The Anti-diet: Carbs v. protein

Posted in: Uncategorized

I once paid exorbitant amounts of cash to see a fit guru who promptly rigged me up to a mask attached to lots of wires, while making me stretch my poor little heart to breaking point on various apparatus. I only learned calories the year before (goodbye family size trifle) and have zero comprehension of my weight, so this was a little out of character. It was surprisingly useful however: I learned that eating nothing but kumquats can make you fat.

Fat

Apparently, the body likes a little protein with carbs. If eaten in isolation, carbohydrate may as well be a lump of lard, it would seem. OK, maybe this is a slight exaggeration but I find the visual helps me focus.

It’s all down to our blood sugar levels. In the interests of keeping you awake, I’ll abstain from the over convoluted workings of the Glycaemic Index, just heed this: High GI foods (the white stuff: tatties, pasta etc) turn almost instantaneously to sugar in the body, producing insulin (= sugar rush, then slump), which tells your body to store fat. So you see, starving yourself on Snack A Jacks and blueberries will not only make you miserable, devoid of dinner party invites and probably unwell, you’ll gain weight.

Before you frantically renounce all ingredients bar celery, however, we need carbohydrates for energy, and to prevent us being likened to an irritable Devil Wears Prada Diva. All our shrewd bodies crave is a mix of protein, fat, fibre and carbs.

World-Flours-3

Mother nature (and the supermarket World Foods aisle) has fortuitously provided us with a cornucopia of options, not to mention wheat alternatives, if we’re ever so slightly open minded.

As our Seducers explain, pulses and quinoa, with their mix of carbs, fibre and protein, are a veritable gift from the Gods to be coveted. They’re also super easy to incorporate into soups, stews, salads and fritters: Quinoa, lentil & feta salad, Courgette & prawn fritters (made with chickpea flour).

Avocado, cottage cheese & vegemite on sourdough

Eggs, olive oil, nuts, lean meats and avocado are not to be avoided on pain of death; they are our friends. In moderation (blah blahhh). Now, I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty good news.

Some other protein hit recipes: HummusGaram masala & tamarind chickenBramble Bircher or Almond butter.

For more Anti-diet tips click on the Tags on the right, or type Anti-diet into the Search box at the top of the page.

 

 

Garam masala & tamarind chicken

Posted in: DF, S, Uncategorized, WF

Sweet and spicy garam masala and chilli with tangy tamarind do something magical with chicken. It takes a modicum of willpower not to devour the whole dish straight from the pan. Perfect in salads and soups, I almost always have a Tupperware of this in the fridge. Don’t be put off by the anchovies; other than bringing a greater depth of flavor and meatiness, you’d never know they’re there.

Garam masala chicken

Feeds 2. Cooking time: less than 30 mins.

 

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp crushed chillies
2 anchovies, chopped
3 tsp tamarind
3 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 dsp tomato puree
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tin plum tomatoes, optional

Method

Coat the chicken in the ingredients, bar the olive oil and plum tomatoes, and set aside, ideally overnight. You can also cook straight away (I often do), but the flavour’s better if you’re able to leave to marinate.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the chicken breasts until browned. About 4 mins. on the first side and 2 on the reverse.

It’s at this point that you add, or not, the tinned tomatoes. I alternate between the two, depending if I want more sauce to have with some rice, or if I’m cooking chicken to go straight to the fridge for a Toolkit lunch.

Turn down to a relatively low heat, cover and cook for 15 mins, or until the chicken is still tender, yet cooked through. If you’ve gone for the plum tomato option, take the lid off 5 mins before the end so that some of the liquid evaporates and your sauce thickens.

Eat straight away with crusty bread, rice or mash. Or chopped into a salad.

Garam masala chicken & toasted seed salad

With either dish, make sure you keep some chicken aside in the fridge for salads, wraps, stir-fries or soups.

Tip: Drop the tinned tomatoes and cook your Garam masala chicken on the BBQ in the summer. Tandoor chicken. Ish.

PP (150g): Kcal: 360, Pr: 50.5g, Carb: 9.3g, OWS: 1.6g, Fat: 13.6g, Sat Fat: 2.3g, Salt: 0.7g

P/1/2 breast: Kcal: 180, Pr: 25.3g, Carb: 4.6g, OWS: 0.8g, Fat: 6.8g, Sat Fat: 1.1g, Salt: 0.4g

 

Roast butternut & fennel seed

Posted in: DF, S, SF, Uncategorized, V, WF

Another faithful Toolkit recipe that’s as impressive at a BBQ or dinner party (a hit at Yotel’s Christmas party!) as it is fridge staple for adding to packed lunch salads and wraps. I’ve even topped it with a poached egg, feta and coriander for brunch.

Roast butternut & fennel seed

Feeds 6. Prep: 10 mins. Cook: 40 mins.

Ingredients

1 butternut squash – approx.
2kg 2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 head garlic, halved – no need to remove skin
1 tsp dried chilli flakes – optional
1 tsp sea salt
Black pepper, good grind

Method

Preheat oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. Half butternut lengthways – skin stays on. Remove seeds and cut at into 1.5″ thick semi circles.

In a bowl, mix by hand with remaining ingredients. Transfer to a baking tray, placing skin side down where possible.

Bake for 30 – 40 mins, till flesh is soft and skin slightly blackened. Charring is key for smoky, salty skin and to avoid toughness.

Pile on a platter for dinner party awe, served warm or at room temperature, with roast lamb or chicken. Or store in the fridge to add to salads or wraps  – so good with feta, hummus and rocket!

P/4 semi-circles: Kcal:128, Pr: 3.6g, Carb: 23g, OWS: 12.1g, Fat: 3.4g, Sat Fat: 0.4g, Salt: Trace

 

Toasted seeds

Posted in: DF, S, SF, V, WF

Packed with essential fatty acids these little superstars pep up fruit & yoghurt or breakfast cereals and transform an avocado & watercress salad. They’re also a perfect mid afternoon energy snack. How have you lived without them?

Toasted Seeds. Wholesome Seduction

Ingredients

150g sunflower seeds
150g pumpkin seeds
100g sesame seeds

Method

Toast each seed group separately in a frying pan until they brown and start to pop. Take care not to over fill or the seeds won’t brown evenly – one layer is ideal.

Leave to cool, then store in jar or sealed plastic container.