Nourishing the next generation

I ate everything as a child. But that was more of a curse than a blessing. I’ll never know where the insatiable appetite came from. I was greedy. Always had room for seconds, thirds, sometimes fourths. I once stole a packet of Spar burger bites from the coat pocket of a younger kid at school. My weight in stones matched my age in years until about 15 when it started to level off a bit – despite buying more than the boys at the break time tuck shop.

Aged 7 (right)

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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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Why is sugar so bad?

If there’s one thing that’s grinding my gears right now it’s sugar and how it’s currently being handled in the media.

This week, print, broadcast and online outlets will have confirmed for each and every one of us that sugar is evil. Deadly. It’s killing us – slowly, quicker in some instances. We’re addicted. It’s hidden in everything. Stop eating it now and seek alternatives, stat.

Sugar is sugar – regardless of the form it comes in

Sugar Collage

But here’s the thing, the alternatives we’re being suggested we seek out are *breaking news klaxon* just as ‘bad’. Agave syrup? Just don’t do it to yourself. A load of honey in plain yogurt because you ditched the fruit yogurts? Fine, but honey’s still sugar y’know. Continue reading

Don’t, whatever you do, go on a diet

“I’m starting Monday”.

Three fatal words uttered by so many vowing to commit to a New Year regime. But here’s the thing, how ever your first month of 2014 pans out, don’t, whatever you do, go on a diet in January – or any other month for that matter.

Stop now, before you start it.

Some key points to consider:

  • The diet industry is worth millions. Trillions, probably. Have you ever thought about why?
  • If marketing $£€ has to be thrown at a campaign to convince you something is healthy or good for you, chances are it isn’t
  • Nearly everyone knows someone that’s lost a significant amount of weight in their life following a <<insert name of commercial diet plan here>>, right? How many of those people have actually kept the weight off?

Don’t be a slave to the dieting scales. Opt for awesome instead

Scales

But what if weight loss, better health and an all round feeling of awesomeness became a bi-product of committing not to 28 day plans or 12 week regimes but from vowing to eat real, whole foods all of the time?

Nothing more, nothing less. Continue reading

Let Her Eat Clean’s year in review

The clock struck 9pm. “Happy New Year” we bellowed. There was no way Fi was making it to midnight. There was no way she was missing the last toast of her life. We adapted to accommodate her wishes. We shared a thimbleful of champagne.

2013 – it was the worst of times; it was the best of times

Year in review Collage

January notoriously sucks, doesn’t it? Losing a parent in January double sucks, believe me. But here’s the thing, you can wallow in that kind of suckiness or you can go on to do great things, you can live the life that person would have wanted you to. You can make every effort, every day to do something that person would have been so proud of.

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“I’m hungry”

How many times a week do we find ourselves saying “I’m hungry”? How many times a day even? But here’s the thing, do we know what it’s really like to be hungry?

I’m almost certain I don’t. This particularly hit home today when I visited Cardiff food bank.

At Cardiff food bank (on my way to a work out, incidentally! Forgive the lycra…)

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Early doors, I went wild in the aisles of Lidl on behalf of the lovely people at Cake. I’ve freelanced with this glorious team for the past 6 months.

In lieu of Christmas cards, super duper MD Sara Robinson decided to make a food bank donation instead. I stepped up to the plate to help with the shopping.

I’ve talked about clean eating on a budget before. But food bank budgeting is an entirely different kettle of (canned) fish, as the lovely Ian Purcell from Trussell Trust explained to me.

There may be no fresh fruits and vegetables on offer but ultimately the food bank is able provide something. Something that will last, something that can be prepared with relative ease, something that will nourish, something that will most importantly fill a hole in times of difficulty.

The Cardiff food bank provides their shopping list for donations here.

I stuck to it as closely as possible, whilst trying to opt for some economical, yet healthy choices. The Cake contribution was made up of as much of a protein punch as we could pack:

Food bank contributions care of Lidl’s excellent offers

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o Tuna
o Chopped tomatoes
o Chickpeas
o Butterbeans
o Red lentils
o Mixed nuts
o Red kidney beans
o Dark chocolate

Food banks, food poverty and jeering politicians are constantly hitting the headlines at the moment. But for me, it’s about taking a step back from all that. It’s about being grateful for something as wonderfully simple as the home cooked meal my husband and I sit down to every evening. It’s about continuing to be content with our little (rather substantial?) lot. It’s definitely about being less greedy.

Don’t for one minute think I’ll begrudge you your turkey next week. I absolutely plan to enjoy mine. But take a moment to appreciate it and all you have. If you’re reaching for the Gaviscon, consider that karma’s way of telling you to cool it on the second helpings…

Where do your views stand on food banks?