April Danann

+353 (0)87 236 1616
+353 (0)28 34527


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Grains, Gluten, Quinoa & Mold - My Story So Far....

The very first time I ate QUINOA…..I didn’t feel right. Only I couldn’t fully explain that feeling, it was just a weird sense of something not sitting well in my stomach. Then, I went to bed later that night and had strange disturbing dreams as if I’d eaten something that didn’t suit me.

I’m an Intuitive by profession and I place a lot of stock in my dreams. I rely on them to inform me of general goings on in my body and throughout my life.

So…..I got up the next morning and ‘knew’ it was the quinoa that wasn’t right. I remember saying to someone that week…..I don’t like the quinoa it gives me nightmares and the energy of it is all wrong.

Just something wrong about it – but at the time, I had a young child, I was a student and I was working part time in my clinical practice so I didn’t spend much time looking into it. I just didn’t want to use it in my cooking!

However, time moved on and so did I, this was probably sometime in 2004 -05. I didn’t go out of my way to eat quinoa nor did I go out of my way to avoid it either. If it was there in front of me (at a friends house for instance) I usually ate it, however, I never forgot that very first strange encounter and those ‘feelings’ did not go away.

A couple of years later, because we had been gluten free for so long, I decided I wanted to make some bread. Of course, the only few options open to me where making bread from several types of flours at the same time, to get the dough to hold together.

One of those flours I ended up experimenting with was Quinoa flour. At first I was just happy to be able to make some sort of a bread for the family. But then….I noticed a peculiar thing about the quinoa that I wasn’t seeing on the other flours.

I mean, perhaps (it is!) it was there on all the different types of grain in varying degrees, however, on the quinoa I was seeing it, and tasting it…..

In fact, the very first time I noticed something – I had opened the top of a bag of Quinoa flour, used a couple of cups of it from the top half of the package. When we ate the bread, I remember saying; this tastes funny.

I was re-assured everything was fine, put some jam on it and it will be grand. When I went to make the next batch of bread a few days later and dug more deeply into the package – I could see a greenish looking flour and it now smelled more strongly of mold.

That was what I was tasting! I quickly threw out the package and chocked it all up to just one of those random things….that is, until it happened again this time with a bag or box of quinoa grain. I noticed they tasted ‘off’ and examined the grains deeper down into the box and found this same dark green mold.

This one I took back to the health food shop, where I was re-assured it must have been a rare occurrence but that quinoa was perfectly safe to eat. Then it happened a third time – again with the flour I was desperately trying to use to make bread.

By this time in my life, I had eaten my fair share of so many different types of grains -  (wholegrain, flakes, flour etc.), yet never encountered this anywhere else and was having nothing more to do with the quinoa.

The reason this became an issue was because, during that time I was exhibiting symptoms of mold toxicity from all of these non typical grains I was using while I was vegan (sugar free, dairy free, wheat free, gluten free, meat free, Night Shade free and so forth) and I knew my system was not used to the types of molds found on these grains I was not accustomed to eating.

At the time we were using Amaranth grain and flour, coconut flour, quinoa flour and flakes, grains, gram flour, rice flour and flakes and so forth – each of which was new to our systems. Any grain, as well as nut and seeds contain a high amount of molds. Perhaps it was the entire combination of all of these items in our diets that caused some of these problems?

However, we did not eat bread that often or use the flour on a daily or even weekly basis as it was just too much work to make the breads stick together. Besides we were quite happy with our diet and had adapted quite well to a general whole food vegan diet.

Some of the symptoms I had at the time were;

Pins and needles in my hands & arms
Weight gain (without diet change)
Joint pain & muscle aches
Fever & chills

I just started to not ‘feel’ well. These symptoms were not there all of the time – they would come and go. It was just often enough, that I knew something was not right and I needed to get to the bottom of it. Once I realized I was eating moldy quinoa – I was able to trace back the worst symptoms to the days following eating this stuff!

In some ways, I think I am still not 100% over the effects of these molds and I would not ever go near quinoa again. I am also a little more cautious with all grains – we eat them and now enjoy our sourdough breads, rice and oats; but I am watchful of any ‘new’ untried grains on our digestive systems!

My lovely Sourdough breads that makes me feel great! 

Monday, 6 April 2015

Apple Cider Vinegar - The Doctor Within

I get asked all the time at my fermentation workshops, in my clinic and on the market stall – if I could only do one thing to change my life/diet/habits etc., what would it be? For years I would always say it would be to cut out all NightShades from your diet (white potato, aubergine, peppers, chillies, tomato, gogi berries) because of their toxicity for spiritually awakening bodies. 

Of course, this still holds true and this is the one food family that is not included in my diet. 

When it comes to fermentation and overall gut health, it is vitally important to add in living foods; this is the missing food group we’ve all been hungering for. I would have to say the easiest, best and most effective addition a person can make to their diet is to take Apple Cider Vinegars every single day.

Of course, I am quite biased on several fronts here….I make my own ACVinegars and I happen to think they are the best tasting, most alive and perhaps far more ‘healing’ than anything else out there. One of the reasons I say this is because they are hand made with water from the most natural sources as well as quite a few other factors I have found to be important.

I only ferment in glass, ceramic and natural materials. No plastic here! As well, I am very fussy about the storage and fermentation process – my ferments are interacted with. Well, they are living beings after all and I wouldn’t leave them out of my daily activities – so they are scattered around the place, talked to, moved about and generally included in our lives. 

We also insist on using Co Cork grown apples and local West Cork apples when we can get them. There is nothing like the healing energy here in West Cork! 

Because of my interest in the spiritual connection we have with our food, I have learned to consider every aspect of food creation and fermentation is one of the most alchemical processes I have ever found. Magic happens when we take water, fruit and allow nature to power, direct and enhance the results.   

What we have in the end is a living food with a consciousness. I wouldn’t leave that task to just anyone, so I make them myself. Besides, I wanted my own ancient healing Irish Mother – not someone else’s! 

For Apple cider vinegar to be effective and really work for you it should be taken every single day. Something like the old folk saying – ‘an apple a day, keeps the doctor away’. Perhaps, it’s the apple a day in your apple cider vinegar that is the doctor within. Over the years I have heard lots of stories of how symptoms just went away after taking it for 3 days, 10 days or 60 days. Everyone is quite different and our bodies respond differently to the living ferment. 

And, we all take it for many different reasons. Some people swear by it for arthritis, tummy troubles, indigestion, IBS, hair, skin and nail health while others just ‘feel’ better when they take it. 

I like to take it first thing every morning with my left over herbal tea, a remedy and some clay. However, on days when I am feeling stressed, tired, with a cold or flu or just ‘off’ – I take it several times with my remedies or in fermented drinks and water. It’s one of natures’ magical elixirs….

Apple Cider Vinegars ready for market

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Cinnamon Seaweed Chicken Soup - Immune Booster!

Today I have a cold. Actually, I've had a cold for the past few days and I am thoroughly sick of breathing through my mouth, sleeping (or not) with three pillows and all the aches & pains that go along with it.

Ok. Enough complaining....because, I am also aware of so much more that my body is doing right now with this glorious cold (did I just say that?!). I can actually feel my immune system revving up, like a great engine waking up after it's winter slumber. 

My lymph nodes are 'active' and my thymus gland is busy rushing T-cells around my body to root out nasties that have lingered during our hibernation. Well, not that we've been staying inside, we have really had some lovely warm weather this entire winter and I have been out in the tunnels and garden since January...but you know what I mean! 

Winterish weather though is pretty well over - the flowers are all blooming (at least they were until the goats got out into the drive way and ate all mine) the bees are flying and the leaves are coming out. It's spring and quite often that means a great head full of snot! 

In honour of all of these bugs & viruses that are making their unrelenting rounds - I've made a Cinnamon Seaweed Chicken Soup and am busy enjoying every morsel in the clinic today. It has been a very busy week but I have finally found a day where I can nourish myself and hopefully give my body what it needs to boost my immune system and be ready for this new season.

When I make chicken soup.......

I like to bake the chicken (whole) first until it nearly falls apart.....then with my pot of lovely root vegetables (today I used sweet potato, celeriac, carrot, turnip, onion, garlic) bubbling away I add  a generous amount of seaweed (dillisk), the chicken and spices. I love cumin, cinnamon, black pepper and fresh parsley from the garden at this time of year, it tastes lovely with this mixture of vegetables. 

Tiffin with Cinnamon Seaweed Chicken Soup

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Breakfast Muffins

Not something quite new....but very tasty! With the early spring glut of eggs from all our feathered friends we are having fun creating new twists on good food....here is another favourite.

Rebel Breakfast Muffins


Spring onion, mushrooms & red nnion chopped fine (or anything you have)
Cheese 1 cup grated (smoked or strong goat cheese is lovely)
Fresh coriander, parsley, basil etc. diced
Finely chopped sea weed flakes
Bonita Tuna or other fish – 1 cup flaked (optional) 
Eggs 6 to 12 beaten with 2 tbsp milk, black pepper & sea salt to taste


Preheat oven to 200C
Grease your muffin tin – best to not use papers, they stick!
Sauté the veg lightly in olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes, then add the vegetables along with cheese, tuna etc. into a large mixing bowl, pour beaten egg mixture over top – then lightly stir by hand to blend. Place muffin pan on the center rack of preheated oven - bake for 22-27 minutes or until muffins are golden to light brown (they will puff up). 

Let muffins cool for a few minutes before removing from the muffin pan – then turn out onto a board or plate to cool down a bit before eating. Can be stored in the fridge for a couple days – seem to freeze ok, but nicest when fresh with a piece sourdough toast......

Rebel Breakfast Muffins 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Want to Cook Like A Rebel? Cookery Class 23 March 2014 in Leap, West Cork

Food Rebels!!! 

Want to learn some new recipes, cooking from scratch and a few simple meals that will uplift you? If you have been feeling low, heavy, have some health issues or are just sick and tired of feeling sick and tired...then it's time to come out and learn how to cook - like a rebel! 

Perhaps some high vibration foods are all your body needs to restore its' usual vitality and even if this is the first step on a new road - eating well is all about understanding how and what to cook. 

For you seasoned foodies out there, are junk and ready made meals creeping into your menu? Maybe a little tune-up and gentle reminder about what to feed your body is what you need...

However most importantly, eating well and renewed health starts with reducing the amount of processed food in your diet. Making more of our meals from basic ingredients is easier then you might think - all it takes is a little push in the right direction.

As a food rebel you can learn how to feed yourself and your family - make some items you may have thought too difficult and get to know your food on an entirely new, energetic level. There is no time like right now, and no better place to practice being a rebel!

This next class we will focus on high quality protein sources for vegetarian meals, even if you are not a vegetarian, including more vegetable protein sources in your diet has many advantages for improved digestive health and building lean muscles. All food should taste great, be versatile and easy to prepare, no matter what the ingredients! 

Come out and join an Intuitive Rebel Nutritionist in Leap, West Cork

23rd March 2014 (Veggie Meals – best quality protein sources & Bread) 11am to 3pm 

Only €35 for class, organic food, recipes & notes!
Contact April on mobile 087 236 1616 or email: info@aprildanann.com to book your place…

See you there!
Tasty….jasmine rice, lentils & roasted vegetables

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Anatomy of Pain….Food, Animals & Us

Anatomy of Pain….. You know, it’s all in the body

So yesterday I finally relented and listened to my body – I had a feeling I needed some of my Rebel Remedy for a couple of days to help me shift this whateveritwas that was coming up for me….so I took some and then went about my day….

Of course it worked, I felt better and life goes on. What came up was really interesting though, and gave me a few more insights into why I feel so strongly about the way we go about living our lives and growing our own food as much as possible.

I have been on about food, nutrition, eating, diet, cooking and all things to do with the stuff we put into our bodies for such a long time. I have spent years as a vegetarian, a vegan (healing from cancer) and now – well I don’t have an exact name for the way we eat, except we….

Eat Like Pagans! LOL

So what came up for me from my body was ‘pain’, hurt and discomfort. Yet somehow I knew it wasn’t all mine, it was something that was rising up from my bones….for days (weeks?) I hurt physically, not a huge amount, just enough to be uncomfortable.

But I had been putting it down to the workouts I have been doing. You know the kind of aches that come along with moving muscles, joints and bones and pushing yourself a little harder then usual? It sort of feels good for awhile, but it also should settle down as your body adjusts to the new movements.

Well, by Sunday morning I was just aching. My ankles, knees, shoulders, and back all sort of hurt and I had to get to the bottom of it once and for all. So I poured up some of my Rebel Remedy tincture (I make this for trauma, inner pain, shock and acute stress) and sipped this in water…

Of course then I went on with my day and kind of forgot about things because I was feeling more like myself! But this morning once I got up and went to start my workout I remembered what I was feeling yesterday, because I was feeling so much better.

I realized some of this ‘pain’ I had taken on was from meat…animal flesh I had eaten over a lifetime until a few years ago when I decided to do something quite different. At the time my only option was to stop eating meat altogether in order to clean out my body and to detox.

To be honest I never fully realized until this past week that some of the stuff I have been releasing and detoxing are emotional trauma suffered by the animals (food, meat, milk, cheese) during their lives and certainly on their way to their deaths. 

I just assumed it was more of my own stuff from when I was bullied….it was so familiar to me. Which then led me to wonder if the animals themselves perceive being pushed, poked, dragged and proded to their deaths as being bullied? Or maybe it’s also how they might ‘feel’ being kept in an enclosed confined space with hundreds (thousands?) of other animals in a battery farm operation…..

How can I be so very certain about some of these facts on how food animals are raised and treated? I worked for many years as a Food Hygiene Inspector – I was the one who carried out ante and post mortem inspection of food animals. In cold barns, abattoirs, meat lockers and kill floors – I saw it all.

I was also the one who threatened to pull licenses and shut down the plant for any notion of cruelty or bullying. And I was the one who could calmly walk an injured, old or frightened animal down the chute to the kill floor without the need for an electric prod or any harm done. 

After all these animals were giving up their lives to be our food….Just from an understanding of what was to come, a little gentleness - this animal was not going to be ill handled on my watch.

Needless to say over the years I have spent quite a large portion of my life meat free. But, once I was in a position to raise, grow and manage my own food animals, this is what we do for our own needs.

And our own consciousness.  

The only meat I eat now is what I can raise myself, it’s only a limited amount, so when the meat runs out we are vegetarians for the rest of the year! However, I know each animal is treated (loved!) well, fed organically, interacted with, has space to roam and enjoy their time with us just being animals.

All animals which are destined for food on our tables, should be treated with respect through every stage of their existence and not bullied or mishandled in any way. This improves the quality of the meat and the quality of our lives equally. 

Do unto others…..

So….all of this has been coming up for me because I took my remedy for trauma and shock. Perhaps now I will expand its’ uses and benefits to cover bullying as well. 


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

West Cork grown Comfrey Cream at Rebel Foods Market Stall

Comfrey Cream

Comfrey cream has got to be my all time favourite cream, lotion, balm, potion or anything else that I make around here. I can’t seem to find an end to all of the ways and means that it gets used.

We use it for everything!

In case you are not that familiar with this herb, it has been noted and used for many centuries for it’s ability to increase cell production, reduce inflammation and soothe irritated tissues. Thus, it can settle things down on the skin and at the same time lessen scarring. 

A few weeks ago I noticed an old scar on my arm from a barbed wire fence that I got years ago trying to help my cat through, away from the neighbours’ dogs. It was just a long thin scratch at the time and healed up right away. 

But it left a long thin, very noticeable scar straight across my arm. Funny how most of the other scars I have tend to fade over time, but not this one. It was still prominent on my arm, at least to me….

So, I started putting some ordinary comfrey cream on it, night after night and low and behold…it has faded to nearly nothing. I love this about comfrey – it is soothing, healing and a skin regenerator all at the same time.

I make my comfrey cream with only the finest comfrey around, ahem…my own West Cork grown comfrey, so I know it is quality, right from the outset. I also use only organic beeswax (my own until it runs out) and organic grade therapeutic oils such as coconut, sweet almond, jojoba and cold pressed olive oil.

For so many years I put nothing on my skin. Only water. And then once I started with my own creams, lotions, ointments, balms and salves – I can’t get enough! My skin is drinking them in.

And not only my skin. 

At least once a week (or maybe more) someone comments on my hair – even when it’s a mess, it’s still shiny or actually, sometimes glossy. Perhaps its’ also because I rub comfrey cream all over my hands and then through my hair once it’s dry or maybe it’s the nettle & rosemary rinse, but then it might also be the fact I am Nightshade free….

Or it’s a combination of all three of the above. But, we do have healthy hair around here – so whatever we are doing, I think I will keep doing it! LOL

Coming back to healing and protecting skin, for far too many years I suffered each winter with dry, chapped hands that would split at the knuckles and around my nails. If you have ever had this happen, you can probably appreciate how painful this is. And how much I would dread getting my hands wet.

But, half of my day is spent with wet hands – cooking, cleaning or making something or other. So steering clear of water is not an option – it is often a key ingredient in the many things I do around here.

Over the years I have used comfrey creams from many different sources (they have far more ingredients then mine do), then finally gave up because they simply didn’t work. That is until I made my own and combined it with body butters or on occasion cocoa butter. 

The bottom line here is that my own creams are so pure and natural they do no harm to delicate and healing skin. I add essential oils to back up the therapeutic effects while boosting their detox and repair properties.

One other area I have been plagued with is cold sores on my lips. For years I have fasted as a discipline and for detox purposes, however, because fasting pushes out whatever toxins, viruses etc. that are hanging around in the body, cold sores would always break out for me.

Until my trusty comfrey cream that is! I kind of don’t want to speak too soon, but this is the longest I have gone without a cold sore in years – all due to using my Fire & Ice Comfrey Cream blend. I think it killed the virus dead the last time it even thought of surfacing. 

Then, my son used comfrey cream to heal up an in-grown toenail, we all put it on minor scrapes, cuts and burns and there is a jar in the barn for the animals which we use when ever someone gets a scratch or sore spot. 

Comfrey is just an all round healing, comforting herb and a must have cream for the medicine cabinet, or next to your bed, or in your purse, on the kitchen window…..

Rebel Foods Market Stall Comfrey Creams