Healthy Vietnamese food at Viet Grill and a hangover-fix-it smoothie

20131219-151119.jpg
What can be better for your health than having a great meal out with friends…..not much! A good laugh is both calming and healing!

Instead of opting for Christmas food so close to the big jingle bells day, I meet a group of friends for Vietnamese at Viet Grill in Shoreditch on Monday. Always great to stock up on some healthy stuff before all the heavy sugar laden food comes out at Christmas.

However I started my meal with a Vijito. Viet grills cocktails are amazing!!!! ( and now maybe you understand why the title indicates that I have come up with a hangover cure drink ; ) This beautiful cocktail had a whole passion fruit in it, soo yummy!

Vietnamese food is generally very healthy. The main staples are herbs, lots of vegetables and seafood and it’s generally broth based. The only possibly negative health aspect of vietnamese food is the usage of MSG. The usage of MSG is highly controversial and it’s difficult to find out if it’s bad for your health and if so, how bad? Apparently FDA has claimed it is safe in small doses since 1959. Read more in this interesting article by John Mahoney. Others claim it is very harmful to your health. I’m going down the route of eating as little as possible of it but if I once in a while eat a little bit of it, so be it. Viet grill told me that they use very minimal amounts of MSG and only in a few dishes (soups). Their aim is to get rid of it completely next year. Fine by me.

We had a mix of starters and they were all delicious but what stood out the most were the fresh vegetables spring rolls. Lots of raw vegetables crammed into featherlight rice paper. And the dipping sauce, ah the dipping sauce…..And it’s incredibly refreshing to eat uncooked spring rolls. Definitely a favourite of mine!

20131219-151206.jpg
For main it was equally easy to find something very healthy, I opted for the wokked monkfish and shiitake. Lovely, fresh and filled with nutritious shiitake mushrooms. I personally would have preferred a bit more fresh herbs in my dish but that’s coming from someone who eats half a packet of coriander with my Pad Thai….Other things that I have tried before are La Vong Grilled Monkfish (starter) They cook it at your table so it’s certainly fresh and very tasty. I have also had the soft shell crab curry which was outstanding. My mouth is watering just writing about it, definitely going back soon.

So to sum it up; lovely atmosphere, great staff, fresh and healthy food and dangerously good cocktails! If you end up having one too many, here’s the rescue plan for the day after;

20131219-230756.jpg

Perfect hangover cure!
Coconut water, banana, strawberry and mint smoothie

1 cup of Unoco coconut water
1 cup of frozen strawberries
1 teaspoon maca powder
1 banana
1 1/2 teaspoon of honey
A couple of leaves of mint

Blend it all and make sure it’s cold ( put in fridge or add some ice-cubes ) A good idea is to make a double portion and sip throughout the day

20131219-230739.jpg
When hungover the body needs to replenish the potassium that has been lost. Coconut water contains a lot of potassium. So does bananas and honey. Maca powder is great for an energy boost. I use the Unoco coconut water because unlike most other brands it hasn’t been heat-treated or pasteurised hence none of the anti-oxidants have been lost. Unoco uses high pressure processing (HPP) in order to give the coconut water shelf life without loosing any nutrients! Clever…… Strawberries also has loads of anti-oxidants and they will be needed if you had one festive drink too many!

Advertisements

Dinner by myself and a mozzarella, quinoa, peach, chilli and pomegranate salad!

image

I was left on my own last night, husband went to the pub!!!! So had to cook for me, myself and I which I hate. My default food for when I have to eat on my own is usually gnocchi since I love it and husband hates it but gnocchi just feels too stodgy so decided to try something a bit healthier ( I will go on a search for a healthier gnocchi some other day ) Used whatever I could find in the fridge and this is what I came up with. Because of the quinoa it was really filling despite being a salad and all the goodie goodies gave it the comfort factor one needs on a cold day like yesterday ! ( It seems like summer is truly over : (

image

serves 1
2 handfuls of spinach
1/2 cup of quinoa ( I used a mixture of red and white)
2/3 of a mozzarella ball
1 peach
1/4 of an avocado
1/4 of a pomegranate ( to be prepared earlier )
A decent sized handful of mint
1/2 of a red chilli
1 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil

image

Start by preparing the pomegranate. Link on how to do it. I usually after step 3 put the pomegranate in a bowl of water for 15 min and then de-seed it. It makes it easier.
Wash the spinach and cook the quinoa according to instructions. Chop the chilli and mint and mix with the olive oil. Cut the peach in slices leaving the skin on and cut the avocado in 1 1/2 cm cubes. Tear the mozzarella into pieces. Mix everything together. Finish off the pomegranate and sprinkle over salad

Pomegranate – has been called a super food. Super foods are called super foods because they are super stuffed with healthy stuff. Isn’t that super duper!  No difference with pomegranates, high in vitamin c, high in anti-oxidants, good source of fibre (both soluble and insoluble) and a whole other range of other vitamins and minerals. But there has also been quite a few studies showing that pomegranate juice can possible be effective against various cancers ( mainly prostrate) Study through NHS

Quinoa – It’s a complete protein, contains all nine amino acid so great to eat if you are a vegetarian or doing sports. Rich in fibre, iron, B2. It’s also gluten-free