Category Archives: The food matters project

Kitchen Pharmacy Part 2 – Prevention, plus an immunity hotpot

Prevention.
It’s better that cure! That is definitely the word on the street. And it certainly saves a lot of time (and money if you think it terms of time off work) to be avoiding illness. By keeping yourself as well as you can you are also in a better position to bounce back faster and more completely if you do get sick. 

So how do you stay well and avoid the dreaded lurgies?

There are certain key nutrients that help to maximise immune function, the big three being Vitamin C, Vitamin A/betacarotene and Zinc.

Vitamin C is widely recognised as being of assistance during colds / flu / infections for its ability to reduce the severity and duration of illness. Vitamin C supplements are one of the most widely consumed supplements on the market. They appear in varying quality, forms and strengths, and here is the basic lowdown. Powders are better absorbed than tablets. Smaller quantities taken more frequently is better than one huge dose. Don’t buy chewable vitamin C tablets as they are full of sugar/sweeteners which inhibit your immune system by up to 50%, and this is not what you want!

Having said this, nutrients work better, and are ultimately best absorbed if you have them as part of a whole food! Of course there are circumstances where we require higher doses, but for prevention and general wellness, wholefood is the go. 

We are so lucky to have such an amazing array of goodies packed with Vitamin C to choose from, with capsicum, kale, broccoli, thyme and parsley, kiwi fruit, strawberries, citrus fruit, raw cabbage, sweet potato and tomatoes being the high flyers. Be careful though, you can destroy up to 100% of the vitamin C content of these foods during the cooking process as it …

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A Wholefood Tasting Plate with Avocado Salsa and Walnut & Sage ‘Pate’

Walnut and Sage ‘Pate’ Balls

Growing up, my family would have ‘platters’ on given occasions. My sister and I loved these platters that were decorated with a number of usual suspects; black pepper pate, fruit cheese, gherkins, and savoy biscuits. And there was always the ceremonial using of the duck pate knife, which we thought was very flash! I still love platters. I associate them with good times, good conversation and sharing food – all of which play a starring role in the making of my own family traditions with my husband and daughter now.

The platters have changed a bit over the years though. My perfect platter, or tasting plate to be more fancy about it, must have a dip, a cheese, some sort of crunchy vehicle to get these into your mouth, something raw, and a nice balance of colours so that it looks pretty too.

I thought I would share a couple of favourites here: avocado salsa and walnut and sage ‘pate’.

The Food Matters Project’s menu for this week was Five Quick Salsas For Chips, Dips and other Stuff – you can see the original recipe here.

Avocados should feature in every home’s fruit bowl. They have an abundance of monounsaturated fat. This is good! Monounsaturated fats have beneficial effects on cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, and they are a more stable fat and therefore do not become rancid as easily as the polyunsaturated types.

Avocados also contain a natural source of lecithin – a food for our brains and again assists will cholesterol levels. They are high in lutein, vitamin K, calcium, folate and vitamin C, and because of their combination of good fats and vitamins, are a fabulous skin food. So, healthy heart, glowing skin, boosted immune system and protection against certain cancers (bowel …

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Romancing the Sea Vegetable Part Deux – a Cauliflower Soup

Dulse magic!
Dulse is a luscious maroon coloured, fabulously versatile seaweed that is bound to steal your heart.

On top of the health and nutritional benefits mentioned previously, dulse is exceptionally high in iodine and manganese, and has been used as a remedy for sea sickness, herpes and scurvy – what more could you ask for?! It’s salty flavour makes it a great salt substitute, but you may like to start slowly and build up as your body adjusts to the flavour which can be overpowering if you overdo it!

You can buy dulse as larger pieces, or in flakes as pictured. The flakes really are next level awesome as you can add them to almost anything (I haven’t tried with sweet things, but why not throw some into a carrot cake mix?). They are a vitamin and mineral injection to any meal you add them to, and because they are so conveniently flaky you can feel free to sprinkle into soups, stews, pasta sauces, meat dishes, salads, onto vegetables, you name it – you dulse it!

The larger dulse pieces can be used as spinach or other leafy veg, or sauteed and eaten as a snack or a side. I crisped some up on a really low heat in the oven to eat – they are intense this way, but would be a fun and healthful addition to your normal array condiments!

Today I have used the flakes in this week’s Food Matters Project recipe – Roasted Asparagus and White Bean Soup, chosen and hosted by Adrienne. Asparagus is not in season here at the moment, so I have made a different version of the soup using cauliflower and kale, loosely inspired by Heidi Swanson’s Cauliflower Soup. I have kept the recipe dairy free, but it would …

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Sprouting Quinoa, Sprouted Ancient Grain Baguettes and a sneaky Breakfast Salad

Sprouting is the greatest thing! It’s so lovely to see the food that you eat growing before your eyes. Not only growing, but becoming richer in nutrients and more digestible. The starch is converted to simple sugars, protein to amino acids, and the fat into individual fatty acids1. How fabulous! This helps to explain why those with allergies or intolerances to certain grains can tolerate them if they are sprouted. Sprouts represent the moment of greatest vitality in the life cycle of a plant, are a specific remedy for stagnant liver qi 1, or a ‘sluggish’ liver.

You can sprout pretty much any whole grain or seed. however they do take varying amounts of time to sprout.

Here’s what to do.

1. Use 1 part seed/grain to at least 3 parts water. Place grain/seeds in a jar or bowl, cover with muslin/cheesecloth and an elastic band (or use a sprouting jar if you have one) and soak for 12 hours.

2. Drain and rinse. Leave the drained seeds in a room temperature, dark place (or cover with a cloth) and rinse twice a day, morning and night until sprouted. It doesn’t have to be super warm but the cold and light will inhibit the sprouting a little and encourage the seeds to mould instead of sprouting. 

Quinoa is a quick sprouter. I had these beautiful babies in 24 hours, but some other grains/seeds/legumes such as alfalfa, mung beans, aduki, chickpeas and lentils take 3 – 5 days. Buckwheat is another great sprouter! 

What to do with your new little friends? Salads are an obvious choice. Try mixing them through with any of your grain dishes, or as a garnish for soups or stews.

The sudden cold snap in Melbourne today was perfect for the sprouted quinoa baguettes I made. This …

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Meg Thompson

Naturopath & Nutritionist
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