Pumpkin Parade: a pumpkin recipe round-up

Pumpkin Parade Loula Natural

Pumpkin Parade; a pumpkin recipe round-up

All your favourite Pumpkin Recipes in one place

I really love pumpkin. I love the flavour, the density in nutrients and immune boosting properties and I love the versatility of being able to make it sweet or savoury! A pumpkin recipe round-up makes it easy to find my delicious favourites.

Pumpkins are packed full of beta carotenes (pre cursor to the body forming Vit A), vitamin C, antioxidants and a good mix of b vitamins. They benefit the digestive system and immune system. They also have great seeds which we all love to eat too!! The fibre in them feeds the balanced bacteria in the digestive system- win all round.

Kids generally love pumpkin too- see here for some great ways to use pumpkin flesh.

Here is a great post from Fostering Nutrition on how our ancestors used to prepare a pumpkin including the seeds

Here is my Pumpkin recipe round-up; Pumpkin 123

 How To make pumpkin puree from one ingredient

Immune boosting Pumpkin spice Loula natural Homemade Pumpkin Spice

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Loula Natural

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Baked Pumpkin Donuts Loula Natural

 Baked Pumpkin Donuts (Gluten free)

Pumpkin Bread Loula Natural

Pumpkin Bread (Gluten Free)

Pumpkin Brownies with Gingerbread LattePumpkin Brownies (Gluten Free)

Turmeric Pumpkin Seeds Loula Natural

Beetroot and Carrot Salad with Turmeric Pumpkin seeds 

 

And here are some from my friends; (most are grain free)

 Chocolate-Pumpkin-Pancakes1

Butter Nutrition; Chocolate Stuffed Pumpkin Pancakes

Savoury Lotus; Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding and Pumpkin Spiced Dutch Baby

Roasted-Garbanzo-Beans

Real Food RN; Banana Pumpkin Ice-Cream and Sweet Crunchy Pumpkin Spiced Garbanzo Beans

Real Food Kosher; Sweet Potato Pie Fries

pumpkinpie800x419-900x500

Oh Lardy; Pumpkin Pie Smoothie with superfoods

Real Nutritious Living; Paleo Pumpkin Spiced MuffinsPumpkin Spiced Latte and Pumpkin Pie Spiced Almonds

hot chocolate

20 Somthing Allergies; Pumpkin Steamer (Hot Chocolate Alternative)

Health Extremist; Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins

Paleo-Pumpkin-Crumble-Bars-photo-08-679x1024

Beauty and The Foodies (one of my big fav’s) Pumpkin Bagels and Paleo Pumpkin Crumble bars

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Coconut Mama; Coconut Milk Pumpkin Ice Cream and Pumpkin Butter Cups

Happy Healthnut; Pumpkin Protein Oats and Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie Pudding Shooters

Pumpkin-Cream-Cookies-800x419

Eat Naked; Pumpkin Cream Cookies and Holiday Pumpkin Smoothie

Yogi Mami Pumpkin Trifle

FB-Simple-Crock-Pot-Apple-Pumpkin-Butter-Grain-Free-Dairy-Free-Paleo-Vegan-

Mix Wellness; Crockpot Apple Pumpkin butter 

 Pumpkin Parade Loula Natural pin

Coconut

Nutrient Fact File coconut Loula Natural

Coconuts are one of my favourite foods on the planet. They contain all of the nutrients required to grow and develop new life. Plus they taste so delicious! Known as a functional food- the health properties far outweigh their nutritional constituents. Not surprising it is referred to as “The Tree of Life”, a little like eggs, I like to refer to them as one of nature’s perfect packages. 

Coconut oil,

coconut flour,

coconut milk,

coconut yoghurt,

coconut water (fresh) 

Coconut water and coconut milk Kefir,

coconut ice-cream and

desiccated coconut are always in stock in my house!!

Charcoal is made from the husk 

Palm oil is made from the leaves

I love to add coconut to everything; here’s why;

coconut

The coconut palm grows throughout the tropics. The coconut palm thrives on sandy soils and prefers areas with ample sunlight and rainfall. They also need a daily temperature of around 20 degrees celsius.  The benefits of the coconuts meat and water contents span all the different varieties of the fruit that they yield. Most cultures where they grow use the products from the coconut to heal most ailments, and have done so for generations. Since they are always in season and grow all year round, they are one of the most incredible natural medicines. They are also easy and cheap to buy. Once you know how, they are also easy to open.

Young meat is jelly like and really sweet and more mature meat is whiter, firmer and less sweet. The water creates the flesh in layers, so the more flesh you have in your coconut the less water and vice versa. The flesh and the water have an amazing mixture of beneficial saturated fats, electrolytes (minerals ), vitamins (A, B’s and E) and amino acids (protein). See the full list here. Plus both have an intricate and balanced bacterial environment. All of this combined gives the coconut its wide range of benefits and health giving properties. A full list of all the claims for coconuts is found here and Bruce Fife’s book Coconut Cures is excellent.

coconut cures

Coconut can be eaten and the water can be drunk during pregnancy. Both are  repudiated to nourish mother and baby and may help even help with a ‘quick delivery’. The oil when rubbed into the skin can help prevent and heal stretch marks. It can also be applied direct to nipples to soothe chafing and heal wounds whilst breastfeeding.

The oil is also a safe and effective sunscreen for children and adults alike. The fat acts as a barrier, the bacterial elements are protective and balancing and the other nutrients in the oil can help to repair any damage the sun might have on the skin cells

When dehydrated in the hot summer months coconut water can help. Containing all the necessary electrolytes it can help get you back to balance. Combined with the bacterial properties to be able to absorb those nutrients, coconut water can also help with some digestive ailments and is a great drink to use whilst working out. However the pasteurization process the packaged water goes through kills off the bacteria. This makes the drink no better than any other pasteurized juice. I only advocate fresh coconut water, or consumption of coconut water that has been fermented- like kefir.

Lychee, Coconut Water Kefir

Coconut water also contains antimicrobial properties. It may be better to think of the bacteria as balanced in the body, after consuming fresh coconut. Therefore it is also great when suffering from bacterial imbalance (runny tummy!). It also helps to rehydrate after vomiting or diarrhea. 

The sugar and nectar from the flowers are also full of necessary nutrients to process the sugar (improving blood sugar levels and create energy). See my post on refined sugar to understand how this is beneficial. The fat and protein aspect of coconuts can also help slow down the digestion of sugars and therefore can help to balance sugar levels. The body is looking for fats in the diet to trigger satiety (feeling full). Coconut in recipes can help you to feel fuller for longer whilst having nutrients to nourish, repair and satisfy. 1 tbs Coconut flour can be added to baked goods to raise their nutrient profile. The fibre in coconut also helps to feed our internal bacterial environment– which further strengthens our essential internal bacterial balance.

More and more people are beginning to understand how important the coconut is to stabilizing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, balancing hormones and generally healing. Because of its amazing natural sugar, fatty acids, amino acids combined with all the other nutrients in perfect ratios it is even used in some countries to replace blood plasma in an emergency and after operations.

oil pulling with coconut oil Loula Natural

Coconuts have been seen to help a diverse range of conditions, mostly due to their Medium Chain fatty acids.  Coconuts packs an eye-opening amount of calories and so many grams of fat (90% saturated). However when people advise you to avoid the product for these reasons their advice is misguided. People who include coconut products daily in their diet actually show a greater weight loss than those who don’t, they also report better skin health, muscle tone, energy levels, hormone balance and better moods. Here is my post on how amazing fats are- try to re-educate yourself  about what are a healthy fats and which ones are unhealthy. Coconut oil also plays a huge role in changing your body shape.

The fatty acids contained in coconut have a positive effect on the body as they are easily absorbed, have anti-microbial properties, can boost metabolism , enhance thyroid activity, reduces pain and swelling, improve digestion, boost immune system and improve skin, hair teeth and nails. Is there anything a coconut can’t help? 

You can make your own coconut water, kefirmilk, creamyoghurt , butter and vinegar very easily. I also do oil pulling, use it in my body scrubs (here and here), amazing used directly on the skin from birth (the oil can be absorbed through the skin) I use it in many cosmetics including hair masks, after swimming and sunscreen

Here are my recipes that include coconut; (how to open a coconut)

Oil Pulling

Coconut Milk

Coconut Cream/ Yoghurt

Lychee Coconut water kefir

Coconut Ginger Cookies

Coconut Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

Mint chocolate chip coconut ice-cream

Choco-coco milkshake

Coco-berry milkshake

Bulletproof Smoothie

Choco-coco ice pudding

Sunshine shot

Almond and coconut flour kefir pancakes

Bounty bars

Homemade chocolate

Vanilla butter fudge

Chocolate fudge

Cinnamon salty sweet popcorn

Coconut- oil popcorn

Banoffee Toffee

Real food icing sugar

Spicy Chai tea Concentrate

Beetroot brownies

Chicken and coconut soup

Body Scrubs

The ultimate kefir body scrub/bath salts

Pineapple and Ginger kefir-kolada

Coconut and carrotseed oil natural sunscreen

Indeed all of my Kefir and Kombucha is made from coconut sugar as seen in Culture Your Life

Also all of my recipes contain either coconut oil, flour or sugar. I also use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and sell Cocobono sugar and oil here in Hong Kong.

Nutrient Fact File coconut Loula Natural Pin

Sea Buckthorn

 

Sea Buckthorn Loula Natural

Nutrient Fact File Sea Buckthorn

We have seen from historical records, the Chinese were the first to document use of Sea Buckthorn for its medicinal properties. More than a thousand years ago Sea Buckthorn was added to a classical Tibetan medical book.  In 1977, after numerous studies, it was also added to the Chinese Pharmacologia. For a full history into the studies and findings of Sea Buckthorn see here . Also to see a full list of its nutritional constituents please see here.

Sea Buckthorn is a bush sized plant which yields bright yellow berries.   The berry is considered one of the world’s most balanced fruits, providing powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds with a lot of essential fats. The benefits are easy to come by as the plant is not overly processed and grows without the need of too much interference from the farmer. The ‘magic’ of this food is in the mix of its nutrients. It is high in a great mix of healthy fats whilst also packed with necessary bioavailable (which means the body can use them immediately) nutrients needed in so many cases of chronic inflammation and conditions.

This cherished “super fruit” is rich in antioxidants, essential amino acids, vitamin E, rare Omega 7 and 190 other bioactive nutrients. Rich in beta-carotene, flavonoids and vitamins C, D, E and K, sea buckthorn also contains a substantial complex of B vitamins and 20 minerals. Moreover, it supplies between 4-100 times more vitamin C than any other fruit or vegetable. It is a real natural powerhouse.

It grows in very dry desert like soil and loves the direct sunlight all day. Sea-buckthorn berries are edible and nutritious, though astringent, oily and unpleasant to eat raw. However they can be frosted (freeze dried) which reduces the astringency and/or mixed as a drink with sweeter substances such as apple juice (I would love to see what it is like in water Kefir!). 

The leaves, flowers, and fruits are also used as natural medicine. When the berries are pressed, the resulting sea-buckthorn juice separates into three layers: on top is a thick, orange cream; in the middle, a layer containing sea-buckthorn characteristic and uniquely high content of saturated and polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3,6,7 and 9); and the bottom layer is  then the sediment and juice. The fat sources are then largely used for cosmetic purposes, but the upper two layers can also be processed for skin creams, whereas the bottom sediment layer is normally processed into edible products like syrup. 

Forms

 

The oil may be consumed either internally or externally, but it is recommended to combine doing both. By taking sea buckthorn oil internally, you will provide your body with bioavailable nutrients. Using it externally can also protect and nurture existing skin cells. It is also amazing rubbed into your gums to eliminate any infection or swelling, or just as a way of preventing cavities and gum disease.

The nutrients make Sea Buckthorn very anti-aging often also found in many cosmetics as . Some people apply sea buckthorn berries, berry concentrate, and berry or seed oil directly to the skin.  If used topically, the sea buckthorn oils and supplements are known for strengthening the epidermis (skin top layer) and can penetrate to the cell membranes. In this way it can be useful for preventing sunburn; for treating radiation damage from x-rays; for healing wounds including burns, and cuts; for acne,dermatitis, dry skin, eczema and other skin conditions including age spots.  

The fruit also contains dense contents of carotenoids, the precursor to Vitamin A; This vitamin plays a very important role in healthy dental care. Our tooth enamel contains keratin, and vitamin A allows keratin to be used for teeth rather than prioritising it for storage in cells.  Also, vitamin A is key in protecting mucus membranes (that cover our digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems). Plus carotenoids are hugely anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.

The berries also include Vitamin D which is essential for healthy tooth tissue and bone strength and density. It is also key in collagen formation, which is responsible for strength and solidity of the organ cells (such as teeth and bones, for example) which helps to repair and strengthen all of the body’s systems and also contributes to brain health and development

The fruit of the plant has a high vitamin C content and is about 15 times greater than oranges. Vitamin C also greatly influences the synthesis of collagen, therefore aiding in strengthening teeth, bones, connective tissue, mucous membranes and muscle mass. It is also key in energy production, protecting the cells from oxidative damage and moderating the immune system. Adding to this, vitamin c may also help to prevent tooth decay by balancing bacteria levels. 

balanced

Nutrient and phytochemical constituents of sea-buckthorn berries are undergoing basic research in inflammatory disorders, cancer mechanisms or positive effect on bone marrow after chemotherapy and other health claims, although no specific health benefits have yet been proven by clinical research in humans.  However anecdotal evidence is rich in its benefits and uses. Personally, over the years, it has helped me in many ways. To support, regulate and moderate my menstrual cycle (has reduced period pain and pms), it has helped me to reduce my systemic inflammation (especially in the digestive system), has played a role in my change of body shape and helps me to moderate my mood and motivation.

Few other healthy fats have such a combination of benefits and nutrients. This powerhouse has such an amazing combination of treats for the body.

Main actions are;

    • Cell membrane integrity and structure; which helps develop strong and healthy cells throughout the body.
    • Gastrointestinal and liver health; by using the above point to repair and also protect the mucous membranes
    • Dental and gum health as it is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant also the fats help to develop strong healthy tooth material. 
    • Moderating a healthy inflammation (immune system) response
    • Muscle/energy production
    • Brain health; also helps to protect messages from the brain to the rest of the body

Historically has been used in the following conditions with some effect;

  • Sea Buckthorn uses

And a review published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology states:

“Sea buckthorn has been scientifically analyzed and many of its traditional uses have been established using several biochemical and pharmacological studies. Various pharmacological activities such as cytoprotective (protects cells-ed), anti-stress, immunomodulatory (moderates the immune system-ed), radioprotective, anti-atherogenic (supports heart health-ed), anti-tumor, anti-microbial and tissue regeneration have been reported.” 

 

 

Resources; 

 http://oilypedia.com/natural-oral-care-sea-buckthorn-oil-for-healthy-teeth/#ixzz37biE7ttA

Dr. Oz Deems Sea Buckthorn New “Miracle Berry”

http://www.seabuckthorninsider.com/health-benefits/concerned-about-cancer-inflammation-memory-loss-or-diabetes-holy-fruit-of-the-himalayas-can-help/

 http://seabuckthorn.com/files/Seabuckthorn%20and%20Medicine.pdf

http://www.itmonline.org/arts/seabuckthorn.htm

 

Sea Buckthorn Loula Natural Pin

Apricot Kernels

Nutrient Fact Sheet Apricot Kernels Loula Natural

Nutrient Fact File

Apricot Kernels

Apricot Kernels are from the inside of the seed of an apricot. The Scientific Name(s) are Prunus armeniaca L. (Rosaceae) ; P. armeniaca L. var. vulgaris Zabel. They are very common here in Hong Kong as they are used in congee and powdered to make a tea. They have  been used medicinally in India and China (in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine) for over 2,000 years. They are widely known for their anti-cancer properties although this claim is often disputed. Often by those who seem to profit from them not being used.

In chinese medicine they are used to stimulate digestion (reduce constipation, to soothe the digestive tract and relieve indigestion), improve respiration (used for asthma and to relieve coughs), lower blood pressure, and relieve arthritic pain (by reducing inflammation). Their bitter/sweet taste is warming and slightly toxic. This is supposed to stimulate healing. 

It is their potential for toxicity which is most widely spoken about even though they have been used safely for thousands of years. In fact only two deaths have ever been reported and it is not stated what dose of the kernels were consumed and whether there were any other conditions involved. They contain tiny amounts of cyanide. 

However they (along with wild cherry pips, crab apple pips, grape seeds, cassava root, millet, broad beans, most berries, and many other seeds, beans, pulses and grains that have not been hybridised) also contain vitamin B17 and Laetrile (amygdalin). These nutrients are very powerful immune stimulants, anti-oxidants and digestive supportive. The bitter taste stimulates gastric juices and the rich oils are very beneficial to the body. Apricot Kernal oil is used in many cosmetics and has a great effect on skin.

I have used it both as an oil and as a food for many years and I love it’s flavour. We use it in our muesli, bircher chia, smoothies and I have also made a seed butter from them. Readily available raw in supermarkets they are also relatively inexpensive.

If you want to use them in cancer treatment I suggest you approach your naturopath and oncologist for dosage advice. For prevention of cancer they can also be used safely. Eating 10-12 kernels over a day is generally recommended for prevention. Chewing them to release the oils is advised (hence why making them into a seed butter is a good idea). For cancer treatment almost 5 times that amount is recommended.

Sources and further reading;

My 3 articles on Cancer- What is it, prevention and Anti-oxidants.

My 3 articles on Inflammation; What do we need to know, healing and anti-inflammatory nutrients 

http://www.naturalnews.com/027088_cancer_laetrile_cure.html

http://www.rawapricotseeds.com/faq.html#a1

http://www.anticancerinfo.co.uk/apricot_kernels.html

Nutrient Fact Sheet Apricot Kernels Loula Natural pin

Milk Thistle

Nutrient Fact File

Milk Thistle

 Milk Thistle Loula Natural

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.

Milk Thistle has been used for 2,000 years as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, particularly liver, kidney, and gall bladder problems. It is native to the Mediterranean region although it is now found throughout the world, usually in dry, sunny areas. The spiny stems branch at the top and reach a height of 5 – 10 feet. The leaves are wide, with white blotches or veins, the flowers are red purple and the small, hard skinned fruit is brown, spotted, and shiny. Milk Thistle gets its name from the milky white sap that comes from the leaves when they are crushed.

Milk Thistle Seeds

The above ground parts and seeds are used to make medicine (the seeds are more commonly used). The plant contains a biologically active compound called silymarin, a phytochemical which is classified as a flavonoid (which is an antioxidant). Studies indicate this compound helps protect the liver from toxins.

Here is a diagram showing you the role milk thistle plays in liver detoxification;

Liver-detox-chart

  • This shows it is a Phase 1 detoxification inhibitor- this is protective for the liver as it slows down the amount of toxins entering the liver pathways. It also slows down and therefore limits the amount of reactive toxins circulating potentially causing cell damage.
  • It is an antioxidant to help protect cells against the reactive toxins. 
  • It then induces phase 2 detoxification which pairs the reactive toxin to another compound to render it inactive (conjugated). 
  • Its last action, which is also really important, is that it then encourages elimination of the toxin by inhibiting its re-absorption by the body.

All through the livers pathways milk thistle is central to the movement and protection of the body against damage and build up of toxins.

So Silymarin has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and it may also help the liver repair itself by growing new cells. Extensive research conducted over the past 30 years shows Milk Thistle extract improves liver dysfunction in patients with acute and chronic hepatitis A, B and C, chronic alcoholic liver disease and fatty liver caused by chemical toxin damage. Silymarin has been shown to lower the death rate of alcoholic patients over a two to four year period.

Milk thistle extract can be used to treat:

* Liver and gallbladder disease, cirrhosis and gallstones

* Liver damage due to indulgence in alcohol, drugs, fatty food and exposure to toxic chemicals

* Skin disease, including eczema and psoriasis (as it helps to eliminate toxins so they do not have to be excreted through the skin)

* Heartburn (dyspepsia) as it helps to reduce inflammation

Some people use milk thistle for diabetes, hangover, diseases of the spleen, prostate cancer, malaria, depression, uterine complaints, increasing breast milk flow (also protecting breast milk from containing circulating toxins), allergy symptoms

1 tbs added to hot water to make a tea or added to smoothies (which is how I like it) a day may be a good place to start. (this is the one I like)

 

However it is best to consult your natural practitioner to consult with you on your individual case.

Milk Thistle Loula Natural

 

 

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