Whole foods. Seriously, how good is it. Some days I love spending time in the kitchen, preparing nutritious food, slicing and dicing, blending berries, press and mortaring stuff. It’s therapeutic, and when I make it from scratch there’s something that no food product out there can beat. Good wholesome food, imagination and alot of love. Does anything come close? Lately though I’ve come across something on the shelves of Coles health food section.
It’s for this very reason I found myself sitting in Charlie Goldsmith’s office in Richmond on Friday afternoon, chatting away about food, health and life. More to the point, we’ve been talking about Celebrate Health. What is Celebrate Health? It’s a Melbourne based food product, or rather “good food with real heart for a positive change.” Allow me to explain. Celebrate Health are quick and simple recipe and meal bases in a packet, but, with one major point of difference. No preservatives, super healthy and it ticks several allergen-free boxes, like 100% natural, gluten free, dairy free, vegan friendly, peanut free, low in sugar and salt with a bonus side effect of weight control (healthy eating and portion control will do this). Nothing on the supermarket shelves quite stacks up to this (not in the one product). Trust me, I’ve had a good look.
For Charlie, co-founder of Celebrate Health, this creation really is a labour of love, so this product is even ticking that box for me. Diagnosed with several food allergies about three years ago has seen this guy completely transform his health and life. “Feeling hungover was pretty much an everyday norm for me” (no he wasn’t an alcoholic). It was only when he ate an entire loaf of bread for dinner one night and felt the full blow of his gluten intolerance the next day that he went on to discover that, and several other food allergies including fructose, dairy, soy, nuts, eggs and caffeine, that had him carrying a good 18 kg extra weight which he lost most of within two weeks of changing his diet. “It was the first time I actually remember feeling happy.”
He went on to helping a friend after recognising her allergies, and once again, changed a life remarkably for the better. Charlie is not a nutritionist but rather an entrepreneur, who through his own health battles has seen both sides of the fence. A very quick and simple changing of his diet saw him happy, vital and full of life, celebrating health and celebrating life.
With his food rules and ethics and his business partner Adrian Cester ‘s flavourings and creativity in the kitchen, the Celebrate Health food range was born. Indian Marsala Lentils, Moroccan Quinoa, Organic Stock and wholesome recipe bases like Tuscan Meatballs, Indian Butter Chicken and Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry are a few of the many selections available.
I gave the Tuscan Meatballs a go last night. I was pretty hungry whilst making the dish, in one of those irritable-snappy moods, which worked well. It was probably the quickest most hassle free meal I’ve ever whipped up, in around twenty minutes, and the beauty of it all… it’s uber healthy! The meatball sauce base comes in the packet, and all that’s needed was a bit of lean beef mince, an egg, tomatoes, a splash of oil, salt and pepper to season and gluten free pasta.
If you want to have a bit of fun, I suggest getting your hands dirty and smashing up the mince and egg together. Balling it up is fun too. A light shallow fry, mix in the recipe base and tomatoes, serve on a bed on pasta and voila, hey presto!
Ok now for the verdict, the taste. It’s pretty special. The tomatoe-based sauce is fresh with flavoursome herbs and spices like rosemary, basil, fennel, mustard, oregano and parsley, plus garlic and onions (meaning it’s packed with antioxidants), good texture and a tangy kick. What more can I say, it’s lip-smacking delicious! I went on to using this recipe base as a salsa dip for grilled veggies the following evening. I added chopped birds-eye chilli to give it some bite, amazing. I think the Tuscan Meatballs recipe base would also partner well with vegetarian pasta or lasgne; chopped eggplant, sliced mushroom, zucchini and celery (vegetarian and vegan friendly), or as a tomatoe relish on the side of scrambled eggs and toast.
I love spending time in the kitchen some days but other days I need to just get in and out and require something quick that’s delicious, healthy and nutritious. For those who know me, I’m huge into whole foods, but I do believe this product comes pretty close, made from 100% natural ingredients, packed fresh and sealed while it’s hot, with no preservatives and a one year shelf life. Celebrate Health products range from $3.50 to $9.99 and are stocked at your local Coles and selected retailers Australia wide.