AS I excitedly announced a couple of days ago, I’ve teamed up with the Medicinal Chef, Dale Pinnock, the leading nutritionist, author of 14 books and a TV regular. When I met Dale at a conference in the United States a couple of weeks ago, it was obvious our values were aligned.
We’re both passionate about helping people live healthier lives and I knew instantly that if he agreed to partner up, it would be a match made in heaven! He did and it is!
One of the most important things that makes lifestyle change sustainable is doing it in small steps. This is a core principle of the Slimpod programme. And as you’re about to see, it’s what Dale advocates on the food side of things, too.
I said a couple of days ago that Medicinal Chef Dale would be giving you a series of challenges to help you drop a size and get into your party gear for Christmas.
Here’s Dale’s first challenge – please let me know how you get on with it by leaving a comment below. And if you’re part of our Slimpod community I look forward to seeing pictures of the dish you’ve cooked up!
Over to you, Dale:
“One of the big issues so many people have when they begin to eat healthier is that they try to change everything all at once. They try to do a complete overhaul of their habits in one go and shift themselves into a whole new way of eating overnight.
“Now for 99.9 per cent of us that just isn’t the way forward at all. In fact, it’s the road to ruin. They key for real long-term change, as you know, is by changing your habits, and the way that you eat is a series of habits all built one on top of the other.
“We need to change things bit by bit to completely shift our lifestyle over time. This is why I always use the rule of ‘change one thing’.
“As the name suggests, this means finding one single thing that you can change straight away – then change just that.
“Keep this up for a few weeks until it is a habit, then make another goal and make that simple change. Keep this up and after six to 12 months your lifestyle will be drastically different.
“So where to start? Well, that’s up to you but one of the most fun things is to ‘give your favourites a facelift’. Start with what you already enjoy eating and your favourite foods.
“Learn how to give them a bit of a facelift. You like pizza? Amazing! Have a go at making one yourself.
“Use a multigrain bread mix to make the crust. Top it with loads of vibrant veggies like spinach, red onion, fresh garlic, artichokes, maybe some goat’s cheese or feta on there.
“Why this change? The multigrain bread base is much higher in fibre and will keep you feeling fuller for much longer and stabilise your blood sugar levels. which in turn will reduce your desire to snack, reduce overall calorie intake, and majorly improve gut health.
Small simple swap, major benefit
“The toppings deliver far more micronutrients, antioxidants, and beneficial phytochemicals. Small simple swap, major benefit.
“You like spag bol? Excellent, swap the pasta over to the brown variety and bulk up the ragout with red lentils to raise the fibre content.
“The wholewheat spaghetti again keeps you feeling fuller for longer, keeps you satiated, and stabilises blood sugar. You get the point.
“If you think eating healthy is about self-deprivation, denial and self-punishment then man alive have you missed the point! Enjoy the food you love but at the same time get educated about what healthy actually looks like and why, and bring the two worlds together so you have something that is both sustainable and thoroughly enjoyable for life!!
“Over the coming weeks I’m going to be giving you small tips and challenges so you can begin to adjust your diet and lifestyle to not only help manage your weight but improve many aspects of your health.
“It’s a complete dietary overhaul that’s simple, enjoyable, fad free and not a calorie or set of scales in site. My tips and challenges will build on each other to really step up your healthy eating game!”
Here’s Medicinal Chef Dale’s super-healthy Spag Bol recipe
Spag Bol’s a real family favourite up and down the country – and one that can be a monumental calorie bomb if we aren’t careful. This one will go down an absolute storm. The changes aren’t huge – just a couple of tweaks and this dish becomes so much better for you. By swapping white pasta for brown we up the fibre, and adding the lentils means extra protein, fibre and B vitamins.
180g dry red lentils
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 red seeded, finely chopped and deseeded
500g lean minced beef
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 X 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
250ml beef stock
500g wholewheat spaghetti, mixed leaf salad to serve
Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and simmer for 15–20 mins until soft, then drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a pan sauté the onion, garlic and red pepper in a little olive oil, along with a pinch of salt, until the onion and peppers have softened.
Add the mince and gently fry for 7–8 mins, until it’s cooked through. Stir in the tomato puree. Add the lentils, chopped tomatoes and stock and simmer for 10–15 mins, until the sauce has thickened.
Finally, cook the spaghetti until al dente or according to the packet instructions.
Serve with a mixed leaf salad.