No milk….no flu

Almond milk

Photo courtesy of RawLifeHealthShow.com

Okay guys, I am NOT here to preach, let me start with that. What this blog post is about is sharing my experience when I cut out cows milk. I started using unsweetened almond milk instead of cows milk (the slimline that I have used for years) as I’m always open to trying new things and had read that most people are intolerant to milk. My tea in the mornings — made with almond milk. My organic buckwheat flakes — covered in almond milk for breakfast or as a night snack. A berry and avocado smoothie — made with almond milk and I have to say it was lovely and lighter than smoothies using yogurt.

I ran out of almond milk one morning, and it’s not an item you can just get in any shop, well, not in Ireland anyway. So, there was milk in the fridge that was for the hubby, I decided I would use it for my tea as I always have a cup of tea first thing. First off, it tasted REALLY weird and heavy if that makes sense? Then an hour later my congestion and cold / flu-like symptoms came back. I did not put two and two together until I came across an article on Facebook about dairy not being good for you and actually being the cause of osteoporosis. I was shocked but had an ah-ha moment! A lady had commented mentioning about congestion and flu-like symptoms. So I made a decision to not use cows milk, even if I had no almond milk left. Now, you have to make sure you get the unsweetened almond milk as the normal one is FULL of sugar.

I have also tried coconut milk in my tea, it’s like one big cup of holiday! It reminds me of sun cream, which is nice but I prefer the almond milk.

Let me know your thoughts…

Have you tried almond milk?

How do you feel about all these studies?

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Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Inflammatory diseases are those ailments in the body that are characterized by inflammation, which is a biological response by the body’s muscles to harmful matter such as bacteria, pathogen, or cell damage of any form. One thing to point off early is that inflammation, as bad as it may be, is a form of protective measure that a body takes against harm. It functions to get rid of the harmful stimuli. It also purposes to begin the healing process of tissue or cell repair.

Inflammation can be categorized as either acute or chronic. The latter signifies underlying problems which may be undetected diseases. Chronic inflammation causes inflammatory diseases. Acute inflammation, however, is the immediate reactions and response by tissues from harm on tissue or cells. On that note there are different stimuli that cause inflammation. Causes of inflammation include burns, falls, grazes, stress, pathogens, toxins, spills, trauma, and many more. These are but a few of them.

Inflammatory diseases occur due to prolonged inflammation. It may take months or it may take years for the disease to really set in.  As I mentioned earlier, inflammation is a protective response to harmful matter, however the body may fail to switch off this response, which may lead to damage on either cells or tissue or the body generally.

What spells out inflammation?

Redness, swelling, pain, and heat are known signs of any inflammation. Some common inflammatory diseases are as follows:

  • Eczema- inflammation of the gut and liver, resulting in skin eruptions.
  • Sinusitis- inflammation of the sinus cavities
  • Arthritis- inflammation of the joints
  • Fibromyalgia- inflammation of the connective tissues
  • Alzheimer’s- inflammation of the brain cells
  • Multiple Sclerosis- inflammation of the cytokines, resulting in immune system attacking itself

Many inflammatory diseases have agents which aggravate them. Such agents are known to either cause inflammation or worsen an existing condition. Avoiding or reducing contact with these agents is an advisory measure used by doctors in treatment and management of inflammatory diseases. Some of those causative or fuelling agents include insomnia, stress, obesity, which translates to lifestyle diseases, food allergies, intolerance to certain food components, certain preservatives, and the nature of processed foods. In all of these, once a person realizes the causative agent, it is always better to avoid or reduce intake or contact with it. Many food allergies such as protein allergies and soy products cause irritations and for some it can really cause their body to inflame in one way or another.

Treatment for inflammatory diseases

There are a variety of treatment methods for inflammatory diseases ranging from pharmaceutical medications to more holistic, alternative routes. Some rely on pain killers such as aspirin, acetaminophen, opiates, and the like. This is rather short term and with prolonged use could lead to some level of addiction. Others use antihistamines and corticosteroids. These treatments will definitely help, but could delay time taken to handle or manage the real problem. It is understandable to use these treatment options considering the pain and discomfort that comes with inflammation, however, this does not help solve the underlying problem or ailment. It is important to do what you can to get to the root of what is causing the inflammation.

Inflammation due to lifestyle

Some inflammatory diseases may occur due to our lifestyle. The foods and drinks we indulge in may be causative or fuelling agents for inflammation. Processed foods have been known to have negative effects on our bodies. Deep fried foods, roasted, or well done meats are potentially risky for some people. Carbonated beverages have been known to cause irritation to some people as well.

Knowing all the above, it is easier to avoid such lifestyle habits or reduce such products in your diet. This could reduce inflammation or act as a form treatment all together. Such measures are mostly advocated for by nutritionists and dieticians. It is a good treatment measure to curb inflammation related to foods and lifestyle.

Another measure is reducing stress levels in one’s life. Stress is a common and known fuelling agent. The happier and positive a person is the better for them even health wise. Fill your mind with positive thoughts and ideas and learn to surround yourself with like-minded people. Stress normally takes a toll on one’s energy, leaving you drained and sad, which in turn makes you prone to various lifestyle diseases which are otherwise avoidable.

Alternative treatment

Some people who suffer with inflammatory diseases are turning to alternative healing methods for relief and cures.  First, adopting an anti-inflammatory diet is recommended. What this means is that you adopt the belief that what you eat can help reduce your inflammation if you’re eating the right types of foods and herbs.  Here are some wonderful foods you can eat to reduce inflammation:

  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • Wild seafood
  • Herbs like turmeric, garlic, ginger, and oregano
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Green tea

There are other ways to contend with inflammation as well. Some will incorporate massage therapy, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, a raw food diet, juicing, energy healing modules, yoga, and other methods. What many people like about alternative healing methods is that there are no harmful side effects associated with them.  Many people are moving toward such methods as either a supplement to conventional treatment or making it their primary treatment. Of course, results vary from person to person and much depends on the type of inflammatory condition going on.

When you can get to the root of the inflammation, it’s easier to heal.  Thought health insurance does not normally pay for many of the alternative healing modules, some professionals are keeping their prices at an affordable level so that people can get in and give them a try.  At the very least, one can adopt a raw food diet, juice, add helpful supplements, and exercise regularly and see if that helps reduce inflammation.  When you can look at treating the disease in a holistic manner, you’re more apt to be able to see some progress when it comes to healing.

The following book by Katie Lee has some great anti-inflammatory recipes to get you started on healing yourself. It’s just $2.99 / £1.99 / €2.99

Anti inflammatory diet

 

WIAW #20 Quinoa Pizza Base ~ Gluten-free and NO soaking!

WIAW

Happy Wednesday guys! Linking up to Peas and Crayons and all the other What I ate Wednesday bloggers!

Today’s recipe was last week AND last nights dinner and it was A-mazing both times!! It was the first time I used quinoa as my pizza base last week as I have used cauliflower and buckwheat in the past so was *super* excited to try this recipe. I scoured the internet to find a quick and easy one as I am not a fan of having to wait overnight when I wanted the pizza now! You can pick this pizza up like regular pizza, no knives and forks required *mini fist pump* 🙂

The recipe for the base is from The Wholesome Dish, she made a super garlic and cheese ‘bread’ with hers. I will definitely be doing this soon. Go check her site out, it rocks! But first here is breakfast lunch and snacks!

Breakfast: Breakfast was buckwheat flakes with almond milk – I am LOVING these at the moment. So crunchy and tasty –> wheat and gluten-free too!!

Buckwheat flakes

Lunch: As I was getting over the vomiting bug (sorry!) I was easing myself back in to food and made a yummy batch of homemade vegetable soup. 1 onion, 2 carrots, stem of broccoli (stringy outwear layer removed) 1 beef tomatoe, 1 knorr stock pot and 1 litre hot water. Delicious!

Vegetable Soup

Snacks: I had a craving for fruit after my sickness (any theories on this please comment below 😉 ) I had a mandarin and some cashew nuts.

Mandarin

And Finally Dinner!! The SCRUMPTIOUS quinoa base pizza that’s like real pizza (I swear!) Change up toppings to your liking. Next time I am going to try some sundried tomatoes, feta and chorizo.

Gluten free pizza

Ingredients:

½ cup quinoa
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup water
2 large eggs
½ tsp garlic salt
½ tsp dried oregano leaves
½ tsp dried basil leaves
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup low fat mozzarella or cheddar if you prefer

Pizza Sauce
1/2 cup of passata
1 tbsp tomato puree / paste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper

Toppings 
1 ball of low fat mozzarella – grated
1/2 red onion – sliced
1/2 red pepper – sliced
5 slices turkey and pork salami – shredded
Baby spinach leaves – shredded (I add this just before serving so they are uncooked)

 Instructions:

Rinse the quinoa in a sieve under cold running water to remove any residue.

Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a pan and add the drained quinoa, move around in the oil to toast. Cook for around 5-7 minutes until they are fragrant.

Next add in the cup of water and bring to the boil. Once boiling turn the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove the lid for a few minutes to ‘dry’ out the quinoa. Pour in to a bowl and allow to cool slightly (10 minutes at least) Prepare your pizza sauce while waiting – combine all the pizza sauce ingredients together in a bowl and whisk so there are no lumps from the tomato puree (paste)

Preheat your oven to 420’F / 210C – THIS IS IMPORTANT as I FORGOT when I made this first time round *oooops!* It didn’t affect the pizza once cooked, I just had to cook the base for an extra 20 minutes to get the desired texture!

Place some baking parchment or greaseproof paper on to a baking tray.

In a bowl mix together the quinoa, mozzarella, herbs, garlic, eggs and remaining oil, combine well.

Spray the baking parchment with some oil or brush on some extra olive oil then place your mixture in the centre. Using your hands is the best way as it will only stick to utensils!

Quinoa pizza

*The patches are where I spayed some oil so my baking parchment would stay on the tray*

Flatten out to your desired shape, I went with the traditional pizza shape.

quinoa pizza base

Bake for 20 minutes until the edges are nicely browning, remove then add your pizza sauce and toppings and bake for a further 15-20 minutes

Gluten free pizza baseI added chopped baby spinach leaves just before serving and some more dried oregano.

Gluten free pizzaI let the hubby have the last slice 🙂

Gluten free pizza base

I have a lot of recipes to get up such as cajun baked salmon with cauli-mash and broccoli, chicken and vegetable stew and I am making some chickpea smashed guacamole for lunch today. All coming soon. I also have some exciting news on the horizon about Queen Bee’s Kitchen, all will be revealed in time. So for now don’t forget to pop over to Peas and Crayons and check out the other food bloggers. Happy Wednesday and happy eating!

S x

Smoked Mackerel Patè {Gluten-free}

Smoked mackerel pate and  crisp bread with cucumber

Hey guys,

Today’s post is a recipe from my book Gluten-free Meals in Minutes

It is so unbelievably easy to prepare and tastes amazing! It would be a great make ahead starter for Christmas day. You can substitute the mackerel for salmon if you prefer.

Ingredients:

4 smoked mackerel fillets
2 cloves of garlic – crushed
225g / 1 cup cream cheese
Juice of a lemon
2 tbsp fresh herbs chopped (I like parsley)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste
Fresh chives, cucumber and gluten-free crackers to serve

Method

  1. Break up the mackerel fillets and place in a food processor with the garlic, cream cheese and lemon juice.
  2. Blend the mixture for a few seconds then add the parsley. Blend again until it is almost smooth. Add the salt, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce to taste and blend to mix well.
  3. Pour the pate in to a dish and cover with cling film. Chill if you have the time.
  4. To serve garnish with the chopped chives and serve with my homemade crackers & sliced cucumber or gluten-free toast. Delish!!

Gluten-free Blue cheese, Walnut & Thyme Bread

Gluten-free bread

 

Sorry it has taken me longer than the expected time to get this recipe up but it is worth the wait I PROMISE!

I know that blue cheese is not everyone’s cup of tea BUT I love every type of cheese, especially  blue cheese…the smellier the better LOL 🙂 this bread was an experimentation that worked a treat! The hubby and my brother loved it too – SCORE!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free white flour (I use doves farm)
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats (I used red mill)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 2oz / 50g blue cheese (I used a stilton but you can use danish blue or any other preferred  type) roughly chopped / crumbed
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves – roughly chopped
  • Few thyme leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) buttermilk

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180F / 350C and grease a 2lb bread loaf tin
  2. In a large mixing bowl mix the flour, oats and baking soda.
  3. Next add in the walnuts and blue cheese before add the buttermilk.
  4. Pour the mixture in to the tin (it should only come almost 3/4 of the way up)
  5. Bake for 50 minutes or until cooked through (check with a skewer through the center) and tapping the bottom of the loaf for a hollow sound.

Allow to cool on a wire rack COMPLETELY before diving in. This is delicious fresh or toasted. I am going to make a few batches for Christmas.

I would love to know……

What’s your favorite topping for bread / toast? (mine is bovril on toast – I am weird I know!)

What the most unusual combination you have put together in a recipe?

WIAW #18 Gluten-free Blue Cheese & Walnut Bread

What I ate Wednesday is here again! Lets jump straight in…

Breakfast – Gluten-free Blue cheese, Walnut and Thyme bread… I understand it is not everyone’s cup of tea but it is sooooo darn tasty! Recipe will be up later..promise!

Gluten-free bread

Lunch – Homemade Cauliflower and Carrot Soup. It’s freezing here in Ireland now so this is comforting!

Homemade soup

Dinner – Tapas in The Port House, Dundrum with my friend when we were Christmas shopping on Friday. There was prawns pil pil, chickenpeas with chorizo, meatballs, chicken skewers and olives. Delicious!!

Tapas

Snacks – My mini donut (doughnut) maker arrived yesterday so I decided to whip to a batch of pumpkin mini donuts. They are unbelievably light and so tasty. Recipe to follow

mini donuts 20141126-114901.jpg pumpkin donuts

That’s my what I ate Wednesday for this week guys!! Go check out the other bloggers at Peas and Crayons

Happy Thanksgiving Eve to my American readers, I hope you all have an amazing day tomorrow! xx

Breakfast made easy

I have had a lot of queries from readers asking about quick and easy breakfast options, a lot of you skip it and that is just not on… As we all know it is the MOST important meal of the day! I understand people are pushed for time with children, getting ready for school and work, so I have selected a few of my favorite breakfast recipes, some of which can be made ahead so they are a grab and go option. They can be eaten for brunch or lunch too and all recipes are Gluten-free with some Paleo recipes here too.

Wrap

First up is my one egg wraps, you can have these pre-made and in the fridge ready to be filled in the morning. Here is the recipe -> One Egg Wrap and below are some ideas for fillings depending on how much time you have.

  • Bacon with your choice of sauce – who doesn’t love a bit of bacon in the morning?! 🙂
  • Sausage & cheese – very satisfying and will keep you full until lunch
  • Tuna Salad
  • Chicken, Rocket & Cucumber
  • Ham & Egg Mayo

Mini Fritatta

Mini egg muffins or mini frittatas as I like to call them are extremely easy to make. You can cook a batch on Sunday night and you can use right up until Wednesday. Here is the recipe -> Mini Frittata. Again, these can be filled with your favorite ingredients. Below are some suggestions, remember to cut the ingredients in to small dice.

  • Bacon lardons, mature cheddar, spring onion & sun-dried tomato
  • Broccoli, feta & sun-dried tomato
  • Spinach & Parmesan
  • Chorizo, red peppers & parsley
  • Cooked cubed potato & sausage

Breakfast Burrito

The next recipe is from the wonderful Michelle at Cavegirl Cuisine, I made these wraps yesterday and they were delicious (I was so hungry they were gone before I remembered about a photo..oooops sorry! I will get one next time, promise!)

All her recipe are Paleo, you can of course change the filling to your preference but I loved the sausage and egg mixture. Michelle calls this her Breakfast Burrito Pancake and if you are a breakfast skipper I guarantee you will start having it again once you try this OR any of the above recipes!

Is there any other breakfast / lunch recipes you would like to share?