Eat real biscuits

Who would not love a biscuit to dunk in their tea?

Who would not love a biscuit to dunk in their tea?

I love biscuits. So does my husband. And a biscuit - a REAL biscuit made out of REAL whole food ingredients - is good for the soul (that's what my husband says anyway).

Finding this biscuit recipe was a revelation; not only are they tasty, but they are also filling and full of nutty goodness (these are NOT however for anyone with a nut allergy - sorry!). They are so good, that I had to share the recipe... Enjoy :)

The original recipe is from nutritionist Nicola Moore (UK). I've altered the recipe to suit my moods; I've done them with different nuts or seed, altering the amount of cocoa or fat and using different amounts and kinds of sweeteners. I've yet to do a batch which was not delicious....

LIFESAVER BISCUITS

Ingredients

1 cup of almonds

½ cup of peacan nuts

½ cup of cashew nuts

3 tablespoons of ground linseeds

1 cup of buckwheat flour or gluten free flour

½ cup of maple syrup

¼ cup of water

2 large medjool dates (pitted)

3 tablespoons of cacao power

2 teaspoons of cacao nibs

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Start by blending all of the nuts in a food processor until ground. Then simply add all of the other ingredients and blend everything together until it has formed a sticky dough.

Roll the dough into small’ish balls, then place on baking parchment and flatten into disks (biscuit size). Place on a baking tray and bake at 180 for around 20 minutes.

Enjoy with a regular cup of tea, or better still experiment with caffeine free alternatives like Red Bush (Rooibos) tea or chamomile tea. 

YUM! 

Glory to the lady, from whose blog i found this recipe: www.nicola-moore.com/tea-and-biscuits

 

 

How to Feed a Healthy Heart

Cardiovascular disease still kills an average of one person every three minutes in the UK. The economic burden of the disease in the UK is over 15 billion pounds annually, while the WHO states that three quarters of cardiovascular diseases could be avoided with correct diet, exercise and lifestyle.

Below are the top 5 foods to enjoy as well as to avoid when considering the health of your heart. They appeared on the Health For Men magazine earlier this year.

5 FOODS FOR A HEALTHY HEART

 

1. COLOURFUL, NON-STARCHY VEGETABLES

Garlic is a one of the therapeutic, heart healthy plants we can use regularly both as medicine as well as a culinary herb.

Garlic is a one of the therapeutic, heart healthy plants we can use regularly both as medicine as well as a culinary herb.

Source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other phytonutrients, colourful vegetables are the centrepiece of a heart healthy diet. Aim to include a portion the size of your fist in every meal with a minimum of two different colours. Increase this to two fistfuls after a few weeks of adjusting to the increased fibre.

2. FATTY FISH & FLAX SEED

Small, cold-water fish like sardines, herring and anchovies or small but mighty flaxseeds are all a source of anti-inflammatory omega 3 oils. Fresh, non-rancid oil directly from these foods (or as a good quality supplement) helps the body to modulate inflammation, often an underlying cause of heart disease.

3. TURMERIC

One of our strongest anti-inflammatory herbs. Enjoy in foods as a spice, as turmeric tea ('Golden Milk"), in smoothies and juices or as a supplement (look for ones with black pepper, or piperine, in them to help absorption). Heart disease is underpinned by inflammation, and herbs like turmeric (and rosemary and ginger) can help to manage this. Having your turmeric with some fatty foods, like avocado, some seeds or in a curry with coconut milk helps the active molecules to be absorbed from the intestines.

4. COLOURFUL BERRIES

Another rich source of antioxidants and vitamins and lower in sugars compared to most fruits. Defrosted frozen berries are a great option and sometimes more nutritious than fresh, as storage and transport can reduce the nutrient values of fresh produce.

5. HIGH QUALITY LEAN PROTEIN

The quality our protein is imperative; don’t’ forget to use plant protein sources such as lentils, beans and tofu and enjoy lean animal protein in moderate quantities, leaving a day or a two a week for purely vegetarian meals.

 

5 WORST FOODS FOR THE HEALTH OF YOUR HEART

 

1. PROCESSED & TAKE-AWAY FOODS

Considerable source of trans fats, which have been shown to increase inflammation and negatively alter our cholesterol composition. Healthy hearts dietary enemy number one.

2. SOFT DRINKS

Sugars and sweeteners induce a hormonal cascade, which is harmful systemically, let alone for your heart. Soft drinks can also leach potassium out of the body, at worst leading to hypokalemia (potassium deficiency), which effectively scrambles the functionality of your cells.

3. ALCOHOL

While red wine in modest quantities is part of a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet, alcohol in itself is nothing but liquid full of nutrient-void calories. Excessive drinking may also lead to unhealthy eating patterns.

4. WHITE BREAD, CAKES AND BISCUITS

Nutrient-void, the negative effects of refined grains are comparable to sugar. High intake of sugars and refined grains can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), where fat accumulates to liver. NAFLD can have serious metabolic consequences and can lead to a pre-diabetic condition called metabolic syndrome. 

5. CIGARETTES

Ok – not a food, but quitting smoking has been shown to have nearly immediate positive effects for the heart.  The improvements are so considerable, that smoking has been highlighted in all of the research looking at cardiovascular disease risk factors. If there is one thing you start with from this list, start with this! To find out how to get help quitting smoking in the UK, click HERE

For Your Health!



7 Effective Nutrition Tricks for Happy Healthy Festive Eating

Food takes the centre stage during the festive season. For many, this is an eagerly awaited time with moments of delight over shared meals. For some however, this season may be stressful. Food and drink may be used either as a celebratory treat or a form of self-medication for stress and anxiety.

Good nutrition helps us to feel emotionally stable while relaxed, calm state enhances our digestion and ability to gain nutrients from the foods.

Good nutrition helps us to feel emotionally stable while relaxed, calm state enhances our digestion and ability to gain nutrients from the foods.

To our primal instincts, food equals survival – that’s why so many of us form such a strong emotional connection with food. Making this relationship a positive one is a key step in healthy eating and sustained wellbeing.  Ideally, we see meal times as an oasis of nourishment, free of haste and anxiety.

When we are relaxed and centred, we tend to make healthier food choices. We also digest our food better when we are calm, leading naturally to improved absorption of the life-giving nutrients. In a relaxed state, the body is also able to repair and rebuild itself, or to heal from a trauma or illness.

Even a five-star diet goes amiss if it is eaten in rush, or while in a highly stressed or anxious state.  Symptoms like bloating, cramps, diarrhoea or constipation are amongst those signals, which indicate an unhappy relationship between food and our emotional state. While many things can contribute to these symptoms, how we eat is key for a health-promoting, symptom-free diet.

The following tips are more about how to eat than what to eat. Put in practice, they may reveal some sub-conscious patterns, so be mindful and aware of your realisations. Give these a go - they will cost you nothing, but you may gain an awful lot!

7 TIPS FOR HAPPY EATING

1. Eat when you’re Hungry for Food - not when you’re in need of mental stimulation, love or understanding

Before reaching for food, ask yourself; are you hungry, or are you eating because you’re bored, or want to soothe your feelings?

Hunger is not to be feared. It is your body’s natural signal to alert you to its need for energy and nutrients. When you’re hungry, eat a balanced, nutrient dense meal. Make it flavoursome and allow yourself to enjoy each bite.  Savour it, and sense how it nourishes you.

Hunger is easily confused with the signal for thirst; to make sure you’re not mixing these two signals, enjoy a glass of water and wait for 10-15 minutes. If you are still hungry, enjoy a rewarding meal or a nutritious snack, which will tide you over until your next meal.

2. The Power of Perception and good Chewing

Digestion starts with us sensing the food; the sight and smell of the food starts the production of digestive juices in our mouth.

The production of gastric juices and digestive enzymes are further stimulated by the mechanical action of chewing; like puppet strings, the movement of our jaw provokes the stomach and the pancreas to prepare for the arrival of food.

Chewing is an under-appreciated but vital part of our digestion. Chew each mouthful until it is of toothpaste like consistency. Also chew your soups and smoothies; skipping this step is likely to give you digestive problems and reduce your body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Chewing also increases the time spent eating, allowing the signal of satiety to be generated and to reach our brain, reducing the risk of over-eating.

3. Stay Tuned: Gauge the effects of your meal

How do you feel after your meal? Does it energise you – or does it seem to send you into a coma, sapping your energy?

While post-meal symptoms like bloating, reflux, fatigue or a nondescript ‘below par’ feeling are common, they are not normal and may signal the body’s inability to deal with the food.

Stay alert to how different foods make you feel. Is there bloating that always seems to arise by the afternoon? Migraines that seem to follow certain meals or drinks? A lack of energy on days following a restaurant meal?

Look for patterns in times which have resulted in uncomfortable symptoms. Keep a food and symptom diary: this can really help in identifying patterns. If you can’t pinpoint the culprit yourself, turn to a nutritional or medical professional to resolve the issue.

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4. Hydrate mainly Outside of Meals

As mentioned earlier, thirst is often mistaken for hunger. However, drinking large quantities during a meal may dilute the stomach acid, leading to suboptimal food digestion and disinfection, and the possibility of unwanted bacteria surviving the passage to the intestines.

Enjoy a large glass of water about half an hour before the meal. If you’re thirsty during a meal, enjoy a small amount of liquid, but aim to drink a larger quantity again around one hour after your meal. By this time, your stomach acid has been mixed fully with the food in your stomach.

Keep your caffeine-containing drinks away from meals as the tannins in these drinks can reduce the absorption of minerals. Keep the amount of alcohol to a minimum – while a glass of wine may accentuate the flavours and the enjoyment of a meal, a few glasses are sure to dampen your taste buds and reduce your body’s ability to digest your food.

5. Build Rhythm

Our bodies love rhythm. Aim to build rhythm into your life by rising at the same time and – if possible – going to bed around the same time most nights. Note your rhythm may change together with the seasons and according to the availability of light.

Having found your rhythm, you may also find that you get hungry around the same time during the day. This may also help you clear time for a meal; do allow yourself a minimum of 20 minutes of peaceful time to enjoy your food, dedicated to eating in a relaxed environment. The body adapts to rhythm quickly, and will most likely tell you it’s lunch-a-clock even if you have not seen the time.

Try to enjoy your evening meal a minimum of three hours before bedtime, leaving enough time for your digestive track to rest during the night. Take a look at your social calendar and prioritise your need for sleep and rest; a lack of sleep increases chronically raised cortisol levels, promoting obesity and premature ageing.

6. Out of sight - Out of Mind

For weight management, subconscious or unaware eating is a big component. As humans we respond to visual and other sensory stimulation ever so readily – something the marketing professionals know only too well. 

One of the most effective tips for reducing uncalled-for snacking is to not have snacks or other foods out where you can see them. Pack foods away directly after a meal to stop after meal ‘picking’ and do not have fruit baskets, biscuit tins or other snacks openly available.

Better still, don’t buy products that you know you’re tempted by; an impulse is better resisted when it requires a journey out into the cold winter-air!

7. Consider Food as a friend

Establishing a positive, nurturing relationship with eating enhances not only our emotional wellbeing, but also our digestive capacity.

Guilt, shame and self-depreciation are not good meal company, and so the aim is to change these to selected guests of gratitude and enjoyment.  Food is the basis of our existence – therefore a positive, nourishing relationship with it serves us well throughout our entire lifetime.

Rules of friendship apply to food. Some foods are occasional acquaintances, but their company is not good for us on a regular basis. Other foods can be the very foundations of our wellbeing – we can safely rely on them and their positive contributions. These are the foods we want to ‘meet’ on a daily basis.

Keep your foods, like your friendships, natural, real and wholesome -  not fake and eventually, damaging.

 

Food for Beautiful Skin - Focus on vitamin A

Vitamin A is an important nutrient for the health of our skin and other membranes and is vital for healthy immune system.

A diet for beautiful skin is rich in colourful varied plant foods, providing a rich source of carotenoids, precursors for vitamin A. 

A diet for beautiful skin is rich in colourful varied plant foods, providing a rich source of carotenoids, precursors for vitamin A. 

Colourful plant foods like peppers, dark green vegetables and other red, yellow and orange vegetables contain a pre-form of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotenoids. However, the body needs to first absorb these molecules effectively before converting them into their active form (retinol) in order to utilise the vitamin fully.

To enhance this absorption and conversion, combining carotenoid-rich foods with fat-containing nutrient dense foods can help significantly.

Combining carotenoid rich foods (like peppers, carrots, greens) with healthy fats (like avocado, a touch of olive oil, olives or seeds like pumpkin seeds) improves not only the amount of carotenoids absorbed from the foods, but also the conversion of carotenoids to retinol, active vitamin A.  

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that it is possible to over-supplement the vitamin, or have inappropriately high levels due to eating high quantities of organ meats, which are rich in retinol.

Eating a diet rich in colourful plant foods is a safe way to top up stores of this vitamin, as the body won’t convert beta-carotenes into retinol if the body’s stores are already stocked up. However, some people lack the enzyme required for this conversion; coupled with a vegan or vegetarian diet, this can leave them vulnerable to low levels of vitamin A.

Blood levels of this vitamin can be checked by a simple blood test. An experienced clinician will also be aware of any clinical signs, which may indicate low levels. These include among others reduced skin and membrane health, lowered immunity or inability to see in low lighting. 

If you’re in doubt about the nutrient density of your daily diet, or have any other questions regarding your diet & your health, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

 

FAD Diets - Fiction Assisted Dieting

“Lose a stone in a week!” “The Best Kept Celebrity Secret – finally available to you!”

Sounds familiar? Ah yes, that’s the call of the FAD DIET!

FAD diets rarely deliver sustained results or success without risks. Consult a registered, qualified nutritionist or a nutritional therapist for safe and sustainable weight loss approach. 

FAD diets rarely deliver sustained results or success without risks. Consult a registered, qualified nutritionist or a nutritional therapist for safe and sustainable weight loss approach. 

There’s an ever-increasing range of ‘quick fixes’ and ‘miracle’ options making unrealistic weight loss promises. Many of these are what I’d call a fad diet… promising a lot, but rarely delivering sustainable results.

How to spot a fad diet?

A fad diet is the kind of plan where you eat a very restrictive diet with few foods or an unusual combination of foods for a short period of time and sometimes lose weight very quickly. However, most people then get fed-up, start over-eating going back to their original diets and pile the pounds back on.

Sadly, there is no magic solution to losing weight and keeping it off long-term. Most FADs are offering a short-term fix to a long-term problem – this in itself should ring alarm bells. The key to safe and sustainable weight loss is in genuine sustained changes both in diet and lifestyle, including addressing possible root causes that led to weight gain, such as stress or unresolved negative emotions.

it can be useful to be aware of misleading weight loss claims that may lead you to waste your time and your money and even risk your health. So how can you tell fact from fiction? Stay away from diets that:

• Promise a magic bullet to solve your weight problem without having to change your lifestyle in any way

• Promise rapid weight loss of more than 2lbs of body fat a week

• Recommend magical fat-burning effects of foods (such as the grapefruit diet) or hidden ingredients in foods (the coffee diet)

• Promote eating mainly one type of food (e.g. cabbage soup, chocolate or eggs)

• Offer no supporting evidence apart from a celebrity with a personal success story to tell

• Are based on claims that we can survive without food

• Focus only on your appearance rather than on health benefits

• Are based on selling you products or supplements

• Recommendations based on a single study

• The same diet recommended for everyone without accounting for specific needs

• Are based on a ‘secret’ or a superfood that others are yet to discover

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is! Fad-diets can be tempting as they offer a quick-fix to a long-term problem. However, they can risk your health while leaving you bewildered about what has taken place in your body – they rarely increase your own understanding or learning.

The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to make healthier choices, eat a nutritionally balanced and varied diet with appropriately sized portions, be physically active and reduce stress, be it physiological, emotional or psychological in nature. Don’t hesitate to consult a registered nutritional therapist to gain professional tools and support on how to do this.

For your health and lightness of being!

 

Based on an article which appeared at bda.uk.com

Health Benefits of Garlic

GARLIC (Allium sativum)

Garlic can be a integral part of a health promoting diet, contributing both flavour and medicinal benefits. 

Garlic can be a integral part of a health promoting diet, contributing both flavour and medicinal benefits. 

One of the oldest cultivated plants on Earth, Sanskrit scriptures describe how the Ayervedic tradition has used this plant medicinally over 5000 years. It even appears in the medicinal papyrus of Egypt, where it is mentioned as an effective remedy for numerous ailments.

Nutritionally, garlic is a rich source of B6 vitamin and a plethora of other minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. But the therapeutic effects of garlic’s healing powers are attributed to its volatile sulphur-containing molecule called allicin, which is produced when you crush the glove. 

Antibacterial garlic has been found effective in fighting infections (therefore its use in our flu-fighting juice) but it may also aid heart health and is useful as part of a diet designed to lower blood pressure.  The generous use of garlic, together with common onion, has also been found to be beneficially associated with better blood lipid profiles, such as healthy cholesterol levels. There are even studies suggesting cancer fighting properties, especially associated with colon cancer.

For the best medicinal benefit, buy and use fresh garlic instead of dried, flaked or ground garlic products. When buying fresh garlic, make sure the bulb feels firm to the touch and is not sprouting. Store in room temperature in a cool dark place and use generously in fresh and cooked foods alike. If you fancy a hint of garlic for your dish, cut a glove in half and sun the open cut side around the serving dish – this leaves a faint but distinct aroma without overpowering the taste.

Flu-busting juice with garlic

1 beetroot, 2 carrots, 1 lime, 1 cm / ½ inch fresh ginger, 2 cloves garlic

Cabbage health benefits

One of my favourite local Super Foods must be cabbage. Be it savoy, purple or white, I love the juicy, sweet and subtle taste of this rustic veg. It is way cheaper than chips and can be eaten raw, fermented (as sauerkraut) or cooked in soups or stews. 

Purple cabbage is rich in antioxidant called Anthocyanin, which gives the plant it's purple colour

Purple cabbage is rich in antioxidant called Anthocyanin, which gives the plant it's purple colour

It is worth mentioning this hardy plants’ rich phytochemical and antioxidant yield. Phytochemicals are compounds contained within plants, which may have benefits for human health. Antioxidants are molecules, which neutralize oxidative damage by restricting the number of free radicals within the body. The more antioxidant rich foods we consume, the better we defend our cells against time, disease and stress, be it physical or mental in nature. Different colors in plants signal different antioxidants, giving the basis for the ‘rainbow diet’.

There are plenty of different cabbage varieties to choose from but in the UK, the cabbages usually available for us consumers are the purple and green (white) variety. 

The purple cabbage has been found to contain the highest total level of anti-oxidants, but the green cabbage has also been found to have a high free-radical scavenging activity, while both varieties differ in the types of antioxidants they contain. The leaves closest to the heart of the plant have been found to be richer in phytochemicals, so don’t throw the core away but use all of the produce the best you can.

In addition to phytochemicals, cabbages are rich in vitamins including vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and vitamin B6. They’re also rich in minerals, but the composition is dependable on the soil where the produce is grown. Rich in fibre and light in calories like most plant foods, the cabbage has a history of being used as a slimming aid. However, too much of a good thing can produce some uncomfortable symptoms such as flatulence, so introduce cabbage to your diet in small quantities, increasing amounts gradually. 

Cabbage is a versatile ingredient in cooking but most of the nutrients are retained when you eat it raw. Think of coleslaws (see recipe below) and vegetable crudités; you can also add some cabbage to your juicing. Cheap but nutritionally Super, cabbage is now in season and local, organic produce is readily available. If you can’t access organic varieties, make sure you peel the outer leaves and wash the remaining produce well to avoid pesticide exposure.

NOTE – HYPOTHYROIDISM/ LOW THYROID FUNCTION

If you suffer from low thyroid function, it is not advisable to enjoy raw cabbage in large quantities. This is due to the possible interaction between Brassica vegetables (such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts) and the thyroid gland. While steaming / blanching / cooking reduces this interaction, enjoy a maximum of 4 portions of these plant foods per week if you have a diagnosed hypothyroid condition.

RECIPE : VEGAN CRUNCHY SLAW WITH TAHINI

Source : Functional Medicine Cookbook by Lorraine Nicolle and Christine Bailey

Crisp cabbage combined with fresh herbs and red onion makes a robust salad, tossed with a zesty tahini dressing. Including both red and green cabbage provides a greater variety of antioxidant and liver-supporting compounds, including polyphenols, glucosinolates and vitamin C. This salad will keep for 2–3 days in the fridge and makes a tasty and healthy accompaniment to main dishes; or, for a lunch, add some protein, such as a hard-boiled egg, mixed beans or some organic feta cheese. 

SERVES 4

DRESSING : 2 tbsp tahini, Juice and zest of 1 lemon, 2 tbsp tamari soy sauce, 2 tsp chopped chilli, deseeded, 1 garlic clove, crushed, 2–3 tbsp water to thin as needed

SALAD: 150g red cabbage, 150g green cabbage, 1 red pepper, finely diced, 1 small red onion, finely diced, Handful of fresh parsley, chopped, Handful of fresh mint, chopped

Place all the dressing ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Thin with water to create a thick, pouring consistency. Finely chop or shred the cabbage and place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Pour over the dressing and toss to coat completely. Chill in the fridge until needed.

Nutritional information per serving:  Calories 87kcal, Protein 3.2g, Carbohydrates 7.6g of which sugars 6.5g, Total fat 4.8g of which saturates 0.7g

 

 

 

 

 

 

A piece of string can tell you if bodyweight is putting you at risk

A piece of string may be more accurate in determining risky adipose tissue (body fat) levels than BMI (body mass index), which is a numeric calculation between the height and weight.

BMI has long been used as a tool in determining whether people are in the normal, underweight, overweight or obese category, but it fails to take into the account where in the body the fat is stored.

Research shows that additional fat storage is most harmful when stored as belly fat (around our organs), where it acts as a metabolically active, ‘additional’ organ.

According to research by Margaret Ashwell and Sigrid Gibson in Oxford University, a simple string test may be a better tool than BMI to see if one’s at risk of the negative implications of excess belly fat. Simply measure your height with a piece of string. Folding this sting in half, it should comfortably fit around your waist. If not, it would be beneficial for you to lose weight.

You can find the original study here

How to optimise Metabolism - Does the order we eat our food matter?

The order in which we eat our veg, protein and starches has an impact of what happens inside of us hormonally. A study from New York’s Cornell Medical College found, that eating your proteins and non-starchy vegetables before starches can mellow the rise in blood sugar and insulin levels after the meal.

Why is this useful? Because quick rises in blood sugar call for more substantial insulin secretions, which can over a period of time have negative effects on your overall hormonal health. For those watching their weight, starting with protein and vegetables is also beneficial as these often require more thorough chewing. This longer eating duration gives time for the satiety signal to be generated and reach your brain, naturally reducing the desire to eat more.

Substantial rises and falls in blood sugar are a concern especially for diabetics, but all of us benefit from paying attention to our blood sugar balance. A steady blood sugar balance will result in steady energy levels and clear cognition throughout the day.

To learn how to eat for a steady blood sugar balance and stable energy, don’t hesitate to contact Taru at Thrive London today.

Tel 0203 3725 274