Masala Chai

Masala chai is a milky, spiced Indian tea. It’s delicious on a cold, rainy autumn or winter’s day, and also as a warming drink for your flask when out in the hills.

A variety of spices can be used and the ratios are really down to personal preference, but the mainstays are usually cinnamon, cloves, ginger, cardamom and fennel or star anise.


Makes 4 cups

  • Almond/ rice/ soy milk – 2 cups
  • Water – 2 cups
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 large slivers of fresh ginger
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch of rose petals
  • 2 teabags
  • 1 teaspoon honey per serving – optional


  1. Add the milk, water and spices to a large saucepan
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer over a low heat
  3. Add the teabags and allow to infuse for a few minutes
  4. Strain the tea into mugs
  5. Add a small amount (teaspoon or less) of honey to sweeten
  6. If you use non-dairy milks such as almond or rice (which are naturally sweet) you don’t really need to add much, if any, sweetener



Eating for the Planet


Are you confused by all the contradictory dietary advice out there?

Should you go low fat or low carb? Vegan or paleo? Ketogenic? Mediterranean? Pescatarian?

The truth is, it’s extremely difficult to prove that there’s one universal diet that’s superior to all others, certainly in terms of its effects on health and peak performance.

One thing is clear, we shouldn’t be eating the prevailing low quality Western diet, which is high in refined sugar, processed and red meat and saturated fat. This pattern of eating has resulted in 2 billion people being overweight or obese, and has fuelled the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer (1,2).

In reality, many people will derive significant health benefits if they stick to a few simple, evidence based food principles.

However, if we really want to answer the question of “what should we eat?” then we must also consider planetary health, as this is inextricably linked to our own health and survival.

And when we take the planet into consideration, the answer is very clear: we should eat a plant-based diet.

This is the conclusion of a number large-scale, mainstream scientific studies (3,4,5), including the recently published literature review by the EAT-Lancet Commission (1).

So why is a plant-based diet best for the planet?

To answer this we need to look at our current system of food production, which we now understand to be the single largest contributor to environmental degradation.

Food systems account for up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions(1,3,5). However, climate change is only part of the story. Food systems drive a range of serious environmental issues that now threaten human health and survival, including biodiversity loss, eutrophication and depletion of fresh water supplies.

Food production is the largest cause of global land-use change, with 40% of terrestrial land used for crops and grazing. This has resulted in massive biodiversity loss, to the extent that we are witnessing the Earth’s 6th Mass Extinction Event. Species are being lost 100-1000 times faster than the natural background rate. 80% of extinction threats to birds and mammals are due to agriculture (1).

The impact of humans and our agriculture is now so great that it has drastically altered the make-up of global biomass (the total weight of living matter in a given area).

Humans comprise just 0.01% of Earth’s total biomass, but our impact is disproportionately large; 96% of all mammals are either humans (36%) or our livestock (60%) – mainly cattle and pigs. Only 4% of mammals are wild. 70% of all birds on the planet are farmed poultry. Only 30% are wild (6).

Food production is responsible for 78% of eutrophication (1,5). This refers to the excessive application of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilisers, which are washed off into streams and rivers, causing algal blooms and hypoxic conditions in freshwater and marine ecosystems, which results in widespread coastal “dead zones,” devoid of aquatic life.

In areas where fish still exist, 60% of the world’s fish stocks are now fully fished, and 30% are overfished. Catches by global marine fisheries have been declining since 1996 (1).

The overall negative impacts of our food systems are very clear, but we still need to eat. So what we really want to know is: which food products are ecologically sustainable, and which are harmful.

To answer this, Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecek performed the largest study to date of the impacts of agriculture on the environment, and their results were published in Science in 2018 (5).

They undertook a global analysis of data from 38,700 farms in 119 countries, looking at 40 food products, in terms of their effects on five key environmental indicators: greenhouse gas emissions, land use, acidification, eutrophication and freshwater withdrawals.

They found that even the most sustainable animal products exceed the average impacts of plant protein. As a result, if we were to switch to a plant based diet, it would reduce land use by 76%, greenhouse gas emissions by 49%, acidification by 50%, eutrophication by 49% and freshwater use by 19%.

In countries such as the UK, Australia and the USA, where meat consumption is 3 times the global average, the effects would be even greater.

The authors concluded that moving from a meat-based to plant-based diet has “transformative potential” and that avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way we can reduce our ecological impact.

But what exactly should we eat? What does a diet that is both healthy and ecologically sustainable look like?

This key question was finally addressed by EAT-Lancet Commission (a joint project by the Norway based NGO EAT and the Lancet Medical Journal), which undertook an extensive literature review and published its results earlier this year (1).

They came up with a universal healthy reference diet, or Planetary Diet, which is predominantly plant-based, provides 2500 kcal per day, and consists largely of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and unsaturated oils. It specifies a low to moderate amount of seafood and poultry, and no or low amounts of red meat, processed meat, added sugar, refined grains and starchy vegetables.

In practice, the Planetary Diet is similar to a Mediterranean or Okinawan Diet, which for many Europeans represents quite a shift in the way they eat. It would involve a 77% reduction in red meat consumption (by allowing only 1 beef burger per week), 15 times more intake of nuts and seeds, 2 servings of fish per week, 1-2 eggs per week, and 1 glass of milk per day (or 250g of full fat milk products).

So, having read this, are you now going to adopt the Planetary Diet, or perhaps go completely vegan? Maybe not…

Behavioural change is notoriously difficult. Even if there was widespread acceptance of the problems associated with our current level of consumption of animal products, awareness of an issue is no guarantee that people will adopt a more sensible path, as most health practitioners will attest.

This is certainly true for plant-based dietary change, probably because for many societies, eating animal products is the traditional, dominant eating pattern. A rejection of meat represents a rejection of social norms. It’s also important to appreciate that food confers much more than nutritional needs. It’s a source of pleasure, personal identity and economic status. In many developing countries eating meat is aspirational and symbolic of wealth. For some people, meat is associated with masculinity.

This is borne out by studies of public perceptions surrounding food impacts and dietary change, which suggest that there can be scepticism of the scientific evidence, resistance to the concept of reducing meat intake, and that non-food related behaviour change is deemed more acceptable (7).

However, eventually a threshold is usually reached, beyond which our resistance to change is overpowered by the realisation of the gravity of a situation, accompanied by a sense of urgency; such as when a patient receives a diagnosis of a life-threatening condition and finally feels compelled to make radical lifestyle changes. Perhaps as a society we are approaching that point with environmental degradation and non-communicable diseases.

Recently it feels as if the tide may be turning, with the global support for Greta Thunberg and the climate strikes, the Extinction Rebellion protests, and the increasing cultural acceptability of plant-based eating.

Make no mistake, we have very little time left to limit climate change to a survivable level and prevent further irreversible biodiversity loss. We urgently need to make transformative changes if we hope to do this, and there is no doubt that a global shift towards healthy, plant-based diets represents a very powerful tool.

If you still need some convincing, or are finding it difficult to make the leap to a more plant-based lifestyle, here are a few tips and suggestions:

First, watch the movie “Cowspiracy” (you can find it on Netflix).

Start experimenting with plant-based eating. There are now tonnes of resources out there (even confirmed omnivorous chefs such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver are jumping on the bandwagon). The key is to find a tribe that suits you.

Personal favourites:

  • River Cottage Veg Everyday and Much More Veg
  • The Happy Pear
  • Thug Kitchen (Eat like you give a f*ck)

Get inspired and check out some incredible plant based athletes, for example:

  • Rich Roll
    • Ultra-endurance athlete
    • Author of Finding Ultra
    • Host of The Rich Roll Podcast
  • Scott Jurek
    • Elite US ultrarunner
    • Author of Eat and Run


  1. Willett W, Rockström J, Loken B, Springmann M, Lang T, Vermeulen S, et al. Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems. The Lancet. 2019 2019/02/02/;393(10170):447-92.
  2. Afshin A, Sur PJ, Fay KA, Cornaby L, Ferrara G, Salama JS, et al. Health effects of dietary risks in 195 countries, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. The Lancet. 2019;393(10184):1958-72.
  3. Aleksandrowicz L, Green R, Joy EJM, Smith P, Haines A. The Impacts of Dietary Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Water Use, and Health: A Systematic Review. PLOS ONE. 2016;11(11):e0165797.
  4. Clark M, Tilman D. Comparative analysis of environmental impacts of agricultural production systems, agricultural input efficiency, and food choice. Environmental Research Letters. 2017 2017/06/01;12(6):064016.
  5. Poore J, Nemecek T. Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers. Science. 2018;360(6392):987.
  6. Bar-On YM, Phillips R, Milo R. The biomass distribution on Earth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2018;115(25):6506.
  7. Macdiarmid JI, Douglas F, Campbell J. Eating like there’s no tomorrow: Public awareness of the environmental impact of food and reluctance to eat less meat as part of a sustainable diet. Appetite. 2016 2016/01/01/;96:487-93.


Buddha Bowl – roasted vegetables, chickpeas, satay sauce

I think I could eat a Buddha Bowl every night of the week. Endless variations on a simple theme: one third grains, one third veggies and one third protein. Then top it off with a delicious sauce.

Serves 4


Carbs/ Grains

  • Brown rice – 1 cup
  • Quinoa – 1 cup

Veggies and protein

  • Medium broccoli – half
  • Medium cauliflower – half
  • Medium carrots – 2
  • Red capsicum – 1
  • Chickpeas – 1 tin (approx 230g)
  • Cumin – 2 teaspoons
  • Coriander – 1 teaspoon
  • Smoked paprika – 1 teaspoon
  • Cayenne pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Tamari/ soy sauce – 1-2 tablespoons
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Lime -1 squeezed
  • Avocado – 1 chopped

Satay sauce

  • Almond/ peanut butter – 1/2 cup
  • Warm water – 1/2 cup
  • Japanese rice vinegar – 1/4 cup
  • Tamari (or soy) sauce – 2 teaspoons
  • Sesame oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Honey – 1 teaspoon
  • Lime juice – 2 teaspoons


  1. Rinse the rice and quinoa and place in a saucepan
  2. Cover with water and bring to the boil
  3. Once boiling, reduce the heat to minimal, place a lid on the saucepan, allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the grains to absorb for another 10 minutes or so.
  4. Meanwhile, roughly chop up the brocolli, cauliflower, carrots and capsicum and place in a baking dish
  5. Add the drained chickpeas, spices and tamari to the veggies and mix together well
  6. Place in the oven (at 180°C) and cook for 20 minutes
  7. Meanwhile, make the satay sauce…
  8. Mix together the nut butter and warm water until it has a smooth consistency
  9. Then add the tamari, sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey and lime juice and mix together
  10. After 20 minutes in the oven remove the veggies, add the garlic and mix together
  11. Bake for another 10-15 minutes
  12. Remove the veggies and make your Buddha Bowl…
  13. Place the rice and quinoa mix at the bottom of the bowl and cover with plenty of the baked veggies
  14. Top with a few table spoons of the satay sauce and some chopped avocado
  15. Finally add a few teaspoons of lime juice


Chocolate Mousse

A rich, nutty, chocolate mousse. There are other takes on the plant-based chocolate mousse but this one is a favourite, and uses silken tofu as the secret ingredient. Don’t let this put you off! (but check out this recipe for avocado chocolate mousse as well)


(Serves 4)


  • Silken tofu – 300g (drained)
  • Smooth nut butter – 100g
  • Maple Syrup – 1 tablespoon (substitution – honey)
  • Dark Chocolate –  100g (melted)
  • Chia seeds – 1 tablespoon (optional)
  • Fine sea salt – pinch

Berry Compote

  • Mixed frozen berries – 1 cup
  • Honey – 1 tablespoon (optional)


  • Place the tofu, nut butter, maple syrup, melted dark chocolate, chia seeds and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth
  • Spoon the mousse into individual bowls, cups or glasses (spatula also required)
  • For the compote, heat the frozen berries (+/- honey) gently in a  saucepan
  • Stir gently to prevent sticking
  • Allow to cool
  • Place a few spoonfuls of compote on top of the mousse
  • Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours before eating





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Nutty Chocolate Mousse

Tofu and veggie scramble

This is a great plant-based alternative to the usual go-to option of eggs on toast for breakfast or lunch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of scrambled or poached eggs, just not all the time. We also need to get over our preconceptions about tofu – it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it provides an extremely useful source of healthy protein, and is very tasty when cooked properly, especially with an asian style sauce.  Stir-frying tofu works well; marinading and baking it is even better.


  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • 1 small red or brown onion -finely diced
  • 1 small cauliflower – chopped into small floret
  • 1 red capsicum – diced
  • 2 handfuls of kale – roughly chopped
  • 225g block of extra-firm tofu – roughly chopped into walnut size pieces
  • Garlic – 2 cloves
  • Fresh ginger – 1 inch block – grated
  • Tamari  or soy sauce- 1 tablespoon
  • 1 carrot – shredded
  • Fresh coriander – 1 handful – roughly chopped


  1. First drain the tofu, wrap it in kitchen roll and place between two plates or small chopping boards. Now place a weight on top to help compress the water out. Allow 30 minutes for this if possible.
  2. Get a large frying pan or wok and cook the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes
  3. Now add the cauliflower, red capsicum and kale and stir fry for 5 minutes or so (try not to overcook the veggies)
  4. Then add the garlic, tofu, tamari and ginger, and cook for another few minutes
  5. Finally stir through the shredded carrot and coriander 
  6. Serve wrapped in flatbreads or on toast



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Tofu Scramble

Pecan and cranberry cereal bars


  • Puffed rice – 2½ cups
  • Pecan nuts (chopped) – ¼ cup
  • Cranberries (dried) – ½ cup
  • Honey – 1/3 cup
  • Tahini – ½ cup
  • Coconut oil – 3 tablespoons


  • Mix puffed rice, nuts and berries together in a large bowl
  • Place the honey, tahini, coconut oil in a saucepan and heat gently until just boiling
  • Remove from the heat and carefully pour over the dry mixture
  • Mix together and transfer to a slice tray
  • Compact the mixture down
  • Allow to cool, then place in the fridge for a couple of hours
  • It’s then ready to be sliced into cereal bars


  • Puffed millet and puffed oats can be used instead of rice
  • Try different combinations of fruit and nuts eg. chopped dried apricots, dates, dried banana, almonds, walnuts, pistachios etc



I wouldn’t exactly call scones a superfood, but they can certainly be made into a vaguely healthy snack: they’re home made, delicious, especially with home made jam on an autumn or winters afternoon, and can be easily be made dairy and gluten free.

There are countless recipes for scones, but the basic method  is extremely simple, which means you can knock out a batch in less than 30 minutes: 5 minutes preparation and approximately 20-25 minutes baking time.

Some recipes add egg to the mixture, but I’ve never found any advantage to doing this, and adding sugar is completely unnecessary – you’re about to cover them in jam!

I’ve given the basic scone recipe below, which is very quick and easy, but check out this other recipe for a more interesting variation.

Basic scone recipe:


  • Self-raising flour (gluten free works fine) – 3 cups
  • Olive oil or butter – 3 tablespoons
  • Milk (cow’s milk, rice milk, oat milk, it doesn’t matter) – 1 cup

That’s it!


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C
  2. Mix the flour and oil/ butter in a bowl
  3. Rub together with your fingers until you get a fine breadcrumb-like texture. (you can sift the flour if you want but I find it doesn’t makes a great difference to how the scones rise)
  4. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the milk
  5. Mix, just enough so you get a smooth dough, but try not to over-mix or knead
  6. Flour your hands and roll out the mixture into a slab about 3-4 cm thick
  7. Use a cookie cutter (or knife) to cut out your scones – you should get about 6-8 depending on size;  place on a baking tray
  8. Brush the tops of the scones lightly with milk
  9. Bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until a light brown colour
  10. Serve immediately with jam or honey

(Tip: pack the scones tightly together on the baking tray – they will rise better)




Random Veggie Pizza

A great way of using up excess veggies. You can make the tomato sauce (and even the dough) in bulk and freeze for future meals.


Pizza Dough

  • 250g Wholegrain Bread Flour
  • 250g Strong White Bread Flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 350ml warm water

Tomato Sauce 

  • 2 x 400g (2 tins) chopped/ whole tomatoes
  • 1 red onion – finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic – roughly chopped or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon raw sugar
  • Handful of basil leaves
  • Salt and  black pepper for seasoning

Pizza topping (suggested, but try making up your own)

  • Red onion – finely sliced
  • Mushrooms – finely sliced
  • Broccoli – chopped into small pieces
  • Red pepper – thinly sliced
  • Olives – chopped
  • Feta cheese – 125g

Pizza base:

  • Add the flour, yeast and sugar to a large bowl and mix together well
  • Then add the olive oil, salt and water, and mix into a rough dough
  • Flour your hands and place the dough onto a floured kitchen bench
  • Knead for about 5 minutes until smooth (it will be very sticky initially)
  • Place the dough into a clean bowl, and cover with a tea towel
  • Place the bowl in a warm place and allow the dough to rise for at least 1 hour
  • Once the dough has roughly doubled in size, poke it with your fingers until it collapses
  • Take your collapsed dough and cut it up into 4-5 pieces which will be used as your pizza bases

Tomato sauce:

  • Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes over a low-medium heat
  • Add tomatoes, sugar, salt and black pepper
  • Simmer for 30 minutes until you have a thick sauce
  • Tear up the basil, add to the sauce and cook for another couple of minutes
  • The sauce can be used immediately, kept in the fridge for a couple of days, or stored frozen for up to 6 months

Making up the pizza:

  • Preheat your oven to 240ºC and put in a large baking tray/ pizza tray to heat up
  • Place one of your dough pieces onto a floured sheet of baking paper and roll it out very thinly with a rolling pin to create your pizza base
  • Spread a few tablespoons of your tomato sauce over the base, not too thinly
  • Now start adding your toppings – mushrooms, broccoli, red pepper, olives etc
  • If adding onion or leek, add them last to ensure they are cooked properly
  • Remove the baking tray from the oven and slide your pizza and baking sheet onto the hot baking tray, and return to the oven
  • Cook for 7 minutes, remove, crumble over the feta cheese and return to the oven for another 3 minutes
  • Remove/ slice/ serve




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Homemade Baked Beans

Not quite as handy, but so much better than tinned baked beans.


  • 1 onion – small, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot  – medium, finely diced
  • 1 red pepper or courgette – finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 400g/ 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 x 400g/ 2 tins butterbeans
  • Tomato paste – 2 tablespoons
  • Fresh thyme leaves – 1 handful
  • Oregano – 1 teaspoon
  • Feta cheese – 100g


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a casserole/ ovenproof dish
  3. Add onion, carrot, red pepper, garlic, thyme and oregano
  4. Cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes
  5. Then add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and approximately 1/2 cup of water
  6. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes
  7. Then add the butterbeans and stir
  8. Finally, crumble the feta over the top and place the dish in the oven
  9. Bake for 30 minutes (uncovered)
  10. Serve on toast



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Homemade Baked Beans

Burrito Bowl

Essentially this a big bowl of goodness – rice, quinoa and veggies, set off with plenty of fresh herbs. As always, swaps and variations are possible; I like to add peas and tofu to the mix.

Serves 4


  • 1 small leek
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 cup quinoa, washed
  • 1 cup brown rice, washed
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 1 small can corn (160g)
  • 1/2 can black beans or kidney beans (200g)
  • 1 small red pepper, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • Small bunch each of fresh coriander, mint and parsley, chopped
  • Squeeze of lime
  • A pinch of dried chilli flakes


  1. Add the leek, garlic, cumin, coriander and smoked paprika to a large pan and soften over a low heat for a few minutes, with a splash of olive oil or water
  2. Then add the rice, miso paste and 3 cups of water
  3. Increase the heat, and bring to the boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes
  4. Then add the quinoa and simmer for another 20-25 minutes until the rice and quinoa mixture is cooked
  5. Next, add the corn, beans and pepper, and up to 1 cup of water to prevent to mixture becoming too dry
  6. Cook for another further 5 minutes, until all the water has absorbed
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and  add the chopped herbs, avocado and cherry tomatoes
  8. Finally, add a squeeze of lime and a pinch of dried chilli flakes and serve




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Burrito Bowl