By Lee Holmes
I like to call nutrient rich foods "supercharged foods.” By that, I mean anything that's unprocessed, whole, and nutritious. Challenge yourself to use one supercharged food on a daily basis, and when shopping look for ingredients as close to their natural state as possible.
Start simple with everyday ingredients that you can find in your supermarket like garlic or turmeric and incorporate them into your cooking. Try to commit to making at least make one new meal a week, and look to incorporate ingredients without hidden salts, sugars, or additives.
Get inspired online by finding simple recipes that you can recreate easily, there are lots of bloggers who have a multitude of great recipes and step-by-step instructions on how to recreate them. And don't worry about being perfect in the kitchen! Just have fun with it and let go, and don't be afraid of messing up! The key to cooking is to experiment and mix and match ingredients that you like to enjoy.
Here are some unique/ nutrient packed ingredients to challenge yourself to use + recipes. (All Supercharged Food cookbooks can be found here.)
Turmeric: A powerful anti-inflammatory that contains Curcumin, a compound that increases the level of immunity-boosting proteins in our bodies. These proteins help fight bacteria and viruses when they try to attack. Turmeric is also a natural anti-inflammatory and painkiller.
Recipe: Anti-inflammatory Toddy
Inflammation lies at the root of many chronic illnesses, and a majority of them start within the gut as an autoimmune reaction that develops into systemic inflammation. This tea is your drug-free weapon of prevention, laced with creamy cashew milk and perfumed with healing spices.
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) cashew milk or milk of choice
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
pinch of vanilla powder
pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
6 drops liquid stevia
Heat the cashew milk in a small saucepan over medium heat for 2–3 minutes or until just warmed. Add the spices, ginger, vanilla and pepper, then stir to remove any lumps.
Remove from the heat and pour through a fine sieve to remove the grated ginger. Add the stevia and enjoy warm.
Supercharged Tip: Piperine, a key ingredient in black pepper, enhances the bioavailability of turmeric.
Garlic: Slows the growth of harmful bacteria, yeasts, and fungi, lowers harmful LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Recipe: Immune-Boosting Roasted Garlic Soup
Forget the flu shot and sample an injection of empowering and immune-boosting garlic soup as ammo this winter season instead. Fight off bacteria in a single dose and keep pesky colds and the flu at bay. Bursting with goodness, every spoonful of garlic is a life-extender, so make this soup a keeper in the kitchen.
3 garlic bulbs, whole, unpeeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
40 g (1 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) homemade vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
60 ml (2 fl oz/ 1/4 cup) apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs, such as oregano, thyme and sage (optional)
60 ml (2 fl oz/ 1/4 cup) additive-free coconut milk (optional, see note)
Preheat the oven to 345°F
Cut the top off each garlic bulb, place on a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Transfer to the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Remove and leave to cool. Once cooled, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into a small bowl. Transfer to a food processor and whizz for a few seconds. Set aside. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 10–15 minutes, or until translucent. Stir in the chicken stock, turmeric, cumin, vinegar, blended garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs if using, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Serve hot.
NOTE: If you would like a creamier soup, stir in the coconut milk just before serving, and heat through.
Supercharged tip: Roasting the garlic first will provide a mellow, sweet flavor so you can sip and slurp with wild abandon.
Broccoli: Helps fight infections and viruses and is a powerful immunity booster.
Recipe: Broccoli bhajis
If you like traditional bhajis, give this healthier version a try. Broccoli is loaded with essential nutrients and has many therapeutic benefits, including detoxifying properties. It also fills and satisfies the tummy for a long time. Make broccoli bhajis your favourite dish for taming potentially fierce pittas.
300 g (10½ oz/ 2½ cups) besan (chickpea) flour
2 tablespoons brown rice flour
pinch of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
Himalayan salt, to taste
500 ml (17 fl oz/ 2 cups) filtered water
extra virgin coconut oil, for shallow-frying
120 g (4¼ oz/ 2 cups) broccoli florets
Suggested: Serve with Chia jam and Carrot and beetroot raita
Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a medium bowl. Gradually add the water, stirring well to avoid lumps. The mixture should have a smooth, paste-like consistency.
Heat some coconut oil (about 4 cm/1½ inches deep) in a medium, heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (a small broccoli floret should sizzle and float), working in batches, dip the broccoli florets in the batter to coat well.
Drop into the pan and cook until crisp on all sides. Lay on paper towel to drain off any excess oil while you cook the next batch.
Serve warm with chia jam and carrot and beetroot raita.
Spinach: Contains lots of phytonutrients and antioxidants including vitamins K, C and E, coenzyme Q10, folate, iron, and carotenoids.
Recipe: Mint Choc Chip Smoothie
This smoothie tastes just like mint choc chip ice cream, only it’s much healthier. In fact, the traditional biscuity version has got nothing on this blended variety, which is full of sweet minty creaminess, minus the bloat.
1 peeled and frozen banana
1 bunch of English spinach leaves (see note)
1/4 cup organic nut butter
1/2 avocado, peeled and stone removed
handful of mint leaves, or 1/8 teaspoon alcohol-free peppermint extract
1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) almond milk
125 ml (4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup) coconut water
handful of ice (optional)
3 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
Place all the ingredients except the cacao nibs in a powerful blender and blend until smooth. Add the cacao nibs and blend for another 5–10 seconds. Pour into a tall glass and serve.
Note: You can substitute frozen spinach for the fresh.
Sardines: High in omega-3 fatty acids and loaded with minerals including calcium, iron, zinc, and manganese.
Recipe: Smashed Sardines with Avocado on Chia and Flaxseed Loaf
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon chopped red chili (optional)
pinch Celtic sea salt
freshly cracked black pepper
2 slices gluten-free bread
small handful of arugula leaves
120 g (41/4 oz) tinned sardines, smashed
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Place the avocado, lime, chili, salt and pepper in a bowl and mash together with a fork. Toast one or two slices of your favourite gluten-free bread. (I use chia and flaxseed loaf — the recipe is below.) Spread the avocado mixture over the bread, and top with arugula and smashed sardines. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve.
Chia and Flaxseed Loaf
Makes one loaf
This is my daily bread, and what a diva of a loaf it is. Use it for blissful open-top sandwiches or a mouthwatering and satisfying toasted sandwich. The perfect skin food.
350 g (12 oz/ 2 1/3 cups) gluten-free self-raising flour
30 g (1 oz/ 1/4 cup) ground flaxseeds
20 g (3/4 oz/ 1/4 cup) chia seeds
115 g (4 oz/ 3/4 cup) mixed sunflower seeds and pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 organic eggs
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
80 ml (21/2 fl oz/ 1/3 cup) tablespoons additive-free coconut milk
6 drops stevia liquid
125 ml (4 fl oz/ 1/2 cup) filtered water
Preheat the oven to 345°F, and grease and flour a 20 x 9 cm (8 x 31/2 inch) loaf (bar) tin. Combine the flour, flaxseed, chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and salt in a bowl, and mix until combined. In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs for about 2 minutes – they should be pale and fluffy. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, butter, coconut milk, stevia, and water. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flour mixture and stir well to combine. Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool. This loaf will keep for one week in the fridge or two months in the freezer.
Lee Holmes is a chef, author, and blogger at her site Supercharged Food. If you've ever seen the movie Julie and Julia, that's been Lee for the past six years! In between working and raising her daughter, she’s been cooking up a storm in her kitchen and testing the recipes out on a constant stream of friends, visitors, and relatives. The whole experience has brought so many people together and her kitchen has not only become a central hub of activity, mayhem, experimentation, and tantalizing aromas but also a place of comfort, reflection, accomplishment — a metaphor for everyday life.
Supercharged Food will help you feel amazing and improve your health through diet and nutrition and healthy lifestyle tips. The main purpose of the website is to provide easy to prepare yummy recipes which are all gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast, and sugar free.