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Homemade chocolate

 

This is how I make my chocolate-

1 Cup of coconut oil (or half with half cocoa butter)

1 cup raw cacao (or half and half with raw cacao nibs for a chocolate chip consistancy)

Sweeten to taste with coconut nectar or maple syrup- or coconut sugar if you dont want it smooth. I have also sweetened with goiji berries and dates.

blend in a food processor. either lay out onto greaseproof paper in a sallow baking tin or i like to 1/4 fill my silicon cupcake mold. freeze until hard (between 30 mins to an hour) break up and store in glass container in fridge.

you can add anything to this basic mix to flavour you chocolate. yum yum. also goes great in the Yonana’s machine! Full of magnesium and b vitamins and antioxidants!

This is my favourite thing to add to my Chia porridge for breakfast. The taste is so vibrant and alive yet still naturally sweet and a great yoghurt tang. I use my dehydrator to incubate it but you could use a yoghut maker or even a bain marie (inside a bowl inside a bowl filled with warm/hot water and cover with a towel! It doesn’t have to be complicated just an even warm temperature for about 12 hours for this yoghurt.

 

1 cup of coconut meat

a drizzle to 1/2 cup coconut water/milk kefir (depending on the wetness of the meat)

Add the meat to a blender or food processor. Add a little kefir to get the yoghurt started. Blend on slow to start with and then on high adding more kefir as necessary until you reach a cream consistency (incidentally this is how I make my coconut cream). Add to your vessels- this makes about 8 portions of yoghurt (with each portion for me and my son being about 3 tbs). I put in my dehydrator at 100 degrees (Fahrenheit- because that is what the dial measures in- normally work in centigrade so its confusing to me) leave for 12 hours! This also means this is a raw yoghurt.

Store in the fridge! Delicious

 

Natural Sunscreen is top of my list of things to take in my bag whilst out and about or on holiday. I make 30 ml bottles so they are easily portable and I can have one in my handbag, nappy bag, beach bag and pool bag!

carrots

There has been a lot of information about carrier oil SPF (Sun Protection Factor) and Carrot seed oil comes out pretty high (source). Beta Carotene and Vitamin E are super at preventing your skin from burning in the sun. Taken orally and applied topically as a natural sunscreen. Carrot seed oil is a powerful antioxidant when cold pressed (source) especially in fat oxidisation- which is really useful when applied to skin because all cells are made of fat and protein. So protecting that is what we want our sunscreen to do. Add that with other Vitamin E oils like Wheat-Germ and Avocado you have a deeply nutritious blend

coconut

Coconuts have been described as the original sunscreen. With a lower SPF factor but many other nutritional benefits when applied topically it is an ideal addition. Over time the coconut oil has been replaced by chemicals. Basically a fat barrier is what the skin needs to protect it- coconut oils Medium chain fatty acids are a perfect fit for this. Plus the anti bacterial and microbial benefits all together you have a match made in heaven!

lavender

on its own I think you have a great product but if you like a smell and to double up as a skin protector/ bug repellent/after sun these essential oils are key.

Lavender is a natural pain reliever, calming, antimicrobial and antiseptic perfect to ease burns and inflammation and balance and cleanse the skin. Gives that comforting herby lavender smell.

Chamomile is also a pain reliever and calming. It is also soothing and relaxing. Gives a warm sweet note too the oil

Geranium is anti-inflammatory and regulating. It is a powerful smell that insects hate but blended with the above give a nice rosy-minty hint to the oil

in the past I have often also added Neroli (very restorative for skin), Frankincense (again to restore and heal skin), lemongrass (protects from bugs) and grapefruit (although not great in the sunscreen it awesome in a bug repellent and aftersun). Please consult a professional Naturopath or Aromatherapist if worried about using essential oils.

Recipe for Natural Sunscreen

In a 30 ml bottle mix the following;

10ml Carrot seed oil

10 ml Coconut oil

5ml Avocado oil

5ml Wheatgerm oil

5-10 drops Lavender essential oil (lesser amount for young children)

5 drops Chamomile (Roman) essential oil

1-2 drops Geranium essential oil

(add some rescue remedy too if you like)

Apply often, safe for all ages (for babies best to use plain oil blend) especially if feeling burning, stay in shade at hottest times of the day or covered. See 5 ways to Stay Sun Safe for more info. Eating foods rich in carotenes (sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin- yellow/orange foods, also spinach and collards) and Vitamin E (avocado, nuts and seeds) will help protect you from the inside. Enjoy the sun but NEVER EVER Burn. 

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The sun is back here in Hong Kong, and I hear it is coming out where you are too. I love the sun and I rarely apply sun tan lotion as I have a healthy respect for it. I certainly do not use a product full of chemicals and petrochemicals (here) If I am going to be lying out in it- rare as i mostly prefer at least the top half of me to be in the shade- I will apply sunscreen (a natural one- naturally!) otherwise I abide to these 5 ways to keep myself and my kiddies burn free and Vit D rich.

1. Sunscreen– I like to use a mix of carrier oils with aromatherapy as my sun cream. Carrot and Raspberry seed oil having the highest SPF (sun protecting factor). I have quite olive skin that seems to soak up the sun, but my son is quite pale (and not 1 yet) so I am more vigilant with him. My daughter has the same skin as me. Our general rule is 10-20 mins in the sun without any barriers to soak up the vitamin D. Never Ever burn. If you feel yourself burning apply straight away (and you should seek the shade or wear a layer). The same mix of oils is also my after-sun  in the bath for the kids and slapped on for us. the oils I use are also anti-bug ones so it is an all in one product. Perfect for taking out with you and taking on holiday! This is a great link to what oils have what SPF (http://www.naturaltherapypages.com.au/article/carrier_oils_and_spf).

2. Cover up– hats long sleeves etc. But watch the sunglasses, Vitamin D is also produced through the Iris and by constantly wearing sunglasses you are missing that vital gateway to healthy Vitamin D levels. Limit your time in the sun– Its a no brainer that keeping out of the sun at the hottest points (recent studies are saying 10am-4pm) but then again that’s almost the whole day! So dipping in and out (and not just of the pool) for example go in for lunch and yes a siesta (another luxury that is far off in the future for me!) and then enjoy it again. There is nothing worse than a sun hangover- you can always have too much of a good thing!

3. Shade seeking– Its cooler in the shade but beware you can still burn so be aware of how you are feeling (and if you are going to go to sleep on your lounger- a luxury I will have to wait for a while to indulge in again- make sure you have applied or get someone to apply some cover for you ) NEVER EVER Burn! Be especially careful at the beach or where there is a lovely breeze as you may not feel that burn.

4. Keep hydrated– Coconut water is brilliant for this- it replaces all your electrolytes and is so delicious in the sunshine. Of course beware of drinking alcohol (even in the coconut water!) and ensure you maintain your water intake. That groggy  feeling after a day in the sun is generally dehydration. A good soak in the bath is a good way to rehydrate (and with the oils of course)

5. Know what to do after a day in the sun– Don’t forget natures wonder product- Aloe Vera. It is not a coincidence that it thrives in hot desert like conditions! Break it open and apply the cooling gel straight away or after a shower. If you do burn a nice hot shower or bath is the way forward (not a cold one!), Aloe Vera and coconut oil with some Lavender and Calendula tincture will do wonders. Calendula and Camomile tea or essential oils and tinctures with lavender are also good at reducing the inflammation burns produce and calming and encouraging new skin growth. Re-hydrating and ensuring plenty of rest afterwards will allow you to enjoy the sun day after day (which is what we hopefully have to look forward to till December now!)

Enjoy!!! But be Safe!

PS Sunscreen recipe to follow (includes carrot seed oil, wheatgerm oil, avocado and coconut oil- Lavender, Camomile, Geranium and either Lemongrass, Neroli, Frankinsence or Grapefruit essential oils depending on my mood!)

teeth

I just made my second batch of home-made toothpaste. I started making it because buying fluoride  paraben and other nasty free toothpaste is difficult over here (I bought Aloedent in the UK) and really really expensive. Making your own is easy. I have to say my teeth definitely feel different and I can see my gums improving. I have very fine chips on the back of my two front teeth I was starting to worry about (it was a ‘Hey Big Spender moment swinging a caribou on a string at Drama School- another story!) They were starting to feel very thin- It feels completely different and the best way to describe it is stronger. 3 weeks on and I can hand on heart say I love this tooth paste!

My 3 year old was also spending a lot of time eating and sucking the toothbrush- now she just gets in there and cleans and spits which makes me happier. She also only complains about it to her Dad who also is wary of it- she just sees me get on with it- and there is no alternative which is sometimes a brilliant way to get kids to just get on with it!!

I took my inspiration from these blogs;

http://www.keeperofthehome.org/2012/04/rethinking-oral-health-care-a-homemade-toothpaste-recipe-for-tooth-remineralization.html

http://familysponge.com/health/coconut-oil/homemade-toothpaste-coconut-oil/

and Ramiel Nagal’s book  Cure Tooth Decay

I use;

In a glass Jar

2tbs coconut oil

2tbs calcium and magnesium powder (I use  this)

2tbs baking powder

1tsp salt (I use Pink Himalayas Salt)

8 drops Raspberry Medicine Flowers

10 drops of Mint Medicine Flowers

Mix it all together with a chopstick and put the lid on the jar!

Done and it lasts ages! (beware it is grey!)

Spring bloom

 

Why does a change of season suddenly bring with it so many symptoms of illness? What can we do to recognise our body’s reaction and how can we boost immunity naturally?

A change of season, especially in Hong Kong, not only brings about a change in temperature but also a change in humidity, daylight hours and atmospheric pressure. Your body will have to adapt to these changes in a number of ways. The key to doing this is using foods and nutrients to strengthen and boost our immune system.

Illnesses during change of seasons are natural and integral to the body developing and reacting to the changing atmospheres around us. They are a way of purging the body (of mucous and waste products for example) and are normally signals to rest and recuperate. For example the lungs have to massively change to compensate for the added water levels in the air with the change of humidity and temperature. The little hairs in our lungs (Cila) are affected. Getting muck (mucous) out of our system is the body’s way of adapting and spring cleaning. So children and adults alike may sneeze, get runny noses or coughs. These symptoms can be likened to a cold, but may very well have no bacteria or virus involved. It is important to know the difference and seeing a professional (whether a doctor, naturopath or homeopath) to help you to do that. To interrupt this can then lead to more serious symptoms, but supporting it you can adapt and allow the season to change with little disruption.

From winter to spring we get lighter mornings, we wake easier and seem to have more energy. We are programmed to operate at full function in daylight. Sunlight on our skin will also provide us vital vitamin D (but only by not wearing sunscreen, try and go 10 mins with 40% of your body in full sunlight a day. As soon as you feel the heat starting to get a bit intense on your skin, cover up or return to the shade see here) Vitamin D is vital for a healthy immune system.  Our body clocks react to daylight. We are supposed to slow down and stock up in the winter ready for spring’s re-awakening. However daily hum drum does not change through the seasons anymore and the toll on our body is seen with more winter colds/ illnesses as the immune system is dampened in the cold weather and if we do let our bodies rest, then we start to become deficient in vital nutrients used up by the will to keep going.

Stress is a major factor in immunity – take time to relax when you start to feel run down. Illness is generally a signal to slow down and rest. Pushing through an illness is another way of suppressing signals and may also cause future long term damage. Viruses and bacteria are around us all the time; they are in our homes and outside. They are necessary for human existence. They are opportunistic so when you are run down, going through a change (in pregnancy or environmental change of season), stressed, malnourished, or tired you are at your most prone to illness. By adding foods and nutrients like vitamin D, C, E, zinc, magnesium and antioxidants daily; you can help prevent illness by providing your body with the means to heal and strengthen from within.

Foods in season are around to help support this change of season and boost the immune system. Foods in season right now are all your leafy greens, beetroot, strawberries, pumpkin, papaya – foods bursting with Iron, Beta carotene, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Papaya also has vital enzymes to help us absorb our food so is great to have at meal times. All perfect to help boost immunity and rid and protect our body from toxins. Another great reason to eat local organic produce and go strawberry picking in the New Territories!

Here are some Natural remedy recipes to allow you to keep the Spring in your step!

Ginger tea

Ginger, lemon and orange curd

Honey and onion Elixor

Drinking Greens

ginger-tea-ginger

Ginger Lemon and Honey Tea

This is a good morning or end of the day tea. It is cleansing, boosting and healing. Use good quality ingredients and you will get the best out of it. Using raw or Manuka (at least 10+) Honey for the best benefits, but add honey after water has cooled somewhat to prevent scalding and killing the enzymes.

 

Thumbnail of ginger, grated or finely chopped skin on, Whole lemon cut into quarters, tbs raw or Manuka honey.

 

Add to teapot and add hot water. (Can also add Calendula flowers, camomile flowers, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, raw garlic crushed, cloves, turmeric- powdered or root grated and cloves as necessary and to taste)

 

  

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Pumpkin Bread

Works best when making mini loafs as they stay moist and not too dense.

4 tbs coconut sugar, 2 tbs coconut nectar

2tbs Olive oil, 2tbs coconut oil

400g Pureed pumpkin

¼ lemon squeezed

Thumbnail size of grated ginger.

1 cup Almond Flour,

½ cup Quinoa Flour

¼ coconut flour

1 cup All purpose gluten free flour.

1tbs poppy seeds

1 ½ tsp cinnamon,

½ tsp grated nutmeg,

1 tsp Xanthum gum (or Chia gel- 1 tsp chia to 3tsp water let it sit for 10-20 mins till gel consistency)

1 ½ tsp baking soda,

½ tsp Salt

Mix all wet ingredients (everything on list till grated ginger) in the Kenwood or with a hand mixer.  Mix dry ingredients together in another bowl. Slowly fold in dry ingredient to wet ingredients. Meanwhile grease some mini loaf tins. When fully mixed, put into loaf tins. Pre-heat oven to 200C and cook for 15-20 mins. Turn out onto cooling rack when finished.

Eva's Hot Cacao

I love making hot chocolate, since we live in a hot country we make it iced too! Here’s the basic recipe

Fill a cup of milk of your choice (Dairy, CoconutNut, or Oat- I use the latter three)

1 tbs Raw Cacao Powder

Coconut sugar or coconut nectar to taste (or your sugar of choice also used dark brown, date or organic sugar. Maple  or Yacon syrup is another option)

Vanilla Essence (I use Medicine Flowers- I also like Hazelnut , Almond or Mint essence too. Also you can add coffee concentrate)

In the hot chocolate I always add 1/2 tsp of coconut oil

Ice if you are making it cold

If making hot chocolate add the ingredient to the saucepan until they are combined and the desired heat. If making cold put all ingredients in your smoothie maker with some ice and blend. You could also add ice-cream instead of ice if you like. Couldn’t be easier or better for you!

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I have had many of you ask me about skin issues. What to use on the skin, how to soothe skin, protect skin, replenish skin and how to heal skin. So here are some insights into nutrients to nourish skin from the outside and some ways to keep it healthy on the outside. Of course everyone is different, this is generalised information. If you want a more personal plan please contact me. Also if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a chronic issue or a condition getting worse, please contact your professional.

The previous post (here) mentioned nutrients necessary to build and repair skin from the inside. This post is about nutrients that can soothe, nourish, moisturise and balance skin from the outside.

oats

DRY SKIN (If you are pregnant or breastfeeding please be aware that some of these recommendations may not be suitable for you- please check before using them)

Essential oils: Carrot seed, Jasmine, Frankincense, Neroli, Geranium, Sandalwood, Chamomile, Lavender and Rosemary.

These oils must be diluted in a carrier oil first before added to the bath or to the skin. Good oils for dry skin are Sweet Almond, Avocado, Wheatgerm, Rose Hip, Peach or Apricot Kernal and Coconut.

Coconut oil used externally can help to strengthen skin and can speed up healing whislt helping to repel germs and bacteria from entering the body. 1 tsp a day should be enough to cover the whole body. Massage into the skin, especially into the dry areas. Some areas may need a little more until they even out.

Cocoa butter; a rich nourishing moisturiser again used sparingly

Baking soda in the bath can help detox the body through the skin but can also help adjust the ph of the skin and makes it feel really soft afterwards.

Oats equally are very soothing when used as a scrub (dry oats mixed with some oil and essential oils mentioned above scrubbed on dry skin) or in the bath (add to the foot of a pair of tights or in a pop sock with a knot in the end. Use it like a sponge in the shower direct on the skin or hang over the taps when filling the bath). Oats are very mucilaginous so the gel will help calm and soothe any irritations and can form a protective layer on the skin making it feel soft and smooth afterwards. Both are good in dry red irritated skin .

Scrubs; As a scrub the oats help to stimulate oil production and help to gently ex foliate dead skin cells. You can also add ground sesame seeds or sunflower seeds, mixed with water, yoghurt or honey or puréed banana or avocado or egg yolks can be used on the (damp) face and body. You can also use salt/sugar scrubs. In dry skin conditions use equal part sugar to oil (see here for some ideas) and add a couple of drops of the above essential oils. Use extremely gentle, circular motions for ex-foliation and move towards the heart.

Dry skin Brushing; use a skin brush or a dry towel/flannel on dry skin gently brush skin towards the heart. Again ex-foliating and promoting oil productions and the elimination of toxins

Raw apple cider vinegar applied topically diluted in the bath can relieve itchiness and flakiness of dry and irritated skin. 2 cups in your bath water will have great effect.

calendula flower

IRRITATED SKIN; (If you are pregnant or breastfeeding please be aware that some of these recommendations may not be suitable for you- please check before using them)

Calendula tincture and balm applied topically can be anti-bacterial, anti microbial, soothing and restorative, nourishing and strengthening. (see here to buy some ready made)

Chamomile; Both the tea and the essential oil (diluted) used topically can soothe and replenish. Use either with a little cotton wool to the area or in the bath. 2 cups of tea in bath water should be good.

Apple cider vinegar and oats as above

Try this hair tonic- brew some nettle tea mix with a teaspoon cider vinegar and a couple of drops of chamomile and add to a spray bottle. Spray or mix into scalp leave for 10 mins and then rinse out.

Lavender; in the bath or used directly on the skin, especially burns, cuts, scars, weeping eczema or psoriasis.

Comfry root cream

Olive oil can calm down and allergic skin rash

All of the above plus aloe vera gel are great on burns esp sun burn. My after sun consists of Sweet almond, avocado and wheatgerm oil, chamomile, lavender, geranium and neroli , Calendula tincture and Bach Rescue remedy.

bentonite clay mask

OILY SKIN; (If you are pregnant or breastfeeding please be aware that some of these recommendations may not be suitable for you- please check before using them)

Essential oils; Citrus oils, lemongrass, sage, basil, ylang ylang

Clay masks can draw out excess oil

Corn meal and oat meal scrubs (gentle as you do not want to over stimulate oil glands)

Aloe vera is very toning

Rose water.

Try not to think that oil produces oil. Using an oil as a moisturiser can allow the body to moderate oil production and help protect the outer layer. Coconut oil used in sparingly can help the skin balance oil production.

Some recipes;

  • Herbal Hair rinse;

3-5 drops of your choice of essential oil depending on skin condition

1 pint of herbal tea (calendula, calmomile, oat straw and peppermint for example)

4 tbs vinegar or lemon juice.

After shampooing mix in water bottle and pour through hair. Leave for 5 mins before rinsing.

  • For dark hair add 2 drops of rosemary essential oil to your hair brush and brush through for glossy look to your hair
  • Pregnancy stretch marks oil (for pre and post natal);

1/2 once of cocoa butter or coconut oil

4 ounces of sweet almond or olive oil

15 drops lavender

5 drops neroli

5 drops frankinscense

5 drops camomile essential oil

1600iu Vitamin E Capsules

Rescue remedy and Crab apple Bach Flower Remedies

Use daily

  • Massage Coconut oil onto moles, bruises and cuticles to protect and heal.

Let me know what works for you….