Pumpkin Pie Water Kefir

Pumpkin Pie Water Kefir Loula Natural fb

 I looooove pumpkin season! Making Pumpkin Pie Water Kefir  makes so much sense to me.It is so versatile as it can be sweet or savoury. Packed full of nutrients and flavour, fermenting it makes it bang like the fireworks around this season! I started making this Pumpkin Pie Water Kefir recipe last year when I was playing with recipes for my book  Culture Your Life. We make it every year now!  Check out all my favourite recipes for pumpkin here

This Pumpkin Pie Water Kefir recipe is simple and you can use canned pumpkin or make your own very easily (and cheaper!). That way you have complete control over how much sugar you add as in the canning process the pumpkin is heated again thus caramelizing the sugar. 

Making your own water kefir is so easy

It is so easy to make your water Kefir as here. There is a video too to help you get started here;

Have fun flavouring it whilst the pumpkins are around! Fun to use this Pumpkin Pie Water Kefir to make cocktails with for family gatherings, BBQ’s and other fall festivals. I make standard Gin and Tonics much more fun, adding this Pumpkin Pie Water Kefir recipe!

Pumpkin Pie Water Kefir
A warming, delicious seasonal flavour of Water Kefir. Simple to make and great to boost immunity in Autumn.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 litre of water kefir ( I make mine with coconut and maple sugar)
  2. 3 tbsp canned pumpkinor pureed pumpkin
  3. Maple syrup to taste
  4. 1tsp canned pumpkinor pumpkin spice or cinnamon
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl mix the pumpkin puree and spice mix with the maple syrup to taste (until you like the flavour)
  2. Add the mix to the litre of water kefir.
  3. Allow to ferment on the counter for 1-2 hours. Or to taste.
  4. When you like the flavour and the fizz place in the fridge.
  5. Consume cool or room temperature.
Notes
  1. refreshing and revitalising.
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
Pumpkin Parade Loula Natural

Pumpkin Pie Water Kefir Loula Natural

Sage

Nutrient Fact File Sage Loula Natural

Nutrient Fact File; Sage

I am a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist. I make recommendations to my clients based on their individual needs. If this information is useful to you please discuss your options with your trained health practitioner able to help you to make natural choices that are suitable for your individual needs. Take responsibility for your health and choices.

Sage is a herb native to the Mediterranean, an evergreen perennial shrub it also is traditionally grown in south eastern Europe. It is a common garden pot plant. Sage belongs to the Lamiaceae family along with other herbs, such as oregano, lavender, rosemary, thyme, and basil. The general scientific name is Salvia officinalis which is derived from the latin word to save or heal. There are many types of sage (red sage, clary sage and many others) Interestingly the word sage in the dictionary means;

noun

1. a profoundly wise person; a person famed for wisdom.

2.someone venerated for the possession of wisdom, judgment, and experience

adjective 

3. sager, sagest= wise, judicious, or prudent: sage advice.

To call someone ‘sage’ is to call them wise, full of wisdom and those known as ‘sage’ were also treated with an abundance of respect. 

sage leaves Loula Natural

It is quite easy to grow and likes sunny conditions. A popular garden pot plant for centuries with many health benefits. It has been used throughout the ages in chinese medicine, in Arabic foods and medicine (they considered it gave immortality) and in Greek and Roman times. Throughout its long history of use, it has been thought of as a powerful and protective herb. It was one of the ingredients of Four Thieves Vinegar – a mix of herbs which was made to prevent the plague. It is often hung in doorways as an protector (especially in Europe of protection from witchcraft!) or used in purification rituals my many cultures. Known as the “thinkers tea” Sage is one of those surprising “all over good health” foods. It is very distinguished and has an amazing aroma with a tactile appearance. Grey-green, soft leaves with visible fine hair-like growing on both sides. The leaves can grow to about 2.5 cm and looks very delicate but is strong and rich in nutrients with health promoting and disease preventing capabilities.  Sage leaves are used and they are normally harvested just before flowering for cooking with. Tough stems can be discarded before washing them and gently drying the leaves before using. The leaves can then be dried in the sun or in the dehydrator  then stored in an airtight container. You can also freeze chopped sage in a little water kefir or coconut oil In cooking sage is often paired with meat, vegetables, cheese and eggs. It is also traditionally used in stuffing for chicken along with parsley, rosemary and thyme. Pork with sage is another traditional known pairing. Used to both help digest foods it would also help to counteract any imbalances caused by bacteria or parasites in the meat. Since refrigeration is relatively new technology, sage along with other herbs would help as a natural preservative and could help to flavour and enhance stews and also vegetable dishes. 

Health benefits of sage herb are numerous, the following list are conditions that may have seen positive effects when adding sage to the diet. They are also the traditional ways that the herb has been used. The main components of sage, from a medicinal perspective, seem to be found in the oils in the herb which may be why a balanced ecosystem in the digestive system has been seen to help to release and absorb Sage’s nutritious offerings.

Sage has a long list of beneficial nutrients including Vitamin K; antioxidants like vitamin A, beta-carotene levels and vitamin C. Also B-complex of folic acid, thiamin, pyridoxine and riboflavin. Together with minerals like potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium, Sage is a nutrient powerhouse. Organic Compounds include α-thujone, and β-thujone, cineol, borneol, tannic acid, cornsole and cornsolic acid; fumaric, chlorogenic, caffeic and nicotinic acids; nicotinamide; flavones; flavone glycosides and oestrogenic substances. Most of these compounds have been seen to have some evidence of being anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal and anti-septic properties. This study confirms its microbial balancing abilities by showing efficiency against Staph infections. Which makes sense for why this herb was traditionally used to protect against infection and preserve meats.

Menstrual cycle and Menopausal symptoms;

There are phytoestrogen substances in Sage which  may help to mimic estrogen, which may benefit menopausal women and other mensural imbalances. During menopause the ovaries diminish their release of oestrogen. Hot flushes is one of the symptoms of this. The adrenals take over the production of oestrogen and the adrenals and liver are often associated with heat. Phyto-oestrogens can help the body to recognise oestrogens in the body without the body actually absorbing them completely. Herbs with phytoestrogens require healthy digestive system bacteria levels to help access and utilize the hormones as mentioned above. Sage may be able to suppress perspiration and help the body cool down during a hot flush (see this study) Oestrogen may also affect the brain, causing changes in emotional well-being. Sage has been seen to help many to relieve some anxiety and depression symptoms associated with menopause or other menstrual cycle imbalances. Sage may also help others to deal with grief and depression by helping to lift mood and balance hormone levels. Check out this recipe for Lemon Sage Cordial

Lemon and sage cordial Loula Natural image1

Memory, concentration and moods enhancer

Sage has been traditionally used over the centuries to enhance concentration, attention span and has also been seen to quicken the senses and improve memory. Sage may play a role in the treatment methods for memory loss associated with the diseases like Alzheimer’s. “extracts possess anti-oxidant, estrogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties, and specifically inhibit butyryl- and acetyl-cholinesterase (both of these disrupt neurotransmitters message integrity- affecting memory- source)…whilst a chronic regime (of sage) has been shown to attenuate cognitive declines in sufferers from Alzheimer’s disease” (source) This means that Sage will not only support memory function (Studies showed clear improvement in cognitive recall), but also the integrity of message from the brain to the rest of the body. Enhancing messages to the rest of the body can have several advantages for many people. Especially in healing situations to help release anxiety and stress to the body. Other reports suggest that sage essential oil can help to relieve headaches and fatigue. Chinese Medicine has used Red Sage, Salvia miltiorrhiza, also known as Danshen or Chinese Sage in the treatment of cerebrovascular disease for over thousands of years.   Some of the compounds found are similar to the ones that have been used to produce AChE Inhibitors used in pharmacological medicines to treat Alzheimers. They have been seen to reduce plaques which form in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease.  Also allowing better blood circulation through the brain.

 Prevention of cardiovascular diseases.

 Three lobe sage(a specific type of Sage) contains called salvigenin. Research studies found that salvigenin may offer benefits in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases by relaxing the walls of blood vessels. Flexibility in veins and arteries is very important in heart health. Chinese Sage has also been used for centuries as a blood thinner to reduce blood clots and ‘invigorate the blood‘. Traditional Chinese medicine use it with other herbs to help improve circulation and reduce hardening of the arterial walls. Sage’s reported anti-inflammatory capabilities (source) may also help with cardiovascular health as almost all cases of heart health have inflammatory indicators (source and here).  Sage tea has also been reported to balance cholesterol levels by having a positive effect on HDL and LDL levels (source)

Skin Conditions

Sage’s  anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (vitamin A content) may also help us to understand how Sage and Sage oil can help in irritated skin conditions. Sage herb oil can be used used externally, rubbed on the skin, and has been seen to soothe painful ailments like muscle stiffness, rheumatism, and other nerve pains. Through Sage’s support of the digestive system, the excretory role of the skin is reduced and more nutrients are absorbed to help provide strong building blocks for the skin. Sage oil is often recommended as a hair rinse for dandruff, oily hair, or infections of the scalp. The herb reportedly restores color to gray or white hair (source).

Diabetes type 2

By helping to balance hormone levels (oestrogenic compounds) insulin is also affected in a positive way. A research team at the Research Institute of Medicinal Plants in Iran found that “Salvia officinalis leaf extract may have anti-hyperglycemic and lipid profile. This is beneficial for diabetes patients. Reduced cholesterol imbalance is connected to a reduction in type 2 diabetes symptoms. With improved blood circulation and reduced inflammation (as mentioned above) the body is going to work better in all areas. By helping to increase digestive ability and stimulating appetite it is reasonable to expect that the blood sugar levels and hormone levels of the body will be come more balanced, thus improving the lives of those with type 2 diabetes. 

sage leaves Loula Natural

Supports the digestive system

Rosmarinic acid is found in Sage and Rosemary. It may be readily absorbed from the GI tract especially when consumed with a healthy ecology in the body or with fermented products. Once inside the body, this oil has been seen to reduce inflammatory responses by altering the amounts of inflammatory messengers released by the immune system. This moderates the immune system and its response. The rosmarinic acid in sage may also function as an antioxidant. Together with the antioxidant capabilities, sage can help to give the digestive system space to heal and repair. Especially in any IBD (crohn’s or ulcerative colitis), IBS symptoms, leaky gut and other digestive sensitivity issues (intolerances, eczema, heartburn). Like most culinary herbs, sage is traditionally used as a digestive aid and appetite stimulant. You can use it to help reduce gas in the intestines and, as it may have antispasmodic herbal actions, it may also help to relieve abdominal cramps and bloating. The volatile oils in sage help to maintain balance in bacterial levels. The fibre in the leaves and stems can help feed bacteria, making the herb useful to encourage and create a balance mycobacterial environment to help our bodies to function normally.

Respiratory system;

The respiratory system is harmonised when the immune system is less sensitive. Sage’s assistance in anti inflammatory and anti oxidant actions, whilst balancing bacteria can greatly enhance and help to heal the respiratory system. It is often used to help asthma symptoms. Sage is astringent and so may help to dry up phlegm. With its bacterial balancing abilities you can gargle with the tea to help protect and treat coughs and tonsil or throat infections. It is also chewed to help balance the bacteria in the mouth to prevent tooth infections.

Safety precautions;

when breast feeding or when pregnant restrict sage intake (unless cooking with it). The properties have been reported to help dry up milk. It is often used after breastfeeding to restore hormone balance. The herb should not be used in pregnancy as chemical compounds like thujone in it may cause uterine stimulation resulting in miscarriage (hence clary sage is used during labour but not in pregnancy) When prescribed blood thinners, be aware sage (like garlic) has similar actions and will also thin the blood. It is also not recommended with epilepsy.   If any doubt contact your naturopath, herbal practitioner or aromatherapist. 

Further Reading;

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/sage.html http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/sage-herb.html http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266480.php http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/natural-medicine/herbal-remedies/sage-herbal-remedies.htm http://www.healthy.co.nz/ailment/2121-herbal-phytoestrogens-and-menopause.html http://www.susunweed.com/Article_Phytoestrogens.htm

Nutrient Fact File Sage Loula Natural Pin

Salty Cinnamon Maple Grain Free Granola

Salty Maple Cinnamon GF Granola Loula Natural fbSalty Cinnamon Maple Grain Free Granola

I have loved alternating between my eggs in the morning and my different grain free raw granola flavours (other recipes here and here). I took inspiration from my cinnamon salty/sweet  popcorn to try to entice my daughter to try it (she is devoted to her muesli for breakfast!). I love it warm straight out of the dehydrator and served with kefir and berries. I also like it with gently warmed almond milk. Especially with the mornings starting to be a bit cooler.

It also works really nicely as a crumble topping with some stewed fruit and my fat banana custard for puddings!

Grain Free Salty Cinnamon Maple Granola
A warming and comforting granola. Great warm or cold. Serve with Kefir/yoghurt and berries.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 tsp live sea salt (or pink salt)
  2. 1-2 tbsp Maple Syrup to taste
  3. 1 tsp Cinnamon
  4. 1/2 cup ground flax seeds
  5. 1 cup almonds
  6. 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  7. 1/2 cup pecans
  8. 1/2 cup cashews
  9. 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  10. 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  11. 1 tbsp coconut oil
  12. 1tbs water
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients together in a food processor
  2. Blitz till combined
  3. spread out onto a silicon sheet or baking tray with baking paper and either dehydrate at 100F for 12 hours or bake in a low oven.
  4. Store in the fridge
Notes
  1. To have warm, either add to a bowl and put in the dehydrator for 10-20 mins or gently warm milk and add to the granola.
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
Here are my other breakfast recipes

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and my dedicated pinterest board; 

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Salty Maple Cinnamon GF Granola Loula Natural Pin

Parsnip Rice

Parsnip Rice Loula Natural

I have been reducing my grain intake to try and reduce inflammation and heal my digestive system. Read a bit more about my journey here. I also try to avoid nightshades and especially potatoes- which I have never really liked anyway! Over the last couple of years staples on the dinner table are cauliflower rice, cauliflower mash, sweet potato chips, sweet potato mash and sweet potato rosti. We love roasted parsnips, carrot and parsnip mash and parsnip rice. I love it in the summer because it is light, filling and is delicious raw (see my parsnip couscous recipe).

2 parsnips fills 2-3 adults which is great because it it super quick and easy to make and goes great in salads, with bbq’s, curry’s, stews and anything you would use rice for. You can also steam this and make fried rice with it if you want to. 

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Parsnip Rice
A light yet filling grain free option.
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Ingredients
  1. 2-3 Parsnips
  2. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Peel and cut up the parsnip
  2. Add to the food processor
  3. Blitz until 'rice like'
  4. Serve either raw or steam
  5. Season with salt and pepper
Notes
  1. Nice with butter after steaming
Loula Natural http://loulanatural.com/
Untitled

How do I choose Essential oils?

5 steps How to choose your perfect essential oil Loula Natural

There is lots of essential oils information out there- there are many essential oil companies out there too.

I want to try and give you some information on what you should be looking for when choosing an essential oil to help balance your body. If you are looking to buy quality essential oils- please have a look here. Also read my Ask the Aromatherapist post.

whole body balance

Step 1;

Try to identify how your whole body is feeling. For example if you have a headache- how do you feel about the headache, what have the emotions been that have lead up to the headache, how is your whole body feeling physically- do you have pain anywhere else, are your tired, dehydrated, stressed, feel pressured and so on. Everyones presentation of symptoms and how they feel about certain symptoms will be different. There are some essential oils that may help people with headaches- however what you choose may be different from someone else.

Take a whole body approach rather than just trying to suppress a symptom and continue as normal. This does not address the core issue and so the problem will persist and get worse. Every symptom is a warning signal that the body is no longer in balance and needs assistance. By blocking signals the body will degenerate and chronic illness is present. Go back to the cause and the body can rebalance and move forward.

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Step 2;

Every oil has a natural starting point. The efficiency of the oils in combatting your physical and emotional imbalances is directly related to the flower, herb, tree’s pharmacological herbal actions are. Each substance contains various oils and those oils are extracted. Each of these extracted volatile oils has an action on the body. This is also what herbal medicine is based on. These oils can either be absorbed through the skin with assistance of a carrier oil or through being diffused in the air.

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This means that each substance will have its individual and collective uses. For example chamomile’s actions have been seen to be analgesic (pain relieving), anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, carlmative (calming), nerve sedative, vulenary (helps to heal wounds externally), sudorific (causes sweating) and an emmenagogue (assists in menstruation.

So if you have a headache from a bash, cut or inflamed area that is causing some anxiety or nerve irritation then chamomile may work very well- however if you have a headache because you are dehydrated, been in the sun all day and are tired and overworked- the same essential oil may not be ideal. The trick is to chose the right oil for the right situation especially for you. If you like the smell of something then you are also usually on the right track. 

Each oil also has a vibrational energy which your body may be drawn too. Sometimes I choose my essential oils blindly. Especially single oils when I am making a blend. 

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Step 3;

ALWAYS check the safety information for yourself before using the oils. Personally I believe that essential oils are for the olfactory senses. They should be smelt and absorbed through the skin with carrier oils. I am not a huge fan of ingesting oils as I prefer to use foods for  that.

I see essential oils as a very effective tool with in a tool box of remedies for each ailment. When dealing with acute situations oils can work fast and be very effective- however even as a Naturopath myself, I will seek advice from an aromatherapist for chronic issues. I then do some more research myself and change other areas in my life to get a more holistic lifestyle change to help my body to heal and return to balance.

lemon

Oils that are considered safe, if not used correctly or in the right circumstances and potentially can have negative effects as much as other natural remedy can. Ensure that if you use something it is because you have made the informed choice and decision to use it-not because someone told you too or you read something on the internet. I say this for all advice- even my own!

Lavender

Step 4;

Think less is more- it is easier to work out which oils are good for your situation and then see if there is a blend which contains them all. The only way you can know how a blend works is to study the individual herbal actions of each of its ingredients. As a blend they can be very powerful so I tend to recommend to use the individual ones first- then start to recognize which individual oils you react positively to then find blends- or even start to make your own blends (I used to do this for clients and myself all the time to great effect- and great for gifts).

Try one blend at a time- blends will have a few oils in them- each one will have an action on the body and may be quiet stressful on the body when being combatted with several blends at the same time- leave some time after using the blended oil on your body or in a diffuser to take note of any effects before trying something out. Give your body space to decipher the messages it receives from using remedies, use some meditation or some visualisation when using the essential oils to guide your body towards what you want to achieve. 

Most importantly- use the oils mindfully- connect with what you have chosen and take responsibility for your own healing. Yes they work with babies and animals who are not necessarily thinking about what they are using, are passive in their use of them. However think about how more powerful and full of potential they can become if you actively use them.

When you are choosing oils try and get a good encyclopedia of oils like these ones;

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You can get a notebook and copy down for each oil you have the name, how it is used traditionally, its herbal actions, and safety data. Then each time you want to reach for your oils you have all the information to hand. Have some fun with them- get to know them, their smell and their effect on your body. Write it all down in your own notebook and keep it to teach others from your experiences. Nice thing to pass down too!

 

Make Notes

 

Always ask a professional aromatherapist if you are ever worried about using oils.

Step 5

Consider the alternatives; homeopathy, nutrition, Bach Flowers, kinesiology, massage, reflexology, Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, EFT, herbal tinctures, exercise like yoga and hiking, stress management techniques like meditation, breathing techniques and other physical manipulation like cranial sacral therapy, osteopathy, physiotherapy and many more.

All of these other methods of bringing the body’s physical, emotional and energetic factors back to balance and true health can be achieved. Nothing on its own is ever going to work 100%- different situations will require different combinations and strategies- start to look into and get to know other methods of giving the body space, strength and healing.

Thanks to the Young Living flickr roll for some inspiring shots!

5 steps How to choose your perfect essential oil Loula Natural Pin

 

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