As a Health Coach, many clients, friends and family members want to know . . . what EXACTLY do I EAT?! So on this 'on-going' blog post series. I intend to highlight some of my go to meals as I adapt through the various circumstances of living a life continuously on the road. In a nut-shell I am a foodie at heart and always on the hunt for Organic (Bio), Seasonal and the best Quality ingredients I can find! Sometimes I get REALLY lucky and strike gold finding artisanal products made with all of the above characteristics plus my favourite criteria of all, made with lots of LOVE!!!
After 5 weeks in Austria, I followed my partner Basirair to the Netherlands where he was admitted to Spaarne Gasthuis Haarlem Zuid Hospital and later transferred to Heliomare Rehabilitation Facility in Wijk Aan Zee. Without a home base in the Netherlands I have been moving around for the past 4 months from Haarlem, Amstelveen, Amsterdam, Heemstede and Wijk Aan Zee. Needless to say, by now I have a pretty good idea of where to get decent FOOD in Amsterdam and its surrounding cities. By decent, I mean organic, local, quality, grassfed etc.
I’ll start by saying EKOPLAZA has been my salvation! For starters you can find a few all around Amsterdam and at least one in every surrounding city. Its like the Netherland’s version of wholefoods except everything, you heard me correctly EVERYTHING in the store is ORGANIC. This makes shopping significantly easier as its one less thing to think about when looking at labels etc. It is much smaller than your typical Wholefoods but its definitely well stocked and it's the ONE place in ALL of the Netherlands where you can find a large selection of Organic fruits and vegetables! And almost all of them take credit cards, making it very convenient. For some reason most of the other supermarkets in the Netherlands do not take credit cards making it a hassle to run to an ATM before hand. Albert Heijn, Spar, Deka, Deen, Marqt, Jumbo have huge vegetable and fruit selections but usually less than 2% offered is Organic and the conventional stuff besides potentially toxic is pretty much tasteless not to mention wrapped in excessive amounts of plastic packaging (Check out Blog on why Plastic is not such a good idea).
PASTEURISED Milk, Cheese and Yogurt are NOT Bulletproof and being in the Netherlands with a Cheese store on every corner is a nonstop temptation! The problem is not the dairy but the process of pasteurization, which denatures the protein making it an inflammatory food. In EKOPLAZA though for the first time ever (in all my travels I have never been able to find biological grass-fed, RAW dairy commercially available), I found grass-fed RAW Kefir and Yogurt! I was delighted! I added some grass-fed biological whey protein, bee pollen, seasonal blueberries, raspberries and strawberries and oh sooooo yummie good!!! What a treat! They also had a selection of raw cheeses which have allowed me to have a ‘slightly’ more “Bulletproof“ cultural moment. I do allow myself a few cultural moments a year right up there with my annual chocolate birthday cake!
The other reason to fall in love with Ekoplaza is that some of them like the one in Haarlem have a biological butcher shop inside of them. And guess what? They don't have them on display but if you ask nicely they will magically get BONES for you! Bones are so difficult to find anywhere these days let alone from a biological grass-fed cow so it's a massive plus when I can score them from a reliable source! Bones are just magnificent super food, words can’t really express how much I LOVE them! The broth makes for a fantastic base to loads of dishes but specially paired with vegetables that should be lightly cooked before eating like Spinach, Kale, Collards, Broccoli etc. I like to pour the hot bone broth base over a medley of green vegetables packaged up in glass jars easy for transport and storage. This was a go to essential staple when bringing food to Basirair at Heliomare, Rehabilitation Facility. Check out blog on HOW TO MAKE BONE BROTH.
It was also at EKOPLAZA where I discovered a whole selection of Biological (Organic) Thai Curry Pastes by a company called ‘ON*OFF SPICES’, which when paired with a combination of organic vegetables and Biological Coconut Cream and/or Milk, made an insanely divine meal. I love Thai food but I would never dare to venture into curry pastes found in most supermarkets which are made with low quality and/or mystery ingredients such as “flavoring” which is code for usually MSG or anything that the company does not want to disclose. Trust me, just one of their thai curry packs, some vegetables, coconut cream, fresh turmeric, ginger and coriander (if you want to really show-off) and you will turn heads at any dinner party within 15 mins. Its also a magnificent and easy way to get extra vegetables in. Watch how easy it is to make a Vegetable Thai Curry!
EASY VEGETABLE THAI CURRY ( Serves 2 )
2 1/2 Cups of chopped Vegetables - Anything goes! Use any vegetables you have or what is currently seasonal, organic and locally available in your supermarket. Here are some ideas: Courgette, Green Beans, Carrots, Celery, Bok Choy, Broccoli, Peppers, Fennel, Chinese Cabbage, Leeks, Cauliflower, Kale, Onions etc
1/4 cup of freshly finely chopped Ginger + Tumeric - This is truly the secret ingredients. Even if you cannot find a quality Curry pack, this alone will provide sufficient flavour.
1 Curry Paste Pack - Optional recommendation by ON*OFF SPICES
1 Can Coconut Milk - You can also substitute with 1 Pack (aprox 100g) of Cream Coconut and add water for desired consistency.
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Grass-Fed butter or Ghee
1 to 2 tablespoons of Water (dash of Apple Cider Vinegar optional)
Sea Salt + Pepper to taste
Fresh chopped Herbs; Coriander, Parsley, Basil and/or Chives for garnish & taste
5 Easy Steps to Vegetable Thai Curry
1. In large saucepan or Wok, on low flame lightly sauté finely chopped Ginger + Tumeric with Grass-Fed butter and/or Ghee. If your vegetable selection includes onions or leeks, its a good time to toss these in too and a little salt and pepper.
2. Once the ginger + tumeric and/or onions and leek flavours have seeped into the butter/ghee, ADD vegetables one by one in the order of time required to cook. For instance Carrots require more time than leafy vegetables like Bok Choy and Kale.
3. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of Water and/or dash of Apple Cider Vinegar let the vegetables steam a little until their colours are bright, just few minutes.
4. Add Coconut Milk and Curry Paste. Stir until paste is dissolved.
5. Garnish with fresh finely chopped herbs such as Coriander, Parsley, Basil and/or Chives and ENJOY!
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