Fast food with a boost

By SuperNatural Food Market

A recent survey found almost half of Irish consumers want to add more plant-based food and drink into their diets over the next year. Plant-based foods offer a variety of nutritional benefits, from macro essentials such as protein, fibre, carbohydrates and essential fats to important minerals and vitamins, as well as keeping meals interesting with a range of textures and flavours.

Fish, eggs, meat and dairy are all complimented with alkalising vegetables and fruits, or can even be replaced by plant protein such as beans and legumes, nuts, seeds or dairy alternatives such as soy, oat or nut milks, as well as fermented foods such as tofu and tempeh plus whole grains which add valuable benefits.

Health, weight loss and the environment are some of the motivators for eating a more plant-based diet, but energy levels and enhanced beauty are the not-so-superficial reasons too.

Foods such as eggs are complete powerhouses and the fast food of healthy eating. Eggs contain omega 3’s: healthy fats to help our gut and our brain while nourishing our skin and hair, and vitamins protein.

Adding ingredients like freshly chopped parsley, half a diced onion or fresh tomatoes to it, gives you a quick, light meal. With the immune lifting benefits of the allium family in the onion, parsley is chock full of iron and calcium as well as antioxidants and chlorophyll that oxygenates the blood, cleanses the liver and makes your skin glow.

Tomatoes are an anti-cancer food, with nutrients that benefit eyesight, skin, and the digestive system – for example lycopene, beta carotene and vitamin C.

Have a freshly-squeezed glass of orange juice first and you have your daily requirement of vitamin C that combines with the iron in the eggs and parsley so you fully absorb it.

Adding plenty of fruits, salads, and whole grains to meals compliments quality protein.

With summer hours now giving us longer days and the weather getting warmer, this is the ideal time of year to consider switching to lighter meals that celebrate the nutritionally-dense power of plant-based foods.

These recipes highlight the quick and easy way to intake foods that have a positive effect on the body. A good breakfast to keep you fueled all morning. Salads made with ingredients that are curated for their specific healing and health giving benefits. And a tea that has more antioxidants than a bowl of broccoli.

It doesn’t have to be laborious or require a cookery course to draw up your shopping list and plan easy spring-summer meals with a few added or new ingredients to get you started in healthier habits. A few tweaks here and there and you’ll feel the difference that will have you reaching for more pak choi or cabbage in no time. And talking of beautiful recipes designed to preserve your assets, the omelette recipe is adapted from Glow which is featured in our book review on page 22. Shine on!

Life is busy and most of us don’t have time for fuss, particularly in the morning, yet this is also the most important meal of the day. After fasting all night long and with a full day ahead of us at which we want to function at our optimum, we need a good protein boost that keeps us fuller for longer and revs up the metabolism.

Eggs are the perfect meal. Super fast, skin loving and delicious, you can add more plant-based elements with edamame or any other legumes or experiment with fresh herbs, tomatoes, sliced peppers or seaweed flakes. The oils mentioned are all safe to heat with a very high smoking point. You should never cook with olive, sunflower or any other cold-pressed vegetable oil.

Herby Edamame Omelette

2 organic eggs

Sea salt & black pepper

1tbsp chopped parsley

1-2 spring onions chopped

1tbsp coconut/avocado/peanut/macadamia oil

1 large handful of spinach

2 tbsp of edamame or other beans either shelled/defrosted/drained from can

A few cherry tomatoes sliced.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl, add seasoning and the chopped herb, whisk vigorously with fork/balloon whisk. Heat oil in frying pan add sliced cherry tomatoes, onion, beans and spinach, fry for a minute or two. Pour in whisked egg when egg is set on one side, lift and fold over leave for minute to three depending on how soft you like the omelette. I highly recommend one glass of freshly squeezed orange juice to accompany it.

I absolutely love quinoa. It is not actually a grain but a seed and is naturally gluten free, high in protein, low in GI, as well as bouncing in amino acids, vitamins B and C and minerals; potassium, phosphorus, calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium, iron and more! It takes no time to cook at all (10 minutes) and is very versatile. It can be a ‘grain’ with any dish or eaten cold in a salad. It is light and delicious and perfect at home or in the lunchbox. The toasted seeds are tiny powerhouses of nutrition and give you vital essential fatty acids for skin, hair and energy.

The really cool thing about it is that it’s the perfect base upon which to build any combination of fast, healthy flavours you like. Try adding pistachios and orange segments with mixed salad leaves, or finely chop some chilli, squeeze in lime juice, grated apple and salad leaves with olive oil. Toasted walnuts and chopped dried unsulphured apricots are another winner. Experiment and buy plant ingredients and combinations you may not have tried yet.

Seedy Salad

150g Quinoa – white, red or mixed

Tbsp sunflower seeds toasted

Tbsp pumpkin seeds toasted

Half a head of chopped lettuce or mixed leaves

Tbsp of olive oil

Tbsp of lemon juice

Half a sliced red pepper

Tbsp chopped coriander

Sea salt & black pepper

Rinse quinoa, put in pot and add water to one inch above grain line in pot. Bring to boil. Turn down to simmer and cook approx 10 minutes until water has evaporated. You can also cook this in a good homemade vegetable or chicken stock for flavour. Allow to cool and transfer to salad bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Enjoy.

Matcha green tea is one of the most powerful one-shot ingredients on our planet and an express remedy to beautiful clear skin, super focus and concentration, physical relaxation and a veritable injection of antioxidants (the things that slow the ageing process and support vitality).

One serving of this bright green powder is far more potent than regular green tea. It is richer and more intense. For some an acquired taste but we recommend you acquire it!

Matcha Tea

1⁄4 of a tsp of Matcha green tea powder

Pinch of vanilla powder optional

Boiled water.

Put kettle on to boil. Before it reaches boiling point but when it is quite hot, take off heat. Put matcha powder and a little vanilla powder if desired, into bowl add a little cold water, taking a small bamboo whisk (you can buy these in Asian markets or any health food shop that sells matcha tea) or ordinary balloon whisk, or fork, pour the under boiled water over mixture, and whisk. Pour into mug. Drink and feel its magic work! Every Saturday 9-3.30pm St Andrew’s Resource Centre, Pearse St.