LIVE LONGER. LIVE BET­TER

In­crease your life­span and op­ti­mise your health with whole­some, plant-based recipes from the The Healthspan So­lu­tion for a longer and more vi­brant life. By Priyanka El­hence

Epicure - - COOKBOOK CRITIC -

Healthspan is the pe­riod of life spent in good health, free from chronic dis­eases and aging dis­abil­i­ties. We are liv­ing in a so­ci­ety where ev­ery­thing re­volves around food. So it’s quite apt when authors and lead­ing plant-based nu­tri­tion ex­perts Julieanna Hever and Ray

Cro­nise say in the in­tro­duc­tion to their lat­est cook­book, The Healthspan So­lu­tions, “Food is prob­a­bly the single life­style mod­i­fi­ca­tion any­one can make to sig­nif­i­cantly in­crease healthspan and add qual­ity years of en­joy­able life to the end.”

The duo hits the nail on the head when they say that one of the big­gest prob­lems in chang­ing di­ets is the fact that the word 'diet' is syn­ony­mous with weight loss; and that sus­tain­ing a caloric deficit and eat­ing for healthspan and weight main­te­nance are two com­pletely un­re­lated goals and phys­i­olo­gies. Af­ter hav­ing spent over a decade re­search­ing diet and nu­tri­tion, analysing longevity stud­ies, and help­ing their clients achieve sus­tain­able, last­ing health ben­e­fits by adopt­ing a whole food, plant-based diet, comes The Healthspan So­lu­tion. 100 or­di­nary, sus­tain­able plant-based recipes to choose from. mod­elled af­ter the same healthy, eat­ing habits – not be­cause I as­pire to live to a 100, but be­cause I was in­trigued to see what such a sim­ple, yet whole­some diet would en­tail. For once, it was all about healthy ingredient­s rather than com­pli­cated cook­ing tech­niques.

Un­like other cookbooks that cat­e­gorise recipes into spe­cific meal op­tions, the choices herein are re­fresh­ingly or­gan­ised into the 4S’s - soups, sal­ads, sides and sweets.

My first choice was the Gar­licky “Gin­ger” Zoo­dles, with mushrooms, red cab­bage and home­made dashi. I was more than ex­cited to try out a single-dish recipe that was brim­ming with so many su­per­foods. If you can’t get your hands on wood ear mushrooms, a sim­ple sub­sti­tu­tion to shi­itake mushrooms as rec­om­mended work out per­fectly well too. Es­sen­tially in­spired by a healthy Ja­panese noo­dle soup, zoo­dles are used in place of soba or ra­men, while gin­ger, gar­lic, miso, nori, mushrooms and dashi com­plete the dish. It was almost hard to be­lieve that some­thing so nour­ish­ing and com­fort­ing could be so easy.

I then de­cided to road test the recipe for the fiery, but vi­brant Guay Tiew Tom Yum, in­spired by Thai­land’s most pop­u­lar hot and sour soup. Again, very mush­room heavy (read su­per healthy), my in­ter­est was piqued when I read of umami notes com­ing from home­made Magic Mush­room Pow­der, and that the broth was a choice of co­conut wa­ter or a richer, home­made cashew cream. While both ver­sions work well, I pre­ferred the lighter co­conut wa­ter, es­pe­cially with the ad­di­tion of rice noo­dles, as the heaty notes were less muted against the creamy good­ness of the cashews. And a sprin­kling of the umami mush­room pow­der re­ally does add depth to the dish. Hon­estly, once again, there was noth­ing com­pli­cated or de­mand­ing about this recipe ei­ther, and yet know­ing how healthy it was, made me ques­tion my­self why my own home cook­ing wasn’t like this more of­ten.

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