Thursday, April 17, 2014

Raw, Vegan, Vanilla-Berry, Gluten-Free, Paleo 'Not-a-Cheesecake'



This delicious uncheesecake was inspired by an equally gorgeous cake from the Fragrant Vanilla Cake blog. However... coconut butter? rosewater? young coconut meat?  pomegranates?.. none of these exist in my immediate world.

Actually I did find rosewater and coconut butter, and if I'd been willing to part with $40+ , they would have been mine. But I wasn't. Then I decided that buckwheat takes too long to sprout, let alone dehydrate.  And so, a different cake evolved, organically, like a force of nature that must have life.

Raw, Vegan, Not-Really-a-Cheesecake, Vanilla-Berry Cheesecake


Ingredients:
For the Base:











  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • ¾ cup of pitted, chopped medjool dates
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp cardamom


For the Topping:


  • 3 cups of cashew nuts (soaked for 3 to 5 hours)
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup coconut milk or coconut cream
  • ½ cup liquid sweetener (agave, coconut nectar (or sugar syrup if you are not concerned with raw and paleo))
  • ½ cup finely grated beetroot
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp freeze-dried raspberry powder*

  • ½ tsp salt

Instructions:

For the Base:

Mix the almond flour, coconut flour, salt and cardmom in a food processor. While it is running add the dates slowly, allowing each handful to be fully processed before adding another.

The base is ready when you squeeze it and it sticks together. Add more dates if not sticky enough.

Press the base firmly into the bottom of a springiform or silicone baking pan and set aside.

For the Topping:

Drain the cashews and blend them in the processor at a high speed until they are relatively smooth.

Add the coconut milk, vanilla and salt and continue to blend until the consistency is very smooth – like cream cheese.

While the processor is running, add the liquid sweetener and coconut oil. Taste test  ;)

Drop large dollops of the mix randomly on the base.Use half the mix. The other half is about to be berrified!



Add the grated beet (you don’t taste this at all, trust me!) and raspberry powder to the remaining mix and blend.

*If you can’t get raspberry powder (I used this one), use a berry essence (of course, this is probably not ‘raw’), some berry juice, a few crushed berries or rosewater (thanks Amy @ fragrantvanillacake.blogspot.com for the rosewater inspiration).

Drop the berry topping into the gaps left between the vanilla dollops, then swirl the topping exactly once with a knife. Freeze for at least two hours until solid, remove from the pan and let sit in the fridge for about an hour before eating.

I also made a cute cupcake version, and one without the 'vanilla' part. That one was decorated with blueberries and white chocolate (the chocolate was not vegan, but I'm sure you can find some). The lighter colour is because I was wary of all that beetroot!

Even with my eyes closed and full concentration empowered, I could not detect even a hint of beetrootyness. This gave me confidence to go the full monty with the swirl cake above.

The cupcakes. I made  these in a silicone muffin pan - very easy removal and they were ready in less than an hour, compared to the whole cake which took the full two hours to set.


The trial cake, less beetroot.


Packed lunch... ;)


This cake is really delicious. I think the little kick of cardmom in the base sends it over the edge in a very good way. Let me know how it works out for you. I'd love to see your pictures too, so link it up, link it up in the comments.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Personal - Quitting the Stimulants

"I'm tired".

A few weeks ago I realised that this had become my automatic answer to polite questions like 'how are you?'. Whether at 9 a.m. in the supermarket or mid-afternoon visiting a client, I was always tired and dreaming about bedtime, eyelids heavy.  This is not *little yawns* tired either, but bone-crunching fatigue that had me sitting in the car for five minutes rather than enter the house and deal with four meowing, hungry cats.  I was too tired to make the bed, have a long conversation or open the mail that's been piling up. Tired like that.

I suppose I could have sent myself for a bunch of lab tests, but I don't think I've got nutrient or metabolic problems. My issue is that I don't sleep well. I really don't. It is not uncommon for me to lie awake until 3 a.m. And then, the next day I caffeinate to try and get some energy, which makes it harder to sleep. Like so:


After thinking about that for a while, I realised that the vicious circle is actually a bit more complex and insidious, it's more like this:

I've always been a fan of things that make me buzzy. That's because I do lots. Certainly this year is packed with exciting stuff: growing Sana, consultancy work and running the trial for my thesis.  It sounds ridiculous, but it's actually doable within normal working hours if my energy is good and I can focus.

Unfortunately, I've had neither energy nor focus for quite some time. Apart from the 1.5 hours directly after my morning espresso (and the other morning espresso), I've been sub-productive and very easily distracted from anything requiring actual thinking. I was more awake and wired at 11pm than at any other time of the day. That's not going to get me where I want to go.

Then there was... the mean vegan.  Actually, not mean.  He was quite sweet.  We were talking about our diets, as I tend to do with... nearly everyone, and he noted that I was both yawning and drinking a second espresso.  He further 'noted' (sweetly, and with a hug) that, from his observations, the 'paleo and low-carb people' have a problem. They are addicted to stimulants and can't get by without them: coffee and raw cacao being the drugs of choice. He then 'noted' that among his vegan friends most use these things in extreme moderation, if at all, because these clean living yogi's have abundant natural energy.

We then had a chat about adrenal and liver health, sleep and the ludicrous pace of modern life. I wanted to hate him, but on reflection, his main point was very sound: if my lifestyle supports natural energy, I shouldn't need to crank myself up just to get through the day.

Mean vegan, I thank you.

And so:

On Friday the 21st March, I took a day off work and commenced elimination of all stimulants from my diet. I also set a rule of two glasses of wine a week. For two days before my Friday deadline I cut back to one espresso a day in order to function. That was marginally successful. On Thursday I had to go home at 1.30pm with a slamming headache. I will spare you the painful details of caffeine withdrawal, we've all been there before, more than once, and it was just as ugly this time, except worse because I also nixed all chocolate, green tea and mate.

I want to know what my natural energy level is, on my usual 'high-veg-mostly-paleo' diet, but without the ups and downs of stimulants and alcohol.  There's something else too, which is important to me:

As a nutritionist, I want to walk the talk, not just talk the talk and be shown up by vegans that are walking it, talking it and taking it to the mat.  Can I really counsel people how to be healthy and feel great when really, I don't?  No. I'm also keen to see how caffeine-free and sleeping affects my ITP.
(I'm also doing something new with my diet there, and will blog about that next weekend).

I'm now 17 days caffeine-free and the benefits are noticeable. It's not a miracle, but it is a dramatic improvement.  I have noted down the little things that occur:

- Better sleep. I'll never be a 'as soon as head hits the pillow' person, but I'm sleeping more soundly and..

- Waking up perky. That's new.

- I feel, for want of a better description, 'more present' and less distracted, both when working and socialising. I've managed to get a few big projects done that had been on the 'to-do-when-I-can-be-bothered' list.

- Less easily distracted. Put bluntly, there's more work and less Pinterest going down.

- Getting to 3pm and realising I'm still working productively, instead of zoning out.  I still feel less perky than in the morning, but it's not the same level of 'brain-dead'.

- I'm less worried.  I still have the same amount of 'things going on', but it just feels more manageable and certainly isn't spinning in my mind at night.

- I feel 'smarter'. Like... when casting around in my brain for a word, it seems to come faster. It's probably a matter of focus.

- I 'fired' my counsellor, due to feeling good. I don't think he took it personally, and it's probably not the last he'll see of me, but for now, I'm fine.

- I think I look better. Maybe more hydrated, less tired.  Eyes a bit clearer.

- My breath no longer whiffs of coffee (and boy do I notice it on other people's huff).

On the downside:

- I gained 3kg.. but have lost one. So that's 2kg. :-/  Although not ideal.. it could have been worse. I am hungrier, probably because caffeine suppresses appetite.

My going forward plan is not 100% caffeine-free. I had some G&B 85% chocolate a few days ago and was fine.  I expect a few espresso will happen when I'm in Europe later this year (or maybe not.. at the moment I'm not missing it), and I had two green teas last week. The goal is to relegate these things to 'rarely' and not get addicted again. Hugs, not drugs, right?

As of today, I'm feeling confident and looking forward to seeing how this pans out. I've read that it can take a year to fully get over a serious caffeine dependency, so that's t-minus 348 days to a new level of amazing?  Let's do it.. :D

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Spicy Pumpkin Smoothie & Why You Should Buy Organic Pumpkins


To repeat the theme of my last post, because it's a worthy thought: I love this time of year.

Actually, not completely, because it's tax time again, and I'm none too enthused about that, but the weather is perfect for certain things that I truly love. For example: lighting the fire and pumpkin.

This spicy pumpkin smoothie was a happy accident.  I looked in the freezer for something to thicken up my smoothie, and found that someone had gotten there before me, and forgotten to re-stock.  No berries, no frozen bananas.  

But, there was a bag of frozen cooked pumpkin pieces. Why not?

Ingredients:

1 cup (approx.) frozen pumpkin pieces or puree
1 banana
1/2 - 1 tbsp nut butter (optional)
*1 cup water
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp Ascorbic Acid
tsp vanilla essence
pinch of salt
pinch of stevia (optional)

Method:

Start with the 'pulse' mode to break up the pumpkin if it's in chunks (you might need to stab the pieces with a knife if they are large).

Once the blender can handle it, blend until smooth.

Drink with a yellow or orange straw. ;) 

* If you want to make a vegan version, either use a vegetable protein powder, or coconut milk, reducing the amount of water. I have made this with coconut cream and it was very, very good, but a bit too rich.

In terms of getting your hands on frozen pumpkin, the one I used was from Shore Mariner (non-organic), but that's only because I've been lazy. It's easy enough to freeze your own. I prefer to bake it (whole pumpkin in the oven for 30-40 minutes) before chopping up into chunks, removing the seeds and skin. 

The trick to happy frozen pumpkin, is to try and remove as much air as possible from the batch before freezing. Pack the tupperware to the brim, or squeeze out the air if you're using freezer bags. You can also freeze raw pumpkin but I don't think this would make a good smoothie, and, dear lord, who needs the frustration of hacking up a raw pumpkin?

Pumpkin is, unfortunately, one of those veges that you really should get organic. It seems a bit counter-intuitive, because they have this hard skin that you don't really eat. You'd think this would protect the flesh from evil pesticides. But, no, along with other members of the squash family, pumpkins have a special skill: they suck up pesticides from the earth.  Good for the earth, but bad for pumpkin-scoffing humans.  I've written to Shore Mariner to ask if pesticides are used on their pumpkins and for some details of their testing regimes and will update this post when they reply.

Hope your weekend has been fantastic.  I have plans to finish a couple of newsletters, make some kombucha and watch 'Frozen'. Has anyone seen it?  Worth the time investment?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Maple Baked/Poached Pears (Paleo)


Hello Autumn!  Orangey leaves, 'fall fashion' and fruity, baked desserts.  All happy things.

Among my friends and family, there are not many pear fans, but quite a few pear trees, so I've come up with this version of a baked pear that seems to be universally accepted as delicious.

The method is so simple that I'm not going to bother with a printable recipe, you can memorise it ;)

Cut up your pears, dollop coconut oil all over them and drizzle with maple syrup or honey.


Pour a little water, or juice, or even wine (I used grape juice) into the pan, and place it in the oven at about 180C. You might need to turn it down if they are looking a bit too crispy on the edges. Just channel your inner Nigella and keep an eye on things.

As the pears cook, periodically spoon the liquid over them, and turn the pears.

These ones took about 40 minutes. A longer, slower cook makes them softer and more caramelised, but I wanted a slightly firm version.

Serve with coconut cream or yogurt.


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Fruit and Nut, Paleoish, Vegan Fudge

Sometimes, you just want to be bad. But not really bad, not trans-fats bad, just bad-ish.  That's when you need something paleo-ish, like this fudge.

Paleo-ish Vegan Fudge


Ingredients:

  • 1.25 cups of coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder (raw or regular, both are fine)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or other sweetener
  • tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • About a cup of 'other stuff' - the fruity and nutty bits!  Options include:
  • * Dried fruit - apricots, dates, raisins, prunes, cranberries etc.
  • * Nuts - brasil, walnuts, almonds 
  • * Cacao nibs
  • * Coconut flakes
It's also perfectly acceptable to stick to, say, just apricots. Whatever you want. It's your treat.

For the fudge above, I used this (below) 'primal cereal' from Pure Delish. The nuts are whole, so I chopped them up a bit before adding




Method:

Melt the coconut oil on a low heat

Whisk in the cacao powder, then add the vanilla and salt (you can also do this step in a food processor and the result is a bit smoother)

Add the mix-ins and.. mix them in

Pour the mix into a lined or silicone pan and chill in the fridge or freezer until solid.



I have found this fudge to travel quite well if you wrap individual servings in foil.  On summery days, you'll want to know there's a fridge at the other end though, as it quickly becomes soft and gooey at room temperature.

Not that there's anything wrong with indulging your inner 3 year old by getting all sticky fingered.. ;)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sauteed Cauliflower, Cheesy Cauli Bake

Today we are going to discuss cauliflower, a vege which confused me as a child because it resembles neither a collie, nor a flower, as you can see by these examples of such.  
Source for cute collie pics
Then again, if the names of veges were descriptive, would the vege department be an R18 area? Things to ponder.

Cauliflower is a strange vege to manage when dealing with special diets.  For sheer versatility, it gets an A+. I'm pretty sure there is nothing that a low carb or paleo dieter couldn't make from cauliflower. 

I've seen pizza crusts, curries, cakes, crispy fried things, mash, dips, gratin, soups and even a whole roasted marinated cauliflower, which gained fame on Pinterest as the Christmas roast for non-meat eaters.

However, cauli is not everyone's best buddy. Being high in polyols, they can cause a tormenting guts-ache to anyone with FODMAPs problems.  I've found cauliflower to be one of those special veges that some people can't handle much of, even if they are generally ok with polyols. 

I'm good with cauliflower, cast-iron tummy over here. My favourite cauli thing is to simply sautee it in coconut oil or butter with a sprinkling of turmeric or curry powder, some salt and a splash of white balsamic vinegar. Once done, it makes a fine side dish, or you can construct a salad around it. The one below contains grated zucchini, chopped raw silverbeet, almonds and there is some ham hiding away under the veges.



A popular dish with my keto-dieting friends is a cauliflower bake.  This fine specimen consists entirely of boiled, drained cauliflower, plus a little onion and some fresh herbs, stuck together with grated cheese of many varieties and then baked for about 30 minutes in a moderate (180C) oven. It was an scraped together dinner on a day when I should have shopped, but didn't.


How it happened was, I looked in the fridge and realised that there was little in there except a big cauliflower and lots of cheese-ends. I have a real compulsion to try new types of cheese, but never finish one before starting the other. Therefore, the cheese compartment hoards little bits of cheese that usually linger for months turning hard and eventually end up feeding the compost mice.


This time, all those little bits went into the Cheesy Bake.


Success. It's always so satisfying to avoid throwing food away. I'm not quite my grandmother, who treats best-before dates with complete disdain (if it smells ok, it's fine!) and never wastes a thing, but I do have a 'use it, or throw it?' tug-of-war over wilty spinach.

You never know... if the apocalypse comes, I'd hate to lie awake just wishing I'd hung onto those crusty cheese ends. ...

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Blueberry Parfait


Do you ever go through a phase where you just want to eat different things?

I'm a bit like that right now.  Lately, I'm just not interested in meat. It's not a philosophical thing, it just doesn't look, or smell, good to me.  I've been through phases like this before, but generally persisted with the meat eating in order to keep my protein up.

This time, I'm just going with it.  I've come to believe that, if you pay attention, the body steers the appetite in the direction of what it needs.  In the past, I had difficulty identifying a body-directed hint from an emotional foodie attachment, and so it never worked out. My emotions had an annoying habit of suggesting that my body requires a lot of chocolate, or cheesy bread, or wine.  ;)

But, I think I've matured in my body/foodie journey.  This time, my body wants berries and tangy stuff like yogurt and fermented veges.  I'm getting most of my protein from fish and eggs, and so far, have neither chubbed out nor faded away.

The above pic represents lunch.  It's blueberries and greek yogurt with Fresh-As Raspberry Powder stirred into the yogurt.  Pink and Purple!  How cute and girly.

The blob on the top is Active Manuka Honey ($35 a jar, yikes!).

And now, all I need to make this Sunday complete is a sunny day (check) and.. chemistry cat.







:D

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Delicious Balsamic Glazed Carrots + Cute things


When it comes to versatility, surely carrots are under-appreciated.

They can be so many things to so many people.  Boiled, roasted, raw, dressed up for a party (carrot cake!) or mashed for the baby, this snappy vege is a good find in the fridge on a busy week.

Balsamic Glazed Carrots 

Ingredients

Carrots (say.. 10. It doesn't really matter.  You'll be roasting them, so don't want them to be too fat.   I sliced the chubby ones lengthways).

2 Tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil or butter! (yes!)
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (or use cider vinegar if you are on a sugar-free diet)
1/2 - 1 tsp Salt

Optional: You can also add a tbsp honey.

Method

Assemble your carrots in a baking dish. It's better if they are single file for even cooking times.

Mix the oil, vinegar, salt and honey (if you are using it) in a bowl, then pour over the carrots, stirring them to ensure even coverage.

Bake for 30-45 minutes at a medium heat (180C is my default temp for nearly everything), stirring now and then to ensure the glaze stays on the carrots. It tends to accumulate underneath them if you don't do this.

Level of 'readiness' is really a personal thing.  If you want the carrots soft, turn down the heat and let them roast for longer (or pre-boil).

Enjoy!  Veges are awesome, yes?

Hey, I made a new friend on the weekend.


He's very handsome of course, but really, I just wanted to show off the shoes I bought just before Christmas.

I learned on Pinterest that girls need cute things or we will die, so I went and found cute shoes.  It's true! I feel more alive!

About 10 minutes after this pic I dropped my phone on the concrete and smashed the screen for the second time in 2013. My phone fixit guy knows me by name, and I him (hello, Trent). He advised getting a phone cover, and now I'm looking. Naturally, it has to be cute.

Girls: obtained/bought/rediscovered/loved anything cute lately?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Calories and Clean Eating: Let's Do This

The new NZ eating guidelines.

I realise I'm a bit behind the crowd here, but I'm finally joining the 'does clean even eating exist?' internet stoush.  Liz and Kek both got right on it. *applause*

In my mad little mind, this question jigsaws with 'which matters: calories or content?' and 'are foods either 'good' or 'bad'?

What's the deal?

Do Calories Matter for Body Composition?

Yes. I've not found one scientific article that suggests otherwise.

However:

1. On some nutrition plans and approaches you don't have to think about them so much because the plan naturally controls both calorie intake and appetite, usually through dictating content (Paleo, Vegan, Atkins, Low-Carb) and/or controlling portions and eating frequency (Zone, Body for Life, Intermittent Fasting).

2. Calories matter a LOT more if you are trying to get from 'average/normal' to 'lean'. It's those last 5kg's that will fight you, and I don't know many people that get from average to lean without putting some thought into calories, content and portion sizes.

3. Some people will overeat on any plan (yes, even a very 'clean', boring diet), usually because they are out of touch their true hunger level.  People that use food to soothe their emotions will often have to become 'calorie aware' in order to establish a ballpark daily intake that is realistic to their goals and work on the emotional stuff.

As regards 'counting calories', that's a tricky business and, even weighing and measuring, you could be out by hundreds every day. For a start, the Atwater factors (4 cals per gram of carbs or protein, 9 cals per gram of fat) are averages. For example, not all types of carbohydrate yield 4 calories, but for the sake of convenience it's 'near enough'. Interestingly, a whole food diet may be harder to estimate the energy content of anyway - possibly because it contains more types of carbs/protein/fat. I think it's more important just to be calorie aware.

Calorie awareness means having an idea of where the things you eat lie in terms of 'higher' or 'lower' in calories.  A.K.A 3 x banana = mars bar, or 1 x large chicken breast = 1 very small fatty steak, or 2 tbsp oil quadruples the energy content of your salad. Basic 'rules of thumb'.

What is "Clean Eating"?

Is this really an area of confusion?  I asked around and, among my friends, the answer was unanimous.

'Clean Eating' is minimising processed food and additives/pesticides.  You can be a 'clean eating' vegan or a junkfoody one.  'Clean' is 'as nature made it'.

Are there 'Good Foods' and 'Bad Foods'

Yes, but as Paracelsus muttered: "the dose makes the poison".  It's pretty well established that trans-fats do awful things to your arteries and I'd say they are 'badbadbad' and would prefer they didn't exist. But, one slice of commercial fudge won't hurt you.

As for other foods, say refined sugar, well it all depends on where you are at and on your metabolism. A lean person running a marathon may benefit from intakes of glucose or sucrose that would lead a couch potato to fatty liver disease.

I avoid nightshades because they aggravate my arthritis, other people can eat them.  I can eat foods now that used to cause me problems because I'm fitter and have put time into healing my health issues (e.g. leaky gut).  If you develop a health problem, go through a period of stress or get yourself into a nutrient deficiency, it may require a temporary healing diet, supplementation or permanent diet change.

Therefore, not only does one diet not fit all people, but one diet doesn't even fit one person all the time.  As you change, and you will, so do your nutritional requirements and tolerances.

So, instead of 'good and bad', I think an 'eat more of this, less of this' or 'everyday food / sometimes food' or 'not right now may be ok later' approach is more sane. I don't think many people become healthy enough to ditch veges and live on cake. Sorry.  I think everyone can benefit from learning to love veges a bit more. Tastebuds can be trained like circus animals, even the most rebellious ones.

One type of food I 'do' think is bad for you?  Any food you hate to eat, ate but wish you hadn't, or any food you are scared of, or that stresses you out. Let's not forget that humans aren't just a body. We have a psyche and a soul.  The state of those affects physical health at least as much as what goes into the face-hole. Cake or an awesome salad eaten with a friend (even if that friend is your own bad self), at leisure, and fully enjoyed is a whole different beastie to cake bought secretly and eaten in haste to smother feelings of self-hate or salad stuffed down only because it's 'on your plan'.  Very different.

The Problem with Research

I've noticed that part of the 'ideal diet / clean eating' problem is that people find a piece, or huge pile, of research that seems to support their stance, or refute someone else's, then try to beat everyone into submission with it. That's never going to work.

Nutrition research is inherently problematic (especially when investigating macronutrients) and almost never conclusive because of this little quirk:

You can't just manipulate one factor.

That is, if you lower carbs you must increase something else. If you don't, then you automatically decrease the energy content, and that in itself has an effect.  Reduce gluten and you'll likely end up with a different mix of starches and sugars in addition to less gluten etc. etc. etc.  Add in the fact that it's not usually feasible to lock people up in a controlled environment and you can see how complicated it gets.

So, arguing that there is or isn't enough research to prove this or that point is a bit.. pointless.  Research indicates things, but it takes a LOT of diverse and expensive research to get a clear idea of cause and effect in nutrition.

What I think really matters

Gut health, a sane, flexible and enjoyable attitude toward food, basic calorie awareness, an individual approach and self-monitoring to see what works for you.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Avocado Breakfast Bundle

Here's a breakfast idea!  It takes only a few minutes and kept me full until lunchtime (quite an achievement).


Obviously, the base is half an avocado, stone removed.

*********************************
Calories in an avocado.  Before going on, let's take a moment to dispel a few myths about this awesome fruit.  Some of my clients are avocado-phobic because they have heard that eating an avocado leads straight to fat-butt hell.  Let's put this in perspective.  Half an avocado is somewhere between 80 and 170 calories, depending on the size of it.  About the same as a wrap or half an english muffin, but yummier and with a whole lot of nutrition. Don't be scared, just be smart.

                                                 *********************************

The filling is an egg fried in coconut oil with a few slices of strongly flavoured handmade cheese from my man Emilio at the Opawa Farmer's Market (I wish I could be more specific, but there is no label). I have re-embraced dairy lately as it seems to have a positive effect on my platelet count (currently up to 95,000, yay!).  Perhaps it's the vitamin K2?

Looking at how my body responds to dairy is an interesting study in how one food might cause percieved 'negative' and 'positive' effects concurrently, depending on what you are trying to achieve. When I was completely and pedantically dairy free my singing voice improved noticeably and I gained 3 whole tones at the upper end (that's huge) but my platelets went into freefall. I'm still trying to figure out the platelets.  It might not be dairy that's helping. It might be more eggs, it might be vitamin D, it might be mastic gum or digestive enzymes, it might be hugs from Miss J. It might be red wine (please, please, please...) Eventually, I hope to nail it.

On the top is basil pesto, also from the market.   I didn't cook the avocado, just piled the yummy stuff on top and ate it at my desk.

Give it a go.

For a giggle: read the reviews on these evil gummy bears. Does anyone know what the sweetener is? Maybe Xylitol?

:D