If like me you are starting the month feeling not quite as healthy or balanced as you’d like, join me in a 21 day re-nourish and re-balance plan. Join in and get up to the minute motivation on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and you’ll be able to share tips and keep motivated to eat better and move more. I’ll be posting recipes, menu plans and tips on social media and, less frequently, on here to keep us going.
The food I’m making will be for my whole family. My husband and children will be having extras that I won’t be, but I am not a short order cook so we’ll all be eating pretty much the same thing
I clearly love food and cooking so the food I’ll be making during this 21 days will be delicious and nourishing. This is not about deprivation or spending hours in the kitchen, or eating 3lb of carrot sticks for 3 days then falling face first into a gallon of ice cream and calling the whole thing off. I hope I can inspire you to try some new ingredients and to be more efficient with your food shopping and prep so that cooking from scratch becomes a more regular habit for you that lasts beyond the 21 days.
Living in California (even as a cynical Brit) I am one foot on that ‘clean eating’ bandwagon and surrounded by people sipping green drinks in their yoga clothes. Some people are pretty extreme, but there are some good principles behind it and I like to think my slightly less full-on (I let myself drink wine and have good quality treats, just not every day) British approach makes my way of eating clean more realistic and delicious. I’ve picked elements of paleo, clean eating and slow carb diets that I know have worked for me but I’m about flavour first.
Just to be clear, I’m not a nutritionist but have worked hard to educate myself. I eat like this 70% of the time so have developed recipes and picked up tips from doing it myself.
This is what we’ll be basing our meals around and the rules we’ll be following to help us feel better, less tired, less bleurgh. Just a bit shinier.
- tons more (volume and variety) seasonal fruit and veg
- well raised meat and fish – organic where possible but embracing cheaper cuts to help the budget
- healthy fats – avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts and seeds
- gluten free seeds – the ‘wanabee grains’ such as quinoa, millet, buckwheat
- avoiding all processed foods
- cutting out sugar
- cutting out (or lets be realistic, reducing) alcohol – I know, but it is only 21 days – maybe a couple of glasses of good red, champagne or vodka and soda if you must each week
I’ll be sharing recipes to help you have 3 meals a day, each to include:
- Protein (eggs, meat, fish, nuts, legumes/pulses)
- Good fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut oil)
- Veggies (a rainbow)
- And, if needed, a small amount of wannabee grains
Being kind to myself means not throwing in the towel if I am not perfect (hence the 70% of the time things above). I have two small children and need to know that I can enjoy good wine, artisan cheese, dark chocolate, and lovingly made bread when I want it. But I will only eat the really good stuff and not so much of it.
Take a class to kick start your cooking
If you’d like to take a cooking class with me to stock your fridge and freezer with healthy foods, or you’d like to have a night out with friends in one of my classes let me know. All the details are here.
I’ll be posting a week of menus to cover breakfast, lunches and dinners shortly but here are some recipes from my blog to get you started. And here are my top 10 nourishing breakfast ideas.
I wanted to share my lunch strategy – I keep it simple and have either soup or salad. I prep ahead and cook in bulk so that I can grab it to eat at work or when I’m in a rush. My husband and kids have the same thing at work and school but will have some bread or extra grains with theirs.
My lunches tend to be one of my homemade veggie soups which I make in big batches then freeze in individual pots. Or shredded raw veggies, which I chop every 2-3 days so I have plenty to keep me going, mixed with some form of protein from the list below, a few seeds or nuts and one of my dressings. I like this mix and match approach as I can double up on prep but keep things interesting by combining my bank of dressings with different proteins.
Slaw salad base
Using a knife or the shredder part of your box grater, shred half a red cabbage. Then roughly grate 4-5 carrots. Finely slice a bunch of kale and mix all the veggies together and store in the fridge for 2-3 days in a box with a lid.
I’ll also change this up by adding shredded fennel some days.
- Rotisserie chicken
- Canned tuna in oil
- Canned sardines in oil
- Grilled salmon or chicken (usually leftover from the night before)
- Grilled steak (usually leftovers)
- homemade meat and veggie stews (leftover from dinner or kept in single serving pots in the freezer)
Plus good fats (if I didn’t use olive oil in my dressing)
- Sesame, pumpkin or sunflower seeds
- Slivered raw almonds
Plus a small amount of wanabee grains (these are gluten-free seeds that cook up like grains to give some bulk)
Cooked quinoa or millet which I keep in small containers in the freezer ready for quick grab and go lunches
Shake the following ingredients together in a jam jar. Make double or triple and keep whatever is left in the fridge for 3-4 days. This is also great over tomatoes alongside grilled steak
- 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Black pepper
I use this to make a salad Nicoise. Again, feel free to double or triple and keep it for a week in the fridge. Just toss together the dressing with salad leaves, some gently cooked green beans, tuna caned in oil, olives, tomatoes, then top it with a soft boiled egg.
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons of regular olive oil
I love this. I use it over raw or cooked veggies, quinoa, buckwheat or with noodles and rice for my family. It is a great lesson in flavour balancing.
- 2 inches of fresh ginger grated (I use a Microplane so I don’t need to peel it)
- 2 limes, juiced and zested (around 2 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoons unrefined toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce (I like Mae Ploy brand) or a chopped red chili if the sugar in this sauce bothers you
- 1 tablespoon nam pla (fish sauce – I like Squid brand)