My green juicing tips

Green smoothies are now a ‘thing’, but I just haven’t found one I like and honestly I’d rather eat my fruit whole and enjoy it, rather than use it to mask the flavour of something I don’t like. Also my digestive system honestly doesn’t always cope well with a cold smoothie landing my stomach. I find fresh juices more manageable, but with juicing you are removing most of the plant fibre, which means the natural sugars in any fruits and vegetables you use are digested and hit the blood stream more quickly (not ideal).

My solution is green juicing, using only green vegetables rather than sugary fruits and roots. One glass a day is plenty for me, and if you’re going through chemotherapy I did read in the Living Well With Cancer Cookbook that you shouldn’t have more than this during treatment. I can only speak from my own experience, but I do feel better for having a green juice each day. Also, it may be a coincidence, but I needed a couple of blood transfusion during the first half of my course of chemo this year, and since I started having a green juice every day I haven’t needed another one. Make of that what you will!

A quick glance at my Instagram will show you how partial I am to an organic veg box delivery, and I do really like the selection offered in the Abel & Cole green juicing box. Unlike a lot of juicing boxes available it doesn’t have any high carb roots and is light on the fruit (only lemons and some apples, which I leave out of my juices and keep for eating whole). You get celery, two cucumbers, two lemons, ginger, parsley, mint, two types of greens (usually spinach and one that varies seasonally, but can be kale, lettuce, chard or watercress), and a few apples – all organic, for £12.50 plus delivery. Admittedly you can also get organic version of most of these in supermarkets, although you’d likely struggle to find organic herbs and ginger.

What generally goes in my green juice:

1 large stick of celery

1/3 cucumber

handful of spinach and/or chunk of broccoli stalk and/or spring greens and/or cabbage

small lump of fennel (about 1/4 small one)

2-3 mint stalks with leaves

small handful of parsley

small piece of ginger (approximately size of large pea, more if liked)

The instructions that come with the juicer generally tell you to sandwich leafy ingredients between harder ones to get the most juice out of them, which works well.

I’m lucky enough to have an Oscar Vitalmax juicer. It’s what’s known as a ‘masticating’ juicer as it ‘chews’ up the veg, which is supposed to be superior to the cheaper ‘centrifugal’ juicers which spin the veg around but may not extract as much juice and oxidise it more. If you haven’t tried juicing before and budget is an issue maybe start out with a cheap or second hand centrifugal juicer and see how you go, then upgrade later. I would definitely recommend the Oscar as it is much quieter, more compact and easier to clean than the centrifugal juicer I previously had, and very easy to use. I was lucky enough to find a pre-owned but unused one on eBay a couple of years ago, but think it is worth the investment at full price.

 

 

Advertisements

Recipe: low carb fish tacos

This is an amended version of a Nigella recipe to make it slightly simpler to make and also lower carb by swapping tortillas for lettuce boats (you can find the original in her book Simply Nigella and online here, which I suspect is even more delicious).

It’s a great way to make white fish more interesting and makes for a tasty lunch or light supper, especially in the summer.

 

fishtacos

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 fillets of firm white fish (e.g. cod or haddock), skinned

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp flaked sea salt

1 small clove of garlic, crushed or finely grated

1 tbsp olive oil

1 ripe avocado, sliced

2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 little gem or mini romaine lettuce, separated into individual leaves

half a red onion, thinly sliced into half moons

juice of one lime

small handful of coriander, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C fan. Put the sliced red onion and lime juice in a bowl to marinate.
  2. Mix together the olive oil, spices, garlic and salt. Place the fish in a roasting dish or tin, and spoon the mixture evenly over the fish fillets.
  3. Bake the fish for 8-10 minutes (depending size), until opaque and cooked through.
  4. You can either serve the fish, avocado, onions, leaves, mayo and coriander in separate dishes for people to assemble or put a selection of each on a plate.
  5. To assemble a ‘taco’, spread a little mayo in a lettuce leaf, add some fish, slices of avocado, a few slices of marinated onion and a sprinkle of coriander.

Recipe: wild salmon fishcakes

The beneficial effects of omega 3 essential fats are now widely acknowledged, but many of use still struggle to include foods rich in omega 3 in our diets. Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and trout are some of the richest sources. There are also vegetarian sources like flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts, although omega 3 is actually a family of fats and the type included in vegetarian sources is slightly different and requires the body to convert it to be used.

Salmon is the oily fish I find most palatable and easy to include in my diet, but over recent years some research has shown that farmed salmon can be high in environmental toxins such as PCBs and require treatment with antibiotics and pesticides to control lice infestations that have an impact on the levels in food and on the environment (there’s an interesting article about it here). So wild salmon is regarded by some as the best option, although it is significantly more expensive, has a different texture and requires shorter cooking times.

Tinned wild salmon is a slightly more economical option and widely available supermarkets. You can mix it with mayo and use as a sandwich filling, or even add it to pasta sauces, but my favourite way to have it is in fishcakes. The recipe below is gluten and dairy free and naturally low carb. Most importantly, it’s really tasty!

wildsalmonfishcakes

Serves 3-4

Ingredients

213g tin wild salmon

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

1 heaped tbsp ground almonds

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tbsp finely chopped dill, or to taste

1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, or to taste

a generous grind of black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C fan. Remove the large bones and skin from the salmon – most easily done by placing on a plate and using two forks to pick through.
  2. Place the salmon in a large bowl and add the other ingredients. Mix well. If the mixtures looks too wet, add some more ground almonds.
  3. Shape the mixture into 8 to 9 cakes and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes (until golden brown).
  5. Serve hot or cold with vegetables of your choice, a wedge of lemon, and some mayonnaise or horseradish sauce.

What’s your favourite way to eat wild salmon?

Recipe: raspberry smoothie

Usually I tend to have eggs for breakfast, but for days when I just don’t fancy them I’ve come up with this raspberry smoothie. Generally I find smoothies are too high in sugar and not very filling, but this one includes lots of ingredients rich in fibre, protein and healthy fats to keep you full. Raspberries are relatively low in sugar, and provide a range of antioxidants such as ellagic acid alongside fibre (source).

I like using frozen raspberries as it somehow seems a shame to blend up fresh ones. This recipe would also work with blueberries or mixed berries.

raspberrysmoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • handful of frozen raspberries
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds or ground flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • xylitol (or sweetener of choice) – 1 tsp or to taste
  • 150-200ml almond or coconut milk

Method

Add everything to a Nutribullet or blender and blitz until smooth. Taste and add more sweetener if needed.

Eating Well Part 3: helpful books

There are so many books available now about cancer, but quite frankly I don’t want to spend my time reading about it. I had a moment a few months ago when I wondered whether I had been missing out by avoiding them, and so ordered a whole stack online. Most of them were returned or sent to the charity shop.

The two books that stayed are actually cookbooks, but ones that offer quite a bit of background nutritional information. There are only a couple of recipes in each that appeal to me and suit how I’m eating right now, but obviously tastes differ, and I think they are worth a look as it’s easy to dip in and out of them without getting bogged down in unnecessary detail too. Both incorporate what I would consider a more ‘complementary’ nutritional therapy-type perspective in a way that is still accessible and I would hope wouldn’t completely freak out a dietitian.

cookbooks1

The first is called Nourish by Christine Bailey. Christine is an experienced nutritional therapist who also does a lot of work in healthy recipe development, and she’s produced this book in conjunction with the Penny Brohn Cancer Centre in Bristol. The nutrition section in this book is fairly concise, but I think it makes a nice starting point.

The second is The Living Well With Cancer Cookbook by Fran Warde & Catherine Zabilowicz, produced in conjunction with the cancer charity Maggie’s. This goes into a bit more detail and had some snippets I hadn’t come across. I found this a really informative and somehow reassuring read. I also liked the way it acknowledged that there are some more ‘out there’ approaches, but that these may have their downsides or require specialist support.

What books have you found useful?