Filling the gap: Sweet potato, balsamic mushrooms and quinoa with a miso glaze


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The level of obesity in the UK is seriously depressing. Now I know it’s been shoved down our throats at the same rate brits seem to be shoving kebabs down theirs, but it is something that needs to be addressed.

A quarter of people in the UK now classify as clinically obese. A recent statistic reckons that this will bankrupt the NHS within 20 years if it isn’t dealt with. So they decided to offer every overweight person a £6000 gastric band surgery…doesn’t really seem like the appropriate money saving option to me, but hey I’m no economist.  Now children all over the country are eating fast food for every meal and are having surgery at the age of 13. What would make more sense would be to target the root of the problem – helping people to control their intake and eat the right foods. Not only would this prevent people from developing the plethera of physical health problems that come with eating poorly but would save the NHS a ton of money in the long run.

Of course, scientists have been frantically researching ways to stop overeating. Yesterday it was revealed that scientists at Imperial college have invented a pill you can take that makes you feel full. It works by releasing ‘proprionate’, the natural chemical released from the gut that tells the brain it’s full. So it basically manipulates appetite control using the body’s own hormones.

In an initial experiment, 10 participants were given the chemical and 10 were given a placebo. At a buffet, those who ingested the drug ate 14% less food. After this impressive result, researchers asked 50 overweight individuals to take the drug every day for 6 months but try to keep their diet the same. At the end of the study, the participant who received the placebo gained more than 3% of their body weight while the others, who took the drug, didn’t gain any weight. This is really important finding for the current epidemic. Adults gain between 0.3kg and 0.8kg per year, so by adding this new chemical to foods this weight gain can be prevented.

But still, I can’t help but be sad that the only way to combat obesity seems to be by physically changing physiological processes. Why can’t our country stop eating on its own?! Despite knowing the health consequences, feeling tired and out of control, people have real difficulty with changing their diets and losing weight.

There are a number of psychological explanations for this, such as comfort eating, sugar addiction or social eating. In my view, the obesity crisis is simply a reflection of the state of mental health in the UK. Binge eating is a reaction to negative emotions, designed to mask feelings by eating them!  By providing gastric band surgery or a pill that makes you full, this won’t help people to understand their feelings. Even if we prevented them from eating ever again, suffering individuals will simply find another unhealthy outlet for their emotions. Instead, we should give people an outlet to talk about their emotions and change their out of control eating behaviours.

Obviously this is just my opinion but I just don’t think letting the country get so fat to the point that everyone has to have surgery or take drugs to stop eating sounds like a solid plan. So with that in mind, here’s a recipe that won’t make you fat… but will make you feel full when you have actually eaten food. Hurrah to eating food instead of chemicals. 

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Sweet potato, soy mushrooms and quinoa with a miso glaze:

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes

1 cup quinoa

3 portabello mushrooms

1 teaspoon miso

1 teaspoon flour

1 teaspoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegear

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 garlic cloves

1 cup boiling water + vegetable stock

splash olive oil

1. For the gravy: In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil and stir in flour to make a paste. Pour the miso paste and vegetable broth in while whisking to avoid lumps.  Once thickened, remove from heat until ready to use (you can quickly reheat before serving).

2. For the sweet potatoes: Preheat oven to 200. Slice a sweet potato into thin circles. Place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 20-35 minutes (flip half way through), until tender and lightly golden.

3. For the quinoa: Add 1 cup of quinoa into a pot with 1.5 cups of vegetable broth or water. Bring to a low boil for 20mins until  quinoa is fluffy. Season with salt and pepper

4. For the mushrooms: Slice the mushrooms into strips.. Slice into long, 1/2-inch wide strips. In a wok whisk together the vinegar, garlic, and soy sauce. Add the mushrooms and cook for 15 mins, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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