Most people tend to think of inflammation in terms of external signs: swelling, bruising, redness, heat and so on, like when you stub your toe, that immediate pain you feel is the body working in action to help fix whatever just happened. It is a normal and effective response that facilitates healing.Unfortunately, chronic inflammation is a different story and can be caused by diet, stress, lack of exercise, smoking, pollution, and lack of sleep. It can be seen in those with arthritis, fibromyalgia, coeliac disease, and irritable bowel disease. It can also play a part in asthma and diabetes.On occasions, weight gain can also be attributable to inflammation as inflammation in the body makes our weight control hormone (leptin) to be less effective, which therefore causes weight gain. Thus, the two often come hand in hand.
Spring lamb is coming into the shops and this tender meat is traditionally eaten at Easter. Our recipe for cinnamon spring lamb is a great way to serve lamb. It uses a formidable list of spices, but don’t be daunted by that as they are all working to making you work better and the lamb even more delicious.
Kumud Gandhi, the Food Alchemist - is the founder of The Cooking Academy, a unique cookery school that puts the beneficial properties of ingredients at the heart of everything we teach. We call it the ‘Alchemy of Food’.
Kumud Gandhi trained in food science, and her ethos is to combine the science of food, nutritional value and great taste to create wholesome, nutritional and delicious recipes. Her passion for bringing food and science together to create the ‘Alchemy of Food’ stems from her family heritage, where her mother’s family are chemists and her father’s ancestors were spice merchants. And so as a child she grew up surrounded by what she calls ‘The Alchemy of food’.
Kumud has put much of her knowledge and understanding of spices into her book “A Cupboard Full of Spices”which will be published in October. The book is a go-to reference book for recipes as well as a beautiful cookery book including many favourite family recipes dating back through the generations.
The Alchemy of Food, teaching ethos at The Cooking Academy explores the chemical composition, Ayurvedic and herbal values of food so that recipes and eating plans can be matched to meet dietary requirements and individual lifestyles.
Heading up the Academy, Kumud and her team teach the health benefits of different herbs and spices used in all genre of food. For example if you suffer from indigestion or heart burn, try incorporating fennel, both fresh and fennel seed into your diet; or if you suffer from poor circulation then you should increase the use of chillies and in particular ginger in food; Ginger is in the ‘super food’ category packed with antioxidants, it is an anti-inflammatory, circulation stimulator, and an antiseptic. It is also hugely beneficial for the digestion of food.
So many common everyday ingredients can provide relief for existing conditions and working with these herbs and spices into your daily diet can actually prevent many common ailments and allergies.
For Kumud it is a realization that the kitchen cupboard promises to offer more effective solutions to our health problems than the medicine cabinet; after all, prevention is better than cure. Our objectives at The Cooking Academy are to make people aware of the nutritional value of simple, everyday ingredients, the effects it has in our bodies and how we can use them in food. Many of the everyday cupboard spices have excellent effects on these issues and they have been used by early ancestors and ancient civilizations – and yet forgotten in today’s world.
Kumud regularly runs master classes on the history of spices named ‘The Spice Trail’ which explores the origins of spices and their importance in the global trade around the world. It charts the use of spices in modern medicines and in culinary use for good health.
My spice cookery book, “A Cupboard Full Of Spices”, has finally gone to press. It has been a labour of love and 10 years in the making.The book describes my journey in food, and all the influences I have had from childhood in a traditional Indian home in the UK to the present day. It is a compendium of spices, explaining their uses and medicinal properties. In the book I bring these together to create “The Alchemy of Food” which is at the heart of all the cookery classes we hold at The Cooking Academy and the corporate wellness programmes and team building events we run throughout the world.