One of the things I love most about blogging is the comments.
Although, when I’m spending too much time moderating spam comments, it can be tempting to think about shutting down the comments on Stonesoup.
But then I go and write a post like last week, that didn’t exactly come out right.
And I’m reminded of the great thing about comments – feedback.
With the help of all of the fabulous Stonesoup readers who took the time to share their opinion, I could see where I had missed the mark. Which will make me a better writer in the future. And once again made me thankful for the comments function on my blog.
Those of you who are worried about Stonesoup becoming a ‘food fashion’ or ‘fad diet’ blog. Thank you for your concern and for taking the time to let me know. I really do appreciate it.
You’ll be happy to know I have no intention of swapping my bedside reading from cooking and food books to science or nutrition journals.
I still love food and that’s what I want to share here.
Stonesoup will continue to be a blog that celebrates food from the perspective of keeping things as quick and simple as possible without sacrificing flavour or healthiness.
What constitutes ‘healthy eating’ varies a great deal, depending on who you talk to. So I think it’s important for me to share what my personal definition of healthy eating from time to time…
my healthy eating story
This is going to get a little personal… but it seems like time to share the full story…
So last week, among my ‘rant’ on the perils of grains, I shared where I’m at with healthy eating.
For those of you who missed it, basically I’m avoiding grains, sugar & fruit and embracing vegetables, meat, fish, legumes and a little cheese and yoghurt.
That being said, ‘avoiding’ doesn’t mean completely excluding.
We still have the occasional Friday night pizza session or a pasta feast. And if I come across a tray of ripe raspberries that look too good to resist, I’ll buy them and enjoy.
It really is about moderation.
I also mentioned how I’m happy with this way of eating because it has enabled me to enjoy my food and love my waistline. Without running super long distances to compensate for my diet.
But there’s been another more personal benefit that I didn’t touch on.
Years ago, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovaries. No big deal.
It just meant I didn’t get regular periods. And that things could be a bit tricky from a fertility perspective. Again, no dramas.
One of the biggest surprises for me changing my way of eating has been that I’ve started having a (relatively) regular cycle. Polycystic Ovaries no more.
5 simple steps to healthy eating, the Stonesoup way
1. eat more vegetables
I’m yet to come across anyone who thinks we should be eating less veggies. For me the easiest way to do this is replace the grains in my diet with vegetables as much as possible.
2. embrace moderation
Moderation doesn’t sound that exciting, but it’s the key to finding the balance of a healthy diet that’s also fun. And a big thank you to Kitchem for introducing me to my new favourite moderation quote from Dr John Tickell
‘Everything in moderation except laughter, sex, vegetables and fish. But not all at the same time.”
3. eat as wide a variety of foods as you can
I’ve always been a fan of variety and am definitely someone who is always on the lookout for new things to try. So I was happy to be reminded by an email from a Stonesoup reader about the benefits of variety in our diets. Not just about stopping boredom, variety also helps to spread our risks of eating too many harmful foods OR missing out on too many essential nutrients.
4. understand the role of carbohydrates
Regardless of your stance on eating grains and fruit, it’s important to understand the role of carbohydrates in a healthy diet. If you have any questions around this, I’d really recommend taking the time to read Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes.
5. see what works for you, and tweak as required
One of the things I really failed at in my post last week was that I didn’t explain my belief that everyone is different. And what works for me isn’t necessarily going to be the best option for you.
I totally respect everyone’s differences (and am excited about them – it would be boring if everyone was the same). I hope you’ll develop your own definition of healthy eating based on what works for you.
stonesoup recipe update
Since I started the Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School last year, I’ve been including variations for different dietary requirements for each recipe at the school.
I decided to include variations in my new book The Tired & Hungry Cook’s Companion and have had heaps of positive feedback from people about the book in general and the variations in particular.
So from now on, I’ll be including variations with each recipe on Stonesoup. So whatever your definition of ‘healthy’, you should find something that works for you.
burnt carrot salad
takes 15 mins
Inspired by the grill master Francis Mallmann.
The first time I made this salad I cooked the carrots on the BBQ and served it with only a little cheese as a side dish to a BBQ rib eye steak. The salad completely outshone the meat.
Here I’ve upped the goats cheese to turn it into a light lunch salad. And I’m burning the carrots in a hot pan. While the results are pretty decent in the kitchen, it’s not quite as mind blowing as the BBQ version. So if you can BBQ your carrots by all means do.
1 bunch baby carrots
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 handfuls mixed salad leaves
100g (3oz) fresh goats cheese
1. Heat a large heavy frying pan on a very high heat for 3-4 minutes.
2. Meanwhile trim and discard carrot tops. Halve carrots lengthwise.
3. When the pan is super hot. Add a little oil and the carrots, shaking to make sure they are in a single layer.
4. Cover and cook for 5-6 minutes or until carrots are a little burned and charred in places.
5. Meanwhile, combine balsamic, soy and 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
6. Turn the carrots and cook for another minute or until cooked to your liking.
7. Scatter leaves over a serving platter. TOp with hot carrots, drizzle with dressing and finish with little chunks of the cheese.
vegan – replace the cheese with a generous handful or two of roasted almonds or sunflower seeds.
dairy-free – see the vegan option. Or try a couple of chopped boiled eggs instead of the cheese.
side salad - either decrease the cheese or skip it all together and serve as a side salad to BBQ steak or chicken.
more substantial – I’m keen to try this as a carrot & lentil salad. Just toss a drained can of lentils in the dressing. Or use home cooked lentils that have been boiled in water until tender (15-20mins) and drained.
carnivore – replace the cheese with shredded cooked BBQ chicken.
soy-free – just skip the soy sauce in the dressing and be more generous with the salt & pepper.
budget – replace the goats cheese with ricotta or another less expensive cheese. And use 5-6 regular carrots quartered lengthwise instead of the baby carrots.
video version of the recipe