It’s coming up to six months since having my latest brain surgery (hopefully not to undergo anymore, fingers crossed), although I’m not fully back to health, I feel like I should help my body from within especially when I’m limited physically. This want I have to be heathy isn’t purely because of the issues with my noggin but also a sense of new year optimism that most of us feel, promising to look after our bodies in the hope for long lasting health and slimmer waists. I recently got the new Hemsley + Hemsley cookbook called The Art of Eating Well, it’s full of tempting recipes and beautiful imagery, which I’m hoping is going to inspire me for that change I need.
I was a little daunted at first as I have to admit my diet has turned into constant comfort eating which isn’t doing me any favours, these hips don’t lie. Reading through the book it’s quite clear that the sisters Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley are there to guide and educate us into a healthier life, not to mention that the recipes seem to be relatively easy.
“The Classic Green Cleansing Juice” was the first recipe I tried from the book, it tasted incredible and full of flavour, the herbs and veg are the stars of this juice. I felt weirdly obsessed with learning more and shameful that it’s taking me this long to eat for my wellbeing. Having had so many operations in my life, not to mention spending 52 days in hospital last year, my body needs a little help and if I can eat my way to feeling a bit better then I’m game.
I got in touch with the Jasmine and Melissa to ask a few questions and understand a little more about the art of eating well.
Melissa (left) and Jasmine (right)
Tell me about your book. What inspired you to write it?
We’ve always loved food and early on realised the relationship between food and good health. Seeing how it had become very confusing with so many different diets and ideas on ‘clean eating’ out there inspired us to make healthy food that was as delicious as it was good for you. All too often health food is tasteless and uninspiring, but we’re all about taste – food can be delicious and nutritious at the same time! Experiencing different cuisines while travelling as well as taking on board requests from our readers and clients constantly inspires us. We love the challenge of reworking their favourite recipes to make them healthier and more nutrient-dense by making clever use of whole foods to reinvent classics. Our fudgy brownies are made from black beans, spaghetti from courgette (Courgetti) and we use cauliflower or chickpeas to make pizza bases. The Art Of Eating Well is a guide to eating great, simple home food and is full of over 150 delicious recipes.
The Art of Eating Well, from Amazon
What are the health benefits of green juices and smoothies?
A homemade green vegetable based (rather than fruit) juice or smoothie allows you to concoct a bespoke nutritional hit which you can drink on the go. Our favourite is the green smoothie – you can mix it up with different vegetables and organic supplements and done right it’ll keep you sustained for hours. They’re a great way to get those all-important greens, essential fats and proteins in at breakfast – and all under the guise of something creamy and delicious!
Do you have any advice for people who are embarking on a juicing cleanse?
More often than not, commercial juices and most juice recipes are based on fruit. This means fast-absorbing sugars that can cause unwanted dips in blood sugar and in turn energy levels, so stick to mostly green vegetables to avoid this. We love to sip a fresh vegetable juice for a hit of vitamins and minerals and as a fantastic alternative to a coffee or social drink, but we don’t believe in using juice cleanses as part of a binge and detox cycle. Instead, we always recommend a combination of soups and juices as a reset and reboot for your diet as soups are very supportive and nourishing, helping your body do what it does best. We see soups as a warming hug in a mug – something we certainly need living in the Northern hemisphere where grey days are more frequent than not! Juice cleanses are highly detoxifying which can add a strain on the body if trying to team this process with a busy work schedule and day-to-day life. While juice cleanses can work well for some, they’re better suited for a holiday where you have ample time for rest, relaxation and reflection.
Soups on the other hand are nourishing, supporting the body’s functions and one of the oldest foods around! A vegetable-packed soup based on homemade bone broth provides vitamins, minerals, protein and keratin – building blocks for your body – and it’s also a soothing and filling way to start your day. We recommend combining these delicious and satisfying soups with juices, green smoothies, salt baths and a good sleep as a regular self-care routine you can weave into your daily life. We find many of our clients swear off juice cleanses and extreme detoxes, and the guilty back and forth from one extreme to the other, once they experience the benefits of vegetable bone broth soups!
It’s fantastic that you promote healthy eating and wellbeing, do you ever have a cheat day?
This is something we’re often asked, but honestly with our reworked comfort foods we never really feel like we’re missing out. We make delicious succulent burgers whether it’s grass-fed meat or from black beans and feta, enjoy celeriac chips cooked in ghee and delicious puddings and pizzas that all hit the spot – and we’re never far from a bar of 85% dark chocolate…If we’re eating out then we choose somewhere with a real food ethos but if we can’t pick then we don’t stress. Eating well most of the time means that we’re better equipped to deal with the croissants that occasionally cross our path/jump into our mouth!
We have an 80/20 guideline, something we expand on in our book, The Art Of Eating Well. The human body is amazing and If you feed your body the good stuff 80% of the time it can cope a lot better with the bad stuff. The trouble is a lot of people have the ratios flipped and that’s when you start to encounter problems. In avoiding processed foods you can steer clear of the guilt and discomfort often associated with it – make eating well a consistent part of your life and enjoy your guilty pleasures now and then!
Your favourite recipe in the book?
Bone Broth is a key recipe in The Art Of Eating Well and one which is used within many of our other recipes too. It’s a fantastically frugal ingredient that makes for sustainable, healthy home cooking and it’s also a great way to enjoy more protein on the cheap. Most importantly, it has numerous health benefits; packed with vitamins, minerals, collagen and keratin, bone broth works wonders for skin, digestion and even the dreaded cellulite. We use it as the base for many of our soups, stews and dahls.
Another favourite is our Beef Ragu with Courgetti, which has become a real signature dish since launching the Hemsley + Hemsley Spiralizer earlier this year. The spiralizer is ideal for those wanting to reduce the amount of refined and glutinous food in their diet. For our beef ragu, we like to squeeze in as many vegetables as possible to make the meaty sauce go further, even using courgettes again and carrots for added sweetness. It’s also a good place to hide a nutritious chicken liver – finely dice and cook the liver with the sauce for a rich flavour.
What’s next for Hemsley + Hemsley?
We’ll be travelling across Europe for the translated editions of our book The Art Of Eating Well, as well as Australia and back to America for the US edition. We’ve almost finished writing our second cookbook which will be out in 2016!
Further down the line, we’d love to create Hemsley + Hemsley wellness hubs for teaching and sharing. We’ve started already with our small urban weekend retreats called The Mind Body Reset, which we host with our friends Yasmin Sewell and meditation teacher Gary Gorrow, so that’s the focus and the dream!
I’m sharing a recipe from the book (also found on vogue.co.uk), it’s incredible and can be made into a soup too!
Ingredients, serves 2 people (use organic ingredients where possible)
1 apple, 100g
2 sticks of celery
Half a cucumber
70g spinach or kale
Half an avocado
12g ginger, peeled
3 tablespoons of lemon juice/juice of a lemon
1.25 cups of filtered water
5g dried dulse – we like Clearspring
1 teaspoon of super green powder (chlorella, spirulina etc) – we like Naturya, or for a blend try Maximum Recovery Organic Super Mega Greens or Viridian Soul Food Greens Powder
To make it into a soup
1 large clove of garlic
1 tiny pinch of cayenne, to taste
2 medium spring onions
1 pinch of sea salt, to taste
Wash all of the fruit and veg.
Add the dulse and spirulina to the blender.
Chop the veg and apple and place in the blender with the green leaves, avocado, ginger, parsley, lemon juice and most of the water, pulse a few times and blend until smooth. Add more water to achieve desired consistency.
Add the savoury ingredients if you want a gazpacho.
I’d love to hear from my readers if you’ve tried any recipes from the book, how has it helped you? I’m far from becoming a health guru and this will be challenging for me but I’m excited, let’s look forward to feeling the benefits from the art of eating well!
Thank you so much Jasmine and Melissa, I’m taking the advise on board and going to spirilize everything, boil up those bones and get my green veg on!
The Art of Eating Well by Melissa and Jasmine Hemsley. Published by Ebury Press, RRP £25
Photography by Nick Hopper
Kale image by myself