If, like me, you are financially challenged yet determined to eat well, I’m sure you have a repertoire of reliable recipes under your wing which work to keep your tank full in between trips to Mum’s. Not going to lie, it has taken me a couple of years to find my groove and probably a collective couple of months worth of blankly staring into the depths of my cupboard but this is what I eat to keep myself chugging along between my weekend work at the coffee shop, my week of full time study and the intermittent bouts of exercise I force on myself.
- Spinach (Spinacia oleracea)
This spinach stuff is some gooooooood sh*t. The best thing about it is it’s availability. You can pretty much find it all year round, which is great news because it is amazingly good for you. It is great for veggo’s as it is extremely rich in iron, which a lot of vegetarians (especially women) can easily become deficient in when switching from a meaty diet to a no meat diet. According to The World’s Healthiest Food’s Organisation spinach is at the top of the list for health benefits and nutrient density.
No wonder Popeye carried a couple of cans on him at all times in case of emergency. Over the years, Popeye has become a bit of a hero of mine. I wish I had the genius forethought to carry spinach on my person as I go about my day. This may be going a little far though, seeing as I probably eat it in around 3/4 of my meals as is. It’s gotten to the point where my boyfriend (who once upon a time had little to no care for nutrition) automatically puts it in everything we cook. Along with its health benefits it is super versatile. You can put it in sauces, salads, smoothies, sandwiches and just about anything you intend on putting in your mouth.
This list is an honest, prioritised representation of my shopping needs and weirdly enough, lemons are right up there. I drink them in my water, tea and add the juice to most dishes. It adds a nice citrus kick to balance out those stodgy mid-week , one pan wonders. Lemon is mostly used by myself as a bit of a cleanse for my innards. It is mainly used for its citric acid content which is good for cleaning in the home and cleaning you from the inside out. There are many unofficial benefits of drinking lemon water so trying to make room for this little yellow friend in your diet will pay off. It is used as a treatment for digestive issues, the common cold (when mixed with honey to make a bit of a ‘health tonic’) and a plethora of illnesses. Lemon contains Vitamin C, B6, A and E. Lemons are also home to the infamous flavonoid family of plant metabolites, known for it’s wondrous antioxidant properties.
There are also rumours that the zest has anti-cancer properties, this legend has yet to be proven but obviously you would need to invest in some organic lemons to potentially receive the full benefits. Not using organic, could actually do more harm than good. Citrus is often sprayed with a range of nasty fungicides, parasiticides and disinfectants. Good news is you can get rid of this icky stuff by soaking your fruit collection in some vinegar and water. Here is how.
A recipe for how I use both of these food’s in my weekly rotation below
Lemony Spinach and Kale Pesto Pasta
2 cups of spinach
1 cup of kale (any kind)
1/3 of Broccoli Head
- Get a sturdy pan and melt 1Tbs of coconut oil and add your garlic and broccoli. Keep enough oil in the pan to stop the garlic from burning and fry the broccoli to how you like it.
- Add spinach, kale, the juice and a bit of zest of lemon and the courgette strands.
- Cook it all down for a few minutes until greens have wilted, add chilli flakes.
- You can add pasta at the end if you want to bulk it up a bit but the zoodles (julienned courgette) can replace spaghetti in this case.
- Add some basil pesto (store-bought or homemade, if you are that way inclined) and cheese
- EAT IT