If you looked at my diet history, at first glance you may not think I would have much wisdom to impart on the subject of sensible eating.
At age 12, with the dreams of turning my sporty physique (I say sporty now, I thought it chunky then) into something that resembled my more ballerina-like sister, I went on my first diet. I figured that if I ate a piece of dry toast for breakfast, an apple for lunch and vegetables for dinner, I’d slim those muscled legs down in no time. This spiralled into anorexia for several years, then bulimia, then back to anorexia, back to bulimia, a stint of binge eating and suddenly I was 25 years old.
You’d think that maybe someone who wanted to limit every morsel that went into their mouth would not like food but I’m the complete opposite. I LOVE to cook, shopping for fresh ingredients is as good as perusing for shoes, I walk into bakeries and take photos of their displays just because I think they’re so beautiful and I’m fascinated with how nutrition affects your body, can even heal it.
So after years of learning what not to do, I’ve spent the last five years reversing all of those terrible habits. That’s not to say I don’t still enjoy the odd chocolate pig-out, eating an extra helping of pasta or finishing a bottle of wine all by myself, but for the most part, I’ve learnt moderation. And now comes the exciting bit. Now that food is just food (rather than my nemesis), I devour all the information I can on what are the best foods to put into your body to make it perform at its very best. But food isn’t just fuel people! Having redeveloped my tastebuds after years of either denying them any flavour or overloading them with sugar and salt, the food I eat now better taste DAMN good!
Below is one of my favourite recipes and I’ll always update you with new finds. They will always have fabulous whole, fresh ingredients, will be simple to make, give you long lasting energy, have loads of nutrients and essential oils that will make your skin glow, are pretty low cal / low fat and, yep, taste frickin’ excellent.
Lean, Green, Fighting Machine salad
Fresh herbs of your choice (I like mint, basil, thai basil and oregano.)
Rocket or baby spinach or both
Pepitas (pumpkin kernels)
Green pasta (fettuccine is good but so is a good quality green tortellini or ravioli)
Cheese of your choice (I like low fat fetta or ricotta or a creamy, soft, salty goat cheese)
Wash all your herbs and greens and tear into bite sized pieces and put into a big bowl. Add chopped avocado and pepitas and crumble or dollop through the cheese.
Cut broccolini into small pieces and steam or cook in the microwave until tender. Slice up the mushrooms and either steam as well or pop in the frying pan with some olive oil for a few minutes. Cook pasta and drain too.
Add all hot ingredients to the cold ones and gently mix together. The heat from the cooked pasta and veges will bring out the flavour of the torn herbs mmm delish!
Finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Optional – add a dash of balsamic vinegar and some chilli flakes. If you want to make this a heartier meal, add some chicken, prawns or tuna.
P.S. I had the pleasure of spending some time with the gorgeous and clever Sophie Dahl recently. Now there is a gal who has had an interesting relationship with food too. Read more in her book ‘Ms Dahl’ Voluptuous Delights‘. We were chatting about the raw food diet which sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d tried when she was living in New York and working as a model. She said that living on fresh produce, nutmilk and avocados gave her the most stunning skin but the vast quantities of fat in the diet certainly didn’t help in giving a svelte figure. Going out for dinner would have been a bitch too (unless we’d found that raw food restaurant that Samantha so enjoyed in Sex and the City Ah, Smith Jarret). Anyway, this salad has all of the good stuff that’ll give you good skin but unless you have 20 bowls of it every day for a month or pour in a whole bag of pepitas, you won’t stack on the kgs.
P.P. S. Best thing I ever did was grow a small herb garden on my balcony, even if it’s just mint, basil and oregano. Saves you from having to buy little bunches all the time that you use a few leaves from and then watch grow limp in your fridge. Mint is also perfect for mohitos, lychee martinis, Moscow mules, punch, white wine spritzers…
P.P. P. S Remembering to water the herb garden is harder than making the above recipe.