Christmas Treats (on the healthy side!) – Recipes

CHRISTMAS TREATS (on the healthy side!) by Marianne Andrews, Nutritional Therapist.

Christmas is a magical time of year and for many of us it is an excuse to totally ditch the regular diet and exercise regime. It’s so tempting to over-indulge. And the worst part is that “Christmas Eating” is not even limited to just one or two days anymore!  As you’ve probably noticed, if you haven’t been on the moon for the last few weeks, the Festive Season starts earlier and earlier!

Research shows that many adults will eat an extra 2410 calories a day over the Christmas period.   And on Christmas day…. A whopping 4350 calories just on the roast dinner itself!   Add to that Christmas pud & brandy butter, that tin of chocolates that Auntie brought, fizz and other alcohol, and it’s easy to see how some people can gain a few pounds just in the 48 hours from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, not to mention the effects that this sort of eating can have on your digestion.

Of course it is time to indulge a little, and here are some of my favourite ways of doing just that, whilst keeping it relatively healthy.

SUGAR FREE WHITE CHRISTMAS BITES

Prep time: 30 mins

Makes 20

Ingredients

562ml coconut butter

281ml coconut milk

1 vanilla pod, seeds extracted

1 tbsp rice malt syrup

50g desiccated coconut

100g macadamia nuts, chopped

100g pistachios

100g frozen raspberries

METHOD

  1. Line a 20cm square slice tine with baking paper. Melt the coconut butter in a bowl over hot water until it has completely turned to liquid then place in a food processor and add the coconut milk, vanilla, syrup and coconut and whizz until combined.
  2. Whilst this mixture is still runny, stir in the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and freeze for 3-4 hours. Store in the freezer. Cut into squares for serving.
  4. These can be eaten directly from the freezer or thawed for 30 minutes in the fridge.

CHOCOLATE FRUIT & NUT CLUSTERS

Prep time: 25 mins

Makes 12

Ingredients

100g dark chocolate (Green & Blacks would be good)

15g dried cranberries

25g dried apricots

40g pecans

5 Nairns oatcakes

2 tsp xylitol

40g flaked almonds

METHOD

  1. Melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over simmering water.
  2. Blend all the other ingredients (except the almonds) in a food processor until roughly chopped
  3. Add the blitzed mixture and almonds to the melted chocolate and coat thoroughly
  4. Spoon into 10-12 cake cases and chill in the fridge until set.

Make no bones about it: Menopause and Osteopenia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Osteoporosis is a condition where your bones become more porous, and as a result they fracture and break more easily. We may associate it with those in very old age but shockingly, 1 in 3 of women over 50 can end up with Osteopenia, which is the forerunner to Osteoporosis.

Bone is not static but grows all the time, forever remodelling itself.  Menopause causes oestrogen levels to drop, and as one of this hormones’ crucial roles is to protect our bone growth – this presents another complication for women to deal with.  Add to this that bone growth is negatively affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies, eating disorders and yoyo dieting, thyroid issues, liver disease, and being too skinny – to name just a few conditions – and you’ll realise that there are more reasons than you think to worry about your bone health.

Calcium is the one mineral that everyone thinks about when it comes to good strong bones.  These days being dairy free is very definitely in.  The shelves are filled with plant substitutes – almond, rice, oat, coconut, soy – even pea milk!  But is giving up dairy good for us, or does it mean that we should be taking a bit more time to assess our mineral intake and make sure that we’re not lacking?

Generally, these plant products are all fortified with calcium.  As an adult woman, you should be aiming for about 1200mg of calcium each day.  A glass of plant milk would generally provide one third of your intake.  Add to this a 150g portion of yoghurt (unsweetened of course), a couple of large cups of dark leafy greens, a handful of almonds, a good portion of pulses and an orange, and you’re pretty much there.

But calcium does not work alone. Keeping up your Vitamin D levels becomes especially important at this time of year, particularly when we have had pretty cool summer. Vitamin D helps your body to lay down bone, and as there is very little vitamin D in food, then this is the one vitamin that it is worth supplementing throughout the winter months.  Check out City Assays for a cheap and easy test that will give you peace of mind about your current vitamin D levels.

Magnesium is the other wonder mineral that is important to bone health.  It converts vitamin D into its active form and helps us to preserve our bone structure. Remember how big grandma became little grandma?  Well a good daily intake of leafy greens, such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach, plus some nuts & seeds, which are all jammed packed with magnesium, and can help to protect against the loss of bone space in the spine.  Are you getting your greens every day?

We don’t tend to hear much about the Vitamin K’s but they too are essential to make sure calcium is absorbed and laid down as bone.  When you are eating your greens then you are also getting some good vitamin K1 too.  Foods rich in vitamin K1 include cooked such as kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, parsley, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Vitamin K2 is the type of Vitamin K that has a more significant role in bone health. Good sources of vitamin K2 include beef liver, chicken meat, cheese and natto (fermented soybeans).

 

Vitamin C is the phenomenal anti oxidant that all menopausal women need in their life. It’s required for the synthesis of collagen which is not only is crucial to aging well and wrinkling less, but it’s also part of the connective tissue and bone.  Think daily citrus fruits, red peppers, peas, berries, broccoli and sprouts.

There are other triggers which can lead to our bones becoming more fragile;  smoking, stress, dieting, steroids, SSRI’s (anti depressants) and lack of exercise can all play a part.  How many of us have reduced our exercise regime since lockdown?  Are you working from home and not even getting to walk from the carpark to the office or run for a train?  Maybe now is the time to invest in a standing desk, or set an alarm on your phone so that you make yourself stand up every 15 minutes? Or put a yoga mat on the floor next to your desk for some 10 minute breaks – anything to put regular weight through your frame.

Losing height with age and accepting osteopenia shouldn’t be a fact of life.  We all need to start working on our core strength and our diet now, because it is all about protecting our bones before it’s too late.   If you would like to learn more about how to steer yourself through menopause and beyond, why not book in for a free Better Health chat with Marianne Andrews, our resident nutritional therapist who specialises in menopausal health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living With Covid? An article by Caroline Shaw


LIVING WITH COVID

During the past year most of us have experienced massive upheaval in the way we live. Not since the Second World War has humanity faced such radical impact on a global scale. A lot of what we take for granted has been removed or at the very least curtailed.

In the UK alone we have endured three lockdowns, varying in restrictions including; not being able to see friends or loved ones, travel to work, go into certain shops, restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, gyms, not being able to go on holiday, board a plane, even sometimes use public transport and through all of this the wearing of masks has become obligatory. 

Whether the Coronavirus was ‘man-made’ in a Wuhan lab, or accidentally transmitted from animal to man, makes no difference to its devastating toll. Official figures indicate nearly 4 million people have died so far worldwide from the virus. This figure is conservative at best as many governments downplay statistics and choose not to report, for instance, those people who have died at home rather than in hospital.

During this, all of us to some degree have experienced loss, whether it is the tragic loss of a loved one or the loss of work, finances, social events and other activities that form the fabric of our lives. We have been forced to re-shape the way we live. 

We have been required to take a massive break from the excesses of our fossil fuel driven society. It has shown us that we can cut down on our carbon spending. When ‘things return to normal’, will we just pick up where we left off, or can we change tack and find a different way to live with ourselves and our planet? Most of us are now questioning our values and re-assessing what really matters in our lives. I would suggest, one outcome, is a re-appreciation of how precious friends and loved ones are and in contrast how unnecessary are a lot of our material acquisitions.

If a cross section of how the virus has impacted us can be measured in my consulting room then I would surmise much good has come from it. Most people I am seeing present with very similar stories;

They say spending more time at home has not been easy and using food /drink in a compensatory way has led to weight gain. But this has been tempered by an increased awareness of the value of food. Many people have turned vegetarian or, at the very least, have cut down significantly on their meat and fish intake. Many people want to eat in a way that is more sustainable for the health of the planet. I have never before witnessed such an enormous shift in consciousness.

There is a real desire to be ‘healthy’ in the widest possible terms. Not just physically but emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Many people have enjoyed the simple contact with nature; walking, cycling, gardening etc as these forms of exercise were permitted during the harshest lockdown measures. This has resulted in a deeper understanding for and appreciation of nature.

Many clients have said they would rather increase their food shopping bill by £20 a week to enable them to buy more quality/organic food and cut back on other forms of spending such as clothes and alcohol. If this is a sample of what is happening nationwide then maybe we could be moving into a more conscious, sustainable future.

Of course the virus has brought the question of our health into sharp focus. We know Covid 19 is more likely to manifest in extreme ways in the elderly and those of us with underlying health conditions or/and compromised immune systems. But, we all can ‘catch’ the virus or unwittingly pass it on to others. As a result, all of us can benefit from keeping ourselves as healthy as we can.

Which comes back to how we take care of ourselves – we can do this by choosing/buying foods that nourish our digestive tract, boost positive flora, and consequently our immune system.

Our digestive system thrives best and creates the most life giving positive bacteria 

  • on a complex range of good quality foods including;

50 per cent vegetables/salad;  beetroot, carrot, fennel, broccoli, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, greens, cauliflower, asparagus, avocado, celeriac, peas, beans, lettuce, rocket, spinach, leeks, okra, cucumber etc

20 per cent protein; meat, chicken, fish, beans, pulses, legumes, nuts, seeds, soya, tofu, etc

15 per cent starch; spelt wheat, oats, potatoes, rice, rice noodles, buckwheat, bran, rye, etc

10 per cent fruit; apples, pears, berries, grapes, oranges, lemons, melons etc

5 per cent fats including, olive oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, non cow’s milk dairy fats, cheese, butter, yoghurt, coconut etc 

All the above, preferably organic, locally sourced, in season, or the best quality we can afford.

  • avoiding, fast/processed foods. Latest scientific research has shown the devastating impact fast foods has on children’s brains.

There have been many studies into the negative effects of fast food, one of the most famous being the documentary Super Size Me. More recently, Richard Stevenson, a researcher at Macquarie University in Sydney, carried out an experiment on 105 young healthy volunteers. One group lived exclusively on junk food for eight days while the other maintained their normal healthy eating habits. What he discovered was that the group eating fast food group developed negative effects including aggression, depression, stress and even certain parts of their brains to shrink.

  • balancing our lives to reduce stress levels. 

The impact of stress on our health and immune system cannot be underestimated. Stress is caused by fear. Fear releases adrenaline to help us respond to possible threats. But if we always feel under some sort of stress/pressure it may be the pre-cursor  to IBS, SIBO, constipation, allergies, psoriasis and other auto immune diseases, where our bodies start to over-react to the smallest triggers.  Stress can be counteracted by trying to establish a healthy ratio between work/rest and play, by exercise, meditation, accepting a more simple lifestyle and examining and releasing the cause of our deepest fears. 

  • removing toxicity. 

The lockdown months may have contributed to overeating or indulgences of one sort or another which may have led to a build up of toxicity in the digestive system. This in turn could have impacted negatively our intestines, stomach, liver and kidneys, resulting in symptoms such as bloating, energy depletion, even depression. The best and quickest way to help reverse these autointoxication signs is to embark on a combination of colon hydrotherapy treatments together with a cleansing diet. Your practitioner can advise on this and also add appropriate implants and probiotic infusions where necessary.

CHHC provides an extensive range of wonderful treatments that can help us achieve and maintain our health, balance and vitality. Sadly, the virus, with its endless capacity to mutate and replicate, will not be going away any time soon. It’s a question of all of us keeping our immunity strong, observing, ‘codes of conduct’ and taking the vaccine as and when necessary. Hopefully, at the very least, we can keep on top of it.

Looking forward to seeing you at CHHC and wishing everyone a good summer.

Caroline Shaw

Coronavirus. A Longer View.

Throughout 2020 as the pandemic took such a strong hold on all our lives, the focus was, quite rightly, on reducing hospitalisations and the death toll . Now in 2021, we seem to have turned the corner with the successful roll-out of the vaccine and the unprecedented restrictions on our lifestyles and economy.
We now face many questions and choices going forward on a wide range of issues both personal and society-wide. There are also many health impacts which remain ranging from social anxiety, depression and the myriad of post-covid symptoms.
Post-Covid. Long covid.
Long covid or post covid are terms describing people who have suffered symptoms of unwellness for up to 6 weeks or longer. Post-covid is a serious problem which has dramatically debilitated sufferers for many months and now, for some, over a year. Even those who had relatively mild disease in the first place can go on to develop severe post-covid symptoms. Also, post-covid has not exclusively targeted the old or those with underlying conditions who have made up the large part of the deaths. As many as 10% of 18-49 year olds have reported long covid symptoms.
Many of the common symptoms sufferers are experiencing are the same as other post-viral syndromes or M.E. which have become increasingly recognised over the last 20 years. The most common being debilitating exhaustion and muscle pain. Long Covid also commonly causes reduced breathing capacity as well as many and various other symptoms which have been reported less commonly.
A lot of research and work is now going into trying to successfully shorten the post-covid experience and help a full recovery. Data is being collected and science is learning to recognise the patterns and syndromes consistent with long covid. So far, there is no magic bullet to help suffers recover, but many approaches that can help.
At CHHC, we are proud to be part of this process. As a practitioner of acupuncture, I have worked with a number of patients and have been encouraged by the results. In particular, helping to restore energy levels, breathing capacity, sleep patterns and improvements in mood and motivation.
Why acupuncture helps
Acupuncture works deeply on an energetic level. It has the unique ability to stimulate natural healing by balancing the vital functions of the body and the mind, (rather like finely tuning a complex engine will increase it’s power and efficiency.)  It also induces relaxation and enhances sleep quality, thus enabling the body to restore itself to health more quickly and completely.
“I started having acupuncture last November, to treat my ongoing Long Covid symptoms of exhaustion, pain and extensive breathing difficulties. I contacted Covid19 last April. 
Within a couple of weeks my condition began to stabilise. Since then I have continually improved and am laying down really solid foundations for improved stamina, less pain and much improved respiratory health. 
Eric’s extensive knowledge, care and experience has definitely sped up my recovery. 
I cannot recommend him highly enough.   M.C.”
If you want to chat more about acupuncture and long-covid, Eric would be happy to talk. Just get in touch with us to arrange a call. Or to book an appointment, use our online booking service or call on 01242 584140.

Shape Shifting: Why is belly fat harder to move after 40?

Shape shifting is a real thing as we age.No longer is the weight going onto your legs and bum, but more and more it’s morphing onto your abdomen, and becoming a belly where you didn’t previously have one.

Welcome to the perimenopause and beyond!

The massive hormonal shifts of the perimenopause can affect us in many ways, from our moods to our temperature, our shape and our quality of life, However, the good news is that there are lots of steps that you can take to limit the symptoms.

Sex hormones and belly fat

Progesterone is normally the first sex hormone to start declining. This can cause all sorts of changes, including migraines, hot flushes, dryness, hair loss, anxiety and increased belly fat.

Our oestrogen levels can start to go haywire too. Oestrogen tends to encourage fat to be deposited on our hips and thighs to begin, but as this hormone declines too, the pattern changes to more of a male-type pattern of belly fat. However, there are two other crucial hormones which relate to weight gain, and these are insulin and cortisol, both of which have a huge impact upon our changing shape.

Blood sugar, stress and belly fat

During perimenopause many women become ‘insulin-resistant.’ This basically means that your cells aren’t as sensitive to the signals from insulin and no longer allow insulin to take glucose out of your blood and into your cells to be used for energy. Too much sugar builds up in your blood and this can cause havoc with your other hormones and contribute to weight gain.

Cortisol release is triggered by stress. It increases blood sugar levels to give us energy for the stress we are facing. Of course, this used to be running away from a man-eating lion, but now it’s more likely to be because of a red traffic light or a moody teenager! One bout of stress can take 8 hours to get your hormone levels back to normal. So, if we are bouncing from one stress to another, then they may stay permanently high all day.

And if we’re not running away from that lion to use up that energy, then guess what? It will all be laid as fat around your middle!

What can we do to reduce blood sugar imbalance and that unwanted belly fat?

1. Cut down on sugar and refined carbohydrates. I know you’ve heard it before, but watching our sugar and refined carb intake at this age is more important than ever. Try to cut out white foods like white bread, pasta and rice, and replace them with wholegrain varieties instead, but also limit the amount you have of each of these foods.

2. Eat protein and healthy fats with every meal. Women often struggle to get enough protein and healthy fats into their diet. Both protein and fats not only keep you full for longer but also help to slow down the release of glucose from carbs into the blood.

3. Cut down on alcohol. Alcohol sadly is not our friend and especially so when we hit perimenopause. Alcohol affects blood sugar and as we age, plus which we become less able to detoxify it, which explains those worsening hangovers.

4. Focus on reducing your stress. The connection between stress and weight gain is very real. There are so many ways we can do this but some of them include making sure we take time for ourselves each day – whether it be a walk in the fresh air, 15 minutes of yoga, or perhaps meditation or journaling.

5. Track your cycle. This doesn’t mean just track when your period starts and finishes, but your daily symptoms throughout the cycle. This can be eye-opening for many women and can help you to identify patterns. It can also be super helpful for planning activities. There are many apps that can make this easy for you, too. Once you have a better understanding of what is going on and understand the options available to restore balance, then perimenopause and menopause can become enjoyable phases in a woman’s life – and they really should be. For more support and nutritional advice, then click here to take the first steps with a FREE Better Health Chat with Marianne Andrews, Nutritional Therapist.

Tier 4 Update – Clinic Open/Studio Closed

Due to the new restrictions, our studio has had to close to Yoga, Pilates, Qi Gong and Tai Chi. We continue to be open for most treatments. If you have an appointment, please ring the buzzer to the left of the door and your practitioner will collect you. You can contact us via email info@chhc.co.uk or you can book appointments online. We will let you know when we are fully open again. 

COVID Lockdown 2 – Clinic remains open for some practitioners/studio closed

Update: 5th November 2020. We are now only able open for certain therapies as detailed within the Government Guidelines.

These are:

Acupuncture, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Colonic Hydrotherapy, Foot Care and Osteopathy.

Our Studio and Reception will be closed until 2nd December 2020. Appointments can be made or changed online or via email info@chhc.co.uk.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back as soon as possible.
Wishing you all well and stay safe.

What Is Taiji? – New Class Starting March 2020

What is Taiji?

Taiji  is an exercise and training system for the body and mind, one that is presented in terms of a medical model, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the same one used in Acupuncture.

As a ‘physical movement form’ each posture flows into the next pattern without pause, ensuring that the entire body is in a constant motion,  rhythm and process of transformation. This is ideal for developing  suppleness and flexibility, being sure-footed and highly co-ordinated. It builds increased stamina and muscle strength.

Taiji  also cultivates qualities of mindfulness and is often described as ‘meditation in motion’.  It is practiced through a purposeful spirit with calm, clear intentions guiding the continuity of each movement in a focused way. People also report  that Taiji promotes a certain serenity as it moves moment to moment, softly, slowly and smoothly, embodying a series of graceful expressions. 

This gentle nature is married to more stimulating phases and invigorating techniques that develop over time. As fitness builds with regular practice the movements begin to refine, deepen and cultivate a greater degree of strength, in keeping with Taiji Chuan’s origins as a ‘Soft’ Martial Art. An earlier proto-form was known as ‘Cotton Boxing’.

The movements become ‘Taiji’  when grace and power work in unison, through a harmonised interplay of ‘forces’. This is because the actions  represent the cyclic movements found in Nature…..yielding phases that gather in and root naturally lead to recoiling actions that spring forth, branching out and blossoming gestures that reach fruition in turn overflow and sink once again. These natural movements of Life are entirely resonant with the working of our own body-mind process.

There is a time, a place, a proportion to the whole form of movement. The patterns and order echo the procession of seasonal changes and processes. So at the heart of Taiji lies a natural rhythm, dance like, encouraging a continuous unfolding. Taiji is one continual movement.

That means the movements  are never forced, there is no need to strain; the muscles are lengthened rather than tensed, the joints are opened rather than locked, and connective tissues are coiled through twisting rather than rigidly stretched out.

In concert these factors help create a deep massaging through the whole body to nourish and invigorate the vital substances.

The Taiji Classic texts say Taiji is  practiced for longevity and its associated health benefits. I teach according to the principles of TCM where Chinese physicians might prescribe Qi Gong or Taiji as a special type of ‘exercise medicine’ to augment other traditional treatments such as Acupuncture and Herbs.

Taiji promotes a free flow of circulation, where the vital substances of Qi, Blood & Essence can distribute their rejuvenating properties through the entire network of organs, vessels and channels. An understanding which gives rise to the notion that Taiji is an ‘Internal’ martial art -with an emphasis on intention to ‘marshal’, guide and organise specific patterns of movement through the whole body.

Who can do it

Taiji is low impact and puts minimal stress on muscles and joints, making it generally safe for all ages and fitness levels. It may be especially suitable as an older adult who otherwise may not exercise. If in doubt consult your doctor beforehand for their recommendation.

What do i need

Taiji is inexpensive and requires no special equipment. You can practice anywhere,  indoors or outside. You can do Taiji alone, in groups or practice in a class.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing that doesn’t restrict your range of motion and flat-soled flexible shoes/trainers.

The Teacher

Jeff Docherty is a professional member of the ‘Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine’

 He is qualified and insured as an Acupuncturist, Shiatsu practitioner, Meditation teacher, Taiji-Qi Gong teacher.

 

Background

Jeffs experience in Traditional Medicines began from his time living as a Yogi in Buddhist Monasteries in Sri Lanka and India, where he was introduced to Traditional Practice in the Tibetan enclave of McCleod Ganj, 1992. He was treated and inspired by renowned Buddhist monk, Traditional Medicine practitioner, and former personal physician to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Yeshi Dhonden.

On returning to the UK Jeff began studying TCM in the form of Qi Gong & Shiatsu with Chris Jarmey, well known author and teacher.  Whilst continuing with Buddhist meditation retreats in the Theravadin and Tibetan traditions in the UK, and with further study to become an Acupuncturist.

Jeff learned Sun style Taiji from 1996 with Dave Martin, Head of European operations and honoured student of Sun Jian Yun, the Founders daughter.

Jeff was asked to teach Taiji by Dave after he retired from teaching classes at Cannon Park, Coventry.

Jeff began teaching Qi Gong & Taiji in 2003 and has since worked with NHS projects, Stroud and Gloucester Colleges, a Hospice, Mental Health groups, in ‘deprived areas’, supported housing and currently runs twelve weekly classes locally.

 Jeff is currently planning to start teaching classes at Cheltenham Holistic Health Centre from Spring 2020. Please contact the centre directly on 01242 584140 or email info@chhc.co.uk to register your interest. 

UPDATE: A class will be starting on Tuesdays from 17th March 2020, 1.15-2.15pm. Cost £90 for a 10 week course. This will be a closed class to ensure everyone learns at the same rate.

Trial class will be running on 3rd March 2020, 1.15-2.15pm.

Christmas Survival Guide

CHRISTMAS survival guide

THE FUNDAMENTALS: It’s that party season again! How can you have a great time without either depriving yourself or putting on lots of weight? This Christmas Survival Guide will give you some ideas for what to avoid and what fabulous healthy and delicious choices you can make so that you look good and feel healthy in January.

  1. Don’t try to diet over the festive period. Set a maintenance goal instead. This is more realistic and much more achievable. This will give you the freedom to enjoy yourself without the feelings of deprivation or the pressure to rebel…!
  2. Take low GL dishes with you to parties. There are some fab recipes in the Holford Low GL cookbook that everyone can enjoy.
  3. Make the effort to continue with your exercise programme. If your usual classes aren’t running, choose other options instead e.g. brisk walks with friends and family.
  4. Make good alcohol choices. Avoid creamy or sweet drinks. Try to drink with food as this will reduce the impact of the sugars on your blood stream.
  5. Be gentle with yourself. If you do happen to overindulge, enjoy whatever you are indulging in and then get back on track afterwards.
  6. Normal routine tends to go out of the window over Christmas. However, make sure you don’t forget about yourself and still take the time to plan your food. That way, you will still have the right choices in the house and it will be much easier for you to succeed. At a point where we don’t want to eat the wrong things it is a shame to fail just because that is all we have to hand. This is so easy to avoid just by giving it a few minutes thought and preparation. Give yourself the best chance of succeeding!
  7. Don’t go to a party hungry. If you do, you will be getting and reacting to your body’s urges for sugar.
  8. Drink plenty of water. This will encourage you not to overeat and will also improve how you feel the next day!
  9. Watch your portion sizes – particularly fast release carbohydrates and fats
  10. Have Fun!!

If you feel that you need support with sticking to a healthy diet then Marianne Andrews, our Nutritional Therapist, works with women who are fed up with feeling a shadow of the person they used to know and love. In January she is offering personalised programmes that can help support you on that road to hormonal balance and being in control of your weight.  Click here to book in for a free 20 minute chat.

 

 

Healthier Mince Pies – Recipe!

Healthier mince pies – courtesy of Marianne Andrews, our Nutritional Therapist. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makes 25

For the filling

1 large apple, like Braeburn, Gala

75g raisins

75g golden sultanas

75g currants

65g dried, unsweetened cranberries

60g other dried fruit (sour cherries, blueberries, mango, apricots – dried but unsweetened)

Zest and juice of an orange

50g coconut palm sugar [or 2 tsp Stevia if you’d rather]

4 tbsp organic butter, cubed

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground ginger

For the pastry

150g ground almonds

75g coconut flour

1 tbsp coconut palm sugar

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp sea salt

zest of an orange

115g butter, frozen. Plus a little extra for greasing

1 egg, lightly whisked

METHOD

Making the filling

Add all of the ingredients above (other than the brandy, if using) into a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir

When the butter is fully melted, turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring often.

Take the saucepan off the heat and stir through a Tablespoon of brandy, and decant into sterilized glass jars.

Leave to cool with the lid slightly ajar, then secure tightly and store until you’re ready to use.

Making the pastry

Put the ground almonds and coconut flour in a bowl with the sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in the orange zest.

Grate the frozen butter into the flour and mix together with your fingers till a crumb forms.

Stir in the egg and bring together with your hands to form a dough. Divide the dough in half, wrap each in film and place in the fridge for 1 hour (or overnight).

Pre heat the oven to 175˚C. Grease the moulds of a muffin pan with a little butter.

Remove the dough from the fridge and place between 2 sheets of baking/ greaseproof paper. Roll with a rolling pin to flatten out the dough till it is pie-crust thin.

Using a cookie cutter (or an upturned jam jar – needs to be about 8cm diameter) cut out 25 circles and lightly press into the muffin pan moulds. The pastry can be tricky to work with as there is no gluten holding it together. Be patient. If the pastry splits just push it back together with your fingers and use any pastry scraps to fix it up.

Fill up each pie mould with a heaped teaspoon of the mincemeat. Using the remainder of the dough cut out 25 stars to top each pie.  Bake in the oven for 12 minutes. Leave to cool in the tins, before gently easing them out. Don’t be tempted to remove from the tin when they come out of the oven. They WILL fall apart!