Food and Fitness Tips

Happy Thursday All!  It’s Friday Eve!

Chef P has the day off tomorrow so we’re heading to Borough Market in London by train!  We were there just before Christmas last year, so at least I know what to expect and what I can get there!

I’ll talk about that in another post, but for today, I’m going to give you some food and fitness tips and just some general well-being tips; well probably more food tips, but it’s nice to throw something different in once in a while. 🙂

Stop-Smoking-Aids¤ Stop Smoking!  Probably the number one thing you really should do.  Women who stop smoking by the age of 30 reduce their risk of dying of tobacco-related diseases by 97%.  Quit by 40 and your risk is reduced by 90%.  Stop Smoking Day here in the UK is March 13….next week.  What a perfect time to give it up for good!

¤  Drink your H2O.  Water is a secret weight-loss weapon.  Dehydration slows your metabolism and stops fat burning.  But 10 minutes after drinking 500ml/17fl oz. of cold water, your rate of calorie burning rises by 30% and peaks after 30 minutes.  Nearly half of that comes from your body trying to heat the water.

¤ Enjoy your food.  Don’t just woof it down!  A recent paper published in Obesity found those who chewed their food properly, keeping it in their mouths for up to eight minutes(!) before swallowing, ate less.  Chewing properly also helps release nutrients from the food, so you don’t need to eat as much to absorb the right amounts.

pasta¤  Eat Pasta!  White pasta has an undeserved bad image:  The Mediterranean diet uses white pasta and is one of the healthiest diets in the world.  It proves you don’t have to give up your favorite foods to eat healthy.  Pasta is high carb, but low on the Glycemic Index, because the starch molecules are encapsulated in a unique way in the pasta dough.  However, don’t overcook it as this breaks down the structures, raising the GI.

¤ Keep a food diary.  Keeping a food diary can help you lose weight.  If you’ve had a bad week, you can go back and pinpoint where you screwed up it went wrong.

¤ Cut down on the saturated fats.  Yes, we’ve heard this before, but this is great for keeping your heart healthy.  Even though you cut out the saturated fats, your body still needs fat so you need to consume the good ones, in particular the oils found in avocados, nuts, sees and evening primrose oil.

¤ Try coconut oil.  Coconut oil is great in food and has so many benefits.  It doesn’t degrade at high cooking temps, unlike many other oils and you can even use it in smoothies.  It’s high in lauric acid – a good thing (a type of saturated fatty acid – also a good thing), which can speed up metabolism and great for your joints.  Go for an extra-virgin, raw, cold-pressed oil to really benefit your health.

nocake¤ Crave a dessert after dinner?  Brush your teeth after eating.  The taste of the toothpaste and the time it takes distracts you, so your craving goes away.  Pop a toothbrush in your bag if eating out.

¤  Avoid drinking water with dinner.  Too much fluid can dilute the digestive enzymes in your mouth and stomach, making them less effective.  Aim to drink 30 minutes either side of your meal.  An occasional glass of wine with dinner is fine, but sip it slowly to make the most of it.

sleepy_cat¤ Get some sleep!  Lack of sleep contributes to obesity as it affects the amount of calories we eat the next day.  Different hormones affect men and women after a poor night’s sleep.  The hormone ghrelin rises in men, increasing their appetite, and the satiety hormone GLP-I falls in women, so they don’t feel full after eating.

South Beach Diet ~ Here we go Again!

Good day, dear readers!

weight-loss-cartoonWell as we all know, a new year usually signals the time to get back to proper eating and for me, it’s no different.  As many of you know, I’m an avid follower of the South Beach Diet (SBD) and am the first one to promote its wonderful, healthy way of eating, but over the past few months several months year an a half, I’ve completely slipped off the wagon as if it were covered in grease.

When I was following it back in 2010, I managed to lose 28lbs.  I felt great, I dropped 3 sizes, I had more energy, my clothes weren’t tight and it wasn’t a struggle to bend over and tie my sneakers!  I hit a plateau in my weight…something I’m sure all of us who have ever dieted before knows all too well about.  After a while I slowly started to eat things I shouldn’t have and the weight has slowly crept back on to me and I managed to gain back 20 lbs….sigh.

DietscaleMost of last year I kept telling myself that I needed to get back to proper eating (I never refer to it as going on a ‘diet’) and would always say I would start on Monday.  Obviously, that never happened as Monday would roll around and I’d be repeating the same mantra again.  Each time I stepped on the scale; maybe once a month or so, my weight would increase by a pound or more.  Sometimes it would actually stay the same and I would be quite thankful.

As the recent holidays approached, I started psyching myself up that I was going back to SBD after the new year and I have kept that promise to myself.  I didn’t start exactly on Jan 1, but on Jan 5 as I wanted to make sure I had all the proper foods in the house and also to get rid of all the junk such as all the crackers, cheese, canapes and especially the chocolate.

In the past two weeks, I’ve lost nearly 5lbs. and even though it’s a slow start, at least the numbers on the scale are going down and not up!

Many of us try to lose weight in the new year, and even though I’m sure you’ve heard most of the following before, it’s always good to get a refresher as it becomes engrained in our brains and hopefully stays there!  Breaking old eating habits can be tough, but here’s a few tips to help you on the way and hopefully keep your (and my) motivation high…

* Get rid of everything that will tempt you into unhealthy eating.  This includes cakes, cookies/biscuits, pies, chips/crisps, chocolates, candies, sweets and any other junk food you might have sitting around.

*Have some healthy snacks handy.  An apple with a small amount of sugar-free peanut butter or low-fat cheese, some wholegrain crackers with low-fat cheese, a few spoonfuls of fat-free Greek yogurt with some berries and artificial sweetener.  Celery sticks with a small amount of low fat cream cheese.  A small handful of nuts; almonds and walnuts are great choices.  You get the idea.

*Try to find a friend who also wants to lose weight and you can do it together.  Going along with a friend will help you achieve your goal as you are there to push each other along.

*Start an exercise program if you haven’t already.  You don’t need to spend hours (or money!) at the gym.  Put on a pair of walking shoes and head outside.  Start slow if you’re not used to doing a great deal of walking.  Even 10-15 minutes of walking is better than sitting down in front of the TV.  Get yourself a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps a day and work your way up to that.  A 10-minute walk is around 1,000 steps. Remember, the more you move, the more calories you burn.  You need to burn 3,500 calories to lose one pound of weight.

*Be realistic.  Keep your ultimate goal at the back of your mind, but focus on the small bites that will help you get there, such as a certain amount of weight to lose each week.

*Keep focused and motivated by reminding yourself why you want to lose weight.  Whether it’s for health reasons or to fit into your wedding gown or swim suit this Summer, it’s easier to do something when you’re clear about why you’re doing it.

sugar1*Lower your sugar intake.  Many foods have hidden sugar such as ketchup, peanut butter, canned soup, bread and salad dressings.  Try to avoid ‘light’ products such as mayonnaise as they compensate for the lower fat by adding more sugar. Too much sugar can play havoc with your blood glucose levels and increase your risk for diabetes. It may also cause obesity, and increase your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. It has even been linked to cancer.

*Avoid white foods: potatoes, rice, pasta and bread.  A sweet potato is actually better than a white potato, swap white rice for brown or wild rice and go for whole wheat pasta and whole grain breads.  They all provide more fiber which is digested more slowly and doesn’t give you that sharp spike in glucose levels which leaves you feeling hungry.  You can also replace rice with grains such as whole wheat couscous, bulgar wheat, quinoa or barley.  Oats are a great way to start your day, but avoid the instant oats.

*Try to limit your eating of the starchy vegetables such as green peas, parsnips, beets, corn, pumpkin, turnips and carrots as these all contain a higher level of carbohydrates than other veggies.

*You should also limit yourself on the following fruit for the same reason as the starchy veggies: canned fruit, all fruit juice, raisins, pineapple and watermelon.

So there you go.  There are so many more ideas and thoughts that go along with all of this, but I figured this is enough for now.

Maybe it’s time to go build a snowman….

♥  Terri  ♥

Wake up Sleepyhead ~ Time for Breakfast!

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day!

Yes, we’ve all heard it before.  Everything you read about the morning meal always states this; it has been pounded into our brains over and over again.

But do we all take heed?

I’m sure that most of us do and hopefully what we eat is healthy and hearty enough to get us through the mid-morning slope to lunch.  There are those who think that not eating breakfast will be better for them in helping to lose weight.  There couldn’t be anything further from the truth!

If you are one of those people who choose to neglect eating breakfast, you’re in for a downward spiral every morning because studies have shown that later on in the morning, you’re likely to crave and most likely eat, high glycemic foods throughout the day which will send you on that glycemic rollercoaster and cause you to actually gain weight!

Research has shown that eating foods that are low on the Glycemic Index are better for you because they take longer to digest (therefore prolonging satiety) and they will also maintain blood glucose levels at a relatively constant state. Foods with a high glycemic index not only digest quickly, they can cause your blood sugar levels to drop, which makes you want to consume more high GI foods.

You say you eat breakfast?  What are you having?  A Triple Caramel Cream Espresso Latte with a doughnut or croissant does not constitute breakfast in my book.  Do you have any idea what is in those luxury coffees you get at those chain coffee houses, not to mention that doughnut you’re shoving into your mouth?  Take a gander at this.  According to the nutrition facts on this particular beverage, 44% of its calories comes from FAT! 44%!!!!!!!  And on the GI portion, there’s 52g of sugar.  in addition, the caffeine in the coffee doesn’t help with your blood sugar levels either.  The combination of sugar and caffeine are the two worst things to ingest together.

The effects of combining sugar and caffeine are devastating on the body. The blood glucose levels soar and then crash shortly thereafter, and when combined with caffeine, the enormous surge of energy from the sugar and the stimulant in caffeine lead to a crash of blood sugar within hours. The body then resorts to a vicious cycle of cravings. The swings that the two together cause create a desire for more carbohydrates than are actually needed. Over time, the craving results in an enormous imbalance in blood glucose levels.  As one who has hypoglycemia, I’m well aware of this and have paid dearly for my mistakes on various occasions, although less frequent, if at all nowadays.

So what should you be eating for breakfast?

♣ Unsweetened, natural yogurt mixed with fresh fruit and no-sugar-added muesli

♣ Smoothies made with yogurt, fruits, nuts, tofu or soya milk

♣ Rolled oat porridge cooked with dried fruit, nuts and seeds and sweetened with agave nectar or artificial sweetener, if desired (this was my breakfast today!)

♣ Whole-grain toast lightly buttered with a poached egg, fresh fruit

♣ Omelette stuffed with cooked fresh veggies and low fat cheese

♣ 1/2 of a whole wheat bagel covered with a light coating of low fat cream cheese, smoked salmon, tomato, cucumber, red onion, capers and dill

♣ Whole wheat pita stuffed with scrambled eggs, berries

♣ All-bran muffin with nut butter spread, fresh fruit

♣ Fat-free Greek yogurt with frozen berries, sunflower seeds and nuts, artificial sweetener or agave nectar, if desired

♣ Wholegrain toast with salmon and avocado, fresh fruit

♣ Buckwheat or wholewheat pancakes topped with lightly stewed fruit or unsweetened apple sauce

♣ Wholegrain toast topped with low fat deli ham and low fat cheese, melted, fresh fruit

♣ Rye toast topped with light cream cheese and fruit

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These are a few suggestions.  Can you come up with any other ideas?

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And as a reminder, here’s what you should not eat…

◊ Processed, high GI breakfast cereals, which is pretty much most of them!

◊ White bread, croissants, crumpets and pancakes

◊ Sugar laden jams, spreads and marmalades

◊ Full fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurts

◊ Fat laden meats such as bacon and sausage

◊ Sweetened, processed fruit juices

◊ Sugar added to tea, coffee or on cereals

So start your day with lasting energy!  You’ll feel great, think more clearly and feel fuller longer so you won’t be tempted to grab a doughnut from that box someone brought in to the office and have a piece of chocolate cake from someone’s birthday.

If you do start to feel hungry, then have an apple with some peanut butter or low fat cheese.  If you’re just starting out with a low GI diet or just learning about it, at least try to ensure that you start your day right with a delicious low GI breakfast.

♥  Terri  ♥♥


How do you Like your Eggs in the Morning?

I thought I would give you myself a break from all the ‘bad’ food I’ve been making.  Being one who has low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) I have to have breakfast, and a proper one at that.  I admit I sway from having a proper breakfast on occasion and I do pay for it later on in the day.  I can become irritable, get internal shakes, lose concentration, get a headache, break out into a cold sweat…the list goes on and none of it is pleasant.

I get lazy sometimes and just don’t feel like cutting up veggies or preparing other foods to eat; usually because I’m so busy doing other things and I almost feel like I can’t be bothered to eat, but I know I must.  So what happens?  I eat the wrong things.  I might have a couple of crackers with some butter or peanut butter or perhaps a banana.  I might even grab a slice or two of ham from the fridge or eat a handful of nuts.  Now granted, none of this is absolutely terrible, but it’s not really a proper meal, nor do I eat this all at one time.  It’s usually over a period of about 2-3 hours but it’s still not a good meal.  I’m much better when I have a good breakfast consisting of eggs and veggies and grains or a bowl of porridge with fruit and nuts.  Either of these meals will hold me for a good 3-4 hours, although I will have a mid-morning snack.  There are times when I will even have leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.

I just get tired of having eggs most mornings.

This morning I decided to see what I could find in my GI Recipes book.  Even though this has eggs, it sounded different and tasty.  This would suit Phase 2 on South Beach Diet…

~~SCRAMBLED EGGS w/HONEY-ROASTED TOMATOES~~

Serves 1 (easily increased for any number of servings)

2-3 small tomatoes

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp honey

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs

1-2 slices whole grain bread (wholewheat, granary, rye, etc.) (I used a wholewheat bagel)

Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F.

Halve the tomatoes and arrange in a baking dish, cut side up.  Sprinkle over the cinnamon and drizzle with honey.  Season with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes.

When the tomatoes are nearly cooked, put the eggs in a bowl, season and beat.  Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan until sizzling.  Reduce the heat, pour in the eggs and cook gently, stirring constantly until thick and creamy.

Toast the bread and place on plate.  Spoon on the eggs and pile tomatoes on top.  Spoon over any juices from the tomatoes, sprinkle with black pepper and serve.

Enjoy!

♥ Terri  ♥♥

Chinese-Spiced Pork for South Beach Diet

Hey Y’all!

Been busy here at Terri’s Kitchen trying to get myself organised for the market on Sunday.  I must admit, it’s a bit rough getting back into the routine after taking a break for nearly 3 months!  However, I am excited about getting back to the market and seeing everyone.

Here’s another one from the GI Recipe book.  It says to grill/broil the chops, but I fried them up in the pan for 2-3 minutes each side and poured in the marinade.  Yes, it calls for honey, but it’s only a tablespoon worth and it’s divided among four, so it’s not going to hurt.  However, because of the honey, I would keep this for use in Phase 2 or 3.  It tasted really nice and I served them with braised kale and sweet potato oven fries.  And again, I forgot to take a pic…sigh.

~~CHINESE-SPICED PORK~~

1 tsp grated fresh root ginger

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

2 garlic cloves, crushed and minced

1 tbsp honey

2 tsp soy sauce

4 x pork loin steaks

In a plastic bag large enough to hold the steaks, combine all the ingredients except the steaks.  Mix it all up and add the steaks and slosh them around to coat.  Marinate in the fridge for at least two hours.

Preheat the grill/broiler.  Grill 4-5 minutes each side until cooked through.  Or heat some olive oil in a large skillet and add the steaks and cook about 2-3 minutes.  Flip over the steaks, add the remaining marinade and cook another 2-3 minutes.

Serve and enjoy!

♥♥ Terri  ♥♥

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Terri’s Tasty Tip:

Sweeten the smell of your home with vanilla extract.  Estate agents and property stagers who specialise in making homes appealing to buyers recommend this tip.  Put a drop or two of vanilla extract on a light bulb, turn on the light and your hone will be filled with the appealing scent of fresh baking.

Tarragon and Mayo and Egg, on Rye!

It’s International Women’s Day….Celebrate the women in your life!

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Hello Campers!

Well we’ve finally got a beautiful sunny day here today considering we’ve had biblical proportions of rain and wind over the last three days.  It makes for a nice change.

I ordered more books from my favorite bookshop, The Book People on Monday and yesterday I received the order (they’re great with delivery time!) and one of the books I ordered is 101 Fantastic GI Recipes by Fiona Hunter.  Since the South Beach Diet is based on eating lower GI foods, I figured this would be perfect, especially since I’m always looking for new recipes that will fit in with SBD.

It’s not so much a book as it’s a pack of plastic coated cards that are bound in the corner by a silver bolt, so the pages fan out.  Each recipe also gives totals for calories, fat, saturated fat, carbs, salt and fibre.

The recipe I had for lunch today was Egg and Tarragon Mayo on Rye and serves 4, but I cut it down for just me.  It’s easily adjustable depending on the number of servings.

~~EGG AND TARRAGON MAYO ON RYE~~

Serves 1

2 eggs, hard-boiled and peeled

1 spring onion/scallion/green onion, finely sliced

2 tsp reduced fat mayo (I used full fat mayo because that’s what I have)

2 tsp low fat plain yogurt (I used fat-free because…that’s what I have)

2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon (I used 1 tsp dried)

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 slices rye bread or pumpernickel or any other whole grain bread

tomato salad, to serve*

Roughly chop the eggs.  Place in a bowl with the spring onions, mayo, yogurt and tarragon.  Season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Fold together gently to combine.

Serve piled on slices of bread and serve with a fresh tomato salad.

*For the tomato salad, I chopped a tomato and mixed with a drizzle of EV olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, some fresh basil, salt and pepper and piled into a leaf of lettuce.

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES FOR SOUTH BEACH DIET

Why do toasters have settings that burn bread beyond recognition??

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Good Day!

I’m glad to hear that my family and friends made it through Hurricane Irene safely and hope that my other readers did the same.  Mother Nature can be a real b!tch if she wants to!

As most of you know from a previous post, I’m attempting to be back on the South Beach Diet (SBD), although I must admit, I haven’t been such a good girl as of late.  I haven’t been a real brat, but not as good as I should be.  In other words, I haven’t lost any weight since that post, but I haven’t really gained any either.  Maybe this is the weight my body wants to stay at and refuses to let go of any more…grumble, grumble.

However, I shall still carry on since, even though I may not lose weight, it’s much more healthy to be eating properly.  I’ll really get to see how I’m doing as I’m going for a health check next week.

Now, getting back to the subject at hand…Peanut Butter.  The SBD has a recipe for peanut butter cookies.  I had tried it a while back, but I ended up tweaking it a bit more to my liking.  Many of their desert/baking recipes call for Splenda to be used as the sweetener.  Granted, I do use it, but only in my coffee.  I do not like the taste it gives to baked goods.

In doing some research, I found that I could actually use Agave Nectar in lieu of artificial sweeteners.  It has a lower Glycemic index and is sweeter than sugar, so you can use less.  I had to experiment a few times to come up with the perfect (and least) amount I could use and still have a bit of sweetness in the cookies.

I started out with using a bit more than a 1/3 cup (about 6 Tbsp).  The next batch, I went down to 5 Tbsp.  I’m currently at 1/4 Cup/4 Tbsp.  I may drop it to 3 Tbsp. to see how that works.  Remember that this is spread out over the whole batch of cookies and I usually get around 23-26 cookies.  I eat 1 cookie at a time, once or twice a day.  They take care of the sweet craving and it gives me some protein and even a bit of chocolate.

I also make my own peanut butter.  I could buy natural/organic/no sugar peanut butter in the stores, but this is much more economical…in other words, cheaper!  I buy a 400g/14oz. bag of store brand roasted, salted peanuts and throw them into my food processor.  Whiz them around a bit until they’re almost a chunky paste, and then put in about a Tbsp. of peanut oil.  You have to put that in to give it the proper consistency or else it will be too dry.  Whiz it around some more until it’s as smooth as possible.  Mine doesn’t come out as smooth as you would think, but it’s not really chunky like the store bought either.  Let’s put it this way….it gets the job done!  You can hopefully get the idea from the picture below.

I spread it on an oatcake and I then proceeded to eat it after I took the picture. 🙂 (Well you didn’t want me to waste it now, did you?)

Now you don’t have to make your own PB, but at least you know what’s in it if you do.  If you don’t want to make your own and you’re trying to avoid sugar, then get the natural PB without sugar.  If you’re not worrying about the sugar, then by all means, get regular PB, chunky or smooth.  I don’t normally like chunky PB, but for this recipe I would use the chunky as it give some depth to the cookies.

Now that you have your peanut butter, here’s the rest of the ingredients and directions.  And remember, there is no flour in these!

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 Tbsp. agave nectar
3/4 C. peanut butter
1 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
20g/1oz. dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

Preheat your oven to 165c/325f.  Chop the chocolate into small pieces and set aside.

In a medium bowl, put the egg, vanilla and agave nectar.  Beat with an electric hand mixer for about 20 seconds on low, then for about one minute on medium, and then two minutes on high.  You want the mix to be really frothy.

Then add the peanut butter

and mix thoroughly to incorporate it.  The mixture will stiffen up once it’s mixed in properly.  (As a side note, it appears that 4 Tbsp of agave nectar should be the amount.  I’m finding that only 3 Tbsp is making the mix too stiff.  I added a Tbsp. of milk rather than add more agave, but that is up to your personal discretion.)

Add the cocoa powder and salt and mix again.  Start off on a low speed so that the cocoa powder doesn’t go flying all over your kitchen counter!  Then add the chocolate pieces.  You may want to mix them in with a fork instead of the electric mixer as it will be easier.

Drop walnut size pieces onto a non-stick baking sheet. With a clean, wet fork, press down on the dough to flatten a bit.  You may need to wet the fork every 2-3 cookies or else you’ll find the dough sticking to the fork.  Just dip the fork into water and shake off the excess.

Bake for 10 minutes then remove cookies to a rack to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

ENJOY!

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RIP Margaret
87 years
August 24, 2011