National Vegetarian Week 2021 - a chat with award-winning nutritionist, Anita Bean
National Vegetarian Week 2021 – a chat with award-winning nutritionist, Anita Bean
Anita Bean is an award-winning Registered Nutritionist, specialising in sport and exercise, a former British Bodybuilding champion and internationally-published author.
This year, we’re delighted to have Anita join us a supporter of National Vegetarian Week. Here, she chats to us about her veggie cookbook and some of her favourite recipes on the National Vegetarian Week website.
You have a veggie cookbook– tell us about it.
The Vegetarian Athlete’s Cookbook is my best-selling cookbook. I’ve seen more and more athletes in my practice adopt a vegetarian diet recently. This vegetarian cookbook focusses on fitness and performance specifically. I wanted to help people make meat-free meals that support their fitness goals whatever they are. It’s a cookbook and sports nutrition guide rolled into one.
What are your favourite vegetarian recipes from your book?
My favourite mid-week recipe is Chickpea and Vegetable Tagine with Couscous – it’s a great recovery meal for active people, as it’s packed with protein, antioxidants and fibre, and takes less than 30 minutes to make. My other current favourites include Black Bean and Vegetable Curry with Almonds, Lentil-Stuffed Peppers and Cashew Nut Burgers. My Blueberry New York-Style Cheesecake is a healthy twist on the traditional recipe – it’s made with quark and Greek yogurt – which makes it a brilliant way of boosting your protein intake.
Even if you’re not an athlete, you can benefit from eating like one. These recipes are suitable for anyone who enjoys being active, whether that’s working out in the gym, walking, jogging, swimming, football, yoga or Pilates.
What are your favourite vegetarian ingredients and which do you think are most versatile?
I love cooking with chickpeas as they are so versatile – I make them into curries, burgers, houmous, falafels and even chocolate chip blondies. I recommend buying jarred chickpeas if you can as they are much plumper, softer and tastier than tinned. My fridge staples include fresh coriander (which I add to curries and salads), Greek-style yogurt (as its higher in protein than ordinary yogurt), and avocado (I have it roughly mashed on toasted wholemeal pitta every day!) And I’ve recently discovered Aleppo chilli flakes, which has a very soft heat and adds a spicy dimension to veggie stews, pasta and rice.
How often do you cook veggie meals usually?
I am a lifelong vegetarian and so are my family – all our meals are vegetarian. We are all living proof I think that you don’t need meat to do well in sport. I am a former British Body Bodybuilding champion, both of my daughters are former national swimmers, and my husband is a Masters runner (a runner, male or female, over the age of 40.)
So you’re up for the Veggie 123 challenge this National Vegetarian Week – what are you most looking forward to trying?
I think the Veggie 123 challenge is great way of getting people to try some new foods and meals that they wouldn’t normally eat. I’m looking forward to experimenting more with tofu, which I don’t tend to eat very often. There are some delicious ways of using it in curries, noodle dishes and burgers that I am keen to try.