Whats for dinner tonight?

How many of us are being asked this question, in the knowledge that we may have to produce 2 or 3 different meals, at different times, for different tastes. Well I hope the attached recipe will solve that problem for one evening this week. As much as its desirable to all eat together and I would really recommend at least sitting down with children to chat whilst they are eating even if you eat later, its often not logistically possible. Do try and find at least one occasion where you do sit at a table and eat together, with no phones or tablets for company. Perhaps you can then discuss which meals are going to be cooked for the following week, everyone chooses a dish, within reason!

The recipe for socca pancakes can be adapted to whatever you have left over or flavoured in anyway you like. They are pancakes made with gram flour which makes them higher in protein and fibre than normal pancakes and chickpeas are a prebiotic too, i.e. your good bacteria like them. They are low in fat, but a good source of omega 3 fat too.They are also wheat free, now I'm not 'anti' wheat in any way, its a good wholesome grain in its wholegrain form but I think there is a tendency to eat too much of it. Its so easy to eat a wheat based cereal for breakfast or toast, a sandwich for lunch and then good old pasta for supper. I don't think its surprising many peoples guts are becoming intolerant and even allergic to it. However please don't give up good quality wholegrain breads and pastas, but try not to eat it at every meal. Most of the commercially made breads are made using the Chorleywood bread making process in @45 minutes, no time for any yeast to properly let the bread rise. Pinch a piece of your sliced loaf together it sticks, you are eating un-risen dough. Bread machines are great if you don't have time to make your own but my favourite by far is Sourdough bread, it is given a whole for the live culture to work.

So back to the pancakes, flavour the batter however you want, i use turmeric and harissa and fill them with whatever roasted vegetables I can lay hands on and a crumble of feta or some left over chicken. Equally flavour them with five spice and fill them with stirfry and prawns or tofu if its your thing. Enjoy.

Socca pancakes

So what is the problem with 'clean eating'?

I have to confess the term 'clean eating' is one of my biggest bug bears and although the concept is hugely popular, it has also had some bad press from the science community. So before you start a clean eating program do read on.

So what's positive about 'clean eating'?

Anything in my book, that encourages the public to think about their food and pay attention to their nutrition and overall health has to be a good thing. So cooking more at home from scratch, including more vegetables and fruits - so far so good. Health seems to be on many peoples agendas now, and this is really good news. However, its the WAY in which we think about our health that's important.

So what's the problem with 'clean eating'?

The problem is really the title itself. Firstly what on earth does it mean? Often different things to different people. Vegan? Raw food only? Avoidance of processed foods? Only fresh organic foods? There is no definition.

'Clean eating' also suggests that other ways of eating are 'bad' or 'dirty' and that's not the message Public Health Nutritionists and Dieticians are trying to get across. Its not helpful to make people thing that some foods are 'bad' or 'good and it often stirs up negative emotions and in an environment where eating disorders are on the increase, this is not helpful. For example, feeling guilty by eating chocolate or feeling a failure, when in fact, healthy eating is all about context and balance.

If you eat well the majority of the time then have that piece of cake, then you won't feel deprived. I generally think about a balance of 80:20. Restrictive and fad diets have been shown to have the exact opposite impact on a persons health.

As we have heard so much about in the news, health isn't just about the body, its about both physical and mental health and if you are getting stressed with yourself about avoiding certain foods, then that's not healthy either.

Eating well should allow you to have a balance and a healthy relationship with food and your own food choices.

Is 'clean eating' realistic?

Clean eating often sells an unrealistic portrayal of what a healthy lifestyle should be. In the same way we that air-brushed celebrity bodies in magazines which make us feel rather inadequate. The result may be that you feel inadequate and a failure if you don't produce 'clean' meals every day.

So I hope in future to make the recipes on my blog about realistic, delicious, foods that anyone can make and enjoy.

So by all means follow the clean eating bloggers and be inspired by some of their recipes but be realistic about foods and think about the CONTEXT of your eating but Do continue to think about health and ways you can improve your diet.

However to try and avoid feeling guilty or having negative relationships with any types of food.

I'd love any feed back good and bad and also let me know if you'd rather read a blog on sugar or one on helping children enjoying Healthy Eating?

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