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Posts tagged ‘Healthy food’

Chop, pop, sizzle, boom…

Talking with a new coaching client last week, she said to me “The trouble is, I never know what to cook. You say to eat ‘plants and animals’, and stay away from processed foods, but I never know what to actually do?”

I get this question literally all the time.

I am no chef, and don’t consider myself to be particularly talented in the kitchen, but I do OK, and I create some tasty, and healthy, meals.

Here’s what I do. And I’m keeping this purposefully simple. Because that’s part of the ethos of Mother Nature’s Diet, to keep healthy living simple for everyone to understand.
I keep cooking simple, because if it was complicated, I wouldn’t find the time to do it.

Quickie stir fry

  • Pick a choice of meat or fish – pork, chicken, lamb, prawns, whatever you fancy
  • Pick a style or nationality of cuisine – maybe you want to create Italian, Malaysian, Moroccan, whatever
  • Google “what spices used in Greek / Indonesian / Argentinian / Kenyan dishes” and spend five minutes getting a feel for what flavours and spices work, and typically what vegetables work well with those flavours
  • Assemble these bits – the meat/fish, the vegetables, the herbs and spices
  • Heat some coconut oil or butter in a pan
  • If using onions, chop them up and get them going first (usually)
  • Brown off the meat
  • Throw everything else in (generally speaking)
  • Stir fry for five minutes
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as you go

That’s pretty much it.

Think in terms of one third of the meal is meat or fish, two thirds is vegetables.

It’s that simple.

  • Want to achieve a Mediterranean flavour – try tomatoes, garlic, olives, basil, herbs de Provence, tomato puree, that sort of thing.
  • Aiming for a Malaysian or Indonesia flavour – try coriander, cumin, peanut butter (buy one that is organic, 100% nuts, no palm oil), a splash of chilli.
  • Want Moroccan? Try ginger, cumin, paprika, sultanas, apricots, cinnamon, black pepper and chilli.
  • Love Persian foods? Lamb or chicken, onions and green veggies, ginger, cumin and coriander, delicious.
  • Go for an Indian feel with cumin, chilli, coriander, experiment with coconut.
  • How about some classic combinations – lemon and ginger. Sweet chilli. Lime and coriander.
  • Try frying off finely chopped spring onions with chestnut mushrooms, pine nuts, flaked almonds and some mixed herbs, add to chicken and peppers for wonderful flavour.
  • Combine a green curry paste with coconut milk, chilli and cumin for a Thai.

These are jusy my own ideas. You can create your own too.

Experiment. It’s easier than you think.

Oven baked?

As above, but instead of stir frying everything in one pan, combine your meat or fish with the sauce and spices in an oven dish, and while that bakes for half an hour or so in a medium oven, you can steam your veggies separately to go on the side. (To make those spices into a suace, just add them to tomato passata or a tin of chopped tomoates. Voila, instant ‘sauce’.)

Roast?

Couldn’t be simpler, slow roasted joints (lamb, pork, try venison) are so tasty and tender they need virtually no seasoning, just foil the joint, roast for a few hours in a low to moderate oven, and add lots of veggies on the side.

If you are feeling a tad more ambitious, try my Moroccan slow roasted lamb dish here.

Short of time, or going out for the day?

Use a slow cooker – same as all the above, but combine it all (with enough liquid) in the slow cooker, stick it on low for 8 or 10 hours, and come home to the amazing smell!

The point is, cooking meals from scratch using fresh whole foods is easier than you think.

Just experiment. Pick some meat or fish, pick some veggies, pick a flavour, and have a crack at it.

Once you have done this a few times, it’s a breeze, and kinda fun. You can get your kids involved – have them pick the meat and nationality/region/flavour, and then get them in the kitchen to help and learn as the dish comes together.

You learn to cook, and so do they.

Don’t be afraid of experimenting.

In the last month, for weekend family meals with my wife and kids, I’ve made pesto pork, Thai coconut chicken, satay beef, peanut mackerel (yeah! that worked!), vegetable curry and some sort of Indonesian chicken (I am sure an Indonesian person would say it was more Malaysian or Thai or Vietnamese or something!)

I never write down what I do, so it comes out different every time, but that’s all part of the fun!

Just have a crack at it. One third meat or fish, two thirds veggies, quick Google search for ideas, and away you go. Don’t over think it, keep it simple and fun. Healthy whole foods based family meal in 30 or 40 minutes, no worries.

Let me know what you come up with! If you use Facebook, join our MND Group and share your creations in there!

To your good health!

Karl

All you need to know to find sense among the confusion…

Mother Nature’s Diet, the book, is here – to save your sanity!

I don’t know about you, but I find the world of diet, health and nutrition has become more confusing than ever recently.

There seems to be so much conflicting and contradictory advice going around.

  • High carb or low carb…
  • High fat or low fat…
  • Meat is good for you, or meat gives you cancer…
  • Dairy is a superfood, or dairy is cancer promoting…
  • Calories matter…no, calories don’t matter…
  • It’s our gut flora…
  • They’ve been telling us the wrong thing for decades…
  • Type-2 diabetes can be reversed…

A lot of people are fed up and confused, and just don’t know what to believe any more.

It seems that many people have lost all trust in the science and ‘the establishment’ as we are increasingly being told that the mainstream dietary advice that governments and Dietitians have given us for the last 40 years has been wrong, and has contributed to rising obesity and type-2 diabetes across the UK.

If that’s how you feel, I can empathise

For 16 years I was doing it all wrong. I was focused on trying to lose weight, but I knew nothing at all about diet and nutrition and I was getting it all wrong. I yo-yo dieted for 16 years.

Eventually, between my mid-30s and mid-40s, I spent 12 years learning, and getting it all right. I lost 101 pounds (that’s 46 kilos or 7 stone 3) of unwanted body fat, built 20 pounds of muscle, got fit and cleared up my health problems.

Along the way, I became obsessed with health and nutrition, I became a qualified Personal Trainer and I read 847 books and research studies, learning about everything from cancer prevention to building muscle, from anti-ageing to running a faster marathon.

I created Mother Nature’s Diet and the 12 Core Principles out of that life-changing experience.

And now, I have written a book for you, Mother Nature’s Diet, to share with you the very best of everything I learned along the way.

  • Cut through the confusion
  • Make sense of the conflicting advice
  • Learn how to resist the signs of ageing
  • Have more energy
  • Lose that excess weight without starving or suffering
  • Look and feel your best
  • Resist ill health and degenerative disease

It’s all in this book, your plain-English, common-sense guide to weight loss and healthy living. No nonsense, no gimmicks, no fad diet behaviour. Just honest sensibly healthy living advice. What works, rather than what crap they want to sell you.

I am biased, but I suggest you just go here and buy it now. I mean, why not?

Amazon UK Paperback
Amazon UK Kindle edition
Amazon US Paperback
Amazon US Kindle edition

It’s the no-gimmicks, no-fad-diet, no b/s, common-sense healthy lifestyle guide that the Western world needs right now.

If you have any questions, please just give me a shout!

Go on then.

To your good health!

Karl

Change your breakfast, change your life

Breakfast. I don’t know why but many people embracing healthy eating and lifestyle change seem to struggle with changing their breakfast.

Maybe because it’s the first meal of the day…perhaps that “I am going to change, I am going to lose weight and feel better, it all starts tomorrow.” always starts with breakfast.

Day 1. Meal 1. Oh s**t. Ground zero. Healthy eating starts now.

People always ask me what to have for breakfast. People have eaten – just as I did – nothing but cereals and toast for years. I did that every day for about 35 years. 

The short answer: switch to scrambled eggs

It’s quick, it’s easy, and I find most people like eggs. With some practice, personally I have got the art of knocking up a few eggs down to just three or four minutes. I encountered one lady who claims to have it down to 90 seconds. That beats me, I have no idea how she does it that quick!

I grab my unpasteurised, grass fed butter, stick a chunk in a pan, pop the heat on, and it starts melting. I grab a bag of spinach from the fridge, throw two or three good hand-fulls in the pan, pop it back and grab the eggs. Crack three or four in. Start stirring. Slice up a fresh tomato on the side of my plate, stir again, turn off heat, serve.

Scrambled eggs, with spinach and tomato. Quick and easy. Four minutes. Done. Could chop and throw in a couple of mushrooms. Optional.
Four more minutes to eat.
Two minutes to wash the pan and put the plate and cutlery in the dishwasher.
Breakfast. Nutritious, healthy, tasty, done in ten minutes.

Questions

Some folks say to me “I don’t have ten minutes for breakfast!”

Really? You might want to re-evaluate how you are living your life. I mean, get your butt out of bed ten minutes earlier. Do you want to be healthier or not? Set your priorities here, now, and stop making excuses.

Some say “I tried that and it just wasn’t filling enough, I need a bit more bulk.” (Stop. Look down, at your own belly – is that the kind of bulk we’re talking about here? ‘Cos it looks to me like you already have plenty there…yes? Maybe it’s time to reappraise that appetite of yours, and recognise that eating too much has been your issue for some years, and to turn that around we need a period of some years where you have to eat too little. Ouch, that hurts. Sorry.) 

But if you do need a more substantial breakfast, you can always grill a bunch of sausages when you have time (Sunday afternoon perhaps) and then keep them in the fridge. Each day, just chop up a couple and throw them in with your spinach and eggs. Voila, breakfast more substantial for only a few seconds extra effort.

Binding

The next objection (obstacle, reason, excuse) I get is “But I can’t eat many eggs, they bind me up.”

OK, I understand, though from my experience, I would say that if you have the rest of the Mother Nature’s Diet healthy lifestyle in place, such as 10-a-day or more fruit and veg, they you’ll have plenty of fibre in your diet, combined with good hydration and regular varied exercise, this should all ensure you have good gut function and once you get in the habit of eating eggs regularly, everything is usually OK.

If eggs bind you up, is it really the eggs? Eating enough fruit? And veggies? Plenty of water? Plenty of movement and exercise? Check all your bases.

Dead boring

This is the one that makes me laugh.

People say “Eggs, sure, I can try that, but what like, the next day? I mean, surely I’m not going to have scrambled eggs every day? Every day, OMG how boring, like the same thing every day, that’s so dull. What else can I have for breakfast?”

Why is this even an issue?! 

Seriously, years trying to help people improve their diet and lose weight, and I never met anyone eating boxed cereals for breakfast who says “Oh God, bloody flakes of wheat or corn, shaped and covered in sugar and chocolate flavour…again, oh how boring!”

No one.

Ever.

I never met anyone who said “I am so bored of this butter dripping off this toast yet again today, ummm with chocolate spread on it, yeah, so boring.”

No one.

Ever.

When people eat sweet tasting cereals and toast (yeah, those processed comfort foods that got you overweight in the first place) for breakfast they seem perfectly happy to eat the same thing for breakfast every single day for 30 or 40 years and they never complain that it’s boring.

Suggest scrambled eggs, and two days in folks be like “And…?”

Get a grip.

It’s real food.

Once you stop poisoning your palate with the ceaseless sweetness of processed foods, after a few weeks you might actually start being able to taste real, fresh foods once again. Suddenly, your life can move beyond everything needing to be sweet at breakfast, and hot and spicy in the evening. Really, life on Earth isn’t all sugar and chili powder, that’s not real fresh food that’s at fault, it’s YOU, you ‘broke’ your palate and you just THINK broccoli is boring, because all you know how to taste is sugar and chili.

Your problem.

Get over it.

Monday to Friday, when time is tight, have eggs.

At the weekend, if you have more time, you can do more. Experiment with fresh fruits, and some nuts. Learn to make nut porridge. Buy a blender or NutriBullet and make a smoothie. Try fresh fish, sardines, or smoked salmon. Or a good old full English breakfast – bacon, eggs, sausage, mushrooms, tomato. Just buy organic, buy quality, no rubbish.

Change your breakfast, change your life.

Get that first meal, on that first day, nailed, and the rest will follow.

Enjoy.

Bashing sugar, bashing carbs, bashing grains…bashing each other?

Bashing sugar, bashing carbs, bashing grains…bashing each other. How is all this in-fighting actually helping anyone?

In-fighting within the ‘nutrition, diet and health’ industry, it seems, is a problem escalating even more rapidly that the much-talked-about obesity epidemic.

My kind friend alerted me to this piece in the news this week, titled ‘Bad fad – Ruby Tandoh on how clean eating turned toxic’ This follows on from a BBC Horizon episode that screened last week, which attacked the trend for ‘clean eating’ and looked at a number of cook books that promote ‘clean eating’ as a diet trend. To be honest I don’t watch TV, I have not watched the show, and a number of trusted friends who watched it have assured me I didn’t miss much! So, I will save my hour for watching something better, like Joel Salatin on farming, or Rhonda Patrick and Bruce Ames discussing micronutrients, or I’ll grab myself some motivation and exercise tips from Erin Stern working a Tabata circuit.

Anyway, back to our clean eating post.

Goodness, where do I begin with this!!!??!?!!

I agree with about half of the article, maybe more, in fact I agree with most of it, the facts and figures and statements about health, food and nutrition, yes I pretty much agree with all of that…but I strongly disagree with the angry, finger pointing, judgemental, aggressive tone of the writing.

Let’s see now, we have a skinny, young, privileged female, who has recovered from an eating disorder, and who blogs to share recipes and sells cookery books, and here she is basically slagging off all the other skinny, young, privileged female food bloggers and cookery book sellers, suggesting that their work promotes eating disorders. Ummm, writers bias anyone? Read more