Walnut Brownies

I use only four ingredients – walnuts, cacao, dates and vanilla. Walnuts are rich in omega-3 fats which may improve brain health and prevent heart disease. I’ve spoken about the benefits of eating good quality dark chocolate before, and raw cacao powder is just as nutritious. Cacao is loaded with antioxidants (one of the highest sources along with blueberries and walnuts), as well as iron, copper and magnesium which are essential for energy metabolism (the process of generating energy). Feel free to substitute some of the walnuts for ground almonds, or you could use a combination of your favourite nuts. Replacing the vanilla powder with a tablespoon of good  quality espresso powder is another very popular option!

Makes: 15 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Rating: Simple

Nutrition: approx.193 calories per serving. Source of omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, iron, magnesium

Ingredients:

  • 150g pitted dates (try to use preservative-free dates)
  • 300g raw walnuts (plus 15g extra for topping – optional)
  • 70g raw cacao powder (plus a little extra for dusting – optional)
  • 15g dark chocolate drops (optional, replace with 15g walnuts if not using)
  • 1 heaped teaspoon vanilla powder

Method:

  1. Tip the dates into a heatproof bowl, cover with hot water and leave to soak for ten minutes to soften.
  2. Meanwhile pulse the walnuts, cacao powder and vanilla in a food processor until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. Once the dates have softened drain off the water and add them to the food processor. Pulse the mixture again a few times until a dough forms.
  4. Tip the mixture onto the lined baking tray and press out into the corners. To even out the top place a sheet of parchment on top of the mixture and use a rolling pin or the palm of your hand to smooth out the mixture.
  5. Refrigerate for about an hour to set before slicing into squares. Press some chopped walnuts on top of each brownie and dust lightly with a little cacao powder or some cinnamon.

Created by: Pamela Ryan Qualified Nutritionist*

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

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.

Advertisements

SUPERFOOD SCRAMBLE – BREAKFAST

Whilst plain scrambled eggs are delicious on their own, adding turmeric, chia seeds and greens is a great way to increase the nutritional density of your breakfast with higher fibre, omega-3 fats, essential minerals, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Truth be told these scrambled eggs are just as good for a quick lunch, brunch or dinner but I find them particularly great for breakfast as they are high in protein and omega-3 fats which sustain energy throughout the day and reduce cravings for sweet, sugary foods.

There is mounting evidence that eating a lower carbohydrate breakfast is an effective way to control blood sugar levels, particularly for people with Type 2 Diabetes. A 2016 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eliminating carbohydrates in the first meal of the day after an overnight fast significantly lowered blood-sugar levels after the low-carb breakfast1.

As elevated blood sugar and blood sugar imbalances may also be responsible for a range of other symptoms and diseases such as inflammation, PCOS, endometriosis and obesity, a low carbohydrate breakfast might also be an effective way to manage symptoms and reduce body fat.

(serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Chia Bia Whole Chia Seed*
  • 1-2 tablespoons almond cream or almond milk (unsweetened)
  • A good pinch of sea salt flakes
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric*
  • 2 teaspoons Optima Raw Virgin Organic Coconut Oil*
  • 2 large handfuls spinach leaves

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, chia seed, almond cream, salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil in a pan over a medium heat and add the spinach. Cook gently until wilted and remove the spinach from the pan.
  3. Heat a second teaspoon of coconut oil in the same pan and add the turmeric. Stir with a wooden spoon for a minute (be careful not to burn the turmeric).
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and as the eggs start to “catch” the sides, gently pull them across the pan to form soft folds. Add the wilted spinach back into the pan and continue to fold gently for a minute. When the eggs are almost set but still soft, remove the pan from the stove. The residual heat will finish the cooking.
  5. Serve with freshly chopped herbs if you have some available.
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
364 28g 21g 9g 0.3g 4g
An excellent source of protein, omega-3 ALA, magnesium, choline, iron.

Reference:

  1. 1. Pedersen, E., Lange, K. and Clifton, P. (2016) ‘Effect of carbohydrate restriction in the first meal after an overnight fast on glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes: A randomised trial’, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 104(5), pp. 1285–1291. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.135343.

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

WALNUT BREAD WITH DATE & CINNAMON ‘JAM’ – SNACK

Not just that little knobbly nut you used the pick off the top of your walnut whip as a kid, walnuts are an underrated, yet nutritious package of protein, healthy fats, fibre, plant sterols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Eating just a small handful of whole walnuts every day could help to control body weight as well as helping to reduce chronic inflammation in the body which is associated with heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers.

The essential fatty acid found in walnuts is called ALA (alpha linolenic acid). ALA is an omega-3 fat that can significantly reduce fasting insulin levels over a period of about 3 months in people with type 2 diabetes as well as notable improvements in the composition of blood fats.

This is a great recipe to try at the weekend and save individual slices to eat during the week as an afternoon snack. Of course you could very easily just grab a handful of walnuts and a piece of fruit but sometimes we need something a little extra special to keep us on track…especially with the prospect of multiple delicious topping options!

(makes a loaf, approx. 10-12 slices)

For the bread

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
  • 4 whole eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup ground almonds
  • 3 tbsp Nua Naturals hulled hemp seeds*
  • 1 tbsp Chia Bia ground chia seeds (or flax seeds)*
  • 1 tbsp maple or agave syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Equipment: food processor, large bowl, loaf tin, oven

Step by Step

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 F). Grease a loaf tin using a little coconut oil*.

  1. Put the walnuts in a food processor and blend until they form a paste (usually takes about 5-8 minutes).
  2. Transfer the walnut paste to a large bowl and stir in the eggs and maple syrup until well combined (you could also just add the eggs and syrup to the food processor bowl and pulse to combine).
  3. Add the ground almonds, hemp seeds, chia seeds and baking powder and stir with a spatula (the mixture will still be quite wet).
  4. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. You know its cooked when a skewer comes out clean and a crack forms down the centre. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before slicing.

Tip: the bread stores well in an airtight container the fridge for about 1-2 weeks but you can cut and wrap individual slices in parchment / clingfilm and freeze for up to 1 month, defrosting/toasting them only as needed.

Serving options:  Date & Cinnamon Jam

Soak 20 deseeded dates in a half cup hot water to soften. Add 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon and using a hand blender to make a paste.  Store for up to 1 month in an airtight jar in your fridge. Makes about 12 servings (teaspoons).

  • Try this bread with an ounce of good quality mature Cheddar cheese or soft brie cheese and sliced fresh figs.
  • For a quick breakfast spread with a little Meridian almond butter* and top with some sliced banana.
NUTRITION INFORMATION PER ONE SERVING (1 slice)
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar Fibre
153 13.6g 5.7g 4.1g 1.8g 1.6g
A source of folic acid, vitamin B6, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Ingredients available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

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.

Winter Skincare Essentials

From chapped lips to feeling like your makeup just isn’t sitting right, Winter can play havoc on your skin. Dry heat and dipping temperatures can make it seem as if dull, dry and clogged skin is what we have to accept but thankfully not anymore! LloydsPharmacy have all the products to ensure you survive the cold winter months gorgeously.

Young adult girl in winter park, shallow DOFHere are some of my favorite products you should look out for and snap up before the temperature plummets.

1) Udo’s Oil; consists of omega 3, 6 and 9.  This is essential in the Winter months as the fish oils make the skin softer and smoother from the inside

90 Caps

Udo’s Choice, 250ml, €14.99

2) Eucerin Dry Skin Replenishing Face Cream; This clinically studied moisturiser  soothes and nourishes dry skin prone to tightness, flakiness and sensitivity.

10022067

Eucerin Dry Skin Replenishing Face Cream, 50ml, €8.99

3) La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP+; For body and face, this is great for atopic skin as it sooths immediately with its anti-itch ingredient Niacin amide (anti-histamine), shea butter to nourish, and canola oil which acts as an anti-inflammatory. It adds oil to the skin and acts as a barrier, essential when winter skin starts shedding.

La Roche-Posay Lipikar Baume AP, 200ml, €12.99

4) La Roche-Posay Ciciplast Baume B5; This heavy-duty balm heals and repairs the lips while you sleep. Great for extreme dryness thanks to its ingredients MP Lipids,5% Panthenol and 10% shea butter, wind burn chapped lips are also taken care of.

CICAPLAST-LEVRES+BARRIERE

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Lips, 7.5ml, €6.50

5) La Roche-Posay Ciciplast Baume B5; A cult classic, this is a multi-indication treatment for the entire family which repairs and soothes itchy patches, skin dryness, skin discomfort and minor burn. Ingredients include panthenol, copper, zinc, manganese and shea butter.

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume 40ML

La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5, 40ml, €7.50

6) La Roche-Posay Spa Water; Great for when you’re on-the-go, this refreshing mist soothes and softens sensitive skin thanks to its high mineral content.

La Roche Posay Spa Water, 150ml, €8.99

La Roche Posay Spa Water, 150ml, €8.99

7) Nuxe Cleansing Exfoliating Scrub; Remove dead skin cells to give a healthy glowing skin while also smoothing and purifying the skin you’re keeping under wraps.

Nuxe Cleansing Exfoliating Scrub, 125ml, €19.99

Nuxe Cleansing Exfoliating Scrub, 125ml, €19.99

Call into your local LloydsPharmacy today for more free impartial skincare advice from our accredited skincare experts.

Essential Fatty Acids – The Good Fats

Have you heard of essential fatty acids – “The Good fats”? But most importantly how great they are for you? I recently discovered just how fantastic these guys are while studying nutritional coaching with the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health.

Omega_3_heart_webPeople are always afraid of the word fat but fats in the form of essential fatty acids (EFA’s) (polyunsaturated fats) are essential for our health and wellbeing and most people are simply just not getting enough of them because of over processed diets and one indicator that people are not getting enough of EFA’s in their diet is the rise in depression and cardiovascular disease.

So without getting to tech savvy let’s break down the how and the why of these fats; “Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them. The term “essential fatty acid” refers to fatty acids required for biological processes but does not include the fats that only act as fuel”. Only two fatty acids are known to be essential for humans: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid).

EFAs support the cardiovascular, reproductive, immune, and nervous systems. The human body needs EFAs to manufacture and repair cell membranes. A primary function of EFAs is the production of prostaglandins, which regulate body functions such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood clotting, fertility, conception, and play a role in immune function by regulating inflammation and encouraging the body to fight infection

EFA deficiency and Omega 6/3 imbalance is linked with serious health conditions, such as heart attacks, cancer, insulin resistance, asthma, lupus, schizophrenia, depression, stroke, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, ADHD, and Alzheimer’s Disease, among others.

So how do we get these good guys into our diet?
Omega 3 – Flax seed oil hempseed oil, hempseeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, sesame seeds, avocados, some dark leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, purslane, mustard greens, collards, etc.) salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, albacore tuna, and others.

Findings show omega-3 fish oil may help to:
• Lower blood pressure
• Reduce triglycerides
• Slow the development of plaque in the arteries
• Reduce the chance of abnormal heart rhythm
• Reduce the likelihood of heart attack and stroke
• Lessen the chance of sudden cardiac death in people with heart disease
• Improved Brain Function

Omega 6 – Flaxseed oil, hempseed oil, hempseeds, grapeseed oil, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds (raw), olive oil, olives, borage oil, evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil, chestnut oil, chicken, among many others.

4020061_Eskimo_3_With_Vitamin_E_250CapsAs most of us are not getting enough essential fatty acids in our daily diets there is an excellent supplement called Eskimo – 3, it is 100% natural omega 3 and to get fish as fresh as those used in these capsules you would have to go down to your local harbour and meet your local fisherman every day!!!. They are ISO certified and it is the only naturel fish oil that has been authorised as a natural remedy in Sweden. This means that it meets the same high standards for production and quality that are set for conventional medicines.

Studies related to Omega 3 – Dyslexia affects more than 2500 families in Ireland and just like ADD, people with dyslexia have a deficiency of omega 3 fatty acids in their blood lipids. Supplementation with Omega 3 should reduce this problem.

Vital for retinal development and maintenance – Several studies show that Omega 3 can help protect adult eyes from macular degeneration (Leading cause of blindness in older people) and dry eye syndrome

  • Eskimo 3 lowers LDL cholesterol and increases HDL
  • Eskimo 3 Lowers triglycerides
  • Eskimo 3 improves blood circulation
  • Joint Health and inflammation – Natural anti-inflammatory and increases synovial fluid around the joints – increase flexibility.
  • Can be used for skin conditions such as, eczema, dry skin, psoriasis and acne

Written by Nichola