I’m sure many of you will have heard the news that broke recently about Belle Gibson, the cancer survivor turned wellness blogger who, it turned out, was a total fake. She claimed to have rejected chemo and instead got rid of cancer through an all-natural diet, and as a result attracted a huge online following, myself included. I have her app, I followed her Instagram, I read her blog. She was interviewed by many prestigious magazines and newspapers, published a cookbook, did deals with Apple, sharing her story and her recipes, inspiring others to live a healthier life. Except none of it was true.
Understandably, the scandal has raised questions about the authenticity of online personalities in general, and particularly wellness bloggers. Many of the claims of well-known bloggers with regards to health have been revealed as little more than pseudo-science, as delusional as Belle’s claims that going gluten-free can cure cancer. It is right that appropriate investigation take place to protect followers from being fatally misled, I just hope it doesn’t discredit the many genuine claims about the benefits of living a healthy and active life.
I do not know Belle, and I do not know why she lied, but I do know she will not be the last to do so. The problem is that to an extent, she is a monster of our own making. In a culture in which we are led to believe that our value is intrinsically linked to our popularity, our income and our success, is it any wonder that some — clearly troubled — people go to such lengths to make a get attention? I don’t condone her actions by any means, but I don’t pretend to be shocked. Her recipes were brilliant and her passion for healthy living inspirational; it is a shame she could not have been content with that.
I have said enough about Belle. The following recipe is, aptly, not at all gluten free and probably packs a fair few calories. And what?
The herbs and the zingy lemon-mustard dressing contrasted against the sweet peppers make this a very fresh-tasting and flavoursome meal with a lot of bite, and the pita, quinoa and hummus makes it feel hearty and filling. If you prefer it in salad form, simply tip all the ingredients into a bowl rather than stuffing it into the pita, which you can serve separately. I hope you love it
For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (about 1/3 of a lemon)
- 2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard (use a little more/less to taste)
For the pita:
- 1 extra-large or 2 regular wholegrain pita pockets, toasted
- 2 tbsps hummus (I used this recipe)
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1 sweet red pepper
- 1 handful of fresh basil, finely chopped
- 1 handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 handful of fresh coriander, finely chopped
- 1 handful of salad leaves (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Chop the red pepper into bite-size pieces and roast for around 30 minutes (check regularly to make sure it doesn’t burn!)
- Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions. (I cook it in vegetable stock rather than water because this makes it extra tasty. Also great to cook in batches and store in the fridge for a quick throw-together meal)
- Make the dressing: mix together all the ingredients until totally combined.
- Drain the quinoa and pour the dressing over it, stirring it in well. Add the herbs and stir some more.
- Stuff the pita pockets with the herby lemon quinoa, hummus, red pepper and salad leaves if using. Enjoy!