People hate change. I think there’s a general consensus that healthy eating requires extreme change and absolute dedication. For this reason, many people don’t even bother trying. They’re put off by the idea that they’ll be forced to make radical changes and give up the things they love. But of course, nutrition isn’t so black and white. In reality, the difference lean and obese people isn’t as large as we would think. For example, eating a mere 200 extra calories a day adds up to an extra 73,000 calories a year. That’s just one sneaky mid-afternoon chocolate bar that can tip you way over your recommended daily allowance.
So the eating behaviours that separate people who are healthy and overweight aren’t drastically different. This is actually good news if you think about it. To lose a bit of weight and go from overweight to healthy, you really only have to make small dietary changes to see large effects.
This is demonstrated by a recent study that shown eating more beans, without changing any other aspects of their diets, helped people lose weight. I’ve made no attempt to hide my love of pulses, particularly chickpeas. Now science has furthered this obsession by revealing that eating one portion of beans or pluses a day can lead to weight loss. Importantly, the weight loss is long-term, meaning that it doesn’t get piled back on after a few months. Yes they actually do clinical trials where they get people to eat a portion of beans every day and see what happens. Now that sounds like a wonderful thing to make money. If anyone reading this is recruit for these mysterious bean-trials, please send an application my way.
I’m not trying to claim that the world’s weight-related issues can be solved by eating more beans (plus, who knows what that would do for the methane levels), but it’s interesting that such a small change in diet can have such a positive effect.
So don’t be put off when you hear someone mention of ‘clean eating’ or ‘raw til four’. Healthy changes don’t mean you have to become a juice-loving yogi who eats activated cashews, cucumber for lunch and spends the majority of her life pretending she doesn’t want to eat cheesecake. Contrary to how Instagram’s version of a ‘healthy lifestyle’ it’s portrayed, you are can still eat cheesecake and still be perfectly healthy. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, just something is enough.
I’ll been out of action for a couple of weeks as I’m going to Peru with Understory, a food/science/art start-up I help to run. We’re going to film a ‘Chocolamentary’ in the secret farms of the World’s rarest cocoa bean. As you can imagine, I’m super excited to learn more about the process of how chocolate is grown and generally be around chocolate for a couple of weeks. As a parting gift I leave you with this utterly delightful recipe.
I totally realise that there are no beans in this recipe, despite the content of this blog mostly involving me chattering on about them. Oh the irony. But it’s too delicious not to share. It couldn’t be easier to make, I pretty much just involves chopping some stuff and mixing a dressing. But don’t underestimate this lil guy, it’s honestly one of the best things I’ve made in a long while.
Crispy tofu batons with grapefruit, avocado, radishes and miso dressing:
Ingredients (serves 3):
For the Tofu:
Tofu (we just homemade because my housemate is a wonderful human but you can just use bought silken tofu)
50g chopped nuts
2 rosemary sprigs
50g breadcrumbs handful breadcrumbs
100ml Olive oil
For the salad:
1 bag spinach
1/2 bag rocket
4 radishes (thinly sliced)
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 orange (zest and juice)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
- Cut the tofu into batons.
- Mix breadcrumbs with toasted nuts, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper
- Coat the tofu in the breadcrumbs.
- Heat a pan filled with oil and, once hot enough, fry the tofu for 3-4 mins.
- Remove when the tofu is crispy and pat down with kitchen paper.
- Chop up the avocado, grapefruit and radishes.
- Mix in with the spinach and rocket
- Make a dressing by whisking tahini, miso, soy sauce, lemon juice, honey, orange zest and juice. Season well.
- Mix the dressing with the salad and sprinkle any leftover chopped nuts and breadcrumbs to serve.