In a county where more than 60 species of fresh fish are landed daily, foraged seaweed is on the menu – and kitchen gardens have turned food miles into food metres – it’s no surprise the clean food movement is taking off in Cornwall…
Surfing, paddle boarding, walking, swimming or simply lying on the beach soaking it all in – whatever your favourite activity, healthy living is big business in Cornwall. And healthy and environmentally-friendly food is an important part of that.
But is clean eating a hipster foodie fad or a healthy eating programme? The jury sitting on the trial by media seems to be out, but what we do know is that clean eating dates back to the food revolution of the 1960s when foods became more packaged and processed with chemicals for easy cooking and a longer shelf life. Clean food today is increasingly used to describe food that is healthy, whole and unprocessed, proscribing refined foods – and pretty much anything that comes in a bag, a box, a can or a package. If your shopping trolley (or organic food box) is packed with super foods that not only satisfy the need for energy without negative effects but that also contain ingredients that boost the immune system and offer other physical benefits you are probably already eating pretty clean even if you don’t call it that.
Cornwall is packed with vegan and vegetarian restaurants – delis and bakeries promoting fresh, healthy, homemade foods – and there’s even a clean Cornish pasty recipe you can try.
Among the Cornish companies leading the vanguard is Cusgarne Organic Farm boxes – if clean eating is about reducing your packaged food consumptions – than this box of goodies is the only one you’ll need.
‘We always feel our best when we eat properly, drink enough water and sleep well,’ says Zennor Pascoe from Cusgarne. ‘The demands of modern life can mean that we often work long hours, get run down and dehydrated and it’s so easy to reach for a coffee and a chocolate bar when that happens, but it never helps.’
Nutritionist Amanda Forster-Searle runs Nourish Kitchen (nourishkitchen.net) tells me the focus should therefore be a relaxed transition to a different lifestyle rather than a short term diet. ‘These days we are far too inclined to try and give everything a label, often adopting too rigid a way of being, and therefore not allowing ourselves to be more in tune with what messages our bodies may be giving us as individuals,’ she explains. ‘Like most things in life there is no “one size fits all” and our nutritional needs will differ often from the next person, and at different stages of our life too.
‘The intent behind clean eating is decidedly simple, encouraging focus on eating “real” foods, which are unprocessed or very minimally processed. By removing toxicity from processed foods, gluten and refined sugars, and minimising animal products your digestive system will work a lot more efficiently, and therefore may help you manage your weight effectively too,’ she explains. ‘A simple healthy approach is to look at gradual changes to how you eat, and think more mindfully of your choices, what’s in your food and where it’s come from.’
Among the many clean food products on offer in Cornwall is Je Tam which has been producing ‘clean and raw’ desserts, truffles, protein balls, scones and burgers at Foundry Farm in Hayle since 2014. Je Tam aims to create delicious food which satisfies sweet-tooth cravings, but which is also free from sugar, wheat, gluten and dairy. Experimenting with whole foods such as nuts, seeds and fruit – as well as natural oils, they has created a tasty range to cater for people with multiple and complex food allergies as well s the growing advocates of clean eating.
Je Tam is the brain-child of Tam Schallhorn who supplies cafés, delis and health food stores across West Cornwall.
Je Tam has launched an innovative new range of health drinks as part of its clean food range. Life Kombucha which comes in three flavours and is based on a Chinese recipe which dates back thousands of years.
Kombucha originated in China more than 2,000 years ago, and subsequently spread to Japan and Russia; it has recently been re-appropriated by Western food and drink culture, and is consumed for its health benefits.
Kombucha is made by fermenting tea (Tam uses green and white tea) to produce a sparkling fruit-flavoured drink. It is a great source of natural probiotics and has been shown to have a positive impact on overall digestive health, for example by aiding the quick release of energy from food and preventing leaky gut syndrome. The polyphenols from the green tea along with the acetic acid have strong antibacterial properties; they are effective in fighting the types of bacteria which cause infections.
‘I’ve been brewing Kombucha at home for a couple of years, and can vouch for its great taste and positive impact on many aspects of health,’ says Tam. ‘I’m excited to be able to spread the word with these three delicious flavours.’
As well as its digestive benefits, Kombucha is said to support the preservation of collagen; joint collagen deficiency is linked to arthritic pain, and good levels in general help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles
Je Tam is also available at a range of Cornwall delis, farmer’s markets and health food shops. jetam.co.uk
Nourish kitchen’s clean eating
- Refined sugar
- Processed foods (including processed meats)
- Additives & chemical preservatives including artificial sweeteners
- Sugary or diet drinks
- Bad fats including chemically changed fats (margarine, low fat spreads)
- Wholegrains such as brown rice, rice noodles, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, brown rice pasta and oats
- Beans, lentils, nuts & seeds
- Vegetables & fruit
- Lean organic meat (organic freerange chicken, lean grass-fed beef, organic turkey)
- Organic salmon for good Omega fats
- Organic free range eggs
- Healthy fats avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, chia seeds)
- Swap more meals to plant-based sources of protein (chickpeas, lentils, beans)