#LowCarb Vegetarianism and other adventures

meat-free alternatives Maybe it’s the Extinction Rebellion folks gluing their hands to pavements, disrupting flights and parking their uncooperative crusty* posteriors on roads throughout central London.

Or it could be the underlying anxiety about eating meat that has always bothered me since I took it up again after more than 20 years of vegetarianism. But lately I have drastically cut down on the amount of it I’m eating and embraced the substitutes.

Vegetarianism and particularly veganism aren’t natural fits with a low-carb diet, the one I follow because I believe it’s the best one for helping people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. Heck, the good Doctor Morrison and I even wrote a book about it!

Quorn slices

But the meat substitutes have come much further than the last time I ate them. Quorn makes decent fake ham slices. Cauldron sausages and marinated tofu work for me too—all of them low carb, though not as low-carb as the real thing. Even the Diet Doctor—the best source of everything you need to know about a low-carb diet in general—recognises that many people do want to follow a low-carb diet that they can square with their conscience and the website offers low carb vegetarian and even vegan plans these days.

While I question some of the health claims people make for a plant-based diet (and I’m picky about the word being used to mean ‘veganism’—I’ve always based the bulk of my diet around vegetables), poor Mama Earth’s resources will run out far too quickly if meat consumption continues at its current levels.

As I have no children, I can tick that big box on the green credentials list but the other two are eating a plant-based diet and not flying anywhere. As someone who’s not that fussed about travel, the latter might be easily achieved too. That just leaves me with what I choose to eat. As I don’t do absolutes any more, opting to be a vegetarian with limited dairy most of the time is what appeals.

Low-carb vegetarian recipes

How about you? Have you changed your diet because of environmental concern s or do you plan to? We do have veggie options on our website if you are looking for low-carb meat-free recipes. They include low-carb curried cauliflower cheese, aubergine and pepper parmigiana, baba ghanoush, Tofu with teriyaki sauce and crustless spinach and feta quiche.

*As Boris Johnson called them. Maybe he was attempting ‘wit’ as a distraction from the chaos he is in midst of creating in the UK.

Kris Kresser: The Carnivore Diet, is it really healthy?

The Carnivore Diet: Is It Really Healthy?
by Chris Kresser
Published on February 6, 2019

 

My comment: There has been a lot of publicity about the benefits of an all meat diet, the opposite end of the spectrum from veganism.  Dr Jordan Petersen’s daughter has overcome considerable health problems and she puts it down to an all beef diet. In this post Kris shares information, the good and the not so good about such an extreme diet.
The carnivore diet is a hot eating trend, and many people have reported significant benefits from adopting an all-meat diet. But is consuming only meat healthy in the long term? Read on to understand the mechanisms behind the diet, the potential consequences of not eating plant foods, and a few alternatives to going pure carnivore.

Is an all-meat, carnivore diet healthy? 
In my recent debate on the Joe Rogan Experience with Dr. Joel Kahn, I touched briefly on the carnivore diet. I’m a huge believer that meat is an essential part of a healthy diet, but eating an all-meat diet is an entirely different subject, and I think we need to be very careful about assuming that an intervention that works well in the short term will also be safe and effective in the long term.
In this article, I’ll discuss the diets of ancestral populations, how the carnivore diet affects the body, my concerns about the potential consequences of such a restrictive diet in the long term, and alternative dietary approaches that might offer the same benefits without having to go pure carnivore.
Are you considering going carnivore? The all-meat diet is trending, but completely dropping plant-based food off your plate could have a significant impact on your health. Check out this article for a breakdown on the strengths and weaknesses of the carnivore diet. #chriskresser

What Is the Carnivore Diet?
The carnivore diet is pretty straightforward: eat only animal foods and stay away from all plant foods. This means that you are primarily getting your energy from protein and fat and are consuming close to zero carbohydrates.
Many people who have adopted the carnivore diet report faster weight loss, improved mental clarity, healthier digestion, and even improved athletic performance. I certainly don’t doubt the anecdotal reports of people that have found remarkable relief from debilitating chronic health problems with this diet. For many of these people, nothing else they had tried worked.
However, when considering the health of a dietary or lifestyle intervention, I’ve long believed that we should look at the big picture: historical evidence from other populations, plausible mechanisms that explain its effect on our bodies, and scientific data regarding outcomes.
Were Any Ancestral Populations Carnivores?
Let’s start with a brief look at the diets of some supposedly “carnivorous” ancestral populations. Indeed, many ancestral groups thrived on large quantities of animal products. However, every single one of these groups also took advantage of plant foods when they were available:
The nomads of Mongolia nourished themselves on meat and dairy products, but also gained nutrients from their consumption of wild onions and garlic, tubers and roots, seeds, and berries. (1)
Gaucho Brazilians consumed mostly beef, but they supplemented their diet with yerba mate, an herbal infusion rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. (2)
The Maasai, Rendille, and Samburu from East Africa primarily ate meat, milk, and blood. Young men almost exclusively ate these animal products but also occasionally consumed herbs and tree barks. Women and older men consumed fruit, tubers, and honey. (3)
The Russian Arctic Chukotka subsisted on fish, caribou, and marine animals but always ate them with local roots, leafy greens, berries, or seaweed. (4)
The Sioux of South Dakota ate great amounts of buffalo meat, but they also ate wild fruit, nuts, and seeds that they found as they followed the buffalo herds. (5)
The Canadian Inuit lived primarily on walrus, whale meat, seal, and fish, but they also went to great lengths to forage wild berries, lichens, and sea vegetables. They even fermented some of these plant foods as a way of preserving them. (6)
Every culture we know of that has been studied ate some combination of animal and plant foods. This does not necessarily mean that animal or plant foods are required to remain healthy, but it does speak to the ancestral wisdom of these cultures.
Five Reasons Why the Carnivore Diet Works
When any diet, drug, or other intervention “works,” it’s important to try to understand the mechanism behind it. In the case of the carnivore diet, there are several reasons that might explain the benefits people report.
1. The Carnivore Diet Can Restrict Calories and Mimics Fasting
Ever felt stuffed after you ate a huge steak? Protein is very satiating, meaning it fills you up and sends signals to your brain that you’ve consumed enough food. It’s no surprise that people report not feeling very hungry and start eating less frequently when they adopt an all-meat diet.
Food habituation may also play a role here. When you eat the same thing day after day, your brain doesn’t get as much reward value from food, so you start to eat less food overall—even if the food is usually something you find rewarding, like a big juicy steak.
The ultimate result is unintentional caloric restriction. Caloric restriction sets off a number of changes. When caloric intake drops, the concentration of insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), and growth hormone are significantly reduced. This condition triggers autophagy, which literally means “self-eating”—an internal process of cleaning up old cells and repairing damaged ones. Autophagy is also induced during fasting.
This may be why caloric restriction is so effective at reducing inflammation and alleviating symptoms of autoimmune disease. (7) Of course, caloric restriction also results in weight loss. These are arguably the two primary reasons that people seem to be drawn to the carnivore way of eating, but these effects might also be achieved through simple caloric restriction.
2. The Carnivore Diet Is a Low-Residue Diet
“Residue” is essentially undigested food that makes up stool. A low-residue diet is a diet that limits high-fiber foods like whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. It is often prescribed for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to alleviate symptoms like diarrhea, bloating, gas, and abdominal pain. (8)
Meat is made primarily of protein and fat, which are absorbed high up in the GI tract, leaving little residue leftover to irritate or inflame the gut. In other words, an all-meat diet is effectively a very low-residue diet and gives the gut a rest.
3. The Carnivore Diet Is Often Ketogenic
If you’re eating large amounts of meat but are only eating once or twice a day and adding extra fat to the meat, your diet is likely ketogenic. A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein diet, with:
60 to 70 percent of energy from fat
20 to 30 percent of energy from protein
5 to 10 percent of energy from carbohydrates
While the carnivore diet has no such macronutrient ratios, it’s likely that some of the benefits that come with eating meat alone are due to the body being in a state of ketosis.
Ketogenic diets have been shown to be helpful for a wide variety of conditions, including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. (9, 10)
4. The Carnivore Diet Changes the Gut Microbiota
Switching to an all-meat diet can also rapidly alter the gut microbiota. A 2014 study found that putting healthy human volunteers on an animal-based diet resulted in significant changes to the gut microbiota in less than 48 hours. (11) The animal-based diet increased the abundance of bile-tolerant organisms and decreased the levels of microbes known to metabolize different plant fibers.
The gut microbiota has been linked to virtually every chronic inflammatory disease that has been studied, so it’s no surprise that an intervention that drastically changes the gut microbiota could have significant implications for health. (12)
The Biggest Potential Problem with This Diet: Nutrient Deficiencies
Now that we’ve established some of the mechanisms involved, the big question is: is the carnivore diet safe?
The short answer is that we really don’t know, since there are no long-term studies that have tracked large groups of individuals on carnivore diets for any significant length of time. One of my chief concerns about it is that it lacks several nutrients that are crucial for health.
There are four micronutrients that are especially difficult to obtain on a meat-only diet. Based on a typical carnivore diet and the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) established by the Institute of Medicine, these include:
Vitamin C: An antioxidant that boosts immune cell function and is important for stimulating collagen synthesis
Vitamin E: An antioxidant that prevents the oxidation of lipids and lipoproteins
Vitamin K2: A fat-soluble vitamin that reduces the calcification of blood vessels
Calcium: A mineral required for healthy bones, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission
If dairy is included in the diet, this will cover vitamin K2 and calcium. However, if you don’t like organ meats, the number of potential micronutrient deficiencies increases significantly. In that case, you can add to the list:
Vitamin A: A fat-soluble vitamin important for proper vision and maintaining immune defenses
Folate: A B vitamin important for cell growth, metabolism, and methylation
Manganese: A trace mineral needed for the proper function of the nervous system, collagen formation, and protection against oxidative stress
Magnesium: A mineral that supports more than 300 biochemical reactions, including energy production, DNA repair, and muscle contraction
It’s also important to note that vitamin C is extremely heat sensitive, so only fresh or very gently cooked organ meats will have appreciable amounts.
Many carnivore dieters claim that the nutrient requirements for the general population simply don’t apply to them. Anecdotally, I know of several individuals who have consumed a carnivore diet for three or more years without any overt signs of nutrient deficiencies.
Still, we’re lacking data. Currently, the DRIs are the best we have to go off of, and I don’t think we have enough evidence to unequivocally say that this diet has no risk of producing nutrient deficiencies in the general population.
Should We Be Aiming Higher Than the Daily Recommended Intake?
Even if the carnivore diet were sufficient to prevent outright deficiency, we should also consider metabolic reserve. Metabolic reserve is the capacity of cells, tissues, and organ systems to withstand repeated changes to physiological needs. In other words, it’s having enough nutrients “in the bank” to be able to deal with a major stressor, injury, or environmental exposure. (13) So if an all-meat dieter manages to meet a recommended nutrient intake, it still may not be enough for optimal health.
Other Reasons an All-Meat Diet May Not Be Healthy
It Lacks Beneficial Phytonutrients
Phytonutrients are chemicals that are produced by plants to protect against environmental threats, such as attacks from insects and disease. They can also have major benefits for our health. Curcumin, beta-carotene, quercetin, and resveratrol are all examples of common phytonutrients.
Some proponents of the carnivore diet suggest that phytonutrients are toxic to humans, and that it’s best to eliminate them completely from our diet. However, many of these “toxins” act as acute stressors that actually make us stronger through a process called hormesis.
Much like resistance training is an acute stressor that leads our muscles to adapt and get stronger, exposure to small amounts of phytonutrients is a hormetic stressor that activates several different pathways in the body, ultimately serving to reduce inflammation, enhance immunity, improve cellular communication, repair DNA damage, and even detoxify potential carcinogens. (14, 15)
It Might Affect Hormones, Fertility, and Thyroid Function
We have zero long-term data about how an all-meat diet impacts hormones, thyroid function, and fertility. I have written before about why carbohydrates are particularly important for female fertility and why very-low-carb diets may not be the best choice during pregnancy.
Carbohydrates are particularly important for supporting thyroid function since insulin stimulates the conversion of inactive thyroid hormone T4 to active T3. In fact, traditional cultures that ate largely animal products and had little access to plant foods often went to great lengths to support fertility, including eating the thyroid glands of the animals they hunted. (16)
My guess is that most modern “carnivores” are not consuming the thyroid glands of animals and are therefore at risk for suboptimal thyroid function and (at least temporary) infertility.
It Could Overtax Your Liver (If You’re Eating Lean Meat)
When you don’t eat sufficient carbohydrates and fat, your liver can make glucose from protein via a process called gluconeogenesis. This process creates nitrogen waste, which must be converted to urea and disposed of through the kidneys.
While this is a normal process that occurs in every human being, there is a limit to how much protein the liver can cope with safely. More than 35 to 40 percent of total calories as protein can overwhelm the urea cycle, leading to nausea, diarrhea, wasting, and, potentially, death. For pregnant women, this threshold may be as low as 25 percent of total calories. (17)
Interestingly, anthropological evidence suggests that hunters throughout history avoided consuming excess protein, even discarding animals low in fat when food was scarce. (18)
In short: When eating meat, it’s important to have a good amount of healthy fats or quality carbohydrates as well.
Is the Carnivore Diet the Ideal Human Diet?
In the last section, I outlined several potential concerns with the carnivore diet. But this leads me to another important question: even if the carnivore diet is safe, is it really the best diet for optimal health?
While you might be able to get away with a vegetarian or carnivorous diet for a short while, the evidence suggests that the ideal diet includes both animal and plant foods. Dr. Sarah Ballantyne broke this down in part three of her series “The Diet We’re Meant to Eat: How Much Meat versus Veggies.”
While you can theoretically get all of your nutrients from one group alone (and potentially supplement with any missing nutrients from the other group), we need both sets of nutrients to be optimally healthy, and consuming animal and plant foods in their whole form is the best way to accomplish this.
Five Alternatives to the Carnivore Diet
Here are some options that might provide the same therapeutic benefits that the carnivore diet can offer—but without as much potential risk.
1. A Low-Carb Paleo Diet
Some people trying a carnivore diet are going straight from the Standard American Diet to pure carnivore. Oftentimes, a low-carbohydrate Paleo template might provide some of the same benefits, including weight loss, improved insulin sensitivity, and an alleviation in autoimmune symptoms. (19, 20, 21)
2. A Fasting Mimicking Diet
A fasting mimicking diet can reverse type 1 and type 2 diabetes, alleviate age-dependent impairments in cognitive performance, and protect against cancer and aging in mice. (22, 23, 24) In humans, the fasting mimicking diet was found to significantly reduce body weight, improve cardiovascular risk markers, lower inflammation, and potentially improve symptoms of multiple sclerosis. (25, 26)
3. Periodic Prolonged Fasting
Undergoing a 72-hour fasting once every few months could also achieve many of the benefits boasted by the carnivore diet. Prolonged fasting causes organs to shrink and then be rejuvenated as damaged cells are cleared out and stem cell pathways are activated. (27)
4. A Ketogenic Diet
The ketogenic diet has been very well studied and has documented benefits for epilepsy, neurodegenerative disease, and autoimmune disease. Ketones themselves are potent anti-inflammatories. (28, 29)
5. Addressing Gut Pathologies
If a healthy lifestyle coupled with the dietary approaches above is insufficient to control your symptoms, consider working with a Functional Medicine practitioner who is knowledgeable about gut health. If you’re thinking about becoming a strict carnivore because you’re experiencing adverse reactions to even very small amounts of plant foods, that’s likely a sign of an underlying gut infection that should be addressed.
Share this with friends and family who might be considering an all-meat diet, and be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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Lamb in almond sauce #low-carb

woman using a pestle and mortar

My husband bought me a new pestle and mortar this week—mainly because we are watching Celebrity MasterChef on the Beeb and every time I spot one of the stars pounding their garlic, I sigh and wish out loud that I had such a big one…

Cue the delivery of a weighty package. I crushed eight cloves of garlic in it at once to celebrate. Vampire-proofed to the max, what else could I do? How about a lamb curry where I roasted whole spices and then pounded them to dust?

This lamb curry in almond sauce is a recipe I adapted from the Spice Sisters Indian cookbook. The whole spices are cumin and fennel seeds, and cardamom, all of which will scent your kitchen beautifully as you roast them. Serve your curry with cauliflower rice or this low-carb naan bread. Normal rice and naan bread will keep the carb-lovers in your family happy.

Lamb in almond sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 500g diced lamb
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1tbsp grated ginger
  • 2-3 chillies, chopped
  • 1tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1tbsp fennel seeds
  • 6-8 cardamom pods, split and seeds removed
  • 1tbsp turmeric
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1tbsp garam masala
  • 200ml passata
  • 1tsp lemon juice
  • 4tsbp natural yoghurt
  • 2tbsp ground almonds mixed with 50ml water
  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  1. In a small pan, dry-fry the cumin, fennel and cardamom for a few minutes. Pound to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the meta in batches until it is browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and add the onions.
  2. Fry until translucent. Add all the other ingredients (except the lamb and the lemon juice) and bring to a simmer. Cook for ten minutes and then use a hand-held blender to make the sauce smooth.
  3. Add the lamb back in, pop on a lid and allow to gently simmer for 30 minutes. Add the lemon juice at the end.
  4. Allow 15g carbs per portion.

The golden rule with curry is it almost always tastes better the next day.

Type ones on low carb diets experience less hypoglycaemia

Adapted from Why low carb diets for type one patients? Jun1 2019 by Emma Kammerer Pharmacy Doctorate Candidate Bradenton School of Pharmacy originally published in Diabetes in Control.

Both Dr Jorgen Neillsen and Dr Richard Bernstein have shown that insulin users have fewer attacks of hypoglycaemia and that the attacks are less severe.  A new randomised controlled study by Schmidt et al confirms this finding.

Studies have shown that when a high carb diet is consumed there 20% greater error in carbohydrate estimation compared to when a low carb diet is chosen. This then affects the insulin dose administered, and thus the resulting blood sugars.

Schmidt wanted to look at the long term effects on glycaemic control and cardiovascular risk in type one patients on a low carb diet compared to a high carb diet.

The study was a randomised open label crossover study involving 14 adults who had had diabetes for more than 3 years, to eliminate the honeymoon effect. The patients went on one diet for 12 weeks, had a washout period of another 12 weeks, and then took up the other diet.  This was done so that the glycated haemoglobin levels would not be carried over from one diet to the next.

A low carb diet was defined as less than 100g carb a day and a high carb diet as over 250g per day.

Patients were given individualised meal plans and education on how to eat healthy carbs, fats and proteins. They all were experienced insulin pump users. They were asked to record total carbohydrate eaten but not the food eaten. Measurements were taken on fasting days on the first and last day of the study periods.

Blood glucose levels were downloaded from continuous glucose monitoring devices.

Four patients dropped out of the study so ten completed the test which was considered satisfactory by the statistician involved.

Results showed that the time spent in normal blood sugar range 3.9 to 10 mmol/L ( USA 56-180) was not significantly different for each diet.

The time spent in hypoglycaemia, below 3.9 (USA 70) was 25 minutes less a day on the low carb diet, and six minutes less a day below 3.0 (USA 56).

On the low carb diet glycaemic variability was lower and  there were no reports of severe hypoglycaemia.

On the high carb diet, significantly more insulin was used, systolic blood pressure was higher and weight gain was more.

There was no relevant changes in factors for cardiac risk between the two study arms.

The study showed that a low carb diet can confer real advantages to type one patients but education on how to conduct a low carb diet and manage the lower doses of insulin is required.

Schmidt, Signe et al. Low versus high carbohydrate diet in type 1 diabetes: A 12 week randomised open label crossover study. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. 2019 March 26.

 

 

Eating carbs last gives lower blood sugar spikes

From IDDT newsletter December 2018

A report in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care Sept 2017 shows that in type two diabetes, eating sugar and starch later in the meal halved the blood sugar spike after the meal compared with those who ate the sugar and starch first.

This study was done on 16 people who ate test meals of protein, vegetables, bread and orange juice. Those who were instructed to eat the bread and juice last also had 40% lower post meal glucose levels compared to those who ate all of the meal components in a mixed fashion.

My comment: This is a small study but easily reproducible with yourself and your blood glucose meter. If you do wish to eat sugar and starch best have these last, unless you are treating a hypo.

 

 

Low-carb veggie curry

vegetable curry in a bowlAs a one-time vegetarian, I love vegetable or pulse-based curries. I’d choose them over meat-based ones any day. I’m also a fan of tamarind paste—it adds amazing tangy flavour to any curry.

Last week, I made a veggie curry using the left-overs in the fridge and combining them in a rich sauce. Had I been the only one eating it, I would have added cauliflower but my husband hates the stuff and veggie dishes are a hard sell to him so I left it out.

Recipes often specify coconut milk, which is fine if you need a whole tin of it. I keep packets of creamed coconut in my store cupboards (fridge in the summer) as it’s much more versatile. You can use however much you need without waste, and it can be a thickener or made into a cream.

Vegetable Curry

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 300g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into batons
  • Half a red pepper, sliced
  • 1 large courgette cut into chunks
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1tbsp tamarind paste
  • 50g creamed coconut, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 2 chillies, chopped
  • Salt to taste.
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Strictly speaking, you should put the onions in first, fry till translucent, then add the peppers, courgette and carrot, cook for five minutes and add the mushrooms last. I’m too lazy to add the veggies one by one so I threw them all in at once and cooked for about six minutes.
  2. Add the curry powder, tamarind paste and chillies and cook for another minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to the boil. Mix in the creamed coconut and turn down to a simmer. Cook for about five minutes. The creamed coconut will thicken the sauce. Add seasoning to taste.
  3. To make it more of a main meal, You could add some fresh chicken stock to this and turn it into a sauce for chicken thighs or throw in a good handful of cooked prawns and cook for a minute to warm through. Another worthy addition is two or three balls of frozen spinach. Defrost and warm through beforehand, obvs.

Allow about 15-18g of carbs per portion. Serve with naan breads (low-carb version here) or rice for the carb-lovers in your life.

Low-Carb Curried Cauliflower Cheese

roasted cauliflower
low-carb cauliflower cheese
Creamy, squidgy, spicy goodness.

Who was the first person to look at a cauliflower and a bowl of leftover cheese sauce and think—“My goodness, this will be a match made in heaven?”

Whoever he or she was, I’d like to shake them by the hand. If someone said to me, “Okay it’s your last meal on earth, what do you want?”, I’d say, “Cauliflower cheese, please, and don’t stint the cheese.” As it is my last meal, I’d ask them to top it with crispy breadcrumbs and some grilled bacon rashers for crunch.

[Conversation to the side. HUSBAND: Seriously, that’s your last meal? Not steak, or lobster or even a good burger with all the trimmings? Jeez. Who/what did I marry?]

On Friday night, I was at the Tron Theatre (get me) with friends and noticed the bar menu included curried cauliflower cheese. That set the neurons firing. The world’s best dish made even better?

The Tron’s version would have been made the conventional way—a white sauce with milk and flour to thicken it. Low-carb versions use variations of cream and cream cheese to thicken the sauce. Where would the curry bit come in?

One of the ways to cook cauliflower often recommended to those who hate the stuff* is to roast it in the oven with cumin and coriander seeds and chilli. That takes care of the curry bit. Then, if you combine it with a creamy sauce and grated cheese and pop it back in the oven you have the perfect low-carb cauliflower cheese.

You can serve this as an accompaniment to cold meat such as sliced ham or cooked sausages. Or do as I did—serve yourself a super-big portion with a lightly-dressed green salad. Yum.

Low Carb Cauliflower Cheese

  • Servings: See note
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The best veggie dish in the world made even better

  • One large whole cauliflower, broken into even-sized florets
  • One tbsp turmeric
  • One tbsp rapeseed oil
  • One tbsp cumin seeds
  • One tbsp coriander seeds
  • One tsp black pepper corns
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes (or more…)
  • 250mls double cream
  • 100g grated cheese (extra mature to vintage cheddar is best)**
  • 1tbsp wholegrain mustard

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Bring a large saucepan of well salted water to the boil, add the turmeric and cook the cauliflower florets for two minutes. Drain well so they are very dry.

Toast the cumin, coriander and pepper in a dry frying pan until the smell of them hits your nose like a sledgehammer and grind to to a powder in a pestle and mortar.

Take a large roasting pan and tip your florets in there. Add the oil and the spices and mix well so the florets are well coated. Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the cream gently in a pan and add the mustard and most of the grated cheese. Blend well.

Remove the cauliflower florets from the oven. Place in an oven-proof serving dish and pour over the cheese sauce. Top with the rest of the grated cheese and put back in the oven for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Allow about 5-8g carbs per serving

Note—the number of servings depends on the size of cauliflower you started with. Mine was teeny, so my dish made two. If I’d served it as a side dish, three-to four. But we are in glutton territory here. Maybe I pretended the dish above served two and ate the whole lot in one go… no-one else in my household wanted to eat it, after all. Another idea is to prepare the roasted cauliflower as a side dish for any roast meat.

*Didn’t work on my husband. Cauliflower is up there on his list of the Devil’s Foods, along with broccoli, sprouts and blue cheese.

**This is a rough guide. If you choose to double it up, who am I to judge?