If in doubt, compile a list… I though that I’d start with 5 food items that I absolutely hate to be without and that help with the whole healthy living pursuit.
Kefir(pronounced kehfeer). Apart from my magic juice (it’s just a juice… but the effects were magic) which I will write about on another occasion, kefir is the thing that has given my health the biggest boost. It’s traditionally a fermented milk drink, the name of which derives from a Turkish word meaning ‘to feel good’ and it definitely made me feel good. After I’d been having a kefir smoothie for breakfast for about 3 weeks I noticed that I had much more energy. The thing about it is that it is full of bacteria and yeasts that are fantastic for your gut health. I find that the stuff that I make myself (having purchased this kit) is pretty strong and not great to drink on it’s own, so I just make a smoothie with berries, banana and flaxseeds and it is delicious. You can buy it in supermarkets and these versions are milder and easier to drink ‘neat’. Yes, it can be a bit of a pain to keep straining and restarting the culture, but 100% worth it. I think of it almost like a little pet that needs to be looked after…
Bagged salad greens. Regardless of whatever nutritional religion you follow, there is one pillar of faith common to all, and that is to eat lots of ‘green, leafy, vegetables’. I used to think that prepared greens in a bag were a bit of a cheat, which is why whole lettuces would sit forlornly in the fridge until they were surreptitiously transferred to the food bin. No more. You get great variety, instant gratification and less waste (in this house at least) with the bagged stuff, and I would estimate that our consumption has risen by about 500% since I switched over. Make sure to rotate them though – don’t just stick to spinach, variety is key!
Organic eggs. Recently, on a trip down to Galloway to see my parents, the kids and I took a detour along the back roads to see if we could find some eggs being sold along the road and sure enough we found an old coolbox outside a farm with an honesty jar and a couple of cartons of eggs. (Thing 1 has been obsessed with the Famous Five and thought this was the most Famous Five stye food procurement evs). Anyway, the eggs were amazing! Bright orange yolks, thick shells and delicious. Sadly, these are 3 hours drive away and so we’ve reverted to organic eggs from the supermarket which the kids have for breakfast (the protein is great for blood sugar balance). They are the perfect fast food and if you whack a fried one on top of pretty much anything including a grain-bowl creation, the kids are reasonably likely to approach the dish with an open mind.
Flaxseeds aka linseeds. These featured in our ‘superfoods’ lecture last year because as well as being great for the digestive tract, they also have an oestrogen balancing effect and contain Omega 3s. I aim to eat at least 2 tablespoons a day (either in the smoothie or sprinkled on top of soup or a salad). They do need to be ground before use and as the oil can oxidise quite easily, I find that the best way to handle them is to buy a big bag of organic whole linseeds and then grind batches as required in the nutribullet. If that sounds boring beyond belief, just buy them ready ground – you can even get them in Aldi – just make sure to store them in the fridge.
Lemons and limes. Is there anything nicer than the smell of fresh-cut lime? Don’t think so. We seem to go through millions of them, starting from when I get up and have a mug of lemon juice and warm water. They also go into juices as they take away the bitter flavour of greens, get mashed with avocado, go with fish of course, in salad dressing, and into my friday night cocktail of vodka, kombucha cordial, juice of 1/2 a lime topped up with sparkling mineral water… You can also make a great exercise recovery drink with the juice of 1 lime, 1 lemon, 1 orange, a pinch of good salt, a little maple syrup and about a pint of water. Shake it up and it’s good to go.
What are your food essentials? Leave a comment above left and let me know.