Hello everyone

As you know from last week’s post I take part in the Zoe Covid Study.  Well, what’s interesting is that this company is first and foremost a nutrition and gut research body and they are currently in partnership with someone called Dr William Li (who is based in the States and the author of Eat to Beat Disease) who is hosting free webinars called Eat to Beat Disease, The Gut Check Series with Dr William Li and Zoe.

I shall be watching the fourth one of those today, which is with Professor Tim Spector, the founder of Zoe, and is all about the importance of the gut microbiome. Tbh, the first one, with Dr Li and another nutritionist was a bit of a mutual admiration show with both of them congratulating each other on their respective books. The only thing I got out of it was eat plants and eat a diversity of plants. However, the second and third webinars were excellent, with the second looking at the current Zoe research on the complexity of food, and its journey through our system, the multiplicity of reactions to food and its consequences for our health and by that I mean all health not just your gut health. That’s a summary of quite a complex exposition and yet it was very easy to listen to, so don’t be put off by that.

The thing to note that this research is using huge numbers of people and looking at the participants’ reactions to food in real time entirely online, all of which is revolutionising health research and moving it on from the tightly controlled double blind research that pharmaceutical companies usually do to something Zoe calls ‘citizen science’. Fascinating stuff. What they’re working towards is that health advice that is usually based on averages should eventually be indivualised advice.  Even more fascinating.

This post is a bit previous as I have only just received a copy of Dr Li’s book but not read it yet.  But I thought I’d share with you something that I picked up from this series, that we should eat a huge diversity of vegetables weekly. So it’s not just eat your 5 a day, it’s do you eat 30 different vegetables weekly?  I thought, well no I’m sure I don’t but I decided to write a list of all the veg I have around the kitchen and the list is as follows:

Regularly in our fridge
Cavolo Nero
Lettuce various

In freezer

In Cupboard
Onions white
Onions red
Sweet Potatoes

On dish on windowsill

Every other week – rotating

In season
Brussel sprouts – winter
Swede – winter
Turnips – winter

Swiss chard

Hardly ever

And that, people, is 31!  However, not all are used/eaten every week.  Anyway, help me out, is there a vegetable missing that you’d say, you must try this?

The third webinar was a session with the chef Dan Churchill who is based in New York but is as Australian as they come. I loved the way he called Dr Li, mate!  Here’s a recipe for two he was cooking throughout the webinar. I cooked it last night and very good it was too.

3 cloves of garlic
1 knob of ginger
1/2 cup fresh mint
2 tsp of maple syrup
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1 tsp chili flakes
Pinch of Salt & Pepper

I eggplant/aubergine
Flour of choice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium red onion
1 green pepper
Juice 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh basil


  1. In mortar and pestle combine ginger, garlic, mint,  maple syrup, tomato paste, chili flakes, salt and pepper, and olive oil
  2. Slice aubergine and halve slices, coat in flour of choice
  3. Gently fry in some of the olive oil 3 to 4 mins each side or until golden. Take out and set aside
  4. Saute onions and green pepper with the rest of the olive oil
  5. Add the pestle and mortar paste mix to onion and peppers when onions softened and caramelised
  6. Finish with juice of 1 lemon plus some zest
  7. And 1/4 cup fresh basil
  8. Place *cooked rice on plate
  9. Add mixture
  10. Top with fried eggplant

Either *2 cups of cooked rice or 1 pouch of microwavable rice for two

A couple of things. Dan Churchill was nonchalantly cooking this throughout the webinar but I found it quite fiddly and was bit stressed, but take no notice as I’m always like that when I cook something new. It was absolutely delicious with an explosion of taste.  Next time though I shall increase the mint as I’m never sure what a cup means (we do grammes in the UK) and I’ll slightly decrease the garlic as I’m sure, because the garlic is practically raw in this dish, that I have garlic breath this morning. I was also a bit hesitant about putting in 1 tsp of chilli flakes and only put in half, I won’t be so hesitant next time. What you get is a sensation of sweetness from the maple syrup, heat from the ginger and chilli flakes and then basil and garlic – amazing. I served it with a pouch of brown and  wild basmati rice plus a bowl of cavolo nero alongside. I shall definitely cook this again.

I’ve really enjoyed this series of YouTube sessions mainly because i) I trust Professor Tim Spector because of his work with Covid and ii)if you listen to his session (No4), and also session No2, you will realise everything said about the gut in these sessions is based on deep research.

With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper

P.S. I’ll show you a couple of charity shop buys very soon 😀



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36 thoughts on “Eating to Beat Disease

  • 12th October 2021 at 1:17 pm

    Lovely list! 🙂 My list would also include sweetcorn (usually in those little tins, although I did manage to grow a few cobs this summer!), watercress, broad beans (in the freezer) – and also a year or two ago I surprised myself by finding I rather liked fennel (either cooked, or thin slices for a salad). Rhubarb, I think, is technically a vegetable, which according to your blog now makes rhubarb crumble even more appealing. And radishes. Big lover of the radish 🙂

    • 12th October 2021 at 7:06 pm

      The only one I can add is sprouting seeds (remember the cress and mustard we all did at primary school). I’ve done mung beans and peas in the past and keep meaning to start doing it again. They make a nice addition to a salad.
      I also tried okra years ago, thought it was vile, never bought it again.
      I’ve changed my veg/fruit habits, I really try to eat in season nowadays.
      In my freezer, there’s always petit pois, green beans and spinach. Overall, I do eat a lot of different types of veg, but it can be a bit up/down, some days it’s ten or more, other days only two or three. Apart from soup, I often use up odds/ends of veg in omelettes, as they’re easy and very quick.

      • 13th October 2021 at 8:23 am

        Ah yes, I do remember the sprouting seeds, and I would agree with you about okra but will eat them occasionally in an Indian take-away. Yes, I rather agree with you that the beans from Kenya are something we shouldn’t buy. Seasonal veg is so much better for the planet – I mean soft fruit in the winter was unheard of. I wonder if we can go back to only seasonal though – we should but we don’t have the leaders who can lead us there, sadly.

        I like the commenter above who talked about elderly veg going into soups – think that’s a very good thing – thanks 😊

    • 13th October 2021 at 8:11 am

      Ah re: sweet corn, that is banned in this household as Mr F sees it as awful, but I adore broad beans which are just perfect when you grow your own. I actually grew some on my balcony and I forgot to put it on the list and shall put it under seasonal. And I must try fennel. Rhubarb is a veg? Great as we both love it!

  • 12th October 2021 at 1:32 pm

    My list of veg is the same as yours. with the exception of spinach, I am a fan of spinach frozen in cubes which I keep in the freezer. so whenever a ‘green veg’ is needed I just put a couple of spinach cubes into what I am cooking (I learned about frozen spinach cubes from Jamie Oliver’s recipes).

    One of my favourite salads is raw grated carrot and beetroot and add raisins, chopped apricots, walnuts, seeds and make a dressing of pomegranate molasses and olive oil with some english mustard.

    • 13th October 2021 at 8:12 am

      Oh that salad sounds amazing and so very good for you at the same time! I shall try the spinach cubes sounds such a good idea. Thanks 😊

  • 12th October 2021 at 1:43 pm

    Yes – you should definitely try Celeriac if you’ve never eaten it. It looks daunting but peel it and cook it with potatoes, then mash it with the potatoes along with anything you use to make the mash creamy. Gives a hint of celery – and really livens up mashed potatoes. Also, it will make a delicious soup. You will find receipes on the internet for Celeriac soup . Curried Celeriac soup, also very tasty. Do try!
    We eat a lot of veg, and vegetarian meals but I still don’t always achieve 5 a day. I will definiteley do a list to see what we actually eat over the week. Your blog has given food for thought!!!

    • 13th October 2021 at 8:13 am

      Celeriac sounds really interesting and I shall aim to get some from our deli. It’s good to try something different – thanks 😊

  • 12th October 2021 at 1:54 pm

    The only thing on you list I don’t eat are aubergines. Any elderly veg is made into soup hot in Winter cold in Summer. At the moment I am 1 degree under, as they used to say. We had out boosters 10 days ago and haven’t had a healthy day since. My doctor said it’s a mini COVID. I’m beginning to wonder why I ate all that healthy food 🥦🥬🍅🍎🍓
    We had two Moderna vaccines the booster was Pfizer. Thanks for the recipes.

    • 13th October 2021 at 8:15 am

      I agree about the elderly veg and am always doing that although Mr F is beginning to think I only cook a ‘green’ coloured soup! So very sorry to hear about you getting some nasty side effects from the booster – I’m getting mine today – eek!

  • 12th October 2021 at 2:25 pm

    How about parsnips, mange touts/snow peas, pak choi (or other chois!) and I’m also a huge fan of fennel.

    • 13th October 2021 at 8:17 am

      I forgot parsnips – should have been in the seasonal winter list. And promise to try fennel – thanks so much

  • 12th October 2021 at 2:35 pm

    We always have sugar snap peas in the fridge. They give a delicious crunch to stir fries and salads. We also adore parsnips. Roasted, they’re like eating sweeties! Also good in soups or mashed with potatoes.

    • 13th October 2021 at 8:18 am

      I forgot parsnips as we do like them but eat them more in the winter so will put them in at the seasonal winter list – thanks

  • 12th October 2021 at 3:00 pm

    Avocado (we each have a half every day at lunchtime). Fennel, not as often as I’d like, really. Good raw with sliced raw muchroms, garlic and oil/lemon dressing. Cooked Beetroot slices with orange and goatscheese… Celeriac and apple soup, or parsnip and apple soup are both very good.
    xxx Wendy

    • 13th October 2021 at 8:41 am

      Yes, avocado I forgot but we eat only as a treat – Bill doesn’t truly like it unfortunately! Fennel I have to get and eat more of, likewise celeriac. Roasted beetroot is lovely – must get some soon! Thanks Wendy 😊

  • 12th October 2021 at 3:06 pm

    We recently discovered edamame beans in the freezer section at Sainsburys. They look like small broad beans but are firmer without being hard.

    • 13th October 2021 at 8:48 am

      I find beans of every kind a little hard to eat – they have to be cooked very well for me to tolerate them, apart that is from Heinz baked beans 🤣 But now eating the reduced sugar ones, so hope they’re not too bad for us!

  • 12th October 2021 at 3:12 pm

    An interesting read Penny. I think many people don’t realise how important gut health is to your overall health. I take a probiotic which I believe helps my digestion, which works very slowly! I also take Movicol daily but I’m sure most people don’t need but I seem to, probably because I take co-codamol at night.
    Your list is a wake-up call for vegetables, I know we don’t eat enough. I’ve just got some spinach for soup (with peas) but we don’t eat much salad stuff in winter. I’m a lazy cook as I just don’t enjoy it now. I hate standing peeling chopping grating etc. & I can’t tolerate chilli unfortunately, my mouth burns horribly. I’ve found that a lot of ‘healthy’ recipes are heavy on spices. I’ve been wondering whether to start meals with a bowl of veg rather than having them with other foods, which the French and Italians do. Compared with the average diet I think we do quite well but it could always be better. Looking forward to sprouts again once we’ve had a frost. I read somewhere that fat helps the absorption of nutrients in vegetables so putting butter or olive oil on them may not be so awful after all!

    • 13th October 2021 at 9:00 am

      Oh yes, that’s very constipating. I have that condition caused by the beta blocker I take for my heart which slows everything down including the gut (I used to have the opposite kind of gut altogether) but I cope by eating the most enormous amount of fibre: linseeds, nuts and other seeds plus prunes and an amazing granola made by Bio&me which really does work – on me that is, as I know everyone is different. I have a packet of Movicol in the cupboard though.

      I think I’ve also become a lazy cook and don’t truly like cooking and I get quite stressed cooking new recipes and also for guests, so they usually get tried and tested things I’ve cooked before – anything for a quiet stress free life! Like you I love sprouts! I believe olive oil with everything is the way to go! Thanks Lynda – have a nice week 😊

  • 12th October 2021 at 3:22 pm

    Thank you for the recipe. I too watched the conversation on YouTube but couldn’t write down all the ingredients fast enough! I tried the recipe yesterday but forgot about the ginger and maple syrup. It tasted ok but will be better with all ingredients.

    • 14th October 2021 at 8:10 am

      I’m so pleased to meet another person who watched the series – wasn’t it interesting? I hope to make some changes to my diet although it was going plant based anyway. Dr Li’s book looks to be a good read and is full of information – just started reading it. Thanks

  • 12th October 2021 at 5:43 pm

    What a brilliant list!

    I would add parsnips, mangetout or sugarsnap peas and sweet corn. I’m never sure how to cook aubergine so leave that to the OH so we don’t eat it that often. Sometimes we eat green banana, yam and quite frequently we eat plantain, too. We do eat a lot of broccoli and I love kale and spinach but I usually have it in soups or casseroles as OH is not that keen.
    My daughter has become a vegan and has been producing some lovely dishes with lots of lentils and beans and vegetables and I get a sample!

    • 14th October 2021 at 8:13 am

      I forgot parsnips! The green yam and plantain veggies sound so interesting but they’re not always in the supermarkets so I haven’t tried them as yet – there are so many vegetables out there and actually I do get stuck on the same old same old. The whole series apart from the first one is very good. Thanks and have a great rest of the week xxx

  • 13th October 2021 at 1:18 am

    OMG…thank you so much for this Penny. I will definitely watch them. This is always so interesting to me because my favorite saying is: food either fights disease or feeds disease.
    And both Rob and I have been working hard to get our guts in better shape.
    In a way, it’s like our clothes. We get into habits and it’s not easy to change them up!!

    • 14th October 2021 at 8:16 am

      Oh yes do, and I think with Dr Li being based in the States you must know more about him than I do. What I liked about the whole series was that it was all very much coming from evidence based and deep research – very impressive xxx

  • 13th October 2021 at 8:57 am

    This post is a definite call to arms, Penny! We do not eat as much veggies as we should. I did better when we were with a CSA, a Community Supported Agriculture program. Do you have these organized farmers in the UK? Every two weeks, I chose to receive a box-sized for two people. It was seasonal, local produce and was direct from the farmers. It truly expanded my horizons in the vegetable world. We stopped when our favorite farmer program stopped. We have no excuse now as we live in an area that protects its agricultural land. Farm stands and farmers markets abound. Now that I think about it, one of the charms of staying in a small French village for nine days in 2016, was shopping in the local farmers market every two days for fresh vegetables, cheeses, and bread! Lovely bread!!
    In our household, we still love rice with our meals…though we’ve switched to brown rice. We can’t tell the difference between the brown rice and the traditional steamed white rice. It does help that I have a fancy Japanese rice cooker.
    Your information about gut health is important and has been blocked out by the convenience of processed foods, fast foods, and artificial additives to our American diet. Back in 2008, I read In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan and became more adamant about using “real foods” and preparing our meals, especially in light of my husband’s poor health. There is also a documentary on Pollan’s book. I believe it’s on Netflix.
    Thank you for this post! The timing is perfect as summer produce abundance ends and winter crops come into play. After reading your post, I bought the makings of a favorite cauliflower soup from my CSA days. And, I got outside to clear out my tiny vegetable patch and get it ready for some winter items.
    Hope you are well. Stay safe! Charlene

    • 14th October 2021 at 8:25 am

      Yes we do have those boxes of veg available from wholesale organic farmers in the UK and because our country is so small some of these box companies are nation-wide. I don’t have one currently (although I used to get one) as there are very good farmers markets nearby and I often supplement my supermarket veg with buys from these markets. Supermarkets here do sell a lot of organic veg so that’s good as well. And while there is a lot of pre-cooked convenience meals available we never touch those and they’re not as popular these days as they were once. Eating organic and becoming vegan is very much the in thing these days. We only eat beef about once a week, if that. Lamb which is much better than beef is very expensive so that’s once a year. We eat fish once a week and alternate that with chicken the next week, otherwise it’s mostly plant based.

      I guess we are what we eat so even changing to just healthier plain food that is not processed is a step forward, but this series was very definitely on the side of eat vegetables and eat many different vegetables! Dr Li’s book is going to be a good read. Thanks Charlene for your thoughts and insight 😊

  • 13th October 2021 at 3:18 pm

    I know that I should be eating more vegetables I really struggle to get more in my diet. I am lucky in that there is an actual farm not far from me where I can get fresh produce. One thing I like to do is roast my veggies, almost anything seems to taste better to me when roasted. and it is easy too. last week I made one of my favorite combinations, a roasted ratatouille. eggplant, zucchini, an onion. bell pepper, garlic, fresh thyme from my garden. some olive oil. the last half of the roasting process you add cherry tomatoes. It’s good on pasta, rice, filling in an omelet. I am impressed that you already prepare and eat so many vegetables. Darby

    • 15th October 2021 at 8:04 am

      Vegetables are now my favourite food with roast veg at the top of my list. And last night I pretty much had what you had with brown rice plus two falafels and some greens with a bit of soy sauce – it was absolutely delicious. We used to be very much meat eaters but have slowly dropped the meat to once a week if that, and so I think we have what’s known as a flexitarian diet????

      And yes, lucky you to have a farm nearby – have a great weekend, Darby 😊

  • 13th October 2021 at 3:43 pm

    It makes total sense! My best friend is endeavouring to follow a gluten free diet in order to alleviate some pain issues to do with RA – I hope that works for her. Many thanks for sharing this. Jacqui x

    • 15th October 2021 at 8:05 am

      It was such an interesting series – two were outstanding No4 and No2 – and I agree it all makes such sense – thanks Jacqui x

  • 14th October 2021 at 10:51 am

    This was very interesting Penny . I am a vegetarian and eat a vast quantity of veg , usually whatever is in season that I buy at our local Farmers Market. I love a stir fry so use many Asian greens , mustard greens are a favourite as is fresh English spinach. Asparagus season has just started here so I am a happy girl.
    I watched the video , so very interesting . Thank you for the information I also have ordered Dr Li’s book as this is something of great interest to me, we can compare notes. xx

    • 15th October 2021 at 8:10 am

      Have just started reading Dr Li’s book and it looks as though it’s going to be a gold mine as far as informing oneself about the microbiome and so much else. I love a stir fry but think that roast Mediterranean veg is my favourite dish of all time topped with some steamed or lightly boiled/melted greens.

      Nos 4 and 2 videos were outstanding and I do respect Prof Tim Spector because of his work with Covid – we usually watch his Covid YouTubes regularly as he’s the best source of information on Covid. We ignore our government’s messages as they are so distorted and partial to herd immunity – it’s appalling. At that I’ll stop! Have a lovely weekend, Jill xx

  • 15th October 2021 at 11:26 am

    We are coming off a beautiful season of abundance in the garden with homegrown fresh veggies. Now to get used to going to the grocery store…

  • 20th October 2021 at 7:45 pm

    How interesting! We often make a risotto with asparagus and broad beans. I keep a bag of frozen broad beans and they are a really good standby. Avocado on toast with a poached egg on top is a favourite for Sunday breakfast here. Interesting to see how many different veggies you manage to incorporate into your diet, I’m not sure I could manage to get 30 different ones in a week! I have to be careful not to have too many beans as although I like them, they don’t always like me!

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