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Keep it raw

Want the good news? You're already half way there. Reading this column every week will arm you with dozens of feisty little recipes for 2011. Each one is designed to help catapult your energy levels into another stratosphere.

All that's needed is a commitment from you, your apron and your sense of adventure. Presuming you have one.

If you can change just five percent of what you're eating, you will look and feel even finer than you did in 2010. I'm here to help you do exactly that. Even tiny changes can yield spectacular results. Instead of coffee first thing every morning this month, try lemon juice with a pinch of chilli pepper in warm water. Short-term, this brew will electrify your liver. Long-term, you'll enjoy fewer hangovers, gallstones, and occasions of indigestion, and you won't suffer from achy limbs and misbehaving skin as much, either.

First up? That post-party bod of yours, and its empty battery. If everyone knew about my raw hummus recipe, all those companies making energy drinks would be out of business. It may sound like more effort than your usual cooked hummus, but in fact, the raw version is very easy. Currently a favourite among California's glitterati, raw hummus is easily transportable and always ready to socialise with some juicy red pepper. Guys, notice how babes will gravitate towards you and your genius. Forget practising your broody Damien Rice look or one-liners. Spread the word about your raw-hummus fetish and suddenly you'll be dubbed well-travelled, adventurous, fit, sensitive, creative and in damn fine fettle. Not bad for €2.20.

Chickpeas belong to a food group called legumes -- the French for vegetables -- which also includes beans, lentils and peas. These chaps promise to keep your bowels beautiful and your ticker tocking. When sprouted, the nutritional value of legumes just balloons. Sprouted chickpeas are super-rich in protein, heart-healthy potassium, B vitamins, calcium, raw enzymes and isoflavones. Isoflavones are calcium's ally, and they are particularly important for vegans, menopausal dames, pre and post-natal fillies.

Sprouted chickpeas are also a heavyweight fibre champion, ringing in at a remarkable 12.5g per cup. EPIC, the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer, found that Europeans with high-fibre diets had almost 40 per cent lower risk of colon and gastric cancer. So make friends with this recipe.

Raw Hummus

Simply sprout your dried chickpeas by soaking them in water overnight. Drain them the following morning and place them on damp kitchen paper along the window sill for the day. When you return from the office, you can canter straight into your kitchen and whizz up this gem of a recipe.

You will need:

1 mug sprouted chickpeas

4-8 tablespoons lemon juice

4 tablespoons tahini

3 tablespoons tamari or soya sauce

2-3 tablespoons cumin powder

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 garlic cloves, crushed

1/2 cup filtered water

1/2 cup chopped parsley, coriander, basil or black olives (optional)

Whizz everything except for the herbs -- if you are using them, that is -- in your food processor for five minutes until the mixture becomes sumptuously smooth. Add more filtered water to help move it around if necessary. The herbs are best chopped finely and stirred through the hummus instead of blending them. Otherwise, it can look as if Kermit crawled into your blender. The tops of spring onions are a stealthy money-saver, instead of using pricey fresh herbs. Raw hummus particularly likes avocado, falafel, pitta pockets, sticks of raw carrot and Sunday roasts.