Smoothies

I need to stay as healthy as I can to combat my ME symptoms as well as keeping up with everything that goes with being a mum of three and running my own business while providing support for my husband's building business. And smoothies are a quick and easy way to pack in those nutrients our bodies need. So here's a few ideas of what to throw in them. All you need is some kind of blender (I do have to admit to having gone with the well known nutribullet myself which I love), add the ingredients and whizz until smooth. 

FOOLS GOLD

  • 1 ripe mango, cubed
  • 1/2 ripe banana, peeled
  • 120 ml milk (any milk of your choice)
  • 122g plain Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp unsweetened matcha powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0-2 tsp Forever Bee Honey (to taste)
  • handful of ice cubes

GINGER NINJA

  • 120ml carrot juice
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1 banana
  • 1 scoop Forever Lite Ultra in Vanilla
  • 210g ice cubes

BEETS AND BERRIES

  • 1 medium beetroot, peeled & cubed
  • 288g strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 3 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 175g apple slices (optional)
  • 1 scoop Argi +
  • 200ml almond milk


Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen has been a secret weapon for me for years........from pretending they were headache tablets in many long & boring meetings in the corporate world (I was really just falling asleep and needed an energy boost!) to not having to deal with an epic hayfever meltdown each season by Greg, I am a longstanding fan.

What is it?

Bee pollen is considered to be one of nature's most completely nourishing foods as it contains nearly all nutrients required by humans. It's made up of a mixture of flower pollen, nectar, enzymes, honey wax and bee secretions.......to be fair that last one made me cringe too but read on to see why bee pollen is still so amazing!

Where does it come from?

Foraging honey bees collect pollen from plants and transport it to the beehive where it's stored and used as food for the colony. Bee pollen is simply this pollen collected from the bee hive hence the few extra ingredients!

Interesting Fact: the federal ministry of health in Germany recognises bee pollen as a medicine

Nutritional breakdown

Bee pollen boasts an impressive nutritional profile containing over 250 biologically active substances including proteins, carbs, lipids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. The high antioxidant content is loaded with a wide variety of antioxidants, among them flavanoids, carotenoids, quercetin, kaempferol and glutathione.  And as we know, antioxidants protect our bodies against potentially harmful molecules called free radicals. It also contains several compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. Bee Pollen is richer in proteins than any other source and contains more amino acids than beef, eggs or cheese of equal weight.

Treasure each drop: one teaspoon of bee pollen takes one bee eight hours a day for one month to gather!

The range of nutrients found within bee pollen makes it a great natural energiser. The carbohydrates, protein and B vitamins can help you going all day by enhancing stamina and fighting off fatigue. Pollen has also been shown to reduce the presence of histamine.

Why Forever Bee Pollen?

 As with all of their products, Forever ensure that their bee pollen is in an easily digestible form so you get the full benefits. It's 100% natural with no additives, colouring or preservatives.

Forever bee pollen is gathered in from the hives located in remote, high desert regions in specially designed stainless steel collectors. It is collected from bees as they enter the hives through a grate. These bee hives are in an ideal location and the pristine environment helps to eliminate contaminants such as pesticides and pollutants.

This pollen is then mixed with honey and royal jelly to create Forever's Bee Pollen tablets.

My experience

These little tablets have been a firm favourite in the family for the last few years. Greg takes them daily to get him through long, physical days on a building site as well as for his hayfever. I take them regularly depending on how my health is and what my body needs. I also think they'll come in handy soon for my teenage son who's struggling to do anything other than lie on his bed most days!




Proper Pulled Pork

So this isn't really a recipe at all.......there's no ingredient list and no method but......there's nothing yummier than a perfectly crackled, pulled roast pork served either with roast potatoes, a pile of veg and gravy or in fresh rolls with a stack of delicious salads.

Over the years, I've tried, failed and succeeded to cook beautiful roast pork but I'm now pretty good at getting it consistently right.

So, here's my tips

  • Buy the biggest joint you can. The bigger the joint, the longer you can cook it and the nicer it will be. 
  • Stick to a shoulder cut, leg just doesn't work
  • Take the joint out of it's wrapping and dry it with a paper towel
  • Then score it well. I go really deep with my cuts, almost through to the meat. And keep them quite close together, about 2 cm apart
  • Sprinkle salt over the joint and leave for a few minutes
  • Then pat it dry again with a paper towel. The salt draws out more moisture and you want it as dry as you can can get it
  • Salt it again before putting in the oven
  • I loosely cover my joint purely because I'm lazy and don't like to clean the oven!
  • Start the meat at a low temperature and slowly work up to 180 degrees. Timing completely depends on the size joint you have. When I'm cooking a really big one I'll put it in the night before.
  • 20 mins before the end, remove the foil, turn the oven up to 240 degrees and watch the skin crackle!

Just one final point, making apple sauce is one of the easiest things you will ever do so try to avoid the super sweet sticky stuff you can get in jars. It will ruin your beautiful meat! Simply peel, core and chop 2-4 cooking apples, add a little water and sugar and put on a low heat with the lid on. Stir occasionally and watch as the apple cooks and turns into a sauce. Check the flavour and add more sugar to taste. Then put it in a bowl and let it cool until you need it.  Simple and yummy!

Forever Bright Toothgel

This month I want to talk about Forever Bright Toothgel. Now even as I'm writing this, I realise that toothpaste is not the most exciting subject in the world! Although interestingly a ridiculous percentage of adverts I see on TV these days is for one of the many many toothpaste products that are now on the market. So in a world of sparkly white teeth smiling back at you from adverts with the latest and greatest toothpaste revolution, I'll keep this post brief!

Contains no fluoride

We may as well start with the controversial point! It is widely accepted here in the UK that we need fluoride in our toothpaste to protect our teeth. It's what our dentists are taught in dentist school so it's what we are told by them. And questioning that can feel extremely uncomfortable, let alone admitting to your dentist that you've gone against their advise and opted for a less toxic, more natural way of looking after your teeth.

As we all know (or really should know), fluoride is a poison used in insecticides, rat poison and weapons of mass destruction. The reason why it is put in our water supply and toothpastes is that it acts as an armour that can help block bacteria, called plaque, from decaying you teeth.  What maybe isn't made as clear is that if you brush and floss properly, then there's nothing to protect your teeth from.

So fluoride is not essential for looking after our teeth and interestingly most European countries have never had fluoride in their water and they often use fluoride-free toothpaste.

What is essential in a toothpaste is ingredients that kill bacteria and clean your teeth and gums properly. And when you clean your teeth properly you do not need to ingest poison (fluoride) to strengthen your teeth against decay-causing bacteria as you've already dealt with it.

A final point on fluoride, we ingest around 33% of the toothpaste we put on our brush and children eating toothpaste is on of the top calls to poison help lines........

Non-abrasive

Most toothpastes are abrasive so while they scrub the plaque from your teeth, they also grind away the protective enamel. Luckily there's a more expensive toothpaste to deal with that problem eh?! Forever Bright Toothgel is not abrasive so your enamel remains intact. Apparently you can test this for yourself by rubbing toothpaste on something like a clear plastic bottle and seeing the damage it does.

Whitens

Full disclosure here, the only way to whiten your teeth more than cleaning the stains off them is to go to a dentist and have them bleached. In our modern quest for the whitest, brightest smile, whitening toothpastes are a big seller but the whitening they refer to is simply from lifting stains. And as the Toothgel cleans and remove stains brilliantly, it whitens as much as any other toothpaste, in fact maybe more as it doesn't damage the white enamel.

Natural, cleaning ingredients

Each tube of toothgel contains 130g of aloe vera gel plus bee propolis which are natural, chemical-free anti-biotic and anti-bacterial ingredients that cleanse without requiring abrasion. The levels of the ingredients have been carefully assessed to provide the optimum percentage for effective cleaning. In addition, these ingredients care for the whole of your mouth, not just your teeth and gums.

Fresh and minty

The toothgel has a natural mint flavour that's pleasant to use and feels fresh and clean after use.

My observations

To fluoride or not is a big question and one that is personal choice. If you choose to go natural, this toothgel is definitely top of the list. Since using it I have noticed that my sensitivity isn't such a big issue. My teeth feel incredibly clean. And when you're caught out (and here I'm thinking very late night, too much Prosecco or camping and can't be arsed to go to the toilet block), simply rubbing the toothgel over my teeth with my fingers results in clean teeth. Not to be recommended as a daily method as I know it's not reaching all areas of my teeth, but definitely good enough every now and then! So far, all my dentist checks have gone well and I've even been offered 9 month instead of 6 month check ups as my teeth are so good. A lovely offer that I couldn't take up as that would leave my husband running the 6 month checks for him and the kids and I couldn't deal with the stress! In fact, there are 5 of us that go to the dentist, 3 who use the toothgel and 2 who use a normal fluoride toothpaste. The dentist has no idea and recently commented that we all clearly look after our teeth and use a good fluoride toothpaste.........I admit, I didn't correct him!

I should stress here that I do brush my teeth twice a day (exceptions listed above) and floss daily.


 

Aloe Bio Cellulose Mask

I’m always intrigued when Forever launches a new product as I know how much research goes into any new product line. And I have to say as a regular user of Forever’s Marine Mask, I wasn’t sure why they were launching a new one. So I did a bit of research (which of course included trying one of them for myself) and this is what I discovered………

We’re all into masks these days, who knew!

 I'm always intrigued when Forever launches a new products as I know how much research goes into choosing and formulating any new product line. But I have to say as a regular user of Forever's Marin Mask, I wasn't entirely sure why they had chosen to launch a new mask.......so I did a bit of research (which of course included trying one of them for myself) and this is what I discovered.........

We're all into masks these days, who knew?!

According to Google we're searching like mad to find the latest and most effective mask.....and the top things we're searching for is hydration and moisturisation.

What you need to know if you're thinking of trying a mask is that there are three tiers:

  1. Paper mask usually made from cotton or bamboo 
  2. Hydrogel mask
  3. Bio-cellulose mask

Bio-cellulose masks are top of the market as they stay on the face better (take a look at this review) and hold more of the mask ingredients so they're more effective.

Naturally, Forever has chosen to put themselves in the bio-cellulose category and their new mask is a top of the line, top of the market mask that delivers benefits deeper than any other mask in this category.

Apparently they've been working on this mask in secret for years

So if they've been working on it for years, it must have a few tricks up its sleeve then? Well, to grow this bio-cellulose mask, Forever starts with fermentation from coconut which grows good bacteria. This pro-biotic needs food and so it's fed Aloe Gel during development and then micro organisms spin a fibrous material which is the bio-cellulose. Forever are the first company in the world to have aloe spun into the fibres of the mask itself. And those fibres are a thousand times thinner than a human hair allowing bop-cellulose masks to reach fine lines and wrinkles traditional masks just can't reach!

Those bio-cellulose fibres are extremely moisture retentive and when the mask is dipped into a serum of aloe and other botanicals you have a dual phase delivery system.  The mask itself is suitable for all skin types and works well for men and women, yes it even works through a beard! And after use there's no need to rinse as the bio cellulose fibres drive the nutrients deep into the skin better than any other mask giving a really high absorption rate.

Key benefits

  • rejuvenates dull skin
  • helps fight the signs of ageing
  • soothes skin & reduces the appearance of redness and fine lines & wrinkles
  • the benefits can be seen as soon as you peel the mask off

Key ingredients

  • aloe vera which is present in both the mask and serum
  • seagrass helps to soften & condition plus it loves aloe and they work beautifully together

and in the serum

  • horse chestnut helps to reduce redness & rejuvenate dull skin
  • green tea empowers healthy ageing
  • antioxidants to combat the signs of ageing
  • glycerin which is extremely moisturising

Usage

  • use 1-2 times per week
  • when you tear open the package, squeeze any excess serum out and rub on your face, neck, chest, arm, legs......just don't waste it!
  • unfold mask and remove textured paper on one side
  • apply mask to your face and mould it - tip you can pull off the eye flaps and put them on your lips if you wish
  • peel off the outside textured paper
  • leave on for 20 minutes
  • remove mask, no rinse required, and rub in any excess serum

Note: the mask will feel slimey and cool, if it feels prickly you left the paper on! Once you've finished with the mask throw it in your compost pile, no need to add to your rubbish.

Sonya Daily Skincare System

The recently launched Sonya daily skincare system is the second new skincare range launched by Forever that is based on nature meets science. Yet again, Aloe has been taken into the lab to work out how best to leverage its affects this time on combination skin. Given how good the anti-ageing Infinite range is, I’m excited to see what they’ve come up with this time.

What does it do?

The scientifically-advanced skincare uses a gel delivery system that carries the aloe, moisture and botanicals directly to your skin. The products in the range boast a high concentration of aloe and a hydra-infused system that gently targets the skin to improve its overall look and feel. And in the same way as the drinking gel works synergistically, so the overall affect is more than the total of the individual components, the new skincare system works in the same way.

What exactly is combination skin?

Combination skin tends to fluctuate between oily and dry. It can be really oily or really dry or a mixture of both! In order to cope with this the range has been designed to control shine while also delivering moisture to where it’d needed most.

Fab looking products!

The new range comes in really lovely, modern packaging and if you go for the whole lot in one go you get a stunning bright green toiletry bag to keep them in

What are they really like?

OK, so that’s all the factual stuff but what do the products feel like and do they actually work? The feedback on these products has been amazing. Their ability to adapt to the different skin types is brilliant meaning you really can moisturise the dry bits and control the shiny bits with just one product. Each product is so refreshingly light that it sinks quickly and easily into your skin leaving it feeling refreshed.

What’s in the set?

Refreshing gel cleanser – gently cleanses and conditions your face while it washes away dirt and debris without stripping skin. There’s no tightening of the skin after use as it’s full of moisturising agents like cold press baob oil and the acacia concinna helps remove dead cell build-up, dirt and make up for a thorough, yet soft, cleanse.

Refining gel mask – one of the easiest masks to use, simply apply before bedtime and let the mask do its thing while you sleep. It’s been scientifically formulated to optimise the way your skin functions at nigh and by leveraging the natural functions of the body while you sleep, the mask helps support balance by controlling oil and brightening the appearance of skin. The mask is infused with plenty of botanicals including carrot seed oil, basil oil Artemisia pallens flower oil and soybean oil along with moisturisers such as aloe gel, apple fruit extract clover flower extract, sasa quelpaertensis extract and liquorice root plant. Just rinse thoroughly in the morning.

Illuminating gel – thanks to encapsulated peptides in this quick absorbing gel, this products formula can help deliver the latest technology to your skin. A unique blend of green and brown algae, known for helping to even skin tone and soften age spots, has been paired with liposomes and red clover flower extract to help reduce the appearance of large pores. Illuminating gel is unlike anything else on the market thanks to its unique collection of five Asian botanicals scutallaria baicalensis root, glycyrrhiza glabra root, morus alba root, artemisia capillaris flower and zizyphus jujuba fruit.

Soothing gel moisturiser – although this looks like a lotion it is made with the gel based formula and so melts into your skin and doesn’t leave any residue. It’s packed full of natural ingredients like apple fruit extract, pomegranate fruit extract, fig fruit extract, mulberry fruit extract, ginkgo biloba extract, jojoba esters and olive oil to help skin feel hydrated and supple. Beta-glucan soothes and evens skin tone plus there’s anit-ageing ingredients like linoleic acid and hydrolysed collagen and it’s infused with with orange and mandarin peel oil, roman camomile and geranium oil, and bergamot fruit oil to leave skin feeling refreshed.

An exciting new product range that’s spot on for combination skin!

Pumpkin and Rocket Salad

This is a gorgeous looking and tasting salad that works at any time of year. It's an Aussie recipe so it's called a Pumpkin salad but here in the UK I make mine with Butternut Squash. Try it in Autumn with roast beef for a lighter Sunday roast.

Ingredients

  • Butternut squash cut into 2cm thick wedges
  • 100ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (or more if you like!)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups wild rocket leaves (I tend to just use a small bag from the supermarket)
  • 1/2 cup (75g) Macadamia nuts roughly chopped & toasted
  • Salt to season

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line two baking trays with foil
  2. Arrange the butternut squash in a single layer on the baking trays. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, scatter over the chilli flakes and season. Bake for 20-25 minutes until tender and lightly golder. Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile whisk the lemon juice with the remaining 1/4 cup (60ml) oil and set dressing aside.
  4. Place the butternut squash in a serving bowl with the rocket and toasted Macadamias. Drizzle with the dressing, then toss to combine and serve.




No Bake Protein Bars

A super easy and healthier treat to have round the house to stop you reaching for those more indulgent snacks!

Ingredients

  • 2 Scoops Forever Lite Ultra
  • 140g oats
  • 60g ground flax seed
  • 35g sliced almonds
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp Forever Bee Honey
  • Dark chocolate chips for topping

Preparation

Depending on the texture you want, you can either use your oats as they are, or blend using a hand-held stick blender or food processor until they have a flour-like texture.

Put all of the ingredients (aside from the dark chocolate chips) into a mixing bowl and combine until you get smooth-textured dough.

Line a five-inch loaf tin with baking paper and spoon in the mixture, compressing down until it covers the bottom of the tin.

Sprinkle some chocolate ships over the surface, pressing them slightly into the dough.

Place in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and lift the mix out with the baking paper. Using a sharp knife cut into approximately eight pieces.

Either wrap in clingfilm individually to take as a snack on the go, or store in a box in the fridge.

Other options: swap the almonds for chopped cherries, raisins or dates for a fruitier protein bar.

Move

There was a bit of an uproar when this new supplement was launched last year.......words like revolutionary were used and people who had tried it were raving about it. But what's the hype actually about?  Why have these supplements caused such an uproar?

What's in them?

Move contains two powerful and patented ingredients; one of which is new to me and one is the fastest growing herbal supplement globally. Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM) is something I've never heard before and Curcurmin Tumeric (Biocurc) is a long standing popular with people who lead active lives.

Who are they for?

Basically anyone who moves their body.......whether you're quite sporty and go to the gym or play sports or a parent chasing kids around the house, any kind of movement can result in stiffness and aches and pains. Sadly this is true especially as we grow older when the aches & pains seem to happen more often.......although that could just be me! People are becoming more health conscious and don't want to be restricted by stiff joints or pain.

What makes Move different?

  • Forever is getting really good at combining science with the best nature has to offer and Move has clinically effective doses of the patented technology ingredients to ensure they actually work. 
  • Quick and confirmed results in 7-10 days
  • Nearly 5x more clinically effective than glucoasmine and chondriotrin
  • enhances joint comfort and flexibility
  • supports a healthy range of motion
  • decreases pain and stiffness in muscles & joints
  • promotes fast recovery from exercise
  • promotes healthy cartilage
  • supports healthy inflammatory response

The two active ingredients work together within our body and trials showed confirmed results in as little as 7-10 days. 

NEM

NEM is derived from the membrane of an eggshell and is patented with Forever having an exclusive contract for this important ingredient.

  • All natural
  • contains chondroitrin, hylauronic acid, glycosaminoglycons and collagen
  • patented
  • supports healthy range of motion
  • enhances flexibility

Studies:

Trials carried out recorded results for range of motion and pain, both showing the biggest improvements in the first 7 days although these continued through to day 30 and beyond.

Range of motion: Day 0: 64.2%  Day 7:  82%  Day 30:  92.2%   44% improvement                     Pain: Day 0:  2.3  Day 7:  1.7  Day 30:  0.7      76% reduction

Biocurc

The second ingredient is a powerful tumeric:

  • all natural tumeric
  • patented with bioavailability increase of 200% (this is the way it works with the body)
  • Decreases stiffness in joints and muscles
  • Soothes areas of discomfort

Forever's range of joint care products

Forever now has three products in the joint care range. Each work a little bit differently in the body and work together to produce a synergestic effect

Aminotein Ice Cream

This is a clever way to make a yummy banana ice cream that’s packed full of the protein and nutrition you get from Ultra-Light power.

Ingredients

  • 1 scoop Forever Lite Ultra
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 75ml milk

Preparation

  1. Cut a banana into about six pieces, then wrap in clingfilm and freeze for at least four hours
  2. Take the banana pieces out of the clingfilm and place in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the Forever Lite Ultra and milk to the bowl and blend with a handheld stick blender until smooth.

Then all you need to do it enjoy knowing that it contains one of your five a day plus a stack of protein and vitamins. Bliss!