It’s Coeliac Awareness week and we thought this would be a good time to explain why Nourish products are gluten free.
‘I’m gluten free’, a phrase that we’ve heard more and more over the past 10 years. Where once being gluten free was seen as the sign of a fussy eater, today we understand that there is a real and vital need for some to follow this way of eating.
As a Company we produce entirely gluten free products. We don’t do this because it’s a trend but because Ineke, our Founder, found that a gluten free diet was right for her own health. With many friends affected by Coeliac disease Ineke wanted to create a range of snacks. Ones that she and others could enjoy without worrying about any side effects. Nourish products are strictly gluten free because we want, and need them to be. Maintaining a healthy approach to your diet is imperative. We believe that eating a clean, wholefoods, mainly organic diet with minimal processed foods, is a good place to start.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a type of protein that is found in grains, such as wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is responsible for giving foods elasticity and providing a chewy texture. It is also often added to other foods to modify the stability and structure of products. Such as salad dressings, condiments and deli meats. It is because of its addition to many foods that we are seeing increased sensitivities to gluten. For many of us it is beneficial to decrease our intake overall. Also buy minimally processed and organic food if you do have gluten in your diet.
How do I know if I’m sensitive to gluten?
Gluten intolerance or sensitivity is different to Coeliac disease and typically causes a range of issues. Gluten intolerance can affect almost every cell, tissue and system in the body since the bacteria that populate the gut. It can help control everything from nutrient absorption and hormone production to metabolic function and cognitive processes. Find out more here in this YouTube video from Dr Josh Axe. Talk to your GP and/or nutritional therapist in the first instance if you believe you could have an issue with gluten. The online assessment at Coeliac UK is also a useful resource and good place to start if you want to learn more.
What is Coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is common and affects 1 in 100 people. Yet it remains undiagnosed in all but 30% of the population. It is frequently misdiagnosed as IBS and can only be properly diagnosed with a blood test and possible further testing. In order for coeliac disease to be diagnosed with this blood test, there must be gluten in the diet. So, wait until you have been tested before making changes to ensure you are diagnosed correctly.
Coeliac disease is not an allergy or a food intolerance.
Coeliac disease is a serious illness that causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues when gluten is consumed. This attack causes damage to the lining of the stomach. It also prevents the body from absorbing nutrients properly from the food that you eat.
Following a gluten free diet.
Following a gluten free diet no longer has to be tricky. Retailers, producers and restaurateurs have reacted to this growing dietary requirement. It’s great to see many restaurants taking this seriously and producing proper, reliable gluten free menu options. Product labelling is becoming clearer and supermarkets generally have a free-from aisle where gluten free versions of your usual diet staples can be found. Also, the key when looking to purchase Gluten Free foods is to look at the list of ingredients and be sure that it is still full of nutrients and wholefoods, not added refined sugars and fillers, to ensure you are providing nourishment for your body.
There are many foods that are naturally gluten free and our products are just that. We use only ingredients that are organic and from reputed and reliable producers. We want everyone to be able to enjoy our Macaroons and Bites, but especially those who don’t always find shopping for nourishing treats easy.
Our online recipe bank is almost entirely gluten free, with only spelt flour (an ancient grain) being used on the very odd occasion. Our brand NEW Nourishing Treats eBook is entirely GLUTEN FREE. With 10 gorgeously shot recipes from dairy free creamy cheesecake to rich and decadent tasting chocolate torte, it’s a steal at £2 or FREE when you spend over £30 (use the code – FREEBOOK – at checkout).
What’s it really like to write a cookbook? Well, firstly and most importantly, it’s not quite as easy as it looks. For many years I’ve been asked by friends and family to produce a cookbook full of their favourite recipes. One that I created and have made for them. Sounds simple doesn’t it? However, when you add in 2 young children, a busy business, a hectic household and attempting to maintain a little balance, it all gets a bit more complicated.
Nourish – grow, cook, enjoy was built on my desire to nurture others through food. I’ve spent many years honing our Coconut Macaroon and Bite recipes. I love them and I love to hear that so many others do too. So, writing a book full of my other recipes that I produce for home and our local health food stores and cafes shouldn’t be too challenging……. I thought.
Testing, testing, testing.
Testing recipes was great fun, I’d write them, friends and family would try making them and then eating them. So far so simple. Writing a recipe so that everyone understands it, not so simple. We’re all used to different weights and measures for a start. I’ve kept it simple and followed how I best understand these, I hope you do too. Deciding on a style for the book was tricky. I have books I love and I wanted to follow some of the elements in these, but not all. I love giving little extra hints and tips. You’ll find these throughout the book in little speech bubbles, a bit like it’s you and I having a chat in the kitchen.
My little helpers
Then there is the challenge of attempting to get to photograph the finished product before the smallest member of the Nourish team, Luca, would pop a chubby hand onto the counter and have a taste! Taking these photos was great fun and I’ve learnt along the way how to take a better picture. Also I need a bodyguard for any food I want to take a picture of! My children have loved Mummy writing a book, not only has there been an endless supply of desserts and snacks to try but they also love to get involved in the kitchen. This desire to get involved has led to my daughter, Inge and I making our new IGTV series. Check out our series Cooking with Kids, together. Great fun!
Nourishing Treats is filled with 10 simple, yet delicious, tried and tested recipes. All are gluten, dairy and refined sugar free. I’ve provided some dietary options for those following vegan, paleo and keto diets. This month you can pick up the eBook for FREE when you spend over £30 in our online store (use the code – FREEBOOK – at checkout). If you want to just buy the book then it is just £2.
Finally, you may have noticed that this is called, Volume 1. Yes, I really enjoyed this process and I might even do it again! I’d love to hear any feedback that you have once you’ve tried out a few recipes.
Have you heard of the 4 pillars of health and wellbeing? The ones we set great store by here at Nourish, are nutrition & hydration, sleep, exercise and mental health. Being healthy, fit and well is pretty much the cornerstone of wellbeing, but, it’s not always easy to achieve. Life gets in the way sometimes and it can feel like your own health and wellbeing has taken a back seat due to stress, work, lack of time, exhaustion, and more.
So, which is the most important pillar, and why? The answer is that they are all important and that they actually rely on one another. Sometimes your nutritional needs will take a back seat while you work your way through a deadline at work and that’s fine so long as your mental health takes a front seat instead. Got a pressing deadline, eating less well than normal? Take it easy on yourself and plan a great, healthy meal to celebrate getting the end of the work project. It’s all about balance, not guilt.
These pillars are used by so many health professionals and everyone has their own subtle interpretation of them. Here’s what they mean to us at Nourish!
Nutrition and hydration
Being surrounded by wonderful ingredients all day at work makes us particularly food aware at Nourish. As Hippocrates said, ‘Let food be thy medicine’. Eat well and your body will reward you with clearer skin, a functional gut, more energy and a sense of wellbeing.
Maybe you eat Organic, maybe you don’t, so long as your diet contains plenty of nourishing ingredients, that’s the most important thing. We like to use Organic ingredients in our products because we believe that food should be as unadulterated as possible and be of the highest quality. Small swaps to Organic vegetables, fruit, dairy, meat and eggs will help to cut down on your exposure to toxic pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics.
However, it’s not realistic to think that we’ll be able to eat well all of the time and many of us follow an 80/20 rule. There’s nothing wrong with this, your body is built to detoxify itself and a little of what you fancy from time to time isn’t a nutritional fail.
Hydration is the detox key as it helps to keep everything moving, aiding digestion and clearing out any nasties. The EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, recommends that we drink 2 – 2.5L of water a day and that 70-80% of our fluid intake is from drinks made with water as their base. The remaining 20-30% should be from foods that are rich in soluble fibre, that’s those veggies!
As a general rule of thumb following a wholefood diet, cooking with fresh ingredients, using a wide variety of veggies, eating healthy fats (like our coconut macaroons!) and getting plenty of water will sustain you very well.
*Sometimes a gut health issue can mean that you need to follow a specific diet, we’re going to dive into this in a couple of weeks time on the blog so check back then.
Sleep, it can feel like the final frontier sometimes! If you have young children, if you’re stressed, if you’ve had coffee too close to bedtime, the list goes on and on. If you find yourself craving it then the first thing to ask yourself is why?
Often it’s our own routine that can be preventing us from getting the sleep that we need. The phase, sleep routine, has been bandied around a lot over the past few years, and with good reason. Setting yourself up for success with sleep can not just mean that you get more, but that if you don’t sometimes you’re not stressing about it.
So, what’s a sleep routine look like? It’s pretty simple and probably much like what you would have done as a child, in fact treat yourself as you would a child at bedtime and you’re pretty much there.
Quiet, wind down time prior to bedtime, no screens for at least 30 minutes before bed
A tidy, calm room to sleep in
No lights on in the bedroom to sleep and definitely no phones!
Wind down to sleep with a little reading, maybe an audio book or a warm epsom salts bath
Three words, just, get, moving. It really doesn’t matter what you do so long as you’re moving. Variety is great with exercise; like lifting weights but hate cardio, do your weights session and go for a walk instead. Conversely, hate weights and love cardio, then run whenever you fancy but maybe mix it up with some TRX, using your own body weight instead of weights.
Movement helps our bodies to function better, helping us to dissipate stress, helps with digestion and even aids with sleep. If you feel sluggish after a few days indoors then take your exercise outdoors too and get the double whammy of endorphins and vitamin D!
Planning for exercise just like you would plan anything else creates a habit, and this is the key. If you’re struggling for motivation then maybe find a challenge that you’d enjoy training for or maybe take up a new sport? Read Ellerie’s yoga journey to see how she successfully introduced a new routine.
Understanding your own mental health needs is a huge step in the pursuit of happiness. Some of us crave a little peace and quiet, that time alone that can be hard to find. For others it’s the company of friends and a chance to gossip and hang out. Just knowing what your own needs are can really help you to unwind and find that calm feeling.
Our mental health can be affected by so many things, happiness, sadness, stress, exhilaration. These emotions can manifest in the most simple situations, for instance, you run for the train in the morning and you make it, you start the day happy, you miss it, you feel a bit rubbish. Finding the best in every situation might sound trite but it may help to avoid the ups and downs that can affect our mental health.
Some start a gratitude journal, a simple way of reminding themselves day by day, that life is good in many ways. For others it might just be making yourself see the best in a bad situation. You’ve missed the train, so buy a new book on your kindle and lose yourself for a while in a great story.
Doing things with intensity and purpose can help us to be more positive too. If you don’t like a situation then think about whether you can change it. Maybe if you can’t it’s time to walk away and try something new.
A lot of people from the world of sport, the army and business, talk about how a positive mental attitude can be the best tool that they have in their mental health armoury. It can be a challenging way to live but the likes of Ant Middleton, Mo Farah and Peter Jones, have made it their life’s work to live in the positive.
Orange Coconut cake with passionfruit coconut cream
There is something delicious about the smell of the oranges that boil for this cake, you’ll be looking forward to eating it long before it’s ready! This cake uses a number of ingredients we feature in our macaroons…. we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
4 oranges (or 3 extra large oranges)
4 heaped dessert spoons of honey (or 7 Tbsp maple syrup)
1 1/2 cups of ground almond
1 cup coconut
5 eggs (separated)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 large passionfruit (about 35gm of pulp).
Place the oranges into a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Drain and allow to cool slightly.
Place oranges roughly chopped into halves/quarters into your food processor, along with the honey and process until finely chopped (like a semi-thick paste). Add in the egg yokes and process for a couple of minutes, until you have a lovely smooth consistancy. Add in the ground almond and baking soda. Process until well mixed.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites until thick. Fold through half of the egg whites along with the cup of desiccated coconut. This will help loosen the mixture, before folding through the remaining egg whites along with the pulp of one passionfruit.
Line a round baking tin with baking paper and grease the sides of the tin with coconut oil. Tip the mixture in and smooth out evenly.
Bake at 160 degrees (170 degrees if not fan oven) for 35-40 minutes. Cake will be lightly browned on edges and a skewer should come out clean.
Serve with the passionfruit cream below, or with an orange/passionfruit drizzle.
Place a tin of coconut cream in the fridge over night or for a couple of hours.
Pulp of 1 passionfruit
1 Tbsp coconut sugar (or alternative sweetener).
Scoop out the cream from the top of your chilled tin and place in a bowl. Add in the sugar and then whip until thick. Fold through the passionfruit pulp. Place in the fridge until ready to serve.
TOP YOUR CAKE WITH SOME RASPBERRY MINI MACAROONS! DELISH!
As a family we’re happiest when we’re outdoors and being lucky enough to live in the beautiful Surrey Hills means that we are spoilt for choice with places to visit and enjoy natures very own playground.
I certainly find that being outdoors with kids is much easier than when they are cooped up indoors, I feel more relaxed and so do they. I also try and find just a little time to get out myself for some fresh air each day as I really find that it improves my concentration and stress levels. The Japanese call being out in the woods and the fresh air, forest bathing (shinrin-yoku). Forest bathing is proven to lower heart rate and blood pressure, reduce stress hormone production, boost the immune system and improve overall feelings of wellbeing.
This recent weather has meant that the whole Nourish team have been out and about enjoying all that the Surrey Hills has to offer. These are just a few of our favourite places where we like to set the kids free to let off steam and enjoy the outdoors at.
The National Trusthave it nobbled when it comes to easy days out with kids and our ‘local’ Polesden Lacey is no exception. With acres of gardens and farmland to discover there is something for everyone. We love to head up through the formal gardens to the veggie patch to see what’s growing and then onto the chicken coop and bug hotel. There is also a beautiful covered bridge over this side of the estate that leads to a wildflower meadow, great for that Instagram moment! On your way across the lawn we’d advise grabbing a few deckchairs and just admiring the picture perfect view, maybe take a picnic and have your very own #macaroonmoment!
The tree tunnel is a great place to cool down and provides a lovely shaded walk to the playground, past the grass amphitheatre. There are often great interactive trails and activities on for kids in the holidays too, we had a go at making our own kites and then flew them on the lawn, great fun. There is also a good onsite café full of healthy options and treats.
Being a bunch of keen gardeners here at Nourish RHS Wisley is a perennial favourite of the team. The new bits of Wisley have been under construction for a while but this doesn’t distract from the glory of this amazingly well kept corner of Surrey. There is something for everyone but most of the time the small people want to head to the hothouse first. A place of forests and jungles if you’re small, it’s full of exotic planting, try and spot the banana tree! With the Jurassic trail on this summer holiday it might be a great place to spot the odd dinosaur too.
When you’ve finished exploring here then a trip to the expanding outdoor playground is next on the list, loads to keep the small people occupied from den building to a trim trail. Even better there is a snack bar that serves a decent cup of coffee for the grown ups! We love to head to the veggie gardens on the way back through the gardens for inspiration and the odd, ‘ours look better/worse’, than that comment. The café is good here but does get very busy over the holidays, we prefer to take a picnic to enjoy in a hidden shady spot and take advantage of the delicious organic ice cream stall on the way out.
Another National Trust favourite, quite different to Poleseden Lacey, Hatchlands has over 400 acres of dog friendly parkland and woodland surrounding it so there’s plenty of space to enjoy the great outdoors. The lawn in front of the main house often has space hoppers lying around for kids to use, we like to grab a seat and enjoy a few moments of relative peace while the kids entertain themselves.
After a quick refuel in the Courtyard Café we’ll head up across the parkland, past the beautiful cattle towards Wizard Wix’s Willow Warren and treehouse. Here there you’ll find wood for den building, willow tunnels, sculptures and even a totem pole, plenty to inspire play in young minds. We’ve just stared Geocaching and they are taking part here too, a great activity for older kids. We don’t normally head inside at National trust properties, little hands and all that, but here they have a super dressing up area in the main house. Getting dressed up as a Georgian appealed to all, young and old!
A great place to visit to inspire any budding young artists! The artist G F Watts and his wife Mary founded the Watts Gallery in Compton and the aptly named, Artist’s Village, is in a beautiful spot in the Surrey Hills. With one child that is hugely into art and one who isn’t at all we were concerned that this might have been a tricky trip. However, there really was something for everyone. The gallery kept everyone occupied for a while and then we enjoyed the interactive art trail around the woodland play area. You really can’t help but feel inspired while you walk around the village, it’s full of interesting sculptures, beautiful buildings and obviously for the arty ones amongst us plenty of inspiration. Visit on a Sunday morning and you’ll have an opportunity to try something new in the ‘make space’, we tried print making and all want to do it again! A lovely hidden spot of Surrey that’s worth discovering.
The Medicine Garden
We discovered the Medicine Gardenafter a wrong turn on the way home from Wisley and it’s now firmly in our sat nav, we need no excuse to head towards Cobham for a treat here. As little as 10 years ago this gorgeous spot was completely derelict and has been lovingly brought back to life by the owners. There is a great restaurant serving just the kind of food we like, freshly prepared and seasonal, in the restored hot house and also a great little cafe with a super selection of cakes.
The café spills out into the lovely garden, full of medicinal planting (see what you can spot), with a play area and plenty of places to sit and soak up the rays on a warm day. If you have small people who need to let off some steam, then a run around the circular planting should sort that out! There are also few small independent shops scattered around the central courtyard where you can buy everything from a fairy door to a piece of Scandinavian pottery! The team also run regular events that are as diverse as a mindful parenting course, moonlit cinema screenings or Pilates classes in their gorgeous geodesic dome.
Fancy having your own #macaroonmoment? Why not treat yourself?
Almonds, Brazil and Cashew Nut Butter. Three fantastic healthy nuts, that combine to make a delicious creamy ‘ABC nut butter’. Almond butter by itself is delicious, but I found it took a long time to make in a basic food processor. It’s much easier in a vita-mix. By adding in Brazil Nuts and Cashew Nuts the added natural oils from these nuts makes it not only easier to make but creamier as well. Brazil Nuts are full of selenium which we often lack in our diet, so that alone is a great reason to add them. One of the processes selenium is involved in is the production of prostaglandins in our body. This regulates inflammation.
Ingredients for ABC Nut Butter
3/4 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
1/3 cup raw brazil nuts
Blitz together in your food processor until the healthy oils from the nuts are released, creating a creamy nut butter. Then blitz until you get a lovely consistency. Finally add in 1/4 tsp himalayan pink sea salt (more or less to taste). Blitz again.
I have used a Kenwood food processor for this and it has no problem making the nut butter within 5-7 minutes. Experiment with adjusting the quantities according to what you have and your taste-buds.