Archive for October, 2013

October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween- Pumpkin Recipes

by lrmetcalfe

PumpkinPumpkin.  This delicious winter squash, is not only great for a spooky Halloween decoration, but is bursting with health benefits too.

Pumpkin’s bright orange colour is due to its beta-carotene content, a provitamin that is converted to vitamin A in the body. Known for its immune-boosting powers, beta-carotene is an antixoxidant essential for eye health and has also been linked to preventing heart disease. Pumpkin is also a rich source of fibre and protein.

It’s not only the sweet orange flesh that has health benefits, the seeds are packed with goodness too. Pumpkin seeds are renowned for their zinc content, an essential mineral for immune health, and men’s health. The seeds also contain the minerals, magnesium and potassium; as well as phytosterols, which can help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Why not try one of these delicious recipes, and make the most out of your Halloween pumpkin…

Pumpkin Pittas

Serves 4

Ingredients
• 1kg pumpkins or butternut squash, deseeded and cut into wedges
• 400g can chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• ½ tsp chilli flakes
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
• 2 slices white bread, whizzed to crumbs

For the salad
• 2 carrots, coarsely grated
• ½ small red onion, finely sliced
• 100g feta cheese, crumbled
• 4 wholemeal pitta breads to serve

1. Put the pumpkin in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with cling film. Cook on High for 10 mins or until soft. Tip the chickpeas, garlic, chilli flakes, cumin and half of the parsley into a food processor, then whizz until the chickpeas are finely chopped but not smooth.
2. Allow the pumpkin to cool slightly, then scoop the flesh from the skin and add to the chickpea mix with some seasoning and the breadcrumbs. Give everything a good stir, then shape into 12 little patties with your hands. Put the falafels on a plate and chill for 10 mins.
3. Meanwhile, mix the remaining parsley with the grated carrot, onion and feta cheese, then set aside. Heat the grill to Medium, then cook the falafels on a baking tray for 3-5 mins on each side until golden. Split the pitta breads lengthways and fill with the warm falafels and some of the feta salad.

Pumpkin Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients
• 4 tbsp olive oil
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 1kg pumpkins or squash (try kabocha), peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
• 700ml vegetable stock or chicken stock
• 142ml pot double cream
• 4 slices wholemeal seeded bread
• handful pumpkin seed from a packet

1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan, then gently cook 2 finely chopped onions for 5 mins, until soft but not coloured. Add 1kg peeled, deseeded and chopped pumpkin or squash to the pan, then carry on cooking for 8-10 mins, stirring occasionally until it starts to soften and turn golden.

2. Pour 700ml vegetable stock into the pan, then season with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 mins until the squash is very soft. Pour the 142ml pot of double cream into the pan, bring back to the boil, then purée with a hand blender. For an extra-velvety consistency you can now push the soup through a fine sieve into another pan. The soup can now be frozen for up to 2 months.

3. While the soup is cooking, slice the crusts from 4 slices of wholemeal seed bread, then cut the bread into small croutons. Heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, then fry the bread until it starts to become crisp. Add a handful of pumpkin seeds to the pan, then cook for a few mins more until they are toasted. These can be made a day ahead and stored in an airtight container. Reheat the soup if needed, taste for seasoning, then serve scattered with croutons and seeds and drizzled with more olive oil, if you want.

Pumpkin, Lemon & Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

Ingredients

• 225g peeled and deseeded pumpkin or butternut squash, cubed.
• 4 tbsp full cream milk.
• 1 large egg.
• 175g self-raising flour.
• 1/2 tsp baking powder.
• 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
• 150g caster sugar .
• 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice.
• 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg.
• 50g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces.
• 2 tbsp poppy seeds.
• Grated zest of 1 small lemon.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease a 900g loaf tin and line with baking paper or greaseproof paper, then grease well once more. Cook the pumpkin in boiling water for 10-15 minutes, until tender. Drain well and leave until the steam dies down, then blend to a smooth purée in a food processor. Scoop into a mixing bowl and mix in 3 tablespoons milk and the egg.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, mixed spice, nutmeg and seasoning into the cleaned bowl of the food processor. Add the butter and process until the mix looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add to the purée and stir until just mixed, adding the remaining milk if the mixture seems dry. Stir in the poppy seeds and grated lemon zest. Spoon the mix into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes until well risen and golden.

3. Remove the cake from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Remove the paper and serve cut into slices.

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October 30, 2013

Reflexology Case Study…Treatment 5

by lrmetcalfe

Treatment Plan

Due to other commitments my client has not been able to have a treatment for a while. This is unfortunate as sometimes this can affect the positive results we see from reflexology, but is often unavoidable.

However, my client has been well and has managed to stop taking her anxiety medication, after a long period of gradually reducing the dose.

 

The Treatment

My client is feeling sleepy today, so wanted to feel refreshed and energised by the end of the treatment, therefore I focussed on a firmer massage, and spent extra time on pressing the reflexes which are involved in energy production. I also used massage oil containing the essential oils of Grapefruit and Bergamot; both oils are refreshing and uplifting.

The client’s feet were warmer than usual; this indicates a possible improvement in the client’s circulation.

The ‘popping’ sensation was found in the reflexes for the thyroid gland, diaphragm and stomach.

 

Feedback

The client enjoyed her treatment and said she did feel more refreshed.

 

Changes/ Areas to focus on for the next treatment

Usually the client wants to feel relaxed, however today she wanted to feel energised. Depending on the client’s mood I will alter the treatment in accordance. The next treatment is the last in her course, so we will focus on the lifestyles changes she has made and how she can continue to improve her health without the treatments.

 

Aftercare

Client needs to ensure she is sleeping for long enough, and should have an early night to recuperate. If she continues to feel tired, she could try Bio-Strath Elixir, a tonic which helps to improve energy levels and contains essential nutrients.

October 15, 2013

Let’s have a brew!

by lrmetcalfe

ImageThis week, the weather has suddenly become very chilly. This time of year makes me want to cuddle up on the sofa with a steaming mug of something delicious. However did you know there are many warming brews you could try with added healthy benefits…

 

Indian Tea- Chai

Bursting with the spicy benefits of cardamom, cinnamon, fennel and cloves, this drink really warms the insides.

Makes 6 mugs

Ingredients

  • 2 teabags (everyday breakfast tea)
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 2 cloves
  • 6 fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • Milk

1. Boil 500ml of water in a kettle

2. Pour the boiling water into a saucepan, add the teabags, spices and sugar, stir.

3. Bring back to the boil and leave to boil for 15 minutes

4. Once boiled add as much milk as required to turn the tea to the preferred strength/colour

5. Bring back to the boil (watch closely, as at this point it has a tendency to boil over)

6. Once boiled, remove from the heat and strain off the spices and teabags.

7. Pour into mugs and enjoy

 

Hot Cherry Punch

Cherries are rich in antioxidants, and studies show they are beneficial for those who suffer from arthritis and gout. Together with the anti-inflammatory action of chilli, ginger and cinnamon- this delicious fruity drink packs a punch for joint problems!

Makes a large jug of punch

Ingredients

  • 2 litres cherry juice
  • peel from 3 oranges
  • 1 thumb-sized red chilli, pierced a few times but left whole
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 10 cloves
  • 6 slices ginger

1. Tip the cherry juice, orange peel, chilli, cinnamon sticks, cloves and ginger into a large saucepan.

2. Simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat.

(If you prepare in advance, leave the spices in for 4 hours, allowing them to infuse the juice)

3. Strain the spices and orange peel away, (re-heat if left to infuse). Serve in mugs or a heatproof jug.

 

Indulgent hot chocolate

It’s OK to indulge every once in a while, and the antioxidants found in dark chocolate, make this naughty treat a little more beneficial!

Makes 6 mugs

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa content, for a spicier treat look for dark chocolate with chilli)

600ml milk

1. Break the chocolate into cubes and put into a pan with the milk. Gently heat until the chocolate melts,.

2. Bring almost to the boil, stirring constantly until smooth. Poor into mugs, top with marshmallows if liked.

 

I hope you will enjoy these delicious drinks, remember there are lots of healthy hot drinks on the market- my favourites include: Yogi Teas Classic Cinnamon Spice, Teapigs Green Tea with Mint, Starbucks Earl Grey. Why not find your favourite…

 

October 7, 2013

A Dry Spell…

by lrmetcalfe

moisturises

It’s getting colder, the days are shortening, the central heating is now on- and my skin is drying out!

For the past two Winters my skin has become noticeably dryer- I never thought I would miss my oily-teenage skin type, but I do!

There is nothing worse than patches of dry, flaky or sore skin. Many of us automatically turn to creams and lotions, but the skin also needs to be healed from the inside out. Here are some of my top tips for dry skin….

 

1. Eat more essential fatty acids

Foods rich in essential fatty acids are essential for healthy skin. EFA’s are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes and are important for maintaining the skin’s natural oil barrier, critical in keeping skin hydrated and healthy.

One of the best sources of EFAs is oily fish- mackerel, sardines, tuna, anchovies, salmon, trout and herring. Olive oil, unrefined walnut and sunflower oil, nuts, linseed, pumpkin, sesame hemp and sunflower seeds are also sources of fatty acids. For recipe ideas rich in EFAs check out my blog post Getting Fishy

 

2. Find a PH balanced skin care regime

When our skin is dry we all rush to the closest moisturiser, however some moisturisers can disturb the natural balance of the skin. The skin has a form of protection called an ‘acid mantle’, it is naturally slightly acidic. If a product is too alkaline or too acidic, this mantle is disturbed and skin conditions can arise. Many skin products can alter the skin’s PH, so look out for products which maintain the skin’s natural PH balance.

 

3. For dryness on the body…

Calendula is the key! I use Nelsons Calendula Cream as a body lotion; I find it really useful for the dry patches I get on my legs and elbows.

Or for a moisturising treat, after bathing try massaging in an oil blend of Calendula, with a drop of the essential oils of Roman camomile, geranium and lavender.

 

4. Rehydrate

Drinking plenty of water is key to making sure the skin is hydrated, it is also something we tend to neglect to do in the cold; it is much harder to guzzle down water in winter, than on a hot summer’s day. Try and drink 1.5-2 litres a day, hot drinks including tea and herbal/fruit teas count towards your daily water intake too.

 

5. Not too hot

Heat and humidity dry out and irritate the skin, try not to have the central heating blasting out too high, and open windows during the day to let out humidity and let in fresh air! As tempting and relaxing as hot showers and baths on a cold day are, try not to make them too hot- warm is enough and always use a good moisturiser or massage oil afterwards.

October 5, 2013

Reflexology Case Study…Treatment 4

by lrmetcalfe

Treatment Plan

At today’s treatment my client had had a stressful day, with a few issues at home and an unpleasant trip to the dentist, she had a tension headache and wanted to calm down and let off steam.

The Treatment

Today I tried to focus more on deep breathing with the client, to encourage her to relax.

Again due to her anxiety and stress I focused on the reflexes for the pituitary and adrenal glands. To try and relieve the client’s tension headache, I spent more time working the areas for the head, neck and face.

The ‘popping’ sensation was found in the shoulder relfex, which could be related to stress and her tension headache; there was also an imbalance in the lung reflexes.

I spent more time on the massage part of the treatment to encourage relaxation. I used the client’s preferred massage oil blend.

Feedback

The client enjoyed her treatment and said the tension in her neck had noticeably improved. Again, her feet felt warmed after the foot massage section of the treatment.

Changes/ Areas to focus on for the next treatment

The client’s course of treatments is now more than half way through; her next treatment is the penultimate. There has been a change to the amount of reflexes in which I am finding ‘imbalances’, therefore I can start to shorten the treatments.

Aftercare

Client is continuing to try and lead a healthier lifestyle, by looking at her diet, doing more exercise and drinking less caffeinated drinks and more water. I am pleased with the progress she is made, and want her to continue.