Roast chicken is probably one of the ultimate comfort foods and if you’re staying in at the weekend its nice to have a little more time to prepare a traditional roast dinner. This recipe offers a bit of a twist,  is relatively quick to put together and is great for sharing with friends.

Turmeric, lemon juice and black pepper are my ‘Charlie’s Angels Superfoods’ for this recipe. Earthy, golden turmeric offers its potent anti-inflammatory powers that are enhanced by heat-bearing black peppercorns whilst bright and sunny lemons are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. I’m serving  the chicken with ever popular sweet potato fries and a crunchy green bean salad topped with vitamin E-rich toasted almonds.

This dish is high in protein, low in sugar and rich in fatty acids, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, potassium and antioxidants.

(serves 4)

For the chicken:

  • 8 pieces of chicken (a combination of drumsticks & thighs)
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 2 whole lemons, halved
  • 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil*
  • A good pinch of sea salt
  • A pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

  • 300g french beans
  • 1 ounce flaked almonds

For the sweet potato fries:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes sliced into strips (chips)
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil*


  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius.
  2. Arrange the chicken pieces onto a large roasting tray. Sprinkle the turmeric, salt and pepper onto the chicken, squeeze over the juice of two lemons (tuck the squeezed lemon quarters between the chicken pieces) and drizzle over the coconut oil.
  3. Put the chicken into the oven for 35 minutes until the skin is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.
  4. In a separate roasting tray spread the sweet potato chips in one layer, season and add coconut oil. Put into the oven and bake for 30 minutes until crispy and golden.
  5. While the chicken and sweet potato are in the oven, prepare the green beans. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the green beans and cook for 3-5 minutes. Drain, transfer to a serving dish and lightly season with sea salt.
  6. Scatter the flaked almonds onto a small frying pan and toast over a medium heat until golden (be careful not to burn). Remove from the heat and toss the almonds with the green beans.
  7. When the chicken and sweet potato fries are cooked remove from the oven and transfer to separate serving bowls.
  8. Place the chicken, green beans and sweet potato in the centre of your table and dig in!
Nutrition Information (Per one serving)
Calories Protein (g) Fat (g) Carbs (g) Sugars (g) Fiber (g)
611 56 35 18.9 5.2 7g



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*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores


Many people tell me one of the things they miss most about reducing refined carbohydrates in their diet is baked goods, especially pastry.  This versatile grain-free (or dare I say, ‘paleo’) tart crust is made using coconut flour, coconut oil, egg and a little salt. There are lots of variations on this recipe, and you could even add a little coconut sugar for a sweeter crust to use for a dessert filling. Speaking of which, the filling is wide open for experimentation (for this recipe, I squirrelled some of my father’s leftover Christmas ham while he wasn’t looking!)…you could try mushroom & kale, asparagus & white crab meat or even a rich chocolate filling using cacao powder and coconut cream.

This delicious tart takes a little effort but makes a great main meal served with a side of greens or for lunch with peppery rocket & watercress salad.

(gluten-free, grain-free, low sugar, source of vitamin A, C, calcium and iron)

(serves 4 generously)

Equipment: 8 1/2” or 9” tart tin

For the crust

  • 3/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil (plus extra for greasing)*
  • 2 whole eggs
  • Pinch of sea salt

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores & Online

For the filling

  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 generous handfuls baby spinach
  • 85g cooked ham, shredded
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme


  1. Put the coconut flour, coconut oil, eggs and sea salt into the bowl of a food processor and mix until well combined. Remove from the bowl, press together into a ball and wrap in cling film. Chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  1. Grease the tart tin with coconut oil. Pre heat oven to 160 degrees celsius.
  1. Remove the pastry from the fridge, unwrap the clingfilm and place it into the tart tin. Its quite malleable so you can use the back of a spoon to spread and press it into the tart tin. Then use your fingers to lightly press it into the edges and work it up the sides of the tin (the smaller the tin, the higher your edge will be, but don’t worry if its only about 2 1/2 inches).
  1. To make the filling, beat the eggs, almond milk and grated nutmeg together. Arrange the ham, spinach leaves, spring onion and thyme onto the pastry and then pour the egg & almond milk mixture over the top.
  1. Put the tart into the oven and bake for about 40 minutes until the filling is just set. Leave to stand for a few minutes before removing from the tin. Delicious served warm, or cold for lunch with a peppery green salad.
Calories Fat Carbs Protein Sugar Fibre
395 28g 15.1g 16.1g 4.4g 8.8



Instagram: @the_healthonist

‘The Healthonist’ Recipes by Pamela Ryan – (Golden) Milk & Cookies!

How time flies when you’re having fun (and eating great food)… can you believe it’s our 12th and final week of recipes by nutritional therapist Pamela! We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. But fear not, you can still find more amazing recipes on Instagram @the_healthonist and at

This weeks recipe is (Golden) Milk & Cookies, enjoy!

Turmeric. The golden spice associated with Indian cuisine has been used for centuries, particularly in Ayurveda (the ancient healing system of India) for its powerful healing properties. It’s no surprise then, that scientists soon became interested in the seemingly magical medicinal properties of this golden root.

Curcumin – the main bioactive compound found in turmeric root is probably one of the most heavily researched compounds in the world in relation to its potent anti-inflammatory effects.  This compound has been proven effective in treating inflammation, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive decline and multiple sclerosis as well as being effective in preventing the progression of some cancers. I love when science and ancient wisdom agree!

As curcumin is not easily absorbed into cells on its own,  it is often taken with black pepper and coconut oil or milk to enhance absorption so the recipes here optimise the bioavailability of  curcumin. Whats more, golden milk is a particularly effective tonic for balancing female hormones and may be an effective in reducing the pain and inflammation associated with PMS, PCOS, Uterine Fibroids and Endometriosis and for balancing blood sugars.   This is my version of milk & cookies – no dairy, gluten or refined ingredients….

Turmeric & Ginger Cookies (Makes about 12)

  • 125g ground almonds
  • 100g organic gluten free oats, ground into a coarse flour using a food processor
  • 1/3 cup organic maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons organic ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon organic ground ginger
  1. Line a baking tray with parchment and pre-heat the oven the 180 degrees celsius.
  2. In a bowl combine all the ingredients to form a crumbly dough that sticks together easily when pressed.
  3. Take heaped tablespoons of mixture and shape it into balls using your hands. Place onto the baking tray and press down lightly with the base of a small glass.
  4. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire wrack. As the cookies cool they will become more crunchy.
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Golden Milk (Makes 1 cup)

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaped teaspoon organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup unsweetened nut milk (almond, coconut, hazelnut, hemp etc)
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic maple syrup, raw honey or coconut palm sugar.
  1. In a small bowl mix the turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper and coconut oil to make a paste.
  2. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat gently for a minute then pour in your chosen milk.
  3. Heat gently for about 5 minutes (do not boil).
  4. To serve, pour the golden milk into a cup and add a 1/2 teaspoon organic maple syrup, raw honey or coconut sugar to taste.

‘The Healthonist’ Recipes by Pamela Ryan – Cacao Tahini Protein Balls

This weeks recipe by nutritional therapist Pamela, is Cacao Tahini Protein Balls. Perfect for gym goers and athletic folk, pre or post training.

I’ve been getting lots of requests from my athlete friends for some decent protein/energy balls.  Tired of spending a small fortune on processed protein bars, and not so much fans of sugar-laden chocolate milk drinks, I have been tasked with the job of creating some tasty protein balls with enough carbohydrate for replacing post-training muscle glycogen. To make things more difficult, there was a specific request for a nut-free recipe!

These Cacao Tahini Protein Balls are just sweet enough without being sickly-sweet. In place of nut butter I use light tahini (a calcium rich sesame seed butter) and coconut oil (coconut is not a true nut…botanically its a ‘drupe’ or fruit, nut & seed!). Nua Naturals raw organic cacao powder and cacao nibs provide a gorgeous rich chocolatey flavour. Cacao provides a natural (and less potent) caffeine hit which can be useful pre-training, but is also rich in blood oxygenating iron and chromium, which regulates blood sugar.

Dried dates lend their sweet caramel stickiness into the mix, whilst scoring additional points for being particularly rich in potassium, magnesium, selenium and zinc…all of which are vital co-factors involved in cellular energy production. Chomp these pre- or post-training. The recipe makes about 16.


To make the balls:

  • 10 dates
  • 2 scoops (50g) of vanilla pea / hemp protein powder
  • 1 cup Nua Naturals raw cacao powder
  • 1 heaped Tbsp Nua Naturals cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup light tahini
  • 1 heaped Tbsp coconut oil (room temperature/unmelted)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Coating options:

  • Chia Bia whole chia seeds
  • Poppy seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Desiccated coconut
  • Cacao Powder
  • Ground almonds


  1. Put the dates in a glass bowl and pour over a half-cup of hot water. Allow to soften for about 10 minutes.
  2. In a food processor briefly blend all of the remaining ingredients.
  3. Drain the dates and add them to the food processor. Blend the mixture until it resembles a slightly moist gravel or clay that when pressed together, will hold.
  4. Roll into individual balls (should make about 16 balls).
  5. To coat the protein balls, spoon out your chosen coatings onto individual saucers and get rolling.
  6. Chill the balls in the fridge for an hour before eating.
  7. Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.



Instagram: @the_healthonist

Coconut Oil is not just for cooking; 8 ways it can make you beautiful on the outside too!

avrilHi everyone! Welcome to this week’s Change your Health Direction blog with me, Avril Reilly. I have been talking to my customers a lot about Coconut Oil these days; it’s one of the first small steps I encourage my weight-loss participants to take. Our programme is all about make small, manageable changes that can make a real difference. And adding Coconut Oil to your life WILL make a difference, I promise!

This oil has numerous health and beauty benefits but the most important aspect that I wish to highlight to our participants is its use in cooking and baking as it is ‘heat-stable’. Other oils such as sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil should not be used at high temperatures as they are converted to free-radicals which can be detrimental to long-term health. Free radicals are seriously bad news to our bodies and have been linked with numerous chronic medical conditions as well as cancers. I cannot stress enough how critical it is to use a heat-stable oil such as Coconut Oil when cooking. It also adds a beautiful flavour so its win-win!

I often recommend Coconut Oil to those who are struggling with cravings as a teaspoon just taken off the spoon can be so satiating. And for those in need of a chocolate hit, just mix in a little organic cocoa powder.

There is also a lot of evidence to suggest that Coconut Oil can contribute to weight loss by increasing feelings of fullness and boosting metabolism by improving thyroid function. Unlike other saturated fats, Coconut Oil is composed of medium chain triglycerides which are rapidly metabolised to provide an excellent source of energy, rather than being stored as fat. Personally, I love to stir a spoon of Coconut Oil into my herbal tea when I am in need of a tasty energy boost!

Not only is Coconut Oil amazing for stir-frying but it can also be used as a substitute for margarine or butter when baking, as well as being a great spread or a healthy boost in smoothies.

As if it all that wasn’t good enough, Coconut Oil also has numerous beauty benefits, most of which I have tried and tested myself!

  1. It can be used to remove eye make-up; just rub some between the hands to turn it into a liquid and smear over the eye-lids, then remove with cotton wool and rinse if desired.
  2. It can also be used as a moisturiser although some people do find it a little heavy on the skin.
  3. Some say it’s amazing for preventing stretch marks when used as a body moisturiser.
  4. Super-smooth shaving is simple – just use in place of shaving gel.
  5. Excellent for dry, chapped hands, and there is evidence to show that it can help to heal small wounds and abrasions.
  6. Use it as a lip balm – tastes amazing!
  7. Mix it with sea-salt or sugar for a very effective, inexpensive body scrub.
  8. Use it as a hair mask – just use it in place of a conditioner and leave in the hair for 20 minutes before rinsing well. You can wrap your hair in a hot towel to help it to absorb into the hair. I actually apply it to my hair and scalp once a week and leave it in overnight. (Just make sure to leave yourself time to wash it out the next morning or you are in for a seriously bad hair day!!!)

We are now stocking Organic Raw Virgin Coconut Oil 500ml online and in selected branches of LloydsPharmacy for the great value price of €9.99. This is an exceptional, high-quality, multi-use product which every household should have!coco

Make sure to check out our new Recipe Blog, where LloydsPharmacy colleagues share their very own Healthy Meal ideas. Coconut Oil of course features in lots of them!

Best of luck to everyone changing their own health direction this week!

Written by Avril Reilly, LloydsPharmacy Governy Square Carlow

Change Your Health Direction: ‘The Fat Truth’

avrilThroughout the Change Your Health Direction (CYHD) programme I have noticed that many people have a completely misguided perception about fats! Through powerful advertising, we have been conditioned to believe that if we want to lose weight we should avoid fat and the ‘low-fat’ diet industry thrives on this. Fat-free and low-fat products are everywhere but they are most often not the healthiest option and can actually hinder weight loss and affect our health in the long term.

Firstly, fat-free and low-fat products are often full of sugar, artificial sweeteners and other ‘nasties’ to help compensate for the lack of fat. The sugar is then just converted into fat in the body anyway and, as the product is far less satiating due to the lack of fats, we need to eat a lot more of these foods to feel full! It is true that we need to avoid certain fats in order to achieve optimum weight and health, those being saturated fats and trans fats. These can be found in vegetable oils, pastries, biscuits, fried foods, confectionery etc.

However, eating the right types of fats is crucial for optimum health! ‘Essential fatty acids’ are fats that our bodies need in order to function normally; they cannot be manufactured in the body so we must include them in our diets. They are the building blocks that the body uses to manufacture hormones and cell membranes, as well as having a natural anti-inflammatory effect which can help to alleviate symptoms of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. They can also protect us against heart disease and stroke as they play a role in thinning the blood. The list of benefits is endless and low levels have been linked with numerous psychiatric disorders (as well as many other chronic conditions) including depression so fats really can help make you happy! I just cannot stress the importance of these good fats enough; cutting them out of your diet will be detrimental to your long term health.

The two main essential fatty acids that need to be included in your diet are omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The typical western diet usually supplies us with sufficient quantities of omega-6 fatty acids as they are found in meat, dairy produce and eggs so they are not usually cause for concern. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, oily fish such as mackerel, salmon and herring. Avocados, nuts and nut butters are other ways to increase our intake of healthy fats and they are incredibly tasty and satisfying.

I always recommend the inclusion of a high quality omega-3 supplement where possible and we have some great products at LloydsPharmacy, my favourite being Revive Active Krill Oil. This is a high quality form of omega-3 fatty acids because they are sourced from a pure environment, in a sustainable and traceable manner and naturally contain a powerful anti-oxidant called astaxanthin which helps to protect the quality of the oil. They are much more readily absorbed by the body, compared to other omega-3 supplements and there is no fishy after-taste or reflux associated with them. Overall they are a very worthwhile investment in your long-term health! Check out the range of Krill Oil Products on our website or speak to any of our in-store colleagues for information on which product is best for you.

And finally, just in relation to cooking with fats – always use a heat-stable fat such as coconut oil, preferably organic and unrefined. Other fats such as sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, olive oil should not be used at high temperatures as they are converted to free radicals which can have massive health implications!

Written by Avril Reilly, Pharmacist and Change Your Health Direction coach in LloydsPharmacy Carlow.