Lentils for breakfast- welcome

Here is your invitation to sample beautiful recipes that are good for you, good for the planet and good to eat. They mainly feature plants, because that's what I try to eat the most. I am not a fancy cook, but I believe that food is one of our greatest pleasures and deserves to be celebrated. Real food, whole food, kind food. Welcome to the feast!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Slow-carb lunch


Scott Jurek-inspired lunch. Pleasant but not marathon fuel.
Lunch is a tricky meal for slow-carbing, especially for hapless office workers who are at the mercy of the food court or sandwich bar.

Essentially the slow-carb approach entails eating a variation of the same meal several times a day: lean protein, legumes and officially sanctioned, non-starchy vegetables. (The starchy variety include everyone's favourites. More people get excited by pumpkin than green beans.)  Tim seems to manage the lunch conundrum by eating in restaurants and swapping rice for vegetables.

Eating in restaurants every lunch time isn't a sensible option for me. For a start, I'd have no money left to finance my considerable grooming and fashion regimen. I'm more likely to be having a lunchtime procedure than eating in a restaurant.

So, I take my lunch to work most days. And this requires even more organisation and planning in my highly scheduled working week. Sometimes I make a slow-carb dish on a Sunday in addition to the breakfast lentils, but that means lots of time in the kitchen - and the weekends are terribly short as it is.

I frequently take in dinner leftovers, although that puts me in competition with my daughter who is also partial to leftovers. And, of course, she comes first.

Increasingly, I take in breakfast lentils on Thurs and Fri and have an egg on toast for breakfast instead. A tin of salmon makes a satisfying addition to Karen Martini's dal. Yummy lunch. And yummy breakfast, but - more bread, which is supposed to be a weekend treat only.

Scott Jurek's dinner for lunch
One attempt for lunch I made recently was a variation of a meal consumed by none other than Scott Jurek, the 'demigod of ultramarathoning' (according to Tim, who includes this recipe in the Appendices of 4 Hour Body, which is where I found it). Never heard of him? Neither had I until I read Born to Run, which I must confess I have only just read this year. Bit late coming to the party on that one.

Scott's prodigious achievements include the 2010 new all-surface record in the 24-Hour Run of 165.7 miles. For this (running solidly for 24 hours, think about it), he was named USA Today's Athlete of the Week. The week? Seems a bit paltry for all that effort.

Anyway, Scott credits his superhuman endurance, recovery and overall health to his 100% plant-based diet. I was curious to sample a little of what he's having. And so I made his dinner of roasted sweet potato, bok choy sauteed with chilli and some fried tempeh. Not in the same quantities because it was lunch: 1 potato not 4; 2 strips of tempeh, not a whole packet; but a whole bunch of bok choy, just like the man (good work, Brown!).

The verdict? Delicious, but madly insufficient. When it comes to plant-based, quantity is crucial. And making lots of vegetables is time-consuming. And then there's all the chomping to follow.

I guess Scott can eat all the starchy vegetables he likes.


Lunch with Holly Davis
I did have lunch in a restaurant this week. Back to Cafe Sopra at Walsh Bay to meet the gorgeous Holly Davis, wholefood demigod. We had to move tables because Cate Blanchett was seated a couple of tables away (Sydney Theatre Company is across the road), and it was impossible to stop glancing over. Too distracting; and it must be awful for poor Cate to know everyone's sneaking a peek at her.

Holly has been running a course called 'Wholefoods in 20 minutes' and she was telling me about some feedback she'd received from a participant. This individual felt she had been misled because Holly's 20 minute recipes all require some degree of pre-preparation, such as soaking grains (Holly is a exponent of fermentation). Holly was lamenting the fact that people want to spend as little time as possible cooking, while serious wholefood cooking relies on time and effort for flavours to develop. It's a cooking style that can't be hurried.

Time in the kitchen
I was reminded of my values: a commitment to nourishing, delicious food made with care from high quality ingredients. I suppose if I want to take a slow-carb lunch to work each day I'm just going to find more time to spend in the kitchen, chopping, peeling, sauteeing, roasting, simmering. It's the season of salads. Time to experiment with legume salads. Watch out for more recipes.

And what about you? How do you manage a healthy lunch? Sushi? Sandwich? Mexican restaurant, swapping rice for vegetables? Any suggestions for gorgeous legume salads gratefully received!





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