Plantie curious

NOURISH_0017.png

THE SCENIC ROUTE
My journey towards whole food plant based definitely didn’t happen overnight like it does for some people. It might have had something to do with the fact that, as a mum of three, what I cook has to be right for more than just me. I’ve never been a big meat eater, but about eight years ago I started to get more curious about the idea of your whole plate being just plants when I read Hugh Fernley Whittingstalls book Veg Everyday. At that stage I had a four year old and a two year old, so I was still cooking meat for them, but I started to eat mainly plant based myself. Dairy was a more gradual process of reduction over the course of the last few years. When I’m asked about food choices I say I’m 'whole food plant based', although I’m probably Vegan I rather the all encompassing more welcoming term of plant based. We’ve gotten a bit obsessed with boxing everyone into categories and we all eat plants to some degree!

I was much slower to introduce the kids to this way of eating. I haven’t taken the step lightly. I have read an enormous amount about kids on plant based, and watched documentaries like What the Health and Forks over Knives. Happy that this is the best way for them too, we’ve all started to mainly eat the same way over the course of the last year. On special family occasions, and diners out, I encourage them to make their own choices. I feel helping them to embrace this way of eating as their own decision is an important part of their journey. And if it’s not part of the journey they choose there is no judgement.

STRAIGHT TO THE SOURCE
What does meat and dairy add to your diet? The obvious answer being protein and calcium. Protein builds and repairs muscles, and calcium gives us strong bones. I’m not disputing that they are definitely essential nutrients, but animals don’t make these nutrients, so where do they get the protein and calcium? They eat it in their plant based diets. Why not cut out the ‘middle man’, so to speak, and go straight to source – eat plants! Not only is it a purer form of protein and calcium but it is more readily absorbed by our bodies. If you are eating a whole food plant based diet – full of a variety of veg, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains – you’ll meet your daily requirement of protein, calcium and all your nutritional requirements everyday, whether you lead a sedentary life or you’re training for a ultra marathon. It’s actually quite easy to over consume protein, leading to increased fat stores and unnecessary strain on the heart and the kidneys.

QUESTION THE NORM
Meat causes inflammation in the system and is much harder for the body to digest. True carnivores have much shorter intestines to ensure the meat moves out of their system before it rots. Our intestine are more like herbivores and our canines are nothing like a carnivores, or in fact other omnivores. The function of cows milk is to create rapid grown in a small calf. When the calf is eating well it naturally weens – it no longer needs rapid cell growth. So why do humans (not even cows) feel we need rapid cell growth throughout our whole lives? This rapid cell growth, which all dairy causes, is what potentially causes problems with cancer patients who consume dairy.

THE WESTERN DIET
We are living longer, but we are sicker and more medicated than ever before, and from an earlier age. We have made great leaps in prevention of death from infections, but through the way we live our lives we have created new health concerns. Our current four main risks, called ‘lifestyle diseases’, are heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. A plant based diet has been proven to prevent and reverse heart disease, diabetes and obesity, prevent and reduce cell growth in cancer. There are many mixed messages from marketing campaigns created by the agriculture industry to cause confusion. In the hope that they will cause enough doubt to make the public stick with what they’ve been told is right, rather than question it.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE
I have to admit my springboard into plant based was about wanting to feel and look well in myself. As I go along on this exploration I’m learning more about the effects animal agriculture has on our environment – from deforestation to grow grain for livestock; water pollution from livestock; and that 51% of our gas emissions comes from livestock. 40% of the world’s surface is used for agriculture and of that 30% is used to rear animals. We can feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem and think ‘how can one person make a difference’. One burger takes 460 gallons of water, 1.5 acres of land, and the equivalent gas emissions of driving a car twenty miles. An average person on a western diet consumes 7,000 animals in their lifetime – that’s a lot of animals, water, deforestation and gas emissions per person!

WHERE TO NOW
So where do you start if you want to find out more information. Check out the Veganuary website to answer all your questions and get some plantie recipe to get you started. I’ve been doing the plantie thing for a few years now but I still feel I have so much to learn, and as a mum it’s my responsibility to keep delving. So I’ve just signed up to The Happy Pear online Happy Heart Course and look forward to lots more recipe ideas and some inspirational online talks with the Flynn twins. It’s about being well and feeling more inline with nature. Building a sustainable future for the next generation and being healthy and happy.

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru

Merry plantie Christmas recipes

NOURISH_0016.png

WHOLEFOOD PLANT BASED CHRISTMAS
Christmas day is a day for traditions. These traditions are so ground into the expectations of the day, that to change them dramatically would be risking mutiny! We follow a plant based diet, but I encourage the kids to follow what feels right for them. No surprises that what feels right for them on Christmas Day, is the full on turkey and ham with all the trimmings!

This year I wanted to show them you can have just as much of a Christmas feast following our plantie way of life. So last Sunday we had a ‘Mini Christmas Plantie Feast’. We started with vegan eggnog using oat milk, followed by beet wellington using a recipe based on my veggie burgers, with the earthy flavour of beetroot and lots of festive herbs. Every plate was licked clean after second helpings, and they were asking is this a new Christmas tradition!

EGGNOG
1 ltr oat milk
6 dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp mixed spice
pinch salt

Soak the dates in boiling water for 10mins. Place all the ingredients into a blender and blend till smooth. Sore in the fridge and heat gently in a saucepan to serve warm with a pinch of cinnamon on top.

NOURISH_0016_A.png

BEET WELLINGTON
1 leek
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 packet of mushrooms
4 small steamed beetroots
1 tin of black beans
handful of nuts
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tbsp tamari
bunch of fresh parsley & thyme chopped
2 sticks of rosemary chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
generous handful of oats
salt and pepper to taste
1 packet of vegan puff pastry

Saute the leeks, onions and garlic. When they start to soften add the mushrooms and continue to gently sautee or about 10mins. Add the paprika, cumin, tamari, ground flax and lemon juice. Blend the nuts in a food processor into small nuggets. Add the beetroot and blend till the beetroot is liquid but not completely broken down. Add the sauteed vegetables mix and black beans. Add a enough oats to help the mixture come together into a pliable texture. Blend to mix, leaving some texture. Mix in your herbs and season. You will probably have lots more mixture than you need.

Preheat the oven to 200oC. Lay your pastry out and spoon the mixture down the centre of the pastry. Use as much filling as will fit when you pull the sides up to seal it along the centre of the roll of filling. Brush the pastry with a bit of oat milk to help it seal together. Seal and end too and place on a baking tray. Bake for 30mins or until nicely browned. Store any remainder mixture in the freezer ready to defrost and make another beet wellington or some veggie burgers.

 

NOURISH_0016_B.png

ROAST PARSNIP & CARROT
4 parsnips
10 carrots
2 tsp rosemary
polenta to sprinkle
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180oC. Chop the veg into batton shaped chunks. Place on an oiled baking tray and sprinkle with polenta, rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast for 40mins.

ROAST BRUSSEL SPROUTS
1 bag of brussel sprouts
1 handful of pine nuts
½ tbsp maple syrup
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180oC. Take the outer layers of the brussel sprouts and chop in half. Place on an oiled baking tray, drizzle over the maple syrup and sprinkle with the pine nuts and salt and pepper. Roast for 30mins.

NOURISH_0016_C.png

POLENTA CHIPS
700ml water
2 tsp bouillon veg stock
150g polenta + 2 tbsp to spinkle the chips
2 tsp mixed herbs
salt & pepper to taste

If you’ve time make the mixture the night before and allow to set fully in the fridge overnight. Boil the water, add the stock, polenta, mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Cook to a gentle bubble until it thickens. Line a 20cm square tin. Poor the polenta mixture into the tin and allow to set for at least 1hr or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200oC. Tip the mixture out onto a chopping board. Chop into chunky chip pieces. Place on an oiled baking tray and sprinkle with the remainder polenta. Bake for 30mins till nice and crunchy.

BRAISED RED CABBAGE
1 head of red cabbage
1 onion finely chopped
2 tsp fennel seeds
2 grated apples
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper

Saute the onions and fennel seeds. Add the grated apples and cabbage and cook on a low heat till the cabbage is softened. Add the apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper.

A lot of the veg can be prepped the day before and stored in the fridge in IKEA bags. The polenta mixture and the beet wellington mixture can be prepped the day before too.

Merry Plantie Christmas!

Enjoy
Ruth Delahunty Yogaru

Magic cold & flu remedy

NOURISH_0015.png

HEAD COLD SEASON
The common head cold is the most frequently occurring illness in the world, and is the leading cause of missed school and work days. If there is no other complications, the immune system will kick in and it will remedy itself between seven to ten days. The best way to treat it a head cold is to boost your immune system to help it fight off the virus – giving you less debilitating moderate dose, and dramatically speeding up recovery time.

The minute you feel any signs of a cold coming on – sore throat, sneezing, achy joints, dribbly nose – start taking this Magic Cold & Flu Remedy, and cut out all sugar and dairy. Sugar reduces the functionality of the immune system and dairy encourages mucous production. Repeat three times a day until you are feeling completely symptom free.

Magic cold & flu remedy
5 cm ginger root or 3 tsp powder
2 turmeric roots or 2 tsp powder
1 tsp honey
Ground up all ingredients up in a mortar and pestle. Store the paste in the fridge and take 1 dsp, 3 times a day. Or for a warming tonic mix a dessertspoon of the paste in a cup of boiled water, with the juice from half a lemon.

WHY IT WORKS
Ginger: ginger antiviral, heats the body and sweats out the toxins, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory to boost the immune system, reduces pain and fever and is a decongestant.
Turmeric: closely related to the ginger family, turmeric is antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory. It contains a compound called curcumin which inhibits the activity of a virus.
Honey: honey is rich in antioxidants which boosts the immune system. It also has antimicrobial properties to soothe sore throats.
Lemon: lemons are high in vitamin C which boosts the immune system. It is also one of the most alkalising food and brings the body into a ph balance preferable for healing and repair.

TIPS FOR BOOSTING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Build up your immune system with these tips, and be sure to include plenty of immune system boosting foods to your diet for the winter months from the two lists below.

  • Add some immune boosting foods from the lists above to your meals
  • Add some probiotic foods to keep your gut flora thriving
  • Reduce your intake of sugars and processed foods
  • Drink plenty of water to keep you well hydrated
  • Introduce a simple 5-10 min meditation to your morning routine
  • Get some fresh air everyday
  • Have a bedtime routine and get plenty of sleep

Foods that build the immune system: aloe vera, carrots, broccoli, fennel, garlic, kale, kimchi, kiwi, lemons, mangoes, onions, oranges, peas, sauerkraut, spelt, spinach, sweet potatoes.
Foods that rebuild the immune system: asparagus, blackcurrants, chillies, cinnamon, coconut, elderberries, fennel, garlic, ginger, honey, horseradish, lemons, oranges, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, turmeric.

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru

School lunches

NOURISH_0014.png

SAME SAMBO RUT
Trying to keep school lunches interesting, and not getting stuck in a rut of the same sandwich every day from September to June, can be challenging. We’re only one month into the new school year and I’m already finding I’m reverting to the old reliables. To counteract this, I decided to root out my Recipe Builder method of food prep, and get stuck into designing one for school lunches. After watching ‘What the Health’ documentary I decided to see how school lunches work dairy, meat and nut (school policy) free.

PLANT BASED WHOLE FOOD
In our house we predominately follow a plant based, wholefood diet. My gang eats a great variety of veg at dinner time, but I find I rely too heavily on the humble cheese salad sambo for school lunches. After school they’ll most likely get a snack of sourdough or brown bread toasted with some fruit. When you add up the average week there is possibly too much bread and lots of missed opportunities for packing more variety, and higher nutritionally dense foods into their diet.

BRAIN FUEL
A well balanced plant based, whole grain lunch will keep your school goers fuelled for the day. Try minimise white breads, which have very little nutritional value, and are stripped of fibre. High fiber, whole grains help maintain a slow and steady release of energy to help them stay focused for the day. Experiment with different veg throughout the week. Don’t presume they don’t like it till they try it, they might surprise you! Veg can taste very different when cooked or prepared in different way. Adding herbs and spices to your roast veg can make them more kiddie friendly too. Try pack in some immune building foods to their lunch everyday to minimise sick days. Carrots, oranges, lemons, mangoes, sweet potatoes, kiwi, berries, onion, broccoli, kale, fermented foods and peas all boost the immune system. Adding spices and herbs like cumin, chilli, fennel seed, cinnamon, ginger, thyme, rosemary and sage also give an extra boost.

You could also use this Recipe Builder for after school snacks ideas. After school snacks needs to be fast and just enough to tide them over till dinner time. If they’ve had bread for lunch try to give them something else for their after school snack, even if it’s oatcakes, hummus and some chopped up fruit and veg.

10 TIPS FOR HEALTHY LUNCHES & HAPPY KIDS

  • A flask is a great investment to add variety and warm lunch days in colder weather
  • Keep a stock of wholemeal pitta breads and wraps in the freezer
  • Make extra veg at dinner time to pop into the lunches the next day
  • Make a big batch of flapjacks (sweet or savoury) at the start of the week
  • Adding dips like hummus is a great way to get them interested in trying new veg
  • Bring them shopping and get them to pick an experimental veg to try
  • Use a variety of fruit and veg, eat a rainbow of colours, throughout the week
  • Mix some veg in with the fruit for little break
  • Keep a few boxes of oatcakes handy for popping into the little tubs for little break
  • Stick with water, it’s better for them and not as messy if you have a spill!

Print out the above School Lunch Builder and give it a go. It’s a work in progress so you might find when you visit this page again it has evolved!

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru

Flapjacks, sweet & savoury

NOURISH_0013.png

Flapjacks are one of my favourite snack foods. Sweet flapjacks are just the right amount of treat, and savoury can be used anytime of day. You will always find a batch of flapjacks in our kitchen cupboards, ready for a quick snack. They’re also a healthy school lunchbox filler, that can be thrown together on a Sunday night and used for the whole week. You can play around with lots of different flavour combinations to keep them interesting. Remember to get your kids used to the savoury versions too, so they don’t always expect sweet treats in their lunchbox!

Traditional shop-bought flapjacks are sold as a healthy option, but they are actually loaded with sugar. Homemade is always a better option for controlling the sugar content. When I started making homemade flapjacks, I found that when I adjusted the ratio of oats to sugar/fat, I ended up with a batch of granola rather than flapjacks! Over the last few years I’ve become obsessed with finding the ‘golden oat to binder ratio’, and after several frustrating crumbling batches, I’ve finally found a method that works for me! By experimenting with different ingredients that have binding qualities like tahini, nut butters, chia seed or psyllium husk, you can reduce the sugar/fat ratio of your flapjacks. Making them a better choice for a healthy treat, or a savoury snack, than shop-bought flapjacks or energy bars.

If you're still having problems getting your flapjacks to stay together, try milling about half your flakes to a flaky crumb in a food processor. I cut my flapjacks before baking and I use a coffee press to compress the mixture into the tin. I press them again when they come out of the oven, and let them cool for about 30min before carefully flipping them out of the tray and re-cutting. Cooling them is an important step, but don't let them cool in the tray for too long or your base will get soggy with the steam of the hot oats. 

A lot of recipes use banana or apple sauce to bind the oats together, but I prefer my flapjacks crunchy. You’ll see in my ‘Flapjack Builder’ there is an option for using grated carrot or apple, makeing sure you give them a good squeeze to remove as much of the liquid as possible, so your flapjack doesn’t end up more like a dense baked slice than a crunchy flapjack. I find the banana apple sauce versions end up tasting a bit soggy after a day or two. If your flapjack stays crunchy it can last for up to a week in an airtight container. I don’t store my flapjacks in the fridge for the same reason; they end up a bit on the soggy side.

My current favourite version is an oatie base with dates, goji and lots of seeds and nuts. I use about 10 dates which add just about the right amount of sweetness and help to bind them together. Have a go at making your own sweet or savoury flavour combinations. Click on the  ‘Flapjack Builder’ above, print it out and get experimenting!

Ruth Delahunty Yogaru