The Green Life with Kim Parsons, founder of The Retreat Café

by Rosie Guest,

One of our favourite places to find healthy snacks on the go in London is The Retreat Café in Parsons Green. It is the creation of Kim Parsons, a naturopath from Australia who is passionate about seasonal nutritious food. We asked her a few questions while enjoying her newest invention, the 'Matcharoon' - super power matcha tea & macaroon. 

Why did you become interested in healthy eating?

I was one of the lucky ones; I was one of those children who was brought up searching for the freshly laid eggs under the hens’ warm belly. At age five I could tell you exactly what was growing in the vegetable garden, I knew when the raspberries were ready to be picked for making jam. I tasted the sweetness of a fresh fig from the tree and looked forward to the autumn bringing the prickly chestnuts to roast over an open fire. So, I guess a passion for food, nutrition and healthy living has stemmed from my early years. I decided to become a naturopath because I loved being able to treat people with natural substances for health, I loved the idea that I could take what grew in our surroundings and help people make connections with their health.  

What inspires your recipe creations?

More than anything I would describe my cooking as produce-driven. Growing up in Australia where the endless sun provides produce that is freshly crisp and bursting with tantalising flavour I was surrounded by an abundance of luscious tropical fruits, leafy bowls of salad, barbeque grilled seafood, tangy Asian noodles and spiced that not only tastes great but also bursting with colour and dripping with delicious juices.

Now that I live in Europe, I love cooking by the seasons. The figs in August, the strawberries in the spring and chestnuts in Autumn.

What is your food philosophy?

Eat and drink everything in moderation. Be mindful about what you nourish yourself with, be happy, give and enjoy the people around you.

Do you have any crazy health tips that actually work?

I’m a Naturopath! So of course I have all the quirky ‘old wife’s tales’ tricks up my sleeves! Such as, sage gargles for a sore throat and onion syrup’s for ear infections etc. These all actually work by the way!

What recipe would you recommend to clients pre and post a juice cleanse?

I always recommend keeping it plant-based pre and post cleansing with loads of essential fatty acid packed foods such as avocado and seeds. With some healthy protein sources too such as nuts to help build strength again.

Are there any ingredients that you think are particularly helpful to use before, during and after a cleanse?

Absolutely, gentle cleansing herbs such as parsley for the kidneys, lemon and bitter greens such as rocket for the liver, carminative herbs such as mint for easy reintroduction of foods to the stomach after meals, and cinnamon and ginger to bring warmth to the body again.  

What’s your favourite juice combination?  

Spinach, fennel, apple and mint

What three foods would you always find in your fridge or kitchen cupboards?

Coconut oil, goji berries and avocados

How do you keep fit?

I keep a regular yoga practice and I love to be in the outdoors. I love to go for walks through Richmond Park in London as often as possible. Nature is what connects me to myself.

But in all honesty, what keeps me feeling the best I can feel is a healthy, happy, perspective on life. When my disposition is permanently set to feeling good about life, I always feel fit and healthy. I believe a lot of our health and overall wellbeing comes from our minds.

What is your vision for 2014?

I have big plans for the ‘retreat’ brand. After opening the café just 5 months ago we are looking forward in 2014 to more café locations, expanding the product range and bringing our products into more stores.

Radiance Experts: Midi Fairgrieve

by Christina Agnew, , link

Radiance's Executive Nutritional Therapist Midi Fairgrieve gives her view below on how fasting can heal serious disease:

Fasting is getting a lot of scientific attention at the moment especially with so much new research emerging about the powerful health benefits of intermittent fasting (such as The Fast Diet 5:2 approach), from weight loss to slowing down the ageing process. But for me, some of the most exciting new evidence emerging is around the ability of ‘fasting’ (or a very low calorie diet) to reverse type 2 diabetes and normalize blood sugar control.
Diabetes affects 3 million people in the UK (a further 850,000 people are thought to have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes) and it’s a serious and growing problem worldwide. Given that it has been seen in the past as a long term condition, managed mainly through medication but generally not cured, it is an exciting development that so many scientific studies are now proving that a short period on a very low calorie diet can reverse type 2 diabetes.

Here’s a link to one research study carried out at Newcastle University (currently involved in a larger joint study with Glasgow University looking at the effects of a short term low calorie diet on diabetes), which shows that type 2 diabetes can be reversed just using diet.

Fasting is a powerful tool for restoring health, and the hope of turning around disease is one reason why people may choose to do a juice fast. Ideally, it’s better to weave regular fasting and a healthy diet into your lifestyle as a way of on-going disease prevention, but usually we wait until our health starts to deteriorate before taking any action!

Apart from having the potential to re-balance blood sugar control, fasting can overcome a multitude of conditions from digestive and bowel problems, painful joint inflammation, and high blood pressure to depression, obesity, fertility problems and lack of energy. The healing power lies in the fact that fasting allows the body to de-congest, cleanse, throw out toxic waste and then it is better able to heal and rejuvenate at cellular level. Key to this process is getting the body back to the optimum chemical environment for everything from enzyme action to nutrient uptake to be able to work as it should. A body labouring under too much excess weight, fatty foods, processed salt, toxins and sugar simply can’t function in a vital way. A juice fast clears the routes of elimination and restores metabolic pathways so that optimum health is achieved. You feel that change pretty quickly as your energy rises, your mind clears and a sense of excitement for life and optimism reappears.

Radiance Loves.... Pink Juices

by Christina Agnew, , link

We are so excited about the limited edition pink juices that we have created for our special Valentine's Gift Box.

We can't think of a sweeter, healthy gift for your loved ones. View all of the details HERE.


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