Last day of Advent

It’s Christmas Eve, and day 24 of my Sensitive Foodie Advent Calendar, the last instalment for this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed the posts over the last 3 weeks or so and that they have helped make your plant-based Christmas a little easier!

As it’s Christmas Eve, I’m gifting you an early present – access to 5 of the recipes coming up in my new book Eat Well Live Well with The Sensitive Foodie. I’m so excited as it’s been a long-held ambition to be a published author. Out in February 2019, my dream is coming true!

More than just a plant-based cookery book, Eat Well, Live Well with The Sensitive Foodie is an accessible guide to understanding the connection between the food we eat, our health and the wider world around us. I explore our amazing bodies and how they prefer to live like Baby Bear – just right. It’s packed full of loads of fascinating facts, useful information and my tried and tested top tips.

Of course there are delicious recipes too – over 100 of them. Easy to follow and full of deliciousness there will be something to please even the fussiest of veggie eaters!

As valued readers of my blog, I’m giving you opportunity to have a sneak-peak of 5 recipes and exclusive access to pre-launch offers. Just sign up to my special book mailing list and you will can try out the recipes straight away, just in time for Christmas (in case you haven’t got anything else to do 😉 ).

Sign up now!

Finally, the last thing to do is thank you for being part of The Sensitive Foodie community and wish you all a very merry and tasty Christmas.

Christmas countdown

It’s the 1st December, so it’s reasonable to start talking about Christmas now! It’s the time of year of parties, Christmas meet ups and of course the big feast itself on Christmas Day. It’s also the time when the hardest challenges pop up if you have to take care about what is in the food you eat. Rich cakes, heavy pastries and meat traditionally feature this time of year. Not so good for the whole-food plant-based eater!

Fortunately, restaurants are cottoning on to the purchasing power of people who are looking for alternative dishes, although some are more imaginative than others.My heart always sinks a little when the only option is a mushroom risotto. So unnecessary!

If you’re dining at home, or cooking for someone who needs plant options then there’s no need to miss out on special seasonal dishes. Which is why I have put together The Sensitive Foodie Advent Calendar. Every day for the next 24 days, you can open the door (or your email!) to a seasonal recipe, inspiration or fun fact to get you in the festive spirit.

So if you haven’t already subscribed to my blog, do it now so you don’t miss out. Just complete the form in the side column on the right. And keep a look out for the first recipe landing real soon.

A question of tolerance

When I was eight years old, there were two things I wanted to be when I grew up. First was be a nurse. I had a great dressing-up nurses uniform which I loved to wear, and liked to help other people, so figured nursing was for me! 10 years later I discovered the uniform really wasn’t that good, that it involved a lot more than just ‘helping people’ but generally found the job fascinating and rewarding. Eight year old me was right on that one!

The second thing I wanted to be was a writer. My parents had given me a bright pink Petite typewriter for Christmas and I just loved tapping out random stories and reports, using up piles of paper and inked ribbons. I’ve continued my love of communicating through words, but have never completely followed my passion through; there’s always been something else to do. Blogging as The Sensitive Foodie has been a great way of scratching the writing itch whilst I’ve ran courses and workshops about eating great food, but now it’s time to take the next step,

So I’m really excited to say I’ve started writing my first book! Naturally it’s all about food intolerances and eating amazing food for health, with lots of lovely recipes for the reader to get stuck in to – many new ones not posted on this blog. I’m using the summer to sit down and throw all my efforts into this new project – I just need not to get distracted by the sunny days!

Whilst brainstorming my ideas, I keep coming up with a nagging question about the word intolerance, or rather it’s opposite, tolerance. Food sensitivities and intolerances have become more main-stream recently, but are still regarded with an unfair amount of negativity. But in my mind, most people have foods they don’t eat; is that because they cannot tolerate them? Maybe it’s our understanding of the word intolerance that’s the issue.

Anyway, to satisfy my curiosity, I created a survey. Whilst definitely not scientific research, the response so far is fascinating. If you haven’t already given it a go, please spare 30 seconds of your time (literally) and click here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/66J79MV to access. The larger the amount of responses, the more realistic the answer. The survey is anonymous, so I can’t credit you personally in the acknowledgements, but will really appreciate it non-the-less.

Meanwhile, with help from an excellent writing boot camp by Alison Jones (www.alisonjones.com), I will carry on creating my first book, attempting to see if eight year old me was right in my secondary career choice.

Learning and teaching enthusiastically

When I started eating a dairy and yeast free diet 7 years ago, it was really tough! For a start, trying to get my family and friends to stop fretting about my food choices was hard, and cooking food that kept everyone happy was a challenge. I was starting from scratch with many recipes, trying to work out how to adapt them successfully (there were more than a few failures, that’s for sure!). And as for eating out, well that was like being in an episode of Fawlty Towers at time, without the canned laughter and funny bits.

Then just to make it even more complicated, we moved to India, where many of the ‘free from’ itemswe relied on were not available, and finally going mainly plant based, which really freaked some people out. Never knowingly normal!

I’ve learnt a lot on my food journey, and continue to learn all the time, and indeed still making changes – you may have noticed more gluten free recipes appearing recently. There’s been a few mistakes, some frustration and the odd tantrum (whose, I’m not saying!). But I don’t regret it, and I don’t even miss my old favourite foods any more, as I have loads of new favourites instead, that don’t leave me unwell or in pain. Plus there’s so many ‘side-benefits’ to eating a whole food plant based diet, like glowing skin and hair, and effortless weight loss. There’s continual discovery and experimentation going on in my kitchen, less cookery rules to follow and a budding array of new restaurants and cafes to visit, as suddenly eating plant based is ‘in’.

One of the things I love about my journey, is sharing the benefits with other people so they can start their own healthy food adventure, only with less hiccups – that is why I created my Eat Well, Live Well course. Packed full of the valuable information, short cuts and tips I have learnt over the last few years, I just love seeing others become enthused and enjoying the changes in their own lives, or someone close to them. And because it’s not just about learning information, but enjoyment too, Ialways include a full lunch (or supper) as part of each session, and provide a full recipe folder of over 60 dishes to follow. In fact, one recent participant only cooks from my folder, which is quite a compliment.

Covering diverse subjects like nutrition 101, social norms, how to bake amazing cakes and gut bacteria, the Eat Well, Live Well course is a 5 week spring board into never looking at food the same way again. The next cohort starts this week in Hove on Thursday 9th June, so time is short to get on board before the summer break – email me if you want to join us karen@thesensitivefoodietichen.com. If you can’t come along and join the fun this time, there’ll be other opportunities, including an on-line version that should be available from September. Exciting times!

Veg box challenge

I love getting my Riverford veg box every Wednesday! Unless we’re over run with potatoes or artichokes, I never look at the box contents on line, but wait to be surprised when the box arrives. It might help planning if I checked, but I love a bit of creativity and spontaneity, particularly if there is a vegetable that I’m not particularly familiar with, or that’s not a bit hit with the family. And cooking dairy free, gluten free and plant based just makes the challenge a little more interesting!

I’ve been getting a Riverford organic veg box for a long time now, apart from when we were in India – bit too far for them to deliver! I did, however, find a local one whilst I was there, which presented an even bigger challenge at times.

In my opinion, organic vegetables not only taste better, but being grown more naturally in cared for soil means they contain more nutrients, less chemicals and are better for the environment. And I know that everything grown is as local to the UK as possible, not flown half way across the world, and is therefore fresher and more vibrant.

So when I get asked “what do you eat in a normal week, then?’, my answer is that it depends on what’s in my veg box! And as I’ve been a bit lax with the blogging recently, I’ve decided to do a blog a day for a week, all about what I’ve made with the veg from my box.

This weeks gorgeous delivery was waiting on my doorstep earlier. We’ve got potatoes, carrots, onions, fat leeks, parsnips, chard, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, a huge sweet mama squash and a couple of vibrant green batavia lettuces. Nothing surprising or unconventional this week, so not too difficult to think up some yummy dishes. I’m thinking parsnips for tonight’s dinner – tomorrows post will tell you all about it!