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All you need to know about the ketogenic diet

Alchemy founder Domini Kemp explains to Emma Costello of RSVP magazine how reducing her carb intake while undergoing treatment for cancer helped to turn her life around

There are a myriad of diets coming at us these days and with so many to choose from deciphering the fact from fiction can be a challenge.

Almost 40% of the Irish population is now classed as overweight, while a huge proportion suffer from illnesses that are aggravated by inflammation leading to a search for healthy options.

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Domini Kemp, the celebrity chef and co-author (with nutritional therapist Patricia Daly) of the award-winning book The Ketogenic Kitchen, is a champion of the keto diet.

What is the keto diet?

A keto diet is a low-carb diet that switches the body from burning sugar found in carbs to burning fat as a source of energy. When your primary energy is coming from carbs, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored.

After eating any carbs, from a pizza to a potato, they turn into sugar in your blood. But if you replace these carbs with fats and protein your body will switch to burning fat.

When this happens your body enters a state of ketosis. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits. Domini first explored the diet when she was undergoing treatment for cancer.

“I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in 2013,” she says.

“Whilst undergoing conventional treatment for breast cancer, it was clear that keeping my blood sugar stable was a good thing.

For some cancer patients, weight loss can be undesirable, but for many of us, weight gain during chemotherapy can lead to poorer outcomes.

So I started to eat low carb – not ketogenic – by restricting processed foods and avoiding all sugar. I met my co-author, Patricia, who was using the ketogenic diet to manage her lifestyle post her cancer diagnosis.

Our approaches to our diets differed, but we wanted to write a book about introducing a low carb and a ketogenic diet.” Five years later, Patricia is still on the ketogenic diet and is thriving on it, while Domini sticks to a low carb diet 80% of the time – but embraces the ketogenic diet for three weeks every year to allow her system reboot.

Low carb is approx 50g of carbohydrate a day, while the carbohydrate allowance on the ketogenic diet is around the 20-30g mark, depending on the individual.

An average apple contains approximately 20 grams of carbs, an average potato around 40 grams, while a small thick base pizza contains around 160 grams. It can take up to three weeks to reach the state of ketosis.

What are the benefits?

Domini understands that it can be a challenging diet, but says the results for weight loss and general health can be quite dramatic.

“It has gained in popularity in recent years due to its effectiveness in controlling blood glucose levels and has become popular among those looking for significant weight loss as well as endurance athletes,” she says.

"A whole host of metabolic benefits are introduced when you are in ketosis, but probably the biggest difference is the fact that your blood sugars don’t fluctuate as much, which reduces cravings and other symptoms associated with a blood sugar rollercoaster.

"It’s also fair to say that the tech world is becoming very interested in it as they recognise the mental clarity and other benefits it brings!”

As for the drawbacks? The healthy-eating advocate explains: “It can be challenging to comply with and it is certainly not for everyone.

"But a well designed ketogenic diet can be a great way to give your system a ‘break’ from the metabolic havoc that high carb diets have on our health. Anybody having an underlying condition (e.g. compromised liver or kidney function, immune deficiencies, diabetes or other chronic illnesses) needs to be supervised medically, but most people can enjoy a low carb diet, so that’s a good place to start!”

Domini believes that carbs should be approached with an open mind.

She adds: “I adore carbs, but they don’t adore me. I used to eat a low-fat, high carb diet and it did not suit me. I struggled to keep my weight off, was always ‘hangry’ and felt sluggish and sleepy after every meal.

Now, I’m a stone lighter, can fast for 24 hours quite easily and feel better. Knowing my blood glucose is low and hearing my oncologist comment on my low HbA1c helps me feel like I am on the right track.”

Ketogenic or Atkins?

There is probably less emphasis on the protein side with keto.

On an Atkins diet, protein is pushed more (think steak and eggs for breakfast) whereas on a well designed ketogenic diet, the emphasis is really on healthy fats and non-starchy vegetables (dark, green leafy ones) as well as smaller quantities of good quality oily fish and other proteins.

Find out more information on www.theketogenickitchen.com

This article first appeared in RSVP: https://www.rsvplive.ie/life/food/keto-diet-you-need-know-12455617

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Lamb dish for Easter

If you’re looking for a nice lamb recipe with a bit of a twist this Easter, check out this gorgeous recipe for Lamb Skewers by Domini. Really tasty and the whole family will enjoy them.

Lamb Skewers with Pistachio Aioli

Domini writes: “The rosemary skewers were very easy to make but don’t feel pressure to use them; wooden or metal ones work too. The only reason I used the rosemary ones was that the ones that had survived the winter in my garden were so stalky and tough that I decided to give them a final hurrah in the frying pan.

“The pistachio aioli is wonderful. It is so good that I urge you to slather it on all sorts of fish and chicken or even just keep it to blob on some cooked broccoli. The colour is gorgeous and even though minced lamb can sometimes be too ‘lamby’, this recipe was delicious. The aioli will make more than you need for this recipe, but it becomes a tad addictive after a while, so embrace the extra quantity for use for the rest of the week.”

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Lamb Skewers (serves 4 as a starter or part of large buffet)

  • 500g minced lamb
  • Good pinch salt & ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Small bit of olive oil in a bowl or saucer
  • 4-6 rosemary stalks or wooden skewers (soaked) or metal ones
  1. Mix the lamb, salt, pepper and garlic. Then mould an equal amount of meat on the skewers or stalks using your hands that you should dip into the oil. Then put them all on a plate and chill, covered in the fridge until ready to cook.
     
  2. When you are ready to cook, heat up a bit more olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan and when it's nearly smoking, fry the skewers on each side until good and brown. You want them to form a good, dark crust so that they will stay fixed onto the skewers. Turn them over in the pan and shake them gently. You don’t want to manhandle them but rather coax them, into cooking on all sides.  
     
  3. Put on a large platter or individual plates with blob of the aioli and mixed leaves.
     

Pistachio Aioli

  • 110 g shelled pistachios
  • Big bunch parsley
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. capers
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Plus 100 ml olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Splash sherry vinegar
  • Small squeeze honey
  • Salt& pepper
  • Extra 50 ml olive oil or water
  1. On pulse mode, whizz the pistachios and parsley until they form a coarse and slightly chunky crumb. You may need to give them a shove with a spatula so that you blitz them in an even fashion. Add the 2 tsps of olive oil and capers, give it one final blitz and once you have an even crumb, leave it in the food processor.
     
  2. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolk with the garlic and then very slowly, start adding the olive oil until you can feel it emulsifying. Then you can add this a bit more steadily. Once you are at the halfway point of adding the 100 ml olive oil, mix in the lemon juice and then continue with the rest of the oil.
     
  3. Then add this to the ground up pistachios along with the splash of sherry vinegar, squeeze of honey and some salt & pepper. Process and then you can add either another 50 ml of olive oil or water, depending on how loose or rich you want to keep it. Do this until you get the desired consistency, but taste and adjust the seasoning. You may need to add more lemon juice, sherry vinegar or salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
     

Thanks and enjoy!
Team Alchemy

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FISH & CHIPS

We never thought we’d be posting a Domini Kemp recipe for Fish & Chips but this one she did on RTE’s Today show is just gorgeous! And, as always, it’s supertasty, superhealthy and super easy to prepare. It will also please all the family and if you’re lucky, you may even have most of the ingredients in the fridge, freezer or cupboards!

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INGREDIENTS (serves four)

  • 100 g coconut flour
  • Good pinch sea salt
  • Loads of black pepper
  • 4-6 skinless white fish fillets , cut into strips (approx 600g)
  • 2 eggs
  • Olive oil

METHOD

Preheat oven to 200 C. Mix the coconut flour with the dried ingredients. Beat the eggs and together and drop the fish into the egg wash and then plop it into the "flour" and put on an oiled non stick baking tray or tray lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with a bit more oil and then bake in a hot oven until browned and crisp. This might take about 20 minutes in total and half way through cooking, it's good to turn them over (gingerly) so they can brown on both sides.

CHIPS

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • good pinch smoked sweet paprika
  • good pinch thyme
  • goof pinch salt
  • drizzle olive oil

Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges. Toss with other ingredients and bake until tender.

Simple and quick!
Enjoy!

Thanks.
Team at Alchemy

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'SIX NATIONS' STEW

Ireland take on Wales in the Six Nations this weekend, so if you're looking for the perfect recipe to feed rugby-watching folk, here's Alchemy founder Domini Kemp's Six Nations Stew. It is delicious, easy to make and a real crowd-pleaser!

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Domini writes: 'This is a robust, unctuous stew that appeals to all ages. Try to make it the day before and re-heat the next day as it makes life a whole lot easier. This fed eight adults, one teenager and three children and provided enough for three leftover dinners the next day. To be safe, let's say it feeds 12 adults.'

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 kg diced lamb
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 6 red onions, finely sliced
  • 3 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 big pieces ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and sliced
  • Good squeeze harissa (optional)
  • 1.5 litres stock
  • 4 tins tomatoes
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 400 g stoned prunes
  • 50 ml soy sauce
  • 50 ml maple syrup

METHOD

  1. In a large frying pan, fry the lamb in batches in olive oil, season well and set aside. Meanwhile, in another heavy-based saucepan (or two; I had to use two as I didn’t have one big enough), sweat the onions in some olive oil until soft. Add the five-spice powder, ginger, garlic and harissa to the onions and mix well. Cook out for another few minutes. When the lamb is all done, add to the saucepan, mix well and de-glaze the frying pan with some stock and pour it into the saucepan.
     
  2. Add the tinned tomatoes and bay leaves along with the rest of the stock. Mix well and bring up to the boil, then simmer for about and hour and a half. I kept the lid on, but after about an hour, removed it so that it could reduce and thicken up. Stir occasionally and then add the prunes and soy sauce and maple syrup. Cook for another 20 minutes and then cool slightly and taste. Adjust the seasoning as necessary.

Thanks and enjoy.
Team Alchemy

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DEMOS WITH DOMINI

Some great news! Domini is doing three cooking demos around the country in the next two weeks. You can catch her in the Avoca shop in Kilmacanogue, Co Wicklow on Tuesday, February 13th, in the Ashdown Park Hotel in Gorey, Co Wexford on Thursday, February 15th and in Ballymaloe in Cork on Sunday, February 25th.

 Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Photograph: Aidan Crawley

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Super salad!

It’s officially the first day of spring so what better time than now to share this gorgeous Domini Kemp lamb recipe with you. Not only that, but there’s a bonus salad recipe so we can all look forward to the salad days ahead. Domini made this recently on the Today Show on RTE and, needless to say, it’s very tasty, very healthy and easy to prepare. We hope you enjoy it!

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LAMB SHOULDER WITH CHICKPEA SALAD

INGREDIENTS (serves 4-6)

 Lamb

  • 1 shoulder of lamb
  • 1 head garlic, left whole, skin on
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • Squeeze of honey
  • Salt and pepper

Chickpea salad

  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp each fennel and cumin seeds
  • Shoulder of lamb, shredded
  • 1 Chinese cabbage, finely sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, finely sliced
  • 1 pack feta, roughly broken into cubes

Dressing

  • 100ml olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • big squeeze of honey
  • salt and pepper
  • large bunch of mint, finely chopped
  • salt & pepper

 

METHOD

Lamb

  1. Preheat oven to 180C degrees. Wrap the joint tightly in tinfoil – two layers if you can – and place in a roasting tin and roast for 3-4 hours, until it’s falling away from the bone.
  2. Halfway through cooking, take it out of the oven and turn the joint over, season well, including the honey and fennel seeds, and then place it back in the oven.
  3. When it’s done, let it cool, remove the bone and shred the meat, which will have a moreish caramelised finish in places.
  4. If, however, it’s too fatty at this stage, put it back in the oven for another 40 minutes or so, without foil to let the fat render off.
  5. For a simple roast dinner, serve with crispy potatoes, roasted carrots and parsnips, and gravy. If you can resist eating the whole lot and happen to have some left for the next day, try the salad below.

 

Chickpea salad

  1. Grill the lamb until sticky and crisp.
  2. Toast the chickpeas on a tray in the oven for about 15 minutes with a little olive oil, some salt and pepper, and the fennel and cumin seeds. Leave aside to cool.
  3. Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients together and adding the finely chopped mint at the end.
  4. To assemble the salad, toss all the ingredients together with the dressing.

 

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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GORGEOUS JANUARY RECIPE

Really nice recipe here for Lamb Rendang from Domini which ticks all those January boxes: hearty, healthy and wholesome! It also has very easy-going flavours and will appeal to everyone in the family from kids to grannies and all in between!

 Photograph: The Irish Times

Photograph: The Irish Times

Ingredients (serves 4 plus leftovers)

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds (6g)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (2g)
  • 1 cinnamon stick (2.3g)
  • 4 cloves (1g)
  • Good pinch dried chillies (2g)
  • 2 tsp turmeric (4.4g)
  • I tbsp coconut oil (27g)
  • 2 onions, peeled & chopped (300g)
  • Big knob ginger, peeled & sliced (10g)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced (12g)
  • 2 stick lemongrass, finely chopped (4.8g)
  • 1 kg diced lamb (1kg)
  • Salt & pepper (3g)
  • 1 tin coconut milk (400g)
  • Bunch coriander (12g)

 

Method

  1. Put all the spices in a large saucepan and gently heat for a minute to dry-roast them. Either grind them up or pour into a cup and crush them with the end of a rolling pin.
  2. Pour the crushed, dry-roasted spices back into the saucepan and add the coconut oil.  Add the onion, ginger and garlic and sweat for a few minutes. 
  3. Add in the meat; mix well so it is well coated in the spices and season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the coconut milk. Cook for at least two hours on a very gentle heat. I didn’t keep a lid on it as I wanted it to reduce, but do give it the occasional stir as it tends to burn the bottom of the pan. Eventually the meat should be incredibly tender, and the sauce nice and thick. 
  5. Adjust the seasoning and serve with loads of chopped coriander and on some boiled rice, but only a little!

 

This is one of those dishes that also tastes very good the next day! If it has dried out too much, just add a few splashes of water and check the seasoning.

 

Per portion (1/6 of recipe)

Net carbs   8.4g   6%
Protein 39.4g   30%
Fat 38.1g 65%
Fibre 2g
Calories 532

Thanks and enjoy!

Team Alchemy

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A TONIC FOR THE TROOPS

Folks, you'll find our 'Golden Shots' turmeric tonics in all five Joe's coffee shops! They contain fresh turmeric juice, lemon juice, ginger, black pepper and flaxseed oil and can be consumed either as straight-up shots, with juice or water or added to hot water to make a warming winter tea!

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Tasty and very, very good for you!

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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HOT AND HEALTHY

With the weather this cold and Christmas looming large, we thought we'd share Domini's recipe for the Alchemy Juice Co Bone Broth with you again. It's a 'cracker' of a dish and is easy to make. Everyone can enjoy it too as it's supertasty! You can use chicken bones or turkey ones!

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Ingredients

  • 1 leftover chicken/turkey carcass
  • Small bunch spring onions
  • Bunch fresh coriander
  • 2 sticks lemongrass (outer leaves removed), finely chopped
  • 4 lime leaves
  • Large knob ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • Salt & pepper
  • Juice of 2 limes

Method

  1. Simmer your roast chicken or turkey bones in three litres of water for at least four hours with a splash of cider vinegar, with a lid on it. Even though you have a lid on it, you might need to top it up so that the bones are covered.
  2. After it has cooked for four hours, take the lid off and let it reduce down by a third. At this point, I spoon out the bones and throw them away. Then I cool the stock down by putting the pot in a cold “bath” in my kitchen sink.
  3. After about an hour, it should be cold enough to be transferred into a smaller pot or bowl, which can then fit in your fridge.
  4. When you are ready to make your broth, it couldn't be faster: in a large saucepan, heat the broth and then add all the other ingredients except the fresh herbs and miso. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse, before stirring in the miso (which shouldn't be boiled) and serving with chopped fresh coriander.

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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Domini’s ‘Flu’ Soup

Need something hot and healthy this weather? We have a really tasty and super-healthy recipe by Alchemy founder Domini Kemp, using two of her favourite ingredients: garlic and ginger. Be warned: if you don’t like garlic (or smelling of garlic!), this might not be for you. However, we guarantee you one thing: this dish is worth it! And like all of Domini’s recipes, it is simple and quick to make and uses basic ingredients.

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INGREDIENTS

Serves 2-4, depending on what and how much you add to it

  • 2 heads (yes, whole heads) garlic, peeled and sliced finely
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 sage leaves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves
  • 2 litres water
  • Knob of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • Bunch of parsley, chopped

METHOD

  1. Heat the olive oil and (this is crucial) very gently sauté the garlic and herbs – this is almost an infusion.
  2. Add the water and ginger and season well.
  3. Simmer gently for five minutes, then take off the heat and let it sit for an hour.
  4. Reheat and serve with a little more olive oil and a poached egg, finely chopped spring onions and shredded seaweed.

Thanks and enjoy!

Team Alchemy

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DOUBLE TROUBLE!

This week we feature two recipes, one from Domini and one from her eight-year-old daughter, Maeve. They appeared together on RTE’s Today show with Dáithí Ó Sé and Maura Derrane over the mid-term break and prepared two gorgeous dishes, both of which are perfect for those with a sweet tooth but which are healthier than other recipes.

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Domini’s Banana Bread

There are lots of banana bread recipes, but this one is a slightly healthier version: a little less sugar, more nuts. It's also suitable if you can't eat wheat and if you swap out the butter for coconut oil, it's also dairy-free.

Domini adds: “I actually find this recipe very sweet, so feel free to reduce the sugar down to 50g. All depends on your taste!”

  • (12 thickish slices)
  • 60g coconut oil or butter
  • 4 over-ripe bananas (about 540g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g coconut palm sugar
  • 100g coconut flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • generous pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (more if you like it)
  • scrape fresh nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 100g chopped walnuts
  1. Soften the butter (or melt the coconut oil) and mix (or blend) it together with the eggs and the bananas before adding in the coconut sugar and mixing thoroughly.
  2. Next, in a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients except the walnuts. Then add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix well before folding in the nuts.
  3. To cook it, grease and line a loaf tin and empty in the mixture. It will be pretty cement-like, but don’t worry. Bake at 170C for 50 minutes until a skewer will come out of it clean. Leave to cool before removing from the tin.

Maeve's Chocolate, Cashew and Chia Bites

Chia seeds are full of nutrients, fibre and contain protein and omega 3s! It is also suggested that bee pollen is anti-inflammatory and boosts immune function. It's a mixture of bee saliva, nectar and pollen.

Dark choc: fibre, copper, magnesium and other nutrients! But the higher the percentage the less sugar, so aim for 85%.

Cashews packed with the vitamins and nutrients essential to good health.

You will need one baking tray + 1 sheet of greaseproof paper + 1 spatula

  • 200 g dark chocolate (preferably 85%) melted
  • 200 g cashew nuts
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp bee pollen
  1. Stir the cashew nuts into melted chocolate and using a fork, take out small clumps and put them on the baking sheet.
  2. Before they cool down, sprinkle with toppings.
  3. Chill for an hour in the fridge. Enjoy!

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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ALCHEMY MOVES

Folks, as you may have heard, our shop on Leeson St Lower, just off St Stephen’s Green in Dublin city centre, has now become a Joe’s speciality coffee shop. But, before you get concerned about where to get your Alchemy fix, don’t worry: Joe’s will be stocking our juices, smoothies, healthy treats, soups, stews and, of course, our range of healthy salads. This means you will be able to get Joe’s specialty coffee along with our healthy food!

And if you’re with friends who prefer sandwiches, Joe’s does a range of really tasty gourmet sandwiches including its legendary BGC, the Best Grilled Cheese which comes with four Irish cheeses.

The reason we are doing this is to provide, you, our wonderful customers, with as big a range of options as possible so you can make the choices that suit you best.

Alchemy Juice Co is still going strong and we now supply our juices, smoothies and salads to all three Joe’s: on Leeson Street, on Montague Street, just off Harcourt Street in Dublin 2, and in Arnotts Department Store on Liffey Street in Dublin 1. We will also be supplying them to the new flagship Joe’s which is opening in Harvey Nichols in Dundrum Town Centre. That is going to be a pretty amazing coffee shop with a whole new menu. It will open next week and will be well worth a visit. (It’s where the Itsa Cafe used to be on the main square.)

Speaking of Itsas, we also supply our juices and salads to the Itsa Cafe in the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma) and the Itsa Cafe in Dun Laoghaire, right on the seafront.

We plan to do a lot more wholesaling of our smoothies and salads as interest in and demand for healthier options continues to grow here in Ireland and around the world. We fully back this and are delighted to see people making better choices and moving away from highly processed foods full of sugar!

To find out more about the philosophy behind Alchemy, watch this cool video: 

And if you would like to know more about buying Alchemy Juice Co products for your cafe or shop, get in touch with Domini directly on domini@itsa.ie

Many thanks.
Team Alchemy 

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RECIPE TIME!

We have another gorgeous recipe to share with you from Domini Kemp. It was also featured on RTE’s Today Show last week. It’s for a super-healthy, super-tasty Grilled Mint & Chilli Chicken

Domini adds: “If you can only get thighs with the bone in them, then just be sure to cook for 15 minutes longer and if you want to use skinless chicken, do.”

 Photograph: Jo Murphy (  http://www.joanne-murphy.com/  )

Photograph: Jo Murphy (http://www.joanne-murphy.com/)

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 8 boneless, chicken thighs
  • 1 large bunch mint
  • 2 chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • Zest& juice of 2 limes
  • Good pinch dried mint
  • Tiny squeeze honey
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Few glugs olive oil
  • Seeds of one pomegranate
  • chopped parsley

Method

  1. Put the chicken thighs in a shallow dish that can go in the oven. Put the rest of the ingredients in your food processor and blitz.
  2. Pour over the marinade and try to leave for at least an hour to marinate, longer if you can. But it really doesn't need to be done overnight.
  3. To cook, preheat your oven as hot as it will go and blast them thighs for 15 minutes. Sometimes they ooze wait a lot of liquid.
  4. Turn them over, baste with the marinade, turn the oven down to 200 degrees C and cook for another 30-40 minutes until cooked through.
  5. It's quite a wet marinade so they won't go uber-sticky, although you can help get this effect by sticking them under a hot grill. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and chopped parsley or coriander.

Enjoy!

Thanks. 
Team Alchemy

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FOOD & CANCER

Last week, chef Domini Kemp and nutritional therapist Patricia Daly mBANT, rCNHC, both two-time cancer survivors and authors of ‘The Ketogenic Kitchen’, presented a free public talk at the Fumbally Stables about the relationship between food and cancer and what the latest research says.

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The talk was, like last year’s one, fully subscribed as there is such huge interest in this subject. Domini and Patricia shared the latest research from the cancer researchers, doctors and oncologists from all over the world who are constantly investigating the subject and the links between diet and ill health.

The links between diet and cancer prevention and treatment are becoming more and more apparent and harder to ignore. The passion with which people talk about this subject highlights how emotional and topical it is; however, it is essential that this area of food and health be discussed in an open and safe environment. It is also, of course, vital that patients are allowed to have their say.

Interestingly, Domini also attended a conference in the prestigious Gustave Roussy institute in Paris, widely recognised as Europe’s premier cancer centre. Called ‘Rethinking Cancer’, it brought together patients, scientists, clinicians, dietitians and oncologists to examine the important but under-investigated area of cancer research: the role of diet and metabolism for cancer control. It heard of new research showing the benefits of diet for cancer patients undergoing conventional treatment, which is exactly what Domini and Patricia are most interested in.

We’ve attached here a short video of Domini and Patricia presenting their talk at the Fumbally.

Domini will also be talking at the Food on the Edge symposium in Galway on October 9th and 10th. More here: https://foodontheedge.ie/

Many thanks.
Team Alchemy

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NEW PLACE TO GET ALCHEMY-ED!

We are delighted to inform you that you can now get Alchemy Juice Co products in the Itsa Cafe in Dun Laoghaire. Across all the companies run by Domini and Peaches, we feel it is important to offer choice and to cater for the varied dietary choices made by individuals for different reasons.

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We hope the customers who frequent Itsa will enjoy the new ranges of juices, salads and treats now instore.

Here’s what you will find:

  • Gateway Juice: spinach, cos, celery, pineapple, apple, pear, parsley, lemon and ginger.
  • Anti-Everything Juice: carrot, apple, fresh turmeric, lemon, ginger, black pepper and cold-pressed flax oil.
  • Granola Bar: gluten-free oats, olive oil, honey, figs, apricots, cranberries, pumpkin seeds, almonds, pecans, sesame seeds and cinnamon.
  • Spirulina Balls: dates, cashews, coconut oil, spirulina powder, matcha powder and coconut.
  • Protein Balls: ground almonds, almond butter, maple syrup, chia seeds, sesame seeds, cacao, protein powder and coconut oil.
  • Paleo Caesar Salad: free range Irish roast chicken, kale, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and tamari.
  • Superfood Salad: spinach, blueberries, toasted chickpeas, roast sweet potato, honeyed walnuts, sprouts, lemon & goji-berry oil, mixed leaves and spinach.
  • Miso Salmon Salad: chargrilled salmon, carrot strips, chinese leaves, red & yellow peppers, courgette, spring onions, coriander, edamame beans, asian dressing, lime slices

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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New fat findings signal dietary guidelines need an overhaul

The conclusions are that a high carbohydrate diet is associated with a higher risk of mortality, whereas saturated fat (yes, saturated!) had 'an inverse association with stroke'

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Headlines screeched victory for the “low-carbers” yesterday and Twitter was set alight about a new study published in the respectable journal The Lancet. The Pure (Prospective Urban-Rural Epidemiology) study looked at the macronutrients: fat, carbohydrates and proteins and their consumption and association with cardiovascular health. The conclusions are that a high carbohydrate diet is associated with a higher risk of mortality, whereas saturated fat (yes, saturated!) had “an inverse association with stroke”. Most importantly, the final line concluded that “global dietary guidelines should be reconsidered in light of these findings”.

The usual cries on the opposing side were heard: that data was cherry-picked, that epidemiological studies are really only observational and are not hard evidence – like randomised control trials – and that the study was fundamentally flawed. Sadly, the arguments, for and against, prevent helpful dialogue. This study is the latest in a long line of headline-grabbers in recent years.

Cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra has long been a champion of significantly reducing processed carbohydrates in the diet, and increasing our levels of natural fats, which include saturated fats. Yes, natural saturated fats, found in eggs, oily fish, meat and olive oil are okay to eat again. Spreads and low-fat foods are being replaced with full fat versions and people are cutting back on sugar. Cholesterol has been removed as a “nutrient of concern”. A debate rages in the UK about overuse of statins and who really benefits. Remember the whole egg fiasco during the 1990s? We were not supposed to consume eggs more than twice a week because of concerns regarding cholesterol. It has now been well established that dietary cholesterol is not linked to serum cholesterol and we can eat eggs every day. Some experts go further and suggest that it’s the carbohydrates that cause issues around cardiovascular health, just as this Lancet study did.

Food pyramid

The food pyramid was changed last year to put processed carbohydrates (like sliced pan, pasta, rice, cereal) on the second level. Fruit and vegetables were put on the bottom line and therefore given prominence. I welcomed this move last year but did not feel it was bold enough. Dietary guidelines should be “best in class”.

Instead of arguing that the reason we are headed to become the most obese nation by 2030 is because no one follows the guidelines properly and we need to exercise more, why not look at the guidelines themselves? Thirty grammes of certain cereals contain up to 12 teaspoons of sugars. The WHO guidelines on sugar are that we should only have up to 12 teaspoons of “free sugar” per day, which is sugar that we or manufacturers add to a product to sweeten it. Your system can only cope with about two teaspoons of sugar floating around before it starts storing it as fat. The whole calories-in calories-out argument – often made by soft drink companies – blames obesity on the fact that people over-eat and don’t exercise enough. That may be true of some people, but it’s an oversimplification of a complex disease, which is obesity. Researchers are showing that hormones – namely insulin – are the real smoking gun.

Outdated guidelines

My interest in this whole debate is as a two-time cancer patient. I believe that guidelines need to be overhauled. Urgently. It is well established that insulin is not good for cancer patients and there are many bi-directional links between cancer, diabetes and obesity. Dr Craig Thompson, president of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, is extremely critical of US dietary guidelines (upon which ours are based) and also states categorically that overeating carbohydrates as opposed to fat will increase your risk of cancer.

Sadly, when similar ideas around cancer metabolism are suggested in this country, the idea is unceremoniously attacked by a small number of people, whose beliefs are firmly entrenched in support of an out-dated and flawed food pyramid.

We have to stop clinging to a one-size-fits-all approach to dietary guidelines. And those supporting and defending those guidelines must be brave enough to acknowledge and accept that they may have been wrong and that they need to do a U-turn if we are going to reverse chronic disease like obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular health, which is often preventable through diet and lifestyle.

The current guidelines do not serve the majority of us well. They do, however, serve certain food companies exceptionally well. That is not in the best interests of patients and as a result, we are being left behind other countries.

Why should we become the fattest nation by 2030 in Europe? Why should we accept that every three minutes in Ireland, someone gets a cancer diagnosis and that every hour someone dies from cancer? The incidence of cancer is growing and by 2020, one in two of us will get a cancer diagnosis in our lifetime. Yet 40 per cent of cancers are preventable through dietary and other lifestyle interventions, and the dietary intervention offered up by these institutions is the food pyramid. Come on folks, we can do better and, frankly, we can’t wait.

 - This article first appeared in The Irish Times on August 31st, 2017

Many thanks,
Team Alchemy

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DIET & CANCER 

Following their sold out talk last year, chef Domini Kemp and nutritional therapist Patricia Daly, cancer survivors and authors of The Ketogenic Kitchen, will present another free talk about the relationship between food and cancer and what the latest research says.

The talk is on at the Fumbally Stables on September 19th and is free of charge but you need to book your place. It sold out very quickly last year due to the huge interest in this subject.

Details of the event are here: http://eat-ith.com/categoryfeaturedupcoming-events/food-cancer/

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Many thanks.
Team Alchemy

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Quick, easy and tasty!

On the blog this week, we have another really gorgeous recipe from Domini! And as usual it ticks those all-important boxes: it’s easy to make, you probably have all the ingredients already, it’s really tasty and everyone in the family will enjoy it!

 Photograph: Jo Murphy (  http://www.joanne-murphy.com/  )

Photograph: Jo Murphy (http://www.joanne-murphy.com/)

Quick Tomato Soup

This quick tomato soup is the perfect ‘larder lunch’: there’s nothing in it you won’t find in your cupboards.  And don’t skip the anchovies: you won’t taste them and they add some umami oomph to this 15-minute wonder. Perfect when the weather is hovering between scorchio and freezing ... which sounds very familiar this August!


INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)

  • 1 large white onion, chopped (240g)
  • Few sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme (or both) (12g)
  • Six anchovies, drained and chopped (18g)
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (18g)
  • 1 good knob butter (20g)
  • 2 tins tomatoes (800g)
  • Splash sherry vinegar (7.6g or 2 tsp)
  • Salt & pepper (3g)
  • Parsley & olive oil to garnish (4g parsley and 8.4g or ½ tsp per portion of oil)

METHOD

  1. Sweat the onions, anchovies, fresh herbs and garlic in the butter over a medium heat until soft.
  2. Then add the tomatoes and vinegar.  Simmer for about ten minutes before blitzing till smooth in a blender. Season well and serve with a drizzle of olive oil, some fresh parsley and the bread below. 

Thanks,
Team Alchemy.

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SUMMER SOUP

Okay, we don’t exactly have the right climate for eating (or drinking) cold soup all summer long, but even if the weather warms up a bit, a chilled soup for lunch can be perfect. Maybe it’s because most of us have tasted gazpacho somewhere sunny and hot at some point in our lives, but it always seems like an attractive proposition if there is even a hint of sun during an Irish summer.

This chilled avocado soup by Domini fits the bill and, naturally, it is pretty healthy and easy to make. It can work as a nice starter or can be enjoyed at lunch or dinner ... with or without sun!

 Photo: The Irish Times

Photo: The Irish Times

Chilled Avocado Soup

Domini writes: “This is quite rich but is perfect as a shot of something delicious and is ideal if you don’t want to have a starter, but still want something to take the edge of everyone’s hunger.”

Serves 4

Garnish

  • 4 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled and very finely diced
  • 3 pieces celery, very finely sliced
  • Splash olive oil
  • Squeeze lime juice
  • Salt & pepper

Mix together and chill until ready to serve.

Soup

  • 4 very ripe avocadoes
  • 400 ml cold vegetable stock
  • few tablespoons yoghurt or cream
  • Few shakes Tabasco
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

Blend in a blender or food processor until silky smooth.  Season and chill until ready to serve in glasses or bowls with some of the garnish sprinkled on top.

Thanks and enjoy.
Team Alchemy

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NEW SUMMER BREAKFAST!!

Have you tried the ALCHEMY ACAI BOWL yet? Perfect for sunny - and, of course, not so sunny mornings! We have stuffed it full of the tastiest, healthiest ingredients around and created the perfect 'breakfast in a bowl' for those on the go! It has acai, strawberries, blueberries, banana, cacao nibs, baobab, bee pollen, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and goji berries!

Here are some really interesting links to the Authority Nutrition website about the health benefits of some of those ingredients:

We made it with you in mind and hope you like it!!!

Thanks.
Team Alchemy

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