Author Archives: Alice

Black Bean Brownies

From fertility expert, Zita West, who believes good nutrition is key to optimising your chances of conceiving. Free from gluten and refined sugar and a good source of protein.


Ingredients

Makes 12 brownies

60g walnuts, toasted
60g almonds, toasted
60g pecans, toasted
350g black beans, cooked and drained
60g coconut oil, melted
50g cocoa powder
1 apple, cored and chopped
60g soft dates, pitted
50g chocolate protein powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 180g (gas mark 4). Line a 20 x 20cm traybake tin with baking parchment.
  • Place the nuts in a food processor and process briefly until they are finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process to form a thick soft batter.
  • Spoon the mixture into the traybake time and smooth the surface. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Allow to cool in the tin completely and when ready cut into 12 bars to serve.

The brownies can be stored in the fridge for one week, or frozen up to three month.

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Spiced Carrot Protein Porridge

 

A protein-packed breakfast, made veggie or vegan, from nutritionist Monique, of Nourish Every Day!

Ingredients
1 serve
1/2 cup rolled oats  (45 grams) – certified gluten-free if required
1 medium carrot  (finely grated between 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
2 tsp ground flaxseed (ready ground or ground up fresh in your coffee grinder)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2-3 tsp granulated stevia  (Natvia) – or 2-3 tsp of preferred sweetener e.g. honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk  or any other milk of choice
1/2 cup water

Optional additions for a protein punch
1  egg  , whisked, OR
2 tbsp protein powder of choice (neutral or vanilla flavoured)
(we’d recommend Pulsin’ pea or hemp)

Method

  • Grate the carrot and pop in to a small saucepan together with the rolled oats, flaxseed, Natvia (if using) and spices. (Honey shouldn’t be heated, so if using honey, add this at the end. Maple syrup always seems sweeter when drizzled on afterwards too!).
  • Pour in the almond milk, water and vanilla extract. Stir everything together.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes, or until the porridge reaches your preferred consistency. Add a little extra water and/or almond milk to thin the porridge out as it’s cooking, if needed.
  • If you’d like to add some additional protein, simply add in a whisked egg towards the end, or a few tablespoons of your preferred protein powder. If you’re adding the egg, make sure to stir briskly so the egg becomes completely incorporated in to the porridge.
  • Serve the porridge piping hot with a sprinkle of extra cinnamon and extra toppings of your choice (coconut yoghurt, blueberries, toasted pumpkin seeds etc.).
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Turmeric Baked Beans & Cauli Mash

From a recipe inspired by Sam Murphy, author of Beautifully Real Food.


Ingredients

2 tsp coconut oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 x 400g can (2 cups) haricot beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tbsp coconut sugar / blackstrap molasses
1-2 tsp bouillon
125 ml tomato puree
200g (1/2 can) chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp coconut cream, grated
1 long pepper ‘catkin’, ground (or good grinding of black pepper)
Salt as required

For the cauli mash

1/2 head cauliflower
1 potato
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp white miso / soya-free miso
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: parsley


Method

  • Heat the oil and fry the onion and garlic until fragrant
  • Add the beans, sugar, spices (including the pepper), veg stock, puree and canned tomatoes, and simmer for 5-6 minutes
  • Meanwhile break the cauliflower into small florets and chop the potato into small pieces. Simmer in a small amount of water (or steam until tender). Mash together with the remaining ingredients
  • Add the coconut cream to the bean mixture, stir in until it melts and season to taste
  • Serve and enjoy!

Nice served with some steamed or sauteed seasonal greens!

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Coconut Flour Breakfast Waffles

From Wellness Mama

Ingredients

8 eggs
½ cup melted butter or coconut oil
½ cup coconut flour (plus a little more)
2-3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
Method

  • Crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl and beat with whisk or blend
  • Add the melted butter or oil, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and mix well
  • Add the coconut flour and mix well, ideally using a blender. The batter should be thick. If it is too thin, add a little more coconut flour.
  • Spoon into heated and greased waffle iron or griddle pan and cook until light brown and firm to touch (about 3 minutes on mine)
  • Serve with a pat of butter and fruit, pure maple syrup or a nut butter of your choice.
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Tips to Get the Big January Detox Rolling!

By Eva Killeen

Eva Killeen is a Bristol-based Nutritional Therapist. She is also passionate about spreading the concept of healthy eating far and wide which is something she does in her marketing and events role with the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM).


The process of detoxification is your body’s way of neutralising, transforming or removing unwanted materials or toxins. It is a primary function, which means that it is constantly working and interacting with all other functions. When we talk about embarking on a detox there are two aspects:

1.      Optimising your body’s own detoxification systems

2.      Minimising the toxins you eat / drink / expose yourself to

After a Christmas of excess, January feels like the natural time to lighten the digestive and toxic load on your body. While the trend appears to be going all out on a one week deprivation drive, the truth is our bodies are constantly exposed to a barrage of harmful toxins, so the best thing you could do for your body is to implement a daily detoxification regimen. Here are a few simple suggestions worth including in your daily routine.

  • Morning booster

Start the morning with a glass of warm water and 1⁄2 a lemon juiced. You have probably heard this 1000 times but that is because it is just so powerful. Just do it!

  • Eat plenty of fiber

The soluble fiber from fruits and vegetables binds to toxins residing in your gut and helps flush them out when you have a bowel movement.

  • Drink dandelion tea

It is a fantastic way to detoxify the liver, because the special compounds in the root help cleanse it by increasing bile production and improving digestion.

  • Herbal helper

Try using a Milk Thistle tincture. This may help to improve liver function and protect the liver from toxins. It may also help to prevent depletion of glutathione, which is very important for liver detoxification.

  • Eat clean

Clean eating is a surprisingly simple concept. Rather than focusing on more or less of specific things (for instance, fewer carbohydrates or more protein), this method is more focused on being mindful of the food’s pathway between its origin and your plate. At its most basic, clean eating is about eating whole foods — those that are un- or minimally processed and refined, making them as close to their natural form as possible.

  • Body brushing

Did you know that one of the skin’s primary functions is the elimination of toxins? To help circulate the lymphatic system, which is another major route for detoxification, and to stimulate the skin, which is the body’s largest organ of detoxification, take a stiff bristle brush and before you take a bath or shower, brush the entire surface of your skin, working from the extremities inwards towards the heart.

  • And breathe

Deeply that is… Deep breathing can help to stimulate the lymphatic system which will encourage the body to rid itself toxins. If your abdomen moves more than the chest, then you are breathing deeply, but if the main activity happens in the chest, you are only shallow breathing. Try to introduce deep breathing into your everyday life and you will support your hard-working detoxification system with minimal effort.


On January 21st / 22nd CNM Bristol are running an intensive Food for Health weekend event. With CNM’s special one weekend ‘Food for Health’ course, you’ll gain the knowledge and confidence to make educated choices about the food you eat. You will broaden your understanding of the impact of nutrition in our daily lives, and gain practical tips for better health and wellbeing. This course is ideal for those who want to embark on a career in nutrition and want a feel for what to aspect while equally appealing to those who simply want to incorporate healthier eating habits in to theirs and their families lifestyles. Click here (http://www.naturopathy-uk.com/courses-eu/food-for-health/) to find out more.

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Light at the End of the Winter Blues

By Caroline Pringle

After years employing DIY natural health solutions, Caroline began to train more formally in complementary therapies. Eventually, she quit her job as CEO of the international charity, Transform and now works as a registered nutritional therapist (CNM DIP).

She is passionate about sharing her exploration of how the human body works and the food, herbs and lifestyle changes that can help our bodies bring us back to health. Her practice is firmly rooted in the wise words of Mr Booja Booja, “Relax, nothing is under control!”

For a free 15 minute nutrition and lifestyle consultation contact:
T. 0776 600 6034
E. caroline@bristolheathandnutrition.com
W. www.bristolhealthandnutrition.com 


 caroline-image-1If you are one of the many people who feel less and less inclined to leave your bed, let alone the house, during the winter months ….. do not despair. 

Firstly, you are not alone. 1 in 3 people experience symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) such as fatigue and depression and nearly 60% of the population report that their overall mood is worse during the winter months. (1)

Secondly SAD may well be a perfectly reasonable response to cold weather. Doesn’t it make sense that we have evolved to shut down, and semi-hibernate?  Staying in-doors and conserving energy seems like a pretty intelligent response in the face of a severely limited food supply and the real dangers cold weather presented to our predecessors.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, accepting your winter depression, rather than fearing it or thrashing around to find relief, may be all you need to do.  Studies have shown that mindfulness training and meditation is at least as effective in relieving symptoms of depression as pharmaceuticals. (2)  These trainings essentially develop your ability to accept both good and bad things at face value, rather than creating a story about how awful or fantastic those things may be (see resources for useful links).

However, accepting something as it is doesn’t stop you from taking sensible steps to create the best conditions for yourself.  It just means you are less attached to the steps and to the outcome.

So, let’s look at some sensible steps……

caroline-image-2Finding your light:

  • Get out! Try to go outside and enjoy natural daylight as much as possible, particularly in the middle of the day.
  • Do things that make you happy.
  • Try to exercise more.  A daily walk for at least an hour has been show to improve winter blues.
  • Hang out with friends and family. Socialising is good for your mental health and helps ward off depression
  • Invest in a light box (maybe share it with a friend or neighbour). The light box mimics daylight which can help with melatonin and serotonin production (deficiencies in these neurotransmitters are often cited as one of the causes of SAD).  If it is going to be the answer for you it should work within 3-4 weeks. (3)

Very occasionally it does have some side effects, including headaches, eye strain, nausea and agitation, but nothing like as damaging as the potential side effects of anti-depressants.

  • Acupuncture. Some people have found acupuncture very helpful with depression, and a Cochrane Database Systematic Review (the gold standard for medical research) says “there is no evidence that medication was better than acupuncture in reducing the severity of depression.” (4)
  • Psychotherapy. Some people have found psychotherapy effective in managing depression. (12)

kaleDiet and Depression:

  • Cut out the junk! Consumers of fast food such as hamburgers, sausages, pizzas and processed baked goods such as muffins, doughnuts, croissants are 37% more likely to be depressed than those with little to no consumption. (5) Equally too much sugar or refined carbs can dramatically destabilize your mood. (6)
  • Double your vegetable intake and then have some more. Eating 7 portions of fruit and vegetables (5 vegetables, 2 fruit) a day may lower your risk of death from any disease by as much as a whopping 42%.  That’s like cutting your risk of death from anything in half. (7) Fruit and vegetables will give you more energy and the nutrients you need for your brain to function optimally.
  • SMASH it! Oily Fish (Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovies, Sardines, Herrings – SMASH) are rich sources of Omega 3. Omega 3 makes up a 1/3 of your brain and can reduce your risk of depression by up to 50%. Those who consume healthier fats such as fish oil and olive oil are associated with a lower risk of suffering depression. (5) Equally the balance between omega 3 and 6 (found in nuts/meat, vegetable and seed oil) is important. Too much omega 6 blocks the effects of omega 3. (6) So cutting down on sources of omega 6 may also be beneficial.
  • The sunshine Vitamin.  There is a clear link between low levels of Vitamin D and symptoms of depression, though scientists are not quite sure how the two are related.  But certainly, there is enough evidence to make it worth trying a Vitamin D3 supplement. (8)
  • B Vitamins. B vitamins are essential cofactors in the creation of neurotransmitters, the substances that regulate brain activity. This may result in mood alterations, memory and cognitive issues. There is a particularly strong link between B12, Folate (B9) and depression.  Animal products are a good source of B12 and folate is in all green leafy vegetables. (9)
  • St John’s Wort. This amazing herb, taken as tea, capsules or tincture, has been shown time and time again to perform at least as well as medication if not better. St John’s Wort should not be taken in conjunction with light therapy or with several pharmaceuticals including antidepressant drugs, some anticoagulants and immunosuppressants (consult your health care practitioner if you are on medications and want to take St John’s Wort). (10)

Interestingly, some critics of natural/nutritional methods for combatting depression suggest that they are no more effective than a placebo (where the idea that you are receiving treatment makes you feel better).  It is unlikely. But it could be true, as the placebo effect is particularly powerful with depression, having more-or-less the same impact as anti-depressants! The important thing is that a) these methods have been shown to have a significant impact b) they do not have the same side effects as anti-depressants which, at worse, include a 2-4 fold increase in risk of suicide. (11) (12)

There is much we can do with natural therapies to support people going through depression.  Finding some kind of mindfulness practice that suits you and working with a nutritional therapist to explore how your diet can be improved to support your wellbeing are two great ways to start.  


Resources:

  • Balanced View. Visit Balanced View’s website for an introduction to resources designed to help us all live with ease and stability no matter what happens in life: https://www.balancedview.org
  • Head Space. On-line meditation training. https://www.headspace.com/. Learn meditation on line in just 10 minutes a day. Try their free trial Take 10.

References:

1) Molloy A (2014): ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder. 1-3 people suffer from SAD’; Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/seasonal-affective-disorder-1-in-3-people-suffer-from-sad-9814164.html

2) Kuyken W et al (2015): ‘Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy compared with maintenance antidepressant treatment in the prevention of depressive relapse or recurrence (PREVENT): a randomised controlled trial’ The Lancet: Available at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)62222-4/abstract

3) NHS Choices (2015). Beating the Winter Blues. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/dealing-with-winter-blues-sad.aspx

4) Smith C, Hay PP (2010) Cochrane Database Review. Acupuncture for depression. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15846693

5) Sanchez – Villegas, Verberne L et al. (2012). ‘Dietary fat intake and the risk of depression: the SUN Project’. Public Health Nutrition, Volume 15, Issue 3 March 2012, pp. 424-432

Available at: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/public-health-nutrition/article/fast-food-and-commercial-baked-goods-consumption-and-the-risk-of-depression/CF02E46F44CFC28D5F4D151FAD39EC77

6) Kresser C ( 2008) ‘Treating Depression without drugs part iii’. Available at:  https://chriskresser.com/treating-depression-without-drugs-part-iii/

7) Oyebode O, Gordon-Dseagu V et al (2013). ‘Fruit and vegetable consumption and all-cause, cancer and CVD mortality: analysis of Health Survey for England data’. J Epidemiol Community Health doi:10.1136/jech-2013-203500. Available at: http://jech.bmj.com/content/early/2014/03/03/jech-2013-203500

8) Vitamin D Council (2014). Depression and Vitamin D. Available at https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/depression/

9) Hintikka J et al (2003) High vitamin B12 level and good treatment outcome may be associated in major depressive disorder. BMC Psychiatry. Available at:  http://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-244X-3-17

10) Kresser C ( 2008) ‘Treating Depression without drugs part ii’. Available at: https://chriskresser.com/treating-depression-without-drugs-part-ii/

11) Kirsch (2014)  Antidepressants and the Placebo Effect. Z Psychol.

Irving Kirsch Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4172306/

12) Kresser C (2008). ‘Treating Depression without drugs part I’. Available at: https://chriskresser.com/treating-depression-without-drugs-part-i/

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Health Connects Lecture Series 2016

The Health Connects series of lectures is back for its fourth year! Hosted by the founder of Wild Oats, Mike Abrahams, and Jamie Richards, psycho-neuro immunologist, the lectures will bring together a diverse panel of experts to discuss healthy living and nutrition.

Nutritionists, medical herbalists, acupuncturists and chiropractors will all feature among the panel, as well as NHS doctors. After a short 15 minutes presentation from each speaker, questions from the floor will be welcome.

This is your chance to hear the most current thinking of topical issues that matter to you.

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PLACES ARE LIMITED!

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS FOR THE PANEL NOW!

We invite you to submit questions to the panel in advance of each talk, though please be aware that because of time restrictions, speakers cannot guarantee to answer all questions submitted.

Questions should be e-mailed to enquiries@wild-oats.co.uk

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All talks take place at…

VENUE: Redland United Reformed Church
TIME: 6.30 – 8.30 pm

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1. Obesity – From Children to Adults – What’s Happening?
Wednesday 16th March

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2. Insulin Resistance and inflammation – the key to unlocking chronic ill-health
Wednesday 25th May

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3. Fertility and Sexual Health
Wednesday 13th July

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4. Age Reversal
Wednesday 14th September

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4. Dogs and their Human Partners!
Wednesday 16th November

 

Exploring the synergistic benefits of the hound-human relationship. One not to be missed!

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Kindly sponsored by

Vogel logo smlviridian logo

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Raw Food for Vibrant Health

Including raw food in our diet is pretty mainstream nowadays in part due to the popularity of celebrities like Deliciously Ella and the Hemsley sisters.  Using a spiriliser to make courgetti isn’t as unusual as it was a few years ago and there’s much more awareness of gadgets such as dehydrators to make nutritious crisps and crackers.

I’ve run weekly raw food classes on health retreats for the past 4 years and I also give raw food and healthy eating workshops in Bristol.  The majority of people I meet are choosing to eat more raw food to help with weight loss, boost energy levels, for radiant skin and to improve their overall level of health.  From these classes, I have found that there is a lot of stress around eating healthy food and the questions I am often asked in relation to raw food include how much to eat, how to combine raw with cooked food, is some raw food better than others, how can we make it easy and is it going to be expensive.

In a nutshell, raw food can be really quick to make, it doesn’t have to be gourmet restaurant quality or time consuming in order to taste delicious.  We can easily combine raw food with our favourite cooked recipes and we don’t have to break the bank to do it.  There are a couple of really nutritious foods we can include such as fermented foods, seaweeds and algae that are affordable and nutrient dense.  Raw also doesn’t mean cold – we can make raw soups, raw curries, warm food up and use warming spices such as ginger, chili and cayenne which means that including raw food over winter in the UK is a much more feasible option.

Something to bear in mind – just because a food is termed raw, it doesn’t therefore guarantee that it’s healthy.  We can follow a vegetarian diet devoid of vegetables and minerals or a vegan diet full of highly processed food, likewise, it is easy to make unhealthy raw food choices, the most common of which is to consume too many nuts and too much dried fruit.

Including a variety of raw nuts and seeds in our diet provides essential fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals but we can easily overdo it so be discerning when looking at recipes and aim to eat less than a handful a day if that.  If we start our day with a nut based granola served with nut milk then we are more than likely done for nuts for the day so if later in the day we have some cashew cheese on almond and flax crackers followed with some cashew cheesecake, you can see how easily it can get out of hand if we’re sticking to raw and haven’t balanced our meals.

“Sugar free” is also a bit of a misnomer, especially if recipes are packed with honey, maple syrup and dates which all impact our blood glucose levels.  These choices are better than refined white sugar but to be honest, it’s still sugar in our body.  Our activity levels will impact what happens to the sugar we eat – if you’re about to hit the gym or head off cycling then you’ll burn it off but if you’re sitting at a computer munching on sweet potato brownies, there’s a strong likelihood that the carbs will turn to fat.  These sweet alternatives can be helpful if we are trying to break away from eating refined foods, wean ourselves off junk food or reduce the amount of sugar we eat but they are best eaten in moderation.

It still surprises me to see so many raw sweets containing agave on the market as it’s a highly processed product full of chemicals.  It may be a low in glucose but that’s because is is astronomically high in refined fructose (which is not to be mistaken with fructose found naturally in fruit with fibre and phytonutrients) and can cause havoc on our health.  Eating rapadura or raw cane sugar is a better option!

Personally I love raw food but it’s not the only food I eat and I don’t suggest trying to follow a high raw diet diet unless it’s something that feels good and brings you joy.  I do know a handful of people who follow a completely raw diet and it works incredibly well for them but they’ve been doing it for over 20 years so they’ve learnt what works, it’s become second nature and they also make sure their diets are supplemented correctly.  Raw food can be transformational in terms of wellness but there are a lot of factors aside from diet that contribute towards our health.  It’s no good forcing down a green smoothie, chia pudding or salad if we’re not enjoying it and there’s no way that we can simply eat our way to good health – we also need to take into consideration our activity levels, hydration, rest and relaxation.  Work out what is manageable and realistic in terms of food preparation and more importantly ask yourself if you have a healthy attitude towards your diet and lifestyle choices.

There is so much conflicting information available online it’s no wonder that there is confusion about what to eat.  Many people have told me they’ve felt guilty for making poor food choices or feel bad that they have no resolve to stick to what they believe is the correct way to eat. With the explosion of health related social media accounts promoting clean living, it’s easy to get swept away with the idea that food and lifestyle choices can be good or bad, an idea which can be damaging and easily lead to eating disorders if we’re not careful.  It’s all very well looking at images of toned bodies in yoga poses or an ultra beautiful breakfast bowl but these lifestyle ideals can be misleading.

It’s for this reason that I started relating our food and lifestyle choices to cellular health in all of my workshops.  It provides a framework to help us make choices with the knowledge that we are nourishing our cells and doing the very best that we can in order to feel good, which is what most of us are aiming for.  There is no separation between body, mind and spirit so whatever is happening at a cellular level will be reflected on every level of our being. If we’re feeling tired, guilty, angry or stressed then it’s a good indicator that we may need to tweek something we’re doing. Lets stop and ask ourselves why our cells might be feeling the way they are and what they might need in order for us to feel better.

A high raw diet has the potential to help us feel wonderful but not if we’re getting stressed about it or eating raw treats all the time.  It’s a silly notion to prescribe a one-diet-fits all because our needs are individual so we must work out what’s best for us.  If we find ourselves veering off track, the best guidelines I’ve found to come back to are: eat real food that are not processed, choose fresh vegetables free from pesticides whether they are cooked or raw, include essential fats in our diet, opt for grass fed and organic animal products if we choose to eat them and don’t get stressed if none of this is an option.  Most importantly of all, enjoy what we are eating.

Anna Middleton is a nutritional chef and health educator. You can find more of her thoughts, essays, and recipes at her website.

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Rose and Pistachio Granola

We’ve been lucky enough to have the lovely blogger Sus from Rough Measures come aboard our #WakeUpToOrganic campaign this month! Proving that eating organic is easy and delicious, Sus has written us a granola recipe that will get your day off to the best possible start – and you can get most of the ingredients right here in Wild Oats!

Join us in store on June 15th from 9am to find out how you, too, can #WakeUpToOrganic.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cups (360g) organic oats
1/2 cup (75g) organic almonds – roughly chopped
1/3 cup (50g) organic sunflower seeds
Small handful organic dried rose petals – ripped/ chopped in half
1/2 teaspoon organic ground ginger
3/4 cup (180ml) organic coconut oil
1/4 cup (60ml) organic maple syrup
t teaspoon organic rose water
3/4 cup (110g) organic pistachios

METHOD:

Pre-heat your oven  – 150 C / Gas 2

Then line a baking tray with some greaseproof paper.

In a mixing bowl, add the oats, chopped almonds, rose petals, sunflower seeds and ground ginger. Give it a good stir with a spoon.

Now, put a small saucepan on over a low heat.

Add in the coconut oil, maple syrup and rose water. Stir it vigorously it and take it off the heat as soon as the coconut oil has melted.

Pour the wet mix over the dry mix. Mix it well with a spoon and be sure the liquid coats all the oats.

Spread the granola mix onto your baking tray.

Bake in the oven for 30 mins, after 20 minutes, give it a good stir.

Once it has baked for 30 mins, add in your pistachios, and bake for 10 more minutes.

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