The Lettuce Inn

Where Lucy discovers the truth about food...and other stuff too!

19 December 2011


I love to modify recipies to suit my preferences.  My sons and I are lactose intolerant and I wanted to make a dairy free and soy free yoghurt that we could enjoy.  I experimented with many different types and proportions of dairy free milks and found this one to work the best.   My youngest who is nearly 2 goes crazy over this yoghurt and whenever I open the fridge he cries out for his "yoyu" (he can't say yoghurt yet)

The culture I get from Green Living Australia is dairy free. When it was originally created it was made from a dairy base but over the years of being cultured they claim that there would only be a miniscule amount of dairy left, if any at all.  If you have an allergy to dairy you are probably best to get a soy culture just to be safe.

Let me know how you go with this


I have modified this recipe from the following soy yoghurt recipe:

**To fit into a 1L ‘Easiyo’ yoghurt canister (that subsequently fits into an ‘Easiyo’ thermos).

2 cups of rice milk (I have used a few different organic brands – all worked well)
2 cups of coconut milk (I use the tinned“Trident” brand)
1/4 cup of cornflour
1 teaspoon agar powder
(you can just use cornflour if you don’t have agar powder.  Use a slightly heaped 1/3 cup cornflour if not using agar as well)
At least one tablespoon of sweetener (optional – I don’t use this)
Yoghurt starter (I have used the Green Living Australia culture  - Y450B)

1. Heat in a saucepan until boiling 2 cups of coconut milk together with 1/2 cup of the rice milk. Remove from heat.

2.  Whilst you are waiting for this to boil, whisk together in another saucepan 2/3 cup of the cold rice milk with the cornflour and agar powder.   Whisk well until it is all dissolved.   

3.  Whisk into the milk/cornflour/agar mixture 1 and 1/3 cups of the  hot coconut/rice milk until it is smooth, with no lumps.  

4. Cook this in a saucepan, stirring constantly but not vigorously, until it is thickened and glossy.

5. Whisk the milk/cornflour/agar mixture into the remaining hot coconut/rice milk then add the remaining cold rice milk.  Whisk to remove any lumps (to remove any remaining lumps I have used a fine sieve to strain the mixture).

7. Using a candy thermometer wait until the milk cools to 42 degrees Celsius.

8. When the milk is at 42 degrees Celsius whisk in the starter then pour everything into the 1L yoghurt canister and prepare the thermos.

(Whisk in the yogurt culture, which has been whisked to a smooth paste with about 1/4 cup of the warm milk (important!) Whisk well to distribute the culture (if you do not mix it well, you may have a grainy yogurt). Pour the yoghurt into your container, cover and incubate for 10-12 hours.

***** To prepare the 'easiyo' thermos, fill with boiling hot water to just UNDER the red baton (If you’ve ever made cow’s milk easiyo yoghurt from the sachets it will tell you to add boiling hot water to the top of the red baton and then submerge the cold inoculated milk in the hot water.  Your batch of yoghurt will be warm and therefore will not need as much hot water in the thermos.  Having the warm milk submerged in the boiling hot water could destroy some of the cultures.

9. Refrigerate immediately for about 12 hours before eating-- this is part of the incubation process and helps develop flavour. The yogurt will keep for about a week.

07 December 2011

How to Increase Your Energy Levels
Part 2 – Eat more raw fruit and veggies

Do you ever feel tired after eating a meal?  Are you hungry all the time?  Do you feel sluggish and lack energy to get through the day?  

Perhaps eating more raw fruits and vegetables could help!

With our busy lifestyles it is so easy and convenient to buy pre-prepared meals or snacks rather than preparing our own, and while this may save us time in the short term, in the long term it costs us our health and energy levels.

When you are eating processed, packaged and take away foods it is not always easy to work out what is in the packet.  Looking at food labels can be confusing and sometimes just too hard to work out whether the stuff on the label is good for us or not.  You have artificial flavours, colours, preservatives, letters and numbers to work out, and some words are too hard to even pronounce, let alone work out what they are! 

If you eat processed foods on a regular basis, you are not getting what your body needs as these foods are often nutrient poor, and your body craves more and more food to try and get the nutrients it needs to function properly.  Processed foods are also harder for our body to process and digest and this combination of too much and too hard to digest food, can easily zap our energy levels.   

When you eat a healthy diet, including lots of raw fruit and veggies, your body is getting the nutrition you need and it will be easier to maintain a healthy weight and, as you will be eating less food, you will feel lighter and have more energy.

According to the “Australian Guide to Healthy Eating” we should eat 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables a day.  A serve of vegetables is half a cup of cooked vegetables (including beans) or 1 cup of salad vegetables.  A serve of fruit is a medium piece of fruit.  I wonder how many people actually eat this amount of fruit and veggies.  I eat quite alot of fruit, but I am now wondering how close I come to the 5 serves of veggies.  I think I may fall short most days.

Vegetables and legumes are a good source of vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and carbohydrates.  Fruit is a good source of vitamins, including vitamin C and folate. It also provides carbohydrates in the form of natural sugars and fibre. 

If we want to be healthy, full of energy and free from disease, we need to at least meet, if not exceed, these dietary guidelines.  As always, eating as much organic fruit and veg as possible is ideal as organics don’t use pesticides and chemicals and also contain more nutrients than their non organic counterparts.  I know organics can be expensive, and personally I use the “EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce”.  They have a dirty dozen and clean 15 list to help you to work out which fruit and veg are most contaminated with pesticides and so should be bought organically, and which ones contain the least amount of pesticides, which can be bought conventionally.  They also have a full list of 53 fruit and veggies in order of most pesticides to least.  Check out their website at

Fruit and vegetables pass through our digestive system quickly and our body uses very little energy to process them.  So the more fruit and veg we eat, the more nutrients we get, the less food we need to eat and the more energy we have!  It is also important to eat them in their raw natural form, instead of being cooked.  This is because:

1.  Cooking depletes vitamins and minerals and destroys enzymes which help with
     digestion.  Therefore, when you eat raw, you eat less to satisfy your nutritional

2.  Raw foods have more flavour than cooked foods so there is no need to add salt,
     sugar, spices or other condiments that can irritate your digestive system.

3.  Raw foods are quick and easy to prepare.  Just grab a piece of fruit and eat it, or
     spend a few minutes putting together a salad.

4.  As raw fruit and veggies give us more vitamins and minerals and other healthy
     nutrients, this can make us healthier and less prone to illness and disease.

Here are some ways to get more raw fruit and veggies into your day:

1.  Start the day with a green smoothie – simply blend 3 or 4 pieces of fruit with a couple of glasses of water and a handful of greens.  My favourite combination is apple, pear and spinach – yum!  A great way to start the day.

2.  If you don’t have a blender, instead of your usual breakfast, eat 3-4 pieces of fruit.

3.  Try having a salad for lunch with a handful of greens and chopped up raw veggies.  I usually add one cup of cooked brown rice to my salad to help fill me up.  Add yummy but simple dressings to give more flavour such as hommus, tamari or any other dips you like.

4.  Swap your morning and afternoon snacks for fruit.  

Nature intended us to eat foods in their natural, raw, whole, organic state, providing us with optimum health and weight, abundance of energy and freedom from disease.  The closer we can get to this, the better we will feel and the happier we will be.  Make one small change to the way you eat each day and I guarantee you will be better off for the rest of your life!

23 November 2011

How to Increase Your Energy Levels
Part 1 – Get rid of the chemicals

These days we are bombarded with chemicals from everywhere, including what we put in our bodies, on our bodies, our cleaning products, our water and soil, consumer products, the air we breathe...the list goes on.

Approximately 80,000 industrial chemicals, additives and preservatives are in use today and most of these were invented in the last 75 years. Of these chemicals, only a small percentage of them have ever been screened for potential health effects such as cancer, reproductive toxicity, developmental toxicity, or impacts on the immune system.  Among those that have been tested (approximately 15,000), each chemical has been tested individually rather than in the combinations that we are exposed to in the real world. In reality, no one is ever exposed to a single chemical, but to a chemical soup, the ingredients of which may interact to cause chaos.

This chemical soup has a significant effect on our health and energy levels.  For example cancer rates have risen from 20 to 50 percent since 1970 and the number of asthma suffers has grown by 75 percent since 1980.  So many people are unwell, some with serious illness, but many others just feel sick and tired without any specific health condition.

Don’t despair, there is good news!  Our bodies are really quite amazing and despite all the toxic stuff that goes into them, it does a pretty good job of trying to get the bad stuff out.  It does this through our elimination organs: the liver, kidneys, skin and intestines.  However, it is easy for our body to become overloaded, and the harder it works on detoxifying us, the less energy we have to live our lives.  Our metabolism slows down and we are left feeling exhausted, sometimes even before we have got out of bed! 

There are many ways to lighten the load on our body, making it easier to eliminate the toxic chemicals, and in return giving us more energy to enjoy life.  Here are some suggestions:

1.  Make the majority of your food fresh fruits, vegetables and whole, unprocessed foods
     and purchase as much as you can organically.

2.   Try to drink 2 litres of water a day, to replenish and hydrate your body and help it to 
      flush out the nasties. Buy a reusable stainless steel or other BPA free bottle. Plastic
      bottles can leach toxic chemicals into your drinking water.

3.  Get back to basics with cleaning.  Throw away every toxic chemical based cleaning
     product you use and discover the power of ingredients such as bicarb soda, vinegar,
     lemon juice and many other natural and non toxic alternatives to clean your home.

4.  Wash your clothes with soap nuts or bicarb soda with a vinegar rinse.

5.  Go through your skin care, personal care, cosmetics – everything you put on your
     body, and check it for safety.  A useful website to help you look for any nasties is
     You can also look up toxic ingredient directories on the internet for more info.

The way we live our lives these days it is impossible to avoid toxic, harmful chemicals getting into our bodies.  Getting angry with the industries who put all of these chemicals into the products we buy, whilst justified, does not change anything.  We need to take responsibility for our health and the health of our families.  We need to educate ourselves and help others.  We need to change the environment we live in to make it as pure and natural as we possibly can.

It is often easy to think that one person cannot make a difference, but if everyone makes a few simple changes to the products they buy, this will add up enough to give a loud and clear message to the industries using these chemicals, that we will not tolerate their irresponsible actions any more.    

Check out this video

A Wake-Up Story from Healthy Child Healthy World on Vimeo.
Are you awake to what is in our air, clothes, personal care products and how to wake up those around us

08 November 2011

Is our health is determined by diet and lifestyle or genetics?

This is a topic I have discussed with others from time to time and most have argued in favour of genetics.  But is this just a way of blaming our health on our ancestors without taking responsible for ourselves?  Just because my family may have a history of heart disease, cancer, diabetes etc, does that mean I am automatically predisposed to these conditions, or can my diet and lifestyle reduce or eliminate these risks altogether?

Personally I have found it more empowering to believe that our own diet and lifestyle is what affects our health.  Just because our ancestors may have eaten poorly and didn’t look after themselves, doesn’t mean that we can’t live a life full of health and vitality.

One of the ways our parents have influenced our health is with the food they fed us during our childhood.  Having discussed with people what they ate as a child and looking at what they now eat as an adult, there seems to be a strong connection between the two.  I know for myself, as a child I was fed a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and home cooked meals.  Whilst I did move to an unhealthier diet for a while once I gained control over my food choices, that only lasted a few years.  After becoming a bit of a hypochondriac and ending up with a drawer full of drugs, I changed my ways, ate much better, and my health benefited as a result.

Scientific studies show:

1.   Whist we all inherit genes from our ancestors, factors such as environment, diet and lifestyle choices can influence how our genes behave - meaning we have control over our health! 

2.   We can no longer assume that age related diseases such as arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease etc are inevitable consequences of ageing that we must just accept and deal with.

3.    Whilst we are all still susceptible to disease, whether we end up with a disease is determined by how we live our life, how we eat, the toxins we are exposed to, the supplements we take, our beliefs and how we handle stress.

Another reason to look after ourselves is for our children’s health.  Whilst our children inherit our genes, and over the course of their life influence their own health, as children they look to us for guidance.  It is up to us to make healthy diet and lifestyle choices so we can pass these onto our children, who will then pass them onto their children etc. 

We have a big responsibility as we can significantly impact the health of our future generations.  We cannot eat fast food in front of our children and expect them to eat fruit and vegetables.  It’s never too late to make healthier choices for ourselves, and in turn teach our children how to make healthier choices.  Your behaviour now may change the course of your life and generations to follow.

How will your future generations eat?

01 November 2011

Welcome to my blog! 

My name is Lucy and I am a stay at home mum with two young boys. I am passionate about health and nutrition and have explored this area for about 15 years now. I am looking forward to sharing with you what I have learnt over these years as well as my ongoing reading and research into this area.

I plan to share with you the truths about food and the chemical industry and the role that big business plays in our health. Some of what I write about will be a bit controversial, but I hope it will interest you and encourage you to want to learn more about taking control of your health. 

I will also share some recipes with you that I have made or found that are vegan/vegetarian/gluten free/dairy free. 

Please ask me any questions and share your thoughts on the topics I raise and any others you would like to hear about.  I look forward to hearing from you.