Juices & Smoothies

Guest blog by Nicola Corcoran, from Growing Through Cancer blog

It's my favourite season for fresh, locally sourced fruit and vegetables.
Beetroots, carrots, apples, pears and berries make for wonderful variations on
juices and smoothies.

I'm so lucky to have apple and pear trees in my garden, and this year they've both
produced bumper crops. Energetically, there's something very special about eating
fruit straight from the tree, and I've been doing plenty of that, but what to do with
the surplus? As well as making apple cider vinegar, and fruit leather, juicing is
the obvious choice. Green apples make an amazing base for fruit and vegetable juices,
and for smoothies. Apples contain relatively little sugar, and take the same amount
of time as vegetables to digest, so unlike other fruits, they don't create bloating or
gas when combined with veggies.

Juices are a wonderful enzyme-rich way of nutrifying the body. They're quickly
and easily absorbed because juicing removes all fibre, yet you're getting the full
raw potential of each fruit and vegetable, and in a volume that you couldn't possibly
squeeze in daily. For this reason be careful not to juice purely fruits. Tropical fruits
are best avoided entirely, or used as a rare treat due to their high sugar content.
There's no need to peel or  core fruit or veg if it'sorganic (even lemons!) as many
of the vitamins minerals  and anti-oxidantsare found in and just below the skin.
When buying a juicer, ideally look for a single augur or twin gear masticating juicer,
which yields more juice of abetter quality than a centrifugal juicer. Try to make your
juice as and when you need it, as it quickly loses potency  if kept in the fridge.
My current favourite recipe is apple, beetroot, lime and kale. Carrot, apple and
ginger is a great immune system booster. And for the ultimate alkalising juice,
combine apple, kale, cucumber, celery, lemon. 

Smoothies are a great way of combining protein, fibre and plant nutrients and are
more slowly absorbed due to their fibre content. Starting with a liquid base of
water, apple juice, coconut water or nut milk (hazelnut adds something sublime)
simply add one soft fruit (banana, pear or the occasional mango), a handful of
greens (baby spinach, kale, lettuce) and blend. A smoothie can be as simple
as you like, or you can add super-foods, like chlorella, bee pollen, chia or
rice/hemp protein. If you have a high speed blender, it's not necessary to peel
organic fruit.

Berries are coming to an end, but you can still scavenge enough from the local
hedgerows to turn your smoothies pink or purple. Berries are easy to freeze
for the months ahead. Simply wash (use a natural disinfectant like Citricidal
if your berries are picked from a farm which sprays with pesticides),
spread out onto trays, freeze, and bag up for your winter smoothies.
Avoid adding berries to your green smoothies - the resulting brown colour
can be a little off-putting!

Experiment with your juices and smoothies. Aim for no more than one
8 oz juice per hour, and try to avoid drinking water within 20 minutes
of having a juice to increase it's enzyme giving potential. 

Here's a brief breakdown of some great fruits and veggies to use in your
juices and smoothies, and why they are beneficial.

Apple - contains quercetin, an anti-inflammatory, and malic acid, an immune
system booster.

Ginger - a natural expectorant and anti-inflammatory.

Kale - potassium rich, full of vitamins A, C and K and high in

Pear - makes a great base for smoothies, cutting through and masking the
more bitter greens like kale. The skins of pears also contain quercetin.

Broccoli - like kale, it's a member of the powerful brassica family.
Broccoli, like other dark green leafy vegetables, is rich in chlorophyll, a
substance which closely resembles our blood and so is a great blood
cleanser. It is full of calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A and C, and has
cancer fighting properties. Great to add to your green juice.

Blackberries, raspberries and blueberries - powerful antioxidant sources
high in vitamin C

Beetroot - is another super food. It is a powerful liver cleanser, and can
lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It's high in vitamin C and is
great for asthma sufferers.

Lemons and limes - great for the digestion and kidneys. The skins contain
cancer fighting antioxidants.

Celery - rehydrating and alkalising, potassium rich and a great source of
minerals and B vitamins. 

Cucumber - cleansing and anti-inflammatory, they contain plant lignans which
have a health giving anti- oestrogenic effect. Use the skins too!

Mint and basil - anti bacterial and add a nice kick to a green juice.

Nicola Corcoran, www.growingthroughcancer.blogspot.co.uk


Hazelnut buns

Any gluten free fans out there know how challenging it can be to make a good loaf of gluten free bread. Trying to create ‘real’ bread experience with gluten free flour is hard due to the lack of gluten itself  - which gives dough stretchy assets and the bread elasticity. Buying a supermarket gluten free bread can be an equally disappointing experience. Apart from it not tasting very nice, supermarket gluten free breads are loaded with preservatives (calcium propanoate), sugar, vegetable fats, stabilisers (in the form of toxic hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose) and various starches. 

I have been experimenting with making various gluten free breads for some time now, and whilst they definitely taste better than supermarket ones, their shelf life is not so good.  

Which is why I am so excited about my hazelnut rolls. They have real bread texture, can last 2-3 days without going dry (even though mine never lasted longer than an hour). And they are super easy to make.

They are soft in the middle and have a real nice crust. I eat them for breakfast with butter and jam, and Mae likes them plain. They can also be eaten as baps for burgers, sausages, spreads, salads and so on.

I use gluten free self raising flour, which consists of rice, potato, tapioca, buckwheat flour, xanthan gum and bicarb. If you don’t have date syrup you can boil dates in water, blend and use instead. Initially, I made these without chia seeds, and that is fine too, but chia seeds (apart from being a superfood) release a gel like substance which acts like a binding agent helping the buns to stay intact and soft.

(makes six buns)

110g gluten free self raising flour
100g ground hazelnuts
1 TSP baking powder
1 TBSP chia seeds
1 TBSP date syrup
100ml warm water

Grind the hazelnuts  - I use a coffee grinder but blender will do too. Mix with gluten free flour, baking powder, chia seeds and date syrup. Add the water and mix with your hands. The consistency should be a bit lighter than of bread and a bit thicker than of a cake mix. Make small rolls and put on a baking tray, I grease mine with coconut oil so that they don’t stick. Sprinkle with flour and bake for 25mins on 160 degrees C.


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