Saturday, 23 September 2017

Apple Cardamom Smoothie!

Delicious smoothie with a blend of apple, banana, date and cardamon in almond milk. Its easier to get my son to drink smoothies when they look like this, so I decided to whip him up a batch for breakfast. I must admit, I also love the taste of a creamy and sweet smoothie at times. I would normally add some spinach or kale to my smoothie to balance out its intense sweetness but I just wanted a simple smoothie that taste like I’m eating dessert.  This smoothie is perfect for breakfast or when you have the urge for something sweet and you would rather stay away from refined sugar and carbs. You are welcome to leave out the date or the banana and substitute with liquid stevia. I also love the addition of the chia seeds. Cardamom adds a delicious sweet spice flavour that has many healing benefits such as improved gastrointestinal function, lower cholesterol, improved circulation, anti-inflammatory and many more positive reactions on the overall health.

  • 1 1/2 almond milk
  • 1 apple cored and chopped
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 date, pitted
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately.

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Friday, 22 September 2017

Jamaican Sweet potato pudding!

To make Jamaican Sweet Potato pudding, you will need a special variety of sweet potato that has a white flesh with red skin. It is mainly sold in West Indian, Asian and African grocery stores. But fortunately it’s getting more popular here in the USA and it can even be found in Walmart. Sometimes it is also sold as ‘batata’.
Here are some of the differences between Jamaican white-flesh sweet potato and American orange-flesh sweet potato:
  1. The Jamaican white flesh sweet potato is white flesh with red skin and the American sweet potato is orange flesh with brown skin.
  2. The Jamaican sweet potato is sturdier when cooked, the American sweet potato is softer.
  3. Jamaican sweet potato is starchier in texture than American sweet potato
  4. Although they are both sweet, there is a distinct difference in their sweetness.




  1. Preheat oven 375 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round baking pan. Set aside.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and roughly chop. Grate using the grater or a food processor in batches. (If using a food processor or blender, add some coconut milk to help process)
  3. Transfer grated sweet potatoes to a large bowl, add coconut milk, coconut palm sugar, spices and salt.
  4. Stir in flour to form a mostly smooth batter.
  5. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Combine all topping ingredients in a small bowl and pour evenly on the top of the pudding.
  7. Return pudding to oven and bake for another 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.
  8. Delicious served alone or with coconut whipped cream.

Recipe notes

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
  1. I have used a combination of sweet potato and other Caribbean/African root vegetables, such as yellow yam, white African yam, taro, eddoes etc.  with great success.
  2. You can omit the spices and just use vanilla or a combination of ground coriander and cardamon. Basically, you can tweak the flavors to suit your taste buds. Cinnamon and nutmeg can be irritating to the lining of the stomach in the long run.
  3. Make sure you add extra coconut milk or water if you are using a high-speed blender. Chop the sweet potato into smaller pieces, pause and periodically scrape down the sides of the blender.
  4. Sweet potato pudding gets firmer as it cools. My husband prefers it when it is softer so I sometimes add extra liquid. I don’t care whether it’s soft or firm. So you might want to adjust liquid depending on your preferences.
  5. If you decide to grate sweet potatoes by hand, make sure you use the smallest hole on the grater to ensure pudding is smooth when baked.

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I live a healthier life now I’m free of the trappings of modernity.

When people learn of my decision to reject modern complex technology in favour of older, slower, forgotten ways, their first line of inquiry usually involves healthcare. Considering its importance to our lives, this is hardly surprising. Yet because of its emotive nature – which of us, after all, doesn’t have friends or family needing glasses, hearing aids, stents or prescription drugs? – it seems difficult to have a calm, objective discussion on the subject.

The more concerned and curious inquirers often ask me what I would do if I got seriously ill. While the long answer is complicated and nuanced, honestly, I don’t know. It’s easy to live by your values when times are good, much harder when you’re having a stroke or dying of cancer.

One thing I can say with more confidence is this: if we continue pursuing this political ideology of mass industrialism – which has given us ambulances, dialysis machines, wheelchairs and antidepressants – not only will we continue to harm our physical, emotional and mental health (leading to even more people needing such things) we’ll also wipe out much of life on Earth.
Industrial civilization, itself only 200 years old, is already causing the sixth mass extinction of species of the last half billion years. What’s that got to do with an ambulance? Well, both nothing and everything. The ambulance itself undoubtedly saves lives (including my dad’s). Yet deconstruct a single ambulance – with its plastics, oils, fluids, copper, acids, glass, rubber, PVC, minerals and steel – and I’ll show you how to lay waste to the very thing all our lives depend upon: the planet.
Big picture aside, most of what afflicts us today – cancer, obesity, mental illness, diabetes, stress, auto-immune disorders, heart disease, along with those slow killers: meaninglessness, clock-watching, and loneliness – are industrial ailments. We create stressful, toxic, unhealthy lifestyles fuelled by sugar, caffeine, tobacco, antidepressants, adrenaline, discontent, energy drinks and fast food, and then defend the political ideology that got us hooked on these things in the first place. Our sedentary jobs further deplete our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, but instead of honestly addressing the root cause of the illness we exert ever more effort, energy, genius and money trying to treat the symptoms and contain the epidemics.We’ve developed Stockholm syndrome, sympathising with the very system that has economically held us hostage since the 18th century. Industrialism, along with its partner in crime, capitalism, has even persuaded us that, in order to save ourselves and loved ones from the horrors of disease we should spray every surface with chemicals, keep children’s hands out of the dirt and muck, and try to sterilise our entire world. With our immune systems compromised, as a result, multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies then sell us products to fend off what our bodies should be able to fight off naturally.
In their cleverness, they have even persuaded us to pop painkillers for things that hardier generations would balk at. My own approach to healthcare won’t satisfy the critics, the advocates of this strange thing called progress that seems to have us all more stressed and less content. And that’s OK; I’m not trying to tell people what to do, and I’ve got no product to sell. I share it only because my editor tells me it’s the most common online inquiry.

In doing so I’m very aware that I’ve been blessed to be born without any serious long-term health issues, and that at 38 I’m relatively young. That said, I’m not convinced that it’s necessary to fall into such poor physical shape, as civilised peoples tend to do. My dad is almost 73 and he can still cycle 150km before dinner, simply because he has never stopped looking after his health.
The philosophy underlying my approach is that of any herbalist: keep the vitality in your body strong, and be mindful to do it every day. When it goes out of ease and into disease, use the appropriate plants – the original source of many industrial medicines – to bring your body and mind back into balance, and to restore optimal functioning. Your body is always aiming for balance and health, and listening to it is one of the best things you can do. Illness is feedback – the sooner you heed it and restore your vitality, the less likely it is you’ll develop more serious problems.
I find it impossible to describe my approach to health without describing my approach to life. I wouldn’t dream of suggesting that this is a prescriptive solution for anyone else; but with the exception of a voluntary vasectomy, I haven’t seen a doctor or nurse for 20 years.
I pick my own fruit and vegetables from the garden and hedgerows and eat them as fresh, raw and unwashed as is optimal. I cycle 120km each week to lakes and rivers, where I then spent three evenings of that week relaxing and catching the following day’s dinner. I work outdoors, getting sweaty and dirty doing things I enjoy. I made the tough decision to live in the natural world so that I could breathe clean air, drink pure water and create a life that allows others the same. I wash with water, and water only. I use no chemicals inside or outside the house. I wear as few clothes as I need, I use nothing electrical – no fridge, no screens, no phone. I avoid sugar, caffeine and stress like the plague.
Sleep comes and goes with the light – I find six hours of peaceful rest sufficient. If and when I do feel ill or out of balance, my girlfriend Kirsty (who illustrates these articles and is teaching herself herbalism) recommends a plant from our herb patch and I slowly feel vital again. She’s currently drying yarrow, horsetail, silverweed, self-heal, calendula and chamomile for the winter months.
I’ve suffered from hay fever – something becoming more common as CO2 levels in the atmosphere increase – since I was a child. These days I eat a handful of plantain leaves – a natural antihistamine – three or four times a day, and that sorts it. Plantain comes out just before hay fever season and goes to seed shortly afterward, and is common in the cracks of city pavements and lawns as it is in the countryside.

I appreciate that this may sound unrealistic to many. When I was working 60 hours a week in a low-paid job in the City, 10 years ago, it did to me too. I only managed to do it by stripping away modernity’s bullshit, learning to live with the land, and reducing my bills down to zero. Simplicity in these times is hard won, but I’ve found that it’s worth it.
I can only speak for myself, and I support everyone’s decision to care for their own health as they see fit. Ultimately, we’re all going to die and I wish to go out like the American writer and conservationist Edward Abbey: by taking off to the wilderness, where wildlife can feed on my dead body just as I have done on theirs. It seems only fair.
Two things, in this respect, I find important. One is that like Henry David Thoreau once remarked, I do not safely reach death and “discover that I had not lived”. Second, that I don’t cling to my own fading light so desperately that I extinguish it for all else. Like all good guests, it’s wise not to overstay your welcome.
 This article was written by hand and posted to an editor at the Guardian, who typed it up to go online. Get in touch with Mark Boyle, the Guardian’s Living Without Technology columnist, here or in the comments below.
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BRITISH and NATIONAL WRESTLING CHAMPION, and OWNER of RIGHT PATH FITNESS - KEITH MCNIVEN provides his 5 favourite exercises to help dramatically improve your sex life – allowing you to last longer, use more adventurous positions and generally be a ‘freak in the streets’. And you can do them all from the comfort of your home! KEITH says – “Just like any form of physical exertion, there are great ways to improve stamina, technique and strength during sex, and implementing these simple but incredibly effective techniques into your workout routine could see you go from sex flump to sex God/Goddess in no time.”

1. GLUTE BRIDGE The glute bridge literally involves thrusting your hips in a rather bedroom-like manner, so it is an absolute must to build your sexual skills. It works your core, hamstrings and your glutes, keeping your body strong, toned and ready for action. HOW TO DO IT: Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and knees up, hip-width apart. Rest your arms on the floor and slowly lift your bottom from the mat upwards, until you’re resting on the tops of your shoulders with your back off the ground completely. You can add a bar with weights across your hips in the gym to increase the intensity.

2. INCHWORM Similar to the plank, but more advanced. Works on your core, strengthens the lower back muscles and helps to keep those shoulders strong and those glutes pumped - all essential assets for great bedroom skills. HOW TO DO IT: Start from a standing position, bend down and gradually use your hands to take your weight and walk yourself out to a plank position. Hold this position for a couple of seconds, and then walk yourself back up to a standing position. This move requires upper body strength, tensed tummy muscles and a lot of determination. The stronger you get, the faster you’ll be able to get up and down.

3. FIRE HYDRANTS They may be the oddest-looking exercise of the bunch, but Fire Hydrants are certainly not to be sniffed at when it comes to sex god-making. They tone your bum and thighs and help you manoeuvre into the more unique positions that we’re sure your partner will thank you for. HOW TO DO IT: Start on your hands and knees with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees directly underneath your hips. Tense your butt and your stomach as you lift one leg straight out to the side and upwards towards the ceiling. Gradually release the control to return to your starting position, and then go again with the opposite leg.

4. V LEG UPS Like a sit up on steroids, nailing your V leg ups will bring you a core of steel, and the ability to navigate the whole Kama Sutra should you so wish! HOW TO DO IT: Start sat on the floor with your legs straight in front of you, parted in the centre in a V shape. Lean back slowly and as you do so, lift your legs upwards to a 45-degree angle so that your body recreates a V shape. Keeping your tummy tensed and your balance strong will ensure you really feel this move working. It’s tough on the abs, and the slower you get into position whilst tensing, the more it’s going to work those muscles.

5. RESISTANCE BAND KNEELING HIP FLEXORS With a peachy butt, great sex doth maketh (we’re pretty sure that was in a Shakespeare play). These will help work that peach and practice your all-important thrusting. HOW TO DO IT: Tie a resistance band around a pole or something strong and sturdy. Put the other half around your hips. Get yourself into a kneeling position. Sit back on your heels and slowly kneel upwards until you’re in a strong kneeling position, tensing your buttocks at the top. Go slow and steady to really feel the burn on this.

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Thursday, 21 September 2017

Skin is outward expression of inner health!

The secret to beautiful skin at any age is  a healthy lifestyle plus a good measure of vitamins and antioxidant skincare regimen, Dr. Linda Miles, cofounder and chief formulator of Derma E, told Lifestyle.
“The skin is the outward expression of your inner health. What we’re trying to accomplish is beautiful skin at any age,” Miles said. “We can’t ignore the fact that we have to have a healthy lifestyle to have beautiful skin. But you need to look for antioxidants with rich skin care.”
Derma E, a topnotch, multi-awarded skincare product line available at Healthy Options, is 100-percent vegan, GMO-free, cruelty-free company, and comes in recyclable packaging. It has been highly recommended for women with skin problems such as itching, cracked skin, spider veins, blemishes, pimples, scars and age spots.
“Skincare regimen is much like exercising—you don’t get to do it once a week and expect it to work. It requires commitment,” said Miles.
Natural products, Miles added, are generally gentler on the skin, and is just as powerful, if not more powerful, than synthetics.
“Natural ingredients are so good because of its complexity. It’s a multidimensional ingredient that is very complex. Our bodies are very complex so it responds better to that complexity,” she said.
She added that Derma E is the most tested derma lab company in the United States, and is also the most awarded. Derma E is paraben-free and contains ingredients like Ester-C, peptides, alpha lipoic acid, and vitamins A, C and E. But its research and development team goes beyond antioxidants.
Super antioxidants
Today, its popular line, Age Defying, has super antioxidants included in its ingredients, Miles said. But unlike most companies that only sprinkle a “marketing amount” of antioxidants and super antioxidants, Derma E only produce natural skin care that actually gives results.
Buying a firming cream from Derma E, for example, will give you firmer skin, or its Vitamin C products will give you age protection and correction (vitamin C helps to clear up the age spots). So when it says its products have super antioxidants, it comes in amounts that truly is beneficial to the skin, she said.
“We formulate our products with high concentration of active ingredients. When you buy a product you’re gonna get what you paid for,” Miles said.
The topically applied antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E and beta carotene, were able to significantly reduce skin aging, but those are weak antioxidants, she said. Its Age Defying line contains two powerful super antioxidants in one cream—pycnogenol and astaxanthin—that are 50 to 500 times more potent than vitamin E.
Pycnogenol and astaxanthin are also anti-inflammatory. Pycnogenol stabilizes the capillary to encourage it to pick up and retain fluid, and thus it can benefit under-eye puffiness as well as rosacea, a common, chronic, incurable, adult acne-like skin condition.
Pycnogenol has also been shown to be 50 times more powerful than vitamin E and 20 times more effective than vitamin C in neutralizing free radicals that cause age damage to the skin. It helps fight and reduce the visible signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Astaxanthin is perhaps the most powerfulof all antioxidant anti-inflammatories, stimulating defensive skin cells to seek out and eliminate problems. Astaxanthin never becomes a pro-oxidant, meaning that it protects your cells against oxidation, or decay or decomposition. It also increases skin moisture, moisture retention, elasticity, as well as promote skin smoothness, decreasing fine lines and wrinkles.
Astaxanthin is a key ingredient in its Age Defying line to help prevent and reduce signs of aging and skin irregularities. A clinical research study by physician Debasis Bagchi at Creighton University demonstrated that astaxanthin can eliminate free radicals 6,000 times more effectively than vitamin C, 800 times more than CoQ10, 550 times more than Vitamin E and green tea, 75 times more than alpha lipoic acid, and 20 times more than beta-carotene.
“The skin has a 28-day cycle. Every 28 days you have brand-new skin, so every day we lose a few skin cells. By using our products, you can start to see results in 10 days, but to get the full results you’ll need to wait four to six weeks,” Miles said.

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What does the future of peppers look like?

Are peppers a superfood? Which pepper goes best with drinks? Is there such a thing as 'beer peppers'? The consumption of peppers is on the rise. How do we best play into this as a sector to guarantee a healthy future. Are we all offering a super healthy and super fresh product? How do we ensure that the consumer chooses to buy peppers?

Syngenta organised the Pepper Event - What does the future of peppers look like? on September 12. During the event they looked at different trends in the sector, both in the area of production and consumer behaviour. This was all intended to inspire the sector to succeed in the future.

Unforced atmosphere, inspiring presentations, a lot of interaction and discussions, special location

In the afternoon around 50 invitees from the entire sector got together on the SS Rotterdam. Upon arrival it was clear that Syngenta has its place in the pepper sector. As a seed breeder, Syngenta is second worldwide in the block pepper, with varieties for all kinds of cultivations in all types of climate.

Participants were received with a cup of coffee and a sweet treat on the boat before the actual programme started.

Kurt Lefebvre, Vegetable Seeds Business Unit Head of Syngenta looked back at 150 years of innovation in Syngenta, where, with a lot of knowledge, passion and a strong team, they are working on peppers every day. With the recently introduced red Gina, a variety with strong potential, Syngenta clearly indicates that they want to participate in the red pepper market.

After a short, playful quiz that sharpened the wits of the participants, Patrick Zwaan (Rabobank Horticulture Sector Manager) provided an overview of the Dutch pepper sector, where the opportunities are and how they can work towards a robust business in 2026. Rabobank sees a lot of growth potential in the sector and is very active in guiding companies.

Rik Lootens, Global Portfolio Manager at Syngenta, then took a look at Southern Europe: production areas, sales strategies, developments and evolution. This brought forward where the opportunities are for the Dutch pepper grower!

Edwin Vels (a Consumer Data Expert) took the audience into the world of the consumer and how they look at products in the supermarket. He explains what commodity goods are and how we can better position our healthy, good quality, fresh pepper in the supermarket. His presentation "The shopper and user moments are central! Growth through differentiation in assortment" made the participants think. No one wants to pay too much for sugar or petrol! The same goes for ordinary peppers! But they might be willing to pay more for a (forgotten) homegrown superfood, which has a lot of variety in its use! Through researching who buys and consumes what and when they do it, the sector can profit from a better image and strong market/price development. Obviously through excellent collaboration in the sector. 

After the presentations there was good interaction between the audience and the speaker, where there was a lot of interest for the topics discussed. Finally, all participants could enjoy a buffet dinner in an unforced and friendly atmosphere. Discussions continued with a lot of enthusiasm: participants had been made curious, inspired and made conscious of the challenges that the entire sector has to mobilise. Mission accomplished!

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Building a healthy relationship with the gym and exercising is one of the most rewarding things you can do. There’s nothing quite like the post-workout buzz to brighten up your day, make you feel accomplished and ready to tackle the world. But our minds can be our worst enemies when it comes to exercise. The journey to achieving our goals can be plagued with negative thoughts - especially at the gym. We often tell ourselves we’re not good enough. We pick ourselves apart for not being at the finish line and put pressure on ourselves to achieve dramatic results too quickly. However, with time, patience, commitment and determination, you will see changes - you just need to believe in yourself.
Here are 5 negative thoughts to stop thinking of the gym and how to combat them.

1. Everyone is looking at me and laughing. No, they’re not – they’re looking at themselves. Everyone at the gym is focused on their own personal goals, progress and workout. No one will be looking at you, and definitely not judging you. If they do look at you it will be an acknowledgment that you came to the gym whilst others didn’t. Be proud of yourself - building up the courage to actually get to the gym and workout is often harder than the workout itself! Build your confidence by buying snazzy new gym gear and listening to a playlist that gets you pumped!

2. I’m not fit enough to be here. A gym is a place for absolutely everyone - and everyone starts somewhere. You may not feel at your peak physicality right now, but after a few consistent months in the gym, you will most certainly be on your way there. Picture your future, fit self and make that your motivation. Don’t walk away and never give up. Everyone you see in the gym had a starting point. Your journey is just beginning, so keep going and think of your end results.

3. I don’t know what I’m doing. Figuring out which types of exercises you need to be doing can be a bit of a nightmare in the gym - especially when you see others navigating machines you’ve never even heard of before. The first step is to relax. Ask the staff or personal trainers at the gym for some tips on where to start – most gyms offer an induction session to get you started. If you’re still a bit nervous to ask, then watch some of the many exceptional blog posts and YouTube videos out there showing you different types of exercises that target different results and areas. Or why not go to a fitness class? Attending a class will teach you some new moves that you can start to incorporate into your own workouts, and exercise in a group will remind you that you’re not alone on this fitness journey.

4. I’m never going to burn off all the calories I ate yesterday. Once you stop viewing the gym as a punishment, then implementing regular workouts into your life will become so much simpler. By banishing the idea that exercise is for burning off everything you ate, you will be less likely to be disappointed at the end of a workout. If you had a bad day yesterday, draw a line and start again. Don’t go to the gym to punish yourself - go because it makes you feel good, you enjoy it and you know it will give you great results.

5. I had a terrible workout. We all have off days. Sometimes you get to the gym and your body just won’t cooperate. Perhaps you find yourself struggling to lift as heavy, or struggling to run as far. Don’t worry - you’re only human. Don’t feel disheartened - any exercise is better than no exercise! Just be determined to come back and smash your next workout even harder.

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