The Nourishing Larder, as we transition from Winter to Spring, it’s the perfect time to review our eating/shopping and snacking habits. For most of us the idea of a huge larder stuffed full of wonderful ingredients is a bit of a pipe dream. Does anyone else incessantly pin pictures from Pinterest of beautifully jarred ingredients with gorgeous labels, all lined up like sentries, onto their boards? Whilst we might not all be able to achieve a beautiful larder we can certainly make sure that it’s full of healthy, nutritious ingredients to sustain and fuel us.
With our own commercial kitchen working towards being zero waste we’re applying the same ideas to home too. Refill/Zero Waste stores are a fantastic resource for cutting down on your food packaging. Reuse jars and other containers from home and fill up with dried goods like chickpeas, oats and more.
Most refill stores will also have a selection of products like our own Coconut Bites, that will be packaged in Home Compostable or recyclable packaging. We love our local store in Reigate, Inside Out, for it’s Faith in Nature refill station. This is such a simple way to cut down on plastic packaging. We’re refilling into glass bottles with a pump from We Earth London (they have a 5% off discount code for 1st orders on their site when you sign up to their newsletter).
What does wholefoods mean? Wholefoods refers to foods that are pure and as unprocessed as possible. This covers legumes, fruit, veg, seeds, nuts, grains and more. Whether you cut them, whizz them, bake them, they remain a wholefood that hasn’t been messed about with, other than to mix it with other naturally sourced ingredients. Eating a whole-food diet is sometimes referred to as “clean eating” because you avoid processed foods and focus on healthy, nutritious whole foods. Processed and refined foods contain preservatives, artificial colours, and other chemicals that may be toxic. Eating whole foods means you avoid these unwanted additives and get the full suite of antioxidants, digestive enzymes, and other nutrients in the foods.
During Organic September we’d urge you to make the change, where possible, to organic ingredients. Wholefoods with no nasties added are the fuel that we all need to get through the change in seasons and keep our health on track. Why not try a veggie box from Eversfield Organic or support your own local one? These reflect the wonderful seasonal produce that we have available to us in the UK from our own farms.
All of our own products are based on the principle of eating wholefoods. You won’t find any ingredients that you don’t recognise easily in any of our Macaroons, Bites or Slices.
So what wholefoods might you find in a nutritious larder?
Nuts and seeds.
A handful of nuts or seeds, to sustain energy and provide healthy fats is an easy snack to take on the move with you. Both are a great source of protein and help with that feeling of satiety. We love to add a spoon of ground almond to porridge or to help thicken sauces or soups too. They add a lovely creaminess. A favourite, home from school snack, of our IGTV superstar, Inge, is a pot of nut butter to dip in either veggie sticks or slices of apple. Fancy making your own nut butter, try her very own recipe here.
Seeds are naturally crammed with real goodies like protein, iron, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Which makes them a super nutritious food for a healthy diet. The rich nutrient content of seeds makes them particularly good for those leading an active lifestyle. A scattering of activated seeds takes a humble salad to new heights, especially if you add a hit of chilli powder to them. We love the many flavours of the Boundless Seeds, they really add a punch to any dish. We also add seeds into our baking too, why not try our quick seed bread recipe?
The delight of eating seasonally truly comes to life when you get excited about the start of your favourites coming into season. For some it’s the start of the asparagus season, for others it might be plums. Whatever it is there is nothing better than a gorge on your faves once they are readily available.
For those able to tolerate legumes they are an incredible way to add bulk, and fuel, to create a healthy, well balanced meal. Think cannellini beans in a stew, black beans in your chilli or that perennial favourite, chickpea packed hummus. We love to make a big batch of Mexican inspired refried kidney beans. Great at keeping us going when the chill sets in.
Frozen peas and broad beans are also great staples to have at hand that cook quickly and have retained all their natural goodness by being quickly frozen at picking. Cooking a piece of fish? Why not knock up one of Ineke’s favourite side dishes, smashed pea and avocado to serve alongside?
With such a wide choice of wholegrains there is something for everyone. Whether you follow a gluten free diet or not. Choose from grains like oats, quinoa, spelt, brown rice, pearl barley to add some serious fibre to your diet. With many wholegrains packing a nutritious punch they are invaluable and have made different uses from sweet to savoury. Play with these grains in your baking by replacing some of the flour with oats for instance. Or why not add a handful of pearl barley to a soup to create a hearty meal?
Few busy mornings are complete in the Nourish kitchen without a bowl of bircher muesli with warm plant milk. A great slow release of energy throughout the morning will keep the busiest of families fuelled up. We love Primrose Kitchen for their delicious, organic, bircher muesli.
Herbs and spices are the key for taking a bland dish from zero to hero. What would carrot soup be without coriander, or chilli be without paprika? Now is a great time to have a little herb and spice audit. There is nothing worse than thinking you’re adding a fragrant few leaves of tarragon only to find that it’s lost its scent and is out of date.
Fresh herbs can be grown on a windowsill all year long. They provide a welcome spot of colour to some of the more everyday dishes. Tomato soup taken to new heights with a dollop of basil or rocket pesto. Or a jacket potato and hummus can be transformed by a dollop of chimichurri sauce.
We hope we’ve inspired you to audit your cupboards for the new season, and that you’ve enjoyed checking out what’s in the nutritious larder.
Staying home and keeping cosy at the moment it feels like the right time to spice up our baking with these Winter Spice Muffins. With the wonderful warming scent of cinnamon and packed full of carrots, courgettes and apples they are a nutritious choice for your lunchbox. Baking a batch of these at the start of the week means that we always have something to pop in our lunchbox or grab when we’re off for a walk with the kids in the evenings and weekends. With a host of lovely slow release energy from seeds and oats they’ll keep you going when you need them to.
Autumn Spiced Muffins
Gluten, dairy, nut and flour free.
Pre heat oven to 170C
½ cup currants
2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs (or replace with flaxseed eggs)
100gm coconut oil (soft or melted)
180g ground sunflower seeds (equivalent to 1 cup of whole sunflower seeds)
1 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup coconut sugar
3 Tbsp ground linseed
Preheat the oven to 170C
Grate the carrot, courgette and apple. Place in a large bowl mix together with all the other wet ingredients and cinnamon. Mix well.
Add in the dry ingredients and fold together until mixed and there are no pockets of dry ingredients left.
Scoop equal amounts in paper or silicone cases.
Bake for 30 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
Makes 12 muffins.
ENJOY your Winter Spice Muffins! Why not whip up some of our ABC Nut Butter to slather on when you are super hungry.
Woo hoo! It’s the weekend and we couldn’t be more pleased to slow down a little and dip into this Creamy Chia Pudding today. It’s perfect for almost any time of the day, we’ve had it for breakfast, snack or dessert. So simple to put together it’s one to have in the fridge for when hunger strikes. It’s Keto and Vegan friendly too. Legend has it that the ancient Aztecs and Mayans used chia seeds as a source of energy, they are also fibre packed and a great source of plant based Omega-3.
Gluten, grain, dairy and refined sugar free, suitable for Keto and Vegan diets.
Our Keto Journal was born out of our collective interest at Nourish in the lifestyle. Ineke and I have both been intrigued by the reported health and wellness benefits and wanted to know more. Well, there is no better way to discover than to go on the adventure yourself! So, that’s what we’ve done and here we are now at the end of our 1st month of Keto. How have we found it? Our experiences have been different, and we have very different tastes to one another. So, it’s been interesting to see where our diets have diverged or met in the middle.
Kate – Savoury lover and flexitarian
For complete disclosure I’ve previously followed a Keto lifestyle, stopping when I felt I’d achieved my goal. We also commenced a big build at home, and this was one of the many things I just couldn’t cope with at this time. I first followed Keto in order to try and help reset my hormones after starting menopause far too early. Good news is it worked, bad news, I only managed 9 months and then gave up.
Taking the lessons, I learnt last time I decided to follow a flexitarian approach this time. Not eating meat, or fish last time left me with a few issues with incorporating this lifestyle with the whole family. I was looking forward to Keto January when it came around. It was good to be done of the excess of Christmas.
Planning makes perfect
My shopping took a little more planning at first, but then I found my old recipe book from last time and realised just how much I could eat. I haven’t felt hungry once since I changed over. I have, however, been a lot more mindful about what’s on my plate. I’ve shopped a little differently too, not easily finding everything I want on my normal supermarket shop. I’ve used Eversfield Organic for my Keto friendly veg. and Sow & Arrow and Keto Source for other bits and pieces.
Have I fallen off the wagon? Of course, I have, it’s a global pandemic and I’m a sucker for a glass of red wine after a tough day. Red wine per se, not so bad, but I did have to resort to having that with a Christmas leftover bag of truffle crisps on a particularly bad day!
The key is though, don’t beat yourself up about what has passed your plate already, look ahead to what you can do better next time. Hence our savoury snack box now has lots of lovely nuts, cheese and pork snacks in it. I don’t have a massively sweet tooth, but our Keto Coffee Macaroons are my absolute favourite late evening nibble with a cup of Sleepy Tea.
What have I eaten
I’ve loved my breakfasts in particular, Loaded plates of grilled tomatoes, avocado, piles of spinach, asparagus and the odd organic, free range egg. These have been pretty epic and hit the spot with my growing boys too. Lunchtimes are quick affairs grabbed between schooling and work. I’m often found having soup (I love our Green Goodness Soup), mushrooms, tomatoes or spinach on Keto toast with a little grated vegan cheese on top. Suppertime I’ve loved the same meals as normal just with a few little changes, curry with roasted cauliflower instead of rice, fully loaded chilli with celeriac rice, baked, stuffed mushrooms. When I’m short on time I keep a box of courgetti in the fridge and will chuck in a few other bits from the fridge, like our spinach pesto.
Overall it’s been a good month. My family has been really supportive. Will I carry on? I think I will but possibly with a slightly higher proportion of carbs, still following low carb as a rule. I feel like I need a little more and can handle it too, I’m managing ketosis with more than the advised amounts. I’m very active, do a lot of weight training, walk about 30 miles a week so this could be why. Oh, and I’m super happy that I’ve converted myself from red wine to Willys ACV with fizzy water and lime, it’s my new addiction! So, that’s a fantastic by product as I’d got into a bad habit with a glass of wine every day at supper time. Is it easy to follow Keto, yes. But, preparation is absolutely key, as is measuring your ketones somehow (machine or sticks) otherwise you really don’t know whether it’s working. I imagine that like last time it will all become more routine as time goes on.
Ineke – Flexitarian, mostly plant based diet
Since starting Keto the second week of January, I have loved the journey. I did find the transition pretty easy, but I have been low-carb for quite a while… However I have never seriously ‘done keto’ in its truest sense, measuring blood ketone levels, and consciously thinking about what you eat.
I have sometimes found it challenging being mostly plant based, and so at times haven’t maintained optimum ketone levels, as I love veggies and nut butter too much. They are my go to food (along with 100% chocolate) all the time. However, I do love fish and so that frequented my plate often.
Breaking the fast
I have been hungry at times whilst on keto, but I think that is more due to the line of work I do, where I am frequently in the Nourish Production Kitchen and surrounded by food. I also think that with a history of adrenal fatigue and PCOS, food is a comfort, and so trying to have a focused mindset has been tricky at times. One method I have found helpful, particularly as my mornings are busy, is intermittent fasting. I have fasted until lunchtime and then I break my fast with a huge meal. It is like having dinner at midday. And I often finish it off with a favourite cuppa and some dark chocolate and ‘fat’ energy bites. This usually keeps me going for some time! P.S. some of my favourite condiments to use to dress my large salads are ACV, Nutritional Yeast, Collagen and Nut Butter. I pile these four ingredients into a bowl with all my salad ingredients/veggies and smoked mackerel, and voila!
Late afternoons I have been enjoying a delicious tonic, introduced to me by Pauline from Sow and Arrow. A blend of Apple Cider Vinegar and Sea Buckthorn Juice with water. It is really lovely. I have that with an energy bite and then a light dinner. We have resorted to light dinners followed usually by a bowl of Coyo or Nush yoghurt drizzled with nut butter (my favourite is macadamia, pecan and brazil nut! Delish!) and a few berries. On occasion half a ketone praline bar on top (an absolute favourite in this house by all!). And I can’t forget the keto buns! They have been a lifesaver in our household, toasted for our ‘lighter dinners’.
Have I failed at times? Well I don’t ever think there is a failure…. I have often thought this in the past… and still need to remind myself daily. There is a journey and we are all on one. What my journey looks like is different to someone else’s. The more I delve into nutrition I see that in the way we eat and move. Everyone is different. And every dip in the road is a learning curve to grow stronger. But back to the question… yes, my ketone levels have plummeted a few times when I have overindulged in nut butters, keto breads and taste testing recipes for Nourish. I have maintained blood ketone levels of over 1 for the whole duration, during which most have been hitting 2 or higher, which I am really pleased about. How do I feel? Pretty good. My digestive system has wondered what is happening and I have failed to drink enough water at times which is something I would like to work on over the coming weeks.
Will I continue… yes I will, but I will also allow low-carb days (carb-cycling). I am absolutely loving my food now and look forward to every meal and snack. It feels as though embracing this way actually gives more freedom to the way you eat and you no longer eat ‘what you should’ but until ‘well satisfied’. This way of eating is a lifestyle choice it is not a diet. I would encourage anyone looking to re-boot/improve there health to consider keto, with a plant-based/flexitarian approach.
Our Green Goodness Soup is a great one to add to your soup repertoire for the winter. Soup is our, go to, lunch or simple supper, when you’ve been working hard, soup provides a hug in a mug, or a bowl! With a creamy, rich flavour this feels like a lovely indulgent treat, and is crammed full of green goodness. We love the addition of the nutritional yeast, it gives a real depth of flavour that we love, we hope you do too! This recipe is Keto diet friendly.
Gluten, dairy, grain and refined sugar free, suitable for Vegan/Keto and Paleo diets.
250g broccoli (one head)
250g frozen Spinach
2 cups of favourite stock (or water)
Salt / Pepper
200ml coconut milk
20g nutritional yeast
30g coconut butter or other nut butter
½ tbsp apple cider vinegar (opt.)
Place the broccoli, spinach and stock (or water) in a large saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and maintain this until the broccoli is tender. Add in the coconut milk and bring back to a simmer.
Remove from the heat and add in the remaining ingredients. Place in a blender and blend until smooth, add extra seasoning if needed.
Serve with keto bread croutons and a drizzle of your favourite nut butter (if your nut butter is thick, thin it down with a little olive of avocado oil).
Keeps in the fridge up to 3 days.
Note – Add in a little more coconut butter if you want a thicker soup, or decrease the stock amount slightly.
This week as we continue our Keto journey we’re joined by friend of Nourish, Benjamin Richardson, sharing, ‘My Keto experience’. We’ve loved finding out more about how someone busy and energetic manages their own Keto lifestyle. Especially as this week Ineke and I start our own Keto journey. We’ll be diarising that over the next few weeks on Instagram and here on the blog, Join us and find out how we get on.
I am a 40 something guy, London-based professional worker, nutritional therapy student, keen exerciser and incurable foodie. I follow a cyclical ketogenic diet. Why? Get ready for shock and awe . . . not for weight loss!
Why keto for me?
Yes, I do find ketosis very helpful for weight control and body composition but even those are not my reasons. As a keen healthspan optimiser ketosis is a tool I use for potential health benefits. One is mitigation against the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, the term for the combination of insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity & coronary heart disease. Another, combined with fasting, is to give my body an opportunity to perform some ‘clean up’ in the form of cellular regeneration. Key word autophagy. Greek for “self-eating”. Love it. Bring it on.
Further, a huge lifestyle benefit from following a ketogenic diet pattern is freedom from hunger and ever feeling the urge to eat junk food or even eat at all. I feel enabled to choose only to eat when I can savour the experience and the food.
State of the Keto tribe.
In the 21st century it feels like the diet you follow defines which tribe you belong to. Keto vs gluten-free vs vegan vs carnivore vs many others. There are surely some negative aspects to this yet there are positives too.
Whatever its virtues the keto diet presents a fair level of challenge to begin and stick to well. One needs to know the macronutrient content of foods, your personal carb tolerance and other foods that may knock you out of ketosis temporarily. Apps and gadgets, such as a ketone meter, can be helpful but also add their own initial learning curve. This is where a supportive community can help a lot.
London has a popular and active Keto London Meetup club that was meeting up monthly prior to COVID restrictions. There are also two active nationwide keto community Facebook groups (1, 2) that offer a lot of sharing and guidance that can help welcome new folks and provide inspiration for time-served vets. Hey, if there is not a keto meetup club in your area . . . maybe start one? Once restrictions lift, celebrate with a keto feast!
London now has a dedicated “Keto Restaurant” called exactly that serving only keto friendly meals. Within 2019 ‘Cut + Grind’ claimed to launch the first London Keto burger. To me this feels like a repeat of the growth of gluten-free options. First there were few, then many, then it almost became normal. Caveat that I know that I am very lucky to be in London where these things happen first and fast.
Most eateries including most high street chains continue to favour higher carb options and macronutrient info is rarely available for menu items. Regardless I find it rather easy to eat out so long as I can order ‘off menu’. Burger in a bun with fries? Sure, but please skip the bun and swap the fries for extra veggies and mayonnaise please? Many places are happy to accommodate this kind of request.
My approach is to respectfully share that I am on a keto diet, and ask would the chef very kindly be willing to make a few swaps? I am careful to be respectful rather than assume as I have respect for the effort and skill that has gone into the regular menu and the challenge for a kitchen of making lots of adjustments.
So with a bit of advance planning, and nutritional know-how, and ordering off-menu, it is now entirely possible to enjoy eating out. In theory at least. I write this during Tier IV covid lockdown!
In 2019 Planet Organic stores began featuring an ‘Easy Keto’ stand stocking only keto friendly foods like coconut oil, MCT oil, fat bombs and low carb snacks. There are dedicated online shops stocking only keto friendly food such as lowcarbfood.co and ketosource. In 2020 Ocado introduced Keto as a keyword and added a dedicated “The Keto Way” banner for a section of their store. It is delightfully eclectic. It has cauliflower and broccoli right alongside Atkins bars and Avocado Oil Mayonnaise. Love it.
For sure, dedicated “keto friendly” products are enjoying a sustained boom. This includes lots of keto-friendly snacks. Ironically, given their popularity, I find keto snacks are really not necessary. Once you are in regular ketosis and out of the blood glucose rollercoaster ride the need to ‘snack’ really vanishes. In place you have a constant supply of energy from your fat stores and do not need to “top up” with carby sugary drinks and snacks.
Still, if someone makes something that is delicious *and* keto-friendly I am very happy to sample. On this I simply *must* give tribute to the Nourish Coconutty bars. They are so freaking delicious that they just might be dangerous. Thankfully they are highly satiating too. Unlike say, Pringles, you can absolutely stop at one. Or even half. Mmmmm . . . <Coconutty Bar daydream, back in 5 minutes . . . . >
Most of the time though I follow a well formulated keto diet. This means using my daily carb allowance with as many cruciferous veggies, roots and alliums and colourful plants as I can. I think of it as a pact I am making with my gut bacteria. I will take care of them and they take care of me. Good deal little bacteria people!
Future for Keto?
2019 provided a fist pump worthy milestone of the NHS giving backing to a low-carb diet program intended for treatment of type 2 diabetes. Virta Health are using a carbohydrate restricted diet as a treatment to even reverse diabetes.
More and more evidence arrives supporting the use of ketogenic diets for multiple health benefits and not just short term weight loss. Hopefully this will help embed keto as a sustained trend rather than a shorter term fad.
I have other hopes for 2021 and beyond too. Allow me three wishes . . .
. . . well formulated ketogenic diets, stuffed with as many veggies as possible, becoming recognised as the benchmark to use when comparing to other diets
. . . growing recognition from government, medical and patient support charities that a ketogenic diet may offer an effective and sustainable template for some people to enjoy better health
. . . and not kidding, if Nourish like to bring out new keto-friendly companions to the Coconutty bar, I am absolutely at the front of the queue to taste-test them. At least once. For science.
Ending with a caution and an advert for my future self as a Nutritional Therapist. The one thing I would not suggest anyone do is begin a keto diet without support, knowledge and confidence. If you are thinking about it for the first time I absolutely encourage you to engage some expert help. Help to check whether it is right for you and if so how to do it well. It is not for everyone and there are better and worse ways to follow keto.