A quick green update

As I lay in bed this morning I really felt quite tingly.  As if my body was firing up it’s electrical circuits.  I feel lighter and brighter with a clearer head.

My nails still seem shoddy and my ears are not clear, but I do feel that change is afoot.

Having increased my bowel movements over the last few days (sorry), I can also say that my stomach was looking much less bulgy this morning.

One of my daughters swears that her bitten to the quick nails are now growing…Maybe she doesn’t need to keep chewing them for the nutrients anymore!  She is my daughter that I have been most concerned about health wise in terms of mood swings and energy drops.  The last few days she has been sparkling and smiling.

My son refused to finish his smoothie this morning (Pak Choi, kiwis and raspberries – which I found quite down able) so we have the first mutinous calls from the ranks.  When I said that he need not finish however, after the cajoling, he did then neck it.

Anyway may green smoothies abound this weekend while you all have a little more time to buy the ingredients and throw them together.

Gemma x


Juicing or Blending?


I am changing my tack this morning after a slight amount of confusion has surfaced concerning how we actually make the smoothies.  I went to a friends house armed with a couple of lettuces instead of biscuits and a fabulous friend had, unorchestrated done the same, bringing some spinach and an apple.  I set to work, adding a couple of bananas and was then directed towards the juicer.

I had to explain that the need for a blender is important here, rather than a juicer, although I see no reason why at a push you can’t juice and then add the fibre back in and mix.

We use a blender to ensure that the cellulose in the plants is fully broken down.  Victoria Boutenko explains that cellulose has

…one of the strongest molecular structures on the planet.

Green For Life

She goes on to explain that our jaws are no longer strong enough to chew to the creamy consistency that is necessary to unlock the powerhouse of nutrients found inside the cellulose structure. Enter the blender.

Unlike a juicer, a blender retains the fibre, the whole plant inside it.  Nothing is lost and this is important.  Fibre has so many benefits.  The most important is probably its role in moving things through the colon.  Many people now believe that our colon is the cornerstone of our health.  When things stop moving, we get a back up of festering food toxins and a growth of bacteria and yeasts.

Please skip this next section if you are reading this after just eating or about to eat, or are squeamish:

Yogi Ramacharaka in his book The Practical Water Cure describes the state of most of our colons;

It is undoubtedly a fact that these cavities in the colon contain small faecal accumulations extending over weeks, months or even years.  Their presence produces symptoms varying all the way from a little catarrhal irritation up to the most diverse, and in some cases serious, reflex disturbances…the colon may be filed in an adult so as to present a circumference of fifteen inches.  These accumulations vary in density; they may be so hard as to resist the knife, and thus be mistaken for gall stones.  The mass may be so enormous as to press upon any organ located in the abdomen, interfering with its functions; thus we may have pressure on the liver that arrests the flow of bile; or, upon the urinary organs, crippling their functions.  Reported cases of accumulations almost exceed human credulity.

Need I say more?  Get fibre in your diet.

Gemma x

Anyone detoxing yet?

Good morning?

Well I have to say that sliding into Day 4, I have a few observations to make and they won’t be making me Miss Popular.   I noticed excess mucous yesterday and had a bit of a headache in the evening.  My armpits are also less than heavenly.  My daughter was also looking very tired yesterday morning and today, something quite unusual for her.

What on earth is this detox all about if it makes us feel worse rather than better?

Well the answer is in the question.  While the green smoothie is providing nourishment in the form of all those vitamins and minerals, the fibre and also the chlorophyll are stimulating a real cleansing of your body at a cellular level. The green smoothie is providing detoxification as well as being a nutrient building drink.

This winning combination will provide reassurance to your body that it is fully nourished and hydrated and this in turn will promote a release of toxins from your cells.  As these toxins are released from the cell they will move out into your blood stream.  In your blood stream they will stimulate some of the same responses from your body that they did on going in.  I have heard stories of drug addicts getting high again just from the ‘hit’ of their detox.

So symptoms to watch out for are:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy
  • Increased mucous
  • Skin inflammation or rashes
  • Itching
  • Disturbed bowel habits! (belching, increased elimination, diarrhea, excess wind)
  • Body odour and sweating
  • Strange metallic taste in mouth or tongue coated (Can go dark brown)

These symptoms will be short lived.  Very shortly you should be feeling just great.  If they become unbearable then ease off the smoothies a bit, make them smaller.  Even drinking just a bit will be really beneficial.  I have deliberately suggested that you only do a glass per day.  I had this detox knowledge in mind.  Victoria Boutenko suggests drinking 1-2 litres per day of green smoothies.  Everyone everywhere that talks about green smoothies is saying the same thing – start slowly. We can build it up gently.

Some people have found that their bodies are craving the green stuff and end up drinking it morning, noon and night for a while.  If you feel the need go with it.  But start gently.

In naturopathy one of the things that I have learned is how important it is to support the liver when detoxing.  Look at my Fifty Shades of Green – How many? Blog for more information on how to support your liver.

If you push your liver too hard it will either not cope at all and send you into a healing crisis – maybe flu like symptoms, or a rash as it uses other orifices or the skin to dump its toxic load, or it may end up just redistributing the toxins elsewhere in your body.  One sure sign that you liver is struggling is a sore throat, or other such lymphatic issues.  When the liver struggles in its job of filtering the blood; the lymphatic system can no longer drain effectively into the blood and so instead starts to back up, thicken and cause problems.  So go easy, don’t push too hard.  Enjoy the journey.

One benefit of the green smoothie as opposed to other detoxification methods is the sheer amount of fibre that it contains.  This provides perfect support for the liver as it provides the necessary bulk and stimulation to the colon to get things moving through the bowels after the liver has dealt with it.

So worry not.  For those of you who know me well, I have been on this path for over four years now and I am truly excited by this.  It feels very right.  So bear with me if grogginess descends for a few hours and know that the sun is shining and there are blue skies above those clouds all the time.  They are there just waiting for you to see through to them.

Of course, you may just find that you only feel better and better on these smoothies.  If this is the case.  Keep laughing!

Have a wonderful day (and if necessary an early night).

Oh by the way a few of you have asked for a recipe.  Here is one from Victoria Boutenko:
Welcome Smoothie for Beginners
Makes 2 quarts

1 cup chard
1 cup spinach
8-10 strawberries, stems included
1 mango, peeled
1 apple
1 banana
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups water

Blend all ingredients well.

Gemma x


Why Fifty Shades?

Hi all,

I should be answering this question by explaining all of the benefits of increased libido and sexual appetite.  However I know that may well put some of you off!

SO I am actually going to respond to Ramona’s question about the toxicity in greens (Thanks Ramona), that she posted last night.

Fifty Shades of Green is an apt title for this smoothie challenge because one of the points that Victoria Boutenko makes in her book Green For life, is that each smoothie should make use of different types of greens.  It is absolutely fine to use up the same ingredients over a few days, but then you should be moving on to try something new.
There are obvious benefits to this in terms of each plant food offering its own balance of different nutrients and each having different amino acids which, when circulated will provide us with a full spectrum, perfect for our diet.

There is another reason for developing a fifty shades approach and that is that each green plant has developed its own survival mechanism, a method of slow poisoning to prevent animals from grazing them to extinction.   Each plant has its own ‘toxic’ type of alkaloid which can build up over time to be poisonous (and move the herd on and away from the plant).   As tempting as it may be to use this as an excuse to refuse ever to eat another piece of kale again, these alkaloids are only a problem if consumed in really large quantities.  As long as you move from green to green you will avoid this issue.  The benefits as I see them, far outweigh the possible issues.

Oxalic acid is another potential candidate for creating havoc in our bodies, in the form of kidney stones.  It is well known to be present in spinach and as such has been a cause of concern in the smoothie world.  I would draw your attention however to the fact that it is also present in coffee and animal protein.

My understanding is that if you have issues with kidney stones…look to meat and coffee first, they seem to offer little benefit (and in fact rate particularly highly as suspects go),   compared to the nutritional punch that your greens will deliver you.

Oxalic acid is found everywhere, even in our own bodies.  If you are suffering from stones then there are many things that I would look to first to see why this might be so, rather than avoid leafy greens.  Nevertheless, erring on the side of caution, rotating your greens can only be a good thing and of course listening to your own body and not letting me or anyone else tell you otherwise.  The following article by Kimberly Snyder offers a really comprehensive look at oxalic acid if you want more detail:


Many people have requested a more formal green smoothie ‘recipe’.  I am instead going to give you some ‘shades’ of what would be great in a smoothie.  Ramona also offered her recipe from this morning which is a great example:

It had: half a pineapple, a banana, 1/2 cucumber, half head of romaine lettuce and a teaspoon of powdered greens.
Thought it was going to be sweeter but it’s still nice.

Thanks Ramona!  Keep them coming all of you!

So some shades of green:

  1. Romaine lettuce
  2. Celery
  3. Mint
  4. Carrot tops
  5. Swiss Chard
  6. Dandelion Leaves
  7. Coriander
  8. Rocket
  9. Sunflower sprouts (sprouts in general)
  10. Parsley
  11. Watercress
  12. Cos Lettuce (any kind of lettuce)
  13. Spinach
  14. Spring Greens
  15. Mustard Greens
  16. Kale
  17. Bok Choy (any Chinese leaves)
  18. Cavalero Nero
  19. Beet Greens
  20. Sorrel
  21. Radish Greens
  22. Collard greens (from the brassica family)
  23. Cabbage
  24. Basil leaves
  25. Purslane
  26. Turnip Greens
  27. Powdered greens (e.g. spirulina)

What Victoria Boutenko explains is that she adds fruit so that she can get the greens down her.  My daughter requested celery and cucumber this morning.  The rest of us needed apple.  So do what it takes, add banana, apple or mango and some water.  There is no perfect recipe, each of us will prefer different things.  Victoria does put some combinations together which I shall post tomorrow as I don’t want to dump too much information on you at once.

Have a glorious green day!

Gemma x

Fifty Shades of Green – How many?

Hi all,

Thank you for your support on this.  I am hoping that we will get some great results.  My first bit of advice on this is not to go too fast too quickly.  Give your body time to adjust to the changes and take it easy.

This smoothie is giving your body nourishment in a way that for many of us our body has not seen in a very long time.  It will also be encouraging our bodies to cleanse, dumping toxins that have been stored in our cells to be released back into our bloodstream.  This toxicity will be back in our blood and our liver will have to filter it.  Too much cleansing will stress the liver and cause it to dump it again instead of successfully eliminating it.

There are things that you can do to support the liver at this time of detoxification:

  • eat much less fat (obvious things like no butter, steam fry foods in water instead of oil, cut right down or out meat, cheese, eggs; eat less nuts, avocados, etc)
  • get plenty of body temperature fluids inside you such as water, soups, smoothies (tick), to help flush out toxins.
  • Use castor oil packs – see my techniques section in my health pages for more information.
  • Use enemas – see my techniques section again.

But don’t get hung up on any of this just enjoy this slow smoothie revolution.  You can do any or none of the above, just keep drinking those smoothies.

Ask any questions that you wish and I will try to get you answers!

This morning we tolerated: 7 kiwis, a whole bunch of carrot tops and a whole cos lettuce, blitzed with some water.  It tasted gritty…I had read that it is better not to wash your greens and those carrots looked pretty darned suspect, but it could have been those kiwi pips.  Despite the challenge of getting it down this morning, I raced my three eldest children and I still have them on board to fight another day!

I would also like to thank those three gallant youths who pushed my car to freedom in the snow last night, after we got stuck behind another car who was having trouble.  It all got quite hairy for a while but there are some amazing people out there.  You will probably never know this but I thank you wholeheartedly for helping us to get home safely.  I have heard some wonderful stories of car pushers and hot chocolate providers from last night’s escapades.  It is heart warming to feel people looking out for one another.

Have a wonderful day of snowballs if indeed you have snow today.

Gemma x



Fifty Shades of Green

Welcome to this new moon.  Within this moon we have the spring equinox, one of the most powerful times that we have for cleansing our bodies and homes.  It brings a huge shift in energy that, if we choose to straddle it (so to speak) will bring us enormous power for change.

The date of this spring equinox is Thursday 20th March 2013.  So we have 10 days to get this baby off the ground.

I shall call this project Fifty Shades of Green.

We are to be doing only one thing to our diet and that is eating a green smoothie every single day.  If we do nothing else we must get this down us.

I will explain more in the days to come but time is of the essence.  So for today just find anything green that is in your fridge (I mean fresh and green).  Put a load of it into your blender (I am afraid that you will need one for this project), with some water and some fruit.

Blitz and drink.

Start today with just a glass.  Lets not overdo it.

See how you feel.

Let me know!

Gemma x

And when she went there…

The cupboard was still way over half full.


But I can see gaps.

I have used up some of the most stubborn of items and some of those things that had sat there for who knows how long.   I also feel in the swing of it now, happy that I can wade through most of it.  It has been great re-reading those recipe books and finding something fresh to create and also reviving old forgotten favourites.

I have been given a reprieve on moving the kitchen, down to the fact that building work takes twice as long as you expect it to. Well that is not entirely true.  Most of it has gone exactly to plan – ish, but other things you just have to sit down and wait for.

Thank you for coming on this journey with me.  I do feel lighter, I have freed up quite a few pounds in money terms and I now feel happy to tackle the next task in hand.  Shifting so much stuck energy is profound in Feng Shui terms and this reflects on you as a person and your own energy.  I too feel spring cleansed and am pushing for more.

Out with the old and in with the next project.  Yesterday I was inspired to start anew.  Well it is a new moon today.  So read on to my next blog if you want to try something that may just change your life.

The Six Week Store Cupboard Challenge

Day 42

Now for those of you paying attention, you will see that today is the very last day of my six week challenge, for emptying my store cupboards.

I’m ending up with a recipe that you can’t eat but which is a glorious gift idea, rewarding child’s activity and heavenly way of lighting your fires.  Many of you won’t have open fires in your homes, but you may well use a barbecue or know someone who does have one or the other.  It seems a much gentler way to encourage that flame then those toxic grey shop bought ones.  It is also a nice thing to do to use up old candles.

Lets call it a last day celebration of out with the old and into the new.

Item to be used up: Fir Cones

Cookbook: Made up with my fantastic daughter

Recipe: Fire or Barbecue lighters (non edible)

  • fir cones
  • old candles or wax
  • wicks

You will also need moulds.  We used silicon baking moulds.  In the past we have used ice cube  trays but they proved to be very tricky and stiff to remove.

Also use an old clean can and an old saucepan.

Put some wax into a can and place this into a saucepan of water and bring to the boil to melt the wax.  (Ensure that there is enough wax in the can to prevent it falling over).

Pour the molten wax into a fir cone and then press a fir cone and a piece of wick into it.  The wick should not be too long, just a cm outside the firelighter lighter.  The wick must of course be pushed within the wax as far as possible to ensure that it will act as a candle and burn properly.

Add any decoration that you fancy, such as cinnamon bark, rosemary or berries.

So that’s it.  Tomorrow I will be showing a before and after photo and discussing the experience.  See you then.

The Six Week Store Cupboard Challenge

Day 41

Item to be used up: Almonds
I thought that I’d used up my big bag of almonds.  It seems that another carrier bag had lay hidden for a while.  Popping up now to offer up some more.

Cookbook: I have adapted this recipe from a gorgeous website called Tasty palettes,


Recipe: Almond Pate

  • 2 Onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 Green chilli  finely chopped (optional)
  • ½ tsp Cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp Mixed herbs (parsley, chives and rosemary) , finely chopped
  • 100g Raw almonds
  • 50g Bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp Soy sauce
  • 1 clove Garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Lemon slices

Baking parchment – to roll


  1. Lightly toast the bread crumbs over a low heat. Transfer to a big bowl. In the same pan, melt butter and sauté onions along with cumin powder and garlic. When the onions are soft, transfer to the bowl with breadcrumbs.
  2. Grind almonds to a coarse meal. Add to breadcrumbs and onion. Also add fresh herbs, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper, and work with your fingers to bring it all together.
  3. Add mayonnaise 1 tbsp at a time, until the mixture holds together. Transfer the mixture to baking parchment and roll into a log. Cover well and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. Serve with toasts, lemon slices and tomatoes. Spread pate over a toast, squeeze lemon juice and top with a tomato.

Really very tasty and great with the lemon juice.