Apple and Almond Cake

      At our fortnightly WaistWatchers meetings we prepare a healthy snack. This week we’ve made a deliciously moist cake which can also double up as energy bars if you slice it up. For the apple puree 3 eating apples  1 tablespoon lemon juice For the cake a little coconut fat or butter to grease tin 8 large eggs 325 grams ground almonds 150g Xylitol or 3 tablespoons coconut sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice 50 grams flaked almonds Method Peel, core and chop the apples roughly. Put them in a saucepan with the lemon juice and bring the pan to a bubble over a medium heat. Cover the pan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until you can mash the apple to a rough puree with a wooden spoon or fork. Leave to cool. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/180ºC/350ºF; oil a 25cm / 10 inch springform tin with almond or coconut fat and line the bottom with baking parchment. Put the cooled puree in the processor with the eggs, ground almonds, Xylitol or Coconut sugar and 1 tablespoon – or generous squeeze – of lemon juice and blitz to a puree. Pour and scrape, with a rubber spatula for ease, into the prepared tin, sprinkle the flaked almonds on top, and bake for 45 minutes. It’s worth checking after 35 minutes, as ovens do vary, and you might well find its cooked earlier – or indeed you may need to give a few minutes longer. …

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A Ho Ho Healthy Christmas

Can Christmas really be healthy and still enjoyable? Resisting temptation at this time of year can seem impossible, and frankly quite boring, but no-one likes the weight gain, bloating or sluggishness that comes from overindulging during the festive period either. We firmly believe that you can still enjoy Christmas without sacrificing your health or your waistline – here are our 12 top tips for a wonderful, delicious and healthy Christmas… 1. Get out and exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk round the park, it makes all the difference.

Chocolate Orange Cake with Creme Patissiere

In the spirit of The Great British Bake Off, here is our contribution. This cake tastes good even without the Creme Patissiere. It’s gluten free, low gi (good for your waistline) and delicious! Serves 10-12 150 ml regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)50 g good-quality cocoa powder, raw is best (sifted)125 ml boiling water2 teaspoons vanilla extract150 g ground almonds (or 120g coconut flour)Zest of one orange1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda1 pinch of salt150g Xylitol or 3 tablespoons of Maple syrup3 large eggs

Stewed Autumn Fruit

Stewed autumn fruit I love this time of year, not least because of the apples, pears and stone fruit that are ripe and ready to pick. If you’re lucky enough to have your own trees, or like me, have a generous neighbour who’s happy to share their bounty, then you will be able to make some delicious stewed fruit to store away in the fridge and freezer for the weeks and months to come. Of course you can buy the fruit too, but we recommend that you try to find local and organic fruit to reduce exposure to pesticides, and boost nutrient intake – farmers markets and local growers are a great choice. Stewed fruit, rich with cinnamon, is a lovely thing – it can form the basis of crumbles, and, paired with some coconut (or regular) yoghurt, makes a speedy dessert or breakfast. But it’s also really, really good for you, and here’s why… Consuming apples regularly can help reduce allergies (1), help to protect cells against oxidative damage (2), reduce inflammation in the intestines and throughout the body including the brain (3, 4, 5). And finally apples can improve your microbiome, by favourably impacting on the bacterial colonisation of the large intestine (6). The deep, rich colour of most of our native plums gives an indication of their antioxidant, or phenol, content. Plums are also a good source of vitamin C, needed for iron absorption, to fight free radical damage, and to help protect our arteries from atherosclerosis. Stone fruits like …

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Chocolate Chilli Pots

200g dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher), finely chopped1 can full-fat coconut milk2 large egg yolks1/4 tsp chilli powder or 1 tsp of fresh chillies, very finely choppedPinch of salt1 cinnamon stick1 tbsp vanilla extract For the Whipped Topping1 can full-fat coconut milk chilled overnight in the refrigeratorCoconut sugar, to taste (optional)1 tablespoon ground cinnamon In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, whisk together coconut milk, egg yolks, chilli, and salt. Add in the cinnamon stick. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly until it thickens and forms a smooth custard that coats the back of a spoon, about 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully watch the custard, taking care not to overcook or boil it. When the custard is ready, take the pan off the heat, and remove the cinnamon stick.

Lemon Smoothie

1 glass of water, coconut water or almond milkHandful of blueberries1 large handful parsleyZest of one lemonSqueeze of half a lemon1 tbsp ground flaxseeds (preferably soaked overnight)1 knob of fresh ginger, about the size of a small adult thumbnail1 tsp cinnamon1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)1 tbsp of nut butter (almond or cashew etc)A few cubes of ice (if it’s a particularly hot day!) With a high speed blender, throw all ingredients in and blend on high until creamy and smooth. You can add more liquid if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Recipe of the week – raw carrot and beetroot salad

This colourful salad is great as a side dish with a summer barbecue or with roast chicken. Children are often quite partial to vinegary flavours, so you may find they enjoy this too. The health benefits of eating this salad are impressive…

The latest on Alzheimer’s prevention

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is a generic term for conditions that occur when the brain no longer functions properly. Worldwide, at least 44 million people are living with dementia, making the disease a global health crisis. Like me, you probably know someone who has been affected by this condition. What’s surprising is that this isn’t a disease of ageing and that only 1% of cases are caused by genes. Scientists now know a lot about AD, and preventive therapies probably aren’t far off. But even when they become available, such therapies will almost certainly be very costly and involve drugs with probable side effects.

Food for the brain recipe: Salmon and Ginger Parcels

Your brain is really fat! In fact, 60% of it is made up of fatty acids, these are the long snake-like building blocks of fat molecules required for proper brain structure and function. Fatty acids come in many varieties, yet the brain has a clear favourite — and salmon is full of it. More than two-thirds of the brain’s fatty acids are docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid found primarily in oily fish, although some vegetarian sources exist as well. We are metabolically incapable of making DHA on our own and must, therefore, get it from our diet.

Delicious Lemon Bars

This is one of the snacks we made for our WaistWatchers group which meets every other Thursday. Crust75g ground almonds25g coconut flour3 tbls coconut fat30g Xylitol or coconut palm sugar1 egg, beaten Filling3 eggs30g Xylitol or coconut palm sugar1/2 tsp baking powderJuice and zest of 1/2 lemon Preheat oven to 180C. Cover a 8 x 8 square tin with greaseproof paper and grease.

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