blender or liquidizer, add some lemon juice, a little raw honey (if needed) and some additional ‘special’ ingredient (e.g. fresh or dry spices, herbs or flowers).

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For this recipe I have used the fruit leather trays for the L’Equip Filter Pro dehydrator (http://www.ukjuicers.com/lequip-fiterpro-dehydrator). But you do not have to own a dehydrator to do this! You can instead use your oven at the low temperature stated. If it is hard to control the exact temperature just use the lowest heat possible, and perhaps leave the door a little ajar. You can also get a cheap oven thermometer to monitor the temperature. You can use any ovenproof dish or tray.

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Just try it – it’s perfect for the fruits that are currently in season!

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The Refresher: Raw Apricot Jam

  • 6 small ripe apricots, washed, pitted
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 2 Tbs of raw honey or 1 ½ Tbs of Xylitol (more if fruit is quite sour)
  • ½ tsp ground raw vanilla beans

 

The Lover: Raw Strawberry Jam

  • 1-2 cups or ½ a large punnet of strawberries, washed, destalked
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1-1 ½ Tbs of raw honey or ½-1 Tbs of Xylitol (less if fruit is very ripe and sweet)
  • ¼ tsp of ground raw vanilla beans

 

The Fragrant One: Raw Raspberry and Lavender Jam

  • 1-2 cups of raspberries
  • Juice of ½ small lemon or 1 Tbs of lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp of ground raw vanilla beans
  • 1 tsp of fresh or dried lavender flowers

 

Whizz all ingredients in blender. Pour onto tray and make sure the blended fruit puree is not thicker than about 3 or 4 millimetres (so not much thicker than the thickness of your ear lobe!). Put in the dehydrator or oven at 42-45 degrees Celsius for 3-5 hours. I like the consistency after about 4 hours (it’s more liquid and three hours and gets stickier at 5 hours). Stir roughly once an hour (or just check). Fill in an airtight container or jar and keep in fridge for about a week.

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Serve on toast or raw crackers with e.g. cream cheese and some fresh mint tea. Makes a great flavoursome addition to plain yoghurt too.

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Watch out for a raw cracker recipe and non-dairy raw cream cheese recipe soon!

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Enjoy and happy Summer! :-)

 

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Mental Health, Depression & Food

grey treeMood and mental health issues are on the increase. Many mood disorders are complex and can be difficult to diagnose (therefore easily mis-diagnosed). We know now that our environment can influence our genetic expression directly (a science branch called “epigenetics”). This includes our dietary and lifestyle choices over time, which can to some extent contribute to the expression or severity of certain health concerns and symptoms.

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Depression is a well-known mood disorder. We all may have felt at some point in our lives really low and thought the whole world will remain grey and dark for the rest of times. When a person is ‘depressed’, this can go on for weeks, months or even much longer. Worryingly, “depression” is now thought to become the biggest disease burden worldwide. Depression often comes with many other complaints, including chronic issues (like heart disease, psychosomatic complaints, digestive disorders) which can worsen the associated health outcomes. Addressing dietary and lifestyle choices in a holistic way can be a key component in the management of depression and other mental health related issues.

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Future Prognoses for Depression and Other Mental Health Issues

 

 

  • 1 in 5 of us will suffer anxiety or depression [1]
  • 1 in 4 of us will suffer some mental health related issue at some point in our lives [2]

 

The ‘1 in 4’ figure has been widely used by the UK government and the media in the past. Responses by some neuroscientists and consultant psychiatrists to a BMJ article last year, as well as others in the field, have since criticised these estimates suggesting that numbers may be even higher than this [3,4].

 

 

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In 2009, Dr Shekhar Saxena of the Department of Mental Health at the World Health Organization (WHO) proclaimed that “WHO figures clearly show that the burden of depression is likely to increase – so much so, that by 2030 this will be the single biggest cause for burden out of all health conditions” [5].

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As a result of this prognosis, Professor Martin Prince, professor of epidemiological psychiatry at King’s College, London has tried to calculate in financial terms how much of a burden a person with depression can become, from an economic point of view including the societal direct and indirect costs. He believes that in the UK, the combined costs could amount up to £12bn ($19bn) per year or around 1% of the gross national product, calling these sums as “absolutely enormous” [5].

 

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What are the Causes?428061.TIF

Causes of mood and mental health disorders are thought to be ‘multi-factorial’ ranging from biochemical, to environmental, psychological, physiological, emotional and genetic factors, and can be very different from person to person. In the absence of direct genetic links (family history), the field of ‘epigenetics’ aims to examine environmental effects (including diet and lifestyle) on genetic expression. This suggests that outcomes of disease and symptom expression will depend on our individual genotype-specific vulnerabilities, where each one of us is unique, adapting to the various environmental challenges [6]. Deficiencies in certain nutrients could be part of the complex picture and contribute to increased risks for depression, including e.g. lack of vitamin D, B12, Omega-3 fatty acids, lack of day light and exercise, too much sugar in the diet, excessive stress or worries [7, 8].

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Naming (‘labelling’) the symptom and giving an “anti-symptom”-drug to suppress it or get rid of it, may help in many cases for a certain time. However, often this approach doesn’t address the root causes. Many functional imbalances can exist over many years or even decades before a symptom is expressed and develops into a “dis-ease”. The body is clever in trying to find as many ways as possible to cope first, choosing different routes through the metabolic jungle (or ‘web’) of our body-minds. At some point (if experiencing chronic issues) the system can break down. It may then rarely be  just one single area that requires re-balancing. This ‘web’ is a complex system that requires all its connected parts to function optimally for efficient functioning. 

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A new branch of medicine now attempts to apply a systems-biology approach. It is called “functional medicine” (FM) and it aims to reduce conventional reductionism and get to the root causes [8, 9].  See also Dr Hyman explain what ‘functional medicine’ means and the different causes of depression in a recent short video on Huffpost [8]. At the centre of the FM model are the mental, psychological and emotional domains, so experts are finally agreeing (again) that mind-body can no longer be separated or viewed as disconnected entities.  Even some degree courses for nutritional therapists and clinical nutritionists are now integrating the functional medicine model into their educational training.

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But What Does it All Mean – Having Mood or Mental Health Issues?

 

 

Simply speaking, one way of looking at it could be the  spider-web. Imagine each of us would have an invisible “spider-web” around ourselves.  A healthy balanced person would want to dwell at the center. The web could be like the ones you see when you go for a walk in the park, like a nice one floating between branches of a tree. The tree could be your heritage (e.g. your family). The branches could be the current support system, built from the different paths you may have taken throughout your life history, coming from the tree.

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mattias-klum-a-dewy-spider-web-on-a-dwarf-birch-treeImagine each of the vectors would present a certain area, e.g. from health and balance at the centre to more imbalance, disorder or dis-ease towards the borders. ‘Out there’ (at the edges) the person may be further away from the centre, may be feeling fragmented, not even sure of ‘who’ they are, what their purpose in life is.  The support system is needed (e.g. from the branches) but only from the centre can we perhaps really look around and ahead to see what’s coming and what the next best movement may be. Other belief systems may call this balanced state of being (at the centre) being in touch which your ‘soul purpose’, or ‘calling’ in life. In some ancient traditional approaches it is thought that our ‘distance’ from this centre, gets expressed in the form of varying degrees of our experienced physical and psychological symptoms and complaints.

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115376094_Ash_tree_349261bWhere our spiderweb is located in space may also vary depending on our experiences in each moment of time. There may be storms and we have to rebuild our web, or there’s no food and we have to move our web to other branches; or further away to other trees – or even further – to other forests. We also have the ability to connect with other ‘spider webs’ which can affect our balance and place in space – it can be helpful or detrimental. How we ‘respond’ (physically or emotionally) to certain factors, may depend on the circumstances and may be different for each of us at different times in our lives.

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There may be many more dimensions affected, many of which are currently still hard to grasp in terms of our current scientific understanding (e.g. as in energy and vibrational medicines, various ancient traditional, and spiritual healing approaches). Depending on our various different beliefs and choices, various different healing approaches may be beneficial for mood disorders [7,10].

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Feelings and Perceptions Matter

No matter what ‘label’ or ‘condition’ might get attached to certain symptoms, it’s really about how we “perceive” ourselves in the given context of our lives. How we ‘feel’ or ‘perceive’ and think about ourselves, others, our past history and current lives. And how we feel this has affected us, our interactions and relationships with loved ones, at work, in social circles.  If you were asked: “Where is your current web now? What kind of branches are supporting it? Is the tree still providing solid grounding? Is the forest environment appropriate?” What would you say? And when asked “Whereabouts on the web are you currently? And what’s the current state of your web right now?” What would you answer?

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It is now widely known that our thoughts can affect our emotions, behaviours and our physical bodies. The state of health of our bodies can in turn affect our emotions and thoughts. It’s not just a one-way street or cul-de-sac. That’s good news, and can perhaps give us hope that ’change’ is possible - eventually! When we get mood or mental health ‘symptoms’, these ‘symptoms’ could range from light occasional (assumed ‘normal’) mood swings (e.g. PMS or feeling generally low) to deep sadness, depression, anxiety, panic disorders, sleeping issues, fatigue, unexplained pains, digestive issues and many other complaints. Perhaps these symptoms, could be viewed as ‘signs’ of our current state of imbalance, of where we currently are - in our web. Therefore it is often not too helpful to look at disease or symptom expression in a linear way. System failures or imbalances can depend on various different factors. So, the good news is, that we can actually address many of these with the appropriate help (including e.g. nutritional, biochemical, physiological, psychological, emotional, environmental).

 

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Eat Yourself Happy?

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hormone-libraryEmploying a more holistic approach and addressing mind-body-spirit aspects of our being in a unique personalised way, can help create more sustainable changes for our health and well-being.

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Take food, for example. It has thousands of chemical complexes in their ‘matrix’ that our bodies have evolved with over the millennia. These often exist in their needed synergy together. Fresh organic food, some experts believe, have different effects and values compared to the processed and packaged (‘dead’) foods, that we find in many supermarkets today. It is thought that our bodies (organs and cells) are completely rebuilt every 7-10 years. This process is a dynamic and continuous process of exchanging old with new molecules, which depends largely on their availability. For this process to run effectively it also depends on our unique bodies’ requirements and capabilities at different times in our lives. By eating fresh and natural foods in a balanced way we can affect our molecular and physical state as well as our mental and emotional states.

 

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getty_rf_photo_of_regular_family_meals_to_fight_stress

In 2008, the Associate Parliamentary Food and Health Forum (FHF) published their report including evidence on the influence of nutrition on mental health. The report makes key recommendations to the Department of Health to improve current public health and NHS initiatives, making clear links to mental health and demanding more funding for research on food and mental health [11]. 

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Despite mounting scientific evidence, very few individual NHS providers in the country offer treatment programmes based on the association between diet and mental health. 

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In 2009, a study in the British Journal of Psychiatry investigated for the first time the link between overall diet and mental health, rather than the effects of individual foods. Analysing diets from 3,500 middle-aged people, the results suggested that eating an unhealthy diet increased the chances of becoming depressed by almost 60%. What’s more the team found that those who ate the most whole foods or a diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruit and fish, were 26% less likely to report symptoms of depression. While the researchers at University College London (UCL) noted that various aspects of lifestyle, such as taking exercise, had an effect on reducing the likelihood of becoming depressed, they concluded that diet plays an independent role [12].

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So Now What?

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If you are suffering from mood swings or have concerns about your mental health and well-being, and you think your diet and lifestyle habits could benefit from some adjustment and support, then get the right help for you. Start by taking responsibility for your own health and get informed first. The internet has vast amounts of information, but go with reputable sources. Get books on the topic of your interest, get out more – into nature, socialising, get a hobby, get creative – do something fun with your family, meet people that make you laugh, do things that you love! And find some new healthy recipes to try (e.g. see also my  blog or  articles on this site).

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If you find it difficult to do this alone, seek appropriate help and get a good friend or family member to support you in this.

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For more information or a free initial telephone consultation, contact me.

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References

  1. ONS – Office of National Statistics (2013). Measuring National Well-being – Health, 2013. [Data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) 2010–11]. Accessed 10th October 2013. Available at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/wellbeing/measuring-national-well-being/health–2013/art-health—2013.html?format=print
  2. WHO – The World Health Organisation (2001). Mental disorders affect one in four people. Accessed 5th October 2013. Available at: http://www.who.int/whr/2001/media_centre/press_release/en/
  3. Barker, M. (2011). Six short posts about mental health 2: Why I don’t like the 1 in 4 statistic. The Open University Blog. Accessed 5th October 2013. Available at: http://www.open.ac.uk/platform/blogs/society-matters/six-short-posts-about-mental-health-2-why-i-dont-the-1-in-4-statistic
  4. Smith, M. (2012) “One in four” with a mental health problem: the anatomy of a statistic. BMJ. Responses to Journal Article, Accessed 5th October 2013. Available at: http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e1302?tab=responses
  5. BBC World. (2009) Depression looms as global crisis. BBC Online. Accessed 10th October 2013. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8230549.stm.
  6. Uher R. (2008). The implications of gene-environment interactions in depression: will cause inform cure? Mol Psychiatry. 13(12):1070-8.
  7. Qureshi, N.A., Al-Bedah, A.M. (2013). Mood disorders and complementary and alternative medicine: a literature review. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 9:639-58.
  8. Hyman, M. (2013) The Biggest Medical Discovery of Our Lifetimes: Finding the Cure for Chronic Disease. House Call with Dr Hyman. Huffpost Healthy Living. Accessed 8th November 2013. Available at:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/chronic-disease_b_4221141.html#!
  9. Institute of Functional Medicine: http://www.functionalmedicine.org/
  10. Kirmayer, L.J. (2004) The cultural diversity of healing: meaning, metaphor and mechanism. Br Med Bull. 69(1): 33-48. [Online] Accessed 31st October 2013. Available at: http://bmb.oxfordjournals.org/content/69/1/33.full.pdf+html
  11. Food and Health Forum. (2008) The links between diet and behavior: the influence of nutrition on mental health. Report of an inquiry held by the Associate Parliamentary Food and Health Forum, January 2008. Accessed 11th October 2013. Available at: http://www.fhf.org.uk/meetings/inquiry2007/FHF_inquiry_report_diet_and_behaviour.pdf
  12. Akbaraly, T.N., et al.(2009). Dietary pattern and depressive symptoms in middle age. Br J Psychiatry. 195(5):408-13.

 

 

claim that their study is the first to investigate the link between overall diet and mental health, rather than the effects of individual foods.

5-A-Day: What Does it Mean?

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The “5-A-Day” is a UK government initiative aiming to get people eating a minimum of five portions of vegetables and fruit per day to maintain health [1]. However, experts believe that this is by no means the optimum intake. For good health we should aim for 7-10 portions a day and some countries like France, Canada and Japan advise even up to 13 portions a day (though their portions are smaller) [2].

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This kind of makes sense, if we think how human mankind has evolved. We were largely eating what we found around in our environments in Paleolithic times. Metabolically our bodies still function like in the old Hunter-Gatherer times, today (e.g. think of the Fight-Flight response). However, the environment around us has changed (physically, socially, mentally & emotionally). The developments of the food industry and how we raise, breed, genetically change our foods and their environments just over the past 50-100 years has changed dramatically. Evolution isn’t that fast to suddenly cope with all the man-made chemicals, synthetics, artifical foods, flavourings, preservative, pesticides and other hormone disrupting molecules. And we have seen affects of some of this (esp. in the western world) in the increasing rates of chronic disease, and the damage to our environments and all the creatures that live in it.

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Considering our modern western diets (that are no longer ‘healthy & balanced’ by any means) various research, including large scale cohort studies, have now supported that increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is good for your health and can help lower risks of disease later on [3]. But for some people, it is still hard to even achieve the current recommended minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. To this comes that many people are confused as to what a “portion” is and what counts towards it.

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What counts towards a “portion”?

  • one portion = 80g/30oz or:
  • size of a medium apple
  • a cereal bowl size of mixed salad
  • 150ml glass of 100% vegetable or fruit juice (best to add another 150ml water to dilute)
  • Smoothies are however better, as some of the important fibres are retained
  • 3 heaped Tbs of beans, pulses, lentils
  • 3 apricots (dried)
  • 3 heaped Tbs of peas (frozen, fresh or canned)
  • fresh or frozen is always better than canned

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I often get clients who say: “Well, I’m fine then, I eat 2-3 bananas per day and drink 2 glasses of orange juice!” Though – the snag is – unfortunately one item only counts ONCE!

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It really is more about eating a colourful variety, ideally eating the ‘colours of a rainbow’ – and that’s already at least 7 major colours (red, orange, yellow, green, different blues & purple, as well as white and brown).

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rainbowfoodrainbowcoloured cakeAnd that’s not the lovely looking rainbow coloured cake on the left (with lots of sugar, carbs, artificial colourings, preservatives and flavourings) but the right kind of real and naturally colourful food (on the right) ;-) .

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It’s the variety and diversity of fresh, natural (ideally organic) foods, to help us maximise our chances of getting as many nutrients as possible.

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Ideally, organic or home-grown vegetables and fruit would be best. Some of my clients have initially complained that they can’t afford it. There is something here about our expectation of what ‘should’ costs, and it doesn’t compare to the prices some people pay for luxury items, electronic gadgets, hairdresser services for women, holidays, cigarette or alcohol consumption. Doing calculations together with one of my client’s in clinic, it turned out he spent more money per week on smoking then on fresh foods! Of course changing health behaviours is not easy and quick. It might take time and some investment to form new habits, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.

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There are already many “box-schemes” that deliver fresh, seasonal and local (UK) produce to London and other cities. This also supports our local farms which have a tough time competing against the ‘big guys’ (e.g. supermarket chains like Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s etc.). A fruit & vegetable box can start from as little as £7.75 per week, and many also now deliver meats from their free-range farm animals [4]. If you are too stressed, and find it hard to find the time to learn how to cook, take it slow. Start to try out one or two new recipes per week (e.g. at the weekend, make it fun, get some family or friends involved). If you happen to have the spare cash, you could also get some healthier ready-made snacks and meals delivered for your office or home to start off with, and there are many services already in and around London [5].

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If you still find it tough, to make positive dietary and lifestyle changes alone and need some advice, seek appropriate help and get a friend or family member to support you in this or do this together with you.

 

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If you have any questions contact me or call me for a free initial telephone consultation.

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References

  1. NHS Choices, Live Well, 5-A-Day [Online]: http://www.nhs.uk/LIVEWELL/5aday/Pages/5ADAYhome.aspx
  2. Borland, S. (2013) Forget five a day: Now scientists say you’ll be healthier and happier eating SEVEN daily portions of fruit and veg. Daily Mail Online. Accessed 8th November 2013. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2215737/Forget-day-Now-scientists-say-youll-healthier-happier-eating-SEVEN-daily-portions-fruit-veg.html#ixzz2k8wWIsct
  3. Simin Liu, S., Manson, J.E., Lee, I-M., et al. (2000)Fruit and vegetable intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: the Women’s Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 72(4):922-928. Accessed 9th November 2013. Available at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/72/4/922.full.pdf+html
  4. Organic food box schemes, online bookings and deliveries: e.g. www.riverford.co.uk, www.abelandcole.co.uk, or http://www.growingcommunities.org/organic-box-scheme/
  5. Healthy snacks and meals delivered to your office or home: e.g. http://www.graze.com/uk/, www.eatevolve.com, http://www.nutrichef.co.uk/, http://www.purepackage.com)

Lamb Shank: In Red Wine, Berry & Chocolate Sauce

lamb shank Ready for the 5th of November celebrations? Get ready for your personal masterpiece of tasty creativity: lamb shank in red wine, berry and chocolate sauce! An explosion of tastes melting over potato & carrot mash, together with green beans and separate side salad – quite a 5th of November celebration for the senses…

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Here’s the recipe – it’s easy!

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  1. Take 2x lamb shanks (e.g. I got organic ones delivered from www.riverford.co.uk) and ‘seal’ them in an oven proof pot over the fire (e.g. that means shortly fry them at fairly high heat on all sides – a Crockpot works well – see pictures).
  2. After roughly 5-7 minutes (of ‘sealing’ them) take them out and leave them aside.
  3. Make ‘amazing juicy sauce’ for the meat: lamb shank 5
    • Put roughly 50-80g butter into the same pot (where you previously sealed the lamb shanks in) and once melted stir in about 2 Tbs of gluten-free flour (or any other you have around).
    • Add about 2-3 cups of boiling water plus 1-2 Tbs of stock powder, plus 2 glasses of good red wine.
    • Then add 1 medium glass of cranberry jam or Loganberry Jam with whole berries (Ikea helps – or any other good quality version).
    • Add sea & herb salt, pepper, and throw in 1 cup of frozen mixed berries (acidic ones do well – like red and black currents).
    • AND (drum roll…): 2 rows of very dark chocolate (e.g. I used Green & Black’s 85%)! Yes!! (for chocolate lovers…;-) – but it just gives you a nice hint of the flavour ).
    • Simmer slowly for about 10-15 minutes to reduce it slightly.
  4. Now put the lamb shanks into the thickened ‘amazing juicy sauce’ and add 4-5 thick sprigs of fresh Rosemary and 2-3 bay leaves (e.g. from the garden) – distributing them around the lamb shanks (see picture). Put the pot with lid on top into the oven at ca. 175 degrees Celsius for about 1-1.5 hours (check in in between – the meat needs to come easily off the bone).
  5. Serve on a bed with potato & carrot mash (with added butter, milk, nutmeg, salt & pepper to taste) and pour as much of the ‘amazing juicy sauce’ over the top of the lamb shank as you like!* Serve also e.g. green beans & side salad (or anything you have in terms of veggies – make it colourful)!

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Enjoy and happy 5th November!

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*[The remainder of the sauce can be frozen for when you need it for another dish - e.g. a rich slow cooked stew]

Green Tea Benefits Health

greentea3Green tea has been consumed for thousands of years in different parts of the world. Most people are familiar with Japanese or Chinese varieties on the market or have come across the tasty Moroccan green mint tea (that is often served with strong Chinese gunpowder varieties). Other varieties like Japanese Sencha are milder and e.g. Genmaicha versions (with toasted rice) are a popular drink.

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Green tea contains multiple beneficial chemicals for health, including polyphenol antioxidants (like catechins), which are thought to lower inflammation and this way could help support in the management and prevention of some conditions (1, 2) . It contains less caffeine than e.g. coffee which can help reduce unhealthy blood sugar spikes putting pressure on our adrenal stress response.  Furthermore, it  contains an amino acid called theanine, a compound which has been shown to help with calming our mind by affecting brainwave activities (3, 4). Some people take it as supplement form as they have found it helpful for stress and mild anxiety, e.g. for exams and to help with concentration and performance.

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Some people may still be sensitive to the small amount of caffeine in green tea. E.g. they may find it hard to get to sleep at night if drinking green tea after 6 or 7pm or find they experience getting a little jittery (similar to the affects of coffee in some people). If this is the case you may wish to chose decaffeinated green tea versions. Decaffeinated green tea still seems to contain the antioxidant and calming effects of standard green tea (5).

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Overall, since brewed green tea has been part of the human diet for thousands of years, it seems a safe and healthy addition to our current dietary choices. It can also be a beneficial alternative, especially for individuals who like to reduce their coffee consumption and are currently employing other stress reduction techniques.

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Black iron asian teapot with sprigs of mint for teaSome practical aspects: You don’t like Green Tea? Try this!

  • Some people find it difficult to like the taste, as they may be unsure about the variety or brewing methods.
  • Aim at first to go for the milder varieties like Japanese Sencha, which can taste nice even after more than 5 minutes brewing time.
  • Never use boiling water, use roughly 80 degrees water (or mix cold water with freshly boiled water)
  • For stronger varieties, like Chinese gunpowder, 1-2 minutes brewing may be enough or else it will taste very bitter and may induce slight nausea feelings in some people.
  • Moroccan Mint Tea pre-mix versions may be an easy start .
  • Chose a variety that you like the taste of and give it a try!

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References

  1. Cooper, R. (2012) Green tea and theanine: health benefits. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 63 Suppl 1:90-7.
  2. Bhardwaj, P., Khanna, D. (2013). Green tea catechins: defensive role in cardiovascular disorders. Chin J Nat Med. 11(4):345-53.
  3. Lardner, A.L. (2013) Neurobiological effects of the green tea constituent theanine and its potential role in the treatment of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Nutr Neurosci. [Epub ahead of print]
  4. Yoto, A., Motoki, M., Murao, S., and Yokogoshi H. (2012) Effects of L-theanine or caffeine intake on changes in blood pressure under physical and psychological stresses. J Physiol Anthropol. 31:28.
  5. Dimpfel, W., Kler, A., Kriesl, E., Lehnfeld, R., and Keplinger-Dimpfel IK. (2007) Source density analysis of the human EEG after ingestion of a drink containing decaffeinated extract of green tea enriched with L-theanine and theogallin. Nutr Neurosci. 10(3-4):169-80.

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