Monday, December 31, 2018

Gentle Walk after Meals - ease into 2019

Many of us have be brought up to think that it isn't a good idea to exercise right after eating. Of course intense exercise might not be the best thing but a gentle walk is actually good for your health.

A 10-20 minute relaxing stroll after a meal can help to increase your metabolic rate and increase the energy needed to digest your food.

Studies have shown that a quiet stroll after eating reduces the increase of blood sugar that occurs after consuming a meal. People that walked after a meal had a 12% lower Glucose level than those who did not. Walking or some form of leisure activity can be done after every meal, but especially after meals high in carbohydrates - bread, potatoes or rice. Research has also shown that those with diabetes who walked after meals had a 22% lower glucose level than individuals who didn't. 

After-meal walks can also provide other benefits. A gentle stroll outdoors helps your mind to relax and you can enjoy the fresh air. It lifts the mood and dissipates stress. 

Because the walk is leisurely, you can also take time to nourish the senses 
Listen to the birds singing or water gushing over stones  
Watch children playing or snow falling in the park 
Touch the bark of a tree or the soft petals of the rose  
Smell the freshly cut grass or the salty sea breeze 

If you cannot leave the house or office for some reason, a walk on the tread mill at an easy pace can still offer benefits as it increases your heart rate and creates a break from work or daily stress. You can listen to beautiful music and use aromatherapy in a diffuser to create a peaceful atmosphere.

Gentle walking can become a social experience too. Invite family members, friends or co-workers to join in as the fitness level is easy for everyone.

Leisurely after-meals walking is super simple, easy to implement and can bring about great results especially for those with weight and blood sugar issues. A smart lifestyle change for 2019.

Happy strolling!

Love Chef Mel xx

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Understanding Anti Inflammatory Foods

Understanding Anti Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation is the body's natural protective mechanism that defends infection, illness or injury. The signs of short term inflammation usually occur  on the surface of the body - redness, pain, heat or swelling. Inflammation can also happen on a more serious, chronic basis and is often due to poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, exposure to toxins, or weight issues. Chronic inflammation is persistent, silent and within the body. If this inflammation continues it can lead to more serious health problems including diabetes, heart disease, high colesterol and arthritis.
The foods we chose on a daily basis play a huge role on inflammatory response. Eating a diet high in processed, sugary, refined foods or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and sodas can increase inflammation. Anti-inflmmatory, plant based foods enjoyed as part of our regular diet  provide the key to optimum health.
Learning which foods can influence the inflammatory process is an important strategy for reducing any long term risks.
Include as much as possible

·     A wide variety of plant based foods - whole grains, vegetables, beans, sea vegetables, fermented foods, nuts, seeds, and berries
·   Plenty of fresh, local, and seasonal food as possible (ones that come straight from the fields rather than processed in a factory)
·   Vegetables cooked in different ways.
·   Whole grains on a daily basis including oats, brown rice, millet, buckwheat, or quinoa.
·   Olive oil as the main cooking oil.
·   More vegetable protein especially from beans and traditional soy such as tofu, tempeh, or natto.
·   Fruits and vegetables from the full range of the color spectrum, especially berries, avocado, celery, squash,      pumpkin, radish, sweet potatoes, and dark leafy greens
·   Organic produce.
·   Broccoli, cabbage, kale, and caulflower often.
·   Sea vegetables. Include them in soups, bean dishes, stir frys, and salads
·   Almonds, walnuts, flax, chia, and black sesame seeds
·   Fermented foods; miso, sauerkraut, kimchee, olives or umeboshi
·   Pure spring water, herbal teas, infusions, kukicha or green tea throughout the day
·   Ginger, turmeric, cinammon, garlic and fresh herbs in your meals
·   Mushrooms especially shiitake in soups, stews, and vegetable dishes

Avoid as much as possible

·         Processed, packaged and fast food.
·         Refined carbs
·         Saturated fats from dairy and animal foods
·         Palm oil, corn oil and mixed vegetable oils
·         Products made with high fructose corn syrup
·         Margerine and vegetable shortening
·         Coffee, energy drinks, and sodas
·         Sugar in cakes, cookies, biscuits, desserts, candy, ice cream
·         Excessive alcohol
·         Processed meats
·         Wheat
·         Food additives and synthetic sweeteners
·         Conventional fruits and vegetables that carry pesticide residues.

In addition to diet it is very important to

Have enough deep and restful sleep. Go to bed before midnight and get up with the morning sun.
Reduce stress by spending time in nature, learning simple meditation techniques, and slowing down.
Do a daily body rub. Briskly rub your entire body with a hot damp towel.
Laugh with friends and family or watch funny movies.
Get plenty of outdoor exercise for at least 1 hour a day. The hour can be divided into shorter sessions such as 4 x 15 minutes or 2 x 30 minutes.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Buckwheat Porridge

I have been enjoying this quick and easy porridge now the weather is getting cooler.

Buckwheat is a wonderful grain - actually more similar to a fruit seed - and has been used throughout the world. It is super high in flavonoids especially rutin which can help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The nutrients in buckwheat help blood sugar control and the high fiber content can prevent gallstones. Buckwheat is high in magnesium which improves blood flow and nutrient delivery.

Buckwheat can also make you feel less hungry and more satisfied so great for weight control.

Here is the simple recipe that also gives great energy

Buckwheat Porridge

1 cup buckwheat 
2 cups of spring water
Ground flax seeds - optional
Toasted black sesame seeds - optional
Shiso powder - optional
Chia seeds - optional
Toasted walnuts - optional
1 tablespoon of Sauerkraut - optional

Rinse the buckwheat and place into a bowl.
Add 2 cups spring water
Leave to soak overnight
In the morning bring to a boil on a medium flame.
Simmer for 10 minutes or until soft
Mix gently and serve garnished with a mix of nuts, seeds, shiso powder or sauerkraut

Enjoy Chef Mel xx

At a Glance Home Remedies

At A Glance Home Remedies 

Here is a quick list of some easy yet powerful home remedies and their benefits. 
Enjoy Chef Mel xx


Cabbage -  helps reduce bruising, inflammation, swelling and cools body. Place a crushed, cold leaf over area and replace with another cool leaf when the first one becomes warm.

Sauerkraut - aids digestion, probiotic, contains living enzymes and helps digest fat/protein

Daikon -  dissolves fat and protein - can be used in many ways. Large pieces cooked until soft take out excess salt and generally relax the body. Raw grated daikon helps to break down fat.

Dried daikon tea - ear problems, fever, headache back and sides of head, migraines, SAD, weight loss

Lotus root - coughs, clearing mucus, allergies, anemia - for a tea, grate 1/2 cup and squeeze out the juice. Cook for 5 minutes and add a pinch sea salt. Drink warm

Burdock - strengthens the blood, increases vitality and is a remedy for anemia

Jinenjo or mountain potato - helps overcome emotional and nervous disorders. Good for vitality. Can be used raw and finely grated with a few drops of shoyu and finely cut scallions. Serve over rice or in soup.


Apple cider vinegar - good for prevention of hot flashes, improves digestion, increases weight loss, lower chloresterol, helps prevent diabetes as it lowers glucose levels. Use one tablespoon of ACV to 1 cup water. Also very good for the skin and can use it for a soak or bath.

Apple juice - served warm can help headaches in back of head, detox gallbladder/liver , relax, soothe, and improve sleep. Can use grated apple and squeeze out juice. Apple juice kuzu drink is good for muscle pain, jaundice and stomach cramping from excessive consumption of chips/salt.

Granny smith apple - raw and finely grated can reduce a fever. Lightly steamed is a good detox for the liver.


Aduki, bean tea - helps bone, joints, kidneys, adrenals, constipation - soak 1/2 cup aduki beans in water for 3 hours and simmer with a small strip of kombu in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes. Strain and drink warm.

Black soybean tea - aids digestion, bones, lungs, coughs - use the same recipe as for the aduki beans using the black soybeans instead

Unique Remedies

Umeboshi Plums - food for longevity - strengthen intestines, alkaline, counter affects of sugar, and alcohol, makes absorption of nutrients and other foods easier - immune booster
Ume concentrate - very alkaline, headaches, intestinal issues
Ume vinegar - dilute with a little water and dab on cuts/wounds/tick bites

Kuzu - contains high levels of flavornoids that are responsible for the healing affects to digestion and circulation - starch helps to overcome bacterial infections in digestion and excess water in case of diarrhea. Aids stomach problems, vomiting, food poisoning from fish, shellfish,  or meat

Brown Rice cooked soft into a cereal with umeboshi - aids flu, colds, fevers

Rice cream - soft rice put through a fine strainer is easy to absorb and good for those who are weak from illness or have digestive problems.

Tofu as a plaster - cooling and can be used topically to help ankle problems, burns, front headache, muscle problems, swellings, inflammation, bruises - mash and add enough white flour to bind and a small amount ginger.


Basil - anti inflammatory, relieves constipation and stomach cramps

Parsley - cleans blood, breaks down gall and kidney stones, packed with nutrition especially vitamin C, and iron

Cilantro - detox for heavy metals and other pollutants even mercury, good for food poisoning/bacterial infection, immune boosting, helps production of digestive enzymes, lowers colesterol

Ginger - morning sickness, motion sickness, slows cancer growth cells, migraines, flu, colds, congestion, reduces pain and inflammation, heartburn relief


Ume sho bancha - alcohol, anemia, strengthen blood, regulates digestion, circulation, relieves fatigue, weakness, relief from sugar or acid forming foods

Ume sho kuzu - strengthens blood, promotes good digestion, restores energy, helps with digestive issues - gastric, colds, flu, frontal headache, heart conditions, strengthens organ function - kidneys, bladder, liver, and stomach
Dilute 1 heaping teaspoon of kuzu in a cup of cold water. Place in a pan and heat on a medium flame. Stir constantly until the kuzu thickens. Add 1/2 to 1 umeboshi and 1/2 teaspoon of shoyu. Mix gently and drink warm. Can add fresh ginger at the end for colds and flu.

Sweet kuzu drink - blood sugar/relaxing for mind and body/menstrual cramps/PMT/lower fever/monks used this tea to mellow out so they could study
Dilute 1 heaping teaspoon of kuzu in a cup of cold water. Place in a pan and heat on a medium flame. Stir constantly until the kuzu thickens. Add 1 tablespoon of rice syrup and mix through. Drink warm

Kukicha tea with tekka condiment - offsets excess sugar, diabetes, anemia, bones.
Add 1 teaspoon of tekka to a mug of hot kukicha tea. Stir and drink warm

Shiitake tea - PTST, nightmares, pain, weight control, bronchitis, lowers cholesterol, liver tonic
Soak 1 dried shiitake until soft - Simmer in a cup and half of water for 15 minutes. Add a pinch of salt. Drink warm and eat the shiitake

Agar Agar  tea helpful for constipation and bloating.
Simmer 1 tablespoon of agar agar in a cup of water until dissolved. Add a tablespoon of rice syrup or barley malt and drink warm.

Kombu tea for aches and pain even toothache. Shio kombu condiment helps  bones, joints, food allergies, lyme, or vascular issues
Simmer a strip of kombu in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes. Remove the kombu and drink warm


Pain - kombu tea, shiitake tea, relaxing teas like chamomile

Wounds - calendula cream or rescue remedy for blows, rashes, burns, cuts, razor burn, diaper rash

Tea tree oil - anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti viral - acne, cuts, athletes foot, insect, flea bites

Hot Water Bottle - relaxes tight muscles, increases circulation, helps gastric issues, relaxes tight kidneys, and creates warmth, helpful for menstrual cramps.

Salt Pack - arm, hand problems, earaches, gastric issues, stomach aches

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

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


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

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

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.