gluten free

Dieta: Sweets and snacks PLUS where to eat in London

I am a big occasional snacker.
I go through phases of not wanting to eat much at all and feeling as if I can hop on a juice fast any minute, but then there are the phases where I eat CON-STAN-TLY.
I really try to embrace whatever my body is going through and respect its wishes, although it can be hard to distinguish between real hunger and just emotional hunger, i.e. "I am bored" or "I have had a hard day" kind of snacking (quick tip: have a large glass of water or a cup of tea. If you are still hungry 5 minutes after finishing it, you're actually hungry).

If I find that I really AM hungry, it is important to keep some healthy snacks on hand so I don't go off the rails and eat something ridiculous. 
This, of course, is especially important when following a dieta so that you may snack away and not stray from the path.

Therefore I would like to share with you some vegan, salt/sugar/gluten free and DELICIOUS sweet and savoury treats that you can have in between breakfast and lunch, or lunch and dinner...
Or maybe, as is the case for me sometimes, between breakfast and second breakfast.


Mineral milkshake

I love sesame seed milk as sesame seeds (unhulled as they contain 90% more minerals than hulled seeds) are particularly rich in  calcium as well as other minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc and phosphorus.
It has a rather "sesamy" flavour, one you may come to appreciate over time on it's own but which is very easy to disguise with other flavours.
Sesame seed milk is especially good for maintaining bone health as it offers a calcium rich alternative to acidic and mineral-depleting dairy milk.

To make sesame milk, simply soak 120 grams of unhulled sesame seeds in water overnight.
In the morning drain and rinse the seeds and blend with 1 litre of fresh water in a blender for minimum 30 seconds.
Strain the seeds through a musing cloth or nut milk bag (I've had this bag for almost 2 years now, use it several times a week and it still holds!) and bottle. 
Keeps for 36-48 hours in the fridge.

To make the milkshake (for 2):

  • 1 large or 2 small bananas
  • 500 ml sesame milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tbsp maca powder (optional: this will add a mineral boost as well as a lovely malty flavour)
  • Sweeteners of your choice: a couple of dried figs or dates, 2 drops of stevia, 1 tsp honey (optional)

Blend everything together in a blender and serve!


Chia puddings

Chia puddings are super healthy, can come in any flavour and texture, can be adapted to the seasons and are very quick and easy to make – the perfect little dessert pot for an impromptu dinner, for example.
Chia seeds are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. They provide sustained energy as well as maintaining water balance: a great food if you are working on limiting your overall food intake to lose weight.
I am however mostly interested in them as they are rich in essential fatty acids such as omega 3s. Oh, and they are delicious. They fluff up to a "pudding" overnight in liquid and can be used as a base to make many different chia concoctions. 
 

Measure out 15 grams of chia seeds per 115 grams of liquid to make one small, portion-sized pudding. 
You may add 2 tbsp berries (I especially love goji berries for a deliciously chewy antioxidant boost), finely chopped fruit or other seeds to the overnight soak, or perhaps serve with sprinkles of finely chopped nuts or dessicated coconut. 
Here are some recipe suggestions (per person):

  • Chia seeds, freshly squeezed blood orange juice, 1 tbsp goji berries, 1 tbsp passion fruit seeds
  • Chia seeds, tiger nut milk, 2 tbsp finely chopped banana, pinch cinnamon
  • Chia seeds, 50-50 pineapple juice and coconut milk, 1 tbsp flax seeds, pinch nutmeg, serve with desiccated coconut
  • Chia seeds, coconut milk, 2 tbsp goji berries, serve with a teaspoon raw honey and hazelnuts
  • Chia seeds, almond milk, 2 tbsp blackcurrants, serve with chopped almonds

Whisk all the ingredients together in individual pots and leave in the fridge overnight
Add the "served with"-ingredients on top before eating.

Blood orange juice, goji berries and blackcurrants for a refreshing "second breakfast"-pudding

Blood orange juice, goji berries and blackcurrants for a refreshing "second breakfast"-pudding


Naturally sweet Banana granola

Banana granola!
A new discovery of mine: a way to make granola without using any sweeteners – not even "alternative" ones!
This recipe can be made in the oven or, if you are lucky enough to have one, in the dehydrator. 

  • 500 ml oats
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 100 ml pumpkin seeds, soaked overnight
  • 50 ml flax seeds, soaked overnight
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp gently melted coconut oil at room temperature (if using a dehydrator)

For oven:
Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsiusand prepare a baking tray with baking paper.
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Spread out evenly on baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until a light golden brown colour., stirring the oats every 5 minutes or so.
Let cool completely before storing.

For dehydrator:
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Spread out on one or two dehydrator trays lined with sheets and dehydrate for 3-4 hours on 42 degrees celsius. 
Flip the granola upside down onto a dehydrator tray and dehydrate for a further 4-6 hours.
Let cool completely before storing.


Irresistible nutty kale chips 

These kale chips are certainly not only for dieta! I make them all the time and they are great travel companions.
Apparently leafy greens such as kale has the ability to protect us against radiation from the galaxy when we fly. According to a study on pilots funded by the National Cancer Institute, pilots who consumed the most dietary antioxidants suffered the least amount of damage to their DNA and leafy greens seemed to have the upper hand when it came to radiation protection.
This, in combination with their deliciousness and light weight, makes kale chips the perfect plane snack!

This is a recipe that works for dehydrators or for an oven set on the lowest setting in order to keep the nutrients of the kale intact and make the crisps as crunchy as possible without burning them.

  • Large bunch of kale (about 2 L firmly packed kale)
  • 200 ml cashews soaked overnight, drained
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Tear the kale off its stems (the stems can be juiced or add to a smoothie later), wash it and rip it into little pieces. 
Mix all the other ingredients together with a splash of water in a food processor or with a hand mixer. Add more water if necessary to achieve a creamy consistency.
Add the cashew cream to the kale by the handful and massage it into the kale.
For oven: Prepare a baking tray with baking sheets and spread the kale every out. Bake for 10-12 hours on the lowest setting possible, turning occasionally, until crisp.
For dehydrator: Spread the kale evenly on dehydrator sheets and dehydrate on 42 degrees for about 10 hours, turning halfway, until crisp. 

Kale chips: the best plane snack!

Kale chips: the best plane snack!


Salt free hummus

Crunchy vegetables dipped in creamy hummus... Surely there is no easier and tastier snack than this? And let's not forget healthier!
Chic peas pack a punch when it comes to both fibre and protein and they are full of essential minerals as well. Sadly, store bought hummus is often saturated with polyunsaturated low quality oils and far too much refined salt. Better to make your own! 

Hummus can easily be made flavourful without salt and it can be knocked up in less than 10 minutes if you have a can of chic peas on hand and impromptu guests arriving.
It can also be frozen in portions and thawed overnight.

  • 1 can chic peas or 375 ml cooked chic peas, drained
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1/2-1 lemon (I like my hummus very lemony!)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • Optional: a handful sun dried tomatoes (the oil and salt free kind), herbs such as coriander, basil and mint, a handful of peas, 1/2 baked sweet potato, 1 roasted red pepper

Mix all the ingredients together with a hand mixer or in a food processor, adding a few splashes of water as you go until you reach the desired consistency.


Eating out in london on the dieta

I love going out to eat and if I am following a dieta for several weeks it is hard for me to avoid the temptation. Luckily there are many wonderful places in London that are more than happily catering to all sorts of dietary restrictions:

Nurture, the company I work for, obviously has a great selection of vegan food and smoothies! 

Raw press on Dover st. does delicious juice and salads

Rawligion has an inventive raw food menu and fascinating superfood shots

Roots juicery do fantastic nut milks and juices

Nama does wonderful vegan raw food

Redemption has an all vegan menu and an eclectic mocktail list

Vitao is a vegan oasis slap dash in the middle of the city

Campbells Canal Café is my go-to vegan in north London

Vegan and sugar free treat from Redemption

Vegan and sugar free treat from Redemption

 

... did I forget any? Let me know in the comments below!

 

I hope you have enjoyed the dieta series and that it has inspired you to cook with less salt, sugar, gluten and dairy regardless of whether or not you are cleansing.

My initial post regarding the dieta as well as recipes for hot meals can be found here
The second one on gluten free bread alternatives can be found here
The third on lunch can be found here

Dieta: Doing away with bread

These days a lot of us are avoiding gluten, whether on a dieta or not.
This is no surprise as gluten is difficult to digest for most people. In addition to this wheat flour, which is the primary source of gluten protein in our diet, is a “dead food” which has been harvested, milled, bleached, refined and left to sit in a warehouse and finally on a shop shelf for what may be years; it doesn’t have much nutritional chutzpah going for it anymore.

Many people are eating this grain at every meal without being particularly aware of it. Too much of anything – even a good thing! – isn’t ideal and it is really worthwhile to cut down on products, often processed, containing wheat flour and look around for nutritious substitutes.

Growing up in Norway, the Land of Open Faced Sandwiches, I know how deeply engrained bread is in our European food culture.
In Norway it is not unusual to have open faced sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, snack and supper and removing this staple of the diet can feel impossible.

Sandwiches travel well, are filling and can be endlessly redecorated to suit one’s palette. However, I have come up with some well tasting and deeply nourishing alternatives that will make your lunch box get all excited.

If you are following the dieta, simply omit all salt/pepper and other spices listed in the ingredients. The result will not be much different from the original and still taste yummy!


Cauliflower buns


This recipe is borrowed from Sarah Britton over at My New Roots and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is simply delicious and the buns can be topped with both sweet and savoury toppings. 

  • 1 large cauliflower (1200g)
  • ¼ cup / 20g almond meal
  • ¼ cup / 20g nutritional yeast
  • 1 ½ tsp. fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder (a crushed clove of fresh garlic is dieta approved!)
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. dried onions or sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. psyllium husk (optional, will make the buns drier)

Chop cauliflower into chunks, place in a food processor and blend until as fine as possible. If you don’t have a food processor, grate the cauliflower with a box grater.
Mix with the almond meal, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic and psyllium husk, if using, and stir to combine.
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
Whisk eggs together in a separate bowl. Add the eggs to the cauliflower mixture and stir until the dough is moist and will hold together.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Taking baseball-sized amounts of dough, squeeze them into a rough ball shape, then drop them from about 1 foot (30cm) onto the baking sheet (this helps to compact them). If you want to make bagels, simply use your finger to poke a hole in the center and shape the rest with your hands. Sprinkle the tops with the dried onion or sesame seeds and place in the oven.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the buns are golden brown around the edges.
Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Image courtesy of MyNewRoots.org

Image courtesy of MyNewRoots.org


Beetroot flatbread

This recipe was inspired by the vegetable flatbreads of Green Kitchen Stories and a mountain of juice pulp. 
As juice pulp is drier than grated beetroot, there will be two recipes for this bread, depending on how you choose to accumulate lots of grated beetroot. 

  • 500 ml grated beetroot OR 750 ml carrot pulp
  • 250-300 ml oat flour (self milled in a blender or using a hand mixer – more nutritious and makes for fluffier baking!)
  • 3 eggs OR 2 eggs plus 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seeds + 3 tbsp water left to soak for 15 minutes)
  • Salt/pepper if using

Heat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Mix all the ingredients except the eggs together. Whisk the eggs and add them to the mixture, forming a sticky paste.
Flatten the paste into a rectangular shape with your hands onto the baking tray.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven, carefully flip upside down on a cooling rack and peel off the baking paper.
Store in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Beetroot flatbread with home made mayo and lentil sprouts

Beetroot flatbread with home made mayo and lentil sprouts


Carrot flatbread

Carrot juice. What can I say, it's my thing. The perfect vehicle for a turmeric and ginger juice, great for making curries and stews (check out the carrot coconut stew in my previous post) and most recently great for making bread. Here's how (without/with juice pulp):

  • 500 ml grated carrots OR 750 ml carrot pulp
  • 200-250 ml oat flour (self milled in a blender or using a hand mixer – more nutritious and makes for fluffier baking!)
  • 3 eggs OR 2 eggs plus 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seeds + 3 tbsp water left to soak for 15 minutes)
  • Salt/pepper if using

Heat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Mix all the ingredients except the eggs together. Whisk the eggs and add them to the mixture, forming a sticky paste.
Flatten the paste into a rectangular shape with your hands onto the baking tray.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven, carefully flip upside down on a cooling rack and peel off the baking paper.
Store in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Probably the last styled picture I could have put up here, but it proves an important point: This bread travels well. Here is a carrot bread sandwich on a flight to Hamburg.

Probably the last styled picture I could have put up here, but it proves an important point: This bread travels well. Here is a carrot bread sandwich on a flight to Hamburg.


Broccoli flatbread

Bbroccoli is one of my favourite things to juice and I often have loads of pulp. This makes a delicious and green flatbread and is also a great way to use old broccoli stems.

  • 500 ml grated broccoli OR 750 ml carrot pulp
  • 200-250 ml oat flour (self milled in a blender or using a hand mixer – more nutritious and makes for fluffier baking!)
  • 3 eggs OR 2 eggs plus 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax seeds + 3 tbsp water left to soak for 15 minutes)
  • Salt/pepper if using

Heat the oven to 200 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Mix all the ingredients except the eggs together. Whisk the eggs and add them to the mixture, forming a sticky paste.
Flatten the paste into a rectangular shape with your hands onto the baking tray.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven, carefully flip upside down on a cooling rack and peel off the baking paper.
Store in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Broccoli bread with home made hummus and cucumber

Broccoli bread with home made hummus and cucumber


Carrot pulp crackers

As you see, I juice a lot. And I love carrots. So what to do with the surplus of carrot pulp when you can’t face another carrot bread? (just kidding, I can eat carrot bread until the cows come home.) Make crackers, of course! This things have actually become so popular at home they are their own reason to make carrot juice. Yes. Really.  
These crackers can be dehydrated in a dehydrator on 45 degrees or in an oven on the lowest setting for 8-12 hours to stay raw, or they can be baked in the oven on 180 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

  • 1/2 cup flax seeds soaked in 1 cup water overnight (2 hours works in a pinch) 
  • 1,5 litres carrot pulp
  • 100 ml water (more if needed)
  • 60 ml sesame seeds (soaked overnight then drained)
  • 60 ml chia seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 5 small tomatoes (canned is okay in the winter), roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 pinch unrefined salt (if using)
  • 1 pinch cayenne (if using)

If using the oven, heat it to 180 degrees celsius. 
Mix all the ingredients together. 
Prepare sheets on your dehydrator trays or baking sheets on your oven trays and spread the mixture out (not too thin!). 
Dehydrate or bake as directed above.

Carrot pulp crackers hanging out with other dehydrated goodies: raw apple granola, kale crisps and berry  bars

Carrot pulp crackers hanging out with other dehydrated goodies: raw apple granola, kale crisps and berry  bars


Granola bars

If you have a dehydrator, you are probably already well versed in granola bars. I have made a ton of these things since I got my dehydrator for Christmas a mere month ago and they keep evolving. 

As I make these as I go with whatever I have on hand, I have no exact recipes for you. However, here are some combinations I have tried and found delicious! 

  • Roasted buckwheat - chestnut honey - dried figs - cinnamon - almond butter (dieta friendly)
  • Roasted buckwheat - acacia honey - goji berries - cashews - ground ginger
  • Oats - hazelnuts - prunes - nutmeg - chestnut honey - pepitas
  • Oats - almonds - almond butter - cinnamon - rapeseed honey - flaked coconut  
    (dieta friendly)
  • Roasted buckwheat - hazelnuts - cinnamon - acacia honey - dates - raw cocoa nibs 

I hope this has given you some inspiration to cut gluten both for your dieta and overall. There are spots many healthier and more fun options out there and these recipes really don't take much time at all. 

Next week I will continue the dieta series and look at dieta friendly lunch and snack alternatives!
Until next time.

Viola cake

At the end of March these little violet things started popping up in our garden. A friend told me that they are called viola odorata, better known as sweet violet, that they are edible and even medicinal.
This, naturally, called for a cake.

The viola family contains over 200 species of which 5 are native to Britain and you can find them in gardens or forests from February to April.
They have been used in foods for their particular violet flavour for a very long time: a violet syrup recipe from Warwickshire was found in a seventeenth century recipe book.
During the reign of Charles II, the costume were to crystallise the flowers and enjoy them as a confectionery called Violet Sugar and was also used to treat consumption and other ailments of the lungs such as asthma, congestion and coughs.
The plant’s positive effect on respiratory problems is still one of its main medicinal uses today. The flowers are also said to aid relaxation, relieve menopausal symptoms and digestive issues.

The sweet violet has both edible leaves and flowers and owe its floral sweetness to the honey in the flower as it blooms before there are many bees around to harvest it. The leaves are more bitter and can be ingested, but are better used as poultices for bruises and they speed up the healing of wounds as they are antiseptic. The leaves have also been used in alternative cancer treatment, particularly to treat cancer of the throat.

I decided to make a raw cashew nut cheese cake, incorporating the mixed viola flowers in the middle section of the cake. I expected the cake to turn slightly violet, but this was not the case. After researching a little bit more it seems that they have to be soaked in warm water (or warm coconut oil could perhaps work?) in order to release their colour and so my cake was white with specs of purple flower pieces. Never mind, they still lent a delicious violet flavour to the cake!

The cashew cake recipe is borrowed from My New Roots and I changed the raspberries for blueberries in the top layer. I only added a small handful of viola flowers as I was afraid the flavour would be too powerful, but they were so delicious that next time I will use a proper handful and I recommend that you do the same.

Finally, let me apologise for the blurry cake photography. What can I say, I was hungry.


VIOLA CAKE

Ingredients:
Crust:
1/2 cup raw almonds (pecan or walnuts will also work)
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
¼ tsp. sea salt

Filling:
1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best
juice of 2 lemons
the seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract)
1/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup raw honey (solid or liquid.)(Vegans use agave nectar.)
1 handful violet flowers
1 cup blueberries (thaw completely if using frozen)

Directions:
1. Place nuts and dates in a food processor (or use a hand mixer) with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. Scoop out crust mixture in a 20 cm spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a pie plate lined with saran wrap), and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout. Rinse food processor well.
2. Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid. Whisk to combine.
3. In the most powerful food processor / blender you own (you decide which one has the most torque) place all filling ingredients (except raspberries) and blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple minutes so be patient).
4. Pour about 2/3 (just eyeball it, you can’t make a mistake!) of the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the raspberries to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling. Place in freezer until solid.
5. To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit. Store leftovers in the freezer.

Happy picking – and baking!

Sweet potato waffles

Waffles are a food that evoke childhood memories in me and many Norwegians like myself. If someone were to call ahead to say there were coming for coffee back home in Norway, my mother would quickly whip up a batter for waffles and heat up the waffle iron. Waffles, coffee and brown cheese are for me the key components in any successful family gathering, summer or winter.

Traditionally waffles are made with refined wheat flour, sugar and milk – three things that I do not like putting in my food or in my body so when I made waffles the other day I substituted the wheat for oat flour, the sugar for the natural sweetness of sweet potatoes and the milk for home made almond milk.

Wheat flour is highly mucus forming in the body and has little nutritional content as it has been pulverise, heat treated and exposed to air. It is found in so many of the foods that most people eat every single day and causes many people to feel discomfort and bloating. Oats, however, are naturally gluten free and a great source of fibre. They contain a group of antioxidants, avenanthramides, that have proven to protect against heart disease and are a wonderful source of iron and magnesium. Hey, they even contain protein!
I mill my own oat flour using my blender, as flours are foods that have been exposed to air and light for a long time and lost much of their nutritional content through oxidation.

There are many reasons to eat less sugar, too numerous to list in this post. Suffice to say it is not doing any of us any good. Sweet potatoes are deliciously sweet all by themselves and are a highly alkaline food containing no cholesterol and an incredible amount of beta carotene and vitamin A – actually more than any other root vegetable! This makes the humble sweet potato a powerful antioxidant.

Lastly, I choose to cook and bake with home made nut milk in most cases. Finding dairy that is produced in a sustainable and humane way is difficult and dairy that does not come from pasture fed and happy cows are no good for my body nor my conscience. Almond milk, or other nut milk for that matter, is very easy and quick to whip up at home and I make it every other day. Almonds are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids which contribute to lowering “bad”, LDL, cholesterol while upping the “good”, HDL, cholesterol. They contain good amounts of protein and are an excellent source of the “beauty vitamin" that is vitamin E alongside minerals such as phosphorus, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. Take that, dairy milk!

The recipe is simple yet delicious and the waffles can be enjoyed as a dessert with sweet toppings such as home made jam, fruits or raw honey, but they can also be made into a savoury and protein packed lunch with sprouts, butter, cheddar and hummus.

If you are not lucky enough to own a waffle iron, I am sure that with half a teaspoon of baking soda this recipe would make excellent pancakes!


Sweet potato waffles

 

Ingredients:

raw butter, for greasing

500 grams sweet potatoes, cooked (unpeeled if organic)

120 grams oat flour

60 ml nut milk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

After cooking the sweet potatoes by either boiling or baking, let them cool down and then mash with a masher. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Grease the waffle iron with butter and add a ladleful of waffle batter onto the iron. You want it to be a little bit thick – see picture above. Leave for 2-5 minutes, depending on the heat of your iron (mine is vintage and only has the “on” setting!). To check if they are ready, carefully lift the lid and peek under. The waffle should fall away from the waffle iron quite effortlessly. Cool on a cooling rack and eat them while they are warm.

Photography by Adrian Fisk – thank you!