For as long as I can remember I’ve been a firm believer in the notion that super healthy does not often translate to super delicious. I’ve always been skeptical of health-centric restaurants and recipes. My eyes roll back into my skull so hard whenever an overly enthusiastic green juice slurping foodie tells me that “steamed spaghetti squash is a great replacement to pasta. I can barely taste the difference.” I beg to differ!
Even while traveling to destinations known for fresh and healthy dishes I find myself compensating with calories on my plate. I can’t help but giggle as I recall raving for the nutritious meals I’ve enjoyed in the Middle East. A plate full of fresh fattoush, tabouleh and hummus is quickly obliterated by deep fried (addictive) falafel and aromatic (read: perfectly fatty) spiced shawarma.
This year I’m determined to transform my poor eating habits of the past by shaking the notion that a plate of healthy can’t be enjoyable all on its own. I jumpstarted my new health kick by reading through Super Clean Super Foods (DK Publishing, 2017) cover to cover.
With 350 easy ways to enjoy 90 nutrient-filled foods for turbocharged meals, this unique, comprehensive illustrated guide explores the incredible health properties of each super food and even includes tips on how to maximize its health benefits.
From quinoa and chia seeds to spinach and pomegranate, Super Clean Super Foods shows you how to incorporate each one into your everyday dishes, along with colourful illustrations that teach you how to prepare unfamiliar ingredients. You can even work toward specific goals with food plans to boost energy, limit jetlag, bid farewell to insomnia and nourish your skin.
When most families gather for the holidays they enjoy an all out calorie binge while nibbling on squares, cookies and whipped cream topped tarts. This Christmas I challenged my family to join me on my Super Clean Super Food adventure. I spent several days preparing a selection of dishes inspired by the book, curious to see if I’d get a thumbs up or thumbs down.
The results were dazzling! I even shocked myself, blurting out after my first few bites, “this actually tastes delicious!” Everyone at table smacked their lips, asked to steal my recipes and surprisingly there wasn’t a deep fried delight or carton of cream in sight.
Breakfast: Yogurt and Oatmeal Power Bowl
I combined two of my favourite breakfast staples and topped them with with a variety of nuts, seeds and fruits to offer an addictive power bowl worth waking up to. My go-to breakfast bowl features organic oatmeal, greek yogurt, smoked almonds, dried mango, pumpkin seeds, blueberries, strawberries and a whisper of maple syrup.
Health Benefits: oatmeal (hearth health, cancer prevention), seeds (immune boost, skin health), almonds (bone strength), berries (brain power, blood health), yogurt (disease prevention, digestive health)
Lunch: Roasted Squash and Barley Salad
This salad is based on whole-grain pearl barley, which is an excellent source of gut-friendly fibre and helps lower bad cholesterol. Squash provides carotenoid compounds that may help protect against cancer. There’s a great diversity in textures at play (chewy barley, soft roasted onions, crunchy kale) and the flavours truly burst with flavour. A perfect meal to make ahead and take to work as it lasts in the fridge for up to a week.
Health Benefits: barley (reduces bad cholesterol), lemon (helps maintain immune system), squash (may help protect against cancer), onions (encourage growth of gut-friendly bacteria), kale (skin health), parsley (healthy bones).
Dinner: Turkey Kofte
Turkey is high in protein and full of energy-boosting vitamins, making it the perfect base for these superfood meatballs. Serve up with a generous portion of minted citrus yogurt, which supports your immune system and gut health. A guilt-free, fresh taste of the Middle East on your plate!
Health Benefits: turkey (muscle strength), herbs and spices (aids digestion, boost your immune system), pistachio (help balance cholesterol), yogurt (helps maintain gut health), pomegranate (may help fight cancer).
Dessert: Coconut and Mango Chia Pudding
A deliciously creamy dessert, this pudding is based on magnesium and fibre-rich chia seeds, which support your circulatory and nervous system. Added mango offers cancer-fighting phytochemicals.
Health Benefits: mango (may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer), chia seeds, chia seeds (help keep your heart and nervous system healthy), coconut (digestive health, energy balance).