Archive | Nutrition & Health

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

Recipe: Banana & Almond Ice Cream

 Almond Ice Cream Vegan Recipe Freeze-Dried Strawberries

Whip up this delicious recipe from the clean eating kitchen of instagrammers @bali.zest. They were looking for something to cool them down one hot and sunny London afternoon (an occurrence rare enough to celebrate with ice cream!) and came up with this refreshing almond treat. Topped with freeze-dried strawberries for the perfect finish.

 As Light As A Feather…

inSpiral’s Freeze-Dried Strawberries are as light as a feather and as beautiful as they are delicious. Flash frozen at their optimum peak, freeze-dried fruits can be fresher than fresh and, unlike regular dried fruits, maintain their vibrant colours and full spectrum of nutrients. A freeze-dried grape is purple but a sun-dried grape is brown.

Banana & Almond Ice Cream Recipe – with Freeze-Dried Strawberries:

Ingredients:

3 frozen bananas

2 tbsps. almond butter

150 ml almond milk

1/2 tsp.  cinnamon

You could also add Lucuma to this vegan recipe to add a maple caramel tone.

Method:

Simply blend all the above ingredients in a food processor. If you have an ice cream maker, you can transfer the mix for a smoother texture, but this is not necessary.

Top with inSpiral’s  Freeze-Dried Strawberries and maybe some Raspberry Coconut Pecks too – and enjoy! :strawberry::strawberry:

 

inSpiral Freeze-Dried Strawberries

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What Does it Actually Mean to Detox?

Detoxification is an alluring term, surrounded by a fair amount of mystery.  It has had critical media focus in recent years, but what does it actually mean to detox?

Mainstream medicine states that we don’t need to detox, that our livers will take care of this for us. On the other hand Functional Medicine, a discipline that has grown out of natural medicine or naturopathy, teaches that optimising our detoxification capacities is important for wellbeing in the modern world.  Meanwhile the health food world is abundant with green powders and supplements designed to help this process along.  Detoxing has become a general term that can mean anything related to health, and is used in yoga or can even be used just to mean a day without cigarettes, alcohol and caffeine.

How can we navigate through all of this and make sense of what detoxing is all about?  This article should help you with an overview of both the criticisms of and the evolving thinking behind the process of detoxification.

detox collage

Media & medical criticism of ‘detoxing’

First let’s look at the criticisms…

Ben Goldacre
Ben Goldacre, a famous investigative medical journalist, brought the public spotlight to the term with his 2009 book, Bad Science, stating that there was no such thing as a detox system in any medical textbook.

He stated that engaging in a detoxing weekend is a type of purification or abstinence ritual that our culture has developed, in order to find redemption from our material indulgences of filling our faces.  We know that it is wrong and we crave ritualistic protection from the consequences of our actions.  We want a public ‘transitional ritual’ commemorating our return to healthier behavioural norms.

Certainly an interesting reframing of a detox or cleansing weekend retreat.  A fascinating book to read.

Sense about Science
‘Sense about Science’ were quick to follow with their campaign ‘Debunking Detox’ publicising the message that detoxing was a myth. They stated ‘the human body has evolved to get rid of unnecessary substances through your liver, kidneys and colon. It isn’t possible to improve their function without medical assistance.’  Their campaign was featured in Marie Claire magazine, BBC news and all of the national papers.

Dieticians
Dieticians also spread this message.  Their fact sheet ‘The truth about detox diets’ says that ’the whole idea of detox is nonsense’.  ‘If the human body really accumulated lots of toxins, then we would feel ill. The concept of detox diets is irrational and unscientific.’

The Functional Medicine Approach

On the other side of the story is the functional medicine model of wellbeing.  It teaches that the body often experiences dysfunction a long time before it eventually becomes a full blown disease.  It is interested in supporting the key functions of the body, processes like elimination (which includes detoxification pathways), absorption and defence. It uses food and supplements to try and do so.

Detoxification or biotransformation pathways in the liver.

In functional medicine, detoxification is often discussed.  Also known as biotransformation, it is a term with a very specific meaning.  It relates to metabolic pathways in the liver, called Phase I and Phase II liver detoxification pathways.  These pathways can be read about in the drug & xenobiotic metabolism page on Wikipedia.

They are there to prepare foreign particles so that they can safely be eliminated out of the body.  These particles may have come from drugs, medicines, synthetic chemicals, microorganisms, hormones or foods.

Phase I & Phase II Liver Detoxification

In phase I the particle that needs eliminating from the body is fundamentally changed and prepared for phase II .  Phase I is absolutely essential but the inter-rim product it creates can be a bit of a live wire, and actually be harmful to the body.  For example these particles can be carcinogenic or oxidising free radicals.  As bad as this sounds, it isn’t really a problem as long as the particle can quickly be passed to phase II, before it has caused any trouble, to be fully taken care of.

In healthy liver detoxification we want phase II activity to always be able to exceed phase I activity.  We want the job finished off properly with no mess. Medications, foods and our lifestyles can influence these pathways – and this is why nutritional therapists and functional medicine practitioners are so interested in detoxification.

The role of food and supplements

Grapefruit
If it seems strange or extreme that what you eat or drink may have such an effect on our body’s pathways then consider grapefruit juice.  Many high-cholesterol medications (statins) have long carried a written warning inside the packet, stating the patient should not drink grapefruit juice whilst on the drug.  A compound in the grapefruit can alter the speed at which the drug is absorbed and this can lead to harmful side effects.  Isn’t it amazing that grapefruit juice can be so powerful?

Influencing Phase I & II Activity with Foods & Lifestyle
Phase I liver activity can be increased by factors such as smoking, high alcohol intake, certain medications and even by some unhealthy foods.  These lifestyle factors are all very common in modern life.

In nutritional therapy and functional medicine the focus is on encouraging the consumption of foods that support phase II activity.  This includes the glucosinolate compounds in vegetables such as kale (yeah! all hail the kale), cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, citrus fruits, curcumin (in turmeric), silymarin (in milk thistle), epigallocatechin (in green tea) and the amino acids found in some proteins, cysteine and methionine.

Dietary recommendations for supporting detoxification pathways are very similar to general healthy food recommendations.  However if somebody is actually experiencing symptoms of dysfunction and wants to see if they can support their body further with food and phytonutrients then supplements and further dietary changes may be suggested as well.

Genetics
We now also know there is considerable genetic variation in how we detoxify.  Tests can identify some of our individual capacities here and highlight where in our detoxification pathways we may need a bit more personalised support.



A Chemical World
Within functional medicine there are questions about the rise in the number of synthetic chemicals that are now added to our foods, as well as in our home environments and the air that we breathe.  These all need to be biotransformed, or detoxed, for elimination from the body.

There are concerns around how well the body can keep up with this new onslaught, and to what extent these chemicals are accumulating in the body, resulting in adverse consequences.  There is also concern that the body now needs to eliminate particles that it is unfamiliar with and may not have detoxification enzymes for.

Many new synthetic chemicals have not been thoroughly tested for safety in long-term low-levels of exposure, even though we may know that they do not cause immediate toxicity problems.  This is a topic of current research.  What impact does this all have on our biochemistry  in the long term and on chronic health conditions?

Optimising Detoxification Pathways
This has all led to the concept of ‘optimising detoxification pathways’, wanting to optimise our ability to process all of these chemicals and to have our detoxification capacities working as efficiently as possible. It is something to consider all through the year, not just after a big night out on the town with too much alcohol.

People who seek optimal wellbeing are interested in looking after their detoxification pathways in the same way they may also be interested in looking after their heart and cardiovasuclar health, choosing foods that are known to be of benefit for the function of these organs and systems.

People also talk about chelation, which is the removal of heavy metals from the body, but this is a separate topic to be discussed another time.

Summary

In summary the body is very complicated and we do not yet fully understand all of its pathways or all of the ways and reasons that our health can be affected by the environment around us.  We have so much more to learn.   It takes a very long time for new research and thinking to be integrated into mainstream medical practice and many people, who are interested in health and wellbeing, simply don’t want to wait that long to reap the benefits.

At the same time we want to make sure that any new information we are ingesting is coming from a reputable source and is not out of date or corrupted by online Chinese whispers.  Not every cutting edge new discovery lasts the test of time either, sometimes follow-up research and thinking will show that it isn’t true, or take the theories in another direction.  It is an experimental approach to work with the latest research, but a fascinating one.

There are contradictory opinions and ways of thinking about health.  There always have been and there always will be.  If you are interested in natural health and functional medicine topics then it is a sensible idea to follow award-winning health writers, like the fathers of functional medicine, Jeffrey Bland and Mark Hyman; or work with a registered nutritional therapist rather than believing everything that is read about online.

Article written by:

Katie Clare
mBANT CNHCreg
Registered Nutrition Therapist

Katie Clare

Thank you to @_maryethompson_, @stray_katz, @andrethegiant13 and @truth_society for the images used. 

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RECIPE: Beetroot Houmous

What better way to celebrate Spring and National Vegetarian Week than with this vibrant beetroot houmous recipe. Packed full of flavour from the different herbs and spices and served with crushed pistachios for an extra crunch, this recipe certainly puts ordinary houmous to shame!

Beetroot Hummus Ingredients

Beetroots are incredibly versatile and have high nutrtional value too. They contain folic acid, fibre, manganese and potassium and also have high antioxidising properties. Chickpeas are also an excellent source of protein and slow releasing carbohydrates, helping you to stay fuller for longer.

Beetroot Hummus Ingredients 2
We love this recipe smothered on our Raw Crackits but would also recommend it with crudités, dolloped on salads or simply on it’s own for a healthy and delicious snack.

Crackits-Group

Roasted Beetroot Houmous Recipe:

Beetroot Hummus

Ingredients (serves 4-6): 

2 medium beetroots
250g of cooked chickpeas
2 tbsps of tahini
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsps of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of olive oil
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh fennel
1 bay leaf
A pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

To serve
Extra virgin olive oil
Crushed pistachios
Fresh fennel
Micro vegetables
Freshly ground black pepper

Method: 
 
– Preheat the oven to 18oºc and line a baking tray with baking paper.
– Peel the beets and cut them into quarters or eighths, depending on the size.
– Place them on the tray and drizzle them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
– Add the peeled and lightly crushed garlic, fennel, thyme and bay leaf and season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
– Cover the tray with tin foil and bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before removing the tin foil.
– Remove the bay leaf and thyme and add everything to a food processor including the roasting juices.
– Add the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil and blend until a thick texture forms.
– Serve on a plate (or on our Raw Crackits!) with a drizzle of olive oil, a handful of roughly chopped pistachios, fennel, micro vegetables and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.

Garlic Crackits with Dip-new-box
Recipe & Photo Credit: @miss_vite

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RECIPE: Raw Acai & Blueberry Cheesecake

@rawsomemagic

Last month, inSpiral launched a #loveberrybowl competition on social media to inspire people to get creative in the kitchen and upload a picture of their culinary creations using our granola bites. We had some amazing entries showing just how versatile the bites can be, from smoothies to breakfast bowls to raw cakes and even fruit lollipop toppings!

It was hard to pick a winner, however we decided that this raw acai and blueberry cheesecake by @rawsomemagic that used granola bites in the base was the winner! Thank you to everyone that entered.

Ingredients:
(makes 1 small cake – approx 12cm)

For the base:

  • 1 packet of inSpiral chocolate granola bites
  • A few medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1/3 of a cup of raw cacao paste (melted)
  • A dash of mint extract (you can use raw mint chocolate instead of cacao paste and mint extract if desired)
  • 1/2 a cup of fresh or frozen raspberries.

For the filling:

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 4+ hours and drained)
  • 1/2 a cup of young coconut meat
  • 2 tbsps of coconut oil (melted)
  • 3-5 tbsps of maple syrup (depending on your taste)
  • The juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 tsp of acai berry powder
  • 1 tsp of blueberry powder

Method: 

For the base, blend everything in a food processor except the raspberries until a sticky mixture forms. Press the mixture into the bottom of a lined tin and evenly place the raspberries over the top. Place in the fridge while you start making the filling.

For the filling, place everything in the food processor except the acai and blueberry powder and blend until smooth. Pour half of the filling over the base and spread evenly.

Finally, add the acai and blueberry powders to the rest of the filling and blend again. Pour it over the first layer of filling and spread evenly.
Freeze overnight or for at least 8 hours before serving. ❤️

*If you would like to make a larger cake, simply double the recipe ingredients.

@rawsomemagic 2

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RECIPE: Cacao Chia Cookies

Nutritional Benefits of Raw Cacao:

“Raw cacao powder contains around 130mg of magnesium per 100g. Magnesium is needed for healthy bones and teeth (it’s not all about calcium). It is also required for recovering from tiredness and fatigue, supporting healthy energy levels and for the health of the nervous system. So anyone living a full and busy life may benefit from using raw cacao powder. Magnesium is also needed for normal psychological function so raw cacao is something we can use if we want to support how we think and feel! This might be why we reach for it when we are feeling less than bouncy!

Cacao powder also contains zinc, which is great for healthy skin and hair. It protects our cells from oxidative stress, bones, the immune system and healthy testosterone levels in men. There are also B vitamins present in raw cacao powder and other trace minerals.” – Nutricentre.

Cacao Chia Cookie Recipe:

These chocolatey chia cookies are deliciously soft and satisfying, made with smooth raw cacao powder and raw cacao nibs for an extra crunch, making the perfect indulgent treat. Chia seeds are one of the best plant sources of omega 3 fatty acids which are important for a healthy heart, blood pressure and cholesterol. Plus, they will leave your kitchen smelling heavenly.

SQU580Ingredients (makes 10 cookies)

1 cup of almonds
1 cup of hazelnuts
1 cup of buckwheat flour
1 tbsp of maple syrup
1 tbsp of coconut sugar
¼ cup of water
5 medjool dates
3 tbsps of raw cacao powder
3 tbsps of chia seeds
2 tbsps of coconut oil
2 tbsps of chocolate almond spread
½ cup of cacao nibs

Method:

Place the nuts in a food processor and blend for a minute or two until a flour forms, then add all of the remaining ingredients except the cacao nibs and blend again until a sticky dough forms.

Scoop about a tablespoon into your hands, roll it into a ball and then flatten it using a spatula onto a lined baking tray so that they are nice and thin. Keep doing this until all the cookies are on the tray. Once they are all on the tray, sprinkle some cacao nibs over each cookie and press them into the mixture.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180C, until the cookies are firm and starting to slightly brown. Then leave them to cool for a few minutes before enjoying.

This recipe was adapted from @deliciouslyella by @bali.zest.

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RECIPE: Cauliflower Hot Chocolate

This healthy hot chocolate recipe is an unusual take on a traditional hot chocolate and may seem strange to some, but is the perfect winter warming drink to satisfy your sweet tooth. It’s also a great way to sneak some extra veggies into your diet, whilst making the hot chocolate extra creamy.

Cauliflower is incredibly versatile and contains an array of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and phytochemicals. Raw cacao not only contains a very high antioxidant content, but is also an excellent source of magnesium – good for both brain and heart function.

So try this superfood power combination when you are next craving something sweet – you won’t even realise it’s healthy!

Cauliflower Hot Chocolate Recipe

healthy hot chocolate, cauliflower hot chocolate, inSpiral, raw cacao, cacao nibs, coconut sugar

Ingredients (Serves 1):

250ml of rice milk or coconut milk
200g of steamed cauliflower
2 tbsps of raw cacao powder
2 tbsps of cacao nibs
2 tbsps of maple syrup or coconut sugar
1 tbsp of cashew butter or almond butter
1 tsp of vanilla powder
1/2 tsp of cinnamon (optional)

Method:

Simply blend all of the ingredients into a rich and creamy smoothie, and enjoy!

Recipe from: 5 Steps to Becoming a Superfoodie by Jesse Van Der Velde

Photo credit: @ohmygoodness_au 
Photography: Samara Clifford
Styling: Carlie Monasso

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RECIPE: Loveberry Bowl

@thehungrywarrior - loveberry superbites

So many people make the mistake of skipping breakfast, leaving the temptation to overeat at lunchtime or snack on unhealthy things until then! So why not get creative with breakfast like Shabnam has and try combining two popular favourites in one delicious bowl – porridge and smoothies!

A healthy breakfast bowl recipe and nutritious combination that will leave you feeling satisfied all the way until lunchtime.

Made up of delicious strawberries, raspberries, goji berries, omega-rich seeds, nuts and whole grains, our raw and organic love berry granola bites make the perfect breakfast bowl toppings. Available in 3 flavours, each contain their own unique superfood content and are dehydrated at low temperatures for optimum nutrition. So why not try them today and brighten up your breakfast and your morning!

Love Berry Bowl Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 1):

Porridge Base:

  • 50g oats
  • 100ml water
  • 100ml almond milk
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean
  • Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
    🍓

Smoothie Layer:

  • 125g raspberries
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 100ml almond milk
  • Splash of fresh lime juice {about 1|4 lime}
    🍓

Toppings:

Shabnam topped her bowl with popped quinoa, shredded coconut, inSpiral loveberry granola bites and a handful of fresh raspberries.
However, for an inSpiral twist you can top yours with our raspberry coconut pecks, chia seeds, loveberry granola bites and freeze dried raspberries. 🍓

Loveberry2SQUARE-400

Method:

Cook the oats in the water for about 5 minutes then add almond milk and bring to the boil. Add a sweetener of your choice, the vanilla and almond butter. Stir until blended and creamy.

Blend the raspberries, banana, almond milk and lime until you have a gorgeous smoothie.

Pour the porridge and smoothie into a bowl and top with the popped quinoa, shredded coconut, inSpiral super bites and the fresh raspberries.

Dig in and enjoy!

Thank you so much to the @thehungrywarrior for sharing this photo and recipe with us. 

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Nourishing Greens in Green Mix


inSpiral specialise in organic, natural and super foods. Their original and creative line of power blends are mixes designed to support individual wellbeing goals of energy, vitality and detoxification.

 

January sees the release of inSpiral’s brand new  ‘Organic Green Mix’ power blend. This alkaline combination of nourishing powdered green plant foods is drawn from a wide range of grasses, sprouts, leaves and micro algaes, specically chosen for taste and nutrition.

…but why are all these green powders good for you? What is their history and how can you benefit from them? This month we give you the lowdown on what you can expect from all our super ingredients…

 

Super Ingredients:

Barleygrass, Wheatgrass & Oatgrass

barleygrass

Harvested when young, succulent and tender, inSpiral grasses are certified as gluten free. Considered three of the best sources of chlorophyll, the therapeutic plant-pigment that gives vegetables their beautiful verdant colouring, currently being researched for its role in cancer prevention, cardiovascular health and immune response. Chlorophyll also contains superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant enzyme being researched for its anti-ageing and tissue replenishing properties.

Alfalfa

alfafa2Higher than many plant-foods in protein content; it has a remarkably deep root system allowing it to access and absorb a high level of minerals from the earth’s soil; plus alfalfa is a wonderful biochemist, carefully manufacturing a wide spectrum of vitamins too, including claims (awaiting verification) that it is one of very few plants to contain vitamin D!

Moringa Leaf

DSC_0315

The tropical moringa tree is known as ‘the tree of life’ or ‘the miracle tree’ in Africa and Asia where it is an important and versatile food source, as well as being used for purifying water. The leaf is used fresh, like spinach, or dried as a condiment. Dried moringa is also used in malnutrition feeding programmes, highlighting both its nutritional importance and its natural inclination to be added to optimum nutrition juices, smoothies, teas, soups, salads and desserts.

Spirulina & Chlorella

Chlorella PP SQUAREBlue-green algaes that grow in freshwater, prized for their high plant protein content and their array of vitamins and minerals, notably iron. Declared ‘best food for the future’ by the United Nations World Food Conference. Commonly used in heavy metal chelation programmes and nutrition geeks are currently excited by a study showing a peptide in chlorella can inhibit inflammatory damage in the body caused by lipopolysaccharides (bacterial toxins from ‘bad bacteria’ in the gut).

Parsley Leaf

parsley

An aromatic culinary herb with bright green leaves, known for its folate and carotene content, also of interest for its phytonutrient flurry of the flavonoids luteolin and apigenin, researched for their roles in cancer prevention and immune system modulation.

 

 

Kale Leaf

Kale

Queen of greens, kale is famously known for having the highest nutrient density per calorie of all vegetables, meaning each bite provides more nourishment than from other plant foods. Kale is from the brassica / cruciferous genus of vegetables, scientific research is focusing here on their glucosinolate content – thought to be a cancer protective compound that prevents DNA damage, is anti-inflammatory and helps with vascular health.

Kelp

kelpThis flourishing seaweed is a nutritional powerhouse, a natural source of many vitamins and minerals, notably calcium and iodine. Its iodine content has really brought it into the limelight, being considered an important mineral for healthy thyroid hormone function and therefore also metabolism. Good metabolism is important for weight control, making this little powder a superfood friend of the supermodels.

 

 

The Power blends

 

All-Mixes-2015

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credits:

Klas jecma by Wikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Sprouted_Alfalfa by Wikipedia is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Moringa oleifera nugge drum stick leaf herbs and spices of India by Wikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Petroselinum crispum 003 by Wikimedia Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Kale! by Bobbi Brown is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Kelp of Cat Rock, Anacapa Island by usoceangov is licensed under CC BY 4.0

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RECIPE: Supergreens Soup

@myrelationshipwithfood

A favourite family recipe of inSpiral co-director’s Dom and Bella, who eat this green soup for lunch almost every day as it is so delicious and nourishing. Bella says “It’s the only way I can get my boys to eat green vegetables and actually enjoy them and ask for more! Without fail our guests always ask for this recipe before they leave.”

It’s a super quick and easy green soup recipe that literally takes about 5-10 minutes to prepare and is packed with nutrition from all the greens! It’s also perfect for guests that can’t or don’t eat dairy.

Supergreens Soup Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 4) :

  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1.5 tbsp Marigold bouillon powder (or other stock powder)
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 small / medium head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 large bunch fresh spinach
  • 3 sprigs of parsley
  • 200ml Biona coconut milk
  • Salt & pepper
  • 3-4 tsp inSpiral Green Mix Superfood Powerblend

To serve :

visualisations-of-all-flavoursinSpiral-Green-MixMethod :

In a saucepan bring the water to the boil and add all of the ingredients, except for the ‘Green Mix’ and simmer gently for approximately 5 minutes, or until the peas and broccoli are tender.

Take off the heat and add the Green Mix, blend the soup.

Serve in bowls and decorate with Kale-os and a further sprinkling of Green Mix.

If you like this recipe how about trying our Tantalizing Berry Smoothie recipe using our All Natural Love Mix, perfect for an energising boost.

Fotolia_67352531_M-e1422891188425

Thanks to Lisa from My Relationship with Food for the lovely Soup image.

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