Thursday 8th December 2016 – Banning of Food TV Commercials!

There is a lot of talk in the news this morning about ‘our children’ eating healthier and the responsibility of food manufacturers, food suppliers and those advertising on our TV’s being held responsible for tempting our children (and of course us adults) by providing foods that are highly processed and contain too much sugar, fat and salt.

There is talk about banning all ‘unhealthy’ tv adverts however by doing this, how will this help? If we don’t control ourselves, our children, and don’t offer a more healthy variety of foods, snacks and treats at home, how can we blame the larger food corporations for us turning to them for what we assume is fresh and healthy, quick and easy and most of all fast and cheap??

Surely if this is an issue for families, it is down to the families to take responsibility for cooking fresh, healthy and balanced at home so ‘our children’ and us adults benefit from not only nutritious foods yet tasty, fresh and wholesome foods, snacks and treats that can be made quickly, reasonably cheaply and exactly to our personal preferences.

Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating foods without taste and flavour, it doesn’t mean you can’t have ‘chips’ anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t have your favourite chocolates anymore. It simply means changing perhaps how foods are cooked, using different less processed natural sugars for your cakes and treats and using alternative flours and fats that are more digestible and actually benefit the body rather than dehydrate the body and mind and make us feel sluggish and run down.  

It has to be all about balance.

Food is so important in addressing the matters of the ‘whole’ body, from body to mind (the way we feel, think and behave).

There is so much evidence out there that has proved the pros and cons of different types of foods, sugars, fats, additives etc.  

There is so much information out there, what with the internet and the World Wide Web at our fingertips.

There are so many free websites out there hosted by Cafes, food promoters, caterers, nutritionists, personal trainers and so many other sources offering free recipes and information for us to access, follow and make at home that surely there can no longer be the excuse of not having the information or even the time to commit to being healthy whole heartedly!  

Even our big supermarkets on our high streets have created monthly magazines promoting foods as well as offering lots of alternatives on how to eat healthy with free recipes and even offers and money off vouchers enabling us to try eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and other natural ingredients.

Eating whole and healthily doesn’t have to cost the earth. A lot of people think that eating fresh fruit and vegetables is expensive but with shops like Lidl and Aldi, even Tesco and Sainsbury’s offering special offers on cheap fruit and vegetables (from 29p to 49p & 59p weekly offers on top 5 fruits and veg) and lots of other food items, what is stopping us?

What more can be done to give us the ‘tools’ and the ‘ingredients’ to live a much more healthy and balanced lifestyle?

Surely not eating healthy in this day and age is simply an excuse? The ‘CHOICE’ is ours and for parents theirs when it comes to choosing wisely for their children!

I have fought with food pretty much all my life, being overweight and turning to food for comfort. However since having had the Cafe (Virtuoso) and having started to promote juicing, raw foods, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free foods, I personally have learnt so much through my journey about how to eat and what to eat and when to eat that looking back now, I can’t believe I didn’t educate myself better and start earlier on the path of healthy living. I guess we all have to start somewhere. Having lost nearly 3 stone through healthy eating and simply understanding food and my body better, I took charge and action to lead a healthier life and feeding my body more nutritionally so that I could live a better life, address some illnesses I was facing naturally and moving forward, be able to provide information to my audience through the Cafe and now through the internet, my online shop (the foods, cakes and treats I offer) and of course, more recently, through my blogs.

I assure you, you don’t have to be veggie/vegan to be healthy, you don’t have to be rich to eat healthily, you don’t need to be a chef or a great cook to eat healthy, you simply have to be willing and able to make a decision to change some habits, to experiment with different foods and just get going. I find that when time is limited, preparation is key, planning ahead so that you always have healthy foods, snacks and treats to hand when the temptation arises and when that hunger kicks in and its not quite ‘meal’ time.

Below I am going to offer you some recipes to try at home that are not only healthy and nutritious, yet quick and easy, tried and tested, full of flavour and loved!

Please give them a try, give this ‘healthy eating’ a chance and see for yourselves how truly wonderful the future journey of eating well can be and where it can take you.

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QUICK, EASY & HEALTHY RECIPES

1. PIZZA

Most of us love a good pizza of an evening so why not try my version which is quick, easy and so delicious.

Makes 6/8 pizzas

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Total time from preparation to plate: 30 minutes
Calories: approx. 390 per pizza (depending on your topping choices – based on the ingredients in bold and using Violife vegan cheese)
Effort levels from 1 to 10, 10 being hard work: 3

– Take a tortilla wrap (white or wholewheat, mini or regular size) and place on a flat baking tin.
– Make a tomato base dressing (6 tbsp of tomato puree, 6 tbsp of tomato passata, 2 tbsp of sunflower oil, 3 tbsp of natural soy sauce).  Mix together and spread thinly on each piece of wrap sheet.
– Great some good quality mature cheddar cheese or if vegan, use regular cheddar style Violife and grate. About 2 tbsp of cheese is enough for each wrap.
– Top with lots of different sliced veggies. I use the following however you can use whatever you have in the fridge and whatever you like: Courgettes, mixed coloured peppers, mushrooms, sweetcorn, walnuts. You can keep it simple with just cheese and tomato or go crazy and add other toppings: pineapple, aubergine, figs, goats cheese, spinach, olives and so much more – the list is endless.
– Sprinkle a little mixed Italian herbs on top of the veggies.
– For some heat, sprinkle some chilli flakes on top of the veggies.
– If you love your pizza cheesy, add another 1 tbsp of grated cheese on the top.
– Bake in the oven for 20 minutes on 180oC.

Delicious accompanied with a salad which includes lettuce, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, rocket & coriander served with a lemon and olive oil dressing.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Alternative options: For the pizza base you can use english muffins sliced in half, pitta breads or even make your own pizza dough.

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2. HOME-MADE OVEN CHIPS

Serves 4

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Total time from preparation to plate: 45 minutes
Calories: 290 per portion
Effort levels from 1 to 10, 10 being hard work: 3

– Take 4 large Maris Piper potatoes (or 8 small/medium), skin and slice into chunky chip pieces
– Wash and dry with paper towel
– Spread evenly on a flat baking tray
– Spray evenly with sunflower/coconut/olive oil
– Top with salt and pepper (you can add smoked paprika for added cajun smoked flavour)
– Cook in the oven for approx. 40 minutes on 190oC, stirring midway
– Enjoy with some home-made tomato ketchup (recipe below).

Alternatives: You can use sweet potatoes in place of white potatoes or to mix it up (1/2 sweet/ 1/2 white).

You can enjoy your chips on their own with ketchup or simply served with a side salad or as an accompaniment to your main meal (tofu, tempeh, fish, meat, lentils, lasagne, pasta bake etc.).

Home-made tomato ketchup (will keep in the fridge for 1 month)

* 1 tbsp sunflower oil
* 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
* 1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or sweetener of your choice
* 1 tsp Himalayan salt
* 1/4 cup tomato passata (if you have any left over fresh tomatoes, you can use these)
* 4 tbsp tomato puree
* 2 stock cubes (melted in 2 tbsp of hot water)
* 1/2 tsp of mixed Italian herbs
* 1/4 tsp of black pepper

Put all the ingredients in the blender and mix until it has become a smooth texture.

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3. PASTA VEGGIE BOLOGNESE

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time from preparation to plate: 40 minutes
Calories: 395 per portion (without pasta)
Effort levels from 1 to 10, 10 being hard work: 5

I will be using soya mince for this recipe however for your protein, you replace this with any of the following: black beans, brown lentils, lean mince).

– 1 cup dried soya mince (mixed with 2/.5 cups of veggie stock water)
– 1 cup chopped mixed coloured peppers (small pieces)
– 1 cup chopped mushrooms (I love chestnut as these are hard and give more texture to the sauce)
– 1 500ml of tomato passata
– 2 tbsp of sunflower/coconut oil
– 4 tbsp of tomato puree
– 4 tbsp of soya sauce (I use the make BRAGGS which can be found at most high street health shops as this is the most natural of all soy sauces and very tasty)
– 1/2 tsp of chilli flakes (medium strength heat – add more to taste)
– 1 tsp of honey, agave or maple syrup

In a saucepan, saute the peppers with the oil for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and saute for a few more minutes. Add the soya mince mixture and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato passata and puree with the herbs, soya sauce and sweetener, give it a good mix and leave to cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes.

Serve with spaghetti or pasta of your choice.

Delicious accompanied with a side salad.

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4. RAW CHOCOLATE ENERGY BALLS

Makes approx. 16 depending on size

Preparation time: 20-30 minutes
Total time from preparation to plate: 20-30 minutes
Calories: approx. 100 per ball
Effort levels from 1 to 10, 10 being hard work: 5

– 2 cup of walnuts
– 2 cups of dates
– juice from 1/2 lemon or orange
– pinch of himalayan salt
– 2 tbsp of cocoa powder

Mix all the ingredients in a blender until the mixture comes together. Empty into a big bowl. Start to roll into small ball size pieces (however big or small you like however I recommend the perfect size being a mini golf ball). You can make mini ‘balls’ for nice bite-size snacks and delicious for kids packed lunch boxes or on the go snacks.

This is a great recipe to play around with your kids, letting them choose from different nuts and different dried fruits and flavours that will not only let them have fun but also know what goes into their healthy snacks and let them enjoy new flavours.

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5. SUPERGREENS FRESH JUICE

Makes 2 glasses

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Calories: approx. 190 for a 220ml glass (depends on what you add).
Effort levels from 1 to 10, 10 being hard work: 3

Juicing is a great way to use up left over fruits and vegetables. They are not only tasty, they are very nutritious and high in minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They can be used as a full meal replacements or a healthy snack or simply to compliment a healthy balanced lifestyle.

This super greens juice includes:

– 5 stalks of celery
– 1/2 whole cucumber
– 1/2 fennel bulb
– 2 green apples
– 1 inch fresh ginger
– 1 cup spinach or kale

Wash all the fruit and veggies. Juice all except spinach/kale. Once you have the juice, add to a blender with the spinach/kale and blend until smooth.

Variations: To beat the winter colds/flus/sniffles

– 1 orange (peeled and sliced)
– 6 medium/large carrots
– 1 inch fresh ginger
– 1 inch fresh turmeric
– 1/2 lemon or lime (peeled and sliced)

Juice all the above and enjoy.

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As always, I would love your input and feedback into my blog, either from todays topic or any of my previous topics. Remember, we learn from each other……………..

So I will leave you with my final thought for today, not forgetting that if we take care of our body, it will take care of us.

 

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