Last month I blogged about my first few weeks on the Cooking for Health course at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London. The course is over now so here are my reflections on the remainder of the course….
The final two weeks were taken by Emma Mihill, a nutritionist, iridologist, former raw food chef and raw chocolatier. Like our other tutor Holly, there isn’t much (if anything) Emma doesn’t know or can enthuse about how to cook in a healthy way, backed up with tonnes of nutritional background.
The focus of these weeks were ‘Raw Foods’ and ‘Healthy Treats’. I’d been on a raw food course before so was really interested to see how the concept would be ‘sold’ by a qualified nutritionist. The emphasis from Emma was more about incorporating plenty of fresh foods into the diet, rather than aiming to be 100% raw food purist. As a Paleo carnivore, who enjoys lots of plant foods too this seems to me like a fantastically balanced approach to eating. The recipes Emma prepared (I use the word prepared since I’m not sure you can say ‘cook’ if its raw food??) included a protein smoothy for breakfast, a tasty filling salad dressing and a raw cacao superfood hot chocolate – I long for the day when we have a world where all coffee shops serve up raw cacao superfood hot chocolates!
- Left: Vanilla Protein Shake (the green is due to a the addition of a green superfood powder)
- Right: Salad with Tangy Miso Dressing
The final week was all about healthy treats – focussing on healthier ways to make up occasional treats for a balanced diet. As well as learning some fantastic recipes we learnt some interesting information about the best (if you can say that since no sweetener is 100% guilt free) natural sweeteners to use; coconut palm sugar, raw honey, medjool dates, stevia, yacon syrup, xylitol – or cleverly even cinnamon and vanilla were used in our recipes. It was also important to understand not to avoid good sources of fat – a common misconception these days is that low-fat products = healthy but it really doesn’t since when fat is stripped out artificial sweeteners are added to make products more palatable. With this knowledge Emma prepared some delicious treats including cashew-cacao ice cream (which I’ve made once before – my recipe is here), almond fudge, a raw choccy magnificent mousse and the star of the show – mole truffles. I don’t thinks I’ve ever tasted anything quite like those truffles- at first a strong hit from the cumin, then followed by a chilli kick – different but delicious!
- Top Left: Chocolate Ice Cream (a little melted)
- Top Right: Almond Fudge
- Bottom Left: Mole Truffles
- Bottom Right: Healthy treat kitchen in action – mole truffles to sample, whilst the ice cream was churning and the fudge was being made.
Many of the ingredients we used in the recipes on both weeks were health supportive too – boasting benefits for cardiovascular health, prevention from Alzheimers and including super doses of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. I do like a recipe that tastes good & is good for you!
All in all – I really enjoyed the course. Its so much easier to learn a new recipe and nutritional information from a real person than reading it from a book. I’m looking forward to trying out my new repertoire of recipes and the next 6 weeks of the course in April. Yes – I just signed up for that too! For my final post about the course I plan to cook one of the recipes from the course for real myself, putting the instructions to the test! I may even add my own twist.
To continue the theme from my last report I will leave you with a top tip and a fab phrase from Emma.
Top tip: Cashews and Macadamia nuts are best for making nut creams since they are skinless and have the best suited creamy texture.
Fab phrase: ‘Chocolate is a health food’ . Of course we are talking about 100% raw Cacao here – not a bar of dairy milk.
Disclaimer: I was invited by the college to provide this blog article. All views are my own.