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‘My Relationship with Food’ : A guide to gluten free with Lisa Roukin

12 August 2016  •  Author(s): Lisa Roukin

This week we have an exclusive interview with Lisa Roukin to discuss her gluten free recipe book My Relationship with Food and the benefits of gluten free alternatives. Chef, teacher and author, Lisa has appeared on Channel 4, cooked live on BBC radio, and was a finalist on Gordon Ramsay’s The F-Word.


What inspired you to write My Relationship with Food?

My relationship to all things food was in no way beneficial in my early years, I was in a constant battle with food as I suffered from an eating disorder. Everyone has his or her own relationship with food. In my case, I was quite an introverted child and didn’t know how to express myself, and I think the way I found my voice was through food. 

It didn’t happen overnight, but with my strength and determination I got myself back on track. It took a wise older woman, my grandmother, to finally put me on a healthier path. She asked, ‘What would make you happy?’ My answer was given without hesitation. ‘Cooking’. And that is what I did.

I began by creating recipes and teaching them to others. I then decided to combine them into one book that I could sell in the hope it would inspire people to cook healthy, nutritious meals in the comforts of their own home. It also includes more details on my story and the struggles I faced that led me to where I am today.

Go Gluten Free may sound alarming to some people, but often in life we make decisions that have positive outcomes.

So my whole book is about my relationship with food, the story is about being over weight and losing weight, my whole story is based around that.

How would you recommend a gluten free diet to someone who might never ordinarily consider it?

Go Gluten Free may sound alarming to some people, but often in life we make decisions that have positive outcomes. I made a conscious decision to go Gluten Free in 2011 and I haven’t looked back since.  A study undertaken by the University of Aberdeen has found following a gluten-free diet can reduce blood cholesterol and lead to higher energy levels, clearer thinking and better concentration.

Being ‘free from’ matters not a jot to the taste, presentation and quality of food you can make and this is what matters most. It is not just a food choice but a life choice and, by the very nature of the word, these are choices for life.

Some people may feel bloated, have bad skin issues or may go through mood swings for no apparent reason. I would suggest trying to cut out gluten, it worked for me! I found that eliminating gluten from recipes I devised left me more energised and much happier, not so sluggish.

It’s simply a matter of making food swaps. People think it’s scary but it’s not, it’s far easier than people think. We are spoilt for choice when it comes to gluten free choices, it’s just about retraining your mind when buying and preparing your food.

What is your favourite recipe and why?

It would be hard to choose a favourite recipe as I have a love for most of the recipes in my repertoire, however, I love one pot wonders during the winter times as they are so comforting, warming and easy to make and great for everyone to just dig in and share.

My go to recipe at the moment will be whole baked chicken in rice because the flavours from the olives let out a delicious aroma which gets infused into the rice, it’s easy to make and if you have any left overs the next day just simply toss it all into a large frying pan and then you have another delicious meal on hand.

Any future plans or projects that you’d like to speak of?

I am currently embarking on my latest venture that is Lisa’s Pantry. This is designed to provide employees with the opportunity to have a variety of healthy meals whilst they are busy at work. It will allow individuals following all different lifestyles the chance to choose wisely from our gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, grain free and no refined sugar menu.

We are spoilt for choice when it comes to gluten free choices, it’s just about retraining your mind when buying and preparing your food.

I believe introducing eating-places such as Lisa’s Pantry can really make a difference in dealing with the employment problems our society faces. Sickness absence costs UK employers around £12.2 billion per year so improving the health and well being of workers is crucial to this country’s economy. Eating the correct foods is definitely a good way to start.  

Too often those who abide by strict dietary requirements are exempt from benefiting from nutritious meals at their workplace simply because they do not have the resources to provide them. Recently there has been a shift in the style of consuming, many more who are making gluten and dairy free choices for example, and it is important that the industry adapts to fit these needs.

The key is to make healthy choices at work and I am hoping that Lisa’s Pantry will succeed in helping many employees realise these choices do not equate to a diet, but simply a healthy lifestyle. 

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