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  1. Spinach is one of the modern power house foods.  If you ever watched Popeye you could be forgiven for checking out your biceps after eating it.  However those Popeye cartoon resulted from a decimal place in thw wrong place leading researches to find that spinach was a muscle builder.   But you know if you believe it ... well who knows!

    Back to spinach.  I live in Bury, home of the worlds famous Bury market, (or is that more hype). and I was delighted to find some spinach in little clumps with roots which is how it alwaus used to be when I was young and it was quite touch so always needed cooking.

    But nowadays most spinach comes in small tender leaves ideal for eating raw or for cooking.

    So what about the nutritional benefits?  Well spinach is one of the veg that has different benefits depending on whether it is raw or cooked.  So in fact its good to eat it both ways.

    Raw spinach inhibits to absorption of calcium and iron that unfortunately are what spinach is rich in.  So cooked would give you more benefit for those nutrients.  Raw spinach is rich in Vitamins and minerals such as folate, niacin, riboflavin, and potassium some of which are easier to absorb from raw food.

    When cooked spinach releases and makes easier the absorption of vitamins A and E, protein, fiber, zinc, thiamin, calcium, and iron.  Also cartenoids like Beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are more absorbable.

    So it really is a good idea to mix and match cook and raw.

    Cooking spinach is very easy and especially the young leaves very quickly almost melt to next to nothing so you do need a lot more when using in a recipe.  But why not throw a few leaves into the last cooking inutes of a soup, stew or in fact any dish.  

    Happy eating

     

  2. Yoga through a lens

    progress yoga pic

    The yoga 200 hour teacher training course is in its sixth month or about half way and its all been on Zoom so far. Admittedly it all seemed a bit strange at the beginning back in September when everyone was living this strangled covert Covid life and there we were training through a lens. It felt like speaking to somone while looking at them through a telescope. But hey the human being has this wonderfully infinite capacity to adapt and adapt we did.

    We have a weekely Zoom meeting and are well on track with the course content which is suitably 50% practice and training and 50% delving into the depths of yogic thinking. My trainees have started giving twenty minute micro teaches weekly since the start of new year as opposed to monthly on the old live course and this has been a great move as it nourishes their progress more quickly.

    The group have been asking me this week if I can add a new module on how to teach yoga on Zoom which is encouraging as three months ago they were asking me when I thought they could start coming into the studio instead of Zoom. They are now beginning to see the possible advantages of both.

    On this week's session trainees were re-positioning their device cameras before starting their practice teach so they could be seen better. They are all evolving wonderfully. It's lovely to see this adaptive progress. Discussions off the mat are also maturing and developing. You get to a place when you are so engrossed in the session you almost forget you are on camera.

    The future is looking good for yoga teacher training. Part of it might be through a lens in a hybrid delivery but I'm glad to say it's working!

    Barry Todd

  3. 146740508_428816088437017_3221649128393848107_n(1)

    Hey this has got to be the easiest meal ever.  Perfect for lunch on a budget.

    All you need is some brown rice - I like to use round grain as it is a little creamier but long grain will do and part of an onion.  Round grain is a little difficult to get hold of,  they sell it in Holdand and Barrett.  It is not rissotto rice

    Other ingredients could include anything else you have in your fridge. 

    I have added Carrot, mushroom, red pepper, garlic and plenty of corriander with a little coconut oil or whatever you fry with.

    You could make this dish every day and just add different veg and flavours to ring the changes.

    Slice and dice the onion finely and then on a low heat gently soften.  Add the chopped carrot and any other ingredients that are going to take longer to cook, continue to gently soften.

    Add chopped pepper (I used used the end of a pointed red pepper) and finally mushrooms chopped.  Stir until the mushroom have started to soften.  Add enough water (or fresh stock from cooking vegetables if you have it)to well cover the rice and bring to simmer.  You are aiming to have a little liquid keeping the dish quite moist.

    Add garlic either finely chopped or crushed and corriander or any other herbs you favour.  

    Cook until the rice is soft - different rices take different times.  When cooked add salt and pepper to taste, garnish with a little fresh herb.  

    Other ingredients could be cauliflower or broccoli florets, celery, mange tout, chopped green beans. 

    To add a little more protein include some red split lentils.  They with break up and thicken the stock and will add a creamy flavour.  You could also add pea protein or yeast flakes which will both boost the protein content and thicken adding a savoury background flacour.  You could also add precooked beans such as butter bean, field bean or pretty much any bean and a chance to try something new. 

  4. lemon drizzle cake

     

    This is a lovely moist vegan cake.  Really popular when the cafe was open.  I'vr just got around to making another one for home.  I'm afraid that I am a 'to tatse' kind of cook so don'e put too many measurements except when they ar neccessary.  Here goes:

    You will need:

    500 gm self raising flour or gluten free SR flour
    200 gm cocnut oil
    2 teaspoons Baking powder
    1 teaspoon Bi carb
    400gm (approx) caster sugar
    A little milk of your choice (almond is nice)
    Lemon Zest
    Lemon juice
    A little icing sugar

    Baking tin (this is for a large cake 1/2 ingredients for a smaller one

    Heat oven to 180 / gas 6

    Start with the cocnut oil and begin to soften it with the flour.  This is a hand exercise or mixer - don't be tempted to soften in the mic.
    Now add the sugar powders and lemon zest into the mix and  thoroughly mix once again.  This is a really important part to make it rise well.

    Next add the oil, lemon juice  (you will need more than you think) and mix adding the milk until the mixture is like a thick cream

    Scape the mixture into a prepared tin and cook for aprox. 40 mins (30 is using half quantity).  Testing occasionally  with a scewer  until it comes out almost dry.  You want a little bit of stickiness to preserve the moisture but not so that it streaks on the scewer.

    Take out  and cook

    Meanwhile mic a little icing sugar with water, it needs to be runny and add lemon juice to taste.  We want this mix to soak into the cake so it should  be see through and runny and will leave a soft glaze on top. 

    Next take the scewer and poke holes into the top of the cake while it is still warm.  Now pour the icing mix over the tip of the cake letting it soak into the holes that you made.  Jeep topping up until it is saturated and make sure there is an even coating across the top.  Leave to dry into a soft sheen.

    It you want to ice the top of the cake now is the time to add a thicker mix of icing.

    Scrummy - put the kettle on and try a piece.

    I

  5. hypno students 

    Probably the most effective way to boost your Will Power would be with a session of Hypnosis.  Well I would say that wouldn't I

    It just happens to be true.

    There are also other things you could do that are not quite as effective as a professional tailored session but here goes:-

    You can learn self hypnosis that's a less costly approach and can be used for several things as well as boosting your will power.

    You can get into routines and make lists which helps keep you focused.  The secret is to give yourself a little bit less than you can manage so you never become overwhelmed.

    One way you can help to get into the habit of dealing with things more robustly is to practise every day on little things that are easy to manage but that you consciouly decide to do.  This way you become programmed in dealing with things straight away and then when big things come along they are easier.

    These suggestions can all help a little but not really with things you want to stop like smoking or over-eating.  Have you ever noticed that if you get a thought in your mind about a tasty treat or even chips and you try to use your will power to resist, even though you do the thought remains and keeps popping up - even for a few days or a week or so that eventually you no longer resist.

    For things like that it is definitely the imagination that is what you need to address.  This is where the skill of the therapist comes in as they can design  a suitable and alternative thought.  But you can also have a go yourself.  Think about why you want to resist in other words what are you gaining and thing about something similar that will enhance the result of your resistance.  Now imagine that in your mind and keep imagining  until its the enhancer that you start desiring.

    Your imagination can by pass a lot of the suggestions above too.  If you can imagine your goal and it is tested to be suitable and attainable then if you imaginereally well and often you won't need your will power as your enthusiasm from the imagination will push you forward.

    If you decide to try some of these methods please do let me know how you get on.  I am interested truly.

  6. How many of us, this Christmas,will receive or for that matter give pampering gifts that carry magical promises of enhanced vitality, beauty and even self-esteem?

    christmas [resents

     

    Alternatively maybe some indulgent and expensive chocolates, fancy wines or spirits, impressive cheese and chutnies?  Too tempting to ignore!

     

    These gifts come from love and intent.  The intention to make  us happy or give us a well deserved treat.  We can pretty much bask on that though but hold it for just one moment.

     

    And let's be honest, we continue with the theme throughout the year, sprinkled with the odd diet and healthy eating plan along the way.  Maybe do a token sober month or so. Why?  Well because we have been bombarded with marketing telling us we should.

     

    So it seems that we are chasing pleasure and satisfaction.  We are wanting health and happiness.  We pour concentrated pleasure down our throats, plaster beauty products on our faces and bodies and stuff satisfaction into our mouths.  Mostly it is a fake pleaseure that if we are unlucky we can become a slave to.

     

    Yes if we think about it the only things that  have any influence on our health and well-being are things that we put into our bodies.  So the right nourishment will help us to feel radient, vital and satisfied.  Whats the problem then?  Well there are other things that we can ut into our bodies and that is the thoughts that we allow to influence our minds.

     

    It's those little thatought that can be the sabateur that finances all these exhorbitant  'products' we are enticed to buy.    Getting to grips with those thought is not easy I will admit but even beginning to be aware that those thoughts are making you crave for an indulgence or buy that lastest magical product can start to have an impact.  And once you do start to recognise your thoughts then you can start to switch them.  

     

    It's only ignorence that gives them the power over you.  Once you become aware they are on the run.

     

    So if you are thinking of making a New Year resolution this time bear this in mind and ths year make it count.

     

    Good luck