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How To Make A Healthy (And Delicious) Homemade Pizza

How To Make A Healthy (And Delicious) Homemade Pizza

The humble pizza is a regular part of many millions of people’s diets, and in the 24 hour high-stress modern world it’s far too convenient to get them delivered to your door from a takeaway, choose one at a restaurant, or pick up a readymade frozen pizza from the local shop. Unfortunately these varieties tend to be laden with excess salt, saturated fat, sugar, and have very little nutritional value. Indeed, just two slices of a full fat cheese laden pizza can deliver 640 calories, 24g of fat (of which up to 12g can saturate), and 1600mg of sodium (this is 4g, with Guideline Daily Amounts for salt being 6g)!

This is should be a real alarm bell for anyone health conscious, but the good news is you can (and should) make homemade pizza which is nutritionally suprerior to anything you can buy off the shelves/in a restaurant. Here is the LifeHack guide to perfecting a healthy pizza, one which shuns unhealthy traditions for a very tasty, and nutritionally rich, food experience.

1. Ingredients and Tools

    The main part of the pizza is the base, which is made from flour. As this is a healthy pizza you should be going for 100% wholemeal flour, and purchase organic versions if you can. You’ll also need to pick up a pizza tray (most supermarkets will stock them for around $2), a rolling pin, mixing bowl, and a sieve will prove handy. Here are the basics for what you will need to make the dough, and a suggested assortment of famously healthy toppings (yes, the dreaded vegetables, although they always work very well on a pizza).

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    • Organic wholemeal flour
    • Active dried yeast
    • Olive Oil
    • ½ Tablespoon of salt
    • Half a pint of lukewarm water
    • Wheatgerm
    • Black pepper
    • Low-fat shredded cheese
    • Tomato puree
    • An assortment of vegetables (onions/spring onions, asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms)
    • Anchovies/prawns/chicken/turkey (these are well known low fat, healthy meats)

    2. Making the Dough

      Preparing dough can be messy, but it’s great fun. Teaching your kids would also be a very positive, creative life lesson.

      You’ll need to get your mixing bowl and sieve ready to sift the wholemeal flour. You don’t really need to weigh the flour, but around 500g will be required to create several pizzas. This is about 3 full cups, and you should sift this through the sieve (and make sure you wash your hands before you start!) into your mixing bowl. Make a hollow into the centre of the flour mound and add in three tablespoons of active dried yeast, and you can also add lots of black pepper and a small amount of wheatgerm (a very healthy cereal germ with all manner of health boosting attributes). Next up, add two or three tablespoons of olive oil and you’re almost ready to mix.

      Now the messy bit; pour around half of the lukewarm water into the mix and get stuck in with your hands. The idea is to knead all the ingredients together. Work away at this until they begin to set together and a ball of dough takes shape (after a few minutes it should start to look like the dough in the above picture). You may need to add more water if everything becomes too dry, but add more flour if things become too sticky. Eventually you will have what looks like a small football in front of you. You’ll need to get pockets of air out of it, so feel free to give the blob a few punches as you knead away! Refer to the pictures for assistance, and if you mess up don’t worry – start again and learn from any errors!

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      3. Rising and Rolling

        With the dough complete you’ll need to let it rise. For this you should clean out your mixing bowl, dry it off, and place the dough ball into the middle. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and leave it to one side for around an hour and a half. Expect a surprise next time you see it. The blob will have risen quite considerably!

        Now is the time to pre-heat your oven to 190C, and make room inside so your pizza tray can sit comfortably in the middle of the oven. Whilst this is heating up it’s time to start rolling out the dough. Fling down some flour onto your kitchen work surface and pull off a chunk from the dough ball. Roll in into a ball shape and cover it with flower. You’ll need to experiment here with your rolling pin. Gradually press on and work the dough into a traditional pizza shape. With a bit of practice you’ll get the hang of it, and don’t be afraid to use your hands to work the dough into the correct shape.

        When you’re happy with your pizza base you should fit it into your pizza tray (throw some dough onto it first to avoid any sticking) and lightly press the edges of the dough into the sides of the pizza tray.

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        4. Toppings

          There’s no stopping your creativity here, but to be on the healthy side of things it’s best to choose fresh vegetables. Most pizza recipes begin with adding a small amount of tomato puree to the pizza base, and then stacking your selection of vegetables and meat around the pizza. Top it all off with a handful of grated cheese (as pizzas tend to be cheese heavy go for a low fat variety to ease up on superfluous fat) and you’re ready to cook!

          Some successful recipes I’ve tried include Pepper, Asparagus, and Anchovy (with added cheese, of course!), and Mushroom, Garlic, and Thyme (with cheese topping, you don’t need a tomato puree base for this). Experiment with foods you enjoy, but do keep it as healthy as possible! And if you’re adding meats such as turkey or chicken, make sure you cook them traditionally on the hob before you add them to the pizza top.

          For any further ideas you could try online resources, such as the BBC‘s website.

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          5. The Oven!

            Everything should be looking somewhat professional by now, with your pizza set for 10-15 minutes of cooking in the centre of your pre-heated oven. Using oven gloves place the pizza inside and leave it to cook. After 10 minutes have a peek to see how the pizza is going (you don’t want to burn it to a crisp, after all this effort), but, generally, I’ve found around 15 minutes does the trick.

            After the time has elapsed you can pull the pizza from your oven (don’t forget those gloves) and allow the pizza to cool for a few minutes. Once it’s not going to burn you prise the pizza from the base and cut it into traditional triangular shapes. Voilà le pizza! You are now a dough making extraordinaire capable of making healthy pizzas for friends and family! Experiment with recipes as much as you wish in order to develop your skillls, but this is how you should now be enjoying all of your pizza based antics in the future. Fun, simplistic, and nutritionally rich.

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            Alex Morris

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            Last Updated on May 21, 2020

            The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

            The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

            You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

            Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

            Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

            An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

            Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

            1. The Paleo Diet

            The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

            The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

            In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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            How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

            The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

            With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

            It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

            Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

            2. Whole30

            The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

            With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

            During the month you are eliminating:

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            • sugar
            • alcohol
            • legumes
            • grains
            • dairy
            • soy

            Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

            At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

            Finding Out How Food Impacts You

            Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

            With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

            This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

            3. The Mediterranean Diet

            The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

            For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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            With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

            • Fruits & vegetables
            • Whole grains
            • Legumes & nuts
            • Replacing butter with olive oil
            • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
            • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
            • Moderate amounts of red wine

            Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

            Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

            With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

            4. The Alkaline Diet

            The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

            The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

            Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

            The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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            People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

            One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

            Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

            There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

            The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

            What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

            The Big Takeaway:

            Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

            Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

            Reference

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