Saturday, April 21, 2018

Simply Smooth

Here are a couple of easy to make and yummy smoothies for the hot weather. They are super as a dessert or a quick snack on the go.

Enjoy Love Chef Mel xxx





Oh So Smooth Strawberry


Serves 2


Ingredients
1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 cups organic strawberries
3/4 cup amasake
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon rice syrup
3 coconut water ice cubes (can use regular ice cubes)
juice from a fresh lemon

8 mint leaves
lemon slices and sliced strawberries for garnish


Preparation

Soak the chia seeds in a little almond milk for 15 minutes
Place everything into the blender and blend for at least a minute.
Serve with a slice of lemon and sliced strawberries





A Blast of Berry 

Serves 2

Ingredients
2 cups vanilla rice milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
3/4 cup amasake

Juice of half an orange
1 tablespoon rice syrup
1 cup blueberries
1 cup strawberries
1 cup raspberries
3 coconut water ice cubes


Preparation
Soak the chia seeds in a little rice milk for at least 15 minutes.
Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend for at least a minute.
Serve garnished with blueberries



Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Healthy Flying Tips


How to get over Jet Lag quickly


To help recover from long flights and jet lag it is vital to nourish your health and to include healthy food options on your trip. It is important to increase alkaline forming foods as flying can be stressful and create more acidity. Extra vitamin C and chlorophyll are also necessary to support the immune and better cope with stressful situations and jet lag. The best way to increase these are in natural plant based foods. 

Here are some simple natural remedies that can  help you enjoy happy travels.

Umeboshi Plums are a wonderful travel companion as they are extremely alkaline, full of minerals that help increase energy, aid digestiĆ³n, boost immunity, and improve liver functions. They also help to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the water, food and blood so great for travels to foreign locations. 




Miso soup is a wonderful addition, in the days before and after flying. It contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach and restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines. It also strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid and supports the immune system.  Miso is high in antioxidants that protect against free radicals.
You can also get an instant miso soup in powder form. All you need to do is add hot water so fantastic for long flights.







Toasted nori  is a great snack for travelling as it is easy to carry in small packs. Nori is alkaline, and provides a  good source of vitamin C, as well as omega 3 fatty acids, protein and minerals.













Vegetable Juices. These can be found in many airport cafes and provide a refreshing, uplifting start to your trip.

Spirullina is an fresh water alge that is packed with calcium and protein. It has a high chlorophyll content which helps oxygenate the body and is especially beneficial after spending hours in airplane cabins. The flavor can be strong so you can add it to a refreshing vegetable juice such as carrot, apple, celery, cucumber, and lemon with a dash of cinnamon. Great for jet lag recovery.








Enjoy a bowl of steaming hot Oat Porridge with berries, chia and flax seeds. Oats actually help the body produce melatonin more naturally. They are also full of vitamins and minerals that nourish the nervous system and make you more relaxed. Oats contain amino acids, potassium, B vitamins, magnesium and complex carbs that will provide an energising first meal at your destination and assist in regulating sleep patterns. Berries pack a punch of vitamin C and the seeds provide extra omega 3 and protein.









Make sure to increase your consumption of lightly cooked dark leafy green vegetables. Greens and broccoli are another great source of vitamin C and full of B vitamins which are energizing for the body. They keep you feeling refreshed and hydrated. Add a squeeze of lemon to nourish the liver and increase the C. You can even take a container of lightly steamed greens to enjoy while flying. Otherwise enjoy plenty in the days before and after flying.







Add Sauerkraut into your diet both before and after flying. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps relieve stress-related conditions such as jet lag and free radical damage. When you ferment cabbage into sauerkraut, its vitamin C and antioxidant levels skyrocket.  Enjoy a tablespoon a day.

Kukicha tea is a marvelous travel companion.  It is also known as twig or peasant tea and comes from the twigs, stems and stalks of the tea bush. It contains almost zero caffeine and is rich in vitamin C, calcium and antioxidants. Can be enjoyed alone or for an extra Vitamin C boost add a dash of lemon and a spoonful of rice syrup. The tea bags can be carried and enjoyed while flying.

Other suggestions

Body Rub – a brisk body rub with a hot damp towel or mitt helps boost metabolism, and energize the system

Reflexology – flying is ungrounding so a good foot massage can help you feel like you have arrived

Walking in nature – the negative ions in nature help us to feel more relaxed yet energized. The ultimate way to feel better. If you are in a city, a walk in the park is a great way to align with your new surroundings.


Epsom salt bath – helps to sooth achy joints and muscles, de-stress and re-energize. The magnesium is easily absorbed through the skin. Great for a better nights sleep and jet lag.



Happy Travels  - Love Chef Mel xx





Monday, April 2, 2018

Healing with Nature - Let's smell the Flowers

The Power of Smell



Since ancient times, people have used the fragrance of plants, trees, herbs and fruits as a source of healing. The perfume of nature acts like a drug for the brain.

Our sense of smell is one of the most primitive senses. This ability to smell helps us to enjoy thousands of different flavors which we could not experience with taste alone. At least 70 percent of what we think of as taste comes from what we smell and this helps us to really enjoy our food. 
Our sense of smell also connects us to memories, emotions and instincts. Smells stimulate nerves in the nose that send impulses to the brain’s limbic system which controls heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormone balance.
This is why when we smell something past experiences often come to mind. The aroma of cooking apples can bring back memories of childhood and Mums apple pie or orange blossom may evoke times spent on holiday in the Mediterranean. These smells are very healing because we associate them with happy memories.

When we smell something, we are actually absorbing some of its molecules

Here are some of the wonderful fragrances of nature that help to keep us feeling alive and nourished.





Lavender -  delightfully calming, soothing and helps with insomnia. It is also good for anxiety, fatigue and depression.











Lemon - The astringent, invigorating scent of lemons is helpful for boosting energy levels, and increasing focus and alertness. 









Green Apples – Next time you cut into a green apple, take time to relish the crisp fragrance. It can ease  migraine symptoms, reduce stress and anxiety, and lower blood pressure. The refreshing smell also clears the mind and helps with weight control by curbing appetite.


Fresh Vanilla – elevates feelings of joy and happiness and relaxation. It can also be an aphrodisiac and increase the secretion of estrogen and testosterone.


Fresh mown grass/hay – the delicious scent of freshly cut grass keeps you mentally alert and increases feelings of joy and relaxation.








Jasmine - this beautiful light and cooling perfume increases alertness and helps to elevate mood. It can relieve depressive thoughts and increase energy levels.  

Rosemary -There's rosemary that's for remembrance: pray, love, remember.¨ - William Shakespeare. This fragrant herb has long been associated with improving memory. It also helps with migraines, relaxation, and enhances mood.



Peppermint - wonderful for motivation, greater cognitive stamina, and overall concentration. It has a delightful cooling and yet stimulating scent.


Orange - has a relaxing yet invigorating effect and can lower anxiety, and generally help you to feel more positive and calm. 

* Violent criminals in Rotterdam in the Netherlands became less aggressive and had fewer fights when exposed to the scent of oranges, according to a 2008 study.
During the four-week experiment inmates were calmer and needed fewer sedatives when orange smells were circulated through prison cell air vents.





Pine - reduces anxiety and achieves a greater sense of relaxation. Walking in pine forests can significantly lower depression and stress levels.



Cinnamon – There is nothing like the smell of cinnamon to create a warm, cozy, and relaxing feeling in a home. It also boosts brain power, and improves attention span and memory. 

Cucumber – has been known to help with claustrophobia and can change our perception of space.


Olive oil - can reduce food cravings and lower the amount of calories consumed. The smell of olive oil can leave you feeling more satisfied after a meal.







Roses - help to lift the mood, and soothe anxiety and depression symptoms. This beautiful fragrance can balance hormones, lower blood pressure, relieve headaches, The scent of roses creates a sense of happiness and harmony and is also closely tied with aphrodisiac effects. It helps to promote a more restful sleep and uplifting dreams when enjoyed before bedtime.



The Sea -The faint smell of salt in the air can take us to a place of pure joy. Sea air has a certain aliveness that is not found anywhere else. Slowly breathing in this stimulating scent can help release stress and tension 


Soil -  that earthy, musky smell of damp earth helps us to feel alive, grounded, and soothes away worries. The main causes of this distinctive smell is a blend of oils secreted by plants during dry periods. When the rain comes, compounds from the oils are mixed and released into the air. These airborne oils combine with other compounds to produce that marvelous peaty smell that is strongest after the first rainfall. 

Creating happy memories around various aromas.

A process known as neuroassociative conditioning enables you to consciously link a healing response to a specific smell. 
Choose your favorite natural frgrance. Inhale it whenever you are feeling happy, calm or relaxed. As you do this, your body will begin to associate these delightful feelings with the aroma. In no time at all, just a hint of the fragrance will invoke the same sensations and an inner healing response.









Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Healing with Nature - The Power of Sound




The Orchestra of Nature




Sound is one of the most powerful and healing energies on the planet. Sounds can soothe, calm, and relax or move us to great feelings of passion. Natural sounds bring balance and harmony into our lives. We hear them not only with our ears but with every cell in our body. Research has shown that natural sound helps to regulate blood pressure, improve diabetes, and overcome poor sleep and depression. On the other hand, harsh unnatural sound can increase feelings of stress, anger, and anxiety.



Sound affects us physically, spiritually and emotionally. Throughout history sound has been used as a primary creative force. Many traditional cultures have  imitated the sound of animals and birds in dances, rituals and healing techniques.



Dr Hans Jenny, famous for his study of cymatics, describes a sound-matrix at work in nature. He said it is an invisible driving force that can create everything from the wave like shape of a mountain range to the stripes on a zebra or the petals on a flower. He believed that sound was the creative principle. This creative power is inherent in tone, in sound.



Resonant frequency is based on the idea that everything in our universe  is vibrating at its own unique frequency. Basically, we are all vibrating atomic and sub-atomic particles. So we hum along at a specific resonant frequency which can change along with our health and wellbeing.

Natural sounds can help to rebalance this vibrational frequency if we get sick or stressed. Gongs and singing bowls have been used as a source of frequency healing for thousands of years. They contain the full spectrum of sound and can vibrate all the cells, organs, and bones. They also slow down the heart rate and breathing and stimulate the alpha and theta brain waves. These  waves are associated with meditative and peaceful states. The powerful rhythmic vibrations of gongs and singing bowls resonate throughout the body to restore balance and release stress.

Drums have also been used in many cultures for ritual events, communication, and by sharmans to reach an altered state. Drumming improves immunity, increases energy and happy, feelings, and creates new neuronal connections in all parts of the brain, The rhythmic sound of drumming can align your mind and body with the natural world and help you to literally go with the flow.







We also have our own powerful tool, our voice. Singing and chanting can profoundly transform our health and well being. Specific chants and sacred sounds can nourish and vibrate the organs and chakras (energy centers in the body). Singing has incredible power to make us feel positive, joyful, and energised especially in large groups. And of course we have the ability to create music from all kinds of instruments.

Spending time outdoors, surrounded by the  pure vibration of nature, gives us a marvellous feeling of calm that is hard to experience in urban settings. We are part of nature and spending time outside can feel like we are returning home. Choosing to focus our attention on the sounds in nature gives us the chance to enjoy the present moment and tune into the incredible orchestra of nature.


Here are some of the wonderful sounds that make up our natural world
A cat purring
The underwater acoustics of a whales song
The call of seagulls over the sea
Rain falling on golden leaves
The muffled quiet of falling snow
A waterfall leaping down the rocks
The bubble of a small brook over stones
The steady back and forth roll of the sea
The crash of waves in a storm
The crunch of frost tinged leaves in the fall
The hum of bees in a summer garden
The chirp of crickets in the long grass
The wind blowing through the trees
Wood pigeons calling to one another
A cuckoo celebrating the beginning of spring
A rustle in the hedgerow from field mice and a hedgehog
The beating of wings as wild geese lift off a lake
Ducks chatting across the pond
The lowing of cows on a summer evening
A mare whickering to her newborn foal
The crackle of logs on a fire





A wonderful exercise is to go into your garden or out in the fields, woods, by the lake or sea and listen to the many different sounds that surround you.

Love Chef Mel xx








Sunday, February 25, 2018

Loving your Liver in Springtime

Spring is upon us along with the marvellous feeling of energy moving up and expanding out. It is the time for new growth and activity after the quiet, hybernating energy of winter.  There  is a bustle in the hedgerow as animals and plants awaken to the warm rays of the sun.  

Spring is also the time that our livers flourish. The  liver is associated with new growth and upward, expansive energy, just like the spring. So this is an ideal time to support your liver. 

Remember to  to be mindful of how you express your emotions at this time of year as they can also burst forth in a strong manner. 

Here are some easy tips for loving your liver this Spring


  • Eat less
  • Spend time everyday in nature especially around trees and upward growing plants
  • Enjoy a brisk body rub using a hot damp towel or loofa
  • Get moving. Be active throughout the day, walk the stairs, stretch at the office desk, go outside during the lunch hour or bike to work.
  • Learn de-stress techniques. Breath deeply and slowly, listen to mindful tapes, or relax to beautiful music
  • Practice slowing down including eating, drinking, and walking.
  • Get up early in the morning
  • Forgive more, complain less. Be grateful for all of life. Accept the ups and downs.
  • Increase leafy greens especially bitter ones like dandelions, and also, nettles, kale, watercress, or arugula. 
  • Have fresh herbs everyday such as basil, parsley, coriander, or chives
  • Include a sour taste in cooking like lemons, granny smith apples, and apple cider or brown rice vinegar
  • Make barley soups or salads
  • Have a high fiber diet including lots of vegetables, whole grains, and beans
  • Include wakame sea vegetable in salads and soups
  • Use Fennel in cooking
  • Increase Chinese cabbage,leeks, celery, spring onions, cabbage, and onions in your dishes 






This simple recipe is wonderful for the liver and gives us the uplifting energy of spring straight from the fields to our table.


Energizing Super Salad



Ingredients
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley or cilantro
2 cups Chinese cabbage shredded
1 small cucumber finely sliced
1 celery stalk finely sliced
3 red radishes finely sliced
1/4 block tofu crumbled
1 tablespoon umeboshi vinegar
2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
Generous pinch sea salt





Preparation
Add the umeboshi vinegar to the tofu and mix well. Leave to marinate.














Place the vegetables into a bowl and add the sea salt.


Gently massage the salt into the vegetables. They will start to shine as the liquid is drawn out.

Place a plate on top of the vegetables and then a weight. I use a jug of water.





Let sit for about 15 minutes.
Remove the weight from the salad. Discard any excess liquid.


















Add the tofu to the salad and mix gently.











Season with the brown rice vinegar 


Enjoy Love Chef Mel xx


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Healing wtih Nature - In the Home

Bringing the outside inside
Nature has an endless source of energy that recharges us, awakens our senses and inspires the soul. When we bring natures healing power into our homes, we create a sacred space to retreat and rejuvenate. A peaceful place to recharge and relax after a long day out in the world. You can decide which apects of nature resonate with you, engage your senses, and brings peace

Here are some easy ways to bring the outside inside


.
Add Plants
 Plants are an easy and wonderful addition to any room. They freshen the air with oxygen, and create a bright and cheerful atmosphere. Experiment with planting indoor bulbs in colorful containers or succulents as a center piece for you dining table.




 Trailing plants add a fresh addition on top of the refrigerator or a bookshelf. Kitchens and dining rooms can be decorated with plants, seasonal foliage, fresh fruits, and vegetables or a fresh bunch of flowers can cheer up your home office desk. A few (don’t pick many) wildflowers represent the freedom of nature and can brighten a quiet corner.








Grow herbs
Herbs are a wonderful way to bring nature into your kitchen. They are easy to grow on a sunny windowsill and give you a lovely natural view to enjoy. Include herbs that are fragrant – Rosemary, lavender, basil, peppermint or cilantro. Take the time in your day to pause and  rub a leaf with your fingers. The lovely aromatic scent that comes forth is a gift from nature to the senses.









Clear the Clutter
A house that is full of stuff tends to have stagnated energy and can make you feel drained, stressed, and unmotivated. Clearing out the clutter is actually good for your lungs, gives you more breathing space, and helps you to open up and let go. Act like a warrior and go through your stuff to get rid of things that no longer serve a purpose. Clear out the cupboards and items that are left in the corners of rooms or on open shelving. When energy flows smoothly throughout your home you will feel much more relaxed and energised.








Chose natural in furnishings and floorings

One of the best ways to bring nature inside the home is by using natural materials -  wood, marble, tile, slate, Stone, glass, earth, bamboo, cork, paper, reeds, and grasses. These are used in a myriad of ways from flooring, furniture, wall hangings, to backsplashes in the kitchen and bathroom.  Decorate with jute, cotton, and silk in carpets, throws, and curtains. Experiment with different textures to create a feeling of the natural world.

 









You can find beautiful pebbles and rocks and arrange them in a glass vase or decorative bowl. Fill a bowl with colorful sea glass, gemstones or crystals.

If you live in a city, you can add pebbles to a large washing up bowl and then walk up and down on them. It is wonderful for your feet and acts like a natural massage/accupuncture treatment.



 If you find something that you love, shells, a piece of driftwood, pinecones or an unusually shaped rock, use them as accent details and combine with hanging planters, moss, or fresh flowers.







Natural Fragrance
Place bowls of potpourri, aromatherapy candles or vaporizers, incense, and fragrant flowers and plants throughout your home to bring in the fresh aromas of nature. Attach a bunch of eucalyptus to your shower head and enjoy a revitalising, aromatic shower.


Sounds of Nature
Add a water feature like aquarium or small desk top fountains to enjoy the soothing and refreshing sound of water. You can also fill a small bowl with water and put it in a sunny window to add freshness to a room. Change the water everyday. If you love to hear the sound of birds singing, Install a bird feeder or two outside your window.

Natural Light and Fresh air
One of the easiest ways to bring nature inside is to open your windows on a daily basis even if it is for 5 minutes. Fill your room with fresh air no matter the weather. Use sheer curtains and emphasise windows that look out on to a beautiful view of woods, fields, gardens or skylines. Ii is important to have a bright home with lots of sunlight as it helps you to feel uplifted and cheerful.



Add the boldness of nature
Nature is vivid and passionate with crashing waves, fields of wildflowers, fiery sunsets, rainbows, pounding rain, or the crash of thunder. Bring a touch of this aspect of nature into your home. Add bright colors in cushions or upcycle an old piece of furniture with a bold colored paint. Let flower arrangements be wild, vibrant and unruly. Hang paintings or photos of mountains, fields of poppies, the bright blue of the sea or a stormy night.
























Use the colors of nature
Use colors that remind you of nature and add them into your home. THere are so many to pick from. The grays, blues, and pinks of the sky, soft greens and browns from the forest, pale yellow of the beach and all the vivid colors that come from flowers. Softer colors can cover a larger space and bold colors can be used as an accent.




Our homes are really extensions of us. They reflect how we feel about ourselves and our environment. Remember to create a natural space around your needs and what makes you feel emotionally charged, joyful, calm, soothed, cheerful, inspired, motivated, or comforted.