Pasta and Meatballs - Adapting in tough Times

I hope this blog raises a smile :) I have a serious point to make, but what are we without humour? And I am most certainly a glass half full person! So, whilst times feel uncertain and dark, I tend to use jokes to stay upbeat. Please don't think I'm missing the seriousness of the corona situation, but we have BBC News for that. 

Gratitude for all the Food 

I'm not sure if I've ever really sat down and thought about what I'd do if a certain food wasn't available at Tesco. I guess it's briefly crossed my mind when I've visited countries where fresh veg is seasonal. But here in the UK, we can buy pretty much anything 24/7 all year round. Perhaps we got complacent?

Mid March and finding toilet rolls is like locating gold dust, the tinned aisle is limited to a couple of battered looking tins of mulligatawny soup (it apparently tastes like beef curry) and in some stores the fresh fruit and veg section is starting to look seriously depleted.

I've stopped shopping. I appreciate it's easier for me, because I only have myself (and occasionally Pebbles the cat) to care for. I guess I'd feel more nervous if I had to feed my kids, but a three hour around town trip looking for tampons last week pretty much finished me off! I'm disappointed in society and the greedy need to stockpile. If my head's buried a little bit in the sand, I haven't got to witness the worst of humanity.

Concerned About Lack of Ingredients?

I've had lots of concerned messages this month from people following my skin cleansing diet. Many wondering what to do if some of the foods I recommend are no longer available. First and foremost .. don't panic. We can adapt things and if you are seeing or feeling improvements in your skin, don't think for a second that deviating from the super healthy foods you've been nourishing yourself with is going to set you back to square one. It doesn't work like that. Secondly, this is a great opportunity to learn. To find balance - in so many ways, not just diet.

I was super strict when I first cleared my skin. I'm a real all-or-nothing sort of person. So I went all in and seeing my psoriasis fade after a few weeks was all the motivation I needed to never look back. That isn't to say I now live on nothing but kale smoothies and chia seeds. I'm human too. I would say my diet these days is 80/20. So, 80% of the foods I eat are super healthy and 20% are flexible. There are some things I never went back to - alcohol for example, and I can't tell you the last time I ate a raw tomato, but it's all adaptable and it's important to find your balance in this. 

What Can We Do?

Whilst we're a bit more limited to what we can find in the supermarkets, it might be that you're nudged into trying certain foods you're not used to. Or having to prepare more meals from scratch. I also find myself looking at new brands that I hadn't noticed before. My recipe here is designed to inject humour! But I hope it also explains how we can be flexible and still achieve clear, healthy skin.

Learn to Read Labels 

Learning to read labels is really useful and means you aren't left constantly wondering if a certain food is okay for your skin. Take these meatballs for example. Heaps of good stuff in there - pea protein, red onion, garlic, herbs. But also some nightshades and gluten. Whether you'd be okay with something like this depends on how problematic your intolerances are. If you're allergic for example, gluten is obviously a complete no-no. There are sometimes ingredients you might not recognise the names of, such as 'methylcellulose', but a quick google will give you the right insights.

I try to avoid pre-bought products like this and there's a great vegan meatball recipe in my book Radiant, but having some simple options such as these in the freezer might be the difference between making a fresh meal from scratch or giving up on resources and ordering a takeaway. 

The following ingredients wouldn't be ideal for me, although I tend to find my reactions to nightshades are stronger when the food is fresh and raw. ie: a salad full of raw tomatoes would be more problematic for me than tomato power. This doesn't mean deviating off plan constantly. But in situations like this, read the label and make an informed choice. Remember the word 'balance'. 

Tomato Paste - this is a nightshade 

Potato Starch - this is a nightshade 

Methylcellulose Stabiliser - this is produced from cellulose, a natural polymer and fibre which is considered to be safe for human consumption. It can have a laxative effect and in production the process uses highly reactive substances that must be removed and disposed after production

Barley - this contains gluten

Tomato Powder - this is a nightshade 

 

Don't Stress Your Choices 

Most importantly, don't stress or feel bad / guilty about food. This is a journey and step by step learning going forward is just as important as the excitement of diving in in the first place. Our body and skin are our little visible barometers of gut health and will remind us of what's right. 

Remember, gut health is also impacted by anxiety and stress, so learning to relax and trust that you're nourishing your body is vital. With that in mind .. why not serve your friends this penis pasta and meatballs at the weekend as a symbol of resourcefulness through the corona crisis - a virtual dinner party of course ;o) 

 

Penis Pasta & Meatballs (for 2)

150g pasta (I bought mine on eBay it contains gluten & I bought it for laughs!) 

2 tsp olive oil

1 onion (

6 meatballs (I used these vegan ones)

2 pop out portions of tomatoless sauce (recipe in my book)

Method

Fry the onions in a pan with a little olive oil until soft (5 - 10 mins) Season with salt and Italian herbs

Add the meatballs and frozen tomatoless to the pan and cook slowly over a low warm heat

Boil the water and cook the pasta as per the packet. Season with salt and pepper

Add the pasta to a bowl, spoon over the meatballs and sauce. Enjoy with fresh basil and black pepper