I’m in a Plant Based Recipe sharing watsapp group, and shared the Biryani recipe I made recently using surplus ingredients.
Well how can I share it there, and not with you guys? Sharing is caring right? So here goes…
Potato, Mushroom & Chickpea Biryani :-
You should know by now that I use whatever surplus food I have in my cooking; if I don’t have it I don’t use it. Hence, there is no onion or garlic in this recipe. Of course, you can add to yours if you would like to.
1 Medium Sweet Potato
2 White Potatoes
200g Long Grain Rice
Schwartz Biryani Spice Mix or spices of your choosing.
400g Tinned Tomatoes
100-200g Tinned Chickpeas
Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
1-2tbsp tamarind, or mango, chutney
1tbsp margarine or oil
Chop the sweet and white potato’s, unpeeled – fibre right, into cubes.
In a large frying pan, fry the cubed potatoes in 1tbsp of margarine, or oil, till soft.
Slice and add the mushrooms, stirring altogether until the mushrooms are soft.
Add the spice mix, stirring so the vegetables are mixed in the spices well.
Add approx 100g chickpeas, more if you’d like, the chopped tomatoes, rice, fill the tomato tin with cold water, and add that to the pan.
Add a handful of chopped cherry tomatoes.
I added a tamarind chutney pouch leftover from a box of samosas, you could use mango chutney if you have that.
Simmer until the rice is cooked, adding more water if needed.
Feel free to adapt the ingredients depending on what you have. You could use fresh chillies, ginger, coriander. Choose from different veg; aubergines, squash, peas.
They invited me to come down and try their pizzas at their residence at The Railway Tavern, Dalston, London.
Who do you take to a vegetarian pizza place? A meat eater of course! Whilst I love eating out with my vestie (vegan/veggie bestie), sometimes you need to step outside of your echo chamber, and show omnivores how tasty a plant based approach can be, so I took my pal, Hayley; we’ll call her a lestie (less meat eating bestie).
Rich and Sarah make vegetables centre stage, encouraging diners to reduce their meat intake without feeling like they are missing out on the sustenance or flavour that people associate with meat.
I went for the Hackney Hot topped with Sweet Pickled Beetroot, Rhubarb, Chillies. Rich lit up with pizza pride as he told how a customer had asked how he managed to make the pizza taste like pepperoni – he told me that he’d replied “I don’t” with a cheeky grin. In fact, Flat Earth add no fake meats at all to their pizzas; plants really are on top! I can see how your taste buds could be fooled though, the Hackney Hot has a good kick to it, and it’s paprika, sriracha, flavour reminded me of a hot, meaty, pizza.
Lestie had the Courgette, Fennel, and Walnut. We both had vegan cheese; all of the pizzas on the menu can be veganised using the arty vegan mozzarella – father and daughter duo producing deli style food https://theartyvegan.com. We also had Garlic Bread with Vegan Cheese, and Wild Garlic Roasted New Potatoes with Vegan Mayo. The lestie raved that less, meat, was more, with her choice; she loved the pizza, and didn’t feel that she was missing out in any way.
Flat Earth try not to send any kitchen waste to landfill; vegetable ends which would usually be binned are transformed into new ingredients. Beetroot skins are dehydrated into a dust to top the pizzas, and a demi-glace stock is made with onion and garlic skins and other vegetable tops and tails which would usually be thrown away. They also ferment, pickle, brew kombucha Avoiding food waste is something Flat Earth are really passionate about, and any small amount of unavoidable food waste is turned into fertiliser for local farms.
They are also keen to promote other local, independent, businesses; for dessert I had a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownie by Cake or Death, a vegan bakery started in Dalston. https://www.cakeordeath.co.uk/
Rich enthusiastically told us of other businesses they are partnering up with such as another bakery in Hackney, Lovely Buns https://www.heylovelybuns.co.uk/; it’s clear that they want everyone to have a pizza of the action 😉
There was mention of more pioneering businesses paving the way, but I’d had a few wines so can’t be expected to remember everything – what? I need to be able to show lestie’s that alcohol can also be free from animal products!
Anyway, never mind my unit intake, Hackney Hot food it down to Dalston and grab yourself a slice of the action!
Back in September 2020, I was on Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis, tv show presenting my dilemma of ‘Should I or Shouldn’t I Spend on Sports Nutrition’ for an upcoming ultramarathon.
I don’t think it’s much of a spoiler to tell you that I trained, and ran, a 53K trail race in the October eating surplus foods, and spent no money on fancy sports nutrition. In fact, I’d run a 50K the same way a few months earlier, and am currently training for a 53 mile race buying and eating surplus foods.
I’m certainly no sports nutritionist, or coach, but thought I’d share some tips for frugal fuelling.
See Food Diet:-
I used to be a loyal TK Maxx shopper, the designer discount store, and loved rummaging through their rails. What I quickly learnt with buying clothes that are imperfect, end of season, is that if you see it and want it buy it as you are unlikely to come across it again. Whilst these days I spend more time in Tesco than I do TK Maxx, the same principle applies. if you see food reduced on it’s use by, best before dates, packaging damaged or a store is clearing a shelf, discontinuing an item and you think you’d eat it, buy it. There are so many foods which can be frozen. I routinely freeze bananas to add to pre or post run smoothies, porridge, flapjacks. I enjoy having items such as meat free sausage rolls, vegan pasties, on a long run so will buy these reduced and freeze ahead of time. I even stashed individual packs of biscuits into my pocket, whilst in a showroom recently, knowing that I’d be thankful having them with me on a long run.
Use What You Got:-
One of the reasons that I’ve run consistently for the past 10 years is that I don’t need much more than my trainers, and to open the door. I can run anytime, any place, I do not need to make a booking, no fancy equipment; when the world came to a halt with the pandemic and gyms, classes, studios closed their doors, I could keep on running. It can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, and the food doesn’t need to be complicated either. You’ll often surprise yourself as to how much you already have at home. Roast potatoes are a favourite of mine on a long run and I really want to give oven chips ago after a running buddy mentioning that he took cold chips out on a run. I’ve taken a banana on the move with me, filled bagel, a sandwich, a cake, brownie that I’ve baked. If your starting position (pun not intended) is ‘how can I use what I already have’, you’ll find you go the distance (pun intended).
Do What Suits You:-
“Ah yes, a jam doughnut that well known running fuel”, a friend of mine said sarcastically as I pulled a jam doughnut out of my hydration vest, half way into our long run. We’ve run together enough times for me to be used to her teasing, but she’s flat out refused to join when I’ve been running 4 hours plus because it doesn’t suit her. And that’s ok, ultra running is not for everyone, neither is a jam doughnut, but clearly I’m partial to both. I had the doughnut left from a pack I’d collected using food sharing app olioex.com figured it would do the same job as a sports gel, replenish depleted carbohydrates and give me an energy boost. Plus, training is the time for trial and error to see which foods suit you ahead of race day.
Do Not Follow The Pack:-
We are such social creatures that we often find ourselves mirroring our peers, comparing ourselves to them, being influenced by how much or how little they eat, train, rest, yet running is often a solitary activity in which we our reliant on our physical and mental strength to keep going and we can take a similar approach to food, our diets. I’ve been questioned on how I can sustain a healthy diet on surplus foods, received remarks on how much I’ve eaten, found myself hesitating when it comes to ordering dessert waiting to see what my dinner date does. More and more, I’ve tried to tune out the outside noise and tune into what I need. If you want a second helping have it, leftovers are going spare take them, you need more than the recommended portion tuck in. It’s astonishing that considering the thought, time and energy invested into food that 9.5 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK yearly wrap.org.uk
Ditch the Labels:-
Best before dates (BBD) can often be confused with use by dates, but it is only the latter which refers to food safety. Best before is a date at which the food is said to be at it’s best quality, is not a legal requirement and safe to eat it past it’s best before date. This has meant I’ve been given porridge oats instead of a friend’s aunt binning them, protein powder a good few years past its BBD when another friend moved house, a selection of powdered super greens when friend’s have cleared out their cupboards, fruit that my mum hasn’t gotten around to eating; plenty of nutrients to support my running, and saves me running to fancy health food shops. I was at a friend’s allotment recently, not a BBD in sight, but an abundance of fruit and veg which I cooked, baked, blended; I even made a ginger and turmeric shot recently without a blender which cost 20p – 90% less than it’s RRP @reduction_raider1
Whether you are a seasoned runner, foodie, or newbie to exercise, eating well for less, there is a lot to be said for making use of what you have. It could be turning the limp veg being neglected in your fridge into a tasty soup, day old bread into croutons, making a curry from a tin of baked beans, storing milk in the freezer ahead of time for smoothies, taking 20 minutes of your lunch break to hit the pavement. And, keeping in mind that we all have to start somewhere, but consistency can yield great results. There was a time, I’d swear blind I was never going to run a marathon, an ultra was a far fetched fantasy, and I’m not sure that I would have seen the day I’d move on from being a fussy, can’t cook won’t cook. It didn’t happen overnight, it was a build up of small changes, over a number of years. And a community, my sisters on hand to tell me how to make bolognese, work friends egging me on (I know I’m full of them) to try out new recipes, running friends, clubs, coaches to offer advice, tips, support. There are running, food waste, sustainability, cooking communities out there; give us a shout, we’ll be waiting for you at the start line.
Chew the fat, spill the beans, talk turkey, break bread; all idioms related to food to refer to talking, conversations, exchanges, connections. And, I want us to do more of that, talk, talk food, food talk, conversations about food, discuss our relationship with food by relating to one another, forming relationships, which is why I have launched my own podcast ‘Alright Raiders’.
I love showcasing my reduced price food finds on Instagram https://www.instagram.com › reduction_raider1, sharing what I’ve cooked with surplus foods. It’s great being able to write about my experiences here, provide you guys, with tips, the odd recipe. What I also want, is to bring it back to good old fashioned conversation. That’s why we enjoy gathering at the table right? Family dinners, fancy restaurants, casual dinning, celebratory meals, picnics, barbeques, cutting cake. it’s not simply the food sharing, but the conversations, the time, space to connect with one another. Food is symbolic, meaningful, social, political and can affect change. Food is community, cultural, it feeds into our identities – pun intended, it unites us. Sadly, it can also divide use. Food poverty, food politics, food systems, food deserts, food accessibility, food insecurity, food privilege.
We can have food delivered, from around the world, to the comfort of our homes, any time, day or night, without having to interact with the outside world. We do not need to see who grows, farms, harvests, produces our food. Who it is that transports it, stocks it, even delivers it. We can avoid those who are in need and have to rely on others for their next meal. We can go unseen whilst the salad in our fridge wilts away, no one has to know when we throw away food that could have nourished us, someone else.
I’m hoping that Alright Raiders will open up the conversation, get us speaking to one another, connect with each other, build a community, have us putting food waste on the table. Each week, I ask a different guest the same six questions; who they are, what is their current relationship with food, how does this differ from their past relationship with food, what do they do well in terms of food waste, what do they want to do more of, and what changes do they want to see in the world? It’s been amazing how the same questions have led to different conversations; to date we have talked sustainability, food systems, colonialism, charity, disordered eating, health, child-care, community, environmentalism, and veganism.
I’ve really enjoyed breaking bread with each guest, and I hope you come and join the conversation too; I’m going to be dining out on this podcast, and these puns, for a while lol! Alright Raiders, enough typing, more talking, pull up a dining table chair and search for Alright Raiders on Apple, Spotify and Google Podcasts.
We’ve all heard of wonky fruit and veg right? Well how about bread?! According to Earth & Wheat, in the UK we waste 24 million pieces of bread every day! www.earthandwheat.com
Who are Earth and Wheat I hear you ask. The first, and only, UK wonky bread subscription box. They have partnered up with UK bakeries and are redistributing bread which would otherwise go to waste, to subscribers who want to reduce food waste, the impact on the environment, and save dough.
Earth and Wheat sent me a box of their mixed variety wonky breads to try. It included crumpets, pancakes, plain tortilla wraps, wholemeal tortilla wraps and folded flatbreads.
I put all of the bread, bar the pancakes, into the freezer. All of the bread and packaging is suitable for freezing and will last in the freezer for at least one month when frozen before it’s best before date.
The pancakes contain dairy so being vegan I’ll give those to my mum. Earth and Wheat support sharing the non-vegan pancakes with neighbours or through food sharing apps such as Olio https://olioex.com It’s my mum who would not be impressed if I gave them to anyone but her ha ha! Earth and Wheat are seeking to introduce a vegan option and are working with developers to make this possible from a technical IT side.
Sharing doesn’t end with mums, or neighbours, but for every box ordered, they donate a meal to UK food banks to help fight food poverty, including a charity that I’ve volunteered with for some years The Felix Project https://thefelixproject.org
In addition to reducing food poverty, the impact of my box was 2.5kg of bread saved, 3240 litres water saved, 3kg of CO2. The box itself is recyclable, and the plastic film can be recycled in a store.
If you’d like to save some dough, both the breaded and monetary kind, then use offer code RESCUE50 for 50% off your first order. £3.50 for the first box, including delivery, then £6.99 from then onwards. You can cancel your subscription at any time.
Butt er I don’t eat chicken. Sorry I couldn’t help myself! Ginni’s Kitchen sent me a sample of their Butter Chicken Spice Mix fully aware that I don’t eat meat. In fact, it’s that very reason Ginni asked me to try it. They already had a chicken recipe nailed but wanted me to try giving it a go in a vegan dish. “I know you are incredibly creative with vegan options” Ginni said so go ahead and improvise. Well get creative and improvise was exactly what I needed to do seeing as I had limited ingredients in. I could have gone to my trusty reduced section in the supermarket but honestly I couldn’t be bothered to leave the house so figured I’d make use of whatever I already had.
Ironically, as a non meat eater, I used Ginni’s Butter Chicken recipe as somewhat of a guide. I’d not blended tomatoes in a curry dish before, seeing it as an instruction on the recipe I thought why not follow suit considering I had a tin of chopped tomatoes, and an immersion blender. The following recipe is based on what I had available, I’d encourage you to tweak it based on whatever you have.
4-5 tablespoons of Ginni’s Butter Chicken Spice mix
160 grams of yellow lentils
400g of tinned tomatoes
1-2 handfuls of mixed vegetables – I used sliced carrots, cauliflower and broccoli florets
200ml soya milk – tinned coconut milk would work really well if you have it, or dairy non dairy cream, butter
2 tbsp of vegetable oil – or oil of your choosing
100ml of vegetable stock
Recipe – serves 3 – 4
Soak lentils for 2-4 hours; longer if you can i.e. overnight
Cook the lentils in a pan of water just covering them; bringing to the boil and then simmering until soft. Approximately 20 minutes. Drain any remaining water.
Add the oil to another pan and then the spice mix for a minute or two.
Add the tomatoes and let simmer until they have softened; 5-10 minutes should do it.
Blitz using an immersion blender to make it smooth.
Add in the cooked lentils, vegetable stock, vegetables, and milk.
Let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
Season with salt & pepper.
Feel free to add more milk, cream, at the end. Fresh herbs such as coriander; you guessed it I didn’t have any. I did have rice and plenty of flour though so served mine with rice and homemade flat bread’s.
Let me know how creative you are with the mixes. I’m looking forward to eating the leftovers tomorrow when the flavours have developed even more. I’m already thinking of other non meat alternatives; tofu, chickpeas, yes, yes I know those options involve me leaving the house. For now, Imma just gonna love my leftovers!
Free Food? Does it smell fishy? Yes, but that will be the nori sheets as these ‘fish’ cakes are vegan.
It was not an attractive sight when I tasted wasabi for the first time, whilst out for dinner with my friend Shells. There were tears; mine of sorrow, hers from laughter.
It’s a mystery how I ended up with 2 tubes of wasabi paste at home after those dramatics! Well, it’s not really, I simply can’t resist free food so couldn’t say no when an independent store was getting rid as they were past their best before dates. For free I’ll learn to like wasabi!
With best before dates relating to food quality, and not safety, I hadn’t been in any rush to use them but then a nagging feeling kept creeping in. Food is still wasted if not eaten, whether it’s free or not, so I asked for wasabi recipe ideas on Instagram.
Fish cakes were suggested but a no go with my being vegan. I could make a fish free alternative I thought to myself, and so I did, also substituting any paid ingredients for what I’d picked up for free. And now I’m shedding tears of joy because they taste delicious!
Aside from the wasabi, which I’d picked up for free in store, the ingredients were free via food sharing app Olio. I make use of what I already have in preparing meals and I encourage you to do the same. Go fishing in those cupboards of yours and see what you can find 😉
300g of potatoes; unpeeled, less waste, more fibre!
400g tin of chickpeas drained. Other pulses will work butter beans, lentils, would make good substitutes.
2 sheets of nori, torn into small pieces. Dried seaweed could also be used to give the cakes a fishy flavour.
1 tablespoon of dairy free aioli garlic or mayonnaise of your choosing.
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon or lime.
Black pepper. Salt – I just didn’t happen to have any.
2 tsp of wasabi.
3 tablespoons of golden breadcrumbs. You could make your own if you don’t have any, or do without.
Other ingredients that you may have which would work well are capers, dill, mustard, miso, soy sauce, vinegar, pickles.
Preheat oven to gas mark 6
Wash and boil the potatoes until you can put a knife through them with ease.
Add the drained chickpeas to a mixing bowl.
Cut or tear the nori sheets into small pieces and add to the chickpeas, with the wasabi, mayo, squeezed juice, seasoning. You may want to add more or less than the listed ingredients according to your taste. Add the potatoes and mash until thoroughly mixed and you can easily form patties, cakes.
Scoop the mixture, around a large tablespoon, and form into a patty. You should get 4 large ‘fish’ cakes from the mixture but can make them smaller and have more if you prefer.
Place each of the ‘fish’ cakes on a breadcrumb sprinkled plate or tray. Press each side of the cake in the breadcrumbs so well coated.
Add to a greased baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown, turning over halfway.
Cut your juiced lemon, or lime, into wedges and serve with the fish cakes.
I added sriracha mayo by simply mixing peri sauce into the aioli sauce.
Let me know how you get on, and which foods you have saved from the surplus seas!
I had intended this blog to include the recipe for Curried Lentil & Vegetable Pie, but I lost track of how much extra flour I was using to counteract having added too much oil!
I’m no pastry chef, but with 3 bags of different types of flour at home, I was determined to make a pie from scratch. There are so many recipes at our finger tips that you do not need another from me. Instead, I hope this serves to encourage you to try a new recipe, a dish that is outside of your comfort zone, trust yourself to give it a go, cook something different, get creative in making use of what you already have; just do something. As my big sister said, when I phoned her knee deep in flour “confidence in making pastry comes from experience”; well how can we gain experience if we don’t try eh.
I tend to be a one pot dish kinda gal; curries, soups, pasta sauces. I like being able to eat meals from it for several days, but like I said the trio of flour in my cupboard was haunting me! They were a few of many which became surplus as businesses closed suddenly with lockdown, and not one to turn down free food, I graciously accepted. I’d baked banana bread with some; were you even in lockdown if you haven’t? I was struggling to think of other recipes for flour, aside from pastry to make a pie. Well, it wasn’t going to stretch very far in my trusted one pot!
“I like a one pot, I just prefer to do things that are easy” an inner voice whined. Given that I was not long home from a 2.5 hour run, and training for a 53K race, I questioned whether this was really the case. I’m not sure that I do want the easy option, more that trying something new can feel taunting, a little overwhelming even. Is it that a one pot is that much easier, or is just that I’ve been making them for so long now that it feels safe, comforting?
“Make the pastry” came another voice, still mine, just firmer and less whiney. That was it, I couldn’t keep thinking about it, affording myself the time to talk myself out of it, I just had to do it! Pastry is pretty much flour, fat, water. I opted for wholemeal bread flour simply because it’s the packet that was already open; yep I’d used it to bake the banana bread. I used vegetable oil as it was the fat I had, and cream of tartar instead of baking powder because… you guessed it that’s what was in my cupboard.
The filling was made up of ingredients I’d collected for free using food sharing app Olio; lentils, mixed vegetables, aubergine pickle, curry powder, fresh coriander – well it was before I froze it, and a little water.
I phoned my sister to check whether she thought I should bake the pastry which was going to be the bottom of the pie; she agreed that I should to avoid it going soggy. It’s funny, it was just the day before that I’d commented on one of my Instagram posts that I was confident enough in the kitchen that I didn’t need to call upon my sister as I had when I’d started making bolognese in my earlier ‘can’t cook, won’t cook’ days; is this why influencers have a reputation for bending the truth ha ha.
In all seriousness, I don’t need my sister anymore when it comes to spag bol; I’ve told you I’ve got a one pot on lock! Yet, I clearly still need her when it comes to other dishes. And not just her, the internet when it comes to looking up ingredient substitutes, food storage guidelines. Social media for inspiration, ideas. Friends, neighbours, an online community for passing on unwanted, surplus food, and that voice in me that says “just give it a go” when it comes to pushing myself forward.
What new dish are you going to persuade yourself to make?
I swear these meatballs were intended to be eaten in a simple tomato sauce, with noodles. So much so that you’ll notice the ingredients include mixed herbs.
It’s a longstanding joke amongst friends that all I cook are curries. Indian food is a favourite of mine; it’s tasty, versatile, cheap, but on this occassion I had planned Italian style meatballs, until fellow blogger, Ginni’s Kitchen, offered me some of surplus Missi Roti’s, flatbreads, via the food sharing app Olio. Well, what else could I do but spice up the meatballs?
The Roti’s were not the only free food that I had; all ingredients were free, and mainly collected using Olio, with the exception of the red chilli’s and sage; these were from herb pots in my garden, birthday presents from a friend.
This recipe is based solely on the ingredients that I had at home, and I would urge you to simply use this as a guide and alternate, substitute, ingredients as and how you need to. Swap kidney beans for a different type of pulse; lentils, chickpeas. The meat free meatballs can be eaten in whatever way you fancy – keep it clean! In all seriousness, if Indian is a fave of yours too, knock yourself out, if you are passionate about pasta go with my original plan and just alter the spices in the masala sauce so no curry blends but try oregano, sage, mixed herbs. The meatballs could be eaten with mashed potato, as a sandwich, in a sub; eat however you want, using what you have!
Mushroom & Kidney Bean Balls:
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
150g closed cup mushrooms, diced
400g tin kidney beans, drained
1 red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
A sprig of sage
1tsp mixed herbs
2 slices of bread, or use breadcrumbs
1tbsp vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4
Fry the onion on a low heat for a few minutes, until soft, then add the garlic, chilli, sage and mushrooms, and continue to cook for a few more minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and no liquid left.
In a bowl, add the drained kidney beans, mixed herbs and mushroom mix. I toasted the bread until it was dry enough to crumble; allowing it to cool first. You could make breadcrumbs using a food processor – I don’t have one. Even putting in a sandwich bag, sealing, then rolling over with a rolling pin. Add the breadcrumbs to the mix, this will bind the balls, and any other seasoning you want. I only added black pepper as have no salt at the moment. Mash with a potato masher until the beans lose shape.
Using your hands, form the mixture into balls – I made 13; lucky for some!
Place the balls on a greased baking tray, and cook for around 30 minutes, until they are firm and crispy. Check about halfway through as they may need to be turned onto their other side. If you don’t want to cook immediately, you can keep in the fridge until later; I left mine until the following day. They could be frozen too; it would be worth wrapping in parchment paper but if not pack into a food container; they should still retain their shape.
Masala Meatball Sauce:
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 bay leaves
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp masala curry blend
A 25ml sachet of coriander & cumin paste – I appreciate that it is unlikely you’ll have these too, I got a load free, so use whatever paste, blend of spices, that you do have
50g shitake mushrooms, sliced
100g sliced greens, I added these straight from the freezer.
Fry the onion on a low heat for a few minutes, until soft, then add the garlic, chilli, spices, paste. Stir in the mushrooms, greens, covering both with the paste. Add a little of the chopped tomatoes so you have a tomato paste, continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add in the rest of the tomatoes, bay leaves, and water – I filled the empty tomato can with water and added this to get what was left of the tomatoes.
Place desired number of meatballs gently into the pan, I added 8, putting aside the remainder for another day.
Cover the meatballs with some of the sauce, and continue simmering for a few more minutes.
You just want the meatballs to be warmed through, and the greens cooked.
I served mine in a roti for lunch, and ate with pilau rice, and poppadoms, yep also free, for dinner.
Oh, and not forgetting leftovers’ the next day; a wrap with mushy peas, rocket, sriracha, red chilli… not sure if this falls into any cuisine but proofs that there is such a thing as a free lunch!
Running has brought about so many changes in my life over the past 10 years; my relationship with food being one of them. Running encourages a focus on food as fuel; there is only so far you can get on an empty tank! Another gain has been the sense of community, belonging, kinship. These are just some of the reasons that I wanted to chat to Matilda (Tilly) of Fly Girl Collective; another is that I’m struggling to accept that their virtual, 21 day, jump rope challenge has ended!
The fitness industry and wellness scene are not the only areas which can lack diversity, the same can be said of the sustainability movement. A 2014, US report, The State of Diversity in Environmental Organisations, by Dr Taylor found that ‘environmental groups do a worse job than the business and sports sectors in welcoming and promoting minorities and women.’ https://www.diversegreen.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/FullReport_Green2.0_FINAL.pdf Yet, social injustices and climate change can disproportionately affect ethnic minorities.
Tilly notes on her blog that she doesn’t want Fly Girl to be a political statement, but a space for women, to live their best lives through fitness. So I want to know how she’s fuelling her best life, and will she push her best before date!
After reading plant based, ultrarunner, Scott Jurek’s, Eat & Run book, feeling increasingly concerned by the manufacturing of meat and it’s effects on her health, Tilly became a devoted pescatarian at the start of the year. Tilly has found that not only is she still able to get all the energy she needs for running but that it’s made her more aware of sustainability, food waste and she’s saving money; put it toward your next race Tilly!
Before she stopped eating meat, Tilly found herself eating out regularly, meaning that her home shop would often spoil, go to waste. Following more of a plant based diet, encouraged her to experiment with cooking, challenge her mindset of meat being the main to a meal, and she became more conscious of sustainability. “I don’t waste as much food as I used to, as I cook a lot more. And I try to make the most of the foods I have”. Put you in good stead for a national lockdown eh Tilly!
With fitness regimes, many of us can find ourselves under the misconception that we need a fancy, expensive diet, to support this and let’s not even open up the conversation ‘where do you get your protein’! Tilly has found the opposite to be true; her endurance has improved, she has a more rounded approach to wellness, she’s eating nutritious, filling food for less, and made changes that she can sustain in the long term.
How will food, sustainability, influence Fly Girl Collective I want to know. “It’s hard to say. Food is a complicated journey so the priority is movement and exercise for now.”
She’s right, food is a journey, but so is running, and the two are intrinsically linked. Fly Girl Collective symbolises community, sisterhood, diversity, accountability, and the same can be said for food, sustainability. And, wittingly, or otherwise, all are political. ‘Watch this space’ was how I closed our chat, and I for sure will be. I’m excited to see how Tilly, and the Fly Girl Collective, journeys because as us runners know only too well, it’s the journey that matters!