Clean eating

The gift of Cauliflower

So are you a carb fiend? Can you simply not imagine having your meals without rice or mashed potatoes? Yet your love of carbs is ruining your goals, and you're always chasing that weight loss, six-pack or less bloating. Well we have a solution for you!

There’s a little, cruciferous vegetable in Singapore that can be substituted into virtually any dish. This food turns pizzas low-carb, and garlic mash into heaven.

Say hello to our new best friend the cauliflower. 

 
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This sometimes overlooked vegetable gives the potato and rice a run for their money, and those with a restricted diet will relish the possibilities cauliflower presents. Once you discover cauliflower’s life changing powers (might be overselling it a tad there but it is amazing), you won’t be able to imagine eating any of your favourites dishes again without it.

So why is cauliflower so amazing? Other than being a great substitute for our main emotional carb crutches it has some pretty amazing health benefits:

  • Helps fight cancer
  • Boosts heart health
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Detoxification support
  • Antioxidants and phytonutrients galore
 
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And yes it's safe to say that cauliflower wasn't always the sexiest vegetable on our supermarket shelves, but since it revealed itself as a versatile veg that can solve many of our “replacement” problems it's gone up in popularity.

If you're trying to lose weight, have gluten intolerance or just unexplained bloating, here's why you need a head of this white cruciferous vegetable ready to go at all times:

  • It's low in carbs: One of the reasons we've majorly fallen for cauliflower is because of its low carb count. It easily subs in seamlessly for so many of our favourite comfort foods 
  • It offers Omega-3s: Cauliflower is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can improve the body's response to insulin by stimulating the secretion of leptin. Leptin is one of the hormones that helps regulate body weight and can also increase metabolism by decreasing our hunger (telling us we are full).
  • It's high in fibre: Healthy digestion is essential to beat bloat and support weight loss. Luckily, cauliflower is a vegetable that's naturally high in fibre.

Here are some of UFIT's favourite Clean and Lean dishes:

Photo by www.LiveGourmet.com

Photo by www.LiveGourmet.com

  • Cauliflower garlic mash
  • Cauliflower fried rice
  • Cauliflower sushi
  • Cauliflower hummus
  • Cauliflower crust pizza (see recipe below by UFIT Nutritionist Becky Brake)
  • Cauliflower and bacon soup
  • Cauliflower curry
  • Cauliflower bread
  • Cauliflower tortillas
  • Cauliflower tabbouleh.

If you only thought cauliflower was for cauliflower cheese, think again!


Photo and recipe: Becky Brake, UFIT Nutritionist

Photo and recipe: Becky Brake, UFIT Nutritionist

Cauliflower Pizza Recipe

By Becky Brake, UFIT Nutritionist

TOMATO BASE (will make more than needed for this pizza)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 x 400 g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Begin by heating the oil in a saucepan with the onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper.
Lower the heat, cover and gently simmer for about 20 minutes.
Either use straight away or leave to cool and store in a container

PIZZA BASE

  • 1 whole cauliflower
  • 3/4 almonds (ground)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 eggs (beaten)
  • salt & pepper

TOPPINGS - 

Use what you fancy! – in this pizza I used:

  • 1 zucchini (chopped and pre-steamed for 10 minutes)
  • 4 broccoli florets (pre-steamed and then chopped)
  • 1 small red onion (roughly chopped)
  • small amount of goat’s cheese (chopped roughly)
  • pea shoots (roughly chopped). 

1.     Preheat the oven to 200 c and line a large oven try with baking paper.

2.     Place the cauliflower florets into a processor and blitz until finely chopped.

3.     Then place the cauliflower into a large bowl with the ground almonds, dried oregano and beaten eggs and mix together.

4.     The mixture will be fairly sticky (this is normal!).

5.     Transfer this mixture onto your baking tray and using your fingers sculpt and flatten into your desired pizza shape

6.     Place into the oven to pre-cook for 20 - 25 mins (until a nice golden color)

7.     Take the pizza out the oven and spread on some tomato base. Then scatter on your chosen toppings! (there are no technical skills needed here!)

8.     Place back in the oven for a further 10 mins before seasoning with some salt and pepper.

9.     Finally – ENJOY - Sit yourself down at the table and get eating!

Why clean eating done right is good for you

Clean eating has been getting mixed press lately, and like anything in life, taking things to an extreme can make it bad for us. Being too restrictive with our diets and paranoid about what we eat can cause more issues than it solves.

At UFIT our approach to clean eating is much less harsh and more exclusive, it’s about taking things back to a more simplistic way of eating and as fresh and whole as possible. Here are some simple tips to eat cleaner:

1. Load up on fresh produce

When it comes to vegetables, most of us aren't getting enough. We should be aiming to get in six portions of vegetables and one of fruit each day.

Eating more vegetables can significantly reduce your risk for a number of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. The fibre in whole produce also helps keep good bacteria in your tummy happy, which can reduce your risk for autoimmune diseases, fight off pathogens and infections and even improve your mood.

Get those greens in over Christmas, it should be easy with seasonal greens such as Brussel Sprouts everywhere.

Photo: Sofi Bon Foster

Photo: Sofi Bon Foster

2. Whole grains are our friends

Carbs are not the enemy, it’s about getting the right type with the highest amount of nutrition. The best whole grains are the ones that have been touched the least by processing. Think whole grains that look most like their just-harvested state—quinoa, wild rice, oats. 

Don't get duped by "whole-grain" claims on labels though, to eat clean, packaged whole grains you're going need to take a closer look at the ingredients. Whole grains should always be the first ingredient, the ingredient list should be short and recognizable, and it should have minimal (if any) added sugar.

When you swap out refined carbs (like white pasta, sugar, and white bread) for whole grains you'll get more fiber, antioxidants and inflammation-fighting phytonutrients.

3. Pick the right processed foods

Not all processed foods are really bad, look at amazing ranges such as The Whole Kitchen products.

Technically when we chop, mix and cook at home we are processing foods. The problem is that so much processed food at the supermarket is processed beyond the point of recognition. Keep an eye out for anything with lots of sugar and refined grains, super-long ingredient lists with foods you don't recognize and anything with partially hydrogenated oils.

Clean processed foods exist like plain yogurt, cheese, grainless granola, seed crackers and nut mixes. Just be sure to read the ingredient list and know what you are buying.

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 4. The biggest “rule” of Clean & Lean - limit sugar

Most people eat too many added sugars. The Singaporean Health Board recommends no more than 8 to 11 teaspoons of sugar a day for adults. The average person gets about 2 to 4 times that amount per day. To clean up your diet, cut down on added sugars by limiting sweets like soda, candy and baked goods.

But it's more than just desserts—keep an eye on sugars added to healthier foods like yogurt (choose plain), tomato sauce and cereal. Look for foods without sugar as an ingredient, or make sure it's listed towards the bottom, which means less of it is used in the food. We usually recommend no more than 5g of sugar per 100g of product

5. Consider the environment

Clean eating is better for you and the planet, and eat seasonal and locally grown foods where possible. Foods that are transported not only increase our carbon footprint but also will need to be preserved for the journey. The longer the shelf life of the food the shorter our shelf life. 

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So how to take clean eating to an effective, safe step to a healthier you? The next UFIT Clean & Lean Challenge starts 13 January 2018, where under Wendy Riddell's  guidance you will learn how to detox safely from sugars and eat clean, healthy food to start new eating habits to sustain you and your family for the rest of your life! 

Start up your 2018 on Clean & Lean 18 - our 18th challenge - by signing up right here: