This week is BNF Healthy Eating Week in the UK and World Meat Free Week, so we caught up with Healthy Living James for some tips and tricks on how to live a healthy lifestyle and to see what he eats on an average day!
I’m James, I’m 29 and I’m currently living in Dorset, in the UK. I have suffered from long term illness (M.E) for the past 7 years and healthy eating and living has been my way of slowly recovering. All my recipes are completely free from gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs and refined sugar. Most of the recipes I create are vegan and almost all can be adapted to be vegan quite easily.
I have a passion for healthy eating and living, focusing mainly on quick, healthy and easy recipes that will transform the way you think about food. Many believe that cooking healthy recipes is expensive and time consuming and I want to change that. My aim is to inspire and motivate people to take control of the way they eat and to improve their lifestyle. With a few tweaks to what you store and use in your kitchen you too can live a healthier more balanced life.
Here are my top 5 tips for healthy eating
Cooking from scratch: I feel cooking is one of the most important life skills which sadly is often forgotten today due to lack of education and the rise of junk food availability. We have been brought up with the “faster is better” attitude, but learning how to cook from a young age is vital to long term health. Cooking from scratch allows you to understand and control what it is you’re actually eating.
The more colourful the better: Generally the more naturally colourful your food is the healthier it is for you. When it comes to fruit and vegetables the difference in colour actually mean that they are providing different vitamins and minerals to each other. For example swapping potatoes with sweet potatoes significantly increases the quantity of beta carotene you are getting.
Reading labels: Reading the labels of the food you are buying is key to understanding what it is you’re actually eating. Generally the longer the list of ingredients the more processed/refined that product is. You want to aim for eating products containing ingredients you would have in your kitchen at home.
Drink more water: Drinking water is essential and often overlooked by most. You want to aim for 2-4 litres throughout the day. Fizzy drinks don’t count as they are packed full of sugar and empty calories.
Avoiding empty calories: Most processed foods/drinks are empty calories. This means that they contain no real nutrient quality to your body. Calories aren’t created equal so opting for the most nutrient dense calories that are providing your body with the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and fibre it needs is essential.
What I eat on an average day
Breakfast – Fluffy Free From pancakes
Delicious and fluffy free from pancakes that are very simple to make containing just 6 ingredients. These pancakes are light and airy without using gluten, dairy, eggs or refined sugar. You definitely need to give these a try!
Makes 6-10 pancakes
Prep: 5-10 mins
Cooking: 10 mins
- 200g gluten free self raising flour (I use doves farm)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 250ml unsweetened almond milk (you can try it with other plant milks)
- In a large mixing bowl add all the ingredients in the order above and whisk until smooth
- Allow the mix to sit for 3-5 minutes to thicken slightly
- Heat a pan on a medium heat adding some coconut oil to melt
- Simply pour in the mix from a height (this helps to keep the pancakes stay round) you can make them as large as you wish
- Fry on either side for 30-45 seconds, until lightly golden
- Simply stack them up and top with whatever you want
TIP: I like to top mine with blueberries and coconut yoghurt or just drizzled maple syrup!
Lunch – Mighty Mushrooms on Toast
Quick & simple mighty mushrooms fried in garlic and sage packing so much flavour. They are the perfect topping for your toast whether it be for breakfast, brunch or lunch.
Prep: 5 mins
Cooking: 5 mins
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 4-5 chestnut mushrooms, roughly sliced
- 1 tsp dried sage
- Pinch salt & pepper
- 1 avocado, peeled and mashed
- Juice of 1/2 a lime
- Chilli flakes
- Heat a small pan with olive oil along with crushed garlic until sizzling
- Meanwhile roughly slice the mushrooms adding them to the pan
- Add the dried sage and a pinch of salt and pepper and fry for roughly 5 minutes, making sure to stir
- Place your toast into a toaster or onto a griddle pan (which I prefer to get charr lines)
- Optional: Peel an avocado and add to a bowl along the juice of 1/2 a lime with a pinch of chilli flakes and mash with a fork
- Top the toast with the smashed avocado followed by the mighty mushrooms.
TIP: I like to charr my gluten free bread in a griddle pan. Once topped with the avocado and mushrooms I like to finish mine off with a drizzle of olive oil, extra chilli flakes and fresh sage (if I have any).
Dinner – Comforting Black Bean Chilli
Chilli is the perfect autumn/winter comfort food. This black bean version is incredibly simple to make and only costs around £5 (non organic) for 4-6 portions and roughly £7 if you’re going organic. It is also gluten free and vegan.
You can also watch my recipe video on this chilli here
Prep: 5 mins
Cooking: 20 mins
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 red chilli, deseeded and diced
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 680g passata (good quality)
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp cacao powder (optional)
- 200ml veg stock (good quality)
- Start by grating the carrot, dicing the red onion and fresh chilli
- Heat a large pan on a medium heat adding the olive oil and garlic until sizzling
- Add the onion and all the spices along with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir
- Now add the carrots and chopped chilli and cook down for 2-3 minutes until soft
- Add the passata, tomato puree, beans, cacao powder and stock and stir
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low/medium heat to cook for 15 minutes (making sure to stir every 5 minutes)
Tip: I like to serve mine on brown rice or inside a roasted sweet potato and top it with plain coconut yoghurt, extra chillies and fresh coriander.
Tip: The chilli mix will freeze well, I just allow it to cool once cooked and portion it out ready for freezing.
Head to the Healthy Living James website for loads of healthy recipes that are quick, simple and delicious.