Natural Health

So this is something quite a lot of people in my life don’t understand.

I like to follow a more holistic and natural approach to my health.

When I have a head ache, or just don’t feel right I never reach for the overly-used ibuprofen or paracetamol. I only take pharmaceutical drugs when I’m in too much pain to handle (which thankfully isn’t very often at all). Instead I like to reduce it with natural products or just bear through the pain. This is when people often remark; “Why don’t you just take a tablet? Why suffer?”.

I believe that pharmaceutical drugs only cover the symptoms, and don’t actually address what’s causing the problem. Surely the symptoms will only keep on arising as long as the root of your pain isn’t addressed?

Here’s an example; I class caffeine as a drug. It affects our body when consumed. So the other day I was feeling incredibly lethargic. At work I could hardly keep my eyes open and no matter how much I slept, I was exhausted. When I mentioned this a lot of people just said “Have a cup of coffee”. I understand that this will improve my symptoms right now, but once it wears off I will be right back at square one. I picked up on some other symptoms such as bruising easily and paler lips. I knew that I was lacking iron. I went straight to the ol’ trusty Holland & Barrett and picked up some iron vitamins. Within a day my symptoms had been abolished. Completely resolved. I now knew to consume more iron rich food (dark chocolate here I come). Instead of covering over my tiredness with caffiene, I cured my lethargy completely.

I picked up 100 15mg Iron tablets from Holland & Barrett for £7.59. They also include small doses of other vitamins and minerals such as; Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, and many more.

Here are a couple more natural products I’ve been loving lately.

Evening Primrose Oil. This stuff is great for reducing PMS and helping to balance out hormones. I bought this from Neil’s Yard for £9.50. Incredibly expensive considering you only get 30ml. I actually ran out the other day so I’ve got to re-splurge, definitely somewhere cheaper though that’s for sure. This is a great alternative to other hormone based medicine such as the contraceptive pill (for balancing hormones that is, not protection against pregnancy).


Green Rooibos tea. This was a complete random buy as it was on offer for £1 in, you guessed it, Holland & Barrett. Tea is fantastic for clear skin, a clear mind, and a hydrated body. Rooibos tea is actually made from an African bush so isn’t technically a tea. It is known for its abilities to clear up skin, reduce stress and even fight cancer. Although it’s not known if it’s actually better than green tea, it’s a great little mix up if your daily green tea is getting rather repetitive. I imagine the pure Rooibos loose tea leaves are even better, give it a try. Maybe this could reduce your need for anti-anxiety medication or skin-clearing medicine.
So what’s the point of this blog post? Well hopefully I’ve inspired you to question your drug taking. Instead of just popping pills and thinking nothing of it, question if there’s something different you could do that’s better for you, your mind, and better ethically. Taking a few minutes to research online about your symptoms and any natural cures is definitely worth a try.

Let me know of any natural medication you take.

Edit:

I purchased this cold-pressed evening primrose oil from Holland & Barrett for £23.99. Yes, very expensive. But, I am getting 120ml rather than 30ml. All in the name of health hey?

Australian Apple And Raisin Cake (Snowman Edition)

Now it is very quickly becoming a tradition that I make this cake every Christmas. As I don’t consume any dairy or animal byproducts, I miss out on most desserts  offered around the Christmas period and after the traditional Christmas dinner. Instead of being awkward and sitting there dismissing all that’s offered to me, I make this ‘accidental’ vegan cake and offer it around to the family as well as myself – they seem to love it.

Although this cake isn’t officially classed as a ‘Christmas’ cake, I find it pretty damn suitable for the occasion and I find that once you tell the elders that it’s a Mary Berry recipe, they seem more than accepting.

This recipe is featured in the BBC Book Simple Cakes by Marry Berry.

Here are the ingredients:

Cake

1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and thickly sliced

100g vegan butter/margarine (the original recipe isn’t actually vegan for those of you meat-eaters and veggies)

100g light muscovado sugar

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

175g self raising flour

1 tsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (I just used ground nutmeg)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

75g sultanas

Decorations

White ready-to-roll icing

Orange ready-to-roll icing

Black ready-to-roll icing

Marmalade

Edible glitter

Instructions

  1. Firstly, grease the cooking tin and line the base with cooking paper. The original recipe uses your usual deep, round, loose bottomed cake tin, but as mine is being turned into a glorious snowman, I use a hemisphere cake tin. Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 3/160 degrees celcius/ 325 Farenheit. Put the apple slices into a small pan, add a small amount of water and cook until tender. Stir the apple mixture to break it down but it doesn’t have to be smooth puree – chunks of apple are good in this cake
  2. Next, put the butter and sugar into a large bowl and mix together until evenly blended. Mix together the warm apple and bicarbonate of soda in a small bowl. Next, add this mixture to the butter and sugar and mix.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, nutmeg and cinnamon into the mixture, add the raisins and fold in gently. Pour into the prepared cake tin and level with a spatula or spoon.
  4. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the cake is golden brown in colour, springy to the touch and has begun to shrink away from the side of the tin. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then empty the cake out of the tin. Leave on a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To decorate, warm up some marmalde and smother the entire rounded side of the cake. Next, place the already rolled out white icing onto the cake. Smooth it over and cut off any extras leaving a clean finish. You are now free to decorate the snowmans face however you please. I use black ready-to-roll icing modelled into balls for eyes, as well as for the mouth to mimick pebbles. For the nose I use orange ready-to-roll icing modelled into a 3d carrot. I stick all of the snowman’s features down using the heated marmalade. For the finishing touches I sprinkle some edible glitter over the entire cake for a christmassy touch and some ribbons tied around the outside (usually to cover up by dodgy icing job).

Now all I’ve got to with mine is finish decorating it, but I’ve been offered to head out for drinks. Southern Comfort wins this time. Pictures will follow shortly (my guess is tomorrow morning).

Merry Christmas.

Squash, Coconut & Chilli Curry (v)

This recipe is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cook book ‘Hugh’s THREE GOOD THINGS’. I have made this recipe numerous times and it is most definitely one of my favourite dishes. This is down to how easy it is to make (except the tedious task of cutting up the butternut squash), how cheap it is to make, the fact that it is pretty damn healthy in my eyes, and of course, that fact that it’s vegan.

Ingredients (Serves 4…or 2 servings for myself):

  • 800-1 kg butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil (I personally hardly ever cook with oil, instead I fry vegetable with small amounts of water and keep topping it up whenever needed)
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2-4 red chillies, deseeded and diced
  • 1 good tablespoon or to taste of curry powder or paste 
  • 400 ml tin coconut milk
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Your preference of rice, my favourite is jasmine

Image result for squash coconut chilli curry

First, peel the squash and remove all the seeds. You then want to cut it up into small-ish chunks. Next, get your large saucepan (it’s going to hold the whole curry) ready and fry up your sliced onion on a medium-low heat. Keep this going for around 10 minutes and then add the sliced garlic and chillies. Allow these guys to fry for a couple more minutes. Once you think they’re fried enough, stir in your curry powder/paste and let it all cook together for a couple minutes. Next, throw in your cut up squash with some salt and pepper to your tasting. Stir the contents together making sure the the squash is coated in your just-made curry sauce. Let this cook for 2 or so minutes.

Now, your going to pour in whole contents of your coconut milk tin and stir it all together. Then bring this to a simmer. Once you’ve got your curry bubbling, you;re going to put on the saucepan lid, and let it gently cook for 20-25 minutes making sure to stir it every now and then. You’re aiming for the squash to be tender and yielding (not mushy).

Once the squash has finished cooking, taste the curry and add any seasoning if needed.

Ladle your curry into your bowl accompanied with any type of rice, breads or dips.

Enjoy.