Tuesday, 20 March 2012

On a Quorn-style quest for a higher-quality life

We're always being told that we are what we eat. On the one hand I am naturally sceptical of this: having suffered with acne for nigh on 15 years, and having found that no change in diet seems to have helped the spots at all, I have no real reason to believe in it. On the other hand, I spent a little over a year as a vegetarian, giving up only when I got myself a French boyfriend (now husband) and realised a move to France (the land of the carnivore) was a real possibility. During that time, not only did my food bill go down, but I was also slimmer and had more energy. Even now that I eat meat again, I am still a vegetarian sympathiser and don't see the need to eat meat or fish every day at all.

There are plenty of beauty-related reasons to go veggie - as stated above, even without any meat substitute, my energy levels were through the roof and I enjoyed a slim yet pear-shaped figure (just "slim-ish" these days!). But what about those days when you just really, really miss sausages? Meat replacement products like Quorn can be helpful in this situation (although not in France, where I now live: even though the situation is improving, I have in the past picked up "meat replacement" products here to find chicken in the ingredients list). For those of you who aren't aware, products like Quorn are made up of mycoprotein, which is a protein that chiefly comes from a fungus named fusatium venenatum. And this protein/fungus has a lot of beauty benefits - basically, it is a superfood.
  • It's got all 9 essential amino acids, which are classed as 'essential' because the body doesn't make them - so we have to put them in. These not only contain anti-oxidants but also help to keep your hair, bones and nails in good condition. 
  • It's low in fat, which can be good for slimming if you're trying to achieve beauty through thinness. 
  • It's an alkaline product (other alkaline products include herbal teas, carob, and whole grains). This is good for your overall health: our diets should be 70% alkaline as our bodies find it harder to digest acids.
  • It contains minerals, including selenium (which protects cells from damage), zinc (helps keep hair and nail cells healthy, and helps with detox), iron (which is important for collagen synthesis, and thus anti-ageing), magnesium (for healthy bones and teeth), and calcium (which is good for strong bones, hair, teeth and nails - which is great news if, like me, you don't consume much dairy).
  • Quorn also contains plenty of B vitamins, which help with eye health, are anti-oxidants, help treat skin complaints such as acne, are anti-ageing and anti-stress, help with wound healing, and help to regulate mood.
Shepherd's pie - made with Quorn. Yes, really.
All of this (especially the bit about it helping with acne) made me wonder why I hadn't tried it (or at the very least, hadn't tried it for a very long time; I genuinely cannot remember if I ever sampled it during my vegetarian days, as I cooked a lot from scratch). I therefore set about trying to find some in France, which is as good as impossible. A shame, as I had (in a funny sort of way) been quite looking forward to sampling it. But it's certainly affordable (£2.09 for 2 quarter pounders, for instance), and could be a good, healthy way of satisfying a meat craving without actually eating meat. All other ingredients in your recipe stay the same, so it's hassle-free too. And if it helps your skin, your mood, your weight, your energy levels, your hair or your nails, so much the better, surely!

To set off on the road to a more beautiful and varied life couldn't be easier; there are plenty of recipes to get you going on the Quorn website and elsewhere. And let others know how you get on, be it here (should you have any beauty-related benefits to share) or on my other site, Ferret Food and Wines: make dishes! Upload pictures and recipes! Share your tips and experiences! You can also do the same on Quorn's Facebook page.

It looks as if I'll need to try Quorn in England if I'm ever going to (somehow I don't think I'll be able to convince my carnivorous French husband to become some sort of elaborate Quorn rustler on his trips to Belgium - where it is sold). But hopefully with the majority of my readers being in the US and UK you'll find it easier to come by - and will be able to report back on its effects on your skin, your health, your mood, and your life.

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