Coconut water 

Over the next few days I will be at Reading festival, and I am sure many of you or people you know have been at various festivals since the beginning of May. The 6 day camping experience is much to my mums dismay and she has sent me off with a carton of coconut water, all for good reason. 

Coconut is a superfood. In Sanskrit (the language of ancient Indian) the coconut palm is known as Kalpa Vriksha, meaning ‘the tree that supplies all that is needed to live’. Coconut products improve the digestion and absorption of fat – soluble vitamins and amino acids, as well as being immune system boosting as they contain healthy antiviral, anti fungal and anti microbial saturated fatty acids. This is along with improving the utilisation of blood sugar, improving the absorption of good calcium and magnesium ions, helping regulate and support healthy hormone production AND they contain powerful anti oxidants. My personal favourite is that coconut increases the speed of the thyroid and helping to shed excess weight. It calms urinary tract infections and supports cardiovascular health. 

And here is something even more amazing, and historical. Young coconut water is almost identical to human blood plasma, making it a universal donor. During the Pacific battles of WWII, between the dates of 1941 – 45, both sides in the battle used the water of young coconuts – taken directly from the nut – to give emergency plasma transfusions to injured servicemen. Coconut is, in short, a life saver! 

This is all very well, but why am I taking coconut eyed to a festival you may ask? Coconut water is actually very hydrating, and great to drink when you have a hangover. It adds alkalinity to your body to help mop up the strong acidity that alcohol brings. An imbalance in acid or alkali is never good. It is rich in potassium and a variety of nutrients that will help sooth an upset stomach, aches and pains and nausea. I am now agreeing that  

 the humble coconut will be a staple not only for this weekend, but many weekends for the rest of my life.. Wish me luck! 

With love and light, 

Ciara x  

The coconut water we buy is Vita Coco. It tends to have not too much of a sweet taste compared to other waters which we prefer. You can buy this from many supermarkets and health food stores, or we supply it here at Elysium. Drink straight, use as a thinner in fruit smoothies or mix with juice. 

  

Warm butter bean and green veg salad 

Hi all! I haven’t posted for a while, so thought I’d kick things off again with an easy, nutritious recipe. In the summer months when it’s as hot as it is today I find it difficult to work up an appetite for much, but this gives me just what I need to keep going throughout the day. 

You will need: 

1 teaspoon of coconut oil 

1 red onion 

Half a courgette 

A large handful of spinach 

1 tin of butter beans, drained 

Cumin 

Salt (pink Himalayan if you have it) 

Pepper 

Finely dice the red onion and the courgette into evenly sized chunks. Heat the coconut oil in a pan and then add the onion and courgette. Sweat down the vegetables until they are a little more translucent in colour. Add the drained butter beans and warm through, before adding the spinach to wilt. This should take about 30 seconds. Season with 2 teaspoons of cumin and the salt and pepper. Serve warm.   

With love and light, 

Ciara x

 

Banana Oat Pancakes 

Pancakes are practically my favourite thing to have for breakfast. There is something so comforting about them, but they are only ever a special treat in our household. I’ve altered the traditional recipe to give a healthier day to day option that has become a staple in our weekly breakfasts. 

You will need: 

  • 1 cup of oats 
  • 1 banana 
  • 1 egg 
  • A drizzle of almond milk 
  • Strawberries (or any other berry that you’d prefer)
  • Agave syrup 

Put all of the ingredients in a blender (except the strawberries and syrup) and blend until smooth. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Once the oil is hot (you can test with a drop of mixture to see if it sizzles) spoon out the mixture into the pan in the shape, size and thickness of a scotch pancake. Depending on the size of your pan, you could put three pancakes in at once. Cook until golden on the downside, then flip and cook the same on the other side. Once all the pancakes are cooked, stack them on a plate and scatter with berries. Then drizzle with the agave syrup and enjoy!  

With love and light, 

Ciara x  

 

The Saturday Swap – Ice Lollies for frozen fruit 

This Saturday swap is short and sweet, as after seeing the title I’m sure you can agree it’s pretty self explanatory. In the hot weather I have been known to consume countless numbers of cold confectionary, but the amount of refined sugar, binding agents and other artificial ingredients that gos into them is a little bit scary. 

Instead, pop a punnet of berries on the freezer, and once rock solid they become like mini ice Lollys! They are so much more refreshing and also get you a bit of what you need (although sometimes you really can’t beat a magnum). My favourites to use are raspberries, grapes or blueberries. 

With love and light, 

Ciara x  

 

Cacao 

Yes, chocolate can be healthy! In its purest form, cacao is one of and to me the best superfoods. When used properly, it can make even the healthiest of dishes taste a little bit naughty. 

Cacao is one of the best natural food sources of antioxidants, which help us with age related health problems. It also contains magnesium, which increases brain power and bowel movements (it’s extraordinary fibre helps cleanse here), reduces menstrual cramps, relaxes muscles and increased flexibility (excellent for us dancers!) and helps build strong bones. It’s alkalinity is great for those of us who have an alkaline lacking diet, something a lot of us don’t have enough of. This is amongst iron which fights anemia, chromium which balances blood sugar, and zinc helping to support the immune system, liver, pancreas, sexual fluid and skin. 

Cacao also released endorphins that make you feel blissful, and it helps to suppress your appetite which is great for those of us whose down fall is snacking (guilty as charged). This is a small handful amongst many other health benefits (it contains manganese and many vitamins too). 

The Mexicans traditionally use cacao in chilli con carne, however I have two drinks I usually make using it: a healthy hot chocolate which can be saved for the colder months, and a banana chocolate milk shake. Just blend together two bananas, a teaspoon of cacao and fill to just another the bananas with soya or almond milk for two big glassfuls. The soya milk makes it wonderfully creamy  and the sweetness of the banana means no added sugar is needed for the cacao to taste chocolatey. It’s also an easy way for you to get a superfood into your child’s diet, and I’m sure they’ll love it. I know I do! 

With love and light, 

Ciara x 

Rye Bread with Advocado ‘butter’ and fresh tomatoes 

This makes a wonderful, flavourful meal for any time of day and is surprisingly filling. The rye bread is a change from your usual processed white, containing plenty of slow burning carbs, and you have good, nourishing oils coming from the advocado and Virgin olive oil. 

You will need: 

  • 2 Rye Bread slices 
  • 1 garlic clove 
  • Half an advocado 
  • 1 tomato 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • Black pepper 
  • Sea salt (or pink Himalayan salt if you can get hold of it)  

Peel the garlic clove and gently crush it under the flat of a knife, applying pressure using the palm of your hand. Rub the clove across both pieces of rye bread to give a hint of garlic flavour, without blowing your head off. Half the advocado using a sharp knife and running it around the fruit vertically, then twist to release each half. Spoon out the flesh and crush it with a fork, then spread equal quantities on each slice of bread. I call this advocado ‘butter’ as it spreads just as easily as the for mentioned condiment, and had double the flavour. Dice the tomato and place equal quantities on top of the advocado. Finish by sprinkling with salt and cracked black pepper, and add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Measure this using the cap of the bottle. 

With love and light, 

Ciara x  

 

The Saturday Swap – fizzy drinks for lime and soda 

When I go out for a meal, or am craving something fizzy, I find lime cordial and soda water is the best thing for it. It is so easy to go for a sugary drink and admittedly a full sugar choice is far better for you than diet alternatives, which contain many chemicals and unnatural sugar substitutes. But a can of coke contains 39g of sugar in one can. Baring in mind that the recommended amount for men in a day is 37.5g and for women is 25g. And with studies showing that sugar is now a major contributor to weight gain, and less so fats, it is so important to cut back and go for more natural sugars, or at least lower alternatives. 

Soda water has next to no calories, and the lime cordial gives a lovely sweetness. Supposing you don’t go over board, the cordial is just enough to give you a sweet hit without too much sugar going into your body. 

This is such a simple way to make your lifestyle a little more healthy. As I said, it’s about the little steps. 

With love and light, 

Ciara x