Healthy food should be delicious

Lamb shawarma with burnt pittas

Gizzi Erskine is probably best known for being a presenter on the British television show Cook Yourself Thin and for writing the show's companion cookbook. Gizzi trained at the prestigious Leith's School of Food and Wine before going on to work at BBC Good Food magazine. She is the food columnist for Company magazine, wrrites for The Sunday Times, and has contributed to Marie Claire, Instyle, Elle USA, and Arena, among others. She has just released her cookbook, Gizzi's Healthy Appetite, in the US market (the book was published in the UK last August.) The cookbook aims to reinvigorate healthy eating by utilizing bold textures and flavors to perk up healthful ingredients. ( Enter our contest for your chance to win a copy of the book.) To help explain her healthy eating philosophy, Gizzi provided us with an excerpt from the introduction to the book:

There's no denying that I have a healthy appetite. I love food, I love eating, and I love cooking. There's nothing I don't like to eat, except perhaps snow peas (pointless and flabby) and durian (poo fruit). I am a chef for two reasons: partly because I have a huge ego and I love feeding people and receiving their praise, but mainly because food makes people happy and has a way of soothing us from the inside out. Food doesn't just feed my body; it also feeds my soul.

I've written about healthy eating over the years, but recently I've seen an influx of books encouraging us to "eat clean," make better choices, become vegan for our health, or undertake extreme diets-and no one knows what the best advice actually is.

The more I see of people's food concerns on Twitter and Instagram, the more I see the love pouring out of food. It's as though people are so concerned about what they are putting into their bodies that food has lost its soul. Food should first and foremost be delicious. If we stick to some simple rules like eating a variety of different-colored fruits and vegetables daily, eating smaller portions of better carbs, high-quality proteins, and some good fats, then we will be getting all the nutrition we need for optimum health.

Back when I made Cook Yourself Thin, we were using vegetables in place of carbohydrates, choosing non-starchy carbs for mashing, and putting vegetables in cakes to reduce the sugar and fat content. Now, there are some brilliant new techniques to make things like vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free cakes; cauliflower rice; and spiralized vegetable noodles, all of which can be a revelation when used in the right way with the right ingredients.

Cooking for a healthy appetite often seems to be geared more towards the healthy and less towards an appetite for food. However, I want to show you how to use those "healthy" ingredients in a more delicious way. I also want to instill the message that being healthy is as much about moderation as it is about nutrition. I've always lived by the 80/20 rule: if you eat healthily 80 percent of the time then you're allowed a little bit of something that may be considered "naughty" the rest of the time.

The chapters of this book are divided into textures and flavors. For me, those textures and flavors often reflect my mood. For example, if I crave something braised or oozy it may mean that I'm after something rib-sticking and comforting, but if I want crunch or crispness then I probably feel the need for something clean and fresh. Sometimes I want fiery food, so we have a chapter for spice, and other times I just need something sweet, and there's a chapter for that too.

So, here I am. I want to start a new food revolution: one where people have a better understanding of nutrition but don't forget that eating should be enjoyable. 

Photo of Lamb 'shawarma' with burnt pittas, hummus & pomegranate tabbouleh from Gizzi's Healthy Appetite by Gizzi Erskine

1 Comment

  • Analyze  on  2/3/2016 at 8:12 AM

    Sounds tasty!

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