I love a big salad bowl packed with nourishing things and making one bowl to share is now one of my favourite thing to do (check out this bowl too). I was never one to separate foods but would revel in making big wild tossed salads, like this, or this, which I still do love so much, but now I’ve embraced food grouping too, in an organic way. This prebiotic nourish bowl is very social, you can choose what you want and leave what you don’t (I want everything!), which is especially friendly to Dan who has a lot of icky reactions to food combinations. Like the apple in this salad, I just love it with the pickled cabbage and carrot, if it was all mixed up Dan would pick it out, or not be able to eat it at all and it’d ruin the meal for him. I remember when I was a child I would pick out every piece of cooked onion until my meal was cold, and in parallel Dan was doing the same thing in his home (our poor parents!). Though I have to avoid many foods because of intolerances, I’m really not a ‘fussy’ person (actually I think often the term fussy is so unhelpful), though I can at times be a bit psychological about food, which I’m trying to overcome. Like if I think something is past its best it’s tainted in my mind, when in fact it’s probably okay. Maybe because my tummy is so easily upset I am very wary of foods that can upset me. Dan is still very sensitive to textures, I’m a lot less so but still a bit so. Is everyone?
Everyone’s relationship to food is different, it layers over time too, it’s complicated. A lot of the time I find it is very psychological and most issues can be overcome, in time, or at least tamed. I used to feel icky about fermented food. I feel nauseous very easily and increasingly often, just at the idea of something. Like when I first bought tempeh (fermented tofu), I was completely horrified at how mouldy it was and it took a good few times of cooking it to get past that. Now I love it (I’ve got some great tempeh burgers/ bangers in the pipeline!).
Anyway, I do think it’s interesting to discuss such things because so many people do have different feelings about food, at different times in their life too, it’s such a vast subject. A lot of people have control issues about food and under eat, and even more have over-eating problems. Do share your story in the comments or contact me. There is so much shame attached, self-shame, shaming from people we know and don’t know. We must pool our experience without feeling a scrap of shame.
Fingers up free therapy session for anyone who says anything different, what self-hatred issues lurk under their surface unable to be expressed? It’s sad. Compassion and understanding is paramount to being a human being, not being judgemental.
The most helpful thing I have found is to eat food you respect, and that treats you well. I love the organic fruit and vegetables I get in my box, I love any herbs and spices, I love the whole foods we eat, the nuts and seeds, the pseudo-grains, the rooibos tea and chicory cup, the nut milks, cocoa and cacao, dates… (right I’ll stop there I could go on and on!!). Eating nurturing foods helps you have a more mindful relationship to food. The anti-inflammatory food I eat makes me as well as I can be and slows the decline in my health a great deal and in many ways improves it. I am grateful to it, and that’s mostly because my life has forced me to be and that’s a good lesson learned I think. Eat gorgeous food like this prebiotic nourish bowl and take care of yourself and those you share it with.
If our societies are not nurturing us (we’re still reeling from the UK referendum and the nightmare just gets worse very day), then we must nurture each other and ourselves. We must fight for what we believe is right and lead by example. Fate takes it’s twists and turns, we cannot see the future and the lessons that will be learned. Share good healthy food that will nourish and heal. Buy ethically, and share the love.
The fermented white miso in the dressing is prebiotic, and the raw asparagus ends, chicory leaves and spring onion known as probiotic. Quinoa is a complete protein, with omega 3 and 6, it’s light and nutritious and just perfect for a summer salad.
A FEW WORDS ON GUT HEALTH
Part of my difficult health is that I pick up every bug that’s about and so have virus after virus, which on top of everything else is grueling and makes my type 1 diabetes far harder to control. What is the solution? Well I don’t think there is a total solution but help is to be found in improving my gut health which has a particularly rough time of it because I am a coeliac. Many people these days are in a similar situation. Stress suppresses our immune system, antibiotics strip our microbiome, high sugar diets lead to yeast infections and an overabundance of harmful bacteria (SIBO). A diet lacking in prebiotic vegetable fibres is not nourishing our gut health, and so it goes on. We can nourish our microbiome and so our immune system and general health through eating fermented probiotic foods (and taking probiotic supplements), and by eating fibrous prebiotic foods that nourish and increase populations of good bacteria in the gut. More and more these days this is my whole focus (I take a while to build up steam but I am getting there!), as I realise how vital my gut health is. I have known this for years, but again, it takes a while for the penny to drop, fully. I never take antibiotics, but last year for the first time in many years I had to, and I noticed a definite further weakening of my immune system. Scientists are starting to take it all seriously and so gut health is a big topic right now and long may that continue.
I also learned an interesting thing recently from a BBC documentary (it’s been known for a few years now), that people prone to being overweight are lacking a microbe that people prone to being slim have, and so our awareness of the important influence of our microbiome increases and the plot thickens…
GET ME THAT MICROBE!!!
A balanced diet of whole foods, fruit, vegetables, fermented foods, pulses, seeds and nuts is what we need to be as well as we can be. This means different things for different people ultimately but if you eat such a diet you’re not provoking illness, which is so important. If you eat too many processed foods, too many acidic inflammatory foods, then you are baiting ill-health. It’s easy to do, and not as difficult to change as you may feel either. Go for it!!! There’s a whole world of delicious wholesome food out there that will make you feel more alive. Eat a gorgeous and varied mixture of flavourful and nurturing things and treat yourself well ♥
- apple, I like a sweet tart British variety best
- spinach leaves
- chicory leaves
- pickled red cabbage (recipe below)
- spring onions
- ripe avocado
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- Medium sized onion
- olive oil
- 1 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup of peas
- 4 tsp white miso
- 2 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
- 6 tbsp raw cider vinegar
- good salt to taste
- 2+ tbsp natural sugar/ combo of natural sugar and stevia
- large squeeze of lemon juice
- 4 tbsp good olive oil
- add walnuts or toasted seeds for extra crunch and protein
- mint or another herb in the dressing would be delicious
Rinse the quinoa and add to a pan with the salted water, bring to a boil and leave on a low heat to simmer for 15 mins with the lid on. Add the peas with a few minutes left then take off the heat and leave to absorb the remaining moisture.
Finely chop and saute the onion in a dash of olive oil and salt, leaving it covered on a low heat for 10-15 mins or so to soften and sweeten, stirring occasionally.
Combine the cooled quinoa and peas with the onion and season to taste.
Combine the dressing ingredients, stirring well, and give it a good stir before serving.
Shred cabbage and add to a clean jar or mason jar with a mixture of vinegar (I use raw cider vinegar as it is so health-boosting and probiotic) natural sweetness such as agave syrup (about 4 tbsp for a 350ml mason jar) and a tsp or so of salt. Make sure the cabbage is covered in the liquid. You can top it up with water if you like but then you must keep it in the fridge. You can also add spices, if you eat chile that would be delicious, or fennel seeds too. It starts to take on the pickled flavour after a few days and is best after a few weeks or more. Keep in the fridge and it keeps indefinitely. You can reuse the vinegar for more pickling or use it in salad dressings.
Snap off the woody part of the asparagus, bring a pan of salted water to a rolling boil, add the asparagus, woody end first leaving the tips out. Simmer for a few minutes, depending on the thickness of the stalks, submerge the tips in briefly and then drain and run under cold water. Wash, dry and arrange the salad leaves, pickled cabbage and freshly grated apple (if leaving out for a while squeeze on a little lemon juice to prevent discolouring). Top and tail the spring onions and chop into thirds. Peel and chop the avocado and pour on the dressing on the plate (or bowl).
I haven't been specific with the amounts of salad fruit and vegetables as it depends on how many people you are serving and what you like etc. The dressing serves about 4.
SONG OF THE WEEK… Billy Bragg ‘Which Side Are You On’