Curious about healthy, sustainable and plant-based foods? Let me guide you through the basics of healthy and sustainable food and give you my best tips for cooking tasty, and healthy, food!
Inspiration to healthy eating
Many of us love to live a life that feels healthy and balanced, with care for ourselves and the environment. That is joyful, inspiring and nourishing to our wellbeing. Food can be such a beautiful way to work with all of that, and at the same time it can sometimes feel challenging too! May this blog series, where you'll get recipes and learn more, be an inspiring contribution to your personal journey and exploration. Whether you are new or seasoned on this topic.
Food that help you to a sustainable and healthy life
What to eat? How to cook for ourselves and others? How to make sure you’re getting all the nutrition you need? For me, when I first started cooking vegetarian and vegan, a whole world of possibilities opened up. While I expected to feel restricted by a more plant-based kitchen, it rather felt like the opposite: it was a doorway to a whole new world of ingredients, flavors and ways of cooking. Did I mess up sometimes during my experiments? Sure! And still do occasionally. Did I discover delicious and sustainable jewels along the way? Oh yes! Majority of the time. Before we dive into more in-depth topics, let’s start with some basics.
Healthy and sustainable foods
- Plant-based meals: Whether you choose vegetarian or vegan, eating more plant-based meals is good for our bodies and for the environment. Filled with minerals, fibers and vitamins.
- Organic ingredients: Grown on healthy land and soil, with limited or no use of pesticides, artificial fertilizers or genetic modification.
- Local and seasonal produce: Working with local and seasonal produce is a great way to reduce transport emissions, support local farmers and eat in line with the season.
- Fair trade: Products that are made with dignity and a better income for the people who produce them. Especially important in certain sectors like cacao, coffee, banana, etc.
- Ecological products: Ecological products can include being organic, however ecological points more towards how the products are produced, processed, and packaged. For example, with recyclable packaging, green energy, no waste policies, and so on.
Photographer: Elaine Lilje
5 tips for creating nourishing and delicious plant-based meals
Get the full picture.
For a healthy plant-based meal, look at the full picture of all ingredients. I usually like to take the raw food pyramid as a base (also for cooked foods): Vegetables and greens as the base, grains or starches as the next level, followed by proteins. Then fats and herbs and spices in the top. Don’t forget those healthy fats! They also play an important role. You could think of seeds, avocado or extra virgin olive oil.
Become friends with plant-based proteins.
Proteins are important building blocks for our body, and they help us to feel satisfied and full after a meal. Good protein sources are legumes such as beans, lentils and peas. You can also use nuts, almond and seeds. sprouts, tofu, tempeh and quinoa. If you eat vegetarian foods, you can add eggs, thick yogurt and cheese to the list. With ‘becoming friends’ with your ingredients you’ll know better how the ingredient responds, what other ingredients they like and what brings out the best in them.
Many of the plant-based proteins are either dried or frozen, and therefore easy to store and use when you feel inspired or when you need them. What happens if you use the ingredients a little differently than before? White beans to make a humus? Tofu in a creamy tomato sauce?
Discover the wonders of umami.
Umami is considered the fifth base flavor in the Japanese kitchen and i s often associated with meat, however, there are many ways to bring umami into a plant-based meal. Through ingredients such as fermented vegetables like sauerkraut or kimchi, soy sauce, sun-dried tomato, mushrooms, miso, smoked paprika. But also through cooking techniques like smoking, grilling or making pickles. At best, umami is subtle and well-balanced. It should be used in moderation, same as with a good perfume.
Be prepared to eat a fantastic meal and also be prepared to fail!
I love to think up new ideas in my head and then see how they work out in the kitchen. Whether it turned out delicious or not, I learned just as much! A bit of laughter, compassion and curiosity are some of the best ingredients.
Recipes & inspiration
I wish you beautiful cooking! In the blog her at Yogobe you'll also find one of my favorite recipes for early spring: Lukewarm Gnocchi with broccoli, spinach, radish and tarragon. The next part of the series is coming in June – stay tuned!
Book (in Swedish) – Mundekullas Gröna Kök
Mundekullas Gröna Kök won the Gourmand Cookbook Awards 2021 for Best Vegetarian Cookbook in Sweden and Best Hotel Cookbook in the World. The book features more than 70 vegan and vegetarian recipes and has 10 chapters on playing with flavors and textures, how to design and plant-based meal or buffet, the love for cooking farm-to-table.
In May, you find a great price for the book – buy it here!
You can also follow my kitchen adventures on Instagram: @stephanie.verstift
Photographer: Elaine Lilje
Mundekulla – what kind of place is that?
Mundekulla is an ecological course and retreat center in the Småland countryside, in Sweden. At Mundekulla, people meet for courses, conferences and festivals, focusing on personal development, mindfulness, creativity, nature and of course beautiful nutritious food!
Since its start over 20 years ago, the center has been built on sustainable principles. With traditional building methods and green energy, as well as with a focus on social justice and promoting various peace projects. The whole idea with Mundekulla is to create and co-create learning, art, music, community and health. The best thing is all the wonderful, meaningful encounters with other people. That's the core.
Read more at: mundekulla.se
Meditations to appreciate the food even more
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Photographer: Elaine Lilje