It's the end of an era - not just a month! I'm really happy to say that I've finished my final year university exams, and while graduation is a little way away, I'm now relaxing after the final revision push. I'm now spending the time trying out new recipes, getting fit (I'm finally enjoying running!) and hoping to better myself over the summer before starting my new job. Across this month, I've really enjoyed posting about the following:

1. Pink coconut water
It seems that pink coconut water is as new to all of you as it is to me! I loved your reactions to my post on it, but I love more the fact that it's possibly the healthiest type of coconut water on the market.

2. Plant-based chocolate flapjack
This was my celebration after my final exam - a big, gooey chocolate flapjack that was surprisingly completely plant-based too. Thanks to Rawr Chocolate for making such a good alternative to regular chocolate; no palm oil and no spots for me the day after either.

3. All things coconut
While it may be a fashion trend at the moment, coconut is actually quite the superfood. I researched the benefits of coconut oil, meat, water, and milk to find out which parts of a coconut we should (and shouldn't) be indulging in.

4. Plant-based spaghetti bolognese
This meal is a big staple in my diet, so I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of you who enjoyed my recipe! I've recently discovered adding a little smoked paprika to the courgette spaghetti and pine nuts gives a great little zing too. You can find the recipe here.

5. My dissertation
While I'm not trying to blow my own trumpet (too much!), I have to admit I really enjoyed posting an executive summary of my eating local dissertation. Organic and local produce are the main focuses of my project, and you can find out why I think they're so important over here.

6. Living Nature's Day Cream
This has been a miracle for my skin, hence why I'm adding it to this month's highlights. My face suffers from dryness and redness, but this day cream has really helped me overcome it (even during the stressful exam season) so it's my beauty product of the month.



If you're a big coconut water drinker, you may have noticed something funny going on with your coconut water... sometimes, it's pink! I first came across this phenomenon after laying my hands on Unoco raw coconut water - they specialise in pink coconut water only, which comes from young green coconuts that is unrefined, unpasteurised, and untreated.

However, sometimes this also happens to other brands' coconut water - my case in point is Living Juice's coconut water. I had this stashed in my fridge for a few days, and came back to find that it had too reached a lovely pale pink colour. So, what causes this?

It turns out, it's a mix of the production process, and natural maturity of the coconut water. Production has to be minimal for the living enzymes to remain in the water, thus meaning any pink coconut water you find will have been at most, raw cold-pressed. No refining, no pasteurising, no treating. According to Unoco, the coconut water must also come in a bottle rather than a can, or Tetra Pak.

Second, is the coconut's magical maturity process. The more the coconut water turns pink, the more it has oxidised. This is true even for coconut water coming from the fruit itself, but if you find a coconut with pink flesh, it has gone past its best. So, is pink coconut water better or worse than "regular" clear coconut water?

Looking purely at nutritional value (between Unoco, Living Juice, and Coconut Essence [a clear variety]), it appears that pink coconut water may be slightly higher in sugar content, but it also has a higher potassium content, which is usually the reason why coconut water is being consumed in the first place. My best advice would be to drink pink coconut water as soon as you get it, so as to benefit from the higher potassium content but also to prevent it from oxidising further. It's not to say that clear coconut water does not oxidise over time, but its pasteurisation process (or packaging) prevents it from being as pure and raw as possible, thus slowing the oxidisation process but also lowering the potassium value too.

When it comes to skincare, moisturiser is always at the top of my list. It's only been recently that I've self-diagnosed the redness of my cheeks to lack of moisture, and while I did try high-street moisturisers, I've got to say that Living Nature's Nourishing Day Cream* has been better than any other remedy I've tried.

The moisturiser itself uses manuka honey to nourish the skin, as well as to take advantage of its microbial properties so as to protect against inflammation or blemishes. Due to its 100% natural ingredients, it has a light, herbal scent and is creamy but malleable when applied. I've genuinely never been happier with a day cream, and it definitely has reduced the redness of my cheeks, as well as made my skin more manageable and a lot less flaky. I find that I get dryness on my cheeks and top of my t-zone, and both areas are now completely resolved after one month of using the cream. Considering that the bottle is still two-thirds full, I would estimate it lasting three months if used once daily, which makes it good value at just under £20.

As for the rest of my skincare routine, I've settled into using a cleanser and Living Nature's Nourishing Day Cream in the morning, and then washing away all the day's hard work with warm water and facial soap in the evening, followed by a dab of raw virgin coconut oil to my usually dry patches. If you've got dry skin on your face, I would highly recommend this routine as it's made my skin pretty much "normal" all over.

In the UK, you can purchase Living Nature products from Botanical Brands. Also to note, Botanical Brands supports the Real Beauty Manifesto, meaning its products are both green and cruelty-free!




Last weekend, I visited Birmingham Foodies Festival, a celebration of all sorts of cuisine as well as cooking. Having been invited as an official blogger for the festival, I was happy to see so many other Brummies joining me to feast in the rare Birmingham sunshine.

The festival rolled on from Friday-Sunday, featuring a range of famous cooks, sommeliers and chefs in the three main tents: The Tasting, Cake and Bake Theatre; The Wine, Champagne and Craft Beer theatre, and; The Aga Rangemaster Chefs Theatre. Visiting on the Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised to pick up a few new tips for baking and using chocolate in the kitchen, but I was truly more interested in the food being sold!

As a vegetarian and healthy living enthusiast, I managed to lay my hands on a veggie burger, as well as a freshly pressed juice from Ascorbic Juices. I also picked up a carton of coconut water from Vita Coco and some freshly marinated garlic olives (which I've only just finished!) to take away with me. However, I did think these options were a little lacking overall, with the main focuses being meat, alcohol and big delicious-looking desserts. Hopefully in the future, the healthy-eating aspect can be expanded - having Katy B from Little Miss Meat Free teach vegan baking is definitely a great start though!

Overall, I had a great day out at the Foodies Festival, and I know it has great potential to include and promote healthy eating as well as feasting! It'd be nice to see more local producers there next year, and even more discounts for festival-goers.


It's been a hectic couple of weeks, but my exams are finally over! As a final year student, I've now entered that limbo period between receiving my results and graduating, so I've taken some time out to relax, enjoy not having to cram my brain full of French and formulae, and now return to blogging.

I wanted to start off this new era of my life with something pretty special - this plant-based chocolate flapjack, to be exact. Thanks to Rawr Chocolate, I've had a substantial amount of raw goji chocolate chunks* sat in my cupboard begging to be snacked on during my revision season, so I decided to finally unleash it in a whirlwind of healthy ingredients that churned out this deliciously rich treat. If you haven't tried Rawr, I'd definitely recommend it - I've been a convert to their chiefly plant-based, organic chocolate bars for quite a while now. It's nice to see a company with a conscience for both their producers and their customers - regular chocolate was so bad for my skin, so their raw chocolate has been a heaven-sent alternative.

You also might question how such a large, stodgy-looking flapjack could be in any way healthy, but I suppose that's the art of plant-based cooking. This cake, tasting just as great as the syrup-filled apple flapjacks my mum always used to make for me and my family, hits a nice balance between treat and mindful eating, meaning you'll feel guilt-free and still satisfied upon eating it.



PLANT-BASED CHOCOLATE FLAPJACK
Serves: 10

250g oats
1 small banana
1 small apple
3 heaped tbsp almond butter
3 heaped tbsp date syrup
3 heaped tbsp maple syrup
20g cocoa nibs
1 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
+
160g Rawr Goji Chocolate Chunks*
Handful of dried goji berries

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C
  2. In a bowl, mush the banana with a fork until barely any lumps remain
  3. Peel and grate your apple into a separate bowl
  4. Pour the mushed banana into a small saucepan with the almond butter, date syrup and maple syrup (I use these two so as to prevent a strong date flavour - you can change this to suit your taste)
  5. Heat the saucepan at a medium heat until all the ingredients have congealed together - remove from the heat immediately once they have
  6. In a mixing bowl, pour out your oats and mix in the grated apple, cocoa nibs and cocoa powder
  7. Pour over the banana-syrup mix and stir in thoroughly - it may seem like there's not enough liquid at first, but keep stirring!
  8. Now put your flapjack mix into a tin to bake. I use a long bread tin that I don't need to grease.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes and immediately plate once removed from the oven
  10. While the flapjack is cooling, heat the Rawr chocolate chunks using a bain marie. (To do this, fill a saucepan halfway with kettle-boiled water, and keep at boiling point by setting at a medium heat. Rest a glass bowl on the edges of the pan, so it will sit nicely above the water without touching it. Now pop your chocolate chunks in this.)
  11. Stir the chocolate until melted and spoon over the flapjack - the messier the better
  12. Now sprinkle over the goji berries while it's cooling, and serve whenever you like!
As a side note, I've found this cake will last around one week if kept covered at room temperature. When cooking with all plant-based ingredients, it's best not to attempt to keep things for too long!

Spaghetti bolognese has always had a place close to my heart. As a kid it was my favourite meal - in fact, it was the only dinner that I would happily slurp and get messy with, because I couldn't get enough of its rich flavour and smooth texture!

Nowadays, bolognese has become a healthier, lighter affair, but it hasn't lost any of its rich tomato base or flagrant flavour. In fact, this dish is one of my staple dinners, and I eat it at least once a week because it's so quick and easy to whip up.

As you'll also notice from the title, this recipe is wholly plant-based, meaning it's also vegan and vegetarian. I've been dabbling with meals from all three diet types (as I still call myself a vegetarian, although "it's complicated" would be a better description considering I no longer drink cows' milk). From now on, I'll be adding little symbols under each recipe that I post so you can more easily tell whether they fit into your diet or not - this one, for example, is vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Whew! Even I was surprised at how it fit into all those categories - you can of course further customise this to fit with your specific diet or dietary requirements.

I'm also going to add a little note here that you will indeed need a spiraliser or julienne peeler for the courgette spaghetti - you could make courgette slices if you don't have these to hand, however.



PLANT-BASED SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE
Serves: 2

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
200g mushrooms
4 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp fine sea salt
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 medium carrot
½ yellow bell pepper
+
Splash of olive oil
2 medium courgettes
Handful of pine nuts

  1. To prepare the vegetables for the sauce, chop the onion, crush the garlic, grate the carrot, slice the mushrooms and dice the pepper - this will give a chunkier bolognese, but you can finely chop everything if you prefer
  2. Next, heat the olive oil in a sauce pan and fry the onion and mushroom. Leave the lid on to capture all the mushrooms' expelled water, but make sure to have enough olive oil in the beginning, otherwise the onion will burn
  3. Turn down the heat and add the crushed garlic, leaving to simmer for a minute
  4. Now add the tomato purée, oregano, basil, and sea salt, stirring in so all the flavours mix
  5. Throw in your chopped tomatoes, grated carrot, and chopped pepper and leave to cook for 10 minutes on a low heat
  6. While this is cooking, heat the pine nuts in a small frying pan without any oil. This dry frying technique will work suddenly at a high heat, so make sure to keep the nuts moving and remove from the pan as soon as they are brown
  7. To make the courgette spaghetti, use a spiraliser (I have a handheld one) or julienne peeler and twirl into long noodles, directly into the now empty frying pan along with a splash of olive oil. I also usually chop up any excess courgette and throw it into the bolognese at this point
  8. Now fry the "courgetti" at a medium heat until soft, but before liquid is released. Remove from the pan and serve everything together in a bowl


Happy Coeliac Awareness Week! While being gluten-free may now be a diet choice, for many, having to go gluten-free is vital for their health. Why? Well, coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease caused by an intolerance to gluten, and unfortunately, gluten plays a big part in food these days. On top of that, 1 in 100 people are affected by the disease, and symptoms can range from minor digestive problems and skin rashes to fatigue, weight-loss and even anaemia.

This week, there's a big movement aiming to raise awareness for the disease, as well as the demand for gluten-free food. As a healthy foodie, a lot of what I eat is naturally gluten-free, but even I am unsure at times as to what has gluten in, and what does not. Thanks to this Coeliac Awareness Week however, I've learnt that any food produced from grains such as wheat, barley and rye contains gluten - this means products such as bread, pasta, couscous, and even oats could be potentially harmful to coeliacs.

The key thing to note if you are, or suspect you are, a coeliac is that while removing gluten from your diet is necessary, you will also need to replace the dietary fibre and B vitamins that you are forgoing. This is where Lizi's Gluten Free Granola* excels - made with gluten-free oats, they can safely give you this fibre, as well as a pretty tasty breakfast-time too! And if you're like me, you'll want your cereal with plant-based milk fortified with calcium, iron and B vitamins, making it a true alternative rather than a sub-par replacement to gluten-filled food.

Lizi's Granola also comes in a low sugar version, for non-coeliacs who are still looking to eat healthily, and across the board, it's a tasty breakfast made from oats, chopped nuts, seeds and a sprinkling of natural sugars. I like it best with a unsweetened almond milk and a few berries, but you could equally have it with yoghurt, or even in a smoothie bowl for a tasty, healthy crunch.

I thought it would also be pertinent to let you know that you can easily find out if you're a coeliac by visiting Coeliac UK, an organisation that is constantly raising awareness for the disease - click here to get diagnosed. Also for Coeliac Awareness Week, I'll be posting my wholly plant-based bolognese and courgette noodles recipe, so stick around for that!

Sources: Coeliac UK  -  Havard Medical School

On my quest to lead a sustainable and cruelty-free lifestyle, I've been a bit of a Burt's Bees convert. So it was a surprise to hear fellow green bloggers complaining about Burt's Bees and its non-compliance with cruelty-free standards recently. Looking at the numerous bottles and pots of lovely creams and balms, I felt deeply upset - not only was most of my collection given to me as a Christmas present especially chosen to suit my new-found sustainable lifestyle, but they're not cheap either! However, upon closer inspection I found that all of my products display the Leaping Bunny symbol, indicating their cruelty-free status. So, what's the deal?

THE TRUTH ABOUT BURT'S BEES
In 2007, Burt's Bees was acquired by Clorox, a company which freely admits that it tests on animals. However, Burt's Bees, as a subsidiary, has continued its cruelty-free approach, declaring that their products and even their ingredients are not tested on animals - something that isn't assured by all cruelty-free brands. I believe this is where the crux of the matter lies. My question is this - how far should we look into the production chain in order to gauge cruelty-free status?

The Leaping Bunny defines what it considers cruelty-free status as, "no animal testing [is] conducted or commissioned for finished products or ingredients in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories or its suppliers". Essentially, the Leaping Bunny represents the complete absence of animal testing in its chain of production, including third-party suppliers. This means that, while Clorox does test on animals in its other subsidiaries, it remains completely cruelty-free in its Burt's Bees branch. This is where things become divisive, however. Depending on your personal stance, you may still wish to not use Burt's Bees products simply because the profits generated by the company will be repatriated to other business areas that do test on animals. Or, you will draw a line here and continue to support the company anyway.

Personally, I've come to the decision to not be opposed to their products because of the buy-out. It seems somewhat naïve to condemn a company that still maintains its ethics when its parent company does not hold the same view. In that respect, you could easily condemn me for being a vegetarian when the rest of my family is not! What I'm trying to say is, I will continue trust cruelty-free certified practices no matter who owns who, because I will still be creating more demand for these products. If we all did the same, companies like Clorox would convert to being a wholly cruelty-free organisation simply to stay in business.

IS BURT'S BEES VEGAN?
As an aside from its cruelty-free status, Burt's Bees does disclose that a number of its ingredients are derived from animal sources - beeswax and royal jelly from bees, milk from livestock and carmine from insects. Of all of these, I've actually found carmine the hardest one to reason with, simply because the destruction of thousands of bugs for a nice red colour in their products seems so anti-cruelty-free to me. Milk is also tough to wrestle with, because my vegetarianism was in part to do with my disagreement with the way livestock are kept (I also don't drink milk anymore, although other dairy products are still on my menu).

In this sense, Burt's Bees is definitely not vegan. It would be equally interesting to see if the company could join the Real Beauty Manifesto (RBM), a program that was recently launched to join together beauty companies that are sustainable and transparent, as well as a few other wonderful things (you can read about all the RBM's policies here). Depending on your personal preferences, it may therefore be wise to only choose green, natural and cruelty-free beauty products that proffer the RBM symbol.

Six months ago, I started a dissertation on local food purely because I was touched by the organic food market vendors that used to spring up every Sunday around the corner from my flat in Paris. I'd just moved back to Birmingham, UK, and I was Paris-sick; blue from being moved from a sunny, beautiful city where the people still had an inkling of their relationship with nature, to coming back to a grey, ex-manufacturing city full of pseudo-food outlets. Completing my final year of university and finding a job was my mission to move on up, while finding healthier and more ethical ways of living that I hadn't contemplated before my year in France.

Half a year later, I've completed my dissertation and presented my subject in an exam. Despite it being in French, the discoveries I made from both English and French resources were something that surprised me, and has kindled a new understanding of our relationship with not only agriculture, but with each other, the environment, and a mindful respect of everything around us. I believe this is what Curiously Conscious stands for at its core, so I hope you find the information that I disclose here useful, and perhaps as inspirational as I've found it.

WHAT IS LOCAL FOOD EXACTLY?
Local food essentially embodies any kind of project or movement that limits the consumption of food to a proximity of roughly 100 miles. Locavorism is what most often springs to mind - participants in the locavore movement eat local food only, on a strict regime perhaps even more complicated than a vegan diet. There are many reasons why people choose to be a part of a local food movement, and each is personal - whether it be the support of a local economy, the improved traceability of all food products, the possibility of immediate communication between farmer and consumer, or even the creation of a new social community that supports itself, and provides economic and environmental stability.

Local food naturally fits into a sustainable lifestyle: ecologically sound, socially fair and economically efficient, it often goes hand in hand with seasonable eating, organic food production, reduced food freight and the creation of an autonomous industry that supports local jobs, and maintains a steady income flow for farmers no matter the success rate of their crops.

Surprisingly, it wasn't that long ago that we were wholly sustained by local agriculture - for France, it was in 1891 that the largest percentage of its population worked on the land. That's just over 100 years ago. Agriculture represented sustenance, not money.

Nowadays, the food industry is just that - an industry. An economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials. Food is the world's largest industry, and its fields, factories. Or at least, that is the way that is now being interpreted by many, many companies. From all the reading I've done, I would say that it's this process, of commercialising food, seeds, nature, that has driven out all of the other positive aspects associated with local food too. Local food is now old, forgotten concept that is being revived on the fringes of society - and here's why we should support it.

WE ARE AT A CROSSROADS...
Let's take a look into the specific present and future "advances" in food production that I touched on in my paper. The continued commercialisation of the food sector is now seeing the quality of our food diminish. Widespread use of chemicals on plants, sterile seeds and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are all commonplace, and yet are being unknowingly accepted by the general public. I think the one thing to stress here is, no matter how many studies come out disproving a difference in nutritional content between organic and "normal" food, the real crux of the matter is organic foods' implied sustainability. Pesticidal use is poisoning farm workers, insects, and in the case of bees, entire food chains. GMOs cannot be reseeded, breaking the natural life-cycle. This creates a reliance on GMO creators, companies that are commercialising nature at its very heart - its seeds. Doesn't it seem cruel that these companies are now preying on communities that are victims of natural disasters? Haitians burnt the seeds Monsanto sent them after their earthquake, because they could see through their exploitative strategy. But strategies such as these are targeting third-world countries, famine-stricken communities, creating a reliance from poorest and most vulnerable people on the planet.

We (those of us living in developed countries) are not excluded from these threats either. Pesticide use is now the norm. And in April of this year, the European Union authorised 17 GMOs to be grown for human consumption in Europe, even after readily defending its zero-tolerance policy when negotiating the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership, a proposal to open commercial barriers between Europe and the U.S. - you can read more about it here). Prior to this, GMOs could only be found in animal feed - making meat a secondary product of GMOs. And while your country's government may ban the cultivation of these products on their land, free movement of goods under the E.U. means GMO-supporters such as Spain and Portugal could easily be shipping their GMO foods to our shops. Local food has never seemed more pertinent in the preservation of our health and our respect for the earth.

WHAT TO DO NOW?
Right now, I have no national or supranational petition for you to fill out, nor a place to boycott. We do have a way we can vote, however - with our money. Just like turning vegetarian has been a symbol of my refusal to support the practices of the meat industry, we can do the same with places stocking GMOs (thankfully, the use of GMOs has to be labelled under European law). I'm sure many of you regularly shop at health food stores, your local markets, or even visit farm shops. Even now, a lot of that is aspirational for me, but buying organic even in supermarkets raises demand and supports producers. Let this be our little support system! And as always let people know about it - being conscious is always the best way! I'm excited at how much support I've seen for mindful eating and conscious living over the past months. I know the demand for a chic, sustainable lifestyle is out there, so let's live that way. If you can, eat locally. And if not - eat organic.

If you'd like to know more about eating local food and/or creating sustainable agricultural systems, here's a brief list of the most accessible English sources I used to write my dissertation:

I've become something of a "coconutter" - these three snaps of chopped coconut, coconut oil and coconut water are only a few of the coconut-based products I have lying around my flat at the moment, and I'm always being enticed by anything that mentions the delectable fruit. Well, that's where my first inquisitive thought came from in fact - is coconut a fruit? Is it a seed? What on earth is it?

It turns out, coconut is both a fruit, a seed, and a drupe, a fleshy fruit defined by its stone. So where is the stone? Unlike most drupes, the coconut is technically the stone, too. It's actually thanks to this magical fruit's reproductive process that we get coconut water, milk, oil and flesh all from the same fruit, just in different stages of its maturity.

This fun fact would have been well appreciated when I was small and encountered my first ever coconut. I remember the excitement at picking it out, the strange hairy fur bristling against my hands as I shook it next to my ear, attempting to hear a slushing sound that I thought was the fresh water. You can imagine my disappointment when I actually came to open the fruit, my Dad bashing it out of frustration, to find barely a teaspoon's worth of grey liquid that tasted bitter and old.

Over ten year's later, and I've forgiven that coconut - I'm a big convert to cooking with the oil, drinking the water and sprinkling dessicated coconut on my smoothies. But what kind of nutrients are we getting from all these coconut-based foods? Here's my little summary after some research:

COCONUT MEAT
Let's start with the basics - coconut meat comes in a number of forms, including fresh chunks (pictured), as well as dried flakes and desiccated coconut. The fresh version of the meat is almost 80% fat, containing all amino acids and an especially high amount of manganese. A lesser-known mineral, manganese is great for the skin, bones and heart. As for the amino acids - this make-up means coconut is a complete plant-based protein, but its protein content remains quite low.

Given its high fatty content, it may seem surprising that coconut meat is considered "healthy", especially when that fat is chiefly saturated. However, due to the large lauric acid content, this fat is high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good cholesterol". This is much better for the heart and blood than other saturated fats, although it should still be used in moderation.

As for desiccated or dried coconut, the fat content remains, but the manganese level drops significantly. If you can, go for fresh meat over flakes when fancying coconut!

COCONUT OIL
Coconut oil has been all over the place - I even featured it in my comparison of plant-based cooking oils a while ago, and I was shocked to discover its high saturated fat content. At this moment in time, there has been no proof that the HDL content actually helps the heart and blood, but it's a much better alternative to oils with a higher low-density lipoprotein (LDL) content. On top of that, coconut oil is most often sold as 100% virgin, raw, and organic - this means it has had no chemical tampering during its growth and production process. With a lot of other cooking oils, they have been bleached, heated to a high temperature (thus removing nutrients) and have been exposed to pesticides - you can check the likelihood of this in the plant-based oil comparison I did here.

COCONUT WATER
Coconut water is possibly the green smoothie's number one competition in terms of hype - but is it really that good for us? Taken from young, green coconuts, the water is really low in saturated fat unlike its flesh and oil cousins, yet still can be considered a complete plant-based protein due to its range of amino acids. Again, it is relatively high in manganese, as well as potassium, meaning it's great for your skin, bones, heart, and kidneys.

COCONUT MILK
The final coconut by-product featured here is coconut milk - I use this a lot less than water or oil, normally in curries or sometimes making vegan ice cream. There's a reason why coconut milk doesn't share the same fascination as the water and oil, due to its crazily high saturated fat content. Coconut milk is a condensed mixture made from grating the meat and mixing it with coconut water, so it still shares the high proportion of manganese, but also the saturated fat. When using this in cooking, try to minimise how much you use.

Overall, it seems coconut deserves the attention it's getting - the pretty unique combination of amino acids, manganese content and HDL version of saturated fat makes it a staple in a vegetarian, vegan or plant-based diet.

Sources: Heart.org  -  Nutrition Data  -  Wikipedia  -  World's Healthiest Foods

Happy May! So after yesterday's round-up of all things April, today I thought would be a great time to look forward to what's ahead in the month of May. And what's better than seasonal, nutrient-rich, fresh food?

FRUIT IN SEASON IN MAY
  • Apples
  • Apricot
  • Avocados
  • Banana
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Cactus pears
  • Cherimoyas
  • Cherries
  • Dates
  • Grapefruit
  • Kiwis
  • Lemons
  • Loquats
  • Mandarins
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries

VEGETABLES IN SEASON IN MAY
  • Asparagus
  • Aubergine
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac
  • Chard
  • Cress
  • Cucumber
  • Garlic
  • Globe artichoke
  • Lamb's lettuce
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • New potatoes
  • Onion
  • Pak choi
  • Peas
  • Pepper
  • Potatoes
  • Purple sprouting broccoli
  • Radicchio
  • Radishes
  • Rocket
  • Samphire
  • Spinach
  • Spring greens
  • Spring onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Watercress
  • Wild nettles
  • Woods strawberries

NUTS IN SEASON IN MAY
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios

HERBS IN SEASON IN MAY
  • Basil
  • Bay leaf
  • Borage
  • Chamomile
  • Chervil
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Fennel
  • Garlic chives
  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm
  • Lovage
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Sorrel
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme