You might have noticed that in the last few months I have been consistently trying to switch to healthier food and am now very picky when it comes to choosing ingredients. Usually, there are two reasons why people do that: to improve health or to preserve health. In my case, it is both. Eating healthy is actually difficult and simple at the same time. Difficult, because the internet is flooded with rumours and trending information, which in most cases is not based on any science. Easy, because once you crack this uncomplicated "Davinchi Code" of your daily food plate your life will change forever.
So, why do people these days go gluten, sugar, dairy, egg-free? Let's have a quick look at these.
GLUTEN*: is a mixture of proteins that you can find in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is essential to making the dough rise and retain its shape. Unless you do not have a celiac disease, normally gluten should not worry you. However, these days even people without this disease develop gluten intolerance and suffer from the damaged linen of the small intestine. The reason why gluten has suddenly become such a massive problem in the XXI century is that we use more genetically modified wheat, more toxins to grow it, more chemicals to preserve the crop and make it grow faster. Can we live without gluten? - Yes, absolutely. But you need to make sure you are getting the right amount of folic acid and B vitamins (which are so common for grains) from other sources.
SUGAR*: is a very simple carbohydrate, which we do not need. Diets high in simple carbohydrates are not ideal. Breaking sugar in our bodies is a very complex process. When you eat too much sugar, the body gets tired quickly and does not respond to the high amount of insulin in our blood the way it should. This leads to tiredness, exhausted liver, constant hunger, and with time, makes you gain weight or even develop diabetes and other chronic diseases. The industry responded very quickly to this problem by providing multiple substitutes to the refined white sugar: muscovado, agave, xylitol, coconut, and others. Guys, let's get serious: sugar is sugar and marketing is marketing. Your sugar can come from a better source, but it is still processed and makes your blood sugar spike in a flash. Craving for sugar? Have a fruit, a date or raw bee honey.
DAIRY*: this is not an easy one. Dairy can be delicious and soooooooo tempting. Believe me - I live in France. However, this is another food that we do not need. I do not know any government on the planet, that would not recommend dairy. But government and industry always come together and dairy industry is one of the biggest, so think about it twice. Milk is full of saturated fat (bad LDL-cholesterol), high amounts of sugar, and unnecessary synthetic hormones, which are given to animals to produce more milk. Finally, you do not need that much calcium per day and you can find better sources of it. For example, one cup of cereals has 3 times more calcium than one cup of cow milk. 180ml (6oz) fresh orange juice has the same amount of calcium as one cup of milk.
EGGS*: let's make this one clear. Chicken eggs are very low in saturated fat (which leads to high levels of bad LDL cholesterol). Eggs are a good source of quick protein and are full of folic acid. The reason why I had to stop eating eggs is the same as with wheat. Modern eggs come from a poor chicken, which has never seen the light of day. It consumed wheat (full of gluten) during its entire life. It spent all its life one foot away from death. There is nothing healthy in this chicken or in its eggs. As a result, my body has temporarily become egg-white intolerant.
I completely excluded these four ingredients from my diet some time ago and felt an instant relief (even though some research shows, that gluten stays in the blood for up to six months). However, now that my health has improved and stabilised, I am planning to start adding some cheese and eggs into my diet again in 2019. By some, I mean one-two eggs per week and one-two cheeses per month... AND! only if I am absolutely sure that they came from the happiest animals, which ate grass and enjoyed the blue sky and the sun. In the meantime, I would like to reassure you that life without these four has been very exciting and educational. All of my most delicious pie and pastry recipes had to be adjusted and you know what? - Now they taste only better!
Here is one for you - my favorite and super mega simple vegan brownie recipe to kick-start your healthy day.
Vegan Brownie Recipe
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Makes: 1 cake / 9 pieces
140g (5oz) of quinoa flour
1 tbsp of carob flour (you can learn about the amazing carob flour here)
120g (4oz) of carrot pulp (comes from 1/2 kg (18oz) of juiced carrots)
3/4 tsp baking soda
10 chopped dates (without pips)
1tsp of ginger pulp or powder
10 well-copped pecan nuts
pinch of salt
1 tbsp of lemon juice or apple cider
30ml (1oz) of olive or coconut oil
200ml (6,5oz) of water
Let's do it:
1. What can be better than starting a day with a healthy fresh juice! 19C/66F in Paris this morning. It beginning to a lot like Autumn, so time to add immune-boosting vitamins! I absolutely love juicing carrots, ginger, spinach, and apples for this purpose! And how exciting that today most of my leftovers from the juice will be used as well. The best juicers are those, which squeeze the most from your fruit and veggies, leaving very-very dry pulp behind - this pulp we will use today.
2. Add all dry ingredients to the pulp and mix well.
3. In a separate glass mix together all liquids and start adding them to the dry ingredients. Your texture should be soft and sticky, but not too liquid.
4. Grease your form with more olive oil or coconut oil and put the fixture into your form. Decorate it with more nuts. Let it rest for a minute, while you are preheating the over. 150C/302F, fan (or 170C/338F, heat from top and bottom):
5. Bake it for 50 minutes until ready. There are three ways to identify if your brownie is ready. 1) Try to put a toothpick into the brownie; a toothpick should come out easily without any dough on it. 2) Put your finger on the centre of the cake and press a bit; it should be bouncing back. Finally, my favourite one: the brownie will start filling your house with heavenly aromas of ginger, carob, and home-made bread once it gets ready.
This is now officially my favourite food for breakfast! The brownie is so warm, filling, healthy, incredibly energizing, and just very pretty and yummy. Carrots and dates are very sweet - you do not need to add any sugar. Ginger will warm you up from inside and carob beans are the best alternative to modern cocoa beans! Enjoy and do not forget to share your results.
*Most of the information about healthy eating that I am referring to in my blog is based on one of the best books I've ever read - "Eat Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating". I have watched dozens of documentaries; read thousands of articles and recommendations; followed multiple vlogging doctors... but only this book gave me the real facts, which are based on more than 80 years of pure research. But even so, you should never forget to listen to your stomach and speak to a reliable dietician or naturopath before changing your diet. In the meantime, if you find these and many other tips on my website healthy and working for you, I would be most happy.