When I was studying biotechnology, (as part of my Food Science Degree) if you had asked me whether eating healthier could change your genetics, I would have automatically responded ‘no way’.
I used to think that our genes are something we’re born with. Something we can’t change.
So you can imagine my surprise when I happened across a study which showed the opposite.
Yes, changes in our lifestyles such as diet, exercise and stress levels actually change which genes are expressed in our bodies.
In the study 30 men with low level prostrate cancer were tracked over 3 months where they changed their diets, exercised for 1/2 hour every day and engaged in stress management practices such as meditation.
As expected, the men all improved their health with lower blood pressure and weight loss. The surprising thing was they also changed the expression of around 500 genes.
Disease prevention genes were turned on and genes known to be linked to disease were turned off.
So next time you feel like getting pizza instead of cooking something fresh for yourself, remember this study.
Any positive changes you make to your lifestyle aren’t only going to impact your external health, it’s making a difference at the genetic level!
Need some fresh ideas for Healthy AND Tasty Meals?
Then you might need a copy of my new eCookbook!
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Asparagus Bread ‘Torta’
This unusual dish was inspired by the London chef, Yotam Ottolenghi. His was a bread ‘pudding’ but when I called my version that at a brunch we hosted, everyone was very skeptical.
Luckily I was convincing enough to get everyone to try it. My little asparagus dish stole the show. And it was competing with bacon so that’s saying something.
I’m really sorry if it’s not asparagus season where you live. See the variations for alternative veg ideas.
enough for 4-6
500g (1lb) asparagus (about 2 bunches)
2 cups milk
3 croissants, sliced about 1cm (1/2in) thick
2 large handfuls grated parmesan cheese
green salad, to serve
1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Break the woody bottoms off the asparagus and pop in a loaf pan 24cm x 12cm (approx 9.5in x 5in) with a little oil.
2. Roast for 20 minutes or until the asparagus is almost tender.
3. Combine milk, eggs and parmesan in a large bowl. Season. Toss in the croissants to moisten.
4. When the asparagus is cooked, place on a chopping board and slice half into chunks, leaving the remaining stems whole.
5. Line the loaf pan with baking (parchment) paper. Layer half the croissants in the pan. Sprinkle over the chopped asparagus. Layer in the remaining croissants and pour over the rest of the egg mixture. Top with whole asparagus spears.
6. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until well browned and puffy. If you touch the top with your finger it should spring back.
7. Cool a little before slicing and serving with salad.
dairy-free – replace milk with your favourite dairy-free milk spiked with a few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, I’d personally go with almond milk. And you might want to use bread instead of buttery croissants. Use about 8 slices of a rustic loaf like a sourdough chopped into cubes. And just skip the parmsean.
gluten-free – replace croissants with about 8 slices GF bread that have been cut into chunks. You might like to substitute cream for the milk to make up for the lack of croissant butteriness (I would!).
different veg – when it’s not asparagus season I’d try broccolini, zucchini, eggplant (aubergine) or red peppers or a combo. Adjust the roasting time of the veg as needed.
carnivore – toss in some cooked sausage or crispy chopped bacon in with the chopped asparagus in step 5.
pescetarian – add some chopped smoked trout, smoked salmon, tuna or canned salmon in with the chopped asparagus in step 5.
more decadent – the first time I made this I used cream instead of the milk. It was really good!
ps. Not sure if ‘Healthy & Tasty’ can help you?
Here’s what Ruthie had to say about her purchase…
A BIG Thank You for another “can’t wait to get cooking” e-book! Have already glanced through and am inspired to start creating some culinary magic. I’m intrigued and eager to try your “Broccamole” recipe… two world’s colliding here with deliciousness!!
I also LOVE how so many of your recipes are naturally gluten free (as this is a dietary requirement for me) and that you provide variations in other recipes to suit, where possible.
Congrats on another great compilation, all the best, Ruthie :)’
Ruthie, ‘Healthy & Tasty’ Owner.
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