Are you short on time, but still want to eat healthily?
That’s great! Now, I know that you already know this and it may sound so obvious, but when we’re eating healthy foods, we’re more likely to be, feel and stay healthy. I know, it is obvious. But sometimes it’s easy to forget.
We can forget that for one thing, every cell in our body needs good nutrients to function. Without these, so many essential interactions from energy production, to skin repair, menstruation, thought processes and sleep, simply don’t work.
If you cut your hand and you’re not eating well, it’ll takes longer to heal. It’s the same with your digestion. If you’re not eating well, the enzymes needed to break down food don’t operate properly. That’s when you may end up with digestive problems. Or, a really common issue, if you deprive your brain of nutrients by not eating healthy foods, you can easily end up with headaches and brain fog.
I know that you want to have energy and to be and feel great and good nutrition can help you to have that. And, so much of what you need, can be merely one food shop away.
This is for you
I’ve put this list together to support you with your health. It may look a little different, because these aren’t your usual recipe pages. That’s mainly because these aren’t recipes. Instead, they’re a selection of healthy foods with the food’s nutritional benefits and some meal suggestions. The idea came from an insert that I have in my monthly newsletters (sign up here) called ‘what I’m eating’. It’s so popular with the community that I thought that I’d move it over here. Let me know what you think.
I’m fortunate to live in an area where there are tons of local apple trees providing free apples for everyone. It’s brilliant. One of the things that I really love is when the old apples have fallen, and start to mulch and decay, making everywhere literally smell like fresh cider!
On a nutritional note. Apples really are the ideal fruit. They have a high water and a fairly low fructose content. Their peel provides plenty of fibre and inside they produce pectin, a gel like substance often associated with jam thickening. But the health benefits of it are huge. Pectin supports the whole GI tract, especially the bowel as the gel is soothing and restorative.
Apples in general also make a great snack, as they contribute to regulating blood sugar levels and and may lower cholesterol. They also contain quercetin a flavonoid (or plant chemical) which supports our cell structures and in this case also strong blood vessels. Some people with bowel disturbances can find that too many apples produce gas, but this is in limited cases.
Now, how to eat it.I tend to have them in smoothies with black berries or with spinach and celery, or I simply eat them on their own. BUT I do love homemade apple crumble with oats, nuts and seed topping in the winter. I also LOVE apple and almond cake.
Although this is a seasonal vegetable, it does seem to be produced for much longer than in the past, but somehow it still manages to hold its taste. When it’s in season I tend to eat it almost weekly. I love its meaty texture especially when grilled.
On a nutritional note. Its packed with vitamins from A through to B1, 2, 3, 6, C, E and K, and minerals magnesium, iron and calcium. So it’s a real all-rounder for immunity, bone and nerve health and a healthy blood supply. It’s also a powerful diuretic, so useful for increasing fluid output and flushing the kidneys.
Now, how to eat it. I used to steam it, but I’m now grilling it much more and adding it to quinoa salads. It can of course be made in to a delicious soup or added with poached eggs (and the option of salmon slices) and/or hollandaise sauce. Or, living on the wild side, it’s gorgeous when it’s simply eaten alone with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Gorgeous beetroot. For me it starts with the rich, earthy scent and then it’s on to the deep blood red colour, but it’s the nutty root flavour that makes it gorgeous. Beetroot has such a distinct taste and if you look at the leaves, they may remind you of spinach or the strong flavoursome chard. That’s because they’re from the same family. This means that you can also use the leaves in much the same way as you would spinach or chard. So it’s versatile too!
On a nutritional note. This is definitely one that’s on the ‘rainbow diet’ and as would be expected, is a strong antioxidant. That’s a fancy word to say that it clears toxins from the body right down to the cellular level. But more notably it’s also helpful for cleansing and clearing the liver.
The liver is the largest single organ in the body weighing about 1500g in women and 1700g in men. It’s huge, especially when you consider that the female heart only weighs an average of 320g. And large is good, but more importantly, healthy livers are what we need as they have so much to do. The liver stores glucose in the form of glycogen to be converted in times of lack into a viable energy form. It processes the toxic waste that we produce and it converts ammonia into urea so that it can be eliminated as urine safely by the kidneys. It’s also critical in the immune function process and beetroot is a nutrient that supports all of that.
Now, how to eat it. I use it in salads, especially with haloumi. I also put it into smoothies with spinach, apple and cucumber for a morning boost and it goes so well with risotto. It can also liven up a pesto or is simply great roasted. I’ve even added it to cocoa in a cake and have made Borscht a few times.
This is an amazing plant because all of it can be used. Not only that, it’s both an herb and a spice. What’s the difference? The herb is the leafy green bit, the spice is the seed or roots which can be dried and ground and kept for a long time.
The name coriander or cilantro (the American and Australian usage) are basically the same thing, with coriander looking similar in some ways to parsley. So it’ always worth making sure that you’ve picked up the right one if you’re buying it fresh from a market. The similarity with parsley isn’t an accident either as they’re both from the umbelliferae family.
On a nutritional note. Although the taste, especially in the spice can be quite strong, bitter is good. It’s considered useful for stomach and digestive issues and in some countries the leaves are simply pulled off and chewed to ease digestion. For issues of bacterial and fungal overgrowth, coriander may be particularly helpful. It’s also been shown to possibly aid urinary tract infections and to lower cholesterol as it assists in breaking down fat and transporting it to the bile duct and then on to the liver for full processing. So it’s quite a useful herb (or spice).
Now, how to eat it. Without doubt, coriander both spice and herb are something that I use widely in curries, but I also use it to liven up a salad. One of my favourites is with mango, peppers, cucumber, lime juice, nuts (and sometimes prawns). But recently I went back to making falafel. They’re easy enough to make and it’s up to you whether you use 2 bunches of coriander (or one of coriander and one of parsley). I’d really recommend getting a loose fresh bunch which tend to be fresher. And falafel don’t have to be fried, you can simply bake them in the oven with a little oil and enjoy.
One of the things I love about courgettes (that sadly you don’t get in the supermarket) is their gorgeous flowers. They’re not only decorative, but they can also be cooked and eaten.
You might have seen the courgette body in deep green, but they also come in yellow and light green. It’s worth taking the time to scout out some different varieties.
On a nutritional note. They’re an amazing diuretic as they contain such a high water content, which also makes them low in calories. And they’re rich in vitamin C and fibre which makes them great for the colon and eases constipation. They’re a brilliant cleanser and may support adrenal function and also due to the fibre content, help to reduce high cholesterol. So much to love.
Now, how to eat it. Definitely with other roast vegetables. I also make courgette and potato fritters, sometimes with feta. They’re so easy to make. Once you’ve grated 3-4, you have to discard the excess fluid of which there will be a lot. So put a couple of kitchen tissues in a bowl (otherwise you’ll simply end up with mush – as I have on a good few occasions)! But, done right you’ll end up with gorgeous crunchy fritters.
After a few hours (or overnight) remove the tissues. Add in some grated potato, onion, feta with a little plain flour. I also like to add some cornmeal, an egg and 1/2 tbsp of baking powder and even spices sometimes. The mixture should then be firm (there will probably be a little extra water from the courgettes which can bind the mixture). Then line a baking tray and add a generous amount of hot oil. Pop on about 10 large spoonfuls of the mixture. Return to the oven, turn up the heat and leave for about 15 – 20 minutes (but do check them as they may need longer). Then voila. They should now be ready, crisp and delicious.
Daikon, Mooli, White radish
I’m introducing this vegetable because it’s a lovely healthy food and something that I love to have in the summer. But I also want to widen the range of things that I talk about. You may have to hunt for it in ethnic market stalls or Asian food shops, but do, it’s so worth it. Also make sure that when you buy it, it’s firm (like a ripe cucumber) and not stretchy or bendy (which similarly to a cucumber suggests that it’s had its best days).
On a nutritional note. Daikon’s are a part of the radish family so as you’d expect they have a high water content and are a great diuretic, and of course it’s low in calories – but surprisingly, it carries a good amount of fibre too. From a mineral perspective it’s high in potassium, good for water and blood pressure balance and also copper which we need for healthy formation off our nervous tissue and also our blood cells. And although I never eat the green tips, these can be eaten and are very high in vitamin C.
Now, how to eat it. I grate it or slice it very thinly and put it in salads. It absorbs flavours really well, so to spice it up I sometimes add a bit of chilli. The Hairy Bikers have this great recipe.
Are you’re struggling with your health and want additional support to manage your health through nutrition? Then, contact me.