Plant Based Diets

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Vegan, Vegetarian, Flexitarian, Pescatarian & Macrobiotic DIETS

As a food consultant and nutritionist focusing on plant based diets, I’m delving into the world of all things foodie as I provide a simple low down on the various different types of plant based diets. Maybe you are already following one of them, or maybe you’re considering making a change to the way you approach food in your daily life? Whatever your reasons, I’m here to help you along your journey.

Vegan

Veganism is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products and all other animal-derived ingredients. Many vegans also do not eat foods that are processed using animal products, such as refined white sugar and some wines. The term vegan refers to either a person who follows this way of eating, or to the diet itself. The word vegan can be an adjective used to describe a food item, as in, “This curry is veganor, it can be used as a noun, as in, “Vegans like cakes, too.”

Vegans do not eat meat of any kind and also do not eat eggs, dairy products, or processed foods containing these or other animal-derived ingredients such as gelatin (as opposed who vegetarians, who typically eat dairy products and eggs). Many vegans also refrain from eating foods that are made using animal products that may not contain animal products in the finished process, such as sugar and some wines. There is some debate as to whether certain foods, such as honey, fit into a vegan diet.

Image from Rise of the Vegan

Image from Rise of the Vegan

Vegetarian

When most people think of vegetarians, they think of lacto-ovo-vegetarians: People who do not eat beef, pork, poultry, fish, shellfish, insects or animal flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products are lacto-ovo vegetarians (“lacto” comes from the Latin for milk, and “ovo” for egg). This is the most common type of vegetarian.

Lacto-vegetarian is used to describe a type of vegetarian who does not eat eggs, but does eat dairy products.

Ovo-vegetarian refers to people who do not eat meat or dairy products but do eat eggs.

Lacto-ovo vegetarian, that is, a vegetarian who eats both eggs and dairy products, is the most common kind of vegetarian.

Image from The Conversation

Image from The Conversation

Flexitarian

“Flexitarian” is a term recently coined to describe those who eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but occasionally eat meat. Many people who call themselves “flexitarian” or “semi-vegetarian” have given up red meat for health reasons while others, for environmental reasons, only eat free-range or organic animals and animal products.

Flexitarian is about adding new foods to your diet as opposed to excluding any, which can be extremely beneficial for health. These plant-based foods include lentils, beans, peas, nuts and seeds, all excellent in protein!

Image from BBC Good Food

Image from BBC Good Food

Microbiotic

The macrobiotic diet, revered by some for its healthy and healing qualities, includes unprocessed vegan foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and allows the occasional consumption of fish. Sugar and refined oils are avoided. Perhaps the most unique qualifier of the macrobiotic diet is its emphasis on the consumption of Asian vegetables, and sea vegetables, such as seaweed.

Image from BBC Good Food

Image from BBC Good Food

Pescatarian

The word “pescatarian” is used to describe those who steer clear from eating all meat and animal flesh with the exception of fish. Although the word is not commonly used, more and more people are adopting this kind of diet, usually for health reasons or as a stepping stone to a fully vegetarian diet.

Image from Bio TRUST

Image from Bio TRUST

Chemo Aftercare

As you get over your battle with the big C, you may be concerned about the possible side effects of chemotherapy; you are not alone. Many people worry about how chemotherapy will affect their bodies, but there are things you can do to stay healthy and reduce these issues.

Ensure you get all the vitamins, minerals and nutritional goodness from your food with a balanced diet

Ensure you get all the vitamins, minerals and nutritional goodness from your food with a balanced diet

Chemotherapy can change the way your body uses food. Eating well can make you feel better and keep you strong for the remainder of your treatments. Different types of nutrition can help with various parts of chemotherapy.

As a food consultant specialising in plant based diets working across the UK and around the globe (mainly the USA, Europe and UAE), I am here to help you on your road to recovery through the right types of food.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more, feel free to get in touch, I’m here to help. In the meantime, feel free to take a look at how each type of food can help you stay healthy.

Proteins help repair your body tissues and keep your immune system strong. As such, protein is especially important for those who are battling cancer. With this in mind, it is important to improve your protein intake to better meet the increased demands that your body requires while on chemo, radiation and/or immuno-therapies.

Here I advocate for a plant-based diet. This does not necessarily mean vegetarian, but it does reduce our reliance on meat and animal based products. The reason is because large intakes of animal products and red meat may result in elevations in a hormone, called IGF-1 that leads to inflammation.

Vegetarian proteins are hands-down the healthiest and least expensive sources. of protein.

Beans and lentils- Legumes are powerhouses of nutrition, indeed that we simply just do not eat enough of! They're healthy for our guts, reduce risk of chronic disease, promote healthy weight, maintain energy and heart health. 

Nuts and seeds- Nuts and seeds are not only healthy sources of good protein, but they're also loaded with essential minerals and healthy fats. Don’t forget because they are so nutrient-dense, you only need a small portion. Loaded with fibre, antioxidants and phytochemicals, nuts and seeds are so simple to add to every day dishes. But that’s not it, they can help to reduce heart disease risk and also reduce inflammation too!

Meat- For those meat lovers out there, when purchasing meat, try to find ethically-sourced, humanely-raised, 100 percent grass-fed or at least pasture-raised beef. Also, be conscious of portion size. If you are struggling, talk to your local butchers; what animals eat affect the quality of their meat.  Alternatively, get in touch and I’ll be happy to offer a personal chef service to suit your individual needs.

Also, processed meats should be avoided as much as possible since they have been announced to be carcinogenic per the World Health Organisation.  What’s more, they are loaded with preservatives which are not necessary to your diet so steer clear of these!

Other sources include dairy products as well as fish. Fish and seafood are good sources of protein and are typically low in fat. While slightly higher in fat than other varieties, salmon packs in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce joint stiffness and inflammation.

Eating during treatment can be incredibly difficult. Some cancer patients suffer from taste changes, food aversions, nausea and odour sensitivities. If it's hard to eat natural sources of protein, you may opt for protein powders. This is fine to help supplement the diet. Here I generally recommend protein powders that do not have a lot of added ingredients. You don't need lots of added vitamins, minerals and amino acids. You don't need anything marketed to body-builders either.

Opt for vegan protein sources, like pea or hemp protein, or try whey protein, which is usually also lactose-free. Go for unflavored powders or try a bone broth. While not loaded with protein necessarily, one client of mine claimed my homemade broths had super-healing properties like collagen. Bone broth can also be hydrating and tasty so what’s there not to love?

Healthy fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, help you keep up your energy levels.

Water is the body’s natural first aid. It keeps all of your vital vitamins and minerals in balance, and it keeps every cell in your body functioning properly.

Vitamins and minerals are found in many healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. If your food intake has been altered, get in touch to discuss ways to get a balanced diet back.

Got a question or need some help in creating nutritional yet tasty post cancer treatment dishes? Get in touch to find out more. Alternatively, if you are interested in following a plant based diet and would like to explore this more, feel free to pop me an email and I’ll be in touch very soon!

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Guatemalan Tamales

Tamales are typical of Guatemalan cuisine and are essentially flavorful mixes of dough, meat, and sauces steamed in large leaves. They are perfect for food on the go as they are delicious and easy to transport. What’s more, making tamales is a fantastic way to bond with your loved ones, and even if you don’t make the full recipe, it’s a delicious dish regardless!

History

At the core of the Mayan diet; tamales have a deep history. Tamales were the fuel for their warriors and travellers; they provided food for weeks on the go. When the Spanish came to Guatemala, they introduced new flavours to the region, inspiring a mix of New World and Old World ingredients that are incorporated into tamales found in Guatemala today.

Amazingly, evidence points to tamales being consumed by the ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures. The earliest tamales were simple, made with beans and squash and roasted over a fire. When Europeans brought other ingredients such as chicken, pork, olives, raisins, and other foods to the New World, the tamales became more elaborate and varied.

As with every dish there is numerous versions of Guatemalan tamales. The differences can be found in the size, the leaves used for steaming, flavours of sweet or savoury, and the ingredients of the dough (or masa). 

Recipe

On a recent trip to Los Angeles a dear friend taught me this amazing recipe! This recipe makes 50 tamales, so you have plenty of delicious food to share with your loved ones…

Ingredients and Method

Part 1- Sauce

  • 2 bunches of coriander

  • 3 fresh by leaves

  • X2 pasilla chilli

  • 8 large red tomatoes

  • 1 ½ celery stalks

  • ¼ one large onion

  • X2 California chilli pods- deseeded

  • 1 red bell pepper

Method

  • Put all the ingredients in a pan cover with water cook for 45 min

  • Blend it when cooked

  • Add chicken stock powder

  • Put banana leaf into boiling water 15 min on each side  to soften them to fold easier

  • When they ready, cut into squares and set aside

Part 2- Sauce

  • Pumpkin seeds 120g

  • Sesame seeds 120g

  • Roast on oven tray

  • Add half of the roasted seeds in the blender

  • Half of the tomato mix above

  • 1-2 cups chicken stock

  • Cinnamon stick

  • Annatto/achiote 1 tbsp (Annatto is an orange-red condiment and food coloring derived from the seeds of the achiote tree (Bixa orellana) native to tropical regions from Mexico to Brazil.

  • 2 cloves

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp meat seasoning

  • 2 tbsp chicken stock

  • 1 tsp salt

Method

  • Blend the ingredients well

  • In a pan add 2oz butter add the blended ingredients to butter in pan and cook down/reduce

  • Towards the end 1 tbsp  chicken stock

  • 1 tsp salt

  • Cook for further 15 minutes then take off heat

  • Add chicken bouillon towards the end

  • 1 cup of veg oil in sauce when cooking

  • 50 pcs aluminium foil cut into 10 x10 inch rectangles

Assembly

  • Cut foil into squares same size as banana leaf

  • Place the square of banana leaf, washed hard spine removed and cut into 10x 10 inch rectangles- onto foil

  • Put one large spoon of rice on the leaf it serves as a base

  • Onto of the rice place chicken and sauce on-top /can put the chicken pieces in sauce before or shred it whichever you prefer

  • Garnish with peppers and raisins and prune are optional

  • Fold the top edge of the banana leaf down over the filling.

  • Bring the bottom edge of the banana leaf up over this.then fold in both sides to make a rectangular package. (Be careful not to wrap it too tightly or the filling will squeeze out.)

  • Flip the package over so it is seam side down.

  • Finally, place them in a pan with a colander so they can be steamed.

6 Superfoods to try in 2019

Superfoods are on the rise. They have boomed in popularity and are leading the way in the latest trend to sweep the UK and the globe. With the New Year in full swing, I’ve created a countdown to 6 of the top superfoods to try in 2019. They are all delicious and nutritional that you’ll feel amazing for adding these into your diet.

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Fiddleheads

Appearing once a year around Spring, Fiddleheads are the edible, coiled-up leaves of young ostrich fern plants. As their name suggests, they resemble the scroll of a beautiful violin. Fiddleheads have long been a delicacy of choice in the northeastern regions of North America from Maine to Canada, where they naturally sprout.

Pichuberry

Resembling a gooseberry, the pichuberry is being billed as a superfood. The Pichuberry has become popular throughout the world, and has many alternate names. It is commonly referred to as a gooseberry, golden berry, Peruvian cherry, and ground berry. It has many health benefits; it’s one of the most abundant sources of vitamin C available among all fruits and plants. Its vitamin C levels reach as much as 20 times of that in an orange! It is also a powerful antioxidant and is effective in boosting immunity while restoring vitality. No wonder the Incas were so strong!

Beluga Lentils

Less common than red, yellow and green lentils, Beluga lentils are a type of small, black lentil, which get their name from their resemblance to Beluga caviar. Grown in the cool, dry climates of Canada and America’s northern plain, Beluga lentils have a delicate taste and are fantastic at absorbing other flavours. What’s more, Beluga lentils are high in dietary fibre and folates. Unlike green lentils, they possess anthocyanins – the same powerful antioxidant found in dark berries like blueberries and blackberries. These antioxidants are great at preventing damage to cells by free-radicals.

Za’ atar

Za’ atar is a herb and a spice blend of ground sumac and toasted sesame seeds. It is a relative of the oregano family and native to the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean regions. The blends vary from region to region, but, generally, the flavour is nutty and herbal.

Kiwicha

Kiwicha, also known as amaranth or “mini quinoa” is a small pseudo cereal noted for its dense nutritional content.  It’s been farmed in Peru and other areas of South America for over 4,000 years and was widely used as a subsistence crop before the Spanish conquest. Kiwicha is also commonly used to prepare turrones, a popular treat made of popped kiwicha and molasses, chicha (kiwicha beer) as well as pilaf, hot cereal, snack bars and granola. Some more unique usages for popped kiwicha include its usage as a breading for meat and meat alternatives but also as filler in items like meat loaf and various quick breads and candies.

Adzuki Beans

Dried beans are often a staple in the diet of many vegetarians, and studies show that beans like the adzuki may be a main reason so many health benefits are associated with this way of eating. With their high mix of protein and fiber, adzuki beans are great for helping manage normal blood sugars. Not only are adzuki beans tasty, but they’re also loaded with disease-fighting and health-promoting antioxidants.  They can also help with weight management, a healthy heart and great if you’re looking to add more muscle.

Fruity Gelatin Shots

When collagen is processed, it becomes a flavourless, colourless substance called gelatin. After it cools it has a jelly like texture. If you are suffering from a sports injury or an athlete looking to improve your performance or prevent injury, these delicious fruity gelatin shots could be just the ticket!

Benefits

  • For athletes, fruity gelatin shots (when snacked on pre-exercise) can help improve performance and prevent injury

  • Fruity gelatine shots contain amino acids which are essential for the proper functioning of various organs as well as providing energy.

  • Gelatin shots are ideal for easing joint pain

  • They can help to improve sleep quality

  • Helps to aid weight loss

  • Can help with aiding digestive function

  • Helps control blood sugars

  • Assists with maintaining healthy bones

Ingredients

  •  Gelatine powder sachets 10g 

  • 300ml Mango/strawberry/ pomegranate /guava juice (Chosen juice must have no acid as it will break the gelatin down)

  • Other alternatives include coconut water or rose water/ orange blossom water to create unique flavours

 Method

1.     Heat 125ml of juice until it begins to bubble

2.     Add 10g of gelatine

3.     Whisk until dissolved

4.     Remove from the heat

5.     Add the remaining juice into the mix

6.     Whisk thoroughly

7.     Pour until moulds, roughly 100g shots

8.     Refrigerate overnight

Important Information

  • To be eaten first thing in the morning on an empty stomach

  • Daily dose 150-200g per day

 

Halima's Bone Broth

Inspired by a Pro Footballer struggling with regenerative issues, I created this bone broth recipe to help ease some of the pain and discomfort.

Why bone broth is fantastic for you

  • It’s better than expensive botox

  • It contains minerals and nutrients galore!

  • It makes skin plump and supple

  • Reduces cellulite

  • Helps to cushion joints

  • Provides healing for the digestive tract

  • Ideal for athletes as it’s a great way to refuel post game or activity.

Ingredients

Step 1-2

  • Veal bones 3.3kg

  • Beef ox tail 2.8kg

  • Vinegar

  • Water

Step 3-5

  • 1x bunch of celery with leaves

  • 4x large red onions

  • 5x carrots

  • 4x bulbs of garlic

  • 2x large leeks

Step 6

  •  10x black peppercorns

  • 4x bay leaves

  • 5x litres of water

Method

1.     Soak veal bones and beef oxtail in water and vinegar for 2 hours. (Vinegar helps to pull the nutrients out of the bones)

2.     Drain and then roast the bones on high heat

3.     Prep vegetables into chunky pieces, wash thoroughly (especially leeks to get rid of mud)

4.     Add vegetables to roasted bones

5.     Roast together well

6.     Add peppercorns, bay leaves and water

7.     Simmer and cook on low for 48-72 hours

8.     Skim the broth as its cooking to remove impurities and excess fat.

9.     After 72 hours, strain the broth with a large colander and remove the bones and vegetables. Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth for a second time to remove small bones and any other bits and pieces from the cooking process

Hints and Tips

  • You can use the meaty bits again for other recipes such as a chunkier stew style broth. (Stage 9)

  • Use ice cube trays to pour the broth into and freeze to use at your convenience.

  • The broth will keep up to five days in fridge.

  • Bone broth should gel when cooled; this is a sign that it has plenty of great collagen and gelatin which is beneficial to health.

Jetiquette

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Gorgeous dishes and champagne, all served to highly paid individuals is all part and parcel of the real story behind private jet dining! With a wealth of experience in the private chef industry, working with a wide range of clients including HNW individuals and families, I know firsthand how jet dining takes dining to a whole new level (quite literally!).

It should be noted that some jet owners converts their huge planes solely for private use with a hefty price-tag to match! That said, regular private jet travellers understand the limits of in-flight cooking. While at lot of passenger desire simple food, cocktail party canapés are proving ever popular too. What’s more, sandwiches and salads are also popular.

Some establishments overseas have packaging designed specifically for the private jet service such as Cipriani in New York and Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami. In remote locations it can be difficult to secure specific requests, even something as mundane as a brand and flavour of Greek yogurt, although the industry mantra is to do whatever it takes.

The best option for private jet dining is anything that doesn’t drip, and things you don’t have to twirl. It is important to remember about strong aromas. With this in mind, it’s recommended to stay well away from food like curry. You can have curry, but if you have curry, you are going to have the aroma of the curry until you land and open the cabin door!

Typically, volume is largest at breakfast and moderates at lunch, tailing off at dinner. Private jet travellers are often making multiple stops in a day. For many, when passengers get onboard for a flight, it’s their only time to eat, so a full meal is most welcome! In essence, the general rule of private jet is small portions, clean food and high quality. There are often regional menus so in-flight meals require lots of planning.

One thing that is true about the private aviation segment is the industry is always trying to do whatever it takes to accommodate the customer. It’s filling all customers’ needs on that flight to make it the best possible experience. Furthermore, catering varies widely based not only by length of travel, but who’s flying. While what’s being served may not be as luxury as one would think, a big benefit is being able to get exactly what you want.

In terms of alcoholic consumption, it’s mainly a glass or two of wine with the meal, perhaps one cocktail or more often a beer. Again, since many customers don’t plan on drinking, specific wines and spirits that haven’t been ordered aren’t always in stock. As a further impediment, caterers aren’t always licensed to sell alcohol.

In all in, flying privately does mean perks. Here’s some important things to remember when it comes to private jet dining.

Punctuality is not polite, it's crucial
Being late isn’t an excuse. Time is money and the plane needs to get up and into the air as planned. If you miss your slot, you may go hungry!

Behave as you would on a yacht
Luxury jets are likely to be bespoke in terms of decor and interior. Whatever you do, don’t cause any cause as this could prove excruciatingly expensive to repair.

Here's a tip: don't
As a gesture, if you’d like to thank your pilot this will be most welcome but don’t tip them as you would waiting staff.

Social Media
Resist taking selfies and posting them on social media. Luxury jet dining is an experience to experience, not an opportunity to take selfies.

Dress the part
If it isn't a business trip, cocoon yourself in the accepted high-net-worth travel uniform. Wear something you feel comfortable in, but dress to impress.

Table Management

Table setting. Table setting (laying a table) or place setting refers to the way to set a table with tableware—such as eating utensils and for serving and eating. The arrangement for a single diner is called a place setting. As a food consultant and food developer working across Leicester and the whole of the UK, I explain some of the most popular table settings used across the globe.

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Traditional Table Settings

When you lay a table you are creating place settings. This refers to the entire table set up and includes the glassware and cutlery and how each element is placed on the table. Table settings vary dramatically across different cultures and have altered significantly across time. In many homes, traditional table settings are used but each private home, restaurant or hotel may decide to do it their own way. One thing to note is that regardless of the table setting, the first guest is always served to the right if the host.

French Table Settings

With up to 3 guests, dishes are placed on the guest table. The main dish is placed before the guest expected to be served first. If there’s 4 or more guests, a cart otherwise known as a gueridon is used.

French Table Setting Example

French Table Setting Example

Formal Table Settings

In formal table settings, symmetry is essential. Symmetry in terms of candlesticks, place settings equally spread around the table, silverware lined up and the use of the invisible baseline for the silverware.

The table should not be overcrowded. Instead it should be effortless in terms of decoration and style.

In terms of utensils, these should be placed around 30mm from the edge of the table. All should be placed on the same invisible baseline or on the same invisible median. When it comes to eating, the diner will use the utensils from the outermost position first and then make their way inwards. Starting with the soup spoon followed by the salad fork, the dinner fork and dinner knife depending on the courses of the meal. When it comes to the knives, they are always placed with the sharp edge pointing towards the plate.

Glassware is placed an inch above the knives and will always be placed in order of use; white wine, red wine, dessert wine and water. As a general rule of thumb, no more than three silverware is ever placed on the table. That said, there’s an exception when an oyster fork is used in addition to the other forks. Liquid should always be served from the right, be it water, wine or tea! Also as most people are right-handed, sugar and milk should be served from the left.

If more than three course are planning on being served before pudding, then the cutlery for the fourth and fifth courses is brought in with the food. Likewise, the salad fork and knife might be brought out when this course is served.

With desserts, cutlery should be used. Pudding requires the use of a fork and spoon in instances of a pudding and custard, for example. Cheese is also classified as a dessert.

Formal Table Setting Example

Formal Table Setting Example

Russian Place Settings

The place setting (known as a cover) for each guest includes service plate, all necessary cutlery except those required for dessert, and stemmed glasses for water, wines and champagne.

Atop the service plate is a rolled napkin, and atop that is a place card. Above the plate is a salt cellar, nut dish and a menu. The cutlery to the right of the service plate are, from outside in:
oyster fork, soup spoon, fish knife, small knife, fish knife, large knife.

In terms of seating, guests are seated according to their place cards. Once seated they should unravel their napkin and place on their lap. Another view maintains that the napkin is only to be removed once the host/hostess has removed theirs. In the same manner, the host is first to begin eating with the guests then following on. In the Russian table setting, the host will offer to serve the guest either side his or herself.

If there’s more than 3 glasses (used in a flower shape arrangement for example), it is important to put the glasses in an anti-clockwise direction.

Directly before dessert, generally everything is removed from the place setting (except if there was any sherry, port or pudding wines) but the wine and water glasses remain.

Russian Table Setting Example

Russian Table Setting Example

American Table Settings

Breakfast and lunch are similar settings whereas dinner involves more courses and as such, more silverware. Knifes are placed with the blades facing inwards on the right and spoons and forks are placed on the left and right side.

At any one time, there should be no more than three flatware on each side of the plate. A service plate may be included and a bread and lobster plate above the fork to the left hand side. The butter knife should be placed at a right angle or parallel to the forks.

Wine glasses and goblets are placed to the top right in a triangle. If tea or coffee is requested during the meal you can place a tea or coffee cup underneath the glasses (optional). Tablecloths are typically used.

American Table Setting Example

American Table Setting Example