A Dressing for Green Vegetables

If you try to get your daily intake of greens but find it a challenge this is a simple way to make green vegetables very tasty. A daily green vegetable juice can be a fantastic way to gain the nutritional benefits from green vegetables, but I know this is not available to everyone. The idea of a spinach or kale smoothie for breakfast is not everyone’s cup-of-tea so I have the simplest recipe to dress up vegetables prepared in the traditional way. . . steamed with evening dinner! No juicers, blenders or dehydrators here! A good old fashioned steamer. With this simple dressing, regular broccoli, asparagus and green beans are transformed and you could find yourself devouring large bowls of green goodness. I hope you enjoy. 


2 tbsp tamari

1-2 tsp maple syrup

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar 

1 garlic clove – crushed

sprinkle of crushed chilli flakes

grating of fresh ginger- optional


Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and pour over your choosen green steamed vegetables. 

Here’s the juicy bit. . . . 

Tamari is a much less processed form of soy sauce. Soy sauce, soy products and soya are highly processed and not necessarily a healthy vegan or vegetarian  protein source. It is also gluten free. This is good news for coeliacs or if you are trying to reduce the amount of gluten in your diet. Gluten can be an irritant on the lining of the digestive tract and can reduce its efficiency and the absorption of nutrients, for some people. 


Protein aside, calcium is the second biggest nutrient people become enthusiastically worried about on hearing that I eat a mainly plant based diet. It concerns me that it is still believed by most, that milk and milk products are essential foods for bone density. The dairy industry is vocal. Their catchy, mesmerising advertising  have cleverly blinkered the majority into believing that dairy is essential for healthy bones and wellbeing. I’m writing this blog post to highlight the reality of dairy as a calcium food source. I feel we need to balance the scales in relation to calcium food sources and question the reliability of the dairy industry’s claim that their products are elixir foods for the bones.


Cows milk is indeed rich in protein and calcium. It needs to be. It’s function is to build a 100 lb calf into a 1000 lb cow! It’s the perfect food for a calf. The calcium content of cows milk is three times greater than that of human milk. If the human body required the vast quantities of calcium that cows milk contains wouldn’t breast milk provide for this?
If we are to believe the importance of cows milk in meeting our calcium requirements, we would have to agree that when we drink this fluid, the high volume of calcium it contains is magically shoved into our bones without regulation or control. Homeostasis no longer! Luckily our digestive system is not a passive sieve. Our body strives to maintain equilibrium and therefore optimal digestion, assimilation and absorption of nutrients, including minerals is essential. Can you imagine the internal chaos that would ensue if vast volumes of the mineral calcium were passed directly into our blood stream? The body strives to filter out the vast and unnecessary amount of calcium that is ingested through dairy and excretes it preventing an overload of this mineral.

The original source of calcium like all minerals is in the soil. Animals obtain calcium by eating plants. We can equally obtain calcium from its original source by eating a plant based diet. The digestive system works hard to absorb the necessary and eliminate the unnecessary.

 Equally taking a diet rich in plant based foods, which the calcium is slightly more difficult to extract due to oxalates, the body works to extract the nutrients it needs to survive.

If dairy, (with its high volume of calcium which the majority of us eat numerous times a day), is so vital to ensure we have our calcium needs met, then why do conditions like osteoporosis exist? It’s very difficult for most us to think of a week, a day, a meal or even a snack that does not contain some amount of dairy. If we are eating this calcium rich food for the bones why does western society, with the highest rates of dairy intake have the highest rates of osteoporosis? And likewise, the countries with the lowest intake of dairy have the lowest reports of fractures. 

High in Animal Protein 

The issue lies with the high protein content of dairy. Milk which is high in animal protein, is acidic for humans and creates an acidic internal environment. The human body strives to maintain balance and homeostasis and works best in a slightly alkaline internal environment. Too acidic or too alkaline leads to imbalance and disease is favourable. Alkaline calcium is a buffer to acidic conditions and is leeched from our bones to ensure a dangerous acidic state is neutralised and not prolonged. Calcium is lost from our bones and finally passed out of our body via our urine. Net result – calcium deficit. For every 1 gram of protein in your diet you can expect 1 milligram of calcium loss. 

Most of the milk we consume has been pasteurised, changing the chemical composition to calcium carbonate, a much more difficult form to absorb.

The Dairy Industry 

The dairy industry is a lucrative and very powerful one. Influential people from national sports stars, actors and pop stars  are seen smiling through a milk moustache with images of happy cows under blue skies grazing on green fields. Is this type of farming reflective of the majority of modern day farming practices?

You have to ask why does this  industry repeatedly consider it necessary to convince the general public that dairy and bone health go hand-in-hand? Dairy is aggressively promoted. It can be difficult to see past this powerful persuasion. Is the advertising not similar to McDonalds? Relentless, subtlety aggressive, repetitive slogans. If dairy is truly the health food that is essential for wellbeing, why do we need constant convincing and reminding? Their insistence of a daily intake of 5 portions of dairy per day is outdated and exhausted. How many adverts do you see promoting broccoli, carotts, kale, apples, berries, beans, lentils or unprocessed wholegrains?  Is this industry feeling threatened by the possibility of consumers no longer using dairy as the optimum food choice for calcium?

The dairy industry is allowed to advertise its food products and make claims that cows milk is necessary for humans. However it is not permitted to highlight the reality of modern-day, dairy industrialised farms. Most are unaware of factory farming practices or believe that the meat and dairy they purchase are from good, ethical farms. It’s no surprise that the majority support the dairy industry because the full facts are being withheld.

Human Milk
We need to ask ourselves why do we drink the milk from another animal at all?  Humans are the only animals that drink the milk of another animal after they have been weaned. If you were given the milk of another animal how would you feel about drinking it? Horses, pigs, camel? How about human milk? Most are repulsed at the thought of milk from their own species but content with drinking milk from another.


People, quite often meat and dairy eaters often console themselves by saying everything in moderation, however I notice this rarely applies to the consumption of dairy. Most would find it difficult to think of one day let alone one meal that does not contain dairy. Milk in cereal, butter on toast, lattes, cheese sandwich, milk chocolate bars, youghurt and grated cheese added to everything  – baked beans, chilli, soup, cottage pie, pizza, pizza crust, even vegetables get the cheese love.  We eat dairy non stop, not in moderation.


Although it’s difficult to think about the reality of the lives that factory farmed animals have to endure, I believe it is our responsibility to be a part of the end of their suffering. Can an ice -cream, latte, cheese board or dessert really be delicious if it has come from the milk of an animal who lived in terrible conditions? It’s about starting with small steps. Americano instead of latte, hummus on toast instead of butter, sorbet instead of ice-cream. Small choices contributes to a reduction in the demand for dairy and eventually an end to intensive farming.

Medical advice 

We continue to look to medical doctors for advise on diet and nutrition. Unfortunately however, medical doctors don’t study nutrition. From my experience doctors regurgitate the same outdated advice. The local GP is potentially a valuable source for diet and nutritional advice.

However Dr Colin Campbell and Dr John Mc Dougall are two examples of medical doctors that have decades of nutritional research. They advocate a whole food plant based diet. It has been suggested that humans survive best on a 90% -99% plant based diet with 1%-10% from meat and diary.

Taking a balanced plant based diet and getting sufficient Vitamin D from sunshine, greatly assist in the absorption of calcium. Avoiding caffeine and taking vitamin C rich foods with plant based,calcium rich foods, is beneficial for absorption.


Autumn Vegetable Juice

It’s The Blushing Beetroot’s first birthday! I’ve really enjoyed blog writing over the past 12 months. I started writing to give myself a daily outlet while being a stay-at-home-mum of a baby and toddler. It’s been the perfect release and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Also I have had some media interest and an award nomination which was very exciting. To celebrate I’ve decided to share this delicious autumn vegetable juice. Most of the fruits and vegetables in this recipe are in season which intensify the flavour and freshness. 

Portion – 1 large glass

Prep – 10 minutes 


• 1 inch ginger 

• 2 apples 

• 4 raw beetroots

• 4 carrots 

• 1 orange 

Peel the ginger 

De-core  the apple

Juice the orange manually 

Depending on your juicer chop the fruit and vegetables into appropriate sizes.

If your vegetables are organic wash them well. If not peel them. 

Place the ingredients into your juicer one by one and let it do the work! 

Here’s the juicy bit. . . 

Choosing seasonal and local foods has been en vogue for years but this is more important than a passing trend. 

If we think back to our grandparents or even our parents basic meals, the majority of what they ate was local and in season. It is our generation that ingests a vast amount of imported and processed foods. I don’t necessarily think exotic foods from far off lands equate to a nourishing diet. Quite often these foods are in cold storage for long periods of time. Not really ideal. 

Eating local fresh produce that is in season makes perfect sense and for the most part, possible. By becoming familiar with what foods are in season you can plan your meals around these. Naturally when a food is in season it is at its most fresh and alive with nutrients. Foods that have been kept in cold storage for months loose their vitality and taste.

 Some foods which are currently in season are apples, pears, plums, figs, fennel, cabbage, beetroot and carrots. 

I know it’s not always possible or easy to eat locally produced foods. Like most I do the majority of my food shopping in a supermarket. It’s just not always as convenient to go to the green grocery. The downside of this is that I’m always surprised how difficult it can be to buy Irish. I couldn’t find Irish apples last week!!  I had to choose between New Zealand, Portugal, Italy or France! Crazy I thought. I went with the French apples figuring the NZ apples would be pretty wilted after that amount of travel time!! 

However I do scan labels before choosing and try to buy Irish. If Irish produce is not available I choose European. Unless a recipe calls for it or I really fancy a food, for example a pineapple, I try to avoid foods that require a lot of travel time. 

Shepherdless Pie




I can’t believe the Summer is over and Autumn is here! I have to say that Autumn is one of my favourite seasons. Autumnal weather means cosy knits, oversized scarfs and knee boots. My wardrobe is definitely suited to this time of year. Fashion aside, warming stews, pies, curries and one- pot wonders spring to mind too. Traditional cottage and shepherd’s pies are off the menu for me so I was lucky enough to indulge in some recipie creating one Saturday afternoon. I’m thrilled with the result. The beef or lamb is replaced with puy lentils. As lentils are bland when cooked alone, and have marginal amounts of fat which give meat and dairy a lot of their flavour, I’ve added sauces, wine and vegetables to make this as comforting as its meat cousin. I hope you enjoy x

Portion – 4

Prep -45 mins

Cooking – 1 hour


• 700g rooster potatoes peeled  and roughly chopped

• 1 sweet potato  peeled and chopped

• 300g puy lentils -rinsed

• 15 sun dried tomatoes -diced.

• 3 carrots peeled and finely -diced

• 2 sticks of celery washed and finely  diced 

• 1 medium onion peeled and diced

• 2 bay leaves

• Dash of Worcester sauce

• 1 tomato chopped

• Splash of red wine

• Salt & pepper

•2 tbsp tomato purée 

. Vegetable stock or bouillon.

.  Knob of non dairy butter and a splash of dairy free milk

Place the prepared potatoes into a pot of boiling water. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until cooked. Drain and mash to a smooth consistency with the butter and milk.

• Pop the lentils into a pot with the required amount of water, ( approx 1.2L), the bay leaves and chopped tomato. Add ground pepper and 1 tsp of vegetable stock or bouillon and cook according to the instructions, usually boil for 10 minutes and simmer for 30. 

• Put the onion, carrots and celery into a heavy bottomed pot with some oil or/and a splash of water. Season.  Allow the vegetables to sweat for 10-15 minutes until soft. Once cooked keep the lid on but take off the heat. 

• Once the lentils are cooked add the wine and worchester sauce. Allow to cook for a further 5 minutes so the alcohol is cooked off. If the consistency is slightly dry, add a little more stock. Remove the bay leaves.

• Next add the chopped sundried tomatoes and tomato purée to the lentil mixture. 

• combine the lentils with the onion, carrot and celery pot and mix well. Taste and add seasoning.

Pre heat oven to 180C

• Spread the mash on top of the lentil mixture and pop in the oven for 10- 15 mins. 

• If your making a crusty cheese topping sprinkle on top and place into an oven on ‘oven and grill setting’ until bubbling. Serve. 

Here’s the juicy bit . . . 


 I love cooking with lentils. Red split and puy are the variety I tend to cook with most often. Add lentils to soups, use them to make dahls or they are very useful as a substitute for meat, as in this dish. Lentils are versatile and easy to cook with. 

Lentils are a great source of fibre which helps keep our digestive systems working efficiently. I can’t stress enough, how the health of ones’ digestive system, is paramount for overall health and wellbeing. If your digestive system is sluggish, inflamed or unwell it will impact on its ability to absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. Not absorbing the nutrients can lead to a deficiency in some areas and you not feeling your best. 

Adequate amounts of fibre are necessary for digestive health. To loosely categorise, fibre is divided into soluble and insoluble fibre. 

Soluble fibre helps you feel full longer thereby  reducing hunger pangs. It slows down gastric emptying and therefore helps to stabilise blood sugar. Research also shows that soluble fibre helps reduce cholesterol. 

Insoluble fibre is like a sweeping brush for your digestive tract! It remains virtually intact until it reaches your large intestine and thereby helps move food through your system and prevent constipation. Excreting waste products regularly helps prevents toxic build in your gut which could otherwise be passed into your blood system and potentially lead to numerous conditions. 

Lentils and all plant based foods contain fibre, whereas dairy and meat contain none. So remember, to keep your gut gleaming, stomach singing and your intestines insanely happy, aim for a plant based whole food diet! 

Stuffed Tomatoes.


I’ve been trying to come up with alternatives to feast day dinners and Sunday roasts so that I don’t feel left out on these celebratory meals. This dish is very satisfying and definitely ticks all the boxes for me. The goats cheese gives the filling a creamy, risotto like taste. The beef tomato easily boosts your veg intake for the day and is inexpensive. I usually have green salad on the side but homemade coleslaw or potato wedges are also good options.  


Portions  – 2 people 

 Prep – 10 minutes. 

Cooking – 30 minutes.


  •  4 beef tomatoes
  • 160g brown rice, rinsed. Cooked according to instructions
  • 8 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée 
  • 2 tsp fennel 
  • 6 tsp goats cheese 
  • 40g of walnuts
  • Salt and pepper to taste


 Preheat fan oven to 180C

Wash the Tomatoes and run a sharp knife around the top of each one. Pull the tops off and slice off any seeds attached to it. Scoop out the flesh on the inside of the tomatoes and place into a pot. 

Add the cherry tomatoes, tomato purée and salt & pepper to the pot with the tomato flesh and simmer on a low to medium heat. Allow the tomatoes to reduce and their flavour to intensify. This simmering reduces the acidity of tomatoes and enables their natural sweetness to come through. 

In a dry pan fry the fennel seeds for 30 seconds approx and add to the tomato mixture.

Put the brown rice into a pot and cook as instructed. 

Place the beef tomatoes and walnuts on separate baking trays and pop into the oven. 

After approx 5 minutes remove the walnuts from the oven and set aside.

The tomatoes should only need 10-15 minutes approx to soften slightly depending on their size. Once they are beginning to soften remove from the oven and set aside.

If there is a lot of juice in the tomatoes after baking you could add this liquid to the tomato and fennel mixture. 

Once the rice is cooked and the tomato and fennel mixture has reduced and tasting delicious add the rice to the tomato pot and combine. 

Next add the goats cheese and walnuts. It will become very creamy risotto like. 

Finally fill the beef tomatoes with the ‘ risotto’ mixture and return to the oven for 5-10 minutes until bubbling and delicious.

Remove from the oven and enjoy with coleslaw and green salad. Yummy! 

Here’s the juicy bit. . . 


 Its generally accepted that the health of your digestive system is paramount for your overall health. What you feed yourself can determine the effeciency of your gut and overtime may determine your ability to effectively digest and assimilate nutrients from your food and excrete waste products and toxins from what you’ve ingested.

Excess stress, alcohol, tobacco smoke, anti-nutrients, low fibre, excess sugar and processed foods all play a role in reducing gut health. Conditions like leaky gut, candida, IBS, chrons, constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, diverticulitis, can either be; linked to diet solely,  greatly improved by or exasperated by what you eat. If our digestive system can’t work at its optimum and be able to extract the nourishing foods from our diet and excrete toxins efficiently this can have a knock-on effect on all our other systems. It is said that 80% of our immune system is in our gut! 

Gluten is a buzz word in health diets nowadays. Gluten is a sticky protein found in many grains. Wheat, barley and rye being the biggest offenders. Many people find this protein difficult to digest and can upset the digestive systems efficiency.

Brown rice is a gluten free grain. This is good news for your digestion. You won’t feel bloated or sluggish after eating brown rice. Quinoa, gluten free oats, lentils, buckwheat, millet and amaranth are great alternatives, without the gluten. 

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