How to Make Flora Spread!

Last week I was invited to the Flora Blend Bar in Hertfordshire to create my very own spread using a range of healthy and natural plant-based ingredients! It was a fantastic experience and I’m now super excited to share it with you! You can use this spread for cooking and all of your baking needs. You can even use it as a replacement drizzle on your salads and other meals!

Flora is a popular household name in the UK and they generally make their soft spread with a range of simple ingredients, including buttermilk, plant oils, seed oils and just a pinch of salt! The seed oils which go into flora are mostly rapeseed, linseed and sunflower seed oil! These seeds are an amazing source of omega-3 and omega-6 fats which, as we know, are great for the health of the heart. These fats are also essential in our diet as they help our children to grow and develop properly. They also help the whole family to keep their cholesterol levels low. Flora spreads are also a rich source of vitamin E which is exactly what we need to keep ourselves looking young!

Making the spread with Patrick at Flora was so quick and simple and you can all absolutely do this at home. So, the first ingredient was a combination oil of linseed oil, rapeseed oil and sunflower oil. This was then flavoured with oil made from hazelnuts and almonds as well as some water and carrot juice for colouring. Lemon was also added for freshness and a tiny little bit of salt for additional flavour! Finally, there was a very small amount of cream (regular or plant-based) and just a drop of palm oil.

All you have to do is whip out your hand blender and pour the oil mix into a large jug. You can then turn the hand blender on and pour the water in too. As you continue to blitz, squeeze in the lemon and then a dash of salt. Keep the blender turned on and include the palm oil and cream. Finally, the carrot juice can be included as you continue to blend.

After a few minutes you can stop and then leave in the fridge in an airtight container to cool. Alternatively, if you happen to have an ice cream maker to hand then you can pour your spread into this and let it do its thing!

Get Great Skin the Natural Way

Many products that claim to be great for our skin are actually riddled with chemicals and toxins. Opting for all-natural products is the best way to let our skin breathe the way it needs to. By combining chemical-free skin care products with certain self-care routines, you can get great skin without exposing your body to any unnecessary toxins.

If, like the majority of people, you don’t have time for extensive beauty regimes in the morning, then applying a face mask ten minutes before you get in the shower is a great time-saver. Let the mask work its magic while you wake and then rinse off as you have your shower. Check out my post on The Best Natural Skin Masks for a selection of home-made face mask recipes.

Keeping your skin hydrated throughout the day is key to maintaining a fresh, youthful appearance. Organic hydrosols are the best choice for doing so and you can purchase them easily online. Spraying hydrosols onto your face at regualar intervals throughout the day will nourish your skin with beneficial herbal elements and micro-molecules of essential oil.

As we know, what we put into our bodies directly influences our outward appearance. This is why it’s essential to consume natural produce that is preferably organic. By not giving toxins the chance to infiltrate your system through your food choices, you reduce the risk of blemishes and other inflammations. Similarly, many plant-based foods are known to combat inflammation in the body which is great news for your skin. Making sure you drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day will also help you to remain hydrated. Additionally, aloe vera juice, herbal teas and lemon water are known to be great for the appearance of your skin.

Although it’s not always something you can control, getting enough sleep will also influence the health of your skin. If you are not getting seven hours or more every night then the exhaustion will soon start to be apparent in your appearance. Make sure you are getting to bed early enough each night to get the right amount of sleep. If you have trouble sleeping then you can address this by examining your diet or also by taking supplements like melatonin.

Preventing damage to your skin will obviously help to stop problems before they occur. Staying safe in the sun is an incredibly important part of this! Be sure to choose a chemical free sunscreen and to reapply throughout the day when exposure to the sun is constant. You should also treat your body with a natural after-sun lotion at the end of a long day outside.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Oils?

Oil can be a big problem to dieters and it is something that I recommend all of my clients try to use less off if they are trying to lose those last 5 – 10 pounds. The harsh reality is that cooking oils are highly processed using manufacturing methods that are highly destructive to oil molecules.

According to Udo Erasmus, author of the book Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill, oils are typically pressed or solvent extracted from seeds and nuts, using a process where they are de-gummed, refined, bleached, and deodorized. The thing about this process that many people don’t realize is that valuable ‘minor ingredients’ including antioxidants, phytosterols, chlorophyll, flavor molecules, color molecules, lecithin, and other oil-soluble beneficial molecules are removed too.

how_do_you_solve_a_problem_like_oils_theflexifoodieWhat we just discussed applies to the cooking oils you may purchase in a store, or find in packaged food, or consume in French fries from a fast food restaurant. But what about when you cook at home with something like olive oil? Unfortunately, olive oil has a fatty acid composition (largely Omega-9) that’s NOT highly resistant to high heat. Meaning, its structure gets damaged and becomes partially toxic when cooked at high heat. It is also not a whole food anymore. Olives are whole foods found in nature, but olive oil is processed, with the oil separated from the fiber and rest of the whole food that it came from. While it may not be as bad as common cooking oil, olive oil is far from the ideal solution to cooking with oil. So what’s the answer?

While this fat trigger is everywhere – from cooking oil, to packaged foods, used at restaurants and more – there are some simple steps you can take to avoid it.

First, stop cooking with oil. I know that may seem radical, but it’s possible to steam your vegetables or cook grains without using oil. You can even stir fry your vegetables lightly with water or vegetable broth in a “non-toxic” non-stick pan to avoid using oil. Then, if you want a little oil with your food, you can add it later. This way, you’re enjoying the food you want, without denaturing and making the oil toxic in the process.how_do_you_solve_a_problem_like_oils_theflexifoodie2

Another option is to ONLY cook with coconut oil, which is composed largely of medium-chain fatty acids that don’t denature the same way polyunsaturated oils do. This is especially important if you must fry something or cook at high heat. It’s unarguably better to use coconut oil than cooking at high heat with a less stable vegetable oil that will break down more readily.

The third and final option is perhaps the most radical, but worth considering. It is simply to give up oils all together if you really want to lose those last 5-10 pounds. For instance, I watch the amount of oils I consume – I find that it’s too easy to overdo fat when using them, and I don’t think they’re fundamentally necessary. When I do cook with oil, it’s always coconut oil.

how_do_you_solve_a_problem_like_oils_theflexifoodie4When I want some healthy fats in my diet, I”ll have a small avocado, or some whole nuts and seeds. Or perhaps a little coconut meat. Even the dressings I make and recommend to clients are oil-free.

Whatever option you choose here, the most important thing is that you reduce this fat trigger to the best of your ability and when you do cook, use small amounts of coconut oil instead or water. You’ll automatically reduce your intake of empty calories, detox faster, feel lighter, improve your digestion, reduce acne or skin blemishes, shed weight, and just plain feel better.