Review: Grayshott Health regime

A regime lunch at Grayshott

A typical lunch at Grayshott while on the digestive cleansing regime

We were a mixed bunch gathered at Grayshott spa in Surrey on a sunny winter morning – 16 of us in total, ages ranging from 30s to 80s, all female apart from one man with his wife.

The conspicuous blue rubber bands around our wrists marked us out as a ‘special group’ – not exactly ‘nil by mouth’, but we faced a week of challenging food restrictions as willing participants on the spa’s ‘digestive cleansing’ regime.

The premise of the Grayshott programme is quite simple – if your gut is not working, then neither will anything else. As the Grayshott team state: “Get your digestion in good shape and all other systems in your body can restore, cleanse, and balance.”

Sounds great. Now what do I actually get to eat?? Continue reading

Warming winter immunity soup

Immunity soup

A delicious, immune-boosting winter soup

There’s really only one sensible thing to do when the weather starts to turn chilly – raid your fridge and your kitchen cupboard, find a big pot and get cooking some soup!

It’s one of the things I really love about winter – pouring over a hot steaming bowl of aromatic liquid chock full of fresh veggies (and some succulent pieces of chicken or fish if that’s your preference).

This recipe is based on ingredients I almost always have in my kitchen (yes, even the cavalo nero has become a staple now that I can regularly find it in my nearby supermarket) and they all have great immune boosting powers.

There was a time when I used to pride myself on my healthy immune system. Winters would come and go and the people around me would be reduced to red-nosed, sneezing wrecks as those pesky winter flu bugs took a hold, while I’d sail through the winter months snivel-free and blissfully unscathed. Continue reading

Sweet little cabbage cakes

corncake-collage

These are great, easy to whip-up little snacks or lunch-type patties that your children will love – provided you leave out the word ‘cabbage’ of course.

They only require a few simple ingredients that are most likely to be lurking in your fridge or freezer – namely sweetcorn (frozen or canned is fine), cabbage (I used a sweetheart cabbage, but any white cabbage is suitable) and eggs.

If you want to make them low carb, then skip the addition of flour. They’ll be a little more delicate and moist, but still hold together pretty well. Continue reading

Oat and quinoa chocolate crisps

crisps2
Did your mum ever make chocolate cornflake crisps when you were little? They were all the rage in the 70s. Chocolate melted in a pan with Kellogg’s cornflakes stirred in, put into paper cases and left to set in the fridge. I particularly remember them as a special treat rustled up in my mum’s kitchen and packed in my lunch box for a school trip.

Well, these are just as quick and easy to make, albeit a little healthier than the 70s version. Plus the addition of toasted quinoa pulls them firmly into the new millennium. Don’t think we had that ingredient in our cupboard way back then.

These take minutes to make and your kids, if you have them, will love them. It’s a great way to sneak some nutritious grains into their diet, while they think they’re just eating sweeties. Alternatively, just eat them all yourself! Continue reading

Spicy spinach paneer

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This is one of those great winter into spring recipes. In fact, it’s one of my go-to staples all year round. You can make it richer and creamier in winter by adding double cream, and lighter in the warmer months by adding Greek yoghurt. The good news for my fellow THM dieters, is that it’s a nice healthy S meal to boot!

For my UK readers, paneer is readily available from your local supermarket (I buy mine from Sainsbury’s) or a larger Indian/Asian store. It has quite a long use-by date too, so I usually stock up on a few packets. I buy the pre-cubed brand, but there’s also a block that some supermarkets sell that you cut up into cubes yourself.

Frozen spinach works best for this recipe, plus you get so much more spinach when you buy it like that.

It’s makes a quick, healthy and filling supper, served with rice (as I’m low carbing, I just eat it on its own topped with yoghurt) or chapattis. Continue reading

Low carb love torte

Low carb Valentine's torte

If you love him (or her), feed them low carb! At least, that will be my motto this Valentine’s Day. It might have something to do with the fact that my current eating regime is geared towards lower carb eating. Selfish? Moi? Just concerned about my other half’s health!

But seriously, whether you are into low carb eating or not, this is a delicious chocolate concoction that derives its richness from 90 per cent dark chocolate.

I picked up a pretty heart-shaped mould from the internet to turn it into an extra-special ‘love torte’ as a Valentine’s treat.

This chocolate torte is really a base recipe, that you can add to and experiment with. Why not add some orange extract and orange zest to the mix for an intense choc-orange hit? Or freeze dried raspberries, which are a match made in heaven with dark chocolate. Add a few tablespoons of double cream to the pre-cooked mixture if you want a milkier, less intense torte. Continue reading

Mocha black bean brownies

THM Mocha black bean browniesMocha black bean brownies

I love chocolate, and I love brownies, so I was so relieved when I started out on my New Year’s healthy eating regime – the Trim Healthy Mama way – to find out that I wouldn’t have to give up either.

This recipe is my own variation of the Special Agent Brownie Cake recipe from the Trim Healthy Mama book. It’s a great (and easy recipe) as it stands, but me being me, I couldn’t help but tinker with it a bit to suit my own tastes.

The secret ingredient for this recipe is black beans, which add an interesting texture to the mix, instead of using rich melted chocolate. It makes the brownies moist, yet light at the same time. Continue reading