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SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Who says healthy has to be boring? A new cookbook from top Australian chefs shows it is possible to eat a balanced meal, and enjoy it, even if you've got a sensitive stomach.
Compiled by the Australia's Gut Foundation, a charity dedicated to researching and improving awareness about digestive health, "The Gut Foundation Cookbook" includes breakfasts, snacks, main courses and desserts that are low in sugar, fats and, in some cases, gluten-free.
Sydney-based dietician Geraldine Georgeou, who co-edited the book, says the variety of ingredients used in the recipes showed that nutritious can be delicious and help prevent a range of gastrointestinal conditions including bowel cancer, diverticular disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
"A lot of people think that getting diagnosed with a gastrointestinal condition means you have to cut out whole food groups from your diet," Georgeou told Reuters.
"But the main issue is eating well, and this book shows that you can have good meals, at home or in a restaurant, and can still be healthy."
Bowel cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in Australia and around the world, and the book said that poor diet was one of the contributing factors to its prevalence.
Other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, and the more common indigestion or heartburn, may also be caused by eating too much fat and too little fiber.
Georgeou said that people need to remember to eat fiber every day, and not only at breakfast, and also to realize that carbohydrates, and some fats, are good for you.
"Balance is the key," she said. "You can eat beautifully without too much fat, and too much refined sugars."
The 13 chefs who donated their recipes to the Gut Foundation include Neil Perry, one of Australia's leading and most influential chefs; cooking school proprietor and food journalist Elise Pascoe; Shannon Bennett of Melbourne's top-end "Vue de Monde" and Paul Wilson of the much-awarded "Radii" restaurant.
Georgeou said the recipes were checked for nutritional content and modified, with the aim of "showing people how to have their cake and eat it too."
The book also contains information about gastrointestinal diseases and what to avoid if you suffer from them.
"Food is very much linked to quality of life, and we wanted to make sure, with this book, that everybody can have a good meal," Georgeou added.
Recipe: Stir-fried minced chicken with chili and coriander (Neil Perry)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
500 g minced lean chicken
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 red shallots, roughly chopped
4 large green chilies, finely chopped
3 large red chillies, sliced thinly lengthwise
chilies 3 spring onions, sliced thinly lengthwise
red onion, sliced thinly
dash of fish sauce
2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
bunch mint, leaves picked
bunch coriander, leaves picked
pinch of sea salt
200 g glass noodles, soaked in hot water until soft and drained
juice of 2 limes
iceberg lettuce, leaves rinsed and dried
Method: Heat oil in a large wok or saucepan over medium heat, add chicken and stir-fry until just cooked. Stir in garlic, shallot and chilies and toss for 1 minute. Quickly add spring onion, onion, fish sauce, lime leaves, herbs and salt so as not to lose texture. Toss in noodles and finish with lime juice. Arrange lettuce leaves on a platter and spoon chicken and noodles on top. Alternatively wrap the chicken mixture in the lettuce leaves.
Editing by Ron Popeski