One of the things that continuously surprises people, is how good healthy food tastes!
I hear it again and again – wow, this is so good!
I mean, healthy food really tastes so good that I actually prefer it to more traditional recipes! In fact, so good, I often choose it over anything else.
And by healthy food, I’m not referring to low-fat, low sugar, low taste, low life….. no life……Dietary restrictions are not for me – I believe that it’s really more about balance!.
There are easy ways to get going: For example, try shifting the balance on your plate to mostly plants, or eating plant-based one meal a week or even an all day plants diet. Even just exchanging some meals every now and then with plant-based foods. Plant-based food nourishes the body, feeds it what is really needed, rather than just filling it up. This will make a huge difference to your body balance and add tremendous benefits to your health and overall well-being.
By eating plant-based you:
keep yourself nourished
keep your cholesterol levels down
lose weight and maintain your ideal weight
stop unhealthy cravings
Raw Aubergine lasagne with fresh tomato sauce and creamy béchamel
The “lasagne” sheets/pasta is aubergine in this case, but it could as well be thin slices of zucchini, sliced the long way, left to marinade for about 15min, with a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon….
Fresh Tomato Sauce
200g fresh organic tomatoes
4 whole sundried tomatoes
A little red chili pepper
A clove of garlic
A small piece of shallot onion, maybe 1/4 of a whole
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Put everything in the blender and blend into a sauce. Put it in a bowl and set aside while you make the creamy béchamel…
1 cup of raw Cashew nuts
1/2 cup of avocado oil
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup of water
Soak the cashews – I soak them overnight to make them really soft and easy to blend. Put the cashews, water, avocado oil, lemon juice, nutmeg and sea salt in the blender and blend into a creamy sauce.
Now layer the lasagne – it’s best to do this right before it’s served, minutes before eating.
Start with slices of marinated aubergine – then add micro greens, slices of avocado, some fresh tomato sauce, then another slice of aubergine, top generously with the creamy béchamel and a sprig of fresh basil.
This is the perfect lunch – or dinner served with a slice of freshly baked rosemary foccasccia – also perfect with a piece of fish, chicken or meat – and a glass of wine.
“You know, all that really matters is that the people you love are happy and healthy. Everything else is just sprinkles on the sundae” – Paul Walker
I’m working on my book about how to lower cholesterol – naturally. Thus I’m trying to focus on anything and everything that can play a role in actively helping us to prevent high cholesterol, but also in effectively reducing it – if/when we are diagnosed with it. The main issues in the book are exercise and food, but also includes topics on emotional health, stress, and sleep, all of which affect cholesterol levels. Foods can harm us or nourish us. Food can help us to stay strong, happy, healthy, and naturally lower our cholesterol. But, there are certain foods that can create havoc on our health – especially if we have them in excess. Processed foods, which contain a lot of hidden additives, including sugar and salt, are the worst.
One of these really bad additives is white sugar. This stuff is a real killer. The bad and sad truth is a lot of our food is designed by the industry to get us hooked. By adding too much sugar, too much salt, MSG etc., the industry literally “pushes” food types to us and we become addicted to these things (their intention being, of course, that we buy and consume more of the same!).
I remember that when I was first diagnosed with high cholesterol I would very conscientiously examine the food value stickers and to assure myself that there was little or no cholesterol. If it said zero, I thought I was safe! However, I didn’t consider sugar, and especially the white, refined kind, is not only a contributing factor to obesity, diabetes, but a big trouble maker, when it comes to heart disease and the unhealthy cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
According to WebMD & the American Medical Association, a study showed that people who consumed the highest levels of sugar had the lowest HDL (the good cholesterol) and the highest triglyceride levels. People who ate the least amount of sugar had the highest HDL (good cholesterol) and the lowest levels of triglyceride! As well, it showed that eating large amounts of sugar more than tripled the risk of heart disease.
As a consequence of these findings, a global campaign has been started: www.actiononsugar.org aimed at trying to reduce sugar intake by calling it the new tobacco …. this is to try, just like was done with fat, to lobby to reduce the amount of hidden sugar in processed foods.
I can only applaud that, but at the same time I think that it would be easier to simply move away from eating sugar and toward eating more clean food. By clean food, I mean food that has not been processed, food such as vegetable, fruits, grains, legumes, leafy greens, etc.
By eating clean, we feed and nourish the body with real food. And when the body gets what it needs, it stops craving the wrong kind of food like: cookies, cream cakes and smarties.
As my diet changed and I was eating more green food I experienced so many benefits, such as loosing weight and feeling energized. I found that things like cookies, cakes and candy; things that I had been raised to enjoy, all of a sudden tasted way too sweet and I no longer enjoyed eating them. It was the same with salty foods, like certain cheeses and even some kinds of olives, they simply tasted almost unbearably salty. So, as my tastes changed, I naturally stopped eating these thing or eating less of them.
Today we can get bacon with less salt, soups and stocks with less salt – and hopefully soon we will see food products with less sugar.
But – why wait? Do it yourself!
All of this is really great, but how about eating fewer processed foods all together! Then, instead, add more plant-based foods, you will reduce your sugar intake in a heart beat.
Good sugar / bad sugar?
But how about the sugar in fruit? I found an answer to that in an interesting article in The Globe and Mail: “Sugar is the new tobacco“, wherein Dr. Robert Lustig, an neuroendocrinologist and obesity expert explained how the body processes sugar calories in a way that is much more damaging than, say, a protein calorie. However, the sugar calories contained in fruits, with its vitamins, minerals, fibre and micronutrients intact, is broken down more slowly and causes much less impact on blood sugar, as well as liver processes. He states:
“Sugar in excess is a toxin, unrelated to it’s calories. The dose determines the poison. Like alcohol, a little sugar is fine, but a lot is not. And the food industry has put us way over our limit” – Dr Robert Lustig
Fresh fruits and veggies
To consume less refined sugar, try to:
Eat less processed foods
Prepare home cooked meals, make you own cakes and cookies – then you know exactly how much sugar goes in. As well, you can choose the healthier kinds of sugar.
Say good-bye! to white sugar.
Eat more plant-based foods.
Try to replace (most of your) cakes and cookies with delicious raw food options – like this or these.….
These little Nori rolls are so easy to make and they are stuffed full of goodness!
Whether you want to: lose weight, lower your cholesterol, become more healthy, …… simply adding more green food into your diet, will bring on amazing results …
Rather than restricting yourself, and cutting out certain foods, or going on a diet – you can add more plant-based foods that feed and nourish you. Thus, there will be less space for food that is not so healthy, and more room for the food that is good for you.
It’s simple, it’s easy and it can make a huge positive change to your health.
I hope you enjoy them! They taste just scrumptious!
Crispy Nori Rolls
Fresh and Crispy Nori Rolls with Ginger Garlic dipping Sauce
Roasted seaweed sheets
fresh spinach leaves
Red pepper strips
On the seaweed sheet you add everything – just like this …
Nori Roll in preparation
Then you roll gently, but tightly (this can be difficult, but don’t worry they taste just as good). Serve them on a plate with the Ginger Garlic Sauce
Ready to enjoy
Ginger Garlic Dipping Sauce
5 tablespoons of good soya sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of freshly squeezed garlic
A little freshly grated ginger
A little wasabi
Mix it all together.
Ginger garlic sauce
Nori rolls with ginger garlic sauce served with a big glass of green smoothie.
It has been busy around here and life is not always as you plan it or want it to be …..
I had just accompanied my beautiful daughter to her new home. Helped her as she settled and got ready to start a new life at university. We had some amazing days together and my heart was filled with of love, tenderness and tears, as Ihugged her goodbye and headed to the airport to fly home, without her.
Back home again, I was busy giving workshops and it was fun, I love it, I was busy preparing for another 4 workshops that were already booked. I was running my beautiful 10 morning k’s every other day.
And then one day just after I had been out swimming in the lake, enjoying maybe the last swim this year — I got sick — really sick! And ended up being taken to the hospital in an ambulance! That, definitely, was NOT supposed to be!
I spent 4 intense days in the hospital, and gratefully I am now home recovering and feeling the strength and energy coming back. Wonderful!
But it definitely was not the food that healed me………..I know that for a fact. The doctors and nurses were absolutely incredible, they went out of their way to help me heal and feel comfortable. Amazing competent, warm and wonderful people!!
But the food……… that’s another very sad story!
During the 4 days, I was served 12 trays of food, each of them impossible to eat. I know I should be happy and grateful that I was served food at all ……. but honestly, it was the most unappetizing sad “food” I have ever seen in my life – I was chocked!
As a chef and a person who has been healed through food and lifestyle changes – I just couldn’t stop myself from thinking – why?
Food is so important for so many reasons!
Surely this can be done better!
Over and over again I was thinking how absurd it was that I was in hospital, a place of healing and there was no interest about the food. Fresh nourishing food is such a vital part in healing!
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – Hippocrates (year 431 BC!)
In those 4 days I did not see a single fruit or vegetable, never mind the fresh anything at all – no fresh fruit nor fresh vegetables – no – ZERO – none at all!
The food on the trays had perhaps never been fresh! Everything was processed and as far as I could judge, had nothing to do even with nourishment! And served in dull plastic containers on a dull plastic tray.
With a rumbling tummy and food fantasies on my mind, I talked to the nurse about the food – they said that over 70%!!! of all trays go back untouched!
70% -What a waste!!! What a shame, how sad, what a total missed opportunity!
We know that healthy food helps us heal faster, we know that healthy food has the potential to prevent disease. We know that sick people more than anybody needs nourishment.
We also know that a vast majority of diseases are caused and directly linked to unhealthy lifestyle and eating the wrong diet……..so why don’t the hospitals grab the chance and serve sick patients enjoyable, nutritious fresh food. Grab the chance to feed and inspire healthy living – and help the patients to heal themselves.
So why? …….. The argument is “It’s too expensive!”
But is it, really?
In Denmark, at one point in time, they went through the same gloomy experience! 40 tons of hospital food was chucked away every day, because it was so grim, no one wanted to eat it.
To change that, they employed professional chefs along with dieticians and they designed menus for people to enjoy, to look forward to every day and to help them heal faster!
Serving meals, 3 times a day became a thing of the past — because when you are sick you are not necessarily hungry on the dot. Instead every patient has a menu and a telephone. And when hungry, they simply take the menu, pick their fancy and call the chefs in the kitchen. The meal is then prepared, cooked from fresh natural ingredients and brought up to the patient. Nutritious, fresh, delicious — real food from real people – who care and love cooking!
What they found was, not surprisingly, that there was hardly any food waste, patients got well, out of bed and home faster, too.
And, it was not more expensive!
But unfortunately, it is in general the same story – no matter where you are in the world – hospital food has a bad reputation.
Hospitals around the world are missing a huge opportunity. Hospitals, our health care system, could be the greatest example of health! Show us how to enjoy food, teach us what to eat to stay healthy and nourished, thebest food for our bodies – to assist us heal, to help fight disease and prevent it.
Great food in hospitals would not only help us heal, but it would also inspire us all to practice more healthy living when we got back home.
Imagine how we could assist the body in healing if we were served something like this:
Freshly squeezed carrots
Freshly prepared green smoothies with fresh spinach leafs and juicy fruits
Creamy Raw Food Oatmeal, with almonds, dates and apple – a glass of freshly squeezed orange
Free access to fresh fruits and veggies
Crispy Spring Rolls
A bowl of freshly made tomato soup made of REAL tomatoes
Instead of this –
Jello for breakfast?
On the fourth day I cried…….
If we have to spend money – why not spend it well?
I know there are other places that have changed the concept of tasteless grey hospital food – and with great success – that’s here in Canada.
Listen to this inspiring talk by Joshna Maharaj – an amazing passionate woman who helped change the hospital food in Toronto.
I frequently enjoy replacing ordinary meals with vegan or vegetarian deliciousness. I actually eat more vegan food now than anything else. Why? Because it tastes amazing and is so good for my health.
The other day I had made both, so the family could choose what they wanted – to my surprise ALL, even the teenagers helped themselves to the vegan dishes! And there I was, stuck with the meat which I had to chuck……… imagine!
I thought, really? But yes! This is one of the dishes that win over meat in our family.
168 bloggers gather around the virtual table, each bringing a delicious vegan dish.
You do not have to be vegan to enjoy it – believe me!
This is THE perfect place to be inspired and possibly even awe stricken by all the incredible delicious and creative dishes coming from the vegan kitchen!
VVP was originally created by Annie, the amazing woman behind the wonderful blog anunrefinedvegan.
Thanks to all the wonderful people behind VVP – Somer,Annie, Jason and Lidia for hosting the event. You guys rock!
This is how it works:
If you want to start from the very beginning you have to go to veganbloggersunite – Or you can go from here and simply scroll down and press the “go forward” or the “go back” buttons, and away you go.
And so the party begins! I hope you have fun!
My contribution this year is an appetizer, inspired by the Lebanese kitchen. It’s intense, spicy, a little hot with a hint of sweetness. It’s delicious and it tastes SO good as dip for veggies or on a cracker.
This is my version of the Lebanese dish Muhammara – originally it is made with the little Piquillo peppers, but I used red peppers to make a milder version.
Red peppers ready for the grill
Spicy Lebanese Pepper and Walnut dip with Pomegranate
3 red peppers
1.5 cup of walnuts
2 slices of good bread
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 heaped tablespoon of chopped sun dried tomatoes
1-2 cloves of garlic
1/2 green chili (depending on how hot you like it)
1 tablespoon of paprika
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
Sea salt – and freshly ground pepper
Grill the peppers on the BBQ or bake them in a hot oven till the skins are completely black. Let them cool a bit before removing the skins, the seeds and the core.
Put the walnuts and the bread in a food processor and pulse until finely processed.
Walnuts and bread
Add the grilled peppers and the other ingredients,
the pomegranate molasses, the balsamic vinegar and the olive oil to the blender mix.
Pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar
Process until it turns into a smooth paste.
Serve in a bowl with a sprinkle of fresh pomegranate seeds and a dash of olive oil.