Easy Dal

I had a comfort food craving on a bright winter’s day and this was the answer. I took some serious shortcuts but still got a good result.

In a saucepan, I put a little oil and fried gently a big spoon of grated ginger (from a jar) and two big spoons of curry paste for a couple of minutes. I used madras curry paste but anything would do.

Once the pastes were combined and fragrant, I added a 500g/1lb bag of mung dal. These are tiny split lentils that do not need to be pre-soaked. A kettle of boiling water went in and I simmered gently with a lid on for an hour or so, adding more water and stirring as needed.

Delicious as is and easily spruced up more with some coriander (cilantro), a dollop of butter or ghee or some thick Greek yoghurt with salt and cucumber. I can eat this morning, noon and night. The ultimate comfort food… 



One Month Off The Sugar Drug

IMG_2230I made it through the Christmas holidays without cracking for sugar.  It was a pretty quiet time and I ate a LOT of cheese. It’s now been over a month since I gave sugar the boot for the third – and hopefully the last – time.

First time around, I quit for two years, losing 25 kilos in the first year. Then I tried moderation which failed horribly. Five kilos crept back on. I’m not that bothered about the extra weight as it stabilised at five kilos. But I don’t like that I’m not getting exercise, sleeping enough or getting enough whole foodie nutrients. I feel tired.

I looked back over the blog and I’m inspired by some of the dishes I created in the last years. My Vegan Protein Box, the Oh-be-joyful platter, named after a Colorado mountain, and my Creamy Kale Salad are all meals I would be happy to eat again.

Looking back, I saw how important it used to be for me to eat breakfast and the many versions of rice porridge with seeds I would munch my way through. Breakfast is a distant memory these days. There was also lots and lots of green juice, kale, chard, salads and seeds. As well as fats – Greek yoghurt, almonds and cheese.

So where to start? How do I get back on track? Quitting sugar in December was the first step but I’m still feeling hooked on carbs.  My immediate next step is to slow down for a few days and focus on eating the right food. I’ll be working from home next week and taking time out in my day to rest, walk and eat well.

I am heading to the farm this weekend to pick some veggies (and get muddy!) and I need to unpack more boxes since my recent move to find my good knives, spices and my juicer.

Start as you mean to go on, they say. I’ve started today already with marinating pressed tofu in a new mixture (white miso, sesame oil, lemon juice and chilli paste). I’ve been making coconut oil-based chocolates filled with seeds. I need to increase the whole foods nutrient and ditch the carbs.

I know what to do. I know how good it feels when I do it. More energy, better sleep, clear eyes and springy skin… energy to start running and doing more walks… and being able to kick carbs to the kerb instead of them having power over me and my state of mind.

If you’re interested in following my journey, stick with the blog. I’ll be back. It’s a promise I’m making to myself. To be a happier, healthier person once more.

Celebrating Ten Years Sober

I didn’t post this in January for some reason but better late than never.

It’s New Year and I’m taking stock. I’m happy to see friends doing Dry January, where they stay off alcohol for the month.

Ten years ago, I decided to stop drinking for six months. It actually wasn’t a conscious decision from one day to the next.

I had the flu and was laid up for a week and then I went to the mountains for a couple of weeks. I generally didn’t drink at altitude.

By the time I came home from Colorado, I realised that I hadn’t had alcohol in three weeks. At that point, I decided to quit for six months.

I didn’t have a drinking problem but like most Brits, I did drink heavily on occasion. I had recently discovered my fructose (fruit sugar) intolerance which meant I had to stop fruit-based drinks like wine and champagne.

Spirits do not have enough fruit sugar left in them to be a problem but I didn’t want to become a hard liquor drinker. That feels like a pretty unhealthy slippery slope.

My friends thought I wouldn’t be able to stop drinking for six months. That’s ten years ago. I liked not drinking so much that I decided to stick with it.

And what can I say but stopping drinking is the best decision I ever made?

I have lots of fun at parties and I can still remember what happened the next morning. I don’t make bad decisions under the influence. I don’t have to worry about driving home. I’m a responsible host.

I try to live healthily but I don’t always manage. I travel too much and don’t sleep enough. I don’t always eat as well as I would like. Not drinking is an easy healthy choice that I don’t even have to think about. It’s just how I live.

When I tell people I don’t drink, they often jump to conclusions or ask intrusive personal questions. I would prefer it if they did not. I choose not to drink. It’s a healthy choice and it’s no-one else’s business but my own.