Can healthy food really be this easy? Myles Hopper explains how, yes, it can be
Myles Hopper is a fitness trainer and nutritionist who co-founded Mindful Chef a truly brilliant concept whereby you choose from a selection of recipes – could be seasonal, one-pot, post-workout…a range of national cuisines. They’re all dairy and gluten-free with a maximum of ten ingredients. Then the ingredients and recipe cards are delivered directly to the customer, who doesn’t even have to be there to receive them. Most popular are the meals for two people, but there are also options for meals for one and four.
The idea of Mindful Chef came at a time when Giles and I were back in Devon staying with friends. When their fishing boat came in after a day out at sea, they would text the villagers on their way back telling them about the fresh fish they had caught. When they arrived in the harbour there would be a line of people waiting for them. It was then we realised this is how people should be sourcing their food. We’d seen the rise of recipe boxes in the States and thought there had to be a better way of doing it – one that would really benefit people and make a positive impact on their lives. With that Mindful Chef was born.
Setting up the business
I’d kept in touch with Giles [Humphries] since we were at school together. It was mid 2014 when we started discussing the idea for Mindful Chef with another school friend of ours, Rob. I worked as a personal trainer and nutritional coach then, Giles was in marketing and Rob was in finance – all of our skills together seemed like a perfect fit.
How we researched the market
We looked at a lot of food delivery companies – both pre-prepared food and fresh food. The United States is way ahead of us in this department so we looked at companies like Blue Apron, Sun Basket etc. Then we asked ourselves what people really wanted; and we set about investigating how could we provide that. The overwhelming answer was people wanted to eat well but they were either too busy to do it or didn’t know how. So we set about making healthy eating easy.
The assumptions people make about nutrition which just aren’t right
A lot of people make assumptions about nutrition which are wholly wrong. The biggest assumption is that eating well is really hard or just too boring. This couldn’t be further from the truth. By learning a couple of tricks and flavour combinations, the right spices and herbs can and will transform your meals.
The other assumption is it has to take a lot of time – all of our meals can be cooked from start to finish in less than 30 minutes. That’s an achievable 30 minutes too 🙂
The advice, especially for men, regarding nutritional health
I think portion control is the key! Generally women are a lot better than men at this – we see food on a plate or in a pan and think we need to eat all of it. Now sometimes we might need to but for the most part we would do better to take more time over eating our meals and ‘listening’ to our hunger cues. You should stop eating when you are full not when the plate is finished.
Our most popular recipes
Our most popular recipes have proved to be those that have a twist on traditional favourites. Meals like our red thai chicken curry; Mexican veggie chilli and nachos; or our aubergine, courgette and beef lasagne are all healthy takes on peoples favourites. We make it easy by only using a maximum ten ingredients and making sure there are never more than 6 or 7 steps to a recipe.
Our new book, Eat Well, Live Better
Giles and I have now written a cookery book which brings together a lot of Mindful Chef’s best recipes. It’s different from other recipe books because of the sections on nutrition and its impact on stress, sleep, energy, exercise and the gut. Everyone can benefit from this book and by making some of the small habitual changes we suggest you really can make a positive change to your life.
Below Myles gives us a couple of sample recipes from Mindful Chef: Eat Well, Live Better.
Recipe for ginger and spring onion seabass with miso and lime quinoa
- 80g quinoa
- 300ml boiling water
- 1 head of pak choi
- 1 yellow pepper
- 4cm fresh ginger
- 4 spring onions
- ½ fresh red chilli
- coconut oil
- 2 x 150g sea bass fillets
- 2 tsp tamari
- 1 tbsp sweet miso paste
- juice of ½ lime
- sea salt and black pepper
- Rinse the quinoa and put into a saucepan with the boiling water. Simmer for 15–20 minutes, until cooked.
- Meanwhile, cut the root end of the pak choi and thinly slice the yellow pepper. Peel the ginger and slice into thin matchsticks. Finely slice the spring onions and red chilli lengthways.
- Heat ½ tablespoon of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the pak choi and yellow pepper and cook for 5 minutes, until softened, then remove from the pan and keep warm.
- Season the sea bass with sea salt and black pepper. Using the same frying pan, heat ½ tablespoon of oil on a medium heat and place the sea bass in the pan skin side down. Fry for 2–3 minutes each side, until cooked through. Remove from the pan.
- Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the frying pan on a medium-high heat and add the ginger, chilli, spring onion and tamari. Cook for 3 minutes, until golden brown.
- When the quinoa is cooked, drain, season and stir in the miso paste and lime juice.
- To serve, place the miso and lime quinoa on a plate, top with the seabass and spoon over the spring onions, chilli and ginger. Serve alongside the stir-fried pak choi and yellow pepper.
Recipe for matcha cookies
- 270g crunchy cashew nut butter
- 100g coconut palm sugar
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of Soda
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp matcha powder
- 40g cashew nuts, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / gas mark 4.
- Put the cashew nut butter, coconut palm sugar and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and mix together until combined, then beat in the egg to form a dough. Add the matcha powder and stir well, then stir in the chopped cashew nuts.
- Form the cookie dough into 10 balls and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand to form a cookie shape (they will expand a bit when cooking).
- Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Leave to cool for a few minute, then place on a wire rack to cool and enjoy!