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Patricia Bloj


10 ways to deal with stress

ways to deal with stress

As mentioned in my last post, stress is and will be part of our lives. But what we need to get better at is how to increase our resilience and ensure we are not knocked off our feet and when if do get knocked off we can spring back up ready to dodge the bullets as Pedram Shojai, the creator of says. He also says that the Western culture is mistakenly thinking of mediation only once one is stressed and he funnily associates this with the practice of stretching after one’s pulled a muscle. In order to stay afloat it is important to look at these practices as a preventative cure.

Here are 10 ways to deal with stress that can help you build resilience. I would say 1-5 need to be looked at together in order to be effective (and it is what I practice) and 6-10 are additional ways that you can look at doing depending on what resonates best with you.

1.Eat right for stress

This means a diet high in plants based foods, with complex carbohydrates that release their energy slowly. On the other hand, refined carbohydrates and simple sugars (like table sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, dried fruit) flood the blood with glucose, increasing the production of cortisol. Some research has shown that combining your carbohydrates with protein provides additional adrenal support. You can do so by adding pulses (chickpeas, beans, hummus, almonds, hemp seeds, etc) to your meals.
It is important to add good fats to your diet as brain is 66% fat so it needs this in order to thrive. Specifically omega 3 (from chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin and walnut) and EPA and DHA that come from oily fish (mackerel, organic salmon, trout, sardines).
This will provide the backbone on which your body can thrive and ensure it is equipped to deal with stress.

2. Add a good quality vitamin and mineral support to your diet

All B vitamins are essential in energy production but they work synergistically with some minerals like zinc, chromium. It is imperative to add a good quality supplement to your diet because stress depletes your body of vitamins and minerals. Therefore, the belief that you are getting everything from your diet is a misconception, even when you eat organic. Vitamins and minerals are needed for every single body process.

It is not just about the quality of vitamins and minerals but it is about the quantity. Most supplements you find on the shelves nowadays are dosed for RDA’s (recommended daily allowance). These levels have been set to deal with nutritional deficiencies we had in the early 1900 and do not take into account the levels of stressors we are exposed today. For example, we don’t grow our own vegetables to be able to maximise the available nutrients by eating food straight after picking. For a good multivitamin complex check this out or my favourite which offers a complete solution is Patrick Holford’s supplements. Vitamin buddy offers personalised vitamins delivered straight to your door.

3. Avoid stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, sugary drinks

Choose instead natural stimulants like ginseng, ashwagandha, reishi, astralagus and rhodiola. You can find these in the form of tea of just tinctures which you can add to water and drink.

4. Develop a breathing practice

Before you dismiss this for airy fairy stuff here is the science at a glance. Conscious breathing activates the vagus nerve part of the parasympatitic nervous system which controls the heart, lung and digestive tract. Thoughts will come and go. Your objective is to not get involved emotionally and let them pass just as they come. You are an observer, you are listening but you are not getting involved in the conversation.

If you observe your body when stress hits you there are a few things that happen:  your shoulders have are rising getting closer to your ears, you clench your teeth together, your heart rate can increase, you sometimes hold your breath (unconsciously ) as if you are waiting for whatever is bothering you to pass. Whenever I feel this is happening to me I am immediately start to consciously breath.

What does conscious breathing mean? It is the act of breathing into your lower abdomen, inflating not just your ribcage but the area just below your belly button or naval. You can do a couple of breaths (as many as you need) the soon you realise you are getting stressed. Also, it is good to develop a practice that takes 5-10 min of your day to actively breath and therefore increase your resilience to stress.

Here’s one quick practice you can do
  1. Find a quiet space where you know you will not get disturbed. If you are in the office book a meeting room that has frosted windows or if the weather is nice just go outside. Sit in a comfortable position crossed legged on tall pillow with your knees reaching the floor (this will ensure that your spine sits tall and your body is supported from the root). The 2nd option is to just sit on chair with your feet touching the ground. Place your hands on your knees.
  2. Put your phone on airplane mode and set a timer for 5-10 min (you decide how much you want to dedicate, but I would suggest to always start small). This means incoming texts, emails will not distract you and your timer will let you know when the practice has finished. Choose a ringtone for your timer that is a bit more gentle (I use early riser on my iPhone).
  3. Take a deep breath in expanding your belly and sigh through the mouth. While this might sounds strange the act of sighing allows us to consciously letting go. You will immediately see your shoulders drawing down from your ears. If you are in the office and your meeting room is not soundproof, exhale with your mouth open as if you were trying to fog a mirror. On the next exhale do this with your mouth closed. In yoga this is called Ujjayi breath. Do this for 4 breaths.
  4. Now just inhale for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 4 making sure the breath is nice and smooth and you inflate your abdomen on the inhale. Do this until your timer is up
  5. When you hear the timer, reach your phone in a slowly manner. Build off the quietness you just had. Before you go, bow your head towards yourself in gratitude that you took the time to look after yourself.
5. Exercise

When I say exercise I don’t mean going to gym and pump as hard as you can. Actually exercising when you are stressed might be worse for you. The reason behind it is because your adrenals are over exhausted and going hard with exercise will wear out your adrenals further. This can be seen more often in women than men. Start with a gentler pace, like walking in a park, yoga, tai chi, qigong. These are brilliant because they combine breathing with 360 movement which is important for relaxation and building strength and flexibility. Exercise is key in assisting in blood flow and helping detoxify the stress hormones.

6. Put your body in a relaxed state

Do something that you really enjoy or take up a hobbie. Yoga is my favourite and so many studios around to choose from. If you love dancing, enrol in some dancing classes or just boogie at home. Pick up drawing, or writing, cooking, or whatever makes you happy and relaxes your body.

7. The replacement strategy

Thinking and thoughts are a part of who we are. The objective is to develop a sense of gratitude and replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Buy yourself a present: a nice journal which you can write at the end of the day 5 (or whoever many) things you are grateful for. Learn to notice the goodness in life and what works well. Just like breathing, this engages your pre-frontal cortex which deals with compassion and empathy. When you see the positive side your mood will be uplifted and as consequence your body will produce the “relaxation” hormones.

8. Journaling

Sometimes we have so many thoughts that we get overwhelmed and we don’t know how to manage them. Thoughts we have in the morning act like a constant distraction, affecting our level of focus. In the evening, thoughts act like a distraction from one of the most important tasks, sleep.

9. Connect with people, socialise.

Meeting with friends or trying to make friends will provide you not only with a support network but will ensure that you are releasing healthy serotonin levels.

10. Go back to nature

Spend as little as 20 min by either taking a stroll in the park before bed time (which will get you away from spending time in front of the TV and therefore exposing yourself to unnecessary blue light) or when you commute back from work walk back via a park (if this is possible and safe). The ideal scenario is when you take the time to walk, by feeling your feet touching the grass, moving the leaves away and breathing the fresh air.

Getting into the wild and finding the silence, peach, health and abundance of energy that comes from some concentrated time in the nature is critical so we can calibrate back to our essential selves (Pedram Shojai, The Urban Monk, 2016).

There is increasingly more evidence nowadays that linked time spent in nature with positive effects for our health . One such review shows that interaction with nature can increase self-esteem and mood, reduce anger, and improve general psychological wellbeing with positive effects on emotions and behaviour. These interactions can also have positive effects on cognitive function such as academic performance and the ability to perform mentally challenging tasks. Additionally, the same review suggests that interactions with nature may have physical health benefits such as stress reduction or reduced mortality rates as well as social, including facilitating social interaction or even reducing crime and violence in urban areas (Keniger et all, What are the benefits of interacting with Nature?, Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 2013).

According to a study where participants who had their brains monitored continuously using mobile electroencephalogram (EEG), time spent outdoors shifted brainwaves from the default “beta” setting (12-40Hz, a stress-fuelled state of heightened alertness and linear thinking) into the “alpha” mode (8-12Hz), the light “meditative” frequency that bridges the unconscious world and conscious thinking (Aspinall P, Mavros P, Coyne R, et al, The urban brain: analysing outdoor physical activity with mobile EEG, Br J Sports Med 2015).

So why is the connection with the nature helping our emotional and mental wellbeing. There are multiple scientific reasons. It helps our brains settle into what scientists call the default mode network (or DMN). DMN is a complex circuit of coordinated communication between parts of the brain and is essential to mental processes that develop our understanding of human behaviour, instil an internal code of ethics, and help us realise our identities. Also, oxygen in the brain affects serotonin, the neurotransmitter that affects your mood, appetite, memory, social behaviour. Too much serotonin and you can become irritable and tense, but too little serotonin and you can become depressed. Breathing fresh air can therefore help regulate your levels of serotonin and promote happiness and wellbeing.


How stress is affecting us


It’s National Stress Awareness day on 1st of November and not that we need to be reminded about the fact that we get stressed every day but it gives me the opportunity to talk to you about my experience with stress and how stress is affecting us and our body. In my next blog post I will help you understand how you can manage stress, by looking at some of the things that helped me as well as what other ways that might help manage it.

Nowadays, stress feels part of our everyday life. In fact, 65% of people in work say they are affected by stress and mental health (AON wellbeing white paper, 2016). From being stuck in traffic, to commuting on a very crowded tube, to thinking what to have for dinner tonight, to having to decide what extracurricular classes we should get for our children, we are constantly bombarded with “irritations” or decisions we need to make. We constantly borrow energy from tomorrow to get through today. And tomorrow the story repeats until it gets us on a path of mental health issues.

How the body detoxifies when stressed

First of all, I need to manage your expectations that it is impossible to eliminate stress from our lives. It’s just part of who we are. Also, stress is good for our bodies as it puts in motion the different communication paths with the brain (the neurotransmitter path, the hormonal path, and the cytokines path or the messages from the immune system).

However, too much of anything leads to imbalances and the same applies to stress. While we all experienced stress at some point in our life, not everyone responds to stress in the same way. Certain genes make us more or less sensitive to stress. Our bodies have a gene called COMT which is involved in the metabolism and detoxification of stress hormones. For some of us it means that we might be born with a slower COMT enzyme which means that we are not able to detoxify/eliminate the stress hormones out of the body quickly enough. The fact that you might have a slower gene doesn’t mean that you need to live with the consequences. In fact, the environment inside the body is many times more important than the genes you have.

A healthy eating lifestyle is key in managing stress

There are so many new sources of research that link diet to mental health (Felice N. Jacka et all, A randomised controlled trial of dietary improvement for adults with major depression (the ‘SMILES’ trial), 2017). Although only a trial and done on a small proportion, it statistically showed that people following a healthier diet reversed their depression vs people following only social support. For those sceptical natures out there who believe these findings will have to be replicated in a bigger and more representative sample before guidance and practice can be changed, I would like to point out that changing your diet will only improve your life and if there is a small group out there who have demonstrated that this has worked for them then I am game.

However, eating the right thing cannot be the only answer. Stress management and nutrition are interlinked and one influences the other. That is why you cannot address only one. Stress starts in the mind. If you have a healthy diet then your body is able to cope better with the effects of stress. However, if you are neglecting both mind and food then you could be faced with health issues.

The negative effects of stress

When you are faced with stress your adrenals start pumping hormones which essentially tell your body to send all of the energy (glucose) to your muscles. The energy to your vital organs is minimised. This includes your digestive system. In the days of hunting a stressful situation was when a predator was threating us. Now the jungle has become the big city and the stressful situations range from: quick, I need to get to work, to argh…profit margins have declined by 10% to why would the kids not go to sleep already and what I am going to cook tonight?

When the digestive tract gets energy pulled from it regularly to fight the stress, we start to see issues with poor absorption, nutrient deficiencies, constipation or loose stools, indigestion, bloating, fatigue. In addition, your body doesn’t have the energy it needs to rejuvenate, cleanse and repair. Have you ever thought you looked older after you had a period of stressful situations? I started to have white hair after 1 year spent in constant stress and I still consider myself a millennial (yes!).

Stress requires the release of glucose into your bloodstream which comes with the slump of energy. As the sugar hits the bloodstream, the pancreas releases insulin to transport it to the muscles With over exposure to stress the insulin is higher than the sugar available in the bloodstream. This also means that your body is craving glucose all the time. That is why when we are stressed we reach out for that sugar and we feel fatigued, tired. It is like a vicious circle.

Brain and neurotransmitters are made from amino acids from the protein we eat. But their production is depends on vitamins and minerals. The more stressed we are the more we consume our body’s resource of vitamins and minerals.

Stress shuts down parts of your brain, mainly the pre-frontal cortex which deals with , cognition, moral reasoning, decision making. It is the part of the brain which separates us from monkeys and deals with the negation of impulses. This is why we might not be able to perform well certain tasks. You start to forget things or deal with so called brain fog. This is why sometimes, in social situations we do things that otherwise we wouldn’t do.

During stressful situations your pituitary glande, adrenals, pancreas and liver work around the clock to pump out hormones to control glucose in your blood which sometimes you don’t even need. This leads your body being worn out to maximum.

Because most of the energy is concentrated on pumping glucose into your system your immune system is on holiday. So if you are coming across a virus or bacteria there are no troops to go and fight it. So consequently you get ill more often.

This is what happens biologically to our body. But of course, if you take into account the human factor which goes through several “what if” scenarios, playing and re-playing in out minds what could we have done better, why is that person so annoying that it decided to do something you didn’t like, was it me, was it him/her? And this is happening after the situation is long gone, when we cannot do anything about it. But we “love” living in the past, tormenting ourselves linking situations to emotions. We don’t get to “rest and digest” enough to bring the balance back.

Chronic stress leads to:

  • inflammation;
  • anxiety;
  • depression;
  • damaged hippocampus (the part of the brain that deals with short term memory and the one that gets damaged during Alzheimer’s disease);
  • reduced serotonin (the neurotransmitter that regulates mood);
  • thyroid imbalances;
  • loss of muscle

My story

Just like the majority of you , I also consider stress part of my everyday life. The double whammy with me is that I “like” to overthink things and I have the tendency to worry. Also, some would say (my husband in particular) that I am not able to relax properly. I blame my mum’s side and genes for this. Letting go is a principle I find hard to incorporate so for me, relaxation (of mind and body) is something I consciously need to strive for.

I have never felt I was properly dealing with stress until 1.5 years ago. It coincided with a job change, a promotion that I was waiting for such a long time. It was a brilliant opportunity which would have given me a lot of things to learn. For the first time in a long time the brand secured a great budget to be able to activate it for a relaunch and a great marketing campaign. At the same time I reached the conclusion that in the distant future I would want to fly solo and take my aim at opening my own business. I had planned to try a few things in whatever spare time I had.

It all sounded amazing and it was deemed to be an amazing year. I also have a very stubborn attitude (again quoting my husband); therefore, although it felt like an ambitious plan I was adamant that I wanted to pursue it (as I said, I am a stubborn individual).

The workload at my “9-5” job was getting out of hand and I was working  with a manager that was not able to cope with stress and felt unhappy in his job. In addition, my trait of I want to help and do the best job, coupled with the fact that I was not able to say “no” to new things took their tole. I was working until the late hours of the evening, commuting 3 hours a day, working while I was commuting; it felt like it was never stopping. I was tired, frustrated and depressed and the weekends felt like they were going in a flash.

It was not only affecting my health, but also my relationship with my husband and my business. My ambition of working on my business in my spare time was put on the side as I had no energy to left to do so. And this is where the overthinking didn’t help. Because I knew what I wanted to be doing in the future it felt that this experience I thought I will be getting was not worth it and better of to just jump the ship and leave now. Well, it wasn’t quite that easy. You see, when you are in a relationship with your decisions affecting the whole is not quite that easy to just leave. I had financial situations that I had to take into considerations and the happiness of other people. So i stuck with it. Things partly improved with my boss leaving the job but I was still  not quite happy as I felt I was “wasting” my time in  a job I was not passionate about and that my passion was laying somewhere else. I suppose it’s like being in love with someone else but you staying in the loveless relationship.

I wanted to share this with you because I am sure I am not a unique case and there are so many other people out there, dealing with worse things. However, I have made it the mission of my business (which I am currently working on) to empower people to achieve health everyday. So this is just a sneak peak of what is about to come. Also, stay tuned to the next blog where I am sharing a few ways of how to manage stress, methods that mostly I apply. But also, I have added some more methods to give a different perspective. While there are few steps that work synergistically (and therefore should be done together to achieve wellbeing), some methods will depend on how they resonate with you.

Wishing you health and love

Patricia x

Healthy desserts

Chocolate vegan mousse

Making healthier desserts hasn’t been easier. Gone are the days when you had to master the art of baking and spend hours in the kitchen to produce a masterpiece. Now, all you need is a food processor and some avocados. This chocolate vegan mousse is a must try and you can have some fun with this Halloween.

This chocolate vegan mousse is perfect for a sweet delight without using large quantities of refined sugar. Also, you can eat it by itself as a healthier dessert. At the same time you can have it alongside other healthy treats during a Halloween kids or adults party. As the recipe asks for avocados, I spent some time refining this recipe to ensure it is as close as possible to a chocolate dessert and not guacamole. It is definitely worth the 15 min you will spend doing. For me, is not just about the quality of what I eat but the taste and the time I spend doing it. Yes, sometimes it is worth putting a lot of effort in the kitchen. However, some other times I prefer to deliver to the table something just as amazing but in lesser time. Wouldn’t you?

Why is this chocolate vegan mousse better for you?


Although a fruit, monounsaturated fats make most of its contents. These fats include certain phytosterols (like campesterol, beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol) which help lower the unwated cholesterol. Also, these plant chemicals may attenuate the inflammation, however the data is very limited ( Source: Phytosterols, Linus Pauling Institute, 2017, Avocados are high in pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) which is essential for brain and nerves and makes anti-stress hormones (steroids). Alongside biotin helps the body produce energy. Alongside vitamin E which is also highly present in avocados it maintains a healthy skin. Vitamin E is also important in enhancing our immune function.


The flavanols present in cacao helps increase microcirculation and improves skin structure. Also, the flavonols (especially epicatechin) help in keeping healthy blood pressure in adults with coronary disease, as well as healthy blood vessels in healthy adults (Source: Giana Angelo, Ph.D LPI Research Associate Micronutrient Information Center, 2012). The polyphenols present in cacao have anti-inflammatory effect which leads to healthy cardiovascular system. Antioxidant effects of cacao may directly influence insulin resistance and, in turn, reduce risk for diabetes. Cacao can protect nerves from injury and inflammation, and have beneficial effects on satiety, cognitive function, and mood (Source: Katz DL1, Doughty K, Ali A., cacao and chocolate in human health and disease, 2011). Cacao contains a neurotransmitters (anandamide) and a compound called phenylethylamine, both helping increase mood. Dark chocolate contains approximately 43-63 mg flavanols per 100 grams.

However, differences in processing can greatly affect the amount of flavanols present in commercial cacao-containing products. cacao naturally has a very strong, pungent taste, which comes from the flavanols. Before you get chocolate, cacao goes through several steps to reduce the bitter taste. Processing chocolate through things like fermentation, alkalizing, roasting, etc. damages flavonols. Supermarkets currently sell mainly highly processed chocolate. Although it was once believed that dark chocolate contained the highest levels flavanols, recent research indicates that, depending on how the dark chocolate was processed, this may not be true.

Best to go for dark chocolate and cacao powder that has not undergone Dutch processing (cacao that is treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity). If your chocolate says “processed with alkali” on the nutrition label, then it’s going to have less flavanols. Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter). Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. For this chocolate vegan mousse recipe I have used both a combination of 70% dark chocolate and raw cacao powder.


Promote bowel regularity due to the high fibre content. They also contain 21g of protein per 100g serving, which makes them a good source of protein. The content of vitamin B2 and E helps keep skin healthy. Helps in blood circulation due to iron content which transports oxygen to cells. Good amounts of calcium and magnesium work together to keep our muscles healthy.


For this recipe I used almond yogurt. I have made a recent discovery in the form of this wonderful Nush yogurt. Usually you would use coconut milk and while coconut milk is a good alternative I prefer almond yogurt because it has less saturated fat. I had people asking me where you can get in and you can find it in all major supermarkets as well as health shops.

Chocolate vegan mousse

Print Recipe
Serves: 2 Cooking Time: 15min


  • For the mousse
  • 150g dark chocolate (min 70% cacao solids)
  • 2 large ripe avocadoes
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste or seeds from 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 250g almond yogurt
  • To decorate
  • Handful of almonds blitzed until crumbs form or 60g of almond flour
  • 2 tsp of cacao powder
  • 2 oat biscuits with rounded edges (I used Nairn’s biscuit breaks)
  • Melted dark chocolate for decorating (I used Cake Décor’s Choco Writers)
  • 2 tops of mint leaf
  • 2 edible flowers or flower decoration



Break the dark chocolate in smaller pieces and place in a heatproof dish over a pan of simmering water. Leave it to melt completely and then remove from heat and set on one side to cool.


In a food processor with an S blade place the flesh from the avocadoes, cacao powder, vanilla paste, honey, almond yogurt and cooled melted chocolate. Blitz for 3 min or until smooth and creamy. Place the mousse in 2 large cocktail glasses with a large rim or 4 smaller water glasses.


Prepare the dirt for the grave by mixing together the almond flour and cacao powder until it becomes dark in appearance. Take 2 oat biscuits and on the top half write “RIP” in dark chocolate. Leave to set.


Scatter the dirt generously on top of the mousse. Place the biscuit inside the mousse, ¾ towards the rim of the glass and at a slight angle. Place the mint and the edible flowers in from of the biscuit. And here you go, your very own vegan chocolate Halloween graves.

Healthy desserts/ Snacks

Healthy Halloween apples

Healthy Halloween Apples

These Healthy Halloween Apples are simply apples rolled in a date caramel and nutty mixture decorated with some edible funny looking eyes. Also, these are a much better option for you. They contain no refined sugar, less sugar than conventional desserts overall. In addition they are packed with vitamins, minerals and some good fats on top.

How to make healthy Halloween apples

Yes people! It is that time of the year again. We need to get out of a very dusty cupboard the cheesy and kitsch looking Halloween decorations; at least in my household at my desperate sigh (most of my friends know very well the extensive collection of less than artistic decorations my husband likes to have). Coming back to food, in true style of The Organic Cookery, my contribution comes in the form of some amusing and more artistic looking recipes; you can have some fun with these this Halloween. Most of my recipes are really easy, quick and a much healthier alternative to your conventional recipes. Therefore, these healthy Halloween apples are no exception. The apples coated in delicious date caramel and sprinkled with hazelnuts and chia seeds take less than 15 min to do. They are amazing for kids and adult parties alike…or even as a winter snack/dessert. Plus it’s even easy to do with your kids too at the weekend or half term.

I love the date caramel I used to brush the apples with. It is very easy to make and it is one step closer to natural; you do not need heat application but only a food processor to make it. To create a smooth creamy consistency I added almond yogurt, which is lower in saturated fat.

Date caramelWhy are these healthy Halloween apples better for you?

Yes, of course these healthy Halloween apples are better for you. So let’s quickly look at why this is so.

APPLES – lovely apples, crisp and fresh and in season in the UK. Did you know that 90% of apples sold in the UK are imported? Next time when you do your shopping, check where the apples come from. It’s a good exercise to do with all foods you buy. Here are the ones I used in this recipe, however you can also find organic British cox apples here and a pesticide free variety here. In order to get an organic certification, the land needs to be pesticide free for a minimum of 5 years. So until then you can only claim pesticide free.

Benefits of apples

DATES – I like to call them natural sugar as dates are high in glucose which will raise your blood sugar very quickly. In the long term the body will store excess glucose as fat deposits. However, I use dates in small quantities so it creates a bit of a balance. Plus the use of good fats (like nuts and seeds) will slow down the release of sugar.

Dates health benefits

HAZELNUTS – contain the amazingly Omega 3 fats which help in maintaining your heart healthy. Your skin will be healthier due to vitamin E content. The same vitamin is involved in digesting protein. Pregnant ladies benefit from the folic acid hazelnuts contain.

Hazelnuts health benefits

CHIA SEEDS – Just like hazelnuts they contain Omega 3 fatty acids. However, they also have calcium and magnesium which you keep your bones and teeth healthy. The gum-like fibre that activates when you soak the seeds for 1 hour will help keep your bowels in good shape.

Chia health benefits

ALMOND YOGURT – for this recipe I used almond yogurt. I have made a recent discovery in the form of this wonderful Nush yogurt. Usually you would use coconut milk to make date caramel and while coconut milk is a good alternative I prefer almond yogurt because it has less saturated fat. I had people asking me where you can get in and you can find it in all major supermarkets as well as health shops.

Date caramel

Healthy Halloween Apples

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 15 min


  • 4 apples
  • 4 pop cake sticks
  • 60g hazelnuts
  • blitzed for up to a min to crush them (2 large handfuls)
  • 3 tbps chia seeds
  • Edible eyes (you can find them in the baking aisle)
  • For the caramel:
  • 6 medjol dates
  • 63g Nush almond yogurt (1/2 a small pot)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • Pinch of salt



Make the caramel. De-stone the dates and add them to a food processor with an S blade along side all other ingredients for the caramel (yogurt, vanilla paste and pinch of salt). Blitz for 2-3 min min until you have a smooth paste. It will look like caramel and the taste is unbelievable.


Take the stem of the apples and give a wash and dry. Push the pop stick down in the place where the stem was until you get it through in the core. You will have to be forceful so hold the pop cake stick from half way down to ensure you are not bending it. Brush the apples all over with the date caramel. Be fairly generous.


Mix the crushed hazelnuts with the chia seeds. Holding the apples from the stick, roll them in the nut and seed mixture until coated all over. Using your finger, expose a bit of the apple skin where you would like to place the eyes. Brush the small roundels with extra caramel and stick the edible eyes. Repeat for all other apples. You can consume straight away but they will keep for a couple of days as it’s only fruit, dried fruit and nuts. Best kept chilled.

Featured/ Healthy desserts

Rhubarb and apple crumble

When it comes to indulgence, for me it’s about what choices you make. With this rhubarb and apple crumble recipe you can feel a lot better about your choice as it has minimal sugar. Also, it is jam packed with fruit.


This is an amazing recipe that takes little time to prepare and then you can sort of forget about it in the oven (for about 40-50 min depending on your oven). It caters for adults and children alike and with copious amounts of fruit and rather than a refined flour and full of butter topping this has a more interesting version: oats and nuts which get a delicious roasted flavour in the oven.

Late spring and early summer in Britain is the season of rhubarb, a vegetable with reddish edible stalks. Most recipes I found say to use fair amounts of sugar as the stalks a fairly sharp in taste but what I found with this recipe is that you actually you don’t really need to go overboard. By gently roasting it and adding the apple you will get enough sugar. When choosing rhubarb make sure you choose the most reddish stalks as the unripe ones contain high levels of antinutrients which interfere with the absorption of nutrients in our gut. From a vitamins and minerals perspective rhubarb contain few amounts which mainly will be lost through cooking, however, it also contains anthraquinones which have laxative properties.

The apple I used for this recipe is Royal Gala as this is still in season in the UK. When cooked Royal Gala holds its shape nicely and give a nice peachy flavour. Apples contain more fructose than glucose which make them the perfect choice in terms of desserts as it doesn’t shoot your blood sugar up.


Rhubarb and apple crumble

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 40min


  • 400g rhubarb
  • 500g apples (use British season – I used the last of Royal Gala season)
  • 1 ½ tbps coconut oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 300g oat flakes or rolled oats blitzed a couple of seconds in a food processor
  • 120 g pistachios
  • 1 ½ tbsp honey
  • To serve
  • 200g coconut yogurt
  • 1 tbsp elderflower cordial



Preheat the oven at 180 degrees. Wash the rhubarb and cut in 4cm strips. Wash the apples, don’t peel them as most of the good stuff is underneath (although some of it will be lost with cooking so be mindful of that) but it also saves times and gives a nice almost peach like texture. Royal Gala variety still holds its shape nicely once cooked. Cut them in 2cm chunks and discard the core.


In a pan put ½ tbsp of coconut oil (the oil will be hard but you will be melting it in the pan), 1 ½ tbsp honey, 2 tsp vanilla paste and 2 tsp of cinnamon powder and gently melt over a low heat. Pour the liquid on top of the apples and rhubarb and mix together well. Place in an oven proof dish.


Take the rest of 1tbsp coconut oil (again the hard one) place it in a pan and gently melt. Take of the heat and add the oats and mix well. Don’t worry if you think there isn’t enough oil. You don’t want the oats to be very heavy, but it’s more to help the oats achieve flavour in the oven. Add the pistachios and mix well again. Take the mixture and sprinkle over the fruits until well covered.


Bake in the oven at 160 degrees for a good 40-45 min or until you see the mixture bubbling and fruit breaking down (if you have a transparent oven dish) or you see the fruit juices bubbling in the corners of the mixture and the top is nicely browned but not burnt.

Healthy desserts/ Snacks

No bake granola bars with chocolate topping

These no bake granola bars are the most indulgent snack and definitely more like a dessert. This is because they contain a high level of dates and raisins which have a high level of glucose available for the body. If this glucose is not used then it will be stored by your body in the form of fat.

So these should definitely be enjoyed in moderation, although I must admit it will be hard because they just so amazing:).

There are few health benefits vs a normal highly refined dessert.


  • Oats – Contain gramine, a natural sedative, treating depression, anxiety and insomnia. They are also easy to digest (contain the most soluble fibre than any other grain);
  • Buckwheat – Gluten free, contains mucilaginous fibres which lubricates the digestive tract;
  • Hemp seeds – contain a perfect balance of omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids which help in brain function and heart health. They contain fibre but also essential amino acids.

No bake granola bars with chocolate topping

Print Recipe
Serves: 20 bars Cooking Time: 20min


  • For the granola bars
  • 250g oats
  • 60g buckwheat
  • 200g medjol dates
  • 100g hemp seeds
  • 250g raisins
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • For the topping
  • 100g 85% dark chocolate



Preheat the oven at 180 degrees. Put the oats, buckwheat and help seeds on to a baking tray. Roast for 10 min or until a slight golden colour.


Pit the dates and put them along side the oats, buckwheat, raisins, cinnamon, ginger and coconut oil in a food processor. Blitz until all combined and hold their shape when pressed together.


Take the mixture out of the food processor and pop it on a baking paper. Take another baking paper and pop it on top. Level the mixture with a rolling pin until you get a 3-4cm high block.


Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water. Take a spoon and pour the chocolate over the block and push it carefully to the ends. Cut the block in neat bars or just in shards.

Healthy desserts/ Snacks

Chocolate and orange energy balls

Whenever I made these chocolate and orange energy balls people absolutely loved them! The texture of these are slightly more crumbly and that is because I don’t use as many dates as shop bought ones. While dates contain dietary fibre which helps relieve constipation, Wathey are also very high in glucose, which means your blood sugar will sore high and whatever it’s not used by your body for energy it is stored by your body for later in the form of fat. So these energy balls a lot kinder to your waistline:).

However, nuts are in incredible source of good fats which are essential for our health.


  • Almonds – High in monounsaturated fats, have a high content of fibre which regulates blood sugars as well as vitamins and minerals;
  • Walnuts – Rich in omega 3 and antioxidants and serotonin which lifts depression;
  • Hazelnuts – High in monounsaturated fats, vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant), manganese essential for development and metabolism;
  • Sunflower seeds – good source of polyunsaturated fats, magnesium, vitamin B6 and some iron.

Chocolate and orange energy balls

Print Recipe
Serves: 20 balls Cooking Time: 20min


  • 250 g almonds
  • 100 g walnuts
  • 200 g hazelnuts
  • 7 medjol dates
  • 50 g sunflower seeds
  • Zest of 2 oranges
  • 3 tbps of cocoa powder



When at home: soak the nuts and seeds over night to remove the phytic acid (found within the hulls of nuts, seeds and grains). This is indigestible for humans so the best way to reduce is by soaking. Another way is via lightly toasting the seeds and nuts. Place the almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts on a baking tray and put in a heated oven (at 180 degrees) for 4 min. In the last min of toasting add the pumpkin seeds. These will quickly toast.


Pit the dates and place with all other ingredients in a food processor. Blitz for around 4-5 min or until fine crumbs and hold together when pressed.


Shape the mixture into balls.