Emily Murray - How I made the steps to be healthier in 3 minutes (no cooking required!)

Posted by on 13th March 2020

Emily Murray, Founder of award-winning blog The Pink House tells us about the small steps she's taken to improve her health.

Emily Murray

I might have a fancy kitchen, but truth be told I designed it less for cooking in than looking at. How else would you explain my decision to rip out the very practical extractor fan above the hob, replacing it with a hand-blown glass pendant lamp which looks like a glamorous strawberry?

I’m not known for my culinary skills. I never have been. When I lived in Edinburgh, my mum and I had a running joke that the funniest stand-up any Edinburgh Festival goer could see in our fair city, was the sight of me attempting to bake a cake. We went so far as to devise a comedy show concept in which we’d charge tourists a pretty penny to stand in my kitchen and marvel at my incompetence.

In the end, I moved back to London before we could implement this sure-fire hit. But to this day, I have to consult Delia Smith (via her ‘How To Cook Book 1’, not in person) if I so much as need to boil an egg. No word of a lie.

Over the years I’ve tried to work out why I’m so incapable of cooking. My conclusion goes like this: when I’m hungry, I want to eat RIGHT NOW. When I’m not hungry, I don’t think about food/cooking. As a result, I very rarely:

  • think about what to cook 
  • spend time deciding what food to buy 
  • make sure I have the necessary cooking equipment 
  • actually cook

You can just imagine my poor friend Sarah Ann Macklin’s face when she arrived to whip up a three-course (delicious, plant-based) meal in my kitchen for our recent Pink House Supper Club and couldn’t find a single baking tin. Or egg whisk. Or set of scales. Thankfully she a) is a resourceful girl and b) had brought the actual food with her, or we’d have had lots of disappointed guests. Although I *could* always have entertained them on my trapeze…

The point is that when I’m hungry, I tend to make whatever is quickest/most convenient. And not what is healthiest.

Thing is, I’ve always known deep down I wasn’t eating as well as I could/should be. As a kid, my mum drummed into me the importance of eating plenty of fruit and vegetables. And friends like Sarah (who is a nutritionist) prove to me that healthy eating can be really delicious. But somehow it always seemed like too much hard work – all those recipes, all those ingredients, all that cooking. And how much does it really matter anyway?

Turns out it really does matter. A LOT. 

Recently, lured by the promise of hanging out with my fabulous mate, Deborah James (AKA @bowelbabe on Instagram) and Davina McCall (AKA my girl crush), I went to a Ryvita ‘FibreFit’ event called VegFest 2020. But while I went for Debs and Davina, I stayed for the game-changing information. Which is:

a) According to the NHS EatWell website, eating plenty of fibre is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. Eating enough fibre also helps with your gut health

b) Only 1 in 10 of us are eating enough fibre, and I was not 1 in 10

c) Fibre is only found in plant-based foods – high-fibre options include wholegrains; fruit such as berries and oranges; veg including broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn; nuts and seeds; peas, beans and pulses; potatoes with their skins

d) You don’t need to be a good – or even semi-decent – cook to get your daily dose of fibre

Basically, all that matters is eating more fibre-rich plant-based foods. And while there are some fabulous recipes from the likes of Irish twins The Happy Pear (while I’m a fan of their personalities, the Pink House Husband is loving their book Recipes For Happiness – no prizes for guessing who does the cooking at Pink House dinner parties), I’m much more comfortable with the fibre-filled ‘recipes’ on the side of the Ryvita packets.

The tasty protein crispbread range are my favourites, was another of my discoveries. These crispbreads need no cooking (hooray) and neither do the toppings (hooray x 2) and I can create a healthy, tasty three-course meal in around three minutes.

Starter: Red Quinoa & Sesame crispbreads, hummus and cherry tomatoes

Main: Linseed & Nigella Seed cripsbreads, mashed avocado with sunflower seeds

Dessert:  Chia Seed & Buckwheat crispbreads, almond butter with apple slices

(All crispbreads from the Ryvita Protein range)

Ok, so I rarely have them as a full meal like this, but just knowing I can have a quick and convenient lunch, or substantial snack, that not only tastes good, but is so much better for me than anything processed and in a pot, has improved my diet, upped my fibre intake – and I feel it's eased my IBS symptoms (hooray x3). 

All that, and no extractor fan required!

Emily Murray - The Pink House

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