If you like to peek at my currently reading widget in the sidebar of the blog then you will have seen Honestly Healthy sitting in there for almost a year. In the last couple of weeks its has had some harsh reviews following the book being endorsed by Victoria Beckham on twitter and so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it.
Honestly Healthy follows the basic principles of all the alkaline food books out there - if you're a fan of the Hungry For Change, Crazy Sexy Diet /Kitchen then you'll already be familiar with the concept of reducing acidic foods and therefore inflamation.
This week I saw a review calling the book another dangerous fad diet but that couldn't be further from the truth. I don't do diets any more but I am attempting to move in a healthier direction (aren't we all, always trying to do this?!) and I have found the alkaline way to be extremely effective in reducing symptoms that were making me tired, crabby and generally feeling under the weather a lot of the time.
The book does contain details for a cleanse, but what I'm most interested in are recipes to incorporate these healthier choices into my everyday.
What I particularly like about the Honestly Healthy approach is that it meets me in the middle - it doesn't require me to be completely vegan or gluten free, it doesn't even suggest that I follow it all the time (I think the recommendation is 70/30%) and through this approach I've been adding better foods into my diet without holding anything completely back and along the way I have found my own level of tolerance for things that are less good for my body.
As a self-confessed cheese-a-holic I was pleased to read that this book includes goats cheese (and also goats butter), in moderation, as an alternative to regular cheeses. It's little substitutions like this that make it easier to adapt.
All of the meals in the book appeal to me, which isn't always the case with a "healthy" book. It includes everything from juices, smoothies and breakfasts through salads, soups, meals and desserts, covering homemade milks and breads along the way.
Following the recipes I have been discovering alternative flours to wheat flour (those gluten free mix flours have never helped me produce anything good), I'm particularly favouring spelt, which is not gluten or wheat free but is somehow more tolerable for my body than traditional wheat flour, and because it's not completely gluten free it actually makes a dough and rises - one of the things that really puts me off gluten free baking is that all mixtures are sloppy!
I recommend the book, I have used it a lot since I bought it and several of the recipes have become regulars already. The food is not just healthy - it's really tasty and appetising, too.
Cameron and I are slightly pizza mad and one of the changes we've made has been to switch to spelt flour for our dough. The recipe in the book uses half a teaspoon of yeast, 170ml warm water, 285g white spelt flour and half a teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt and I have made the dough by hand but it works perfectly well in the breadmaker as my traditional recipe did.
I tend to use wholegrain spelt as it's easiest for me to source and often add extra flavour to the base with garlic, basil or things like smoked paprika, it depends on the toppings. Speaking of which...
Our new favourite pizza topping is kale! If you're a fan of kale chips then you'll love this.
Put 2 big handfuls of chopped kale in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and massage 1-2 teaspoons of oil into it. Make your pizza as you normally would - roll out the dough, add sauce, (goats) cheese, herbs etc. and bake as usual. Then 10-15 minutes before it's ready to out of come out of the oven, cover it with kale and place at the top of the oven (watch the kale doesn't burn or it will taste bitter).
Crispy kale on your pizza is salty and crunchy and the most pleasurable pizza experience - try it!