Emma Sammels

All about your health - Blog

4 Tips To Stay Healthy & Energised This Holiday Season

Three Gifts Wrapped In Brown Paper And Decorated With Pink Flowers Made From Paper

If you want to stay healthy and energised this holiday season, these insanely easy-to-follow tips are worth gifting yourself or sharing with love- ones. I hope they’re useful reminders and inspire you to start a new decade with vigour, again!

Happy Xmas & New Year.

~Emma xo

Don’t forget your vegetables!

Seasonal organic vegetables positively hold a place on anyone’s Xmas plate. We’ve all heard a lot about the benefits of eating them; they’re effective for our gut health, high in fibre and packed full of vitamins and minerals important for the immune system.

But balancing your vegetables this time of year can be a bit tricky and may involve a little extra effort. Try adding seasonal vegetables to your meals that echo the colours of the rainbow like Brussel sprouts, leeks, butternut squash, parsnips and beetroot. There’s nothing quite like the delicious flavours of eating food that’s free from toxins and pesticides.

Next grocery haul, you could also buy a brand new winter vegetable that you wouldn’t normally cook with or order a local organic vegetable box. Who knows, you may even discover a newfound veggie that you love!

Prioritise exercise

Often during the holiday season, our exercise regime falls by the wayside, but it’s important to keep everything ticking over.

Try adding 20-30 minutes of exercise most days, depending on what works best for you. A brisk walk around your local park or in the countryside to jumpstart your metabolism is the perfect wellness antidote for this time of year. You could also marry your walk with a nourishing yoga sequence or some upper-body resistance exercises.

In the new year, it’s a good idea to change your exercise regime again where you can look toward exercising in a way that suits your unique constitution and lifestyle.

Prioritise sleep 

Think of sleep as your superhero and setting the stage for the following day, so you wake to feel refreshed and energised.

During the holiday season, your sleep pattern will no doubt ebb and flow between staying up late and having a lie-in. The best of the best, in my opinion, has to be the no alarm clock factor- worth plenty of self-indulgence!

A good wind-down ritual is another nice treat. These ideas aren’t revolutionary but do work if you’re in reasonably good health, striving for more sleep and occasionally feel a bit jittery before slumber. To ‘Zen out’, try taking a relaxing bath, read a calming book or listening to some soothing music. A calming meditation can also work wonders, too.

Another favourite for settling the nervous system before bedtime, which I’ve mentioned before, is magnesium citrate. Many patients I treat are deficient in the mineral magnesium and find taking this supplement incredibly beneficial for easing restlessness and supporting a peaceful night’s sleep.

If you are currently taking any prescribed medication, please consult your GP or a qualified nutritionist before taking any supplements, as they can guide you safely.

Rest more than ever

Focusing on your rest during the holiday season has to be one of the best remedies for leaving you feeling energised and all topped up ready for the new year ahead, so you’re raring to go again.

The ancient Chinese cleverly recognised that frequent rest is an absolute necessity toward our overall health and wellness, particularly when you have been running on empty or overdoing it for a long period of time- often referred to as Kidney Yin deficiency. One of the best ways to nourish your Yin (‘fill up your petrol tank’) is by relaxing lots, eating healthily and generally avoiding overdoing it.

Winter is also a Yin time of year where everything naturally slows down, and nature rests. If you try to follow the natural cycle of this season by slowing down your activities, sleeping and resting well you will hopefully stay healthy and feel energised ready for when spring arrives. (Yay!).

Last, if you really do want to nourish your Yin so you can experience truly being able to rest with ease, I firmly suggest trying some traditional acupuncture. I think you’ll be surprised by its calming and energising effect.

Please discuss with your doctor or traditional acupuncturist if you have a severe medical condition before trying any of my advice. As with all articles on emmasammels.com, this is no substitution for individual medical intervention. If you are interested in finding out more information, please visit my Bookings page.


Think Before You Eat Lots of Dairy

Knife ready to cut piece of butter on a pastry preparation on wooden table near eggs and brown sugar

Many people believe that changing to a dairy-free diet is beneficial for your health. Here’s what I’ve discovered from treating lots of patients- excellent wellness results can happen when you reduce dairy or hold it off for a while. Read on to learn something new, hopefully.

Please feel free to jot a comment below- I’d love to hear from you. ~Emma xo

What are dairy health concerns?

First, I don’t want to frighten you about eating dairy products because I’m a firm believer in a little bit of what you fancy does you good. However, in Chinese medicine, multiple symptoms can develop from overeating dairy in the diet.

The ancient Chinese knew it was a real problem for our health and the function of the body. In particular, seeing when the digestive or respiratory systems (including the nasal cavity) were off track, Damp and Phlegm symptoms arose. Many other organs can also be affected; I’ve just highlighted the main ones.

Terminology such as Damp and Phlegm may sound bizarre- as they did for me before training as an acupuncturist- but when I saw how these traits manifested in patients, I knew for sure they existed.

Today, conventional medicine also acknowledges that excessive dairy in the diet is problematic, being commonly connected to inflammation and acidity levels rising in the body long-term, leading to illness and disease.

What are Damp and Phlegm?

I’ve treated lots of patients with Damp and Phlegm related to a multitude of conditions.

Damp is inconspicuous and tends to affect your digestive system when it’s deficient in energy (Qi deficient) and not working optimally. I define it as being similar to a muggy, rainy day that’s lingering in nature, making you feel sluggish or not quite right in yourself.

Phlegm is equally unpleasant to experience and is a type of mucus produced in the lungs and lower respiratory tract. In Chinese medicine, it’s commonly a continuation of chronic Damp in the system.

A large percentage of patients I treat (approximately 85%) experience Damp, and Phlegm is highly prevalent too. Problems occur when both patterns overpower the mind, body and spirit.

What symptoms are associated with Damp and Phlegm?

Damp typically shows up as general tiredness, mucous in the stools, heaviness of the limbs (sluggishness), a head that feels thick and foggy first thing in the morning, arthritic joint problems, candida, skin conditions (especially acne), food sensitivities, oedema and even weight gain, among many other symptoms.

Phlegm tends to manifest in the form of growths like cysts, bunions, lipomas (benign lumps), chronic diseases like cancer and the obvious one, catarrh. Sinus problems are also frequently Damp and Phlegm related.

These symptoms are among the reasons why you could, at the very least keep a close eye on your dairy intake. It doesn’t mean you have to live without eating it forever. Instead, it’s a good idea to keep it for those special occasions.

What causes Damp and Phlegm?

Several diverse factors are known to cause Damp and Phlegm. Here are the primary ones:

Diet- Unquestionably, a diet high in dairy products exacerbates Damp and Phlegm.

If you find it challenging to tolerate dairy, I recommend experimenting to see how your body responds to certain products. Milk, cheese, butter, cream, yoghurt and, sadly, ice-cream fall under this category. Remove the most common dairy first, before proceeding to the next item for approximately 8-12 weeks, and then gradually reintroduce one at a time to see which symptoms reoccur. With chronic symptoms, it may take several months of perseverance to notice any significant changes.

For further encouraging results, also try to make your dietary changes at the same time as some traditional acupuncture.

If you are intolerant or sensitive to lactose and caseinate, it’s a good idea to avoid milk and dairy at all costs (GP’s can now offer a lactose test for you). However, even if you’re not delicate to dairy, I recommend cracking down on your intake.

Gluten- It is thought gluten can also create Damp in the system and is commonly found in bread, pasta, cakes, sweets, biscuits, sauces, condiments and lots of other processed foods. If you want to lessen your Damp symptoms, it’s worth taking a look your gluten consumption. To learn more about gluten, and how it can affect your health, I highly recommend listening to Grain Brain by Dr David Perlmut.

It’s also a good idea to book in with a qualified nutritionist who can guide you safely about gluten sensitivity because it exists on a spectrum. You may not have coeliac disease, but many people are gluten sensitive with misinterpreted symptoms.

In particular, I admire the nutritionist Amelia Freer. Her conventional medical cookbooks mention gluten sensitivity with some fabulous recipes and are infinitely worth joining your bookshelf.

Emotions- What does your emotional wellbeing have to do with eating dairy? Absolutely everything! Chinese medicine sees the emotions and physical body as inseparable.

In good health, your emotions will flow smoothly; however, when unresolved or not expressed clearly, they can become problematic. Endless worry, mental strain or overthinking can disrupt the digestive process leading to a deficiency in energy (Spleen Qi deficiency) and is likely to cause Damp. Therefore, caring about your emotional state is the most critical thing to do if you want to keep your digestive system healthy and stay well in your mind, body and spirit. Additionally, working through any negative emotions will, in the long run, help you to feel more energised.

Medication- Taking antibiotics can easily throw your body off-kilter. In conventional medicine, the short- and long-term effects of antibiotics can deplete your immune system. Afterwards, infections may occur more speedily and become harder to rectify.

Shockingly, antibiotics and other nasty hormones are also added to poorer processed dairy products to increase their shelf life. (Yikes!). Hence this is why I often advise investing in high-quality dairy to avoid overburdening the system with unnecessary medication that may lead to nasty side effects.

In Chinese medicine, the overuse of antibiotics often contributes to Damp, along with damaging the gut ecosystem (microbiome). If you already experience symptoms of Damp from eating dairy and have to take a course of antibiotics, your health is likely to suffer. In this incidence, bypassing dairy for a while would be advantageous.

Always let your doctor customise your antibiotic requirements. Allow them to decide if you need to take them or not.

Constitution- Daft as it may sound, your constitution can impact how you metabolise dairy products. I see patients who eat tonnes of dairy with a cement-mixer digestive system, and they seem to do perfectly fine from eating it (they’re the fortunate ones born with a strong constitution). I do think excessive dairy might catch up with them later on in life, though. And then there are the sensitive souls who only have to eat a small amount of cheese or ice-cream for it to affect their biology enormously.

So, it is worth learning about your unique constitution to help look after your digestive system, overall health and wellness.

Damp environment- It’s also a good idea to avoid wearing damp clothes or walking around with wet hair in the colder months to reduce your Damp symptoms. There’s a certain amount of truth in the old house wive’s tale of sitting or standing on damp surfaces can create haemorrhoids (piles), and so it’s best avoided, too.

I also recommend grass-fed butter or ghee, and particularly favour in moderation goat or sheep products because in Chinese medicine they’re less inflammatory and mucous forming.

What kind of supplement is suitable?

The superstar supplement, in my opinion, suitable for improving the gut ecosystem is Biocare’s BioAcidophilus Forte. By improving your gut health, it can help strengthen your digestive process and assist in minimising Damp; but this product should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet or healthy lifestyle.

Please consult your GP, who can guide you safely before taking supplements. Biocare offers free online basic advice by qualified nutritionists who can safely point you in the right direction.

What about calcium?

Yes, dairy is calcium-rich; however, believe it or not, overeating it can deplete your calcium levels and contribute to many health issues. How? Dairy in excess may increase inflammation and acidity in the body affecting the PH level in the blood. Too much acid can lead to the loss of essential minerals that help your organs to function correctly, particularly calcium, the mineral needed to strengthen bones. A withdrawal of calcium can lead to a weakened bone structure, otherwise known as osteoporosis.

Therefore, keeping your inflammation and acidity levels right down by reducing your dairy intake may allow your cells to function optimally to prevent illness or disease from emerging in the future.

If the idea of reducing calcium in your diet is unsettling, it may put you at ease to learn that in parts of China and Southeast Asia, where dairy consumption is minimal, arthritis or bone deterioration are not primary health concerns like in the West.

You can substitute your dairy safely by eating plenty of the best sources of calcium found in dark green vegetables such as spinach or bok choy, high-quality boned sardines, nuts, seeds (sesame) and pulses. Nuts can be Dampening, though, so I like to tailor them individually. There are many more calcium foods out there- these are just a few of my favourites.

The bottom line

If you don’t appear to have three or more symptoms relating to Damp or Phlegm, it might be perfectly fine to eat, in moderation, organic grass-fed dairy products from time to time. But if you have experienced chronic Damp symptoms (aeons of months), it’s highly likely you would benefit from surrendering dairy completely due to continually irritating the system.

Above I’ve highlighted just a few examples in Chinese medicine of how dairy can impact your biology and the way your mind, body and spirit function. I advise going gently with the guidelines and follow what feels right for your unique constitution.

For more health advice, try coinciding these tips alongside some traditional acupuncture treatment or consult a nutritionist who can advise you safely.

Please discuss with your doctor or traditional acupuncturist if you have a severe medical condition before trying any of my advice. As with all articles on emmasammels.com, this is no substitution for individual medical intervention. If you are interested in finding out more information, please visit my Bookings page.



7 Ways To Spring Clean Your Health & Wellness


As I’m sure you’re aware, a lot of how you choose to look after yourself can impact your health and wellness. If you want to feel super-healthy this season, here are seven easy-to-follow tips for spring that I regularly share with patients in the clinic. I hope there’s something here for you.

Please feel free to jot a comment below- I’d love to hear from you. ~Emma xo

1. Start your morning with a gentle Liver cleansing drink. Try waking up to hot water with a squeeze of lemon juice, or a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar, ten minutes before eating your breakfast. Or why not try dandelion root tea or dandelion coffee? I dislike herbal teas but do love a cup of the Vitabiotics Cleanse Vitamin tea with a mixture of selenium, vitamin C, milk thistle and dandelion root due to its sweet tang. Choose what works for you!

2. Avoid caffeine after midday. With some patients, caffeine is disastrous, in particular, coffee due to it often affecting the Liver (energetically). One of the main ways the body rids itself of toxins is through the Liver, and so a gentle cleanse once in a while is always a good idea. My stopping caffeine after midday tip is worth trying because it can make a massive difference to your energy levels and quality of your sleep. Why not give it a whirl?

3. Eat more chlorophyll-rich foods. It’s essential to eat plenty of dark, green leafy spring vegetables in your diet. These greens are a rich source of natural chlorophyll and antioxidants necessary for your all-around health. Try spring artichoke, arugula, asparagus, purple sprouting broccoli, samphire, spinach, spring greens, sprouts, watercress and wild nettles. Choosing local, seasonal foods as close to nature as possible is important for your unique constitution, health and wellbeing.

I like this site to see what’s grown seasonally in the UK, Eat the Seasons.

4. Spring clean your skin & hair. This tip is off the beaten acupuncture track, but I thought it was worth mentioning. There are many beautiful ways to spring clean your skin and hair. I love using Himalayan rose bath salts for helping to eliminate toxins and to stimulate circulation. I also highly recommend exfoliating with a skin brush to get rid of any dead skin cells. And it’s worth trying some organic coconut oil for a natural overnight hair mask once or twice a week.  I guarantee your skin and hair will feel well and truly beautified!

Here are my recommendations: Senspa Himalayan bath salts  ESPA skin brush  Biona organic coconut oil

5. Traditional acupuncture. If you’re feeling tired or lacking in vitality this spring, have you considered trying some traditional acupuncture? It may sound biased, but treatment can help to put a spring back in your step (excuse the pun!) by topping up your energy levels. Or if you’re going through a stressful period in your life, it can be incredibly calming and may even promote that feel-good factor. To give it a go check out acupuncture.org.uk

6. Spring organising. Strange as it may sound, in Chinese medicine, when you are in balance spring is the perfect time of year to formulate plans and strategies in your life. Think of an acorns power to grow into an oak tree; surprisingly, with the right insight, you can grow similarly too. Put simply, spring is about change and taking new directions in life. I always mention this to patients, so, get things going by making some new and exciting plans!

7. Spring exercise- why I LOVE it! Exercising outside in spring can be wonderfully energising. If you have been sitting down all day, try stretching your legs. I guarantee you’ll feel better for getting the blood and oxygen circulating around your system. Take off your work head and maybe try walking daily. I know for sure your mind, body and spirit will benefit from this. Even if it’s a 10-20 twenty-minute walk around your local park or to the shops these snippets of exercise will benefit your health and wellbeing. Plus you don’t need a gym, it’s effective and easily accessible. Need any more convincing?

Please discuss with your doctor or traditional acupuncturist if you have a severe medical condition before trying any of my advice. As with all articles on emmasammels.com, this is no substitution for individual medical intervention. If you are interested in finding out more information, please visit my Bookings page.



12 Tips Your Health & Wellbeing Will Love


If you’re seeking to take care of your health and wellness all year round, not just for the new year, here are some of my favourite short tips that can make a massive difference. I’m always using them as a traditional acupuncturist with patients aspiring to make a difference in their lives.

There’s only one way to find out if they work! ~Emma xo

1. Practice resting for thirty minutes daily: Try to relax every day because it can massively help to replenish your energy levels. Explore meditation, tai chi, yoga, qi gong, walking or just anything that allows you to rest up for thirty minutes. I love the Viniyoga style due to its authenticity and its person-centred approach.

And often recommend Headspace for anyone new to meditation.

2. Connect with nature: Regularly skipping contact with Mother Nature may not be such a good idea for your health and wellbeing. All year round, I advise patients to spend more time amongst the great outdoors to help clear the cobwebs, especially as we hit the winter and hibernation mode.

3. Eat real whole foods: It’s a good idea to watch your sugar intake or other highly processed food that contain nasty ingredients such as artificial colouring and sweetness.Instead, eat real whole foods that appear as they are in nature- mainly seasonal fruit and vegetables.But allow for unhealthy treats too because, after all, a little of what you fancy does you a world of good!

4. Make winding down a ritual: Try to switch off from technology an hour before going to bed. Why not… have a bath with essential oils, read a book or your favourite magazine, meditate, light a lovely scented candle or talk with a loved one? It’s necessary to unwind so you can recharge your energy for the following day.

5. Watch your dark green, leafy vegetable intake: In Chinese medicine, dark green, leafy vegetables during the colder months are incredibly important for your nutritional health and overall wellbeing, mainly due to their Blood nourishing properties. Check out my green broth recipe.

6. Look after yourself: It isn’t selfish looking after yourself first. If you are running on empty, it makes utter sense to refuel your tank first so that you can then give to those who are important to you. What better way to spend time with someone when you feel wonderfully topped up!

7. Brighten up your spirit (Shen):  Do things every day to brighten your spirit, referred to as Shen in Chinese medicine. Basically, bring joy and happiness into your life regularly, e.g. dance to music, sing, watch a great movie or see a picturesque sunset.Whatever hits the spot, if it makes you feel good your eyes will sparkle and smile with joy!

8. Watch your cold, raw food intake: Try to look after your digestive health by avoiding foods directly from the fridge, such as iced drinks, or over-eating raw food. Long-term this may weaken your digestion, leading to possible bloating, constipation and other digestive problems.Instead, lightly steam, roast or stir-fry your vegetables to retain their valuable nutrients.

9. Be your intuitive doctor: It might be challenging to detect why you don’t feel quite right in yourself if there’s too much going on in your life, so, check with your GP or proper traditional acupuncturist if you are unsure. Otherwise, listen for any subtle nuances and nip them in the bud early on, e.g. rest if you are overworking or have a cold brewing. Maybe exercise a little if you’re feeling sluggish? Or if you’re overly tired go to bed an hour earlier to recharge.

10. Supplement with magnesium: I think a high-quality magnesium supplement is an incredible natural remedy for stress, sugar cravings, muscle twitches or cramps and much more. However, I’m always cautious about offering any advice related to supplements on this platform so please check with your GP or a qualified nutritionist before taking them.

11. Establish healthy chewing: If you eat quickly, try chewing your food slowly so that your digestive system can do its job correctly. While eating, move away from your desk and avoid eating on the go, typically driving or walking. Try to eat mindfully and take three deep breaths before tasting your food.It’s something worth trying!

12. Dress appropriately for the seasons: When it comes to your clothing, wear appropriate layers according to the seasons.Forget walking around with wet hair during the colder months; it’s about protecting yourself from the elements. Always make sure you keep your hands, feet, back, head and neck warm when it’s cold, wet and damp outside. The result? Possibly fewer colds and less illness.

Please discuss with your doctor or traditional acupuncturist if you have a severe medical condition before trying any of my advice. As with all articles on emmasammels.com, this is no substitution for individual medical intervention. If you are interested in finding out more information, please visit my Bookings page.



Coffee: A New Perspective!

Even if you’re not a ‘coffeeholic’, we all have different stories to tell about drinking coffee, good or bad…

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

Nowadays, we live in a world full of coffee. And guess what, a regular conversation that crops up in the clinic is coffee too!

So, I’d like to throw light onto the topic from a Chinese medical perspective. Personally, I’m not into drinking coffee but enjoy a morning cup of tea instead. However, rest assured I’m not going to suddenly tell you to cut it out of your diet entirely because I’m a firm believer in everything in moderation. Besides, some coffee contains polyphenols that are thought to contribute to antioxidant activity renowned for good health [1].

Also, in Chinese medicine, there is no such thing as bad food or drink. The emphasis of coffee is placed on how well it matches the need of the individual. I find myself working with some patients who are lucky and can drink it with little or no side effects while, for others, it can ultimately create chaos in the system. Therefore, it’s important to explain why this may happen.

It’s also no wonder that some of us are feeling confused when it comes down to drinking coffee, as the media giving some very conflicting advice about it. There’s a lot of research showing how it might be suitable for you; equally, there’s lots of inconclusive information too. Nevertheless, I would love t to share a sneak peek of how coffee may be affecting your health and wellness from a Chinese medical perspective.

Here’s to Coffee: A New Perspective!~Emma xo

PS. The pics were taken in the lovely Northern Cobbler coffee and shoe shop; I highly recommend seeking their high-quality coffee, delicious galettes and, yep, even their classy shoes!

Please discuss with your doctor or traditional acupuncturist if you have a severe medical condition before trying any of my advice. As with all articles on emmasammels.com, this is no substitution for individual medical intervention. If you are interested in finding out more information, please visit my Bookings page.

Coffee & the menstrual cycle

Apologies guys, this one is for the ladies!

If you feel like your menstrual cycle is controlling your life, then this simple piece of advice might be for you.

Women who are menstruating may benefit from minimising coffee in their diet because in Chinese medicine it can create an imbalance in the Chong Mai and Liver channels, often leading to a disruption of the menstrual cycle. When these channels are imbalanced, a range of premenstrual tension (PMT) signs and symptoms can develop resulting in irritability, tearfulness, sore breasts,  or period pain (before during or after the cycle).

Cutting back on your coffee consumption, alongside regular acupuncture treatment, with some necessary nutritional changes may improve your menstrual symptoms by helping to balance your hormones. When our emotions are tangled and not flowing smoothly – such as bottled up feelings of frustration or resentment – it’s likely to impact your menses. An important thing to remember is when the body is relaxed, and our emotions are flowing harmoniously. Biologically this will have a positive effect on your cycle and overall health in the long-term.

Indeed, working through any repressed emotions, alongside reducing your coffee intake, is a straightforward and natural way of taking care of yourself around that time of the month.

Why wouldn’t you give it a go?

Coffee & anxiety

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

In the clinic, I’ve discovered that coffee and anxiety are frequently part of a vicious cycle. Many patients are stressed and anxious when I work with them – and coffee is a popular coping mechanism.

The ancient Chinese recognised that anxiety could affect the Heart energetically, resulting in signs and symptoms, including palpitations, disturbed sleep, feeling easily startled or reduced short-term memory (to name but a few).

Interestingly, coffee can also energetically agitate the Heart. When our Heart is energetically out of balance (not the physical organ itself), you may lack in the sense of self-solidity and will feel out of sorts. For example, the mind, body and spirit will become imbalanced.

So, it makes complete sense if you’re suffering from anxiety to gradually cut back on your coffee consumption instead of using it as a pick- me- up. For calming effects, you could check out healthier options such as dandelion coffee, barley cup, caro or a relaxing herbal tea, e.g., rooibos or chamomile. Not only do they taste nice, but they’ll also induce a cleansing effect too.

When your stress levels have reduced, and you are feeling calmer in yourself, it might be okay to drink the occasional cup of coffee for a special treat.

Put it to the test –  if you have anxiety, there’s no harm in trying this simple advice.

Coffee & running on empty

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

I used to be pretty bad at relaxing until I trained as an acupuncturist, but now I know when to listen to my body. If I’m feeling tired or overdoing it, I especially choose not to drink coffee.

When a patient has been running on empty for a while, usually it leads to some Yin deficiency. Typically, the signs and symptoms of Yin deficiency will vary according to the organ involved. But as a general rule, the standard traits for a frequently diagnosed pattern called Kidney Yin deficiency are restlessness, dry throat and mouth at night, urination at night, lower backache towards the end of the day, thirst with a desire to sip in small amounts and a tongue body without a coating and possible cracks.

In particular, what causes Kidney Yin deficiency is overworking or continually being on the go. The Chinese medicine approach encourages a balance between work and rest. Most importantly, when you allow yourself time to relax and slow down, you’ll help to replenish your Yin. Ultimately, traditional acupuncture is a great way to boost your Yin too.

Being a Yin deficient person, you might also be sensitive to stimulants such as coffee, which will prompt you to use up any energy you don’t have [2]. If, however, physically and emotionally, there is plenty of water in the well to draw from, then it is likely your Yin is in reasonably good shape. Therefore, it might be alright to drink 1-2 cups of coffee daily.

Having relaxing tools that you can use to replenish your Yin like reading, watching a good film or going to bed at a reasonable hour is essential. Once you start to feel rested, it might be okay to drink coffee again in moderation.

Coffee & your constitution 

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset

When a patient is experiencing side effects of drinking coffee, I like to assess their constitutional health.

A particular reason why some patients seem to tolerate coffee better than others is commonly linked to their constitution known as Jing or Essence. Someone who is born with strong Jing will often overcome illness quickly and has good stamina [3]. Jing also provides the physical basis for life itself and supports our growth, reproduction and development. It’s partly inherited from our parents but also cultivated through our lifestyle, e.g. adequate rest and eating the right types of nourishing food.

Other characteristics, in Chinese medicine that contribute to signs of good Jing, are a strong facial structure (jawline), teeth, hair and the overall strength of the Kidneys energetically.

After thirteen years, I have found patients with good Jing often find coffee liberating, while someone with poor Jing who is running on empty tends to find it disastrous. To minimise any side effects from drinking coffee, it’s worth considering what type of constitution you have. For example, is it strong or weak?  If you have weak Jing, it’s probably a good idea to drink coffee only in moderation. But, if you have inherited strong Jing, you’ll likely to be able to drink coffee with minimal side effects.

Assessing your Jing as a guide to how much coffee you should be drinking may sound daft, but I do think there’s a certain amount of truth behind it. Understanding that it can quickly become depleted through a combination of pushing your body too hard or failing to nourish yourself with healthy food and drink plus inadequate rest is essential.

Yes, certainly the fact that coffee can deplete your Jing is something to be aware of.

How much coffee?

Processed with VSCO with a10 preset

It is challenging to say to how much coffee a patient should be drinking as we are all so unique with our tolerance levels. Perhaps one of the best things to do is take note of how you feel in yourself after drinking it. For me, I know that 1 cup in a blue moon is best suited. But it’s likely to take a bit of fine-tuning before you know your quota.

There appears to be no definitive research out there about how much coffee we should be drinking. There are various hypotheses about coffee consumption associated with inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and weight plus much more [4]. However, few studies show how coffee can affect our general health and wellbeing.

The Chinese medicine perspective is to match a patient’s coffee consumption according to their diagnosis. When I think a patient will benefit from minimising coffee in their diet, I usually suggest cutting the last one of the day first and then to work up to the morning slowly. For sensitive patients, I advise drinking coffee only in the morning, before lunch, because of its stimulating effects that can disrupt sleep. Sometimes patients are keen to maintain their morning cup of coffee due to finding it enjoyable and satisfying.

In general, I am in favour of patients drinking coffee if they are in reasonably good health and not suffering from anxiety, menstrual problems, adrenal exhaustion, Yin deficiency, poor Jing (as I have mentioned above) or any other contraindications. Usually, 2 cups of coffee a day are enough. If you are drinking more than this, you’ll want to try and wean yourself down to avoid any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Work out your coffee weak spot and then gradually make some changes.

Coffee & the liver

When I was completing my training as an acupuncturist, it used to baffle me how our emotions and diet can have an impact on symptoms in the body. Initially, I wondered if I was studying the right subject because I have been brought up by a very conventional medical approach towards treating illness. But as soon as I started practising, the penny finally dropped as the interconnection between our emotions and bodily symptoms became very clear. Here’s a classic example of how the Liver can be affected by coffee and your emotions.

FullSizeRender 15

In Chinese medicine, a healthy Liver both physically and energetically is essential because together they work towards creating balance in the body on many levels. Emotional stress such as feeling resentful, angry, a bit stuck, trapped or held back in life can cause the Liver energy to stagnate. Over a period of time, these negative emotions with a swig of coffee may not make you feel so good.

Let’s take a look at a short case study of a patient I treated with acupuncture to see how coffee can affect the Liver along with other factors.

Short case study:

I worked with a man in his mid-thirties who was feeling irritable and suffered from low mood. For many years, he had enjoyed eating regularly hot, spicy food and drank daily six cups of black coffee. He had heard about traditional Chinese medicine and decided to give it a go. The only catch? It was going to take a bit of effort with some of his lifestyle habits.

So, I broke down his diagnosis step by step. By the time I saw him, his Liver was energetically frazzled and calling out for some help. And why? Because, in Chinese medicine, too much coffee and hot spicy food can warm the Blood resulting more than Heat in the body. The patient presented with classic signs and symptoms of excessive Heat such as a red face, thirst first thing in the morning, smelly stools, a thick yellow tongue coat and a propensity towards outbursts of anger.

I took a realistic approach toward treating him. One habit changed a week and, slowly but surely, he started to make progress. We gradually reduced his coffee and hot, spicy food intake, and he started to work through some repressed resentment feelings with a therapist. And gradually, he started to feel better in himself.

This case study shows how coffee in excess can energetically affect the Liver due to its Heating effect on the organ. Mixed with a bunch of negative emotions, it was disastrous for this particular patient.

So, if you’re someone that drinks lots of coffee and has some of these symptoms, it may be worth considering bridging the gap between your coffee habits and emotional wellbeing too.

“Being mindful of how much coffee you are drinking is key.”

Being mindful of how much coffee you’re drinking may help to re-train some of your not-so-good habits. For example, any time you drink a cup of coffee, reflect to see how you feel afterwards. Are you feeling tired or maybe anxious? It’s worth doing this from time to time because they’ll be moments in your life where coffee might suit you more than others.

I hope you find this simple mindfulness tip worthwhile!

Other coffee tips:

Coffee and your digestion: It may be useful to drink coffee after eating meat because it can fend your digestion.

Coffee and curries: To look after your digestion, try to avoid drinking coffee after eating a curry.

Drink good quality coffee: When you buy your coffee, avoid the processed stuff and opt for the good-quality fresh beans.

Avoid the decaf stuff: Believe it or not, decaf coffee still contains caffeine and other petroleum-based solvents. Drink the fully caffeinated, unprocessed stuff but in moderation.


1. Medical News Life Science Understanding the Antioxidant Properties of Coffee. http://medical news life sciences understanding the antioxidant [Accessed 6 Nov. 2017].

2.Flaws, B. and Flaws, B. (2008). The tao of healthy eating. Boulder, Colo.: Blue Poppy Press.

3.Leggett, D. (2017). Helping To Heal Ourselves.

4.http://Patrick Halford The Truth About Coffee [Accessed 6 Nov. 2017].




5 Easy Ways To Spring Clean Your Skin

‘The Shen of the complexion consists in glitter and body. Glitter means that the complexion appears clear and bright from the outside; body means that it is moist and with lustre in the inside.’  ~Shi Pa Nan in Origin of Medicine (1861)

Spring is here so it’s time to start brightening up your skin and feel rejuvenated.  I love how the light is changing now, with the brighter mornings and evenings. Have you noticed this time of year how your skin changes too? Even when it’s freezing cold or extremely warm, I’m sure you’d agree, it’s always nice to have a moist, glowing complexion.

A surprising amount of patients present with all sorts of skin complaints. This is a subject I find very interesting because often how you nourish your body on the inside shows up on the outside too. A traditional acupuncturist is trained to use subtle diagnostic techniques that have been developed and refined for centuries. Part of the diagnosis is to observe a patient’s face, as believe it or not, a healthy mind and spirit show most of all in the skin. There’s often a definable quality of glow to the skin when a patient is in a reasonably good state of health [1].

Many factors such as poor sleep, stress, a bad diet, hormonal imbalances or undesirable environmental conditions, to name but a few, can lead to skin problems. Much advice is also focused on what you put on your skin. This is why I wanted to share some basic factors that may benefit your complexion by focusing on what you put into your body.

I know from my own experience, and working with patients, that the ‘one size fits all’ approach is impossible because we are all unique. But there are certainly simple things you can do to encourage a healthy, natural glow.

I’ve deliberately not mentioned the importance of using good-quality natural oils because this is a complex area and, unfortunately, it is beyond the scope of this blog post to tackle. However, most of the time I am very much in favour of suggesting specific oils to suit a patient’s individual constitution.

I hope you find my tips inspiring and that you can tweak parts to suit your requirements.Please leave your thoughts below- I’d love to hear from you.~Emma xo

*Please discuss with your doctor or traditional acupuncturist if you have a serious skin or medical condition before trying any of my advice. As with all articles on emmasammels.com, this is no substitution for individual medical intervention.  If you are interested in finding out more information please visit my bookings page.

1.Watercress soup


For spring it’s a good idea to brighten up your complexion by adding plenty of dark green leafy seasonal vegetables to your diet. I absolutely love watercress soup this time of year because it’s so quick and easy to make, and is packed full of skin-boosting vitamins. Most of the time we tend to associate soup as winter or autumnal food, but for a cold spring day, it’s ideal for warming you up. Good quality watercress leaves and stems are also really flavourful this time of year.

In traditional Chinese medicine, watercress is renowned for its skin-nourishing properties, especially when there are signs of Blood deficiency. To keep it simple, our complexion is commonly related to the Blood. If a patient has a healthy glowing complexion with Shen this often indicates a healthy state of the Blood. Conversely, if a patient’s complexion is lacking in Shen and looks dull, somewhat dry and without lustre, this often indicates Blood deficiency [2]. It’s very common to see these signs on the skin when a woman is menstruating or when a patient is suffering from shock, anxiety or eating a poor diet along with other factors.

In the clinic, I treat lots of patients who are ‘running on empty’ from not eating properly or overdoing it. Most of the time I recommend making a delicious Blood-nourishing soup, such as watercress or anything seasonal that’s dark, green and leafy to put some nourishment back into the body.

I came across a recipe for James Martin’s watercress soup many years ago and it has been a favourite of mine ever since. I’ve played around with it, and this is now my version. I hope you find the recipe tasty and that it brings a lovely glow to your cheeks!


2 tbsp of organic extra virgin olive oil

2 shallots bulbs (golden gourmet)

1 cup of organic peas

2 packets of organic watercress (John Hurd’s)

Organic, gluten-free chicken stock or homemade stock (1.5-2 pints)

Himalayan salt (to taste)

Palm full of flat-leaved parsley

Organic, grass-fed butter


1.Start by heating the extra virgin olive oil in a saucepan and cook the shallots with some Himalayan salt slowly for 10 minutes so they turn translucent.

2. Add the peas, and fry for 3 minutes until softened.

3. Add the 1.5 litres of chicken stock and the 2 bags of watercress. Then bring the mixture to the boil until the watercress has wilted (avoid overcooking as it will turn a dull green colour).

4. Meanwhile, add the flat-leaved parsley and, using a stick blender, start blending the soup, adding the remaining 0.5 litres of chicken stock and a knob of butter.

5. Blend the soup until smooth. Lastly, season with salt and pepper.

Useful tip- Ladle the soup into a large bowl and garnish with some flat-leaved parsley. Serve with a warm crusty roll and some delicious organic butter.  As with most soups, it tastes better the next day and freezes well for emergency situations.

2.Royal jelly

If you have a soft spot for unadulterated products then maybe royal jelly is appropriate for you? Its direct connection with mother nature is anything but difficult to love.

A research study has shown that royal jelly may help to support your natural skin health because the honey-bee product contains proteins, carbohydrates, fats, free amino acids and minerals. One amino acid is thought to have the capacity to stimulate collagen production [3]. Interestingly, in Chinese medicine, royal jelly is considered an effective Blood tonic, meaning it can have a knock-on effect on your complexion due to its moistening properties.

Extraordinary lengths are taken by the bees and beekeepers to make any bee-related products and so if you are going to use royal jelly please be respectful.

I particularly like recommending royal jelly, especially for menopausal women, as it can help to rebalance the hormones. Royal jelly is also a firm favourite of mine when the body, mind and spirit are in alignment because it can naturally make your skin glow. Along with regular traditional acupuncture treatment, royal jelly is also renowned for boosting your overall energy levels due to its Kidney strengthening properties.

*There are certain instances where taking royal jelly is not advisable. If you have any bee allergies or other allergies, please discuss this topic with your doctor or traditional acupuncturist before using any bee-related products (visit my bookings page for more info).

3.Green pear smoothie


The fashion for smoothies keeps growing but in Chinese medicine, they’re not necessarily suitable for everyone. You might be surprised to hear that many patients’ digestive functions don’t respond well to a deluge of raw fruit or vegetables in their smoothies, or as part of a regular diet, because it can create a Qi deficiency. So they’re normally best consumed once your digestive system is strong enough to withstand them.

The ancient Chinese believed that the seasons, and the foods that we eat, can have a profound effect on human health and so, therefore, we should try to live in harmony with them. In fact, if you want to look after your digestion, a key point is to use seasonal fruit and avoid adding raw vegetables to your smoothies. For example, use a pear or an apple during the spring, and in the summer stick to the wonderful rainbow of berried fruits.

I have been making this green smoothie recipe for a while and just adore it. Many patients used to wince trying the spirulina powder but now they find the taste quite flavoursome. It takes only a few minutes to make and is packed full of the superfoods spirulina, chlorella and wheatgrass powder, which are alkalising and energising for your body [4].

The nutritional benefits of spirulina have been linked to all sorts of health benefits in Chinese medicine, from moistening the complexion when it’s dull or dry to increasing your energy levels. I also think it’s a good idea for women to have spirulina before, during or after the menstrual cycle and throughout the menopause because it can enrich the Blood at a time when the body is biologically in need of extra nutrient support.

I’m a firm believer in the adage ‘less is more’ so I normally advise patients to drink the smoothie no more than three times a week. It’s also inadvisable to consume it as a meal replacement.

I hope my smoothie becomes a firm favourite of yours and that you enjoy its delicious flavour!


1 tablespoon of Naturya blends organic greens

1 ripe conference pear or 1 organic apple

½ teaspoon ndalorganic vanilla powder or 1 teaspoon organic vanilla bean paste

1 long glass of organic rice or goat milk


Blend all the ingredients until milky and pour into a long, elegant glass.

Useful tip- I like to use either goats’ or organic rice milk because in Chinese medicine they are less Mucous forming. Also, normal milk may not suit your constitution, as it can create lots of Phlegm, so you might want to try the quantity of half goats’ and rice milk. Another tip- if your pear is extra ripe it seems to concentrate the sweetness so you may not need to add the vanilla powder.

*Please discuss with your doctor if you are taking any blood-thinning medication or prescribed medicine before using the Naturya organic greens blends.

 4.White tea

What’s so special about white tea? Research has shown that one benefit is its ability to produce antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity in skin connective tissue. Another advantage is that it contains an effective herbal extract for preventing or reducing oxidative stress [5].

White tea is often sourced from China, originating from immature tea leaves, that are picked shortly before the buds have fully opened. Its name is taken from the silver fuzz covering the buds that turn white when the tea is dried. Immediately after harvesting, the leaves are steamed and dried to preserve the high antioxidant content [6]. The end result is a wonderful tea with a delicate flavour.

If you’re like me and dislike strong builders’ tea then white tea might be up your street. I find it’s light, refreshing flavour makes a wonderful delicate cuppa!

Here’s how to make a cup:

1.Always use fresh water in the kettle.

2.Boil the water to 80 degrees C (you can get variable temperature kettles that are good for green, white and herbal teas).

2.Put 2 teaspoons of the white tea buds into a teapot of boiling water.

3.Steep the tea anywhere from 5-10 minutes (the exact amount of time will depend on your personal preference). The smaller buds generally infuse quicker than the larger ones.

4.You may wish to taste the tea at the 5-minute mark.

5.When brewed white tea can range in colour from pale yellow to a light orange shade.

Useful tip- For general convenience, I also like to use organic white tea in teabag form. To add an extra twist, I pour in some unhomogenised organic milk with a quarter of a teaspoon of raw organic honey, which may sound sacrilegious but its delicate, caramel flavour tastes rather good.

5. Traditional Chinese medicine

I truly believe that traditional acupuncture can make a difference to your skin, especially if you make other lifestyle changes too. I’m also of the opinion that it is far better to treat someone as a  whole person rather than just addressing symptoms that are likely to come back again if you’ve not tackled the root cause of a complaint.

Let me give you an example of a patient I treated with a skin problem.

Mini Case study: skin

I was asked for help by a lady in her mid-50s who was experiencing anxiety, palpitations, insomnia and a red, angry rash covering both of her shins. She also had a very dull, pale complexion.

We discovered that her anxiety was connected to work, where she was having difficulties. She also had a poor diet, eating very few fresh seasonal vegetables or fruit, and often skipped breakfast. To add to the poor lifestyle habits, she also drank two glasses of wine a night.

So, we took baby steps, and after several acupuncture treatments, her anxiety started to disappear. Some basic changes were also made to her diet by introducing breakfast and eating more seasonal fruit and vegetables. Another habit we changed was to gradually reduce her alcohol intake.

My acupuncture treatments primarily focused on treating her as a whole person and, secondarily, her other symptoms that were not isolated. When one system or organ is struggling, it is likely other organs or systems are struggling too. My training taught me that symptoms are nearly always regarded as the branch of the root cause of a complaint [7] (Although there are some exceptions to this rule that are way too complex for the breadth of this blog).

And slowly but surely the lady began to feel like her old self again. The nasty rash on both shins completely disappeared and she rekindled her natural glow.

I hope this short case study has given you some food for thought in terms of how traditional acupuncture can help to enhance your overall health and wellbeing, but also improve your skin from the inside-out. If you are looking to try some treatment please make sure you work with a qualified practitioner who is a registered member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) to guide you safely.



Obstetrics and gynaecology in Chinese medicine 

Maciocia, G. (2011). Obstetrics and gynaecology in Chinese medicine. 1st ed. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, p.78.


Health Benefits of White Tea. [online] Available at: http://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2014/07/23/health-benefits-white-tea

 7.TAN, E., MILLINGTON, G. AND Levell, N. (2009).

Acupuncture in dermatology: an historical perspective. International Journal of Dermatology, 48(6), pp.648-652.


Three Hearty Spring Soup Recipes

Let a hearty, delicious soup be part of your health secret!

It’s hard to believe that spring is just around the corner, as the warm weather still feels a way off yet. This month I want to focus on some lovely hearty soup recipes ready for spring, which I hope will inspire your cooking. 

Little can beat a delicious bowl of homemade broth. So, why not feel a sense of time vanish – put some of your favourite music on, forget your household chores, switch off from social media, and excuse the cliche, start preparing your soup with some love? I’m sure you’ll be surprised by your tasty result!

There are so many reasons, in Chinese medicine, to make soup. Often used for medicinal purposes, they can be a great way to complement a patient’s traditional acupuncture diagnosis to support their overall health and wellbeing. 

When I’m feeling cold this time of year all I want, still, is some warming food. I don’t tend to hit the salads until the consistently warmer weather kicks in because, in Chinese medicine, it’s far healthier for our digestion to keep in alignment with the current climate and seasonal changes. I encourage patients to do the same too. Simply put, most soup is a great way to warm you up from the core during the colder months. The ancient Chinese recognised soup or congee as being a great way to regulate the body’s natural thermostat. They may also prevent putting out our digestive Yang (I’ll talk more about the temperature of food and how it can affect your digestive system in another post).

So, let’s focus on your soup-making to see how beneficial it might be for your nutritional health. You can choose from my beetroot, tomato or green broth depending on what takes your fancy. All of the recipes taste lovely with some warm bread at lunchtime, and they’re often even more flavourful the next day. Plus they freeze well for emergencies too. 

Here are three delicious hearty soup recipes to set you up for spring. Above all, take satisfaction in your cooking and enjoy the eating!

Please leave your thoughts and write a comment below- I’d love to hear from you.~Emma xo

Please discuss with your doctor or traditional acupuncturist if you have a severe medical condition before trying any of my advice. As with all articles on emmasammels.com, this is no substitution for individual medical intervention. If you are interested in finding out more information, please visit my Bookings page.

Green broth

Green broth 1 2

Spring will soon be here – yay! It’s time to cleanse your body physically, emotionally and spiritually ready for the months ahead. And there’s no better way to do that than by making this green broth. 

I concocted the recipe for its blood-oxygenating properties. From a Chinese medicine perspective, most dark green leafy vegetables are essential building blocks for enriching the Blood where there’s a pattern of Blood deficiency. Typical traits are a dull, pale complexion, premature greying, thin or dry hair, dry skin, pale lips and floaters in the field of vision plus many more symptoms [1].

Dark green vegetables continue to pack a punch in the press due to their broad health benefits. A study showed that most leafy greens contain nitrates – linked to reducing blood pressure and enhancing exercise performance in healthy individuals, along with other positive health factors [2]. Basically, any green broth, for most of us, is fit for the whole body.

I hope you enjoy making this recipe; it tastes delicious despite its very green colour!

Notable: If you are taking any blood-thinning medication or have a thyroid/low iodine levels, please talk to your doctor before trying the green broth.

Additional tips:

In Chinese medicine, spinach and broccoli are both Cooling in nature. The rich chlorophyll content helps to build the Blood; however, if you have kidney stones eat sparingly. Also, if you experience symptoms of Heat, such as odiferous stools, feel hot or thirsty first thing in the morning and feel agitated from being in a warm room try substituting the chives for basil due to its Cooling effect. Avoid using the red chilli flakes too.


700ml organic, gluten-free chicken or vegetable stock (if you have time try making your own stock)

200g organic spinach

200g organic tender stem broccoli

1 tbsp of good-quality olive oil

1 large white onion

1 tbsp of chives

Himalayan salt


Optional: a pinch of chilli flakes


Slice the onion. Heat the oil in a pan and gently saute the onion with a sprinkle of Himalayan salt until translucent.

Chop the broccoli into small pieces. Stir in with the onion and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes. Then pour in the stock and leave to simmer for approximately 4 minutes until the broccoli is al dente

Add the washed spinach, so that it wilts. Be careful not to overcook as it may turn a murky green colour. Stir in the tablespoon of chives and add the Himalayan salt and pepper to taste.

Lastly, blitz all of the ingredients with a hand blender.

Borscht soup 

If you like sour tasting food, I’m sure this Borscht recipe will be up your street. Despite looking garishly pink, it has such a delicious flavour!

Beetroot soup 1Eating seasonal vegetables, in Chinese medicine, are beneficial for your digestive system, but sometimes it’s okay to fall by the wayside to avoid extreme diets. Even though beetroots aren’t in peak season during the spring, it’s worth adding this soup recipe to your repertoire.

Inspired by Dr Michael Moseley’s gut-friendly recipe, I’ve come up with my version. Gut flora is the gatekeeper of the digestive system, so, I try to make this soup regularly, and encourage patients to do the same too. Beetroot is also an excellent Blood tonic, essential for good health where there are signs of Blood deficiency (see green broth for Blood deficiency symptoms). I usually recommend making this recipe to help purify the Blood, benefit the Liver and promote menstruation.

It’s also linked to some amazing health benefits such as containing antioxidants and anti-carcinogens associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and various forms of cancer. Other advantages of beetroot are its anti-microbial, anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory properties excellent for many gut syndromes [3].

I have always enjoyed eating beetroot soup with a lovely warm roll and a smidgen of goat or sheep cheese, as the two flavours complement each another. Also, in Chinese medicine, goats’ cheese is considered less phlegm forming than dairy cheese, which may help to minimise catarrh.

Notable: According to the Harvard Medical School if you have kidney stones, it’s worth talking to your doctor before consuming any Beetroot in your diet [4].

Other health tips:

Beetroot is a Neutral and Sweet vegetable in Chinese medicine and can help to improve circulation, cleanse the Blood and also strengthen the Liver. As with any food, avoid overeating. Word of warning, the deep red colour of beetroot can show up in your urine!


1.2 litres of organic, gluten-free chicken or vegetable stock (if you have time try making your own stock)

4 large beetroot bulbs, peeled and chopped

2 banana shallots

1-1.5 tbsp organic coconut oil

800g celeriac, peeled and chopped

2cm fresh ginger

Juice of 1 lemon

Himalayan salt


Optional: a small pinch of chilli flakes


Put the olive oil in a pan and fry the shallots with some Himalayan salt until tender.

Add the sliced beetroot, celeriac, ginger, lemon juice and chilli flakes and cook for approximately 5 minutes.

Pour in the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to the boil, then simmer for about 20-25 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Usually, at this point, I leave the ingredients in the fridge overnight as I find this soup tastes better the next day.

In the morning, I may add some extra stock, salt and pepper before blitzing with a hand blender.

Tomato soup

Tomato Soup 1 2There is nothing quite like a bowl of fresh tomato soup, and it will soon be time to get your fill as we approach the spring!

This recipe is quick and easy to whip up, and it’s great for a Saturday lunch – all you need is a big baking tray, six ripe tomatoes, a dash of red chilli pepper and some little extras. I usually make a batch and eat it within a couple of days because it tastes better fresh.

For a treat, I enjoy tomato soup with a warm fresh gluten-free wholemeal roll and some organic butter. Alternatively, you can use organic non-hydrogenated coconut oil in moderation. But if you want something extra-filling throw in some rice noodles with a dash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice and a teaspoon of seaweed. Seaweed is a favourite part of Eastern food, and it’s packed full of vitamins and minerals renowned for good health.

Research has discovered that lycopene, a carotenoid that is present in tomatoes, is one of the most potent antioxidants. Dietary intakes of tomatoes and tomato-based products are associated with a decreased risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. They say there is no better way to kick-start your health regime by incorporating lots of antioxidant-rich foods in your diet. So, why not find out how delicious and easy my tomato recipe is to make!

Notable: If you are taking any blood-thinning medication or have a thyroid/low iodine levels, please talk to your doctor before trying the seaweed. Also, tomatoes can upset calcium metabolism and may not be suitable for patients with arthritis.

Additional health tips:

Tomatoes, in Chinese medicine, are very Cooling, Sweet and Sour, which means in a soup they may help to cleanse the Liver, purify the Blood and detoxify the body. Also, tomatoes are an acidic fruit. But after digestion, they tend to alkalise the blood, therefore, helping to reduce blood acid levels [5].


700 ml organic, gluten-free chicken or vegetable stock (if you have time you can try making your own stock)

6 organic ripe tomatoes

1 large organic red chilli pepper

1.5 tbsp of good-quality olive oil

1 tbsp of  organic balsamic vinegar

1 large organic red onion

1 large handful of sunkissed oregano 

Himalayan salt



Preheat the oven to 220/200c.

Slice the tomatoes, red chilli pepper and onion. Pour onto a large baking tray.

Sprinkle with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Scatter over the sun-kissed oregano and Himalayan salt and pepper.

Place in the oven and roast for approximately 20 minutes.

Add the roasted vegetables to a large saucepan and then add the chicken or vegetable stock.

Lastly, whizz through a blender until smooth and heat up, ready to be eaten.


1. Pitchford, P. (2009). Healing with whole foods. 1st ed. Berkeley, Calif: North Atlantic Books, p.387

2. Lidder, S. and Webb, A. (2013). Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 75(3), pp.677-696.

3. Vasconcellos, J., Conte-Junior, C., Silva, D., Pierucci, A., Paschoalin, V. and Alvares, T. (2016). Comparison of total antioxidant potential, and total phenolic, nitrate, sugar, and organic acid contents in beetroot juice, chips, powder, and cooked beetroot. Food Science and Biotechnology, 25(1), pp.79-84.

4. Pendick, D. (2018). 5 steps for preventing kidney stones – Harvard Health Blog. [online] Harvard Health Blog. Available at: https://www.health.harvard

5. Rao, A. and Agarwal, S. (1999). Role of lycopene as antioxidant carotenoid in the prevention of chronic diseases: A review. Nutrition Research, 19(2), pp.305-323.


Call T: 0116 274 5094 M: 07971 474971