Recipe: Roasted Veg Dahling :D

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Roasted Veg Dahling

Roasted Veg Dahling

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander and turmeric
  • 2 (mild) red chillies, chopped
  • 15og or red lentils
  • 400g tin of light coconut milk
  • 150ml vegetable bouillon
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Head of broccoli (I used purple sprouting broccoli but green is fine), cut into florets
  • Small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 tsp each of nigella and cumin seeds
  • Pilau rice, naan bread and poppadum's to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200oC/1800C fan/Gas 6
  2. Heat 2tbsp of the oil in a large pan over a medium heat
  3. Add the onion and fry until softened
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and fry for one minute
  5. Add the spices and the chilli, stir well, cook for a few minutes
  6. Add the rinsed lentils and stir to coat well in the oil mixture
  7. Add the coconut milk and bouillon, bring to the boil
  8. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils have softened but still keep their shape. Add more boiling water if the mixture becomes a little dry
  9. Meanwhile place the broccoli and cauliflower florets onto a baking tray and scatter the seeds over, drizzle with the remaining oil and roast for 15 minutes, turning to ensure they do not burn
  10. Finish the dhal with lemon juice before serving

Notes

This comfortably fed three adult portions and two small leftovers lunch portions. If you want to upscale to feed more, increase the lentils and stock. If doubling the lentil amount I would add another tin of coconut milk and increase the spices to keep the flavour

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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/04/29/recipe-roasted-veg-dahling-d/

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Recipe: Unbeatable Beans on Toast

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Unbeatable Beans on Toast

Unbeatable Beans on Toast

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Packet of veggie sausages
  • I tbsp. tomato puree
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Handful of fresh sage leaves (plus some to garnish if desired), you could use dried but it's a poor substitute
  • 125ml vegetable bouillon
  • 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained
  • 300g macaroni
  • Sourdough bread, cut into slices
  • 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
  • Grated parmesan to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat
  2. sauté the onion for a few minutes until softened
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute
  4. Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh sage and stock
  5. Check seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes
  6. Meanwhile fry the sausages in a little oil until browned all over
  7. Add the cannellini beans to the tomato mixture in the pan, stir and heat gently
  8. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, drain
  9. Toast the sourdough bread slices, drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil
  10. Pour the cooked pasta in to the tomato sauce, stir to coat
  11. Slice the cooked sausages on the diagonal and add to the tomato pasta mixture
  12. Place a few slices of sourdough toast on each plate and top with the sausage pasta mixture
  13. Garnish with sage and sprinkle with parmesan if using
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/04/28/recipe-unbeatable-beans-on-toast/

Unbeatable Beans on Toast

Unbeatable Beans on Toast

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Packet of veggie sausages
  • I tbsp. tomato puree
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Handful of fresh sage leaves (plus some to garnish if desired), you could use dried but it's a poor substitute
  • 125ml vegetable bouillon
  • 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained
  • 300g macaroni
  • Sourdough bread, cut into slices
  • 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
  • Grated parmesan to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat
  2. sauté the onion for a few minutes until softened
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute
  4. Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh sage and stock
  5. Check seasoning and simmer for 10 minutes
  6. Meanwhile fry the sausages in a little oil until browned all over
  7. Add the cannellini beans to the tomato mixture in the pan, stir and heat gently
  8. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, drain
  9. Toast the sourdough bread slices, drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil
  10. Pour the cooked pasta in to the tomato sauce, stir to coat
  11. Slice the cooked sausages on the diagonal and add to the tomato pasta mixture
  12. Place a few slices of sourdough toast on each plate and top with the sausage pasta mixture
  13. Garnish with sage and sprinkle with parmesan if using
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/04/28/recipe-unbeatable-beans-on-toast/

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Recipe: Chilli Asparagus Pasta

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Chilli Asparagus Pasta

Chilli Asparagus Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 bunches/trays of asparagus
  • 1 lemon
  • 200g pasta (I used gluten-free fusilli but any pasta shapes would work well)
  • Knob of butter (tbsp of oil if vegan)
  • 1 tbsp lemon-infused olive oil (I happen to have this but extra virgin would be fine if you don't)
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp roughly shredded or chopped basil
  • 25g Parmesan cheese shavings (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil
  2. Tail the asparagus spears and, if large, slice in half lengthways. Otherwise chop spears into three pieces
  3. Cut the lemon into wedges
  4. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to packet instructions
  5. Heat a large frying pan over a moderate heat.
  6. Add the butter (or oil) and lemon oil, then add the asparagus with the chilli
  7. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is just tender (about 6-8 minutes)
  8. Increase the heat, push the asparagus to the side of the pan, add the lemon wedges and cook on both sides until caramelised
  9. Reserve the wedges for garnish
  10. Drain the pasta, return it to the pan and add the asparagus mix and the basil
  11. Toss well and season to taste, adding a little more lemon oil if you wish
  12. Add the cheese and serve with a wedge of caramelised lemon on each serving.
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/04/28/recipe-chilli-asparagus-pasta/

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Recipe: Orchard Soup

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Orchard Soup

Orchard Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 red apple, peeled, cored and chopped (do this immediately before cooking to prevent browning)
  • Head of broccoli, cut into florets and stems chopped
  • 200g frozen peas
  • 2 courgettes, chopped
  • 5 handfuls of kale
  • 500ml vegetable bouillon
  • Topping:
  • 50g Flaked almonds
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Smoked paprika

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan
  2. Add the apple and fry for a few minutes
  3. Add the chopped broccoli and stems, fry for a few more minutes
  4. Add the rest of the vegetables, stir until the kale starts to wilt
  5. Pour over the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the broccoli has softened
  6. Blend using a stick blender, it will not be entirely smooth, keep warm
  7. Add the extra virgin olive oil to a frying pan and heat
  8. Add the smoked paprika and flaked almonds and fry for 3 -5 minutes until the almonds are warmed and covered in the spiced oil
  9. Serve the soup with the spiced almonds
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/04/27/recipe-orchard-soup/

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Recipe: Caramel Coffee Crunch

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Caramel Coffee Crunch

Caramel Coffee Crunch

Ingredients

  • 130ml espresso or strong black coffee
  • 4 tbsp. agave or maple syrup
  • 100g pecan nuts
  • 300ml double cream or Soya cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • 3 bananas, sliced

Instructions

  1. Place the coffee and the syrup into a small pan over a medium heat
  2. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer until thickened (if using agave this will take a little while, keep your eye on it!) Remove from the heat and allow to cool
  3. Dry fry the pecans to toast them but be careful they do not burn. This should only take a few minutes. Allow to cool in a bowl
  4. Once the nuts are cooled, blend to a crunch in a food processor (I used the attachment on my stick blender)
  5. Add a splash of vanilla extract to the cream and whip the cream into soft peaks
  6. Use attractive glasses or sundae glasses and cover the base with the pecan crunch
  7. Drizzle a little of the coffee caramel over the crunch
  8. Top with cream and then add sliced bananas
  9. Repeat the layers as many times as the ingredients and glasses allow (if the caramel becomes too thick, loosen with additional agave or maple syrup)
  10. Finish with a layer of the crunch and a little of the remaining syrup
  11. Top with cream (whipped or soya)

Notes

These keep really well in the fridge, once assembled, but for best results make on the day of serving.

The crunch and the caramel can be made ahead of time if required.

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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/04/25/recipe-caramel-coffee-crunch-2/

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That was then…

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On the 1st September I decided to make radical changes in my life. After an initial pseudo ‘detox’ phase of one month, I have stuck to the programme I developed for myself. I am vegan, eschew additional and processed sugars where possible and have reduced all caffeine, alcohol and processed foods although have not eradicated these completely (I really do enjoy the odd veggie burger/nut roast with baked beans).

So what has changed? Seeing a lycra clad photo of myself on a cycle exactly one year ago yesterday was a prompt to reflect upon the last six months.

lycra

I have no idea what I weigh as I don’t have scales. I assume myself to be about a steady 8st which is proportional for my 5ft 1 height. We did measure ourselves over various body points over the month long detox. The most striking differences were in odd places; tops of thighs, tops of arms for example. I lost 9 cm from my waist and, on checking that today, I’ve maintained that over the following five months of being less stringent than we were on the ‘detox’ (I shudder at that phrase).

My body shape has definitely changed quite dramatically. I haven’t done a lot of exercise over the Winter, walking, some sports here and there, nothing strange or startling so the changes seems to be new regime related. My rib area is slimmer, my thighs are definitely smoother although they’re pretty muscular so they are still nicely substantial 🙂 My waist is certainly much more defined and, on the whole, I absolutely love my new shape. I have recently started a 5 minute plank challenge and have increased my cardio vascular exercise so there may be further changes to come – who knows!

Emotionally I have changed quite positively too. My moods are much more balanced, I’m calmer, more philosophical and much less irritable. This could be due to several factors: reduced caffeine, alcohol, increased sleep etc and I’m not sure specifically which of these changes have had the greatest impact. I am grateful though to feel more balanced, more capable and less vulnerable to premenstrual mood fluctuations which used to exercise great control over me and adversely affect my relationships with those close to me.

I think in part, being vegan has been the most influential change. I no longer feel conflicted about what I am eating. My life is cruelty free and that feels amazing!! I love sweeping past the meat and dairy aisles in the supermarket and knowing I don’t need t0 ever again eat products which involve animal cruelty. It is very calming to me but, I fully understand that would not have the same impact upon everyone. We are all different after all.

My skin has a colour it never had before, I am extremely pale but with dark hair and, pre life change, looked like I died last Friday if I dared to venture out without makeup. Now I really do have a ‘glow’ which I have never had before.  I imagine it is being properly nourished without stressing my body with artificial products. 

Be more not less.

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Why Calorie Counting Just Doesn’t Add up

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A calorie is a calorie. Right?

balance-1499952-640x480

Only sort of. I’m constantly surprised by how many people don’t know what the term calorie means. A calorie is a unit of energy and one calorie of protein will generate the same energy as a calorie of fat. The key point though is the calories generate the same energy once metabolised. Meaning we have to use the calorie to expend its energy. Therein lies the rub.

Eat less, move more. I’ve heard lots of people use this phrase dismissively as if to suggest that weight loss or maintenance are a simple matter. They are not.  The fact is that accurately balancing calories in and out an extremely precise science. It takes the most rigorous testing equipment to be entirely accurate and the smallest error margins are the difference between weight maintenance and weight gain over time.

The problem with any sort of calorie counting programme is that the body is determined to keep you at the same weight you are at presently. Your body has a homeostatic drive, which means it will increase or decrease your metabolism in order to maintain the status quo. The more you cut calories, the more your body reacts against you and reduces your metabolic rate. This means you burn less energy and, coupled with cravings for the food you are depriving yourself of, this is a recipe for disaster. You might manage to maintain this short term but you will become lethargic, demotivated and are very likely to succumb to that ‘treat’ you have been craving – you know – the one with the very high fat and sugar content; fish and chips, ice-cream, chocolate cake or whatever.

To go back to the problem of metabolising energy, calories can be either stored or burned off. Recent research has indicated that the quality of foods consumed has an impact upon whether they are more likely to be stored or burned. It’s an area of some debate in nutrition and I’m not qualified to go into great detail about it but the bottom line is very simple.

Calorie counting does not work. It works against the natural functioning of the body. It creates deprivations which alter metabolism and will ultimately drive weight gain.

What does work, however, is eating a plant-based, fresh diet rich in colour, variety and flavour. We need to feel satisfied in order to avoid cravings, we need to ensure our calorific intake is sufficient that we do not alter our metabolism negatively. We need to protect our bodies from fluctuations which can be damaging. We need to avoid any weight loss programmes which mention counting calories  or restricting calories. They are based on long outdated ideas and science has long demonstrated that they just do not work!

 

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Recipe: Ruby Rice

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Ruby Rice

Ruby Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 litre of vegetable stock or Bouillon
  • 4 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • Thumb sized piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Crushed seeds of 4 cardamom pods
  • 300g basmati rice, rinsed
  • 2 small or 1 large fresh beetroot, peeled and grated
  • Few handfuls of fresh spinach
  • red chilli, chopped
  • Juice of a lemon

Instructions

  1. Make the stock with boiling water and set aside
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. of the oil in a large frying pan
  3. Add the onion and cook gently for 5-10 minutes, until softened
  4. Add the ginger, cook for a minute
  5. Add the spices, stir well to coat in oil
  6. Add the rice, stir well to coat in oil
  7. Pour in half the stock, simmer for 5 minutes
  8. Add the grated beetroot, the rest of the stock and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed
  9. Just before serving, heat the remaining 2 tbsp. of oil in another frying pan
  10. Cook the chilli for a few minutes then add the spinach and lemon juice
  11. Cook until the spinach wilts
  12. Serve the ruby rice with the wilted greens 🙂
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http://www.thisisnotadiet.uk/2016/04/03/recipe-ruby-rice/

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Before and After

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Weight.

Too much, too little, in the wrong place. Too fat, too thin. Too saggy, puckered, dimpled or fleshy. Mummy aprons, bingo wings, thigh gaps and bikini bridges.

Why do we do it to ourselves? And we do do it to ourselves. Sure the media makes it worse but we are all responsible for our own body shaming if not that of others.

“Body shaming” – if you’re not familiar with the term the Urban Dictionary’s explanation is found here:

ew he’s too skinny”

“she’s soooo fat it’s disgusting”

“she’d be pretty if she were skinnier”

“he’s so fat, how does he even have a girlfriend?”

Body Shaming is not okay.

Thing is, as soon as we get into talking about dieting, slimming, weight loss and so on – we’re entering into this domain. We’re entering the murky world of body hatred. Of people pulling at handfuls of flesh in despair, of comparisons to impossible ideals. Of quick ‘fixes’ promising inch loss and delivering dubious chemical compounds.

Our size does not determine our health. I’ve been an adult 6 stone and incredibly unhealthy with it.

Unfortunately there are numerous disorders associated with ‘dieting’ most of which have nothing to do with food per se. Anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia are more about psychological pathologies than they are about narcissism despite whatever Joan Bakewell says. And now Celia Imrie has thrown her hat into the ring saying anorexics are “self-obsessed.” Misunderstandings about eating disorders abound and yet, still our magazines are covered in body shaming articles. And you’re buying them!

before and afterThis is the ONLY type of “Before and After” image I’m interested in.

This is why I will never advocate weight loss. This is why I never tout myself or my recipes as suitable for dieters. I abhor the concept of striving to be thin versus improving our health and strengthening our bodies. Frankly, it can be damaging and armed with the knowledge I have, I’d rather toe the line of balance. It makes my page less marketable, less sexy, reduces the impact and the likelihood of ‘shares’ but I refuse to promise anything which I can’t deliver. I can offer advice, healthful ideas but it will never include “here’s how to lose weight.”

Maintaining a healthy body, enjoying fabulous fresh food, being honest with, and kind to yourself will always be more attractive than the deprivations, restrictions and pressures of the miserable ‘diet’.

This is why my mantra will always be “be more not less.”

 

 

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