Author Archives: Alice

Kitchen Encounters with Gemma Griffin

Gemma Griffin is a Bristol-based CNM trained Nutritional Therapist.

She has always had a love of good food, but her interest in its healing power really peaked after having children. Gemma is passionate about helping people to reach their full potential, at any stage of life. She works with clients on a one to one basis and is the co-owner of Super Sprouts, an educational company running nutrition workshops for school age children.

T. 07906 322 310

E. /

FB: Whole Health Nutrition UK / Super Sprouts

My Kitchen Staples

  • Eggs
  • Avocados
  • Everything in my spice cupboard
  • Whatever is growing in my planter box at the time

egg poppersMy Quick Snack

Egg Poppers, Green Salad & Tahini Dressing

I love this quick 10 minute snack. You can use whatever is in your fridge and literally throw it all in the oven. They keep for about a week and are handy little snacks at any time of the day. My kids love them too which is always a good thing. I like them with a fresh green leafy salad and a tahini dressing.


For the Egg Poppers…

1  egg per muffin
Vegetables of choice: broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, red onion, sun dried tomato, spinach, courgette, asparagus, chives
Optional extras: chicken, mackerel, goats cheese or some crumbled feta
Herbs and spices of choice
Green salad leaves

(Experiment with ingredients until you find your perfect combination)

For the tahini dressing…

1/3 cup olive oil
2 lemons
1/3 cup tahini
1 tsp tamari
1 tsp honey
garlic clove (crushed)

MethodSpices gemma griffin

  • Heat the oven to 170c
  • Place chosen ingredients in bottom of a muffin tin
  • Beat the egg in a bowl, add herbs and spices and pour over the vegetables
  • Bake in oven for about 30 mins or until golden on top

For the tahini dressing…

  • Mix all ingredients in a bottle and shake


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Breakfast Polenta with Blueberries

Blueberries are great for brain health. Try this gluten-free breakfast porridge, which can be adapted for vegans too. It’s good to start you day with a good dose of protein and healthy fats, and the almonds help with that.

Inspired by


Serves 3-4

4 cups milk of your choice
3/4 cup Clearspring organic instant polenta
1/2 cup ground almonds
4 tbsp organic butter / ghee / grated creamed coconut
1 cup blueberries (frozen or dried – soaked overnight)
1/2 tsp vanilla powder
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
Sweetener of your choice (agave / honey / yacon syrup etc.)

To serve (optional): cream / coconut yoghurt / coconut chips / extra blueberries / fennel seeds / sweetcorn… really!


  • Heat the milk in a medium saucepan, once hot and steaming, add the polenta, whisking continuously until smooth.
  • Add the ground almonds and continue whisking until the polenta thickens to a creamy consistency.
  • Add the butter / ghee / grated creamed coconut, continuing to whisk until it melts completely.
  • Turn off the heat and whisk in the blueberries, vanilla and cardamom. Add any sweetener of your choice, if using.
  • Serve with toppings of your choice. Fennel seeds are always great!
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Can I Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?

Written by Linda Sims

Linda Sims is a qualified Nutritional Therapist. She holds a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from The College of Naturopathic Medicine, for whom she now lectures on nutrition. She practices in Bristol and Pill.

T. 07786 322276

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia in the UK. According to the UK Alzheimer’s Society there are more than 850,000 people currently living with this disease. One in every 14 of over 65s are diagnosed with this progressive disease, which gradually results in more parts of the brain being damaged.

The symptoms

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can start slowly, such as simply finding it hard to remember names or where you put your keys (whilst this happens to all of us, those with an early dementia will experience these symptoms more frequently). Remembering your past experiences but being unable to recall very recent ones is also a common sign. As the disease progresses more severe symptoms appear such as poor reasoning or judgement (such as forgetting to look out for traffic when crossing the road), the loss of language skills and personality changes. Alzheimer’s disease has a profound impact not only on the sufferer but also on those around them.

Who is at risk?

Age – Being over 65 puts you at an increased risk, whilst UK’s number of AD sufferers over 65 is at 7.1%. In the USA this number is higher at 13% and expected to rise to 20% (that’s 1 in 5) b 2030! (1)

Genetics – those who carry the APOE4 gene are at an increased risk of developing this disease

Excess weight in the under 65 and being underweight in the over 65 are factors correlated with an increased risk of AD. (32)

Having Type 2 diabetes is also considered a risk factor. (3)

What happens…

Alzheimer’s disease is characterised with plagues and tangles in the brain; these are the suspected culprits in disrupting the communication between nerve cells leading to their damage and eventually their death. When scientists have opened these plagues, they have discovered traces of metals, especially copper, iron and zinc (4). We all need these metals in our diet, in excess it seems they can deposit in out brain and if oxidised they can create free radicals, which likely initiate the nerve damage.

Reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

“Our best weapon against this debilitating condition is prevention.”

While we have yet to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, our best weapon against this debilitating condition is prevention. Starting early is a key as first damage to nerve cell starts years before any symptoms may present. Lifestyle choices such as smoking cessation, and staying active both mentally and physically can help to reduce the overall risk. Practicing meditation for example has been shown to help reduce neuro-degeneration and thus may have a role in preventing AD. (6)

Diet is one of the most powerful tools we can use to modify our risk of AD. The MIND diet, developed at the Rush University in Chicago, has been shown in studies to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by up to 53% when followed rigorously. Those who followed the diet moderately reduced their risk of AD by 35%. The MIND diet is based on 15 healthy dietary components, namely green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. Those following the MIND diet are expected to limit their consumption of red meat, butter or margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets and lastly fried or fast food. It has also been consistently voted one of the easiest diets to follow.  (7)

“Diet is one of the most powerful tools we can use to modify our risk of AD.”

The MIND diet is not dissimilar from the diets of the Blue Zones, places around the world where people live to a very ripe old age without suffering from the chronic conditions we see in Western countries such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease.  The people living within the Blue Zones base their diets largely on plant foods (up to 95%), a daily portion of beans, and when animal protein is eaten, it tends to be fish (about 3x per week). Meat and dairy are occasional treats. The vegetarians and vegans of the Loma Linda Seventh Adventist community had even better health outcomes than those within the same community who include animal products in their diet. (8)

There is no doubt that eating an overall healthy diet is the key, there are some special nutrients that have been shown to support the health of the nervous system.  A recent study has shown that medicinal mushrooms have neurotrophic properties, which means they might help to stimulate the growth of nervous tissue. (9) Including mushrooms such as reishi, shitake or lion’s mane in our diet can therefore help to keep our nervous system healthy. There are many medicinal mushroom supplements on the market; these may be the easiest way to get these powerful fungi into our body, especially as it is not very common to find mushrooms such as lions mane in a supermarket.

“Including mushrooms such as Reishi, Shiitake or Lion’s Mane in our diet can […] help to keep our nervous system healthy.”

Berries are one of the main cornerstones of the MIND diet. Blueberries in particular have been shown to improve memory, slow down the neuronal ageing and reduce cognitive decline. (10) Eating a portion of blueberries every day as a part of a healthy diet may be a simple yet beneficial tool for reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. I like to add blueberries into my smoothies or my morning porridge.

“Blueberries in particular have been shown to improve memory, slow down the neuronal aging and reduce cognitive decline.”

turmeric 2blueberries 1shiitake-mushrooms-fresh-wholeThe incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is particularly low in rural India. This could be partially due to the daily use of turmeric, in particular its component curcumin. This potent compound has been shown to reduce beta-amyloid and plaque and is also known for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, enhancing its protective benefits for our nervous system. (11,12) I like adding some fresh turmeric root into my smoothies or juices and adding the spice into curries, soups, stews or grains.

“Turmeric […] is also known for its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.”

Whilst there may not be a sure guarantee, making considerable diet and lifestyle changes can help prevent many modern chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease. Ensuring your diet contains lots of anti-inflammatory spices, vegetables, berries, adequate protein and good fats is a simple step towards healthy ageing.


1. National Institute on Aging, accessed 18/04/2017

2. Pedditizi, Peters, Becket, The risk of overweight/obesity in mid-life and late life for the development of dementia:a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies

Age and Ageing 2016; 45: 14–2, Oxford University Press

3. Peila, Rodrigues, Launer, Type 2 Diabetes, APOE Gene, and the Risk for Dementia and Related Pathologies; Diabetes 2002 Apr; 51(4): 1256-1262

4. Lovell, Robertson, Teesdale, Campbell, Markesbery; Copper, Iron and zinc in Alzheimer’s disease senile plagues, J Neurol Sci 1998; 158:47-52

5. Khalsa DS, Stress, Meditation, and Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention: Where the Evidence Stands; J Alzheimers Dis. 2015;48(1):1-12. doi: 10.3233/JAD-142766.

6. Rebecca Erwin Wells, MD, MPH,* Catherine E. Kerr, PhD, Jennifer Wolkin, PhD; Meditation for Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Pilot Randomized Trial; Published in final edited form as:

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Apr; 61(4): 642–645.

doi:  10.1111/jgs.12179

7.  Morris MC1, Tangney CC2, Wang Y3, Sacks FM4, Bennett DA5, Aggarwal NT; MIND diet associated with reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease; Alzheimers Dement. 2015 Sep;11(9):1007-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2014.11.009. Epub 2015 Feb 11

8. Orlich MJ1, Singh PN, Sabaté J, Jaceldo-Siegl K, Fan J, Knutsen S, Beeson WL, Fraser GE; Vegetarian dietary patterns and mortality in Adventist Health Study 2; JAMA Intern Med. 2013 Jul 8;173(13):1230-8. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6473

9. Vikineswary Sabaratnam, Wong Kah-Hui, Murali Naidu, and Pamela Rosie David; Neuronal Health – Can Culinary and Medicinal Mushrooms Help?; J Tradit Complement Med. 2013 Jan-Mar; 3(1): 62–68

10. Krikorian R1, Shidler MD, Nash TA, Kalt W, Vinqvist-Tymchuk MR, Shukitt-Hale B, Joseph JA; Blueberry supplementation improves memory in older adults; J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Apr 14;58(7):3996-4000. doi: 10.1021/jf9029332.

11. Chandra V1, Ganguli M, Pandav R, Johnston J, Belle S, DeKosky ST.; Prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in rural India: the Indo-US study.; Neurology. 1998 Oct;51(4):1000-8.

12. Ng TP1, Chiam PC, Lee T, Chua HC, Lim L, Kua EH.; Curry consumption and cognitive function in the elderly.; Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Nov 1;164(9):898-906. Epub 2006 Jul 26.

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Emily’s Sri Lankan Dhal

Emily recently visited Sri Lanka on an Ayurvedic yoga retreat and since she’s been back, she’s been filling our staff kitchen with delicious smells of mouthwatering spices! Here, she shares what we hope is the first of many of the recipes she collected on her trip.


1 cup red lentils
2 cups water
3 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 onions
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli
1 tsp salt
2 curry leaves
A few pandan leaves (often found in Asian supermarkets, possibly in the frozen section)


  • Cook red lentils in water with salt and turmeric
  • Add thin coconut milk near the end when they get a bit mushy
  • Heat coconut oil in a pan and fry the remaining ingredients and then pour over the dhal mixture
  • Serve hot with coconut rice or roti. Enjoy!

Emily is a Wild Oats advisor and is currently studying nutrition.

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Chia Pot with Turmeric Soaked Apricots

Olivia’s most recent breakfast adventure!


Serves 1
(amounts are approximate)

2 dessert spoons ground chia seeds
2 dessert spoons ground flax seeds
1 dessert spoon dehulled hemp seeds
2 dessert spoons desiccated coconut
2 dried apricots
1 dried fig
1 caspule Pukka’s Wholistic Turmeric
1 dessert spoon nuts & sesame seeds, toasted (pecans & hazelnuts work well)
Milk of your choice

Optional additions…

1 tsp organic unwaxed lemon zest
3 strands saffron
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Fresh blueberries
Cacao nibs
Fennel seeds


  • Chop the dried fruit and leave to soak overnight in a little water with the lemon zest, contents of the Wholistic Turmeric capsule and saffron strands
  • Grind the chia, flax and hemp seeds in a coffee grind (or buy ready ground)
  • Mix the ground seeds with the desiccated coconut in a bowl
  • Gently warm your milk with the ginger and cinnamon, if using. Add the turmeric soaked fruit at the end to warm through
  • Toast your choice of nuts and seeds
  • Pour the milk mixture over the ground seeds, stirring continously
  • Leave to plump up for a few minutes
  • Sprinkle with your toasted nuts, cacao nibs and fennel seeds et voila!


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Special Offers & New Products

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Fairtrade Dried Fruit Compote

Thanks to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Tropical Wholefoods. And great on pancakes!


200g Tropical Wholefoods dried apricots
200g Tropical Wholefoods dried mangoes
100g raisins
150ml freshly squeezed orange juice
80g honey
Zest of 1 lemon, pared with vegetable peeler
Zest of  orange, pared with vegetable peeler
1 cinnamon stick
3 cloves
1 star anise (optional)
Thick yoghurt, to serve


  • Pour 500ml warm water into a large bowl, tip in the dried fruit and leave to soak for an hour.
  • Pour 500ml water into a large saucepan along with the orange juice, honey, lemon and orange zest, cinnamon, cloves and star anise (if using). Bring to a boil, then add the fruit and its soaking liquid.
  • Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has softened and the liquid has thickened slightly.
  • Serve warm or cold on freshly tossed pancakes with a big dollop of thick yoghurt!
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Fairtrade Mango/Apricot Chutney

Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s mango/apricot chutney, thanks to Tropical Wholefoods.


500g organic dried mango slices or apricots
4 onions, peeled and finely diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
250g raisins
350g light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp mustard seeds
2 small red chillies, halved, membranes removed, finely diced
500ml cider vinegar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 small orange
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin


  • Put the mango slices/halved apricots in a bowl, pour over 1.5 litres of water, cover and leave to soak overnight.
  • Tip the mangoes and their soaking water into a large, stainless-steel saucepan or preserving pan.
  • Add all the other ingredients and, over a low heat, stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • Bring up to a boil and simmer, uncovered, for about an hour and a half. You should stir the mixture frequently, particularly towards the end of the cooking time, to ensure it doesn’t stick – it’s done when a spoon drawn through the centre of the chutney leaves a clear line for a second or two before the chutney comes back together.
  • Pour into hot, sterilised jars and seal with vinegar-proof lids. Store in a cool, dry place and leave to mature for eight weeks before using. Use within two years.
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Kitchen Encounters with Hannah Braye

Take a glimpse into the kitchens of the experts! We asked our favourite nutritional experts to share with us their top 4 store cupboard staples and their go-to rustle-up suppers.

Nutritional Therapist, Hannah Braye, opens her doors to us…

Kitchen Staples

  • Tahini
  • Frozen berries
  • Lemons
  • Oats


My Quick Rustle-Up Supper

Hannah Braye mealWarm Winter Squash & Chickpea Salad
with Tahini Dressing

Serves 4


1 large butternut squash (peeled and diced into 3cm cubes)
1 garlic clove (crushed)
1 tsp allspice
1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 x 400g tin chickpeas (drained) or 250g home-cooked chickpeas
½ small red onion (finely chopped)
1 handful fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
2 handfuls baby leaf spinach
Sea salt and pepper


For the tahini sauce

3 tbsp tahini
3 ½ tbspn lemon juice
2 tbsp water
1 garlic clove (crushed to a paste wit a little salt)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  • Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees C/Gas Mark 7
  • Toss the squash in the garlic, all spice and melted coconut oil. Season with a little salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes (or until soft).
  • Whilst the squash is cooking, make the tahini dressing.  Mix the crushed garlic with the lemon juice and tahini. Stir in the water and olive oil a little at a time, until the mixture is smooth (you want it to be thin enough to drizzle across the top of the salad with a spoon).
  • To assemble, mix all the salad ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle over the tahini dressing and serve.

Hannah Braye, Nutritional Therapist (DipCNM, mBANT, CNHCreg)

Hannah is a registered nutritional therapist providing evidence-based nutrition advice from a naturopathic, person-centred approach. She offers 1-1 consultations, personalised nutrition and lifestyle recommendations, meal plans, recipes and continuing support to help you meet your health goals.

Hannah is also: a member of the World Health Heroes, a network of health and well-being practitioners, promoting affordable health and well-being across local communities; an Assistant Clinical Supervisor at the College of Naturopathic Medicine; and she works part-time for the Soil Association where she helps caterers improve the quality and sustainability of their food.

Hannah is co-hosting a talk for Wild Oats this May on Health & Illness: How Cultural Understandings Differ.

To read more Kitchen Encounters, click here…

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Wild Oats Christmas Hampers

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Wild Oats Christmas hampers are now available to order!

The perfect present for a foodie. Whether their diet is vegan, gluten-free, superfoodie or they simply appreciate wholesome, tasty nosh, we’ve got the answer!

Leave us with your budget and requirements and we’ll magic up something special in a beautiful open basket tied with a bow.

Here’s an example of our vegan hamper; full of delicious edible delights and essential vitamins to accompany a vegan diet.

Please ask a member of staff for more detail or email

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  • Latest Recipe

    Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Cranberries and Kale

    Delicious, healthy Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Cranberries, Kale, and Chickpeas. An easy, satisfying vegetarian recipe that’s perfect for Christmas Dinner! This vegetarian stuffed butternut squash recipe is a shining example of healthy but cosy fare. It’s packed with nourishing ingredients. YIELD: Serves 4 PREP TIME: 10 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour TOTAL TIME: 1 hour, 10 minutes Ingredients: 2 medium butternut squash 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided 3/4 cup quinoa 1... Read More
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