Now I’m not the healthiest of people!! I eat A LOT, whether it’s at home or when I’m out, and I don’t always go for a healthier option. Yes, I run a bit, I enjoy it, but if I didn’t do that I wouldn’t do any other exercise, and when I haven’t run for a prolonged length of time the weight comes back on far too easily.
So when I received an invitation by Harvey Nichols to meet nutritional health coach Madeleine Shaw, and try out some dishes from her new book ‘Get the Glow’ I was intrigued. Maybe I could get some inspiration to be a little kinder to my body. That evening myself and a group of local bloggers were given time to informally chat and find out more about her ethos and philosophy behind her food and lifestyle.
Madeleine suffered from IBS at an early age, then an impulsive move to Australia opened her eyes to a new approach to food, she developed a more holistic approach to eating, health and well-being and resulted in her combating those dietary problems. Living in a place where food and a healthy lifestyle are inextricably linked and so integral, she was fortunate to work in a cafe where Madeleine realised she enjoyed cooking tasty food, that was also nutritious and great for the body.
The recipes in her book are all gluten free, which for me is a brilliant thing because of the other half’s issues with the dreaded gluten, and they use healthier substitutes for sugar like honey or coconut sugar! Don’t be deceived in thinking it’s all devoid of things we love, Madeleine’s doesn’t follow the low-fat mantra, infact she opts for healthy full-fat ingredients as they fill you and provide more nourishment. I love that!! Studying nutrition in Sydney means she knows what’s she’s talking about when it comes to beneficial ingredient choices, something she talks passionately about and uses to the full in the book.
One other part of her philosophy which I think I should follow a lot more is how diet links to your health and well-being, it’s probably something we all know, but it’s whether we eat things which are good for you and make you feel good in the long term that counts. For example, I know that sometimes I’ll go running early, maybe 6:30/7am now that it’s light, but because of what I’ve been eating my body’s more lethargic than it would be if I’d been more thoughtful over what I was eating, not just eating anything I fancied. Madeleine’s recipes promote more consistent energy levels, nourishment, less fluctuation in mood from having less sugar slumps and cuts out the horrid bloated feeling by waving goodbye to gluten.
We were treated to a dinner filled with recipes from her new book ‘Get The Glow’, this was the menu:
Green Goddess Bowl
Mexican BBQ – grilled corn and quinoa, chilli salsa
Thai beef salad, salt and pepper cashews
Spicy salmon, cucumber and yoghurt
Raw chocolate cherry fudge, vanilla and coconut dairy-free ice cream
I found each plate really tasty, there’s a clever use of ingredients keeping them inventive and interesting. A salad can be the most boring thing I think, but both of these were anything but, in particular the Green Goddess bowl packed with nutrient laden spinach, kale and avocado, which seem to make every dish a winner, paired with soft boiled eggs (a personal favourite of mine), finally the mustard vinaigrette bringing it together made it altogether awesome!
Of the two protein dishes, it was hard to pick a favourite here as they were both great in their own right. If I was pushed I would probably say the Thai beef salad, I think it’s the tahini in the mix that just gives it an extra something that I loved!! Once again, a great combination of tastes, textures and good balance between chilli warmth, sweet, salty, nutty, umami-ness from soy (gluten free) and with the beef juicy and pink it was a complete winner.
The dish that surprised me the most was the dessert!! For me to actually enjoy something where chocolate is the main ingredient is literally unheard of, apart from Noisette Bakehouse’s salt caramel brownie of course, but that’s another story!! It was also a raw dessert, so completely new one on me. The thing I usually struggle with is the richness of chocolate and how it can be too cloying, this was light, still chocolatey being made with raw cacao, combined with ingredients including coconut oil, almond butter and honey, results in such a gooey, unctuous mouthfeel. Every now and again there was a sour pop from cherries and finally the ice-cream was so light with coconut running through it. The whole thing was simply decadent, but you knew it was doing you some good at the same time!!!
At the end of the evening I purchased my own copy of Get The Glow and am looking forward to trying them out and hopefully feeling the benefits myself!
Madeleine’s dishes are part of Harvey Nichols’ Body Kicks campaign and will run till May 31st in all branches across the UK.