Do you want to eat healthier but can’t be bothered with sourcing weird ingredients? You dream of serving that beautiful salad recipe that takes 14 steps to prepare. Wait, that’s not counting the overnight nut soaking.
Reality check: probably not gonna happen.
Lazy cooks, rejoice – I have a sweet deal for you.
All thanks to another fellow lazy cook. His name is James Wong (aka botany geek) and he has just published his first book “How To Eat Better”. He’s a scientist and a food geek. Perfect combination if you want a credible source of how to get MORE out of your food while doing LESS.
I purchased this book out of a genuine interest in food chemistry. Like, yeah, that’s the kind of person I am.
Actually I didn’t. I bought it by accident.
It was the day before Father’s’ Day.
I took the girls out to pick a gift for dad. I skipped the gadget shop (would probably leave with an overpriced, useless piece of electronics) and happened to find my way to a bookshop instead. Where I obviously spent the next 45 minutes browsing books for myself. Time flies when you’re having fun, but then…
Cinders! I suddenly realise it’s time to go home – aaaargh! Still no gift for dad!
I quickly rush to the cookbook section (by default). I spot a book with a guy wearing a blue sports polo on the cover. He has muscled arms and is surrounded with bowls of healthy food. There’s also a microscope casually on the table.
I’m mentally ticking the boxes: (1)this is a book for guys, (2) about fitness, (3)healthy food and (4)with some sort of scientific claim – perfect, dad is going to love this.
As it turns out, this is not exactly what the book is about.
I always judge a book by its cover.
What a great surprise it was.
“How To Eat Better” takes everyday ingredients and teaches you how to shop, store and cook them to extract the greatest nutrient punch from every morsel. It shares impartial, science-based advice and goes as far as challenging some of our most ingrained food myths – like potatoes are bad for you. Are they really?
My favourite bits? When evidence supports laziness. Zero effort shortcuts to healthier food. It’s like finding out that my favourite wishlist top is now on sale!
These are my favourite How To Eat Better 5 Healthy Food Shortcuts!
1. Go DARK
Not as in shades of grey dark (unless that’s your thing, obviously) but more like the green and purple kind. Choose leafy greens with deep colours instead of the pale ones for higher concentration of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Think spinach and kale instead of iceberg lettuce, broccoli instead of cauliflower. Even better? Go purple whenever available – that’s your superfood colour!
2. Ready To Go
Bagged salad must be bad for you, right? Sitting there who knows for how long, sadly depleted of its plant power – I might as well just chew on a piece of paper. Packaged cooked beetroots? Oh the food sin. It’s either cooked at home or no way, Jose. Seems sensible, right?
Only you’d be wrong.
Studies show that there’s hardly a dent on bagged salads’ leafy green goodness. Certainly nothing that a few drops of lemon juice can’t fix. How much hassle does that save you?!
And what about the pre-cooked beetroots, ready to grab and go from the supermarket aisle? Not just fine, better than fine – apparently processed beets have loads more antioxidant activity than raw. Just make sure you’re choosing the vacuum sealed ones and not a sugar-added version.
3. Add that FAT
This is the yummiest, bestest bit. Did you know that you need to add fat to your greens to get the most out of them? Fat-soluble nutrients like carotenes and Vitamins A and K will only kick in if you pair it up with some delicious, filling good fat. Think extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. As if I needed any more excuses.
Are you wondering why suddenly FAT is all the rage? Find out all the truth in my exclusive interview with Eat Fat Get Thin author Mark Hyman.
4. Yes To Spuds
Potatoes are NOT the devil. They actually have fewer calories like-for-like than almost any other starch sources. Ladies, let’s put some numbers on this: we’re talking like 50% less than pasta and 70% less than white bread – I know, right?
Go for new potatoes for slower digested carbs and lowest spike in blood sugar – give the fluffy Maris Pipers a miss. The top of the crops? Purple violetta potatoes (see #1). Never tried them, you say? Neither have I. That’s one for the shopping list.
5. Skin stays ON
The skin concentrates the highest amount of polyphenols (a phytonutrient plants produce to defend themselves), vitamins and minerals. So give the peeler (and yourself) a break and go lazy on those carrots and sweet potatoes next time.
There’s lots more useful tips on how to get the most out of your food, as well as delicious recipes where it all comes together. James Wong’s science-manual-meets-cookbook-but-I-actually-get-what-he’s-saying first title stands out crowd with his fresh, fun, evidence-based take on healthy food.
Seriously ladies, there are even sections dedicated to chocolate and booze. James Wong, you are a man after my heart…
Find “How To Eat Better” here!