Just as you’ve started to pile plates full of avocado on to burgers and chips and convince yourself that you’re basically eating a salad, the trends of 2017 state otherwise. Avocado and kale are out, and purple foods are now in. It was fun for a while, tricking ourselves into thinking that kale was edible; adding it to dishes for that alarmingly green shock-factor, and chewing down that bitter after taste with a grin-and-bare-it smile. Instead, we can trick ourselves all over again with chaga mushrooms. Although, chaga mushroom tea is bitter and smells a bit like wet dog, it has incredible antioxidant properties and boosts your immune system no end. If the drizzling Geordie rain is catching up with you, chug some chaga tea from Indigo Herbs (indigoherbs.co.uk) and fight away any beckoning colds.
Sauerkraut always sounded like a slightly repulsive German pickle to me, but it’s actually delicious; you can ferment a lot of veggies with raw apple cider vinegar, and make your own raw sauerkraut, or fermented ginger beetroot chopped into salads is always a winner too.
The food that everyone is talking about, is fermented foods. They’re great for soothing your stomach, as the bacteria has already eaten the sugars for you, and they have a great collection of good bacteria to sort any tummy issues out. It’s only recently that health blogs have started to reiterate the importance of having good gut flora, so fermented yoghurt is bound to be used in lots of new recipes. Sauerkraut always sounded like a slightly repulsive German pickle to me, but it’s actually delicious; you can ferment a lot of veggies with raw apple cider vinegar, and make your own raw sauerkraut, or fermented ginger beetroot chopped into salads is always a winner too. Student budgets never stretch very far, so by fermenting foods you make them last a lot longer, and you can resurrect that sad bit of cauliflower that looks like it’s seen better days.
I use seeds frequently to bulk out salads, or even on top of jacket potatoes or in stir-fries, and I used to rely on chia and pumpkin seeds. After years of spitting them out and casting them as inedible, watermelon seeds are now the new seed craze. They’re full of protein, and health shops dry them naturally and flavour them with chilli or other spices. Health food companies have started making protein bars from the seeds, with flavours such as Zesty Lemon and Mint Chocolate. These bars are easy to recreate at home, with granola, honey, seeds, and any spices you fancy.
Maqui berries are the South American black elderberry equivalents – these superberries have extremely strong antioxidant powers, associated with ant-ageing.
Purple foods are also bound to grace many an insta this year (gone, are the green blur of veggies with a ‘healthy lunch’ caption). Maqui berries are the South American black elderberry equivalents – these superberries have extremely strong antioxidant powers, associated with ant-ageing. You’ll struggle to find fresh or frozen maqui berries in the UK, but health food shops stock the powdered or dried berries, which can be added into smoothies or compots (Amazon do good bulk deals). Purple veggies are packed full of anthocyanins – the antioxidants in maqui berries and blueberries – and purple carrots and asparagus are all the range.
It’s always hard to catch up with what’s in and what’s out; my rule is that if it’s got a high nutrient value, it’s healthy. I ignore all the Avo-haters who contest that they’re too fatty, it may be true that they’re not the skinniest of health foods, but they still taste damn good and are a hell of a lot healthier than a wedge of cheese.