Homemade Nutty and Coconut Granola

FullSizeRender (5)My first attempt at making granola was not bad at all ! I ‘ve been asked to share my recipe so here it is. So looking forward to trying it with different ingredients.Swap the granola you get from supermarkets, often laden with added sugars and unhealthy fats which are pro-inflammatory and unfortunately contribute to several chronic health conditions.

This recipe is packed with oats, which stabilise your blood sugar levels so great when on a Low GI diet. If you are intolerant to gluten you can select the gluten free oats and voila this recipe is then also Gluten free in addition to it being dairy free.

The coconut oil, nuts, seeds including the chia seeds are lovely for your skin, hair and nails and giving you the glow you want and deserve .You get the sweetness from the cinnamon (great for hormone balancing and stabilising the sugar cravings you may have occasionally) and from dried dates. For those who follow a plant based diet, you get great amounts of healthy protein but also plenty of amounts of protein. Yes we use coconut oil , and once you invest in one of those  pots ( lucybee coconut oil, tiana , or higher nature for example), it will last for a while and you”ll find yourself baking and cooking with it all the time. This recipe is delicious !

Ingredients

2 cups of oats

1/2 cup of chopped almonds (when toasted in a pan for a few minutes, or in the oven, they add more crunch to the granola. you may do so before chopping them)

1.5 cup of coconut (flakes or shredded)

1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds

1/4 sunflower seeds

1/4 chopped dried dates

1/4 cup of pecans

wet ingredients

1/4 melted coconut oil

2-3 tablespoons of agave syrup or honey or maple syrup

2 tablespoons of cinnamon

1tsp of vanilla extract

Method : Melt your coconut oil in a saucepan and add in the other wet ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients to the dry ones. Substitute your ingredients for those that you prefer. Be it walnuts, cranberries, brazil nuts, walnuts,  raisins, ground flax…

Preheat your oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

Spread the mixture onto a pan lined with parchment paper or a non-stick mat and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes. Do check very 15 minutes or so and give the granola a good stir

Allow to cool for 20-25 minutes before serving. You may keep the granola in the fridge or in an air-tight glass container for about a month..

Serving suggestion, with homemade apple compote ( cooked apples and water- wonderful source of pectin, anti-oxidants, fibre , low in sugar) and a sprinkle of chia seeds ( for more healthy protein and omega’s.)

or as a top up to your porridge, yoghurt or fruits.

 

 

 

 

Show your liver some TLC

 

The liver is your largest organ and gland in the body. It lies beneath your ribs and everything you breathe and swallow meets the liver
Its functions include
-acts as a filter which cleans up all our toxins
-stores our vitamins and iron
-detoxifies the blood and produce bile
All these functions allow your internal system to run smoothly
liver photo

Signs of poor bile flow can include, constipation which can be aggravated by fibre supplements, flatulence, dry skin and hair, indigestion an hour or two after food, or a feeling of indigestion after meals high in fat content, or even small and hard stools.

After a period of indulgence or a few drinks here and there, it all takes its toll on your liver
Follow these simple tips to naturally and effectively cleanse your liver.

Superfoods
Your liver loves superfoods because they work as stimulants for the liver. Several vegetables are rich in the magic protein, glutathione, which works by detoxifying the liver. So double check your shopping list, and start off by adding carrots. Not only are they versatile, eaten raw or cooked, suiting any dinner dish really, but they are also heavy in glutathione. Beetroots are just as amazing as carrots ! Tomatoes also have abundant amounts of glutathione, they detoxify and stimulate the liver simultaneously ! that’s fantastic! so have them on a toast for breakfast, as a soup, toss them in a salad or make a tomato salsa as a side dish for dinner. What about kale !! this green leafy vegetable that I discovered in the UK, is so in season ! have them as a side to your eggs, they can form the bulk of your green juices or smoothies, make a pesto ( see my kale and walnut pesto recipe) or in a soup. At college, they recommended once, to massage the kale with good olive oil and have them in a salad ! That’s if you have time to do such a thing. Kale (from the brassica family) contains sulphurous compounds such as sulphoraphane and Indole 3 carbinol, involved in the detoxification pathways of the liver! Another member of the brassica family, includes brussels sprouts, still in season ! and no they should not just be around for Christmas !B.Sprouts are both high in anti-oxidants and their sulphur content force the liver to release enzymes. If they are not your thing, then pick avocadoes. You’ll notice that all nutritionists/nutritional therapists are raving about avocadoes, they are just so good ! tasty, nutrient dense and they aid the production of glutathione.Spinach is my all time favourite healing antidote, which also triggers toxin cleaning enzymes.

brussel_sprouts

How about FRUITS !
I cannot live a day without fruits, yes they can be high in sugar but in the right quantities and balanced with the right categories of food, they are just fine. As liver healing remedies, grapefruit lovers will be happy to know that these are packed with the magic protein, glutathione, high in anti-oxidants and vitamin C which boosts the production of detoxifying enzymes. Citrus fruits in general have wonderful healing habits because they stimulate the liver as well as synthesizing toxic materials into substances which are absorbed by water. Just like the saying goes ‘Eat an apple a day to keep the doctor away’, well being high in pectin, they cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract so the liver can then handle the toxic load more effectively

Herbal teas.
These can be your alternative to your cuppa of tea or coffee.They are invigorating and warm, and can be a tool to help your liver cleanse. Dandelion tea for instance helps your liver break down fats which produce amino acids, and research shows it helps to transport toxins away from the liver to be excreted by the body and assists liver function. Green tea is glorious and is packed of anti-oxidants called catechins which assist liver function. Milk thistle, as most of you know, is a great liver cleanser.

Your liver DISLIKES
Alcohol


Alcohol
is usually the main culprit for a pounding head, which is down to dehydration.Your liver has to work overtime to get rid of alcoholic toxins and dehydration means the body can’t flush these toxins out.Some natural healers can give you a happy head once again. Warm water and lemon is a wake up call for the liver, it triggers nerve and hormone activation directly to the liver.Upon waking up daily, it is also a wonderful tool to kick your liver’s activity. A lot of us forget, that water is our body’s greatest fuel, and drinking sufficient fluid boosts the flow of nutrients to and from the liver. Spices like Turmeric, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties which benefit and protect the liver. Other ways to get the grips with you weekend hangover, crab apple, zinc and garlic !

garlic

EXCESS
When your body cannot process excess fatty food, salt, iron, and vitamin A, it stores it naturally in the liver. This can cause abnormal liver function and inflammation which can lead to a condition called Cirrhosis.(Cirrhosis is a term used to describe scarring of the liver after long term and continuous damage and scar tissue replaces healthy tissue

Perhaps it is time to use some of those tips if you don’t already to cleanse your liver naturally. Head down to a farmer’s market and stock up on superfoods. Regenerate and cleanse ! it is your liver and your life.

Banana oat and coconut loaf

Dig into a slice of this moist, slightly nutty, hearty loaf for breakfast on the go or an afternoon snack to prevent dips in energy levels. It is also perfect post workout and it packed with fibre Here is my very easy Gluten free and Dairy free recipe. Adapt it as you like and let me know of the outcome.

Ingredients :

3ripe bananas, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 1 egg, 3tbsp grape seed oil or coconut oil( melted), 1/4  cup of organic cane sugar , 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, 2-3 tbsp. of honey, (depending on the ripeness of the bananas), 3.5 tsp of baking powder, 3/4 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon, 3/4 cup of almond milk or other milk of your choice, 1 and 1/4 cup of  dry shredded coconut, 1 and 1/4 of gluten free flour (again you may swap for wholemeal flour or self-raising flour of your choice, but do adjust the amount of baking powder is using a self-raising flour), 1 and 1/4 of organic gluten free oats.

1.Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius ( 350 F), Line a loaf pan with greaseproof paper

2.Mash banana in a large bowl and add all your ingredients through almond milk, and whisk vigorously to combine. Lastly add shredded coconut (you may swap this for almond meal ).Add the flour and oats and stir

.3. Bake for about an hour, when it is ready it should feel firm and be crackly with a golden brown tint.

4.allow it to cool completely before cutting or it will be too tender to hold form

5.Serve as it is, or add some nut butter or a thin layer of honey. But I loved it just as it was

You can slice and freeze for longer storage. But if you have children or men to feed in the house with packed snacks, it will go away very quickly, I promise. 🙂

So overall the loaf, has the right amounts of protein, fibre, is anti-inflammatory, full of flavour, Beta-glucans from the oats make it good for the heart and reduces the bad type of cholesterol, it will help to balance blood sugar levels and keep you full, limiting sugar cravings. It has omega 3 fats from the coconut oil and shredded coconut ! and these do not oxidise into harming molecules  ( we call free radicals) for the body , upon high heat ( like sunflower, vegetable oil, peanut oil amongst others) Omega 3 are also wonderful for the brain (development and concentration !) and beautiful skin.

If you do not eat EGGS, swap it with chia seeds, 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 2 and 1/2 tbsps of water which you mix and let it soak for a 5 mins.

You may also reduce the sugar content of the loaf as you wish, which I did.it really depends on who you are making it for.

happy snacking

x isabelle

Hormonal imbalances

Although both men and women have the same hormones just in different ratios, women seem to be the bearers of more complex issues. Yes it can be complex, as maintaining the right hormonal balance requires other body systems  such as, the nervous, endocrine and digestive systems to also work in synergy! Why the connection between the nervous and endocrine systems? Well to give you a broad idea, the hypothalamus located  in the brain controls the pituitary gland which is the master of  endocrine hormones .It acts control on  glands in the body such as the adrenal, thyroid, ovaries, testes,  Its action on the thyroid gland for instance, is for the production of  thyroid hormones and balance the body’s metabolism  Adrenal glands (sit on top of the kidneys), are responsible namely from the production of cortisol, DHEA from cholesterol ( DHEA is the hormone that controls testosterone and 3 types of oestrogen), and aldosterone ( involved in blood pressure and fluid concentration balance).I may have lost you there, but with future blogs you will slowly develop a better understanding of the connection between body systems and overall it is all about balance

Hormone imbalances can occur so easily especially since they are incredibly sensitive to the environment (stress, exposure to many compounds that modern lifestyles put us through and nutrition)
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, where the correlation between hormonal imbalances and the symptoms have gone unnoticed or may be worse around menstrual cycles for women. These can include bloating, feeling sluggish, insomnia, finding it hard to focus, constipation, skin issues, mood changes including depression, loss of hair, weight gain, muscle loss or weakness, poor libido and infertility.

Key advice

There are pathways in the body that ensure adequate conversion, transport, modulation or excretion of hormones but several factors can upset our balance as mentioned before. Always aim to balance the body as a whole, functionally, to see positive changes in hormonal levels.
Ensuring the liver detoxification pathways are working correctly
-Support your liver with superfoods (wheatgrass, green tea, organic nuts and seeds, acai berries…), dark green leafy vegetables(kale/spinach/chinese greens), lean protein, and foods high in anti-oxidants (think of eating a rainbow of colours-berries/avocadoes/beetroots/carrots).The liver is the organ that is responsible for breaking down hormones that we produce along with its actions with several other compounds (alcohol, medications, pesticides etc).Often symptoms seen in Premenstrual Syndromes (PMS), is an imbalance between progesterone and oestrogen.
Adequate insoluble and soluble fibre can improve the excretion of excess oestrogen. As once hormones have detoxified, it is important to get rid of hormone by-products. This is particularly important if on the contraceptive pill. Examples of insoluble fibre (helps to form the bulk of stools and speed the digestive process) : wholewheat and wholegrain products, nuts and seeds (except golden linseeds), fruits such as apples and pears and vegetables such as carrots.. Soluble fibre(attracts water and turns to a gel like texture) : oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits (strawberries, bananas) and several vegetables.
• Healthy gut bacteria can make sure that the unwanted hormones are not re-absorbed back into the blood stream to create further havoc with your hormones. Disturbances in gut bacteria can arise from medical conditions, medications, stress, poor diet (high refined flours, sugars, caffeine, dairy, processed foods ) etc. If choosing to go down the route of probiotics, consult a nutritional therapist to make the right choice, as they are specific strains in combination or alone, which can be right for you .Specific food also known as , prebiotics (sauerkraut, kefir )  can feed your gut with good bacteria. The right balance of omega 3 and 6 is also key to keep inflammation at bay and promote a healthy gut.
Limiting hormone disruptors in our day to day life. For instance: phthalate plasticisers from plastic food packaging have been shown to disrupt hormones. A hormone disruptor is basically ‘an external agent which interferes with the production, release, transport, metabolism, binding, action or elimination of natural hormones in the body responsible for the right balance and regulation of developmental processes.’
Supporting your blood sugar levels is key. Excessive amounts of insulin are produced when blood sugar levels are high and this can raise your stress hormones, which are closely linked to your sex hormones. Too low blood sugar levels are not ideal either. Combining the right food categories and eating at regular times, mindfully, can help tremendously.
Finding the time to relax and do the things that you like. (Be it watching back to back episodes of the modern family, sleep, cook, meditate, sex, eat dark chocolate). Stress can affect the body as a whole, and your hormones are certainly not omitted. You must remember that also in times of stress, your body is deficient of vital nutrients nourishing it with the right food or supplements can be key !

  • Exercise wisely: Yes we release feel good hormones called ‘endorphins’ upon exercising, but if you have been told you have adrenal or thyroid imbalances, choose lower impact classes such as pilates, yoga or swimming instead of a body attack class ,and slowly but surely  work your way up the exercise ladder as you wish, under supervision.

Supplements can help a particular protocol at specific stages, get in touch to find out more!
Hormone imbalances differ from person to person as we are individuals with different medical backgrounds, family history, genetic makeups with different diets and lifestyles.

Find out how tailored support can be provided for hormone imbalances as well as the management of conditions such as fertility, PCOS, PMS, menopause and endometriosis

Contact isabelle@nutriaffairs.com