Month: May 2015

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Rob Hobson Autobiography

Rob Hobson Autobiography

Rob Hobson Autobiography

Below is a snippet of what I must for SEO purposes call ‘Rob Hobson Autobiography’.  Though I must admit, it always feels odd referring to oneself in the 3rd person.  I have always loved food and never followed the latest trend or diet. My curiosity about food began at an early age as eating well to preserve good health became a focal interest to my mother who was diagnosed with leukemia when we were very young. Before nutrition became a hot topic, I remember the jars of pickled beetroot she religiously ate for its age old link to blood health. We had lots of food, health and cookery books around house which were invaluable as there came a time when I was left to shop and cook for myself, often on a very tight budget.

I remember being inspired by the book, Foods that harm foods that heal, in the mid nineties and being fascinated by the effect food had on health. Having studied law and accountancy at uni, I later decided to follow my passion and return to study nutrition at Kingston University. That degree sparked my interest in public health and I went on to study for a masters in public health nutrition at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to get a better understanding of the global effects of food and how this has dictated the way we eat and its effect on health.

It was fourteen years ago that I started on my path to get where I am today. During this time the key health messages and scientific thinking has constantly evolved and having trained in public health it amazes me how far we have come to improve the health of the many different groups that make up our population and reduce the incidence of diet related diseases.

I always remember my favourite lecturer telling me that when she trained in the 70’s the focus was on starchy foods and protein whilst vegetables were considered an accompaniment to decorate the plate. Forty years on, and our understanding of the important role of food on health has changed in a major way. We now have charities, health guidelines and public health policies targeted at specific diseases and population groups (such as older people and school children) as well as a highly regulated food industry required to provide information about the nutritional and allergen content of their food as well as provenance and environmental factors. Unfortunately the huge interest in nutrition and information available, as well as its reporting in the media, has caused some confusion as people follow the latest food fads and trends which can not only be detrimental to health but negatively impact on their attitudes towards diet and relationship with food.

I work in many areas of nutrition because I believe that to improve our health takes more than individual choice and requires effort and commitment from all those involved in food provision.

My clients include the food industry, local authority catering and care homes as well as working closely with the media writing about health and supporting private clients and their families to achieve positive health goals. I’m also food obsessed and enjoy cooking and inspiring clients in their kitchens so to be given the opportunity to write my first book (The Detox Kitchen Bible) with the health chef Lily Simpson was a dream come true. Being involved in these different areas has provided perspective and allows me to keep up to date with current policy, food trends, attitudes and thinking around nutrition.

My ethos has always remained the same and I wholeheartedly believe we can improve our health and wellbeing as well as heal with food. I’m open minded to new thinking around nutrition but try to steer clear of alternative therapies in favour of proven evidence based research. I have a realistic and non judgmental or pushy attitude to eating well and think the best approach is following the 80/20 rule that fits your lifestyle and tastes. Some of the healthiest people I know have a good relationship with food and attitude to health, having never dieted or embarked on extreme exercise regimes, eating when hungry, knowing when full and keeping active. However, I understand that for some people this relationship is far more complicated and requires more than being told what to eat.

My approach is food first, and I advocate avoiding processed foods in favour of real foods. The key to this is cooking from scratch and whilst some might find this time consuming or too much effort to fit around their busy lives, having a bank of quick and easy recipes, organising your food shop as well as getting to grips with freezing food can make things a little easier.

I believe the optimal diet should contain a good balance of fibre-rich wholegrain carbs, lean proteins, good fats and an abundance of fruits and vegetables. Whilst we seem to be obsessed with the ill effects of processed carbohydrate foods such as white bread, pasta and rice, these foods won’t make you fat or ill if eaten in moderation with other healthy foods (you can’t force someone to eat wholegrain bread if they prefer white, just look for the best quality products that fit in with your food budget). Sugar is the new bad boy and like other nutritionists I agree it should be limited in the diet, but within a healthy diet there is room for the odd sweet treat.

Raw cacao and cashew nut milk

Raw cacao and cashew nut milk

Raw cacao and cashew nut milk

Serves 2

This milk is an absolute luxury and a great alternative to traditional sugar-laden chocolate milkshakes. It can taste a little watery to first timers and its richness relies on the amount of raw cacao powder you add (I love the lightness of it). The milk is dairy-free which is great news for vegans, those intolerant to lactose or children with a dairy allergy.

Not only does this drink taste great it’s loaded with magnesium (a single serving provides over half the recommended daily intake for adults). UK food surveys have shown that average intakes of this mineral are below the the recommended daily intake and especially in women, eleven percent of whom have very low intakes.

Magnesium is required for hundreds of chemical reactions in the body and is especially important for healthy bones, muscle and nervous system. Low intakes are associated with depression, anxiety and insomnia. Studies have also shown low levels of magnesium as being associated with symptoms of PMS.

Aside from cashew nuts, other magnesium-rich foods include seeds, dried fruit, dark green leafy vegetables, fish (especially halibut) and pulses (lentils and beans).

Given the quantity of nuts this milk it’s quite high in calories so serve as a sweet treat. However, this also means it makes a healthy nourishing snack for those lucky souls trying to gain weight! I often have this as a post-training snack or after a long event as it contains a source of carbs and protein (magnesium is a muscle relaxer so may also help with any cramping).

Ingredients

150g raw cashew nuts
800ml water
3 level tablespoons raw cacao powder
1-2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup if vegan)
Vanilla pod
1 pinch sea salt

Method

1. Soak cashews in water for 3 hours (you could soak overnight before bedtime).

2. Drain cashews and add to the blender with water.

3. Add remaining ingredients and blend for a minute on high or until completely smooth.

4. Store for a few days in a glass bottle or serve immediately (best served really chilled)

If you can’t find raw cacao powder then try using a good quality cocoa powder.

Detox Kitchen Bible Cookbook (sneak preview)

Detox Kitchen Bible Cookbook (sneak preview)

Baked aubergine with pomegranate

Serves 4

145 calories per serving

Middle-Eastern food inspires many of our recipes. The one here is a beautiful dish of contrasts, with the creamy, earthy, slightly bitter aubergine flesh being perfectly complemented by the light yogurt, fresh mint and sweet pomegranate seeds. Fresh herbs and spices reduce the need for salt when you’re flavouring food, whilst adding an extra nutritional boost to your dishes.

Ingredients

4 aubergines
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp olive oil
1 pomegranate
A pinch of ground sumac, to garnish

Tomato sauce

8 ripe vine tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 shallots, roughly chopped
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped 1 celery stick, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley,
roughly chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked

Yoghurt dressing

1 tbsp plain soya yogurt
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
A handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped A handful of fresh mint, finely chopped, plus extra leaves to garnish
Salt and pepper

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6.
2. Cut the aubergines lengthways in half. Score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern, cutting about 1cm
deep. Sprinkle with the paprika and some salt and pepper, and drizzle the olive oil over the flesh. Place on a baking tray and bake in the heated oven for 25 minutes until completely soft.
3. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blitz for
30 seconds to create a chunky mixture. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan. Bring to
the boil, then simmer on medium/low heat
for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Mix the yogurt with the lemon zest and juice,
coriander, mint and seasoning.
5. Remove the seeds from the pomegranate.
6. To serve, place two aubergine halves on each plate. Top with tomato sauce, then yogurt and, finally, pomegranate seeds. Garnish with mint leaves and sumac.

RICH IN

Vitamins B6 and C • Folate • Potassium • Lycopene • Fibre

USEFUL FOR

High cholesterol • High blood pressure • Constipation • Common cold • Depression • Prostate • PMS

The Detox Kitchen Bible out 7th May

Soothing tea

Soothing tea

Soothing tea (download as a PDF soothing-tea)

Serves 2

This tea is perfect for after dinner especially if you suffer from bloating. Mint offers relief by loosening the valve that connects your oesophagus to the gut and fennel has been used for centuries in many cultures as a traditional digestive aid (particularly Indian).

If you regularly suffer from indigestion and bloating then try eating little and often. Get into the habit of eating slowly and mindfully, chewing your food properly so as to not put too much strain on your digestive system.

Ingredients

1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp caraway seed
1 handful fresh mint leaves

Method

1. Steep ingredients in boiling water for 5-10 minutes then serve.

This tea looks really effective served in a clear glass teapot and cups.

 

Download as a PDF (soothing-tea)

Edamame bean salad

Edamame bean salad

Edamame bean salad (Download as a PDF edamame-bean-salad)

Serves 2

160 calories per serving 

This salad looks and tastes amazingly fresh and the edamame beans work really well with these Asian flavours. Edamame are more commonly known as soya beans and you can buy them frozen in most supermarkets (look for non-GMO). These colourful beans provide a good source of protein as well iron and magnesium, low levels of which may lead to tiredness and fatigue. They’re also a useful source of calcium for people following a dairy-free diet.

Their health benefits don’t stop there! Edamame beans are also the perfect heart-healthy food as they contain a good source of fibre and plant compounds called soy isoflavones that have been shown to help reduce cholesterol. They’re also very high in folate which helps to break down the amino acid homocysteine, high levels of which have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease.

Ingredients

1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
120g edamame (soya) beans
2 celery sticks, finely sliced
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp coriander, finely chopped
2 tsp reduced salt tamari* sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 lime, juiced

Method

1. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan for a few minutes over a low heat then set aside to cool.
2. Add the seeds to a medium sized bowl with the other ingredients and combine well.
3. Serve in small bowls.

This salad will keep in the fridge for 1 day although the beans will discolour.

*Tamari is a wheat-free sauce that is similar to soy. If you want to use soy sauce then choose the light variety.

Download as a PDF (edamame-bean-salad)

The detox Kitchen Bible press launch

The detox Kitchen Bible press launch

 

The Detox Kitchen Bible

 

To say this week has been busy would be an understatement!

Saturday’s Telegraph ran a great serialisation of mine and Lil’s new book, The Detox Kitchen Bible, and the past week we hosted a series of events with the media, health bloggers and foodies as well as being interviewed by the press (Detox Kitchen fan, Bobbi Brown even popped by for a copy of the book!).

FullSizeRender-11

The week started with a press launch at Liberty’s attended by some of the UK’s most prominent publications including Elle, Grazia, Stylist, The Telegraph, Red, Women’s Health and Tatler. The event was hosted by the lovely Sadie MacLeod from the online magazine, Hip and Healthy who did a brilliant job of interviewing me and Lil’s about the new book.

Everyone was treated to a special Detox breakfast including coconut granola, green juices and gluten-free breakfast muffins and a goodie bag of delicious food to complete their daily detox and taste some of the moreish recipes from the book.

Detox Kitchen Press Launch            Detox Kitchen Goodie Bags

Our supper clubs also went down a treat and it was great to spend time with some of the food and heath circuits favourite bloggers and foodies including Kelly Eastwood, Imbibery, Lauren Armes, The Pressery, 26 grains and Julie Montagu (who I spent most of the night gossiping with!). Lil’s cooked baked aubergine and pomegranate then cajun chicken with mango salsa (one of my favourite recipes from the book).

Baked aubergine with pomegranate           The Detox Kitchen Supper Club

Wednesday was our chance to ‘retox’ with family and friends at the deli on Kingly Street. The turn out was amazing although I probably shouldn’t have headed to Electric House for a final ‘quick one’ (I definitely exercised the 80/20 rule that evening!). Thursday morning’s menu included a well needed green juice and nourishing egg breakfast!

FullSizeRender-13          The Detox Kitchen Launch Party - speech

On Thursday I flew to Alderney with a gang of health journalists and my Healthspan hat on for our annual press trip and this week is Lil’s wedding in Bordeaux so lots to write about next time!

Can’t wait for the release of the Detox Kitchen Bible on the 7th May!