Spicy Coconut Lentil / Sweet Potato Soup

Spicy Lentil &Coconut Soup
Playing with my new slow cooker, I made a favourite all orange ingredient, soup of mine and it was fun to just let it simmer away all morning. In fact in only took around three and a half hours until it was ripe for the hand blender. This recipe has evolved each time I’ve made it, and today I think it’s reached the peak of flavour. It’s a thick, harty soup for cold days and hungry tummy’s.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 5 large carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cans, drained butter beans
  • 175grams of red lentils (around 6 handfuls)
  • 3/4 can coconut milk
  • 2 veggie stock cubes in 700ml water
  • 5 tblsps curry powder (mild or medium depending on how spicy you like it)
  • Salt, pepper, splash cayenne pepper

Method:

  1. Peel and chop veg and add to either your slow cooker or very large soup pan, (if using soup pan you may need to top up the stock water a little more).
  2. Literally chuck in all the ingredients and allow to simmer until ripe to blast with the hand blender
  3. You can play with adding more spice or coconut milk to make hotter, or cool it down again with the milk.
  4. Serve with a swirl of coconut milk, dash of spice ontop and eat with bread. Alternatively, because it has a chunky Indian taste, a nan bread or chapati may be nice for dipping.

Enjoy the veggie, curry, coconut orange soup and share with your buddies if you dig it 😉

ME/CFS and Fibro in a Nutshell – My Own Theory

Key Cause – Long term over-arousal of nervous system: An abnormality in the functioning of the Hypothalamus / Adrenal Axis, (causing a maladaptive stress response) and leading to problems with the metabolic system, primarily in the production of ATP

Differential terms – Chronic fatigue or adrenal burnout is not the same as ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia which are more serious health conditions. This does not however mean that one can not recover, although the level of recovery is likely due to be different for everyone and perhaps largely based on how many contributing factors have been present and fome/cfs explainedr how long, equally the time in getting diagnosed will effect things. Moreover the level of commitment to seek healing for the body and to do work on transforming ones individual psychology, in addition to biological factors will greatly accelerate things.  A healthy spiritual attitude and the development of mindfulness meditation and present moment is key to this.
Further explanation: The ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia experience is when things have tipped beyond the state of stress overload. Likely a collection of prolonged stressors or a single trauma has lead to a crash state of ill health, which often culminates in malfunction in a number of different systems in the body. Once in this position further over-stimulation will lead to pain and an immune or nervous system reaction. Over-stimulation can be anything from moving, talking, thinking more than is possible, or exerting any energy beyond what is capable at your particular stage or level of severity.

Symptoms – This can result in some or many of these factors: depleted / weakened immunity (with auto-immune related symptoms, such as swollen lymph glands, low grade fever and raised inflammation, gut and digestive problems including Candida, IBS and subsequent nutritional deficiencies). Additionally further problems with autonomic nervous system over-activity which can cause, sleep disturbance, nerve pain, adrenal burnout, eye problems, hormonal imbalances, neurotransmitter dysfunctions / anxiety and depression, cardiological abnormalities including arrhythmia and POTs, migraine, muscle and joint pain, and metabolic dysfunction

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Courgette fritters – Wheat free!

A great and quick way to use up your veg and also get some lunchtime protein is to have a fritter, mmm! You can also make it vegan by using a chia seed alternative to eggs, see below. There are only three staple ingredients and it takes minutes to make.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium courgettes or one large
  • 2 eggs or 3 tblsps chia seeds with 9 tblsps water
  • Half mug wheat / gluten free flour or buckwheat / brown rice flour
  • Seasoning
  • You’ll need a jelly cloth or kitchen cloth to squeeze excess water from the courgette

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Are you Balanced Physically and Spiritually? 

PHYSICAL - SPIRITUALHave you got your head in the clouds? Or are you disconnected from the soul of life? Walking with our feet firmly on the ground, partaking in everyday life, whilst embracing our connection to our deepest self and the earth can be tricky to master.

Like all extremes in life, we can get caught up in one camp and lose touch with its counterpart. This leaves us imbalanced and with a feeling of missing something. On one-hand, it doesn’t take a great deal of effort to be present, embodied and connected, although often the simplest of things evade us. Much like the practice of meditation, it is so easy, yet equally highly complex with many layers of profound experience and learning.

Why do some of us reject or miss out on the more abstract and spiritual experience of life? Yet others dwell in this realm daily. Furthermore, why do some dwellers in spirit become out of touch with the material and physical domain?

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Homemade Chocolate with Fruit & Nuts

 First time making healthy homemade chocolate today, and it’s rather gorgeous! Just three staple ingredients needed. It’s so totally easy, so get cracking and make some if you haven’t yet tried the experience.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 3/4 cup cacao
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 4-6 tblsps date syrup, (can use agave, coconut blossom, maple syrup or honey)

For extra taste I added a sprinkle of chopped fruits and nuts:

  • Pecan nuts
  • Strawberries
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Dates
  • Dedicated coconut

Method:

  1. Heat the coconut oil
  2. Once it’s a liquid take off the heat and sieve in the cacao powder with a whisk
  3. Add your natural sweetener and whisk
  4. Transfer the chocolate to a tin, with grease proof paper if it’s not non-stick
  5. Allow to set in the fridge for 20-30mins
  6. Slice and keep in fridge for up to a week

The raw fruit does make it a little wetter but I didn’t mind imperfect slices and I liked having fresh fruit combined. If you want firmer slices then use dried fruit and nuts only. You could also up the amount of chocolate for thicker chunks.

Enjoy! And share your choco stories or variations…

Houmous that Packs a Punch!

I’ve finally got my houmous mix down! It’s always been too bland in the past but the answer for me was more garlic and lemon. If you like it strong then you may like this variation.

Ingredients:

  • One can chickpeas
  • 1 and half lemons squeezed
  • Whole large garlic or 4/5 cloves
  • 2 tblsps light tahini
  • 2 tblsps water
  • 2 tblsps olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric

I add about half a tsp of each spice. Then just blitz it all up, simple!

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The Art of Pacing

Slowing down for me, is a continual process. I have a super speed mind and I’ve had to train myself, that just because I think quick doesn’t mean I should act so speedily. In fact, thinking less has been most rewarding. Feeling more and simply being has been at the heart of not only my health recovery, but in the foundations of my revised life.

It takes a great deal of discipline to pace, for some it may be easier than others. The inner critic has a lot to do with why we push beyond our boundaries rather than work within our limits, but that’s another blog.

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The Inner Critic – A Barrier to Receptivity. The Inner Child – A Road to Integration

inner critic“You haven’t done it right, they’ll think you’re silly, do more, it’s not enough yet, be more caring, they probably think you’re selfish, it’s not good enough, you’re fat, be better!” That voice sound familiar? You may be hearing different words but the message feels the same, it’s one of attack and unlove. The inner critic is one thing we all have in common but it doesn’t necessarily unite us, in fact it’s the big divider, generally we collude with this big nasty and allow it to bully us in the dark corners of our mind.

The only difference between us, is that some critics are more prevalent than others and some people have cottoned on to exposing theirs and lessening its grip! The path of freedom lies in learning to recognise this unhelpful inner voice and telling it to “Fuck Off!”

Why is it we have this incessant chatter battering at our being all day or even night long? And how does it effect the way we live our life?

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Warming Spicy Bean Pot – My Most Favoured Dish!

 It’s wheat / gluten, dairy and sugar free. Plus if you’re a vegan, you’re in luck! This dish is popular with my family and friends, in fact I’ve given out the recipe frequently so thought I’d add it here. It’s great to make a huge pan full for parties, simply add an extra can or two of beans and top up on the veg. You’d need to cook the double amount in two casserole dishes however.

It still tastes just as good after freezing, so you can store portions and eat day after day. It never gets boring and you can make it as hot as you like. You can play with the spices and get it how you like it.

What you need:

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Understand Blood Tests – The Basics

medical_110001503-011314intTesting can become an important area for health recovery. Diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean the end to your health investigations, and certainly for ME/CFS peeps, it’s not advisable to leave your testing and results in the hand of your GP or even ME/CFS service. You’ve got to get a full picture for yourself.

It’s essential you take some responsibility here if you want to properly heal. Even if you’re on medication, this won’t solve the root cause, it’s just a crutch to help with pain and for management purposes. Try to get knowledgeable about what you’ve been tested for, what’s been ruled out and what needs further attention. Here’s a list of essential things to know about your tests:

  • It’s a myth that your Doctors surgery contact you if a test has come back abnormal. Often the tests aren’t looked at until you’ve made the appointment and you are sitting in the same room with your GP unless I’m the case of emergency testing. In one case, I found a immune test which was abnormal, and even had highlighted the words: CONTACT PATIENT, three years after this particular test. In fact it was in the first batch of tests I had, just when I began to feel unwell – what I now know to be the start of ME/CFS!
  • Ring ahead of your appointment and ask for a print out copy of your blood tests – look them over first before your appointment

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