The Gluten Free Guinea Pig Column: Choc-banana bread

photo by denieca o'neill

photo by denieca o'neill

Following on from our recent blog about your gluten free diet and what happens when you consume gluten, I thought it best to write something to let those who are GF know that all is not lost. 

I have been gluten free since December and I can tell you it is hard work! I love pasta, pizza, croissants etc and it has been so difficult to cut things about because the GF substitutes in shops such as the Genius Bread or Madeira loaf are just not the same and then I ultimately slip up and have a cookie. 

I like to keep my eye out for gluten free recipes and see what options I have for when I need a sweet treat. This weekend just past I found a recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Banana Bread, so I thought why not give it a go and I'm so happy I did. The bread stayed really moist, you could taste both the chocolate and banana and it was simply divine (if I do say so myself). I had friends over that same night and didn't tell any of them it was gluten free and they honestly could not tell the difference. I would definitely recommend to any of those who want to make something nice and easy.

Full recipe:

  • 3 Bananas (mashed)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup of Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1/3 cup of Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup of Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
  • 1 & 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/3 cup of Dark Chocolate

Simple Instructions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together as above until you have a paste (except the chocolate)
  2. Cut chocolate into little squares, and melt, stirring every 30 seconds. Pour in a small amount of the banana mixture with the chocolate and mix throughly.
  3. Pour in half of the banana mixture into a greased loaf pan, then pour in half of the chocolate mixture. Pour the rest of the banana mixture then the rest of the chocolate on top.
  4. Use a knife to slightly mix the two together to create a swirl. Bake for 45 minutes on 150 degrees.

See below link to site for direct instructions ** remember to exchange the flour for gluten free flour.

https://www.facebook.com/officialgoodful/videos/1732756990128093/

please note: this is a personal recipe and may not cater to everyones taste or dietary requirements.

City Skin Defence

Suddenly, everybody is talking about nitrogen dioxide and free radicals in the air and the direct effect it has on our skin. I, for one work in the City of London where the air is thick with harmful pollutants and I do worry about the how it can have a significant impact on my skin, not just on the surface.
The tipping point was in January 2017, when pollution readings taken from Brixton, Oxford Circus, Kings Road, Chelsea and Kensington High Street showed that nitrogen dioxide levels had breached the EU annual limit for an entire year - in just five days. Since then, MP's called the crisis a "public health emergency" whilst the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Paediatrics have reported around 40,000 deaths each year are due to the exposure of pollution.

Something that is becoming harder to miss is the effect it is having on our skin, although pollution particles cannot be seen or smelt, women living in urban and built-up areas are seeing more visible signs of ageing, higher rates of dark spots, pigmentation, imbalance in pH levels and adult acne. According to the Journal of Dermatology, environmental pollutants increase age spots by 25% around the cheek area as a direct result of nitrogen dioxide concentrations. So with all this bad news in mind, we now know that air pollutants can deplete antioxidant defences and perhaps even degrade proteins in the skin. 

While politicians debate and universities research about how to clean up the air, there are some everyday simple things we can do to protect ourselves, on the surface and from within. Here's our breakdown of treatments and products available to help defend your skin against the baddies in the air. 

1. Antioxidant Defence Serum by NeoStrata

  • Concentrated SynerG Formula containing 8 powerful multi action antioxidants is designed to combat oxidative damage and protect the skin from premature ageing
  • Patented Bionic and Polyhydroxy Acids trap oxidation promoting metals and help prevent sun-induced cellular damage
  • Citric Acid, Lilac, Green Tea, and Chardonnay Grape Seed Extracts work together to neutralise free radicals and help preserve healthy DNA, lipids, and cellular membranes.

2. Antioxidant Booster Serum by Intraceuticals

  • Revitalises and balances dull, stressed skin with exceptionally powerful natural antioxidants sourced from the Australian Rainforest.
  • Clarifies and refines the appearance of skin prone to blemishes, visible pores, sun damage, uneven texture or deep wrinkles.
  • As a booster serum, it can be used in conjunction with your own daily serum or as a stand alone. It's also very pocket friendly.

3. Glutathione supplements or intramuscular shots

  • This works from the inside, if you're taking injections you'll only need it once fortnightly/monthly depending on what your practitioner tells you. Or opt for supplements.
  • Plays an important role in detoxificationreactions, protecting the cells from harmful effects of unwanted chemical substances, such as free radicals.
  • With high cysteine concentrations in the cells, explaining the protective effect against unwanted foreign chemical substances.
  • It helps with cell growth, wound healing and immune function.
  • Plays pac man and eats up free radicals which are created during exposure to hot and cold environmental temperatures and UV light from the sun or toxicity. There are others factors such as exhaust fumes, pollutants for those in the City and for those who travel a lot by trains or planes where cabin fever can effect the air (re-circulated air).

4. Harpal skinCity Detox Lymphatic Facial 30 & 60 minutes

  • The lymphatic system is designed to remove waste products and toxins in the body. 
  • We use a lymphatic drainage suction devise to draw out impurities. 
  • Deep cleanse, steam, extraction and mask with the full hour facial.
  • Your therapist will even show you the suction devise at the end to prove how much grime can build up in your pores! This is a very satisfying facial, consider your skin well and truly cleansed.

5. Heliocare 360 Fluid Cream SPF 50+

  • Protect, protect, protect with spf
  • Very high photoimmunoprotection with an innovative ulra-light fluid cream texture. 
  • Its exclusive combination of advance filters and BioShield System provides broad spectrum protection against UVA, UVB, IR-A and Visible Light.
  • Enriched with Fernblock FC for powerful antioxidant activity, and actives which repair sun dama

6. NeoStrata Resurface Ultra Daytime Smoothing Cream SPF15 10 AHA

  • Correct the visual signs of photo-ageing and prevent future damage with a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen in this antioxidant-rich day cream.
  • Ideal daytime exfoliating moisturiser helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It contains three potent antioxidants, including MMP inhibitor Lactobionic Acid, plus broad spectrum sunscreen, to help preserve collagen and maximise protection against oxidative damage. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) exfoliate to visibly smooth skin. 

7. Intraceuticals Bespoke Facial with Antioxidant Booster

  • There is no greater satisfaction than having serum sprayed onto your face with pure oxygen, truly the essence of a city smart facial. The Antioxidant Booster will bubble wrap your face against the elements, smooth, brighten, refine.
  • Low molecular hyaluronic acid is infused with an antioxidant booster to leave you looking and feeling clean and radiant for up to a week.

The Importance of Body Exfoliation

I have never really taken body exfoliation seriously, until my friend took a photo of me in a bikini at the beach. Yes, shock and horror took over when I discovered dimply, dry skin behind my thighs. The fact that the cellulite and stretch marks were bad enough to show in a badly focused mobile phone photo confirmed just how bad the situation was. Yup, it was pretty bad.

Now, no one at the beach ran away from me screaming at the sight of my dimply skin because lets be honest - no one really cares. But, it mattered to me. My thoughts on cellulite are similar to my thoughts on spots, unwanted hair and wrinkles: if you are self conscious about them, then by all means take measures to banish the issue and then spend less time fretting. 

So, the very next week I came into work and spoke to my friend and colleague, Viola. There was no time to waste. I needed a solution that was non-invasive, affordable and as I'm lazy, done by someone else! There were plenty of options, Mesotherapy, Fillers, Microneedling, Plexr, etcetera etcetera. They're all great, but far too advanced for me. I needed something a little more pocket friendly and organic. Enter Dry Body Brushing and Glycolic Peels, and here is the low down:

So, what are the benefits of dry body brushing?

This is a no-brainer, the brushing will slough off any dead skin and allow the new skin to absorb all the goodness of moisturisers and oils applied. Secondly, the gentle motion of brushing in one direction will create a lymphatic type drainage, helping the body release excess toxins and promote better blood circulation. In turn, you'll be helping to break down all the unsightly lumps and bumps caused by coagulated fat cells. 

What are the benefits of body peels?

Chemical peels are great for men and women alike. Do not be alarmed by the term 'chemical', this is a mild dose and very safe to use on the body. Peels are a non-invasive way to correct and treat unsightly scarring, pigmentation, uneven texture and wrinkles. It can treat melasma and sun damage by dissolving the top layer and stimulating collagen growth at the same time to give longer lasting results. A combination of dry brushing and chemical peel will give optimal results of both methods.

"There is a peel suitable for every concern. From pigmentation to spotty backs, peels are the quickest way to deal with those embarrassing body parts" - Harpal Clinic skin specialist Viola

What is the process?

The process is easy for you and me, not so easy for the therapist!
1. Kick back on the bed whilst the therapist gives you a good 'ole scrub with a dry brush
2. She'll mix and apply a glycolic peel all over your body, back and front and let it sit for a few minutes
3. Thoroughly wipe off the peel with hot mittens. (Goodness me, this step feels amazing) 
4. Moisturise the body with a lotion to soothe and hydrate with lovely light body massage
5. Total time taken, 60 minutes.

There's much more to it than the four steps above, but rather than explain the finer details, I thought it better to give you a demonstration! Click on the video for a sped-up version of the treatment. 

The results?

In short, this treatment changed the overall condition of my skin. After one session skin was as smooth and supple as a baby's butt. After four sessions I honest-to-God saw a remarkable difference. Stretch marks faded, cellulite definitely reduced, skin tone and texture was even and smooth. My arms, legs and décolletage saw the best results, keratosis (chicken skin on arms and thighs) disappeared, reduced pigmentation on knees and elbows whilst the neck and chest looked tighter and firmer. 

This is a beautiful treatment without a doubt. Think of it as a fast track to better skin and a huge confidence booster.