As founder of The Detox Kitchen, Lily Simpson knows a thing or two about preparing a delicious healthy meal. The service, which delivers healthy detox food at home, has fast become a favourite of many healthy foodies, before spurring delis (their Kingly Street Deli being one of our favourite hangouts in Soho). Finally, her long awaited book The Detox Kitchen Bible (Bloomsbury Publishing), co-written with her team Nutritionist Rob Hobson has hit shelves - and we can report that it's a healthy foodie's dream!
Far from being just a recipe book (there are 200 in total), it also offer nutritional guidance and explanations on how to use the dishes to target our own health needs, whether it's getting clearer skin or gaining more energy. We're loving the clever nutrition notes on the side for each recipe stating what it is most beneficial for, rating it on a scale of 1 to 3 (ie. how good it is for heart, bones, digestion etc). Teamed with a fresh, modern layout and gorgeous photography, it's no doubt becoming our new kitchen 'bible' - covering everything from breakfast to desserts. Healthy food newbies will be happy to know that the recipes are easy enough to replicate and don't require any advanced equipment.
So, to celebrate the launch of the new book, we asked the nutrition expert to share her thoughts on detox and eating healthy. Dig in!
- What inspired you to begin The Detox Kitchen?
I’ve always been into wholesome home cooking, but had never really thought about the impact food can have on our everyday lives and wellbeing. Then about four years ago, my hectic lifestyle in the events industry began to have an impact on both my skin and my energy levels. I decided to order food from a healthy food delivery service (which will remain anonymous!) with hope that the food would transform my health, as well as my perception of healthy food … sadly it did not. The bland food only made me crave my beloved pasta and chocolate even more! So, I decided to set up a delivery service myself, one which always put flavour and food above anything else. I was amazed to see just how quickly the delivery service really took off: a year later we opened our Harvey Nichols deli, closely followed by our Kingly Street deli. We’re now due to open our second stand-alone deli in Fitzroy Place this summer and we’ve released our first cookbook, The Detox Kitchen Bible. It’s been an amazing three years!
- What is your most valuable piece of advice for people switching to a healthier lifestyle?
I know everyone says this, but I really see it as a lifestyle change rather than a diet or short-term fix. Focus on the way you feel rather than the way you look, try measuring your ‘success’ with the amount of energy you have in the morning, or perhaps the appearance of your skin. The pounds will drop off, they always do when you eat healthily, but by avoiding the fixation everyone has on weight it may just keep your momentum going. I always suggest adopting an 80/20 lifestyle (Ed.Note: 80 percent of the time you focus on clean eating and 20 percent of the time you can indulge in a little of what you fancy). I hate the idea of deprivation… if you are out with the girls in a restaurant, then order whatever your heart desires. Just be sure to return back to your normal healthy routine in the next meal!
- We’re hosting a dinner party for a bunch of friends and are out to impress. What would be your perfect menu made up of recipes from your book?
Oh this is an easy one! We held a series of supper clubs for the launch of The Detox Kitchen Bible. My favourite menu was:
- Starter: Baked aubergine with pomegranate (pg. 121) is always a crowd pleaser and easy to prepare ahead of time.
- Main: Cajun chicken with mango salsa and avocado salad (pg.202) is my mum’s favourite…it’s amazing the amount of flavour you can build with three basic spices.
- Pudding: Banana bread (pg. 255), I’ve made this recipe almost every weekend since I rediscovered it when the book was published, incredibly light yet decadent!
If you are looking for a showstopper, our raw cacao, avocado and raspberry cake (pg. 275) tastes just as good as it looks (and sounds!). Created by one of our very talented chefs, Virginia, this is everything a chocolate cake should be; rich, creamy and intensely chocolatey.
- What is your most popular dish at The Detox Kitchen?
Our salad bar is always a winner, our salads change often as we only use seasonal and local ingredients but we always have to have an avocado option (who doesn’t love avocado?). Having said that, the most popular option this spring has been our roasted pepper salad with paprika dressing – which just so happens to be my favourite too. Our customers always rave about our beetroot brownies too, which just like all our food, they are totally wheat, dairy and refined-sugar free.