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Posts tagged “Diet”

Calories – and calorie counting – have been the mainstay of weight loss regimes for many years, regardless of how they’re packaged or marketed. Or which celebrity is endorsing them (!). 
 
The logic is quite simple. We all know it by heart, it goes like this: 
 
Excess calories = weight gain. 
 
Therefore fewer calories = weight loss. 
 
Which naturally leads on to the “more is better” approach. Or, more accurately, “less is better” one (!). 
 
In other words, the more controlled and restricted the diet is, the fewer calories are consumed and the greater – and quicker – the weight loss. Well, in theory (!). Which means we can then go back to eating the foods we really want to. 
Go into any shop selling food – or, more often, food like products rather than real food (!) – and you’re virtually guaranteed to go past a shelf of energy drinks on your way to the till. Or, all too often, conveniently placed within easy reach along with other sugary snacks as you wait for your turn to pay. 
 
Marketed as a quick and easy way to boost energy levels, sales have rocketed in the last few years, with no end in sight. Along with a take away coffee and sugary snack, they’re used by many people to kick start their day instead of breakfast. Or, in the evening, with alcohol to keep going late into the night. And, while we’ve all seen the short term effects of both approaches – although, hopefully, not directly from personal experience (!) – very little thought seems to be given to the long term consequences… 
A couple of weeks ago we waxed lyrical about the joys – and simplicity – of eating with the seasons. Even better, how easy it is to grow things at home, to enjoy straight from your garden or kitchen windowsill. Yes really! If you missed it, click here
 
While people tend to think about all things salad, particularly at this time of year, herbs are just as easy to grow. Even better, you’ll often find pots of them at your local supermarket, if you don’t want to wait (!) or grow your own from seed. Not only do they taste great – and are nothing like their dried counterparts – but have a host of health benefits too. 
 
So, this week, we’re going to take a quick look at three herbs which are used in most kitchens – at some time at least – and are easy to grow. Parsley. Mint. Basil. 
With the recent bout of warm weather, we were very tempted to write about one of our pet subjects this week. And there are no prizes for guessing what it is. Water and the importance of keeping properly hydrated all year round (!). Not just when the weather is hot, although it’s much easier to take the hint at this time of year… 
 
To us it’s very obvious but, from the calls we get from Clients, it seems the message still isn’t getting through. If you need a quick reminder about the importance of water, as well as the signs you may be dehydrated, click here
 
Following on from this is a very common sign of dehydration which also features regularly in calls from Clients at this time of year. Cramp, particularly those excruciating leg cramps which always seem to come on in the middle of the night. Again, if you need a quick reminder, click here
 
Which neatly brings us on to what we’d like to talk about today. True, it’s another of our pet subjects but, as always, there is method in our madness. Yes, really! 
We all do it at times and, before you ask, that includes us too (!).  
 
Find ourselves reaching for our favourite little treat or comfort food, before we’ve realised what we’re doing. 
 
Often, it’s something sweet or chocolate related – or both (!) – although it doesn’t have to be. Something savoury, crisps or a sneaky sausage roll, seem to be just as popular. 
 
Whatever it is, we easily convince ourselves that it’s what we need RIGHT NOW – and it’s all too easy to have just one more or for it to become a regular part of our day… 
 
Now, despite what some people might think (!), we’re not complete killjoys and saying you can’t have a treat from time to time. But BEFORE your hand reaches the packet (!) just pause for a moment. Notice how you’re really feeling RIGHT NOW. Why you feel you need a treat RIGHT NOW. 
Food diets and crazes may come and go but some mantras seem to stand the test of time. Having your five a day is a great example – although this is only a starting point and not nearly enough (!) – which leads us neatly on to what we’d like to talk about today. Fibre, also known as “roughage”. 
 
It may not be the most exciting of subjects, but fibre is universally seen as a “good thing”. An important part of a healthy diet. Interestingly, we tend to focus on its ability to fill us up – so stopping us reaching for sugary snacks between meals – as well as slowing down the rate that food is broken down and absorbed. In other words, it helps stop the “sugar high” following sugar laden meals or snacks. At the same time, it’s important for – as it’s rather euphemistically called – “regular movements” and we’ll leave the rest to your imagination… 
 
However, there’s another aspect to fibre we’d like to talk about today, which tends to get overlooked. In fact, we can almost guarantee you won’t have thought of it in these terms before (!). 
We have a standing joke in our family that everything is multi functional. And if you know anyone who uses a walking stick, you’ll know exactly what we mean! Not only is the stick used for its intended purpose, but many others too, with an incredible amount of ingenuity thrown in for good measure… 
 
However, this adage applies equally to all those “treasures” found at the back of our kitchen cupboards and it’s one of these we’d like to talk about today. We can virtually guarantee it’s in most homes, even if it hasn’t seen the light of day for a while… 
 
What are we talking about?  
 
Bicarb of Soda or, if you’d prefer its full name, Sodium Bicarbonate. You may also know it as Baking Soda or Baking Powder. Although we should say that, strictly, these are a little different to Bicarb of Soda, with additional substances being added to them to make them more stable; so giving more consistent results as well as a longer shelf life. 
We often talk about the joys of seasonal eating. Enjoying whatever foods are in season right now, however short their season may be. Not only does it mean we’re eating foods when they’re at their natural best – both in terms of flavour and nutrients – but it’s an easy way to eat local, avoiding the dreaded food miles. 
 
We’ve all learnt about this the hard way. Succumbing to those perfect looking out of season fruit and vegetables found in the supermarkets during the Winter, flown in from the other side of the world for our delectation. And then bitterly disappointed to find they’re nothing like those grown locally and enjoyed at their natural time of year… Strawberries are a prime example of this which, sadly, most of us have fallen for at some time or other… 
Over the years we’ve noticed that this time of year sees a resurgence in the making – and breaking (!) – of many health related resolutions. True, it’s not as popular a time as at New Year, but the changing of the clocks to British Summertime always seems to give people a push in that direction. Perhaps it’s the prospect of warmer weather and lighter nights, waking people up from their winter hibernation. Or, maybe, the peeling off of some of the layers of winter clothing that have been hiding a multitude of sins for the last few months. And we’ll leave the rest to your imagination… 
 
Whatever the reason, this time of year always marks an upsurge in the number of people deciding to kick start their health programmes for the warmer months ahead. And an easy way to get things moving – literally (!) is the traditional spring clean. Or detox, if you prefer. 
And, yes, it is one of those slightly trick questions designed to get you thinking! So, if you’re ready, here we go. 
 
Allowing for a little natural reticence (!), we all know exactly how old we are. Well, more accurately, we know how many years – and in some cases days, weeks and months (!) – since the day we were born. Despite our bodies having changed in many ways since that time – not least in “growing up” and then later in “ageing” – we see them as solid and permanent. 
 
However – and this is what we were hinting at with the title of this week’s blog post – is this really the case? That our bodies are as constant as we like to think they are. The simple answer is no. 
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