Seeking a healthier way to live a year ago, I stumbled on the blog of Gwyneth Paltrow and a couple of informative posts about gut and digestion care. By the size of Goop.com, I’m guessing there is a whole team behind the lifestyle blog, not just Gwyneth. While I’ll admit, I am not one to follow Hollywood stars, I am always skeptical when they start pushing perfumes, foods, vitamins and all sorts of products my way. However, I found myself wanting to buy Gwyneth’s cookbook, Its All Good. To be more accurate, the book is co-written by chef Julia Turshen. I was drawn by Gwyneth’s own story about stress manifestation and ‘clean living with healthy chunks of happy indulgence’ leading to an out of balanced state. I can relate to this, although, the extend of my indulgent lifestyle ends at one too many patisserie cakes. I purchased the book from Dymocks one day after work and began trying out the recipes.
The hard cover book is what you would expect from that of a Hollywood starlet, recipes printed on beautiful paper, earthy pictures of food styled scenes and glamorous shots of Gwyneth and her children in between, depicting that sweet healthy life. Paella cooking over a camp file on the beach and kitchen heirlooms like Bruce Paltrow’s chef’s knife passed down to Gwyneth makes the book pleasant to flick through.
The book is centered around no fat, sugar and limited gluten. The recipes are simple in format to follow and do not contain a lengthy list of ingredients. The idea is to nourish yourself with easily digestible foods. I like this idea. We feed our bodies to keep them going, but, do we nourish them regularly?
The recipes are coded into categories like elimination diet, protein packed and vegan. Some recipes feature all three categories. The rear of the book contains a weekly menu planner. The elimination diet recipes help the body work really hard in cleansing out some of the nasty toxins as well as calming down any inflammation. I find, when I stick to the elimination diet I sleep really well and as an added bonus my skin clears up.
Some, but not all ingredients referenced in the recipes are either, not easily accessible in Perth (as in I need to venture past my regular grocery shop) or not budget friendly. Some recipes call for canned beans and chickpeas. I generally replace these with beans purchased from Kakulas in Fremantle or Perth and soaking them in water overnight. I am not too fond of neutral oils such as grape seed oil, canola and safflower and steer clear of those recipes.
Now to the best part – the food! My favourite recipes so far;
- The Chicken and Kale Soup is a yummy hearty meal that makes an appearance in winter and when someone in the house needs an immune boost from cold and flu attacks. The only alteration I make to the recipe is that I don’t strain the stock or discard the vegetables.
- Detox Teriyaki Chicken, doesn’t taste like teriyaki chicken but gives me satisfaction and tastes the bomb with sweet potato substituted instead of white rice
- Stir fried brown rice with nori and black sesame, great warming food for lunch
- Cold avocado and cucumber soup, is usually made during the yearly heatwaves in Perth. My kitchen is not air conditioned and I avoid any reason to turn the oven and stove on.
- Turkey meatballs, this bird meat is not always available in Perth but when new stock arrives this is a nice tasting dish that adds variety to the diet
- Roasted cauliflower and chickpeas with mustard and parsley, an inexpensive meal that is darn satisfying
- Roasted Leeks, the caramelised flavour of roasted leeks is delicious
Many of the dishes incorporate homemade sauces and bases, these can be found under the basic recipes chapter. Lees Sriracha and Lees Hoisin sauce are my favourites.
When summer transcends to Perth, I tend to drink more refreshing fruit shakes and the book contains a couple of good drink recipes. Tne best green juice incorporates a range of vitamin rich plants. The cucumber, basil and lime is something a little different to try.
There are desserts and the recipes look delicious. I still like my dairy desserts though, and haven’t tried the sweet tooth recipes in the book. I might give the featureless anything crumble and Darleen’s dark chocolate pudding a go sometime.
A year on, and I am finding myself returning to the recipe book. It definitely is – All Good.
Chicken and Kale Soup