Be a Healthier You

Posts Tagged ‘food

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?

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!

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 (formerly personal 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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So, we’ve all come across ‘food myths’ at least once in our lives. Old wives’ tales our grannies, aunts, mums or dads told us as we were growing up that go back generations. Little sayings we are sure are unlikely to be true, but that we just can’t seem to let go of.

Well, I’m here to burst your bubble… Or am I?

Over the coming months I will be taking apart some of the most highly-touted food myths I have been subjected to throughout my life. Myths that I confronted head-on in my studies as a budding Public Health Nutritionist, and a couple of others that didn’t quite fit the curriculum!

Surely everyone is familiar with the old ‘carrots help you see in the dark’ speech from your parents as you were pushing veggies around your plate at five years old. What about ‘if you eat your spinach you’ll have muscles like Popeye’? Mum, who do you think you are kidding? But wait, I have seen him down a can of the green stuff and then BAM he looks like a balding Hulk Hogan! And as for ‘bread crusts make your hair curly’ – who said I even want curly hair? (okay maybe I do, I just don’t want to eat the crusts, okay?). You get the picture.

So, without further ado onto today’s myth…

Carrots on display at local greengrocer

Carrots on display at local greengrocer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Myth: Carrots help you see in the dark.

Fact or Fiction: Almost FACT.

There is some scientific basis to this statement, read on..

History of the myth: The myth is believed to have originated in WWII when RAF pilots were fed large quantities of carrots. There was an excess harvest of carrots in Britain at that time, and in a bid to promote carrots to the British public the government attributed the RAF’s flying skills to the high beta-carotene content of carrots.

The science: The β-carotene (beta-carotene) compound found in carrots is turned into Vitamin A within the body. Vitamin A has three main functions for health: 1) immunity; 2) vision; and 3) healthy skin linings.

So, let’s address point 2 a little more. The retina of the eye works with a protein called opsin to produce rhodopsin, a light-absorbing molecule required for dim/low-light vision, and colour vision. Vitamin A contains retinal, an essential component of rhodopsin forming-process. Thus, we can see that carrots do indeed contribute to vision in dimly lit areas though it would be a stretch to claim that they provide humans with night-vision!

 

Try my super healthy coleslaw recipe to get more vitamin A into your diet!

Or try juicing some with oranges and apples for a delicious breakfast drink!

A little more on Vitamin A…

This wonderful vitamin can also be found in liver, sweet potato, cod liver oil, and Cheddar cheese, as well as many fruits and vegetables.

It is a fat-soluble vitamin, which means that if you eat more than your body needs it can be stored away for later. So don’t panic, there’s no need to go out and buy a kilo of carrots every day!!

Caution: Whilst rare, excessive intakes of Vitamin A have been recorded in individuals who regularly consume liver or liver pâté (more than once a week) and do not achieve Vitamin D requirements. Excess Vitamin A can lead to weak and easily fractured bones in later life. To top up your Vitamin D stores try to expose your face and arms to the sun for 20 minutes per day in the summer months (be sure to use sunscreen). Children, the elderly, and individuals with darker skin are the groups least likely to meet Vitamin D requirements and should include eggs, fish, and fortified cereals and spreads/ margarines in their diet where possible.  

See your doctor if you have any concerns about your Vitamin A intake.

Have any food follies you would like me to investigate? Comment below and you may be featured!!!

NEXT TIME: Spinach makes you big and strong – FACT or FICTION?


Be a Healthier You

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