Tuesday, 04 April 2017 05:19

Eat Clean

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Eat Clean
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Since appearing on My Kitchen Rules in 2013, Luke Hines’ star has continued to rise. Here, the celebrity cook and personal trainer talks with Lara Bailey about creating food that is as healthy as it is delicious, and committing to a healthy living plan.

When Luke Hines and Scott Gooding took on the challenge of competing in reality cooking show My Kitchen Rules (MKR), some commentators – and fellow contestants – were dubious the super-fit personal trainers could create delectable dishes without the usual lashings of sugar and fat that make most indulgent meals so appealing. After a highly successful run though (the duo, who were known as the ‘nice guys’ of the competition, finished third on the leaderboard), it turned out MKR was the perfect vehicle for the health and fitness enthusiasts to take their message to a broader audience. Hines has gone on to be a trainer on Australia’s Next Top Model, and was a finalist in the 2015 Celebrity Men’s Health Man of the Year award.

Now, several years and cookbooks later, both Hines and Gooding have maintained a high profile, educating fans about the benefits of ‘clean’ eating and an active lifestyle. With his latest book, Eat Clean, on shelves now, Luke Hines takes the opportunity to talk Queensland Kitchen + Bathroom Design readers through his top tips for remaining motivated when it comes to banishing bad food.

KEEP IT CLEAN

Hines explains the recipes in Eat Clean – and his approach to food more generally – are focused on creating enticing meals without loading up on nutrient-deficient ingredients.

“My food philosophy is all about celebrating the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and avoiding any foods that can cause ... harm or inflammation. Everyone is different, but I think a great starting point for resetting your health is focusing on an abundance of vegetables, fresh fruits, sustainable sources of protein from land and sea animals, [and] nuts and seeds. I’d much rather fill my plate with crispy broccolini cooked in garlic and bacon instead of a plate full of pasta that is low in nutrients and doesn’t lead to me feeling my best.”

Describing the recipes in Eat Clean as “delicious and achievable”, Hines says the book caters to a host of food concerns, as well as providing a healthy alternative to popular dishes like sliders, tiramisu, and hot cross buns.

“Eat Clean is by far my most extensive book [yet], and one that really represents me on a plate, so to speak! The food is bright, fun, and achievable – exactly how I want people to feel in the kitchen. Health starts in the kitchen, so I have written this book to empower people to feel confident and happy ... cooking real food from scratch that tastes great but is good for them as well.

“This book is about getting people excited [about] food again, as it is something that can give us incredible health and happiness. It’s time to eat clean, guys!”

The most important thing, he says, was to create a book with attainable recipes that will actually be replicated, as opposed to simply decorating the bookshelf.

“So many people buy cookbooks for the pretty pictures and never end up making anything from them,” he says.

“They end up collecting dust on the shelf. The audience for this book is those people who want to cook an abundance of recipes from it each week. The book is practical; it’s realistic, and it’s for anybody wanting to make smarter choices about what they eat without needing fancy ingredients or hundreds of items per dish.

It is uncomplicated, unpretentious and full of flavour, and [ideal] for anyone who wants health and flavour on the same plate.”

SPREADING THE WORD

Hines reflects fondly on his time on MKR, which helped him create a profile and reach a bigger audience with his healthy living philosophy.

“My time on MKR was fun; I had an absolute ball! It was six full-on months of filming, travelling and eating. It was [equal parts] fun and stressful, to be honest. You live this life of extremes where the wins are very high, but the anxiety of potentially being eliminated sits with you all day and night.

“My time on the show gave me a wonderful stepping stone to what I am doing today. My first book deal came as a result of the show, and a number of awesome ambassador opportunities resulted. People often ask if I would do it again and I would, absolutely! It taught me a lot about food, but also myself and my friendship with my teammate Scott. We became a lot closer throughout the process, which was awesome.”

Hines says MKR was the perfect way for he and Gooding to “shout from the rooftops” about how delicious healthy food can be. With the proliferation of cookbooks, Instagram accounts, and cafés and restaurants around Australia devoted to ever-healthier ingredients and processes, it’s a good time to be in the game.

“My passion for cooking is very much aligned with my passion for looking after my health. Having spent more than ten years as a personal trainer, I learnt to understand the importance of proper nutrition for not only training [for] specific goals, but [also having] a happy and healthy life. Food has such a strong connection to how we look, feel and perform, and once we understand the positive and negative effects of certain foods, we can truly take our health into our own hands – and I find this really exciting! At the end of the day, it is one of the things we have that we can control.”

FUN AND FLAVOURSOME

Recipes associated with healthy eating have come a long way since low-sugar, low-fat dishes were packed with nutrients but sorely lacking in flavour. Eat Clean taps into the meals and snacks Australians love, so that we can enjoy our most beloved dishes without compromising on taste. Not having to choose between delicious meals and a svelte figure – it’s win/win!

One of the most indulgent and certainly sugar- laden food groups – desserts and sweets – are covered extensively, so there’s no excuse for sweet tooths not to adopt a better recipe for their favourite treats. From black forest cake to fudge, and ice-cream to caramel slice, sweet-tooths are well catered for. Additionally, on-trend foods, like choc-espresso and matcha green tea bites, make an appearance.

While Hines is, naturally, a fan of all the recipes, he reluctantly admits to having a favourite.

“It’s a hard question; I love so many of them! I would have to say it’s the one-bowl brownie. This recipe shows how you can have a decadent dessert that is full of flavour, [which] celebrates nutrient-dense ingredients but is dairy-free and gluten-free! And, as its title suggests, it only needs one bowl, and for someone like me who really doesn’t like doing [the] dishes, it’s easy to clean up after yourself. I’ve made it for a few friends’ parties and it’s a sure-fire hit!”

In addition to being mindful of our long-term health – and our waistlines – many people have allergies to manage when cooking, which can mean missing out on certain dishes. Hines has been attentive to this in creating these recipes, to ensure they are accessible to everyone.

“I use the term ‘eat clean’ because it encompasses any preferred diet or lifestyle choice,” he says.

“Although my recipes are predominately paleo- friendly, they are also perfect for vegans, vegetarians, and celiacs, so it’s about making sure the terminology I use is inclusive of all lifestyle choices [and requirements]. And regardless of what lifestyle choice you identify with, the recipes are unprocessed, unrefined, and always gluten-free, dairy-free, and free of refined sugar.”

If you’re considering joining the healthy food movement but aren’t convinced, Eat Clean is a great way to go. You can still enjoy a range of food without feeling like you’re missing out, but improve your diet in the meantime.

As Hines explains, “the best way to truly transform your life is by cleaning up your diet in a way that is enjoyable and sustainable [for] you”.

“There is no right or wrong way, and it will be different for everyone, but one thing we do have to do is make it something we are likely to want to keep doing. It’s about small incremental changes each and every day that lead to lifelong healthier habits.”

“We will never be perfect, but it is about doing our best, and never forgetting why we are doing it.”

All images taken from Eat Clean by Luke Hines

 

Read 165 times Last modified on Friday, 05 May 2017 02:12