5. Zuppa alla Toscana
Pulses, beans and lentils are my life. And this isn’t just because I spent six months living in Siena last year- land of the traditional chick-pea, lentil and vegetable Tuscan soup. No, it is something my mother has been cooking for years. And normally results in a fresh homemade batch made every week.
Red, green, yellow and brown lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, fava beans, kidney beans, butter beans, haricots, cannellini beans, flageolet beans, pinto beans, borlotti beans…the list is endless.
It has therefore become a staple to my diet, and something I have nearly every day for lunch. Accompanied with carrots, celery and sometimes even parsnips and swede, this mammoth pot of deliciousness can sometimes include up to 20 different pulses; a cheap, low-fat source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals which will do wonders for your health. Oh and don’t let the old baked beans’ reputation put you off. This is actually because beans contain indigestible carbohydrates. However soaking the beans the night before cooking them reduces these hard to digest carbohydrates, which your body naturally grows accustomed to if you increase your intake gradually
Always before my evening meal (normally to keep me going over before my evening gym session) I tend to eat a grapefruit. Not only an excellent source of vitamins A and C, but also many studies suggest that increasing consumption of grapefruits decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, while promoting a healthy complexion and increased energy. Not bad huh?
See? I was even instagramming them whilst in Chile
Whilst my diet largely consists of a variation of different fish, and light meats, when I’m fortunate to be home, homemade stews, casseroles and other dishes feature amongst some of my mother’s specialities. Despite my dad being a retired chef and having owned Italian restaurants and pizzerias for over 30 years, and despite him being able to cook the best authentic Italian pizza known to man, I have to admit mamma’s cooking is always the best. After all, it’s what you grow up on. What’s more he is actually banished from the kitchen at home due to the unbelievable amount of chaos and mess he is able to generate through merely frying an egg…
Veg is so underestimated. What’s more, eating plenty of it every day doesn’t just mean forcing down tasteless forkfuls of over boiled greens. In fact, you’ll find that a lot of essential nutrients and water-soluble vitamins are lost whilst boiling vegetables. Steaming, roasting or stir-frying your veg not only proves far more flavoursome and tasty, but means that you won’t be killing their nutritional value.
I personally always stir fry my veg as not only does it give it a great flavour, but allows you to be far more creative with your ingredients.
Exhibit B…infusion of 15 different vegetables with a dash of soy sauce to jazz things up a bit. The possibilities are endless.
This goes for salads too.
Exhibit C. Be creative.
You have to admit it looks inviting
I don’t understand how people just don’t eat fruit. I genuinely love it so much so that if anyone has ever been travelling with me, they will know that normally it isn’t long before I embark on a rampant quest for a market or supermarket to stock up on the stuff. What’s more, a couple of hours after dinner I always make myself a big bowl of fruit as I actually find that without it, not only do I feel super lethargic, but also dehydrated despite not going anywhere without my god-send of a 1L Bobble bottle. From Bolivia’s salt flats, to the heights of Machu Picchu, and the tired desks of Warwick’s humanity rooms, I am never without it. Although you will be pleased to know it has been recently upgraded to a bigger and what I’m sure is a cleaner version.
9. Cereal in a cup
Doesn’t everyone just love a good cup of bedtime cereal? Firstly, let’s be clear, it has to be in cup. I don’t know how this crazy tradition of mine started, but when I first saw one of my flatmates pour some cereals into a glass of milk at some crazy hour at night, I instantly knew we would be friends. Secondly, it has to be Dorset. Dorset Cereal that is. It’s just delicious. No need to go over the top. Just a couple of spoonfulls of some of their beautifully blended muesli combos of nuts, seeds and dried fruit does the trick and will stop you from waking up in the middle of the night hungry. If you have ever been on a night out with me, it is also the first thing I reach for when I get home. ‘Gloriously roasted nut’ in my personal favourite.
The brown box everyone, just remember the brown one…although here it look slightly orange?
10. Herbal tea
And you wonder why it takes me so long to get into bed at night.
Final stage I promise. In one last attempt to switch off before bed a good old concoction of Greek herbal teas is just what is needed. Placing our regular orders with my brother’s Greek girlfriend every time she pops back to Greece, the mother and I are building up quite an extensive collection. Adding a variety of mountain plants and flowers to some hot water each night not only does wonders to relaxation levels, but tastes delicious. You can’t get any more natural than that.
Even if my collection of bizarre looking plants does make my cupboard at university look a little…erm…suss.
All legit and legal…I promise!
So there you go; a pretty exhaustive run down of my daily food regime. Ok, so as I prepare myself to snuggle back down to sleep, maybe amidst the seemingly untameable stress levels of term 3, eating right doesn’t always mean sleeping tight. But hey, it had a good ring to it right?