Menus to help you detox
From soups to stews, sandwiches to pasta, with hot and cold dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner - here are some quick and simple recipes to give you some ideas of ways to improve your daily diet.
Simply incorporate a couple of the following recipes into your everyday life and help keep the new you - all year.
Toast - (Breakfast)
Ok, you know how to make toast, but ensure that you’re using wholemeal or granary bread, nothing white. Some supermarkets do spelt bread, which is easier on the digestion than ordinary wheat bread. Spelt is an older form of wheat than our modern versions, and seems to be tolerated better by many people. Many supermarkets, health stores, and our own dear Marks and Spencer do wheat-free and/or gluten-free bread. Some are better than others, and most are expensive. Some people therefore prefer to use rice cakes as an alternative to or variation from bread.
Onto your toast or rice cake you can put nut butters (cashew nut or almond nut or hazel nut are better than peanut, which is way too rich for many people and not as nutritious as other butters – peanuts aren’t actually a nut, by the way, but a legume), sugar-free jam made by Meridian or St Dalfor’s without artificial sweeteners, honey, poached eggs, baked beans by Whole Earth or Geo who don’t add sugar or artificial sweeteners, or vegetable pâté.
Porridge - (Breakfast)
Mix 200g rolled oats with 250ml almond milk (or any milk alternative you prefer) and half a tsp of cinnamon (or a small cinnamon stick)
Soak in the fridge overnight. In the morning add another 250ml of milk and cook gently, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes – it will start to thicken up nicely. Add chopped dates, toasted flaked almonds, and a drizzle of agave syrup if you want more sweetness.
Stewed fruit - (Breakfast)
Chop up the amount of fruit you want to eat (or more if you’re going to cook a big batch and freeze some for later), carefully removing pips and stones. (You may find the stones easier to remove after the fruit is cooked.) Apples, pears, nectarines, peaches, plums, cherries, and apricots don’t need to have their skins removed. Put them in a pan with a little water – 2 or 3 centimetres: fruit doesn’t need much water to cook in because it contains a great deal of juice of its own. Put the pan on a low heat and when it comes to the boil turn it down even more so that it’s just simmering (quietly brewing without bubbling). Keep an eye on it in case it needs a slosh more water added.
Adding half a teaspoon of mixed spices at the start can make it smell glorious and taste even better. Don’t add sugar – fruit is sweet, and if you are addicted to very sugary tastes you can add some agave syrup once you’ve checked the sweetness when it’s cooked. Dried fruit such as raisins or sultanas, if added to the fruit at the start, will become moist and plump through the cooking process and add extra sweetness and taste.
When the fruit is soft and mushy (or just before that if you like your stewed fruit a little firmer), remove it, drain off any excess fluid (this makes a nice fruit juice drink), and serve. You can sprinkle chopped nuts or seeds on it, or top it with yoghurt.
Fry down - (Breakfast)
If you’re into a cooked breakfast at the weekend, a few tweaks will make it healthy. Poach instead of fry your eggs; choose Whole Earth or Geo baked beans that don’t contain sugar or artificial sweeteners; grill mushrooms and tomatoes; and have smoked or roast salmon instead of fatty meat.
Soup - (Lunch)
This can be made at the weekend and frozen in portions or kept on the hob to warm through and put in a soup thermos in the morning. Some recipe ideas are given below.
If you don’t have the time for this, select a good quality tin of the soup of your choice and heat, and decant it into a thermos, or warm it up at work if you have access to a microwave. Add a wholemeal or wheat-free roll or some oat cakes or rice cakes and you have a meal.
Thai Spinach Soup - (Lunch)
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 medium potato, chopped small
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
Cook these in a very little water until the onion softens slightly.
Add 1 litre of vegetable stock. (Take 1 tbsp Plantaforce or other stock or 2 stock cubes and add to 1 litre of boiling water.) Cover the saucepan and bring the contents to the boil and then simmer it for 15 minutes.
Stir in 50g creamed coconut and 250g chopped spinach (you can find this already chopped, frozen, in supermarkets). Cool, liquidise, and when you’re ready to reheat it, add 2 tbsp chopped, fresh coriander and a squeeze of lemon or limejuice.
Carrot, leek and ginger soup - (Lunch)
Slice 2 large leeks and 2 large carrots (don’t peel the carrots – the skins harbour the good stuff)
Gently heat the leeks in a little water then add the carrots and stir
Peel and grate a small (about the size of 2 garlic cloves) piece of fresh ginger
Add 900ml of stock and a bay leaf (optional)
Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes
Remove the bay leaf
Serve sprinkled with chopped coriander
Sweet potato and carrot soup - (Lunch)
Boil 250g chopped sweet potatoes and 250g chopped carrots in 350ml of mild stock for about 15 minutes (I never peel potatoes or sweet potatoes or carrots – their skin are extraordinarily nutritious)
Blend with 100ml canned coconut milk, 1 small clove of crushed garlic, and black pepper
Fish fingers - (Lunch)
Grill or bake good quality fish fingers (haddock or pollock are good alternatives to cod) and have them with roasted veg. Cooled down, this meal can be taken to work to have cold or re-heated.
If you want to strike out and make your own fish fingers from salmon (or any other reasonably firm fish of your choice) take plain uncooked salmon, cut it into fingers, dip them into gram flour, then beaten egg, then wholemeal, spelt or wheat-free/gluten-free breadcrumbs, then cook for 10-15 minutes at 180ºC/Gas 4.
Baked Sweet Potato - (Lunch)
These are way more nutritious and fun than ordinary potatoes. They bake faster too – 30 minutes will see one done and ready to devour. Add a sliver of coconut butter, Whole Earth or Geo baked beans, egg mayonnaise, or soft soya cheese, with whatever salad or veg takes your fancy.
Burritos - (Lunch)
Try a corn tortilla (available in supermarkets with the other Mexican food) wrapped around salmon or sardines or hard-boiled egg, with guacamole or humus and just a few roasted veg popped in (sweet potato is nice, or roasted tomato). Corn tortillas are very light and tasty.
Savoury Sandwiches - (Lunch)
If you prefer to stick to bread, make sure it’s wholemeal or granary, or spelt, or wheat-free/gluten-free. Inside it you can have any of the protein choices listed, with any of the accompaniments that appeal to you.
Protein: hard-boiled egg, humus, falafels tinned fish, roasted fish, soft soya cheese (available in some supermarkets and some health stores), bean pâté (see recipe below)
Accompaniments: roasted or grilled veg, salad, guacamole, salsa
Pasta - (Lunch)
Cook this as your evening meal and then take the leftovers cold for lunch or warm them up at work if you can. Use wholegrain (brown) pasta, or spelt or wheat-free pasta for a lighter alternative.
Try your lunchtime pasta with salmon or hard-boiled egg, with sweetcorn, peas, or grilled vegetables, and a touch of pesto. A few slices of avocado make it creamier. Add toasted seeds on top for extra crunch and flavour.
Creamy Cous Cous - (Dinner)
As a variation, make your cous cous with coconut milk and water instead of just water – creamier, for a change.
Cous Cous 45g/200g
Coconut milk 45ml/200ml
In the Cous Cous recipes below, use quinoa, millet or short grain brown rice instead if you prefer or if you are avoiding wheat-based products.
Cous Cous with roasted vegetables
2 red onions
3 medium beetroots
3 medium carrots
2 sweet potatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup or honey
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4
Chop the veg into small chunks and put in a roasting dish in a single layer.
Drizzle them with the oil and syrup/honey and roast for about 45 minutes or until the veg are tender and starting to caramelise.
In a large bowl, mix:
350g cous cous
Zest of 1 lemon
A little salt
500ml boiling water
Allow this to stand for 10 minutes and then fluff up with a fork to ensure it’s soaking up all the water
Then add 45g shredded mint leaves, 4 tbsp lemon juice, and the roasted veg. You can garnish this with 50g of unsalted pistachio nuts if you like them.
Grilled Vegetable Salad - (Dinner)
2 tomatoes, halved
1 aubergine, sliced or diced
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
Grill these until they are soft and looking as if they’re about to char. Place them in a bowl. Mix 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves, 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp lemon juice and pour them over the vegetables. Add a little salt if you wish. Have this with humus or fish for a satisfying dinner.
Quinoa and Chickpeas - (Dinner)
Cook a pan of quinoa (it cooks the same way rice does, but doesn’t take as long – it’s very light) with a dash of stock.
Add 1 tablespoon of lightly toasted pine nuts, half a can of rinsed chickpeas, 1 grated carrot, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander and another of parsley, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon
Stir it all together and eat! You can swap the toasted pine nuts for un-toasted pistachios if you prefer.
Adzuki bean stew - (Dinner)
Heat 1 sliced onion, 1 sliced red pepper, 2 chopped carrots, 2 sliced leeks or courgettes, and 2 chopped sticks of celery in 1 tbsp olive oil for 5-10 minutes, until the veg start to soften.
Then add 175g sliced mushrooms, 4 chopped tomatoes and 100g of cooked adzuki beans (they come in tins, pre-cooked, so just rinse and add to recipe), 1 tsp Plantaforce or other veggie stock, and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
Serve with mashed sweet potato, for a bigger meal.