Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Bring Back the Bitter Taste

Have you noticed that the modern diet has way less foods that are bitter in flavor. In fact farmers are growing the bitter out of greens and other vegetables. Apparently over the past 100 years, the bitter taste has been selectively removed from our modern meals.

This means our receptors for bitter taste are not being used - these receptors appear on the tongue, throughout the digestive system and even on the pancreas. We actually have 25 bitter receptors in our gastrointestinal tract but only 1 receptor for a sweet taste and 1 for the umami taste.

When something bitter hits our tongue, a message is sent to the gut to stimulate the production of enzymes and to start the digestive process. Today, without this important flavor, we are aren't getting the vital stimulation, and as a result, digestive issues, cravings for sweets, or weight gain can happen.

A bitter taste is one of the important 5 flavors in Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with salty, sweet, sour, and pungent. Bitter corresponds to the season of summer, and is the flavor of the Fire element. Bitter is a powerful mover especially for the heart and small intestine. Of course, too much can be damaging. Coffee is bitter and overdoing it can spike blood pressure levels and affect heart health. In the long term coffee drains our reserves of energy.

Traditionally, bitter foods - greens, herbs, and roots - were brewed into a tonic.  This tonic was taken after a meal to help the digestive pocess. Bitter greens and herbs were also used after the long winter months to detox the system, and provide important nutrients.

Bitter foods have been known throughout history to have powerful medicinal properties

Here are some of the ways that bitters can boost your system

Help to stop over eating
Control sugar cravings and excess hunger
Stimulate the liver to produce bile which makes it work more effeciently
Increase nutritional absoption
Support a smooth and healthy digestion
Protect against cancer, diabetes,and heart disease
Promote healthy blood sugar levels
Improve energy and endurance
Provide plenty of vitamins and minerals

Bitter Tasting Foods 
that can be easily included in our meals

Dandelion greens
Radish greens
Mustard greens
Carrot tops

Orange and lemon rind
Green olives - traditionally prepared

Daikon (smaller ones)
Cucumbers (sometimes)


Sesame seeds especially black

Grain coffee
Green tea

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Golden Paste for Dogs

This paste is super easy to make and will last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

I have been making it or my dogs and they love it mixed in with their food - all home made of course.

Here are some of the wonderful benefits of Golden Paste

  1. Natural detox
  2. Has anti-inflammatory properties
  3. Nourishing to the heart and liver
  4. Fights bacteria
  5. Aids the digestion
  6. Helps with allergies
  7. Cancer prevention
  8. Good for arthritis
  9. Natural pain relief
  10. Helps with seizures
  11. Aids in reduction of tumor 
  12. Prevents cataracts
  13. Immune support

The basic recipe only has 4 ingredients
1/2 cup organic turmeric powder
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup spring water
1-2 teaspoons ground black or cayenne pepper

Can also add 
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric

Here's what you do

Make sure you add the turmeric carefully as it can dye anything it comes into contact with, a bright yellow!

Place the powder into a small pan
Add the water
Heat on a low flame and stir until it becomes thick and smooth. Make sure the powder is well blended. You may need to add a little more water if it is too thick.
Add the coconut oil and mix well.
Remove from the heat and add the pepper. You can also add the additional ingredients at this point.
Pour into a glass storage container and allow to cool.

How much to give

Start small so your dog gets used to the taste. Too much too quickly can cause loose stools.

The amount is about 1/4 teaspoon per 5kgs of weight.
So smaller dogs may have between 1/4-1 teaspoon.
Larger dogs could have 1 tablespoon.

Happy healthy dogs everyone! Love Chef Mel xx

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Please Pass the Watermelon

On a scorching, hot day, there is nothing more refreshing than a large slice of juicy watermelon. The burst of sweetness and bright red color is both uplifting and delicious.

This vine-like flowering plant is actually native to Southern Africa, where many wild varieties grow in abundance and range from super sweet to bitter.  

Watermelon is both a fruit and a vegetable and the rind, flesh and seeds, can be consumed in various ways from soup to pickles. 

Watermelon can be served with a pinch of sea salt which helps to balance the potassium and high wáter content. It can actually make the watermelon taste even sweeter.

Watermelon has a long list of health benefits as a result of its unique nutrients. These include high levels of vitamin A and C, calcium, magnesium, fiber, protein, and a significant amount of potassium. It also contains a wide variety of carotenoids and phytonutrients, including lycopene.

Here are some of the amazing benefits of this delicious veg/fruit

Watermelon contains a rich supply of the amino acid, citrulline which  can help artery function, reduce muscle soreness, and relax blood vessels. Citrulline also provides other cardiovascular benefits such as increased blood flow and a drop in blood pressure.

It is good for weight management as it helps you to feel full for longer and is very low in calories, containing less than a gram of fat per slice. The citrulline in watermelon has been shown to reduce the accumulation of fat in the fat cells.

Watermelon is at least 90% wáter which is perfect for staying hydrated in hot weather. It is also good for lowering body temperature, and preventing heat stroke. The high wáter content and anti-oxidants in the fruit slow down the aging process especially wrinkles and age spots.

Watermelon is rich in phenolic compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, and triterpenoids which makes it a wonderful choice for antioxidant and anti inflammatory health. Choose a lovely, ripe fruit because then the levels are even higher.

The high levels of the antioxidant, lycopene, makes watermelon a great choice for building stronger bones. The high potassium levels, which help to retain calcium in the body, are also nourishing for the bones and joints.

Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C which is vital for immune health and healing in general.
It is is a natural diuretic and is helpful for washing out any toxic deposits in the kidneys. It can also help to lower the concentration of uric acid in the blood. The fruit contains glutathione which can improve liver function and help lower colesterol.

It is alkaline forming which keeps the immune strong and reduce the risk of illness. Munching on a few pieces of watermelon can also help with heartburn.

The lovely rich ,red color of the fruit means it is high in beta carotine which converts to Vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is super nourishing to the eyes,  skin, teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, and mucus membranes.

Watermelons can be good for diabetes as the  mild, sweet taste is very satisfying and gives few calories.  At least ninety percent of its total weight comes from water and roughage. The potassium and magnesium content aid in the proper functioning of insulin in the body, thus helping to keep blood sugar levels down.

The high wáter and fiber in the fruit is great for colon health as it helps the elimination process. A common problem for people with colon issues is dehydration. Incorporating more liquids into the daily diet is key in achieving a cleaner colon, and smooth digestion. Watermelon helps to lubricate digested food and provides hydration to help break it down.


A watermelon fast a wonderful and simple way to cleanse and detox the body during summer months. This fast is a great way to get started with a healthy eating plan as it resets your appetite, and eliminates cravings for unhealthy foods.

It is super easy and all  you do is consume a large bowl of freshly cut watermelon, nothing else, for 3-4 meals throughout the day. You can fast for one day or few if your health allows. You can also make a delicious juice from watermelon, including the rind. This part has a high concentration of minerals and makes balance with the sweetness of the flesh.

Fasting or not, watermelon is a marvelous addition to any summer menú. Enjoy x

I decided to post this article here as it has lots of great information. I actually wrote it for the SHA magazine in 2016