Does “healthy” food have to be hard to swallow? Nick Barnard, the author of Eat Right, offers ideas for how to re-connect with the savory pleasure of nourishing food. He recommends respecting our food, infusing its preparation with love, and relishing the subsequent satisfaction it brings. He suggests that following traditional food preparation methods (like soaking nuts, and making fermented foods) deepens our appreciation of food that isn’t necessarily particularly “convenient” or “fast.” Nick offers insights on how to shift our relationship to food and “fall in love” with the good stuff all over again.
Listen to the episode here:
Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda.
What does healthy food taste like? Do we have to convince ourselves to eat it if it’s really healthy? This is episode 301 and our guest is Nick Barnard. Nick is the Cofounder of Rude Health known for its innovative and delicious nourishing foods and drinks. He is also the author of Eat Right, a cookbook that celebrates traditional foods in a modern world. Nick helps us retrieve something of what we have lost in terms of our connection with traditional food and how to prepare it and how to savor it. He reminds us that eating healthy or eating right doesn’t mean giving up flavor or pleasure. Quite the contrary, in fact. He likens our relationship with food to our most intimate relationships, rich with wonder, satisfaction, and joy.
He gives tips for how to return to this place with our food, honoring it as our ancestors did and enjoying every bite. Before we get into the conversation, I want to let you know that in April, we will be releasing two episodes per week for a time. The bonus episodes will publish on Fridays and they will be part of a vaccine track. We will focus on the ethics of the COVID injections, the health ramifications of them, what’s next on the world health agenda, and more. Follow this show on Apple Podcasts or on your favorite app so that you can get every episode we publish.
Welcome to Wise Traditions, Nick.
Thank you, Hilda. It’s a privilege to be here.
Toward the beginning of your book, you suggest that many of us go through a wide range of emotions when it comes to our relationship with food. Tell us what those emotions are and how they appear.
You can parallel one’s development with food as you can with sex in the sense that there is a lot of anxiety around what’s good and bad or what’s right and wrong. The patterns of our lifestyle that we now tend to accept as normal, which in this day and age, of course, is a super-sensitive word, let people fall into habits, which are about convenience and gluttony. There’s a pursuit of pleasures in both of those worlds of sex and food that our ancestors would be appalled by. What this does is that it throws up, particularly in a typical Western religious-based mind, all sorts of anxieties around guilt, guilty pleasures, and what’s right and wrong.
Unfortunately, the food world, in this day and age, particularly ultra-processed foods and convenience food, is about encouraging people to be feeding themselves with a frenzy in the same way as fashion and sex are all about feeding frenzy. Out of that comes the reaction of that craving, of course, is aversion and misery. What you’ve seen that for is a complete sense of loss of engagement, natural sense, and connection with both of those worlds, with sex and with food. This is rather like a Margaret Thatcher answer to a question. You may remember Margaret Thatcher’s answer to questions. Lastly, in any way that those two have diverged, we have tended in the last few generations to be ultra-careful about one sexual partner, let’s say, an ultra-naive about what you put in your body in the way of food.
That’s correcting slowly in certain circles, but the point is we make these decisions about food and sex likely in this day and age, and from that, comes confusion. Is it clean? Is it dirty? What a ridiculous thing. Yes, you could possibly argue that about bodily functions, but certainly, the idea that food is clean or dirty seems to me that black and white principle that people love, that is particularly galling when it comes to the quality of food and nourishment that should come there off.
We’re disconnected not only from our understanding of food but our understanding of ourselves. We don’t even know what we’re hungry for. We’ve outsourced our understanding of what works or what fuels or nourishes or is pleasurable even. I might say to you, “Nick, you look great. What are you eating?” I think, “You’re having that. I better eat that, too.” Not only do we look to experts, but we look to people around us to figure out what’s right for us.
That is exactly it, Hilda. If you think about the connection made for the majority, I’m not talking about those who have been connected through wonderful family relationships and wider extended family relationships with food and their sharing of food. The relationship with food is intimate with nature, which is intimate with love. We’ve allowed ourselves unwittingly to follow the craving without realizing that all it gives us, in the end, is misery. What we’re seeing is this polarizing of opinions around misery being, in effect, solved by solutions that are nothing to do with the individual. That’s done with groups, whether you’re paleo, vegan, or pescatarian.
You’ve got these molecules. You’ve got these groupings that are simplistic and people love to follow into groupings. They’re like, “I feel I am one of these people. I am one of those groups.” What we’ve lost is the individual sense, the individual consciousness of our own relationship with nature and our bodies, and therefore, within that. Our closest touchpoint to nature, particularly when most of the world is living in urban centers, 51% of the world, is that our touchpoint with nature is food. We have been in danger and have indeed, oftentimes, lost the fundamental relationship with food. Rooted in that is the fundamental relationship with ourselves and how our bodies respond to what we put in our bodies in the way of nourishment or lack of nourishment.
Nick, given the scope of this topic and this disconnect, how could you write a book called Eat Right?
It’s a punchy title. In hindsight, it’s not the right title if that supposes that I know better, which of course, for you, Hilda, I don’t know what makes you thrive. It may be that you like a high-fat diet. It may be that you like a high-carb diet. I have no idea. Each of us has, and the majority probably not, this journey to make or has had our ancestors or our families or our mothers or our parents to help us to make that journey. Eat Right came out of context. The context was that if you eat right, you will stay brilliant. In other words, if you eat right according to yourself, you will be brilliant just as you look brilliant, Hilda. I’m sure you have a profound understanding of what makes you thrive.
Therefore, if you can have the sensitivity, or if not even the sensitivity, you can begin to slow down. You sit in front of your bowl, whether it’s a bowl of porridge or it’s a bowl of miso soup, you put your hands around that bowl and hold it. You think about the relationship with that food in terms of your thankfulness. You’re beginning to start to have a relationship with food rather than consuming it as fuel. That is an unraveling of decades of misapprehension, misguided recommendations from governments, and clever advertising.
There’s a wonderful story, of course. The first advertising for food, correct me if I’m wrong, Hilda, was about novelty. We’ve been through a period of novelty and it was the slogan shot from guns. This was firing puffed rice out of cannons at the St. Louis World’s Fair because puffed rice was novel. All of a sudden, instead of having to stir porridge gruel in a pan out of a packet, there was convenience, novelty, and satiety of your craving for something new. We have come through that era and out the other side.
Unfortunately, we’ve become more polarized in terms of people wanting to follow what they feel, they want to belong to them. Whether it’s a religious sense or club sense or a passing fad sense, these are all cravings for belonging because people are not generally putting the work into it. It’s hard work identifying what makes you tick because it’s hard work to find and prepare, and then put the love into the preparation fully, and then sharing food. Buying takeaway food, convenience food is easy.
It reminds me of going back to the intimacy illustration that we started with, cheap sex. It’s not profound. It’s not life-changing. It’s superficial and it’s not weighty. It’s not keeping a relationship. It’s just a quickie with somebody, and then you’re off into the next thing. Novelty loses its luster is what I’m trying to get at.
The word that joins those two worlds of sex and food is love. When there is love, respect, and thankfulness in the preparation of food, all sorts of good things start to happen. Yes, you can say thank you for your takeaway whatever it is, your pizza or hamburger, and that can at least step in the right direction. When you take it to its further and further like working on intimacy, it’s hard work. It’s hard work to recognize your partner fully, accept, and love in the way of openness in extent of total acceptance.
If you think about how much work you put into preparation, we’re not just gathering food. You won’t have to go back to hunter-gatherer instincts. If you look at what we know of the peoples of the Great Plains of North America, their diets are extreme because they were moving around and gathering. They probably ate something like 140 different types of seeds, grains, tubers, and pulses. Everything that they did was around variety, but it was hard work. If you want to get a hunter-gathering, you go to the farmer’s market. That’s hard work than it is shopping online or going to the store.
Maybe you visit a farm. Even better. Shake the hand of the farmer, embrace him, and say thank you. That’s the most extraordinary thing to do at a farmer’s market instead of quibbling about the price. Don’t get me started about food and value. Instead of quibbling about price, you say, “Thank you for coming. Our raw milk comes 140 miles from the West Country every Saturday morning.” It brings the note to the farmer. You say thank you for these beautiful life-giving flavors, nourishing, engaging, regenerative food. Of course, I don’t know how many out of ten will be saying, “This milk is rather expensive by comparison to the commoditized, in effect, sterile substance in the store.”
Yet, as you point out in your book, the less we invest in our food, the more we end up investing in healthcare. As they say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Nourishing food can keep as brilliant.
If I may also say, if you’re from a Chinese perspective, when you’re ill, you go to the kitchen. You don’t go to the medicine cabinet. Forgive me, I don’t speak any Chinese, but the greeting in China is not, “Hello, you look well,” or not, or “What a bright day.” The greeting is, “Have you eaten?” More specifically, “Have you eaten rice?” That shows respect for feast and famine. If you think of the cycles of life in China where throughout Chinese history, 2,000 years of more or less continuous history in the Chinese mainland. You’ve got more or less every generation of famine when millions will have died. Therefore, there is respect for the gift of nature, food, and sharing. We’ve had how many generations of gluttony?
Our history is short and we have much to learn. I love that greeting. No one had ever said that to me before. I’m going to start using it with my friends. Nick, I want to pivot and go back to what you said when you mentioned raw milk. I was shocked that your book began with some recipes having to do with dairy, kefir, yogurt, and so forth. Many diets that are trending veer away from dairy. They say humankind doesn’t thrive on it. What do you say?
I don’t think you’re a medical practitioner or trained in that field, Hilda, and me neither. If you look into Britain, do you know how much time in a 5 or 6-year medical course is devoted to nutrition?
No. How long?
Half a day or a day.
Out of years of training?
Yes, and it still remains the same. It’s changing slowly and there are moves afoot to embrace nutritional awareness because a nutritionist is seen in Britain as being a rather lesser race than the egocentric medical profession. Of course, it reaches its absolute pinnacle and nadir with the most qualified, whether they’re a plastic surgeon or brain surgeon. You don’t have stomach surgeons based upon nourishment. You don’t have specialists in nourishment. You have specialists in what they call sexy stuff like brain surgery and heart surgery.
You don’t have someone who specializes in the wonders of food and our relationship with food. To come back to your point, the story of our consumption of milk goes back to the days when aurochs primitive cows were herded in the Mesopotamian region in the Middle East, what we know as the Middle East now. In those climates, they thought that they couldn’t digest raw milk. They didn’t have the necessary enzymes, didn’t have lactase, or certainly, they weren’t equipped to deal with milk sugars and milk proteins.
They would make kefir, yogurts, and yogurt-type drinks because they were more digestible having been fermented and cultured. Secondly, they would keep better in those climates. As those animals came with their pastoralists to their interface with the European man and also the undertone man, and this has been followed through in Germany with all sorts of DNA research of remains. There’d been an epigenetic change that allowed individuals to tolerate raw milk. Of course, this benefited the young, who could have immediate nourishment if their mother’s breast milk wasn’t coming or wasn’t as available.
This sense saved that epigenetic mutation. What happens is if you draw a line down from Budapest north to south in the world, more or less, everybody to the east is raw milk intolerant or milk intolerant or cow’s milk intolerant. Donkey milk, by the way, is another thing. Donkey milk is more akin to human milk. In Italy, if you’re not feeding your baby well as a mother, you can go to a chemist and they will sell you or prescribe frozen donkey milk and the same with camel’s milk. The point is that cow’s milk was suddenly a superabundant food source.
Milk is not a drink. It’s food. You have, therefore, a group of people who can tolerate it, and then you have a group of people who can’t tolerate it, and that still remains the same to this day. You fast forward into all that we know about how milk got itself a bad name, which was largely through ignorant farming practices. The farmers were ignorant. Although there was some malpractice going on. There was a misunderstanding or a lack of understanding as to what constituted hygiene and cleanliness in milking, and then in the transporting of milk with particularly the for-refrigeration.
Milk got a bad name, a bad rap around TB, and then going forward, which of course was ridiculous because they now begin to realize it was bovine TB. It’s called farmer’s lung or flu, which is something you recover from, or cowman’s flu. Most of the TB that was in milk probably came from humans. In other words, human TB that got into the milk through just bad hygiene, and that got a bad rap. Louis Pasteur, the man on his deathbed, said, “I got it wrong.”
He promulgated the idea of heat treatment. Of course, that’s been taken to its nth degree, particularly in the US with radiation of food and sterilize food. As soon as you did that, you upset the natural balance of the milk. Two or three generations later of pasteurization and the hideous homogenization and standardization of milk where it becomes an ersatz. It’s not even milk anymore. It’s an ersatz substance. People react to it. Of course, you react to it because your body is going, “I don’t recognize these fats because they’re the wrong shape. I don’t know why this is decaying food.” Why would you put it in your body, you idiot? It is, in effect, putrefying. If you put out a bowl of raw milk and you put out a bowl of pasteurized milk, one putrefies and the other turns to curds and whey. Your body is reacting against it so people get bloating. It makes them feel horrible. They don’t agree with it. It gives them a bad complexion.
No wonder milk has been demonized because it’s been taken out of the context of food and into a substance that is not nourishing, which is pasteurized, homogenized, standardized milk. Of course, don’t forget that many of us lose our ability to tolerate milk as we grow older because our ability to produce lactase diminishes some of us. I’m lucky. Although I drink less raw milk now. I tend to make more fermented dairy. I can enjoy raw milk, whereas some of us can’t enjoy it because we’ve lost our ability to produce lactose as we grow older. That generally diminishes with age. Therefore, the rise of the interest in non-milks, non-dairy substitutes, and so you have it.
What you’re saying, Nick, goes hand-in-hand with what we’ve discovered here at the Weston A. Price Foundation. I say discovered, but what I mean is we lift up the work of Weston A. Price and scientists who’ve done some study on this subject and they noticed that there are wise traditions having raw milk that is from a cow that is not in unsanitary conditions. Realizing that is a living, nourishing product compared to the dead product that is often on the supermarket shelves. It’s like night and day. Interestingly, in your book also, I saw that you had chapters and recipes having to do with fermented foods and even soaking nuts. These are wise traditions that have been lost and maybe part of the reason is we bow at the feet of King Convenience and we just want food that is quick and easy, and some of these techniques take some time.
You have the essence of it here, Hilda. The rituals that come with preparing nourishing foods are wonderful and maybe, as a man, you’ll often find that the bakers of the world are men because men, with all due respect to all men, love rituals and they love repeat. It’s repeat and rituals. There’s nothing more giving and loving than to admit to enjoying these rituals and thriving on these rituals. Every 3 or 4 days, I’ll soak some broccoli seeds and some mustard seeds and sprout them for a simple salad. That is a ritual, but it’s not a chore. It doesn’t become arduous.
You’re not having to go out and gather the seeds. We live in wonderful times in terms of these two varieties of foods. If you could only have the wit to understand how easy it is to find these, and then the insight into using them in the simplest time-honored ancestral ways. Our ancestors knew that as monogastric, our gut is fundamentally primitive and needs help. A primitive man’s way to help was cooking. Cooking allowed us, as historians of man’s history, to know that this ridiculously big and largely useless brain. A, because we don’t know how to use most of it, and B, whatever we do use is usually totally ignorant. It’s based upon profound individual naivety and ignorance.
The point is subsequently down the line, what developed was an understanding and if you look at aboriginal people who pasture this, they knew how to abide with nature. They took nature’s bounty and understood how to get the best out of it, and then to be thankful for it. As we went on into our more homesteading world, there is that sense of a true relationship with fermenting, sprouting, as well as cooking and culturing, which is part of fermenting, too. What that does is that it breaks down complex foodstuffs, whether it’s starch down to simple sugars, whether it’s lactose to break that down into simpler sugars.
These are all time-honored traditions that we have shunned for the last two generations because of convenience. We can now embrace these and do it in a way that is not as chore-like as it was. You only have to read Laura Ingalls Wilder to understand how much the children were part of the life cycle of preparing food throughout their daily lives. We can go to, whether it’s a health food store or some boutique store, buy our seeds, have a sprouting jar, and sprout wonderful living foods that our bodies can digest more easily. Once the food has been sprouted, broken, or the seed energy is being released into a vegetable.
Nascent energy has been released into a vegetable. We can access it likewise with dairy foods that we can access through fermentation and likewise with carbohydrate and grains that we can access as seeds. Get rid of those noxious poisons that are in there or latent in there that we can release, and then give ourselves food. What is extraordinary about this, Hilda, and this is something that has come over the years in the development of our food business, is that our food world, from my own point of view, is that you can, as our ancestors knew, have nourishment and flavor all in one. It isn’t just hair shirt, nourishment, and put up with the fact that it tastes unappetizing.
Each of those recipes in my book is all about flavor and the sense of joy that flavor gives you is balanced by the deep nourishment that comes, a flavor from a carrot plucked from your allotment, the public garden that you tend. That carrot picked and eaten with some earth on it, dirt on it. It’s ridiculous in America, you call earth, dirt. It’s not dirt. It’s earth. You pop that and you chew that. That’s different even from an organic carrot that’s been around 2 or 3 depot’s and it’s probably picked three weeks ago because it’s degrading. That nourishment comes from the immediacy of its freshness. Fermentation is not only giving you flavor and nourishment, but it’s giving you preservation. How clever is that?
When you were mentioning children, I was thinking about I hope parents still are including their children in the preparation of foods because that’s one way to pass on these wise traditions. That takes me to the question, what was your childhood like, Nick? Was that when the spark of interest in food and eating habits started for you?
That’s a mixed set of memories. My parents lived in the Middle East as expatriates, so I was sent to England for the right reasons, not because I was a naughty boy, from the age of eight. At this extraordinary progressive, what they call a proprietary school in England, we had the most marvelous cook, a teacher called Mrs. Street. We would go for cooking lessons every week in this specially prepared children’s kitchen and we cooked stews. We didn’t cook cupcakes. At the age of 8 or 9, we cooked omelets. We knew how to cook eggs. One of the fundamental building blocks of everybody’s diet, quite frankly, is falling back on eggs.
Every year, we make a Christmas cake, which is a fruitcake by your terminology, which was proudly taken home as food. Of course, it was sweet, but it was full of richness and pleasures for those dark winter months. That was then contrasted, Hilda, by the fact that I was at a private boarding school where for 2/3 of the year, you live on institutional food. Believe me, these were the early days of ultra-processed food. You can be sure that what wasn’t in the food was true nourishment. Certainly, I can speak of my school, but all schools, institutions would have a sanatorium, as we used to call it the san, where there was a matron and you’d go up there if you weren’t feeling so well. Perhaps you’re just missing your parents.
Anyway, the point is you go there. I can remember going there and seeing boys going in to have their boils lanced and to have spoonfuls of malt to give them nourishment. Yet, this was a long time ago since 1966, ‘67, ‘68. On the one hand, we were being taught how deep nourishment is, and on the other hand, we were being slapped onto our plates was the worst more or less institutional foodstuffs that were part of it, but it was novel, don’t forget. Instead of having to have lots of qualified cooks, this truck would appear. This was novel and fantastic. I don’t look back thinking, “This was a calumny. This was something that I should be angry about.” No. It was part of the novelty of their being convenient serving these children.
You mentioned the word novelty and it makes me think about returning to food traditions as a novelty. At least I’m seeing this in the United States. People are coming back around to making sauerkraut and baking their own bread. I don’t know if it’s because of the giant pause button that was started or hit in 2020, but I’m pleased to see this returning to something profoundly nourishing, these traditions that we need. Do you see that where you are now, too? Do you see this resurgence in interest?
Yes. A lot of it’s been hijacked by food sectarianism. My diet is superior to your diet. I’m choosing the words carefully. You can call it a diet or a way of life. That’s fine. You call it whatever you like, beliefs that you have about your foods can, of course, create all sorts of factionalism and negativity. There is a rise in that sense of awareness around food that is often going off in different directions that lead you into further confusion. Yes, there has been an increase in interest in fermentation, which is a joy to see.
Of course, don’t forget that as soon as big and middle-sized food gets hold of it, you can create kombucha for instance. By making kombucha on a large scale, and then pasteurizing it, and then adding probiotics afterward and say, “It’s full of probiotics.” It’s more enduring for you to do it yourself, but of course, multinationals or large food companies or medium-sized companies, or any food company doesn’t make money out of producing homemade kombucha. Homemade kombucha, each batch is different, and therefore, the consumer won’t accept that.
They may have different alcohol levels, so authorities won’t accept that. It will taste different, which most consumers won’t accept. Therefore, as soon as we start standardizing, you start moving away from true nourishment, but also what you’re moving away from is what in Korea you would call hand food. In Korea, food is put into large, broad generalization. Two types, hand food and mouth food. Hand food is your homemade, fermented foods, sprouted foods, foods that are cooked with love and prepared with love.
One time, I cooked mutton kari, which was then used by the English and anglicized into curry. That must have taken me 3.5 hours just to chop the garlic and the onions and so on to prepare everything. I don’t mean to put people off, but if you look in Indian households, the mature members of the households, usually the grandmothers are the ones who spent hours chopping and preparing with love. They do it out of love and the outcome is wonderful food. Of course, this is something that requires an engagement and an understanding that the pleasure is not in the food that you brought in or the restaurant food. It’s the hand food, chopping, and touch.
Let’s go right back. It’s the selection of the food. In other words, it’s fresh. Do I know where it comes from? Don’t be preoccupied to the point to which you become obsessed by it. I might be having a good feeling about this food in the sense of its original farming practice, where it comes from, and how seasonal it is. There’s the handling, washing, preparation, cutting, cooking, and then the sharing of it. By comparison, you’ve got mouth food. Mouth food is ice cream. Not homemade ice cream, but the ice cream you buy in a tub and you shove it in. That’s mouth food. There is a place for mouth food. The Koreans and everybody acknowledge that it should be 80% hand food and 20% mouth food. We’ve got 80% mouth food and 20% hand food.
Since you’ve been talking about love, what is some hand food that you love? You mentioned the mutton. Is there are a particular recipe from your book that stands out or something that you think is marvelous?
The hand food, of course, extends all the way through to preparing seeds sprouting and there’s nothing more marvelous if you slow down and admire. Be thankful for those germinating seeds and 24/7, 365 days of the year, you can sprout broccoli, and those emerging buds are a wonder. That’s hand food at its most simple. None of the recipes in my book, dear readers, take hours and hours. That was a traditional family Indian recipe from an amazing book called the Classic Indian Cooking by Julie Sahni. That contains recipes that if you were in a family in India, you get the flavors of that rather than restaurant Indian food. Having traveled in India a lot, you can be reassured that they are truly authentic.
In the book, what you will find is that if I can do them, you can all do them. Whether it’s making a simple dal, which is quick, or whether it’s making a quick chicken stew or a simple sourdough loaf or a buckwheat loaf, this is all hand food. None of which is in that book to be a chore. That’s the fundamental. If you might consider some of those in the Weston A. Price is embracing and therefore, they find the engagement with food becomes natural. Dip your toes in the Ganges of enlightenment around food.
You don’t want to be thrown in because you’ll jump out. You’ll be out of that water with bewilderment because you can’t swim. You need to dip your toe in and that may start with sprouting. It may start with making your own yogurt. There’s nothing more beautiful than making your yogurt when you can get that right amount of sourness that you want. Particularly in Britain, yogurts in Britain are unremittingly sweet because the palate of the British people has been predominantly associated with sweet flavors as the not-umami.
They put skim milk powder into yogurts. Skim milk powder, of course, is without the fat but with all the lactose. You raise the yogurt’s sweetness. If you make it yourself at home, the sweetness in the yogurt is about 4% sugar. In some of these so-called plain yogurts, it’s 11%. This isn’t about being geeky around the percentage of sugar in your yogurt. It’s about flavor and pleasure. It comes back to the original part of our conversation, which is the wonder of preparing your hand food is the sense that you can have the mouth food pleasures, but also the hand food engagement. What’s more loving than that?
Speaking of pleasure, this has been a pleasure of a conversation, Nick. Thank you. I want to pose you one more question that I often pose at the end. If the reader could do one thing to improve their health, what would you recommend that they do?
This sense of wonder, enchantment, and thankfulness for nature, which we as citizens, largely urban citizens, can only return through food. In other words, thankfulness and blessing for the food. All the way down the line to the farmers. When you come across and you have the joy of whether it’s natural wines, which we could have a whole other podcast on, whether it’s fresh salads or fresh foods or market garden foods, or whether it’s dairy or meat, whatever it is that you like. You have that ability to shake the hand, look the farmer in the eye, and see how regenerative his practices are full of thankfulness. All the way back down the line to the table, thankfulness for this wonderful connection with nature through food.
Thank you, Nick. We are grateful for you.
You’re welcome. Thank you, Hilda.
Our guest was Nick Barnard. A little-known fact about Nick. In 2013 and also in 2019, a world first, he was crowned World Specialty Porridge Champion, and yet, he continues his quest for the Golden Spurtle. We wish him all the best in his quest. He is the guy and he even gave us a recipe for Coconut Chicken Soup. Learn more from Nick at RudeHealth.com.
This flavoursome recipe is quick and easy to make and combines the therapeutic powers of chicken stock with the nutrient dense wonders of coconut. Coconut has been an everyday food and ingredient for millennia in the tropics. Only relatively recently has it acquired super food status amongst the health and fitness fraternity.
The creamy rich texture, taste and satiety of creamed coconut comes from its high fat content – it’s 60% fat, of which 92% is saturated fat. These extremely nourishing medium-chain fatty acids will not only strengthen the immune system, but also offer potent antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial benefits, as well as a providing a quick source of energy. Coconut is also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and iodine. In combination with the chicken stock, otherwise known as Jewish penicillin, it’s a delicious, easy to digest comforter for colds and a sore throat.
I litre chicken stock
350g whole organic coconut milk or 225g of creamed coconut
5g/1 teaspoon freshly grated organic ginger
Juice of 1 unwaxed or organic lemon
Flaked or grey sea salt
Organic flat leaf parsley
Simmer the stock
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer, and if necessary, skim off any foam. Add the coconut, lemon juice and ginger.
Continue to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, and taste for salt before serving with some finely chopped flat leaf parsley.
- Use fish sauce (Nam Pla) instead of sea salt
- Finish with a combination of finely chopped organic coriander leaves and spring onions
- Add heat by cooking with some very finely chopped red chillies
- Make the soup with venison or fish stock
- Make sure your coconut milk is whole, and contains no additives. Creamed coconut is finely ground fresh coconut meat pressed into a block form, and will be found in the chilled section of Asian/Indian food stores and many health/organic shops.
About Nick Barnard
Nick Barnard co-founded Rude Health in London in 2005 with his wife Camilla. Rude Health is renowned for its innovative, delicious and nourishing foods and drinks, winning scores of awards for taste and ethical standards. Nick is the inspiration behind the Rude Health rants, and is well-known for his infectious enthusiasm for traditional food and drinks. In 2013 and also in 2019, (a world first) Nick was crowned World Speciality Porridge Champion, yet continues his quest for the Golden Spurtle.
The writer of more than 16 non-fiction titles, in 2016 Nick released his first cookbook, Eat Right, an inspirational and upbeat celebration of positive eating. Nick’s book offers truly achievable and simple ideas, recipes and advice on how to be nourished by traditional foods in a modern world. Eat Right has won acclaim from food writers and chefs across the UK including Cyrus Todiwala, Diana Henry, Gizzi Erskine and Joanna Blythman. Eat Right was a nominee for a 2018 James Beard Award, the Oscars of the food world.
Nick is also a stunt pilot in rude health, flying historic Boeing Stearman Biplanes for the WingWalk Team.