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.

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Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ 26 Feb

sorry-im-lateYes, yes, I know….it’s Wednesday and I’m a day late.  Better late than never, they always say!

Without further adieu….

Φ  To stop a pan boiling over, insert a wooden toothpick between the pan and the lid.

TT:  Personally, I think this is a waste of a toothpick and also, there’s the possibility of the toothpick falling into the pan if you happen to forget that it’s there.  Or worse, if you have a gas stove as we do, it falls out and under the pan and starts a fire!  I usually just cock the lid up a bit when putting it on to allow some of the steam to escape.

Φ  It’s simple to stop cabbage smells while cooking ~ don’t overcook it and don’t cover the pot with a lid.

TT:  We cook a good bit of cabbage but never seem to have a problem with smells.  Perhaps because we usually add other flavorings to the pan so we smell the flavorings instead.  I always have the lid on too.

greenpotatoΦ  Cut any green parts of a potato away before cooking ~ the green part contains an unpleasant-tasting poison called solanine.  It won’t kill you, but you’re better off without it.

TT:  I ALWAYS do this!  Who wants to eat green potato anyway?  Unless you’re Dr. Seuss!  Oh wait, that was green eggs…. 🙂

Φ  When heating cream, use a heavy-based saucepan and a low gentle heat, allowing the cream to come to a simmer slowly.  Avoid boiling rapidly.

TT:  I don’t cook with cream very much except if I’m making a dessert.  However, I do follow this mantra and heat it up gently.

Φ  Clean a stainless steel sink by wiping with a bit of pasty toothpaste (gel won’t work).  Rub in then rinse well (for a sparkling sink with fresh breath!)

TT:  You can also use baking soda and get the same results.

FrostedFreezerΦ  Defrost your freezer when the layer of ice inside has reached a thickness of 1cm (1/3 inch).  Switch off the freezer, remove the food and thaw the freezer.  Run the freezer for 1/2 an hour before refilling.

TT:  I think it’s time for me to defrost the freezer….

Φ  When cooking pasta, use as big a pan as possible to prevent sticking as it needs room to move around freely.  Don’t add the pasta until the water is boiling rapidly.

TT:  I do this all the time.  Make sure you stir the pasta occasionally while cooking and add salt to the water before you add the pasta.

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So there you go, your kitchen tips for the week!

♥  Terri  ♥

Want to Stay Young? Eat These!

Good morning World!

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you romantics out there!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

OldPeopleCartoonStaying young.  It’s something most of us want to do, but as time goes by, things start to go haywire…an ache here or there, age spots, hair thinning or going grey, you can’t move as fast as you used to, you get annoyed at young people and you find yourself at the doctor’s office more than you want.  It can’t be helped…we all grow older.

Some say ‘you’re only as old as you feel!’ which is fine as long as you ‘feel’ about 21 even when you’re nearly 3 times that age.  But some aren’t so lucky and do feel their actual age.

So what or who do you blame?  Was it due to all those late nights when you were younger?  Too much booze or cigarettes or even drugs?  Is it mom and dad’s fault?

Actually, genes account for only about 25% of aging, so what you eat could possibly make a huge difference in how you’ll feel when you get ‘over the hill’ if you aren’t there already.  Here’s how to adjust your food intake and get smoother skin, a faster brain and some other youth boosters…

OliveOilOLIVE OIL

Youth Benefit: Less wrinkled skin

Australian researchers found that those who regularly ate olive oil along with fish and veggies had, on average, 20% fewer wrinkles than those who did not.  This may seem just a cosmetic benefit, but an American trial recently linked deeper wrinkles with increased risk of osteoporosis.

SPINACHspinach

Youth Benefit: Healthy eyes

An antioxidant that protects the retina against damage from years of exposure to sunlight is lutein.  The high lutein in spinach is specifically related to lowered risk of macular degeneration (MD).  To help protect eyes, the MD Society recommends eating two to four servings of lutein-rich leafy green veggies a week such as spinach and kale.  Pour olive oil over greens as lutein is fat-soluble and therefore better absorbed if eaten with a little fat.

ONIONS

Youth Benefit: Lower inflammation

Onions, especially the red ones, are useful in avoiding arthritis, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.  Controlling inflammatory status may allow a better chance of successful aging.  Quercetin is the nutrient in onions that help with anti-inflammatory.  Other foods with quercetin are citrus fruits, apples and sage.

BRAZIL NUTSbrazil_nuts

Youth Benefit: All-around anti-aging

Brazil nuts get high marks for anti-aging on account of their very high content of selenium, a vital antioxidant mineral.  According to the UK government’s 2011 National Diet and Nutrition Survey, many of us do not get enough of this mineral, with women over 65 faring worst.  Low selenium status has been associated with increased risk of mortality, poor immune function and cognitive decline.  Just 25g/¾oz (a handful) daily, will significantly boost your selenium level.

blueberriesBLUEBERRIES

Youth Benefit: A clear mind

Blueberries could play a role in healthy cognitive function.  Research found a 200g dose sustained people’s ability to perform tests of short-term memory and concentration.  The berries are rich in a powerful antioxidant called anthocyanin, which may help protect brain cells and arteries and keep blood flowing to the brain.  Cranberries and pomegranates contain similar levels of anthocyanin.

BROCCOLI

Youth Benefit: Cancer protection

Cruciferous veggies like broccoli contain glucosinolates, which form anti-cancer chemicals.  When researchers added juiced broccoli to precancerous cells, they found the survival rate of these cells was reduced by 95%.  Other studies have shown that these anti-cancer chemicals may also reduce levels of estrogen derivatives that stimulate breast tumors.  Other cruciferous veggies include cabbage, cauliflower, kale, radishes and watercress.

RED WINE

Youth Benefit:  Heart health

Research shows moderate imbibers of any type of alcohol (one or two units a day) tend to live longer than both abstainers and heavy drinkers.  Alcohol can also increase the ration of ‘good’ (HDL) to ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol in blood vessel walls.  Stick to no more than 150ml/5fl oz of wine per day.  Other foods that provide these flavonoid benefits without the alcohol are 70% cocoa chocolate, red grapes and red apples.

Other foods for staying young include OILY FISH such as mackerel, salmon and sardines which contain the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids for healthy joints, STRAWBERRIES for healthy arteries and CARROTS for a strong immune system.

So avoid junk food, eat healthy and stay young!

  Terri  

Pork and Pepper Stew ~ South Beach Diet

Happy Friday Eve!

As most of you know, I’m back on the wagon again with trying to eat properly and follow SBD.  I have a couple of the books including the original from when the diet first came out, along with a copy of the ‘Supercharged’ and the SBD Cookbook (orange cover).

I decided to get another of the cookbooks as I wanted to get some new recipes, so a couple of weeks ago, I ordered the SBD Super Quick Cookbook (gold cover).  I love it!  It’s got so many great recipes in it.  I’ve only had the book a little over a week and I’ve made eight recipes from it already!

On Tuesday, I made this Pork and Pepper Stew.  I prepped all the meat and veg early in the day to make my life easier when it came time to cook.  I used my heavy cast iron pot with a lid and it filled it about 3/4 full.  I also did a couple of substitutions because I either didn’t have an ingredient or chose to use the variation given in the recipe.  I also added mushrooms to bulk it up a bit more.  I also used Knorr pork cubes instead of chicken broth which gave it a bit of smokiness.  This had a delicious flavor and made the kitchen smell yummy!

I’ve noted my changes in the ingredient list.  It looks like a long list of ingredients, but not too bad.

PORK AND PEPPER STEW

4 tsp olive oil

1¼lbs/568g boneless pork loin chops, well trimmed and cut into 1 inch/2.5cm chunks

1 large green bell pepper (I used an orange one for color)

6 scallions/spring onions, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp whole wheat flour (I used gram/chick pea flour)

3 C/710ml chicken broth (I used pork flavored stock cubes)

1/2 C/8 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro/coriander (I used fresh chives)

1 small pickled jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (I happened to have a jar of these!)

½ tsp ground coriander

½ tsp salt

10oz/283g frozen green peas, thawed (I used black eyed peas/beans and nearly double the amount)

3-4 mushrooms, sliced (my addition so this is an optional ingredient)

1 Tbsp lime juice

4 Tbsp shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese (I just sprinkled on some Parmesan ~ don’t know if Monterey Jack is available here, but you could use reduced-fat cheddar)

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In a nonstick Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the pork in batches and saute just to color it, about 2 minutes total.  Transfer to a bowl.  Don’t put all the meat in at once or you’ll end up steaming the meat instead of browning it.

Add the bell pepper, scallions and garlic to the pan.  Stir until the pepper begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes.

Sprinkle the veggies evenly with the flour and stir to combine.  Gradually stir in the broth.

(recipe instructions) Add the cilantro, jalapeño, coriander and salt.  Return the pork to the pan.  Bring to a low boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat and simmer until the pork is cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Stir the peas and lime juice into the stew.  Divide the stew among 4 bowls and sprinkle each serving with 1 Tbsp of cheese.

(my instructions) Add the cilantro, jalapeño, coriander, salt, beans and mushrooms.  Return the pork to the pan.  Bring to a low boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat, cover and simmer about 60-90 minutes.  Stir in the lime juice.  Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

I prefer to cook a stew for a while to allow the flavors to meld together, but the choice is yours.

Pork & Pepper Stew

This is a Phase 2 recipe, but the variant reads that it can be changed into a Phase 1 recipe by substituting beans for the peas and leaving out the flour.

Hope you enjoy!

♥  Terri  ♥

What to do with…Eggplant/Aubergines

eggplant cartoonEggplant or Aubergine, whichever you call it, have a beautiful shiny, dark purple skin and a taste characteristic of Mediterranean cuisine.

Where did the name come from?

Some 18th-century European cultivars were yellow or white and resembled goose or hen’s eggs, hence the name “eggplant.”

In the western Mediterranean, the Catalan word was albergínia which was borrowed by French as aubergine, which was then borrowed into English.

 

To salt or not

The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. Many recipes advise salting, rinsing and draining of the sliced fruit, to soften it and to reduce the amount of fat absorbed during cooking, but mainly to remove the bitterness.

Some modern varieties do not need this treatment. The fruit is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, making for very rich dishes, but salting reduces the amount of oil absorbed.   The eggplant can be peeled or not prior to cooking.

Buying and Cooking

EggplantWhen buying an eggplant, be sure to choose one that’s firm and heavy for its size.  The skin should be smooth and free of bruises or discoloration.  It’s best to store eggplants in the refrigerator until ready to use.

It can be stewed, deep fried, batter-dipped before deep frying.  It can be roasted in its skin until soft and the pulp scooped out and mixed with other ingredients.  It can also be hollowed out and stuffed with meat, rice or other fillings and baked.

Nicotine

The nicotine content in eggplant is higher than any other edible plant.  The amount of nicotine consumed by eating eggplant is nothing compared to being in the presence of a smoker.  On average, you would need to consume 9kg/20lbs of eggplant to ingest the same nicotine amount as found in a cigarette.

Ideas

So what do you do with eggplant now that you know stuff about it?

Slice into rounds, saute in olive oil, serve hot, warm or cold with yogurt, garlic & dill sauce.

Cut thin slices and make little rolls with a slice of fresh mozzarella, a sun-dried tomato, and a piece of roasted red pepper. Put rolls in a serving dish. Cover with a creamy cheese sauce or tomato sauce and bake at 350°f/180°c for about 30-45 minutes until bubbly.

You can also try out my recipe for Eggplant Lasagna if you want something hardy!

Cubed eggplant can also be added to stews and soups and is quite popular in Indian cooking.

So go get yourself some eggplant and whip up something different for dinner tonight!

♥  Terri  ♥

 

 

 

 

Friday Foodie Word ~ HAGGIS

Ode to the Haggis:

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o’ the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak yer place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o’ a grace
As lang’s my airm.

As it’s Burn’s Night, I thought it be fitting to pay tribute to the guest of honor and have today’s foodie be…..

HAGGIS

haggis1

Scotland ~ A sausage made from the minced heart, liver and lungs of a sheep mixed with oatmeal, suet, minced onion, spices, herbs and seasoning, all encased in a sheep’s stomach and boiled prior to being served hot.

Nowadays more commonly stuffed in a plastic casing.  Traditionally served at Burns’ night suppers with tatties (potatoes) and neeps (turnips)*see bottom and washed down with an excess of whiskey, while Burns’ Ode to the Haggis is recited with due ceremony.

I did a post on Burn’s Night last year and you can read more about it here .

Unfortunately, authentic Scottish haggis has been banned in the United States since 1971, when the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) first took a dim view of one of its key ingredients – sheep’s lung.

While millions of people around the world will enjoy a Burns Night helping tonight, those in the US who want to celebrate Scotland’s national bard in the traditional manner are compelled to improvise.

Some choose to stage offal-free Burns suppers, and for most people not raised in Scotland, the absence of the dish might be no great hardship.  But for many expat Scots and Scots-Americans, the notion of Burns Supper without haggis is as unthinkable as Thanksgiving without turkey.

Meanwhile, butchers in the US have tried, and failed, to make their own versions of the pudding without using the vital ingredient: sheep. “It was a silly ban which meant a lot of people have never tasted the real thing,” said Margaret Frost, of the Scottish American Society in Ohio. “We have had to put up with the US version, which is made from beef and is bloody awful.”

So even if you’re not able to tuck into haggis tonight, enjoy your dinner and evening.  After all, you can still enjoy a wee nip of whiskey!

*Chef P just got home and told me he read my blog today…and also corrected me.  Neeps are turnips, not parsnips!  I seem to have a brain fart when it comes to that!

♥  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  ♥