Author Archives: Olivia

Turmeric Pumpkin Soup with Coconut & Lime

This incredibly wholesome and aromatic soup is packed with nutritious immunity boosting ingredients like turmeric. Turmeric is so good for us, and even better at this time of year. It’s warming, anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties make it perfect to sneak into your meals during the winter months.



You can substitute in turmeric powder here if you are unable to get root – use about 1 tsp. This soup is a great make-ahead option and freezes well before the addition of coconut cream (add upon defrosting).

Serves 6.

Turmeric Pumpkin Soup with Coconut and Lime

250g | 1 large brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tbls | 40 ml coconut oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
15g | 3 cm piece of fresh turmeric root, thinly sliced
20g | thumb size piece of root ginger, thinly slices
70g | half bunch fresh coriander, roots and stems washed well and roughly chopped, leaves reserved for garnishing.
1 tsp chilli flakes (+ more to taste)
1kg pumpkin, peeled and deseeded and cut into 2cm chunks
185g | 1 cup split red lentils, washed
1L | 4 cups good tasting vegetable stock
250ml | 1 cup full fat coconut cream (+ more to serve)
2 tbls | 40 ml of fresh lime juice (half a lime, + more to serve)
1 tsp sea salt (+ more to taste)

Coconut cream, fresh lime, thinly sliced spring onion and fresh coriander leaves to serve.

In a large sauce pan over high heat, cook the onion in the coconut oil till softened. Add the aromatics: garlic, turmeric, ginger, coriander stems/roots and chilli, and cook for a couple of minutes till fragrant. Add the pumpkin, lentils and stock, bring to boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer to cook for 20min, or till the pumpkin is soft and the lentils are disintegrating.

Once cooked, use a stick or upright blender to puree the soup. Return to stove and add the coconut cream and heat through, but do not boil. Just before serving add the lime juice and salt. Depending on the saltiness of the stock you used, you may need to be quite generous with the salt here. Taste, and trust your judgement. You really want to make the flavours pop, and pumpkin and lentils both need plenty of salt to give them flavour.

Serve with extra lime wedges, a drizzle of coconut cream, and top with spring onion and coriander.

This soup will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days, add extra water when reheating if soup thickens too much. If freezing, add coconut cream upon defrosting.

Recipe from Home Spun Capers

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Practical tips to curb emotional eating

Do you turn to food in times of stress, boredom, as well as in times of celebration?
Do you feel like you have tried everything to curb cravings and emotional eating without
much success?

The majority of adults have eaten past their limit of fullness at some time in their lives, however
turning to food as a coping mechanism for life’s stresses can quickly become a default habit
that can also be destructive to physical and mental health.
Counting purely on willpower to curb emotional eating can be a challenging task if other
factors are also at play. Find out what else could be fueling overeating and use these practical tips
and guidance to finally put an end to the habit:

1. Blood sugar balance
Although addressing your emotions when experiencing outbreaks of emotional eating or
bingeing is really important, it may not be all the parts of the puzzle. Do you experience
cravings that are hard to resist or find it difficult to focus on anything else? Do you find it hard to get
through the day without coffee? Is 4pm synonymous with biscuits and tea? Chances
are that your blood sugar balance needs some attention.
Blood sugar levels can be imbalanced by many factors, such as skipping meals,
irregular mealtimes, stress, caffeine, sugar and alcohol (1). Blood sugar spikes and
crashes through the day can contribute towards episodes of emotional eating and
low energy levels. Aim to bring more balance into your daily routine and diet to curb
those cravings for good.

2. Mindful, distraction-free meals
In the world of distraction and limitless information that we live in, it can be quite
challenging to be fully present. How many times have you or your colleagues settled
with eating lunch whilst checking emails only to realise that your food has disappeared without
even noticing it?
Eating a meal should take around 20 minutes for hunger signals to fully register satiety
levels. Being mindful and present during meal times helps promote smooth
digestion, increases absorption of nutrients and prevents overeating (2).
If mindful meals sound challenging, start with putting cutlery down in between
meals and take some deep breaths. Focus on the texture, taste and smell of food
and clear your mind from racing thoughts. Make sure you have no distractions
around you like the TV, your phone or a magazine.

3. Tuning into your true needs

Notice if food has become a go-to solution for times of celebration, reward,
emotional times or even a habit. Become the observer of your relationship to food
and whenever turning to food when not hungry, stop and ask yourself a question out
loud: “What is it that I really need?” The answer may even surprise you as it could be
something completely different, like “to talk to somebody”, “a long bath” or

4. Watch your stress levels
Stress is one of the major drivers in overeating and emotional eating. When stress
levels are on the rise, body switches into the ‘fight or flight’ mode, which only uses
the most necessary body functions.
However, ‘fight or flight’ is only designed to last for about 5min, rather than days on
end. This increases stress hormone Cortisol levels and sends body signals that it
needs quick energy creating cravings for caffeine, sugar and simple carbohydrates
even if you have just eaten (3).
Next time missing the bus or paying bills is creating prolonged stress and anxiety,
consider the effects on your long-term health. Take a few deep breaths and come
back to the present moment for instant relief.

Complimentary foods and supplements
Certain foods and supplements may help balance blood sugar, reduce stress and anxiety or
help boost energy levels, that in turn will help decrease cravings and reduce emotional

  • Chromium- when taken consistently, chromium has been proven to not only help regulate
    metabolism, but also is extremely beneficial for blood sugar balance (4)
  • Alpha lipoic acid (ALA)- is known to help balance blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity
    just in 4 weeks (5). Available in supplement form, as well as in broccoli, spinach and sprouts.
  • Cinnamon- this spice has been used for centuries for many health concerns, however has
    been proven to be especially beneficial for blood sugar balance.
  • Magnesium- this mineral promotes healthy sleep patterns, helps balance blood sugar and is
    especially beneficial to regulate energy and stress levels.
  • Rhodiola or ashwaghanda- these herbs are also called ‘adaptogens’ (6), meaning they help
    respond to the environment by modulating stress and energy levels, without compromising
    our wellbeing. In simple terms, it helps increase energy when needed and helps reduce
  • Medicinal mushrooms- newest research starts to acknowledge many benefits of medicinal mushrooms. Also acting as “adaptogens”, some medicinal mushrooms, such as cordyceps and maitake (7), are also beneficial for blood sugar balance.

If you ready to change your relationship to food, but not sure where to start, contact Milda
at and arrange a FREE 20min consultation on the phone.

Milda Zolubaite
After her own journey with disordered eating and living a stressful lifestyle, trying to spin many
plates at once, Milda has discovered nutritional therapy and, for the first time, has felt a
sense of purpose.
As a CNM graduate, and having recently relocated to the West Country, Milda practices
nutritional therapy in Bath and Bristol, where she also offers nutritional coaching for binge
eating, emotional eating and bulimia.
She is passionate about complimentary alternative medicine and promoting healing through
the resources of nature. The body is always trying to heal itself, we just need to give it tools
to allow it to do so.
Contact Milda at for a free 20min discovery call or head to to find out more.

CNM Open Morning

21st October 2017, 11am-1pm

Come and find out what becoming a Natural Health Practitioner is all about..

Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, Homeopathy

  • Change Career
  • Help others
  • Improve your health
  • Earn a good income
  • Work flexible hours

Widening your options, changing your career

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to retrain in areas of natural health like Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture and Homeopathy then here is an opportunity to find out.

Our unique blend of practical and theory-based training means that that graduates are better placed to go on into full-time practice – 80% of our graduates are working in natural medicine, many in their own clinics.

The morning will offer an insight into the unique experience that our courses offer you, and answer any questions you may have about studying with CNM.

Held at: 1B Woodlands Court, Ash Ridge Road, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4LB
(Please note – Our campus building is within the Woodlands Court complex)

(1) Pick, M. (2012) Are you tired and wired? London: Hay House
(2) eating
(3) Glenville, M (2006). Fat around the middle. London: Kyle Cathie Ltd.
(4) Anderson, R. A., Cheng, N., Bryden, N. A., Polansky, M. M., Cheng, N., Chi, J., &
Feng, J. (1997). Elevated Intakes of Supplemental Chromium Improve Glucose and
Insulin Variables in Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes, 46(11), 1786-1791.
(5) Kamenova, P. (2006). Improvement of insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2
diabetes mellitus after oral administration of alpha-lipoic acid. Hormones, 5(4), 251-
(6) incredible-benefits- of-adaptogens
(7) health-guide/benefits/maitake- mushroom

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Organic Avocado, Tahini and Olive Flatbreads

Recipe by Anna Jones, author of A Modern Way to Cook

A celebration of Organic September & a call to all avocado lovers

“I try to sneak avocados in anywhere I can. I love their buttery, grassy, rich creaminess. The last five years has seen avocado on toast elbow its way on to every breakfast and lunch menu in the land. Avocado on toast was something I grew up on, and my love of avos has undoubtedly been inherited from my mum.

So, I thought it was time to mix things up a bit, still making the most of how instantly delicious an avocado is but adding some more unusual favours. Here I smash avocados with tahini, olives and lemon to make one of my new favourite lunches.

This is equally good on toast. I often double the recipe and serve it in bowls with home-made tortilla chips, to make an amazing snack for a crowd.” ~ Anna Jones

Ingredients – Serves 2 as a lunch, or 4 as a snack

  • 2 ripe organic avocados
  • ½ an organic lemon
  • 1 organic clementine, or ½ an organic orange
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 handfuls of Kalamata olives
  • ½ a small clove of garlic
  • 4 organic flatbreads or tortillas
  • chilli flakes
  • toasted cumin seeds
  • fresh green herbs I use dill, basil or parsley
  • feta cheese (optional)



  • Get all your ingredients together.
  • Halve and de-stone the avocados and scoop the flesh into a bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Squeeze over the juice of the lemon and the clementine or orange. Add the tahini and roughly smash and mash until you have a half smooth, half chunky mixture.
  • De-stone and roughly chop the olives and add them to the bowl. Very finely chop or grate the garlic and add that to the bowl too. Gently mix to combine. Heat the flatbreads either in a dry frying pan or on an open gas fame, turning them with tongs once they have browned a little. This will take a few seconds on a gas hob and more like 30 seconds to 1 minute in a pan.
  • Cut the flatbreads into quarters and pile on the avocado mixture. Top with a scattering of chilli flakes, toasted cumin seeds and a few delicate herbs. If you like you can add a crumble of feta.
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The Science of Healthy Ageing: Age defying natural solutions

Not surprisingly how we feel about ourselves and how much joy we have in our lives makes a huge difference to our health and to how old we look.  For example, women who feel good about getting older experience less negative menopause symptoms.

So, feeling positive about ageing is important and thankfully numerous recent studies have suggested that our happiest days are in fact still ahead of us!  Apparently 85-year olds are more satisfied with themselves and their lives than 18-year olds!  So, genuinely there is much to feel positive about.

However, you may still wonder, will my body sustain me into my bright future?  Cutting down on the amount of toxins that we consume and supporting our bodies to clear out what is already there is a great place to start.

And if you join my Age-Defying, Detox events this October/November, you will learn how to go about cleaning up your diet and super -charging your natural detox abilities.

For the purposes of this blog I’m going to focus on two other aspects of healthy ageing. Protecting your skin and your DNA.

Protecting your Skin

Age related changes in skin quality are associated with two vital substances, collagen and elastin. These proteins are responsible for the structure and elasticity of your skin, and decrease as we age.  What to do?!

  • Make sure you eat one or two servings of protein each day e.g. fish, nuts/seeds, pulses or a protein powder – again, collagen building blocks. Ideally eat protein with every meal
  • Eat vitamin C rich foods such as kiwi, red pepper, parsley, oranges and kale and top up with a quality Vitamin C supplement. Vitamin C regulates the synthesis of collagen, decreases photodamage and increases the creation of fibroblasts (cells that secret collagen). Take 500mgs to 3 grams per day
  • Consider supplementing with collagen hydrolysate which has been shown to increase collagen in the skin and reduce signs of facial ageing. Take approx. 20mcg per day
  • My favourite supplement for the skin is Astaxanthin. 6-8mg oral supplementation a day has been shown to decrease oxidation in the body, increase blood flow, decrease blood pressure and increase superoxide dismutase (affectionately known as SOD, an important enzyme defending against oxidative stress – a major cause of ageing skin)
  • Invest in a good sun screen, preferably a Zinc Oxide product and avoid skin care products with high levels of chemical nasties

Note: See a naturopathic nutritionist for suggestions about the correct dose of supplements in your individual case

Lemon Mint Juice

DNA defence

Ever heard of telomeres? Well, they are crucial to the defence of your DNA. They are tiny structures found at the tip of chromosomes, like the end of a shoelace. They protect your DNA from degrading each time a cell multiplies (which some do every few days!) Telomeres are often called a cell’s timekeeper.  No telomeres = cell death, which eventually means loss of organ function.  In studies, women with highest stress levels had the shortest telomeres.  Regular endurance exercise, vitamins B12, B9 and C, Zinc, and Omega 3 are associated with longer telomeres and Vitamin D levels can help to regenerate enzyme telomerase.

To find out how else you can protect your body from premature ageing sign up for:

1 Day: Age Well Detox and Fitness: 8th October 2017:  1- day retreat in the very beautiful Ashton Court Mansion. 10.30-4. £85. How to clean up your diet, bring in some functional exercise & make changes to support yourself through the ageing process (includes light lunch, exercise and nutrition talks). To book email:

28 Day: Age-Well, Detox Programme for Women: Tuesdays, November 2017: 7.00-9.00pm: £145. (The Studio. Cotham, Bristol). Come together as a group of women to learn the secrets of healthy ageing and be supported to make dietary and lifestyle changes.

Join us every Tuesday throughout November for information about what foods to try and reduce/cut out (e.g. gluten, sugar and more), what foods to add in and find inspiration for new ways of cooking and eating, support for age-related challenges such as menopause and cognitive decline and meditation.  Book here

Price: £145 for 8 hours of nutritional support that would normally cost £310 in a one to one setting. Early Bird: Book by September 30th and pay only £125. Book here

FFI or a 15-minute free consultation phone 0117 9425824 or email

And/or join me for an intro talk at the College of Naturopathic Medicine’s Open Day

Saturday 30th September 2017 10:00am – 5:30pm

Caroline PringleBiography:

Caroline is a CNM trained Nutritional Therapist, a yoga teacher and founder of Bristol Health and Nutrition. After years employing DIY natural health solutions, Caroline began to train more formally in complementary therapies. Eventually, quitting her Job as C.E.O of the international charity, Transform, she decided to focus solely on Nutritional Therapy. 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. As a mother of a 12-year-old she is well versed in inventive ways of getting lots of the good stuff in and keeping most of the bad stuff out and as 47 year old working parent she knows all about quick and easy recipes to maintain her own good health during the ageing process.  All of this whilst trying to remember the wise words of the great chocolatier Mr Booja Booja “Relax, nothing is under control!”

Contact: For more details or a free 15 minute consult call Caroline on 07766006034 or email: caroline@bristolhealthandnutritioncom:

Photo credits: Flickr Creative commons

Old people dancing in the street –  Connie Ma

Lemon and mint juice–  Doriano Jaroudi –

Picture of Caroline: Deasy Bamford

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Penny’s Puy Lentil Salad

The perfect fresh dish providing protein, antioxidants, nutrients and good fats for glowing skin. Created by Bristol-based naturopath and Wild Oats Advisor, Penny Barnett.

Puy lentil salad with sprouted chickpeas and sardines

Serves 2


1 cup of puy lentils
150 g of fresh spinach
2 fresh beetroots or pre-cooked
1 big tomato -sliced
50g sprouted chickpeas
1 tin of sardines – exclude for vegetarians or vegans

For the dressing

Olive oil
Apple cider vinegar
1/2 lime
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp grain mustard
1 tsp honey – exclude or subsititute for vegans
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 fresh chilli, finely chopped

recipe 3Method

1.       Set the beetroot to cook for 45 – 60 minutes (leave the skin on)

2.       Rinse the lentils well, then leave to gently cook for 40 – 45 minutes

3.       Warm the sardines in a non stick pan on a low heat

4.       Steam the spinach for 5 – 7 minutes

5.       Add all ingredients for the dressing into a jar and shake to mix

6.       Peel the beetroot and slice

7.       Strain the lentils and place on plate, add the spinach, beetroot, tomato, sardines, chickpeas and dress with the contents of the jar.

Penny Plate

Penny Barnett

Penny is a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist and has been working in health and well-being for over 10 years. Having originally studied and worked in the film industry she decided to turn her passion into her career, and to take her health into her own hands after suffering with facial acne for many years. She now has a young daughter with her husband Jonathan and is very happy in her skin! She trained with the Nutritional Healing Foundation and currently practises in Bristol. You can also sometimes find her on the shop floor working at Wild Oats among the products she loves!

T. 0772 556 9440
I. #PennysPlate

Step inside Penny’s kitchen, click here…

For Penny’s blog on Ultimate Tips for Optimum Skin Health, click here…

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How to Optimise Your Skin Health

By Penny Barnett

Penny is a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist and has been working in health and well-being for over 10 years. Having originally studied and worked in the film industry she decided to turn her passion into her career, and to take her health into her own hands after suffering with facial acne for many years. She now has a young daughter with her husband Jonathan and is very happy in her skin! She trained with the Nutritional Healing Foundation and currently practises in Bristol. You can also sometimes find her on the shop floor working at Wild Oats among the products she loves!

T. 0772 556 9440

The skin is an organ, the biggest organ of the body, and it needs to be supported and nourished to keep it functioning properly. It has to deal with a lot – atmospheric toxins, heat regulation, sun exposure and it acts as a barrier to protect our precious insides!

Skin health can be a difficult subject to discuss for the person suffering, as for some people their skin issue may be visible and therefore embarrassing to talk about. It can create great stigmas, unhealthy habits and discomfort, affecting the person socially, mentally as well as physically. This can leave the person psychologically and physically tired, which unfortunately will only exacerbate the issue further.

Healthy on the inside and out

There is a wide spectrum of skin problems including acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, shingles, cysts and eczema and in all these cases in could be said that the infection is trying to make its way out of the body, using the skin as its route of elimination, and for that reason it is important to maintain total body health for ultimate skin health.

Skin problems can vary greatly, but the solution for each and every one can be helped with a few skin care essentials.


✓    Water intake – make sure you’re getting enough water to help flush out toxins and hydrate your system; drinking herbal tea can also be a great, therapeutic way of staying hydrated.

✓    Dry skin brush – stimulating for the lymph and supportive for cleansing

✓    Epsom salt baths – rich in Magnesium Sulphate, which is hydrating and relaxing

✓    Sleep – at least 8 hours a night and switch off electrical devices before you get into bed.

✓    Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) – make sure you’re getting a sufficient amount of good EFA’s internally through food or supplementation, and apply oils, like coconut oil, directly to the skin (seek advice for the correct recommendation for your skin type)

“High levels of omega-3 have been shown to plump up the look of the skin as well as the quality, by reducing inflammation as well as supplying the building blocks for healthy skin cells.” [1]

✓    Organic and natural skincare products – there’s ample to choose from at Wild Oats!

✓    Exercise – oxygenate the blood and move built-up stagnancy in the body

✓    Antioxidant-rich food – helping to fight free radicals which can lead to skin cell damage

✓    Supplements – vary depending on the person, but a multi-vit and an Essential Fatty Acid are the basics. Herbal supplements can greatly can reduce skin issues.

✓    Sunshine – seek an organic/natural face and body cream that contains a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) for the summer. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are natural active SPF ingredients to look out for. Aloe Vera also has natural SPF of 5.

And reduce…

➔        Caffeine and alcohol – both are dehydrating for the body and stimulating for the liver – impacting the proper functioning of the liver, which can lead to a build-up of toxins in the body.

➔        Processed food and refined sugar – reduce your intake of acidic and inflammation-causing foods, including fried food, margarines and fast-foods as well as refined (white) sugar products.

➔        Dairy – dairy can clog the system and introduce pathogens to the body, which are an added burden for the system to process. The possible exceptions are kefir (cultured dairy), organic live yogurt and organic butter.

➔        Stress – skin issues are stressful enough, let alone any external stress added on top! Stress creates chemical reactions in the body that make skin more sensitive and reactive, and slowing the healing process. Hormones such as cortisol are released under stress, resulting in increased oil production by sebaceous glands, which makes the skin more prone to acne and other skin problems.

Eat a rainbow and glow

Spring is the perfect time to cleanse the system from the rich foods that we indulge in during the colder months, and to awaken the body from increased stagnancy (hibernation!). Some simple ways of kick-starting a cleanse is to focus on what you’re putting in your body, and giving your body the food it needs to maintain the perfect glow.

For ultimate skin health, it is important to eat fresh, alkalising and nutrient-rich food.

Increase these great foods for great skin…

★        EFA rich foods such as flax, oily fish, almonds, hemp and pumpkin seeds

★        Avocado

★        Carrots

★        Sweet potatoes

★        Spinach

★        Tomatoes

★        Squashrecipe 3

★        Broccoli

★        Apricots

★        Citrus fruit

★        Apple

★        Papaya

★        Mango

★        Berries

★        Cucumber

★        Wholegrains

For Penny’s recipe for optimum skin health (pictured),
click here…

Less is more

We use toiletries to make us look good, feel good and smell good, but do we really need as much as we use to achieve the required end result?

As Pat Thomas highlights in her book ‘Skin Deep’,

“your skin absorbs up to 60% of the chemicals that come into contact with it and sends them directly into the bloodstream” [2].

Your skin has to deal with a lot: environmental toxins, as well as any chemicals used on a daily basis – deodorant, makeup, soap, perfume and household cleaning products -so why not lighten the burden and try reducing the amount you use? After all, you may not need an extensive facial routine to create the result you want. Try minimising and selecting more specific products. And what’s more, as your skin regains its natural healthy look, you may find you choose to rely less on make-up.

Natural and organic products will generally place less demands on the bloodstream, and they will ultimately be gentler on your skin, more hydrating and healing.

Additional therapeutic support

Nutritional Therapy – tailored nutritional and supplement advice for optimum health

Acupuncture – derived from Chinese medicine, fine needles are used for therapeutic and preventative use.

Holistic Massage – massage for detoxifying, relaxation and restoration

Colonic Irrigation – cleanse and hydrate the bowel and colon to support whole body detoxification


[1] How to eat for great skin – Dietary fats By Ian Marber
[2] Skin Deep, Pat Thomas, page 4.

More from Penny

For Penny’s recipe for Wild Oats, click here..

Take a step inside Penny’s kitchen, click here…

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Kitchen Encounters with Penny Barnett

This month, local naturopath, Penny Barnett, shares her store cupboard essentials and her favourite quick-cook meal.

For Penny’s blog on Tips for Optimising Skin Health, click here…

For another recipe from Penny, click here…

My Kitchen Staples

  • Coconut oil
  • A variety of teas
  • Oats
  • Oat milk

pennysplate2My Quick Supper


King Soba brown rice noodles
2 tsp coconut oil
2 cloves garlic
2 small organic leeks
Dash olive oil
1 cup cashews
Geo Organics Thai Green curry paste
Fresh coriander
1/2 lemon/lime



  • Heat 2 tsp of coconut oil in a non-stick pan
  • Dice the leeks into semi circles and add to pan on a low heat until soft
  • Chop the garlic into chunks and add to the leeks, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon (or lime)
  • Boil water for the noodles
  • Add half jar of curry paste to the pan, stir and leave for 5-7 minutes
  • Place 2 portions of rice noodles into boiling water for 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly so they don’t stick!
  • Drain the noodles and refresh with cold water
  • Serve noodles, drizzle with olive oil, top with the curry, tahini, cashews and some fresh coriander.

Penny Barnett
T. 0772 556 9440

Penny is a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist and has been working in health and well-being for over 10 years. She trained with the Nutritional Healing Foundation and currently practises in Bristol.

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London Fog Latte

Celebrating Fairtrade Fortnight and rainy days in Brizzle!


1 cup of well-brewed Hampstead Fairtrade Earl Grey tea
1/2 tsp lavender, left to sit in the tea
1/2 cup gently warmed milk
1/4 tsp Madagascar Vanilla Bourbon extract
Fairtrade sweetener of your choice (Raynor’s golden syrup or Equal Exchange honey)


  • Brew the tea and leave to steep with the lavender seeds for about 3 minutes
  • Combine with the remaining ingredients and serve warm!

For more recipes, click here…

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Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl

Inspired by a recipe from

Ingredients (per person)

1 sweet potato
1/2 mashed banana
1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon, to taste
1 tbsp raisins and goji berries, soaked overnight
Several strands of saffron
Coconut cream / coconut manna / ghee
Handful of activated chopped pecans (soaked overnight and lightly toasted)
Maple / coconut syrup for a sweeter bowl

Your bespoke choice of sprinkles:
– desiccated coconut
– cacao nibs
– fennel seeds
– nut butter


  • Bake your sweet potato in foil and leave to cool. You could cook the night before, or leave to cook overnight in a slow-cooker.
  • Mash and warm the banana in a pan with the cinnamon, saffron strands and grated coconut cream / ghee.
  • Add the plump soaked fruit to the pan.
  • Mash together the sweet potato (with or without the skin, according to preference) and the warm banana mixture.
  • Place in a warm oven or under a grill to warm through if required, while you toast your pecans .
  • Add any additional sprinkles you fancy and enjoy!
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On Eating Well: My Top Medicinal Foods

By Atiya Khan
Nutritional Therapist (BSc (Hons), PGCE, Dip. CNM, mBANT, CNHC)

‘Food is medicine’ is a phrase we often hear, based on the words of the Greek physician, Hippocrates (486-377 BC), the father of modern medicine: “Let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine”. What does this really mean, and how can we apply this to our daily life? (1)

Food is information for cells

Raw materials for biological processes

Our food gives us the raw materials for the body to function. When a food is eaten, the digestive process, when functioning properly (a whole article in itself!), breaks down the food and extracts nutrients for absorption. Proteins are broken into amino acids, carbohydrates into simple sugars and fats into fatty acids and glycerol. Vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (plant chemicals which are protective to plants, and in turn to us) are also extracted. Our nutrient requirements can change depending on our genetics, current health, health history, age, sex, environment and where we live. The foods we eat depend on our culture, where we live, access to foods, budget, our perception and habits. (2)

Our food and its absorption then determines how our body works (2). For example, B vitamins, protein, magnesium, iron and Coenzyme Q10 are all involved in a complex process of energy production, and when there is a lack of any of these, we can feel tired (3). Zinc is required for skin health, making proteins, cell growth, wound healing and hormonal health; zinc levels tend to be lower in teenagers, where acne is very common, so zinc rich foods or supplements can be used to help. Each of the nutrients has one or more specific roles in the body (magnesium has over 300! (4), and when there is a deficiency, symptoms may appear (5).

Medicinal qualities

Foods also have medicinal qualities. The traditions of Ayurvedic Medicine from India, Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Ancient Greeks and now nutritional science recognise how different foods, according to their properties, can be used to bring people into optimal health, rather than just being without disease. When a disease or illness does arise (e.g. through stress, injury etc), foods, herbs and other natural therapies can be applied to return the person to health (6). For example, many people use ginger for a sore throat or fennel to help with digestion (see more below) (5).


One size does not fit all! We commonly see how one diet, food or medical drug, exercise or therapy works for one person, but not on another. The ancient traditions understand the importance of our individuality, on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level, and target particular foods and therapies for that person. Nutritional therapy adopts this personalised approach, by thorough case taking, asking about family history and getting to know the individual. We are also learning more through the emerging field of nutrigenomics. Our genes can be switched on or off by foods, so we can target particular foods and lifestyle measures for that person to be in good health (7).

A Registered Nutritional Therapist will be able to direct you specifically to which foods are best for you. If you are on medication it is advisable to seek medical advice before embarking on any major changes.

My Top Eight Medicinal Foods (and How to Eat Them)

In general, aim to eat a variety of whole, natural foods – don’t always go for the same veggies and fruits – different varieties count! Different colours of foods give different protective effects; when we eat a range of naturally coloured foods (ie the spectrum of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple…including white and brown!), we gain these benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and hormone balancing effects (7). If changing your diet, remember to go slowly with any changes.

Here are my Top Eight everyday medicinal foods and why!

  • Apples 

Rich in vitamin C, pectin (a soluble fibre which can lower cholesterol and help with bowel movements), and the antioxidant quercetin.

Benefits: Consumption is linked to reduced heart disease, cancer, asthma and type 2 diabetes.

How to eat: Raw (include the skin), smoothies, salads, grated into porridge, soups (eg apple and beetroot), baked and in a healthy crumble (5).

They are local, seasonal, cheap and versatile!

  • kale fieldCruciferous vegetables

i.e. cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, radish, swede, kale, cauliflower, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, kohlrabi and watercress.

Benefits: Sources of vitamin C, carotenes, many vitamins and minerals including calcium and iron (have with lemon juice/vitamin C to increase iron absorption).

All of this family contain phytochemicals, known as glucosinolates, with anticancer properties; there are lower rates of cancer in people who regularly eat these foods. These compounds are high in antioxidants and help with detoxification. Cabbages have also been found to help with peptic ulcers.

How to eat: Steamed with a squeeze of lemon and a little sea salt and pepper, in soups, or mixed with other vegetables for a colourful salad (5).

  • Flaxseeds/linseeds

Excellent source of an omega-3 essential fatty acid, and plant lignans (which are linked to anticancer effects).

Benefits: Reducing risk of heart disease and cancer.

How to eat: Ground (for their oil content) or whole (for insoluble fibre, for bowel movements). Buy them whole, keep them in a dark container in the fridge, and grind them as you need them. Use ground linseeds on porridge, in smoothies, as an egg replacement in baking, or buy the oil and use as a salad dressing (keep in the fridge and only use raw), (5).

  • Legumes  

Beans and lentils- rich sources of protein, antioxidants and fibre. Red lentils are versatile, cheap and quick to cook.

Benefits: Lower cholesterol levels, improve blood glucose control in diabetics and reduce risk of some cancers.

How to eat: For beans, soak overnight from dried and cook according to instructions (or use a pressure cooker), with ¼ tsp of bicarbonate baking soda or a bay leaf to soften the legumes (to reduce risk of flatulence, sometimes associates with beans!), as well as making them much cheaper. For lentils, cook lentils according to instructions – soaking even for an hour helps to reduce cooking time. If using canned, rinse after opening.

Enjoy them in stews, curries, salads, and make spreads eg houmous, or lentil pate (5).

  • Spices

Very high antioxidant content and specific uses of each spice. My favourites are:

Cinnamon: Can be used to help type 2 diabetes, arthritis, menstrual problems, asthma and digestant. Use in smoothies, over porridge, in baking and curries.

Cloves: Contain the compound eugenol, helping to lower joint inflammation and pain relief. Use in baking, curries or try giving your smoothie a healthy kick!

Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory effects including reducing pain in joints and period pains, and cancer protective effects. Use in curries, soups and make soothing drinks.

Turmeric latte: Warm a mug of coconut milk, pinch of cinnamon, turmeric, ground cloves and a dash of maple syrup.

Spice up your life! (5)

  • Herbs

Like spices, they are high in antioxidants and uses specific to each herb. Use fresh where possible – both for health benefits and taste! Eating dried herbs, however, are better than none at all.

Ginger: Good for digestion, passing of wind, feeling sick, contains a strong anti-inflammatory compound gingerol which can help with both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Use in tea (steep one-two centimetre piece in hot water), grated in salads, raw in smoothies, cooked in curries and soups.

Coriander: Both a herb and a spice as both the leaves and seeds are used. Helps with digestion (particularly of fats), relieves flatulence, detoxification and used traditionally in India to lower inflammation.

Parsley: Source of vitamin C, folic acid and many minerals including magnesium, calcium, potassium and zinc, helping with liver support (5).

Use coriander and parsley with curries, soups, salads, smoothies, juices and teas (steep a handful in just boiled water for a few minutes).

  • Berries

All of them, especially blueberries. A high source of antioxidants (especially anthocyanidins), vitamin C, other minerals, fibre, including pectin for bowel health.

Benefits: May protect against Alzheimer’s disease, improve vision and may help with both diarrhoea and constipation. Protects against inflammation, cancer and heart disease.

How to use: Add them to muesli, have a handful as a snack with a small handful of nuts, in smoothies, as a healthy pudding with coconut yoghurt and cinnamon, or in baking e.g. crumbles or healthy cakes. You can buy bags of organic frozen berries (5).

  • Lemons

High in vitamin C, antioxidants called bioflavonoids and limonene, and minerals including some magnesium.

Benefits: Helps with digestion, supports the liver with detoxification and weight management (contains the soluble fibre pectin, helping you to feel full).

How to use: Start your day with a squeeze of lemon juice with hot water, drink water steeped in lemon during the day, use in salad dressings, on cruciferous vegetables, on avocado with a little salt and pepper as a healthy snack (5, 8).

Enjoy experimenting with the range of foods that nature provides, and use them for taste, variety, and as your personal health kit!

Resources/Further Reading

·      Keep your plates colourful using this colour wheel:

·      Food is Medicine:

·      15 Mineral Rich Foods:

·      Eat your Medicine:


1. Langley, S. (2011). The Naturopathy Workbook. 3rd edn. CNM: West Sussex

2. Liska, DeA. Bland, J. S. (2010). Digestion and Excretion in Jones, D. S. Quinn, S.  Textbook of Functional Medicine. WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine, pp.190-191

3. Darland, G. (2010). Bioenergetics and Biotransformation in Jones, D. S. Quinn, S.  Textbook of Functional Medicine. WA: The Institute for Functional Medicine, pp. 183-188

4. Higdon, J. (2001). Magnesium. Available at: (Accessed: 3 February 2017)

5. Murrary, M. Pizzorno, J. Pizzorno, L. (2005). The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods. Piatkus:London

6. Axe, J. (2017). Food is Medicine: The Diet of Medicinal Foods, Science & History. Available at: (Accessed: 13 January 2017)

7. Hyman, M. (2016). Eat Your Medicine: Food as Pharmacology. Available at: (Accessed: 13 January 2017)

8. Axe, J. (2017). Benefits of Lemon Water: Detox Your Body and Skin. Available at: (Accessed: 16 February 2017)

Atiya photo 28.10.16Profile

Atiya Khan (BSc (Hons), PGCE, Dip. CNM, mBANT, CNHC) is a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist and Yoga Teacher. Atiya has a degree in Biochemistry, and previously worked as a lawyer and primary school teacher. She now combines her experience and passion in promoting natural health through food and lifestyle, using a holistic approach. 

She sees clients individually, runs health retreats, cooking demonstrations, health talks, is an Assistant Clinical Supervisor for the College of Naturopathic Medicine, and a health writer for lifestyle magazines and a Feature Writer for BANT, the professional body for Registered Nutritional Therapists. She is inspired to help people feel at their best.

For a FREE 15 minute chat, contact Atiya:

T: 07901532704



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