This risotto is light and creamy with vibrant colour and flavour,
perfect for spring!
Makes 5 cups (Serves 2-3 ppl as a main dish)
1 large leek, diced
1.5 cups fresh asparagus
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine (optional)
3.5–4 cups hot veggie broth (or use hot water with 2 tsp veggie bouillion)
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 lemon, zest and juice to taste
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup basil, cut into ribbons
parmesan or pecorino cheese
1/4 cup pinenuts, lightly roasted

Cut the fibrous ends off the asparagus and discard.
Cut the pretty tips off and set them aside. Cut the “middles” into 1-inch pieces.
Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and blanch 1.5 cups of the asparagus “middles” until tender and vibrant, about 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.
Blend the blanched asparagus with the reserved cooking liquid. Add in 2 Tbsp oilve oil and the basil leaves until silky smooth.
Set this aside to add to the risotto at the end.
Thinly slice the leeks, rinsing away any dirt.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add the leeks and saute until softened then add chopped garlic and chilli (optional) and cook another 2 minutes, until fragrant.
Add in the arborio rice and stir to coat, about one minute. Deglaze with white wine (if using) and cook the wine off.
Add 1 cup hot veggie broth scraping up any browned bits.
Bring to a gentle simmer, over med-low heat stirring occasionally, letting the rice absorb all the broth.
Continue adding the hot broth 1 cup at a time, letting the rice absorb it slowly, each time, stirring often.
At the same time that you add the last cup of broth, add the rest of the asparagus middles along with the tips, letting them cook in the risotto 3 minutes or so. At this point, the rice should be creamy yet slightly al dente.
Stir in the blended asparagus-basil sauce, add the salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice to taste.
Heat gently over low heat letting it thicken a bit, but taking care not to cook too long otherwise you’ll lose the vibrant colour.
Divide the risotto among bowls and garnish with percorino or parmeasn cheese, pinenuts, and a few extra basil ribbons.
Enjoy with a fresh salad or top with a piece of roasted fish, grilled chicken or sauteed mushrooms if you want more protein.


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the modern world.
One person dies every 34 seconds in the States from cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Heart disease is usually caused by a build-up of fatty deposits inside the arteries which sticks to the walls causing plaque (atherosclerosis).
This results in narrowing of the arteries and reduces the blood flow to the heart and other parts of the body.
This can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.
There are many dietary and lifestyle factors that can help prevent heart disease including:

* Healthy cholesterol levels: LDL’s and Triglicerides are the dangerous lipids in the bloodstream. Elevated amounts of these fats cause inflammation in the arteries.
Eat a healthy balanced diet high in green leafy veggies, whole grains, lean protein and unprocessed foods.
* Healthy blood pressure: High blood pressure usually results from the heart having to pump the blood through arteries that are already blocked by plaque.
* Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight makes the heart have to work harder and results in more inflammation in the body and blood vessels.
* Exercise daily: Exercise not only helps with weight loss but it also works the heart muscle by pumping blood around the body. Aim for at least 20 min daily-cardio as well as strength work.
* Quit smoking: Smoking results in stiff inflamed arteies and impairs circulation and cognition.
* Reduce alcohol: Excess alcohol consumption can result in fatty liver disease, inflammation in the arteries and brain, and predispose to late onset diabetes.
* Heathy blood sugars: Elevated insulin causes inflammation in the arteries as well as type 2 diabetes if the pancreas can’t process insulin properly.
* Quality sleep: Poor sleep and sleep apnoea are associated with an increased risk of CVD.
* Manage stress: Prolonged stress causes the body to produce high amounts of cortisol and adrenaline which are inflammatory hormones. Yoga, breathwork, meditation, exercise and getting in nature all help reduce stress levels.

4 simple ways to improve brain health.


Here are 4 simple things that you can do daily for overallbrain health
better brain health and to slow down cognitive decline.

1) Take a cold shower:
Cold water boosts the levels of noradrenaline and dopamine in the blood by over 500%!
These hormones improve alertness, cognition, learning, memory and improve our mood.
If you can’t tolerate an entire cold shower make sure you finish on cold for at least a minute.
Or jump in a cold river, lake ocean or pool!

2) Take a probiotic:
If you have poor gut health and leaky gut (intestinal permeability) or dysbiosis ( bad bacterial overgrowth), toxins from the gut can leak through and cross the blood brain barrier and trigger inflammation.
Probiotic supplementation has been shown to improve cognition, verbal learning and memory.

3) Go for a walk outside:
Exercise increases blood circulation around the body including the brain.
The blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain which improves it’s function and memory retention.
Exposing ourselves to light stimulates the pineal gland to produce the hormones seratonin and melatonin which promote restful sleep and improve mood.
Our circadian rhythm (wake/sleep cycle) is also improved. Aim for at least 15 minutes of walking outside daily.

4) Eat brain healthy foods:
As our brains are made up of largely fat tissue, so it’s important to food our brain healthy fats in the form of oily fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel, herrings), avocados, flaxseeds/flaxseed oil, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds. Leafy greens help keep our arteries healthy and free from plaque which in turn improves brain function.

Look after your brain with these simple tricks!



Peri-and post-menopause are associated with the menopause hot flushesonset of a range of unpleasant symptoms which can be very debilitating for women and last for many years.

Commonly experienced clinical symptoms include hot flushes, night sweats, weight gain, reduced lean muscle mass, musculoskeletal pain, cognitive impairment, brain fog, mood swings, depression and insomnia.

Menopause is also associated with an increased risk and incidence of diseases affecting the skeletal (osteoporosis), cardiovascular (heart disease), central nervous (anxiety), and urogenital systems (dryness and discomfort).
While the incidence and severity of these symptoms and diseases are different for each individual, their presence can have a considerable impact on women’s long-term physical, mental and emotional health and quality of life.

Luckily there is help at hand with particular herbal remedies proving to be very effective.
These include Black Cohosh, Sage, Rehmannia, Zizyphus, Hypericum, Lemon Balm, Hops, and Valerian.
There are also dietary recommendations that will support a healthy transition into this testing time.

Don’t suffer any longer ladies, reach out to your Naturopath or Herbalist for help!



INGREDIENTS:                                                    raw chocolate tart
4 cups orange juice, freshly squeezed
1.5 cups coconut oil (melted)
¾ cup dried figs, roughly chopped
¾ cup dried dates, roughly chopped
½ cup raw cashews
½ cup raw pecans
¼ cup cacao powder
1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
1 tsp pink salt

Roughly chop the dates and dried figs, then soak with chopped ginger in orange juice until soft (about 15 minutes). Strain dried fruit and set aside about a third of the amount for the filling.
In a saucepan reduce the orange juice on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until it becomes a thin syrup, wiping the sides regularly to prevent burning.
In a food processor, blend the larger portion of dried fruit until chunky and combined, then add 2/3 of the nuts and blend until chunky. Add the remaining nuts and lightly pulse so that the nuts stay chunky.
This is the tart base.
Line a tart tin with baking paper and press the tart base in until it is evenly spread.
Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes to set.
In a blender combine the melted coconut oil, the reduced orange juice, the remaining dried fruit and the cacao powder for about 2 minutes or until completely emulsified.
Remove the  tart base from the freezer and pour in the filling tart then replace in the freezer for about 30 mins to set.
Remove, slice into wedges, garnish with cacao nibs and flower petals, then dig in!!!

Any remaining tart store in the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for a few minutes before consuming. Great with coconut yoghurt or icecream!!



6 Japanese eggplants, halved lengthwise
3 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup white miso paste
1 Tbsp mirin
1 Tbsp sake (or rice wine vinegar)
1 tbsp coconut sugar/honey
1 shallot, finely sliced
1 tsp black/white sesame seeds, toasted

Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Prep your eggplants-cut them in half and sprinkle with salt.
Leave for 30 min to get the moisture out (and the bitterness) then dry off with paper towels.
Preheat the grill to medium heat (or a heavy based pan over medium heat).
Only heat to medium otherwise the eggplant will burn before it cooks through!
Combine the miso glaze ingredients and whisk well.
Brush the cut side of each eggplant with sesame oil. Place the cut side down on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes until it turns a light golden brown.
Turn them over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.
While the eggplants are cooking, use a spoon to spread a generous amount of glaze on the cut side of each one.
Squeeze the sides of the eggplant with tongs to make sure they’re thoroughly cooked-they should be squishy and soft.
If the glaze is still not caramelised, turn the eggplants over and grill just for another minute.
Remove from the grill, garnish with shallots and sesame seeds and serve immediately.
Great with roast veggies or a fresh salad with rice or quinoa, or just as a side to any BBQ dish!



200 ml water
1 cup organic dried apricots, chopped
2 small ripe bananas
½ cup coconut oil
4 eggs
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup activated buckwheat kernels
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup psyllium husks
1 ½ tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp cardamon powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Drain & rinse the buckwheat, then blend it with the psyllium husks and water.
Add in the coconut sugar, coconut oil, bananas, spices and salt then blend until smooth.
Sift in the baking powder and bicarb soda, apple cider vinegar and blend quickly.
Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, then add into the batter.
Place the batter in a bowl, add in the chopped apricots and sunflower seeds, give it a gentle stir, then pour into a lined baking tin.
Garnish the top of the loaf with some sliced banana and dried apricots.
Bake for 15 minutes then check on the loaf and turn the oven down to 180°C.
Bake for another 40 minutes then test to see if it’s cooked through by tapping the bottom of the tin-it should sound hollow.
Remove from the oven, let the loaf cool in the tin before removing and slicing.

Enjoy on it’s own or with coconut yoghurt or icecream. Yum!

The role of Nitric Oxide


Nitric Oxide (NO) is an important cellular signaling moleculebenefits of a plant based diet
which has many roles in assisting optimal health and longevity in humans.

Its most common role is in opening up blood vessels, thus improving blood circulation, the function of the heart and the vascular system.
By increasing the flow of oxygen to the heart muscle, nitric oxide helps lower high blood pressure and restores healthy blood flow to the entire body.

Nitric oxide has also been shown to slow down the effects of ageing such as dry wrinkly skin and age spots by improving peripheral circulation and increasing cellular renewal.
It also improves fasting blood glucose levels and insulin signaling which are both important for preventing diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a result of insufficient nitric oxide production.
NO is also responsible for helping our bodies fight unhealthy pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, as it shuts down their cell respiration and ability to survive.
It is also a neurotransmitter so it is important for how our nervous systems and brain cells talk to each other and relay messages around the body.

How to Increase NO in the body:
Nitric oxide is found in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach, chard, bok choy, and celery. Vegetarians have higher levels of NO in their blood than those eating a diet high in meat, and so healthier blood pressure and arterial health as a result.

The use of antacids and mouthwashes both suppress and kill the bacteria responsible for metabolising nitrate into nitric oxide so these should be avoided at all cost.
A study has shown that the use of antacids and proton pump inhibitors is responsible for causing a 35% increase in high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke in those people who have been on these medications for an average of 3-5 years.

Breast milk is actually high in nitrides and nitrates which are converted into nitric oxide.
Breast feeding helps colonise the infant’s gut with healthy microbiota, which is otherwise very sterile in early life, thus improving overall immunity.

The importance of Probiotics during Pregnancy, Infancy & Childhood

An expectant mother’s gut microbiome is critically healthy pregnancyimportant to her pregnancy experience and to the future health of the newborn, making supplementation of beneficial bacteria an attractive treatment option for expectant mothers.

Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), found in breast milk, changes in women who take probiotics.
The presence of HMOs can significantly affect the composition of the infant’s microbiome and the maturating immune system.
A recent study analysed HMOs from new mothers administered a probiotic comprising four bacterial strains from 36 weeks gestation until birth. When compared to controls, probiotics significantly increased HMO concentration, positively influencing the infant’s microbiome.

Maternal health prior to conception is crucial for optimal genetic expression, affecting the health of the next generation. An example of this is insulin secretion which increases during the later stages of pregnancy and is accompanied by a level of insulin resistance, which ensures the foetus receives adequate energy for growth and development.
If insulin increases too much, this can lead to gestational diabetes and excessive weight gain.
Probiotics have been shown to modulate glucose metabolism and reduce central weight gain following childbirth.

Following vaginal delivery, a newborn’s microbial landscape resembles the mother’s vaginal and/or skin microbiota, with additional organisms coming from breast milk and the surrounding environment.
Bifidobacteria accounts for approximately 95% of gut flora in exclusively breastfed infants, whereas those on formula have less bifidobacteria and lactobacillus and higher proportions of bacteroides, clostridium, streptococcus, enterobacteria and veillonella.
Infants born by caesarean section have bifidobacteria and bacteroides present, however their numbers are less abundant.
This shows that those infants who are formula fed or born by caesarian may have even greater needs.

Maternal supplementation of specific strains of probiotics during breastfeeding also reduces the likelihood of the newborn developing eczema, allergic rhinitis or asthma during the first 18 months of life, as well as experiencing fewer upper respiratory tract and ear infections.

The benefits of a Plant based diet in Pregnancy


A plant based diet rich in fiber is a common recommendationhealthy food
for most people, however, it is even more important during pregnancy as it decreases the risk of preeclampsia (a common complication during pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure), as well as hyperglycaemia and excess weight gain.

The study found that low levels of the short chain fatty acid (SCFA) acetate, produced by microbial fermentation of fiber in the gut, is associated with preeclampsia.
It was also noted that preeclampsic mothers tend to deliver babies with under-developed thymus glands, affecting immune development and potentially leading to higher rates of allergies and autoimmune disease later in life.

Another acid found in the gut, Propionic acid (PPA), commonly used to preserve packaged foods such as processed cheeses and breads has interestingly been found in higher concentrations in autistic children.
When researchers exposed neural cells to excessive levels of externally produced PPA, a reduction in the number of neurons and an over-production in glial cells were observed, disturbing connectivity between neurons and initiating inflammation.
These factors impede the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body, manifesting in behavioural patterns congruent with autism.
Apart from highlighting the deleterious effects of processed foods, this research provides greater insight into the gut-brain axis.

So eat plenty of whole foods and plant foods during pregnancy for optimal health for mother and baby!