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Be Happy : Friday’s Health & Fitness Fact

7 Jun

Walk yourself fit!

Not a fan of running?

Walking at a brisk pace – 15 minutes per mile – burns almost as many calories as jogging for the same distance.

Not only this, but it reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.

So get those walking shoes on this weekend, leave the car at home, and walk to the shops!

 

But dont forget …

Jogging takes less time to cover the same distance and is good for your bones.

Weight-bearing exercises like running reduce your risk of osteoporosis, as it helps maintain bone mineral density.

 

Did you know?

There are many misconceptions around running and it’s effect on the body.

Many believe that running is bad for bones and joints, however recent research from the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2008) found no evidence of accelerated rates of osteoarthritis among long-distance runners when compared with healthy non-runners.

It is in fact suggested that running could delay the onset of arthritis by more than 12 years – with those that run between 6 and 20 miles a week seeing the most benefit.

Professor Jim Fries, an expert in healthy ageing, emeritus professor of medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine, California, and senior author of the study found the following from his research:

‘Running or jogging does not increase the risk of osteoarthritis, even though traditionally we thought it was a disease of wear and tear.

‘It’s the wearing that’s OK and not the tearing, because it’s important to avoid injury. 

We know now that painless running or other activities which are aerobic and make you fit help you remain vigorous for longer. 

You are four times better off in avoiding disability, and that’s what we all worry about. 

But we can’t say the same for the type of exercise that involves tears around the joint, primarily through twisting and turning. This accelerates development of osteoarthritis, particularly of the knee. Internationally, the most frequent cause is football. 

Even ballet dancers are at increased risk for osteoarthritis – at the base of the big toes.’

 

So don’t let the many misconceptions of others hold you back!

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Be Happy : Friday’s Health & Fitness Fact

31 May

Sports Drinks are no more hydrating than water!

We see adverts all around us for the latest sports drinks, that promise to ‘revitalise us’, keep us ‘going longer’, and ‘improve performance’ – however do they actually work?

Oxford University Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine conducted various tests to research into claims made by manufacturers of sports drinks and protein shakes, and concluded that the quality of the evidence from the manufacturers was poor, and that the effect of the products was miniscule.

Sugar

In fact many sports drink are so high in sugar that the average fitness-freak doesn’t burn enough calories in a session at the gym to warrant drinking them!

A bottle of Lucozade Energy contains 266 calories – more than a Mars bar – only 260 calories!

Whilst a bottle of Powerade contains as much as seven teaspoons of sugar – similar to that of a can of coke – and you would need to walk for 30 minutes, or run for 15 to 20 minutes to burn it off!

Make your own sports drinks, and say goodbye to unnecessary sugar!

Water is better at hydration than any other liquid, both before and during exercise, however sports drinks may be seen to be more hydrating as you are more likely to drink larger volumes, therefore leading to better hydration!

You should drink 120-170ml of water for every 15-20 minutes of exercise – so an hour’s worth of exercise would require between 480 and 680ml – an average-sized sports drink bottle … But instead of drinking the sweet sugary option, keep that empty bottle before buying another, and make your own – not only a healthier option, but much cheaper too!

 

Isotonic Sports Drink :

  • 100ml fruit squash
  • 400ml water
  • a very small pinch of salt

Mix it all together and chill in the fridge.

An isotonic sports drink is best for :

  • A boost of carbohydrates
  • Long distance/long duration sports and activities
  • Replacing fluids lost through sweat

 

Hypertonic Sports Drink :

  • 200ml fruit squash
  • 500ml water
  • a very small pinch of salt

Mix it all together and chill in the fridge.

A hypertonic sports drink is best for :

  • A boost of carbohydrates – higher level than isotonic and hypotonic drinks
  • After exercise, to help top up muscle glycogen stores
  • For long distance events like marathons
  • Can also be taken during strenuous exercise.

 

Hypotonic Sports Drink :

  • 50ml fruit squash
  • 500ml water
  • a very small pinch of salt

Mix it all together and chill in the fridge.

A hypotonic sports drink is best for :

  • Quickly replacing fluids without adding carbohydrates
  • Drinking straight after a workout, as they directly target the main cause of fatigue – dehydration – by replacing lost water fast.

Eat Well : Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies (& Cherry Chocolate Chip!)

17 May

I had a craving, and only ever having tried baking cakes before, I wanted to give gluten-free cookies a go, and so put the recipe to the test last night!

insta_2013_05_17a

Ingredients:

  • 75g butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 150g gluten-free flour
  • 150g chocolate, either chips or bar broken into chunks

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla essence and baking power.
  4. Stir the flour into the mixture.
  5. Add the chocolate chips/chunks to the batter and stir until evenly distributed.
  6. Spoon the mixture into small balls and place on a baking tray – allowing space for the cookies to spread a little – and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden.

Nutrition per Cookie (makes 10-12):

  • kCalories : 217
  • Sugar : 15.7g
  • Fat : 10.7g
  • Saturated Fat : 6.7g
  • Salt : 92.0mg

And for a variation on the recipe …

I tested out a fruity version of the recipe, by simply adding chopped cherries to the mix.

I took a handful of frozen cherries, chopped them all in half and stirred these into the batter, and was nicely surprised to find that the cookies stayed together and didn’t crumble too much.

By adding cherries to the mix, it makes them a little more chewy, and dark cherries work really well with the chocolate.

A yummy treat with the afternoon cup of tea – naughty, but nice, and gluten-free!

Be Happy : Friday’s Health & Fitness Fact

10 May

Treat yourself to that Friday night takeaway!

But stick to the tomato-based dishes …

Miracle foods do NOT exist, however some foods can help to increase your metabolism, and get your body burning more calories, even while you’re resting.

Spices such as cinnamon, mustard, ginger and cayenne have thermogenic properties, helping elevate your metabolism by 20% for two hours after eating.

A mere half-teaspoon, or a dash of Tabasco sauce added to your meal is enough to give you the full thermogenic effect!

And for a further calorie-burning boost …

Wash the spicy serving down with an ice-cold glass of water, and you’ll burn even more calories, as your body uses energy to warm the water up!

Eat Well : Gluten-Free Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes

8 May

I decided it was about time to treat you to some more gluten-free goodies!

insta_2013_05_08

Ingredients:

  • 170g butter
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 170g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 1-2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy.
  3. Grate the rind of the lemons.
  4. Add the eggs, one-at-a-time to the mixture with a tablespoon of flour, then fold the rest of the flour in.
  5. Add the lemon rind and juice of a lemon to the mix, along with the poppy seeds.
  6. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases, and place in the oven for 10-14 minutes, until golden.
  7. Remove from the oven to cool, before pouring the remaining lemon juice over the tops of the cupcakes.

Nutrition per Cupcake (makes 8-10):

  • kCalories : 280
  • Sugar : 20g
  • Fat : 16g
  • Saturated Fat : 9.5g
  • Salt : 0.5g

Eat Well : Gluten-free Banana Pizza …

6 Mar

… recipe to follow shortly!

All part of a little experimentation in the kitchen in a vain attempt to kill this virus, so that I’m fighting fit for our BIG race on Saturday! 🙂

Eat Well : Gluten-Free Fudge Bars

26 Feb

Best eaten straight from the freezer! 🙂

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • 10 medjool dates – pitted and chopped
  • 3/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup orange/apple/coconut water or water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

 

Method:

  1. Using a food processor, blend the pecans until finely ground. Add the cacao powder and mix well.
  2. Add the dates, almond butter, juice, honey and vanilla – pulse again until the mixture becomes dough-like.
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and roll the dough into golf-ball-size balls, placing them on the tray. Put the tray in the fridge and chill.
  4. Store the balls in a plastic container in the freezer.

 

Nutritional Info per Power Ball:

  • kCalories : 180
  • Fat : 13g
  • Carbohydrates : 18g
  • Protein : 3g
  • Fiber : 4g

Handy Hint:
If you can’t get hold of almond butter, hazelnut butter works nicely, and failing that, peanut butter works just fine too 🙂

Eat Well : Gluten-Free American-Style Pancakes

12 Feb

So it’s pancake day!

And given that I’ve just had my first cardio-training session after 4 weeks of rest and recovery, I think these pancakes are well-deserved!

I’m also here to prove that not all gluten-free food has to taste like potatoes!

image

Gluten-Free American-Style Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 200g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 300ml soya/almond milk
  • a knob of butter
  • and a topping of your choice 🙂 – I’m going for Nutella!

Method:

  1. Measure out all ingredients and mix together in one bowl with an electric whisk to make a thick smooth batter.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of oil or butter in a large non-stick frying pan.  Drop a large tablespoon of batter into the pan, and cook for about 3 minutes on a medium heat, or until the pancake moves freely in the pan and bubbles start to appear. Using a fish-slice turn the pancake and cook on the other side for a further 3 minutes.
  3. Now top with your favourite topping 🙂

Nutrition per pancake:

  • 108 kcalories
  • Protein : 4g
  • Carbohydrate : 18g
  • Fat : 3g
  • Saturated Fat : 1g
  • Fibre : 1g
  • Salt : 0.41g

Eat Well : Low-Fat Chocolate Cake

27 Jan

You can have your low-fat cake and eat it!

Ok, so this ones not gluten-free – I’ve been having an off week, but as a treat for my lovely housemate for her birthday, I decided to try out a low-fat recipe for a birthday cake.

Low-Fat Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

  • For the cake:
    • 3 large eggs
    • 85g caster sugar
    • 70g plain flour
    • 1 tbsp cornflour
    • 2 tbsp cocoa
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • For the filling:
    • 25g dark chocolate (don’t use 75% chocolate, as this makes the icing too bitter)
    • 100g light soft cheese – Philadelphia
    • 100g 0% Greek Yoghurt – Fage
    • 2 tbsp icing sugar

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees/160 degrees for a fan oven/gas mark 4. Lightly butter and line 2 x 18cm sandwich tins with baking tins.
  2. Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy – this should be about 5 minutes if using a tabletop mixer, or 10 minutes using an electric hand whisk. The mixture should increase in volume, and be thick enough to leave a trail on the surface when the whisk blades are lifted.
  3. Sift the flour, cornflour, cocoa and baking powder over the eggs and fold in using a large metal spoon. Be careful not to loose the volume of the mixture – keeping the air bubbles in the mixture will keep the cake light and moist.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tins and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the cakes have well risen, and the mixture has begun to shrink away from the edges of the tins, and springs back when pressed. Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a rack.
  5. For the topping/filling, microwave the chocolate until it has melted, then beat in the soft cheese, yoghurt and icing sugar until smooth. Spoon onto the cakes and serve 🙂

Serves 8.

 

Nutrition per serving:

  • 180 kcalories
  • Protein : 5g
  • Carbohydrate : 27g
  • Fat : 7g
  • Saturated Fat : 3g
  • Fibre : 1g
  • Sugar : 18g
  • Salt : 0.33g

Eat Well : Does Protein Help You Get Stronger?

10 Jan

http://www.livestrong.com/article/483002-does-protein-help-you-get-stronger/

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