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My Healthy Eating Hacks

I’ve been eating low carb for the last decade so making healthy food is routine for me but I know that for many people it’s very difficult. And believe me, I definitely understand! Some of the ingredients are weird and hard to find. The recipes can be incredibly complex and…. Not everything actually tastes good. In fact, many things are horrible. And a lot of recipes involve a spiralizer or dehydrator or specialist blender and no one has time for that!

Occasionally in my recipes you’ll find a few ingredients that are potentially new to you or seem like something you’d buy once, use for this recipe and then put to the back of the cupboard until it goes off and has to be thrown in the bin. Never fear, once you know the ‘healthy eating hacks’ everything seems a lot easier!

I’m using my recipe for coleslaw here as an example but I’ll try to always answer these same questions at the bottom of every recipe.

  1. What the hell are those ingredients?!

Some things you can use Sea Vegetable Condiment for instead: seasoning salads, roast vegetables, on top of eggs, crust on a boring white fish fillet, soups of all kinds, guacamole, hummus, even a tasty dip with some yogurt! It can also be used either in or sprinkled upon savoury baking such as breads, muffins, wraps, pizza, pasta, rice, noodles.

Generally anything that would benefit from a savoury, herby, salty flavour. But don’t try and eat it by itself because it’s dried and really sticks to the roof of your mouth. Also gets between your teeth. Not a ‘first date’ food.

Next: Linseeds! Also known as flaxseeds. “Whaaaaaaaaaat are those?” I hear you ask. Well, they’re a seed. With a lot of protein, iron and fiber. A LOT of fiber. ‘Be careful you don’t have too much’ levels of fiber. I use a mix of ground linseeds with whole linseeds and chia seeds (which absorb liquid and swell to thicken things). Other things you can use linseeds for: sprinkling on stuff.

That’s it.

If it can have sprinkles on top then you can put linseeds on it. Sweet or savoury. From yogurt to salads to poached fish. It adds a nice nutty flavour.

You can also use them to thicken things like smoothies. Or left in water overnight they create a porridge of types- but not too much water. Or mix them in to regular porridge for an added boost. They can even be used as a vegan egg substitute because they are glutinous when soaked. If you’re a baker then make some flaxseed bread or homemade granola bars or crackers! So. Many. Options.

  1. Where do I buy those?!

Well, funnily enough, I bought my linseeds at ASDA. I think. Or Ocado. Because I’m a woman of contradictions and layers. My point is: not only are they sold in health food shops, they’re also available in big supermarkets, highstreet health shops (Holland and Barrett) and, of course, online. I would advise buying in bulk from a health food shop and then grinding them down yourself in a processor because like hell I’m going to pay extra for someone else to do that. No.

The sea vegetable seasoning I’ve also seen in various health food shops but it’s pretty damn expensive so I would suggest going online. Plus, it’s very light so you don’t get charged extra for a heavy package. There’s an innuendo in there somewhere.

I personally like Goodness Direct because they let me buy everything in bulk for very reasonable prices and then don’t charge me delivery!

The vegetables you can buy from a shop that sells vegetables. Even mooli is becoming more common to see in supermarkets but…

  1. Uh… I can’t find it

If you can’t find Mooli you can always use parsnip instead, that’s a completely acceptable switch. If you can’t find vegetables then… I’m not clear why you think you can make a coleslaw. Crunchy raw stuff will do.

Instead of Linseeds I sometimes add nut butter for the nutty taste- but make sure it’s unsweetened because otherwise you’re making a weird hybrid food. Or you can just leave it out entirely.

Obviously you don’t have to use gluten-free soy sauce if you’ve got no problem with gluten. And that’s fine, just because we’re not on speaking terms doesn’t mean you have to pick sides.

Regular Hellmann’s mayo is fine. As are other mayos but come on now, what’s better than Hellmann’s?

If you really don’t love the idea of seaweed in your coleslaw then throw in a pinch of salt, some chopped basil and maybe a little fish sauce for kick.

Speaking of things you can throw in…

  1. How can I bulk this up?

This recipe is excellent for lunch boxes. It goes really well with fish- whether that’s a fillet of salmon or some tinned tuna you’ve mixed in- or ham or torn up chicken breast. Veggie options would include adding almonds and seeds or maybe even some chickpeas.

Basically, it’s yummy and there are a lot of options. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be scary or that time consuming or expensive or any of that rubbish. It also doesn’t have to be pretty. Don’t get disheartened because your food doesn’t look like an instagram page. Believe me most of the things I eat look horrific but are actually delicious.

This coleslaw is actually in the top 5 of ‘good looking things I eat… that are not cake’

Mmm… cake.

Food · Grain Free Recipes · Sugar Free Recipes

Free-From Christmas Cake

My mother has always made a Christmas cake.

Every year in late October or early November she would ‘throw it together’ (she’s not a great fan of baking!), pop it in the Aga then let it marinate for two months in the scullery, liberally dousing it with alcohol every week. It would then be my job to decorate it and- no matter how many people came to our Christmas- solely my father’s job to eat it. Yes, despite the making of the Christmas Cake being one of our beloved family traditions and adhered to every year… no one actually likes it. Other than my poor father. Any visitor in January would leave the house having large chunks of the stuff in scrunched up silver foil pressed upon them. “It’s horrible,” My mother would say, handing it over with a smile, “You’ll love it.”

Fortunately this recipe is not for THAT cake.


As I mentioned in last week’s blog, it’s been 10 years since I stopped being able to eat starches (carbs of any kind) and I’m now only able to eat low-FODMAP food which, whilst excellent in relieving painful symptoms, is pretty darn restrictive. But I’m a lover of tradition and have to make a Christmas cake- although this new recipe is so great I’ll actually eat it!

I’ve been fiddling in the kitchen for quite a while to create a recipe that allows me to partake in the Christmas fun… and overindulgence! This recipe is so special in fact that you can serve it to all of your guests- those with a dairy allergy, those who are gluten free and even diabetics. Of course, my own diabetic grandmother just ate sugary puddings and gave side eye to anyone who tried to stop her. But using this recipe you’ll have a clear conscience when she eats most of the cake.



600g dried fruit- mix up your faves!
200g ground almonds
50g walnuts
3 tbsp olive oil
3 organic eggs
Juice of 1 Orange
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla bean extract
½ tsp nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 150 C / 300 F
Prepare a 20 cm round cake tin with baking paper lining the sides and the base. Adjust cooking times if your tin is larger or smaller.
Combine dried fruit, spices, vanilla, orange juice, olive oil and eggs.
Add ground almonds and walnuts and mix through.
Spoon batter into your baking tin.
Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check with a skewer to see if it comes out clean, if not bake for another 30 minutes.
Cover the top with cling film to prevent over-browning after 1 hour.
Cool, then remove from the tin and store in an airtight container.
Decorate with your wildest Christmassy imaginings!


As you will see in the video above, I was a dunce and forgot to chop up my dried figs before mixing the fruit together. Do not be that person. Chop up your fruit.

The high ratio of fruit means you don’t need to add extra sugar. I used raisins, coconut, mulberries and figs because they’re all low FODMAP but you can thrown in some apricots or dates if that’s your thing… maybe even goji berries if you’re after a superfood kick and for some reason believe Christmas should be about being healthy.

I like organic eggs because they have a better consistency, genuinely taste great and add a lovely warm colour to everything but if you can’t stomach forking out the extra expense then just use 3 large eggs of whatever brand you normally buy.

This cake is amazing when served with custard or ice cream (two of my absolute favourite things) in front of some good Christmas Day TV. Equally, it will store in the fridge for at least two weeks- possibly up to a month if you can keep your hands off!- so it’s great for seasonal afternoon visitors. Trust me, I have a lot of aunts and they will all be served this cake.

Food · Grain Free Recipes · Sugar Free Recipes

Free-From Pumpkin Cookies

As a child I was happy to eat pretty much everything other than tomatoes. Tomatoes are, when you really think about it, weird. Fruit? Vegetable? Alien plant? And why are they so squidgy? Almost as gross as chocolate! An uncommon view, I’m aware. Regardless, other than the aforementioned weird red things I was very happy to eat whatever I was given… I could even handle tomatoes provided they were cooked down.

That all changed 10 years ago, at the age of 17, when the slightly annoying tummy troubles I had coped with all of my life became a full blown issue. I was in hospital being diagnosed with my neurological disability when I had a lumbar puncture that went wrong. I lost all of my spinal fluid and couldn’t even stay conscious never mind eat! A year and a half of fuzziness and drugs later, I was still throwing up every day. But then it spiraled down to being sick after everything I ate and then everything I drank and then I couldn’t hold down water. Water made me sick! Ridiculous.


The doctors and dieticians weren’t particularly helpful (see my “What CAN You Eat?!” video for more) but there was one diet that worked for me and allowed me to stabilize my stomach- being entirely starch free. My body wasn’t processing starch so I had to cut it out: that’s no wheat, oats, rice, corn, maize, millet, potatoes, beans, sugar, alcohol, dairy, bananas… That last one was very specific. Basically, no grains, root vegetables or sugars: including lactose, fructose and alcohol.

Limiting indeed!

However, any diet, once you get used to it, isn’t that bad. 10 years without starch means I’m managed to work my way around the major issues (largely: “What fills the carb space on my plate?!”) and can confidently order in restaurants or make food for friends so good they don’t realize it’s grain, sugar and dairy free!


In the 10 years since my diagnosis food culture has changed greatly- now we can buy free from items in the supermarket and most restaurants will have at least one option I can tweak to be suitable. However, the hardest part of a diet like mine (and any medical diet or even just low carb ones) is the difficulty finding things to grab on the go when out-and-about. Oh of course there are paleo bars or specialist ‘low carb’ snacks etc but they all seem to either have thousands of additives or just two ingredients… and I can’t eat either of them (I’m looking at you, oats. Bloody oats.)

This is of course because carbohydrates are very stable, don’t go off quickly and are easy to transport whilst proteins need to be refridgerated and carrying around a Tupperware full of cold, steamed vegetables isn’t necessarily the most appetizing thing in the world. I could do a whole series on great low carb lunches but for now here are my absolute favourite life-saver cookies. They can be kept in your handbag for emergencies or made to look pretty for a party. I love their great pumpkin-y taste but you can make them all year round thanks to the wonder that is tinned pumpkin.



Makes 24 cookies… or 12 if you’re like me and love big cookies with soft middles!

  • ½ cup creamy almond butter
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup ground almond
  • ¼ cup Splenda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Combine all ingredients, dollop on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, flatten, bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes… done! Allow to cool completely before attempting to remove from baking tray. Unless you like a big, tasty mess in which case go ahead.


You could make this recipe vegan and egg free by substituting the egg for ¼ cup almond butter. Equally if you’re not an artificial sweetener fan then just sub in your preferred sweet sensation, whether that be regular sugar or maple syrup (but do expect a looser mixture with the latter).

Aesthetically I like the look of a whole almond pressed into the centre but watch out for your teeth!