Winter Eating


Winter Eating

by Louise Bennett

Louise Bennett

Louise Bennett

With the approach of winter our weather turns colder, darkness arrives a little earlier and we seek warmth. It is a time to nourish our soul and our body. Yin predominates in winter and it is a wonderful time to contemplate and meditate. Our body processes slow a little and we may store a bit more energy in order to be ready for the activity required when spring and summer arrive again. During winter we need to nurture our yin energies, the aroma of a winter stew invokes memories of nourishment for both the body and soul.

In East Asian Medicine the water element is associated with winter. The organs of the body that correspond with winter are the kidneys and urinary bladder and the colour of winter is black. The tastes and flavours of winter are salty and bitter which promote sinking and centring. It has been suggested that these flavours bring heat deeper into the body, leaving the skin cooler and thus more tolerant of the cooler environment. This is a bit of a conundrum, as too much salt will increase water intake and weaken the kidney and the heart energy.

To balance kidney energy during winter eat from a selection of salty foods or foods that are dark in colour such as fresh fish and salted fish,  caviar, shellfish, pork, eggs, beans, seaweed and sea vegetables, soy sauce, miso, figs, blueberries, blackberries, eggplant, kale, wild rice, walnuts and black sesame seeds. Goji berries and black fungus should be included in the foundations of any winter diet.

Goji Berries                                                                          Black Fungus

If you are prone to cold add cloves, fenugreek, fennel, and anise seeds, black peppercorn, ginger, cinnamon, walnuts, black beans, onion family (garlic, onions, chives, shallots and leeks), red quinoa, chicken, lamb, trout, and salmon.

               Tamari – GF soy sauce

If you tend to feel the heat you might choose foods with a cooling nature that influence the kidneys such as millet, barley, tofu, string bean, black bean, black soybean, mung bean and its sprouts, kidney beans, and seaweeds.

Cooking in winter is best if it is long and slow such as a casserole in the oven or a slow cooker. Allowing food to cook slowly builds the yin energy of the food, providing easily digestible and nourishing meals.

So winter is about staying warm, nourishing our bodies, building yin and allowing ourselves time for a bit of introspection and contemplation.

Note : all the bold items  illustrated are available at our clinic at 94 Willard St, Carina Heights Qld 07 3843 3555

 

Winter Sunshine Soup

Healing With Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford

1 cup yellow split peas                                   Place peas and kombu in a pot with water.

2 quarts water                                                   Bring to boil. Reduce heat ans simmer 30 minutes.

1 5-inch piece kombu (seaweed) soaked                     Add onion, carrot, pumpkin and salt.

½ onion, cut into crescent moons             Simmer until peas and vegetables are tender.

2 carrots                                                               Add miso diluted in stock and simmer 5 minutes more.

1 cup winter squash diced                            Serves 8.

½ cup parsley chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

Miso to taste

 

Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine

From Jude Blereau’s Cooking with Whole Foods

This has a few steps to it but the result is worth the effort. My child who doesn’t like pumpkin or chickpeas loved it (admittedly it was combined with mashed potato!)

½ cup dried chickpeas (1 cup cooked)

 

Pour soaked chickpeas into a sieve, rinse and drain. Put into a large pot well covered with water and cook gently for 21/2 – 4 hours. Check occasionally to remove froth or add more water.
Olive oil for frying

700g pumpkin peeled and cubed

2 red capsicums

1 garlic bulb

2 tsp fresh thyme

 

Preheat oven to 180 C. Massage olive oil over cubed pumpkin and capsicum. Place in roasting tin with the capsicum standing upright cut side down. Cook until capsicum starts to blacken a little. Put capsicum in a bowl and cover. When cool peels skins off and cut into strips. Retain any juices.

Take bulb of garlic and break apart the cloves and place on a square of baking paper. Sprinkle with olive oil and thyme or rosemary. Twist paper together and place on the tray with pumpkin and capsicum. When cloves are soft remove from oven and allow to cool, snip off tops of cloves and squeeze out puree.

Spice Mix

2 tsp tamari

¼ tsp cumin

Pinch coriander

Pinch fennel seeds

Zest ½ lemon or preserved lemon

½ to 1 tsp grated ginger

1 garlic clove crushed

 

Combine all ingredients of spice mix
2 red onions, cut in half and roughly chopped

2-4 carrots cut on diagonal into 3cm pieces

2 orange sweet potato peeled and cubed

1 white sweet potato peeled and cube

400g tomatoes

½ cinnamon stick

2 tsp pear juice concentrate.

 

 

Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes till clear. Add spice mix, carrots and sweet potato together with garlic puree and capsicums and any juice from capsicums. Rinse out spice mix bowl with 60ml water and add to pot. Add tomatoes, chickpeas and cinnamon stick. Cover and cook gently for 20 minutes.

Then add pumpkin and extra water if mix looks too dry. Cook for a further 40 minutes.

Honey to taste

Fresh coriander

Quinoa

 

May add honey if required

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with Red quinoa

Good Snacks for Children

“I’m hungry!” your child states. It’s not time for a main meal but you would like to give your child something healthy to sate their hunger until the main meal without reaching for the chips or sweets.

Here are some healthy choices:

  1. Fresh Fruit. This was the only option I had as a child and a very good one. It kept me from the dentists drill for many years. This includes a punnet of cherry tomatoes. If you serve fruit salad, you could sprinkle in some chopped nuts (if they are not sensitive) or seeds. This will slow the breakdown of the fruit sugars and make the snack longer lasting. Try and avoid dairy desserts as they are full of sugar and are cold in temperature and nature. Not good for young stomachs.  But if your child is a savory tooth then read on.
  2. Dips. Hommus, mashed avocado (put a tiny bit of chilli in it as it will negate the cold nature of this food and stop them from overeating it) and vegetable sticks to dip with such as carrots and celery. If you choose to serve with crackers then these should be plain i.e.plain water cracker or rice crackers, not overly salty. The dip is the feature not the crackers.
  3. Soups. If it’s been a cold day nothing hits the spot like a warm soup.  Soups are a great way to have vegetables if you have a fussy eater. You can introduce foods like miso (fermented soy bean paste) which is instant and highly nutritious.
  4. Leftovers. Got some leftover pasta? Cooked vegetables? Beat up some eggs and throw in leftovers, cook in pan for 2 mins, flip (use a large plate over the pan, turn 180 degrees, the slid it back into the pan cooked side up), cook for another 2 minutes and presto you have a frittata. Yummy!
  5. Baked beans. If you can make your own it would be better as I find the commercial varieties are too sweet, but when you have a “starving” child staring you down the canned variety will do. If you’ve some time some stale bread you can try this for variety: Cut the crusts off the bread and push them into muffin trays. Beat an egg and add to the can of baked beans in a bowl. You could also add in some chopped spinach at this point but this is optional.  Pour your egg and bean mix into the bread lined muffin forms  and bake in a moderate oven for 15mins or until set. Crunchy toasted bread cup with a soft centre.
  6. Rice. Boiled rice with soy sauce is a good filler. If you want to complete the protein set throw in some beans or peas. It’s filling and easily digested.
  7. Vegie Rolls. These you can make in advance and freeze. I have made these for birthday parties and all the children came back for seconds and thirds.

    1 small carrot, chopped

    1 small zucchini, chopped

    ½ cup baby spinach leaves

    2 – 3 spring onions (eshallots), chopped

    ¾ cup fresh (not dried) breadcrumbs

    ¼ cup pine nuts

    1 tablespoon of fresh parsley

    1 teaspoon of olive oil

    1 egg

    1/2 teaspoon of tamari or soy sauce

    Freshly ground pepper

    1 sheet read rolled puff pastry

    Method

    Set oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

    Put all the vegetables including the spring onions in a food processor and process to a mealy

    consistency

    Spoon mixture into a larger bowl and combine the egg, bread, pine nuts, parsley, olive oil,

    soy sauce and a twist of pepper.

    Cut pastry sheet in half. Spoon mixture along the centre of each sheet. Roll up and dampen

    edges to secure. Cut each length in quarters and prick centre with a fork.

    Place on a baking tray with baking paper and bake in for 10 minutes at 200°C. Reduce heat

    to 180°C and cook for a further 10-15 minutes or until pastry is golden. Makes 8.

Note that I have tried to stay away from dairy products as they are considered “damp” in Chinese medicine.

Have fun!

Rosalba

 

Superfood Insight with Elly

Although sometimes packaged and sold as a ‘grain’, Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa or Kin-wa) is actually a pseudo-cereal, meaning unlike grains and cereals it is not a member of the grass family. This means that among other things, Quinoa is gluten-free and generally fantastic for people who have any allergies with regards to foods like wheat, barley or corn. This grain is positively fantastic for vegetarians and vegans, being a complete protein and containing massive doses of magnesium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. It’s also a little powerhouse filled with fibre, too. Being a pseudo cereal also means it can be ground into flour, you can do this at home with mortar/pestle or blender.

You can prepare Quinoa by boiling like rice, or can even put in cold water for 2-4 hours to toss through cold foods like salads. This will make the nutritional value much higher and adds a delicious fluffy bite to any salads. The seed itself is covered in a high level saponin, so even though it is prepared and washed before being sold (mostly) in Australia it’s still a good idea to give it a quick rinse before use.
Eating the grain can be compared to cous cous or cooked barley. There is a slight crunch or ‘pop’ and then a soft almost creamy texture. Although hard to explain, it’s almost like brown rice – but less ‘hard’. The flavour is very slightly nutty, but almost like rice. Quinoa can also be found flattened or puffed like corn or as previously stated in flour form.

Whilst researching this article I was amazed to find the additional health benefits of quinoa. Migraine sufferers can benefit from the high levels of Riboflavin (Vitamin b12) which is said to reduce the frequency of headaches. Not only is it jam packed with high levels of much needed nutrients, but it is said that the high levels of magnesium can help reduce migraines too. This works by relaxing blood vessels, preventing constriction and rebound dilation that is commonly associated with headaches. Increased magnesium intake can also reduce the frequency of headache episodes. Not only does this relaxing of the blood vessels help migraine sufferers but is also fantastic for our cardiovascular system.

These couple of benefits merely scratch the surface of the many, many health related boosts you can get from quinoa. It is said to reduce the risk of certain cancers, help with blood pressure and drastically lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, to name a few. There is a reason quinoa is sometimes referred to as “Incan gold”. As usual, the Mayans had it right and quinoa was served to its warriors. In fact, it is said to be one of the most important dietary supplements, second only to potatoes and more important than maize.

I could talk about quinoa all day, and I sincerely recommend you jump online and check out some of the many interesting articles on the stuff. There is a lot of information out there, and a lot more coming through now than there was even a little while ago. Try some out today, grab a recipe booklet I’ve put together from recipes found online – or try your own search!

Cancer Prevention with Dr William Li

In this video Dr William Li discusses ways in which to prevent abnormal angiogenesis (creation of blood vessel to enlarge tumors). He clarifies that only 5-10% of tumours are gene influenced and the rest (90 – 95%) is up to your environment of which diet holds a large influence. He lists foods that demonstrate anti-angiogenesis. What is most interesting is that he found that foods have synergy i.e. when two foods that had “weak” anti-angiogenesis are combined they have a better effect than one good one. This has been known in Chinese for centuries with many formulas having more than one herb dedicated to assisting the function of the main herb. With testing of his new anti-angiogenesis drugs, he has some great results with some cancers but only mild responses with other cancers so he comes to the conclusion that prevention would be better than cure. Then he displays a chart of foods and compares them to common drugs which have some anti-angiogenesis action and the new anti-angiogenesis drugs. Vitamin E beats the new drugs in anti-angiogenesis action. Vitamin E is found in: raw sunflower seeds, dry roasted almonds, boiled spinach, paw paw, silver beet (Swiss chard) and other green leafy vegetables and blueberries. Other high anti-angiogenesis foods were tea, turmeric and green tea. In India, studies have shown that the low prostate cancer rates were due to the turmeric which is consumed virtually every day. Tumeric on its own is difficult for the body to absorb but it was found that the pepperine from chili enables the absorption of this anti-cancer herb (synergy at work again). Further down the list were fruits and other vegetables and not so surprising (at least not to me) were soy beans. As Dr Li says, with this list I could go home and make an anti-cancer meal. Note no animal products (bar glucosamine which comes from shellfish) made the anti-angiogenesis list.

What this video goes to show is the importance of prevention and how we can take control of this prevention with our diets. It also goes to show that removing parts of the body (some women have had breasts removed) does not prevent cancer.  In Chinese medicine, food is considered the first choice medicine and when this is not effective then herbs are used. The best doctor is said to be one who prevents their clients from getting sick. As I often say to my clients: You only get one body and if you want it to last well with few breakdowns then take care of it, feed it well and love it.

Rosalba

Superfoods at Alba Therapies, with your favourite receptionist – Elly!

Recently, after finding an awesome supplier, Alba Therapies has begun to stock an ever widening range of health care products, mineral and vitamin supplements, female products, baby items, organic products and last but not least; ‘Super Foods’. Super foods (functional foods, superfoods, superberries) are defined as foods that either contain high phyto-nutrient content or contain more health-benefitting substances then simple nutrients given by ‘normal’ foods. They are generally associated with having benefit to health and wellbeing, prolonged life, containing high levels of antioxidants, being anti-cancer, and more. In many cases, they contain the right levels of nutrients, vitamins and amino acids to be complete- that is, they do not need to be used with another food item to give you your entire recommended intake. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) for example, is known as a ‘complete protein’ and classed as a superfood due to the very high protein content, as well as containing a perfectly balanced set of amino acids fit for humans.

Among our newest products we find an assortment of (drool) chocolate. We are stocking pure cacao powder (also known as cocoa, cacao implies Mayan produce- thought to be the original and most ‘pure’) which is fair trade. Our chocolate bars are (delicious) dark chocolate with the addition of either nibs (crushed cocoa bean), Quinoa (mentioned earlier) or Almonds. These are organic, free trade and carbon offset. How good can you get?! Apart from being full of flavour, I was surprised today to learn just how good Chocolate can be for you. Now, let me clarify; the addition of fats, sugar and milk generally negates the health benefits – this is NOT about milk or white chocolate. Hot cocoa/chocolate can be no good if you add milk (even skim); but I have sacrificed myself for you all and found that a teaspoon or two of the powder with a teaspoon of sugar or honey is simply delicious. You don’t miss the milk with chocolate or cocoa this good. For those of you who like dark chocolate, you wouldn’t need the sweetener at all.

I always knew that cocoa contained high levels of antioxidants; even more so when raw (as the powder is) but I was unaware of the cardiovascular and circulatory boost. Studies have shown that consuming dark chocolate two to three times a week in patients after a heart attack can reduce the risk of death by up to three times that of patients who did not consume dark chocolate. The only major point I have to bring up here is that any food will add to the risk of weight gain/obesity if the energy is not burned off. So eating a few pieces of dark chocolate in the morning before starting your day (or a hot chocolate with breakfast) is a perfect way to start.

Although controversial, studies are also being conducted into the use of a form of cocoa being used to halter brain decline in aging people. Antioxidants have been known for a long time to improve longevity, but specific research is being conducted into the use of cocoa and degenerative brain disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Another much argued point is that of muscle recovery; it has been said that eating dark chocolate in the two hour period after exercise can help to regenerate muscle tissue. If you want to know more about other health benefits or see the cited studies, search Wikipedia.org for “health benefits of chocolate”.

Another addition to our Superfoods is Chia Seeds. This is a name that has been popping up more and more recently, and I thought it was a bit of a fad thing – until I opened the glorious box of wonder the other day and found these marvellous seeds. Tiny, black and white speckles not unlike sesame seeds, but smaller, Chia are the perfect vegan food and a must have supplement with everyone’s diet. They don’t really taste of much so can be added to pretty much any meal. “So why would I use them?” you might ask: ‘Cause these little guys are SUPER. They contain a huge helping of vitamin C (7 times that of an orange) which is not only beneficial to the immune system but is also needed in the use of absorbing iron (I found that out recently! You can eat as much steak as you want and still be anaemic if you don’t have a high enough Vitamin C intake) They contain 3 times the amount of iron as spinach, twice the potassium as bananas, 6 times more fibre than oat bran (both soluble and insoluble fibre – fantastic!) a whopping five times more calcium than milk, and 4 times higher ORAC* value than blueberries (which are known as a superberry for having such a high ORAC value)

I know sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the suggested additions to your meals, but I think Chia seeds are one you can keep around and know you’re getting a pretty good helping of some great nutrients. Chia are the highest known plant source of Omega 3, being 8 times higher than Salmon. They also contain Vitamins A and B12, which is why they are perfect for vegans. Chia seeds are a complete protein, just like Quinoa, and can be ground to a meal and hidden in food for little ones with no one the wiser. If you soak Chia in water they become almost a gel, not dissimilar from frog’s eggs, which I am told can be used on tired eyes to soothe them or for conjunctivitis.

If you’ve been living under a rock on the world’s smallest island in the middle of the ocean then you still wouldn’t be forgiven for not having heard about Goji Berries and the associated health benefits. These are most well known for their antioxidant properties, and for improving the length and quality of life of the Chinese and Mongolian people for centuries. Although blueberries were once hailed as the highest antioxidant berry amongst the western world, Goji berries have since taken their place and even far exceeded the ORAC values of these. Goji berries carry high levels of Vitamin C, as well as Riboflavin (vitamin B2) and a host of amino acids, other vitamins, unsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides and dietary minerals, amongst many others. They also contain Iron, zinc, selenium, potassium and calcium. Goji berries also contain what is thought to be the highest plant found source of Zeaxanthin; a chemical found in the eye. Links have been made with consumption of Zeaxanthin lowering the severity and chance of onset of age related macular degeneration and age related eye disease. Another very handy thing to keep in the cupboard or fridge, and dried can be stored for long periods of time. Teas can be made out of the delicious berry which tastes like a cross between a raisin and a cherry, or you can sprinkle them on your breakfast cereal, porridge, or add to trail mix. If you like a sweet treat in the afternoon, you could keep a stash at your work desk and nibble them in the afternoon with a handful of nuts.

In order to prevent this article becoming a book I’ll cut it short there. But please, if you have any questions or comments don’t hesitate to ask me, or if they are more in depth questions your practitioner should be able to help you.

* Oxygen radical absorbance capacity, a scalar value derived in the laboratory for comparing the antioxidant content of different foods or nutritional supplements

Vegetarian Christmas Recipes

Julie Constantine and Elly Kielly have helped put together this delicious vegetarian feast for Christmas. Try your hand at a few of these tasty recipes.

VEGETARIANS CHRISTMAS RECIPIES

Sweet potato & leek roulade with Xmas stuffing
Ingredients (serves 6)
• Roulade
• 20ml (1 tbs) olive oil
• 1 leek, finely chopped
• 60g butter
• 1/3 cup plain flour
• 300ml milk
• 4 eggs, separated
• 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
• 1/4 cup grated parmesan
• Stuffing
• 30g unsalted butter
• 1 brown onion, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, crushed
• 1 1/2 cups fresh white breadcrumbs
• 1 tbs chopped fresh sage
• 1 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
Filling
• 500g sweet potato, peeled, chopped
• 15g unsalted butter
• 100ml thin cream
• 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 39 x 26cm Swiss roll pan.
2. To make the roulade, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the leek and cook gently for five minutes until soft. Remove leek from pan. Wipe pan, then add the butter. When it has melted, add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Start adding the milk, a little at a time, whisking until all the milk is combined and the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat, beat in egg yolks, one at a time and season.
3. In a separate, clean bowl, beat the eggwhites until stiff. Add a quarter of the eggwhites to the roux, then gently fold in the remaining eggwhites. Fold in leeks and cheddar until just combined, then pour into the prepared pan and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden and puffed.
4. Meanwhile, to make stuffing, melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for five minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic and breadcrumbs and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Stir in herbs and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
5. For the filling, steam or boil the sweet potato until tender. Drain and mash with the butter, cream and nutmeg. Season well and set aside.
6. When the roulade is cooked, place a clean tea towel on your workbench and sprinkle with the parmesan. Turn the roulade out onto the tea towel and peel off the baking paper. Allow to cool for 1-2 minutes, then spread the sweet potato over the roulade.
7. Sprinkle the stuffing over the sweet potato. Using the edge of the tea towel, carefully roll up the roulade from the longest side finishing with the seam-side down. Slice and serve warm with rocket salad and glazed eschallots (shallots)

Rocket salad with redcurrants and hazelnuts
Ingredients (serves 6)
• 1/2 cup hazelnuts
• 60ml (1/4 cup) red wine vinegar
• 20ml (1 tbs) hazelnut oil (or, if not available, use EVO)
• 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
• 1 garlic clove, crushed
• 150g wild rocket
• 1/2 cup redcurrants (preferably fresh, or substitute defrosted, frozen redcurrants)
Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for five minutes. Cool slightly, then slip off their skins by rubbing them together. Chop roughly and set aside.
2. Place vinegar, oils and garlic in a small bowl. Season and whisk to combine.
3. Place rocket, hazelnuts and redcurrants in a large bowl, drizzle over the dressing and toss to combine.

Glazed shallot & capsicum salad

Ingredients (serves 6)
• 24 shallots, peeled
• 40ml (2 tbs) olive oil
• 2 each red and yellow capsicums, roasted, peeled, cut into strips
• 2 tbs brown sugar
• 1 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
Method
1. Blanch the shallots in boiling water for five minutes. Drain. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
2. Add the shallots and fry, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes until golden.
3. Add capsicums and sugar and cook for 1-2 minutes until the sugar caramelises. Stir through the parsley and serve, warm or cold.

Christmas Pudding Truffles
Ingredients
175g digestive biscuit crumbs (or other vegan biscuits)
50g chopped raisins
50g roasted hazelnuts, chopped
50g ground almonds
75g blackcurrant jam
1 orange, zest only, very finely chopped
dark rum or brandy
150g plain chocolate (vegan)
White marzipan, angelica and glace cherries
Method
1. Mix the biscuit crumbs, raisins, nuts, jam and orange zest together in a bowl. Add sufficient rum or brandy to make a fairly stiff mixture.
2. Form the mixture into walnut sized balls.
3. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water. Coat each truffle individually and rest on a foil covered board until set.

Decorate the top of each truffle by taking small pieces of white marzipan and rolling it out into an uneven shape, then press onto the top of each truffle to resemble icing. Add bits of glace cherry to resemble berries and angelica to represent holly.

Crispy Spicy Toast
Ingredients
2 cloves garlic (or less)
1 tsp salt (or less)
1/3 cup Olive oil/2 teaspoon Olive Margarine
1 tsp paprika/garam masala (or less)
2 tsps cumin seed, finely crushed
2 tsps sesame seed, finely crushed
Some slices of bread
Method
Peel and crush garlic
Add all other ingredients into bowl and mix well
Spread it on bread and toast it in frying pan. Enjoy with dip or on it’s own.

Cannellini & Sundried Tomato Dip Recipe
Ingredients
1 can cannellini beans
1 C steamed eggplant
1/2 cup toasted almond meal (or LSA)
1 clove garlic
2 T sundried tomato paste
(or 7 sundried tomatoes)
5 kalamata olives
Generous squeeze of lemon juice.

Method
Toast the almond meal lightly over medium heat. Stir constantly. Be careful, it burns quickly.
Lightly steam the eggplant.
Process all ingredients in food processor or with a hand-held barmix.
Serve with veggie sticks (celery, cucumber, carrot, capsicum etc.)
and/or
soy and linseed toast (cut into melba squares).
Can also be used as a sandwich spread.

Chilled Melon Soup

This refreshing summer soup is a great starter for
dinner on the patio on a summer evening.
Try any variety of melon in this recipe.
Serve leftover soup with salad for lunch the next day.

Ingredients
• 6 cups cubed ripe melon
• 1/2 cup diced seedless cucumber
• 6 tablespoons lime juice, divided, plus more to taste
• 1 tablespoon thinly sliced scallion green,
• 1 whole scallion, divided
• 1 jalapeño pepper, plus more to taste
• 1 cup cold water
• 1 2-by-1/2-inch strip orange zest
• 1/2 cup orange juice, plus more to taste
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, or mint for garnish
• 6 teaspoons plain yogurt, or crème fraîche for garnish
Method
1. Dice enough melon to measure 1 cup and combine in a small bowl with cucumber, 2 tablespoons lime juice and scallion green. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve the soup.
2. Place the remaining melon and 4 tablespoons lime juice in a blender. Chop the whole scallion and seed and chop jalapeño; add to the blender along with water, orange zest, orange juice, ginger and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and add more lime juice, jalapeño and/or orange juice, if desired.
3. Refrigerate the soup until chilled, 2 hours.
4. Stir the reserved diced melon mixture and divide among 4 soup bowls. Pour the soup into the bowls. Garnish each serving with cilantro (or mint) and yogurt (or crème fraîche), if using.

Tips & Notes
• Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate the melon mixture (Step 1) and soup (Step 2) in separate containers for up to 1 day. Finish with Step 4 just before serving.

Dying of Thirst

It’s that time of year again and every year seems to be getting hotter. Hydration (drinking water) at this time is very important. At a seminar recently, I heard that to cleanse the body properly each day we need to drink 4 glasses (1 litre) of water per 22 kilos of body weight. So for a 66 kg person, 3 litres of water must be drunk. That’s pure water – not juice, tea or coffee.

If you drink soft drinks you should drink even more water; they may be cooling but they are actually dehydrating and acidic. Soft drinks also serve to leach calcium from our bones. What about mineral water you ask? Well, there’s natural mineral water and there’s carbonated mineral water. The bubbles in natural mineral water are from the bicarbonate in the water which makes them slightly alkaline – Good! ‘Carbonated’ or ‘Lightly carbonated’ usually means that they have added carbon dioxide (acidic) – not good. The body’s normal pH is about 7.4 (slightly alkaline), normal urine pH is 6.0 (due to acidic waste products) and normal saliva pH ranges from 6.0 to 7.4 (depending on what you’re eating). Soft drinks as well as the carbon dioxide have phosphoric acid in them making them one acidic drink! The body tries to neutralize this by using minerals (from bones) – there goes the calcium, magnesium, silica etc. Non-fluoridated water (I’ll discuss this in the next article) like we supply in the Alba Therapies waiting room, is best.

We have a wide range of water filters from URwater (http://www.urwater.com.au) for sale at Alba Therapies. Ask Elly, our wonderful receptionist, about great tasting water in your home. So drink plenty of water this summer and have a happy and healthy festive season. Cheers!dragonfly_tap

Edible Skincare!

It’s coming to the time of year when everyone stops and breathes – for at least 10 minutes anyway. For those of you lucky enough to have a few minutes to yourselves (or better yet, the ability to share this time with good friends!), it’s time for an all-natural pampering. Rustle up some of your closest friends, a bottle of wine (remember : red is FULL of antioxidants) and a DVD or some peaceful music and raid your pantry. JULIE CONSTANTINE brings you these awesome home-made skin care recipes.

Basic Cleansing Oil Formula

The shelf life of this oil is pretty much as long as the oil doesn’t smell “off” (or rancid). It should keep a couple of months or longer if you use Olive oil, store in an airtight jar and keep in a dark place.

Combine:
6 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoons vegetable oil of choice
6 drops of Antibacterial essential oil, Such as lavender or rosemary

Add ingredients to a jar (with a lid that can be secured tightly) and shake to blend. Dab a little onto your fingertips and massage onto your face. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.

Adzuki bean and Rice flour Scrub

This facial scrub is a nice, gently way to exfoliate the skin. Ground shells like walnut or almond can be too abrasive or harsh on the skin, so the ground adzuki bean makes a much smoother supplement.

Soak the adzuki beans until tender, and grind with rice flower to make a pasty scrub. You can use this as a facial mask, or as a scrub – or add it in with your favourite cleanser to really exfoliate those dead skin cells!

Honey, Avocado and Oatmeal Nourishing Exfoliating Facial Mask

You will need one Avocado, some honey and oatmeal for this recipe. It couldn’t be simpler!
Blend the flesh of half an avocado (the rest can be used to snack on!) into a paste. Add in 3 tablespoons of raw, coarse oatmeal and 2 tablespoons of clear honey. Mix into a thick paste so that it does not drip. If the mixture is too thin or runny, add more oatmeal until it is thick.

Take 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture and apply to a damp face. Massage gently in circles, never pulling down on the face. Concentrate on problem areas, such as the T-zone. Once your face has warmed up, stop and leave for about 10 minutes. A perfect time to read that next chapter! Or munch on the other half of the avocado. When the mask is cool, rinse with warm water, massaging gently.

This mask is very rich and nourishing, PERFECT for that dry after winter skin. If you wish to use it more frequently, massage into the skin only once. This treatment is not suitable for oily or acne prone skin.

This should be the right amount for 3 uses, so keep the remaining mask in an airtight container in the fridge. This will last for about 10 days.

NATURAL EYE CARE

Cucumber Eye Mask

This would have to be the most well known and most widely used methods of eye nourishment. Place a thin slice of cold cucumber over each eye and relax for 15-20 minutes. This helps calm the eyes and reduce darks circles.

Tea Bag Eye Mask
The next time you make tea; don’t just bin the tea bags. Lightly squeeze out the remaining liquid and place the tea bag in a container in the refrigerator. Use on the eyes when they are tired, and revive them! Or use on bruised eyes – this works very well.

A Gentle Detox

Leading up to and after the ‘silly season’ is a GREAT time to cleanse our bodies of all the gunk of the past year – and will help us to process all the coming attributes of this time of year. Marney Murray has an easy way to cleanse your system – turning away from all these unhealthy quick fixes we see so often.

There are several benefits from a gentle cleanse, including: A feeling of lightness and more energy, More mental clarity and ease of getting up earlier (the sun and the birds are up earlier now too), Release of the stiffness felt as the liver clears acids from the tendons and ligaments, And a boosted immune function and prevention of minor complaints – like summer flu, sinusitis, sluggishness and winter weight gain.

How long will it take, and what is required?
This is designed to be a gentle cleanse, so to not disturb your body – it take 2 weeks. One week to shift your diet to a cleansing one, and one week of doing the same with more focus.

  • Enthusiasm at the fantastic results that await you!
  • A departure from alcohol
  • Abstinence from animal products, including dairy products.
  • A reduction or removal of tea and coffee
  • Abstinence from refined flour and sugar products i.e. Commercial breads and cakes.
  • You will require patience and gentleness with yourself. If you eat something that is not beneficial, don’t scold yourself. Acknowledge it and just keep going!
  • Also listening to your body and resting adequately.
  • You will find you have more energy if you do a gently walk, stretch, or both everyday.

Ingredients List

You will need: A bag of lemons, (one for each day). Spirulina, powder or tablet form (powder is preferred), Fresh fruits and vegetables (esp. Leafy greens and seasonal produce), Sprouts of any kind – snow pea, alfalfa, etc. (Sprouted bread is okay to eat during a cleanse), Beans (dried or tinned), tofu, tempeh, meat alternatives and Whole grains, such as brown rice, millet and pearl barley.

Method

  • Plan the dates of your cleanse so you can have your pantry and fridge stocked. Also it gives your time to become mentally prepared and enthusiastic about the results you will achieve. Begin whenever you like, I tend to shop on a Saturday and cook staples Sunday, then officially begin Monday.
  • Prepare some foods that will keep for a day or two, like bean and rice patties or zucchini fritters. Try things that may be new to your cooking repertoire, as these can be good to snack on or combine with main meals of fresh leafy greens and vegies prepared on the day.
  • Every morning, squeeze half to one lemon and have it in water before you eat or drink anything. This helps the liver to cleanse and the lemon becomes alkaline in the body, which is essential to help clear acids from the tendons and muscles and support your flexibility.
  • If you are getting a thick tongue coating in the morning, your digestive organs are cleansing themselves. You can scrape the coating off with a teaspoon and rinse your mouth with water. (You can do this before your lemon juice).
  • With tea and coffee, be gentle with yourself. Reduce slowly or you may get a detox headache. This is a very gentle cleanse, not a strong detox, so I would suggest reducing your intake ASAP and during the first week bring your consumption down to 1 cup per day, until you feel you no longer need it.
  • One or two teaspoons of Spirulina in juice or water per day. If you have never tried Spirulina start with half to one teaspoon, as it is very nutritious and a cellular cleanser in its own right. The Spirulina is essential for energy during ‘the cleanse’, especially if you are going to continue working. The protein in Spirulina has digestive absorption that is four times greater than in beef. A teaspoon of Spirulina is equivalent to 36 g of beef!(Available in most health food shops)
  • Leafy greens! Add them to most of your meals. Lettuce, Rocket, Baby Spinach, English spinach, Bok choi or Pak Choi, and herbs, like fresh parsley, basil, mint, oregano… yum! Seasonal vegies like asparagus, snow peas and beans are delicious right now! Crunch!!
  • Most foods can be lightly steamed, poached, boiled or baked. If you are particularly robust or have ‘heat’, you can eat more raw foods (see your practitioner to clarify ‘heat’)
  • If you are tired or are cleansing mucous from your system, eat lightly cooked foods and avoid dairy. Mucous can manifest as runny nose, sinusitis, asthma, allergies, Candida, excess weight and thick tongue coating.
  • Beans need to be soaked. If you are using dried beans, you will need to acidulate them (soak them in water with half a lemon for 8 hours). Do this in the morning before you go to work, drain them off and put fresh water in and cook for around 1 hour when you return home at night, or on the weekend. When soft, strain and put in an air tight container. Add to salads or other recipes. They also freeze well. By doing this you will increase the digestibility of beans and avoid uncomfortable gas!
  • You may continue with your standard multi vitamins or vitamin C. Flaxseed oil or fish oil supplement can also be continued as they are essential fatty acids. Colloidal Minerals are an excellent way to boost the minerals of the bones while you cleanse your organs and tissues.
  • Drink plenty of pure water, and experiment with herbs and teas to keep your fluid intake up. Green tea can be a gentle alternative to reducing your caffeine from tea and coffee as it also contains small amounts.
  • Enjoy the experience, experiment with new recipes, encourage your family and friends to eat some of your healthy new foods options!

If at any time you need any help or have any questions, make an appointment with your practitioner and we can help you work out a detox that’s right for you, and help with herbs and teas and information!. Don’t hesitate to call us! (07 3843 3555)