independent

Friday 18 April 2014

We are the Happy Pear

Stephen and David Flynn of the Happy Pear

How can we adapt our diet to make it more wholesome and what can we eat?

Many people find it difficult to get their head around just what exactly a wholefood is and what someone who follows a wholefood, plant-based diet (WFPBD) eats.

Well, it really is very simple. A WFPBD is a diet made up of fruits (eg, apples, bananas), veggies (eg, broccoli, spinach), wholegrains (eg, oats as used in porridge, brown rice), beans (eg, kidney beans, chickpeas) and legumes (eg, lentils, split peas). That is it.

By wholegrains, think of brown rice instead of white rice, where the husk, bran and germ are removed; wholemeal pasta instead of white pasta – the former is made from wholewheat flour instead of white flour.

Other examples are wholemeal couscous, quinoa, breads made exclusively with wholegrains such as wholemeal/wholewheat bread, beans such as kidney beans, butter beans, etc, legumes – meaning lentils in all their many varieties – and split peas.

Wholefoods are, as the word says, 'whole'. They are foods in their entirety, natural and as close to unprocessed as we can eat them.

A diet made up of them is naturally very high in fibre and nutrition, while at the same time being low in fat and calories. This is why there is no calorie counting on a wholefood, plant-based diet and you can generally eat as much as you want and still retain your natural body weight. It is a diet based on abundance.

The bit that most people struggle with is 'what do I eat'? By its very nature, it excludes animal foods and refined foods. By animal foods this means meat – including white meats such as chicken, fish and turkey – dairy products and eggs too.

By refined foods, we mean refined breakfast cereals, white breads, white pastas, snack foods, oils, and baked goods that taste great, but are void of any substantial nutrition.

This may seem like deprivation to many people, but there really is an abundance of foods and dishes to eat. More than half the world's population eats a vegetarian diet, so this is not something new. There is world of dahls, chillis and Thai dishes that lie in store.

The thing about wholefoods is that it is not all or nothing. As Dr Campbell's research says, the more we move toward a plant-based diet, the more we move toward health and vice versa.

(The more we eat refined foods and animal foods, the more we are susceptible to a poorer quality of life brought on by ill health.)

No one is going to dispute eating more fruits and veggies to become healthier, and this is what it is all about.

So, what changes can you make? Simple changes include eating porridge instead of cornflakes, using wholegrain bread instead of white bread, eating a veggie soup and wholegrain bread for lunch, and cooking without meat more often.

There is also a range of non-dairy milk out there, from rice milk and oat milk to almond milk and soya milk.

Even becoming a 'weekday vegetarian' will have a massive effect on your health and will challenge you to evolve your cooking skills.

You will naturally be cooking more ethnic dishes: Thai, Vietnamese, Indian ... it's not all doom and gloom.

In our own work, we have had amazing success with our Happy Heart Course. We have had hundreds of people see an average drop of 20pc in total cholesterol in just four weeks through their Happy Heart course.

This is a four-week practical course which shows people how to eat their way to lower cholesterol and lose weight through eating a wholefood plant-based diet.

For more recipes and information about eating this way, see happyheartcourse.com.

WHO WE ARE

We are twins who independently started reading about the work of T. Colin Campbell and others and quickly saw the implications of their research on the quality of our health.

Prior to that, we had been big into the same food that everyone else eats.

We were so influenced by the research that, having already qualified with degrees in business, we changed our focus to become wholefood chefs and trained nutritionists before opening our own restaurant and food store, where we provide the ingredients and food for a healthy life.

The Happy Pear consists of a fruit and veg and health shop, a wholefood café/restaurant, a superfood farm – growing wheatgrass and sprouts – and a cherry farm.

Irish Independent

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