The Rainbow Salad

A couple of weeks ago I caught a virus. Let’s have some overshare time now – most viruses cause vomiting and diarrhea, but mine caused my whole body to just seize up. I had an appetite but anytime I ate anything my stomach would go into agonising cramps and swell up to pregnant size. It wasn’t a good look. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I spent 4 days solidly living off overcooked carrot and brocolli. That was all my body could handle. So now I’m out the other side, I’m craving that raw fibrous fruit and veg that I was deprived for that small period of time. 

So I’ve been making a lot of rainbow salads. Here’s how to do it:

In short… Pile as many different raw, brightly coloured vegetables on your plate as possible.

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

If the colours don’t make your eyes hurt, you’ve not done it right!Image

In this photo, the salad is made up of a bed of spinach and kale, topped with tomatoes, white onion (I’m brave), grated carrot, chopped beetroot, raisins and fresh basil. I also always tend to garnish anything I make with chilli, because if you can top anything with ginger, garlic or chlili, you’re doing your body and your metabolism a favour.

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Now is the time to make a rainbow salad, while the sun is out and the heat is blazing. In winter, you won’t want this kind of thing, but right now it is easy to fill your body with this kind of goodness. So go raw, even just for a meal. “Thanks”, said your bod.

Jazzed up Greek Salad

ImageLast week I felt dehydrated. I was drained, and woke up every day with a headache. Obviously my body was lacking water, but I felt like I was drinking loads.

Time to bring in the back-up… water in food. I decided to make a mammoth-sized salad, greek style – but with added bits, vegetables that are known for being high in water content. I added mushrooms and beetroot, so the ingredients were as follows:

 

Lucy’s Jazzed up Hydrating Greek Salad Bowl

Leaves – kale and rocket (half a mixing bowl full!)

Tomato

Cucumber

Red Onion

Mushrooms (briefly cooked in a teaspoon of coconut oil)

Beetroot

Feta

Plenty of dry oregano, olive oil and lemon juice to dress it

 

It was absolutely delicious and incredibly filling. Remember, a lot of the time you feel hungry, your body is actually just thirsty. You’re dehydrated. Our bodies are about 60% water! And I know I’m not the first blogger to point that out! This is not me saying that every time you’re craving something to eat, you should just drink water. You need to know your own body and judge every feeling individually. I know when I’m occasionally feeling faint and my body actually really needs fuel, and I also know when I’m just restless and a bit dehydrated, so I’m reaching for the peanut butter and the teaspoon!

But this salad did just the trick. It filled me to the brim, and I was peeing non-stop for the rest of the day (now we’ve discussed going to the toilet, we’re all very good friends).

Try it yourself and notice how good you feel. It’s not just the water in all those vegetables, but the nutrients in so much raw food.  Enjoy!

 

See my post on Lucy Salads for other suggestions for mammoth-sized salad bowls to fill you up, and see my post on greek food for breaking down the various advantages of such a salad. And finally, read here why kale is such a fantastic way to bulk up your salad.

 

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Spinach Cake

There’s a recipe I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. It’s been printed off the internet and sat on my desk for a few months, and I just haven’t got round to it, which is silly, because it is very simple.

After a heavy Saturday night drinking this weekend, I felt like I needed something last night which would do me a lot of good, so I finally made this Spinach Cake. As a pre-cursor to the recipe, it is meant to be put in a loaf tin, or something of the sort, so it ends up as a long flat slab which can be cut up. I couldn’t find my loaf tin, or a suitable baking dish, so I put the mixture into muffin cases!! This worked quite well.

Ingredients:

200g Spinach

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Handful of pine nuts

1 clove garlic

1 egg, whisked

Handful of raisins or currants

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1. Wilt the spinach in a large covered saucepan over low hear for about 5 minutes (until all is cooked lightly). Then drain it and allow it to cool for a bit.

2. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, saute the pine nuts in the olive oil and garlic until they are just brown. Careful with your timings here, as pine nuts burn very easily. Better to have them a little on the paler side than the darker side at this point.

3. In a bowl, combine the pine nuts mixture, spinach, whisked egg and raisins. Add a sprinkling of salt.

4. Bake in greased muffin cases or loaf dish for about 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius.

5. Enjoy!

I then finished my night off with some lemon-drizzled Kale chips. (Obviously, I was a little hungover, and there were lots of rice cakes and popcorn around all this health… I wouldn’t want to lie to you.)

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The 95 calorie stir-fry

I do the 5:2 thing. I call it a “thing” because I don’t want to use the word “diet”. Diet implies short-term and difficult to uphold, whereas the 5:2 “thing” has been a lifestyle change. I’ve been doing it for a year now, and I like it. I haven’t seen any obvious weight changes (because around the same time I started doing it, I also radically altered other parts of my health, so my weight loss was to do with everything), but many friends of mine have. However, the main reason I love it is how good it makes me feel the next day.

The 5:2 “thing” makes me feel the polar opposite of the binging “thing” I tend to do every now and then. When I binge I wake up the next morning with a food hangover. I feel nauseous, seriously bloated and a bit dizzy. On my fast-days, I feel light, energetic and sparky. The day afterwards I feel the same.

The 5:2 “thing” consists of you having 5 days a week where you eat normally, and 2 days a week in which you fast. This means eating only 600 calories if you are a man, and 500 if you are a woman. You can spread these calories out if you would like, but I find it’s best if you save all the calories for your dinner – this allows your body to have a complete break from digestion from the moment you stop eating the night before until the evening of your chosen day. The research that has been done into the benefits is absolutely fascinating, and you can read more about it here. Or even watch the Horizon documentary that sparked the trend here.

However, this post is not an advertisement for the 5:2, it is a recipe post. There are recipe suggestions for the 5:2 “thing” everywhere on the internet, and many restaurants now cater to people on it, offering delicious meals for under 500 calories. However, last night, on my fast day, I made myself an utterly delicious and enormous stir-fry, which came to under 100 calories! That means plenty of room left for popcorn, or a pear, or some carrots and houmous, or marmitey rice cakes, or all of the above. I wanted to share it with you.

Lucy’s fast-day stir-fry

200g mushrooms (sliced)

2 stalks of celery (sliced)

1 pack of zero noodles

2 cloves of garlic

1 red chilli

Heavy splash of soy sauce

40g Kale

Half a lemon

Firstly, just sizzle the celery and the mushrooms in the soy sauce and garlic, over the hob. The joy of these vegetables is that, not only are they very low calorie in themselves, but also they produce a lot of water. So there is no need for oil in the pan, because the vegetables will very quickly give off moisture and will not stick to the pan. Add half the red chilli and stir-fry until veggies are soft. Add your pre-cooked zero noodles (these things are amazing, and a fast-day addition to every meal! See here), another splash of soy sauce, and the other half of your red chilli. Finally add the kale and toss everything around for a couple of minutes (no longer, or the kale will lose its delicious crispiness) then finally serve. Top it with the juice of half a lemon, and maybe a little coriander.

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Kale time

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It’s time to talk about Kale.

 

IT’S INCREDIBLE!

 

Talk over.

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, fine we’ll discuss it a little more. I remember my infamous nutritionist friend Taylor once saying to me, “Kale is excellent because it devours the stomach” then suddenly having to clarify, “Not in a bad way! As in… it burns fat! It burns fat!” Safe in the knowledge that it wasn’t in fact going to give me ulcers on my insides, I started to introduce it into my diet as much as possible. This is easy, because even though it is technically a cabbage, it can be treated like a lettuce or salad. I will add it to almost any meal: Fill half my plate with raw kale, have a bowl of raw kale in a bowl with whatever I’m eating, add it raw to a smoothie (raw is certainly the way forward). If I’m eating it with other tasty stuff, I just drizzle a little balsamic vinegar on top. If I’m eating it by itself (when I get the craving to eat something but am not actually hungry), I’ll drizzle a little olive oil as well as vinegar, and top it off with salt and pepper.

Waitrose sell it in enormous bags. Just buy one and keep it in your fridge constantly. It will be sat there looking on, encouraging you to add that extra kick of health to each meal.

This website sums the benefits up pretty concisely. Have a read:

http://www.vegkitchen.com/nutrition/5-top-health-benefits-of-kale/

At lunchtime today I paired my kale with a vegetable stew I made on Sunday night – carrots, onions, mushrooms, sweetcorn, spinach, green beans and lentils all left to boil in chicken stock and coconut oil for an hour. Turns into a beautiful “5 of your 5-a-day” mush by the end.

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Eggy Mush

Inspired by Greek eggy mush (see last post on Greek food) I made a British eggy mush for my lunch today, and thought I’d share the basic recipe with you here:

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Ingredients

2 large tomatoes

1 large onion

2 handfuls of spinach

2 eggs whites

1 whole egg (white and yolk)

Salt and pepper

This is so simple, but tastes divine and has nothing bad in it. It’s an excellent post work-out meal, as it has tonnes of great protein, a little good fat, and then loads of rehydrating vegetables.

The idea is to make an omelette and fail…

Whisk up your 3 eggs (I use 2 egg-whites just to make it is as healthy as possible, but can’t stand a purely egg-white mixture as I think a lot of taste is lost), and add salt and pepper. Now throw your chopped up tomatoes and onion into the pan and let it sizzle in a little olive oil. Add the spinach only when the tomatoes and onion have softened a little, then finally pour in your whisked eggs. Remember, this is a failed omelette – so make no attempt to maintain a shape or form. Just keep mixing the eggs and vegetables in the pan until all of it is cooked.

You can then pour the delicious creation straight into a bowl and eat by itself, or (as in the picture above) put it on top of a piece of toasted rye bread, and add a massive pile of balsamic-drenched kale on the side. Again – goodness, goodness and more goodness.

Happy Wednesday 🙂