Try the Happy Health Plan loved by Fearne Cotton and Joe Wicks

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WE all want to be healthy and happy. We all want to wake up in the morning with energy, feeling content and confident in our bodies.

What we eat and our lifestyles have a huge impact on our energy, weight, confidence and our health and wellbeing.

What we eat has a huge impact on our health and wellbeing

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What we eat has a huge impact on our health and wellbeingCredit: Getty
The Happy Health Plan is designed to change your life and whole body health for good

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The Happy Health Plan is designed to change your life and whole body health for good

Yet, in most cases, what we eat and our lifestyle are not supporting us.

The Happy Health Plan is not a diet or a quick fix, it’s not even a weight-loss plan (though it can be effective at this) – it is designed to change your life and whole body health for good.

The plan helps improve your health, gut and skin, as well as reach your happy shape.

It’s the culmination of more than 10 years’ experience of supporting tens of thousands of participants all over the world as they transform their health with the power of a wholefood plant-based diet – and now it’s your turn! 

What is it?

David and Stephen Flynn's plan revolves around wholefoods and a 'plant-based diet'

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David and Stephen Flynn’s plan revolves around wholefoods and a ‘plant-based diet’Credit: Chris Terry

WHOLEFOOD means foods as you’d find them in nature rather than processed from a factory – and “plant-based” is a diet made up of: fruits, veg, beans (kidney beans, butter beans, black beans, etc), legumes (lentils, chickpeas, split peas, etc), wholegrains (brown carbs rather than white, or whole and unrefined carbs), nuts (raw, not the roasted and salted or candied types), seeds (raw, such as sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, chia, flax).

Wholefoods provide all the nourishment our bodies need, including protein, which people often think is lacking in a plant-based diet. In fact, a diet made up of these food groups is now what many pro athletes swear by.

The rules

1. Eat a wholefood, plant-based diet.

The plan is based around 100 per cent whole plant-based foods (or as close to it as you can get).

2. Eat as much as you like – no calorie counting or portion control.

A diet that lets you eat as much as you want?

That’s right, because this food is:

  • Low-energy density – naturally low in calories while filling you up.
  • High in fibre – fills you up and takes longer to eat, and as a result your body registers that you are filling up quicker and reduces your hunger.
  • High in water – water in food has no calories but fills you up.
Ditch your usual white bread, rice and pasta

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Ditch your usual white bread, rice and pasta Credit: Getty

3. Use only wholegrain products.

Brown rice, wholemeal pasta, wholemeal couscous, wholemeal noodles, 100 per cent wholemeal bread are high in fibre, low in calories, great sources of sustained energy and packed with nutrients.

4. Ensure packaged wholefoods you eat have a fat content below 10 per cent.

To find out the percentage of fat, look at the nutritional information on the back of the packet.

Fat will be listed in weight per the size of the product and per 100g. Look at the fat content per 100g and this will give you the percentage of fat.

No red meat, white meat and fish is allowed as they are high in saturated and trans fats

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No red meat, white meat and fish is allowed as they are high in saturated and trans fatsCredit: Getty

5. Avoid refined or processed foods.

Studies show more than 50 per cent of calories consumed in the UK are from ultra-processed food.

When it comes to your morning cereal or your evening pot of yoghurt, each may be OK in isolation and moderation – the problem is that the majority of foods we are eating now are these ultra-processed foods.

They are packed with sugar, salt and fat and are considered empty calories, as they have little to no nutrition.

They have little fibre to fill you up, making them easy to eat and hard to stop eating.

6. Don’t eat animal-based foods.

That is, red meat, white meat and fish.

They are excluded because:

  • They are high in saturated and trans fats, both of which are linked to heart disease and diabetes.
  • They contain no fibre: fibre is good for our gut, brain and weight.
  • They contain cholesterol – excess cholesterol is associated with increased risk of heart disease.
  • They are very low in antioxidants.
  • They are low in vitamins and minerals compared to plant-based foods.
  • They often contain antibiotics and hormones, which are believed to have a negative impact on your health, particularly your gut health.
  • They are missing the number-one source of energy for your body: carbohydrates.
Replace cheese, milk, butter and yoghurt with calcium-rich plant foods

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Replace cheese, milk, butter and yoghurt with calcium-rich plant foodsCredit: Getty

7. Avoid dairy products.

This means cheese, milk, butter and yoghurt made from animal milk.

Replace these with calcium-rich plant foods to keep bones strong, and cut out foods that are associated with leaching calcium from bones, such as high-protein foods like meat and high-sodium foods such as processed foods.

Cutting out dairy has been hugely effective in helping lower cholesterol.

The plan excludes dairy products because they are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which are linked to heart disease. Plus they contain no fibre and little nutrition.

8. Avoid eating eggs.

Eggs are excluded because they are the most concentrated source of cholesterol in our diet.

One large egg has about 200mg of dietary cholesterol in the yolk – the daily maximum limit of cholesterol in your diet being 300mg, or 200mg if you are at risk of heart disease.

Cutting out oil is key to lowering cholesterol

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Cutting out oil is key to lowering cholesterolCredit: Taxi – Getty

9. Avoid using oil (including olive, sunflower, avocado and flax oil).

Cutting out oil is highly effective at lowering cholesterol, improving blood flow and skin health, and losing weight, plus you won’t taste the difference.

The plan excludes oil because:

  • It is high in empty calories: it has no fibre and very little nutrition and is the most calorie-dense food there is, at more than 8,000 calories per litre.
  • It is 100% fat: no protein, carbohydrate and minimal nutrition other than fat.
  • It contains no fibre, meaning it won’t fill you up but it is high in calories.
  • It is high in saturated fat. Even olive oil is around 14 per cent saturated fat – the daily recommended intake is no more than 10 per cent.
  • It is a refined food that we extract from the wholefood, discarding the fibre and nearly all the vitamins and minerals, leaving us with nothing but the fat.

10. Eat nuts, seeds and avocados sparingly.

This means raw nuts and seeds, not salted or roasted, which are high in salt and less nutritious.

Raw nuts and seeds are full of beneficial fats and we need very little to get the real benefit from them – going above this can cause inflammation and a negative effect on our gut, heart and weight, so limit your intake to 30g a day.

Avocados are super-healthy, but to optimise your heart health and maintain a healthy weight, limit your intake to a max of half an avocado every second day.

Move more, smile more!

How many times a day do kids smile? The answer is 400, and they move around a lot!

Adults, however, are experts at sitting still, and smile only 20-30 times. So, get moving!

Easy Mexican enchiladas

Serves 4-6

Takes 10-15 minutes

Replace your usual meat filling with black beans and sweetcorn for a healthier meal

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Replace your usual meat filling with black beans and sweetcorn for a healthier mealCredit: Maja Smend

For the enchilada sauce:

  • 1/2tbsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2tsp onion powder
  • 200ml tomato purée
  • 200ml veg stock
  • Juice 1/2 lime
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1tbsp maple syrup

For the filling:

  • 1 x 400g tin black beans
  • 1 x 200g tin sweetcorn
  • 1 x 400g jar roasted red peppers in brine
  • 6 wholemeal/corn tortillas

For the cashew cream:

  • 100g cashew nuts
  • Juice 1/2 lime
  • 12tbsp non-dairy milk
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • Pinch ground black pepper

To serve:

  • Handful fresh coriander
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 fresh red chilli

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to the highest temperature it can go. Put the cashew nuts into a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak.
  2. Put all the ingredients for the enchilada sauce into a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour half of this mixture into a large bowl and set the other half to one side. Drain and rinse the black beans, sweetcorn and roasted red peppers. Chopthe red peppers into thin strips. Add the beans, sweetcorn and red peppers to the large bowl of enchilada sauce and mix well.
  3. Lay the tortillas out on a work surface one at a time, and fill them with the mixture, dividing it equally between the 6 tortillas. Roll them up, then put them into an ovenproof dish or baking tray about 30cm x 20cm – 6 filled tortillas should fit perfectly. Pour over the rest of the enchilada sauce
    and bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes.
  4. While the enchiladas are in the oven, drain and rinse the soaked cashew nuts. Put them into a blender with the rest of the ingredients for the cream, and blend until smooth.
  5. Finely chop the coriander stalks and leaves. Peel and slice the avocado, and finely slice the red chilli. Remove the enchiladas from the oven, drizzle over the cashew cream, and decorate with the sliced avocado, chilli and coriander.

Jambalaya

Serves 4

Takes 50 minutes

This warming dish will be great on a cold winter's day

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This warming dish will be great on a cold winter’s dayCredit: Maja Smend

You need:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 300g vegan sausages
  • 1/2tsp smoked paprika
  • 2tbsp sweet paprika
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2tsp ground black pepper
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2tsp cayenne or chilli powder
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 11/2tsp salt
  • 200g brown basmati rice
  • 800ml veg stock
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 30g toasted cashew nuts, to serve

Method:

  1. Finely dice the onion, green pepper and celery. Cut the vegan sausages into bite-size pieces. Heat a large pan on a high heat, then add the onion, green pepper, celery and vegan sausages and fry for 10 minutes, stirring regularly to avoid them sticking. If they do start to stick, add a tablespoon of water and stir to loosen.
  2. Once the onions have started to brown, add the smoked paprika, sweet paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, oregano, cayenne or chilli powder, cloves, cinnamon, salt and the rice, and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring regularly.
  3. Add the veg stock and the thyme leaves (removed from their stalks), and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, put the lid on and leave to cook for 30 minutes, until the rice is soft. Add
    the lemon juice, stir, taste and adjust the seasoning to your palate. Garnish with the toasted cashew nuts.

Easy cream roasted red pepper pasta

Serves 4

Takes 10 minutes

You can still have your favourite pasta dishes - just swap to wholemeal

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You can still have your favourite pasta dishes – just swap to wholemealCredit: Maja Smend

You need:

  • 100g frozen peas
  • 200g mushrooms
  • 75g roasted red peppers from a jar
  • 300g wholemeal pasta of your choice 
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • 20g fresh basil

For the sauce:

  • 100g cashew nuts
  • 500ml oat milk
  • 11/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp ground black pepper
  • 1tsp garlic powder
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 100g roasted red peppers from a jar

Method:

  1. Soak the cashew nuts for the sauce in boiling water for 10 minutes. Put the frozen peas into a large bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to defrost. Finely chop the mushrooms. Slice the roasted red pepper into thin strips. Drain and rinse the cashew nuts.
  2. Cook your pasta in well-salted water according to the packet instructions. While it is cooking, blend all the ingredients for the creamy red pepper sauce until smooth.
  3. Heat a non-stick pan on a high heat. Once hot, add the chopped mushrooms and fry for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Once they start to brown, add the soy sauce and quickly stir it around the pan. Remove from the heat. Pick the basil leaves from their stalks.
  4. Drain the pasta, keeping some of the cooking water aside. Drain and rinse the peas. Add the drained pasta, peas and red pepper sauce to the cooked mushrooms, mix well over a medium heat until warmed through, adding a few tablespoons of pasta water to thin the sauce if needed.
  5. Taste and season, then serve sprinkled with the basil leaves.

Don’t miss!

NEXT week check out delicious pudding recipes from The Happy Health Plan.

Cottage pie with sweet potato mash

Serves 6-8

Takes 1 hour

Topping your cottage pie with sweet potato mash is a great twist on a classic

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Topping your cottage pie with sweet potato mash is a great twist on a classicCredit: Maja Smend

You need:

  • 2 medium carrots or parsnips
  • 100g green beans
  • 3 x 400g tins cooked Puy lentils
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch salt
  • 3tbsp soy sauce
  • 750ml veg stock
  • 1/2tsp ground black pepper

For the mash:

  • 750g sweet potatoes
  • 250g potatoes
  • 1tsp salt
  • 100ml non-dairy milk 
  • Pinch ground black pepper

For the coriander cream:

  • 100g cashew nuts
  • 65ml water
  • 15g fresh coriander
  • 1/3tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1tsp balsamic vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/ gas mark 6. Put the cashew nuts into a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Chop the sweet potatoes and regular potatoes into uniform bite-size pieces so that they will cook evenly. Put them into a medium pan, cover with water, bring to the boil and cook until soft, about 20–25 minutes.
  2. Grate the carrots or parsnips. Trim the green beans and cut them in half. Drain and rinse the lentils. Pick the leaves off the thyme sprigs. Put another medium pan on a high heat and add the grated carrot or parsnip. Add the thyme leaves, bay leaves and a pinch of salt, mix, and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the drained lentils and soy sauce, then slowly add the veg stock. Add the black pepper, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, letting the stock slowly evaporate for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, make the coriander cream. Drain and rinse the soaked cashew nuts. Put them into a blender with the rest of the coriander cream ingredients (reserving a few coriander leaves for garnish) and blend until nice and smooth.
  5. If the lentil mixture is dry once it has thickened, add 2tbsp water and 1/2tbsp soy sauce and season. Add the green beans and stir them through the hot lentil mixture, letting them cook for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. Drain the potatoes, then put them back into the pan and add 1tsp salt and the non-dairy milk. Mash it all together until lovely and smooth.
  7. Remove the bay leaves from the lentil and veg mixture, then spoon into a 28cm x 20cm baking dish. Drizzle over half the coriander cream, and distribute the sweet potato mash evenly on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until the top crisps. Before serving, drizzle over the rest
    of the coriander cream and garnish with the reserved coriander leaves.
  • The Happy Health Plan: Simple And Tasty Plant-based Food To Nourish Your Body Inside And Out by David & Stephen Flynn (£16.99, Penguin Life) is out tomorrow.
Victoria Beckham warned she was ‘poisoning’ herself with strict fish and veg diet

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