Karen Maidment takes you on a journey of healing that encompasses mind, body and soul, with her cookbook, Meals that Heal. Full of pastoral pictures of Karen in the English countryside, and dotted with inspirational quotes, the book is as soothing to read and page through, as the meals she presents. Her approach to eating is holistic. She advocates for local, organically grown, seasonal fruits, vegetables and meats. I can just imagine myself strolling with Karen through English paddocks and farms, while planning our next meal.
All of Karen’s recipes are free from grains, refined sugar, soy and pasteurized dairy, because these are the foods that cause inflammatory responses and food allergies. Avoiding these foods can also “help overcome common health challenges, such as digestive disorders, chronic energy issues, joint pain, hormonal problems and skin conditions.” Karen goes into great detail explaining why certain foods should be avoided, and why others, including healthy fats are important, and she gives you an easy-to-use chart as a good building block to start with. She also helps you get started with a meal plan and a shopping list.
Karen has you thinking outside the box of grains, when it comes to breakfast. I particularly loved her Rosemary and Caramelised Onion Muffins (made with coconut flour), and my kids loved the Grain-Free Granola Bars. But she also suggests that soup can make a great breakfast (think how easy heating up leftovers would be, first thing in the morning!), and even includes a Thai fish parcel recipe in the chapter. Because anything we eat any other time of day works for breakfast, as well. Its just a matter of changing one’s mind set, as she says.
Her chapter on lunches serves up a wonderful array of soups. We have soup at least once a week in our house, and now there is no end to the varieties. Warm, soothing and so easy to make homemade, soups are super-healthy and a great way to use up fresh local veggies, especially if you have an excess of them. We especially loved the sweet potato and red pepper soup. Her colorful and vibrant salads, also make for great lunches, and she shows you to make them anything-but-boring.
Some of our favorites from her chapter on dinner: The grain-free, dairy-free Veggie Tagliatelle with Prawn Carbonara was delicious, and surprise!: The zucchini acts as the pasta, while coconut milk provides the creaminess. We also loved the Minty Fresh lamb Burgers, using handfuls of fresh mint straight out of our garden. They were quick and easy to prepare and my kids devoured them. I also love the concept of a chestnut flour pizza crust, which is fried, then baked in the skillet, before adding your favorite toppings.
While I do not own a slow cooker, her chapter on Slow-Cooked Meals has made me seriously consider investing in one. Her collection of curries (the English know what they’re doing in this regard!), her slow-cooked jerk chicken and the mouth-watering canard aux pommes de tere (duck with potatoes) recipe, inspired by her local French restaurant, are all very appealing.
If you are still not used to being grain-free, she does offer a few good grain-like options, such as tortillas made from coconut flour to use as wraps, chestnut flour pancakes, and plenty of cakes, to enjoy with afternoon tea (or anytime, since they are guilt-free!). Also,. her dessert chapter is not lacking. We couldn’t resist the Berrylicious Ice Cream (vegan, dairy-free), the Blackberry and Apple Pie with a lovely coconut dough crust, and the Raw Chocolaty Sauce, which goes great on everything from pancakes to citrus-poached pears. Karen also includes a unique chapter on healing drinks, made up of teas (including Chai) and broths, which are “fantastic for those trying to curb their caffeine or fizzy drink intake.”
If you have extremely sensitive digestion, have suffered from IBS, or are healing from the effects of long-term gluten on your body, join Karen on a journey through the countryside, as you plan your next meal. This book will set you on the right healing path, while still giving you meals you can look forward to.
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