How many of you agree that consuming processed, fat-free foods is probably the most frightful thing you could do to yourself?
Take fat-free yogurt as a simple example; the ones that have slender, gorgeous ladies advertised all over the packaging. I can promise you one thing: these ladies are not eating that yogurt to get that figure. Fat Free anything, in this case yogurt, will have copious amounts of added sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and all kinds of preservatives and additives that will only work against your slimming goal! And, whatever you do please stay away from the ones with all the fruit! Get a natural, full-fat yogurt (Greek style is great), add some fresh fruit(s) of choice, maybe some mixed nuts, flaxseed etc., drizzle with honey and wow only five minutes wasted.
I’m not a fitness instructor, I’m not a nutritionist or a health-freak for that matter. I just read the labels. Along with common sense, it’s enough to steer me back to reality and to the “as-nature-intended” products!
So, why am I ranting? Well because I really want to know what you think about fat free foods…but also because I’m trying to make a point that, for example, this lentil salad which by the way only takes twenty-five minutes to make, is clearly much better for you than fat-free beef stroganoff (I’ve seen a few scary recipes in my time!), or fat-free ranch dressing (if you eat that then consider yourself on a suicidal mission), and OMG what the hell is fat-free chocolate cake? Cringe!
Not all fat is equal and of course it’s the processed fats that are the harmful ones. Keeping to a wholesome diet of fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, seeds, and berries- otherwise known as whole foods, is key to keeping you feeling balanced and in form.
I know summer is on the horizon and I could do with shedding some of those winter warmers I happily piled on. However, I will not be sucked into eating processed, fat-free or low-fat food that tastes nothing like it’s supposed to. All that will do is propel me to eat more and more of it, in an agonizing effort to satiate the craving for the real thing while totally polluting my body. That spells insanity for me! So, do yourself a favor and make this salad, then have yourself a luscious slice of chocolate cake or have a good-quality, real chocolate bar and follow it with a twenty minute stroll. I guarantee you’ll go to bed happy!
Whatever you do, don’t do what my hubby does and that is to have five processed chocolate bars a day. Now that could explain the root of this post… (hope this doesn’t get me in trouble).
Halloumi is a traditional Cypriot cheese that is also popular around Lebanon and the Middle-East (Note: Cyprus is an island that is about 129 miles/208 km from Lebanon). Halloumi cheese is traditionally made from a mixture of sheep’s & goat’s milk, is salty and has a texture similar to mozzarella. What’s unique about this cheese is that it has a high melting point making it ideal for grilling or frying. The Cypriot Halloumi (with a capital H) is a PDO product (Protected Designation of Origin).
Zaa’tar is a savoury blend of herbs and spices typically including dried wild thyme, toasted sesame seeds, sumac and salt. It has an earthy & pungent flavor. In Lebanon and around the Middle East, Zaa’tar is traditionally enjoyed at breakfast with a variety of cheese or spread onto breakfast pizzas (Manakeesh) which are also popularly consumed throughout the day. You can make your own mix at home or can be found in most Middle-Eastern stores otherwise I’ve been told Waitrose.
- 200g or 1¼ green lentils, rinsed well
- 12-15 cherry tomatoes
- 3 sprigs of green or spring onion (more or less to taste)
- 100g of Halloumi cheese, chopped into 1 cm cubes
- a handful of rocket leaves (or a mix of herbs)
- 2 tablespoons za’atar mix
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 45 ml of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Cover lentils with water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or till they are soft but not mushy. It’s best to read the directions on the carton/bag.
- Pre-heat over to 325F/160C/3G and pop the tomatoes in to a baking pan, drizzle with a little olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and bake till soft about 15 minutes.
- In the mean time, prep all the ingredients like chopping the green onions and Halloumi cheese.
- Lightly drizzle a chef pan with some olive oil and place on medium flame then add Halloumi cheese and let it crisp on each side for about 5 minutes.
- By now the lentils should be ready so drain them. Remove the tomatoes from the oven. Mix all the ingredients together then at the end add the rocket and enjoy with crispy Arabic bread or a side of grilled fish or chicken.
- Enjoy warm or cold.