food to glow

feel good food that's good for you

GG JACKETNow that we have safely passed January, and all notions of serious dieting have sensibly been put aside, I hit you with a healthy cookbook. One that has a Plan {yes, that is supposed to capitalised}. But please don’t run away, or scroll too quickly to the recipe. It isn’t a diet, diet. I promise.

Recently published by Jacqui Small, Gut Gastronomy hints with its title to what lies within the sumptuously photographed pages. This 244-page hardback book contains not so much a diet as a way of eating that evolved from the work of therapists at the well-known Grayshott Spa. It is based on naturopathic principles of improving overall health via the gut.

As a health educator myself I wholeheartedly approve of looking after the gut. In fact, Hippocrates, the godfather of medicine, said: “All diseases begin in the gut”.

The idea of eliminating dairy, alcohol and caffeine for 21 days is one that perhaps the man himself might well have approved. This is coupled with their own – easier – tweak of the ubiquitous two-day fast. After the first two weeks the Plan becomes more inclusive, but in all stages there is plenty of variety and colour – crucial for staying the course. Over the three weeks on the Plan your digestive system should get the rest and repair-time it needs to function at its best.

The aim of the Plan is to improve one’s overall health by “cleansing and healing the digestive system to make it more efficient, improving elimination, reducing fluid retention and alleviating bloating and inflammation”. Most of us could do with a bit of this. Am I right?

Who wrote it? The book is based on the clinical work of Elaine Williams, Director of Natural Therapeutics at Grayshott Spa, and Stephanie Moore, clinical nutritionist and health coach at Grayshott Spa. The book is written by popular nutritional therapist and TV presenter Vicki Edgson, with recipes by Grayshott Spa consultant-chef, Adam Palmer. And not forgetting photographer Lisa Linder; she brings the elegant, healing recipes to life.

Between the covers: Body processes, food groups and basic nutrition are well-covered in the first section of the book, with helpful illustrated tables and highlighted boxes breaking up the dense but very interesting text. The Plan itself is more guidance than rules as such. Broths and fermented foods are described and their use is encouraged with really rather appealing recipes to get you going. Then to the recipes themselves, all 100 of them fabulously shot and inviting, and not looking or reading remotely like diet food. Nutrition facts are highlighted for most recipes but – as this is not a diet book – a breakdown of calories and nutrients is not given. The idea of encouraging the eating of real food and not getting caught up in a numbers game is quite refreshing. Chef’s tips, including the best ways to prep, present, serve and store dishes, are sprinkled liberally throughout the book.

Who is it for? Anyone who feels that their digestion is not up to par, and anyone who wishes to know more about how having a healthier gut can positively affect overall health, including stubborn weight issues. Believe me, it really can. As a side benefit, weight will almost certainly be lost on the Plan, although that isn’t the aim of the book. This is also for anyone annoyed by the preachy tone of similar books. At no point did I tut and sigh, or want to hurl the book across the room in a fit of self-loathing…

Who might need convincing? Vegetarians and vegans (it is quite animal-protein heavy, but with plenty of fish); caffeine addicts, cheese lovers and those who really like their wine! Joking aside, the biggest barrier will be for anyone who just doesn’t have the time and money needed to prepare the recipes. It is not a Ryvita and cottage cheese kind of approach. Or even a slice it up and call it salad one. I see this as suited to anyone not working full-time or with a family to feed (unless they need the Plan too). Maybe I am wrong about that, but I am just being honest. Most of recipes are geared for confident and slightly adventurous cooks who have the time and monetary resources to put into giving their gut a thorough rest and replenish. But if one does, this book will be the perfect guide. Almost all of the recipes are very, very tempting – as one would expect given the involvement of a respected chef.

Recipes I’d like to cook: Smokey aubergine soup with peach & green olives – intriguing or what? Red lentil, apricot & preserved lemon soup (I could use my own preserved lemons!) with chermoula; Gravadlax with tarragon, juniper, ginger and orange (it sounds so clean and flavoursome); Salt-baked celeriac (the image is just crazy!); Sweet potato and chickpea cakes with lime & cucumber raita (okay, the chickpeas would need to be changed for me…); Roasted cauliflower ratatouille. Lovely, huh?

Recipe I have cooked: Grilled sole fillets marinated in ginger & tangerine juice. Lovely, unusual and easy. I couldn’t bring myself to use the amount of butter called for though. The five-spice in the marinade is *mwhah*. 🙂 Stealing that idea…

How can you get your hands on this? Published by Jacqui Small, Gut Gastronomy is available through Amazon and good book sellers for between £20.40 and £30.

GIVEAWAY >>> The publisher has kindly offered a copy of Gut Gastronomy for a Food To Glow reader. If you fancy a copy, just drop me a comment below. This giveaway closes Friday, February 20th at 11.59pm. The winner will be randomly selected and contacted by email. They will have until Monday the 23rd of February at 12 noon to reply or another winner will be chosen at random. Name and details of the winner will be passed onto the publisher for the sole purpose of sending out the book and not for any other purpose. Food To Glow will not be responsible for failure of the book to reach the prizewinner. The book is non-transferrable and has no exchangeable monetary value. Entrants must be resident in the UK and aged 18 and above.

To find out about upcoming books and events from Jacqui Small, follow them on FacebookPinterest and Twitter.

PS Still time to vote for my recipe in the Destinology Reimagine A Classic competition. Just click next to my name – no forms to fill out, thank goodness. I would really appreciate it! Voting closes at midnight (GMT) on the 13th (the day of this post).

image courtesy of jacqui small publishing

image courtesy of jacqui small publishing

Coconut, Poppy Seed, Ginger & Lime Muffins

Coconut flour is the perfect gluten-free choice but you need more fluid than usual. You can eat the muffins as a morning treat whilst adhering to the protein principle of the Plan due to the coconut milk, oil and flour. They can be cooked then frozen, but are best served with berries.

80g (3 oz) coconut oil, plus extra for greasing the muffin tin

3 organic, free-range eggs

200ml (7 fl oz/ generous 3/4 cup) coconut milk

seeds of 1 vanilla pod

10g (1/2 oz) ground ginger

100ml (3 1/2 oz/ generous 1/3 cup)  local runny honey plus extra for the raspberries (optional)

15g (1/2 oz) poppy seeds

grated zest of 1/2 lime

1 tsp baking powder (baking soda)

40g (1 1/2 oz/scant 1/4 cup) coconut flour

300g (10 oz/2 1/4 cup) raspberries

fresh coconut and mint leaves, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, Gas mark 4.

In a small saucepan, gently warm the coconut oil – it should be blood temperature rather than too warm. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, coconut milk, vanilla seeds, ginger, honey, poppy seeds and lime zest. Whisk together to make and emulsion.

Mix the baking powder (baking soda) with the coconut flour, then sift into the wet mixture. Using a metal spoon, stir to make a batter.

Divide the mixture between muffin cases or lightly oiled muffin tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the muffins are risen and golden brown.

While the muffins are cooking, puree two-thirds of the raspberries. Sweeten to taste, if wished, with a little honey.

Remove the muffins from the oven and set them side to cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm with the raspberry puree, garnished with the remaining raspberries, fresh coconut and mint.






30 thoughts on “Sensible, Beautiful, Delicious – A Review of Gut Gastronomy + Recipe + Giveaway

  1. superfitbabe says:

    I would love to make those poppyseed muffins! Yum!! <3

  2. helenportas says:

    These look lovely – got a bag of coconut flour (much reduced!!) from my local health food shop today – fate! Could you substitute ordinary flour as a cheaper alternative?

    1. I am sure you could Helen, but the liquid would need to be reduced. I don’t know by how much though. Perhaps shave off 75 ml and add more if needed to get a dropping consistency. Sorry I don’t have better information for you! Maybe someone else adept at such translations can help here in comments.

  3. NikkiJ100 says:

    Muffins look great – I’ll be trying them tomorrow! Please enter me in to the book competition!

  4. Bernice says:

    I love cooking and trying new healthy recipes. So count me in!

  5. Alison Lambie says:

    Oh so sorry I missed the vote as at 6pm on the 13th when I got home, it said sorry voting has closed!

    Sent from my iPad


  6. lizzygoodthings says:

    This sounds like the book I need, especially with my GERD flaring up lately! Great review Kellie xo

  7. Sounds interesting! So do some of the recipes 🙂

  8. I made these last night for this morning, euh, well they didn’t last until the morning! So I am making them again for tomorrow’s breakfast! They are really really good, and since I used a lot of coco flour it was perfect the use up my last bag and start a new one tomorrow.The book is on my want list very interested to get more into it.

  9. Zo says:

    This book sounds amazing.
    Would love to try some of these recipes!

  10. Those muffins have my name on them: in my larder I have coconut oil, coconut sugar and coconut flour! 🙂

  11. Suzanne Glennie says:

    Intrigued by the sound of this book. Would love to have a go 🙂

  12. radiantlake5 says:

    These look and sound amazing! The ingredients are so simple and tasty. I can almost taste them by reading the recipe. I will have to try this soon!

  13. Sarah Williams says:

    Thanks for all your recipes and for an opportunity to win a great book.

  14. It seems like a very interesting book!!
    and the photo of the muffins is really wonderful!! 🙂

  15. This sounds like a great book to have in the kitchen.
    I’d like to be entered into the competition as well. =)

    1. You are now 🙂

  16. Feast Wisely says:

    I have been intermittent fasting for a while but have not been brave enough to last beyond 24 hours! Maybe I need this book!

    1. Oh, this book is not that hardcore, don’t worry! All of the recipes for the fasting look AMAZING!

  17. Laura Middleton says:

    I would love a copy of the gut gastronomy book. I met you you at maggies and also have a daughter whose coeliac so I think the nook would be of great interest.

    1. Some of the recipes would be very good for her. Good luck in the draw, Laura. 🙂

  18. Jen Caputo says:

    I would love to win this book. I’ve been seeing a nutritionist to work on improving my gut health because I do not seem to digest things well and she has me on a couple of probiotics. This book sounds perfect for me as I’d love to be able to manage my gut health with nutrition and not supplements.

    1. Consider yourself entered into the draw. Good luck!

  19. Lynne Bond says:

    Gut Gastronomy Book looks really good as I suffer from IBS always looking for foods to try that won’t leave me feeling bloated and lethargic 🙂

  20. I have found your site truly inspirational, weekly cooking is no longer tiresome, I look through your recipes each day (get photos), so we are always trying new meals, having said that some have become firm favourites to be repeated nearly every week. Keep it up – No Pressure !! 🙂

    1. Oh Sue, you have made my day! You have no idea how much comments like this lift my heart and reaffirm to me that what I’m doing is even slightly worthwhile. Thank you. 🙂

  21. Opps should say GREAT photos

  22. Kristyna says:

    Wow, talking about synchronicity. I somehow stumbled across this book today (thinking ooooh, my body has been asking for this, I’m gonna have to get this book) and then ended up on your website reading about it, and then bang there’s a competition and I’m just in time 🙂 Lovely website Kellie, I shall be exploring it more. Thank you 🙂

  23. They look fab, and love the sound of the book. May need to order a copy! Great review.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: