Wholefood cooking in a world full of quick fixes is not an easy feat, but it’s my job and passion to help everyday people like yourself learn the tools and tips to bring a wholefood, real-food lifestyle into your reach, and into your kitchen!
My philosophy of eating is based around home cooked, ethically sourced, good-for-the-earth and free-from-chemicals methods of food sourcing and preparation. That means that the food you invest into should be of the highest quality; free from hormones, additives, pesticides.
Meats and animal products should be organic or free range and pasture fed wherever possible. Seek out farmers markets and fresh food delivery services over conventional supermarket produce and aim as much as possible to fill your pantry with single ingredients rather than anything mixed by a food company.
Meal kits are a great idea for the home cook as they are an easy alternative to grocery shopping to really remove the guesswork when it comes to meal planning.
Hello Fresh have wonderful recipes and also a meal kit delivery service, that is affordable and convenient, so you can create deliciously healthy, restaurant-worthy meals at home. The other benefits that meal kits offer are that they can help guide you around the kitchen and give you more cooking-confidence! As a bonus the kits also contain pre-measured ingredients to help prevent food waste. Meal kits save you time when it comes to planning, prep and shopping too!
Here are some of my top tips to help you live a wholefood cooking lifestyle.
- Soak your grains. This step is so critical, and is something that in the age of outsourced food preparation has been lost. Back in the old days, traditional cultures always soaked, sprouted or fermented their grains, nuts, legumes and pulses before consuming them. This is incredibly important to neutralize enzyme inhibitors and render these foods digestible. An overnight soak of any grain such as oats, buckwheat, quinoa or other grain you are using in any recipe should be soaked in warm filtered water with a spoonful of an acidic or fermenting medium such as apple cider vinegar, whey or yoghurt to break down phytic acid which binds to minerals in your gut and can lead to malabsorption which will negatively affect your gut health over time.
- Activate. Seeds and nuts should ideally be activated before consumption, for similar reasons as grains. They really are significantly more digestible, and are actually super crunchy and delicious when activated. To activate nuts and seeds you simply soak them in water for eight to twelve hours with a good pinch of salt, and then dry them setting in your oven for around 8 hours.
- Cook and freeze. I am a big fan of traditionally soaking and preparing a stockpile of vegetarian sources of protein like lentils, chickpeas, cooked buckwheat, quinoa, beans and other legumes that would normally be bought tinned. Once a week I like to soak a heap of different items and then I will cook them all up over the next day or two in my slow-cooker, or on various pots on the stove. I will then put them into “tin” sized portions in zip lock bags in my freezer so I always have pre-cooked quinoa, chickpeas etc ready to go for a soup, hommus, curry or base of a seasonal meal.
- Defrost. I’m not the biggest fan of microwaves. I don’t appreciate the way in which they change the molecular structure of food. To avoid processing in a microwave I always like to defrost my meats, grains and berries out on the bench. This requires a bit of planning, so I will set reminders in my phone if I need to put meat out in the morning. To defrost berries I simply run warm water over them. You would be surprised at how unnecessary microwaves are when you simply get rid of them!
- Embrace the stock pot. A good stock is an age old practice that I would love to see in every home. Each week I throw chicken carcasses and vegetables, or different meat bones like beef or lamb, or just plain seasonal vegetables with water and apple cider vinegar into my slow cooker to prepare broths that form the basis of sauces, gravies, soups, curries and stews. They are so simple, a great way to use up leftover veggie scraps and meat bones, and can be easily stored in jars in your freezer as a replacement for additive filled stock cubes.
Let me know what tips you have for cooking with wholefoods in the comments section below.