I believe most of us want to feel healthy and eat the foods that are good for us, right? I am definitely one to get really excited about the latest health food trend. I dive all in, stick with the habit for a few weeks, even months, and then sadly get bored and abandon the latest love as quick as I fell for it.
Health fads can feel quite exciting at the start but after a while that turmeric powder or coconut oil just kind of make everything taste the same… and the temptation to eat anything BUT healthy takes over!
Over the years I have found that the best way to introduce new healthy eating habits and foods into my diet is to make it taste so yummy that my brain forgets it’s “healthy”! I eat the dish for the pleasure of it, whether it’s good for me or not.
I want to share with you a couple of my favourite recipes that are easy, yummy, yet full of fresh, nutrition-packed foods.
Just to be clear though, I’m not a qualified nutritionist by all means. These are recipes that work well for me but I encourage you to listen to your body and seek for professional advice if in doubt.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Tumeric , the bright yellow powder (or a ginger-resembling root in its fresh form), that has become the inflammation-fighting superstar of the natural world. The active ingredient, curcumin, is said to combat inflammatory diseases (think of muscle and joint pain as well as bowel and blood disorders and cancers, just to name a few).
I occasionally would make a drink with a teaspoon of turmeric, some chopped fresh ginger, lemon slices and honey thrown into a cup of hot water (see the picture above). It tastes lovely, but I tend to drink it periodically, then forget about it for ages.
Then a while ago my colleague gave me a great tip on how to get more turmeric into my diet in the most delicious way! She also explained to me about the bioavailability of turmeric. In order to make the most of the medicinal properties of tumeric, it is best taken with black pepper and fatty acids (read more here).
You ready? Enter the stage… my go-to breakfast….
Toast a slice of your favourite sourdough (or gluten-free bread if you wish), spead avocado (with all the good-fatty goodness) on it, sprinkle turmeric on the avo (maybe start with a ¼ teaspoon and work your way up once your taste buds get used to it), crack a bit of black pepper and salt on it, maybe even some feta if you’re going all out, and voila, your supercharged toast is ready!
We all know that it doesn’t get healthier than a bunch of fresh green leafy vegetables! They are an amazing source of minerals, vitamins and nutrients that protect us against anything scary out there, such as aging/cancer/diabetes/heart attacks and the like. So we’d be silly not listen to or mums and eat our greens!
But how to get enough in? I don’t know about you but I love my fresh greens in the summer but come winter my salad intake takes a plummet in favour of hot comfort foods.
This is until I reignited my love for…
(SUPER GREEN) PESTO!
I make my pesto in a blender. I buzz about ¼ cup cashew nuts or almonds first until powdery, then add at least a couple of handfuls of greens*, 1 garlic clove, a squeeze of lemon, about 1/3 cup olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. I then blend it all together until it turns into a delicious green mess! Lastly I add grated parmesan cheese (you can be as generous or stingy as you want or leave it our altogether for a vegan/dairy free version), but I put in at least 1/4 cups. I eat my pesto as a spread or dip, or as a sauce on top of pasta, rice, chicken or fish. Oh and I replace my mayo in a potato salad with pesto! In other words, it goes with EVERYTHING.
*) Herbs such as coriander, basil or parsley work really well, combined with veggies like kale, silverbeet, rocket, even broccoli. This is a great way to use up any greens in the fridge that are starting to look a bit sad and wilted. (Have a look at the most nutritious greens out there and get creative!)
The tide has finally turned when it comes to saturated fats, which coconut oil is full of. They are no longer the bad guys in the food pyramid, but an essential uilding block for healthy brain, skin and hair, helping lower cholesterol and lose weight among many other amazing health benefits! (Read more here – interesting stuff!)
And I do love the taste of coconut… for a week or two… until I get sick of it! But one thing I don’t think I can ever get sick of is chocolate!
And I happen to have the yummiest AND healthiest recipe for….
SUGAR-FREE COCONUT ROUGH!
(You can thank me later. Actually, you should probably thank this lovely lady that I nicked the original recipe from!)
Melt 1/2 cup coconut oil in a pan over low heat, add 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup and mix well. Add 1/2 cup raw cacao powder and 1 cup of shredded or desiccated coconut to the mix. (If you want to be extra fancy, you can toast the coconut on a dry pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly browned.) I also add in a pinch of salt. You could also flavor the mixture with a drop of peppermint or orange essential oil (and just a drop is enough. Trust me.) Mix all ingredients together and press into a small lined tin.
Then the fun part, toppings! I usually choose one or two of the following: chopped almonds, walnuts, cashews, goji berries, dried figs, or more coconut, and sprinkle and lightly press a handful onto the mixture, then pop the tray into a freezer for 10-20mins. When the chocolate comes out of the tin as a slab, I chop into bite size cubes. I keep the choccies in the fridge and try to make the batch last as long as possible. Which is usually only a week!
But hey, I don’t have to justify this one: I’m getting my doze of healthy fats, not to mention the antioxidants from the cacao and the vitamins from the toppings and… See, my brain is already tricked into thinking this healthy treat must be decadent since it tastes so delicious!
Have fun in the kitchen, hope you feel inspired to supercharge your plate with these ideas. Let me know how you go!