Tag Archives: model diet

Summer Time White Gazpacho

 

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Well its definitely summertime in NYC. Hot and humid, that sounds about right. Even though it does feel a tad bit early this year- I’m not complaining!

When it’s hot and muggy out, my body craves cool, raw, clean and refreshing foods.

A dish that will help to remove toxins and clean the blood, giving an overall feeling of lightness and a cooling effect.

Smoothies, juices and salads are no brainers, but I feel like people often forget about soup. As lets face it, it’s usually served hot. But in hot climates such as Spain and many Mediterranean countries, cold soups are very common on the summer menu.

I like the idea of this “white” gazpacho, as it is full of protein and Vitamin E thanks to the almonds and gives an impression of richness due to the color and creamy looking texture.

So simple and easy to make, all of the ingredients are raw,  so you can just pop everything into a blender and lunch or dinner is ready in about 5 minutes.

 

Ingredients:

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1/2 cup raw almonds (if you feel you have trouble digesting almonds, you can soak them in bowl of water for 24 hrs, drain and then use)

Handful of fresh cilantro

Pinch of dried oregano

½ lemon juiced

1 cucumber, peeled

1 yellow pepper

1 garlic clove

1 handful of green grapes

1-2 cups of water (you decide how thick or thin you would like it)

Sea salt to taste

For Garnish:

Few slices of avocado

Sprinkle of sliced or crushed almonds

Sprig of cilantro

And drizzle of very good quality extra virgin olive oil

2+ servings

 

Instructions:

 This is the super easy part: cut up everything very roughly and pop into blender with water. Whizz away and you’re done!

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Good to Know:

Almonds are a very good source of vitamin E, manganese, biotin, and copper. Almonds are a good source of magnesium, molydenum, riboflavin (vitamin B2), and phosphorus. Fortunately, although one-quarter cup of almonds contains about 11 grams of fat, a sizable portion of it (7 grams) is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

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International Protein Packed Breakfast Tacos

I say international because I have brought together Mexican, Italian and French influences for this breakfast dish. I love tacos, especially for breakfast as they really break up the boring breakfast routine.
These are so versatile. You can add any type of protein, cheese, herbs and veggies.
Using corn tortillas keep the dish wheat free and low in carbs.

After my run this morning, a protein packed breakfast is exactly what my body craves. This was on the table in 5 minutes. And disappeared in about 2!

Ingredients:

2 corn tortillas
Handful of grape tomatoes
Few leaves of basil
A few crumbles of Chèvre, or any cheese you’d like
2 organic eggs
1/4 of avocado
Good quality olive oil
S&P

Instructions:

Heat the tortillas in a pan about 30 seconds on each side

Slice the tomatoes into quarters and slice the avocado into strips, tear the basil up

Scramble your eggs

Ensemble the eggs on the tortilla shells, add the avocado and tomatoes and crumbled chèvre, sprinkle on the basil. Add s&p and drizzle with olive oil.

Ready to eat!

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The BEST Veggie Burgers In Town!

IMG_2770My FAVORITE restaurant in Toronto is Fresh. It’s a Vegan restaurant and before you can say “ew cardboard and grass”- I can promise you this is the most amazing “healthy eating” you will find. Even my carnivorous partner and friends happily eat at this place.

I just spent 2 weeks in Toronto during the Toronto Film Festival and I think I ate there everyday (along with all the hollywood celebs in town! Some celeb spotting definitely goes on at this healthy joint!). Green juice for breakfast and everything else on the menu for lunch and dinner. Having a restaurant like this around the corner, with every item on the menu being super healthy,  makes it easy to eat well. You can basically order anything from the menu because you know it will be good for you. Unfortunately they only exist in Toronto (for now) so a great way to have easy access to healthy food quick, is to make it yourself and make extra so you can freeze it. My favorite veggie burger is made fresh there daily. I have recreated it at home, somewhat following the recipe, yet tweaking it a long the way. These burgers are BBQ ready and are actually vegan, however a sneaky slice of cheddar never hurt anyone 🙂 I’ve made about 6-8 out of this batch, so the rest I have wrapped individually and stored in the freezer. Just take one out a few hours before you are ready to eat and you’ll have fresh, homemade, HEALTHY, burgers ready to grill.

picisto-20130925141553-616492INGREDIENTS:

* You’ll need a food processor for this

  • 1 cup of mushrooms, cleaned
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 garlic clove
  • a handful of parsley
  • 1/4 cup each of sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

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  • 1 tsp each of chili powder, curry powder, smoked chipotle powder and smoked paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp of cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tbsp corn flour

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  • 1/2 cup each of split peas, quinoa and barley
  • 1 1/2 cups of water or veggie stock for the grains

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook the grains. Give all of the grains a good rinse, then add to a pot and cover with the water/stock. Bring to a boil and then reduce and cook on low for about 20 mins or until the water is absorbed.
  2. Three step food processor process: chop the mushrooms, then the seeds and then the vegetables all separately.
  3. In a pan over medium heat add a splash of oil. Once hot add in the mushrooms + the spices and tamari. Cook for about 5-7 mins.
  4. Remove mixture to a large bowl, add in the corn flour and corn starch + the chopped vegetable mixture. S&P.
  5. Add the cooked grains to the mixture and stir together.

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6. Time to get those hands dirty! Set out 2 rectangles of parchment paper. Begin to form balls a bit bigger then a golf ball in between your (clean!) hands and once perfectly round, smush down carefully to form a burger patty. NOTE: if the mixture is too wet and sticking to your hands like crazy, add in a bit more flour, if the mixture is too dry and crumbling apart add in a bit of water.

7. Make about 6-8 patties. Place side by side on the parchment paper and place the other piece over top. Use scissors to cut in between (3 pieces) and fold over so you have 2 patties wrapped up together, but with paper in between so they don’t touch. These can be frozen for up to 1 month.

8. To cook, you can grill for 5 mins on each side or fry or even broil. The toppings are up to you! I like mine messy 🙂

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Check out my favorite restaurant in Toronto, Canada. www.freshrestaurants.ca If you visit make sure to stop there for brunch on the weekend- they make delicious Vegan Banana Pancakes with Real Canadian Maple Syrup (what else?!) Mmmmm…

Warming & Hearty Vegan Split Pea Soup

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Its fall. Yep, there is no denying it. Well, in London anyway. The leaves are on the ground, the air has a crispness to it and everyone has a cold. Yep, summer is over.

The good thing is: new season, new vegetables! Time for some hearty, warming, stick to your bones meals. One of my favorite dishes for fall is Split Pea soup. Growing up, like most people, it was made with a big ol’ham hock. I always thought that was what gave the soup its delicious flavor. Nope. It’s actually the split peas. Those little dried peas are absolutely bursting with flavor all by themselves. It’s quite shocking actually. They have this great smokey, deep, hearty flavor. So there is no need to add any meat to this dish. The split peas are certainly the star of this show.

IMG_3395INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of split peas, rinsed
  • 1 handful of baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small leek (or 1 small onion)
  • 2 fresh sage leaves (or 1 bay leaf/remove before serving, or 1 tsp of dried sage)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of thyme
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • s&p
  • dash of balsamic vinegar

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INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Chop the leek, carrots and celery into 1/2 inch pieces.
  2. Chop the garlic and herbs.
  3. In a medium-sized pan over medium heat, add a dash of olive oil and once hot add in the veggies. Cook for 5 mins.
  4. Add in the garlic and herbs. Cook for 1 min.
  5. Add in the split peas and 2.5 cups of vegetable stock. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 20 mins.
  6. Check the soup after 20 mins, if it is too thick add some water, if it is too thin you can add in a diced potato. At this point add in the chopped spinach.
  7. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar and s&p.
  8. Options: If you want the soup hearty, then you can serve as is otherwise you can blend it to a creamy consistency.
  9. Ready to serve!

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Health Benefits of Split Peas

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Can we say “Fiber”!?  Just 1 cup of split peas equals more than half of your daily required intake of fiber. Wow. 

“Dried peas, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only can dried peas help lower cholesterol, they are also of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal.

Fiber is far from all that dried peas have to offer. Dried peas also provide good to excellent amounts of four important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein–all with virtually no fat. As if this weren’t enough, dried peas also feature isoflavones (notably daidzein). Isoflavones are phytonutrients that can act like weak estrogens in the body and whose dietary consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of certain health conditions, including breast and prostate cancer.

Dried Peas are Packed with Fiber

Check a chart of the fiber content in foods and you’ll see legumes leading the pack. Dried peas, like other legumes, are rich in soluble fiber. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract that binds bile (which contains cholesterol) and carries it out of the body. Research studies have shown that insoluble fiber not only helps to increase stool bulk and prevent constipation, but also helps prevent digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis. A single cup of cooked dried peas provides 65.1% of the daily value for fiber.

Dried Peas Provide Energy to Burn While Stabilizing Blood Sugar

In addition to its beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, soluble fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, legumes like dried peas can really help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady, slow-burning energy. Studies of high fiber diets and blood sugar levels have shown the dramatic benefits provided by these high fiber foods. Researchers compared two groups of people with type 2 diabetes who were fed different amounts of high fiber foods. One group ate the standard American Diabetic diet, which contains 24 grams of fiber/day, while the other group ate a diet containing 50 grams of fiber/day. Those who ate the diet higher in fiber had lower levels of both plasma glucose (blood sugar) and insulin (the hormone that helps blood sugar get into cells). The high fiber group also reduced their total cholesterol by nearly 7%, their triglyceride levels by 10.2% and their VLDL (Very Low Density Lipoprotein–the most dangerous form of cholesterol) by 12.5%.

Take Dried Peas to Heart

In a study that examined food intake patterns and risk of death from coronary heart disease, researchers followed more than 16,000 middle-aged men in the U.S., Finland, The Netherlands, Italy, former Yugoslavia, Greece and Japan for 25 years. Typical food patterns were: higher consumption of dairy products in Northern Europe; higher consumption of meat in the U.S.; higher consumption of vegetables, legumes, fish, and wine in Southern Europe; and higher consumption of cereals, soy products, and fish in Japan. When researchers analyzed this data in relation to the risk of death from heart disease, they found that legumes were associated with an 82% reduction in risk!

In addition to their stellar fiber content, dried peas also feature other heart healthy nutrients. They are a good source of potassium, which may decrease the growth and development of blood vessel plaques and is also good for lowering high blood pressure. A cup of cooked peas will supply you with 20.3% of your daily need for potassium.

Sensitive to Sulfites? Dried Peas May Help

Dried peas are an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites. Sulfites are a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods like delicatessen salads and salad bars. Persons who are sensitive to sulfites in these foods may experience rapid heartbeat, headache or disorientation if sulfites are unwittingly consumed. If you have ever reacted to sulfites, it may be because your molybdenum stores are insufficient to detoxify them. A cup of cooked dried peas provides 196.0% of the daily value for molybdenum.”

Source: Whfoods.com

 

Summer Veggie Tacos with Spicy Fresh Salsa & Cumin Scented Guacamole

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I think I have tried almost every Mexican restaurant here in London. The bottom line is: I can make better Mexican food at home. So why not? Salsa and guacamole are so quick and easy to make, full of fresh ingredients, each bursting with their own distinct flavor.

After having spent so much time eating Mexican food in California, I know exactly what I like and how it should taste. So through memory and trial and error, I have perfected my recipes to suit my taste buds. The amazing thing is, once you have fresh, good quality ingredients, it’s quite simple to make. Smoked chipotle peppers are key, as is fresh coriander and great tasting cumin powder. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do.

Mexican food has to be one of my favorite cuisines. It’s perfect for summer and thanks to the tasty spices, vegetarian options are a no-brainer. Luckily I found a great little authentic Mexican grocery store right here in London. I can buy deliciously fragrant dried chipotle peppers and homemade corn tortillas. If you are in the area you can check them out. They also have a home delivery service: http://www.casamexico.co.uk

You will need a mini food processor for this. The salsa and guacamole are a one pot dish, therefore they take about 2 mins to make and clean up is a snap!

INGREDIENTS:

SALSA:

  • 3 juicy ripe tomatoes
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 smoked chipotle pepper (these come dried, so you should let them sit in a bowl of boiling water for 2 min before using)
  • 1 tbsp of dried oregano
  • s&p
  • the juice of 1 lime

GUACAMOLE:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • s&p
  • 1/2 handful of fresh cilantro

TORTILLAS:

  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 small onion (optional)
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 6 corn tortilla shells (minimum)
  • 1 tsp each: chipotle powder, chili powder and coriander powder
  • s&p
  • drizzle of olive oil

THE FIXINGS:

  • red cabbage slaw (red cabbage shredded, olive oil, 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, s&p)
  • low-fat creme fresh, sour cream or greek yogurt
  • all natural, organic corn chips

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. Chop the peppers and zucchini into match sticks about 3 inches long.
  2. Place in a large bowl with the minced garlic, spices and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat thoroughly.
  3. In a pan over medium high heat, sauté the veggies until al dente, about 6 min, tossing frequently.

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  1. In the food processor add all of the guacamole ingredients and blend until relatively smooth, a little bit chunky, or if you prefer creamy and smooth all the way.
  2. Give the bowl a quick rinse under hot water and repeat with the salsa ingredients. Blend until somewhat smooth, “salsa” consistency. The salsa will have a bit of liquid as the tomatoes weren’t de-seeded. I personally like it this way, but to each his own, so if you prefer less liquid simply pour the salsa into to a strainer and strain the liquid out.

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  1. In a small pan over high heat, place the tortilla shells and cook for about 30 seconds on each side. No need to oil the pan.

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Ready to build your tortillas! Creme fresh on the bottom, veggies, red cabbage slaw and a spoonful of salsa. Done. Ready to inhale – I mean “eat” 🙂

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Homemade, fresh, healthy and delicious. Why settle for less than the best at a mediocre restaurant (and pay for it) when you can simply make it yourself, exactly how you like it? Nothing can be more satisfying than that. Enjoy!

Super Quick Curry- Yogurt Veggie Skewers with Coriander Rice and Cumin Spiced Dip

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Its 7 o’clock in the evening, just walked through the door and am starved! Don’t have the energy to make anything grand but not into ordering take-out either.  So I open the fridge to find a handful of veggies, greek yogurt and halloumi cheese.  Perfect.  Dinner will be ready in 10 mins!

I always keep a package of halloumi cheese in the fridge, it’s a great vegetarian substitute and it’s perfect on the grill.

If you don’t have a BBQ you can always bake these in the oven on about 220C/420F for about 10 mins.

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 4 wooden skewers, soaked in water so they don’t burn.
  • any grill-able veggies you have on hand: for example: 1 zucchini, 1 red pepper, 2 small eggplants, handful of mushrooms.
  • 125g halloumi cheese (there is low-fat available).
  • 1 cup of low-fat organic yogurt.
  • 1 tbsp curry powder.
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder.
  • 1 clove of minced garlic.
  • s&p.
  • 1 cup basmati rice (rinsed).
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander.
  • 1 tsp of freshly grated lemon zest.
  • 2 cups of water.
  • 1/2 head of red cabbage, sliced thinly to make cole slaw-like strips.
  • drizzle of olive oil.
  • drizzle of apple cider vinegar.

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. In a pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and then add in the basmati rice.  Turn heat to low and simmer for about 10 mins, until all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked and fluffy.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add curry powder, minced garlic, and S&p to 1/2 cup of the yogurt, mix well.
  3. Chop up your veggies and halloumi into 1 inch pieces.
  4. Add veggies and cheese to yogurt mixture and stir well.
  5. Take your wooden skewers and fit as many veggies and cheese as you can onto each skewer.
  6. Grill veggie skewers for about 5 mins (turning after 2-3 mins).
  7. Meanwhile add the cumin, s&p to the remaining yogurt.  This will be your dipping sauce.
  8. Slice the cabbage and drizzle olive oil and apple cider vinegar, add s&p, toss well.
  9. Once the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork and add in the chopped fresh coriander and grated lemon zest.

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Ready to plate up!

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Roasted Sweet Potato Hummus, Barley Risotto & Sautéed Garlicky Rainbow Chard

picisto-20130808123419-418938A few weeks ago I was on a shoot with the healthiest catering I think I have ever experienced in my 20+ years of modeling. Thankfully, I never forget a dish or flavor. So tonight I’ve recreated one of the delicious sides. I adore hummus. The taste, texture and simplicity of it. It’s actually quite versatile, you can keep it original with chick peas and cumin, or you can be as creative as you like. This version is with roasted sweet potato, tahini, garlic, lemon and smoked paprika. Mmmm…

I’ve also made a healthier version of Risotto, another fav, using high fibre, high protein, Barley instead of rice. Balanced out with some sautéed super greens: Rainbow Chard.

This takes about 30 minutes to make, all you need is a mini prep or hand blender. Feeds 2 people.

INGREDIENTS:

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  • 2 large sweet potato
  • 1 bunch of rainbow chard (or swiss chard or kale)
  • 1 cup of barley
  • 2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese (or any hard cheese you like- 1/4 for the sweet potato humus and 1/4 for the risotto)
  • juice of 1 lemon (divided between the humus and rainbow chard)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • vegetable stock (homemade or cubes)
  • 2 tbsp tahini paste
  • 1 tsp each of cumin and smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch of fresh thyme, chopped
  • good quality sea salt & fresh cracked pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

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  1. Turn oven on to about 375˚F
  2. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into one inch pieces and rinse and drain. Place on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and S&P and bake for about 20 min.
  3. Rinse the barley and place in a pan with 2 cups of water/vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer, cook for about 25-30 min.
  4. Rinse and chop the rainbow chard, make sure to remove the stems as they are quite bitter in taste. NOTE: Rainbow chard is very strong in flavor, you could substitute with kale or even spinach if you prefer.
  5. In a pan over medium heat, toast the pumpkin seeds. Set aside.
  6. In the same pan, add the olive oil and once hot add in the chard. Sauté for about 3 min, then add in the chopped garlic for another 2 min.
  7. Add the chard into a dish and top with pumpkin seeds, drizzle of olive oil, s&p and lemon juice. Ready to serve.
  8. Once the sweet potato is cooked, remove it from the oven and add it to a mini food prep (or bowl so you can hand blend), then add in the garlic, tahini, smoked paprika, cumin, s&p, olive oil, lemon juice and grated parmesan (or leave out the cheese for a vegan option). Blend until smooth. Ready to serve.
  9. Once the barley has finished cooking and has absorbed the liquid you can add in your grated parmesan cheese, s&p, thyme and garlic. If you would like it creamy you can add a bit more water/vegetable stock. Ready to serve.

Plate up! Healthy and delicious! What a combo 🙂

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Health Benefits of Barley

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Health Benefits

When the weather’s cold, a big pot of soup simmering on the stove warms the heart as well as the hearth. Adding some whole grain barley to the pot will improve your health along with the flavor of whatever soup or stew you’re cooking. In addition to its robust flavor, barley’s claim to nutritional fame is based on its being a very good source of fiber and selenium, and a good source of phosphorus, copper and manganese.

Barley’s Fiber for Regularity, Lower Cholesterol, & Intestinal Protection

Wish you were more regular? Let barley give your intestinal health a boost. In addition to providing bulk and decreasing the transit time of fecal matter, thus decreasing the risk of colon cancer and hemorrhoids, barley’s dietary fiber also provides food for the “friendly” bacteria in the large intestine. When these helpful bacteria ferment barley’s insoluble fiber, they produce a short-chain fatty acid called butyric acid, which serves as the primary fuel for the cells of the large intestine and helps maintain a healthy colon. These helpful bacteria also create two other short-chain fatty acids, propionic and acetic acid, which are used as fuel by the cells of the liver and muscles.

The propionic acid produced from barley’s insoluble fiber may also be partly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering properties of fiber. In animal studies, propionic acid has been shown to inhibit HMG-CoA reductase, an enzyme involved in the production of cholesterol by the liver. By lowering the activity of this enzyme, propionic acid helps lower blood cholesterol levels. 

*From http://www.whfoods.com