There’s no getting away from it, food has got super complicated! Every day I come across a new article or piece of research that claims a specific nutrient is the new cure for a disease or chronic health problem. Today’s one covered how vitamin C and E, but not other nutrients, could prevent Parkinson’s Disease. How much of these and why, they weren’t sure. And of course it concluded that more research is needed! Continue reading “Keeping it simple”
“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly” says designer and author Anna Thomas. And it’s so true – food is a basic essential of life. But there’s so much food available (to most of us) alongside so many opinions on what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’ that deciding what to eat has become complex and confusing. Continue reading “Maximising the opportunity to eat well”
Crackers are great! Crisp and crunchy texture that carries off all sorts of flavours, they’re perfect to have in the cupboard for lunch or snacking. What’s not to love? Well, for many people, the ingredients in shop-bought crackers are not ideal, particularly if you have food intolerances, follow a specific way of eating for health or want nourishing whole foods that don’t include ingredients that have a negative effect on the environment. Continue reading “Seedy crackers”
Have you seen the fortune teller comedy sketch by Micheal McIntyre? It’s June 2019 and he asks to know what will happen for him next year. And is rather surprised and disturbed by what he’s told. It is funny but also poignant. Ask anyone this time last year to predict their 2020, and I doubt anyone would say our current reality. If you’ve not seen it, have a look here. Continue reading “Making a difference”
It’s turned proper cold this week – suddenly it feels like winter. And the good winter, with mornings decorated with frosty patterns, air so chilly it makes your nose tingle and clear blue skies with lots of sunshine. That’s something I think we’ve all been craving after the last few grey and rainy months! Continue reading “Sprout masala”
The next step (No. 6) in my 7 Easy Steps series is all getting the most out of the food you eat – the most nutrients and benefits that is. And you can do that by eating real (ie: whole), not processed, food. Continue reading “Easy Steps No. 6 – Eat Real!”
It's December, and I now feel it's ok to start talking about Christmas. I always love this time of year; I'm particularly fond of all the seasonal treats! However, when you're a sensitive eater, whether because of food intolerances or health problems, it can be difficult to fully indulge.
That's why last year I ran my Countdown to Christmas, an advent calendar of delicious seasonal recipes; all whole-food, plant-based and adaptable to be gluten-free and nut-free (except for the nut loaf - sorry!). It covered soups and salads, mains and sides. And of course lots of sweet treats!
As these recipes are scattered over the blog, I've collated them into this guide so you can easily find the one (or two) you're looking for. And to make life even easier, I'm pinning this to the top of the blog until 26th December so you don't have to go rummaging for it. Christmas sensitive eating made easy!
Oh, and if there's something you love to eat at Christmas that's not included, do let me know so I can include them in the future.
It only seems like a few weeks since I wrote my last pancake post for Shrove Tuesday, and yet here we are again. How time flies!
Last years post shared my top tips for achieving perfect plant-based pancakes – click here to check it out. This year I thought I’d give you something a little different, inspired by my time in India. They’re dairy-free, egg-free and gluten-free plus wonderfully tasty – suitable for everyone! Continue reading “Spicy Indian pancakes”
The last few weeks have been so busy, getting the last bits of my new book finalised. It’s very exciting – I have 250 copies of Eat Well Live Well with The Sensitive Foodie currently being printed and hopefully being delivered tomorrow. I’m at the Horsham Vegan Festival on Saturday (click here for details) where I’ll be giving a talk and selling my book for the first time! If you’re in the area, do pop by and say hi.
In the meantime, there’s still some baking going on (if nothing else it’s therapy to being on the computer for hours on end!). And as its half term, I thought you might like something simple to do with the kids, especially if you’ve run out of ideas that don’t cost money, as school holidays can be such an expensive time.
I used to love baking with my children when they were young, but it had to be simple otherwise 1) they would run out of patience and 2) the kitchen would turn into a baking bomb-site! And sometimes is was wise not to do highly sugar-laden cookies otherwise it would send them a bit bonkers – not ideal on a wet February day!
These cookies are super easy to make and contain no refined sugar, the sweetness coming from the ripe banana and dried fruit. If they are not sweet enough for your family’s taste-buds, add a little maple syrup. I’ve used raisins and almonds in my recipe, but there’s lots of alternatives like cranberries, pecan nuts, peanuts or chocolate drops (dairy-free of course!).
These can be made strictly gluten-free if that’s important to you by using gluten-free oats. And there’s loads of lovely fibre here from both the oats and the flaxseed to keep your gut bacteria happy. The flaxseed also provides health omega 3 fatty acids which help boost brain power and reduce inflammation in the body. Yay!
Of course, you don’ have to be a child to enjoy these! Just a lover of cookies! Perfect for lunch-boxes and snacks, you could even get away with eating them for breakfast. And as they are fully plant-based and low in fat, they are suitable for many specialist health programmes like Overcoming MS and reversing diabetes and heart disease.
I hope you give these a go. If you do, let me know how you get on. And if you can come to Horsham on Saturday – see you there! If not, I’ll be posting details on how to buy my book very soon.
Healthy oat and flaxseed cookies
- 1 large ripe banana
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
- 100 grams oats gluten free if needed
- 50 grams ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 30 grams raisins
- 30 grams sliced almonds
- 3 tablespoons dairy-free milk
- Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper or a silicon mat. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (fan).
- Hunt out 10 good almond flakes and put to one side for decoration. Roughly chop the remaining almonds
- Place the ripe banana in a bowl and mash it until soft and smooth. Add the oats, ground flaxseed, salt, cinnamon, raisins and almonds to the banana and mix well to combine. Pour in the dairy-free milk and stir to form a thick dough. Leave it to settle for 5 minutes. If the dough is really dry, add a little more dairy-free milk but take care not to make it soggy.
- Split the dough into 10 equal sections. Roll each one into a ball, place on the baking sheet and flatten with your hand until it’s approximately 2cm thick. Repeat with the remaining sections.
- Press a sliced almond into the top then place the tray in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn over and bake for another 10 until firm and lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Store in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. That’s if they don’t all get eaten at once!
The snow may have gone, but it’s still definitely winter! Whilst my husband sends me pictures of brilliant blue skies and crisp white snow from his skiing holiday, I sit here looking at a dull grey February day, the type where you wonder if it’s ever really going to get light.
There are signs of spring though – I snapped these brave little snowdrops yesterday outside a friends house – and I’ve notice the daffodil leaves beginning to sprout. All hopeful signs of better weather to come.
In the meantime, comfort food is needed! Something to warm, sustain and give you a little hug on the inside. This deliciously quick mushroom and lentil stew should hit the spot. Packed full of rainbow veggies, it tastes wonderful and provides a whole range of helpful anti-oxidants and nutrients that help support the immune system. Not only that, but it contains a range of fibre that helps keep helpful gut microbiome happy too. That’s important, as this time of year can be hard for people suffering from depression and low mood. Recent research from the Gut Project suggests that the make-up of gut bacteria and psychological health are directly connected. So the food we eat really can make a difference to how we feel.
I’ve used tinned lentils for this recipe, purely to save time. If you want to cook your own, feel free to do so, just add extra water and give yourself more time. Using tinned makes this a quick plant-based and gluten-free mid-week supper when time is short. This also freezes well, so get ahead of the game and double the amount, keeping half aside to freeze for another day.
I’ve added a little balsamic vinegar to the recipe. This is optional, to add a little extra flavour. If you cannot tolerate vinegar, then try a little tamari or even vegan Worcesteshire sauce, but take care not to overdo it, as they are strong flavours that easily dominate.
I hope you enjoy this recipe; it certainly hit the comfort food spots for me! Let me know what you think if you make it – don’t forget you can now print it out now I’m using the WP recipe maker plug in. I hope it makes it more user friendly. And remember, winter always turns to spring!
Comforting mushroom and lentil stew
- 1 medium onion, red or white diced
- 1 large carrot diced
- 1 large celery stick diced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 fat clove garlic finely chopped
- 200 grams mushrooms sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian herbs
- 400 grams tinned chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 400 grams tinned cooked lentils rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 2 tablespoons water in the bottom of a medium-sized saucepan and sauté the onion, carrot, celery and bay leaf for 5 minutes over a medium heat. Stir frequently so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan – add a little more water if it does
- Add the garlic and sliced mushrooms and cook for another 2 minutes, then pour in the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and add the herbs. Stir well, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the tinned lentils and balsamic vinegar and cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, remove the bay leaf and serve.