10 ‘all you can eat’ foods

Are you trying to eat healthily, but sometimes feel deprived and hungry? Bored with your food? Struggling to think of healthy meals and snacks?

If you want to lose weight, aid recovery from exercise, sleep better, have more energy, look fabulous, and most importantly FEEL FABULOUS eat these 10 foods in abundance, and then have some more! They are amazing power houses of nutrition with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fibre, and low in calories. If there is one thing you do today (and for the rest of your life), eat these at breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between!

  1. Mushrooms – 1 large: 3kcal. Yes, you read correctly. Only 3 calories in one big mushroom! Choc a block with B vitamins and selenium, which are important for the digestion, hormones, skin, nervous system and red blood cells.
  2. Red Onions – 1 whole big onion: 60kcal. The humble onion, is without question one of the healthiest things you can put in your body. High in compounds such as quercertin, onions are good for muscle repair, skin health, and prevention of heart disease, cancer & diabetes.
  3. Broccoli – 1 cup: 30 kcal. Full of manganese, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and vitamins A, C and K. One serving has 150% of your daily vitamin C requirement (helping to absorb the iron), 270% of your vitamin K and surprisingly, nearly 5g of protein!
  4. Red Pepper – 1 medium: 30 kcal. The deep, vivid colour gives a clue to the impressive nutrition credentials of the red pepper. With more vitamin C than an orange and one third of the calories, eaten raw or cooked, this is an easy addition to jazz up any dish.
  5. Spinach – a whole bag (100g): 23 kcal. Spinach is a true superfood of the vegetable world with more than a dozen different flavonoid compounds that function as anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents. Vitamin K, calcium and magnesium work synergistically for bone health.
  6. Kale – half a bag (100g): 50 kcal – Kale provides a powerhouse of goodness that can be enhanced by steaming for 5 minutes. Kale is outstanding for antioxidants, anti inflammatory compounds and cancer preventing nutrients. Wonderful with garlic and a sprinkle of soy sauce.
  7. Red cabbage – 1 cup: 30 kcal The rich color of red cabbage reflects it concentration of anthocyanin, which is an antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory. Emerging evidence suggests that anthocyanins may provide cancer protection, improve brain function and promote heart health.
  8. Carrots – 1 large: 40 kcal. Carrots are a staple British veg. Carotenoids, essential for good vision, can be made more bioavailable by lightly steaming the carrots. Many people prefer the sweeter taste and texture of lightly steamed or boiled.
  9. Beetroot – 1 medium sized: 35 kcal – Both the bitter leaves (exceptional for calcium, vitamins A & C, and folate) and the sweet beetroot can be eaten. Betacyanin provides the intense deep purple colour, glutamine is essential to the health and maintenance of the intestinal tract, while nitrate has been found to lower blood pressure and enables athletes to exercise for up to 16% longer.
  10. Tomatoes – a punnet of cherry tomatoes: 70 kcal (4 kcal each). It does not matter how you eat tomatoes, as all forms are low in carbohydrates and packed with vital nutrients such as lycopene (more easily absorbed if tomato is cooked), vitamin C and E, iron, potassium and fiber. Eat tomatoes as often as you wish!

So you treat yourself to a MASSIVE plate of food, safe in the knowledge that your indulgence is providing very few calories AND an awesome amount of nutrients. Have with some lean protein e.g. chicken, salmon, lentils, eggs, and healthy fats to make a superfood meal. If you’ve been exercising or will be working out in the next few hours, add in some wholesome carbohydrate. Preparing these doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some snack/recipe ideas that can be ready in minutes:

  • green smoothie: did you know that you can adding leafy green veg to smoothies is possible? For a breakfast veg hit, in a blender whizz up 200ml water/milk, a ripe banana, tablespoon peanut butter and a large handful of spinach.
  • snack on red peppers – keep it simple, chop and eat raw and crunchy with a tablespoon of humus
  • lightly steam carrots in the microwave to keep essential nutrients (put in a bowl or mug with a little hot water and cover). Benefits of cooking veg in the microwave
  • For breakfast: an omelette made with stir fried sliced red onion and spinach with 3 beaten eggs
  • stir fry kale, red peppers, red onions and mushrooms with a little olive oil, garlic, ginger and soy sauce.
  • For a healthier coleslaw, finely chop or grate cabbage, a carrot, slice some radishes, spring onion and a half handful of coriander, add bit of lime juice and half a squeezed orange. The orange and carrots give it sweetness.
  • Super Boost Carrot & Red Cabbage Salad
  • Tomato & Lentil Soup
  • Happy Carrots
  • Superfood Salad

4 Foods to Boost Gut Bacteria

Just when we thought we knew everything about our digestive system, the complex universe of gut bacteria is slowly being unveiled by scientific research. Experts agree that what we currently know is just the tip of the iceberg. Here is the story so far!

Gut bacteria fast facts:

  • there are 100 trillion bacteria in your gut made up of at least 500 different types
  • during the natural delivery of a baby (not cesarean section), and breastfeeding, a baby’s digestive system is populated with the beneficial bacteria
  • there is a mix of good and bad bacteria in your gut, the balance of these can significantly affect your health
  • antibiotics kill the bad AND good bacteria in your body, disturbing the balance.
  • a diet high in processed foods encourages the bad bacteria
    Processed food - not good for the good bacteria!

    Processed food – encourage the ‘bad’ bacteria

    Whole foods good!

    Whole foods encourage the ‘good’ bacteria

     

  • whole grains, fruit and vegetables ‘feed’ the good bacteria
  • some foods (see below) actively contain good bacteria. You can encourage good bacteria in your gut by including these foods in your diet.

 

How improving good gut bacteria can affect health:

There is a huge amount of scientific interest in the role that gut bacteria has on health. Watch the headlines over the next few years for how they can make big positive impacts on your waistline, brain and immune system. Here is what the science is starting to show:

  • helps gastrointestinal problems like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas
  • reduces inflammatory conditions such as some cancers, diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • obesity – overweight people have a different balance of gut bacteria
  • immune system – there is good evidence that our guts provide much of the body’s immunity
  • better absorption of nutrients

 

Natural sources of probiotics (good bacteria) you can include everyday:

As well as eating lots of prebiotic foods such as vegetables, fruit and whole grains which feed the good bacteria, here is a list of foods which actually contain the good bacteria to boost the levels in your system.

Yogurt – The easiest and most popular source. Choose any yogurt that has ‘bio’, ‘bio live’ or the specific strain of bacteria on the label. Sometimes you need to look very carefully, as it
images-3
can be in small print on the back. e.g. Yeo Valley, Activia, Rachel’s, Onken. If you have lactose intolerance, yogurt should be easier to digest than milk as the fermentation process reduces the amount of lactose. People sometimes worry that dairy products are fattening or will raise cholesterol. Eaten in moderation this is not the case, and can in fact help with weight loss.

 

Kefir This can be harder to find in the shops and is not as popular as yogurt. Kefir is a Turkish word meaning ‘long life’ or ‘good life’. With billions of friendly bacteria, Kefir is a drink made from Unknown-8milk and kefir cultures. It has the consistency of a drinkable yogurt but is much more tart and has a slight fizz (I found this very odd!). Drink it plain (an acquired taste) or add it to a smoothie. It can be bought in Tesco’s in the Polish section, Wholefoods or in some independent health food shops. The culturing process reduces the amount of lactose, therefore may be suitable for people with lactose intolerance.

 

UnknownMiso A staple seasoning in Japanese kitchens, also may contain probiotics. While it’s most often used in miso soup there are other ways to incorporate this protein-rich seasoning into meals. For an easy between meal snack, mix the Miso paste with warm water as a drink. If you have high blood pressure you probably should avoid as it is high in salt.

 

Unknown-1

Unpasteurised Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut – pickled cabbage in a jar. The pickling process produces the live probiotics. To get the benefit from Saurkraut, it is important to buy it unpasteurised as the heating process kills the probiotics. Unpasteurised jars can be found in the fridge in health food shops. If it is in a jar on the supermarket shelf it is likely to be pasteurised. Some people eat it straight from the jar, or add to salads, stew or soup. I’ve been told by a client that it is easy to make, so here’s a recipe (it’s one of the next things on my list to try!)

 

Probiotic supplements – there are a vast array of probiotic supplements available and it can be confusing to know which one to choose. Here is a good article as guidance on the specific strains of bacteria to look for for different health issues. Most people have heard of Yakult or Actimel which can be bought in most supermarkets. I usually recommend more potent forms such as Unknown-2Symprove, Biokult and VSL 3 (click on pictures for more info).41cytGYzHHL._AA160_images-3

 

 

Beetroot & Carrot Super Bowl

Here’s a humdinger of a veggie dish which will pack in the nutrients and can give measurable health benefits. Beetroot is one of the latest trendy foods to hit the headlines….research imageshows that it contains nitrate (a good thing!) which reduces blood pressure and may increase athletic endurance. Carrots provide beta carotene, pumpkin and sunflower seeds are optional, but add a fabulous texture to the recipe, not to mention healthy fats and protein. Drizzle with some olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice for a bit of zing!

Ingredients list: 3 raw beetroots, 3 raw carrots, handful of pumpkin/sunflower seeds, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 lemon.

  1. Peel and grate the carrots and beetroot.image
  2. Mix together
  3. Add pumpkins sunflower seeds, a few tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of a lemon.

Don’t be alarmed if your wee has a red tinge, this happens to about 10% of people! The colour pigment called betalaine is absorbed by your intestine and excreted in your urine.

Diabetes – taking control

Unknown

Diabetes medication

Once a month, I hold a Diabetes Clinic with a GP and Diabetes Nurse at one of the local surgeries in Kingston. There is a constant stream of patients looking for help with what they are eating to help to control their blood sugar levels or to lose weight. I hope I make a difference for them, using the most up to date scientific evidence combined with 13 years of practical experience.

Type 2 Diabetes does not have to be a disease that gets worse over time. It is possible to keep your blood sugar under control by eating the right things. It is possible to reduce diabetes medication.

Contrary to the outdated advice that many UK health professionals are giving, a diabetes diet is not the same as a healthy eating or weight loss diet. The problem for diabetics is that the body has difficulty keeping blood sugar levels down. Sugar in the blood comes from the food that we eat. The foods that turn into different types of sugar as soon as they reach the stomach are called carbohydrates. This means sugar (as in sugary drinks, fruit juice, sweets) and starch (as in bread, pasta, rice and potatoes). The science shows that avoiding these foods can improve blood sugar levels and halt the progression of diabetes.

Unknown copy 14

All carbohydrate foods will increase blood sugar levels

The more carbohydrates we eat in a meal, the more sugar is absorbed into the blood stream. The more sugar that’s absorbed into the blood stream, the higher the blood sugar will be. Here is an example of how a high carbohydrate meal (sandwich, fruit and flavoured yogurt) affects the blood sugar levels compared to a low carbohydrate meal (beef, vegetables and a creamy sauce):

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 18.18.36

High carbohydrate meal (red) Low carbohydrate meal (green)

Outside of the UK e.g. in Sweden and America, the medical community is recognising the benefits of reducing carbohydrates. The American Diabetic Association has approved lowering carbohydrates since 2008. Unfortunately, in the UK, official dietary advice has been slow to catch up! Advice from health professionals continues to be ‘a balanced healthy diet’ including plenty of carbohydrate foods. Unfortunately, for people with diabetes, carbohydrate foods are not healthy! There are however, lots of delicious foods that you can eat Are you confused and don’t know what to think?

Try it yourself for a few weeks and monitor the effect. Here are some examples of what you can expect:

  • Improved blood sugar levels from when you reduce the carbohydrate foods
  • Increased feelings of fullness and weight loss
  • Reduced sugar cravings
  • Many people with bloating experience considerable improvements

Note for diabetics

Avoiding the carbohydrates that raise your blood sugar decreases your need for medication to lower it. Taking the same pre-low-carb diet dose of insulin might result in hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). You need to test your blood sugar frequently when starting this diet and adapt (lower) your medication. This should ideally be done with the assistance of your doctor or diabetes nurse. If you’re healthy or a diabetic treated either by diet alone or just with Metformin there is no risk of hypoglycemia.

If you would like some help and guidance with controlling blood sugar levels with your diet, then contact me on 07758 100727, or use a contact form.

 

 

Coleslaw

We all know that we need to be upping our veg intake, ideally aiming for about half of your plate. If time isn’t on your side, it can seem easier to grab a ready prepared ‘salad’ from the shops e.g. Coleslaw. Here’s one from my local supermarket that is mostly cabbage and oil, with only 14% carrot.

Ingredients0000001173413_L

Cabbage (47%), Rapeseed Oil, Carrot (14%), Water, Double Cream (Cows’ Milk) (3%), Sugar, Onion (2%), Pasteurised Barn Egg, Spirit Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar, Salt, Stabilisers: Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum; Acidity Regulator: Sodium Acetate; Mustard Seed.

 

Having grown up on my granny’s homemade coleslaw (usually served with lasagne and garlic bread!) to me, the shop bought stuff is massively inferior with an overrepresentation of cabbage. These days, I’ve adapted The Granny’s recipe to make it a bit healthier…………..the dressing is made with light mayonnaise or humous, natural yoghurt and a splash of vinegar.

When I need something incredibly quick, this is an easy way to get a super serving of veg. I’ll have it with some pumpkin/sunflower seeds (good fats) and for protein I add a few spoonfuls of left over chilli, or a tin of tuna.

Here’s the recipe, it literally takes about 2 minutes:

about 1/4 white or red cabbage grated

image

Coleslaw – lovely colours!

2 grated carrots

1 tablespoon light mayonnaise/humus

1 tablespoon natural yogurt

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar (optional)

No nonsense. Just mix it all together.

Veggie Spaghetti – with £3.29 gadget!

Julieene Peeler, £3.99 Lakeland

Julieene Peeler, £3.29 Lakeland

Do you struggle to eat more vegetables?

Need fresh and inspiring ideas?

Are you watching your weight, or need to lose a few pounds?

Unknown-3

Spiraliser (£30 Amazon)

I very rarely recommend a gadget, but yesterday I was inspired by an article and recipe in this month’s Red Magazine, which used a gadget called a ‘spiraliser’ (£30 from Amazon).  It allows you to transform a healthy, low-calorie, low-carb vegetable into a giant bowl of pasta! Nutritious, filling and very, very easy. After a bit of online research, I was able to come up with a cheaper alternative to the Amazon Spiriliser…….a julienne peeler (£3.29 from Lakeland). We are lucky enough to have a Lakeland store here in Kingston, so after dropping the eldest two children at school this morning, the Little Man and I high tailed it to purchase the peeler.

Courgette, carrot and garlic

Courgette, carrot and garlic

Lunchtime saw a quick experiment with the new gadget. To be honest, I was a bit skeptical that the veggies would taste any different to simply chopping or grating. Just a few minutes of ‘julienning’ a carrot and a courgette, tossed in a pan with olive oil, some garlic and a tin of tuna produced a most awesomely delicious lunch for the two of us (I added some left over rice to Little Man’s to bump up the carbs and cals for him). The carrot and courgette had the most fabulous texture, a little al dente and juicy!

Result! in just 5 minutes

Result! in just 5 minutes

For anyone in to calorie counting, here is a comparison. One courgette julienned producing a big bowl of courgette noodles: 30 kcal. One bowl of spaghetti: 220kcal! And I can honestly say that, to me, it tastes miles better than standard pasta or noodles.

I’ll be testing the new spaghetti veg on the girls this evening. I predict it will be a big hit with them too!

A big hit with Little Man

Slurping up the courgette spaghetti!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food combos that work! New research.

avocado for healthy fats & lettuce, herbs and tomatoes for vitamins

avocado for healthy fats & lettuce, herbs and tomatoes for vitamins

Researchers at King’s College London and the University of California have recently concluded that when olive oil and vegetables are eaten together, they form nitro fatty acids that help lower blood pressure – a risk factor for heart disease. Professor Philip Eaton, describes the chemical reaction of oil and vegetable as one of “nature’s protective mechanisms”.

This study helps us to understand why The Mediterranean Diet – a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains, olive oil and fish – has long been associated with improved heart health.

3 more top food combinations:

Olive oil in a stir fry – Fat is necessary for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. The healthy fats from the olive oil, combined with the vitamins in veg provide is perfect for the absorption of these nutrients. If you’re confused about what oils and fats are healthy, look here. Other recipes that have these combos include granolaSuper Boost Salad and Cocoa Bars

16 peppers for a £1!

1 pepper has 300% your daily vitamin C

Red peppers in bolognaise: red peppers are high in vitamin C (as are tomatoes) helping your body to absorb the iron from beef. One pepper gives you 300% of your daily vitamin C needs!

 

A smoothie in the sun: Vitamin D is essential for your body to use

Strawberry milk

Strawberry milk

calcium from food to build strong bones, teeth and for muscles to work properly. The best source of vitamin D is the sun……get your arms in the suns rays for half an hour a day (with no sunscreen!), and combine with a dose of calcium from a smoothie made with milk (cow’s or a rice/almond milk fortified with calcium).