Wednesday 5 November 2014

"Radical Lunch" and "Alpha Supper" for Omega 3

 Recently, I rather rashly decided to give up milk. Apart from suffering a week or two of hideously disappointing coffee at breakfast, I noticed no positive results. Alpro Soya can do many things but it just will never make nice coffee. I have often considered cutting out all sorts of other foods from my diet but recently I decided to concentrate not what you could cut out, rather than what I could put in. I decided to concentrate on an "Omega 3 and High Antioxidant Diet."

We all know about good fats and bad and that Omega 3 is super good for you. It lowers cholesterol  and risk of heart disease, it is an effective anti-inflammatory, is good for Arthritis as well as lowering levels of depression and some say that it is good for Eczema too. Think of it as moisturising your body from the inside.

Trouble is we never seem to get enough of it. The changing way that our food is evolving means that foods that used to contain high levels of Omega 3, no longer do. Cattle and chickens must be grass fed, not bulked up on corn and therefore meat, eggs and dairy which also used to contain high levels, no longer does. The same goes for farmed fish which will not contain the high levels of omega 3 as wild. Wild fish is expensive and often unsustainable. 
I have however found that Wild Alaskan or Pacific Salmon is often available, sustainable, not too expensive and high in Omega 3 and not only is its diet better but having lived wild, it has had to swim harder and it is therefore so much nicer and less fatty than its farmed cousins. 

I then trawled through a few lists of the highest rating foods in Omega 3 and picked my favourites - berries, wild and brown rice, edamame beans, spinach, walnuts and linseeds (also known as flax seeds), all sorts of beans, butternut squash and green vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, kale, spinach and salad greens.

Foods high in Omega 3 are high in antioxidants which neutralize your free radicals - most berries, avocados, apples and lots of other fruits. Some of the richest vegetables sources include artichokes, broccoli, red  and white cabbage, squashes and sweet potatoes. Small red, black, kidney and pinto beans are also high in antioxidants. Many herbs, including cinnamon, cloves, ginger and oregano and other good sources include nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios, pecans, hazelnuts and almonds, green tea, coffee, red wine (hurrah!), pomegranate, oats and dark chocolate (another hurrah!).

Amazingly, I found that I had already posted, just by chance a few recipes in the past which were packed with key ingredients - Chipotle Spiced Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chilli with Guacamole on top, could not be more perfect or how about Baby Spinach, Black Rice, Butter Bean, Broad Bean and Pomegranate Salad.

But I decided to devise a new, simple daily menu to max out on as many of my favourite sources of all this goodness as I could. 

For breakfast I simply added a handful of walnuts and some fresh berries to my Granola Recipe, which I could now enjoy with a proper cup of coffee having thankfully reintroduced the milk. 

For lunch, a "Radical Burritos" and finally for dinner," The Alpha Supper" brimming with Omega 3. And the great thing about this diet is, because you are not actually cutting anything out, you never feel hard done by!

Radical Burritos
Feeds a generous 2
1 small butternut squash, peeled, cut into 1cm cubes 
100 cup uncooked short grain brown rice
Olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 knob of fresh ginger
1 fresh red chilli. finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1tbsp. tomato puree
1 red pepper, chopped in 1/2 to 1cms cubesOne can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 tortilla wraps (large or x-large)
1 avocado
handful of baby spinach or lettuce
Fresh coriander

Preheat oven to 180C. Cover the rice with plenty of cold water in a saucepan and a pinch of salt and put on a medium-high heat to cook. It will take about 30-40 minutes and is done when it is tender with no hint of chalkiness. Drain when ready. Meanwhile, toss the squash in olive oil and season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 30-45 mins until tender and beginning to caramelise.

In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat add a good plug of olive oil and the onion. Cook gently without colour for about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic, the fresh red chilli, the cumin and cinnamon  Fry for a minute or two. Add the tomato paste and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Fry a minute more before adding the red pepper and the beans. Add a little water and cook all together for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cooked rice and check the seasoning. Finally stir in the butternut squash and a good handful of freshly chopped coriander.

Add bean filling to the tortilla with desired a handful of spinach and some freshly sliced avocado.  Wrap and serve. Leftover filling can be reheated the next day.

Alpha Supper
    You can easily buy ready made Teriyaki sauce in the shops or make your own. The bought varieties vary massively from the rather healthy Clearspring Organic Teriyaki to much sweeter and stickier varieties such as Waitrose own, which I have to admit to being rather fond of. I like to season the fish with a sprinkle of Togarashi which is a traditional Japanese seven-spice mixture is a blend of red peppers, sansho pepper, roasted orange peel, black and white sesame seeds, seaweed, and ginger. You can find it is a good Japanese or oriental supermarket but if you can't find it, never mind, just use sesame seeds.

    Supper for 2
      2 pieces of Wild Salmon
      50g wild rice
      100g frozen edamame (shelled) you can buy soya beans in the freezer section of large supermarkets
      3 tbsp teriyaki sauce
      1-2 tsp sesame seed
      Pinch Togarashi (optional)1 bag of leaf spinach (200g or two large handfuls)
      1 tbsp. sesame oil
      wedge of lime

      Place salmon in a bowl and pour over 2 tbsp. Teriyaki and turn to coat. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for a couple of hours to marinate. 

      Put the wild rice in a saucepan with plenty of water and a pinch of salt and boil for about 20 minutes until the rice begins to crack open and has a chewy consistency and a nutty flavour. Add the edamame and bring back to the boil. Cook for one or two minutes and drain. Add the last tablespoon of Teriyaki sauce. Preheat the oven to 180C.

      Put the salmon in a oven dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds and a pinch of Togarashi is you have some. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes until the salmon is firm and just cooked.

      Meanwhile, put another large saucepan on the heat. Add the sesame oil and the spinach with a good pinch of salt. Cook until just wilted. Stir with tongs and remove from heat as soon as it is done. Pile the spinach onto two plates. Scatter with the wild rice and soya beans and place the salmon on the top with a wedge of lime on the side.


  1. Hi how are you! I have to say, I saw your burrito blog this morning and immediately printed off the recipe as i knew i had all the ingredients at home. I made it for supper this evening and they were absolutely delicious. I used a green cactus corn tortilla which was even better than regular corn ones. Thanks for sharing Checky.


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