Superfoods

Superfoods  – myth or magic?

Are you buying the superfood hype; either literally or figuratively?  These foods have been in the press for the last few years but recently new magic morsels have been added including lentils, quinoa, chills and green tea.

Its worth remembering there is no official definition of a “superfood” and the EU has banned health claims on packaging unless supported by scientific evidence.

So do certain foods deserve that badge of honour?

What makes a food ‘Super'; they often contain higher than average amounts of antioxidants or compounds that can keep the body healthy and potentially help fight some diseases.  In that respect foods like blueberries, broccoli, oily fish, beetroot juice, dark chocolate and to a lesser extent red wine all deserve praise as they have high levels of compounds like polyphenols and flavonoids

homemade chocolate bar

But so do blackberries, carrots, apples, oats, nuts, red cabbage, raspberries, flaxseeds, and most fruits and vegetables.  And importantly they are often cheaper than their ‘superfood’ cousins

The superfood debate got the attention of BBC radio Leicester, so I joined them for a discussion along with Sangita the owner of a local Leicester deli.

Click here to listen to the interview (15 minutes)

https://soundcloud.com/user-95908886/radio-leics-superfood

 

fruit-and-vegTo eat a ‘superfood’ rich diet we agreed that it should contain more fruit and veg than we currently eat.  Incidentally, did you know that only about 30% of the UK adult population get their 5-a-day.

cakesTry and reduce your level of processed foods; anything from ready meals, cured meats to pastries and cakes

Go for variety and moderation; the occasional treat is fine

 

Drink within safe alcohol limits (max 14 units a week) a small glass (125ml) of red wine can be beneficial

Stay hydrated with the original ‘superfood'; Water

In other words adopt a more Mediterranean diet that includes plenty of wholegrain, pulses, vegetables, fruit and olive oil and you will feel “SUPER

 

 

 

Beetroot risotto

Beetroot risotto with pearl barley and quinoa

Serves 2, 320 calories per serving

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

IMG_4244This risotto has been inspired by Jack Monroe’s risotto recipe in the Royal Marsden cancer cookbook

 

 

vegan cookery poster jpeg

 

And is the perfect recipe for my Vegan cookery class to make this week!

The use of beetroot not only adds colour and a wonderful earthy taste but bags of fibre, antioxidants, potassium and iron. The pearl barley makes a healthy nutritional change to arborio rice: Its high in fibre, calcium and protein, but low in fat and calories. By adding quinoa the protein content really increases, making this a very filling and nutritious vegetarian and vegan dish

 

IMG_4276250g fresh beetroot, peeled and diced (or use the pre-cooked vacuum packs)

500 ml vegetable stock – either leftover stock from cooking some veggies or hot water and 1 teaspoon veg bouillon powder

2 tsp olive or rapeseed oil

1 fat garlic clove – crushed

1 small leek (80g) finely sliced

large pinch dried chilli flakes

IMG_4282

Pearl barley

100g pearl barley and 25g of quinoa

50ml red or white wine (or water)

100g frozen peas (or broad beans)

2 tbls chopped mint and parsley

salt and ground black pepper

 

IMG_4296flavoured drizzle oil (optional)

zest and juice of half a lemon (equivalent to 2 tsp)

1 tsp olive or rapeseed oil

½ tsp horseradish

If you are not using the oil you can substitute the horseradish for the chilli flakes in the main risotto

 

If you are using fresh beetroot put it in a pan and cover with some of the stock. Bring to the boil then simmer and cook for about 15 minutes until tender.

If you are using the vacuum packed variety, miss out this stage and simply open the packet*

IMG_4294*A word of warning! which ever type of beetroot you use, be aware that it stains everything! So your chopping boards, spoons and hands will all be a lovely pink colour by the end of this. You can minimize the pink by wearing rubber gloves to handle the beetroot, cook with a metal spoon (never wooden for beetroot), or use a plastic chopping board

 

Meantime on a medium flame heat the oil in a large IMG_4281shallow pan and add the leeks and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes until the leeks are soft.   Add the pearl barley and coat with in the oil. Then tip in the wine and allow it to bubble away for a few minutes.

 

Blitz the beetroot in a blender (a nutribullet does a great IMG_4287job), add the stock and chilli (or horseradish) and add a ladleful at a time to the grains. Keep adding a ladleful as soon as it is absorbed. This should take about 30-40 minutes

 

After 15 minutes add the quinoa (this takes less time to cook) and mix in. once the pearl barley and quinoa are soft and fluffy stir in the peas and 1 tablespoon of the chopped herbs. Taste and season with salt and lots of pepper

 

Serve into 2 warmed bowls

 

Lemon horseradish oil

Mix all the ingredients together and drizzle over the risotto

IMG_4308

 

 

 

Finally scatter over the remaining tablespoon of chopped herbs

 

 

 

 

BCAMThis is a great recipe to support breast cancer awareness month.  So why not make a larger amount (its easy to double or triple the ingredients) and invite your friends over.  They can make a donation to your favourite cancer charity like Maggie’s (the cancer support centre inside the grounds of the Nottingham City hospital)

 

Quinoa salad

Quinoa salad

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

This recipe is the perfect dish for any vegetarian or vegan IMG_6235as the quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a complete protein; meaning it contains all the essential amino acids a person needs.  This is very important to vegans and vegetarians as they often have to combine foods to get that balance i.e. beans on toast!

It is also low in calories due to the large amount of high nutrient but low calorie vegetables that bulk out the dish to create a very filling meal.  Making it perfect for anyone on a calorie reducing regime like the 5 :2 fast diet

My recipe made an appearance in the ‘Complete Health Magazine’

My published article

My published article

 

This wonderful salad will be the first dish my guest will make when they attend todays vegetarian and vegan cookery class

susan poster

Please contact me if you’d like to attend any of my classes

Serves: 4,  200 calories per serving

  • IMG_3176450ml water or vegetable stock
  • 150g quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • ½ – 1 cucumber, diced
  • 4 spring onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 15g each of fresh parsley and mint, chopped

 

Bring a saucepan with 450ml water or stock to the boil and add the quinoa. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Once cooked* allow to cool to room temperature; fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil, soy sauce or mustard, lemon juice, chilli, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, carrots and parsley and mint. Stir in the cooled quinoa.

IMG_3309

uncooked and cooked quinoa

* the quinoa is cooked when a little curly sprout appears on the grain

 

 

 

 

To make the salad more substantial add one of the following

200g cooked quorn,

1 tin of drained and rinsed chickpeas,

3 hard boiled eggs, sliced,

2 ripe avocados, chopped

and for non-veggies: 200g diced cooked chicken or grilled salmon