MY COOKING PHILOSOPHY
The best recipes are those you
cook with LOVE and eat with JOY
Listen, I understand that we don’t have hours to spend every day preparing meals. While I honestly do enjoy cooking, I would be lying if I said it’s always a pleasure or easy preparing meals for my family of 5.
Since hiring a private cook is not on the cards for the foreseeable future (shocking, I know), I have steadily built up my ‘real food’ repertoire over the years. The recipe section has been created to share recipes that have actually worked for me. That means all of the recipes (bar a very select few) I share have met the criteria of ‘providing nourishing food without spending my life in the kitchen struggling through convoluted recipes or breaking the bank in the process’!
In the recipes I provide, cooking ‘real food’ does not mean strict avoidance of gluten, sugar, meat and dairy, but becoming more familiar with the difference in nourishing value of these foods depending on their source and level of refinement.
As a nutritional therapist, I do believe that gluten can be problematic for some people (especially when it is not properly prepared) and I do provide recipes using flour alternatives (some of which I prefer over traditional wheat flour). I also believe sugar in excess (especially highly refined versions) are inimical to health, but in moderation can be an enjoyable treat which we should wholeheartedly enjoyed, if we so wish.
There is also a great difference between pasture raised/ grass-fed meat vs CAFO meat and raw vs pasteurised dairy.
The media is predisposed to sensationalism and unfortunately the more nuanced truth about these contentious foods are easily lost in the hype.
As you may expect, I am a big fan of eating local, organic produce and other minimally processed foods whenever possible, but at the same time I feel eating ‘organic’ has become a badge of honour (or dare I say a status symbol) for some people. While ‘organic’ has become synonymous with ‘health’, there is also a considerable amount of ‘organic’ processed junk on the market. What I want to emphasise is not to become neurotic and abandon having an omelette because you could not get free-range organic eggs on a bed of organic hand-picked rocket. The point is to keep making small changes to move ever closer to regularly cooking real food and crowding out the processed junk.
Let’s step back here for a minute.
Do I think everyone can afford to eat exclusively organic? No.
Can most people buy less pre-packaged ready meals and save money by cooking more from scratch? Yes.
Will not eating ‘organic’ doom you to a life of disease? No (but there are definitely advantages to eating organically and locally).
Is it worth cooking from scratch even if you cannot buy exclusively organic ingredients? Definitely, yes!
Is cooking from scratch really an option when you hold down a job and have a family to raise? Definitely, yes!
Let’s get back to basics and cook from scratch. There are lots of useful shortcuts and tricks we can use to make cooking from scratch not only achievable, but easy and more nutritious.
Transitioning from a processed food diet to a real-food one often takes a bit of time (for me included!) and I want to assure that this is absolutely normal. We should embrace the journey and enjoy the process of cooking and sharing meals. This transition has to work for you and the pace you are happy to progress at. There is no point in burning out in pursuit of perfection if it is completely unsustainable.
It is important to me that you do not feel discouraged or overwhelmed when it comes to cooking. I salute you for the commitment you make every single day, however small or large that may be. Cooking, (or life, for that matter) is not a competition. If you are reading this, your journey has already begun. You may not try out a dish tomorrow or even next week, but even the slightest contemplation is where it all begins!
Also, can we all accept that not all dishes are going to be Instagrammable (if that’s even a word…), especially on the first attempt. Try to give every recipe a few tries because then you begin to own it and you’ll soon be cooking it with your eyes closed!
Although I try my best to post visually pleasing pictures of the recipes to inspire you trying them out, rest assured not every meal in my house is so thoughtfully presented. And you know what, I am content with that. Afterall, I’m not hanging the food on the wall, I am going to eat it. I honestly think the stress of trying to provide the perfect meal for every meal is more counterproductive for promoting health than eating a bit of junk food in the first place! Let’s be realistic. We live in the real food and we are real people. There is no need to beat ourselves up for this.
Over time junky meals are going to be crowded out as your go-to nutritious recipes expand and take over. You know how I know this? Because once your body starts to feel better eating these meals you will never want to look back.
It is my sincere hope that these recipes inspire you and prove useful in your pursuit for health.
Cook with love and eat with joy,