Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Honestly Healthy for Life - Vegetarian Recipes for an Alkaline Diet

It was only a few weeks ago that I sat down and read in the Sunday papers about the benefits of an alkaline diet.   I remembered thinking what an interesting idea that was and what a feasible argument the article portrayed of how this change in diet can be advantageous.
So it was with great interest that I was given the opportunity to explore this concept in more depth by receipt of a new cook book called Honestly Healthy for Life which is offers vegetarian, alkaline diet inspired recipes.
Honestly Healthy for Life is written by Natasha Corrett and Vicki Edgson who have fused their respective knowledge together to compile the book following the success of their previous title – Honestly Healthy
Natasha is a gourmet vegetarian chef  whose passion for cooking started at the age of 16 in the kitchens of her father’s restaurant which then led to an interest in nutrition based on a personal quest for a healthier lifestyle.  She is now a leader in alkaline cooking and has trained chefs to cook the Honestly Healthy way in 5-star hotels across the globe including London.  In addition to training, Natasha runs a food delivery service called ‘Fridge Fill’ which provides UK customers with bespoke ready-made plans.
Vicki is a well-recognised nutritional therapist and naturopath, practicing in London, Majorca and Miami helping people to understand how their bodies work and the nourishment they require.  As well as running international bespoke lifestyle retreats, she has also appeared on TV in series such as ‘Diet Doctors’ on Channel 5 and ‘Fat Nation’ for the BBC.
First of all, the explanation of why this lifestyle/diet approach is worth exploring.  (Of course noting that any change in diet should be done so with prior medical consultation if appropriate).  It isn’t a diet in the sense of a weight-loss plan which often involves a dramatic cull of food and a military strategy of exercise, this seems quite the opposite.  It offers an opportunity to assess your intake of foods and see potential advantages without any drastic compromises.
The book is split into two sections – the first section explains the principles behind the diet and the potential benefits for the body.    
Foods are grouped into two sections – acid based and alkaline based.  The body likes to be somewhere in the middle of these two groups in a ‘neutral’ capacity.  It is recommended that to achieve this status, diets are to be divided into consumption of 70% alkaline and 30% acid foods.  The associated benefits of eating alkaline foods is that it promotes energy and well-being, reduces bloating, minimises inflammation/ailments and hunger pangs.  The approach is majority vegetarian-led, with a recommendation of eating organic where possible with emphasis on vegetables, pulses, nuts and sprouted beans that assist with building proteins.  Typically alkaline foods include:  broccoli, kale, spinach, beetroot, peppers and cucumber to name a few.  Acidic foods include:  yeast, ketchup, dried fruit and dairy foods.
The one thing to highlight is that whilst some foods are acidic in their raw format, they convert to alkaline once cooked so be mindful of this change.  Equally, it isn’t the taste of food that assesses whether it is acidic or not, it is how that food is broken down and digested once consumed.
Consumption of excess acidic food can drain minerals from organs such as kidneys or the liver as the body fights back to return to a neutral PH level.
Interestingly, the book features a health questionnaire and if you suffer from any of the symptoms listed, you may well need to think about adjusting your diet as it may help to reduce those identified ailments.  The book also contains a useful guide of foods ranging from ‘Really Really Alkaline’ through to ‘Acidic’ making it easy to decipher the kind of foods suggested for adopting this diet and there is also a ‘larder list’ of essential store cupboard items to help support cooking alkaline based meals.
The second section showcases a wealth of recipes that encompass the diet’s principles and are sub-divided into real-life scenarios such as weekday suppers, lazy weekends, barbeques and Halloween etc.  All the recipes are vegetarian with plenty of desserts ideas for those with a sweet tooth.
Even if you don’t wish to follow the mantra of alkaline eating, the book and recipes featured are a delight for vegetarians and offer some great suggestions using everyday ingredients as well as ones that are more unusual.
Endorsed by celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Lisa Snowdon and by publications such as Marie Claire and Sunday Times Style, it is hard not to follow suit.  I for one am very interested in this method of eating, the science behind it makes a lot of sense to me and of course it fits in beautifully with my vegetarian lifestyle.  I’m not sure if I would be able to follow it religiously, (life and preferences don’t always allow), but I feel after reading the book that it will make me more mindful of what I choose to eat and Honestly Healthy for Life proves an invaluable reference tool for the adoption of this lifestyle.
DisclosureThis post was written following kind receipt of Honestly Healthy for Life.  This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website.  Please note that I am not endorsing this diet and I have not personally trialed it, I am simply commenting on the positive aspects of it and my expressing personal opinion of the advantages I have gleaned from the publication.  Personal research and personal verification of facts should be conducted to ascertain if diet changes are appropriate for an individual’s circumstances and any diet changes embarked upon should be done so with medical advice where applicable. 

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