Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Seeded paleo bread

This bread has a dark colour and a chewy texture not unlike rye bread. Its good sliced and toasted topped with normal butter or nut butter.

You will need:

200g ground almonds/almond flour 

5 tbsp psyllium husk powder

2 tsp gluten free baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

200 ml boiling water

35g mixed seeds


Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. In a large mixing bowl combine the almond flour psyllium husk powder, baking powder, seeds and salt.

Add the eggs and the boiling water and mix well until combined into a thick dough.

Form into 4 sub shaped rolls on a greased baking tray or put into a greased loaf tin. Bake rolls for 45 minutes, loaf for 1 hour and 5 minutes.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon

These are work in progress, I'm planning on trying some different ingredients and consistencies but in the meantime these are perfectly edible and very nutritious compared to normal pancakes. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, vitamin B, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Although a starchy carbohydrate, they are absorbed slowly by the body so don't cause blood sugar to raise too quickly. Coconut flour is a good source of dietry fibre and iron. Coconut milk is a good source of omega 3 fats and calcuim (if you don't have coconut milk they work just as well with water however).

As you can see these pancakes don't look particulary pretty, I found it quite hard to flip them without them breaking and I did piece this one together for the photoshoot!! The key to flipping is to make sure one side is well cooked before attempting to turn them over!

Makes 4 pancakes

You will need:

2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon coconut flour
2 tablespoons mashed sweet potato
Tsp vanilla essence
Tsp cinnamon
100ml coconut milk
100ml water
Macadamia nut oil/avocado/coconut oil/butter for cooking

Put the flour into a bowl with the cinnamon and add the eggs, vanilla essence and coconut milk/water and whisk together.

Add the sweet potato and mix until there are no lumps.

Melt some oil/butter in a pancake pan and add a ladleful of mixture when the oil is smoking hot.

Cook one side for approximately 4 minutes and then carefully turn over with a large spatula.

Cook the other side for 2-3 minutes.

Serving ideas:

Serve with berries or banana, a spoonful of butter or coconut oil, an extra sprinkle of cinnamon, a dusting of cocoa powder or for a very occasional treat a drizzle of maple syrup.

Coconut milk will make them more calorie dense and so more filling but water works just as well if you don't have coconut milk. Use 200 ml of water if you are not using coconut milk.

I found these pancakes (made with the coconut milk) filled me up for at least five hours so they make a good choice for breakfast if you know you are going to have a late lunch.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Why paleo dieting works (for me) - Day 16 of my 30 day Paleo challenge

I admit that I entitled this post Why paleo dieting works. In fact I would have left it like that but I decided that in the interests of being politically correct I would acknowledge that I am speaking from my own experience and that of my handful of clients who have dropped 3lbs to 5lbs in the first week of eating clean unprocessed foods such as meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, berries and nuts and seeds (see some of  my earlier posts for more details on paleo eating and some recipes to get you started). I would be absolutely amazed if there was anyone who stuck to this diet for at least 90% of the time and didn't lose weight, I really would.

What is so different about this diet than those from WeightWatchers, LighterLife, Slimming World, the Cambridge diet etc? Mainly it's that its about REAL food, the kind of food our bodies evolved to eat; not the so called 'frankenfoods' in the supermarkets which are a concoction of sugar, unhealthy fats and chemicals. (Most of the big diet companies have their own ranges of these frankenfoods which they are keen to push to those on their diets.) When you are eating real foods you feel fuller and more satisfied and as you are getting a good dose of nutrition at every meal the cravings you have for sweet sugary foods disappears over time.

Like every diet though you need help and support to make it stick. Habits are formed over time, and food and drink habits are very powerful based around social, physical and emotional thoughts and actions. Habits take time to change so you need to give yourself a good month of eating clean foods before new habits are formed and old cravings disappear. It's good to work with a coach, a group from your gym, friends who are also looking to lose weight and become more healthy or a spouse who also wants to make the change.

If weight loss in itself was enough to give people motivation then everyone that went on a diet would be successful and would keep the weight off but we know that is not the case. With a paleo or primal style diet (main difference for me is that primal is less strict and allows dairy) there are so many health and wellbeing benefits such as staving off inflammation in the body, preventing type 2 diabetes, staying young longer, better skin and hair, more energy (in the long term, it might take a week or two to adapt at first) that these in themselves are enough to spur me on. I am planning on living to a ripe old age and being active and mobile and enjoying myself not stuck in a chair in an old peoples home. There are no guarantees of course, but I would like to bet on the fact that I have more chance of making it than those eating a junk and processed food based diet.

If you want to join me for the last 14 days drop a comment below and I will support you through it. Go on, you know you're worth it (and it will do you a lot more good than using the right shampoo!!).

Friday, 12 October 2012

Paleo Scotch Eggs

Paleo Scotch Eggs

  8 eggs

 750g sausage meat (free range best quality if possible)

  Oil for frying (coconut, avocado or macadamia nut are best)


To hard boil the eggs, place in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water is boiling rapidly, turn the heat off and cover the pot with a lid for 10 minutes.

Transfer the eggs to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. When cooled, peel the eggs.

Divide the sausage meat into 8 equal portions.

Use your hands to form each portion of meat into a flat pancake a few inches wide. Wrap the meat around an egg, gently shaping it so there are no cracks and the egg is completely hidden.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Pour just enough oil/fat into a deep pan to coat the bottom of the pan. Heat for 2-3 minutes over high heat on the stove until the oil is shimmering.

Cook two eggs at time. Roll the eggs around every few minutes in the oil so all sides of the meat become nicely browned. Cook each egg for about 8 minutes total.

Transfer to the oven and cook for 6-8 minutes more until the sausage is cooked through.

Eat the eggs warm or cold. Serve alone as a snack or with salad or mixed veggies as a main meal.

Store leftover eggs individually in freezer bags and pop into the freezer. Defrost overnight for snacks/breakfast.

One tray roast salmon with squash and asparagus

This is a really nice recipe as it's all cooked in one roasting tin so saves on the washing up!

Serves 4

You will need:

1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 large red onions, peeled and quartered
2 tbsp avocado oil or macadamia nut oil
1 x 200g pack fine asparagus tips
4 boneless wild salmon fillets
Bag of watercress, thick stalks removed
1 tbsp dill
1 lemon quartered (optional - I prefer this without the lemon)

Preheat the oven to 200 C (fan oven 180 C). Put the lemon quarters (if using), squash and onion in a bowl with one tablespoon of the oil and some seasoning. Toss everything together and tip on to a baking tray in a single layer. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes

After 20 minutes sprinkle the salmon with dill and tip the asparagus and salmon fillets into the bowl, add the remaining tablespoon of oil and season. Toss everything together to coat with the oil.

Remove the tray from the oven. Tuck the salmon and asparagus among the squash and onion. Return to the oven for 20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked (depending on the thickness).

Serve with the watercress.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Days 5 to 8 Paleo Challenge - Changing Unhealthy Behaviours

Day 5 was a Friday and I got to thinking about the habits and rituals that are tied to food. Years ago my husband and I ALWAYS had a Chinese takeaway and a bottle of wine on  a Friday evening as a 'treat' to celebrate the weekend. Invariably I would fall asleep on the sofa and then be awake at 4am thirsty, with a headache and feeling generally awful. Not a good start to the weekend but we did it for years!

These days we very rarely eat Chinese takeaways although we often do have a glass or two of wine on a Friday. This was the first Friday evening of my paleo challenge and so I didn't have wine although I did feel a tiny bit put out that my Friday night ritual wasn't going to happen. However I went to bed clear headed, slept well all night and woke up refreshed Saturday morning. As I was doing an 8k race on Saturday that was probably just as well.

So in order to break habits you sometimes need something drastic in the first instance. Something like a sugar/alcohol/grain ban for a certain length of time can just enable you to change your behaviour and put in place something new. So, some tips for new healthy behaviours around treating yourself with food at the weekend:

  1. Instead of a glass of wine or beer pour yourself a long glass of sparkling water fresh from the fridge, add ice cubes and a squeeze of lime. Add a straw and you can make yourself believe it's a cocktail!
  2. Instead of takeaways make your own versions of stir frys or curries using good healthy ingredients. I will post some good recipes on here over the next few weeks.
  3. Substitute sugar laden cakes and biscuits for paleo friendly cakes such as the muffins you will find on this blog. They satisfy the need for cake but don't contain sugar and trans fats that will cause cravings and weight gain.
  4. If crisps are your weakness (as they are mine!) then the kale chips I published on here a couple of weeks ago are an absolute MUST. They are just so yummy!

All of the meals I have eaten during this challenge have been tasty and satisfying. The great thing about eating paleo style is that you don't feel that gnawing hunger that you feel when you are on a calorie controlled diet based around carbohydrates and the food cravings are much more manageable.

Dinner day 5 - meatballs, sweet potato chips and cabbage 

Breakfast  day 6 - kippers, scrambled egg, rocket and cherry tomatoes

Monday, 8 October 2012

Banana, sweet potato and walnut muffins

As I am doing a 30 day sugar free challenge I wanted to make some cakes that were completely sugar/honey/syrup/sweetener free. I came up with the idea of using sweet potato and banana to create the sweetness, and cinnamon and all spice to add some flavour. The texture was quite spongy but they tasted nice and made ideal nutritious afternoon snacks. They would also make a great on the go breakfast, I made mine quite small as my silicone cases are smallish, but you could make them more like a muffin size if you were using them as a  meal on the run.

You will need:

30g coconut flour (tiana do a good one)
30g butter or coconut oil melted

2 tablespoons coconut milk
3 medium eggs beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

3 tablespoons cooked, mashed sweet potato

1 small banana, mashed
1 teaspoon mixed spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 small (or half a large) carrot, grated

25g walnuts

¼ teaspoon salt
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (180 for fan oven)
Blend together the eggs, coconut oil/butter, coconut milk, vanilla essence, sweet potato, banana, walnuts, grated carrot and salt
Combine baking powder, cinnamon and mixed spice with the coconut flour and whisk into the batter until there are no more lumps
Pour batter into greased muffin tin or muffin cases (silicone are good)
Bake for 15 minutes

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Day 4 - paleo challenge

Day 4, Thursday and the weekend is approaching. I was thinking this evening that I wouldn't be able to have a glass of wine tomorrow evening - my 'treat' to celebrate the end of the week and the start of the weekend. It made me wonder why I didn't consider a nice long glass of cold sparkling water with a squeeze of lime juice (my drink of choice other evenings) a treat? My body certainly considers it more of a treat than alcohol which is of course fairly toxic especially in large quantities. So why do we consider foods that are unhealthy for us to be a treat? We are programmed to like the taste of fat and sugar; as cavemen we would gorge on fat if we got it because we didn't know when we would find it again. Nowadays fatty sugary foods are readily available and the media are very clever at making us believe that foods such as chocolate bars are the ultimate treat. Parents teach children from an early age that sweets and crisps are a treat. These foods are addictive - sugar and wheat contain substances that act like a drug which keeps us wanting more. So how do we break out of this cycle? Most importantly we can clean up our diet and eliminate grains and sugar to cut these cravings. The paleo/primal style of eating is perfect for this, if you are full, satisfied and getting proper nutrition you will be much more inclined to stick with a healthy eating plan. Give it a try and see how you feel, you can always join me, I've got 25 days to go!

What I ate today:

Breakfast -  3 egg omelette with mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, coconut oil

Lunch - Sardines cooked in coconut oil, big salad

Snack - bacon and egg muffin from my recipe on this blog

Dinner - three free range pork sausages from a local butcher, roasted veg, broccoli

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Paleo challenge - day 3

Today I have been mostly eating egg and bacon muffins! I have had 6 of them, 4 for breakfast and two as a snack this afternoon before going off to take a spin class.

When cooking dinner tonight I had a dilemma about sugar. I was making a stir fry from a recipe that we often use but realised that it uses oyster sauce which on closer inspection contains sugar and some other additives such as soy extract. As I am strictly adhering to a no sugar policy I decided to see what else I could use and found the chinese five spice powder and lo and behold that also contains sugar! So I played it very safe and just used coconut oil on the stir fried veggies and prawns. Actually it was fabulous, so much better than any stir fry sauce. I just added 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to the veggies and prawns after they were cooked and let it melt. I won't be going back to any sauces again, I know coconut oil is so much more healthy. It's a good lesson about looking carefully at ingredients and how sugar lurks in so many everyday products.

Breakfast - 4 egg and bacon muffins with spinach and rocket and nettle tea

Snack - handful of macadamia nuts, green tea

Lunch - chicken breast cooked in coconut oil, large salad, oil (macadamia nut) and vinegar (raw apple cider vinegar) dressing, green tea

Snack - 2 egg and bacon muffins (only 2 left now, need to make some more tomorrow!)

Dinner - loads of stir fry vegetables and prawns with two tablespoons of coconut oil, camomile tea

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Paleo challenge - day 2

Second day went well but I am still missing my squares of dark chocolate! It got me thinking about how people are motivated to stick with a healthy eating programme. One of the main motivators for me in this particular challenge is the fact that there is a group of us doing it together, communicating regularly on a Facebook group page to support each other. We don't know each other well personally, in fact I haven't even met a few of them but we are united in our goal. I feel accountable to these people which is spurring me on to stick with the plan. So if you want to clean up your diet or try a more strict paleo programme I recommend you find some support, either a coach or a group of like minded people, it really makes the difference.

Food today:

Breakfast - omelette with butternut squash and courgette and coconut oil

Post workout mid morning snack - stick of celery and a small portion of macadamia nuts

Lunch - cold cooked chicken, rocket, celery, tomatoes, cucumber, sunflower seeds,
macadamia nut oil and raw apple cider vinegar dressing

Mid afternoon snack - 3 egg and bacon muffins, see recipe on this blog

Dinner - cod fillet cooked in coconut oil with bacon, onion and peppers, green salad with oil salad dressing

Evening snack - handful brazil and macadamia nuts

I kept my fat intake pretty high with the coconut oil and macadamia nut oils to keep hunger at bay.

Egg and Bacon Muffins

These are absolutely delicious! Who says muffins have to be sweet? These make great portable snacks for breakfast or lunch. You can batch cook and freeze.


1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 bacon rashers,chopped
Small onion, chopped
1 pepper, chopped
Half a courgette, grated
6 eggs beaten

Salt and pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees (170 fan oven)

Fry the bacon, onion and pepper in the coconut oil until the onion is soft

Add the grated courgette to the beaten eggs and mix well.

Place 10 muffin cases on a baking tray (silicone is best)

Add a heaped teaspoon of the bacon mixture to each case until you have used it all up and top up with egg and courgette mixture

Bake in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes

Allow to cool on a wire rack

You can make these with smoked salmon instead of bacon. You can use any veggies at all and you can substitute the courgette for cauliflower. 


Monday, 1 October 2012

30 day paleo challenge - a step by step guide

A personal trainer at my gym has laid down the gauntlet to some of us keen paleo hacks - a 30 day strict paleo challenge, no dairy, no grains, no alcohol, no legumes, no sugar and of course no processed foods. For anyone who has read any of my blog you will know that I am already a big fan of paleo/primal eating and stick to it at least 80% of the time if not 90%.

Grains are easy for me to shun and I haven't eaten any wheat based grains for a few months apart from one piece of chocolate birthday cake in August. The fact that wheat is so genetically modified and pretty toxic for our bodies these days is enough to keep me on track. Funnily enough the smell of bread is better than the taste for me these days! I can get high on the smell of freshly baked bread that my husband brings home on Saturday for him and our 10 year old twins (they are not yet convinced about paleo eating but I'm working on it!).

What I will miss is dairy mainly natural yogurt and goats cheese/halloumi cheese. I also have a small amount of milk in black tea a couple of times a day so I'm giving up black tea too. I will still have a couple of cups of green tea per day. Wine of course is a nice indulgence at weekends so that will be missed and I have two meals out to contend with during the 30 days.

So, why I am doing this at all then?Well it's good to challenge myself to see it I can stick on plan for that long. It's also great for my body to rid it of any lingering toxins or intolerances.

For 30 days I'm planning on posting what I've eaten, how I'm feeling and what is keeping me going. If you feel like joining me in my 30 day challenge leave a note below and we can support each other. Each day I'll also post what I've eaten, partly as it keeps me accountable and partly to give other people ideas about what the paleo diet is all about.

Breakfast  - three egg omelette with left over veg from yesterday and a spoonful of coconut oil

Mid morning snack - kale crisps (very yummy) see my recipe on this blog

Lunch - tin mackrel, lettuce, tomatoes, celery, red pepper, half avocado, dressing made from raw apple cider vinegar, avocado oil, olive oil and macadamia nut oil

Late afternoon snack - stick of celery, small handful macadamia nuts

Dinner - free range chicken breast cooked with coconut oil and spices, half sweet potato cut into wedges, green vegetable mix (cabbage, courgettes, broccoli)

See my post tomorrow for day 2!

Sea Salted Kale Crisps

You will need:

1 bag kale, washed and left to dry (remove leaves from stalks before washing)

2 tablespoons macadamia nut/avocado oil

Good sprinkle sea salt


Put the kale in a large bowl and add the oil.

Mix well to coat all the kale with the oil

Put onto baking trays in a single layer

Bake in a preheated oven 200 degrees (180 degrees fan) for 10 - 12 minutes or until crispy and slightly blackened (but not burnt!)

Kale is packed with nutrition, containing vitamin A, vitamin C, folic acid and calcium