Blog #11 Power Brownies

The implementation of the sugar tax has got me thinking…. Sugar hit the headlines for a couple of days, so that very fact may have been enough to set alarm bells ringing for some people.


The implementation of the sugar tax has got me thinking…. Sugar hit the headlines for a couple of days, so that very fact may have been enough to set alarm bells ringing for some people.

I believe the food manufacturers have made significant steps in reducing the sugar content of their products. However it’s really worth checking the ingredients for artificial sweeteners – it might be just as harmful as sugar unfortunately.

The easiest way to take charge of your sugar intake is to cook from scratch. My hope is that a big chunk of the sugar tax income can be spent on education programmes.

Start in junior schools – teach young children about diet and nutrition. And how to cook too!

We have to learn how to make up our own minds what to eat. Naturally the food industry needs to make a profit, so adding sugar/sweetener makes their product more appealing…

I made some brownies the other day. I threw everything together and they tasted good, I hope you like them!

  • 2 sweet potatoes- boiled
  • 200g dates
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • Handful mixed seeds

Beat together and bake in a lined tin for approx 30 mins.

There’s no refined sugar but I’m guessing they’re not low calorie. However there are no wasted calories.

I heard a new mantra the other day – Sitting is the new Smoking! In other words to get healthy – get moving. Great message.

Final thought to leave you with, not original I’m sure, but it’s a valuable one. Food is not the problem, it’s the solution…..

I’m off for a coffee and a brownie!

Healthy Tips from Australia

The newspapers have been full of stories of the weather…. There have also been some shocking stories about our diet.

On our way home from a wonderful trip to Sydney. It’s going to be tough adjusting from long sunny days to the extreme cold that all of the UK seems to be suffering at the moment. The newspapers have been full of stories of the weather…. There have also been some shocking stories about our diet.

First ‘British have worst diet in Europe’. Apparently we eat four times as much junk food as France, Greece or Italy.

Next – The Guardian – Half of all food bought in the UK is ultra processed.

They seem shocking statistics, but I suppose if you look at how the floor space is divided up in a big supermarket it seems credible.

These were swiftly followed by a headline in the ‘I’ Stroke Warning for over 40’s’. Taking into account weight, drinking and lack of exercise 1 in 6, 40-69 yr olds will suffer a stroke…..

These statistics are potentially reversible by making small changes. Education is key. I believe in looking around the world and seeing what healthy customs other cultures have and learning from them.

I love traditional British fish and chips – I eat the fish and leave the batter. However Australian fish and chip shops are something else!

Choose your fish and how you want it cooked, plain grilled or deep fried, salt, no salt, which type of salad would you like, with or without chips? How good to have healthy options! So you can have a takeaway that’s healthy! The picture is of one of our favourites, in Cronulla.

Another statistic that I’ve already mentioned is that 5 out of 6, 60 yr olds already have a degenerative disease. I worry that we think this is normal for your age. We accept ill health, but it’s always worth making changes and seeing what can be achieved- it’s never too late. Removing processed sugar from your diet can have countless benefits, from weight loss to joints feeling better, headaches improving….. Simple changes bring big rewards.

Positive story to share – I had a message today from a young man who 3 months ago found that his cholesterol was 8.2. ( I don’t know his age but mid 30’s ). He declined drugs and went for a 3 month review last week. He did his research, dramatically changed his diet, no processed food or refined sugar. I believe he also had his first meal at lunchtime. He lost 2 stone, and his cholesterol is now 6.9. Whilst this is still high it is definitely moving in the right direction! I love to hear examples of people making positive changes and getting results!

So my message today is don’t get downhearted by all the gloomy statistics, we can all make changes. As the shampoo advert says – you are worth it!

Blog #10 – It’s Easy to be Healthy.

Happy New Year, New You Everybody! I’m writing this on holiday in Australia and wanted to tell you about wattle seeds.

Happy New Year, New You Everybody! I’m writing this on holiday in Australia and wanted to tell you about wattle seeds. They are the highly nutritious, tasty seeds of one of the many varieties of the acacia bush. They can be ground for flour as apparently they have 25% more protein than most flours. I found them in a shop in London and just love the flavour! Chocolate/praline/coffee – delicious.

I was excited to experiment with them, so added them to my morning coffee “buns”. I thought I’d share the recipe to demonstrate how easy it is to be refined sugar free.

The base is adapted from the Wheat Belly recipe, because I find it so simple and versatile.

2 cups almond flour

2 cups Chickpea flour

1 cup ground linseed

½ cup coconut flour

2 tsp baking powder

Mix dry ingredients well and store in glass screw top container in fridge.

Take 2 cups of the mix, beat in 2 eggs, I ripe banana , cup raisins, blend with almond milk to get smooth consistency and mix in a generous sprinkle of wattle seeds.

Bake in a lined, rectangular pan at 180C, for 25- 30 mins.

I cut into squares, store in deep freeze and take one every morning.

This is a really flexible recipe, if I’ve got 2 ripe bananas I’ll use them, or swap raisins for dates or apricots. Adding a handful of mixed seeds is good too, cinnamon, ginger. (Not with wattle seeds though)

Today I made a batch with another experiment – swapped a cup of lentil flour for a cup of Chickpea flour. Will test and report results!

I promise that a small square of this is much more sustaining than a large piece of chocolate cake!

You’ve had a snack – but no empty calories – you’re worth it!

A New Years thought for you – think about what you’re gaining by stepping away from processed food and refined sugar.

Here’s to a faster, fitter, livelier New You 🥂🍾

Blog #9 Celebrate! #apple cider vinegar

Today’s blog is about celebrating the positives of living a healthy lifestyle. Everybody knows my favourite mantra – take charge of your own health and diet. Now I’m so pleased to say that this week we had some good news.

My husband has eaten the same way as I do for several years, no grains, processed food, refined sugar or meat. I do it because I feel so fit and well, he does because the arthritis in his spine is just so much better. We both walk fast every day for at least an hour, but he runs as well.

However he has a family history of raised cholesterol which statistically is a cause for concern. He had a routine blood screening at our local surgery in March and they weren’t happy about his results,

Cholesterol.   5.8

Triglycerides   2.5

Despite huge pressure to start statins he refused. He was a ‘non compliant’ patient, even after being told he has a 20% chance of dying in the next 10 years. Not a very cheery experience for him.

Obviously action was needed, we already eat as healthily as I can make it. I would loosely describe it as a Mediterranean diet, fish, fruit/veg, olive oil and coconut oil. We made one small change.

We added a tablespoon of Cider Apple Vinegar to our meals, once a day – sometimes twice.

This week he repeated his test, with dramatic results!

Cholesterol   5.5

Triglycerides  1.1

Is this a clinical trial? No. Did the Cider Apple Vinegar do this? I don’t know, but we aren’t aware of any other changes.

As I’ve said before I’m not a scientist, Bill Clinton’s famous phrase ‘Keep it Simple Stupid ‘ describes me perfectly. If there’s a simple solution out there to try – that’s the one I’ll go for first!

It’s good to celebrate, so tonight we’ll have a glass of champagne!


Blog 8: Healthy, Not Hungry

I’m constantly reading and looking for more information on living a long and healthy life. In fact that’s why I haven’t written anything for so long! I’m getting a bit overwhelmed with info – so I’m going back to my basics and keeping it simple….

Life is stressful. I’m almost scared to turn the news on, there’s so much going on in the world, violence, conflict, hurricanes… All of these things are appalling and all of them out of our control. There is very little we can do apart from donate to disaster funds. I believe we can help ourselves and others by living with an attitude of gratitude, and acting in a positive way with the people in our own circle and those we meet.

We can of course take charge of our own health. However rich or poor we are we can choose what to eat and how much to eat. One positive step leads to another…..

When I say we can choose what to eat, that is a slightly optimistic statement. But we can do our best. Keeping it simple – means for me, only eating what I can at least identify. If it’s smothered in a sauce or dressing I don’t want it.

You choose what steps you want to take to feel well. No refined sugar or sweetener is a great place to start – you will start seeing improvements in your wellbeing very quickly.

I’m going to finish by quoting some sad research by Dr Paul Clayton. Apparently only 1:10,000 people die of old age. 5/6 60 yr olds already have undiagnosed degenerative disease. This includes coronary artery disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, cancer….

Let’s work on shortening the odds! More soon….

This recipe follows my healthy not hungry rule – it’s an adaptation of Ella Woodwards Energy Balls.

125g mixed nuts
Handful of pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp chia seeds
100g soft pitted dates, medjool if poss 3 generous tsp of Nut butter
4 tsp cinnamon

Blend in food processor, form into dessertspoon size balls and store in the fridge. I keep a few in my handbag in case of emergency.


Blog #7 Keep it Simple


I’m going to be honest and tell you this photo is 50 yrs old! That’s me top right with 10 of my classmates. Can’t remember why it was such a select group, there were at least 30 in the class. However I can clearly remember all of the other children were the same size, slim with bony knees! There was one little girl who I remember had what was called ‘puppy fat’.

This reminds us of the dramatic difference in diet and lifestyle and size of children in 50 short years.

We are living in turbulent times, the NHS can’t keep up with the effects of obesity. Teachers can’t cope with behaviour problems in the classroom.
I know this sounds like ridiculous wishful thinking – but it isn’t really – could we reduce our children’s intake of sugar/artificial sweetener and processed food?

I’m not looking back with rose tinted specs but I can tell you that we all sat and behaved in class – at break time the boys always kicked a football and the girls would talk, skip or something. So there was quite a lot of physical activity, we walked to school as well. Also we all ate the same sort of food, sandwiches your mother had given you with a biscuit or bit of fruit.

Our physical and mental state must be related to the food we eat, and how much exercise we get. (Exercise releases feel good endorphins) childhood is the best time to start good habits.

There has been a lot of publicity this week about a psychiatrist condemning ‘clean eating’. He maintains there is a flood of people who are weak from lack of sugar, they are also bulimic from bingeing on junk food and vomiting.
I prefer to reframe this and say that eating unprocessed food with as few chemicals as is possible is how we are designed to eat.

Anorexia Nervosa is a highly distressing and life threatening disease. Patients need careful, specialist help. This is not a new condition though that can be conveniently blamed on anybody. I’ve lived through all sorts of fad diets that were definitely not healthy, but I don’t remember so much vitriol being heaped on the magazine authors that churned these diets out on a weekly basis.

I find it interesting that compulsive eating and obesity is not treated by psychiatrists in the same way. These patients are offered bariatric surgery. I’m sure surgery is effective but it seems like treating the symptoms and not the disease.

Being healthy doesn’t mean being hungry, don’t diet just be thoughtful about what you eat and also what you feed your children. Be independent, take your own nutritious snacks with you when you’re out for the day, a few unsalted nuts, or a home made sugar free treat.

Remember how important Vitamin D is for our health – here’s hoping we get plenty of sun this summer!

I’m going to finish with a lovely summer recipe from a friend, Inese Zute. Do check her blog and recipes.

Beetroot and Tahini dippen dappen

300g steamed/cooked beetroot 4 tbsp tahini
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar2 tbsp olive oil
Blend together. Serve as a sauce on a salad, a spread or a dip.

Blog #6 What is the best way to lose weight?

The best way to lose weight is ……

Today I read a report arguing that in fact it’s a myth that we can be fat and fit. Apparently a movement started a few years ago claiming that it’s OK to be 200lbs as long as you’re active…… I’m pleased to read this because I think it’s wrong to give false hope to people who are carrying so much extra fat. In my opinion it’s wrong to be politically correct about a serious health issue.

People are overweight for lots of complicated reasons which is why I don’t believe a ‘diet’ is very helpful. Wouldn’t it be better to try to examine and address the cause? Low self esteem, confidence, stress, multiple reasons why people reach for food as the answer to problems. They are all very personal, and the answers and solutions will be different.

As I say, honesty is always the best policy. Confront the fact that a person has a health problem, I/ you need to lose 10lbs or 30lbs to prevent and relieve serious issues like Type 2 Diabetes, joint pain, raised blood pressure etc etc.

Now you can make a plan on how to tackle it. The goal is to make healthy changes for life. Calorie restriction and diet plans will work if you stick to the instructions…..
Slimming clubs work for a lot of people, maybe it’s the idea of the weekly public weigh in?

I have a concern that if we become fixated on restricting calories for weight loss we can lose sight of the original mission – to be healthy and stay healthy. We all need variety and vitamins and minerals.

Preprepared calorie controlled meals are useful for one thing, you know exactly how many calories you have eaten, if you are counting calories. However for optimum health as well as slimness you should avoid all processed food. The diet industry is huge and offers us lots of options, too numerous to mention here. It is in their interest to keep us trying more systems…..

Let’s go back to our original mantra – keep it simple – no processed food – if it’s been anywhere near a machine or a factory floor don’t eat it. No refined sugar/sweetener. Easy! Of course I’m including bread products here, the chemicals used to extend the life of a loaf haven’t yet been proven to extend yours…..

Listen to your body and eat what suits you. We are all different, I prefer not to eat meat, but love fish and dairy. If you love a steak check the source, grass fed organic is best.
I’m very keen not to give instructions, I have no right to do that. Also when we think about a problem and make our own plan we stick to our decisions in a much more positive way. This is a project we can actually enjoy, the rewards quickly become obvious. A slimmer, fitter, healthier you!