Saturday, 11 July 2015

Food | The Trouble with Eating Well

Eating Well Deliciously Ella Get The Glow Gluten Free

Eating bowls of chia pudding for breakfast, sipping green smoothies on the way to work and cooking up vegan-and-gluten-free dinners in a white-washed kitchen is the new IT lifestyle. With the likes of Ella Woodward, Madeline Shaw and many other white, balayaged women spreading the Healthy Eating gospel, there's no escaping it these days. Clearly, I've been somewhat caught up in the whirlwind myself, mostly because of Woodward's claims that this change in diet has proven to a be a miracle treatment for a serious medical condition she developed in her late teens. Having been diagnosed with another very serious, very nasty autoimmune disease myself a couple of months ago (My body hates itself. Give me a fucking break, etc. etc.) I am at a sort of breaking point in my life where I'm willing to try almost anything to feel better. With that in mind, the growing popularity of healthy, gluten and dairy-free eating is truly wonderful but after trying to immerse myself in this lifestyle since my new diagnosis, I have a couple of bones to pick. 

Eating Well? Get Rich or Die Tryin'

First things first: our weekly shopping bill has increased by nearly 30%. That's nuts. No, seriously: some of that is literally down to nuts. Almonds, cashews, wal', pecan, pine. Nuts. I love a good almond as much as the next person but we all know that nuts can be incredibly expensive, so it isn't easy on the purse when you're buying 400g of the things for a single recipe that might last a couple of people just a couple of nights. And don't even get me started on medjool dates. £5 for 330g in M&S-- that's just enough for a single batch of sweet potato brownies, plus a few leftover for snacking. I mean, I can't deny it, they are perfect for sugar, dairy and gluten free baking but the price tag is eye-watering when you consider just how many you have to use in a single recipe.

For me personally, having coeliac disease as well as my new illness, makes shopping for food a bit more difficult. A lot of these recipes call for non-standard flours like brown rice and buckwheat, which are hard enough to find if you don't have coeliac disease. Trying to find flours that have been made on lines that don't handle wheat is awful. I bought 100g of brown rice flour for £1.65 last weekend because it was the only brand that could guarantee no cross-contamination. Welcome to my 'absolutely-no-choice-in-the-matter' gluten free life.

You will need: a food processor, juicer, spiralizer, blender, dehydrator, etc. 

Now, it's not just the food itself that's expensive but also the kitchen gadgets that you need to actually process it into something that looks like the pretty pictures in your books. I went to make a smoothie the other day and after realising that the texture wasn't quite right, I re-read the recipe and realised that I should have juiced the apples and kale before adding them to my blender. There were a few small issues with this, however: I don't have a juicer. I don't have the room for a juicer. And I certainly don't have the funds for a juicer AFTER BUYING THIS BLOODY BLENDER.

In sum, you are going to need quite a few gadgets if you plan on fully immersing yourself in the deliciously-glowing-and-fabulous lifestyle. And don't even think about buying that £15 food processor slash blender combo. Remember those nuts I was banging on about? You're going to have to blend those into a flour and if you want to be able to do that more than once without choking on bits of splintered metal, you better invest in a strong and capable machine that can handle more than a banana. 

Ain't Nobody Got Time For That

Myself and the boyfriend bought Jamie's 15 Minute Meals about a year ago, enticed by the claims that the recipes inside would be healthy, affordable and quick. It was the last one there that really took a hold and peaked our interest. We picked a lamb dish to start with and I wish I could say it took us 15 minutes. Ninety five. Ninety five minutes of peeling and frying and sweating and teetering on the edge of breaking up because it was all a bit too much. Jamie did try to warn us by saying that the 15 minutes begins AFTER all of your ingredients are prepped, but unfortunately for the large majority of the population WE DON'T HAVE A 12-MAN PRODUCTION CREW PREPPING EVERYTHING FOR US. And breathe. 

Finally, just take a moment to image my horror when a well-known healthy eating duo recommend that we boil bones for 6-24 hours to make stock. I can see the logic behind suggestions such as these but I had to ask myself: who has the time for this? I know that, personally, after waking up at 5:30am everyday and coming home more than 12 hours later, the last thing I want to do is spend hours and hours cooking before spending hours and hours washing up food processors and spiralizers. Don't get me wrong, even a microwave meal will leave you with a couple of forks to wash up but I have found that eating healthily can be incredibly laborious. This is probably definitely my lazy speaking but sometimes... you just don't have time for that. And that's probably really, very normal.

Don't get me wrong...

I've started to try and 'eat myself healthy' and the likes of Deliciously Ella and Get the Glow have been a fair starting point, so some of this post is just a little bit tongue-in-cheek. I've made quite a few recipes from each and I'll probably continue to do so. I just had a hankering to express my experience with this kind of lifestyle. It's not easy and it's certainly not cheap. I couldn't afford to eat recipes from these books exclusively and besides, I'm more than a little bit partial for a jar of curry sauce on a Friday night. We can't all be green goddesses all the bloody time. Right? 
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