Friday, 30 May 2014

Competition Time! WIN a copy of Practical Paleo PLUS a cake of choice from Paleo Crunch

Hi Everyone! 

As you may know, my Facebook page recently reached 10,000 likes, something I am VERY excited and happy about. 

Paleo has changed my life and has already opened up so many opportunities for me. Before I found Paleo I was in a job I hated and felt pretty lost about where to go with my career. I discovered this amazing way of eating and it encouraged me to take this on as a career choice in order to spread to word of the power of food over health. I am now almost qualified to be a Nutritional Therapist! Hopefully this is only the beginning! 

I am so excited and thankful for all of your support. So many of you regularly comment and participate on the Facebook page and the blog is currently reaching 30,000 page views a month! I cannot believe that there are so many people interested and it is so exciting to see the real food movement grow so much in recent times. Onwards and upwards. Lets keep spreading the Paleo message! 

To celebrate the recent increase in likes and to say "thank you" to you all on your continued support, I am launching a brand new competition. 

I make no secret of the fact that I think Practical Paleo is an amazing book which has literally become a Paleo bible to so many, including myself! It is a fantastic book which I absolutely recommend you buy if you literally want a textbook with everything explained in a clear, well illustrated way. There are even condition specific meal plans for those suffering diabetes, digestive discomfort or thyroid issues and also has handy pull out guides to fats, carb choices proteins. It makes it all super easy! (Her book sort of scares me though. In a good way. In a "I could never live up to this standard" type of way!) Diane and her team have generously given us a copy of her book to give away. If you can't wait that long, buy it here

Keeping it Irish I have also teamed up with Una of Paleo Crunch to offer the lucky winner a delicious Paleo cake of choice! I can personally vouch for Una's delicious creations! She is based in Waterford and you can find her Facebook page here. I received a lovely selection of her baked goods as a treat a few months ago and they were fabulous! Read my review here

I was also lucky enough to get a Paleo Chocolate birthday cake off my work colleagues in April. It was delicious! And such a treat! 

Want to get your mouth around a delicious Paleo treat cake? Of course you do! 

To be in with a chance of winning both the book AND the cake please:

Like this post on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter 
Follow me on Instagram

Good luck! x

Friday, 23 May 2014

My Whole30 in Pictures

Happy Weekend! Hope you are all well and have lovely plans for the weekend ahead. 

I am really excited as I am heading away with friends tomorrow to Amsterdam! It is going to be so much fun, and a great way to relax after completing my Whole30! 

So this was my 8th Whole30! I done my first one back in 2011 and now do one very few months or so, it varies depending on what I have going on, or how much I feel I need a reset! 

Like all my past cycles of this 100& Paleo challenge, I found this one challenging but doable. The first week is usually fine for me, but I find things get sticky for me around Day 10-17 when Day30 seems aaaaaages away. 

That combined with the fact that I had three social events on in May which all involved delicious looking cakes but from which I refrained eating. I think that is the toughest thing! Seeing all that bad food around you but you can't have a morsel! And of course when you CANNOT have something you always want it! 

One thing the Whole30 does make you realise is that even seemingly healthy things are still full of hidden nasties! It is so difficult to eat out sometimes unless you are ultra careful and ultra pedantic about ordering, otherwise you might end up with something on your plate which wasn't stated on the menu and which is not Whole30 compliant. Like happened me one day I ate out for lunch. I ordered a lovely looking salad with delicious chicken and avocado (which is so rare to get on a salad here for some reason!). I was really specific about requesting no dressing and olive oil on the side and then it arrived with a load of grated cheddar randomly thrown on top! What was the need for that I ask you!? Needless to say I politely asked for it to be removed. 

The one time that a Whole30 is very difficult is when out and about and busy. If you are not prepared for this you will suffer! BADLY! I know, I know, I should be a dab hand at this kind of thing by now but I got caught out. I went shopping one day and went unprepared. Thought I would have loads of time to stop and get something to eat but it was impossible to find anything I could eat in a shopping centre (I should have know this!) For some unheard reason it is nigh on impossible to get something to eat in a shopping centre (mall) that is not a cream bun, a scone (geez the Irish really do love a good scone!) or a bloody pannini. Not everyone wants a damn sandwich! And if you ask for a salad you either get one of two things - a halved boiled egg served with a leaf of soggy iceberg lettuce and tonnes of potato salad and coleslaw (sure a salad is not a salad without a bit of potato salad don't ya know!?) or an elaborate affair with delicious anti-pasti selection with everything priced separately and costing about €3.50 per salad meaning your plate costs about €25! 

The moral of the story. Be prepared.!

All in all I am happy with how it went and I look forward to my next cycle of it. If you are considering doing a Whole30 I say go for it! You learn so much about your eating habits and you learn not to have such an unhealthy relationship with food. Retrain your habits, cut out sugar, reduce inflammation and heal your body. Hit the reset button. Do a Whole30! 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Easy Recipe: Spiced Cauli-Rice

This is a great variation on the traditional cauli-rice and adds a delicious taste and dimension to this Paleo staple. 

1 head of cauliflower
2tsp of coconut oil
1tsp of cumin seeds
1tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chilli powder
2tbsp coconut oil
Salt and pepper

1. Place the cauliflower into a blender and blitz until makes a rice consistency.
2. Melt the oil on a large pan. Add the spices and fry for 2 minutes.
3. Add the cauliflower and fry gently for 5-10 minutes or until tender, coloured and deliciously flavoursome!
4. Serve along with a delicious stir-fry or my delicious Coconut Chicken and Sweet Potato Curry

Friday, 9 May 2014

Supporting Your Child's Immunity

Supporting your child against common illnesses can be an ongoing concern, especially during the winter months. With children being constantly exposed to various bacteria and viruses it can be difficult to manage our children’s health.

There are a number of areas we can help to support immunity in children.

        1.    Breast Is Best
Breastfeeding your child is an important way for them to start life with a good immunity. Studies show that breastfeeding for up to four months after birth significantly reduces the risk of developing asthma in later childhood. Breastfed babies have far less risk of developing chronic diseases later in life such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis as well as overall lower risk of sickness and infection.

2.       Boost digestion
The digestive system, in particular our guts play a crucial role in our immunity with the gut making up roughly 70% of our total ability to fight off illness. Ensure proper bowel elimination as this is key to removing toxins from the body:
·         Ensure proper hydration – dehydration works against the body’s ability to protect the body - liquids add bulk to the stool and allow it to pass more easily. Increase fluids by offering fresh water, water with added lemon juice, well diluted not from concentrate fruit juices, soups, broths, breast milk and herbal teas such as fennel, peppermint and lemon balm.
·         Include fibre rich fruit and vegetables such as sweet potato, cabbage, kale, plums, prunes, peaches and pears which all help the bowel eliminate more efficiently.
·         Add omega rich nuts and seeds which will also add fibre and aid the movement of the stool, making it easier to pass. Flaxseed are a good option for preventing constipation.
·         Remove constipating foods from the diet – dairy foods, sugary foods and bananas.

3.       Add Probiotics.
Digestive micro flora play an increasingly important role in immunity. Recent studies show that those children who take a good quality probiotic have a reduced risk of developing upper respiratory disorders, colds, flus or tummy bugs. 

Tips to choosing a good probiotic supplement:
·         Choose a well-known and trusted brand which specialises in probiotic supplements as they tend to have invested the most time and energy in researching particular strains of micro-flora.
·         Ensure there are billions of live bacteria still present at the time of expiration. Many brands will show you a number of bacteria at time of manufacture but you can expect 2-4% expiration per month of storage. Look for a time of expiration figure. Aim for 15 billion as a good starting level.
·         Choose a supplement which has a good number of different strains of bacteria.

4.       Serve more fruit & vegetables
Colourful fruit and vegetables contain antioxidants and phytonutrients which are very important in enhancing immunity. The more colourful your child’s plate, the greater the number of nutrients so try to get them to eat a rainbow! Vitamins such as Vitamin C, carotenoids and phytonutrients can increase production of infection fighting white blood cells. A diet rich in these antioxidants can also prevent the development of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Aim for at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day (a portion is a tablespoon for toddlers and 1 cup raw vegetables, ½ cup of cooked vegetables, medium sized piece of fruit or ½ cup of cooked or unsweetened canned fruit for older children)

Easy ways to increase vegetable and fruit consumption:
·         Include in soups and smoothies for an easy boost of nutrients!
·         Blend into tomato sauces for added hidden vegetables!
·         Serve raw vegetables (carrot, celery, beetroot) with homemade dips like hummus or guacamole.
·         Aim for approximately ½ the plate as vegetables for healthier mealtimes.

5.       Avoid Sugar
Sugar consumption has been found to decrease phagocytic action (immune cells ability to “consume” a threat/bacteria/virus) significantly for up to five hours after consumption

6.       Boost sleep
Sleep is extremely important for immunity. Lack of sleep has been shown to reduce natural killer cells which help fight off infection and cancer cells. Ensure your child has sufficient, good quality sleep each day to help their immune system function at its peak.
·         Ensure a fixed bed time routine each day – set a bed time and stick to it.
·         Do not allow your child to play video consoles or use mobile phones in bed – bright lights before bedtime can disrupt proper sleep hormone regulation. Switch off all electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
·         Discourage the use of night lights where at all possible. Full darkness is a crucial component of restful sleep.
·         Use blackout curtains to ensure full room darkness if napping during the day or for Summer months.

7.       Exercise
Increasing evidence suggests that regular moderate exercise can help to boost immunity. During moderate exercise immune cells travel through the body more quickly, leading to increased attack on bacteria and viruses.
·         Exercise as a family to encourage your child to get out and get moving.
·         Exposure to Vitamin D via sunlight is also very important for immune function. During winter months when sunlight exposure is low, consider taking a good quality Vitamin D supplement of 1000IU per day, taken with food.
·         Take your child on a bicycle ride in the park or swimming at your local gym.
·         Set a good example – if children see their parents exercise regularly they are more likely to include time for exercise themselves.

8.       Avoid Antibiotic Abuse
With busy lives and the constant threat of your child becoming sick, there is sometimes a tendency to urge our GP to write a prescription for an antibiotic at the first sign of illness. It is understandable – sick days often mean time off work for parents, and this is not always ideal. However reaching for an antibiotic for every cold or cold is not a good idea – in fact it can cause more problems than it is worth. Antibiotics are only designed to work on bacteria and cold, flus and many coughs are caused by viruses, on which antibiotics will have zero effect. Antibiotics are a marvellous medicine – but if used incorrectly they can lead to antibiotic resistant superbugs. Their use also throws the delicate micro-flora in our guts out of balance which will have bad effects on our long term immunity.
·         Only give your child an antibiotic for bacterial infections.
·         Do not be afraid to ask your GP if it is absolutely necessary to give an antibiotic. Many doctors wrongly feel pressured to give antibiotics because they feel the parent wants it. Some will be very happy to give you a delayed prescription for an antibiotic in case it is needed at a later date.
·         Always follow up an antibiotic with a good probiotic supplement.
·         Try natural antibiotics – Manuka honey (UMF 15+), Garlic, Echinacea.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Easy Recipe: Beetroot Crisps With Guacamole Dip

Looking for a healthy delicious snack? These crunchy and delicious beetroot crisps will satisfy that craving for something tasty and salty but without the nasty trans-fats and additives. 

The crisps are easy to make and go so well with the creamy guacamole. 

For the Crisps
3 fresh raw beets
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
For the guacamole
1 large ripe avocado
1/2 red chilli chopped fine 
2 scallions chopped finely
1/2 garlic clove grated
Juice of half lemon

Preheat the oven to 200C
Peel the beets and slice thinly using a mandolin (be careful of your fingers!)
Place in a bowl and add the melted coconut oil, salt and pepper and mix well. 
Spread in a single layer over a baking sheet and place in the oven for 20/25 minutes.
Check regularly, turning every 5 minutes or so. 
They are cooked when they are tender but beginning to brown at the edges. 
Remove from oven and blot with kitchen paper to remove excess oil. They will begin to firm up as they cool. 
Meanwhile peel the avocado, remove stone and add flesh to a bowl. Add remaining ingredients for the guacamole and blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Check seasoning and serve alongside your beetroot crisp! YUM!