Mellow Vegetable Broth

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Since childhood we’ve been told to eat three hearty meals a day at regular intervals. As children this is a necessity as we need the regularity until we are old enough to fend for our selves. As adults, however, this childhood habit tend to linger whether we are hungry or not. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks in between – in essence, we are grazing our way through life. Whether it has got anything to do with hunger or not is debatable – according to Dr. Alejandro Junger, the frequency of eating in the Western World may in part be fuelled by boredom, habit and/or addiction but it is not doing us any good. Our constant grazing means that our bodies never gets proper time to digest and detox naturally. In his book, Clean, Dr Junger tells us it takes 8 hours for solids to digest (less for liquids) and another 4 hours for the body’s natural detoxification process to finish. 12 hours in other words – how many of us get more than 8!

The point, according to Dr. Junger, is that today’s eating habits are a social construct – and a fairly recent one at that. Historically, the body was used to feast and famine. Something was hunted/picked and eaten, then the body would ‘starve’ a little before something else appeared. This approach enabled the body to fully digest the intake, distribute the nutrients, and eliminate that which was not needed before the next meal arrived. With current eating habits however, we may have lost the body’s natural ability to detox as we are  constantly snacking.

Dr. Junger’s 21 day cleanse, which he advocates to reboot the body’s natural ability to detox, may not be for the fainthearted. But some of the ideas related to this detox programme stuck in my mind. Such as the point that a liquid meal at night is far easier for the body to digest than solids. Therefore, the quicker the digestion process kicks in – the quicker the detox can take place. Hence, the evening is the WORST possible time to have a big stodgy meal – quite the contrary to how most of us live. Soup, I decided, was the way forward. I made up my mind to look at my veg drawer in the same manner as I did when making a green juice, ie. take whatever you’ve got at home and turn it into a soup.

I started out with Kallo’s vegetarian and organic bouillon which is a favorite anyway in the house. Added all the veg and turned the heat off, letting the veg steam for about 20 mintues. You are left with a lovely, flavourful broth packed with vegetables that are gently steamed yet have a slight crunch. I didn’t want to liquidise with a hand blender as I like chewing the veg but the option is entirely yours. Afterwards I felt light yet remarkably filled up at the same time. A win-win that I will revisit often – it was super delicious.

Mellow Veg Broth

1 stock cube Kallo organic and vegetarian

6-7 Shiitake mushrooms

1 bit handful of green cabbage – cut into strips

3-4 broccoli florets

2 small carrots

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

3 asparagus

1 handful chopped celery

Bring a pot to the boil – just as much as you would like to eat so one of two bowls full. Once water has boiled, turn off the heat and add all the vegetables at once. Cover with a lid and let vegetables steam for about 20 minutes. Enjoy. X

Quinoa Porridge with Chia Seeds

 

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I tend to think of porridge as a collective word – a dish of cooked grains with ‘toppings’ and milk. It could be oats, but then again it could be other grains, for example brown rice or quinoa.  In this wider context, porridge can metamorphose into an interesting and delicious dish with endless possibilities that any health lover or gluten intolerant may want to explore. Although a bit unorthodox, it isn’t such a far-fetched idea – in fact, grains that have been boiled and then covered with milk (dairy, coconut, almond or soy – the pick is yours) taste remarkably similar once you’ve added a few ‘toppings’. Cinnamon, cardamon, ground nuts, chia seeds, flax seeds and fresh berries all do their bit to ensure that whatever porridge you may choose, the end result is not too far removed from the original oat porridge.

Why bother, you may think? Well, as I’m 2/3 into Dr. Alejandro Junger’s book Clean, it is becoming increasingly clear to me that willingly consuming gluten and other ‘toxic’ foods that may in part be contributing to us feeling sluggish, moody, depressed, tired, bloated and susceptible to bugs, may not be such a bright idea. It is fairly recognised that our well-being and immunity starts with a healthy gut flora and Dr. Junger likens our gut to the roots of a tree, a sick root will not make a happy tree. A lot of the foods we eat, therefore, such as gluten, sugar, processed foods, or veggies grown in soil so depleted that there are no nutrients left,  interferes with our bodies’ digestion process. As a consequence,  avoiding that which upsets and disturbs the guts’ way of absorbing nutrients and goodness from the food which we consume, becomes a personal choice. Trouble is, finding substitutes for bread, pasta, wheat and grains takes a bit of thinking, quite a lot of planning and a very open mind. On the upside, making porridge from ‘foodie’ grains such as brown rice or quinoa means that you can use any of last nights left overs for breakfast. Hence this mornings’ Quinoa Porridge:

Quinoa Porridge with Chia Seeds

1 small bowl full of left over quinoa

1 heaped tbsp of coconut oil

1 tsp almond butter

Small dash of coconut cream

5 strawberries, sliced

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cardamon

1 tbsp ground flax-seed

1 tbsp ground nuts

small handful of pumpkin and sun flower seeds

sprinkling of chia seeds

coconut milk

Heat up the quinoa with the coconut oil and the dash of coconut cream. Once warm and ‘porridge like’ stir in the almond butter, sprinkle on the nuts, seeds, cinnamon and cardamom. Add the sliced strawberries and pour the coconut milk (or whatever milk you prefer) over the whole thing. Enjoy. x

The Big Gluten Debate

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A perfectly great gluten free breakfast – omelette with asparagus…

As of late I have decided to embark on a mission to find out more about the timely issue pertaining to gluten, wheat, sugar and their effects on the body.  As a mother of two young children, I consider this important enough to warrant further investigation and I am curious that the research and the findings are now coming from doctors themselves – in a field that was previously deemed ‘alternative health’. There are a number of public leading voices in this field such as Dr. Alejandro Junger, Dr. David Perlmutter and Dr.William Davis to name but a few. Although all are specialists in their own fields (cardiology, neurology etc) what they have noticed in clinical practice is that patients who are prescribed a diet free from wheat, gluten, sugar and starchy foods appear to reap benefit far and beyond what they sought a doctor’s advice for in the first place. As a consequence,  these doctors have begun somewhat of a crusade  to make us, the general public, realise that the modern Western diet is slowly but surely killing us with chronic illness, obesity and diabetes growing in exponential numbers.

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My current reading pile…

What is interesting about these thinkers, and what they all tend to agree on, is that health and wellbeing need a holistic approach – meaning that unless you are firing on all cylinders (right food, sleep, emotional wellbeing, exercise, relaxation etc) your body will sooner or later get out of sync. Therefore, looking at health from a purely cellular level and treating the symptom, often with powerful and lengthy cycles of drugs,  may be not be the full answer. The neurologist, Dr. Perlmutter, goes as far as saying that we alter our brains by what  we eat and how we live. Something that previously was deemed to be a ‘done deal’ ie. once your brain was formed you were who you were, is now considered outdated knowledge.  The benefits of a gluten-free/wheat free eating regime has produced  some startling improvments in Dr. Perlmutter’s clinic on patients suffering from Alzheimers, Dementia and ADHD purely from changing their diet!  Weight loss, clearer skin and more energy seem to be accidental by-products of this. Today stress, depression, being overweight and feeling sluggish are issues that almost all of us are dealing with on a daily basis. Perhaps it is time to take note and get in tune with our bodies and introduce a better way to eat which nourishes us from the inside and out. Here is my current reading list on the subject:

Grain Brain, The surprising truth about wheat, carbs and sugar – your brain’s silent killer, by Dr. David Perlmutter

Clean, The revolutionary programme to restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself, by Dr. Alejandro Junger

Wheat Belly, loose the wheat, loose the weight and find your path back to health, by Dr. William Davis

Have a great Saturday! x