Christmas can mean many things to people but for myself and my family it’s all about the food. Both of my grandmothers used to lovingly make their puddings the old-fashioned way – from scratch – and when they passed away our tradition was gone. Sadly, my mum missed out on the cooking gene (she admits this herself!) and was never interested in making the pudding. Enter the pre-made supermarket puddings (urgh). Once I commenced my health journey and went gluten free and dairy free, I didn’t have to eat the chemical-laden puddings and, with no good alternative, just learned to live without it. (Devastating, I know.)
But then, a few years ago, I came across this seriously amazing recipe and thought I’d give it a go. With some minor tweaks, it has become a Christmas staple. I even have a couple of family members who send me money to make them a special batch for taking to their in-laws (or in the case of my sister, to keep in the freezer so she has a personal stash of pudding well beyond Christmas!). And the best part? You can make it 100% gluten free and dairy free by switching the butter for coconut oil. I’ve also made it using different types of flour (i.e. coconut flour) and duck eggs instead of chicken eggs and it’s still fabulous. It may even be possible to replace the eggs with mashed banana or egg replacer, although I haven’t tried doing this. If you give it a go, please let me know how it turns out. I honestly don’t think you can go wrong with this delicious pudding, unless you were my mother, of course. (Sorry Mum! Love you.)
Here’s the recipe.
375g raisins, roughly chopped
200g dried apricots, roughly chopped
150g pitted prunes, roughly chopped
¾ cup brandy
¼ cup green ginger wine
½ cup dark berry jam of your choice
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon mixed spice
4 eggs, at room temperature (or 3 duck eggs)
250g butter, melted, cooled (or swap for coconut oil)
4 tablespoons of light olive oil
½ cup coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)
1 ½ cups banana flour (or 1 cup of coconut flour)
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
Add to a large mixing bowl the dried fruit, brandy, wine, jam and spices. Mix well, cover and stand overnight, stirring occasionally. (Pro tip: I usually leave it for 2-3 days so the fruit gets good and drunk).
Whisk eggs and butter together. Add to fruit mixture with sugar, flour, oil and bicarbonate of soda. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine.
For a traditional steamed pudding:
Grease a 10-cup capacity pudding basin with melted butter. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Brush with butter again. Line base of bowl with baking paper.
Spoon mix into prepared basin.
Cut 1 large sheet of foil and 1 large sheet of baking paper. Lay paper over foil. Make a 3 cm pleat in the middle. Place, paper-side down, over pudding. Secure with string or use pudding lid to lock down.
Place an upturned saucer into the base of a large, deep saucepan. Place basin onto saucer. Pour hot water into saucepan so it comes one-third of the way up the side of the basin. Cover with a tight-fitting lid. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Keep checking water level as the water can evaporate and may need to be topped up. Simmer for 5 hours or take off lid and check with a skewer (this is risky as it is very hot!).
Remove pudding from water. Stand for 30 minutes. Turn onto a platter. Serve as desired. Alternatively, cool completely then store.
(Recipe courtesy of Natural Evolution Foods)
If you want to do what I do and have individual puddings:
Grease cupcake pans (or use silicone moulds) and add pudding mix. Don’t fill them quite to the top as they will expand a bit.
Bake in a 180° oven for 35-40 minutes OR steam them in a water bath in the oven OR steam them in your Varoma dish in your Thermomix. (This is what I do.)
Individual puddings can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge until Christmas Day. Warm them in a gentle oven or re-steam them in the Varoma and serve with custard, cream or ice cream (dairy or non-dairy options).
Any way you make this it is absolutely delicious, and your entire family will love it. I don’t even tell my family it’s gluten free (because they would turn their nose up at it!) and they think it’s the bee’s knees.
Enjoy and have a very merry Christmas!
Denise Berry BHSc
To learn how you can eat healthy, feel well and take care of your body for the long term, book an appointment with one of our naturopaths; they would love to help you!
Admittedly fibre is not the most exciting topic but it is an important one and something I find myself constantly talking to patients about as a vital part of their overall health. Here are some things you should know about fibre.
Low fibre intake has been associated with numerous health conditions including inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disease and cancer. It is also implicated in hormonal imbalance (heavy and painful periods), high cholesterol and diabetes. And yet in Australia, our standard diet is verylow in fibre.
Breakfast: Toast with margarine and vegemite
Lunch: Chicken and salad sandwich
Dinner: Sausages, mashed potato, steamed beans and carrots, tomato sauce
Snacks: Salt and vinegar chips
Drinks: 1 coffee, 1 tea, 1 diet coke, 1L water
This diet contains just 19g of fibre and is high in saturated fat. It is also devoid of many nutrients including essential fatty acids, zinc and choline, to name a few.
So, what does a day on a high fibre diet look like?
Breakfast: Denise’s Famous Winter Oats (see recipe below)
Lunch: Kale and red pepper frittata with a garden salad
Dinner: Baked salmon, broccoli and quinoa
Snacks: Pear, kiwi fruit, 10 almonds
Drinks: 2 herbal teas, 2L water
This diet contains 35g of fibre and has a much higher nutritional value compared to the first example. It is satisfying, delicious and amazingly good for you!
Bonus: The frittata and baked salmon recipes are available as part of a meal plan for patients.
Best sources of fibre
Some favourites include oats, chia seeds, flaxseed/flax meal (especially for women’s hormonal issues), pears, kiwi fruit, apples, potato (cook it, let it go cold then either eat cold or reheat), sweet potato, asparagus, onion, garlic, beans/legumes, banana flour/starch and coconut flour.
If you eat a diet that is high in plant foods including ‘rainbow’ vegetables and legumes, nuts and seeds, your fibre intake will be spot on.
How much do I need?
According to health guidelines, the recommended dietary intake for adults is 25–30g per day. However, the reality is that often we need more than that, especially if you have health issues. I recommend a minimumof 30g per day.
What else do I need to know?
If you have eaten a diet that is low in fibre for a long time, you need to increase your intake slowly. You also need to make sure you are drinking extra water – aim for 2 litres per day. Not following these important steps could expose you to gut issues such as constipation.
If you experience any digestive problems (e.g. bloating, pain, flatulence) with the consumption of some foods then you should see a naturopath to determine the underlying cause. For example, you may have small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), where your gut bacteria react to the sugar component in some fibre-rich foods.
For assistance incorporating more fibre into your diet, we can provide meal plans to ensure you are covering all the bases in terms of nutrition—and they are full of delicious options. (And yes, we have trialled them because if we’re not going to eat them, we can hardly ask you to!)
If you are ready to take the next step in getting your health in order, make a booking today. We’d love to help you.
Now for the recipe we promised you earlier…
Denise’s Famous Winter Oats
This is a drier style of porridge which we find makes it tastier. It can be made in under five minutes—great for when you are pressed for time.
4 Granny Smith apples (cored and roughly chopped)
½ tsp Ceylon cinnamon
1 clove (remove after cooking)
Splash of water
Stewed apples (pre-made)
5-6 dessert spoons organic rolled oats
1 heaped dessert spoon organic shredded coconut
Boiling water (to cover oats)
Handful of crushed walnuts
Combine apples, cinnamon, clove and water in pan over medium heat, cover and cook. Pro tip: Pre-make stewed apples and have ready to go in the fridge (lasts approx. five days).
Add oats and coconut to a small saucepan and just cover with boiling water. Cook, stirring every minute or so until the water has reduced.
Add a few good spoonfuls of stewed apples plus the walnuts, stir.
When warmed through and water has virtually evaporated, you are good to go.
Try stewed pears with fresh ginger—delicious.
Add fresh or frozen blueberries at the end for some extra antioxidants.
Let’s talk about your liver. You hear naturopaths talking about the liver all the time so why is it so important?
Our liver is one of the hardest working organs in our body. It performs many vital functions including digestion, assimilation and storage for essential nutrients and red blood cells.
Its primary role, however, is the detoxification of our bodies.
You see, every metabolic process that occurs in our body, every minute of every day, creates toxic by-products which the liver makes into less toxic substances and excretes from our body (primarily in our faeces and urine via the bowel and kidneys).
In addition to the internal toxins produced by normal metabolic function, we come into contact with a variety of external toxins every day; everything we breathe, taste and touch has to be processed through our liver.
Let’s think about that for a minute. Toxins are in the air we breathe, the clothes we wear (including what they are washed in and chemicals used in the manufacturing process) which sit on our skin all day and what we sleep on all night.
The food and drink we consume all has to be processed through the liver, as do the toxins in our skin care products (soap, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, toothpaste, mouth wash, moisturisers, make up, shaving cream, deodorant, aftershave and perfume) and our hair care products (dyes, styling products, hairspray). Our furniture and surroundings produce chemicals – think about sitting in the car in traffic, household cleaning products, air fresheners, medications we take, alcohol, nicotine and other drugs and so on and so forth.
The liver clearly has a lotto do. It is busy enough with all the internal metabolic functions and we go and add a whole heap of other elements in there for it to deal with as well. Is it any wonder our poor old liver struggles?
And what does our liver actually do with all this stuff?
Liver detoxification goes through three main phases to turn these fat-soluble compounds (we will call them toxins) into water soluble molecules that can be excreted from the body via one of the five systems of elimination – liver/bowel, blood/lymph, lungs/respiration, skin/perspiration and kidneys.
Phase I– cytochrome P450 pathway
The phase I reactions are the beginning of transforming toxic compounds into non-toxic molecules to be excreted. In other words, the P450 enzymes convert fat-soluble substances into intermediate compounds that have increased water solubility. This provides the body with the ability to process and remove compounds that could change or even damage cellular function.
Things that speedup your phase Iliver pathway include alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, some medications and illicit drugs.
Things that slowdown your phase I pathway include hormones, medications, heavy metals, environmental chemicals, liver damage and nutrient deficiencies (B6, zinc & magnesium).
After the phase I reactions, the compounds are then broken down into smaller particles and they wait in the intermediate phase before moving on to phase II. This is a bit like a taxi rank full of cabs waiting for rush hour.
Phase II – conjugation
During this phase, the particles proceed to find their pathway out of the body. There are six different phase IIpathways: peptide conjugation (glycine & taurine), methylation, sulphation, glucoronidation, acetylation and glutathione conjugation. Each of these pathways metabolises different compounds and enables them to be excreted from the body.
It is in this phase that things are normally slowed down and our liver has trouble in keeping up with everything. It’s like a packaging plant, where the conveyer belt gets faster and faster and the person at the end packaging up the boxes can’t keep up.
When one or more of these phases of detoxification are impaired in some way, it slows down the whole process, creating a backlog of toxins waiting to be processed.
Here are some common signs that your liver may need a little help:
Indigestion or feeling nauseous or unwell after eating, especially after consuming fatty foods
Altered bowel movements – frequent diarrhoea and or constipation
Feeling of fullness and food not moving after eating
General fatigue and tiredness
Altered mood, feeling a little more grumpy than usual
Itchy skin, rashes, eczema, psoriasis etc
Muscle/joint aches and pains
Insomnia/disrupted sleep, waking between 1–3 am on a regular basis
Abdominal pain/bloating/distension after eating
Excessive sweating, especially the feet
Body odour and/or bad breath
High cholesterol levels.
This is just to name a few! Most people today have some level of liver dysfunction. This is purely due to the foods we consume and the every day exposure the liver has to deal with.
But you can certainly help your liver and one of the best ways to help your liver, and your body in general, is through your food. We all need to eat, right? So why not consume foods that are beneficial to your health and wellbeing and avoid foods that cause problems. Try to incorporate some of these liver-friendly foods into your diet every day.
While it might sound boring, your whole body—especially your liver—loves water. Make sure you get at least two litres of this amazing stuff every day (preferably filtered water that takes out these nasty chemicals we are talking about).
Not the sliced variety in a tin, I’m talking about real, whole, fresh beetroot (including the leaves). These little beauties are great at cleansing and purifying the blood. They contain fibre plus a whole stack of beneficial nutrients your blood and liver will love.
This is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, with other family members including cabbage, kale, bok choy, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. This family of vegetables are high in sulphur—and one of the phase II detox pathways is the sulphation pathway so these vegetables help to improve the flow through this pathway. They also contain lots of other nutrients that generally help to support healthy digestion and liver function.
Garlic and onion
Again, these are sulphur containing foods that stimulate liver detoxification. They are also anti-inflammatory which means they help to slow or reverse inflammation in the body. When your liver is under stress and not keeping up with things, it can become inflamed and that can cause it to slow down even more. They also help to activate liver enzymes which are essential in the detoxification process to help flush out toxins.
Lemon and limes contain high levels of vitamin C which helps the liver turn fat soluble molecules into water soluble compounds so they can be excreted. It is also an antioxidant so is protective for the liver. Drinking lemon or lime juice in warm water before meals can help to stimulate gastric acid production and the flow of bile acids. These help us digest our foods properly so we can absorb the nutrients we need to aid our body to do all the things it needs to do.
Green leafy vegetables
These are our best friend when it comes to liver health! Get as many of these vegetables into your diet every day as you can—there are so many benefits. The darker the colour, the more nutrients they contain. They contain chlorophyll (this is what gives them their green colour) which helps to alkalise the body and suck up toxins, rendering them neutral and unable to cause damage. They are also high in fibre which helps with fat metabolism and the absorption and excretion of toxins (more details below).
This type of vegetables helps to clean the liver and protect it from damage.
Avocados help to produce glutathione which is essential for healthy liver function and is the master antioxidant in the body. It protects the structure of the cells, which helps them to function optimally.
Wow, what can I say here! Amazing! A very powerful antioxidant, turmeric helps to stimulate detoxification and glutathione production. There are some studies that show turmeric helps to regenerate a damaged liver—that’s pretty amazing.
Fibre is your friend. Our liver makes cholesterol as part of its normal function, we need cholesterol and all of our cells and hormones are made of cholesterol. But when the liver is not functioning well and is being harmed by alcohol, medications, sugar, processed foods, chemicals and toxins, it produces more cholesterol as a means of protecting itself. This is where cholesterol can become a problem in the body, as it has nowhere to go so it accumulates in the blood vessels.
In this situation, a high fibre diet can help. Cholesterol is sticky (like chewing gum) and fibre is coarse (like sawdust). What happens when you drop your chewing gum in sawdust? Yes, the dust sticks to the gum. This is what fibre does in the body; it collects the excess cholesterol and helps it find its way out of the body. It also does the same for the fat-soluble toxins. If you put sawdust on an oil spill, the sawdust soaks up the oil and it is easier to clean up; the same happens in the body.
It also acts like a broom through our digestive system, especially the colon. As we know the colon is one of the main exit routes from the body. If the bowel isn’t working well, even if the liver was clearing things out, it can cause a traffic jam in the colon. So it’s vitally important to have healthy bowel function to support the liver in doing its job.
There are also some pretty powerful herbal medicines and nutritional supplements that can be prescribed by your naturopath to assist with optimising liver function. If you suspect you have issues with your liver or would just like to make sure yours is functioning well, seek the advice of a qualified natural health professional—like one of our naturopaths. In the meantime, eat your greens!
Over the past two years, I have been on two retreats. They were business focused and I got to work on my business with other like-minded naturopaths. They did, however, include a HUGE amount of self-care, personal development and growth.
But before experiencing the initial magnificent retreat, I had some massive hurdles to overcome.
First, I had never travelled alone before. I was also very scared about leaving the business behind and really didn’t know what would happen or how it would run without me. At the same time, I was very burnt out.
These things combined made it hard for me to commit. I had all the excuses as to why I couldn’t go and kept telling myself it just wasn’t possible. But I really wanted to give it a go.
Setting off on what should have been the most exceptional experience—a business retreat in Bali—I experienced extremely high levels of anxiety while in the car driving to Melbourne airport. I was so nauseous and experienced waves of dizziness.
I felt scared, worried and alone.
I was on the phone to my husband and also a good friend who was attending the retreat with me. They supported me, nurtured me and assured me everything was going to be ok, and the closer I got to the airport the more my anxiety eased.
My friend met me at the airport and wrapped her arms around me; her comfort is something I will never forget. Luckily for me, she was also a naturopath and specialised in anxiety—I was literally in the best hands!
For the first 24 hours in Bali, I still felt unsure and uneasy. I also ended up with a mild case of Bali belly on the very first night but maybe it was a nervous-system release.
The next morning, our retreat founder had a three-hour spa package planned for each of us following our first breakfast together which was shared with some of the most wonderful naturopathic friends.
That was when the magic started.
That was when I began to let go.
That was when the healing and growth commenced.
Over the coming days, there were tears, breakdowns, breakthroughs, support, laughter, good pressure, lots to consider and thoughts to change. It was absolutely unbelievable! There really is nothing like being surrounded by a group of women who support you and really understand what you are going through.
I made lifelong friends on these retreats, all who still support me today.
THIS is why I decided to run my own retreat.
I want you to experience the amazing feelings that come from looking after yourself, filling up your cup and putting yourself first. If I can change your life, just like my life was changed, then that would literally make my year.
I know how hard it can be to step away from your life, your job, your partner, your family, your emails, your social media. I know how easy it is to make excuses as to why you shouldn’t do something, such as cost, time, family and commitments. I know because I said them all to myself.
But I also know how incredible an experience like this can be.
I came back from these retreats full. I learnt so much about myself, what I wanted and how I wanted my life to look and feel. I got to reflect on the most important things in my life. I got to relax, unwind and let go.
I got clarity.
Can you relate to this?
Deep down, do you REALLY want to come to our retreat?
Are your excuses stopping you?
It’s time to put yourself FIRST!
Big love, Karly x
Want to join a group of women who have already signed up? You can read more about our retreat here!
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