Thursday 29 September 2016

How to glow from the inside out

When Grammy Award-winner Sam Smith Instagrammed a photo of him hugging Amelia Freer's 'Eat, Nourish, Glow' - and attributed his recent weight-loss to it, it made the book an instant hit

Gillian Fitzpatrick

Published 28/04/2015 | 02:30

Amelia Freer
Amelia Freer
Cauliflower pizza
'Eat Nourish Glow', by Amelia Freer book cover

Amelia Freer- celebrity nutritionist of the moment, whose Amazon bestseller Eat Nourish Glow is currently causing a serious stir - looks exactly as you'd expect: slim, bright-eyed, and clear-skinned with glossy hair and a great smile.

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Yet the 38-year-old is adamant that before she embarked on her nutritional studies a decade ago, her eating habits and lifestyle were in total disarray. She seemed to be forever battling breakouts, chronic fatigue and low moods. Bluntly describing her former diet as "appalling", she confesses to guzzling glasses of wine and burying herself in bowls of pasta after a hard day at work - as PA to Prince Charles.

After trying numerous doctors without success, she went to a nutritionist on the advice of a friend. She describes the decision as a "light-bulb moment" - and one which finally gave her answers to her health problems. Then, driven by a desire to "learn more" aged 28, she went back to college for four years to study at the Institution of Optimum Nutrition.

After graduating in 2007, Amelia worked for a spa and health holiday company advising clients who were on detox breaks.

"I saw lots of issues and learned fast. Many clients wanted to see me when they got home and, before I knew it, my company was launched," says Freer.

Initially setting up in her kitchen at home in central London, before long she expanded into her own offices in upmarket Notting Hill. By 2011 she was preparing meals for her clients to take home with them. The service remains immensely popular today, although Freer has since handed over much of the preparation to an expert team of chefs.

The average client who is lucky enough to elbow their way through the crowds and in through the door will first speak to Freer about their goals, and discuss any problems or issues they have.

Blood tests are taken and sent off for analysis to identify intolerances; meal plans are tailor-made, and shopping lists are drafted up. Most will also kick-start their programmes with a challenging two-day cleanse involving Epsom salts, vegetable broth, filtered water and nothing else.

Stage two is a strict 14-day plan which allows 120g of protein and 125g of vegetables for lunch - and just 10g more of each for dinner - but the results are spectacular.

Afterwards a more relaxed, long-term approach is taken, focusing on healthy eating and nurturing the body. But devotees are still expected to eat only every five hours.

"We need just three meals a day, made up of protein, colourful vegetables and one portion of fruit. The only reason people snack is because their blood sugar is low from eating the wrong foods at breakfast," she states.

But if you can't see Amelia yourself - or indeed, if your pockets don't stretch quite that far - her book is certainly the next best thing. In plain, easy-to-follow language, Amelia offers her 10 steps to a healthier life and provides lots of delicious recipes. She tells you how to detox your kitchen, restocking with healthy alternatives; how to understand the differences between good and bad fats; the dangers of hidden sugar in the food we eat, and how to dump wheat for good.

"It took time but I can happily say that I celebrate and enjoy food more so now than ever and my health has benefited greatly," Amelia declares. "I made one change at a time and gradually I've figured out what works for me."

Being healthy isn't about deprivation. It certainly shouldn't involve being miserable.

Refreshingly, Amelia Freer is about neither. Better overall health and energy levels, a slimmer body, and improved appearance - Eat Nourish Glow ticks just about every dietary box.

That Amelia Freer has sparked the diet revolution of 2015 is undeniable, but more significantly, this is one foodie fad that actually looks set to last.

'Eat Nourish Glow' is available now - published by HarperThorsons and priced at €23.50

Amelia's top nutrition tips

  • Ban breakfast cereals, margarine, biscuits, cakes, sweets, yogurts, grains, salad dressings, and table salt - and replace them with the likes of fish, meat, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables, coconut milk, quinoa, and brown rice
  • Eat broccoli every day - either in juice, raw or steamed. Coconut oil, cauliflower and avocados are also recommended
  • If you can, Amelia recommends investing in good quality knives, a Vitamix blender, cold press juicer, microplane grater and spiraliser
  • Make sure to leave five hours between meals:"Continually eating will stimulate the production of insulin, an inflammatory hormone that puts the body into fat-storage mode," she explains
  • No more than two cups of coffee a day. Have rooibos, green and chai tea in lieu of regular tea.
  • Alcohol in moderation is allowed occasionally, but stick with tequila, vodka with soda water, or a glass of red wine
  • Prepare your food from scratch
  • Plan your treats
  • Don't rush your meals; enjoy your food. Eating on the go, at a desk, or while running out the door will result in bloating and indigestion

 

Cauliflower pizza with roasted veg and pesto

The words 'nutritious' and 'pizza' can finally be used together with this wonderful combination. No gluten or wheat in sight when you serve up this cauliflower specialty. Simply choose your toppings and enjoy!

Serves 3

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 15 mins

Ingredients:

Pizza base

Coconut oil, for greasing

480g cauliflower, washed, dried and blitzed in a blender into small 'rice'

1 egg

pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp gluten-free flour

1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes

2 tsp Italian seasoning

Roasted aubergines and peppers

Herby pesto

135g cashew nuts [soaked in water overnight]

juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 garlic clove, peeled

a handful of fresh basil

a handful of fresh parsley

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

Method

Preheat the oven to 160°C. To make your pesto, drain the soaked cashew nuts and put in a blender with the remaining ingredients. Blend, keeping a little bit of texture. Next grease a baking sheet with coconut oil, then line it with parchment paper and grease this too. Steam the cauliflower rice for 3-4 minutes. Don't let it go mushy, then put it in a tea towel to squeeze out all the excess water.

Put the cauliflower rice into a large bowl, add the egg, seasoning, flour and yeast flakes and mix well. Spoon the mixture - it should still be a little wet - over the lined baking sheet and spread it out evenly over the paper. Make sure there are no holes in the mixture. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until golden and crisp.

Remove from the baking sheet and leave to air for a few minutes. To serve, spread over a little cashew pesto and roasted aubergines and peppers over the top.

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