How to Balance the Food Groups, without Losing your Sense of Humour

As you know there are four main food groups: Pony Food, Rabbit Food, Comfort Food and Chocolate.  And a new one has recently been added – Super-food, making five in all.

It is so complicated to ensure that all these groups are balanced, especially if you want to eat ethically as well as healthily, you practically need a spreadsheet,

Here’s how I keep it as simple as I can, stay happy and share lots of foodie goodness with my guests.

First, Plenty of Pony Food

I eat delicious complex carbohydrates, AKA Pony Food, for breakfast, as wheat-free, seasonal, organic, fair-trade, low fat, low glycemic and local as I can get it.  This is usually oats and other grains, with nuts, fruit, toasted pumpkin seeds and Chia Seed (hardly local, but high omega-3’s ).  I add yoghurt (live, pro-biotic, low-fat, organic, local) for more protein.  Delicious!  This is a mix-and-match staple on the Two Rose Cottages breakfast menu.

Second, Lots of Rabbit Food

And for lunch I usually focus on the second main Food Group, and have a bowl of delicious salad, or Rabbit Food, with nuts and cheese for protein (as seasonal, organic, fair-trade, free-range and local as I can get it). This is mainly chopped vegetables. I use anything I have in the fridge – although the essential base ingredients for both flavour and substance are: some apple, some brassica (chopped cabbage, broccoli or Brussels sprouts) and some leek.  After that anything goes, and I often include blueberries for a zing of sweetness.  And perhaps some fermented root vegetables (pro-biotics), for added tang. My favourite dressing is made with balsamic vinegar (hardly local but organic) and rape-seed oil (very local, organic, high omega-3), and lots of grainy mustard and garlic (local, local).

Third, Comfort Food and Chocolate

So then, in the evening, I feel able to push the boat out a little bit, and enjoy some Comfort Food and Chocolate.  I find this rounds off the day very nicely.

Being British, I mainly go for variants of Shepherds Pie (free-range, pasture-reared, organic, local), with some veggies on the side (local, organic, steamed).  I love vegetable risotto too, made with barley (fairly local, organic) instead of rice, and all the variants of pasta.

And then I have a little piece of dark Chocolate (fair-trade, slavery-free, no child-labour, organic, anti-oxidant), or a big piece.

Very delicious and full of warm, nostalgic associations – that’s Comfort Food.

Shepherd’s Pie and other forms of evening Comfort Food are not on the menu at Two Rose Cottages, but there is of course, the other major branch of British comfort: breakfast!

The good old “Full English” (high fat, high carb, high cholesterol, protein overload) is extremely comforting.  Every now and again (not every day), when I have time, just occasionally (usually when I’m on holiday) I start my day with breakfast Comfort Food  (local, organic, free-range, indulgent), for a real treat. And it’s always on the menu at Two Rose Cottages.

And this is where the balance comes it.  There is no doubt about the calories in Comfort Food: loaded up with all those big round high-calory molecules that roll around the tongue in such a wonderfully seductive way.  So lovely!  But don’t forget portion control.  I sometimes (that is, often, in fact normally) do, but at least I know in principle that enough is as good as a feast when it comes to Comfort Food (and don’t forget exercise).  But mainly I just go for it, and enjoy!

I don’t pay all that much attention to portion control at Two Rose Cottages, assuming you will all be going for a long walk afterwards, but tell me if it’s just too too much.  No one has told me yet!

And then there is Super-Food!

And to balance it out further, we offer a Super-Food smoothie for breakfast (organic, local, mega-vitamin boost, micro-nutrients, trace minerals).  It includes the complete colour range – yellow, orange, red, purple, blue, green – with yoghurt for calcium and protein and coconut water (potassium).  It includes a handful of mixed greens (alkaline, micro-nutrients), and at least a cup of mixed berries and mango (frozen, organic, bought in bulk, as local as possible).  These are strong flavours,  so you can’t taste the mixed greens or the tomato  – promise.  Nor can you see them, it is just a delicious-looking creamy-purple colour. For extra creamyness, and extra calories, we can also chuck in some banana (fair trade, organic).

That’s at least three, perhaps four, of your five-a-day, right there!

Superfood

Summary

So somewhat high calorie, because comfort is essential, and often pricey (no doubt about it, food ethics comes at a bit of a premium), but not always, and not junk, and as ethical as I can get it, with lots of exercise: that’s how I balance things out among all the food groups (and walking, of course), and everything absolutely delicious.

There is only one “NO” rule: I have is absolutely no transfats, none, not allowed (except sometimes, when I’m eating out, but never any junk food).  These days that means that I have to make pretty much everything from scratch.  But I like that.  I find it’s all part of the comfort.

Thus do I navigate as best I can the reefs and shoals of health, ethics, sveltitude and happiness, and come up pretty well, on the whole(some).  And I am committed to doing the same for the Two Rose Cottages guests: good, healthy food, enjoyable and comforting, with plenty of choice, and as ethical as possible.

What little tricks do you use, to balance it all out?

After all, we can’t take life too seriously, can we?  Its just a bowl of cherries (organic, local, seasonal, low calorie, delicious), isn’t it?  Especially when you are on holiday, or taking a short Bed & Breakfast break.

Super-food Smoothie Recipe.

Half a cup of plain live yogurt
1 cup Coconut Water (or just water)
1 tangerine
1 tomato (golf-ball size)
At least a cup of fresh or frozen mixed berries, such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and a few chunks of mango if you can get it.
A handful of mixed fresh greens, with 2-3 sprigs of parsley.  Some mint is also nice.
(Optional) 2 little packets (about 2 grams) Stevia, for sweetness, or a slug of Agave Syrup (organic, fair trade, low-glycemic).

Blend together until completely smooth, and serve immediately.

Makes 3-4 servings, about 60 calories each.  Not bad!

Two Rose Cottages Breakfast Smoothie

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