Hands up if you love chocolate? But wouldn’t it be good if it was good for you? I have some news….it is, if you eat the right type 🙂 Music to your ears right?

The tip is to go for dark chocolate, rich in cacao as this is where the goodness lies but the higher the percentage of cacao, the better.  Not only does this mean it will have a higher content of antioxidants and magnesium, it will also contain less sugar.  If you are used to eating milk chocolate you may want to start off with 50% cacao and work your way up but once you have got used to that bitter taste you’ll find you can go darker, and you may even find you’ll be able to tolerate 100% pure cacao like I used in this recipe 🙂

I love chocolate but strawberries dipped in chocolate is even more dreamy! Plus you get double the health benefits from the strawberries too which are a great source of vitamin C which helps to boost the immune system and promote healthy skin.  They make a great ‘guilt free’ snack when craving something sweet and take less than 5 minutes to prepare.

  • All you need to do is break up a bar of dark chocolate in to a glass bowl and place it over a saucepan of water.
  • Bring to the boil until the chocolate melts.
  • Dip the strawberries in to the chocolate and place in the fridge to set for a few hours.  You can even sprinkle some desiccated coconut or crushed almonds on to the chocolate too if you fancy it 🙂

There are so many good brands of dark chocolate but my favourites for this type of recipe include Conscious Chocolate, Seed and Bean, Raw Halo or Madecasse which I used for this recipe.

 

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Anyone else waiting impatiently for the warmer weather and longer days? It’s the little things such as these crocuses coming up in my garden that tell me Spring is on it’s way, they even matched my blueberry smoothie I made 🙂

This smoothie contains two of the most powerful superfoods brought to us by nature – Blueberries and Bee pollen.

Blueberries are bursting with antioxidants that help protect us from disease.  They are high in fibre and contain anti-inflammatory properties so are great for conditions such as arthritis, asthma and eczema.

Bee pollen is one of nature’s most nourishing foods and its vast array of health benefits are often overlooked.  It is rich in protein and many vitamins and minerals including B vitamins and folic acid.  It helps strengthen the immune system, increase energy and fight allergies such as hay fever.

The tofu in this smoothie gives it a nice creamy texture and some added protein along with the chia seeds which are also bursting in good fats, vital for normal brain function.

You will need:

  • 1 banana
  • Handful of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2-3 tbsp. of silken tofu (I use Clearspring)
  • 1 tsp of chia seeds
  • 1 tsp of bee pollen
  • Coconut or almond milk

Put all the ingredients in to a high speed blender and blend until smooth.  Sprinkle some bee pollen on top for extra benefits 🙂

 

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When I first saw a juice recipe with fennel in, I won’t lie, I thought it would taste awful but it surprised me how refreshing it was. If you’re not very daring at juicing vegetables then try adding lemon and ginger as it makes them a lot more palatable.

Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C which helps boost the immune system, reduce inflammation and promote healthy skin. It is rich in fibre, folate and potassium which all help promote a healthy heart and prevent high cholesterol.

Try this refreshing juice for a boost of vitamins and minerals.

You will need:

  • Half a fennel bulb
  • Inch piece of ginger
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • Half a courgette
  • One apple

Fennel is also amazing for digestion and has been used for years to help reduce flatulence and stomach cramps due to its calming effects. Drinking a cup of fennel tea can also be a good way of relieving gas and is a traditional remedy for colic and can be used on infants.

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For those of you with a sweet tooth like myself, this easy recipe is perfect for a healthier alternative to chocolate.  It’s free from refined sugar and contains numerous health benefits from all of the natural ingredients including powerful antioxidants from the goji berries and raw cacao.  Just make sure you don’t eat more it all in one go as unfortunately it’s not calorie free 😉 It’s so simple to make too, you just need a good blender.

You will need:

  • 50g raw cacao
  • 100g almond butter (I like www.pipandnut.com )
  • 100g coconut oil (slightly melted – I like www.chilondon.com )
  • 100g raw honey
  • Handful of goji berries
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract

Put the coconut oil, almond butter and raw cacao into a blender and mix until smooth.

Add the honey and vanilla extract and blend for another 30 seconds.

Stir in the goji berries by hand.

Line a square baking tin with greaseproof paper and pour in the mixture.  It will be a runny texture but this will set.

Place in a freezer for around 30-60 minutes.

Once set, take out the freezer and leave for 5 minutes, then cut the chocolate into squares.

Keep in the fridge – these will last for over a week if you can resist not eating them all 😉

 

 

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Turmeric Eggs

Turmeric is a great way to increase your levels of antioxidants and boost your nutrition.

This spice is definitely one of my top 5 most nutritious ‘foods’. It is a power house of nutrients and can be used in so many dishes.

Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, has so many health benefits; it helps to protect cells against free radical damage which can damage DNA, increasing the risk of disease such as cancer and heart disease. It can help boost the immune system, lower cholesterol and help balance blood sugar but one of its key properties is as an anti-inflammatory and pain killer.  Several studies have shown that curcumin is as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects!

If you suffer with any inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, joint pain or any diseases where inflammation is present (heart disease, endometriosis, period pains, IBS, Alzheimer’s and even cancer) then add turmeric to your diet. Many experts believe curcumin is a number one supplement when it comes to cancer.

In fact, even if you’re healthy add this spice to your diet as it will help fight against disease and premature ageing.

Here are a few more ideas of how to add turmeric powder to your diet:

  • Add to curry dishes – this is often the primary ingredient used in many traditional curries.
  • Mix in to homemade hummus for that extra boost of nutrition.
  • Sprinkle over homemade sweet potato wedges with some paprika
  • Add to stews and soups – as long as you don’t go overboard you won’t taste it.

And if you don’t fancy eating it, make a face mask! Mix together a few teaspoons of goats yogurt, some turmeric powder and raw honey until it forms a paste. Spread over your face and leave for 10-15 minutes, the therapeutic properties will soak into your skin 🙂

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Raw cacao and cashew bars

These raw chocolate bars are so easy to make, they only take 5 minutes to prepare and taste delicious.  They contain natural sugars, protein and good fats so make a good balanced snack and they are also rich in nutrients such as magnesium, iron, zinc, B vitamins and antioxidants.

You will need:

  • 200g cashews
  • 200g dates
  • 2-3 tbsp of melted coconut oil
  • 40g raw cacao powder
  • 40g cacao nibs

Put the cashews into a food processor and blend until ground.

Add the dates, cacao powder and melted coconut oil and blend until it clumps together.  If it is not sticking together, then add more coconut oil.

Add the cacao nibs and pulse until the mixture is combined.

Line a square baking tray with baking paper and spread the mixture into the tin and flatten.

Put into the freezer for at least 20 minutes until firm and then cut into squares.

These can be kept in the refrigerator but they are best straight out the freezer as they are nice and cold and crunchy. 🙂

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