Fragrant Fish Stew

By Lee Holmes

Seafood is something that we all need to eat more of, but can be a terribly off putting experience if it isn’t cooked properly, isn’t selected as fresh as possible, or has been repeatedly presented with little creativity or complimentary flavours. 

Fish is in fact an extremely versatile protein that can be such a pleasure to eat. You just need a few different recipes that will allow this superfood ingredient to shine in different ways. This fragrant fish stew is one of them and it’s one of my favourite recipes from my new book Eat Right for Your Shape.

Fish is a wonderful source of protein, omega 3 fatty acids and iodine; two essential nutrients that Western populations are generally lacking. The DHA fats within seafood are very important for brain health and mood; and it’s believed that most adults in the West are lacking in DHA’s and don’t even know it! It’s frightening to imagine how vast an impact this deficiency could be having on our productivity, focus and general mental health.

Similarly, iodine is another nutrient that a majority of people are lacking; which has a negative impact on the health of our thyroid; the master organ behind virtually every hormonal and chemical reaction in our body. 

Iodine is most commonly found in seafood, so if you aren’t a regular eater of sea vegetables and creatures, then there is a very good chance you could be lacking in this vital nutrient.
Including this fragrant fish stew into your weekly meal plan is a great way to start including more seafood into your diet. Focusing on white fish fillets like snapper, flathead or dory makes it a much more palatable, light and less ‘fishy’ fish that the whole family should enjoy.

The recipe also has ayurvedic motivations in mind; including a host of grounding herbs and spices that will double up as powerful immune boosters during the sniffle season. 
It’s especially beneficial for those within the kapha dosha; with a host of fiery spices that will speed up a sluggish digestive system, increase detoxification and weight loss. 
If you’re pitta, you’re fiery enough; so omit the chillies, reduce the quantities of spices by half and replace the rice milk with cooling coconut milk. 
Vata’s can also enjoy this stew and will find it very balancing to omit the lime zest and also replace the rice milk with coconut milk.

Serves 4
• 750 g (1 lb 10 oz) white fish fillets, roughly chopped
• 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• Celtic sea salt, to taste
• grated zest and juice of 1 lime
• 50 g (1¾ oz/¼ cup) ghee
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 4 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
• 4 garlic cloves, crushed
• 2.5 cm (1 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and finely grated
• ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
• 10 curry leaves
• 1 teaspoon asafoetida
• 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) rice milk
• 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) fish or chicken stock (preferably homemade)
• freshly cracked black pepper, to serve
• cooked brown rice, to serve
• Place the fish in a bowl and sprinkle over the turmeric, cumin and a little salt. Add the lime zest and pour over the lime juice. 
• Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
• Heat the ghee in a large frying pan over medium heat, then add the onion and cook for 3–4 minutes or until translucent. 
• Add the chilli, garlic and ginger, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir through the cardamom, curry leaves and asafoetida, then add the milk and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low–medium and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the drained fish fillets and cook gently for 5 minutes or until just cooked.
• Season with salt and pepper, and serve on brown rice.

Banana and Mango Smoothie

By Lee Holmes

Now is a great time to look at the health of your gut, especially after ongoing January festivities where holiday over-eating may have left you feeling a little worse for wear.
Gut health is by far the best way to nudge off a few excess kilos gained during the over-indulgent festive season.

If you haven’t already tried it or seen it in stores, my Heal Your Gut powder, which is all natural and made from naturopathic grade, organic and fresh water diatomaceous earth is the perfect antidote to seasonal weight creep and will get you back on track.

This all natural food based ingredient will give your gut that little daily spring clean it craves, particularly after a long-winded holiday eating splurge that seems to run for the best part of the new year and beyond.

It’s not just our cupboards that need a bit of tender loving care, our hard working colons do too!

Diatomaceous earth is the superfine fossilised remains of fresh water diatoms, a natural type of hard-shelled algae. For hundreds of years our ancient ancestors recognised algae as an incredible food source, holding magnificent health benefits. But for some reason it has taken us a long time to reap those benefits.

The wonders of algae lie in the silicon makeup. Silica provides an abundance of health benefits, from boosting hair growth, to easing skin problems such as redness, acne and eczema. Slowing down the degenerative break down of connective tissue, to increasing calcium deposits to bone.

Getting sufficient amounts of this super mineral is essential. However, it’s not all in the mineral composition, diatomaceous earth holds many other benefits as it’s anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-any nasties in the form of parasites. It helps with increased nutrient absorption, better immunity and improved waste removal.

Due to the texture of this natural sediment, it very gently exfoliates the intestine wall, sweeping away all impurities that sit in your gut.

These unwanted toxins block our bodies from absorbing vital nutrients, and therefore decreasing our general well being, energy and happiness.

Once the junk has been removed from your trunk, you will nourish and glow from the inside out.  It’s easy to take and tasteless too without any additives. It’s also suitable for vegans and is gluten and GMO free.

Simply add a tablespoon to water, juice or a smoothie twice a day before meals and scroll down for my favourite gut soothing smoothie.

Serves one
• 1 frozen banana
• ½ cup frozen mango chunks
• 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
• 1 tsp Heal Your Gut powder
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
• Pinch cinnamon
• Pinch nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp turmeric
• Place all ingredients to a high-speed blender and whizz until combined and smooth
• Pour into a tall glass
You can also spice up your mornings by adding this fine powder to one of the gut healing drinks from my Heal Your Gut recipe book.

By Lee Holmes

Gut feeling

Fortunately, there are researchers who believe they may have found a very safe alternative to treating anxiety and depression… and it all starts in your gut.

It is a known fact that a diet rich in probiotics — which support the growth of “healthy” bacteria in the gut — boosts digestive health and can even improve your immune system.

In recent years, mounting evidence has shown that gut bacteria have a significant effect on brain function and mental health.

A new study at Leiden University in the Netherlands, published in the journal Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity, further supports this idea: the researchers found that among 40 healthy subjects, participants who took probiotic supplements for four weeks showed a decrease in negative thoughts and feelings.

For the study, the researchers administered a multistrain probiotic — meaning that it contained different types of bacteria — to 20 healthy participants every day for four weeks. The other 20 participants received a placebo. At the outset of the study and then again after the month had gone by, the participants filled out a questionnaire assessing sensitivity to depression.

Participants who took the probiotics were significantly less reactive to sad moods. Improving the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut seemed to have a protective effect against the blues and the type of obsessive negative thinking that is often characteristic of depression.

Commenting on the findings, lead researcher, Oxford neurobiologist Dr. Philip Burnet, said: “It is likely that these compounds will help to manage mental illness. They may also be used when there are metabolic and/or nutritional complications in mental illness, which may be caused by long-term use of current drugs.”

AgoraHealth article reviewed by Barbara Beinart