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By West Norwood Therapies Team, Jun 24 2019 08:26AM

Acupuncturist Philippa Summers shares her new passion for broadbeans and a delicious and simple recipe to enjoy them this summer.

I have discovered a new love of broad beans. We have a bumper crop on the allotment – picked young, podded and lightly steamed is a simple and delicious way to fully appreciate their unadulterated sweet earthy flavour. They are loaded with nutrients, in particular protein, minerals, folate and vitamins. In Chinese Medicine they stimulate the action of the spleen and calm the stomach. Eat them on their own with a dollop of butter, toss them in a salad or add them to risotto, use them instead of chickpeas to make humous or try these tasty easy to make falafels. I have used half dried chickpeas and half fresh broad beans but you can vary the proportions as you like, especially if you have a glut of broad beans.

Falafels with minty yoghurt sauce (adapted from a recipe in The Guardian)

Serves 4


150g broad beans, 150g when podded but skins left on

150g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight (no need to cook!)

3 cloves garlic, crushed

½ leek, finely chopped

1 tsp gram (chick pea) flour

1 tbsp chopped coriander

1tbsp chopped parsley

1tsp ground cumin

1/2tsp bicarb of soda

A pinch of cayenne pepper

Salt and Black pepper

3 tbsp Sesame seeds

Oil (Rapeseed or sunflower) for frying

Minty Yoghurt Sauce

250ml plain yoghurt

3tbsp Tahini

1 garlic clove, crushed

Juice of ½ lemon

Salt and black pepper

2 tbsp chopped mint

Flatbreads and salads to serve.


1) Steam the broad beans for 3-4 minutes.

2) Whizz all the ingredients (except sesame seeds and oil) together in a food processor or mash them and mix well.

3) Divide the mixture into 12-16 golf ball sized pieces and press to form small patties.

4) Sprinkle sesame seeds onto a plate and coat patties on both sides.

5) Heat 1 cm of oil in the pan until hot, then turn down the heat a little.

6) Fry the patties 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

7) For the sauce, simply whisk all the ingredients together and thin down to pouring consistency with cold water if needed.

8) Serve with warm flatbreads and a salad. Delicious and nutritious!

By West Norwood Therapies Team, May 16 2018 08:00AM

Skincare specialist Veronica Massa looks at the positive effect to skin from removing dairy from your diet with some client stories and suggestions for non-dairy calcium sources

I have seen it over and over with my clients: eliminating dairy products from their diet has helped to substantially improve their skin's health and complexion.

If you have issues with spots and cysts, try eliminating dairy from your diet for three weeks and see what happens with your skin.

Maybe you never had this problem before and it is possible that suddenly you developed an intolerance to dairy products... or to the process of producing them!

Many of my clients find very difficult eliminating dairy from their diet, and I understand that, cheese and ice-cream taste good! If you must, please make sure that the milk and dairy products you put in your body, come from a sustainable, respectful, organic farm that treat cows in a loving way as they should.

Clients who did cut out for a minimum of 3 weeks/one month all dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) have been amazed by the results. If no new breakouts appear, then you know this may be the cause.

This can be a very effective way to find out if your skin is trying to excrete the toxins caused by dairy or ingesting more than your body can process. These toxins can manifest through spots, hard and painful bumps deep under your skin (cystic acne), or the underskin whiteheads.

The hormones given to the cows influences endogenous hormones in your body. These cause an imbalance in the hormonal system, (with added inflammation), the skin's oil production increases and the acne process will start. Some hormone stimulate oil production, the sebaceous gland in the face excrete fat-based hormones which leads to the growth of bacteria getting trapped in the pores.

Of course an other important factor is the fluctuation of your hormones (possible hormonal imbalances) and possibly an unsuitable skincare routine which will exacerbate the problem giving the right environment for bacteria to grow, breakouts to form and leaving permanent scarring.

Clients experiences

Tania had whiteheads on her forehead. I saw her recently and she is still dairy free and her skin looks glowing, healthy and completely unblemished. All the whiteheads (little white - under-skin - bumps) have disappeared.

1. Tanya: "I really trust Veronica. She has a very gentle, non-invasive touch and a completely holistic approach. The products she uses, which she makes herself, have worked so well for my skin that I use them at home. My skin has improved dramatically and my partner always comments that I look so healthy when I come back from a treatment. Veronica suggested that I dramatically reduce eating dairy as it was this that was causing the spots on my forehead. I would not have realized this and it has made a big difference. Thank you for all your help with my skin, it looked good on my wedding day! "Tanya S., Therapist

2. Lucy: "In my mid 20's the tiny bumps all under the skin and the huge what felt like painful boils returned.

The changes I have made to my lifestyle and diet are the following:

Cut way back on cheese and chocolate! I very rarely have cheese now.

• Cut back on tea & coffee – I would used to about 3 cups of coffee a day now I only have 1.

• Scrub gently with bi-carb and use green clay mask every week.

• Use mineral make-up (Bare Minerals) every day instead of Mac.

• Religiously use my amazing products that you make me!

• Lots of water and green/peppermint tea.

• In general a healthier diet.

I would say the main things that make the difference, are no cheese, change of make up and using your products. I can honestly say I have never been so happy with my skin, I don’t have a single lump or bump on my face! The facials, the products, the advice, and of course Veronica, are all absolutely amazing!!"

Balanced diet

Along with dairy, it is important to eliminate or cut down as much as possible, all inflammatory foods and tend towards a more alkaline, processed food free diet, including sugar of course.... but that is for an other blog! Inflammation causes excess heat in the body which rises up to the head manifesting with many different symptoms depending on the combination of causes. This excess build up of inflammation is of course also due to things like stress and not hydrating your body well enough. One symptom is inflammatory spots, especially concentrated along the lower half of the face, jawline, chin and neck.

But the concern I want to focus on here is most people question:" where can I get my calcium from?"

Where can I get my calcium from?

Calcium is the bone-builder, it provides the rigid structure of the skeleton, but small amounts are also found in the nerves, muscles and blood. Together with magnesium, calcium is important for the functioning of nerves and muscles. It also helps maintain the right acid-alkaline balance in the body. Calcium absorption is very important in children when bones are growing an the elderly when there is decrease of calcium absorption. After the menopause, there can be calcium imbalance, probably due to the loss of oestrogen, although this is also true for too much oeastrogen which makes arthritis worse. Really it is all about the right balance.

Calcium plays a role in:

• strengthening bones and teeth

• regulating muscle functioning, such as contraction and relaxation

• regulating heart functioning

• blood clotting

• transmission of nervous system messages

• enzyme function.

In contrary to what many people think, milk and cheese are not the only sources of calcium. We can absorb the necessary calcium and magnesium from pulses, vegetables and nuts, whole grains and water. Our body's ability to use calcium depends also on its absorption. Vitamin D is fundamental for calcium absorption, while consumption of alcohol, too much coffee, tea, chocolate, excessive stress, exposure to lead, excessive protein consumption, lack of exercise, and of course, lack of vitamin D, disrupt the calcium balance in the body.

Calcium deficiency and osteoporosis

Deficiency of calcium can cause symptoms of insomnia, nervousness, joint pain, muscle cramps, osteoarthritis, tooth decay and high blood pressure. Calcium deficiency is known to be the cause of osteoporosis, although, this is apparently connected with protein and excess hormone imbalances. Hormones control the calcium balance in the body. If out of balance, the bones and joints can become porous and be more fragile. Lower estrogen levels appear to make it harder for bone to reproduce, this is why osteoporosis is connected with menopause and women.

A number of risk factors for osteoporosis have been identified, and these includes bone structure: being tall (over 5 feet 7 inches) or slim (weighing under 125 pounds) increases the risk, ethnicity: white people and Asians are more susceptible than other ethnic groups, fracture history, tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol intake, inactivity or immobility, low levels of calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D, due to dietary factors, malabsorption problems, or the use of some medications. The stress placed on the bones by weight-bearing exercise helps prevent osteoporosis and this encourages bone growth.

Good sources of calcium

Getting calcium from foods is a much better choice, although calcium supplements are widely available. If you do need to take extra calcium from supplements, it is important to know how much calcium you need and you are ingesting. Calcium intake at levels of 2,000 mg or more through supplementation may be of concern. Make sure you don’t take more than the amount recommended on the bottle. The recommended daily intake (RDI) of calcium is an average of 1,000 mg per day for adults depending on age.

Too much calcium may cause gastrointestinal upsets, such as bloating and constipation. A report published in 2010, and widely reported in the media, found a possible link between calcium supplements and an increased risk of heart disease – particularly in older women. The levels of calcium intake of participants in the trials reviewed were up to 2,400 mg a day, achieved by taking supplements.

Further research is required, but currently the British Heart Foundation recommends calcium supplementation if supervised by your doctor.

Calcium and magnesium are found in vegetables such as kale, cabbage and root vegetables, nuts and seeds.

 Beside milk, yoghurt, cheese and buttermilk, calcium is found in leafy green vegetables – broccoli, collards (cabbage family), bok choy, Chinese cabbage and spinach. As explained above, the ability of our body to absorb calcium is what really matter, rather than only the food eaten, for example,  one cup of cooked spinach contains 100 mg, but due to the high concentration of oxalate, (a compound in spinach that reduces calcium absorption) only five per cent of this may be absorbed.  By contrast, one cup of cooked broccoli contains about 45 mg of calcium, but the absorption from broccoli is much higher at around 50–60 per cent.
Beside milk, yoghurt, cheese and buttermilk, calcium is found in leafy green vegetables – broccoli, collards (cabbage family), bok choy, Chinese cabbage and spinach. As explained above, the ability of our body to absorb calcium is what really matter, rather than only the food eaten, for example, one cup of cooked spinach contains 100 mg, but due to the high concentration of oxalate, (a compound in spinach that reduces calcium absorption) only five per cent of this may be absorbed. By contrast, one cup of cooked broccoli contains about 45 mg of calcium, but the absorption from broccoli is much higher at around 50–60 per cent.

Nuts and seeds are a very good source of calcium, especially almonds (15 almonds contain about 40 mg of calcium) and sesame seed and paste (tahini), brazil nuts.

If you consume soy and tofu (make sure they are non GMO), these are a good source of calcium. Soya products and other food can also be found in the market calcium-fortified – including breakfast cereals, fruit juices and bread.

Fish, including sardines and salmon also are a source of calcium.

Dairy products industry, Cows and digestion.

There are some substances that don't agree with our body for various reasons, be it a personal intolerance or a general difficulty for the body to digest.

It is known that dairy products and cow's milk are mucous-forming. This mucous forms in our digestive systems and it can manifest issues related to that system, it can then move up to the lungs forming phlegm and catarrh or it can manifest through the skin, which is an excretory system, as the body tries to eliminate what does't agree with it.

Of course nowadays we are also becoming aware of the dairy industry's practices, the cruelties that the animals go through and the substances that are consequently found in the milk. These include hormones, genetically modified substances fed to cows, antibiotics (cows are in such a state of distress and disease that they are continually being injected with antibiotic medicines to deal with their chronic infections), and the toxins (pus)* in infected milk due to mastitis (an incredibly painful infection) as cows are forced into a state of constant pregnancy in order to produce the milk for our consumption..... yeah A BIG BUSINESS!

All of these substances are passed into the milk which is full of toxins due to chronic inflammation affecting the cows. Personally I would also consider the energetic memory of these animal's life which we introduce into our body.

What happened to the Sacred Cow? Still honored in many cultures, the caw was venerated and considered a deity. Think of Hathor in ancient Egypt, the mother of all Gods and Goddesses, from who's breasts the Milky Way is produced and who gives birth to Horus-Ra the sun god, the golden calf. And in India, still today, in Hinduism, Kali is symbolized as a moon cow, white horned and milk-giving.

Nowadays we have amazing knowledge which allows us to make choices moving forward. If you love dairy and are still concerned about your calcium intake, I am not suggesting you never eat them again! Eliminating them for three weeks will help determine if they are a cause of your breakouts. If after three weeks of no dairy, no new spots have appeared when they normally would, then you have a good chance to know the cause. This will empower you, just like the ladies in the testimonials, to make an informed decision next time you are in front of cheese, and think to yourself "is it really worth a cyst...I am going out tomorrow night and I am not going to risk!" This process will help understand your body's tolerance, and even if you reintroduce them slowly after three weeks, then you know what to expect.

I love chocolate so much but I know for every chocolate comes a spot!! Now I only eat alternatives, milk free, raw and no sugar. I can still enjoy chocolate but feeling safe I will not get spots! There are many amazing ones in the market, my favorite ones got to be booja booja!!!

* National averages show at least 322 million cell-counts of pus per glass! This is well-above the human limit for pus-intake, and has been directly linked to paratuberculosis bacteria, as well as Crohn’s disease. The pus comes from infected udders on the cows known as mastitis.


Holford Patrick, New Optimim Nutrition Bible, 2004

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Nov 8 2017 09:00AM

Yoga teacher Emma Klein shares a tasty (optionally vegan and gluten free) chocolate cake recipe to treat yourself in the chilly days ahead...

Finding easy cake recipes can sometimes be tough, and finding one that is vegan and gluten free while still being super tasty is even harder.

This is one of my favourite recipes for two reasons:

• Everything happens in the same bowl; mixing, baking, serving. So, there are no extra dishes that need cleaning

• It's easy to convert to Gluten free or Vegan without sacrificing flavour.


3c flour (I like Dove's farm - Gluten Free White Flour Blend)

2c sugar (Unrefined Demera is great for this)

½tsp salt

5Tbls cocoa powder

1tsp bi-carb

½c oil (any vegetable or seed oil will work, stay away from Olive)

2Tbls vinegar (any white vinegar, spirit, white wine, etc stay away from Balsamic)

3tsp vanilla essence/ 1tsp vanilla paste

2c water

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC. Put the dry ingredients into the dish you plan to bake and serve the cake in (approx 35x25cm) and mix well.

Make three holes in the dry ingredients and add the oil, vinegar and water to each hole, sprinkling the vanilla on top. Mix well but work quickly.

Bake for 20-25 min or until a skewer comes out clean.

For the Icing

½c butter or dairy free substitute

4Tbls cocoa powder

3Tbls water

1½c icing sugar

Once the cake comes out the oven, mix the ingredients together and pour over the top of the cake while it is still cooling so that it sinks in and turn the whole cake into a gooey chocolate delight.

Can be served hot as a pudding with ice-cream as soon as you've added the icing, or leave it to cool completely and serve it cold as a cake.



• working quickly to mix the wet and dry ingredients is key, as the minute the vinegar hits the mixture it will react with the bicarb

• the wider your dish the faster the mixture will cook, and therefore the narrower the dish the longer it will take. So, keep an eye on it


• substituting 2tbls of the water for coffee, gives the cake a richer flavour

• substituting 1 cup of flour for 1 cup ground almonds

• substituting ½cup flour for ½cup desiccated coconut

• add ½cup of roughly chopped dried sour cherries or blueberries (don't use fresh fruit) to the dry mix to give some variety to the mix

• this can be used for a vanilla cake

o in the cake mix substitute the cocoa powder for flour

o for the icing substitute the cocoa powder for icing sugar and add 1tsp of vanilla extract

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Jan 18 2017 11:00AM

Here comes another yummy face pack for natural, healthy skin from our resident skincare expert, Veronica Massa.

This month's recipe is for dry skin. perfect for the winter months, when the skin tends to dry out and de-hydrate due to cold, wind and also central heating.

All the good and nutritious lovely fruits in your kitchen can actually be used, with effective results, also on your skin! Face packs are a gentler version of face mask. They work in a similar manner by improving circulation, cleansing, tightening and nourishing the skin. Face packs are more porous than face masks and allow the skin to breathe, so they can be left on much longer.


AVOCADO FACE PACK with few variations to suit your skin type.


Mash the flesh of a ripe avocado (only what you need, a quarter or half should be enough depending on size) using a fork. Apply it to the skin and carry on reading your book...... in 30 minutes your skin will have absorbed all the precious nutrients it needs and will feel soft and velvety! Rinse your face with lukewarm water, use cotton wool balls dipped in water if you prefer.

It is recommended to tone your skin with Rose Water (Purity Rose Toner by Massaholistics is a high quality flower water blended with antioxidant, rejuvenating plant extracts).

For combination skin:

Add to the avocado 1 tablespoon of natural yogurt and mix to a smooth paste. Again, apply to the skin and leave for 30 minutes. Rinse your face with lukewarm water.

For ageing skin:

Add to the avocado 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 beaten egg yolk and mix (or only the honey if you prefer). You can also add a teaspoon of olive oil or other cold pressed vegetable oil of your choice. Apply to the skin and leave for 30 minutes Rinse your face with lukewarm water.

This recipe is offered by Veronica Massa, the creator of Massaholistics - natural remedies & skincare. Veronica is a dedicated, passionate and intuitive therapist, specialized in Facial Rejuvenation and skincare, Facial reflexology and Oriental Aromatherapy.

Veronica is running a self-care facial workshop on Sunday January 29th

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