Thursday, May 4, 2017

How to make better (food) choices

This is not just about food. We have to make tens or hundreds tiny choices daily and only some of them directly relate to our food.

Yet in larger context, the food is the driving force behind the way we live.

What do we listen to when asking internal questions? Is it our logic or knowledge (our mind)? Is it our heart or our emotion (ego?), craving? Is it our experience? Traditions? Or we call our friend? Do we ask questions at all? Or do we just run an automatic pre-recorded “tape” of our life?

My clients are clever and intelligent people and already understand what good food means today. After 3 months of coaching they have even better understanding and motivation. Do they always choose good food? No.

Do I always choose to eat well? No.

Sometimes it’s a choice between ‘eating bad’ or ‘not eating’. The ‘not eating’ part is becoming popular through movement of Paleo and intermittent fasting. The ‘not eating’ part has always been embedded in our culture and is practised to some extent in nations who take fasting periods of year seriously. It takes time to re-learn this ‘not eating’ part… or should I say 'un-learn' the way we eat today? There are several stages to grow through, before fasting becomes easy, natural and won’t cause more harm than good. Please always seek advice from sources you trust.

What makes us to choose wrong food is not completely up to us. Many times we just don’t know what’s inside that meal. If the packaging says "healthy", "natural" or "good for you" it means absolutely nothing! If it has NO packaging, there is a better chance this food is fine. Much like some houses – they have attractive front cover, layer of new paint, or solid entrance gate, but rooms can be uninviting, cold and full of toxic air and mould.

Much too often we end up hungry in places or situations we have no choice. We cannot always carry a suitcase of food with us.  Do not stress if there is no choice.

Frustration can weaken digestion and make it all even worse. Look at the situation as an experiment, if you are really hungry and have no allergies, try again your old fast food. Observe your reactions and feelings of well-being days after.  Do you feel slightly unwell, crampy, forgetful or irritated...? It might be a good sign your body is clean enough to sense what's bad for it! Next time, be better prepared, seek different solutions.

If we do have various choices (as we mostly do), it should be a huge celebration and reason for happiness and feelings of resource abundance. By the way - did you know that feelings of 'resource abundance' is one of the mechanisms to increase gut serotonin, hence the gut motility to prevent constipation?

Embrace the situation when the choice is wide and do the best you can.

Why choose food wrapped up in plastic if we can have it without? Less waste, less estrogenic plasticisers, less wrong kind of bacteria. Why choose drinks in plastic PET bottle if we can filter tap water and add lemon, put it into glass or steel bottle, or even drink directly from the spring. Why choose boxes of industrially made flavoured snacks, if the aisles (or markets) are full of fresh vegetables, fruit, whole nuts, some of it organic and some even local and seasonal. Why to spray our home with toxic “air fresheners” and our bodies with toxic perfumes if we can open window or use few drops of pure essential oils diluted in suitable base, for whatever use we need.

Celebrate your freedom of choice, and uniqueness of your ideal diet and lifestyle.

We all have slightly different needs and we should be proud and free to ask for it. If the people around do not understand yet, we have an opportunity (and calling) to become creative and have our small mission in this world. We can show others a different way of life, be an example, or try to explain, if they care... Or we can learn to ignore the situation or even leave such place if it becomes too detrimental and people are just not ready. This may be very hard decision at first but the good side of any crisis is that it can bring us to those who vibrate on similar frequency. Such move can change our life and make us happier and healthier.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hot Green Salad with Gluten Free Grains

Asparagus & Brussels sprouts hot salad.

A savory or salty breakfast - in contrast to a sweet one - can be a powerful strategy in balancing daily blood sugar levels.

In the mornings, the body is more sensitive to sugary and starchy foods than later on in the afternoon or the evenings. Eating sweet or other high-glycemic foods first thing in the morning will make the blood glucose levels imbalanced for the rest of that day. It can bring on the infamous early-afternoon slump (coffee anyone?), headaches, anger, acne break-outs, sugar cravings, stimulant or alcohol cravings, depression and so on… The only way to fix this roller coaster is TO RESET the body OVERNIGHT with good sleep and START AGAIN - with a savory low glycemic load breakfast. Ideally - NO stimulants such as coffee, black or green tea (there are reasons connected to cortisol and related problems of rising blood sugar by other means).

The recipe for my favorite breakfast has developed over time. I tend to have it as my first meal of the day, sometimes as an elevenses or an early lunch.  It can be packed into a food flask and taken out. I like to rotate buckwheat and quinoa, occasionally millet, using various vegetables seasonally available.

INGREDIENTS (1 person):

130g cooked buckwheat groats (or quinoa, millet)

160g green vegetables
favourite choices:
courgette + leek
asparagus + Brussels sprouts
celery+spring onion

You can combine any vegetables but if you have delicate digestion, avoid combining cruciferous (cabbage family such as Brussels, kale) with onion family (leek, spring onion).

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

1 clove of crushed garlic

1/3 tsp of cinnamon

20-40g coconut oil / butter / ghee

For better digestion add some:

Lemon juice
Horseradish paste

Two portions of veggies is a good start for the day ahead...


GRAINS:  can be prepared beforehand and stored in fridge overnight.

1. Rinse buckwheat and leave it soaking for a while. Discard water.

2. Cover up well with hot water from the kettle (2/3 grain, 1/3 water above the grain).

3. Cook for 8-10 minutes half-covered on low flame. Switch off and keep hot by placing thick towel over the lid.

4. After 30 minutes the buckwheat should have soaked up the leftover water, but still stay firm, not mushy or too dry.


5. Thinly cut up the chosen veggies. Brussels, onion, leeks and grated garlic is best to leave standing for 5-10 minutes to activate their health-promoting substances.

6. Stir-fry on fat for up to 6 minutes, adding water if needed, and the rest of ingredients.

7. Add cooked buckwheat, mix together.

Celery sticks & Brussels sprouts hot salad. Share or leave half for later (elevenses?).

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Wild New Year Sauerkraut Soup

Why wild? 

1) Smoked-to-order small piece of Scottish wild boar meat will give our soup typical smoky, salty taste, while is cleaner and more nutritious than commercially produced and plastic-packaged pork or beef. After 3-5 hours of slow cooking in crock pot, this meat is deliciously soft and still full of flavour.

2) Wild-fermented sauerkraut, which was thinly sliced head of cabbage left to wild fermentation in salty brine. This kind of fermentation is called ‘wild’, as there are no additional cultures of bacteria or yeasts added, such as those used in fermentation of yoghurt, kefir or skyr. Wild fermentation means the cabbage has its own bacterial cultures present on leaves, which in suitable conditions (without air) produce lacto-fermentation and change sweet taste of leaves to mildly acidic. Salt brine stops unwanted cultures growing and the final effect, after 3-4 months of bacterial action, is powerful savoury flavour bursting with probiotics and vitamins.

3) Mushrooms of Boletus species are the third wild ingredient. They were gathered by my family in clean and reasonably wild forests of central Europe during the Summer of 2016. It was unusually suitable year for sprouting mushrooms everywhere we looked while outdoors. We dried them specifically for this traditional Winter soup.


MEAT – ideally smoked piece attached to the bone (joint, ribs etc), clean non-commercial beef or wild quality (boar, duck) or feel free to use a mixture of more types. Roast it first, if using beef or duck, pour fat aside. Fat gets oxidised during long cooking and can also be hard on digestion.

If no meat is available, meat stock (bone broth) made previously will do.

PAPRIKA SAUSAGE – 3x 10cm piece should do for up to 3 litre pot. Try to find traditional smoked, cured or fermented sausage in natural casing of intestine (in the UK can be found as Hungarian, Polish or Chorizo is also similar and suitable type).

SAUERKRAUT – usually 400-500g for up to 3 litre pot.
DRIED MUSHROOMS – wild varieties, 1-3 handfuls
CARAWAY SEEDS about 1 tsp
TOMATO PUREE (small tin or ½ tube) or PAPRIKA PUREE or KETCHUP or mixture of all...
ONION – medium (or without onion)
FAT to fry onion, can be from roasting meat, or butter, olive oil, lard, even coconut oil (3-4 TBSP)
PAPRIKA SPICE (ideally smoked or Hungarian) – 1 heaped tsp
FLOUR or STARCH – 1 level TBSP (I use gluten free mixture)
GARLIC  4-5 cloves


You may need to estimate some amounts depending on size of meat you wish to cook, how much soup you want to make (limited by your biggest pot :), how thick you like the soup.

1. Place all meat and bones, except sausages, in a large pot or slow-cooker, cover up with water, add good quality natural salt, 1 tsp to begin with. Remember sauerkraut and smoked meat can both be very salty.

2. While the meat is cooking, add dried wild mushrooms and whole grain of your choice. I prefer millet, quinoa but pearl barley or rice will do. You can add couple of whole potatoes instead of grain. None of these ingredients are necessary but will add extra texture and body.

3. AFTER 1/2 HOUR: Add bay leaves, caraway, whole black pepper.

4. Cut up fresh paprika to 1 cm thin slices, get ready tomato/paprika puree or ketchup. Add everything to the pot.

5. If you think the sauerkraut you have is too salty, gently wash it under water using strainer, but do not over-do it, otherwise you lose too much flavour. Sometimes helps to strain well its juices and no rinsing is needed. Add to the pot.

6. Add sausage(s). Do not cut them up too small beforehand, they loose too much flavour.

7. When meat is soft, get ready to make roux (soup/sauce thickener). Steps 7.-11. are not necessary, some believe cabbage and onions do not do well together.. Its up to you.

8. Chop up onion to small pieces. Leave to stand 5-10 minutes to activate enzymes.

9. Heat enough fat in small pan to take all the onion.

10. When onion start to darken, add 1 leveled TSP of starch or flour, mix it well for about a minute. Then switch the fire off and mix in 1 tsp of paprika spice. Immediately add a cup of cold water. Sometimes I do not use any flour, if soup already looks thick enough after adding too much grains.

11. Add thickening onion mixture to the main pot.

12. Slice garlic, leave to stand 5-10 minutes to activate enzymes and then add to soup.

13. As with all soups, it tastes better on the following day. You can leave it until later to adjust the taste if needed. If too sour, it helps to add a bit of sugar or dried plums.