Health Esteem Queen for the month of May

On May 20 2017 the wonderful Sara of mshealthesteem.com   posted her interview with me as she had nominated me Health Esteem Queen for that month.

I urge you to take a look at her wonderful blog and health and wellness website.

I have posted the interview here as well:

Tell us about your health philosophy.

I believe we are what we eat. With this in mind I cook all my food from scratch where possible, and use the best ingredients to ensure the outcome is a balanced and nutrient dense meal. I also believe in ‘simple is good’ and very rarely produce food that has taken hours to prepare. I cook gluten-free and fructose free / minimum fructose food.  (I am no means perfect and do occasionally succumb to chocolate or cake – when I do I don’t ‘beat myself up’.)

Having recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and now on drug therapy for many years, this has heightened my awareness of and the importance of, treating our bodies well. I not only try to ensure nutritious food goes in to my body but I also am careful of the products I put on my skin – e.g. paraben free products, paraben and aluminium free deodorant.

I exercise daily – walking my dogs and spending time with my horse. I also try to meditate daily for at least 10 minutes.

What’s your favourite part of your health-esteem journey so far?

As a result of the changes to my diet, I never feel bloated, my skin texture has improved and I have lost weight. I no longer count calories, I eat fats – coconut milk, avocados etc, I don’t snack between meals and most importantly of all, the bathroom scales do not rule my life which they did for as many years as I can remember. I now have a sustainable positive mindset about choosing the foods I eat and the amounts of food my body wants. I actively listen out for the feelings of satiety and most importantly and totally amazingly for someone for whom bulimia has been a constant companion for so, so many years I am eating guilt free. It has been such a liberating experience – I am now free from my bingeing habits and the suffocating feeling that food is controlling me.

Why do you think self-love is an important aspect of someone’s health?

I think self love is all about owning our own power and acting from a place of kindness toward ourselves.  What matters is how we feel about ourselves; that we accept ourselves; we become responsible for our own lives and we stop trying to prove something. Self-love isn’t about being narcissistic it is about looking after ourselves. We have one ribbon of life and should value it – our health being one of the most important facets of our lives and one which we can have significant control over.

What changes were necessary in order to achieve your state of self-love?

Firstly, looking inward: I needed to identify my own individual appetite drivers and my food choices. Once I understood my triggers to eat, triggers not to eat I then became able to manage my weight. Fructose was a trigger for me – so I removed it. Snacking and being unaware was another trigger. For a long time I, like many others I have talked to, seem to have been in the pursuit of the perfect diet – the key few ‘must have’ ingredients or ‘must do’ approaches to eating. I have followed the latest hot topic dietary approaches and listened to all the ‘experts’ wanting to share their ‘dietary magic’. At times I have been lulled in to the promises of quick fix approaches – which have ‘worked’ – but of course any weight loss has slowly returned or different diet approaches have not be sustainable. If I have followed a restrictive diet my emotional reaction has always ended in rebellion.

Then, I recognised and accepted that my working environment was harming my health. Continual pressure and stresses were taking their toll. So a change of direction was in order. (That is partly on hold due to diagnosis but I do have a plan!)

Finally – acceptance of who I am, who I will never be and most importantly…the person I no longer want to be.

What inspired you to become the Healthy Foodie you are today?

The pursuit of a sustainable way of life. I have always thought myself to be quite savvy about food. I have however, at different times in my life be ruled by it; controlled by it even. For a large proportion of my life I have awoken in the morning determined to be in control and not worried about what I was going to eat during the day. Invariably after my first of several weigh ins the feelings of guilt/ self loathing etc. would raise their ugly heads. I have tried many diets over the years – never needing to lose too much but never satisfied with how I looked or felt.

2 years ago, I was given a copy of ‘Simplicious’ by Sarah Wilson. That was it…my turning point:)

Why did you choose to switch to a plant based diet?

For my health.

Every year, following the rich and meat laden excesses of the Christmas period, I would serve only vegetarian meals for my husband and I for the month of February and then try to limit the amount of meat/poultry based meals we ate afterwards.

Last year, I decided to extend the month and I ate a vegetarian based diet for several months. I do now eat meat occasionally – could I do without it …yes. Could I do without my vegetables, pulses, grains etc…absolutely not!  .

Being on a plant based diet ensures that I feel fuller for longer; don’t suffer with bloating and feel generally more energised.

Any tips for those wishing to add more plants to their plates?

Variety – explore the multitude of textures and colours available.

Seasoning – learn to use herbs and spices to enhance and enliven dishes

Describe a typical day on your foodie plate.

Breakfast –  oat, chia and teff porridge served with coconut milk and a milk kefir smoothie – acai, baobab or maca flavoured

Lunch – buddha / abundance bowl with something green e.g. watercress, something red – peppers / tomatoes / beetroot; something yellow  – peppers / sweetcorn and some protein – pulses / fish / egg

Dinner – easy to prepare meal and often one pot e.g. a cauliflower , chickpea and quinoa bake

What is a daily health ritual must?

Drinking plenty of fluids

What advice would you give for someone wishing to make some health invoking changes?

Identify why you want to change and the positive impact this will have. Then break it down in to small and manageable chunks. Don’t view it as failure if it doesn’t always go to plan. Each day is a new opportunity to start again.

What’s your biggest health misconception pet peeve?

Fats are bad for you

What is your favourite health food staple?

Chia seeds – so versatile and nutritional powerhouses

What’s your go to healthy snack?

Brazil nuts – brain food!

What does Health-Esteem mean to you?

Possessing self regard for your health. Valuing yourself enough to want to look after yourself on the inside. As well as the outside.

 

4 bean and sweetcorn chilli

A really speedy dish using store cupboard ingredients. If large tins are used…serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 tin pinto beans               1  tin cannellini beans

1  tin kidney beans           1  tin butter beans

1 tin sweetcorn                 1 onion chopped

1 carton passata                1 tsp paprika

1 tsp mild/hot chilli powder ( depending on preference)

1 tsp ground cumin         Olive oil for frying

Method:

Fry the onion until soft. Add the spices and stir thoroughly for 1 minute. Rinse and drain all the pulses. Add pulses,  sweetcorn and passata. Cover and leave on a low heat to heat through and allow spices to infuse.

Spinach and grain loaf

Delicious as ‘bread’ or toasted.

Preheat oven to 180 C/ gas mark 5    Prepare a 1 lb loaf tin
Ingredients:

8 eggs                                    1/2 cup coconut oil – melted

1/4 cup chia seeds              1/4 cup linseed

1/4 cup sesame seeds        1/4 cup coconut flour

3 handfuls  spinach           1-2 tsp chilli flakes

Method:

Blend eggs and coconut oil for 1 minute. Add all other ingredients  and blend until thoroughly mixed. Pour in to the loaf tin. Cook for 30-40 minutes – skewer comes out clean. Once cold refrigerate.

Vegetarian /vegan pie – ‘cottage’ pie made with mushrooms

Don’t let the title deter you if you are a meat eater. My husband, who thoroughly enjoys eating meat, really likes this dish – always goes back for another helping – and frequently requests it.

Preheat oven to 190C / Gas mark 5

Ingredients:

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1 large onion – coarse chopped

1 large punnet of Chestnut mushrooms – chopped in half

2 cups of red lentils

1 large can of chick peas – drained

5 tbsp red wine vinegar

Small jar of sun-dried tomatoes

5-6 sweet potatoes

Coconut oil for frying

3/4 – 1 pint of vegetable stock

Grated dairy / vegan cheese – optional

Black pepper – optional

Method: 

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes – cover with water and boil until cooked. Drain and mash.

Fry the onions in the coconut oil until soft. Add the mushrooms, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, lentils, vinegar and stock and simmer gently until the lentils are soft adding more stock if required. The mixture should be of a thick consistency.

Put the mixture in to an oven proof dish and top with mashed potato.Sprinkle with grated cheese and black pepper. Place in the oven for 25-30 mins until heated throughout.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eggs – quick and hassle free dishes

People who know me know that my cooking style is minimum effort but hopefully maximum taste. I am lucky enough to have a small group of my own ladies pecking about in my garden. From them I get a plentiful and daily supply of wonderful power houses of goodness. I adore eggs – scrambled, poached, fried, omelettes, frittatas, Benedict, souffles, Huevos Rancheros, in cakes etc. but I do enjoy trying them in different ways.

Recently I have served all in one breakfast  / dinner dishes – the one pot cooking and washing up dream 🙂  I heartily recommend this approach.

  1. Sausages and fried onion – gf sausages cooked in the tin, add the chopped onion and when all cooked add the egg mixture.
  2. Sausages,Stornaway black pudding, asparagus and tomatoes  – gf sausages and black pudding cooked in the tin. Egg mixture added and then when nearly cooked tomatoes and coconut fried asparagus placed on the top and returned to the oven
  3. Sausage, mushroom and tomato – gf sausages cooked in the tin and mushrooms and tomatoes added. When all cooked add egg mixture.

I have also served up my eggy combinations as breakfast muffins – all ingredients mixed together and baked in muffin tins – bacon rashers cooked first and chopped in to pieces and added to egg mixture, spinach and black pepper.

Serving suggestion – grilled plum tomatoes, avocado and hot buttered toast.

Roasted vegetables, watercress and chicken soup

I always make this type of soup using leftovers. When I make a roast dinner or a dish involving roast vegetables I ensure there are some leftover to make soup the next day. Perfect if the roast was chicken as the scraps can be added to the soup and the carcass can be boiled / simmered to make a nutritious stock.

So, to a few leftover roasted vegetables – including potatoes – I add a bag of watercress and pint of stock. I simmer this for 10 minutes, blitz and then add the chicken scraps. Quick. Easy. Delicious.

Corn on the cob curry 

A really simple, mild but full of flavour curry. Served on a bed of brown rice.

My daughters don’t enjoy hot and spicy food but this curry goes down very well indeed.

The blend of peanuts and yoghurt ensure a creamy sauce that coats the accompanying rice well.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 corn on the cob – chopped in half and then split length ways

50 g gram / chickpea flour         3 tbsp groundnut oil

1 450 g carton of Greek yogurt

250 g unsalted peanuts – ground

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chilli powder

500 ml water

Method:

Cook the prepared corn on the cob in boiling water for 6-8 minutes. Drain.

On high, heat the oil in a frying pan and add the flour – stirring continuously for a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down to a moderate temperature and add the ground peanuts, Stir for a coupe of minutes. Add the yoghurt, turmeric and chilli and stir till mixed thoroughly.Slowly add the 500 ml of water stirring all the time to create a thick sauce. Add the corn on the cob and simmer until all heated through.

Serve on a bed of warm rice.