Strawberry Cacao Ice Cream

This ice cream recipe is incredibly simple to make and will literally take you five minutes from start to finish (excluding the freezing of the bananas obviously)! I always like to have a stash of frozen bananas in my freezer so whenever the mood strikes – or one of my children asks – I can quickly whip up a batch of healthy ice cream.

Using raw cacao in ice cream is such an amazing way to make your dessert super healthy. Cacao beans come from the cacao tree, which is native to Mexico and Central America. Raw cacao generally has a nutty taste but can be quite bitter. Cacao beans are absolutely bursting with antioxidants, which as we know are essential in the fight against free radicals in the body. Cacao beans also contain a happy dose of iron, calcium and magnesium. The health benefits of consuming raw cacao regularly range from alleviating depression, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation.

Including a cup of strawberries in your ice cream recipe not only gives this dish a beautiful colour and luxurious flavour, but it also brings a wealth of nutrients to the dish. Strawberries are an excellent source of vitamin C, as well as folate and fibre. Similarly to raw cacao, strawberries are bursting with antioxidants. Strawberries also contain an abundance of potassium. Potassium is essential for many functions in the body, not least of all balancing your electrolytes. Potassium also helps the muscles to function properly and works to keep your blood pressure at an optimum level by combatting the presence of sodium in the body. Just one serving of strawberries is enough to provide a daily dose of potassium – so my ice cream is the perfect answer!

To make enough for two people to pile their bowls high you will need the following ingredients:

2 frozen bananas (remove the peel, chop and then freeze overnight)
1 Tbsp. of raw cacao
1 tsp. of vanilla essence
1 cup of strawberries
200ml of almond milk
A squeeze of honey (or any other natural sweetener)

All you have to do is place the frozen bananas in your blender with the almond milk and then blitz until creamy. You can then add in the rest of the ingredients and blitz again for a few moments. Serve into two bowls and enjoy!

You can find a raspberry variation of this delicious recipe on my soon to be released second course on The Flexi Foodie Academy!

Superfood Smoothie

Here you have two of my favourite superfoods in one super smoothie! But don’t forget that just like goji berries and raw cacao, you have a few other ‘super’ foods in this one too, such as kale, blueberries, and even lucuma. Essentially, it’s an all-round winner for your health!

Goji berries are one of the best berries you can include in your diet and also bring a touch of colour to recipes. They are especially high in vitamin C and fibre, whilst also being a great plant-based source of iron and vitamin A. They also pack a decent dose of protein and are fairly low calorie.

Blueberries are another fantastic type of berry and are generally more well-known than goji berries. Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants and research has shown that they are particularly good for brain health and the nervous system. Certain studies have even suggested they can help to improve memory function. When you freeze blueberries you will preserve the nutrients within, so it’s always a good idea to stock up when they are in season and enjoy throughout the year. A one cup serving of these berries will provide your body with ample vitamin K, manganese, vitamin C, fibre and copper, among many other health boosting vitamins and minerals.

Superfood Smoothie2To make enough of this super smoothie for one or two people, you will need the following ingredients:

1 tbsp of goji berries
2 cups / 16fl oz / 450ml of coconut water
1 banana, peeled
1 tsp of lucuma powder
1 tsp of raw cacao
1/2 cup / 2oz / 55g of blueberries
A handful of kale

You will first need to pre-soak the goji berries in a bowl of cold water for ten minutes before draining and rinsing. You can then place the berries in a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blitz for one to two minutes, or until smooth. Serve immediately and enjoy!

This is one of the recipes from my book – Eat Real Foods – which was released this week!!! You can order your copy in the UK by clicking here and order your copy in the U.S by clicking here!

The Best Natural Skin Masks

When you purchase face masks and skin products from the supermarket, it isn’t uncommon that they will have a long list of ingredients, some of which you may not be familiar with. Unfortunately, not all of these things are going to be as good for your skin as the manufacturer would have you believe. Avoiding toxic chemicals is very important when it comes to the health of your skin. Making skin masks yourself at home is the best way to know what you are using on your body and it’s also not at all difficult.

Lemon

Lemons are full of vitamin C which is great for your skin. Try mixing two tablespoons of lemon juice with a teaspoon of unrefined organic sugar. Then using your hand, rub the mixture into your face. This is amazing for exfoliating the skin and once you wash it off a few minutes later, you’ll notice that your face is brighter and smoother.

Raw Cacao

The caffeine that is present in raw cacao is great for your face as it tightens the skin, not to mention the mass of antioxidants that are present in raw cacao. It is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and is revered for its cancer combating properties and ability to tackle signs of premature aging.  To get the best results from this miracle ingredient, mix two tablespoons of raw cacao powder with one mashed banana, two tablespoons of ground raw oats and two tablespoons of organic honey. Make sure you mix it together well and then apply evenly to your face. Wait for 20 – 30 minutes before washing off.

Avocado

Avocado is absolutely bursting with Omega fatty acids which work wonders at moisturizing your skin. Not only that, but avocados are full of many all important vitamins and minerals too.  If you have dry skin then the best way to treat it is to combine the flesh of an avocado with a dash of olive oil and leave on the face for 15 – 20 minutes. Be sure to use an organic olive oil or an Extra Virgin variety.

Spirulina

Spirulina is famous for its antibacterial properties which means great things for your pores. It is a member of the algae family and comparably has more antioxidants than blueberries! This is good news for your face if you are trying to reduce the impact of sun damage or are attempting to alleviate blemishes or fine wrinkles.

For a face mask that will leave you looking rejuvenated, add just ½ a teaspoon of spirulina with a mashed banana. You can also add a squirt of lemon juice in for good measure but it’s not essential. After 15 – 20 minutes on the face, rinse away and dry.

Healthy Hot Chocolate

So, some of you may have seen this before but, if like me you’re enduring the miserable weather in London, you’ll be happy to see it again!

A gorgeous cup of hot chocolate is an indulgence that most of us love to partake in. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, after a meal or before bed, hot chocolate is always something to look forward to. However, regardless of how delicious it may be, many hot chocolate products can be full of sugar, calories and saturated fat. For all of you who love this drink but aren’t so keen on the often poor nutrition involved, I have created this recipe for healthy plant based hot chocolate!

healthy hot chocolate grassrootsandgrains1To make enough to serve six, you need only the following ingredients:

1500 ml of plant based milk. Almond is perfect!
8 tsp of raw cacao (120 grams)
20 tsp of coconut palm sugar (300 grams)
1 tsp of lucuma
1 tsp of blueberry powder
1/2 a cinnamon stick
Goji berries as your marshmallows

healthy hot chocolate grassrootsandgrains2So all you have to do is heat your chosen milk whilst whisking in the raw cacao, coconut palm sugar, lucuma and blueberry powder. Once everything is combined and heated then you can add the cinnamon stick and leave to simmer for five minutes.

healthy hot chocolate grassrootsandgrains3Next, simply pour into as many mugs as you require and top with the goji berries and wait for them to go soft before you enjoy!

Goji berries are an amazing addition to your diet and have many great health benefits. Native to China, goji berries have long been used to treat some common problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes. As the goji berry is full of powerful antioxidants it is good for your bodies process of eradicating free radicals and encouraging positive health. Although it has never been proven, many people believe that a diet rich in antioxidants may slow the ageing process. It has also been suggested that goji berries have the potential to improve brain health which could prevent diseases which are age related like Alzheimer’s.

healthy hot chocolate grassrootsandgrains5The use of lucuma powder in this healthy hot chocolate is in place of the normal sweeteners you might expect in such a treat. Lucuma powder is made from the lucuma fruit which is native to Peru. It makes such a great alternative to other sweeteners as it is low on the glycemic index and also contains many nutrients such as beta-carotene, vitamin B3, zinc and iron, it is also rich in calcium and protein.

healthy hot chocolate grassrootsandgrains4Cinnamon can be added to almost anything and is full of goodness. By just including a little bit in your diet each day you will be lowering your cholesterol, regulating your blood sugar levels, boosting brain health and even protecting against some cancers! It is also proven to be a natural food preservative thanks to its anti-bacterial properties!

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Chocolate and Salt

There aren’t many foods that I would say I absolutely could not live without, but these two might just make the cut! I try to include both of these amazingly nutritious ingredients in both mine and my kids diets every day and with a bit of imagination, it’s not a difficult task at all!

Himalayan Sea Salt

Making the decision to use Himalayan sea salt in your cooking, as opposed to regular table salt, is a great decision for your overall well-being. As we already know, consuming too much salt means bad things for the body. It can easily cause high blood pressure and place strain on your organs which can then lead to a stroke, a heart attack or even kidney disease. Eating less salt is generally a great idea but using an alternative that provides all the minerals and nutrients that regular salt is lacking is an even better one!

Himalayan sea salt contains the full spectrum of 84 minerals and is totally unprocessed and unrefined. It comes from salt caves that came to be over 250 million years ago when salt from the ocean was deposited on land.

Because Himalayan sea salt is millions of years old, it doesn’t contain many of the present day impurities and toxins that the ordinary kind can be polluted with. The many health benefits of incorporating this type of salt into your diet include controlling your water levels, providing your cells with a consistent pH balance, maintaining optimum blood sugar levels and even slowing down the visible aspects of the ageing process. It is also thought that it is great for your respiratory and vascular health and can reduce your chance of suffering with sinus problems. On top of all of these fantastic factors it could also help to ease muscle cramps, increase the strength of your bones and encourage a normal sleeping pattern.

Eating Himalayan sea salt isn’t the only way to take advantage of its many health benefits. Adding a couple of hundred grams to a bath is also said to aid detoxification and will not only relax your muscles but will also rejuvenate your skin. This is a very calming way to eradicate toxins from your body and will leave you feeling refreshed.

Many doctors and health food professionals suggest that this kind of salt is the best option and it’s a great idea to use it in place of the regular brands that you’re used to. You’ll soon see the difference for yourself!

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Raw Cacao

Cacao beans come from a tree that is native to the West Indies and South America. The taste of raw cacao is typically described as nutty and slightly bitter, causing some people to include a natural sweetener, like agave nectar, when they consume it. There is absolutely no cholesterol or trans-fats in the beans but there is an impressive amount of fibre and protein.

Raw cacao does several things to the body to truly earn its title as a super-food. The high antioxidant count is great for eliminating rogue free radicals in the body which are known to cause certain types of cancer and age the skin. Cacao also improves blood flow which in turn helps stimulate the process of healing cells and reducing stress inducing hormones.

Cacao is a rich source of magnesium and sulphur, making it great for improved focus and for combating fatigue. It also contains phenylethylamine, which chocolate fanatics may already know is the compound that is often referred to as ‘the love drug’. Phenylethylamine is thought to be useful in treating depression as it aids the release of endorphins. Similarly, cacao encourages extended anandamide presence in the brain which can also create feelings of happiness.

Raw cacao is excellent for including in a wide range of recipes and will increase the nutritional value of any dish. It’s not just great for food but can also be used in powder form in drinks like hot chocolate and smoothies. Mixing even a small amount into a smoothie will increase the nutritional value and compliment the existing flavour!

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Avocado, Chocolate and Lucuma Mousse

This is GREAT for kids and for dinner guests!  In fact, your dinner guests will be shocked after they discover that this pudding is very nutrient dense and consists of NO refined sugar!  I started making this for my six year old as he’s addicted to chocolate, chocolate, chocolate!  But on the other hand my eight year old is addicted to avocados, avocados, avocados!

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To keep everybody happy, I decided to combine the two, with some lucuma for a little Peruvian Maple flavour, and voila! This mousse was born! To make enough to happily serve two, you’ll just need the following ingredients:

1 medium ripe avocado
1/3 of a cup of raw cacao powder, or more to taste
3 fresh dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1/3 of a cup of coconut milk, nut milk or filtered water
½ a teaspoon of natural vanilla extract (or you can use pure vanilla bean powder)
A pinch of unrefined sea salt
1 tablespoon of lucuma

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So all you need to do to create this dish is blend everything together and then leave to chill in the fridge for an hour. Then you can top it with your favourite super food and enjoy this awesome ‘avocacao’ treat!

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Raw cacao is a fantastic ingredient to use when trying to make a healthy dessert. It has been associated with several health claims ranging from improving the function of the heart to helping to reduce cataracts. Many studies have also suggested that theobromine, which is a non-addictive stimulant naturally found in raw cacao, can be used to combat depression. Additionally, it is high in antioxidants and essential fatty acids. If you want to increase your good cholesterol levels whilst decreasing bad cholesterol levels then raw cacao is the perfect thing to include in your diet.

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Using avocado in a dessert might not seem like a conventional idea but they are full of so much goodness that you really can’t go wrong! Be sure to pick a ripe one to make your mousse and always scrape it out well as the portion nearest the skin is where the most nutrients can be found! Avocados are crammed with good fats that help to protect the heart against disease.

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The Lucuma fruit, which is native to Peru, provides the perfect sweetener! The fruit is dried out at a low temperature and then turned into powder. It rates low on the glycemic scale and is full of nutrients like iron, zinc, beta-carotene and calcium. The maple-like taste makes it great for sweet dessert dishes whilst keeping you healthy at the same time!

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