Theobroma cacao may translate as ‘Food of the Gods’ but chocolatey, rich desserts are not just for supernatural beings. We mortals deserve them also, and preferably without that strange waxiness that commercial offerings sometimes have. Raw cacao avocado ganache? I think so!
This dessert uses our raw cacao powder, which along with being packed with antioxidants, feel-good theobromine and other healthy phytonutrients, is very strong in flavour. You can expect a serious chocolate experience with this semi-sweet dessert, so we’ve put some notes at the bottom of the recipe for toning it down if you’re not quite ready for the zero-to-100 cacao hit.
With those disclaimers in place, here’s our favourite avocado ganache recipe!
This dessert is very rich, but not very sweet so you can customise it to suit your palate. To reduce the intensity of the cacao flavour, either reduce the amount of cacao powder or swap it it out for a dutch cocoa powder.You can replace one or two avocados with large bananas. This will reduce the need for extra sweetener.Date paste (dates soaked then blended in your processor) can be used in place of the liquid sweetener.Enjoy!
It may not last, but at the time of writing, avocados are pretty affordable (unlike during last years avocadopocalypse) so we’re making the most of them in many ways, including raw cacao avocado ganache. If you do try this recipe, the resulting dessert keeps well in the fridge for up to five days, but will become firmer with time.
We consider traditional probiotic sauerkraut, made the Austrian way, as one of the must-haves for health and holistic living. However, many people don’t eat it because it’s expensive to buy, and seems very tricky to make. But it’s not hard. Making probiotic sauerkraut is deceptively easy.
But what are the benefits? Here’s our top five.
Traditional sauerkraut is a broad spectrum probiotic
The fermentation process increases quantities of anti-carcinogenic compounds such as glucosinolates and ascorbigen (ref)
It stores well and is a reliable source of nutrients when you should have gone shopping but didn’t want to
It provides some vitamin C, which is a vitamin we are passionate about – not as much as raw cabbage per dry weight, but sauerkraut is very compact
Learn how to make this tasty probiotic classic for optimal gut health
Course: Side Dish
Keyword: Fermented Vegetables, Sauerkraut
Two sterilised jars (~300 ml capacity each)
10CupsFinely chopped white cabbage(one large or two smaller cabbages)
Please see the short video in this blog post for a visual of how the various steps should look. The video uses a food processor for the chopping procedure but the process is the same from that point.
Pull any grubby outer leaves off your cabbage, reserving two clean ones for stopping the jars later
Finely chop your cabbages into thin slices and drop loose handfuls into a bowl. Your total weight of chopped cabbage should be about 800 grams.
Sprinkle the salt through the chopped cabbage and let it sit for 5 minutes
Start picking up, squeezing and dropping handfuls of cabbage. The cabbage will start out crisp and become softer and more watery as you continue. If you are unsure how this should look, check the video
Pack your kraut into clean jars, top up with the brine that you just squeezed from the leaves, and stop down the jar with a cabbage leaf so that the kraut is not exposed to air
Lid the jar and let it sit for at least a week in a warm place. Comfortable room temperature is fine. Peak fermentation occurs by week three, so at that point, or when the jar has been opened, transfer to the refrigerator.
Once refrigerated, sauerkraut can last up to six months. To prevent contamination or drying out, re-lid the jar after each use.
Traditional sauerkraut often includes caraway seeds, which imparts a slight flavour to the kraut, and adds trace minerals. Caraway seeds are also supposed to be anti-parasitic, if you’re worried about that! If you wish to add some tasty caraway seeds they can be sprinkled in at any stage of the process.
You can also substitute some of the cabbage for other veges: grated carrot or courgette are common. You might add some red cabbage for extra phytonutrients. Red cabbage sauerkraut has a lot more vitamin C than sauerkraut made with white cabbage but tends to be crunchier, so you could do that or you could just stick with the white cabbage and top up with some of our Ascorbic Acid?
If you prefer a visual for your first adventure into traditional probiotic sauerkraut, have a look at the short video below. We did our best to make it sharp and to-the-point, which was extremely difficult given all the travel stories we have that involve fermentation discoveries.
So you’ve had your cholesterol results back and there’s some bold words, an asterisk or two and a big, scary H for ‘high’. You’ve been given advice around diet and lifestyle and perhaps prescribed some pharmaceuticals. It’s a lot to take in, so here’s something very simple that you can do to help bring things back into balance. Psyllium husks.
According to Google Scholar, there are thousands of studies that have looked at the effect of psyllium husk on blood lipids. What have those studies found?
Most studies are relatively short term (6-8 weeks) and show LDL lowering in the range of 6-18% compared to placebo, so there is considerable individual variation with some studies identifying ‘responders’ and ‘non-responders’.
A longer study (Anderson et al., 2000) found that over 6 months, Total and LDL cholesterol levels fell 4.7% and 6.7%. This was significantly different from the placebo group whom were taking a different fibre supplement.
The amount used in trials was 10-15 grams over the course of the day, usually in two doses.
Psyllium therapy may be safely used alongside drug and diet therapy to increase their effectiveness.
How Does it Work?
The primary mechanism of action appear to be a stimulation of bile acid synthesis and secretion, although ‘how’ it does this is, as yet, unclear.
A strong theory is that psyllium traps bile acid, instead of letting it be re-absorbed by the body, thereby requiring more to be produced. As cholesterol is the primary component bile acid, this may account for the lowering of measured cholesterol.
It is also theorised that psyllium husk may increase production of an enzyme that breaks down cholesterol, known as cholesterol-7a-hydroxylase. Another potential mechanism of action is that as the fibre ferments in the colon, byproducts are absorbed that lower cholesterol synthesis in the liver and certain immune cells (peripheral blood mononuclear cells), although findings for that theory are inconsistent. Unlike food components such as phytosterols, psyllium husk has only a small effect on cholesterol absorption in the gut.
What does it do?
Lowers total and LDL cholesterol by up to 18%
Husks or husk powder?
Studies reviewed used psyllium husk powder
Amount to use
5-15 grams a day
How to use it
Always take psyllium with enough liquid to absorb it. It can be mixed into any liquid as well as used in baking or sprinkled on food
How long to use it for
At least 6 weeks
How does it work?
Most likely increases excretion and therefore production of bile acid, which requires cholesterol as well as increasing synthesis of cholesterol-7a-hydroxylase which breaks down cholesterol