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BASICS


I started this blog as a way to record my own personal culinary experiments as I embarked upon an extreme diet change about a year ago. A combination of moving away from home and working as a full-time model meant I was constantly aware of my dietary choices, which is where my interest and curiosity in health and nutrition began. Working in a job so focussed around image, I am constantly aware of what I eat and the connection food has with my moods, energy levels, skin, hair and general fitness. I concentrate on eating foods that I can really benefit from, and avoid foods that cause stress to my body and my skin. I eat only natural foods including vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds, psuedograins and good quality meat and fish, and all of my recipes are made without wheat, gluten, dairy, refined sugar or grains.

Many people in this day in age are living subconsciously with everyday ailments. Digestive issues, migraines, heartburn, constant colds, tiredness and bad skin (the list goes on) can all be associated with a poor diet, and yours might be poorer than you think. A lot of people consider such health issues as a perfectly normal part of everyday life, and instead of seeking ways to improve them, continue to live with them, oblivious to the fact that there may be room for improvement. We have almost forgotten that our natural state of being is one of balance, wholeness and vitality. I was perfectly happy before I changed my diet, but I was unaware of how much better I could feel. I always thought a blemish was inevitable for my age, not something I could balance through my diet, and I began to realise that a minor cold was in fact indicative of a severe lack of vitamins and nutrients, not just an unavoidable side effect of the winter months. 

My philosophy is simple. It is about getting back to basics, re-etablishing a relationship with nature and living a life free from fads, fake foods and unsustainable, unreliable eating regimes. It's about re-educating people about the effects good foods and bad foods have on our bodies, and to try to eradicate the confusion that grows as a result of faddy diets and pseudo health foods on the market today. It is not about following a specific diet, but is about readjusting your existing one by eliminating processed foods, and embracing natural ones. By making adjustments instead of following rules you are likely to adopt habits long-term, making your dietary patterns sustainable, beneficial, reliable and enjoyable (enough adjectives for one sentence there?). Learning the differences between natural ingredients and those found in processed foods will arm you with the knowledge to make educated decisions and take control of your dietary habits. The more you learn about the effect foods have on our bodies as opposed to just following rules, the more likely you are to adopt a healthy lifestyle for good. You'll begin to develop an interest in eating well, will be able to judge mainstream food products more accurately and will learn not only the benefits and abilities of natural foods but also which foods work for you. Unlike following a short-term diet plan involving radical changes, which is not sustainable (perhaps not even safe) and is definitely not tailored to your bodies personal needs. There are so many diets out there, no one diet could possibly suit everyone.

"This is a long-term lifestyle change and will become natural, easy and inspiring".

Once you've gotten to grips with a more holistic way of eating you will begin to notice differences, not only within your body, but your tastebuds too. Foods that dominated your previous diet will begin to seem tasteless, far too sweet or chemically enhanced. The recipes on this blog are easy to make and include feel-good recipes inspired by modern day traditions, (you'll find ice cream, chocolate, bolognese, biscuits) meaning you don't have to cut out your favourite foods; you simply rework them. I have developed delicious versions of popular classics meaning you won't feel miserable, restricted or deprived, but instead comforted, nourished, healthy and positive. Some of the recipes on this blog may not taste healthy, but that's the whole point. Many of them resemble comfort food or hearty meals your mother might make you when you're ill, which just proves that healthy food doesn't have to mean skimping on taste or living off bland salad leaves. Wholesome, good quality ingredients have the most enriching flavours and textures, so enjoy them, knowing they are nourishing you too.

NATURAL TRADITIONS VS MODERN DIET

Put simply, humans evolved to eat natural foods. Looking back to our Palaeolithic/caveman ancestors and their diets, you won't notice any batten berg, rich tea biscuits or sandwiches. These foods are very modern ideas, and certainly have not developed naturally. A Palaeolithic diet is easy to understand, and if you apply its characteristics to your lifestyle, you'll realise how much sense it makes. During the Palaeolithic Era, people survived off of whatever was available to them. They would pick whatever food grew, and hunt whatever food they found. Think fruit, vegetables, berries, nuts, seeds and animals. They didn't have the technology to process foods, or even cook them in the ways we do now. They ate fresh, seasonal ingredients and they were fit as bloody fiddles. And if it is too difficult to compare a Palaeolithic lifestyle to our current modern day lives, then think of how your grandparents got by. My Grandmother speaks about how she used to buy food, when an average outing would mean visiting at least 4 or 5 different shops, each one specialising in a certain field. One for dairy, one for fish, one for meat, one for toiletries, and so on, and each one selling fresh, local, no-nonsense produce that the owners knew everything about. Convenience stores and supermarkets and their processed goods did not exist and, like our Palaeolithic ancestors, they didn't have the technology we do now to cook, collect, export, process (and refine) or package food the way we do now, or on the scales we do either.

Technology has certainly opened up doors. It has allowed food to be produced in larger quantities, at much lower costs, but has eliminated quality and brought with it fast foods, convenience foods, ready meals, fake foods and, as a result, chronic illnesses, obesity, allergies and autoimmune diseases. These health complications have reached epic proportions in industrialised nations, and when comparing our society to non-industrialised societies that live entirely on local food (fresh seafood, meat, proteins and plants), it is clear to see that their lack of technology and ability to alter foods has left them comparably freer from disease and more or less in superb health. Studies show that these primitive humans revel in being stronger, experiencing less tooth decay and producing healthy children with ease. In comparison to groups of more civilised people, whose diets are high in refined foods, canned and preserved foods and sugars, and amongst whom tooth decay, infectious disease, allergies and infertility are increasingly common. People who don't have access to processed foods are oblivious to the fact they even exist, which proves we simply don't need them in order to survive. Nature itself provides us with nourishing ingredients that lead to vibrant health (these incredible ingredients grow naturally for a reason), which just proves that there is no reason for us to tamper with things. It is purely because the food industry generates so much money that we have come to value ease, availability, quantity, cost and taste over quality and goodness.

Many people see nothing wrong whatsoever with the modern day diet, predominantly because they aren't educated about its flaws. Large manufacturers are solely concerned about selling their inexpensive, nutritionally-substandard products and hardly care if you're eating more biscuits than you are vegetables, or if your breakfast contains more sugar than a packet of jelly babies. Most foods that make up the modern diet and which line the shelves of our supermarkets are high in sugar, processed vegetable oils, gluten and chemical additives and are exceptionally low in nutrients. Popular foods are advertised using buzzwords like 'low-fat' or 'gluten-free' in an attempt to persuade customers to buy them, distracting us from the long list of the other additives they contain. If a product is lower in one ingredient, it is guaranteed to be higher in another, in order to maintain some kind of substance. Sugar is one of the most popular additives found in these kinds of foods and can even be found in foods you would never imagine - like smoked salmon and pre-cooked chicken. The food industry is not embarrassed to use inexpensive ingredients like sugar and artificial flavourings, which are easily produced and stored and have a long shelf life, because they sell. These ingredients are convenient masks used to disguise flavourless, over-processed concoctions as manufacturers know that if something doesn't taste good, people won't buy it. If the public were more aware of this and began to eat less convenience foods, the industry would shrink to a fraction of its size. The food industry doesn't need superfood powders to produce junk food for a profit, but they do need vegetable oils, white flour and sugar. They refine foods, stripping them of vitamins and minerals and concentrating them with sugar, which quickly satisfies our energy requirements, but leaves us without the nutrients our bodies really need. People think we need to eat to feel full or to merely 'fill a gap', but completely disregard the fact that what we really need is essential vitamins, minerals, enzymes, macronutrients and micronutrients. And food manufacturers have little incentive to educate us about this, because if they can produce food on a larger scale, for a fraction of the price and a much larger profit, they will.

"The more a food is processed, the more profitable it becomes".

For many families in the modern day, food is not something that they make for themselves anymore, or that they take time and care over. Recent studies have shown that Americans, for example, eat over 30 percent more packaged food than they do fresh, and half of all meals are eaten outside of the home - most probably on-the-go, from drive-thrus or fast food chains - places where concepts like 'farm to table', 'local', 'fresh', 'organic', 'fair-trade' and 'ethical' do not exist. And the food industry is just fine with that, naturally, because it guarantees a steady supply of customers for their shoddy processed foods.

"It is time to re-adopt the natural, wholesome traditions of our ancestors, and avoid the newfangled 'fake foods' dominating our supermarkets".


TIPS


START THE DAY WITH A DRINK
My favourites include Hot Water, Fresh Lemon, Turmeric, Cayenne Pepper and Ginger  |  Cold Water with Fresh Lemon Juice, Aloe Vera or Chlorophyll  |  A Freshly Squeezed Juice (more veg than fruit)  |  A Smoothie.
Starting the day with a detoxifying concoction will regulate your body's natural appetite and help cleanse and reset your system.

INVEST IN TUPPAWARE
Make Tuppaware your new best friend. Leftovers need somewhere to live and you will only feel hostile towards them if they leak all over your bag. The most important thing to do is to over cater at dinner time so you instantly have leftovers for breakfast, lunch or dinner another day. This will save time and will mean you can always be prepared if you are too busy to cook and tempted by a ready meal.

SPRING CLEAN YOUR CUPBOARDS
Get to know the ingredients you need and those that you absolutely do not. Throw out any processed condiments, hydrogenated oils or pre-made sauces that have been sitting in your cupboards for months (there's a reason they last so long, and it's not because they're natural). Throw out processed and refined foods like pasta and bread and get rid of sweets, biscuits and chocolate as they will only tempt you if you know they are there. Stock up on fresh fruits (low gi) and vegetables, nut and seed butters, natural flavourings such as apple cider vinegar, tahini, tamari and lemon juice. Make homemade treats and keep a constant supply in your fridge or freezer so you're always prepared if you experience cravings. Stock up on psuedocereals like quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth, as well as dried legumes, and nuts and seeds for baking or making milk alternatives. If your cupboards are clean, your diet will be too.

COOK ENOUGH TO FEED A SMALL ARMY
When making dinner, always cook too much and leave the leftovers in the fridge (this will be survival food for instant lunches and dinners throughout the week) or organise the leftovers into portions and store in the freezer for another time.

GET BACK IN THE KITCHEN
Make more time to cook. Even if you only find time once a week, make the most of whatever time you do spend in the kitchen and take the chance to cook as much as possible, to fill the fridge/freezer for the week ahead. Re-develop a connection with your food, get to know where it comes from, how it grew, what it is made of and how to prepare it. Nowadays it is always easier to eat quick, ready-made meals because they are increasingly available. The majority of us would prefer not to worry about cooking, or about what we should or shouldn't be eating, but preparing your own food gives you more control over what goes into your body, instantly reduces the amount of additives and processed ingredients involved, and you will taste and feel what a difference homemade food can make. Not having enough time to cook is a poor excuse, as even making something as simple as mashed avocado or organic scrambled eggs can have huge health benefits, and can be prepared in under 2 minutes!

WATCH OUT FOR BUZZWORDS
If something is advertised gluten free, it doesn't automatically mean it is healthy. Often, 'healthy' junk foods (such as low-calorie energy bars or diet foods) are high in sugar, chemicals, additives and other unpronounceable ingredients that can be damaging to health. Look a little deeper into products making health claims, and make sure every ingredient is one that you are familiar with. Make sure these ingredients are as natural as possible, and look out for hidden sugars, hydrogenated fats, flavourings and stabilisers commonly used to bulk out and transform the taste of the original ingredients in a product. 

CUT OUT WHEAT, GLUTEN, SUGAR AND PROCESSED FATS
These are all products that were virtually unknown in the human diet before 1600. As the consumption of sugar and things like white flour have increased, so have health deficiencies and chronic diseases. Our bodies are not used to these ingredients and can struggle to digest them. Harmful ingredients can even inhibit the absorption of healthy ingredients too. It isn't advised to cut out all of these foods at once, as such a drastic diet change can be stressful, both physically and mentally. Start by noticing the unnecessary ingredients and make small changes to find out what works for you. Plan to try one week without a certain ingredient and see how your body responds.

RELAX AND RESTORE
Meditation is a popular method used to relax and regain clarity within the body. It is important to make time to stop and chill, to take time out, to listen to your body and to restore your body's energy. There is a lot of stigma attached to the idea of meditation and many people are sceptical about it, but it is, in fact, whatever you make it. It doesn't have to be all pretzel positions, incense and ommm's, and it doesn't have to take up a huge chunk of your day. Even sitting or lying calmly for ten minutes can reduce stress levels and help clear your mind.

STOP COUNTING CALORIES
It is not about how many calories you consume, because not all calories are equal. If it was about calories we'd all choose a chocolate bar over a bag of raw nuts, but that wouldn't make us healthy! Something high in calories can be deeply nourishing, and something low in calories can often do you little to no good at all. You need to start thinking more about what your food can provide you with in terms of vitamins, nutrients and reliable energy, and the effects that certain foods have on your body - including your skin, hair and nails. Something that may be low in calories is likely to be higher in something else, like sugar, which will have a damaging effect on your insulin levels, which is, in turn, associated with weight gain more seriously than calories are. Think about your food on a more cellular level and learn to feed your body with pure, natural ingredients (this may mean something high in calories, but that doesn't mean it isn't good for you) to fuel it's internal functions. 

FACE THE FATS, AND EMBRACE THEM
Don't be scared to eat high fat foods, but be careful to choose the right fats. Avoid heavily processed fats such as hydrogenated vegetable oils, and introduce natural saturated and unsaturated fats that can handle high temperatures, such as coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, ghee or if you are not dairy intolerant, organic grass fed butter. Our bodies need fats in order to absorb essential vitamins from our food and also to repair our cells and keep our systems working optimally. Many of our organs including the brain are made up of fats, and those fats need to be constantly replenished. Our cell membranes, too, are made of fats, and in order for essential vitamins and minerals enter them and be absorbed, they need to be combined with fat soluble substances. Eating fat won't make you fat. The right fats will be utilised around the body and only the wrong fats (heavily heated/processed fats) will increase the risk of disease, and weight gain.

ANOTHER KIND OF JUICE
Animal juices released as meat cooks are high in vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids, so don't waste them - they are precious. Add these juices to soups, stews, grain-free risottos, sauces, quinoa and much more. It doesn't sound so appetising, but drinking meat juices or homemade stock (made from boiling leftover bones) has major health benefits. Learn more from The Hemsley Sisters.

MILK NUTS NOT COWS
Adults don't produce as much lactase as children do, meaning our bodies have more difficulty digesting it as we mature. Milk is not especially harmful to health, and many people can continue to consume it without any complications. But it is less about the lactose and more about the quality of milk which is becoming a concern. Whilst some dairy products are essential to health and good consumed in moderation, cows milk is an exception, or certainly the kind that is available in supermarkets, which is heavily processed, pasteurised and homogenised. These days, cows are pumped with antibiotics and all kinds of hormones, so how can the milk they produce not contain these things too? I recently came across a good quote that cited 'the modern cow is a freak of nature'. A century ago, cows produced 2-3 gallons of milk a day, and now they provide between three to four times as much, due to selective breeding which results in abnormal pituitary glands. Dairy consumption has also been associated with acne, skin irritations, fatigue and migraines. If you are dairy tolerant, buy raw milk, buy from local farmers you can trust, or make your own alternatives from soaked nuts or seeds.

DRINK RESPONSIBLY
Avoid soft fizzy drinks, sugary drinks, milk that has been pasteurised or homogenised and too much caffeine. Our bodies are made up of around 60% water, so it is important to keep hydrated to keep our bodies in good working condition. Bottled water varies widely in quality and is not necessarily free from contaminants, so it is best to drink plenty of filtered tap water, infused with herbs or lemon juice to make it tastier as well as to alkalise the body. Drinking herbal teas is also a great way to encourage yourself to keep hydrated throughout the day.
(this will also help
)

DON'T DIET
Diets don't work and don't last. Don't take it upon yourself to follow strict, regimented rules which are realistically impossible to stick to. Diets are unsustainable, unsatisfactory, unsuccessful and tasteless, and can be emotionally draining. Instead, make simple adjustments to your dietary habits and embrace natural foods which are always going to be available and accessible. The more natural the food, the more goodness it will contain and the more delicious it will be. 

HEAL WITH FOODS
Try to avoid using paracetamol or ibuprofen when you feel ill, as these can often contain a variety of unnatural chemicals. Things like Berocca are not reliable and are high in sugar and heavily processed chemicals, so when you feel ill, learn to replace these things with natural healing ingredients. Herbs and spices such as ginger, turmeric, basil, rosemary and sage have medicinal properties, and wild organic honey, lemon and superfood powders are also incredibly soothing, nutrient-rich remedies to combat colds, sore throats and other irritating ailments. If you are prone to experiencing headaches or migraines, try eating organic raw almonds instead of taking pills, as they contain a natural aspirin called salicin. You can also experiment with making natural tonics using apple cider vinegar if you have digestive issues or are feeling run down. 

FORGET NORMALITY
Don't worry that fellow commuters eating croissants on the way to work will judge you for eating leftover curry for breakfast. They're, in fact, the ones acting more out of line, eating fake foods that are made of nothing normal whatsoever. There is no such thing as 'breakfast foods', and there are no written rules that say you can't eat chicken and vegetables for breakfast, or pancakes for dinner. It makes more sense to start the day with a high protein, low sugar meal than it does to sip on coffee or eat a bowl of processed cereal high in sugar and gluten. Don't stick to any rules or feel self conscious about eating unusual foods. Next time someone looks strangely at the colour of your green smoothie, remind them the colour of coco cola.

MOVE
Your body is an amazing instrument and it will work and feel better if you keep it moving. Try to walk as much as possible, especially if you don't have time to exercise fully, and try to allocate time, even if it's just 10 minutes a day, to do short bursts of body weight exercises or cardio. I like doing sprints instead of going for a long run, and enjoy doing exercises with a resistance band for 10-15 minutes at home if I can't get to the gym. It is more rewarding and easier to fit into a busy schedule.

STRETCH
Before breakfast, and before bed. Even if you don't know how to stretch properly, or which muscles need stretching, a simple arms in the air or a fold at the hips will wake your body up and energise you in the morning, as well as helping to reset your muscles in the evening after a long day.

GET COLD
When practiced the correct way, frequent exposure to cold conditions can increase your metabolism - leading to a reduction in body fat - increase hormone levels, improve sleep quality, fix thyroid problems, kick start your metabolism and reduce inflammation. It is important to start slowly and get used to it gradually. Read up on cold thermogenesis and consult a professional first as there are right and wrong ways to do it, and you must ensure it is safe. Start by practicing with exposing just your face to icy conditions. Plunge your face into cold water for 5-10 minutes - coming up for air - to encourage your body not to over-react to extreme temperature changes. Eventually, you might notice you can bare standing under a cold shower, and will learn to love how refreshing, energising and liberating it feels. It is as uncomfortable as it sounds, but how you feel afterwards (refreshed, energised and ready for the day ahead) is what matters.

PULL OIL

Oil pulling is an old folk remedy and has been used for centuries as an alternative to conventional dental regimes such as tooth brushing and the use of mouth wash. The process involves filling the mouth with 1 tablespoon of oil (i prefer using coconut oil but other common oils include sesame and sunflower oil) and holding it in the mouth for 15-20 minutes, swirling and swishing it around the mouth constantly. Benefits include improved overall oral health, whiter teeth, healthier gums, fresher breath and a considerable reduction in plaque build up, and the amount of harmful bacteria present in the mouth - particularly if using coconut oil, thanks to its antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. The first feeling of the oil in the mouth is quite unappetising, but you soon get used to it and will begin to notice and feel the benefits. Practice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and before eating, or before bed, at least 2 hours after a meal.

DONT BE BOUND BY RULES

Many people assume they can't cook, and they're often not in any hurry to change that. The stigma around home cooking has gone too far and these days people prepare ready meals more often than they slice a fresh vegetable. Not only does cooking seem time consuming, people also view it as some kind of exact science, consisting of hundreds of rules and accuracy - something they don't have the time or skills for. But in reality (especially when you're cooking with health in mind) the only restrictions it involves are the ones you set yourself. No matter how many books there are, or how many different ways you can make pastry, there is no right or wrong way to cook. When it comes to preparing healthy food, there is even less pressure for the food to 'work', and all that's important is that it tastes good. You're using entirely different ingredients to what conventional recipes call for so it is never going to be exactly the same, which means you should never play by any rules when coming up with new recipes. The primary concern is that whatever you're making is full of nutrition, so don't restrict yourself on the ingredients you use and get as much in as possible. It is perfectly ok to use vegetables in cupcakes!

TURN IT OFF

Aside from modern diets having a negative effect on the human race, many other modern habits are taking a toll on us too. Technology has been a godsend for many reasons, but it is also beginning to disrupt certain areas of our lives, including our social lives and our mental health. Things like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are becoming increasing risks as far as depression, anxiety and even suicide are concerned. People are becoming wrapped up in fictitious, unrealistic worlds created by social media and the internet, constantly surrounded by what other people are up to, or what else is going on that shouldn't even concern us! It is hard to switch off when there is always something else to look at, read or watch, and comparing our own lives or jobs to what we perceive is going on around us can make people question themselves and forget what is really important in their lives. On a more physical level, technology (like processed foods) is a relatively new concept and not one that has been around long enough for us to be able to conclude its real health risks. I find it considerably more difficult to falling asleep if i have been using my computer for hours up until bed time. 


TIPS FOR BUDGETING

BUY DRIED
Buy nuts, seeds, beans and psuedograins dried rather then ready cooked. They last considerably longer and are much cheaper. They require a little more attention and considerable prep, such as soaking, but it's worth it.

BUY SEASONALLY
With access to pretty much any fruit or vegetable the whole year round these days, it is easy to forget that there is a time and place for things to grow properly. Only when you start buying organic produce do you realise the way an ingredient is actually supposed to look, feel and taste. Generally, when a fruit is actually in season you will notice it is larger, brighter in colour and exceptionally more flavoursome. Strawberries, for example, are available all year round from big supermarkets, but to me, when bought out of season they taste watery and sour, and don't smell as good as when they are in season. Buying seasonally not only tastes better but also tends to work out cheaper. Supermarkets have strawberries and pumpkins all year round, but if you buy in-season produce, it grows in abundance so is generally more affordable in its season.

BUY LOCAL
Buying from local suppliers will always be cheaper than buying imported produce that has travelled miles to your supermarket. If you shop at local, independent places you are more likely to know where the produce has come from, and it is likely to be fresher than what you find in supermarkets. Buying from specialist fruit and vegetable stores also means less packaging. You can choose every single thing you buy, and you can buy items individually - instead of having to buy an entire bag of, bananas - for example - which means less goes to waste. What's more, you can rest assured that whats on offer is wholly in season.  

BUY LOOSE
Growing up, there was a small shop down the road from where we lived called Scoopers. You went in, got yourself a scooper and helped yourself to as much bulk rice/flour/grains/seeds/nuts etc etc, as you liked from large containers. Buying food like this, by weight, is much cheaper than buying pre-packaged ingredients, and you can also pick and choose the exact amount you need for a particular recipe or to see you through a certain time frame. It is also better to buy food that hasn't been packaged in plastic for a long period of time. Choose 'free' food over confined food. 

BUY BULK
Buy in bulk, wherever possible, from online whole food markets or larger wholesalers/suppliers. Shop in stores that offer unpackaged food dispensers, to save on packaging and also to control how much or how little you need of one thing. 

DON'T BE PUT OFF BY FROZEN FOODS
There is a lot of stigma around frozen foods and many people assume that if something has been frozen a lot of its goodness is lost. However, in some cases frozen foods could have been fresher at the time they were frozen than the fresh produce in your supermarket is by the time it reaches the store. I always buy more than i need of things like berries, bananas, avocados, coconuts and almond milk and freeze them so that i can work my way through them for the following weeks. Frozen fruits such as berries and banana (make sure you chop it before you freeze it), as well as edamame beans and avocado (again, be sure to chop it first), are my secret ingredients to the perfect smoothie and you'll always find them in my freezer. They make the texture so much thicker and smoother, and makes my smoothies a hundred times more refreshing. 

EAT THE INEDIBLE
There is far too much waste in the world - that's a given. It's one thing not to finish a plate of food, but its another thing not to embrace an ingredient in its entirety. Traditionally, there is always a little preparation that goes into food. Most fruit and vegetables require being trimmed or having their leaves or outer layers removed. However, unless these have become incredibly mouldy or damaged, there is no real reason why you shouldn't utilise them. Perhaps they don't taste as good, but it is easy enough to save them and to disguise them in a smoothie or a soup. Things like the outer leaves or tops of sprouts can be cooked and softened to make their tough texture more palatable, and in my opinion, more delicious than the sprout itself. The outer leaves of a cauliflower, too, are delicious if cooked for long enough to become soft and juicy. 

BUY 'ON THE BRINK' OVER RIPE FOODS
Buy fruits and vegetables that are over ripe or about to go off. In some cases their nutrients will have enhanced over time, in others some will die but they will still be good for you! Use too-soft-to-be-appetising avocados in smoothies, along with bruised bananas, and freeze foods that are 'on the brink' of going off, to use in the future for things like smoothies, ice cream, baking or soups. Some small fruit and vegetable shops will even give you this kind of produce for free if it isn't suitable enough for them to sell the next day.

JUICE YOUR JUNK
Whenever my fridge begins to look like something out of a horror movie, I salvage any fresh ingredients that offer a glimmer of hope and juice them. I end up with the most unusual combinations, but you can also juice each ingredient individually and store the juices in separate bottles, to add to smoothies, soups or dressings, or to enjoy on their own. Cucumber, celery, fennel, carrots and beetroots often produce the most juice as they have a higher water content. If there are unused ingredients in your fridge that aren't fit for a salad or won't accommodate for a whole meal, make them into a concentrated concoction of valuable vitamins and minerals to use within the next couple of days.

OVER COOK
This may seem more expensive at the time, but cooking too much food will leave you with two or more extra meals to enjoy later on in the week, or to freeze for later in the month. This strategy is also good when making snacks like chocolates or energy balls, as you can keep them in the fridge or freezer so there's always something sweet to nibble on, should you crave it. I always make twice as much dinner and turn the leftovers into something completely different. It is so satisfying to make something delicious and to use the same ingredients to completely transform it into something which is sometimes even better! You'll learn to value flavours and will get to know a few key ingredients that have the ability to entirely transform and refashion a meal or a bowl of sorry-looking leftovers.

AVOID FOODS THAT COULD BE OLDER THAN YOU
Choose 'free' food over confined food. By this, I mean tinned or heavily preserved foods which are high in additives and sugars, and which lose their wonderful nutrients more and more, the longer they sit there. Consider how long this kind of food can last and compare it to how long a fresh vegetable would. Food is supposed to go off, and if you're consuming preserved foods, you're consuming a whole lot more than just the main ingredient on the front of the tin - and in some ways, a lot less too, in terms of nutrients.

DONT BE PUT OFF BY JUICE CLEANSES
Many people assume that 'juicing' is something they see people doing but could never do, or afford, themselves. However, I believe it is more important to simply supplement with fresh juices, rather than drinking just juice for a certain period of time. Whilst I believe that juice cleanses provide wonderful health benefits, you will also get plenty of goodness from just the occasional juice. Cold pressed juices tend to be more expensive, as the process is more arduous and the ingredients purer, but using a standard juicer or buying more basic fresh juices will still have benefits. Buying juices that aren't cold pressed are higher in fibre, too, and although the juice itself isn't as concentrated as cold pressed juice, more of the whole fruit/vegetable is contained in the end product. For cheaper juicing from home, start by working with ingredients that have a higher water content as these will produce more liquid. Broccoli and kale produce barely any juice, so you need to use a lot of each ingredient in order to create an actual drink, but using cucumber, celery, fennel, apple, courgette and spinach is a quicker, easier and more affordable way to incorporate simple cleansing and detoxifying drinks into your lifestyle.