Saturday, 18 November 2017

Diet changes, my current obsession & FoodSaver Fresh

Over the past few months I've had a little bit of a diet overhaul.

To rewind a step - I've not consumed dairy for about a year now as it causes me to have terrible breakouts. Since doing this I've felt much better in myself and more confident in my own skin. It is from this small change and through greater research into the dairy and meat industry that I decided to continue transitioning my diet into a more plant based way of living.

Of course, I've also watched 'What the Health' and 'Cowspiracy' on Netflix. Who hasn't? To be honest 'Cowspiracy' didn't tell me anything I wasn't already aware of. However, 'What the Health' actually documented some pretty impressive statistics and cases of people reversing chronic illnesses through vegan diets. If you haven't seen 'What the Health', it's one documentary I actually would recommend watching. If you're conscious of your health in any way (which I assume you are if you're reading this), then it could change your opinion on a few things like it did for me. Either way, it's a brilliant educational tool into the meat and dairy industry if nothing else.

Meal of the moment - my green split pea curry and rice! 
Saying all that, I'm not vegan though. And I wouldn't want to label myself as vegan either because right now I'm very far from it. I still consume fish, especially wild caught salmon just because I love it and it contains essential omega 3 fatty acids. I also heave at the thought of consuming omega 3 supplements though.. So at the moment there is no way I'd consider giving up something I love like salmon in favour of fishy tasting tablets. Ew.

I also still consume eggs BUT I haven't actually bought eggs for months. They are just something I enjoy when I go out for brunch. (Because right now, the thought of giving up eggs and avo on toast is far too upsetting). However, that's my point right there. I'm not giving up fish and eggs because I don't want to. And I've vowed to myself I would never commit to a lifestyle where I felt restricted in any way. I've made changes and choices because I want to not because it's the latest fad on Instagram.

I haven't actually bought meat since March and haven't eaten red meat this year! The latter is a big thing for me as I used to love steak night and comforting cottage pies or beef chillies. Yes, I've eaten chicken maybe once every 3-4 weeks when I've been out for lunch or dinner and there haven't been any other options - for example a Sunday roast. I'm still coming to terms with a meat-less roast dinner.. But to be honest, I just don't miss meat and actually find it slightly bizarre tasting when I do consume it now. Saying no to my mum's Malaysian chicken curry or to turkey on Christmas day will be the biggest tests though..!


Plant based experiments

Saving time, saving money and reducing waste - FoodSaver Fresh in action
Cutting down on my meat consumption has made me explore different plant based sources of protein. I actually had no idea how high in protein lentils, chickpeas and beans were! The one downside is that they can take a little bit more preparation than just throwing some chicken into a pan as many pulses that are not tinned require soaking overnight. However, it is SO worth it as I've made some of the most delicious and cheapest dishes I've ever had from some simple beans, pulses and rice.

This is where FoodSaver Fresh has been a God send! Because let's be honest, if something takes longer to soak and prepare, I don't want to be doing it every night. FoodSaver Fresh is the number one vacuum sealing system in the US and we are lucky enough to now have it launching in the UK. It keeps food fresh for up to TWICE as long compared to your usual plastic containers, zip bags or foil and cling film.

Due to the removal of air through the vacuum sealing system, FoodSaver not only saves us time and money but can massively help to reduce food waste. With around 7 million tonnes of annual food wastage in the UK, I think this is definitely something that can benefit both ourselves and the planet. If you're making lifestyle choices to become more plant based because of the environment, then it also makes sense to reduce energy consumption by reducing the number of times you're cooking. You have to cook less, you save money and you do a little bit for the planet - what's not to love?!

Side note but also huge bane of my life - ever cut open an avocado, wrapped it up as tightly as possible but it's STILL brown when you go back for the other half? Me too. ME TOO. But FoodSaver has changed my avo game and now there's no looking back to those soft, brown avocados! Hurrah! FoodSaver Fresh has revolutionised my cooking and storage by allowing me to bulk prepare so many of my meals and accompaniments such as homemade dips, hummus (and guac...!)


Now onto my favourite meal of the moment - green split pea curry! This recipe below I've used tinned tomatoes BUT the next time I cook this I'm going to experiment with coconut milk to mix things up a bit and see what it's like with a creamier texture.


Served up with fragrant brown rice and balsamic glazed sprouts, chestnuts and tahini!
INGREDIENTS 
(makes 2-3 servings)

  • 1 cup of green split peas, rinsed 5-6 times until water runs clear and then soaked overnight
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree 
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed 
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 leek, diced
  • 1cm ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder 
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Good grind of black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp liquid aminos or tamari 
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Handful of fresh coriander to garnish 





METHOD
  1. In a large casserole dish, heat the oil over a medium heat and add in the onion, garlic, leek and ginger with all the herbs and spices (chilli powder, smoked paprika, turmeric, black pepper, cumin, thyme, bay leaf)
  2. Sauté until the vegetables have softened and slightly browned - add a splash of water to help cooking if needed 
  3. Drain the split peas and add them to the pan with the tomato puree. Stir well 
  4. Add the vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, liquid aminos/tamari and red wine vinegar 
  5. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover for around 50 minutes or until the green split peas are cooked through (the longer they have been soaked, the quicker they will cook)
  6. After this time all the liquid should have been absorbed and the curry should be nice and thick. If not then cook for a little longer until you reach this stage. 
  7. Once done, remove from the heat and serve with brown rice, sautéed greens and fresh coriander 
  8. Leave the rest to cool and then seal up using your FoodSaver Fresh to enjoy throughout the week!

Next week I'll be cooking more of my current favourite meals and using FoodSaver Fresh for a whole weeks worth of meal prep! So stay tuned for what's to come..!

Jess x




N.B. This post was kindly sponsored by FoodSaver but as always, all opinions are my own and 100% honest
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