Bone Broth

Healing for your gut and Collagen for your Skin; The easiest, yummiest, and healthiest way to looking younger!

I had been dairy intolerant for years but I didn’t actually know that for a long time . Burping, acid reflux and bloating had been part of my life. I was upset, anxious (that increased reflux problems!) and angry as to why it was happening to me because I had been always so conscious about what I eat and what I put on my skin and had always made sure I ate healthy, drank lots of filtered water and exercised well.

What really opened my eyes about the health was studying to be Certified Health Coach. I was lucky enough to get my certifications from one of the best institutes in the world where the first technique taught is on how healthy eating habits improve the over all health. After all, you are what you eat! Bone broth became subject of  my research a long time ago! I am not a vegan, and if I was, I’ve read that super vegetables such as Kale, Spinach and beetroots broth or miso works just as good!

It’s been researched for decades and proven with facts that a lot of the stomach problems start with an unhealthy and weak digestive tract i.e. our gut lining. A lot of the medical practitioners approach many illnesses from a very narrow point of view i.e. they only look to resolve the problem area in isolation trying to improve the symptoms, without really investigating the root cause that almost in all cases doesn’t start in the problem areas that show up as symptoms. I’ve experienced it first hand with my acid reflux problem. Belching and bloating cannot be stopped by taking gastro resistant medication or antacids such as Pariat or Nexium. Sure they can ease the symptoms in the short term but they cannot be taken long term without experiencing nasty side effects.

The obvious root cause can very well be an unhealthy or irritated digestive system where there could be a number of culprits at work such as bugs, parasites or production of unhealthy amount of acid in the stomach that could be causing the acid reflux. So the bottom line is that taking over the counter or prescription alopathic medication will not make the problem or the cause of a lot of the symptoms associated with unhealthy gut go away. You have to solve the underlying causes to make sure your digestive system becomes healthy. With the help and guidance of a trained health professional such as a Health Coach, if you take steps to heal your gut, it will make most of your health problems go away and not just digestive issues. I promise!!!.

Back to this amazing thing called “Bone broth”. I’ve experienced my symptoms improve ever since I started drinking bone broth regularly. By eliminating obvious causes, such as parasites, hernia, stomach ulcers, etc I was advised by my Gastroenterologist that I had a thin stomach lining due to chronic acid. It all made sense, given I had always complained about having a “weak stomach”.

I truly believe drinking bone broth along with other diet changes that I implemented as part of my 90 Day Total Transformation Health & Lifestyle Program has improved my symptoms. Over the recent years, animal bone broth has become quite “Trendy” due to it’s inherent collagen in the bones, minerals and glutamine that have healing properties. It not only reduces inflammation and soothes the gut lining but is also great for healthy hair, skin, and nails. And this broth doesn’t have to be a laborious task when it comes to prep, and boring when it comes to taste. With the help of a few ingredients that everyone should have in their kitchen you can make a deliciously tasting bone broth. Trust me if you do that, you will be kind to your gut and your entire immune system will thank you for it with its so many health benefits!

I love cooking healthy simple meals. And bone broth is one of my favourites. I obviously make it on the day when I am planning to be home for 7-8 hours. The prep is easy. It’s the time it take for this broth to slowly cook away is important. The principle is simple, the longer you cook this broth, the more collagen will be extracted from the bones, and therefore making it more nutritious. Different types of meats depending on the quantity will have different recommendations as to how long the broth should be cooked. Beef and lamb bone broth’s recommended time is anywhere between 12 to 28 hours but even if you cook red meat broth for 6-9 hours, you will reap the benefits of bone broth. Chicken bone broth recommended time is anywhere between 5 to 12 hours. I normally cook chicken bone broth for anywhere between 5 to 7 hours Depending on how much bone I am cooking.

Here is a  simple recipe. Make it, drink it, enjoy it and ladies your gut not only will feel good, but your skin will look good, with all that collagen being absorbed by your gut!

If cooked with below quantities, if taken 1/2 cup twice a day (first thing in the morning and in the evening before dinner or as last thing before bed), your broth should last for a week.

Ingredients

  • Whole chicken carcass with 3-4 extra drum sticks or about 7 drum sticks
  • Salt & Pepper (I always use Hemaliyan pink salt or Celtic Salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (it helps extracts every bit of collagen out of the bone)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 2-3 Coarsely cut garlic pieces (small)
  • 2 litres of hot filtered water
  • 1/2 medium size onion
  • A few whole cloves
  • small stick of cinnamon
  • A Few whole peppercorns
  • A few whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
Following is what I add (whatever I have in the kitchen out of the below) for extra aroma and taste:
  • 1 dried Bay leave – I usually add this in the lamb broths
  • 1 small star anise
  • Vegetables; put lots of different colourful vegetables in it!

Method


The method couldn’t be any simpler! Put all of the ingredients in a pot on high eat. When it comes to boil, lower the heat and cover the pot. Leave it on the stove on slow cook for 5-8 hours. The goal here is to reduce the broth to a point where when it’s put in the fridge for cooling, it becomes like a jelly. Jelly is the healing collagen! once cooked, cool it and then pour it into a glass jar through a mesh strainer and leave in the fridge for a few hours. While in fridge, all the fat will separate from the broth and freeze at the top. Remove it before warming the broth.
 
Drink 1/2-1 glass every day. 
 
If you have cooked with vegetables, take them out of the broth after an hour or so as they cook a lot faster. Don’t throw them away. Saute them lightly in olive oil and enjoy with meals.

Health Benefits of Epsom Salt and Essential Oils Bath

Most of us take baths once in a while because we find it relaxing and soothing. Little do we know the benefits of Epsom salts that go beyond it’s ability to relieve pain and relax muscles. It’s not only a powerful muscle relaxant, but it also improves our body’s ability to absorb nutrients. It flushes the toxins and harmful heavy metals out of the body and eases muscle pain.

I take warm epsom salt baths every now and then with a few drops of a few handful essential oils. My favourites are Lavender, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus oils (More on the oils a little bit later). When I am looking for extra aroma, I add green herbs, such as thyme, Rosemary or mint which are good for the skin.
Lately, epsom salt bath pods or tanks have become quite trendy. It is said that spending 45 minutes in those pods just floating with your eyes closed is equivalent to 6 hours of sleep. I have mentioned many a time in my previous blogs that I am insomniac. And after doing further research and reading on sympathetic dominance, I’ve found out that my body never really fully relaxes as its always in in-flight or in-fight response mode. Hence the various health problems along with insomnia that I have experienced and lived with for many years. I find epsom salt bath especially important for me as it’s another way for me to get the magnesium that my body needs.
Magnesium is one of the most powerful elements in our body. It has so many health benefits that it is absolutely vital to include that in our daily diet. So many of us are in deficient in Magnesium and don’t realise how important it is for our health. It is not only good for the prevention of hearth diseases, joint pains, stress and digestive problems but is necessary for the absorption of vitamin D and calcium by our body. And that is why Epsom salt which is rich in magnesium and sulfate is a great way to acquire this essential element. I mentioned in my previous post that skin is the biggest organ in our body and absorbs everything a lot easier than any other organ in our bodies could do. Taking bath in epsom salt allows the body to absorb magnesium directly through the skin. Also to truly enjoy its benefits it is important to add enough epsom salt in your bath. I normally add 1 medium size cup worth of salt in the warm water.
Almost always, I add a few drops of Lavender, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus oil as well in my bath. That is not only calming but each type of essential oil has healing properties.
Lavender is good for dry skin and soothing for the irritated skin. It’s also said to be good for insomniacs due to its calming abilities.
Eucalyptus is good for respiratory problems and for clearing the nasal cavity.
Tee Tree oil is good for infections, scars and itchy/irritated skin
As always, do a skin patch test first to ensure you are not allergic to any of the oils you put in the bath.
Make it a habit of taking warm baths once or twice a week and you will feel the difference and always use certified organic oils. Let me know how you go. If any questions, email me on asimah.siddiqui@gmail.com. Look forward to hearing great stories.
Much Love

The Art of Mint Chutney

Nutrition. Nutrition. Nutrition.

When it comes to making yummy and nutritious dressing for yogurt or salads, I just cannot look past one of my favourites; Mint Chutney. Subcontinent cultures have incorporated mint chutney in their daily meals for hundreds of years because it helps digest food. The chutney is refreshing and adds that extra zest to the dishes making them taste divine. It’s super easy to make because it requires only a handful of ingredients!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of Mint leaves (2 cups)img_6978
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 small green chilly
  • pinch of cumin seeds powder
  • 4 tablespoons of purified water

 

Method:

  • In goes all of the ingredients in the blender. Grind until desired smooth.
  • Add to container – this mixture can live your fridge for weeks!
  • Enjoy!

 

What you put on your skin matters

There are so many cosmetics and skincare products in the market that have carcinogenic ingredients in them that it boggles my mind how they were even allowed to exist in the first place let alone making it to the shelves of supermarkets, beauty salons and skincare/cosmetic stores. These products should always be avoided because they have the potential to cause some serious long term health problems.

 

Remember our skin is the biggest organ in our body and anything that you put on your body goes in you body; it is directly absorbed into your blood stream, 60% of which can go into the organs. That is why it is even more important to use the cleanest skincare products for the vitality of our health because healthy immune system shows through healthy and radiating skin.

Below are some of the preservatives and chemicals that I particularly watch out for when buying cosmetics and any skincare product e.g. shampo, hair sprays, hand wash, body lotion, face cream, essential oils etc. (Literally anything that I would put on my skin!).

 

Preservatives:

Many companies resorted to use of preservatives after the Parabens controversy. But these preservatives can be just as bad depending on their quantity in the product. The baddest of them all are:

  • Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • DEA
Other harmful chemicals to avoid all together are:
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)
  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)
  • Synthetic Fragrances and Parfarm
  • Animal derivatives
  • Other ionic Harsh Detergents such as ammonium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Artificial colours
  • Triethanolamine
  • Mineral Oils
  • EDTA
  • Paraben
  • Phthalate
  • Coal Tar dyes
  • PEGs
  • Petrolatum
  • Triclosan
  • Chemical Sunscreens (with Retinyl Palmitate, Oxybenzone and Octyl Methoxycinnamate
  • Aluminum
  • Heavy Metals: Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Arsenic, Nickel and More
  • Talc

 

Below are some of the things that I look for when buying a face cream for a healthy, supple skin.

These ingredients should only be taken at minimum or mixed with other ingredients:
  • Retinol (Vitamin A): Most products will have it less than 1% mixed with other ingredients. It must be used with caution as it thins the skin. Products containing Retinol should not be used on and around eye area where the skin is delicate and the thinnest.
  • Shea Butter: It is great for keeping the skin moisture retained especially through night time and any “Shea butter” creams should only be used on Body not face as it clogs pores and is a big NO NO for oily skin types
  • Pure Vitamin E oil: Should not be used by itself on the face as it clogs pores. Use a cream that contains it with other vitamins and antioxidants OR mix it with other essential oils before application to face.
    • Tip: I usually mix a drop of Vitamin E oil with Chamomile and Rose hip oil during the day when I am  not going outside. The mixture thins the Vitamin E oil and instead of rubbing the mixture vigorously into the skin I use my fingers on my face as if I was dabbing it.

Potato Patties

Potatoes are full of nutrients and complex carbohydrates that keep you fuller for longer. Potatoes are also a rich source of Vitamin B and C, folate and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and iron. Here is a simple way to make a potato patty that is delicious. Serve it with brown rice, quinoa, lentils or simply in bread as a sandwich with avocado and mixed greens.

Below ingredients are some of the things you can add to the mix. There are a lot of vegetables that you can add e.g. peas, tomatoes, kale, or chickpeas or broad beans.

pot1 Ingredients:

– Potatoes; boiled and mashed

– Fresh coriander; chopped

– Onion; chopped

– Pepper

– Salt

– Cumin powder (for little bit of aroma)

– Olive oil

 Spacepot2

Space

Preparation:
 Space

– Mix all the ingredient together.

– Make about 3 inches wide circular patties.

– Bring a frying pan to medium heat with little bit of olive oil.

– Cook the patties on both sides until light brown.

– Serve while hot and Enjoy!

Hydrating Matcha Tea Face Mask

Drinking any herbal Tea is good for the health and good for the soul. Drinking herbal tea every day provides antioxidants in abundance (most herbal teas are packed with them). There is however, one herbal tea that delivers antioxidants in 10 folds compared to any other herbal tea. And that is Matcha tea. Where green tea, when brewed can only provide antioxidants that are extracted from the leaf, Matcha is an actual green tea leaf and what you get with it is not just what is extracted from the leaf but also what is inside the leaf. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants. In fact some researches have shown that consuming 1 cup of match tea delivers health benefits of drinking 10 cups of green tea.

There are so many other health benefits of Matcha. This just one powerhouse ingredient can lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels, provide with vitamin C, selenium, magnesium and zinc, boost your energy levels, detoxify and get rid of chemicals in your body, promote healthy iron levels in your body, relax your muscles, and it’s known to reduce cravings resulting in high metabolism and calories burn rate…. my goodness I can go on and on about the health benefits of this little wonder called matcha!.

Above all Matcha is vibrant green in colour. Green means chlorophyll and I mean it literally! chlorophyll actual means “Green leaf” in Greek. It is a green pigment with amazing healing benefits. If consumed, it is known to reduce inflammation in immune system and digestive problems and aid in gut health. And know with absolute belief that “Healthy Gut means Healthy body” (My favourite topic!) and Matcha tea is packed with chlorophyll!

Did you know chlorophyll if applied topically on a scar or bruise is known to reduce redness and swelling? Think about it. It is crucial for every plant to absorb energy from the sun and to stay “alive”. The suppleness and the vibrant green colour in plants is because of chlorophyll.

So given Matcha is packed with chlorophyll along with antioxidants which play big part in improving health overall, I’ve found another use of it that will result in immediate soft and youthful looking skin; And that is to apply it topically!

Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge of Matcha tea benefits, here is the  method to apply it topically on your face and it could not be any simpler. All you need is match tea powder (please get organic certified one so you know that it doesn’t have any nasty chemicals!) and a few drops of hot water.

Method:

Take one 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon of match tea powder and add 1/2 teaspoon boiling water (or until the consistency is like a paste). Let the mask cool a little (it literally takes a few seconds for it to cool down as the idea is to apply the mask on the face when it’s warm – Not boiling hot. Not cold). Apply it on clean face with a soft brush and leave it for 10-15 minutes or until the mask is feels hard on your face. Then remove it with luke warm water and moisturize your face.

Benefits:

The immediate benefits are that your face would feel smooth and soft. If you apply this mask at least once a week, after 2-3 weeks you will notice that your skin looks radiant and would feel more supple. I apply it as close to the under eyes area as possible as the antioxidants get sealed in your skin when you apply the mask while it’s warm resulting in depuffing of the dark circles. I have noticed that overall this mask hydrates my skin more than any other DIY mask.

It takes only 10-15 of your time ONCE a week. So enjoy. Look after yourself and while you got the mask on, drink a cup of hot matcha tea 🙂

With any skin regime and DIY remedies, it is always important to do patch test on your skin to ensure, that you’re not allergic to any ingredient and I will highly recommend you do that before applying this mask to the whole face.

I look forward to hearing about your results.

Much Love x

Benefits of eating salads

Ever since I’ve gotten back from the holiday in Europe which was four weeks of experiencing amazing architecture, relaxing and eating to my heart’s content, I’ve noticed the ever increasing inches around my waist. Although I am not eating out every day in restaurants which if you’ve been to Italy, France and Spain love serving bread and lots of it from the endless supplies of their kitchens. The people there just love their bread!

With a few upcoming events I’ve switched to eating salad. Yes, mainly salad and have drastically cut down on my intake of bread. I started off by adding salad, and lots of it on the side of my main meals which are normally made up of rice or couscous, meat and seasonal vegetables. But that didn’t quite work. I realized that I was eating more or less same amount of carbs with big portions of meat. After speaking to some of my friends I found out that they have experienced the same problem. Why is it so hard sometime to shed those few niggling pounds? In my case all I want to do is get rid of the belly fat without losing weight. So I decided to do a bit more research. First thing first, regular exercise is very important to get back and stay in shape. However, what you eat is equally important. In fact I’d say it is more important than doing hardcore workouts. If you work out for example, running, Pilates or a few sessions a week in the gym but don’t eat healthy food, you will see little to no results. On the contrary if your diet is excellent i.e. it comprises of right portions of fiber, protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates but you only do light exercises every week, you are guaranteed to see the positive results and reach your fitness goals.

This brings me to the subject of this blog; benefits of eating salads. Let’s get one thing out of the way which a lot of us tend to do; treat salad as a “side” dish to the main meal. It ends up being just an addition to the meal. I have often included salads or a bowl of vegetables along with the main meal whether it’s me cooking at home or ordering in a restaurant. This means my portion size of what I would end up eating becomes bigger because the salad or vegetables is added on top of my main meal. So why not make the salad hero of the dish and start treating it as a main dish and build the intake of carbs, protein and fats around that? And here is how you do it:

I used to complain that just eating salad with even right portions of protein and vegetables doesn’t fill my stomach. I wanted to eat bread or rice in order to feel full. That’s because I never really treated salad as my main meal. The trick is to make the salad portion of your meal BIG, to treat as the “main“. Yes No more chewing on handful of lettuce leaves carelessly tossed on your plate! These days with so much focus on eating healthy and balanced diet, and a million healthy recopies being out there, it would be almost nonchalant and rather ignorant to not know what is best for your body’s health. Eating balanced diet and exercising regularly not only lifts your spirits up and makes you feel good but also reduces stress and prevents so many illnesses. When it comes to incorporating salads as your daily meals, the benefits are a thousand fold. They make a nutrient rich meal and depending on what sort of greens and vegetables you include in your salad they provide calcium, fiber, vitamins and antioxidants that have so many health benefits. (See my previous posts where I’ve outlined benefits in details). Bottom line is you simply cannot go wrong with the salads.

As I mentioned earlier, my trick is to make the salad portion of your meal big, so you won’t feel hungry afterwards. A good salad dish should comprise of good amount of greens, vegetables, and a side of protein. Yes you read that right. Protein in the meal should be treated as “side” because remember the hero of the dish is the salad. Put lots of colourful vegetables in the salad, nuts, a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice to not only make salad look appetizing but also taste good. I normally toss tomatoes and cucumber in with mixed leaf lettuce and handful of mixed nuts. (Did you know that iceberg lettuce is packed with fiber and antioxidants? 2 cups of this lettuce can provide up to 20% of daily need and if you had lettuce in both lunch and breakfast. That is almost half of your daily intake of fiber taken care of!)

Now, let me talk about the dressings. The ready-made salad dressings that you see on the shelves of supermarkets can have lots of sugar (and not the good kind of sugar) that if used a lot of in the salads can increase the intake of calories. Let me tell you a quick yet amazingly healthy recipe for salad dressing where you are the one who decides how much calories you would want in the dressing.

Following portions of the ingredients are for 2 cups of salad:

  •       1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  •       ½ teaspoon honey
  •       2 teaspoons lemon juice

You simply mix the above together and drizzle on the salad. I’ve specified ½ teaspoon of honey. You can change the portions of it to add more to make the dressing taste a bit on the sweet side or less to make the dressing taste more on the sour side. But remember the more you add honey to it, the higher the calories.

Adding different types of vegetables, for example, carrots, capsicum, mushrooms, celery, spinach increases the intake of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber and make the salad feel “substantial” and not “airy”. I also add mixed nuts to incorporate more fiber and vitamins in the salad. I sometimes add couscous or quinoa or chickpeas as well.

Now let’s talk about the “side” of this meal; the protein. It is very important to eat some sort of healthy protein with each meal as our body needs a regular supply of protein. So Adding, smoked or grilled turkey or chicken or fish in a lean form is a fantastic way to make your salad taste all the more delicious. Also beans and nuts provide protein as well as fiber.

So there it is. There are so many different healthy options to make a vibrant, colourful and healthy salad meal that you just cannot go wrong. And remember by increasing the salad proportion of the meal you avoid  eating more carbs and fats and that automatically reduces your calories intake. I promise you that incorporating salads in your daily meals along with balanced diet and regular exercise you will feel and look amazing and your body will thank you for it. Remember healthy food equals healthy body and healthy body equals healthy skin!

 

Much Love

Grilled Salmon with greens

Hello everyone, this is one of my favourite recipes. It’s packed with so many nutrients, minerals, vitamins and good fatty acids that your gut will thank you for eating something so deliriously healthy. I have talked about the wonderful benefits of eating fish in one of my previous blogs so I won’t talk about that in this. However, I do want to mention that these 3 (Yes just 3) ingredients combined together are loaded with omega 3, protein, carbohydrates, vitamin A B C D & K, folate, potassium, selenium, magnesium and zinc. All of this goodness in just 3 ingredients! And they are so easy to make. This recipe took me literally 20 minutes to make:

Ingredients:

1. Salmon fillets with skin on (I used ASC certified salmon fillets)
2. Broad beans (I used certified organic  canned bean that had been only in water and salt
3. Asparagus bunch
4. Dried Italian herbs, turmeric, salt and pepper
5. certified organic olive oil
6. fresh lemon juice

Method:

1. Grilling salmon on the pan is the easiest thing but if the heat of the pan is not correct any fish with skin will stick to the pan and skin will either burn (if stove heat is too hot) or become soggy and therefore leathery (if the heat is too low). To cook the skin side needs to be on the pan first with olive oil evenly covering the surface of a preheated pan.

Tip: make sure the heat is high for the first 5-7 minutes when you’re grilling the skin side first. Then grill the other side still on high heat. My trick is to lightly keep moving the fillets with tongs. cook that side on medium low heat for another couple of minutes

2. If I have 2-3 vegetable components to the protein dish, I cool 1-2 vegetables (if cooking separately) before I cook the protein. With the salmon fillets it is even more important because once it’s grilled, when you rest it, it still keeps cooking inside. Therefore, for this dish I sauteed the beans first for about 2-3 minutes in a separate pan with little bit of salt, pepper and turmeric.

3. I blanched the asparagus for 2-3 minutes while grilling the fish. Once I rested the fish, I quickly tossed the blanched asparagus in the pan with some salt and pepper and olive oil for about 30 seconds.

4. It’s a lovely meal so I’ve included a photo of how to prep it pretty with lemon juice sprinkled on top.

Enjoy and remember, healthy vibrant food that is assembled beautifully will taste even better because you eat with your eyes first. So spend that a minute or two on plating it! 🙂

Love to you all xx