Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Traffic light salad

What a difference the sun makes - I find myself instantly in a happier mood and with a strong desire to start wearing my more colourful clothes (and buy myself a new spring wardrobe!)

It's not just my clothes that are more colourful - I finally feel like eating salad again. Salad to me means a bowl full of colour - the more the better - no boring Iceberg for me. Making your salad colourful makes it more visually appealing, means it will have more flavour and be more nutritious.

The pigments in fruit and veg are what protect them from damage, including sun damage, so infact the more we're exposed to sunlight the more we benefit from eating colourful fruit and veg.

I always think of a traffic light when building a salad and try and use green, orange and red veg in addition to the leaves.

Here are my favourites:
Spinach, grated carrot, sliced beetroot and green pepper drizzled with sesame seed oil and topped with sesame seeds

Babyleaf salad, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, black olives, orange pepper with olive oil and balsamic dressing and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds

Shredded Iceberg topped with the following mixed with some began mayonnaise: walnuts, chopped celery, sliced pear, grated carrot and tomato


Monday, 22 April 2013

What's your cuppa count?

Despite the marathon runners outside my window displaying amazing energy levels sunday was very much a sofa day for me after a late night out on the town!

The film I was watching was sponsored by Tetley tea and so I ended up seeing a fair few tea adverts. In one of them two girls sit on a sofa and try and work out how many cups of tea they drink in a day. They laugh as one suggests it's more than 10.

To me this isn't funny, it's worrying. Worrying because there are people out there drinking 10 cups of tea a day and not realising how bad this is for them. Worrying because a lot of people aren't alarmed by the fact they can't function without a cup of coffee.

I gave up caffeine 8 years ago and have never looked back. I have a ridiculous amount more energy, my gut is way less sensitive and I don't have a tendancy to glaze over after lunch that is only curable by having a latte.

I'm not totally caffeine free, on the odd day that I really need it I'll have a white or green tea, plus there's caffeine in the dark chocolate I occasionally enjoy, but that's one cup and a couple of squares a week max.

Caffeine, refined sugar and alcohol are all addictive and all things that you should definitely not be consuming on a daily basis. If you are then you need to do something about it - don't necessarily go cold turkey, that can backfire massively, but have some plan to cut down.

If you need some motivation on the caffeine front read this blog which nicely lays out the health implications:

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Hairy and healthy

I went round a friends house for dinner over the weekend and she served up a delicious lamb curry.  I don't normally choose to cook red meat at home for health reasons and also to keep control of my waistline.  But then I found out she got her recipe from the Hairy bikers new diet book The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight
so I was intrigued.

Having pawed over her copy I can tell you i'll be buying this book asap!  It's full of simple and yummy looking recipes with clean ingredients lists and I need a new source of foodie inspiration.

I generally prefer healthy recipe books from proper chefs than diet books from unknowns - the professional chefs just won't compromise on flavour so not only will you enjoy your new healthy food, but you can also serve it up to your friends.

Monday, 8 April 2013

The healthy mash

In my previous job I used to sit on a trading desk ... that was a quick learning curve for a naive graduate straight out of uni!! But a fun one! I had to get used to some colourful language pretty quickly, but these days trading floors seem a much politer place, I certainly don't hear anything like the language I used to.

One place I definitely wouldn't expect to see that kind of language is on Gwyneth Paltrow's blog! The picture of cleaner than clean, I was taken aback by this expletive filled find of hers. If you don't like swearing I should tell you not to read this - but you should read it, it's totally a brilliant - a site that can get you motivated to eat healthiliy and laugh out loud, it's not to be missed.


Monday, 1 April 2013

Some proper staples

I come from a family of cheese lovers so I generally find it's best to keep my thoughts on dairy to myself when I'm at home, but over Easter the subject got brought up by somebody else and my opinion sought so I gave it.

My family seemed surprised to hear hat dairy was not an essential element of a 'healthy diet' and more over that cheese shouldn't be categorized as a 'staple' food but rather a treat food to be saved for our 20% treat food allowance along with sugar, confectionary, cakes, unhealthy cuts of meat, any processed foods and drinks and alcohol.

I'm not a fan of the 'staple' food label, particularly because it's been used as a brain washing tool by the dairy marketing board and other food lobbies to convince people we all need to have milk and bread every day to be healthy!! Let's be clear once and for all, for an average adult (children and athletes have different nutritional needs that may require more fats), dairy food is not a healthy food and  does not need to be eaten to stay healthy and the same applies for refined wheat products (wholewheat does have a place in the diets of the non-wheat intolerant).

However if you want some 'staples' to base your diet on here's my list of staple foods that you should be eating on a regular basis as a foundation of a healthy diet:

brown rice - the ultimate slow burn, B vitamin rich carbohydrate, a million times better for you than white bread or quick cook rice

pulses - often these get overlooked, but pulses are an amazing source of protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre and should be a staple in all our diets, if you eat these every day your heart and gut will thank you later in life

green leafy veg - kings of the vegetables and in the top ten for anti-cancer foods, have a couple of portions every day to live a long and healthy life

berries and cherries - the lowest sugar, highest anti-oxidant fruit out there, berries are the best

fish - especially the oily variety, low in saturated fats, high in protein and rich in essential fats that protect your brain and keep you sane into old age

nuts and seeds - another great source of essential fats, proteins and minerals. Have a sprinkling every day.