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This book guides cooks from all experiences on how to integrate forgotten foods and superfoods into a healthy everyday life.Share Tweet LinkedIn Embed https://pszr.co/WpQMz
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Written by qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath Melissa Gearing, From Peasants Food to Superfoods features over 100 recipes using old and new ingredients. Based on cooking for the entire family, this book guides cooks from all experiences on how to integrate healthy foods into everyday life. Using ingredients we all take for granted in the kitchen this book aims to educate people of the benefits of the food we eat and how we can use food as medicine as well as filling our tummies.
Melissa welcomes readers with an open and honest manner, telling her own story and the similar story of many clients she has seen in her private practice over the years-her inspiration for writing the book. She complements her recipes with nutritional information, personal experiences and recommendations throughout, including the reasoning for including certain ingredients and how we can nutritionally enhance even the simplest home-cooked dishes.
From Peasants Food to Superfoods explains the simplicity of food and removes much of the confusion and fear around healthy eating. Melissa takes traditional home recipes and transforms them into nutritionally dense super-meals. She uses culinary history to shape her book and educate her readers of food origins and why we ate particular foods and should continue to do so.
Rather than produce overwhelming recipes that need expensive and exclusive ingredients commonly associated with health and super foods, Melissa shows readers how they can use many of the everyday ingredients they have at home, and how to add to the pantry so this becomes the norm. Her recipes use many of the same base ingredients to make them easy for people to create without having to shop every time.
Melissa’s recipes are fresh, of our time and take into account modern tastes and trends such as fermentation and pickling as well as the use of pressure and slow cookers. She addresses common concerns of the clients she sees as well as the general public with regards to diet, health, lifestyle balance, time constraints, seasonality and cooking techniques.
For first time cooks this book offers simple, delicious and nutritionally balanced meals to whip up on a weeknight for the whole family. For the seasoned foodie, it provides over 100 innovative recipes that will excite and delight.
How the book was “born”, the story behind how it came together and the inspiration behind it.
Chapter One - My Story
Detailed narrative about my health journey, how I help people everyday navigate their health struggles and how I came to writing a book about it all.
Chapter Two - Prepare For Your Healing Journey
Summary of different superfoods and their benefits and uses.
Tips & Tricks
How to navigate cooking, shopping and choosing healthy healing foods. Great for beginners and experts alike.
The Sweet Stuff
A guide to natural sweeteners and how to reduce your sugar load.
Helpful kitchen hints to help make cooking easier and fun.
Chapter One - Fermenting & Pickling
How to guide!
Including recipes and helpful information.
Recipes include: Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and more!
Chapter Two - Braising, Boiling and Brothing
Includes section on how to enjoy meat responsibly, as well as the dos and don’ts for making broth.
Recipes include: Bone broth, brisket, poached chicken and more.
Chapter Three - Offal (is not awful)
Guide to all things offal!
Includes variety of hot and cold recipes using offal is main ingredient.
Chapter Four - Gut Gold
Focus on gut healing recipes and why they’re important.
Recipes ranging from kid-friendly marshmallows and paddle pops to gelatinous custards and desserts.
Chapter Five - Blend It
Unique healthy smoothies and options for dairy-free alternatives.
Chapter Six - Super Sides
Side dishes with a difference.
Everyday Family Meals
Chapter One - Breakfast
Simple, well-balanced recipes for a breakfast boost!
Chapter Two - Lunch
Hot and cold options for delicious health-fuelled lunches for any day of the week.
Chapter Three - Dinner
Kids meals, dinner party cook ups and easy to make curries, this section has so many options for everyone. Many of the recipes can be adapted for food sensitivities.
Chapter Four - Desserts
Yummy, nutrient-dense dessert options
Women (and men) aged 30-55, who:
A parent or career-driven individual, who doesn’t have a lot of time but wants to start eating better, perhaps tried dieting or trying to get healthy and struggled in the past, open to trying some new recipes and learning more about how to look after themselves.
After graduating as a Medical Herbalist top of her class and with a scholarship in 2011, Melissa Gearing started her successful clinical practice seeing clients one on one. She has since completed further qualifications in Nutritional Medicine and Naturopathy, as well as completed a Bachelor Degree of Health Science, in Complimentary Medicine. Mel has also become a new Mum in 2017 and undertaken a Masters degree to finalise her studies.
Releasing her second recipe book in 2017 (The Gut Blueprint), her passion for food is contagious and can make even the simplest cook into a downright foodie. When one on one in the clinic Mel aims to provide sustainable dietary changes where needed, unique to the individual, that align with each person’s desires and goals. Mel works to create plans that suit lifestyle and the entire family. She is a founding member of the WEA Academy of Complimentary Health Alumni and also teaches Herbal Medicine. Current clients will know that Mel often has final year students in her clinic and is passionate about developing and producing high quality Naturopaths that the community can rely on.
Mel now runs a private practice in the beautiful space at Verve For Life in Newcastle, seeing clients one on one throughout the week. When she is not in the clinic, teaching, writing recipe books, mentoring or kissing her beautiful bub, she can be found working on her other passion with her coach and hubby-Olympic Weightlifting.
She is passionate about prescribing herbal medicine as a tool in fighting illness and imbalance within the body. Mel aims to fuse traditional herbal medicine with current research and evidence. She believes in an integration of herbal and pharmaceutical interventions.
Social Media Statistics:
MG Herbs (business accounts) -
Instagram (@mgherbsofficial) 239 Followers
Facebook (@mgherbsaustralia) 790 likes/787 Follows
Mailing List - Clients & Online Signups
Mailing List 309 & 151 subscribers
The Naked Naturopath
- Fornightly episodes released on iTunes (in the process of moving to The Wellness Couch - thewellnesscouch.com)
PROJECTED PROMOTIONAL PLAN
(Podcast) Melissa Gearing is The Naked Naturopath, and not just because she likes to get her kit off!
Mel is passionate about stripping back the seemingly complicated advice that surrounds us in the world of health and wellness. With six years experience in health food and three clinic spaces seeing clients one on one, she is able to answer all of your health questions straight up. Mel has never been one to beat around the bush and is fast talking and acting in life, providing answers that give you the knowledge and tools to make a change.
Mel doesn't believe in fads, one-offs or short term fixes and aims to give simple, balanced and practical advice when it comes to the health of you and your family.
On this podcast, Mel will educate you on the use of herbs for healing purposes, the same way we can use food as medicine for chronic disease and preventative medicine. This is traditionally what herbal medicine was; The head of the house (usually the woman) would have an arsenal of local herbs and plants to use as medicine for her family. Mel sees this as the single best way that you can control where your health journey takes you, on an everyday basis.
The Naked Naturopath aims to educate you on how to best look after yourself and your family in the most natural way possible, to then be able to empower your community with this knowledge!
The Complete Gut Health Cookbook: Everything you need to know about how to improve yours
By Pete Evans with Helen Padarin
Pete Evans is the bestselling author of Family Food and Healthy Every Day, restaurateur, speaker, chef and authority on paleo diet. With nutritionist and naturopath Helen Padarin.
Pan Macmillan Australia, 2016
Pete’s book really is a complete guide to gut health, featuring a vast array of information on the digestion process as well as a 4-week program to healing the gut. His book also gives explanations of complex therapeutics such as leaky gut. As a health, professional I think this is fantastic, however when I work one on one with clients in clinic I see the reality of this much information can be overwhelming. My book takes a much simpler approach in introducing the idea of gut health primarily through food. I aim to educate people about the food itself, its nutrient value and how they can integrate it into their everyday lives, in easy to digest snippets with each recipe.
There is no need to become an expert on gut health as my book shows people how to create inherently gut healthy food and adjust their normal food to allow the gut to heal. Pete Evan’s utilizes beautiful ingredients and with the assistance of Naturopath Helen they feature many medicinal herbs, however these ingredients are not always easy to find of accessible to the general public.
My book aims to use everyday ingredients which many will find in their pantry or can source local supermarket or health food store. This removes much of the stress felt when trying to get in the kitchen and cook new foods, especially healthy recipes. My book aims to show it does not have to be difficult to be healthful. Finally, Pete has become an authority on Paleo diet and eating this way. For some, this is too difficult or may not suit them and their family. Many of my recipes are written with food intolerances in mind so are gluten and dairy free, and have nut and egg free options. They do not follow any set diet plan or program and have been written with all paths of eating in mind, with options given for changes if needed.
Offal Good: Cooking from the Heart, with Guts
Clarkson Potter, 2017
Cosentino has written an entire book on offal which may polarize people who find the idea of eating it difficult. I have worked offal amongst my recipes throughout the book to encourage people to try it in different ways. This book is focused on anatomy and how to cook offal.
My book includes all nutritional information on each of the offal cuts used and why it will benefit our health. I use culture and tradition to explain why we should consider moving back through time and eating offal. I also explain the environment and ethical impact that eating parts of meat we cast away will have. Many of the offal recipes in this book would be difficult to feed to the family. My book aims to introduce offal to the family in a mild way, through the use of normal family meals, for example including some in a meat pie.
Heal Your Gut: Supercharged Food
BY Lee Holmes
Murdoch Books, 2015
Lee Holmes book is primarily a step-by-step protocol for gut healing with a focus on cleansing and detoxing. Unlike my own book, this gives a very specific diet to follow which is not always suitable for the entire family. It is written for people who are likely already sick or suffering and is aimed at chronic conditions.
My book does not prescribe any protocol for eating but instead encourages people to experiment and use new whole food ingredients and recipes that all the family can eat and enjoy. It is not as strict in food restrictions and the information and advice is not isolated to gut healing. My book covers traditional and cultural food information, nutritional information and general health and dietary information. Many of the recipes in Holmes’ book are liquid based which I have tried to avoid as long term compliance and sustainability of such a diet is difficult. I have aimed to provide recipes that I hope can become family favorites and will last the test of time as they are easy, accessible.
I should start by saying I am no chef. This book has come about through my own journey with food and food intolerances and the need to share this information with my clients who were experiencing similar things. It started to grow and expand when I realized that there was a gigantic gap in what people thought was healthy and what we know is healthy, what we are being told for financial gain and what is the truth for our best health.
One of the biggest obstacles that people face when trying to change their diet is the onslaught of opinions about good and bad food. I believe there is no ‘good’ nor ‘bad’ food. Sure, there are some imposters on our supermarkets shelves pretending to be food, but when you stick to whole real food there are no enemies. The key to a balanced diet is moderation, not avoidance or restriction and simply eating the real, seasonal food that nature has gifted us.
I do not have time for strict fad diets, extremism or dogmatism. What I want to share is everyday food, to educate people that life is not all or nothing, it is a constant balance. An effort and a choice to maintain equilibrium-and that means eating cake at the party sometimes and enjoying a drink. I come from a genuine place when I give advice. I believe in what I tell my clients, I believe it is the best way to live a healthy life. I practice what I preach and I preach what I practice-I do not believe in giving a false sense of perfectionism.
I want to educate people on a way to live a simple and balanced life through the food and medicine we have been surrounded by in our environment. I believe this is the key to good health, happy minds and managing chronic conditions effectively. I hope you can use the recipes in this book and that some may even hold a coveted space on your weekly meal planner for the family.
In 2014, I went to Bali for a friend’s wedding and brought a parasite home with me. After a year and no luck killing it I was sickly, underweight, depressed and suffered constant stomach troubles, migraines and fatigue. When I finally succumbed to antibiotics (literally my life saver) I was left with 11 food intolerances and a journey of discovery as to what anaphylactic allergies I had developed.
Obviously, my diet was limited but as fellow foodies will know this does little to diminish a passion for food. And so, I started to adapt recipes and get creative in the kitchen. At first, I made complex and expensive meals with gluten and dairy free alternatives, egg replacer and faux foods. However, I soon got tired of needing an assortment of special foods just to make dinner or whip up a treat for the weekends.
From this came a return to real food (with my own twist) and a return to healthy well-balanced food. Many gluten free options are high in refined starches and sugar, many dairy alternatives are full of soy or sugar and something like egg replacer suddenly seemed ridiculous. Why not use a banana, some chia seeds or psyllium husk to hold a cake or meatball together? Using food as food and adding nutrition at the same time.
I found myself going back to recipes that my Grandparents had taught me and made for me as a child. Stews, casseroles and slow cooker meals, roasts, braised meats and curries. Eating slow cooked meals and including offal where I could, meant that I could access an array of nutrients which were already broken down so my poor tummy could absorb them. All naturally free from inflammatory foods, filling, homey and packed with fat, protein and nutrition.
My years in health food made it easy for me to start to replace simple things like nuts with seeds, eggs with chia eggs and milk with a range of seed milks and coconut milk. Along the way, I learned the value of fermented foods and developed skills in doing this at home, which I now teach all my clients and anyone else who is interested. In addition to tasting great and adding new flavors to my palate, fermented foods were key to healing the damage done to my gut by the parasite.
And then there are my clients. If I thought I had it bad I had no idea- the tummy troubles that people struggle with! Do we think it’s normal? Or is it because we have been given the diagnosis of IBS we think there is nothing more to be done? From chronic diarrhea to chronic constipation, bloating and pain after eating and then fatigue, depression and anxiety that this can cause.
I will never forget the lady who had suffered terribly with chronic stomach trouble since childhood, swinging bowels, urgency, weight gain, sharp pains and severe bloating. Only to be told there was nothing wrong and nothing to be done. She just had IBS. Working together for the last 3 years, she is now healthy, fit, strong and well with absolutely no stomach or bowel complaints. I could not be happier or prouder of all her hard work. We have now started to successfully reintroduce some of the foods which had previously caused her pain.
As I started to find wellness again and develop a tolerance to reintroduce foods, I wanted to share this way of healing through food. Of course, I am an herbalist and I use herbs and supplements as well to help heal the gut but this is short term and the goal is always to help the body find normality again. Food is long term medicine, lifestyle change and re-working how you think about food is essential.
Rather than new ideas, I find myself preaching old ways of eating and enjoying food that we have moved away from and lost throughout the many years of fat free, sugar free, low carb, fad dieting. This way of eating involves going back to our roots and how our ancestors ate. I could then integrate my knowledge of health foods and really utilize the best offerings of the super food movement.
To me, all whole foods are super foods. Whole foods are foods that come just as they are and have been, for the best part, unchanged. Think fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and many animal products. The study of nutrition and implementing a balanced way of cooking and eating really took me back to my childhood and what my grandparents cooked, ate and shared with me. Reintroducing butter and throwing away margarine, saving the lard from the cooking process and learning to prepare, cook and eat new (and old) parts of each animal.
Moving away from fast food cooking and towards slow cooking, braising and pressure cooking allows so much more nutrients to be transferred from the food to our bodies plus gives such a better flavor. It is also a wonderful way to eat for leaky gut and an easy way for kids to enjoy tougher cuts of meat. An extra bonus is that when we eat this way we save money! By eating cuts that are not as popular and using the whole animal we get better yield (so are able to feed more people) and we do not pay a premium. It is cheaper to buy one whole chicken than a few kilos of chicken breast. This allows us to afford better quality meat and move away from mass produced, feed lot animals and to stop supporting such industries.
My favorite part of all of this is being transported to my Grandad’s kitchen as a child whenever I smell offal cooking, such as kidneys or liver. Many people will screw their nose up at the idea of eating offal but as you read through the book hopefully you will see the beauty that I do in using these incredibly nutritious and delicious parts, and maybe even try them! Starting with something as simple as a steak and kidney pie is a great way to introduce new flavors to the family in a familiar and tasty way.
Eat well and be well.
All real foods are SUPER foods. The key word here is real. Real, whole foods are medicine and they all possess innate abilities to serve our bodies and communicate with our cells in their own unique way. There have been many foods in the last few years that have been touted as ‘superfoods’ and it has become a word associated with expensive, hard to pronounce and alternative health foods. However, we have always known that oats give us energy and beetroot makes us poop. We may not have known exactly why, and we didn’t think of them as super, they are just everyday foods that we eat to help keep us full and make us feel like we can face the day. There is a huge difference between margarine and butter. One is a real food, and one has been dreamed up in a lab and has a nice yellow colour added in the end to make it resemble its counterpart.
Here is a list of some of the amazing superfoods that are used in the book, and some extras to get you started. One of my aims in writing recipes is to ensure that you can whip something up at home out of everyday ingredients. Do not underestimate the power of your meat and veg combinations. However, there are some extra little things that can make it easier for you to get more nutrients and they become especially important if you are unwell or trying to achieve a health goal.
If you have any kind of gut complaint, from a leaky gut to food allergies & intolerances, it can be as simple as adding some good quality gelatin to your pantry. Once you are comfortable with using this you may like to try some hemp seeds in a smoothie. Whatever you do, don’t feel like you have to have a health food shop at home. Just start with a few little things, allow them to become the norm (if you like them), and add to your journey as you go. If you don’t like it there is no need to force it down or upon the kids. As you can see there are many different super foods and this list is certainly not exhaustive. Many of the properties also overlap so get through the bag or give it away if you do not like it and try something different next time.
Almonds are high in magnesium, calcium, protein and good fats. These super nuts are the perfect addition to the diet for recovery. They also keep you full and help stabilise blood sugar levels as they are slow burning fuel for your body. A tasty addition to an afternoon fruit or veg snack to help make the energy from other foods last longer.
Acai is full of anthocyanins, flavonoids, anti-ageing pigments, lots of minerals and vitamins, as well as omega-3, 6 and 9. It is a super powerful berry and is loaded with 19 amino acids, 30% fibre, and monosaturated fats. It also has low GI and low sugar, making it a heart-healthy essential.
Banana is rich in potassium but what does that mean? It means that they can help reduce high blood pressure and risk of stroke as potassium helps to stop hardening of the arteries. Banana can also help reduce reflux as its works like an antacid so is great for gut healing. They are also jammed with energy so are perfect for a pre-workout snack or if you are just on the go and need a pickup. A perfect component of an energy smoothie!
Beetroot is full of nitric oxide, which relaxes the blood vessels and increases oxygen circulation in the blood. It is perfect for those with high blood pressure. Beetroot is also great for detoxifying the liver so it can assist with weight loss goals and cleansing. As a vasodilator, it can also be used as nature’s Viagra for the boys.
Carrot is full of the powerful antioxidant beta carotene which is super important for good skin, so it will help to clear any blemishes and also supports your immune system. Carrots also reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer with this amazing antioxidant, fighting free radicals in the body. Of course, it’s still great for eyesight as we all know as well!
Chia Seed is the ultimate seed and is thought to be the most nutritious food in the world. We now grow the majority of chia here in Australia in the Kimberley’s. Full of omega 3, 6 and 9, antioxidants, protein, calcium, protein, magnesium and fibre, these little miracle seeds are anti-inflammatory, blood sugar balancing, satiating and great for detoxing the gut and bowels. Easy to throw into a smoothie or sprinkle on top of salads.
Cocao is a natural antidepressant and stress reliever! Cacao is full of antioxidants which keep our mind sharp and our skin young. Plus, it’s the highest magnesium food in the world which is important in preventing cramps and headaches (hence why we girls crave it around our cycles!) as well as helping with stress and anxiety. It is the most mineral rich superfood, and is energising and mood enhancing since it increases serotonin levels in the brain (our feel-good chemical). It has almost double the ORAC value (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) as acai berry and is rich in polyphenols to help reduce cholesterol and support heart health.
Coconut is the ultimate fat. It keeps us full, satiated and helps stabilise blood sugar levels as it is slow burning fuel for your body. Coconut is also antimicrobial so is perfect for keeping any nasty bugs at bay. It will help keep your mind switched on fighting brain fog and is great for your hair, skin and nails as well!
Coconut Oil is a rich source of super good saturated fats (90%) which are medium chain triglycerides. This means that they are metabolised uniquely and can actually help to burn fat when eaten by increasing the calories you burn. This oil is also antimicrobial so can help kill pathogens in the body and on the skin as well. It will keep you full and reduce hunger and sugar cravings.
Flaxseed/Linseed are the same thing! These little seeds are full of oily fibre which is a prebiotic, and they assist the bowels to move well. They also provide a beautiful balance of omega 3 and protein, as well as many micronutrients, and are one of the oldest seeds in the world.
Ginger is warming, encouraging the blood to move around the body. It is also anti-inflammatory and can assist with pain, cramps, cold hands and feet, and arthritis. A little ginger each day can assist in healing a leaky gut as well.
Goji Berry is the ultimate berry! They are unlike any other berry as they are full of protein, including 18 essential amino acids. Plus, more beta carotene than our carrot friends, high vitamin C, B2, A, iron and selenium. Gojis are also full of antioxidants which are great for the skin and in preventing cancer.
Golden Berries are full of vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre and calcium. They have a high protein count and are a good source of bioflavonoids (vitamin P). Gobble these straight up, or add to trail mix, fruit cakes, muffins and more.
Hemp is full of chlorophyll, all 8 essential amino acids, essential fatty acids-omega 3 and gamma-linolenic acid. High in iron, magnesium and zinc, it is a great source of plant protein. It is easy to digest and is alkaline to help balance hormones, as well as provides full amino acid profile, is high in minerals, and easy to absorb. Note: hemp seeds DO NOT contain THC.
Himalayan Salt is an amazing substitute for avoiding refined salt. This is most important due to the additions of nasty chemicals and bleaching that can be found in your average table salt. Pink salt helps to balance electrolytes in the body so that you hydrate better while providing a huge array of micronutrients. It also has healing properties and is known for its effect on allergies, sinus and asthma. It aids in nutrient absorption and helps to reduce fluid retention, and maintains an acid-alkaline balance in the body. Plus, it contains over 84 minerals!
Kale will assist with liver detox and fat metabolism, like most leafy greens. It also has the added benefit of being jammed with so many nutrients that it has been dubbed a superfood in its own right. It is full of vitamins and minerals including the ever elusive and always needed magnesium.
Lucuma contains carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. It is loaded with antioxidants such as beta carotene and complex carbs, fibre, B3, zinc, magnesium and iron. With a creamy citrus flavour, not only does it smell delicious, it can also be used as a low GI subtle sweetener and as a natural flavouring.
Maca is high in iron, iodine, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, and vitamins B1, B2, C, and E. It is full of amino acids and plant sterols which improve immune system and lower cholesterol. Maca is an energy food, and a powerful adaptogen. It can help enhance energy without being a stimulant. It is also able to increase libido and energy, and help decrease chronic fatigue, anxiety and stress, as well as enhancing fertility by normalising the hormones testosterone, progesterone and estrogen. Perfect in smoothies with nuts and seeds, and sweet fruits like banana and dates due to its malty, earthy flavour that varies from butterscotch to radish-like depending on what it is accompanying.
Maqui contains anthocyanins, antioxidant levels 3 times higher than acai, vitamin C, has higher ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) levels than any other fruit discovered, is high in vitamin C, low in sugar, and one for one contains 10 times the amount of antioxidants in a blueberry. Add it to smoothies, juices, cereals, water, and yoghurt. It has a mild flavour and cannot be tasted in smoothies but gives a vibrant and intense violet colour.
Mesquite has a great mineral profile including significant calcium and magnesium, high lysine, low GI (25), and high protein, making it a wonderful diet addition to keep full for longer or help with muscle recovery. It can also be used to assist weight loss by adding it to shakes.
Quinoa is high in lysine, manganese, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, vitamin E and B6, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine. This little grain has more calcium than milk, as well as antioxidants, fibre, and iron. It is high in unsaturated fats, low carb and low GI. Quinoa is a complete food and high in protein, full of vitamins, gluten/wheat free, and cholesterol free. Quinoa grains make a perfect substitute for rice, quinoa flakes can be used in place of oats, and quinoa flour is wonderful for gluten-free baking.
Spirulina is nature’s multi vitamin. Spirulina is jam packed with nutrients and helps the body to detox any heavy metals, as well as kill off any pathogenic bugs. It also improves energy and may assist with weight loss as is it so nutrient-dense.
Turmeric is the ultimate anti-inflammatory food! Turmeric works in every part of the body to reduce inflammation. It can also move out excess fluid and encourages huge detoxing from the liver so that all toxins are sent out of your body. This may assist with weight loss goals as well.
Vegetable Protein Powder. Although I am the biggest fan of a real food approach I do believe that good quality food based protein powder has a place. Rather than get pea or rice or another type of single plant based protein, look for a blend. Protein is essentially a chain of links we call amino acids. When we look at amino acids from animal sources such as eggs and meat, they are complete. This means they have all of the links in the chain. Plant proteins are often incomplete, missing a link or two. This means that they do not serve the body with a whole protein and therefore do not function as well in the body. This is why teaming foods together is important for vegetarians, or adding an animal product such as cheese or milk. Combining the right foods will deliver a complete protein from plant bases, such as eating almonds, brazil nuts and cashews all together. This can be done with plant protein powder as well. By using rice and pea protein, and adding some extra goodies such as chia and linseeds, it is a beautiful protein source. This is a much easier source of protein for the body to utilise than whey protein powder.
Tips & Tricks
The best start to a gut healing journey, or any food journey, is to ensure that we are using the highest quality ingredients possible, as often as possible. This means buying organic or chemical free produce whenever we can, looking at what our animals are fed, questioning faux foods in the supermarkets, and reading ingredient labels whenever we buy packaged food.
Here are a few extra tips to help get you started:
- Head to your local markets- here you will find an array of fresh produce, grown by local farmers in the best way they can. The fruit and veg will also be seasonal which is very important for our primitive selves as the right food at the right time of year will help determine our weight, hormone production and mood.
- Find a good quality butcher- start asking where your meat has come from, what it was fed and how it lived. Choose grass fed meat over organic as the cattle can still be fed organic grain such as corn and soy.
- Buy organic where possible- but keep in mind organic certifications are very expensive so if its grown locally and ethically this is still a great choice. The low chemical produce from the markets will likely be better quality, better tasting and longer lasting than the organic section at the supermarket.
- Stop refrigerating everything- try and keep your fresh produce out of the fridge where possible (except for leafy greens) as it will retain much better flavour as it ripens. In winter, I often leave curries and stews out overnight after dinner or preparing as they develop in flavour immensely.
- I have mentioned canned food in this book. There are some foods that do well in a can and others that do not. Firstly, always buy organic canned food. Ensure the can itself is BPA free and make sure there is nothing extra added. For example, chickpeas in a can are great and super convenient but they should only have chickpeas and water (maybe some salt), no sugar, no numbers, no extracts. When using canned beetroot, it nearly always has sugar in it so try to buy fresh.
- Avoid fortified salts such as those with added iodine and never use salts that are pure white as they have likely been chlorinated. Use natural salts instead, such as Himalayan salt or Celtic sea salt.
The Sweet Stuff
A quick guide to reducing cane sugar in your life and utilizing other sweeteners for best flavor and baking outcomes. It is nice to have a few sweet options on hand as they give different end results in taste and offer unique health benefits.
White sugar can be replaced by granulated stevia, xylitol, coconut sugar, or rapadura using a 1:1 ratio, although I often only use half the amount of sweetness given in an old recipe as I find this is often sweet enough. In recipes that call for liquid sweeteners, rice malt syrup, honey, maple syrup, and agave are interchangeable.
Stevia is 30 times sweeter than sugar and has no effect on blood sugar levels, no calories and has been attributed in some studies to aiding pancreas and improving digestion.
1 cup sugar = 1 tsp liquid stevia
1 tbsp sugar = 6-9 drops liquid stevia
1 tsp sugar = 2-4 drops liquid stevia
Some helpful hints when using different sugars
Xylitol will not be as sweet but you tend to get used to it quickly. It can be used in place of sugar in any recipe that doesn’t require the sugar to break down into liquid form - it is impossible for xylitol to caramelise even at an extremely high temperature or when cooked at length.
Beware some Sugar alcohols such as Xylitol and Erythritol are often extracted from corn or wheat but and can have gastrointestinal side effects such as bloating and diarrhoea, plus they can also be bleached with chlorine.
Dextrose needs extra wet ingredients, so you can add an extra egg. Do not over-beat it, and do not let it burn.
Coconut sugar and rapadura are great for replacing brown sugar as they have a stronger flavour and a caramel colour and texture. They can be over powering in light baking, such as a sponge cake, but work great for banana bread or sticky date pudding.
Honey will give a honey taste as well as the sweetness. Raw unprocessed honey is a natural, wholefood. It contains chromium, a mineral important for balancing blood sugar levels, and is antimicrobial.
Rice malt syrup or Brown rice syrup will just add sweetness. Made from fermented cooked rice, a blend of complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose, it is fructose free. Said to be slow releasing, it will however still raise blood sugar levels and has a GI of 94.
Agave can come in light, dark, and raw. The darker the colour, the more caramel-like the flavour will be. Light agave just adds sweetness.
When using natural sweeteners, remember to always keep the end product in the fridge and don’t keep for too long as sugar is a preservative but these are not.
When using oil, there are a few options with slight differences:
Coconut oil and ghee are great for high heat cooking. Extra virgin olive oil has a stronger flavour and lower smoke point, making it good for dressings, marinades, sauces and low-heat cooking. Avocado oil is lightly flavoured, and carries other flavours well. It has a very high smoke point. Nut oils (almond, hazelnut, macadamia, peanut, pecan, walnut) are great but only certain nut oils can be used for cooking. Macadamia and peanut, for example, have high smoke points, but walnut oil should only be used in dressings.
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