Can we eat better for less? 

As I get older (rapidly approaching my 40th, only a few more years ūüė≤ūüė¨), I am starting to find satisfaction in the strangest of places. 

A few months ago, my partner and I moved from a small (very small) house with no garden, to a lovely cottage with a modest garden, which is completely decked… yay low maintenance! 

As I am something of a sun-worshipper, sitting in my new garden was proving to make me very happy, and within a few weeks I noticed that both of my olive trees were starting to thrive in their new home. Even though neither have produced any fruit yet, they are still young, it is looking likely that they may soon. 

It got me thinking… what could I grow in pots in my garden? 

I’ve already got mint growing like it’s out of fashion, so I thought Basil would be a great start… (plus basil reminds me of Greece and as I love Greek food it’s a winner). The basil has took off and grown like crazy, stinking out the garden with a beautiful scent … and cooking with home grown herbs, well you can’t get fresher. 

Then my father in law visited and gave me two tomato plants, both of which have flourished, and are looking likely to harvest some lovely juicy toms for my salads later in the summer!! ūü§§ I love tomatoes!!! 

But I started to think more about this, and whether or not you could eat better for less by simply growing a few of your own herbs, fruits & veggies? 

I’m not naturally green fingered, I have to “google” everything, so as you can imagine, my search history looks pretty random at the moment, but I have some really fun experiments going on at the moment, even my partner has got in on the action. 

During a recent trip to Greece, my partner put some olive and orange pips in his pocket… not to keep but there was no where to leave them & we didn’t want to infest our room with ants, but anyway, in the midst of packing to come home, he forgot they were there (ūüė¨ūüė≤) and I found them as I was sorting through the washing. 

So…. I planted them ūü§ěūüŹĽ and hoped that something might happen. Yesterday whilst tidying the garden, I had a quick look and noticed two minuscule shoots coming up from both the olive pips…. have I just created life??? ūüė≤

Now it doesn’t stop there… because I currently have a handful of date pits to pot & a few acorns that have mysteriously appeared from someone, oh and not to forget three of the citrus family… lemon, lime & orange ūüėĀ 

So, although I am totally aware that this is a long term game, and fruits will not start to grow for a while, it’s kinda exciting… who knew I would get so much pleasure from growing my own fruits??? 

In the garden at the moment I have: 

  • Chillies
  • Olives
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries

Ready to pot & grow I have:

  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Dates
  • Acorns 

So, for those of you interested in growing your own, I am going to share the progress of this little life giving adventures via my blog, and hopefully, just maybe, these plants will give us fruits and we will be able to eat better for less! For now, that question remains unanswered in my life but I’d love to hear how you’re doing?

Do you grow your own in the garden? How have you got on and what have you grown? 

Let me know in the comments ūüėĀ 
Don’t forget to like & follow for updates on my green fingered antics ūüėĀ

10 Eating Habits that are making you Look Older!

NUTRITION logo copyWe would all love to hear news that eating more of a certain type of food would result in the years just dropping away over night, but sadly this just isn’t the case… and even if it was, do you really think that the multi-billion pound cosmetics industry would allow this information to leak out?

I don’t think so!!!

BUT, there are foods that will make us age, so if we cut some of them down or out completely… we could improve our complexion and possibly wrinkle count over time (whilst improving out health I hasten to add!).

To cut a long story, short: The cleanser the foods that you eat, the younger you will look. It’s a but like fuelling your car, the high quality fuel & oil is going to keep your car running smoothly for longer….

Clean foods are easy to pick out in the supermarket, an easy way to establish if its clean is to ask yourself has it walked, swam, flown or grown? If the answer if yes, it is probably clean.

Then ask, is it packaged in a box or packaging? If the answer is yes…. say for example, like sandwich ham… the answer is probably “It has been processed!

So pick up things like lean protein, healthy fats, fruits, veggies and complex carbs.

The long & short…. eating foods that are not packed full of refined sugar, additives and chemicals… will keep you looking younger!

Alongside your clean and healthy eating, you need to be taking part in some regular form of activity. Whether this¬†is brisk power walking, swimming, aerobics classes or going to the gym, exercise can help to keep you looking youthful! (Whats one of the things you notice about the Before & after pictures of people who have lost weight other than the obvious change in shape & size…. they always look YOUNGER in the after picture!)

If you are concerned about wrinkles, smile lines, crows feet and so on, then wear a good sun screen with UVA & UVB protection, as this will also help to keep your skin looking younger!

SO, there is some tips on what you should do, but what can you avoid to help the cause?

Here is ten products that many people regularly consume that may be making you age faster than necessary!

1. Excessive Dairy Products

Your usual dairy products such as yoghurt, cheese and milk are all fine when they are consumed in moderation. But a lot of people consume simply too much of the creamy stuff!¬†Dairy products have changed a lot over the years and many now contain additives and hormones which have been linked to disease and ageing ūüė¶. If you want to keep the dairy in your diet, then you need to be opting for an organic or sustainable product that has received minimal man-manipulation to get from animal to table!

2. Artificial Sweeteners

Everyone has heard about or is talking about artificial sweeteners. “Yeah, I drink coffee, but I have sweeteners in it, not sugar!”

That’s great, but what are these artificial sweeteners doing to you?

Aspartame, saccharin, sucralose are all unnatural chemicals that really should be avoided.¬†You will find these artificial sweeteners in many diet sodas,¬†sugar-free gums, sweets, yogurts and thousands¬†of other products, so be vigilant about what you‚Äôre putting in your body. There has¬†been a number of¬†studies that¬†suggest aspartame¬†decreases the lifespan of cells, in short it¬†makes you age faster! ūüėę

3. Charred Meat

We all love a good Barbecue in the summer months, so there wont be much of this going on at the moment, which may be a good thing. Because, although¬†charred¬†meat may¬†taste the bomb, it is¬†best enjoyed in moderation. Recent studies have revealed¬†that¬†black char¬†may contain hydrocarbons that cause inflammation, which erodes collagen in your skin. ūü§Ē

Collagen is what basically makes your skin look elastic and youthful, so maybe say no to the flame charred & slightly burnt stuff and opt for some lightly grilled, baked or pan-fried meats.

4. Too Much Sugar

I whittle on about sugar all of the time, and only recently have the media actually caught up and started singing from the same hymn sheet in this one. Most people really have NO IDEA how much sugar they are actually consuming on a daily basis, and when I have actually delved into a food diary of a client, and worked this out, it is normally a lot more than it should be!

Let’s be frank here, if your overwhelming desire for a slimmer waistline can’t curb your sweet tooth, then maybe a youthful appearance will???!!! ūüôŹūüŹĽ

From Dr Brandts book 10 minutes/10 years,¬†‚ÄúIn a nutshell, sugar hastens the¬†degradation of elastin and collagen, both key¬†skin proteins. In other words, it actively¬†ages you‚ÄĚ

If you need some inspiration for recipe ideas, then why not check out my brand new Kitchen Club. Fresh, healthy and weight loss supporting recipes direct to your inbox EVERY month! Check it out here: The Kitchen Club

5. Excessive Salt

Salt has been on the health radar for a LONG time, and I often find myself having conversations with people about how they have gained weight after eating something high in salt….. In short, if you consume too much sodium it will lead to water retention, which WILL lead to, and show signs of puffiness, bags under the eyes and many other ageing problems. Kick down your salt intake and watch the years drop off!

6. Processed Meats

Processed meats are the bane of my life, they cause me so many problems, and this is because they are pumped full of additives, chemicals and preservatives to give them a longer shelf life.

Many of these unnatural ingredients used in meat products cause inflammation throughout the body, and inflammation can make you look older and heavier! Opt for sustainable meat and fish products and go fresh wherever you can!

7. Trans Fats

This is another “thing” that I always find myself jabbering on about. The toxicity of Trans-Fats and how we need to avoid them for health reasons. But here they are again, cropping up in yet another blog about something totally different!

Trans fats are a MAN-MADE additive! Used in products like Margerine, snack foods and processed, pre-packaged foods. The idea and actual product of Trans-Fat was cenieved back in the 1950’s and has reared its ugly toxic head in everything from bread to sandwich spread and peanut butter since. BUT, Trans-Fat has now been linked to coronary Heart disease (which alone should make you think twice). But also, CHD is the leading cause of ageing and….erm (no nice way to say this) death!

Before you kick the bucket though, a diet high in Trans-Fats has also been linked to memory loss and dementia….. So not only will you look old & tired,¬†but you will likely¬†not remember the hell who you are… or your family…. thats a pretty crappy way to end it!!!

8. Is it Boxed? 

Ok, so the easy way to pick out a “processed” food type is how it is packaged. and usually if it is in a box it is pretty bad! ¬†Packed full of additives, preservatives and sodium… all of which will speed up your ageing process. Think of caffeine, its preservatives have a diuretic effect (which I have talked about before), but when you have this kind of product it will leech you of fluids, leaving you dried out and tired looking. If you want to stay younger (and healthier) for longer, stick to whole foods.

That said, not everything in a box if bad, so you have to become quite adept at reading those food labels to really understand what is going on in there!

9. Too Much Caffeine

It pains me to write this, as I sit here sipping on my morning coffee but, too much caffeine can have a negative effect on your appearance. As I mentioned above, caffeine acts as a mild diuretic, which will dehydrate you and can leave your skin, hair and nails lacking essential moisture.

10. Alcohol

Sorry everyone….. But like caffeine, alcohol is a diuretic, dehydrating your skin and making you appear puffy, tired and old. In addition, it is packed¬†with empty calories. Excessive¬†alcohol consumption has been associated¬†to both premature and exaggerated ageing. Maybe consider cutting back on your boozey adventures and maybe consider having only 1 glass with dinner rather than the whole bottle!

 

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Why You Should be eating more Blueberries!

NUTRITION logo copyThere are many foods out there at the moment being labelled as so-called “Super-Foods”, but I am not entirely convinced that any of them would stand up against the humble, and some what innocent looking Blueberry in a competition.

So, what is so great about this tiny, but very mighty little berry that packs a killer punch of antioxidants?

Well, let me tell you, there is much more to this little guy than a sweet taste that goes well in a smoothie or with your morning porridge. Here are just some of its health boosting benefits.

  • They make you Smarter!¬†

Yep, really! A study was¬†conducted by the North Carolina State Plants¬†for Human Health Institute, and they say¬†that it is the Phytochemicals that protect the brain cell turnover. This can also potentially help protect against Parkinson’s Disease. The humble Blueberry is better than other fruits for brain health, due to the high concentration and combination of these types of anti-oxidants.

  • They can help us Fight the Stomach Flab!

According to research at Tufts University, regular ingestion of catechins increases abdominal fat loss by up to 77%. The catechins found in the Blueberry, activate fat burning genes in the abdominal fat cells and assist with fat loss, especially around the stomach! QUICK…. Pass me a punnet!!!!

 

  • They can keep us Looking Young!

Move over Olay & Nivea, I have a new anti-ageing product! Now I am not suggesting that you smear Blueberries over your face, however, Blueberries are one of the richest sources of something called proanthocyatnidins (no, not cyanide!). The phytonutrients decrease the levels of free radicals that are linked to wrinkling (yep, I mean ageing), and disease!

  • They Help to Fight Cancer!¬†

I keep saying Phytonutrients, but there is one particular, ellagic acid, that has been proven to have anti-cancer and genetic material protection capabilities. It also helps to encourage the body to seek out and destroy harmful or damaged cells, like cancer cells. This is called Apoptosis. Im not kidding, its like having a little miniature Army in your body killing off all the bad guys!

  • They are mini Painkillers!

Blueberries contain something called Salicylic Acid, which is like a natural Aspirin. Salicylic Acid is also know to thin the blood, a bit like Aspirin! Got a headache…. Pass me the Blueberries please!

  • They Make us Feel¬†GOOD!

Blueberries are known to increase the production of Dopamine. Dopamine is a brain messenger, and can be quite low in Parkinsons Sufferers. They can also have a good effect on lowering stress.

  • Improved Memory & Motor¬†Skills

Researchers have concluded from studies, that the compounds found in blueberries may reverse some age-related memory loss and decline in motor skill.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I am off to the Supermarket to stock up on Blueberries. But before I do run off (and seriously, my keys are in my hand ready to go NOW!), here is a great recipe for a breakfast smoothie that you can use.

Recipe:

  • 1 Whole Banana
  • 1 cup of fresh or frozen Blueberries
  • 1 cup of Greek Style full fat Yoghurt

Combine all ingredients together in a blender or smoothie maker, and blend for a few minutes until smooth and lump free. Serve into a glass and enjoy!

 

If you have enjoyed this blog, or found it¬†interesting, please show us by liking and sharing it. You can also follow us to see more blogs as and when they are published, or follow us on Social¬†media, using the links to the right. If you have a favourite Blueberry recipe that you love to use, then please share it with us. And please feel free¬†to comment below. Happy Blogging ūüôā¬†