In Season: It's not 'you are what you eat', but, 'you eat what you are'
One of Witt's chef's is focused on food for physical and mental health – with a built of help. In this month's In Season session Virginia Winder learns some simple recipes for a day of good eating.
Joachim Ogden is one of life's most enthusiastic people, but these days he has an extra spring in his step.
The recipe to his energy can be put down to the advice from a nutritionist, one who has the Witt tutor eating more mindfully.
Francesca Eldridge, a proponent for physical and mental health, has helped with this month's offerings, which are brimming with goodness.
"The In Season ingredient is you," says Joachim.
The trained chef has a new role as staff development leader at Witt, but was called in to assist hospitality and he has come up with food for a day.
"So I have reached out to a very good source to assist in an article that is more about looking after yourself," he says. "Because I believe it's not: 'you are what you eat', but, 'you eat what you are'."
Joachim says the aim of eating is to feel calm, steady and satisfied. Wherever possible use organic, or free range ingredients.
"Cook with passion and confidence – recipes are always a guide only, make your own variations."
Starting the day, Joachim's way, he always drinks a glass of warm water and lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This increases the acidity in the gut to assist in digestion.
"It seems weird these small changes, but once you make it a habit, you just do it without thinking."
Breakfast is a nourishing choco-coconut smoothie for busy mornings, board meetings inside or in the sea, says the keen surfer.
"If you're in a rush, this will fuel you up for a serious session in the water, or in the office, and it's dairy free. It's crucial to have a nourishing start to your day to remain calm with a stable mood."
For this smoothie, he recommends the Macro brand of almond milk because it is organic and affordable at Countdown. "Unlike many other nut milks, this one contains no synthetic vitamins, which are problematic."
All ingredients, except the eggs, are soaked overnight. This activates the phytase enzyme and unlocks more minerals in the oats, making them easier to digest.
"Still feeling cold after that winter southerly skims our snow-capped mounga and slaps you in the face while you peel your wetsuit off and use numb fingers to get the car key into the door?" Joachim asks.
The answer is sweet potato and squash soup that warms from the inside using in-season vegetables. Make it the night before ready for a lunchtime lift.
"High in vitamin C, this recipe is a good tonic for those feeling stressed or burnt out," Francesca writes on her website.
Dinner is Mediterranean chicken, now a regular item on Joachim's home menu.
"It's so easy – this takes five minutes to make," he says.
Into a casserole dish throw chicken thighs, canned tomatoes, anchovies, rosemary, olives and garlic, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper and bake at 190 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. "Job done," Joachim says.
However, there is one ingredient that's not always welcome. "Those little soft spineless subjects; anchovies, are (ironically) a bone of contention at many tables."
To disguise the anchovies, he suggests mashing them into the sauce. Also, if the sauce is too watery, he recommends scooping it out and reducing it in a pot on the stove before serving.
Francesca says the dish offers protein and nourishing fats to feed the nervous system, balance blood glucose levels, and, because it's digested slowly, leaves people feeling calm, steady and satisfied.
"Rosemary is a thymoleptic herb, lifting mood and easing depression. And enjoying this meal served hot in a favourite bowl adds another soothing dimension."
Joachim is sold. "I was impressed with the simplicity, which allows more time to go and live life!"
For more information on food, the mind and body, go to: www.francescaeldridgehealth.com
Stress Tonic Sweet Potato and Squash Soup (serves: 2-3)
1 medium butternut squash
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 red onion
2-4 cloves garlic
2-3 pinches ground cinnamon
Sea salt and black pepper
1. Fry onion in butter until soft. Add garlic and fry.
2. Place chopped butternut squash & sweet potatoes in a pot of hot water and boil.
3. Cool all ingredients and blend with a little of the water (reserve the remaining water you boiled the vegetables in).
4. Return to a new pot, and add water from boiling vegetables to reach your desired soup consistency. Mix in cinnamon, a warming spice if you feel the cold.
5. Season with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
6. Serve as you wish with drizzles of olive oil, lashings of butter, coriander leaves, croutons or a squirt of Greek yoghurt.
Mediterranean Chicken (serves 2)
4 chicken thighs
6 cloves garlic
A splash of bone broth or chicken stock
1 tin chopped tomatoes
4 sprigs rosemary
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
1. Combine all ingredients in a ceramic or Pyrex dish, laying anchovies and rosemary sprigs on top.
2. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper and bake for 45 minutes at 190 degrees Celsius.
3. Serve with green leaf salad tossed through with lemon juice and olive oil.
Choco-Coconut Breakfast Smoothie (serves 1)
1 cup almond milk (Macro brand)
1 ripe banana
1 Tbsp frozen blueberries
1 tsp cinnamon (Trade Aid stocks fair trade cinnamon)
1 Tbsp flax seeds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp cocoa
1 Tbsp rolled oats
1 raw egg (2 if surfing!)
3 tablespoons of coconut cream
Put everything except the egg in the blender before bed. When you wake up, blitz with the egg, drink over 5 – 10 minutes (this may mean taking it with you in a sipper bottle).