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.

Is your Diet making you FAT?

Well here we are, the second month into the new year and swiftly approaching the third already.

Can you believe it??

Before you know it, the daffodils will be popping up, the leaves on the trees will be sprouting again and everything will be turning greener and springing into life.

So here’s a question for you…How many of you have fallen off the diet wagon already?  Come on now, raise your hands….let’s see…1…2….3,4….5…….6….hmmm….thought so.  Don’t worry, my hand was partially up.  I haven’t been totally bad, but haven’t been totally good either.

I was reading an article over the weekend that talks about the diet mistakes we make and they’re making us fat instead of the other way around.  I admit to sort of doing the second one.  How many of these are you guilty of?

SKIPPING BREAKFAST

smily-breakfastSome think that not eating breakfast encourages your body to burn fat when in fact, thin people eat breakfast; fat people don’t.

Not eating breakfast leads to overeating later on as your blood sugar drops mid-morning, making you crave foods that aren’t healthy such as that double mocha and Danish.  Plus, you are more likely to binge at night as your body plays catch-up on missed calories, making you more likely to store the calories as fat.

So what should you do?  Any form of protein in the morning ~ plain yogurt with berries, an omelette, smoked salmon or sugar-free muesli with nuts ~ makes for a breakfast of kings, thin ones!  Can’t face having breakfast?  Eat a handful of walnuts or almonds about an hour after waking should be enough to stop you bingeing later.

WEEKEND BLOWOUT

nocakeIf you eat healthy all week, is it fine to treat yourself at weekends?  Even after 5 days of restraint, two days of freestyle carbicide will make you gain weight. (What’s carbicide?  Eating every bad carbohydrate within reach!)

Let’s say you eat and sensibly manage your carb intake during the week and then binge on lasagna, burgers, bread, cakes, ice cream, etc., over time, you could gain 10 lbs. or more.  Carbs are first stored as glucose and water, but will turn into fat if it isn’t worked off, so you’ll need to do extra exercise during the week.  Many people equate the weekend with being relaxed so therefore, they relax their eating habits.  If you feel compelled to overeat on the weekends, then it suggests the way you’re eating during the week isn’t satisfying you.

So what should you do?  Pepper your working week with small amounts of what you fancy, such as a small glass of wine, a piece of dark chocolate or a bite or two of cake.  If you end up having a big greasy breakfast on Saturday morning, make sure the rest of your meals for the day are healthy.  If you say to yourself ‘oh the damage has been done and I may as well continue for the weekend’, then you’ll gain back weight.  That’s how fat people think.

DIET DRINKS

Diet drinks have no calories so they won’t impact on your weight, right?  Wrong!  People who drink diet sodas are fatter than those who don’t.

Diet drinks feed a sweet tooth as, gram for gram, artificial sweeteners can be 13,000 times sweeter than sugar.  When your body receives a sweet taste without the expected calories, it triggers sweet cravings that make you eat more.  Sweeteners have also been shown to have a similar effect to real sugar on blood glucose and insulin levels.  One study found that a high intake of diet drinks could increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes by 67%.

So what should you do?  Drink water or soda water with fresh lime or lemon or have some decaf or herbal tea or coffee.  If you want something sweet, coconut water with nothing added is a natural, healthy choice.

BUT IT’S HEALTHY!

Just because a food is healthy, doesn’t mean you can eat it in excess.

Hummus, pistachios and peanuts contain healthy fats but come will mega calories and often fail the ‘eat just one’ test.  Such foods can act as triggers for those with a tendency to overeat.  A food labeled ‘healthy’ doesn’t give you the option to just completely ignore calories.  Beware of cereals, snack bars and drinks that present themselves as healthy that are anything but.  Most people know that if sugar is listed in the first few ingredients, then it’s best to put it back on the shelf.  However, you do need to be aware of the sneaky ways that manufacturer’s list sugar on ingredients.

So what should you do?  No matter how healthy they are, don’t keep foods around that you find irresistible.  Things like raw almonds or Brazil nuts are a better choice than something like wasabi nuts.  If you find it difficult to have only 1-2 teaspoons of hummus with your veggies for a snack, then choose something else.  Avoid so-called healthy foods with ingredients such as corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, sucrose, fructose or any other word ending in ‘ose’.  Some foods produced by weight-loss programs can be high in sugar, artificial sweeteners and refined carbohydrates, which increase appetite.

FAT PHOBIA

OliveOilDon’t avoid fat if you want to lose weight.  Successful dieters get 30% of their daily calories from fat.

Studies show that the tiny 10% of people who lose weight and keep it off eat moderate amounts of good fats.  Fat is highly satiating and keeps you feeling fuller longer.  When dieters avoid fat, they are hungry all the time.  An obsession with low-fat products merely fuels a craving for fatty foods and that’s why they end up stuffing themselves with cakes and ice cream.  Low fat food is pointless because when the fat is removed, it is replaced with something else to retain taste and texture and that is usually sugar and flour, which provide calories but not very good nutrition.

Fat also provides essential vitamins A, D, E and K.  Unfortunately, we are now deficient in many of these thanks to the low-fat message, especially vitamin D, which is one of the reasons behind the re-emergence of rickets.

So what should you do?  Make sure you eat plenty of good fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids as there is evidence that these help the body burn fat.  Oily fish, coconut oil, walnuts and flax seeds are all good sources.  Put a small bit, about a 1/2 teaspoon of butter in your morning porridge or on your steamed veggies.  Try drizzling extra virgin olive oil on your veggies also as it gives them a nice added flavor.

HOW SUCCESSFUL DIETERS KEEP THE WEIGHT OFF

MaxineDiet90% of people who go on diets regain the weight within a year.  The US national Weight Control Registry studied the habits of the 10% of people who did keep off anything from 30 lbs. to 300 lbs. for five years or more.  Here’s what they did:

78% ate breakfast every day.  75% weighed themselves at least once a week.  62% watched less than 10 hours of TV a week.  90% exercised moderately for an hour every day (most chose walking).

IN CONCLUSION…

The only diets that have been proven effective for long-term weight loss in randomized controlled studies are those that focus on higher amounts of protein and vegetables, and limit carbohydrates to those with a low glycemic index (GI).  GI is a number rating out of 100 that refers to how quickly a particular food causes spikes in blood sugar.  Low GI is considered 55 or under.

Gives you some things to think about, eh?

  Terri  

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  ♥

Diet not Working?

So you’ve decided to embark on a healthy eating plan.  It starts off quite well, you lose a few pounds and then suddenly you find it’s not working.

Why is it that your diet and exercise plans never seem to work?  Possibly because you’re unwittingly undoing all your best efforts.

The British Nutrition Foundation identified more than 100 factors that influence our weight.  Many of the tips they offered were fairly obvious, such as eating smaller portions or not eating ready-made meals.  Here’s a few habits that might actually surprise you…

What’s that in your shopping cart?

Cereal.  A U.S. study found breakfast cereal sweetened with sugar left overweight participants hungry before lunchtime and they consumed more calories a day than those given an egg as the protein kept them full.  Egg eaters also had significantly lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite.

White bread.  Too many refined carbs such as white bread and white rice can lead to weight gain, particularly around the midriff, according to researchers at Tufts University in Boston.  Two groups ate roughly the same number of calories each day, but those who ate mostly refined carbs added a half inch on their waist per year compared with those eating unrefined ‘whole’ foods such as vegetables and wholegrain bread.

Fruit juice.  Fruit juices and other sugary drinks have a stronger impact on weight than calories from solid food.  Cutting out just one sugary drink a day resulted in a weight loss of more than one pound after six months.

Is working out, not working out?

Exercising at a steady pace.  Short sharp bursts are just as effective and less time consuming and you’re more likely to stick to it.  Canadian researchers compared the effects of cycling at a moderate pace for 90-120 minutes with a workout of 20-30 seconds of gut-busting pedalling followed by four minutes rest and repeated four to six times.  After two weeks, both groups had almost identical improvements in fitness despite the fact some had only worked out for six to nine minutes a week but others had put in five hours.

Eating after exercising.  When women exercised hard they ate almost enough calories afterwards to make up for the ones they just burned, according to a U.S. study.

Indoor workouts.  Most studies show that exercising in natural environments is associated with greater boosts to mood, decreased anxiety and an increased likelihood of sticking with the workouts.

Is life in general giving you more curves?

Overweight friends.  If your friends gain weight, chances are you will too.  Why?  A Dutch study found that we tend to mimic each other’s behavior when we eat out, taking a bite at the same time.

Not chewing enough.  The longer food remains in the mouth, the more chance the tongue has to send messages to the brain to release the necessary digestive juices.  Chewing and digesting solid food fills you up.

Getting some shut-eye.  A study published in the journal Sleep suggested too little encourages the genes that cause weight gain.  Longer sleep (nine hours) suppresses the action of these ‘obesity’ genes.

Being stressed.  Stress encourages the body to put on weight around you middle.  This is because it triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol.  Over time, raised cortisol levels cause belly fat to accumulate and also makes individual fat cells enlarge.

A large variety of foods.  Fewer food choices and instilling culinary boredom could be the key to successful weight loss.  Researchers reporting in the American Journal of clinical Nutrition found that when women were offered the same food over and over again, they tended to eat less overall.

It’s all your (body’s) fault.

You’re a woman.  Using brain scans, U.S. researchers have found overweight men could suppress cravings or what they called ‘the conscious desire to eat’ more successfully than women.  It’s thought hormone differences were involved.

You don’t have enough brown fat.  Thin people are known to have higher amounts of beneficial brown fat than the overweight.  Brown fat’s great appeal is that it burns calories faster, like a furnace.  A recent study found that a form of brown fat is turned on when people get cold.

It’s your age.  Basal metabolic rate, which accounts for about 50%-70% of your total energy expenditure is thought to decrease about 1%-2% per decade.  After age 20, daily energy expenditure decreases about 150 calories per decade.  The upshot is that you need to eat less as you get older.

You’re hardwired to yo-yo.  Scientists now think that soon after people lost weight, their metabolism shows and they experience hormonal changes that increase their appetites again.  These effects can be long term.  People who have lost weight need to remain vigilant and understand that once they have lost weight the battle is not over.

Your parents made you fat.  Whether you are fat or thin could be an inherited factor.  A UK study showed only 4% of girls with normal weight mothers were obese compared with 41% with fat mothers.  Research suggests a very strong link between mother and daughter and father and son obesity, but no link across gender divide.

All of us who have dieted know it’s not easy.  If it were, we’d all be fit and healthy….

♥  Terri  ♥

In memory of those who lost their lives 11 years ago…

 

Why isn’t your Diet Working?

Hello Campers!

Welcome to Friday Eve!

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Sometimes watching what we eat can be a real pain in the butt.  Why can’t we just eat what we want, when we want and maintain a healthy, slim, no-belly-hanging-over-the-jeans, no-having-to-exercise, no double-chin, no big-butt body??  Why?  Because that’s the way our bodies work.

Sigh….

So if we want to have all of that, we have to do the right things, and one of those things is eating the right stuff.  When we hear the word diet, most of us immediately think of eating salads, fruits and veg, nothing fattening, no sugar, no sweets, etc.  But actually, no matter who we are and what we eat, that IS our diet, whether it be healthy or not.

The types of food you eat every day is considered your diet.  You hear about overweight people and what they eat, and that their diet consists of cakes, cookies, fried food, etc.  Vegetarians eat a diet of vegetables.  You get the picture.

But what if your diet isn’t working, especially if you’re trying to eat in a healthy way?  Well a recent article in the paper this week gave several reasons why your diet isn’t working, using the latest scientific research.  From having the wrong genes, listening to pop music or doing the wrong exercises; all of these could have a direct effect on whether you lose weight or not.

Some of them were pretty obvious; eating too many refined carbs, eating in front of the TV, doing only one type of exercise.  But some were rather interesting…

Having milk in your tea  Last year, Indian scientist found tea contains high levels of compounds, theaflavins and thearubigins, that help to reduce the amount of fat absorbed by the gut and can cut cholesterol.  However, proteins found in cows milk neutralize this ability, so drink your tea black.  (It didn’t say anything about soy milk or almond milk, so as I’m one who has to have milk in their tea, I’m now having soy milk in mine)

Avoiding yogurt  A study in the International journal of Obesity found obese adults who ate three servings of fat-free yogurt a day as part of a reduced-calorie diet lost 22% more weight and 61% more body fat than those who simply cut calories.  Yogurt eaters also lost 81% more fat in the stomach area.  It’s thought the calcium and protein in dairy products may help burn to fat.

Under-seasoning your food  Adding a bit of ground cayenne pepper to your meal can help burn calories faster.  It seems the pepper curbs hunger, especially for fatty, salty and sweet foods.

Reading recipe books and magazines  Looking at pictures of high-fat foods stimulates the brain’s appetite control center, leading to an elevated desire for sweet and savory foods.

Eating off the wrong colored plate  A study from the Journal of Consumer Research found that when food is the same color as the plate, it blends in and leads people to eat more.  When the same amount of food is put on a contrasting colored plate, such as pasta on a blue plate, the portion appears larger and is psychologically more satisfying.

Saying ‘I can’t’ when offered food  Research suggests if you say this when asked if you’d like a slice of cake, you’re less likely to stick to you diet, as this signals deprivation and loss.  Using ‘I don’t’ shows a sense of determination and empowerment.

Having to much food to pick from  Fewer food choices and instilling culinary boredom could be the key to successful weight loss.  Researchers reporting in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when women were offered the same food over and over again, they tended to eat less overall.

Playing music while eating  If you listen to music as you chew, make sure the music is slow.  Studies showed that listening to faster music led people to eat more quickly, while the opposite was true for slower music.

Doing only one kind of exercise  To get fit, you need to mix exercise such as cycling and running, with weight training or resistance work, including some forms of Pilates.

You don’t have enough brown fat  Thin people are known to have high amounts of beneficial brown fat than the overweight.  Brown fat’s great appeal is that it burns calories faster.  A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that a form of brown fat is turned on when people get cold.

Your parents made you fat  Whether you’re fat or thin could be an inherited factor.  A 2009 UK study showed only 4% of girls with normal-weight mothers were obese, compared with 41% with fat mothers.  Research suggests a very strong link between mother and daughter and father and son obesity, but no link across the gender divide.

So that’s only a quarter of the suggestions given as to why your diet isn’t working.  Want to read the rest of them?  Then go to 40 Reasons why my diet isn’t working.

Time for a cuppa….with soya milk!

♥♥ Terri   ♥♥

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Just a reminder:  Still waiting for someone to give me a page number and word number for tomorrow’s Friday Foodie Word!  Remember, I need a page number from 1-632 and a word number 1-20.  Be the first and I’ll even include a link to your blog!

Green Tea ~ One Lump or Two?

Good Day, Dearest Reader!

Over the past several months, I’ve been reading and hearing about some of the benefits of green tea.  Not that I remember half of what I’ve read about it, but I do know it’s supposed to be good for you in various ways.

So I figured I would do a post on it to inform not only myself, but also you, although you may already know about its benefits.

As last Friday was my birthday, Chef P and I went to Canterbury for the day.  We popped in to the tea and coffee store, Whittard’s.  My mum-in-law wanted some Assam loose leaf tea and I decided to get myself some Green loose leaf tea.  I currently have a green tea blend that I drink on occasion, but wanted to get just some proper green tea.

So what do we know about green tea?  Well here’s the technical facts according to Wikipedia:

Green tea is made solely from the leaves of Camellia sinensis that have undergone minimal oxidation during processing.  Green tea originates in China and has become associated with many cultures throughout Asia.  It has recently become more widespread in the West, where black tea is traditionally consumed.  Many varieties of green tea have been created in countries where they are grown.  These varieties can differ substantially due to variable growing conditions, horticulture production processing, and harvesting time.

Over the last few decades, green tea has been the subject of many medical and scientific studies to determine its health benefit claims with some evidence suggesting that regular green tea drinkers may have a lower risk of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Because of the minimal processing – leaves are steamed instead of fermented – green tea catechins are unique and contain a more concentrated form of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which is the active ingredient that many studies have highlighted as the driving force behind green tea benefits.

CAFFEINE

My first cup of the new green tea was first thing in the morning which is quite unusual for me.  My first cup in the morning is usually decaf, whether it be coffee or tea and I don’t have any caffeine until my second cup.  My reasoning for this has to do with my blood sugar and if I have caffeine first thing, it really affects me and not in a good way.  I thought I had heard that green tea was lower in caffeine so wanted to test it out.  I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get that shaky feeling that I would when I drink a regular cup of coffee or tea.  Yay, one for me!

It’s difficult to put an exact figure on the amount of caffeine in green tea. Like other drinks from cultivated plants (tea, coffee), there are numerous variables that can alter caffeine content.

Length of brewing time also affects caffeine content so the longer the brew, the higher the caffeine.

One study compared the content of dry matter from tea leaves and found Green Tea had 10-20mg per 1 gram dried matter. Black Tea had 22-28mg per 1 gram dried matter.

One study compared the content of dry matter from tea leaves and found Green Tea had 10-20mg per 1 gram dried matter. Black Tea had 22-28mg per 1 gram dried matter.  So as a general rule, Green Tea has less caffeine than Black Tea.

Green tea is also high in the amino acid L-theanine. This has a calming effect and aides with concentration. There’s a myth that green tea has more caffeine than coffee, but this isn’t true. L-theanine is most likely responsible for this. People will have a different level of alertness when drinking green tea which people mistake for the caffeine’s effect when it is really the effect of L-theanine.

BEAUTY BENEFITS

Traditionally, many types of beauty products have used chemical antioxidants, or vitamins A, C and E as preservatives for their products. Now, with research indicating that green tea has even more antioxidant properties than these powerful vitamins, there is a surge in products capitalising on its natural benefits.

You don’t need to rush to the chemist to stock up on goodies. Concentrated green tea extract is simple to make at home and is a flexible addition to both your daily beauty routine and your medicine cabinet.

Simply steep 100g of green tea in half a litre of still mineral water at room temperature for at least one hour. Strain the liquor and it’s ready to use! It’s better to make small quantities and use it fresh but surplus liquid can be poured into clean, sterilised bottles and refrigerated.

The liquid can be used as a spritzer, to freshen up the face, or cotton pads soaked in it can be particularly soothing for tired or strained eyes. It has antiseptic properties, so can be used to treat minor cuts and rashes, and is surprisingly effective when applied to spots and blemishes. It can even be used as a treatment for sunburn – soak a cloth in the liquid and leave on the skin until the area begins to cool.

Green tea is also known for its ability to prevent bad breath – and it has the added advantage of tasting good if it’s inadvertently swallowed. Try making your own toothpaste to test it out.

Pour one cup of boiling water over 100g of Himalayan Green Tea and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes. Make a paste using this liquid and one teaspoon of baking soda, and use this to brush your teeth as usual. The natural properties in the tea will curb mouth odor and help prevent plaque-forming microbes from attaching to the teeth.

Antibacterial properties found in green tea are also used by your body to kill the bacteria that causes plaque on your teeth. Research by the Journal of Periodontology has also shown that for every cup of green tea you drink, there is a decrease in indicators for gum disease. Fluoride is also found in green tea which helps to protect against cavities.

This gentle facemask will help remove toxins from your skin, as well as leaving it silky smooth.

Mix three tablespoons of mayonnaise with one heaped teaspoon of organic Himalayan green tea leaves. Apply evenly to the face, avoiding the delicate eye area, and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse the mask off, then dry and moisturise your face.

One of the latest benefits of green tea is the effect it has on your skin and the aging process. It is again down to the antioxidants that prevent cell oxidation and damage that can make you look older than you really are. Studies are mixed on this particular green tea benefit as new research has come to light which suggests the full benefits can only be had by applying green tea topically to your skin. However, many people have found that potent green tea extracts do have a positive effect on their skin, leaving it softer, more supply and younger looking.

Both green tea and green tea extract have been shown to fight obesity and lower LDL cholesterol – both of which ultimately lead to a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes. The polyphenols in green tea are extremely useful for dissolving triglycerides, a substance in the liver and small intestine made up of mostly sugar and fat, and this is thought to be the reason green tea benefits fat loss. EGCG is also known to stimulate your metabolism and accelerate weight loss. When combined with the caffeine in green tea, this causes your central nervous system to release fat into the bloodstream to be used as fuel which burns your body fat off.

Researchers believe that green tea lowers your cholesterol levels by reducing its absorption in your digestive tract and increasing the rate of which it is excreted. However, your body does need cholesterol to build cell membranes, insulate nerve fibres and create hormones. For this, green tea benefits you by preventing the conversion of LDL cholesterol into it’s more dangerous, oxidized form. Oxidized LDL is one of the main factors in the development of atherosclerosis (the build of plaque that blocks your arteries as LDL gets sticky and clings to your artery walls) and increases your risk of heart attack or stroke. The amazing antioxidant effects of green tea protect this, helping to keep your arteries clean.

GREEN TEA

There is this tea
I have sometimes,
Pan Long Ying Hao,
so tightly curled
it looks like tiny roots
gnarled, a greenish-gray.
When it steeps, it opens
the way you woke this morning,
stretching, your hands behind
your head, back arched,
toes pointing, a smile steeped
in ceremony, a celebration,
the reaching of your arms.
~ Dale Ritterbusch (2005)

So drink your green tea…and reap the benefits!

♥ Terri  ♥♥

How Sweet it is!

Sugar.  We all know we shouldn’t eat so much of it, but yet we do.  It’s irresistable.  It’s sweet.  It gives us a pleasurable taste on the tongue.  How can we say ‘no’???

The average American eats approximately 1,500 pounds of food every year. Of that, 160 pounds are primarily sugar.

Of all the food stuff we eat, sugar is the least nutritious.  In fact, except for the energy in its calories, there’s not much to recommend about sugar. It’s a prime source of empty calories, and for those of us who are trying to lose weight, sugar’s the first thing we should start trimming from our diets.

The problem is that it’s added to so many of the foods that we eat on a daily basis, hidden from view.  You say ‘no, how can that be’?  Try reading food labels.  The food manufacturers have ways of hiding it by giving it different names:  sucrose, glucose, corn syrup, fructose, sorbitol, maltose, lactose and maltodextrin, just to name a few.

One of the best ways to disguise the amount of sugar in a product is printing the information in grams. Most Americans haven’t the foggiest idea of how much a gram is, because they’re unaccustomed to the metric system. So when they pick up a can of soda that contains 40 grams of sugar, they pretty much shrug their shoulders and pop the top, assuming they’re even reading the label.   But what if the label said 10 teaspoons of sugar?  If you saw someone popping 10 tsp. worth of sugar into their coffee or tea, you’d think they were crazy, but that’s how much is in a typical 12oz. can.

The food industry has cleverly snuck its sugars and corn syrups into products where we never would have thought to look for sugar. It’s good for the manufacturer. It hikes up the calorie load, can enhance the product’s appearance (high-fructose corn syrup gives hamburger buns their golden glow), and can keep our sugar cravings simmering at a low boil. Here are some types of products whose labels you should look out for.

Spaghetti sauce. A half cup of store-bought sauce can contain as many as three teaspoons of corn syrup or sugar. While some of the naturally occurring sugar in tomatoes and other vegetables will show up on the nutrition label, most of the sugar is added. Look for brands that don’t include sugar.

Ketchup. Ketchup can be 20 percent sugar or more. Not to mention that you’ll get 7 percent of your daily sodium allowance in one tablespoon. Look for low-salt, no-sugar brands, or make your own, using pureed carrots to add flavor and texture to the tomatoes.

Reduced-fat cookies. Most brands of cookies now offer a reduced-fat version of their product.But while you’re patting yourself on the back for choosing the low-fat option, check the label. The sneaky food manufacturers did take out the fat, but they replaced it with, you guessed it, sugar. And because there’s no fat to make you feel full, you’ll be tempted to eat more “guilt-free” cookies. And just because there’s less fat, it doesn’t mean you’ll be less fat. Fat doesn’t make you fat. Sugar make you fat.

Low-fat salad dressing. Like the cookies, manufacturers have taken the fat out of the dressing, but they’ve added extra salt and sugar to make up for it. Check the label to make sure you’re not replacing heart-healthy olive oil with diabetes-causing sugar-because that’s not really a “healthy choice.” Your best bet? Make your own vinaigrettes using a small amount of olive oil, a tasty gourmet vinegar or fresh lemon juice, and some fresh herbs.

Bread. Most processed breads, especially white hamburger and hot dog buns, can contain a good bit of sugar or corn syrup. That’s what gives them the golden-brown crust. As always, check the ingredient label, and consider making your own or getting your bread at a real bakery or a farmers’ market – it’s the best idea since, well, you know.

Fast food. Needless to say, fast food is generally not good for you. But even if you’re staying away from the sodas and the shakes, everything from the burgers to the fries to the salads is a potential place to hide sugar. Check out the ingredients carefully at your favorite restaurant. You may be getting more than you bargained for.

And don’t forget that alcohol also contains sugars.

********************

And how do you know that you’re consuming too much sugar?  Well if you eat too much sugar…

You’ll have trouble getting enough healthy nutrients without going overboard on calories.
You gain weight.
You do not feel the need to eat food that contains more of the important nutrients that our body needs, such as vitamins, iron, calcium and magnesium.
Tooth decay and gum disease.
Unstable blood glucose.
Obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
Malfunctioning immune system.
Chromium deficiency.

Soooo….you still want that candy bar??