Archive | Nutrition & Health

Cutting edge advice from the inSpiral team about optimum nutrition and good health practices.

RECIPE: Spooky Spirulina Smoothie

Inspiral Spirulina Smoothie Halloween

With a colour that’s bound to get you in the festive Halloween spirit, give our spooky spirulina smoothie recipe a try this October.

Superfoods are not only incredibly good for your health, but the phytonutrients they contain also work wonderfully as natural food colouring. The spirulina in this terrifying smoothie gives it it’s vibrant, ghoulish colour without the need to add in any other nasty ingredients.

When we checked the ingredients list of a popular brand of green food colouring we found that not only were glucose syrup and sugar the top two ingredients, but it also contained SIX different types of E numbers! Why not simply use nutrition instead of the chemical-laden alternative?

People also love spirulina for its high levels of chlorophyll, essential fatty acids and vast amounts of vitamins. Plus it’s full of essential amino acids that make this smoothie an amazing way to consume your plant based protein. The perfect replenishment for your Halloween party guests!

Go on, give your friends a fright this year by telling them their fruity smoothie is bursting with algae!

Inspiral Spirulina Smoothie Bag


Spooky Spirulina Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients :

Method :

Juice your oranges and carrots before adding both to the banana, spirulina and protein powder. Blend everything until smooth.


Thanks to Kim from A Blackbird’s Epiphany who made our spirulina smoothie and gave us these wonderful images.


Is coconut palm sugar sustainable?


There is a rumour being spread on the internet that production of coconut palm sugar sacrifices the coconut fruit and damages the coconut trees, it implies that this is a negative for both the diets and economies of farmers in tropical countries.

It is said to also push up the prices of coconut health food products such as coconut oil and flour. As we use coconut palm sugar in many of our healthy snacks, we thought it was worth investigating this claim further.

We found out that by collecting the nectar from the coconut blossom, in order to make the sugar, that the blossom will not go on to fruit and produce an actual coconut.  This may at first seem concerning but the coconut tree produces multiple blossoms and the farmer can choose what to do with each.  He or she has a choice whether to let each one turn into a coconut fruit or to take the nectar.

When they allow the blossom to grow into a fruit and sell this they only make $0.10 per coconut and as a result coconut fruit farmers are some of the poorest farmers in the world.  The farmers do not add any value to this system, as any processing (e.g. to make coconut oil, flour etc) is done in urban factories by middle men. In contrast, as the farmers must be the ones to do the processing of the nectar for the sugar (at the location of the tree) they add value and so get paid more for their work. Essentially, the farmers choose to sell their blossoms as sugar rather than the end stage fruit to increase the value of their produce.

Therefore coconut trees are not sacrificed for the production of coconut palm sugar, as the tree continues to grow blossoms, and production of sugar does not directly affect the price of other coconut products such as oil, flour etc. This is because there is no shortage of coconut trees in this world.  They are everywhere in the tropics. The issue is the proximity of trees to large processors that make coconut water, oil, flour etc.  “There is no shortage in coconuts, only a shortage of factory capacity and effort of companies willing to work with the coconut farmers to create solutions to their conditions of poverty” say Big Tree Farms, our ethical supplier.

inSpiral choose to work with this supplier as they are confident that coconut oil can also be produced simultaneously to coconut palm sugar without any harm to coconut trees or the health food industry. At inSpiral, we always make sure that the products we stock are 100% ethical, non-exploitative and are produced in an environmentally and friendly way.

Have you tried our coconut palm sugar?……..


Coconut-Sugar-MainOrganic Coconut Palm Sugar

Deriving from the nectar of the cut flower blossoms of the coconut palm, this sap is translucent but as it evaporates crystals form. These sugar crystals have a distinct flavour with a hint of caramel. Unrefined, 100% whole and natural, this sugar has a lower glycemic index than both brown or white cane sugar, of only 35 compared to 64. However, it is still sugar so use sparingly for optimum health!


Photo credit: Coconut Tree by werner22brigitte / CC0 Public Domain


RECIPE: Tomato & Inca Berry Salsa

Inca berries have been revered by the tribes of the Amazon for centuries for as a highly nutritious food and as a medicine, hence one of their many nicknames, ‘golden berries.’ As well as being packed with protein, they are rich in vitamins A and C and provide a variety of B vitamins. Their seeds also have a mild laxative effect which promotes healthy digestion and prevents toxin build-up.

With many superfoods, it can be difficult to find a way to include them in your regular diet. This is why we have come up with this simple recipe for a salsa with a superfood kick. Perfect in wraps, salads or shared as a dip with friends.

mexican salsa in blue bowl



  • 160g chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 30g Raw & Organic Inca Berries
  • 20g fine chopped green bell pepper
  • 50g diced red onion
  • 10ml (1dsp) lime juice
  • 1.5tsp minced coriander leaf
  • 1.5tsp fine chopped jalapeno chilli pepper (optional)
  • ⅛tsp ground cumin
  • ⅛tsp Himalayan Crystal Salt
  • ⅛tsp ground black pepper


  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve as you wish (If you’d prefer a smoother salsa, pulse in a blender a few times)
  2. Enjoy!


Raw Inca Berries PP WebInca Berries – Raw & Organic

Inca Berries are also known as ‘golden berries’ or dried physalis. A deliciously zingy, juicy & sweet natural snack that’s a perfect treat, straight from the bag, as part of a salad or in your morning porridge. Our variety recently won Veggie Magazine’s ‘Best Vegetarian World Ingredient’ award and were praised for their balanced flavour.


Photo credits:


Dairy-Free 101


As awareness about nutrition, environmental issues and animal welfare gains more momentum, so too does the number of people choosing to go dairy-free. This could be for ethical reasons, lactose intolerance or purely for their own health gains.
Either way, the evidence for dairy not being as good for us as we once thought it was is stacked up, and we might be starting to think about how we could reduce or completely eliminate it from our diets.
Numerous health benefits have been reported as a result of taking this leap. People have reported various skin conditions vanishing within weeks of cutting out dairy. Thousands of personal success stories have emerged from people who quit dairy and resolved a medley of mystery illnesses – from migraines to stuffy noses to an improvement in behavioural conditions such as ADHD.
It has been estimated that 70% of the world’s population suffers with some degree of lactose intolerance. Although symptoms can be mild enough to go undetected, they can cause a variety of problems with our digestion nonetheless.
Digestion is the stage at which all our nutrient absorption is done, and dairy has been noted to inhibit this process for many people. So less dairy actually has the indirect effect of you absorbing more nutrients from the rest of your food, which comes with a myriad of health benefits.
But even with all of this information, the act of actually cutting dairy out of your diet can seem difficult if not impossible given its huge presence in our daily diets. In this guide, inSpiral want to dispel the myth that a dairy-free diet is difficult, and help you on your way.

Kitchen Essentials:

Before you can get started, there are a few things you will need in your kitchen. Obviously we’re not going to list everything you could have (there’s so much), but here are a few things that you should stock to make your journey a little easier.

  1. A blender (probably the most important of all!)
  2. Coconut oil
  3. Avocado
  4. Tofu
  5. Nutritional yeast
  6. Raw nuts (cashews, macadamias, almonds, etc)
  7. Nut butter (whichever you prefer)
  8. Plant-based milk (almond, hemp, oat, etc)
  9. Agar agar flakes (for solid cheese substitutes)
  10. Coconut milk (canned)



Before you can go dairy-free, you’ll need to know what how to replace the gap that it leaves in your diet. Here are some alternatives to get you started.
This is a big one for most of us. It is used in tea, cereal, baking, sauces and soups. It is also the key ingredient in a lot of other popular food – cheese, yoghurt and ice cream to name but a few. But it isn’t as unavoidable as it might seem once you discover the alternatives.

  • Plant-based
    There are a variety of plant-based milks that are not only dairy-free, but high in various vitamins and minerals. They include nut milk, seed milk and milks made from grains. Some popular varieties found in shops are almond milk, hemp milk, rice milk and oat milk. They are all highly nutritious and make convincing milk substitutes.
  • Coconut milk
    Coming in both thick and light varieties, coconut milk is an excellent substitute for milk across the board. The thick canned variety is great for making creamy sauces and the light version found in cartons in most shops is great for using in place of cow’s milk. It is also free from gluten, nuts and dairy – so great for those who suffer with intolerances.
  • Homemade
    The majority of plant based milks can be made at home with minimal effort. Simply take your chosen ingredient and blend it with water and sweetener to taste. If using nuts or seeds, be sure to soak beforehand!

Cheese is the mammoth hurdle all people cutting dairy out need to jump, and there are very few alternatives on the shelves that satisfy the cravings. But fear not; there are a number of substitutes that you can make at home with little effort.

  • Nut cheese
    There is a whole range of nut cheeses that you can make at home for a creamy spreadable alternative to cheese. Many of them use cashew nuts, so it is useful to stock them in your cupboard. These cheeses are filling and packed with all the nutritional benefits of whichever nut you use – take a look at inSpirals’s macadamia nut cheese recipe to get you started!
  • Solid cheese
    inSpiral now stock agar agar flakes, which have been used in many recipes to create convincing substitutes to cheese that slice, grate and melt. Any vegan will understand that this is life altering!
  • Nutritional yeast
    As used in our new Tomato & Basil Pizza Kale-os, this amazing little ingredient is perfect for replacing the cheese flavour in your cooking. The cheesy tasting flakes can be blended into sauces, soups and sprinkled on salads for a nutty boost. As a bonus, it is also very high in b vitamins, including b12, which is notoriously sparse in plant-based diet.


Butter & spreads:

  • Coconut oil
    The perfect alternative to butter – this oil is revered amongst the nutrition community for its numerous health benefits. From helping burn more fat and boosting brain function to helping fight bacteria; populations that eat a lot of coconut are among the healthiest on the planet. Join them!
  • Avocado
    Affectionately referred to by many as ‘nature’s butter’, this dreamy fruit is a god send for those going dairy free. Naturally rich and creamy, when ripe, avocado can be used as a spread or mashed with other ingredients for a guacamole. Make them a staple in your new dairy-free diet.
  • Nut butter
    Nut butters are great for giving your food an extra protein boost, and if you’re trying to cut dairy out, they are sure to fill the gap. Peanut butter is the most common variety, but why not try inSpiral’s Almond Butter for a tasty alternative?


Calcium Concerns:

When you mention the fact that you’re thinking about cutting dairy out, many people will instantly comment on the lack of calcium, which milk is a primary source of in most modern diets. This might be a concern at first considering its importance for our bone health, but the truth is, better quality sources of calcium can be found elsewhere, but you do need to make sure you’re eating a lot of them, or supplementing.

Bear in mind though that optimal vitamin D levels are necessary for calcium absorption, and many people are deficient, especially in the UK. Vitamin D is another vitamin vegans need to think about – inSpiral stock a vitamin D3 spray that is derived purely from organic plant sources.  It is now being researched that perhaps we need less calcium in our supplements if we are fully replete in vitamin D.

Kale is extremely high in calcium and is also the most nutrient dense food on the planet (all the more reason to eat lots of kale chips!). Beans, tofu, organge juice, fortified planet-based milk and much more also contain just as much calcium, without all the problems that come with cow’s milk.


Photo credits: Experiment by Tim Patterson/ CC BY | Coconut Milk by S Sepp / CC BY-SA 3.0 | Coconuts drying by Peter Davis/ CC BY 2.0


RECIPE: Macadamia Nut Cheese

Any newly converted vegan will tell you about their struggles with giving up cheese. Dairy-free replacements in the shops just don’t seem to cut it and nothing we eat gives quite the same hearty satisfaction as cheese.

But it needn’t be such a struggle – there are a plethora of nut-cheeses you can make at home that provide a perfect replacement to the original, and can be flavoured in any way you like. High in protein and healthy fats and lacking in the unhealthy saturated fats found in dairy cheese, they’re also way better for your body as well as animals.

Here we have a recipe for macadamia nut cheese with caraway, fennel and olive. This delcious alternative is completely raw, vegan and gluten-free and it includes our powerful probiotic blend to tip the nutritional scales. Taking the leap to a vegan diet just got a little bit easier!




  1. Place macadamias, water and probiotic capsule in a blender and process until completely smooth. Place the mixture in a strainer that has been lined with a cheesecloth and put a weight on top of it. Leave to culture for 36-48 hours at room temperature.
  2. Once culturing is complete, stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Spoon the cheese mixture into a metal ring and repeat until all the cheese has been used.
  4. Place in the refrigerator to firm up a little bit.
  5. Voila! Vegan cheese that you can enjoy as a spread, in a salad or with our Raw Crackits.



Proviotic Vegan Probiotic Capsules

inSpiral are proud to introduce this brand new vegan probiotic capsule which has been isolated from Snowdrop flowers and grown in 100% GMO-free vegetable juice. Previously only thought to be available in dairy products, the strain strain of probiotics found in these capsules provide the benefits of Greek yoghurt without the animal products. Perfect for vegans!


Himalayan-Crystal-Salt-PPWEB400Himalayan Pink Crystal Salt

This beautiful pink Himalayan crystal salt is actually the sea salt which was formed after an ancient pristine ocean dried up between 300-600 million years ago. This salt is used by health professionals and spas, and is 96-99% sodium chloride along with up to 82 other trace minerals.



Photo credits: Clean Blog


Showing support for elderly vegetarians

vfl_logoIt can be a difficult world for any vegetarian or vegan, especially if not in central London, but it can only get more challenging with age. Currently, there are no fully vegetarian care homes in the UK and a serious neglect for vegetarians exists within care homes.

At first, this might not seem like such a big deal. If there is a vegetarian option, surely they will be OK? But in most cases, the focus is on the meals that include meat, and the vegetarian options are nothing more than an after-thought. The problem becomes more alarming when we consider that elderly vegetarians who get admitted into care homes may not have access to the right nutrients as a result of this neglect. At this point in their lives, a good diet is as important than ever, if not more so.

Numerous Ready_Meal_Guide_Front_Covercases of people enjoying youthful and joyous lives long into old age as a result of a vegetarian/ vegan diet have emerged over the years. It may in fact be the consumption of animal products that directly and indirectly cause such steep declines in health for much of the older generation. With that in mind – shouldn’t we reward vegetarians and vegans who have made it into old age? Not treat them like an inconvenience. The charity Vegetarian For Life is aligned with this vision.


A charity supporting older vegetarians

Starting out providing sheltered housing and meals for older vegetarians in the 1960s, they evolved into a charity that aims to improve the standard of vegetarian and vegan catering in care homes. With famous vegetarian chef, Rose Elliot, as one of their patrons they work in many ways:

Firstly by promoting the UK list, a directory of care facilities and food suppliers that follow VFL’s best practice guide. The list is an established listing of veggie-friendly care homes and other services that cater for older people. This directory is free to access and should serve as an invaluable resource for those with older relatives who are vegetarian.

As well as this, they offer training for caterers, a variety of free publications and an abundance of simple vegetarian recipes and menu planners to assist all those who are interested.

They have a grant scheme for older vegetarians who need support. Their first major achievement with this was providing funding for a stair lift that enabled an elderly vegetarian lady to move out of care and back into her own home to live independently once more. Since then, they have awarded six further grants for assistance with relocation, a bath aid, vegetarian/vegan cookery courses for older people in Wales, a mobility scooter, a cooker and for fitting a downstairs shower room.

Many of us may have holistic care of older relatives on our minds. If any of the older members of your family are vegetarian or vegan, VFL could prove to be extremely useful if you’ll need to be considering moving them into a care home.

What you can do..

Membership is free, so please do sign up to become a member of Vegetarian for Life and help to promote their work.  Spread the word to your friends and family; maybe you know other people that would like to become members of this charity.  VFL are open for donations and assure us that the money goes directly to the improvement of their work and services. Consider making a monthly subscription to them or setting one up as a mindful gift for an older relative. It is also easy to give to this charity just by changing your search engine. Charities like this are doing great work and for all of us who also share their cruelty-free approach, it is important that we show some support for what they are doing as one day it could be any one of us in need of support.


RECIPE: Superfood ‘Snickers’

Seeing as it’s Father’s Day soon, we thought we’d share a recipe that is as decadent as it is nutritious. We’ll understand if he’s not so keen on green smoothies, but this surprisingly healthy treat will be difficult to resist.

This recipe is adapted from Jesse Van Der Velde’s book ‘5 Steps To Becoming A Super Foodie’




  1. Gently melt the coconut oil and then stir in the cacao and lucuma powder. The exact amount of each powder can be adjusted according to preference. More cacao for bitterness, more lucuma for sweetness, more maca for manliness!
  2. Next add in the superfood of your choice. Stir the mixture thoroughly until a desirable consistency is achieved.
  3. Now pour a layer of the cacao mixture into a chocolate mould. Follow with a spoonful of peanut butter (or a nut butter of your choice) and then top with a final layer of the cacao mixture.
  4. Place in your fridge or freezer to set before serving.
  5. Enjoy!


Organic Rawcacao-powder-product-image Cacao Powder

Our Truly Raw Cacao Powder is cold-pressed below 45°C from dried Balinese cacao beans. Deliciously dark & distinct in flavour, it makes for stunning desserts, shakes, truffles & more!


lucuma-main-imageOrganic Raw Lucuma Powder

Lucuma, once known as ‘the gold of the Incas’, has been cultivated since 200AD in the Peruvian highlands, where its maple and caramel notes create a more popular dessert & ice cream flavour than chocolate!

Orgmaca-main-imageanic Raw Maca Powder

Maca is a sweet root. Ours is grown by a cooperative of local farmers in Peru, in mineral-rich soil & dried in the sun below 46°C. It is a source of iron, which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.


Photo credit: One Green Planet


Vegan Maca Milkshake


A vegan milkshake loaded with energy to keep you going all day long. Our Maca powder is packed with iron which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue; along with dates, almonds and chia seeds, you definitely won’t be going for a nap any time soon.

When Men’s Health Magazine interviewed an ethnobotanist in search of ancient tribal wisdom on helping men stay in top physical form, he recommended the Andean root, maca for “increasing strength, energy and stamina.”  Oxygen levels are lower once high up in the Peruvian Andes and maca powder is used regularly in their culture.  Maca makes ‘a powerful addition to any smoothie or milkshake.  Take daily for 8-12 weeks to feel the full, boosting effect.”


  • 50g almonds (soaked for 6 hours)
  • 500ml filtered water
  • 6 dates (pitted and chopped)
  • 3tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2tsp vanilla powder
  • 2Tbsp Organic Raw Maca Powder


  • First put the soaked almonds and the water in the blender and process until you have a smooth milky liquid.
  • Then add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.

(For a nut-free version, use hemp seeds or rice milk instead of almonds.) 


maca-main-imageOrganic Raw Maca Powder

Maca is a sweet root. Ours is grown by a cooperative of local farmers in Peru, in mineral-rich soil & dried in the sun below 46°C. It is a source of iron, which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.


Photo Credit: Charley’smilkshake by snowpea&bokchoi / CC BY 2.0


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