Strawberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt Terrine

Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries etc) are by far the most nutrient dense of all fruits, and there is now solid evidence that the plant compounds and antioxidants found in berries may protect the brain from age-related disease. Strawberries are an exceptionally rich source of antioxidants associated with numerous health benefits from heart health, lowering blood sugar and helping to prevent cancer. Strawberries are particularly high in vitamin C (a potent antioxidant), manganese (important for multiple biological processes), folate (essential for cell function and tissue growth) and potassium (regulates blood pressure).  I use non-fat Greek yogurt for this recipe as fat is added-back using hazelnuts (hazelnuts, like olive oil, contain healthier monounsaturated fatty acids). Dark chocolate is of course a delicious, nutrient dense add-on but feel free to leave it out if you prefer.  The terrine can be prepared up to 1 week in advance and stored in the freezer.

Serves 8 | Preparation Time: 15-20 minutes + 8hrs to set | Rating: Moderate

You Will Need:

  • 1x 8-by-4-inch loaf tin
  • Plastic wrap
  • 2x 500g tubs of 0% fat Greek yogurt (or shop bought plain frozen yogurt, softened slightly)
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder
  • 250g fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 60g chopped toasted hazelnuts
  • 50g 85% cacao dark chocolate


  1. Line an 8-by-4 inch loaf tin with plastic wrap, leaving a few inches of overhang all around.
  2. In a bowl combine the yogurt (or softened frozen yogurt), honey and vanilla and set aside (*see recipe notes).
  3. Blend the strawberries with a splash of water until pureed.
  4. Fold the strawberry puree gently into the yogurt to create a marble effect (don’t stir through completely).
  5. Pour half of the yogurt & strawberry mixture into the loaf tin. Tap the tin gently onto an even surface to distribute the mixture (store the rest of the yogurt in the fridge until ready to use for the second layer).
  6. Sprinkle the hazelnuts on top to cover the yogurt completely. Then roughly chop the dark chocolate and do the same.
  7. Cover lightly and freeze for about 2 hours until the top is partially set. Remove from the freezer and pour over the remaining yogurt mixture.
  8. Cover completely with the plastic wrap and place back into the freezer for at least 8 hours (or overnight) until completely set (you can store in the freezer for up to five days).
  9. To serve, carefully remove the terrine from the loaf tin and place onto a plate. Peel of the plastic wrap and cut the terrine into 1/2-inch thick slices.


*Recipe Notes: using plain Greek yogurt without an ice cream maker can cause ice crystals to form in the terrine. To serve allow the terrine to soften at room temperature before slicing using a knife rinsed under hot water. The alternative is to churn the yogurt in an ice-cream maker before adding the strawberry purée, or to use a shop bought plain frozen yogurt (again, soften before use).

Created by: Pamela Ryan Qualified Nutritionist**


Instagram: @the_healthonist

** Pamela Ryan (Dip.NT, NTOI) is a Qualified Nutritional Therapist recognised by the Nutritional Therapists of Ireland (NTOI), the professional association supporting qualified nutritional therapists. All NTOI members study biomedicine and nutrition for a minimum of 3 years at a recognised college, are trained in clinical practice and must comply with NTOI requirements for Continuous Professional Development (CPD). Nutritional Therapy is an evidence-based approach to maximising health through individually formulated nutrition and lifestyle strategies. Pamela continues to attend training and lectures on a regular basis through various bodies including The Institute of Functional Medicine and The Institute of Health Sciences. These trainings help her to gain increased expertise in the ever advancing field of nutrition.



Toast. Pretty much universally adored and missed most by low carb aficionados (though they would completely deny it!!). The fact is bread is perfectly fine as part of a balanced diet. But I have only one rule. Please get yourself a decent loaf of real bread! That is, bread that doesn’t have a ‘best before’ date or more than 3-4 main ingredients (unless you are buying gluten-free). My top recommendation is a good quality sourdough.

Sourdough is more digestible and nutritious than industrial loaves thanks to naturally occurring acids that ferment the dough to bread down phytates (which impair nutrient absorption) and gluten (which may cause intolerances, though not to be confused with celiac disease). This fermentation process makes nutrients more available for absorption, and renders simple sugars less available, which may help to control blood sugar, particularly for people with diabetes.

This is not so much a strict recipe as it is a source of ideas for making a slice of toast into a nutritious, energy sustaining, mid-afternoon or evening snack. My advice is to stay away from overly processed shop bought spreads and try to make your own, or purchase whole, nut or seed spreads with no added sugars or oils. Real Irish butter, goats butter, olive oil or even coconut oil are also perfectly fine options if you’re not a fan of nut and seed spreads.

Serves: one to multiple

You will need:

  • Bread: 1 slice per person (I used a small loaf of german-style rye sourdough bread).
  • Nut Butters* (1 tbsp per person): choose from Meridian Almond butter, Meridian Peanut Butter and Coconut Butter.
  • Fruits: choose banana and avocado (3-4 slices per person), or blueberries (2 tbsp per person).
  • Nuts, Seeds & Sprinkles (1/3 tbsp) per person: 85% cacao dark chocolate (grated), black sesame seeds, coconut flake, ground cinnamon.

Topping Combinations featured:

  • Savoury: Crunchy Almond butter, Avocado & Black Sesame Seeds
  • A bit posh: Coconut butter, Crushed Blueberries & dark chocolate
  • Old-school: Crunchy Peanut butter, banana, cinnamon & coconut shavings


  1. Simple! Lay out small bowls and jars of your favourite toppings. Toast the bread and get creative!

To make your own coconut butter: dump 250g unsweetened desiccated coconut into a high-speed food processor and pulse for 8-10 minutes until smooth and runny. Decant into an airtight jar and store at room temperature. Note: coconut butter tends to harden even in the warmest cupboards. To soften, submerge the jar in warm water for 10 minutes before use.

To make other nut butters: you only need ONE ingredient to make any nut butter! Nuts! If you roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 150C (350F) you will get a lovely creamy texture as roasting helps to release the natural oils in nuts.  My favourites are walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds. Macadamias are also great but quite pricey! Cool the nuts slightly before tossing into a food processor and blending for about 8-10 minutes until smooth and creamy.  Store in an airtight jar.

Option Serving Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Almond Butter, Avocado + Black Sesame Seeds 1 slice 266 15.7g 8g 26.7g 2.6g 5.8g
Coconut Butter, Blueberry & dark chocolate shavings 1 slice 239 13g 3.5g 28g 6.2g 3g
Peanut butter, banana & coconut 1 slice 259 11.1g 8.1g 32.6g 9.3g 4.4g



Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores


If you’ve been following my recipes over the last six weeks you’ll have read before that I tend to recommend a low carbohydrate, higher protein and fat breakfast; in particular for clients with goals to lose weight or regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.

I understand this can be a challenge, and cooked breakfasts often seem to take longer than a bowl of cereal. However I guarantee this recipe should take no longer than 10 minutes tops, and you will benefit from more stable energy levels throughout the morning and less sweet cravings as the day progresses.  I also like to recommend introducing some vegetables at breakfast, either in smoothie form or with eggs and avocado (it just makes that ‘5 to 7-a-day’ target less daunting!).

Eggs are such a great source of protein and micronutrients such as vitamin B12 and choline.  Poached, scrambled, fried or baked are all great. This is a one-pan recipe, and you can easily add more eggs if feeding a family.

Hardy winter greens such as kale, chard, cabbage and cavolo nero are cheap and easy to find at this time of year as well as being packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Serve straight from the pan with some sliced avocado or a tablespoon of plain natural yogurt, chilli flakes and a squeeze of vibrant lemon juice for a morning metabolism boost!

Serves: 2

Cooking time: 10 minutes


  • 1 tbsp coconut oil*
  • 100g brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach or chard, roughly chopped
  • 1 big handful of curly kale (purple or green), roughly chopped
  • 4 free range eggs
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • To serve (optional): Juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 avocado, peeled and halved or 2tbsp full-fat natural yogurt (unsweetened)


  1. In a large skillet melt the coconut oil over a medium heat and add the mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes and add the spinach/chard and the kale as well as a tablespoon of water.
  2. As the greens begin to wilt, make 4 little ‘gaps’ in the greens for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the pan, cover with a lid and cook until the whites are set and the yolks still runny.
  3. Sprinkle with chilli flakes, sea salt and pepper and serve with sliced avocado or a dollop of natural yogurt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Serving Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
per serving 241 17.4g 17g 4.5g 2g 4.2g
per serving with avocado + lemon 360 28g 18.4g 11.3g 2.8g 9.2g
per serving with yogurt + lemon 280 19.3g 19.1g 8.3g 5.2g 4.2g



Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores


Chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses with an abundance of essential fatty acids, protein and fibre. In fact they are the highest source of fibre of all seeds containing 5g per serving!  Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet can help to regulate blood sugar, keeps your gut healthy and reduces blood cholesterol levels.

This magical seed is also incredibly versatile and can be used in porridge, smoothies or as chia pudding or snack pots that are both satisfying and portable, so you can take them to the office or pack them in a kid’s lunchbox.

There is nothing better than vibrant citrus to invigorate the senses and counter the affects of the afternoon slump. I created this superfood snack-pot with maca powder for a nourishing boost. Maca is considered an ‘adaptogen’, as it can help the body to naturally adapt to stressors such as a demanding job, a busy schedule or intense physical exercise. Instead of reaching for the chocolate bar or biscuit tin during a sluggish afternoon, try this ultra-low sugar snack and sail through the rest of your day!

(serves 2)


  • 2 tbsp Chia Bia whole chia seeds*
  • Juice and grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 100ml almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nua Naturals Vanilla powder*
  • 1 teaspoon Nua Naturals Maca powder*
  • 1-2 heaped tablespoon plain greek yogurt (or plain coconut yogurt)
  • 2-3 drops of liquid stevia (optional)
  • Coconut flakes (optional)

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores


  1. Pour the chia seeds into a a container with a lid (I use a glass jam jar) and add the lemon juice and almond milk and stir.
  1. Add the vanilla and maca, fasten the lid and shake vigorously and then leave aside for 30 minutes (or overnight) to thicken.
  1. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and stir in the yogurt and stevia drops. Divide the mixture into two small glass pots and sprinkle with the lemon zest and some coconut flakes.
Nutrition Facts (per 1 Serving)
Calories 159
Fat (g) 10.4
Protein (g) 5
Carbohydrate (g) 11.8
Fibre (g) 5.5
Sugar (g) 1.2



Instagram: @the_healthonist

Sugar – more sour than sweet?

Donal ClarkeHow sweet is your tooth? Are you addicted to sugar? A lot of us may be. Too high an intake of sugar is undoubtedly linked to the global increase in diabetes and obesity. One of our pharmacists, Donal Clarke, tells us about his journey towards ‘free-sugar-free’ living and shares some tips on how to reduce your sugar intake.

I work as a supervising pharmacist in LloydsPharmacy Greystones. About two years ago I noticed I was getting very dry-mouthed at night over three consecutive days. I regularly help patients in the pharmacy with the use of their blood sugar monitors and I confirmed that my overnight or morning fasting sugar level was above the established range of a healthy person. My slightly elevated sugar levels put me on the road to entering the bracket of people who would be considered prediabetic.

Type II Diabetes is a chronic disease affecting ever more of the world’s population and is one which carries a series of painful and life-impeding complications. It is chiefly characterised by the body’s inability to maintain normal sugar levels following the ingestion of food. I was motivated to begin researching how to reverse or halt the progression of elevated blood sugars from turning into prediabetes or eventually Type II Diabetes. There are individual cases and a growing number of actual studies which have shown that losing a significant amount of body weight and maintaining this lower weight can at least temporarily reverse both conditions.

I was determined to recover my own normal blood sugar levels and did so over a long month of reduced calorie intake and strict avoidance of sucrose. In four weeks I lost about half a stone in weight and by the end of week two of the “diet” my blood sugar levels returned to a normal range.

The problem with any crash diet is that statistically most people return to the same or a higher weight within a year. This is most likely due to the difficulty we encounter in maintaining healthy behaviours. It can be difficult to keep to a regular exercise regime and eating only ‘good food’ unless there is the correct environment to encourage those behaviours. For exercise this might be an obligation or commitment to a club or society to show up to practice. For food it might mean cooking the vegetable-based meal in larger batches for the rest of the working week.

How much sugar should we be taking in?

Last year the World Health Organisation (WHO) finally made a recommendation for the daily intake of ‘free sugars’. ‘Free Sugars’ is a term coined by the WHO and basically means any food which sugar is added to, i.e. not naturally containing sugar. They recommended less than 10% of your daily intake of calories to be from ‘free sugars’ and that if only 5% of your daily calories were from such sugars this would be great for your health. 5% calorie intake from sugar equates to approximately 25 grams of sugar. The WHO applies these recommended restrictions to processed foods rather healthy foods (since people who only eat fruit and vegetables usually have no health problems!). However to put these figures in perspective, you would get 25 grams or more of sugar in a day from eating:

Sugar Table

The reason they have given a recommended intake for free sugars is that these sugars have been shown to be directly attributable to the growth of obesity and Type II Diabetes. Specifically, soft drinks alone are thought to have contributed to the death of 25,000 people in America in 2010 due to complications of metabolic syndrome related disease like diabetes and heart disease.

Eggs, meat, nuts, vegetables, quinoa and many of the other healthy foods we can eat are all low in sugar, often less than 5% of their weight, and more importantly the sugar they contain is wrapped up in fibre that the body must break down before absorbing. The problem with modern packaged food products is that the natural fibre has been removed. The labels on processed food will show them containing anywhere from 15 to 80% sugar content depending on food type and brand. The sugar content can be immediately absorbed, overwhelming the liver which has to process it. The “sugar hit” that modern processed food gives us is the reason you will hear more and more about visceral fat, the fat that builds up between your organs, which is a result of the body’s attempt to store the high peaks of sugar it cannot process quickly enough. The answer is to eat whole and unprocessed food.

Most natural foods contain fibre, and any sugar or fat also contained is bound up with that fibre. The traditional Japanese diet was very high in carbohydrates (rice, fish, beans and vegetables). They ate food in its original form. Most packaged food, which has an expiry date of more than a few days from its manufacture, has had its fibre removed and sugar added as a useful preservative and sweetening agent. The traditional Japanese culture had some of the lowest heart disease and cancer rates in the world. Now that they consume the same processed food we eat that is rapidly changing. There were roughly 7.2 million diabetics in Japan last year.

Visceral Fat – the body’s way of dealing with too much sugar

Visceral fat is one of the signs of what is being called ‘metabolic syndrome’, which is a grouping of symptoms of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugars which lead to diabetes, heart disease and many other diseases. Visceral fat does not show on the outside of your body. It builds up around the liver, heart, kidney and pancreas and stops them from working properly, which can manifest itself in medical issues such as insulin resistance (rising sugar levels), increasing blood pressure and cholesterol.

80% of obese people have unhealthy amounts of visceral fat but what isn’t common knowledge yet is that 20% of normal weight people have unhealthy levels of visceral fat as well. How can you test of visceral fat? Not easily. The Body Mass Index (BMI) which is used worldwide to give people an indication of their overall body to fat content does not distinguish between bad (visceral), not-so-bad (subcutaneous) fat or increased muscle mass. An MRI scan or liver ultrasound can indicate what level of visceral fat you have but neither is cheap by any means. A better and less expensive option is to look at what you are eating and how much physical activity you are getting. For 18 to 64 year olds the WHO recommends a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise (walking, swimming, dancing, cycling) a day, 5 days a week, or 15 minutes of intense exercise a day (running, wall climbing, heavy weight lifting) and to consider doing twice this amount for increased health benefits. You can also have your blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting sugars tested. LloydsPharmacy offers free blood pressure checks and your GP can test for cholesterol and fasting blood sugar levels. If your fasting blood sugar levels are only slightly raised you have some insulin resistance and taking steps to improve your diet, weight and exercise regime can reverse these stats and prevent diabetes developing at a later date.

I find it helps to know the ‘how’, the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of how sugar affects our health but until the government can change the nature of our food industry, each adult needs to try to control their own personal food environment and that of their children.

What can you do to improve your diet?

Here are some hopefully helpful tips and rules to follow to try and achieve healthier eating:

  • If you don’t stock a food at home you can’t eat it so never shop when you are hungry; you’ll have lost the game before the first item gets into your shopping basket. Consider anything in packaging to be processed. It should on your avoid or reduce list.
  • The portion sizes we eat have slowly increased in size over the decades. Studies have shown that most people will eat a large portion of what is on the plate regardless of the actual amount of food presented to them. So simply putting smaller amounts onto your plate can work. “Hara hachi bun me” or “hara hachi bu” is a teaching of the Okinawans in Japan meaning ‘eat until 80% full’. They have the highest number of centenarians (people living to be 100 years) in the world.
  • Keep food intact when you’re cooking or eating it. Boil, grill or steam it. This preserves the fibrous frame of the food and means the sugar, fat and nutrients are slowly released in the gut. For the same reason avoid juicing and smoothies of fruit and vegetables. This destroys the fibrous mesh that enables us to digest slowly and drinks like orange juice can end up having the same effect on our livers as a Coca Cola can due to the free sugar content.

Watch out for the obstacles!

I still struggle to keep to a good diet and exercise regimen. I do well at keeping chocolate and sweets out of the home which is essential since anything I buy regardless of size would be consumed in a few hours or days. However I find I inevitably allow myself a cookie here or there when I shop (such as from the bakery in Lidl). They rarely make it to the car.

A lot of the entertainment I watch is online and I have found it a good rule to not allow myself to simply sit and watch anything. Thanks to the modern technology of tablets (the Samsung make as opposed to the pharmaceutical kind) I try to keep to this rule:

  • If I am going to watch something for 40-60 minutes after work I have to still do something for that period of time. Either I cook or do housekeeping while I watch a program or else I exercise at the same time. An indoor cycling machine is the easiest way I find to keep this promise and means I do between half an hour to two hours cycling a week whether I’m watching a movie or a TV series.

Find out more

If you are interested in reading up more on sugar, diet and prediabetes, here are a few of my recommendations:

  • Fat Chance: The hidden truth about sugar, obesity and disease. Book by Robert Lustig. This book was one of the first I read about sugar and its health impact and was a huge eye-opener for me. Robert featured heavily as a commentator in the recent Sugar Crash documentary on RTE.
  • That Sugar Film was a documentary, briefly mentioned in the Sugar Crash documentary on RTE. A healthy Australian actor ate only foods perceived as being healthy (smoothies, muesli bars, fruit juice, cereal, low fat yogurt and salad dressings) for two months and developed a fatty liver, the first signs of heart disease.. all within 60 days.
  • Visit and you can find the official recommendations for sugar in your diet as well as the exercise recommendations for children and adults for maintaining a minimum level of health.

Change Your Health Direction: Week 5

We’re now over 5 weeks in to our Change Your Health Direction campaign. Delightfully, we can confirm that hundreds of you are still active in the programme, losing weight or quitting smoking with the support of our colleagues in pharmacy.   Well done for sticking with it!! Only 3 weeks left to reach your goals.

avrilOur resident CYHD expert, Avril Reilly, Pharmacist in our Governey Square branch, is back this week with an update, this time focused on a particular range of products that are making a significant difference to her CYHD participants…

‘I have mentioned on previous occasions that some of our CYHD participants are using two great Irish products from True-Life to help them along their weight loss journey – Heart Up and Shake Up. Heart Up is a low GI wholegrain barley which delivers high levels of fibre and beta-glucan and it has been scientifically proven to both lower cholesterol and reduce blood sugars and in doing so it helps to sustain energy, fill you up and prevent cravings. It comes in three varieties; blueberry, red berries and original and a scoop of the product can be conveniently added to porridge, soups, salads, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes etc. A very worthwhile product and we are receiving excellent feedback from those who are using it regularly. Definitely worth a try!!

During the first couple of weeks of the CYHD weight loss program I had been noticing that some of the participants were not eating regularly as they were on the go and found it difficult to bring snacks with them to keep them going in between their main meals. I recommended that they try True-life Shake up as it provides a balanced, convenient snack that they could take anywhere with them and as it contains protein it helps to sustain energy and maintain balanced blood sugars. This daily protein shake also helps to maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. It comes in three delicious flavours; strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. As it is sweetened with the natural sweetener stevia it won’t upset blood sugar balance, and it is packed full of goodness – even the protein it contains is 100% Irish whey protein from outdoor grass fed cows! It is so much more than a protein shake as it is also high in calcium, low in fat, gluten free, high in fibre and contains 100% RDA vitamin D! The participants who have been using this product have been finding it excellent and even though it is not a weight loss product it has really helped them throughout the past number of weeks on the program and several of them have mentioned that they plan to stay on it long term as it is very affordable and the benefits are outstanding!!’

Fantastic advice as usual from Avril in Carlow; keep it up!!