Be a Healthier You

Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

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Why not pop over to Be a Healthier You’s website to see how Tony lost 47lbs!!

HERE IT IS!!!!

So, to celebrate Canada Day I thought I would share some food inspiration with you guys.

A great healthy treat to get you all in the spirit of the day!!

On my travels I quickly learned of this hugely popular Canadian dish. Fries, cheese curds and gravy. Not a totally unfamiliar concept to a Brit as we do love our cheesy chips and gravy. So, here comes the healthification process…

HEALTHY POUTINE:

  • Preheat oven at 400F/200C/Gas mark 6.
  • Peel and cut potatoes into thick fries (yes, we’re making them ourselves!). Allow max 2 medium potatoes per person.
  • Arrange the fries on a hot oven tray. Allow a finger-width space between the fries so that they cook evenly.
  • Spray with 1-cal oil or a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pop in the oven for 45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes or so.  Remember, the thicker they are cut the longer they will take so if you prefer skinny fries they will need less time!
  • For the gravy: heat 500ml low sodium stock, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 1tbsp flour over a medium heat until the gravy begins to thicken, then reduce the heat. *Taste as you go adding extra flour for a thicker gravy, or extra stock if the vinegar flavour is too strong.*
  • For the curds: low fat mozzarella cheese.
  • Once the fries are cooked, serve them in a bowl with a little mozzarella crumbled over the top and finish with your delicious homemade gravy (any leftover gravy can be frozen).

Portion size is key here if you really want to keep control of your calories – be mindful of how much cheese you use as this can really add up!

Enjoy!! Happy Canada Day!!  :)

“For me, once a binge is triggered and I take that first bite, I’m farther from stopping a binge than before I took the first bite. That first bite puts me into a frenzy and I forget all of my good intentions, aiming instead for a blissful food coma. That feeling of everything being better, calm, okay, safe and warm washes over me and I forget the guilt that will ensue for a few minutes.”

“As binge eaters, we tend to stuff it down with food. Then the binge upsets us and we feel guilt and shame. Those new emotions become a new event. That causes new eating behavior to cover the emotional overload and then we eat more. Once again the shame kicks in and we begin a spiral downward into a binge that leaves us feeling full of shame and remorse by the end.”

What are some of your favourite food swaps???

Here are some of my suggestions:

Swap potato chips/crisps for plain unsalted nuts

  • Fewer calories
  • Lower in salt
  • High in good fats and protein

Swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate

  • Lower in saturated fat
  • Lower in sugar
  • High in antioxidants

Swap ice cream for homemade smoothies and ice cream

  • Lower in fat
  • Lower in refined sugar
  • High in vitamins and minerals

Swap sugar and maple syrup for agave nectar or honey

  • Lower in processed sugar
  • Lower Glycaemic Index (agave)
  • High in immune-boosting properties

Swap whole milk for semi-skimmed, 1%, or skim milk

  • Lower in fat
  • Fewer calories
  • Same calcium content

Swap medium strength cheese for extra strong,                                     blue, cottage, or low fat soft cheeses

  • Lower in fat
  • Fewer calories
  • Strong cheeses give more flavour in smaller quantities

Swap sweeteners for natural flavourings like                                       cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and all spice

  • Zero calories
  • Zero fats and sugars
  • Much cheaper

Swap pastry and cream based desserts for fruits and natural yogurt (sprinkle with grated dark chocolate to curb cravings)

  • Fewer calores
  • Lower in fat and refined sugar
  • High in protein and vitamins and minerals

For ideas on healthy drink swaps

Do you know your 5-a-day?

Vending machine

How many of us girls (maybe even boys) were coerced into eating every bite of our sandwiches as children, on the premise that it would give us beautifully bouncing ringlets?

We were picturing something more like Annie…

Today I thought I would start the week off with something a little more fun! This is one of my favourite food myths, one that makes me giggle and smile at the memories.

At eight years old I didn’t even want curly hair, but you can bet your last dime I would eat my body weight in crusts now if I thought it would magically transform my hair into this:

Myth: Bread crusts = curly hair.

History of the myth: It has been suggested that historically both curly hair, and the consumption of bread were strongly associated with prosperity and wealth. Thus it would seem that the two ideas have morphed into the belief that crusts = curls!

Fact or Fiction: Fiction.

The science: Disappointingly sparse, although Michael Slater, a reporter for nine msn, did conduct his own experiment: eating as many bread crusts as possible over two weeks. The outcome: no curls!

Of course, this doesn’t discount that fact that we should still eat our crusts. Not only would it be wasteful, but we would also be missing out on the lovely fibre and antioxidant goodness found in those lovely golden edges!!

And remember, the more seeds there are the more nutritious it will be. Opt for wholegrain, pumpernickel or rye, and avoid heavily processed white breads where possible.

I hope you enjoyed this lighthearted break from my usual nutrition talk.

NEXT TIME IN FACT or FICTION: Carbs make you fat, don’t eat carbs!

beahealthieryou

Check these out:

English: Oriental meatballs.

A great read if you’re struggling to understand why you eat the wrong things, or eat when you’re not hungry.

LIFE TRAINING WITH CRYSTAL

eat it upYou are what you eat.  Most of us have heard this reiterated since childhood.  We’ve probably put it to use ourselves, in an attempt to discourage “unhealthy” eating habits.

Why we eat, is just as important as what we eat. 

You are on your way home from work, which happens to be a 90 minute commute.  Today traffic is being rerouted, bypassing your exit.  Your little one should have been picked up 15 minutes ago, and the sitter wants to know “how much longer?”   Your eldest son has football practice, and is now contending with the sitter for you to pick up his call.  Your husband is also waiting to be heard, but his call gets dropped.  You finally make it off the expressway.  Your husband called back, and is on his way to the sitter.  Your son phones again–but this time it’s to tell you football practice is Thursday; today is Tuesday.  You…

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When you think of spinach it might just conjure up the image of a pipe-smoking, can-squeezing, partially tattooed sailor with bulging biceps..

Yep, I’m talking about childhood favourite Popeye!

Popeye

Myth: Spinach gives you big muscle.

Fact or Fiction: Fact.

The science: A review of existing research into the effects of a chemical compound called ‘nitrate’ on human physiology has found that spinach can indeed help to enhance muscle growth (Weitzberg & Lundberg, 2011).  This review was investigated further by the above-named scientists, as part of a research team at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. Through experimentation it was observed that nitrate ‘boosts the production of two proteins key to muscle strength’ (Hernandez et al, 2012). Great news for vegetarian bodybuilders!

So, do I need to down spinach Popeye-style?

Yes and no.

Nitrate is found in large concentrations in spinach, but can also be found in beetroot, lettuce, and chard. To achieve optimal results you would need to eat a small bag of spinach, or 2-3 beetroots over the course of a day.

So how about a combination of both and just on the days when you weight train (twice per week for me)?

Not only is this great news for those on a quest to improve health and fitness, it could also mean great medical advances too!

There is potential to improve recovery rates in surgical patients, and to increase functionality in individuals with muscle weakness and muscle disorders if a nitrate-rich diet is adopted.

What was once a fun cartoon playfully extolling the virtues of this unassuming green leaf could now become an iconic part of scientific history, playing a role in medical developments and exercise physiology.

Exciting, huh?

Here’s hoping this great research continues, and that real potential for improving conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and muscle atrophy is identified.

References:

Weitzberg, E. & Lundberg, J.O. (2011) Dietary nitrate – a slow train coming. Journal of Physiology, V.589, Nov, pp.5333-5334.

Hernández, A., Schiffer, T.A.,  Ivarsson, N., Cheng, A.J., Bruton, J.D., Lundberg, J.O., Weitzberg, E. & Westerblad, H. (2012) Dietary nitrate increases tetanic [Ca2+]i and contractile force in mouse fast-twitch muscle. Journal of Physiology,V.590, I15, Aug, pp.3575–3583.

TOMORROW: Do bread crusts really make your hair curl?

Portrait of girl with curly hair


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