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Gordon Ramsay knows how important it is to eat well, whether you’re training for a marathon or just trying to live healthier. And just because it’s healthy food, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on taste and flavor. As a Michelin-star super-chef who is also a committed athlete, Gordon Ramsay shares his go-to recipes for when he wants to eat well at home.
Healthy, Lean & Fit provides readers with 108 delicious recipes divided into three sections–each one offering breakfasts, lunches, dinners, sides, and snacks–highlighting different health-boosting benefits. The Healthy section consists of nourishing recipes for general well-being; the Lean section encourage healthy weight loss; and the Fit section features recipes to fuel your next workout and post-workout dishes to build continued strength and energy. Whatever your personal goals, these dishes will inspire you to get cooking and improve your own health.
I HAVE ALWAYS SAID THAT CHEFS EAT THE BEST FOOD AND THE WORST IN EQUAL MEASURE.
They work with the freshest, most delicious ingredients available, cook them perfectly, and are constantly trying little tasty mouthfuls as they work. But do they get home and make themselves a nutritious meal at the end of their sixteen-hour shift? I’m afraid they do not. The punishing working life of a chef means that they often rely on junk food and sugary snacks to get through the day, and finding time for exercise is really hard. When I was working in the restaurant at Royal Hospital Road, I never left the kitchen, sending everyone else out on their break rather than getting out myself, and I was snacking on the wrong things throughout the day. Over time, I let myself get out of shape. My chef’s whites got tighter and tighter and I felt lethargic and sluggish a lot of the time.
It all changed when I started forcing myself to go to the gym for a run. I had to schedule it in like a trip to the dentist so I couldn’t get out of it! I started with 5 km, then 10 km, then, before I knew it, I was running my first marathon! That was followed later the same year with an ultramarathon in South Africa… I was hooked. Being fit made me feel great and it became my escape from my very busy life. My eating improved, the weight came off, and I looked and felt so much better. My health improved dramatically, too. I turned fifty recently and, given that my father died of a heart attack at fifty-three, my wife, Tana, organized a complete health checkup for me. I was in training for the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii at the time, and when they checked my pulse, it was the lowest resting heart rate for a man of my age that they had ever seen! I must be doing something right…
For me, being healthy involves eating well and taking exercise. This sounds obvious, but I can’t stress enough the importance of doing these things in combination (though not necessarily at the same time!). To improve your diet without exercising can only get you so far when you are trying to lose weight or boost your health. Similarly, to take up exercising without considering what you eat will have only limited success. It is the combination of the two that brings better health.
But this is not a diet book telling you what (and what not) to eat, nor is it full of faddy ideas about eating cabbage soup or living off grapefruits or eating like a caveman. It works on the very simple premise that what you put into your body makes a difference in how it functions. It also acknowledges that the body has different requirements depending on what you are expecting it to do. If you are trying to lose a bit of weight, you need to eat less than when you are maintaining a healthy weight, and when you are taking part in rigorous exercise you will need to fuel your body correctly to ensure it has the resources to deliver.
Finally, healthy eating doesn’t have to be dull! As a chef, I want the food that I eat to be tasty and satisfying as well as good for me. When I’m in training, I don’t want my taste buds to get bored by eating the same things over and over again. And I don’t ever want to feel deprived. These are my go-to recipes when I want to eat well at home, and my great hope is that they will inspire you to get cooking to improve your own health, whatever your personal goal. Here’s to better health!
WHAT IS HEALTHY EATING?
I am not going to get scientific here, but I do think an understanding of what the body needs and how it gets this from food can help us make better decisions when it comes to eating. I am lucky enough to have worked with personal trainers and nutritionists who have shared their knowledge with me and, once I learned the basics, making healthy decisions has become second nature.
To keep itself properly fueled and in optimum condition, the body needs a combination of macro- and micronutrients. Macronutrients are foods we need in relatively large amounts. The main three are:
PROTEIN—found in meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, beans, and nuts, and essential for building and repairing tissue in bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood as well as for the production of hormones and important enzymes. The recommended daily intake for protein is 50 grams for women and 55 grams for men.
CARBOHYDRATES—the starches, sugars, and dietary fiber found in foods such as potatoes, grains (like wheat, rice, corn, etc.), beans, fruits, and vegetables that are the body’s main source of energy. Fiber found in starchy carbohydrates is essential for digestive health; it helps with the elimination of waste and can prevent heart disease, some cancers, and diabetes. The recommended daily intake for carbohydrates is 260 grams for women and 300 grams for men, and health experts recommend a daily intake of roughly 30 grams of fiber for both men and women.
FAT—an excellent source of energy and needed for the absorption of some vital micronutrients. Confusingly, all fats are not created equal, so while the body does need some fat to survive, it is healthy unsaturated fat and not saturated fat that is required (see here for more information). Fat is found in oils, animal products, fish, seeds, and nuts. The recommended daily intake of fat should be limited to 70 grams for women and 95 grams for men, of which no more than 20 grams and 30 grams, respectively, should be saturated fat.
Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that we need in much smaller amounts but that are no less vital for normal growth and healthy development. Micronutrients include vitamins A, B complex (including folic acid), C, D, E, and K, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Vitamins and minerals are found in lots of different foods, including vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, and dairy products, and they are important for the smooth running of our organs, eyes, skin, gut, immune system, and so on. No one food or meal contains all the vitamins and minerals we need, which is why eating a varied diet is so important.
Everything the body needs is available from the food we eat, so we should all be pretty healthy, right? Unfortunately, it isn’t quite as simple as that. The problem is that there are some things that we don’t need a lot of, like refined carbohydrates, saturated fat, and sugar (see here), but we eat lots of them because they taste good—think chips, soda, fast food, cakes, and cookies. Not only can these things be detrimental to our health when eaten in excess, if we regularly choose to fill ourselves up with the bad stuff, we are likely to be consuming too many calories and missing out on the vital nutrients and fiber present in healthier foods.
The body’s requirements change if you are trying to lose weight (see here) and also if you lead a very active lifestyle (see here), but generally we should all be trying to eat as varied a diet as possible while keeping our intake of saturated fat, sugar, and salt down (see here). The recipes in this book will make it easy to eat the right variety of foods depending on the challenges you face.
It is especially important that children get all the macro- and micronutrients that they need while they are growing and developing. The exact nutritional requirements of children and teenagers are beyond the scope of this book, but I do think that introducing kids to a wide variety of foods including plenty of fruits and vegetables from a young age helps them to develop a taste for healthy foods, and by keeping fried, processed, fatty, salty, and overly sweet foods to a minimum, you can teach them that these are treats to be indulged in only once in a while. Making smoothies, soups, and veg-packed stews and sauces is an excellent way to pack as many nutrients as possible into growing kids, even the most veg-avoiding ones, and eating together as a family can encourage your children to try new things when they see what the adults are eating.
But to me, it isn’t just a case of what you feed children; it’s about teaching them to make good choices and equipping them with the skills they need to look after themselves when they leave your care, skills like basic nutrition and cooking. Ever since our four children were tiny, it has been important to Tana and me that they have a good understanding of food—where it comes from, how to cook it, and how it affects our health. They are now teenagers, and it seems to have paid off. Sure, they all like pizza, chocolate, and soda like everyone else, but most of the time they eat a healthy, varied diet that balances out the special treats. They also understand the important relationship between diet and exercise and are really active. I like to think we have given them a healthy relationship with food for life.
There are lots of family-friendly recipes in this book, but it should be noted that children should not follow a low-fat diet unless instructed to by a doctor. Healthy fats are particularly vital for children’s development, so restricting fat is not recommended.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
Each of the dishes in this book has been analyzed by a nutritionist and the figures are printed alongside each recipe to help you become familiar with the nutritional content of everyday meals. These figures exclude optional items and garnishes. Based on these numbers, I have split the recipes into three sections—Healthy, Lean, and Fit.
There are no rigid rules, though. You can mix and match recipes from the different sections depending on who you are cooking for. For example, you can add a Healthy side dish to a Lean main course if you are feeding children and non-dieters, or you can serve a carbohydrate-boosting side dish from the Fit section with a Healthy supper if you are in training for a race or event. Just keep an eye on the figures over the course of a day to check that you aren’t taking in more calories than you actually need.
Here are the official UK Reference Intake (RI) guidelines for moderately active men and women. These indicate what you need in a day for a healthy, balanced diet. Keep these in mind when you are planning your meals to make sure you are adequately fueling your day. You should aim not to exceed the figures listed below for fat, saturated fat, sugar, and salt. Individual needs may vary, so this should be used as a guide only.
Note that this book has been written to conform to the UK’s nutritional guidelines. For US information, you can visit health.gov to view the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a resource that is regularly updated by the USDA and HHS.
SATURATED FAT (G)
To be categorized as Healthy, one serving has to contain:
—no more than 5 grams of saturated fat
—no more than 15 grams of sugar
—no more than 1.5 grams of sodium per serving
These recipes are ideal for maintaining a healthy weight, keeping blood sugar levels stable, and boosting your intake of a wide variety of nutrients.
The dishes in the Lean section come in at:
—under 300 calories per serving for breakfast
—under 600 calories per serving for lunch and dinner
—under 150 calories for a snack
Also, a limited number of the calories are derived from fat. Choosing recipes from this section will help you to consume fewer calories, which in turn will help you to lose weight over a period of time, especially when combined with raised activity levels.
The Fit section is full of meals and snacks that contain the right amounts, types, and combinations of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fat) for an active lifestyle. These recipes provide:
—fuel for training and endurance sports
—proteins for recovery and repairing tired muscles
There are more calories in some of these dishes to meet the needs of the body when exercising.
NOTES ABOUT THE INGREDIENTS
Try to buy meat, eggs, and dairy products from reputable farms that value the welfare of their livestock. It isn’t just better for the animals, it is better for you, as it is likely to be a more flavorful product.
At home, we try to eat ingredients in their most natural form so we can be sure of what we are putting into our bodies. Avoid low-fat versions of favorites because they often contain lots of sugar to make up for the lack of flavor. That said, low-fat dairy products like low-fat milk, reduced-fat coconut milk, and 0% fat Greek yogurt make it into this book when keeping fat levels down is important.
Choose organic ingredients where you can, as they contain lower levels of pesticides and heavy metals and more nutrients. They have less impact on the environment, too, so it’s a win-win.
All eggs in this book are medium-size unless otherwise stated. Buy free-range eggs whenever you can.
Choose fish from sustainable sources, caught or farmed using environmentally friendly methods.
In this book, I mostly use olive, canola, and peanut oils for cooking and extra virgin olive oil for dressing, drizzling, and finishing. When choosing coconut oil, make sure it is the unrefined “virgin” variety, which is rich in a useful form of saturated fats (see here for more information about coconut oil).
A small bunch of herbs weighs about 1½ ounces and a large bunch weighs about 3 ounces.
I season my food with sea salt because it enhances the flavor, but you can leave it out if you are trying to keep your salt levels down.
NUTRITIOUS LUNCHES AND SALADS
SUPER SUPPERS AND SIDES
HEALTHY SNACKS AND NOT-TOO-SWEET TREATS
THERE IS A LOT OF MISINFORMATION ABOUT HEALTHY EATING AROUND THESE DAYS.
It is widely agreed that consuming a diet of fried chicken, fries, cake, and cookies is not balanced or likely to be very beneficial for health! Our usual response is to try to cut down on the bad things like sugar, fat, and salt to improve our well-being. But to me, healthy eating is not just about avoiding the foods that we know are bad for us but about actively seeking out the good things and trying to eat as varied a diet as possible. This chapter is all about making good choices and finding new ways to add healthy ingredients to your meals.
One of the best ways to increase the amount and variety of nutrients and fiber in your diet is to consume more fruits and vegetables. The UK government recommends aiming to eat at least five portions every day, but recent findings suggest this number should be even higher. Happily, I love most fruits and veg, but I still need inspiration when it comes to trying new ones or finding ways to increase my daily intake. The salads, side dishes, soups, and even the snacks in this section will make hitting your five-a-day really easy.
Another way to eat your way toward better health is to ensure that you include lots of so-called superfoods in your diet. This term is controversial, because there is no official definition of a superfood, but it is generally considered to be an ingredient that punches above its weight in nutritional terms. The list includes nutrient-rich giants such as broccoli, avocados, kale, spinach, blueberries, quinoa, eggs, walnuts, and oily fish. While none of these foods have any actual magical powers, a diet that features a variety of superfoods will be very nutritious and a really positive step in the right direction.
As well as eating more beneficial foods, a great way to instantly improve your health is to cook more yourself. Many people rely on the quick fix of prepared meals without realizing that they are often very high in fat, salt, and sugar, not to mention artificial colors, flavorings, emulsifiers and stabilizers, and so on. In restaurant kitchens, almost everything is made from scratch, so the food, however fancy, is actually very simple. If you cook from scratch at home, you will always know exactly what goes into your meals (and into your mouth), and you can keep the all-important fat, salt, and sugar levels down.
The great bonus of improving the quality of the food you eat is that over time you will crave the bad stuff less and less. Your tastes will start to change and you’ll find healthy meals and snacks more satisfying than the greasy, sugary quick fixes you used to eat without thinking. It’s a virtuous circle—the better the food you eat, the better you feel, and the better you feel, the better food choices you make, the ultimate winner being your long-term health. You just have to get started…
REFINED CARBOHYDRATES AND SUGAR
When you begin to learn about nutrition, you discover that it isn’t always straightforward. Take carbohydrates, for example; all carbs provide the body with energy, but it turns out that there are good and bad sources. So-called good carbs are also known as complex carbohydrates because they are relatively difficult for the body to digest, due to their chemical structure and their fiber content. They tend to be whole or unrefined and because they take longer to break down, the energy they provide is released slowly and steadily for the body to access over time. Good sources of complex carbs include whole-wheat bread, brown pasta, oats, brown rice, peas, beans, and starchy vegetables. These carbs also provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals and will make you feel fuller for longer, thanks to the dietary fiber.
“Bad” carbs, on the other hand, are known as simple carbs and are either naturally very easy to digest (e.g., sugar) or have been processed or cooked in a way that removes all the good stuff that usually slows down digestion. These refined carbs are found in white bread, white pasta, cookies, cakes, and baked goods made with white flour. The lack of dietary fiber in these foods means that the energy they provide hits the bloodstream really quickly, causing blood sugar levels to spike and crash and leaving you tired, irritable, light-headed, and hungry for more. Over time, these fluctuating sugar levels may lead to weight gain, which can increase your risk of developing health problems like heart disease and possibly diabetes.
Because nutrition isn’t straightforward, there are two types of sugar, too. Naturally occurring sugars are found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products and are not considered a problem for health as long as they are eaten in the form that nature intended; in fact, they can be an excellent source of accessible energy. But the other type, known as “free” sugar, is definitely considered a problem. Free sugars include those that are added to our food, like regular sugar, white and brown, as well as other sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, corn syrup, palm sugar, agave syrup, and fruit juices. It is these sugars that we are advised to cut down on, because they provide lots of calories without much or any goodness and we tend to consume too much of them, not least because they are often hidden in prepared meals, snacks, and soda to make them taste better. Consuming too much sugar is one of the major causes of obesity and tooth decay around the world, and cutting back is a really positive way to improve your health. The recipes in this book do include free sugars such as honey, maple syrup, and agave syrup, but in small quantities and combined with complex carbohydrates and sometimes protein to slow down their effect.
Fat has had a hard time over the years. It’s been blamed for obesity, raised cholesterol levels, and heart disease, and we have been told to keep our intake to a minimum. But like many pieces of nutritional advice, the reality is not so simple; it turns out we actually need some fat in our diet to stay healthy. It’s a valuable source of energy and is essential for the absorption of various important vitamins like A, D, E, and K and for the production of hormones.
Like sugar and carbs, there are two main types of fat and, historically, saturated fat found in animal products like lard, butter, and cheese has been considered “bad” fat, while unsaturated fats from plant sources like olive, sunflower, and nut oils, as well as oily fish, is thought of as “good” fat. But a number of recent studies are questioning these long-held beliefs and are suggesting that saturated fat isn’t quite as bad for us as previously thought. While this may be good news for those of us who enjoy a nicely marbled steak and cooking with butter from time to time, the government guidelines haven’t changed, and we are still advised to keep our intake of saturated fat to below 20 grams a day for women and 30 grams for men.
Some of the recipes in this book use coconut oil, which is worth mentioning here because although it comes from a plant, it actually contains a lot of saturated fat—but it’s a special type of saturated fat that is thought to be helpful for weight loss by both reducing appetite and boosting metabolism. When buying coconut oil, choose the unrefined virgin variety because it is rich in these special fats.
There are also other forms of fat that are critical to good health; these essential fats (known as omega-3s) are good for your heart and important for learning and behavior. Good sources include oily fish like salmon and trout and, to a lesser extent, nuts and seeds like walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds, and we should actively try to consume more of them.
Whether the fat comes from saturated or unsaturated sources, the key thing to remember is that fat provides, gram for gram, over twice as much energy as carbohydrates and protein. So if you are consuming too much fat without burning it off through exercise, the excess energy will be stored as body fat. Whatever the recent findings about fat being good for you, it is no time to celebrate with a plate of fish and chips!
A WORD ABOUT HYDRATION
Almost more important than what you eat is how much you drink. A human being can survive more than three weeks without eating but would die after three days without water. At least 60 percent of the body is water, and it is vital to keep liquid levels topped off throughout the day, particularly if you are exercising (see here for more information about hydrating for sports). It is recommended that we drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day to ward off dehydration, which can give you a headache and make you feel irritable and drowsy. Happily, other drinks such as coffee, tea, milk, fruit juice, and smoothies all count toward your liquid intake over the day. On top of this, about 20 percent of the fluid we consume comes from the food that we eat, especially if we eat lots of fruits and vegetables—another reason to aim to beat our five-a-day target.
APPLE, MINT, SPINACH, LIME, AND CUCUMBER JUICE
TROPICAL CHIA SEED PUDDING
RASPBERRY CHIA SEED JAM
TOASTED OAT SODA BREAD
OAT AND QUINOA PORRIDGE WITH MIXED SEEDS
APPLE PIE–SPICED OATMEAL
RAINBOW VEGETABLE FRITTATA
APPLE, MINT, SPINACH, LIME, AND CUCUMBER JUICE
A freshly squeezed juice is a great, vitamin-packed way to start the day. It wakes up the taste buds and rehydrates the body after a long night’s sleep. Juices count as one of your five-a-day, so you’ll be getting off to a racing start before you have even eaten your breakfast. This is particularly good for getting kids to eat spinach because they won’t be able to taste it. You could also serve it on ice as a really refreshing mocktail for summer entertaining.
1 green apple, cored and quartered
4 mint sprigs, leaves only
2 big handfuls of spinach leaves, washed
Juice of 1½ limes
½ cucumber, roughly chopped
- On Sale
- Sep 25, 2018
- Page Count
- 288 pages
- Grand Central Publishing