Catherine Burns

Getting saucy

  • Discipline time: it can be hard to make the switch from junk food to healthy food

Uh oh, it’s Friday the 13th — I hope you make it through the day safely.

There isn’t really any good logic behind why we should all have something to fear on a particular date, but we’re really good at winding ourselves up about it. In fact, did you know that there is an official name for the fear of Friday the 13th?

It’s paraskevidekatriaphobia … try saying that after a few drinks at happy hour tonight. It’s actually a Greek word, so try saying it after a shot of Ouzo.

As for why Friday the 13th is especially gloomy, well some people believe it’s rooted in the crucifixion.

According to the Bible, there were 13 people present at the Last Supper and then Jesus was betrayed on a Friday.

However, fear also originates from Friday the 13th in October 1307 when King Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights of Templar.

Then there’s books and movies which perpetuate the myth and put a few worries in our brain.

Of course, if you’ve read books like The Secret, then you’ll know that some people believe that simply thinking bad things are going to happen makes it more likely that they will.

The opposite is thought to be true too — that positive thinking attracts positive events … which sounds like a much better path to go down.

I see it all the time in the clinic, that when people have already decided they’re not going to like something the outcome is usually a forgone conclusion.

It’s especially true with children trying new food. If they’ve already decided they’re not going to like it, then getting them to admit they like it, or even give it a proper chance, is really tricky.

Your best strategy is to have tons of patience, not to let the fussiness ruffle you and to just keep offering new foods.

Incentives like sticker charts for trying (with no pressure on liking) can work wonders too.

Occasionally, I get a grown-up who needs a sticker chart … sometimes picky eating persists into adulthood and then I wish the stickers really would work.

Maybe I should try it. Instead, I usually go with persuasion and logic and just talking someone into keeping an open mind.

It helps to have some knock-their-socks-off recipes too.

When people are switching from a diet of junk to a clean-eating strategy, it can take a while for taste buds to adjust.

There’s no chance of an apple tasting sweet next to Sunkist and Skittles and likewise, it’s hard to make chicken and vegetables as tasty as a burger and fries.

I think the solution all lies in great sauce. These two recipes are packed with amazing, fresh ingredients and they taste so good alongside grilled chicken, fish or grass-fed steak.

Give one a try this weekend and I promise you’ll love it. Hopefully, we have BBQ weather; I’m so done with winter.

Chimichurri sauce:

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2 bunches scallions, finely chopped

1/4-1/2 cup sherry vinegar

2 tbs finely minced chives

2 tbs finely minced fresh parsley

2 tbs finely minced shallots

1 tsp finely minced garlic

1/4 cup wholegrain mustard

Method: Prep all your ingredients and then mix them together well. Allow to sit for a little while before serving so that the flavours marinate. You can store this airtight in the fridge for a day or two, but the herbs will start to brown a little — so it’s best fresh.

Mojo Sauce:

2 red bell peppers, roasted

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup cashews (soaked overnight and rinsed)

Large handful of cilantro

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice of one lime

Splash of apple cider vinegar

1 tsp maple syrup

Large pinch sea salt

1/2 tsp toasted cumin seeds

1/4 tsp paprika


1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Wash your peppers, slice them in half, take out the seeds and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and then roast for 30 to 45 minutes until the skins are blackened. Note: you can skip this and use jarred roasted peppers instead.

3. Meanwhile, toast cumin seeds in a dry non-stick pan until fragrant. Keep an eye on these as they catch quickly. Cool.

4. Rinse your cashews really well and place in a food processor along with the other ingredients (except the peppers) and pulse until chunky.

5. Once the peppers are roasted, let them cool. Peel skins and add to the mixture. Pulse to incorporate and blend till well mixed but still textured.

6. Serve.

Keep leftovers airtight in the fridge.

The advice given in this article is not intended to replace medical advice, but to complement it. Always consult your GP if you have any health concerns. Catherine Burns is a fully qualified nutritional therapist trained by the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in the UK. Please note that she is not a registered dietitian. For details:, 236-7511 or, Facebook, Natural Nutrition Bermuda