You are not alone on this journey to improving your health destiny. Finding support for your diet, lifestyle and health transformation is easier than you thought.

When I started on this process, I was hungry (when aren’t i?) for knowledge.  I wanted to know all there is to know about plant-based nutrition.  I wanted to talk to others and understand how they had achieved what they had and how.  I did the course at e-Cornell university and then I attended the Farms2Forks weekend.


Then I found myself alone.  I wanted to find a Dr who could understand what I was doing and why.  I even sent my own GP a copy of the Forks Over Knives DVD, not that he returned it!


I went to Veg Fest, a huge expo in London, and again, whilst I found a lot of people eating a plant-based diet, I still felt that feeling of being apart as I do not identify with being a vegan or a vegetarian.


What was I missing?  I was missing a community of “like minded people”, or a mentor that could help to support and guide me on my journey into the unknown where the planned destination is one of a radically improved and changed health destiny.  I wanted someone to pick me up when I fell, or to encourage me when I failed or who would just be cheering me on.


Mr G is great, he is very supportive, but he would almost eat whatever I put in front of him.  He likes the results of the WFPB diet as he is looking healthier than ever and is slimmer than ever.  Not bad as he is (coughs) years old.


I think what I was looking for is some kind of “support network”.  You know when you first go “on a diet”, you’ve typically got a group of like-minded people, a meeting, or a group of colleagues or friends, all of whom are trying to shed a few pounds.  You may just have a a book, or a DVD, but it is still a source of support and inspiration as well as a reference for the many and varied questions you may have.  It may be that your doctor has recommended that you lose weight for health reasons and he and his colleagues at your local practice are monitoring and supporting your progress.  It may be that you’re working with a personal trainer or your friends at the gym and these become your source of encouragement and support.


My community on Plantalicious is designed to provide some of that support.  Join up, meet others who are trying to change their health destiny. You can access it here –  It is why I created this aspect of the site.  You can share experiences as well as recipes and ideas, tips and tricks.  Plus reach out for help and support or offer it to others.

I read an article by Jeff Novick on finding a plant-based Dr.  In it he talks about the often asked question of how to find a supportive or plant-based doctor to support you and monitor your progress on a wholefood plant-based diet.  What he goes on to suggest is that you join one of the immersion events that are held across the US just as I did.  However, this is not always practical nor affordable, particularly if you live on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, here in the UK.  What I liked about Jeff’s article is that he goes on to talk about other sources of support and inspiration and provides a comprehensive list that you can use regardless of where you are in the world and for a very reasonable amount of money.  For example, it might involve buying a DVD or a book.


Alternatively, it might mean investing some time in watching articles and videos on You Tube.


Have a look at Jeff’s article “How To Find a Plant-Based Doctor” by Jeff Novick, MS. RD.

You can read the full article here:  I think it’s probably one of the best that I’ve seen in addressing this question, and in helping those of us who don’t have a ready-made local support network.

Good luck and I hope to see you on the Plantalicious Community soon!


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I could have eaten a chocolate covered desk leg – but there wasn’t one in sight! Have you experienced sugar addiction?

Have you experienced the symptoms of sugar addiction?

I was attending a conference in Amsterdam this week and had some weird feelings and cravings for foods that I would usually avoid.  I could not work out what was going on.
At first, I wondered if I was just hungry.  I’m one of those people who is often hungry all the time, although since I have been following a WFPB diet, this has happened a lot less as I find that due to the calorie density of the foods my stomach is full plus the water content of vegetables means that I usually feel nice and satisfied.
Imagine my surprise to find me reaching for the “empty calories” of biscuits at break times and eating sugary deserts at lunch and at dinner.  I’d have eaten the leg of my room desk had it been covered in chocolate at night when I retired to my room.  I also noticed my mood was altered and i experienced some extreme swings in feelings. .
What on earth was going on?  Why did I feel like this?  Am I just a greedy piggy?
So yesterday morning, I think I found one of the main culprits.  I was getting my breakfast.  In hotels I usually have some kind of oat based cereal like a granola or dry museli with some fruit and then have either soy milk if available or apple juice instead of milk.
Imagine my surprise to find that the cereal that looked like it had raisins in it as part of the oat based granola were not raisins at all.  They were in fact pieces of milk chocolate.  I rarely wear my glasses at breakfast but maybe I would have noticed had I had them on.  That’s a lesson for sure.  for a moment I felt smug, as I had not selected the particular cereal as the colour of the oats looked as if they had something added to them.  Cocoa I now guess.  I had chosen the cereal where the oats looked a natural colour and they were combined with slivers of almonds.
Almonds? Oh really?  On further investigation, the almonds were not almonds at all.  No, they were in fact white chocolate!  Every day for my “healthy start to the day”, I had in fact been filling my body with sugar and fat.  In fact that sugar had probably been the cause that I was then craving the chocolates and mints that the hotel put alongside the notepads in the conference room that I devoured eagerly morning and afternoon.
I find that when I eat sugary foods made with refined sugars rather than natural sugars contained in fruits or maple syrup, date paste or agave, once my body processes it, it just seems to want more.  I know that there is a lot of science behind this which you can find more about here:
So what has your experience been?  How does refined sugar affect you?
If you see me gnawing away on a chocolate covered desk leg – then just walk on by!
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The challenges of maintaining a No-added Fats, Whole-food, Plant-Based Diet whilst traveling.

I have been traveling a lot recently for both work and pleasure, including a recent trips to Johannesburg in South Africa and my holiday in Estoril, Portugal, made me realise how difficult it is to maintain a no-added fat, whole food, plant-based eating plan when you are not buying, preparing and cooking your own food.
I’ve written before about some of the challenges of eating a Plantalicious diet when traveling, but I think I missed a few things out.
Firstly, on these trips I realised that few people know what WFPB means, so instead I use the V word. I say I’m Vegan. As you may know from previous articles I’ve posted, the two are not the same and as a result I get food that does not conform to my nutritional standards. On these recent trips it meant that I had a lot of refined carbohydrates in the form of white pasta and bread. A lot of the food also had added fats such as olive oil etc.
I’m now wondering if I should be more assertive and be more specific about WFPB and what I do and don’t eat. The dilemma that this presents is that in a number places I’d really only be able to eat the soups, vegetable side dishes or salads. I’d miss my pastas etc.
While I am on the subject of pasta; it brings me to added fats and salt. I recently had a dish of pasta with porcini mushrooms. I’d checked the ingredients listed on the menu and they seemed ok. What I had not expected, would be how much added fat and salt would be in the dish. I also think that there was cheese in it, which was not listed on the menu.  Given that I am often sitting with colleagues and clients, now here’s my dilemma, what do i do?  Make a fuss, or just suck it up and eat it?  What did I do?  I ate it!
Another example was at the BA lounge at Heathrow where I had a delicious proper slow-baked jacket potato. The flesh was soft and buttery. Perfect. Reminding me of the ones we had as kids as a treat on bonfire night that had been wrapped in foil and baked for hours. One of the choice of toppings was a “ruby coleslaw”. Shredded beetroot, carrot, white cabbage and onion. Lovely but bound in a thick egg and oil based mayonnaise. It was delicious, but it wasn’t plant-based nor was it vegan, it was vegetarian. I know I’m not on a diet and that I can eat whatever I want, but if I want to stick to this for the majority of the time, I may have to trade-off simple/bland or boring food choices with foods that go against my nutritional principles.
This brings me to another peril. That of fried foods. Twice during the week in South Africa and numerous times in Portugal, I had a major dilemmas, over fried foods. Firstly in a Thai restaurant. The only thing on the starters list that did not contain meat or fish were spring rolls or samosas. Both of which were deep fried. Hardly no added fats! All of the veggie burgers in Portugal were served with chips.  Hmmm.  What’s a greedy boy to do?  They were all lovely, but again they did not conform to what I am trying to do. Another day I had veggie sandwich which came with chips. I was brought up not to waste food so guess who ate them like a little starving piggy?  Believe it or not, this was the best option that my hotel restaurant could offer. It’s also hard to discuss my dietary needs with staff who have little or no English. Asking for whole meal pasts or brown rice in South Africa usually results in a huge smile and a “yes sir”. What gets brought to you is usually exactly what is on the menu and usually is refined carbs loaded with fat. Drat.
In London last week I ate at one of my favourite restaurants with clients. They were splendid in accommodating my requirements with a black radish salad without the buffalo mozzarella but just as wonderful with teeny tiny micro tomatoes and blackberries. A perfect autumnal starter. Then a risotto without butter or cheese but made with wild rice
Finally there’s the issue of refined carbohydrates.  White rice, white pasta and white flour – all vegan and vegetarian but not WFPB.  In Portugal as in South Africa, that is another challenge, where a lot of dishes are made with refined carbohydrates.  We had a lot of lovely pastries in Portugal, delicious, but again not WFPB.  Veggie risotto sounded like a healthy treat, but made with white rice, lots of added fats and undoubtedly some cheese, it was a nutritional nightmare.
So it is time to be a bit more assertive.  Time to be more picky.  I know, I do not have to do this, but I want to in order to be able to be healthy.  Time to ask more questions, “can you tell me, what is in this in addition to what is listed on the menu”, making choices that avoid refined carbohydrates.  Stipulating that I want wholemeal bread, ordering soups made with veggie stock and salads with the dressing on the side or just balsamic vinegar.
In summary – time to be more assertive and less British in my food choices.  It’s my body and it is my choice and in my power to decide what i put in it.
Take a look at my first viideo blig – here for a short update on this topic –
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Shocking – EU Gives go-ahead for food industry to state that Fructose is “healthy”!

I had to share this.  I’m utterly outraged that the EU would allow the food industry to state that Fructose is a healthy option if it replaces more than 30% of the sugar in a fizzy drink.


See the article on this in the Guardian.


Can you believe that given all of the evidence from the US that the EU would allow this?  Whilst I am not a conspiracy theorist, I do feel strongly that the food industry will be laughing all the way to the bank as it suggests at the end of the article.


What do you think?



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At last – Research into nudging adolescents into eating more plant-based nutrition.

Just seen this article that some research is going to be undertaken by Leeds Metropolitan University on nudging adolescents to eat more plant-based nutrition.

Ok so it’s funded by the alpro foundation who obviously have a vested interest but good to finally see some UK research being undertaken.

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Live longer on legumes and the longer you eat them, the less farting you’ll do!

I really enjoy his articles and here’s another that points to legume consumption and increased lifespan.

So take a look and don’t be worried about flatulance – see what he has to say on that too!

link to article

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What’s in your salad sandwich?

I love a sandwich. Satisfying, wholesome bread encasing a tasty and delicious filling.

Given all my travels and my dietary requirements, I quite often order a salad sarnie.

Today I happened to need a sandwich before heading to the airport and ordered a salad sandwich on brown bread with no meat, fish, dairy.

This is what I got-


I was so disappointed given here I was in Dublin in Ireland. The home of delicious soda bread, and wonderful fresh produce. I also got a small bowl of luke warm chips which I did not want. This was accompanied by a teeny tiny “side salad” of watercress, 2 thin slices each of tomato and gherkin. Topped off with sugar-laden tomato ketchup. Hmmm.

What do you put in your salad sandwiches?

Here’s some ideas:
– lettuces – any and every type
– grated carrots
– cucumber
– tomato
– sliced radish
– beetroot
– rocket/arugala
– lambs lettuce
– watercress
– cress
– shisho
– micro greens
– herbs, such as Basil, Coriander and Parsley
– apple
– Kale
– beans or bean spreads
– no added fat hummus
– mustard
– nut butters
– celery
– thinly sliced leeks
– onions
– spring onions/scallions
– roasted veggies
– sliced courgettes
– olives
– chives
– sliced dill pickles/gherkins
– shredded cabbage – red, white or green
– plant-based mayonnaise
– sprouts (bean sprouts, alfalfa, radish)
– water chestnuts
– bamboo shoots
– Chinese leaves

What else?
– sliced smoked tofu?
– mock meats?
– veggie spreads and pates

What have I forgotten?

Any other ideas or favourites?

I haven’t named the hotel concerned but suffice to say that I shared my opinion on my lunch with them along with the enclosed photo. They are “looking into the matter” and “having words with the kitchen.”

I’d be happy to give them some consulting advice on their menu and how to cater more imaginatively for the increasing demand for healthy food.

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Mr Plantalicious

How did I come to this? My Plant-Based Nutrition Journey….

One of the things that I’m regularly asked, is how did I come to a point where I made a decision to adopt a no added fat, whole food, plant-based diet? I can tell you, that this was not something where I just woke up one day and decided to eat nothing but plants.

I really love my food, in fact over the course of my lifetime it became quite an obsession for me. If I wasn’t talking about it, cooking it or trying to fight the effects of it through diet or exercise, I was probably dreaming about it!

For most of my life, I’ve fought a battle with my weight, whilst not really acknowledging that the resultant pounds and stones that I carry around are a direct result of the food choices and portion sizes of what I have eaten over the years. I tried most diets: The Cambridge Diet, Weight Watchers (numerous times), South Beach, Atkins, Glycaemic Index etc I would lose weight; some of which I had probably seen before and then like an unwelcome but familiar old friend, it would return invariably in a greater quantity than before.

I tried more radical solutions such as Xenical. I can remember being in La Jolla in California staying at the hotel for a company event. As usual these events involved a good deal of eating and drinking throughout the period of our stay. I recall walking down the corridor and realising to my shame that I had soiled myself as what these tablets effectively do is to make the fat bypass your stomach and exit through your bowels. Pretty depressing stuff!

For several years I went to OA. Overeaters Anonymous. I met some very lovely people but after several years I discovered that for me it only served to reinforce negative eating habits.

I also spent a small fortune on Paul McKenna’s “I can make you slim” programme. For me it should have been called “I can make you poor and fat” as that is what happened after I spent several sessions with a certain “Paul McKenna official counsellor”. Whilst I am a firm believer in hypnotherapy this guy could not hypnotise me. After a number of sessions he argued with me that despite my putting on weight his very, very expensive techniques were working. I’m certain that he appreciated the contributions I made toward the refurbishment of his east London home.

After many more years of other diets including Atkins and South Beach and my own hybrid combinations, I was fatter than ever. My health was on a trajectory to chronic disease. The most likely being heart disease as that was what the men in our family typically had to look forward to in later life. I guess we are genetically pre-disposed to it.

In 2006, I discovered LighterLife, the meal replacement VLCD (Very Low Calorie Diet). The one endorsed by Pauline Quirke. It was just before my partner and I were due to do our Civil Partnership. I wanted to look good in the photographs and to feel good as we celebrated our commitment to one another after 21 years together. As a result, I followed the LighterLife plan for about 9 months, in total losing somewhere in the region of 100 lbs. This is a huge and dramatic weight loss, but at the time whilst I felt good in the photographs and at the civil partnership, I kind of knew it was unsustainable. LighterLife provides around 560 calories a day during the main phase of the programme through bars, soups and shakes. No “real food” at all. You then reintroduce food gradually after some basic cognitive behavioural therapy. I do not doubt that for some this works well and that the founders are sincere, although it did feel to me like once they get you hooked you have to keep going back for more products to maintain your weight loss.

Over the course of the next 5 years from 2007 to 2012, I slowly but surely put back all of the weight that I had lost when on LighterLife and more besides. I went to an event run by weight loss coach Gillian Riley. It was a good event and at the end she talked about some other resources and materials that we might be interested in. One of these, was the China Study. a book by T Colin Campbell. At the time, it seemed like quite a weighty and worthy tome which didn’t excite me and so I ignored it.

The next “expert” I followed was Patrick Holford. This signalled a small but significant shift in my diet and weight loss journey. A shift in focus away from fat but to the quality of what I was choosing to fuel my body with. I think it was a kick back against those powdered shakes and manufactured bars to proper food.

It was reading Patrick’s books and attending one if his weekend courses that stimulated my interest in nutrition and what I was choosing to eat. My diet improved somewhat but I was still overweight.

I cannot recall now how i found out about Dr Joel Fuhrman. An American doctor of medicine and former figure skater who uses nutrition to heal his patients. I read “Eat to Live” by Joel Fuhrman which stimulated my interest in eating healthier food, but whilst I changed my diet, I was eating a lot of nuts, seeds, avocados and oils.

I went to see the chap behind “Fat Families” – Steve Miller. I briefly worked with him, but again to no avail. Having some chap moan at me for overrating was never going to work. It was similar to all the hypnotherapy I’d had. I just fell asleep and when I woke up my appetite was the same as usual. My last diet was The Gabriel Method. A lot of what John says makes sense to me, but it did not result in significant weight changes. What it did was to emphasise that the quality of what I put in my mouth was as important as how much food I consumed.

Around the same time that I stopped going to Overeaters Anonymous, I had a major breakthrough. That was that I often ate for emotional reasons! Not the most mind-boggling discovery. Most people experience some form of emotional eating. What I discovered was the link (for me) between self-esteem and food intake. I had experienced a number if significant major emotional events in my life that had an effect on how I ate and saw food. My personal theory is that this is a contributory factor with many others who consistently overeat.

A key and valuable resource for me at this time was Nathaniel Branden’s book – The 6 Pillars of Self Esteem. This helped me see myself in a more positive and caring way. I do think that self esteem is one of the critical elements in weight loss. How can you care for your health if you don’t care for yourself?

Sometime later, through Dr Joel Fuhrman, I discovered more about the China Study, and I started to get interested in ways in which I could change my diet and improve my health. I suddenly made a further shift away from the notion that I needed to lose weight in order to be healthy to a mindset where improving my health would naturally result in a corresponding change in my weight. This took a while to really embed in my consciousness but I started eating a more healthy diet although at the time I was travelling back and forth across the Atlantic for work. I commuted from London to Toronto for 2 and half years travelling regularly sometimes every other week back and forth in economy. In 2012, I had a year of illness. This culminated in taking 6 weeks off with a very severe bout of viral pneumonia. I contracted the pneumonia on a plane journey across to Toronto and it was diagnosed some days later whilst in San Francisco. I had to be taken onto the plane and off again in a wheelchair. I was unable to walk any distance, I had no energy and I felt dreadful.

To get myself well, I started researching what I could do in terms of my diet. I had the mentality that I couldn’t really starts to exercise and build strength in my body until I’d lost weight. I did some juicing, and really got into how juicing could supply my body with the nutrients in a concentrated form that I desperately needed. Juicing is a little bit like lighter life, whilst it’s good in terms of helping you for a short period of time, it’s not something that is easy to incorporate into your life full-time as a permanent lifestyle change.

On one of my many trolls around the Internet I found T Colin Campbell again and the course being offered online through E Cornell University. The course wasn’t cheap, my wonderful partner, Mr G bought it for me has a gift for my 51st birthday. I can’t thank him enough, taking the course really changed my life. I will be ever grateful to Mr G who bought me the course as a present.

When I enrolled for the course my tutor mention that she had also taken the course and that now following it both she and her family were entirely eating a plant-based diet. I can remember thinking “oh yeah that’s really interesting, you stupid woman, shut-up and just register me for the course”. I did the course over a period of a number of months and during this time I did quite radically change my diet and introduce many more plant-based dishes. What I didn’t do was to commit to this as a way of life or even see it as a long-term solution to changing my health destiny.

In April 2013, having completed the course. I travelled to the US for work and when I was planning my trip I recall seeing an email the related to an event being held in Orange County the weekend after my company conference. I thought nothing of it until I remembered that it was by the people who had created the “Engine 2 Diet” and who were behind the film “Forks Over Knives”. I looked into attending the event, and managed to snaffle the last room available at the hotel. I can remember very clearly flying to Los Angeles, picking up a hire car and driving down to Orange County. The event was being held at the Hyatt hotel. When I arrived, I questioned my sanity as to what I was doing there and what benefit I would get full spending all this money and time.

I also expected the event which was called “Farms to Forks” being full of rather earnest hippy type vegans who would drive me bonkers. That weekend was quite an incredible experience. It started with the huge evening banquet on the Friday night as the hotel staff in the kitchens had all been trained in the plant-based cuisine. The food was delicious and there was just so much of it and it was all plant-based. The food was vibrant healthy and contributed to a sense of well-being that I have never felt before in my life. Even after only 3 days of being in the incredible environment, I was changed. I’d finally found something that just seem to work. I felt good, I felt light and I felt healthy. I felt “clean”. An odd word maybe but that is how the food consumed seemed to me. Clean and fresh. Nourishing my body rather than placing a burden on my body. Okay so I had not suddenly become size 0 overnight! But I felt clean and I felt that my body would respond given the foods I was consuming.

I came home, back to the UK made the decision to a predominantly plant-based food circa and 95 to 98% commitment. I made it a 95 to 98% commitment as I didn’t want to feel that I was on diet.

This has been an amazing process for me and it continues to amaze me. What is interesting is to find that my weight has reduced, my gym performance improved, my blood pressure has reduced as has my cholesterol level has reduced in the 6 months since I started eating and no added fat whole food plant-based diet.

My father had a major coronary aged 46. He died aged 61. I’m planning to give myself the best chance to live to a ripe old age, or at least to have the best quality time health wise. Watch this space for updates on my journey and my progress as I try to alter the course of my health destiny.

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fake beef

VegFest London – “Fake Foods” – Do you eat them?

I attended VegFest London this weekend. I spent a lot of time going around the many stall holders exhibiting their products.

There were many opportunities to sample foods throughout the event, but as I wandered around picking up a sample here and there, a thought struck me.

Why are there so many “fake foods”? I even found a stall selling fake duck! The longest queues at food stalls selling foods to consume on site were for “sausages” and other meat substitutes.

I took a look at a number of these products and very many of them had high levels of fats and salt. They were served in bread made with refined flour. Hardly healthy but I guess that this clearly illustrates the difference between a vegan diet where these things are consumed with my no-added fats, whole-food, plant-based diet.

What I personally found depressing was that these products claim that they are healthy and good for you, just the same claims that the mainstream food industry does with its food-like products that it pushes on an unsuspecting public.

So I took a leaf out of Jeff Novick’s book, and on the second day went around looking at these products to see the percentage of fat they contained.

Many contained fat levels in excess of 30%, some as high as 60%!

A few, contained around 10% fat which I find acceptable. A number of wheat meat products (from Italy and Germany) had around 10% calories from fat. I make my own wheat meat using vital wheat gluten and do not add any fat but can see why these manufacturers would do so, as it enhances taste, texture and mouth feel.

Fake cheese are the worst culprits, containing very high levels of fat. The fat they contain are invariably lower than their dairy based cousins, but be careful if you choose these and maybe only have them as an occasional treat if at all.

Mr. G tells me that the one thing he misses when eating plant-based is a slice of cheese or two for supper. My plan is to try to make more no added fat plant-based cheese but for now, he has these as a treat from time to time.

I also bought some of the wheat meat from a company from Italy which cleverly adds lentils to the vital wheat gluten to make a superbly textured and delicious product that I can use to make “meat like meals”.

I think these products have an occasional place in my diet as they represent a convenient and quick meal option.

For example – Last night I sautéed some of the “meat” in a dry pan with some spices and served it with no added fat roast potatoes, slow-cooked peppers with capers and a creamy mushroom brandy and tarragon sauce. Quick and utterly delicious.

Do you buy and consume these “fake” foods? Let me know why and when. I’d love to hear from you.

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Tomatoes on a Toast

Didn’t really want to have a big meal but needed something tasty, easy and cheap for supper.

When I was a kid, we’d have “something” on toast. Spaghetti or beans on toast were our childhood staples. One of the dishes that I loved was tomatoes on toast.

We used to cook them by frying the tomatoes in oil and adding some sugar to sweeten them. Hmmm. Not exactly healthy.

So here is my new version.

2-4 slices of whole wheat bread (we had some sourdough bread), per person.

Lots of tomatoes, chopped (min of 4-6 per person)

For the cooking liquid:

1 Tsp Veggie Stock Powder

1-2 Cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed/chopped

1 Cup of water

2 Tsp Tamari

2 Tsp Balsamic Vinegar

1/2 Tsp Dried Mixed Herbs or Herbs de Provence

2 Tsp Tomato Sauce (optional)

Sweetener – 2  Tsp Agave or Maple Syrup

Salt or Herbamare and Pepper


2 Tsp Nutritional Yeast

2 Tsp Chopped Parsley


In a blender, food processor or using a stick/hand blender, whizz up the cooking liquid.

Place the liquid in a pan and bring to the boil, boil hard to reduce to about half the volume and to concentrate the flavours.  It should be getting thick and syrupy before you add the tomatoes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile toast or griddle the bread.

Serve the tomatoes on the toast, and sprinkle over the nutritional yeast and the chopped parsley.


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