While a love of diets and healthy eating have always been a big part of our lives, this year we’ve adapted it a bit with the hope of it boosting our chances. We’ve shifted from a high-protein, low carb diet with healthy fats (think Joe Wicks- The Body Coach) to a more plant based diet, with wholegrain carbs, healthy fats and lots of nutritious veggies. Not only are there supposed to be multiple health benefits of reducing our meat intake, but it has also reduced our shopping bill too.
Chris being Chris decided one day to launch himself into a full blown vegan diet. But after one day of munching on hummus and pitta and very little else and checking his macros app (turns out hummus and pitta bread supplies only fat and carbs- who knew?!) Thankfully that evening he decided this route was just too restrictive, and as the one who does most of the cooking at home I was extremely relieved.
I did buy him a vegan cookbook for Christmas for a bit of inspiration. And without knowing, he also bought me a Nigella Lawson cookbook too. I dug out my old Madeline Shaw ‘Get the glow’ cookbook which is full of healthy recipes and we started to compile some which seemed the most exciting, easy to cook and nutritious.
Some of our favourite meat-free go-to recipes can be found below;
This one is just so easy, tastes zingy and refreshing and is great for making extra to take to work the next day too. The avocado is a great source of vitamin E as well as folate, vitamin K and ‘healthy fats’. Vitamin E is crucial to the fluid protecting your egg inside the follicle. A deficiency in vitamin E can lead to negative changes in your ovaries and uterus. You can read more on the role food plays on your fertility here:
- Cook wholegrain rice according to the packet instructions, you know the drill; one cup rice, two cups water
- Chop up some radishes and throw into a large bowl
- Take a peeler and turn three carrots into ribbons
- Follow suit with half a cucumber
- Throw some soy sauce or ketjap manis over your veggies
- Do the same with some ginger (I love the jarred Lazy Ginger) if you aren’t feeling lazy, you can use a spoon to peel your fresh ginger and grate into your salad
- Stir all of this together and combine with your rice when cooked
- Top with sliced avocado and fresh coriander
Warm chickpea, kale and orange salad
Now I’m definitely not a salad fan, and run a mile from eating lettuce (or kale for that matter until I tried this dish) but this warm salad tastes great. What’s more it packs a nutritious punch with the oranges being rich in vitamin C, potassium, calcium and folate, kale providing calcium, iron and folate and the chickpeas being a great source of fibre, iron, B vitamin and folate too.
- Chop up an onion, and simmer in some coconut oil
- Sprinkle 2 tsps. of cumin and some garlic (again, I use the jars of Lazy Garlic- there’s a theme here) fry gently for 5 minutes
- Grate a courgette and throw into your pan
- Next, drain a can of chickpeas and pour in to the mixture. Stir to coat the chickpeas in flavour and add some ground pepper to taste
- Cook these together for around 5 minutes and add in your kale, cook until it has softened a little and no longer pokes out all over the place
- To finish, grate some orange zest and squeeze of fresh orange juice
Tomato and lentil soup
This one is great for whipping up a few lunches using just store cupboard staples. It’s cheap, easy and nutritious to make, can be either stored in the fridge or the freezer ready to just grab and go in the morning. The lentils are also filling and rich in fibre, iron, B vitamin and folate too.
- Chop up your onion and place into a deep saucepan along with some coconut oil
- Add a tsp of cumin and a tsp of ground coriander (not to be mistaken for coriander leaf- it shouldn’t be green! Chris actually bought this pot while trying to purchase normal coriander- I never even knew this existed)
- Fry gently until the onions start to soften and of course, add some garlic
- Tip in a tin of lentils followed by a tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer for 20 mins
- Blend for a smooth texture (I use my Nutribullet, and keep it in the cups in the fridge
Veggie Thai curry
This is a good one for using up all those odds and ends lurking in the fridge, is extremely hearty and filling and great on winters evening. Both sweet potatoes and butternut squash give you a good dose of beta carotene, which is very important during the luteal phase which is the period between ovulation and when you actually have your period.
- I start by popping a butternut squash into the slow cooker and leave it on to cook all day. When I get home, it is the most amazingly soft and almost fluffy texture and saves me trying to hack it into pieces.
Squash can also take a while to soften in the pan so this way it cuts down on cooking time. Sometimes I also put in a few sweet potatoes too, to really pack in the beta carotene.
Beta carotene is rich in vitamin A, which helps your body to produce nourishing cervical fluid which helps the sperm to survive for longer. This means it gives those precious salmons a longer time to fertilise the egg. Furthermore, it also assists with the maturation of your follicles. Lastly, it also helps to assist a fertilised egg move into the uterus by supporting the production of the hormones which are needed to do so.
- Next chop up some onions or spring onions, depending on what is in the cupboard or fridge and gently shallow fry
- Add some diced yellow or red peppers
- Throw some fresh chilli into the pan to season, some garlic and ginger, then add a few dollops of Thai curry paste (so scientific I know)
- Cook that down for a few minutes, then add in a tin or two of black eyed beans, followed by a tin of coconut milk; sometimes we opt for reduced fat, sometimes full fat depending on how well Aldi has been stocked
- The coconut milk will need to simmer down and reduce and while that’s happening you can gently pierce your cooked squash and scoop out the flesh. This will really bulk out your curry. Give it all a stir, a taste and amend the seasoning as you want.
- Serve with wholegrain rice and broccoli
Along with a smaller shopping bill, Chris has also noticed his cat allergy symptoms have significantly reduced since reducing his meat intake. He used to have awful sneezing fits, suffer with itchy eyes and ears, none of which he has experienced in January since cutting back. He is also less achy and tired to boot, so all round I feel like January’s food has been quite a success. For me, it makes meal times so much easier and the food goes a lot further allowing me to prep almost all of our lunches.