Wednesday 3 December 2014

I don't know what to say...

Lovely and Light, Lemon Treats.

Is definitely a first for me!

I know it has been too long since I wrote an update, but I do have a good reason. I am in the process of changing the name of my blog and am working on this for the moment. However, I apologies for taking my eye off the KG ball and so by way of making it up to you, I hope you like the recipe below.

I will post another one for my very favourite raw fudge soon so please do check back in.

Bon appetite!

Lemon Treats

Makes about 28 treats.  

Tart lemon, nutty walnuts and sesame seeds, rich coconut and smooth, sweet dates come together to make these incredibly refreshing treats.

1 cup chopped pitted dates
1 cup raw walnuts
1 cup sesame seeds
¼ cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest (organic)

How to make them…

Place dates, walnuts, sesame seeds, lemon juice and zest in a food processor. Pulse and blend until completely combined and smooth.  The mixture will be slightly sticky. With dampened hands, roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls.  Roll in coconut and chill until ready to serve. Super easy and super tasty!

Saturday 12 July 2014

Calling 5 Guinea Pigs!

I have been using essential oils for over 20 years. They made as much sense to me then as they do now. I dabbled with different oils over the years but eventually trained as an aromatherapist in 1997. Although I have used many different brands, I still haven't settled on any one in particular. Where possible, I have used organic oils because of their purity and quality but I have also come to learn that it is really important to use oils of therapeutic grade to achieve real benefits. 

I was recently approached by someone who wanted me to look at taking on a new range of essential oils. At first, I was put off because the oils are sold through an Multi Level Marketing business model (pyramid style scheme). However, the oils and their stories of success in healing a myriad of different health challenges are very compelling and this company wants to separate themselves from all the others out there in terms of how they do business. So, what I have decided to do is to put them on trial. I would like to look for 5 guinea pigs to test the oils on.  I would like to be clear here and say that it will be both external and internal application. This is one of the only aromatherapy companies that are claiming that their oils are safe for internal use (I know that that comment will have some aromatherapists up in arms but I am merely quoting the company's claims here).

So, if you have a health condition that you would like some help with and you would like to try a natural health alternative, then please, contact me by any of the means outlined here.

With every good wish,


Ps: You will need to be in Ireland for this trial.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Face Lifts and Food

Face Lift Foods...

I hope the title grabbed you a little. It was meant to. I feel moved to make some inroad into the sticky subject of cosmetic surgery. I can not for the life of me see why someone would want to have needles (and big needles at that) stuck into their beautiful skin to make themselves look younger. I know many people struggle with the idea of getting older and seeing the changes in the mirror that we cannot control, can be really challenging for some. However, to me, injecting fillers and using toxic chemicals to make yourself feel better, really isn't the answer. 

My very first singing teacher told me that her lines and creases were hard earned and she was dammed if she was going to try and get rid of them using some cream! I also met someone recently who asked me if it was not ok to grow old anymore? I agreed with both of these ladies. The cosmetic surgery industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the Western World. I say the Western World because how you look on the outside really is a first world problem, I believe. We have become so fixated with the outside that we rarely take a look to see what is going on on the inside. Please don't get me wrong, I am all for looking well, your best even, but not at any cost. We are the  first generation of Botox users and only time will tell what impact this will have on the generations that come after us. How crazy is it that 50 year olds want to look like 35 year olds? I am reminded here of a book called Mutant Message Down Under, where one American woman goes walk about in the Australian Outback with some Aboriginal indigenous tribes. For me, one of the most memorable pieces of that book was when the woman's hair dye was coming out and her hair was changing colour from who knows blonde to brown or grey or brown to grey, however, the shock of the Aborigines was so apparent. They thought she was dying. Her hair was changing colour for no reason (in their eyes). We are not allowed to grow older in our Western World and what a shame that is. We can most definitely shave years off our looks and biological age through diet and adopting certain lifestyle choices and when a person looks younger than their years done through diet and natural techniques, then absolutely wonderful. But these people are rare and have usually dedicated their lives to cleansing and detoxing, which is also not for everyone.  If everybody is so afraid of growing and looking older and mums strive to look like their 21 year old daughters, then what's the point to growing old at all?  If I could chose this life again, I would chose to live in a society where your gifts and talents where honoured, rather than how you look, which of course, changes naturally with time. I believe that we have lost the ability to respect our elders and listen to the wisdom that they have to offer.  If we are still looking outside for our improvements, then we really are in trouble as a generation. Balance and acceptance is the key to being beautiful from the inside out.

There are lots of blogs on healthy eating, sites on nutrition and experts in the field all claiming to have the answers. However, I have always thought that there was quite a distance to cross from those that eat well and are fairly savvy about the the ins and outs of good, healthy eating to those that don't. After many years of cleansing and watching my own diet, I like to see myself now as someone who follows the 80/20 rule. The 80 is normally good (except on holidays in Italy last week!) and the 20 is bad. How bad? Chips, I love chips! They remind me of nights out when I was younger, trying to get a taxi home from Dublin City Centre and having to wait an eternity for it, so what better way to kill an hour but with a bag of chips! However, as most of you will know and I hope I won't insult anyone's intelligence, but skin is from within so, following the chip diet wouldn't do much for your luminosity and radiance. We must move towards a dose of colourful, watery fruit and veg and healthy fats if we are to truly shine from within. And so, after I have expunged some of my bug bears, I finally move on to the title of this post, Face Lifts and Food.

The best way to have great looking skin that is still firm well into the years and has good levels of elasticity is to eat the right diet for you. This will mean finding out what foods are supportive of your own personal body and what foods are irritating to it. A good book to read is Peter Dadamo's book, Eat Right for Your Blood Typ. In it he lists the foods that are best suited to each of the blood groups and there are some very eye opening facts to read and learn about. Following my own blood type diet, not too strictly of course, has made a tremendous difference to my own skin. Also, I have found great benefit in knowing your what Ayurvedic constitution you are. For example, if you are prone to overheating, and have a Pitta constitution, you might like to stay away from hot and spicy foods that will cause more heat to build up in your body, which can cause the skin to flush as a way to release this overheating from the system. Foods that support and nurture us are foods that are not overly processed, in their natural state and haven't travelled too far and so will retain many more of their anti-oxidants. Eating foods very high in anti-oxidants will help repair the damage caused by free radicals. The more are tissues are affected by free radicals, the quicker we will age. 

The final point I would like to add about food and ageing is the link between a high carbohydrate, modern Western diet and the ageing of our skin. A diet packed with fizzy drinks, white breads and pastas is a diet full of simple sugars. We release the hormone insulin to deal with this amount of sugar in our bodies. The skin is most definitely affected by too much sugar in the system. When we have too much sugar in our system or a very sudden rise in the levels, a process known as a "glycation reaction" takes place. This causes a material to cross link collagen and elastic fibres. They essentially fuse together and they lose their ability to stretch. When this happens, our skin doesn't bounce back as quickly as it might have and is another reason why eating a more balanced, wholefood, healthier diet is the best way forward if you want to look bright and beautiful well into old age. 

I will be teaching a workshop on this exact subject at Chrysalis this Sunday, 6th July 2014 at The Greystones Holistic Centre, Greystones. If you would like further information, please feel free to contact me on any of the usual channels or see the events page on this blog.

Best wishes,


Wednesday 24 April 2013

Spring is in the Air

After a very long, cold and hard Winter, Spring is beginning to show signs of life everywhere. People are coming back to life after being in slumber for what seems like an eternity. You might notice that you want to get off the couch in the evening and put on the jogging shoes or dust off the old, rusty bike at the weekend and get yourself out and about, or what about having that hair cut that you just couldn't get around to last year?? Are you singing up to courses that you have been wanting to attend, but just didn't have the energy or enthusiasm? Yes, that's Spring beginning to speak to each and every body in her own unique way. Bring it on!

If you haven't not already found yourself looking for more lighter foods like salads or fruit and less potatoes and heavy hot pot style dinners, you will. It is so natural for your body to want to graze on more nutritious, less fatty foods when Spring comes. While my own green smoothies became less and less interesting over the Winter months, and in some cases avoided all together, I can say with gusto that I am finding my love for the green stuff once again. It's like the rekindling of an old love affair...Yum.

I have also found myself planting my first herbs and edibles over the last few days, something I was not interested in doing since last year. Once again, I find myself only looking to grow plants that I can easily maintain and harvest effortlessly to become a part of my table. Pakchoy was my newest addition and was put in the ground only yesterday. It cost me €1.75 for 4 plants. Such a bargain if you consider that the fully grown ones are about €2.00 and are gone in a flash. These will keep growing until the season is finished. Talk about saving money! I will add these leaves to my smoothies with fruit or juice them on the mornings that I don't want o have too much fibre. Why don't you look for something similar to grow from your nearest garden centre too?  They're highly nutritious and are a great way of getting those all important enzymes into your diet. You can use parsley, mint, carrot tops...and the list goes on.

Tonight, I'm off to mindfulness in the Greystones Holistic Centre. Talk about a challenge. I want to go salsa  dancing, but the monkey brain also needs to attending to...choices, choices:-) I'm told it gets easier with practice. The proof of the pudding eh!

Here's to you knowing exactly what to eat...intuitively!


Wednesday 31 October 2012

Juicing 101

There has been lots of interest in juicing in recent years and deservedly so.  Many people replacing several meals per day with these nutritional power-houses and are reaping the benefits of such a change. Juicing is honestly one of the quickest ways to supercharge your vitality. There is however, still some confusion as to what, if any there difference is between the DIY version and the shop bought ones, plus a few other misnomers that I would like to clear up once and for all. So, without further a due, here are some answers to the main questions that I am asked on a regular basis.

Fresh Versus Pasteurised.
Yes, there is a difference between pasteurised and un-pasteurised juice. Fresh juice has active enzymes and the pasteurised version does not. These active components of fresh juice are the main reason why juiced fruit and veg only last a short time after being prepared. Typically this is around 24 hours, after that, the juice will begin to oxidise. Oxidation is the process where the active enzymes comes into contact with oxygen and as a result begins to degrade over time. If you’ve ever cut an apple and left it exposed to the air, you will see it turning brown. This is the same oxidative process that happens to a fresh juice. There is a considerable reduction in the quality and enzymatic content once the juice has been extracted. Shop bought juice, as you can imagine needs some sort of processing done to it before it is allowed to sit on a supermarket shelve for days and days. This processing is known as pasteurisation. Pasteurisation is the process by which the juice or liquid is heated to a very high temperature to kill off any rouge bacteria that might be lurking about in the liquid. And that is exactly what it does, however, it also kills off all the enzymes and other active components leaving it pretty much void of any nutrients.

Juice Contains No Fibre
This is true. The juice is almost like the blood of the plants. Once it is once passed through a juicer, the fibre is removed leaving only the liquid element behind. You body can easily absorb the nutrients from fresh made juice without having to go through the lengthy digestive process that eating the whole plant would involve. This makes light work on the digestive tract, and is an excellent way to up your nutritional intake, particularly if your digestive system is functioning below par. Have you ever felt the need to sleep after a big meal? Not exactly the result eating a meal is meant to achieve, but shows the power of the digestive process, particularly when it is under siege, well, juicing is an incredible way to give your body a rest.  However, we do need a lot more fibre than we think so I would not recommend you staying on only juice for a long time. We really do need fibre and most of us are seriously lacking in the amount we take in. It is like a magic sponge that mops up all the toxins that are stored in our colon. The lack of fibre in our western diet is a major cause for concern and is seriously damaging people’s health. Victoria Boutenko (one of my secret nutritional heroes) in “Green for Life” recommends people take in at least 30 to 50 grams per day. We are falling way short of this, with most people closer to 15 grams. I don’t want to “dis” juicing, but feel that you need to be made aware about its lack of fibre.  More on fibre will be covered in another post over the coming weeks so watch out for it.

Best Time to Juice
Morning is definitely the best time to juice. This is because the body has several different cycles and it is in the morning when the juice will be of most benefit to you. The body goes into its cleansing and detox cycle at 3am and does not leave this cycle until noon the following day. During this time, the body is cleansing and expelling the body of toxins. It is more supportive to your body to drink fresh juice and have foods with a high water content during this time, which means a nice, fresh veggie juice is an excellent way to start the day. Examples of veggies that have a high water content are cucumber and celery. Fruit too also has a high water (and sugar content too) and don’t forget your leafy greens. You may have heard that having your biggest meal in the middle of the day really is better for you but now you know why, it’s because your can digest it easier. The later the hour in the day that you eat, the more taxing it will be on your digestive system. If you are going to have a large meal and it is a late hour and you find your digestive is not what it used to be, then take some digestive enzymes beforehand. I find these a Godsend.

Juicing is Alkalising to the Body
Our body’s blood has a natural acid/alkaline balance. It is measured on a PH scale that ranges from zero, with zero being the most acidic to 14, being the most alkaline. Good health is somewhere between 6.8 and 7.6. Most of the refined foods we eat, i.e. processed wheat based products, dairy and animal products are all acid forming to our bodies. When our bodies are too acidic it is Disneyland for bad bacteria and yeast to survive and thrive. Ideally we are better off refusing entry to these little nasties. Juicing, particularly green juices are an excellent way to readdress this balance to more alkaline surroundings. The reason I mention green juices is that many people are under the illusion that having mango, pineapple, pear a carrot is a good nutritious juice. It is certainly better than the shop bought version, but for maximum nutrition, low GL (glycemic load) and truly healthy juices, you need to get juicing those leaves and veggies with a smaller amount of fruit. 

Different Veggies You Can Juice

All Leafy Greens – including kale, spinach, pak choi, parsley, coriander, mint – high in vitamins A,C and E, watercress, rocket, all types of lettuce, chock full of chlorophyll (see separate entry on chlorophyll) and phyto-nutrients. Great for alkalising the body.

Cucumber and Celery are incredible for your kidneys and for flushing out toxins from the kidneys. Great for building hair, skin and nails. Anti-inflammatory qualities. Celery is high in the coumarins, a phyto-chemical that may help lower blood pressure and increase white blood cell count.

Beetroot – great for building strong blood and heart. They add a lovely earthy flavour to your juice. Don’t forget to juice the leafy tops too as they contain beta-carotene, calcium and iron.

Apples- are lovely and sweet and bring a lovely taste to your juice. They are a great system cleanser and like most fruit, have plenty of anti-oxidant properties because they have high Vit A and C content. They are also more alkalising to the body than other fruits.

Pears – similar to apples, but are the more alkalising than most other fruit.

Ginger – Incredible for your digestion and brings such a unique taste to your drink. I love this and add it to almost all of my drinks and smoothies.

A rough guide on how they taste

Rocket – spicy and grassy
Basil – sweet and spicy
Celery – zesty and hydrating
Chard – grassy and sweet
Coriander - Sweet and fragrant
Collard greens – grassy
Cucumber -Hydrating/sweet and sour
Endive – bitter
Fennel – zesty
Green apples -  very sweet, tart
Green grapes – very sweet, tart
Kale – grassy and dark
Kiwi – sweet, zesty
Romaine - Mildly and grassy
Limes – sour and zesty
Parsley – grassy and zesty
Mint - Vibrant, cooling

As you can imagine, this is not an exhaustive list, of fruit and veggies that are available. There are lots of juicing books on the market that can offer lots of creative recipes that you and your family can enjoy, but these are readily available in your local supermarket and that for me is a huge plus and makes is very accessible to have my own daily glass of juice. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and if you feel that way inclined.....please do share with your friends and family!

Best wishes,


Tuesday 3 July 2012

Seasonal Ingredients for July

Happy almost 4th of July to you all!

It's seems like such a long time since I sat down to write a blog post and when I looked over the date of my last one, it certainly has been a while....Almost two weeks ago! Where is the time flying to? Has anyone else noticed time speeding up or am I alone in this? I always intend to write more often, especially about the wonderful foods that I come across in my day to day life, and while I manage to take note of them, I do sometimes fail to let you know how you can get your hands on these delights. So, my apologies for the delay...I hope this list and the delicious Redcurrant and Raspberry Smoothie Recipe will go some way towards atoning:-)

Just the other day I was browsing through the BBC's Food Website and I came across this wonderful list of seasonal ingredients. Even though I manage to shop in my local farmer's market and can only avail of seasonal produce, I found it a really useful reminder. It is especially handy for those who can only manage get to shop in Tescos because of time constraints but would like to eat more food in season. As this may be a bit harder for you to know exactly what in and what's not, I have listed them below.

What's Hot for July?

French Beans
Globe Artichoke
Runner Beans
Spring Onion
Swiss Chard

And as promised, here's your recipe using two of the berries and watercress from the list above. I hope you like it.

Raspberry-Redcurrant Surprise

1/4 Redcurrant
1/4 Raspberries
1 Banana
Small handful of Watercress
Large handful of Spinach
1-2 cups of water.
Stevia, honey or agave to taste.

This smoothie will be sharper than some others are these berries are not known for their sweetness, this is also why I have added in the banana and left it up to you to sweeten according to you own taste buds.

Benefits of Eating Watercress
Although there are lots of conflicting nutritional information claims about eating greens in general. For the most part, they are loaded with vitamin A,C and K. Watercress in particular,  also has a good supply of protein, folate, pantothenic acid and contains good amounts of calcium and magnesium. It also contains Vit E, which is along with Vit A and C which are excellent antioxidants.

As always, if you have any suggestions or comments for me, I would love to hear them. Perhaps, you might even send me a photo if you're so inclined. It would certainly make my day!

Until next time.....


Thursday 7 June 2012

Reducing Inflammation

You may be surprised to learn that inflammation has a role to play in cancer, heart disease, diabetes asthma, Alzheimer’s disease and many more conditions that we  have become very familiar hearing about.  This may be good or bad news depending on which side of the fence you are sitting on. If you are challenged with any particular condition, then it may be good news because there is something that you can do about it, however, when you see  the list below, you may not feel so upbeat, particularly if you are eating a diet heavy in the foods that are understood to cause inflammation in the body.
So, how would you recognise inflammation in your body? Well, you may be familiar with the throbbing feeling you get after a paper cut or when you’ve sprained a wrist or ankle. What you are actually experiencing is your body’s immune response, sending the white blood cells and other molecules, attacking and destroying the cells that are causing the problem and then cleaning up the debris. This is a completely natural and normal response by your body but sometimes this process goes a bit haywire. 
For example this response can also happen when you eat foods that cause the body to respond in the same way...As if under attack by a foreign invader. These inflammatory cells may in turn attack the healthy parts of your body.  According to Dr. Lilli B Link,, the more time they spend in circulation  perhaps because you are eating to many inflammatory foods or living in a highly stressed state, the more opportunity to damage your blood vessels and lead to a heart attack, or destroy cartilage and cause rheumatoid arthritis, or alter DNA and change healthy cells into cancerous cells.
Yikes!! I find this pretty scary to be honest and as always, I like to offer people a really helpful solution to these challenges particularly those faced by people still eating the standard western diet.  It can be difficult for people to make too many changes at once, usually resulting in no lasting changes, as overwhelm sets in, so I thought it would be helpful for you to have some idea of foods that are particularly inflammatory to your body and then provide a list of those that have anti inflammatory effects, all ending with one of many smoothie recipes that I have found particularly helpful in reducing my own inflammation. 
Foods that are known to cause inflammation in the body

The No 1 culprit is sugar.  In 2004, a study  that appeared in the journal Metabolism, was of a group of patients with diabetes who were given a sugar drink and whose blood was tested for inflammation afterwards.  Within one hour of drinking the sugar drink, the level of inflammation rose within each person's body and the effects lasted 3 hours. While this is only one study, there have been many others conducted since, and there have been similar findings. Now don't panic when I write this, but imagine if you are snacking on sweet foods throughout the day and not stopping to have  a decent meal a few times a day? It is over time that too much sugar and other inflammatory foods will do damage and why we are asked to reduce the amount of sugar we consume. So,  the best advice here is to cut it way down and pay particular attention to those hidden sugars, such as the ones found in shop bought breakfast cereals and processed foods. If you're going to have sugar then at least have it in it's obvious form such as a bar of chocolate and not to often. 
No 2 is refined grains. Once these are digested, they are almost the same as the sugar in your body. So, ditch the white bread, white rice and other foods that are highly refined and that convert to sugar very quickly. Go for slow release such as wholegrain breads (not just the dyed white bread here) and brown rice, which although takes a lot longer to cook, will not spike your blood sugar levels in the same way and will provide a whole lot more nutrition for you and your family.
No 3 trans fats. I have written an article on this blog called Fats, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, but to explain simply, these trans fats are fats that are created when vegetable oil has been partially hydrogenated so that they are solid at room temperature. If you really want to keep a fridge full of healthy foods then, ditching the marg is your best bet, and go for good old butter like granny used to use. You know the one that you can't spread from the fridge unless you take it out beforehand and leave it to thaw a little? This is an excellent change for you to make and one that all the family will thank you for.
No 4 heating foods are also inflammatory to the body. So, if you can, prepare your food slower you will produce less of a response when ingested.  Try not to grill, fry or roast too often and chose the less inflammatory methods of simmer, steam, or gently saute food over a medium to low heat.  Coconut oil and Rapeseed Oil has a higher flash point so chose these great oils over your olive and sunflower oils. You will be getting the wonderful effects of monounsaturated fatty acids from olive oil by using it as a base for your salad dressings but please stop cooking with it. I am not a big fan of sunflower oil either, but go ahead and at least use it cold if you really want to keep it's nutritional profile in tact and don't use too much of it.
You will also help reduce inflammation in your body by reducing your stress levels. This can be achieved through meditation, yoga, a walk in the park or a taking your shoes off and going for a walk on the beach. I personally have been enjoying this later of late and also grabbing any opportunity to let my feet connect with the earth by walking barefoot at any opportunity I can get, allowing my skin come in contact with the earth. For some of us living in a colder climate, we definitely have less opportunity for this, however, the benefits are really huge. Reconnect with the earth and watch your heart rate lower and your breath steady. Bliss!

Foods that have an anti-inflammatory effect

No 1 here are veggies, veggies, veggies....preferably raw too! This is not about saying no to any animal products but if you really are looking to reduce the inflammation in your body, then up your veggie intake..This is another great reason why having your daily green smoothie is a brilliant idea!  Veggie sprouts are excellent too. You can now buy ready made sprouts such as broccoli, alfalfa, radish, mung in a lot of supermarkets nowadays. These are such powerhouses of nutrition that you will definitely want to have them on your plate and in your lunch boxes.

No 2 are fruits. We all know about the benefits of eating fruit. There are only second on the list because there are some that are really sweet, such as dates, bananas, but mixed berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and apples are excellent. I just wanted to remind you to keep the fruit bowl full of goodies.

No 3 are the incredible anti inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids. I know fish is heavily promoted and it certainly does contain these fatty acids however, I would like to point out that there are a number of vegan options such as nuts, like walnuts and seeds like hemp, flax  and chia that are also excellent alternatives. Don't forget those algae like marine phytoplankton either! You can find these in your local health food store and can all be added to your daily super food smoothie. Another delicious way to start you on your superfood journey.

No 4 are herbs and spices. In Ireland, we have a tendency to lean towards quite a plain diet and we don't really experiment with herbs and spices. However, we could learn a lot from  the Middle Eastern and Indian diets here and look at their use herbs and spices in many different recipes.  I have begun to add cinnamon to both my breakfast, if I am having a porridge morning, and to my cacao in the evening. It is not only good for your immune system, but also has many anti-oxidant properties.  Or, why not try spices like turmeric, ginger and hot chilly peppers and cayenne. If you could begin to add these into your daily diet, then you will be exposing yourself to their incredible anti-inflammatory effects and you health can only benefit from their many different healing properties.

And now, for a small recipe that I play around with a lot. Personally, I do not make it very sweet, but if you like you can add some sweetener to it. I suggest some raw honey, agave, stevia, xylitol or other such.

Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

1/2 cucumber
2/3 sticks of celery
Half head of romaine/cos lettuce
1 tsp cinnamon
A good chunk of ginger
1 - 2 cups water (or more if you prefer it more liquid)
Tablespoon of vegan protein powder
1 pear
1-2 cups of frozen mixed berries
                                                                                    1/4 avocado  (adds a lot of creaminess)

Blend it all together in a blender and change the taste accordingly to suit your own taste buds.

There are lots of interesting ideas on the Internet about inflammation and foods that help reduce it in the body, but I make these green smoothies (that won't turn out green because of the berries) with ingredients that I have in my cupboard most of the time.

I hope you like it and find it helpful.

Best wishes,