Why is bread bad for me?

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For now I’m asking you, not telling you – why is bread bad for me? If you ask Google it’ll give you 169, 000, 000 reasons in just 0.35 seconds.

To summarise it’s generally thought:

  • Bread is bad – especially if made out of wheat
  • Gluten is the devil
  • It’ll make you fat
  • It’s low in essential nutrients
  • Bread is full of sugar

When I first started out on my Paleo pilgrimage I avoided the stuff like the plague. And if I dared to so brazenly let my hand dip into the bread basket at a restaurant I felt I should spend the next week in a confession booth.

The best bit about my nutritional therapy studies means I’ve started to question so many of my own foodie choices to help others shape their own. I’m increasingly subscribing to The School of Sensible (and delicious!) and am forever determined to get first hand insights from the experts. And that’s where my visit to The One Mile Bakery comes in.

The bakery is run by Elisabeth Mahoney, a journalist, home cook and baker inspired by the way her mother cooked: daily and seasonally in her tiny kitchen with an emphasis on simple, nurturing and nourishing food. The One Mile Bakery delivers handmade bread, soups and preserves within a one-mile radius of its kitchen in Cardiff. Treats are delivered by bike. I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear I was a little bit in love with Elisabeth after an evening in her company at The Introduction to Baking Bread. Continue reading

Mindful Cooking at Lucknam Park Cookery School – Review

I was very fortunate to recently attend the Lucknam Park Cookery School’s Mindful Cookery day.

Lucknam Park Cookery School

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It was a beautiful exploration of how cooking and mindfulness so wonderfully combine.

The day began with introductions to our hosts and tutors: head chef Hrishikesh (Kesh) Desai and founder of Soul Nutrition Katie Sheen. Before we even took to the stove it was seriously inspiring to be in this kind of company. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Katie in the past but sharing a kitchen with a Roux scholar and National Chef of the Year was an equal privilege. Kesh embodies drive, passion, commitment and his journey to professional success is a seriously inspiring one. It’s one of giving it all you’ve got, harnessing your true potential and is, perhaps (un?)surprisingly, underpinned by mindfulness and meditation practices.

Katie & Kesh

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Fuelled by strong coffee and biscotti, the day started with intros; where we’d come from, how familiar we were or weren’t with mindfulness and what we hoped to get out of the day. There was room for everyone – irrespective of prior mindfulness or cooking experience. Continue reading

A doctor came for dinner

I met Amanda when I joined Dragon CrossFit. We bonded over heavy squats on Mondays and a commitment to the Clean Living Challenge at the start of the year.

Dr Amanda came for dinner

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What I love most about Amanda is the way she often challenges all that I’m learning and, as a doctor at University Hospital of Wales will always (quite rightfully) defend the NHS.

You’d be amazed by the heated discussions we’ve had in between work outs – herd immunity, why scrubbing your teeth isn’t necessarily the answer to better dental health, auto immune diseases and their genetic consequences, the role of acupuncture in critical care. It goes on.

As the daughter of a much loved and respected GP and someone who is studying to be a complementary health practitioner, I plan to do my absolute best to straddle both camps – both the conventional and more complementary fields. That is, to work with, not against those that do genuinely care about the nutrition of their patients and the role it can have in either getting them back on their feet or leaving them in tip top condition.

I’m grateful for those like Amanda that see things a bit differently. Those that will digest and work with the findings of the latest research, those keen to learn more and share details of their very own clinical experiences.

But the best bit about Amanda? It absolutely has to be her love of good food. Continue reading

It’s a love plate affair – Mindful Eating

It was the four portions of fish in a week

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It was the rebellious couple of glasses of wine on a school night

It was the pizza night where I opted for the salad

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It was the cheese plate when he was at the football

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It was the many greens that made their way through my new juicer

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It was warm, perfectly toasted buttery panettone

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It was more raw broccoli and less crisps dipped in the houmous and shared with friends

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It was the sunshine-drenched sips of Orangina drunk in a cafe on a rainy day

It was an effort to have liver once a week

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It was a four hour lunch on Papa

It was one, sometimes two (never three) cups of coffee a day. The first, as often as possible, enjoyed together, in bed, before work

It was the weekly 5k that got faster

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It was the weekly slice of cake thereafter that got tastier

It was all the new foods I experimented with and old favourites that made their way back onto the menu

Pasta

It’s been a couple of months of doing things a bit differently. A time of removing any sort of pressures I’ve previously put on myself. No CrossFit. Instead thrice weekly two mile walks, eight hours on my feet every Friday, weekend mountain climbs and Parkruns that aren’t against the clock. It’s been a lot of what I’ve fancied without a religious commitment to a “cheat” on this day, at that time.

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It’s not been easy. I’ve missed that heart racing, lung busting euphoria that only a sweaty gym session can deliver. I’ve contemplated buying a set of bathroom scales on too many occasions, “just to check”. But I’ve pulled myself back. I’ve gone with my clothes. I’ve benefited from the reassurance of a recent shopping trip where the assistant kindly went to fetch me the dress in a size down. I’m squidgier and admittedly some days more self conscious than others but I’m almost certainly a heck of a lot healthier.

I feel rested, yet full of life. Nothing’s too much trouble. Meal times are full of excitement, every mouthful savoured.

For too many years I felt trapped by my relationship with food. A brutal battle of deprivation and gorging and days of intense guilt that followed. It takes so long to break out of that and I’m still only part way there but I’m certainly feeling a heck of a lot better for it as this clean eating journey continues.

This summer I’m signed up to a Mindfulness course and I simply can’t wait. Another step towards final breaking free and hopefully plenty of nuggets I can share in the process.

I feel I’m on the verge of a bit of a rebrand. Is Let Her Eat Clean destined to become the Thoughtful Foodie…?

Are you blessed with a positive relationship with food?

What I learned about food styling

Earlier this week I had the absolute pleasure of working on a client food styling project with two insanely talented people – Lucy Heath from Capture by Lucy and Pete Cookson from Paleo Chef.

The daughter of a Dad that went to catering college, I’ve inherited some glorious genes that mean I like to make every plateful of wonderful food look rather pretty. Since I started this blog I’ve found myself taking extra special care over making real, whole foods look as incredible as they taste. But my skill set doesn’t extend much beyond knowing which Instagram filter to choose and my oh my did I learn a lot in Pete and Lucy’s company this week.

Here are my top five takeaways on successful food styling & photography and things I’ll definitely aim to put into practice:

1. Be patient

Getting brilliant shots takes time. The desire to devour the dinner you’ve prepared for yourself after a hard day at work is likely going to win out over the need to tinker with a bit more garnish here, angle the plate a bit more there and so on. So if you’ve created a truly sumptuous supper why not sit down, enjoy it and plan to recreate it again later in the week or at the weekend for the benefit of a photo? If you’re on a shoot where you’re working with a professional team bear with them. They’re not taking the photo every which way for their own benefit; they care about providing you, their client, with as many shots for your library as possible. Likewise, if Chef’s not happy with how something looks, it won’t make the plate. And he’ll do it again. And again, until he is happy.

Getting it just right…

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Continue reading

Meeting PaleoChef

Regular readers of this blog will know I love to cook. The deal my husband and I have, with him on the washing up and the ironing and me at the stove and the supermarket, suits me just fine. His share of the bargain comes with the luxury of being able to generally do said chores as and when they suit, but dinner needs to be put on the table every evening. That’s more than fine most of the time but during more hectic weeks, even the keenest of cooks are happy to outsource. One thing I really miss about London is the luxury of easily obtainable, super nutritious dishes that could be collected on the way home from work – sashimi seaweed salads, bunless grassfed burgers, and organic plant-based delights.

Cardiff’s restaurant scene is awesome. It’s on-the-go, at home, clean eating friendly options less so. That was, until PaleoChef arrived.

The brain child and labour of love of Mari Griffiths and Pete Cookson, PaleoChef, is a meal prep and delivery service using the best ingredients and imaginative recipes free from grains, legumes, refined sugar and dairy.

I warmed to Mari and Pete the moment we met. It always feels so good to meet those that share your own passion, drive and enthusiasm and a determination to provide real, whole foods conveniently. Strong coffee and incredible pancakes were served shortly after my arrival, our stories and experiences shared and I was packed off with a cool bag full of lunch. Talk about making one seriously awesome first impression!

Pete the PaleoChef Cookson

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Continue reading

Coming up for air

Goodness gracious me it’s been some time since I checked in here.

As a blogger, there’s nothing quite as annoying as life taking over and weeks whizzing by without a moment to post.

For too long, this has been my view:

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Affixed to that spot, it’s been one great big freelance work and course assignment juggling act. But now, thankfully, I’m coming up for air!

So what’s been happening?

Continue reading