Fruit and vegetables are insanely under-rated. Too often, they are considered by people - cooks included – to be a necessity rather than the centre-piece of cooking and diet. They come as a second thought in our meal planning, as something that needs to be done quickly on the side.
So here is a suggestion for 2018 - rather than deciding to go gluten-free or on a juicing diet that will leave you run down and depressed, how about making fruit and veg the stars of your diet?
Rebalancing your nutrition to include more vegetables will help with weight management, energy levels and the overall health of everything from your microbiome to your immune system. And the good news is that you needn’t ever feel hungry. Your enjoyment of food can actually increase – I have some gorgeous vegetable recipes on my blog for you to check out.
I began to get a new respect for vegetables when I confronted the perceptions I had about food. I realised I’d been programmed to believe that a steak, a chocolate bar or a slice of cake were nicer than anything else. But are they? Actually, I get far more pleasure eating a well prepared salad than a cookie.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a diet based solely on fruit and veg - our body needs carbs, proteins, fat and a wide range of vitamins and minerals that are not available (or barely) at the greengrocers. But I am challenging people to focus on eating more vegetables, and to experience them in their most exalted state: stop steaming or boiling them! Instead, try roasting and sautéing, or turn them into a hearty soup, a gorgeous gratin, a well-dressed salad or a tasty tart. Make them the centre-piece of you meal (and serve some fish or an egg on the side).
So choose seasonal produce: beetroot, cabbage, spring green, blood oranges, apples – cook them; and savour them!
If you are looking for inspiration, I am running two cooking sessions that you might find interesting:
17th Jan - the Art of Soup
7th February - Cooking with Winter Veg & Fruit
(All cooking session programme available here)
Happy 2018, everyone!