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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Clean eating on a budget

This week’s round up looks back at some of the things I’ve eaten this week with a particular focus on clean eating on a budget.

There are tonnes of online resources and other blog posts that cover this topic but I’ve always found them a bit broad brush and not necessarily realistic – e.g. buy a whole cow with a mate, never ever buy from a supermarket and don’t eat out. Who can live like that all the time? Not me – or you, I’d imagine.

There’s no denying clean eating on a budget is challenging. I speak from valuable experience. At the start of this year my husband and I had a combined six figure salary, we shopped at Ocado until our hearts’ content. Weekly deliveries were common, as was topping up a larger shop with trips to the Waitrose behind my office and the Whole Foods in front of his. We spent easily £600 a month on food (and some wine, I confess…) and didn’t worry about it.

Now we find ourselves living off one wage that’s three fifths of one of our previous London salaries. We’re far from on the breadline and we’re very lucky to have what we do. But it’s represented a big change for us and one we’ve had to adapt to quickly in order to keep enjoying good, whole foods.

Here’s how we’ve been going about clean eating on a budget

1. Embrace the low budget supermarket

As fate would have it, our new house is opposite a Lidl. I’d never been in one before. I’d (wrongly) equated the store with poor quality and rubbish foods. It couldn’t actually be further from the truth.

If you shop wisely, there really are some hidden gems to be found. Some of my favourites include their rye bread, oat cakes, Danish smoked salmon and dark chocolate. Easily a third of the price of their equivalents that I’ve spent much of my adult life buying.

Clean eating on a budget – fall in love with Lidl

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2. Do what your Grandmother would do – don’t waste a scrap

We hosted a yummy lunch on Sunday (even if I do say so myself). The £22 leg of Welsh lamb served us extremely well. Second helpings for five, a plated dinner left for ‘im indoors on Monday and then the deliciousness that was this:

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When clean eating on a budget think ‘what would Grandma do?’

Cawl – a traditional Welsh broth of lamb, potato, leeks, carrots and stock. Into the slow cooker the leg of lamb went. Two pints of stock, all the scarps of meat and the additional ingredients later, all bubbling away in a pan has made for additional helpings of a perfect lunchtime autumnal warmer.

3. Be less picky and get creative

I don’t really like carrots  – at least not on their own and I’d never choose them as a vegetable on the side. But they’re cheap. And I came across these organic gems, grown in Norfolk in Lidl this week for 90p. Quantity wise, few things can compare when it comes to cost effectiveness gram for gram. So I had a think about how I do like to eat carrots. I  bought them and I roasted them. Divine.

 

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4. It’s about less, but better

Meat used to make up such a huge part of our shopping bill but now we’ve found more of a balance and included some new veggie recipes into our weekly repertoire. This spinach, mushroom and feta crustless pie was a big dinner hit – and perfect for breakfast leftovers too. Obviously I switched the hideous spray oil for butter and used cream instead of milk to make it that bit more filling. Cruising for a heart attack? Not just yet…

photo 4One other thing that has made a crazy, crazy difference has been the speed at which I eat and the number of times I chew my food. This was really hammered home in a recent lecture as part of my course around digestion. It really struck a chord (even though I’ve heard it so many times before) so a casual put down of my knife and fork in between the at least 10 chews has left me fuller for longer. Including a portion of pulses a day is the cheapest form of both filler and digestive system mover I could have wished for.

How much do you spend on your groceries? Where do you splurge? Where do you cut back?

What does a career change look like?

Lovely friends, fans and followers of Let Her Eat Clean. Forgive me for I have sinned… Where has the time gone? It’s been a wee while since I’ve checked in and it’s definitely been the result of a lot going on. So, what better way to make amends than to tell you all about it? Today, is all about what a career change looks like.

A career change is starting your studies at BCNH. First up on the timetable: the induction day, an intro to macro and micro nutrients and some reflective practice.

BCNH notes

Lecturer Ben Brown extolled the immune system supporting virtues of shitake mushrooms. Get those stir fries on the go this September folks.

Shitake

A career change is several days in London, at a fascinating conference, grabbing every teeny, tiny bit of WiFi you can lay your hands on to keep earning a living whilst enjoying yourself. Perfect excuse for hideous amounts of the capital’s best coffee – pictured here is Caravan Exmouth Market.

Caravan

A career change is about ‘work’ of a very different kind, live tweeting alongside the lovely Victoria Wallop at the MAD Blog Awards. Obviously you can see we took it veeeeeeery seriously *cough*…

MADS

A career change is lunch at Ottolenghi.

Ottolenghi

 

I lived in London for nearly a decade. In the entire time I was there I could never secure a table. My oh my was it worth the wait. This plateful of salady delicious awesomeness was simply incredible. Go, if you haven’t – and don’t be as useless as I was, always leaving it until the last minute to make a booking, you’ll never get in.

Top tip – weekday lunches with a 12 noon arrival are your best bet for securing an unreserved table. And remember, no one went to heaven for resisting their incredible desserts. Be sure to ask for the gluten free selection. The staff are so helpful – and appear to have tried most of them!

A career change is juggling a house move, waiting in for deliveries without a WiFi connection yet (actually nearly stopped breathing being ‘unconnected’ this morning).

Chair

A career change is learning to budget without a steady income. Working out what you can buy from Lidl…

Lidl rye

…to save the pennies for the things you love at the local farmers’ market. Today I met Chris from Welsh Food Box, the man behind the deliveries I received throughout the summer. I love it when Twitter and the real world collides.

Chris

So there you have it, a whistle stop tour of how the past couple of weeks have shaped up for Let Her Eat. Has it been exhausting and downright nightmare-ish at times? Yes. Would I have had it any other way? Most certainly not. You have one life. Live it. And don’t be stuck doing something you’re not happy doing.

Have you ever thought about a career change? Does anything put you off making the change?

 

 

The best breakfast options

I’ve blogged before about how much I love breakfast. I go out of my way to start each day with protein and I can genuinely hold my hand up to say I’ve eaten just one bowl of cereal this year (it followed some eggs and was a low sugar, seed rich granola type thing – a rare treat. Definitely not something I would eat all the time).

So why the push on protein and an opinion that sees cereal as a rare treat?

In short, a protein-rich breakfast is essential.

A protein rich breakfast will keep you fuller for longer, set your body and mind for the day ahead, reducing the likelihood of reaching for evil and unnecessary snacks much later in the day.

But sometimes thinking of brekkie options that pack a protein punch can be a bit of a bind, so here is a selection of my quick fix, regular favourites:

 Love a leftover

The sooner you treat breakfast like any other meal and think outside the cereal box the easier it will be for you to pull together a seriously nutritious and diverse breakfast selection. Set aside a portion from dinner, et voila. I had this for brekkie last week following a fast day and it seriously hit the spot.

Roast chicken, baked sweet potato, peas with mint and feta, green beans

Left overs brekkie

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This week I (went freelance)…

A special edition that captures what freelance life has brought with it.

I read some awesome things (started with that Guardian cover article  and chose Jay Rayner’s offering from my summer reading pile), I worked out (twice a day in some cases) – two of which were new work outs (spinning and a kettle bells session), one of which was a series of agonising hill sprints in the rain; I pulled together some proposals (top secret), I opened a ‘I’m now a freelancer’ bank account, I got my name added to my husband’s account (woo! / better later than never…), I upgraded to an iPhone (white. Petrified of getting it a. dirty b. the inevitability of me smashing it), I earned some money, I spent money (*whispers so the husband doesn’t hear* in the Boden & Cath Kidston sales), I got invited to write two guest blog posts here and here, I met new people, I bumped into old acquaintances, I visited my Grandparents, I spoke to former colleagues as we found our way together through the freelance jungle, I volunteered for some summer house sitting, I tightened the screws on my nutrition a bit (too many weekend visitors of late…), I got to bed earlier. I smiled. I smiled a lot.

Freelance Friday Collage

This is definitely what the new life, the good life is all about. Here’s to the promised heat wave ahead!

What’s in store for you this weekend?

Nutrition neurosis

I’m most definitely about as neurotic as they come. And as such, it’s hardly surprising an excellent piece from Sunday Times Style at the weekend (below) got me thinking a lot. It’s well worth a read.

Neurotic mug

What I’m finding is the more I’m learning about nutrition the more my opinion changes every single day – and the more I just can’t work out where I stand on a lot of things. Gawd help me once my four years of study at BCNH is up… Continue reading

Organic versus local & seasonal versus non-organic verus what you can afford

Special thanks to Healthuncut for the support with this piece.

Welsh veg box

The organic v non organic debate forever rages in the media. Every single study tends to mimic another by (rightfully, in my opinion) claiming the nutrient profile of an organic apple, pear, cabbage, tomato, whatever, is no different to its non-organic equivalent. This study called out exactly that at the end of last year. It just misses a trick in not emphasising that organic farming doesn’t use harmful pesticides and chemical substances – neither of which we’d eat by the spoonful so why should we eat fruit and veggies coated in them? Continue reading