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 #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!

Healthy food, naturally!

The Food Nut, Blog 3.

Today I thought I would tell you more about me and my interest in food. I am lucky, my mother was a huge influence on me. She worked full time but always cooked a family meal from scratch every evening. She was interested in food and an excellent cook. We had lots of home grown vegetables, local eggs, meat from the butcher in the village. I can remember home made soups, stews, roast beef and lamb, apple puddings and custard, fruit cake….We were certainly not wealthy but she was economical and efficient.

Of course I’m biased and think my mother was the best, but most of my friends ate the same style of food, seasonal, fresh, maybe something shop bought ‘for a treat’ once a week.

I’m 61 years old so my food memories and observations go back a long way. Recently I found some school photos, netball team, hockey team etc. The interesting thing that you notice is that everybody is so slim. We all ate three meals a day, I remember I liked the school lunches, particularly the puddings. The meals were cooked in the school kitchens.

I watch the decline in both children and adults state of health with sadness. As times change, and the pace of life becomes faster, and food becomes faster, we are becoming larger and slower.

We have forgotten what being in a state of wellness feels like. People accept headaches, stomachaches, joint pains, skin irritations as a normal part of life. Feeling tired all the time, poor sleep, all this is not normal. Our bodies are designed better, we are designed to perform efficiently.

Listen to your body, it’s trying to give you a message. We have wonderful powers of regeneration and healing, but give yourself a chance, be kind to your body.

Look back 50 years, study old films and books. Do you look slim, fit, with clear skin? What can you change today that will make you feel better? We haven’t changed, we have changed our diets and lifestyle dramatically.

Make one dramatic decision today – for example – no more refined sugar for a whole month. Then after 4 weeks honestly assess how you look and feel. Give yourself a treat! You will look and feel a new person!

I read a lot of articles by respected doctors and scientists, and cookery books are my favourite reading. There are lots of conflicting opinions out there but I have found that plotting my own path through this minefield works well for me. Listening to your body takes practice, but you will become tuned in quicker than you think.

I’m anticipating that you may have some unpleasant side effects for the first few days of going sugar free. This is probably because you are accidentally stopping a lot of chemicals and additives if you are stopping drinking coke, eating meals out of boxes and store bought cake. ( don’t swap for artificial sweetener). So at the moment you’re not very happy, stick it out.

My next prediction – after 4 weeks you won’t be attracted to the treats you previously loved. However if you are tempted to try one of your old favourites I bet you get a headache or feel sick. Good your body is talking to you, so listen!

Today I would like to add a casserole recipe that really shows you how fast home cooking can be. I shall call it Mediterranean Chickpea and Prawns.

2 leeks, chopped. ( I use leeks for 2 reasons. First onions make my mascara run, and secondly my kitchen is open plan and I think leeks smell better. But a large onion would be good).
3 celery sticks, chopped
I red pepper

Pack of mushrooms, cleaned and chopped Tin or jar of chickpeas, rinsed
2 packs of prawns, rinsed
Tin of chopped tomatoes

2 spoons of tomato purée
Generous mixed herbs,
Some fresh basil
Himalayan salt ( just because I like it) Black pepper

Soften the first 3 ingredients in coconut oil ( I use a wok )
Add mushrooms and then remaining ingredients, bring up to boil then simmer for 20-30 mins Add fresh basil.
Serve with lightly boiled or stir fried courgetti.

So quick and easy and the leftovers taste good the next day!
Just looked at my photo. It looks as if I might have thrown some spinach in too…

Wait Before You Watch The Scales


Hello again. The purpose of this blog is not to tell anybody what to do, but rather to share my experiences and what works for me. I would like to give you some food for thought and hopefully nudge you towards a healthier diet that suits you.

How are you getting on with the no instant box food and no refined sugar?

I’m anticipating you are feeling the benefits already. You will of course have realised that the bonus is you have dramatically reduced your salt intake without trying….
This means that you will clean up your palate and food you previously would have described as bland becomes tasty.

How you are reacting to these changes really depends on how much processed food and drinks you have been accustomed to… that includes the artificial sweeteners that have been hiding too…. Please avoid all artificial sweeteners, check anything that says low sugar. I have been reading some articles that suggest that they actually increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. The reasons are a bit scientific, so probably best I don’t attempt an explanation, but they alter the composition and function of intestinal microbiota.

I deliberately suggested trying these changes for a month. Our bodies and systems need a while to receive this new information, give your liver and chance to work for you.
It’s a good idea to drink plenty of water, being hydrated will help any withdrawal symptoms, like headache.

On the subject of drinking – I stick with my personal philosophy – if possible all drinks should be as simple and uncomplicated as possible. Preferably buy coffee beans, good quality tea, wine with no additives, also beer. Good gin, vodka, whisky are fine I’m sure but think very carefully about the mixers.

So today I’m suggesting not getting on the scales until you have been eating like this for a full 4 weeks. You will be increasingly aware that you are moving faster and skin clearer, sleeping better. Your portions will be smaller because you are eating only nutrient dense food that hasn’t had any addictive chemicals added.

Your body is going to settle into a natural state of feeling increasingly well. More on that next time! Because I have a sweet tooth I’m going to include another cake recipe. Next time I’m going to share a savoury one for people who don’t like cake! Enjoy your food and feeling good….

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf. ( taken from Clean Alice) Oven 180, 1lb loaf tin, lined.

175g ground almonds 25g desiccated coconut 1 lemon, zested
2tsp baking powder

3 eggs
5 tbsp honey ( I didnt use so much but see what you think) 150g raspberries.

Mix all dry ingredients.
Whisk the eggs, add the honey, Add the 2 mixes together
Fold in the raspberries

Bake for 50-60 mins, covering with foil for the last 20 mins