Feel Good Berry Smoothie

by Susan Smith in

Bio-tiful’s organic kefir is made from organic whole milk from my beloved Riverford Organic Farmers’ own dairy herd. Kefir is a two thousand year old, bio-live, smooth, tangy, cultured milk drink that’s long been revered in Russia and Eastern Europe for its health benefits because it’s full of beneficial bacteria a.k.a ‘friendly’ or ‘helpful’ bacteria (the good guys) that help displace the harmful bacteria (the bad guys) in your gut. 

For people who are less than vigilant about eating healthily, the bad guys have no problem invading your body via your bloodstream causing chronic inflammation and ultimately disease. The good guys in kefir (known as probiotics) help to protect the delicate cells lining the gut, to efficiently move food through the gut, to synthesise certain vitamins and to ferment indigestible foods. In short, they are essential for good digestive health, strengthening the immune system, improving nutrient uptake and the absorption of minerals.

In addition to organic kefir, I’ve used raw organic milk (you can use goat’s, cow’s, coconut or homemade nut milk), fresh organic blueberries and frozen organic mixed berries. I then supercharged my Feel Good Berry Smoothie with a powerful antioxidant powder to create the most delightfully cool and luscious, nutritious drink. 

The word kefir means ‘feel good’ in Turkish. Precisely so. I find this quick-to-make Feel Good Berry Smoothie the most cheerfully delicious, fruit-packed way to energise my day. 

Feel Good Berry Smoothie (makes 2 large glasses)


250ml Bio-tiful kefir (or natural coconut yogurt)

250ml organic raw whole milk (or other milk of choice e.g. coconut, almond, tiger nut cashew etc.)

150g organic mixed frozen berries (I used Duchy Organic Berry Mix)

125g fresh organic blueberries

2 small/medium organic bananas

2 tsp organic Berry Radical Antioxidant Powder or organic Amla Powder (Indian Gooseberry powder)

2-3 drops natural liquid steviaoptional



Using a high-power blender, whizz all the ingredients together for about 30 seconds until smooth and creamy. 

Pour into two tall glasses and don’t wait to enjoy!


Carbohydrate 43g Protein 20g - per large glass serving

'In The Pink' Vegetable Juice

by Susan Smith in

I’ve recently been watching a 9-part educational series called ‘The Truth About Cancer’, which has been my inspiration for today’s super juice recipe. Ty Bollinger’s self-learning programme offers hope for anyone diagnosed with cancer and for the people who love and care for them. It’s currently estimated that half the world’s population will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their life and the truth is, there are many powerful, natural cancer preventions that we’re not being told about.

It’s by no means the full story, but it comes as no surprise to me that one of the most powerful and simplest ways to avoid cancer, or beat it if you have it, is through super nutrition and diet.

Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” The trouble is, the food industry pays no attention to health, and the health industry pays no attention to food.

The convenience foods most people are sold on and the allopathic medicines we’re routinely prescribed are chock-a-block with unnatural, man-made chemicals that are alien to the body. Namely; herbicides, pesticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, preservatives, refined sugar, glutamates, artificial colours, flavour enhancers as well as chemically-engineered crops and genetically modified, hydrogenated seed and vegetable oils. No wonder we get sick.

If you want to stay healthy and protect yourself against disease and premature ageing, your best strategy is to take control of what goes into your body. Let the recipes on this site be your inspiration. Eat real, organically-grown food and stop eating sugar and sugar-forming foods (high carbohydrate food and too much meat). We all have cancer cells in our body all of the time, which are normally kept under control by our immune system. However, when you’re getting too much sugar, insulin levels in the body rise and over time, your body cells’ insulin receptors burn-out and you end up with high blood sugar. High blood sugar is the precursor to Type 2 diabetes, cancer and other scary diseases. Eating too much sugar not only feeds cancer, it causes cancer cells to replicate and curbs the immune system that would otherwise attack and destroy abnormal cells.

Switching your body’s energy supply from sugar to fat makes sense because cancer cells cannot use fat for fuel.

Healthy fats, e.g. organic grass-fed butter and ghee, cold-pressed coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, wild salmon fish oil, avocado, walnut and macadamia oils are in fact vital to health and well-being.

Once you’ve eliminated the crap from your diet, it’s time to overdose on nature’s disease-fighting foods to build, or re-build, a healthy immune system. Eating a rainbow of raw, fresh, organic fruit and vegetables will kick-start the process. The way to get the maximum possible amount of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amazing phytochemicals into your body is by juicing (I use the Angel cold-press juicer) and for soups and smoothies, a high power blender (I use a Vitamix machine). These machines are expensive but for good-value nutrition, they’re worth every penny.

Earthy yet sweet-tasting, this vibrant looking ‘In The Pink’ Vegetable Juice packs a powerful punch of cancer-fighting nutrients like vitamins C, A and E, beta-carotene, folic acid and potassium that will boost energy levels and help safeguard you from cancer and other diseases. It’s truly a way to drink yourself better and to stay young.

‘In The Pink’ Vegetable Juice - makes 2 servings


4 organic carrots - unpeeled

1 organic beetroot (with leaves if possible) - unpeeled

2 sticks organic celery (with leaves if possible) 

1 organic yellow pepper - including stem and seeds

1 organic red pepper - including stem and seeds 

I thick wedge of organic green cabbage

1 organic cooking apple - unpeeled and uncored 


Roughly slice all the vegetables into largish pieces that will fit the feeder tube of your juicer, then juice away as per your machine manufacturer’s instructions. N.B. We find alternating between soft and hard veggies and fruits makes the juicing process easier. 

Pour into 2 tall glasses and drink immediately to retain all the life-enhancing vitamins, minerals and phytochemical goodness (the washing-up can wait!)


In most cases, when you’re preparing organic fruits and vegetables there’s no need to peel, trim or core before juicing. Just a quick wash or wipe over and you’re ready to go. 

For several years I stopped using my Angel juicer and making multiple-fruit smoothies in my Vitamix. The reason? I suffered an acute inflammatory response to the massive hit of fruit sugar in my daily smoothie, which developed into a painful, itchy, debilitating skin-rash. This only went away when I started eating a low-carb, Primal diet, which is how I came to start writing Primal Plate’s blog. In retrospect, there was no need for me to throw the baby out with the bath water! Learning from my mistake, I now make predominantly vegetable-based juices because too much fruit = too much fructose (fruit sugar) = insulin resistance = disease! 


Carbohydrate 24g Protein 4g - per serving

Almond Milk

by Susan Smith in ,

Almond milk and other milk alternatives are becoming increasingly popular as people turn their backs on dairy in search of a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. I personally enjoy cow’s milk and other dairy products but this is conditional upon the milk, butter and cheese being organic, grass-fed, full-fat, vegetarian (no animal rennet in my cheese please!) and preferably raw (unpasteurised).

Mass produced dairy products involve the use of antibiotics, bovine growth and milk producing hormones, feeding cows an unnatural diet of soy and other grains that have been grown with fertilisers and pesticides, and continuous milking, even throughout pregnancy. Treating dairy cows as mere ‘milking-machines’ rather than as intelligent animals, forces the animal to overproduce milk and robs mothers of their baby calves - the male calves (considered a waste product of the dairy industry) are shot, and the females are reared only to suffer the same fate as their mother. From a human health perspective, the cheap milk that’s produced is not only nutritionally inferior, it is also contaminated with the hormones, antibiotics and other toxic chemicals that have been forced upon these suffering animals throughout their short lives.

Unfortunately, most industrially-produced alternatives to dairy milk are not as healthful as you might imagine. Firstly, there is never a good reason to drink soy milk. But also shop-bought almond, rice and oat milks are frequently packed with chemicals - flavourings, thickeners, sugar or toxic sugar substitutes like aspartame. Organic coconut milk is a healthy drink but only reliably so if it’s free from BPA (a potential toxic found in the lining of canned goods containing coconut milk, soup, tomatoes etc.) and guar gum (that can cause digestive problems). As far as I’m concerned, if it’s a choice between factory-farming or industrially-processed dairy substitutes, they can all milk off! 

Fortunately, with just two ingredients, a decent blender and a nut milk bag it’s easy to make a healthier, better tasting ‘milk’ at home by simply blitzing nuts with water. 

Rich and creamy almond milk can be drunk straight, in tea or coffee, poured over Primal Plate’s Nut & Seed Granola or as a substitute for cow’s milk in recipes for soups, smoothies, shakes, sauces, ice creams etc. It is particularly good when made into our Cream of Cauliflower Soup

A delicious health-food option for everyone, I think nut milks are an absolute boon for vegans, anyone who is lactose intolerant and not least of all, cows! 

Almond Milk (makes 750ml)


200g raw, organic, unblanched almonds, soaked overnight in cold water

600ml freshly filtered cold water (see note below)



The next day, drain the soaked almonds and rinse well under cold water. Drain again.

Tip the almonds into a blender and pour in 600ml of filtered cold water. Blitz for 3-4 minutes until completely homogenised and smooth.

Open up the nut milk bag and set it inside a medium sized mixing bowl. Pour the mixture from the blender directly into the bag. 

Tighten the tie at the top of the bag to hold everything inside, then using your hands firmly squeeze out all the liquid until you’re left with only dry almond pulp.

Transfer the milk into a lidded glass jar or bottle and chill. 

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Stir or shake well before using. 



The above recipe is for unsweetened almond milk. To sweeten, add 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or raw organic runny honey) and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 2 roughly chopped stoneless Medjool dates to the soaked almonds and water before blending. Alternatively, add organic liquid stevia to the finished milk to taste (approx 4-6 drops). 

You can make cashew nut, macadamia nut, hazelnut, tiger nut (see our recipe for Horchata) and coconut milk (with organic coconut chips instead of nuts) using the exact same method.

I strongly recommend freshly filtered water for making nut milks. I think this warrants the separate blog post entitled ‘Cool, Clear, Water’ to tell you why and how!


Carbohydrate 2g Protein 2g - per 100ml serving (unsweetened)

Cool, Clear Water

by Susan Smith in

Hands up anyone who’s purchased a water-filter jug and thought that this meant they’d subsequently be drinking purified tap water. Me too! 

However, a couple of months ago, I received an unsolicited email that made me think again. I sort of knew from experience that my Brita filtered water wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be because a) in my opinion the water didn’t taste that great and b) it was often contaminated with small granules of dark sediment (presumably charcoal from out of the filters). It’s always disconcerting peering into a glass or mug of water that you’re about to drink when it’s got black bits in, so inevitably it was thrown away.

Three hours of in-depth online research later, and I knew why I’d been feeling peeved with my jug filter. To cut a long story short, the water filter jug being promoted in the email as a superior alternative to Brita also, according to reviews, had serious limitations. No matter, by this time I was on red-alert to all the nasties potentially still lurking in our drinking water and I was determined to find a solution because, when all is said and done, I really don’t want myself or my family to be swallowing any chlorine, chlorination by-products, fluoride, VOCs, pesticides, particulates and pharmaceuticals thank you very much!

Turns out that those in the know recommend gravity-fed water filters (not jugs!) for people who don’t have the space or the funds to install a whole-house filtration system. A brief and helpful phone call with Osmio Water Technology later verified my findings, and consequently I am now the proud owner of the Propur™ Big Stainless Steel Gravity Filter System (thanks Mark!).

I couldn’t wait to taste the difference - though please don’t do what I did, which was to sample the water before we’d flushed the filters out a couple of times - however, since our Propur water filter was fully primed and operational, the pristine quality of the water we now enjoy tells me that, over my lifetime, I must have unwittingly drunk an awful lot of sub-standard, nay toxic, beverages! 

Part of the blessing and curse of being an ardent foodie is a heightened sensitivity to taste and smell. However, this means that by taste and smell alone, I can affirm that the Propur gravity-fed water filter really does do what it says it will. My hitherto daggy tap water has been magically transformed into something akin to drinking liquid fresh air! 

As a cook, all of this makes me really happy - better tasting Nespresso, cups of tea, homemade soups, sauces, smoothies, nut milks and last but not least, just plain, cool, clear old water out of the tap is finally making a comeback as something pleasurable to drink. I can highly recommend. Click here to buy the Coldstream Sentry Gravity Water System.

Fiery Ginger Ale

by Susan Smith in

I’m feeling disgruntled. A couple of months ago, sick of suffering leg cramps and night-after-night of disturbed sleep, I decided I’d better monitor my alcohol consumption. Don’t get me wrong, two or three small (less than 100ml) glasses of wine whilst preparing and eating our main meal of the day to help me ‘wind down’, didn’t seem excessive to me. In fact, I was convinced that if there was a downside to my relatively miserly alcohol intake, it was probably doing me less harm than sitting and stewing in my own stress hormones at the end of a hard day! I was deluded. Alcohol, even within the UK government’s drinking guidelines (3 units per day for women, 4 for men), is toxic to my system. A unit, by the way is 70ml (I always thought it was a small glass of wine as defined by bars and restaurants, namely 125ml!)

I’ve since discovered that the maximum amount of alcohol I can tolerate without any apparent adverse consequences is about 125-170ml of 11-12.5% table wine. Pathetic or what? I mean, how can you party? Still, as much as I might balk at the situation, it was timely that a BBC Horizon programme, broadcast on 20th May 2015, entitled ‘Is Binge Drinking Really That Bad?’ validated what I already knew. And, to give you the heads-up, binge drinking most certainly is bad! You can follow this link to check out the definition of binge drinking and the effect of your drinking habit.

But, the party still goes on - so, notwithstanding the odd glass of 11% ABV Prosecco, I now feel compelled to search out, test and/or create Primal-friendly mocktails: low-sugar, low-carb, non-alcoholic drinks - or at least alcoholic drinks with greater fluid content, which don’t get absorbed into your bloodstream so quickly, and hopefully last longer in your glass - so that I, and everyone else whose brain says “yes” but whose body is telling them “no”, can still feel like they’re part of the celebration.

Whether mixing cocktails or mocktails, a successful outcome isn’t so much about the headline ingredient - whether fruit or alcohol based - because both the taste and ‘fizz’ factor of your drink depends more on the quality of your mixer. This is tricky if you don’t want to load up on sugar and carbs, because it’s really difficult to find natural, sugar-free, low-carb ginger beer or ale, tonic water or lemonade for sale here in the UK. In my view, shop-bought, sugar-laden or artificially sweetened ‘soft’ drinks, colas, sodas and other mixers are completely unfit for human consumption!

Fever-Tree is the one exception I’ve found, which I think stands head and shoulders above the rest because it boasts the best ingredients, is all-natural and is relatively low-carb. Their Naturally Light Tonic Water and Naturally Light Ginger Beer are both sweetened with natural fruit sugar (pure fructose, not nasty high fructose corn-syrup) rather than the likes of “Ssh you know who”, whose slimline versions of these drinks contain the deadly artificial sweetener and neuro-toxin aspartame and saccharin. Remember that next time you’re out at a bar or pub!

Whilst it’s always best to get your fruit sugar (fructose) from fresh food (and to eat your carbohydrates rather than to drink them), Fever-Tree’s recipe for Naturally Light Gin & Tonic passes musters (2 units of alcohol and 6g carbohydrate per drink), so I’ve included it on my ‘allowed' list on the basis that one double G&T is my absolute limit (special note to Sarah, who’s been badgering me to lift the ban on Gin & Tonic for a long time!) Meanwhile, Fever-Tree’s Naturally Light Ginger Beer really stands up well against the flavour profile of my homemade Fiery Ginger Ale, so for sheer convenience and an enlivening ‘fizz’, go buy.

Other healthy mixers (no added sugar, zero carbs) include seltzer water, soda water, sparkling water, mineral water, club soda or just fizzy water! Basically these are all carbonated water. Some have carbon dioxide pumped into them, like my favourite San Pellegrino, to make them effervescent and others, such as Perrier, are naturally carbonated.

Our non-alcoholic, low-sugar, Fiery Ginger Ale needs a grown-up ginger ale concentrate as its base. I do so love the fantastically refreshing, spicy-heat of this cooling ginger ale (I know that sounds contradictory, but it’s true) that I could almost be persuaded to go tea-total! I’ve added fresh lemongrass to underline the citrusy aromas of fresh ginger and a pinch of chilli flakes to give extra kick to ginger’s heat. To sweeten my concentrate, I’ve used zero-carb liquid stevia in combination with raw honey (rather than using all honey or coconut palm sugar) because this effectively halves the grams of carbohydrate. Yey! only 1g carb per drink! It also minimises the potential aftertaste of stevia.

If further justification was needed, ginger is also really good for you. It’s an anti-inflammatory (that should take care of the inflammatory effects of alcohol then!) settles an upset stomach - including motion sickness, morning sickness, vomiting, nausea and loss of appetite - strengthens the immune system (brilliant treatment for colds and flu), lowers cholesterol, improves circulation, aids digestion and protects against cancer.

A brighter future for social drinkers starts here. Cheers!

Fiery Ginger Ale is perfect served in a long glass with plenty of ice - sunshine optional!

Fiery Ginger Ale is perfect served in a long glass with plenty of ice - sunshine optional!

Fiery Ginger Ale (makes approx 24 fl oz = 10 to 12 drinks)

Ingredients - for the concentrate 

200g (8oz) fresh ginger, sliced

1 stalk lemongrass, cut into small pieces

½ tsp organic chilli flakes

900ml (32 fl oz) filtered water

1 tablespoon raw organic clear honey + 8 drops liquid stevia


Instructions - for the concentrate

In a medium saucepan, combine water and ginger over high heat. Once boiling, turn heat to very low, cover with the pan lid and leave to just barely simmer for one hour. 

Take off the heat and let stand for another 30 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve. 

Stir in honey and liquid stevia, then cool completely. This is your ginger concentrate.

Pour it into a covered container and keep chilled. 


To Serve (makes 1 drink)

Put a handful (half a dozen) ice cubes into a highball glass (a tall, 250ml glass tumbler). Add 60ml ginger concentrate and 15ml (1tbsp) lime juice 

Fill the rest of the glass with 200ml of soda water or sparkling mineral water.  

Decorate with a sprig of fresh mint and enjoy!

Tiger Nut Horchata

by Susan Smith in

In the heat of summer our thoughts are often wont to turn to ice cream. However, with my new found friend the tiger nut, otherwise known as chufa (pronounced Choo-fah), I’ve discovered a serious contender when making my first batch of ice-cold Tiger Nut Horchata. There can simply be nothing more refreshing, or good for you, than downing a glass of this Spanish-style refreshment on a hot day.

Tiger Nut Horchata a.k.a. tiger nut milk is a delicious creamy, milk-like drink that can be best described as ‘liquid gold’ for the health conscious. Tasting so good and loaded with resistant starch, raw tiger nut milk (and whole organic tiger nuts eaten as a snack) are a veritable powerhouse of nutrients (see my last two blog posts for more information). Suffice to say, tiger nuts are an original Paleo superfood with a ratio of carbohydrates, fats and protein so similar to human breast milk it almost beggars belief. Tiger nuts are, after all, just a brown, wrinkly vegetable tuber!

In spite of its name, tiger nut milk is both nut and dairy free, which is an absolute boon for people who are lactose intolerant or who suffer from a nut allergy. It’s also gluten-free so coeliacs needn’t go without either. You can use Tiger Nut Horchata as a milk replacement in tea, coffee, poured over our Nut & Seed Granola for breakfast, and pretty much for everything that calls for normal milk. Naturally sweet, tiger nut milk is non-allergic, safe for diabetics and, since tiger nuts do not contain inflammatory omega-6 fats, Tiger Nut Horchata makes for a much healthier alternative to dairy milk or other nut milks.

Most recipes I’ve found for Tiger Nut Horchata (Horchata de Chufa) are full of refined sugar (up to 200g of sugar per 250g of tiger nuts) but because tiger nuts are intrinsically sweet-tasting, I think it’s debatable whether tiger nut milk actually needs any added sugar at all. In the end I decided to stay true to Spanish tradition (I confess my tiger nut milk did taste a little ‘thin’ without) but I have so moderated the amount and type of sweetener in my Tiger Nut Horchata, it still faithfully follows Primal and Paleo dietary guidelines. My sweeteners of choice in this unique recipe are small amounts of raw organic honey and liquid stevia, which both make the grade (to see why, please read The Definitive Guide To Sugar on Mark’s Daily Apple). The end result is a slightly thickened, rich, creamy, sweet (but not too sweet), seriously satisfying vegetable milk that’s fit for the gods.

Using heathy sweeteners rather than refined sugar, I can well imagine Tiger Nut Horchata justifiably becoming the world’s next healthy-drink ‘craze’. And, with that thought, I drink to your good health. Salud!

Tiger Nut Horchata (makes 1000ml / 1 litre)


250g organic tiger nuts, covered with cold water by 5cm (2”) and left to soak overnight at room temperature

1000ml (1 litre) fresh, filtered water

40ml raw organic liquid honey (I used mild-tasting Raw Health organic acacia flower honey)

2 drops liquid stevia (*see note below for Vegan Tiger Nut Horchata) 

Organic ground cinnamon

Fresh ice cubes

Whole cinnamon stick(s), if liked



Take your Nut Milk Bag and set it over a deep bowl. 

Drain the tiger nuts, rinse them well under cold water then drain again and tip into the blender container. Add the filtered water, the honey and 2 drops of liquid stevia, then secure the lid and blend on high speed until completely homogenised and smooth - this will take about 3-4 minutes (depending on your blender). After blending, if the mixture seems a little too hot to handle, allow it to cool down before proceeding to the next step.

Carefully pour the blended tiger nut mixture into the nut milk bag, tighten the tie at the top of the bag to hold everything inside, then using your hands firmly squeeze out all the liquid until you’re left with only dry tiger nut pulp.

Cover the bowl containing the tiger nut milk and cool completely, then transfer to a glass bottle or lidded container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

To serve, third-fill a glass with ice (small ice cubes are best), shake or stir your chilled horchata well then pour over the ice and sprinkle a large pinch of organic ground cinnamon on top (**see note below) 

For a final flourish, add a whole cinnamon stick to each glass and use as a swizzle stick to distribute the cinnamon flavour throughout your drink.  


You’ll need a powerful blender and a strong Nut Milk Bag to ensure this simple Tiger Nut Horchata recipe is a breeze for you to make on a regular basis. You can use 2 or 3 layers of wet cheesecloth or cotton muslin to strain your tiger nut milk through but the Nut Milk Bag sold by Love Tree Products is strong, re-usable and easy to clean. it also produces a silky-smooth milk with no bits in it. I personally wouldn't want the mess, the faff or the unpredictability of making a DIY version!

*To make Tiger Nut Horchata vegan, simply leave out the raw honey and double the drops of liquid stevia (to 4) for the same level of sweetness.

It’s recommended you don’t discard the tiger nut pulp, instead dry it out in an oven and use as a substitute for desiccated coconut. Alternatively, convert into nutritious Tiger Nut Energy Balls

** I actually prefer to put my refrigerated horchata into a blender with half dozen ice cubes and whizz together for about 10 seconds to break up the ice for a super-cold drink that doesn’t smack you around the mouth with ice cubes every time you take a sip (it was Sarah that insisted I put a single ice cube in the glass for the photographs!) You can also put the horchata into the freezer for about an hour to turn it into a ‘slushy’. Which suggests to me that I should be creating a tiger-nut-milk-based recipe for ice cream, sooner rather than later!

To calculate the carbohydrate content of this recipe I’ve referenced whole tiger nuts, not tiger nut milk. Although carb grams per serving looks relatively high, there is a significant amount of tiger nut sediment that’s discarded after squeezing out the milk. Also, some of the carbohydrate content in raw tiger nuts is in the form of a unique fibre known as resistant starch, which cannot be absorbed by the body in the process of digestion. This means it passes through your system without deleterious effects on blood sugar or insulin levels. Similarly, you don’t obtain significant calories from resistant starch either.

However, resistant starch is a highly beneficial pre-biotic that feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut, which in turn provides numerous health benefits that can ultimately assist in weight loss. Your healthy gut flora actually need this ‘food’ to survive and thrive, Thus, Tiger Nut Horchata is recommended for even the most carb sensitive individual. Even if you are trying to lose weight, it’s more important to focus on eating real, nutritious food than to worry unduly about counting grams of carbohydrate or calories. The message is: ditch all grains, legumes, refined sugar and unhealthy processed seed oils and fats, and your carbohydrate and calorie intake will happily take care of itself!

Caution: Tiger nuts and tiger nut flour have very high amounts of resistant starch which, if you’re not used to, can cause discomfort and bloating when eaten in large amounts. It is therefore advised that you slowly introduce resistant starch into your diet (less than a teaspoon per day) and gradually increase your tolerance to your particular comfort level, which will hopefully be about 15-30 grams a day. 


Carbohydrate 55g Protein 5g - per 250ml serving of Tiger Nut Horchata (without ice)

Raw Chocolate Banana Milkshake

by Susan Smith in

Oh heck! I never meant to get into nutritional science but fear I have to in order to persuade you to eat your carbohydrates!

A food blogger that champions all things ‘low-carb’ and then, on the face of it, appears to do a u-turn by subsequently suggesting you eat high-carb, starchy foods might seem to have gone a bit ‘bananas’. Which is, as I shall reveal later in this post, quite literally true!

There are three increasingly popular buzz-words flying around at the moment that are relatively new as far as my understanding goes - probiotics, prebiotics and resistant starch - all three are absolutely essential for a healthy digestive system and long-term health. Here’s why…

Probiotics are types of ‘living’ friendly bacteria, like those that inhabit your gut. They’re found in cultured and fermented foods such as yogurt, buttermilk and sauerkraut. Probiotics help control the bad bacteria in your gut and allow the good bacteria to proliferate.

Prebiotics are ‘non-living’ carbohydrates that feed probiotics. They’re found in legumes (non-Primal) whole-wheat products (non-Primal) Jerusalem artichokes, chicory root, onions, cabbage, asparagus and leeks - although you’d need to eat a significant amount of these prebiotic foods in their raw state to achieve the recommended daily amount of prebiotic fibre. Not the easiest, nor the most pleasant, thing to accomplish!

Resistant starch is a prebiotic that has unique health benefits. Basically, it is the undigested part of starchy carbohydrate food that passes through the digestive tract unchanged, which is why it’s called ‘resistant starch’. It is good news for people following a low-carbohydrate diet or those trying to lose weight, because resistant starch can’t be digested and absorbed as glucose (like other carbohydrates are), instead it becomes food for bacteria. Nevertheless, it does increase a sense of fullness, which helps people eat less. It also improves insulin sensitivity, lowers blood sugar levels and improves metabolism. 

To be perfectly honest though, it’s taken me a while to get to grips with the idea that starch of any description can be good for you. Having eschewed all high-carbohydrate food for almost two years I was borderline paranoid in my resistance to resistant-starch - such is my fear of carbohydrates and the havoc they have wreaked on my body over the years. 

Sarah still has to be persuaded, though I’m hoping that this blog post might convince her that it’s not only okay, but actually advisable to eat resistant starch. There are 4 types:

RS Type 1 – is found in beans, grains, and seeds, which can’t be digested because the starch is bound-up within fibrous cell walls. 

RS Type 2 – found in raw potatoes and unripe bananas, which in their raw state are intrinsically indigestible.

RS Type 3 – found in cooked and cooled white potatoes and white rice, the cooling process (called retrogradation) changes the structure of the food so that digestible starch becomes resistant starch - that’s a green light for home-made potato salad and sushi then!

RS Type 4 – an unnatural, man-made chemically modified resistant starch (sounds unpleasant!)

I originally thought combining cooked and chilled potato (chilled = refrigerated) and green banana flour would be a clever way to get a double-whammy of resistant starch in a Primal/Paleo-friendly potato gnocchi recipe. However, I’m still in the process of working this through. Subjecting resistant starch to temperatures exceeding 130℉ degrades it. On the other hand, retrograded starch (the cooked and chilled type) is supposedly maintained if it’s subsequently re-heated - at least when re-heated gently. Whilst all the banana flour nutrients including potassium are retained during cooking, I don’t want to risk nullifying the resistant starch in my potato gnocchi so, until it’s tried and tested, the jury’s still out. If it does work - meaning my gnocchi cooks and stays intact in less than barely simmering water - I’ll be posting the recipe soon!

Meanwhile, supplementation is the easiest way to reliably get enough resistant starch into your diet. To this end I have developed a totally moreish Raw Chocolate Banana Milkshake - a delicious milk smoothie that contains a healthy quota of green banana resistant starch, and tastes so good that it has quickly earned its place as my preferred breakfast. Must be addictive, because it’s the thing I most look forward to before falling asleep at night! 

I have been trialling green banana flour for the past week. I started with a full tablespoon (about 10g -15g) as a supplement from Day 1. Caution: If you are suffering with any digestive issues such as gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea or constipation, build your tolerance slowly - start with half a teaspoon and gradually increase the amount up to the optimum (15g to 30g) over a few weeks. 

After several days, I get a sense that everything is functioning better and moving more efficiently - although I have developed one side-effect, which is rather loud, persistent tummy ‘gurgling’. I like to think that this is my hitherto half-starved friendly bacteria expressing relief at being properly fed, rather than my gut protesting!

Whatever, I intend to persist with my resistant-starch-enhanced smoothie regimen because, in a nutshell, resistant starch is a superfood for the digestive system. It ends up in the large intestine where, as far as the friendly bacteria are concerned, it's like manna from heaven. As they use the resistant starch for energy they release small carbohydrate molecules, which feed other bacteria, which in turn excrete butyrate. Ta dah!  Butyrate is where it’s at! The preferred fuel for the cells lining the colon, butyrate is a potent anti-inflammatory that encourages blood flow and helps keep the cells healthy, which in turn reduces the risk of colorectal cancer.  

Not only does resistant starch and it’s by-product butyrate promote healthy gut flora and optimise digestive health, any surplus butyrate not used by the cells in the colon is carried by the bloodstream to the liver and other parts of the body, where it has other beneficial effects including enhanced immunity, increased metabolism, weight loss, satiety, decreased inflammation and improved stress resistance. 

Sounds good to me, especially when all these health benefits are contained in an indulgent chocolately drink! Who knew that feeding your hungry microbiomes could be such fun?

Raw Chocolate & Banana Milkshake (Serves 1)


180ml whole milk (preferably raw), very chilled

1 under-ripe banana, peeled and cut into several pieces (about 200g unpeeled weight)

1½ tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tbsp green banana flour

1 dsp pure vanilla essence

Large handful of fresh ice cubes (about 60g)

Liquid stevia, to taste



Put the milk, banana, cacao, banana four and vanilla essence into a blender jug. Blend until well combined - my Vitamix (*see note below) takes about 30 seconds to do this.

Add the ice cubes and blend again until smooth, cold and creamy - another 15 to 20 seconds. 

Taste, then add 2-4 drops of organic liquid stevia to sweeten. 

Pour into a tall glass and decorate with whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate curls, if liked.


Carbohydrate 48g Protein 12g - per glass



I am happy using up one-third to a half of my daily carbohydrate intake in one generous glass of Raw Chocolate Banana Milkshake because I’m already at what I consider to be my ideal weight (just over 7 stone). Generally, I find this milkshake is enough on its own to sustain me until I sit down to eat my main meal of the day, which I always try and do before 6pm. If I get peckish, I might snack on some cheese, a small piece of fruit or some nuts, but basically everything I eat in a day never adds up to much more than 100g of carbohydrate, which is considered low-carb (100g to150g per day). If you want to lose weight by eating very low-carb (50g-100g per day) try substituting 125g of fresh or frozen berries e.g. blueberries, raspberries or strawberries for the banana and cacao. This will reduce the grams of carbohydrates in your milkshake by about 18g. 

I use a Vitamix C-Series blending machine to make healthy drinks, smoothies, hot soups, sauces, frozen desserts and more, in a matter of minutes. If you are using a different blender or container size, you may need to make adjustments to the processing time, and/or ingredient quantities. To be honest, if I had to choose just one kitchen gadget to magically bestow on cooks everywhere, it would be this Vitamix!

For people who are lactose intolerant, vegan or who suffer from a nut allergy, I will be developing more non-dairy, nut-free, resistant starch milkshakes and smoothies shortly. Watch this space!