Those of you who’ve been following recently will have noticed a small change of emphasis towards the healthier side of life…first the detox then the attempt at boot camp, and now…
I’ve decided to try to avoid eating or drinking a few things…a friend of mine calls it ‘clean eating’. For me it’s a useful framework to ensure I generally stay on the healthy side of things, it makes choosing food at restaurants, cafes and in the shops a lot simpler.
Whilst I can’t categorically say I’ve given anything up, I am trying to stay away from caffeine, sugar, gluten and dairy. Sounds complicated? A little while ago I would have shied away from the mere suggestion of cutting down on any of those, but having decided to give it a go I have discovered the following:
– pukka herbal teas really are delicious (and people don’t seem to mind if I keep forgetting my tea/coffee round if I only have water most of the time anyway…)
– supermarkets have great substitutes for cows’ milk, including almond milk and coconut milk, both of which are really yummy; soya milk whilst I assume v healthy is a bit boring
– protein shakes made with almond or coconut milk and blended with fresh fruit really are one of the nicest quick breakfasts before work (I get my protein mix from Forever Living where I got the ingredients for the 9-day detox)
– there are lots of wonderful choices of flour on offer: spelt, rice flour, corn meal to replace wheat
– coconut oil makes most things taste divine
– avocados really are a staple food
– supermarket “lunch” sections have very very little which is non-gluten, non-dairy, it pays to improvise when a quick lunch on the run between meetings is required (see above re: avocados)
– healthwise, the advice I’ve had doesn’t include goats’ milk or ewes milk in “dairy” which means goats’ cheese, feta, halloumi etc are still on the menu, am trying to buy organic though. Yippee! cauliflower cheese is still in the running 🙂
– the definition of “dairy free” I’m using also includes organic butter, which is useful as I’m also staying away from processed foods like margarine
– I can eat lots, not feel hungry and still lose 2 inches off my waist 🙂
So far, so good. Have strayed a little over the last couple of weeks but am trying to refocus with some new recipes – these have been tried and approved by a group of children staying at the weekend (there were even requests for seconds), if the recipes get past them, I think most people shouldn’t have too much of a problem (NB: these are not allergy proof, there may be gluten lurking somewhere I’m not aware of, for example):
First up, the famous cauliflower cheese – I simply swapped the milk for almond milk, the flour for slightly less cornflour, and the cheddar for hard goats’ cheese. The usual amount of mustard powder & nutmeg. Job done 🙂 I assume you know how to make the usual recipe. Very tasty with pancetta draped over the top before it goes into the oven, and/or a sprinkling of toasted flaked almonds.
Cannelini bean dip – 1 tin drained cannelini beans, dessert spoonful of coconut oil, teaspoon or so of cumin, 2 cloves of garlic, juice from half a lemon. Blend everything until smooth. Add some water if it’s a bit too thick. Really pleased with this, might not be to everyone’s taste but I enjoyed it.
And last but not least, today’s experiment:
Chocolate muffins (these are not sugar free I’m afraid, haven’t yet done my research on healthy sweetening alternatives to sugar for baking – suggestions welcome, although I may just try recipes with fruit in them for the sweetness):
250g rice flour, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 150g caster sugar (could have cut it down to 100g or possibly less, these were really quite sweet), 3 tbsp cocoa powder, 4 tbsp ground almonds, 2 large eggs, beaten, 175ml buttermilk or almond milk, 100g coconut oil, melted
Sieve & mix dry ingredients, mix coconut oil, eggs & milk and add to dry ingredients, Mix (I did this by hand, didn’t seem to need a food processor) and divide between 12 muffin cases. Cook at 200C in a pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes. Mine were done after 17.
You can decorate with chocolate icing, melted chocolate or whatever you want.
Pleased to report that the children and adults loved them. The next version will have dark chocolate drops in the middle and a lot less sugar.
I have been finding it extremely satisfying to play around with conventional recipes and come up with something better than just edible, having only bought a few new ingredients.
Those of you who know me are aware of how much I enjoy good food and good wine, luckily, this regime doesn’t actually deny me most of the things I enjoy best of all – a good quality, rare steak, oysters, crab, a home-made curry with all the trimmings (no raita, mind), olives, home made chicken soup, skate with caper butter…and of course, a nice glass of fizz, or red wine. Well, all things in moderation*, surely?
* it’s all relative 😉