The Green Food Girl in London

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Avocado on Kallo balsamic rice cakes with a pinch of sea salt. A delightful snack.

Just over a week ago, I moved to London and I have found myself in a city where everyone is extremely well-dressed, well-connected, well-paid (or so it seems) and well-fed. Last week, I visited four different grocery stores: Waitress, M&S Food, Sainsbury’s and Wholefoods. In the span of five days, I had eaten at Itsu, Wasabi, Pho, Wholefoods Market, and an American-style grill that I cannot remember the name of because I had reached a level of “hangry” that propelled me into another parallel universe. So far, I have resisted the temptations of Krispy Kreme and Froyo but recently fell victim to the Hotel Chocolat near my hotel. The famous American chains- Five Guys and Chipotle- are both right around the corner from where I work. However, not too far from the office, I have found a smatter of Paleo and Raw-food restaurants. This excites me! If you’re going to eat raw, clean food, where better to eat it than London or LA where the menus will most certainly reflect whatever is “hot” right now on the health-food scene. Raw cashew cheesecake? Dehydrated coconut wraps? Cauliflower rice? Sign me up!

Although the large supermarket chains appear to offer “healthy” offerings, it is all a facade. I spent a lot of my evenings scouring the aisles for healthy guilt-free treats only to find that the majority of any “gluten-free”, “health-conscious”, or “paleo-friendly” snacks were laden with hidden sugars in the form of apple juice, dates, raisins and other high-sugar foods. What a disappointment. So, I defaulted to 85% cacao chocolate (which is beginning to bore me) and berries. Yes, of course it is better to eat dates than refined sugar, but sugar and sweeteners are still things I am trying to avoid or at least keep to a minimum. My Christmas was spent devouring chocolates and cakes and more chocolates! I am feeling fluffier than ever, my skin is breaking out, and I feel very down; it is time to get back on track with my low-sugar lifestyle.

At the moment, I am living in a hotel until I move into an apartment on the 24th. My hotel has a little kitchenette but it isn’t practical for doing any heavy-duty cooking. So, I’ve been buying bags of mixed vegetables (peas, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale, spinach and more) and steaming them in the microwave. I’ve been pairing these veggies with tinned fish, which retains its omega-3s, and the least-shitty pre-cooked chicken that I could find (i.e. the one with the fewest ingredients and no added sugar or weird unnatural ingredients). This can be quite expensive but today, I struck gold and arrived at Waitrose just as they were marking down a ton of vegetables that were approaching their sell-by date. Now, remember that “sell-by” and “best before” are two different things. Supermarkets have an extra window of three days for most of the items they sell. These three days after the “sell-by” date are usually still fine to consume the food. The “best before” date is a guideline. It’s based on science but it is still “best before” not “not OK after” if you get what I am saying! I never ever get sick from food (touch wood) and I eat things that are past their “best before” date all the time. Smell it, look at it, touch it, and examine it. If it looks OK, it is probably OK to eat.

What’s on the menu tonight? A bit of rest after two big workouts in Puregym Holborn over the weekend and a couple of big runs. Oh, and for dinner I’m having grilled chicken with a colourful mixture of peas, sweetcorn, cabbage and leeks. This is off-topic but I have been watching Making a Murderer along with the rest of the world, and I have been looking forward to the next episode all day, so that is what I will be doing this evening!

As I have more food and fitness adventures in the hugely exciting city of London, I will share them with you on my Instagram page, Facebook page, and of course, on the blog. I am looking forward to tasting the fermented drinks, raw desserts, superfood smoothies, and the strange-smelling herbal teas. A twerking class? Trampolining? A run through a park filled with deer? I will try anything once so bring it on London; I am ready.

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