thai fish cakes

Thai Sweet Potato Fish Cakes

These simple Thai Sweet Potato Fish Cakes are super healthy with no butter or cream.  Low  fat, high protein and utterly yummy . Plus I made by mistake in 35 minutes after a quick rummage around in the kitchen.

Food is one of our greatest pleasures and our body is our greatest ally.  Nourish & hydrate your body well and it will protect and defend you both in times of stress as well as joy.

Sadly, too many of us are conditioned to think we are time poor when it comes to preparing healthy, tasty meals, but honestly, with a little forward planning and prepping, eating well is easy.

Keep your store cupboard ‘hunger proofed’ with simple basics, like the ones used here and be imaginative. It really is easy to produce great, inexpensive meals from store cupboard staples and it is very, very hard to go wrong with whole foods.

Ingredients

  • 600g sweet potato
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp Thai spice mix (I use Barts)
  • 80g breadcrumbs
  • 2 cans of tuna
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • Salt & pepper to season

Method

  1. Peel, chop and boil sweet potatoes and boil until cooked, approx 15- 20 minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl; combine the rest of ingredients, except coconut oil.
  3. Drain and mash sweet potato and spread out on plate to cool (so much quicker than leaving in the pan).
  4. Once cooled, add it to the bowl with your tuna and spices, mix thoroughly by hand and form into 6 fish cakes. Put on plate.  These need to be handled very carefully or they may fall apart.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on a low heat and very gently fry the fish cakes for around 4-5 minutes per side. Again, taking care when turning.

Serve with a dipping sauce (go low sugar) and salad. x

Why not sign up for my 5 Top Tips To Change Your Eating handout.

TIP.  Buy a new spice every week.  They last ages and can quickly change a simple meal into something special.  Be bold and just go for it!

 

New Year, New You – How’s that going?

New Year, New You – so, it’s the first week of 2018 and I suspect most of us are bursting with new resolutions, hopes, dreams, determination for a NEW US, as well as holiday food and booze.

The fact that we have mostly stopped quaffing and scoffing the ‘finer’ things in life, sadly does not mean we are not still wearing them snugly around our waists/hips/busts – sod it, everywhere we can conceivably carry on our persons this excess of ‘fineness’.

Fear not though, we know the problem and we know the solution! We are determined on regular visits to the gym (full of machines we have no idea how to use). We have committed to a brisk daily walk.  A thrice weekly swim.  A dance class, maybe boxing.  Whatever, we have a plan and we are going to stick with it, aren’t we?  Just like last year, so um, maybe not.

Most of our wonderfully planned New Year, New Us, resolutions are over by 3rd January.  Mine, to stop eating mince pies, was over on the 2nd when I found all my favourite brand pies reduced to 10p in Sainsbury’s, yes, just 10p from £2.50 – heaven came knocking on my door again.

I bought 12 (as you do) for the freezer to enjoy every now and then throughout the year with a coffee in front of the TV.  Except that I had eaten them all 2 days later!  Of course I had.  Thank goodness the shop has now sold out otherwise I would eating out of date mince pies until, well, the store ran dry. Oh God!

From the above total failure to stick with my resolution, you might have concluded that I am weeping in a corner, having jumped from the size of a small terraced house to the size of say, Downton Abbey.  I am not.  And, whilst  I have possibly added a small ‘extension’ to my frame, I won’t be imposing rules and limitations on myself (aka, New Year’s Resolutions), to dismantle it.

I know that by making hard, inflexibly strict rules I am setting myself up for failure, for disappointment, for feelings of cravings and deprivation.  I would be preparing myself to be miserable. Heck no!  Instead, I acknowledge my weight gain, go back to my normal eating habits, move a little bit more and give thanks for the wonderfully, happy Christmas and New Year I have been allowed to enjoy with my loved ones.

I will move forward with my health & weight goals by being consistent in my helpful, healthy food and lifestyle choices, and by consigning the unhelpful, unhealthier ones to celebratory occasions such as birthday’s, weddings etc that crop up during the year.

By remaining calm about any weight changes that have occurred over the holidays, and by making good food and movement choices without being frantic and panicky, my weight and health will easily re-balance and I will look and feel exactly how I want to feel without punishing myself physically or emotionally.  I am not useless, or a failure and my world won’t come crashing down because my jeans are a little (actually, quite a lot), tighter for a few weeks.

To give you a boost, here are my top 10 tips to get you back on track. Let’s go smash this New Year thing. Here’s to 2018!! xx

  • Eat breakfast – include a protein to keep you fuller longer, egg/oats/chicken
  • Limit caffeine to 1 – 2 cups a day.  Switch to herbal teas, give your over worked body and brain a rest from stimulants.
  • Drink WATER throughout the day – the first sign of dehydration is hunger. Drink first, wait, then eat only if you are still hungry
  • Keep small snacks with you, palmful of nuts (healthy fats), small banana, apple, oatcakes
  • Eat lunch – make a huge salad filled with a wide variety of colours and textures and portion up each day. Add a tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil and squeeze of lemon.  Or make a big pot of homemade veggie soup to portion out.
  • Whole foods only. Packed with fibre and nutrients these will get you slim and glowing in no time.  If it comes packaged with a list of ingredients, its not a whole food.
  • Dinner – fill your plate with 2/3 with steamed veg, add a protein – baked salmon or chicken in foil is soooo easy.
  • Use smaller plates – invest in some cheap smaller dinner plates and put the bigger ones out of sight. You will not notice the reduction in food that way.
  • Avoid sugary sweets/snacks – these and alcohol are the ultimate diet saboteurs.
  • MOVE – walk a little more every day. Use a phone app and count your steps, aim for a minimum of 10,000.  Buddy up and have a competition to see who can complete the most in a day.  Loser buys the coffee!
  • Think positive. Your weight at any one time is just a snapshot.  It is not your ‘for ever’ weight unless you choose it to be!
Gluten

Going Gluten Free? What else are you cutting out?

Recently I was in LA, in what appeared to be the gluten free capital of the world.  The restaurants there offer a huge selection of innovative healthy meals which were completely delicious to a sometime health freak (who also does like a little something sweet to finish with), and I truly thrived on the foods. I write that because of one of the biggest challenges I face when I travel, which is a lot, is eating out.  I want to maintain the feeling of physical and mental wellbeing I have at home where I am in control of my eating, but obviously it can be more of a minefield when I am away. Whilst I know how to make the best choices, if the restaurant isn’t particularly good, even their best choice can arrive sugar and salt soaked from the definitely not homemade ingredients.  Anyhoo, no point in complaining and spoiling my trips or my companions, I just re-adjust when home.

Back to LA.  I was really struck by the amount of gluten free foods. Almost every meal had a gluten free option.  There must be a Coeliac epidemic in LA, or, if not that, an overwhelming preponderance of gluten sensitivity.  Maybe there is something in the water……….. Strangely, the few I met that I knew well enough to ask without offending, if they had been tested, all said no.

Self-diagnosis can be a tricky experiment and give wildly inaccurate results. It is estimated that only 10% of all those who go gluten free have Coeliacs’s disease.

Coeliac is a hereditary autoimmune disease with potentially serious consequences, such as Type 1 diabetes, MS and some intestinal cancers to name a few, so it is imperative Coeliac ‘s stick to a gluten free diet. Then there is gluten sensitivity, much more common and definitely a real condition where people can experience extremely unpleasant symptoms such as depression, abdominal pain, bloating and diarrhoea if they eat gluten, so they also need to avoid it.

My concern with the gluten free bandwagon is that too many who cut out gluten seem blissfully and dangerously unaware of the necessary vitamins they are depriving their bodies of, and that they may well need to boost with other foods.  So, below are my top vitamin boosting recommendations to living the healthiest life if you are gluten free.

B6 – needed to fight infections, found in chickpeas, tuna, salmon, chicken breast and turkey.

Folate – Another B vitamin, need for cell growth. Think green to boost your folate levels: spinach, asparagus and brussels sprouts all are high in the nutrient, as are green peas and broccoli. If you eat 10 spears of asparagus or two-thirds of a cup of boiled spinach, you’ll be more than halfway to your daily folate goal.

Vitamin D – sunshine vitamin. Studies have shown that people with Coeliac’s or gluten intolernance are often very deficient in this vitamin.  Few foods naturally contain much vitamin D, but there are exceptions including cold water fish like swordfish and sockeye salmon, which contain substantial amounts. An egg yolk contains about 10% of the vitamin D you need each day. If you consume dairy products, you can look for products fortified with vitamin D.

Calcium – Bone strength. Like vitamin D, calcium is found in dairy products, milk, cheese, yogurt etc, be careful though if you are lactose intolerant. If you are, look for tofu or canned fish with bones. Some orange juice brands also contain added calcium (as with vitamin D-fortified products, just make sure to buy only gluten free).

Iron – Oxygen carrier. Anaemia is a common symptom of Coeliac disease, so those who suffer from it need to be more careful than average to get enough iron, either through their diets or through supplements. People who don’t have Coeliac but who are following the gluten-free diet also need to be careful. Iron is easy to get if you eat meat: beef and turkey contain plenty. Oysters also are high in iron, and tuna contains some iron. If you follow a gluten-free vegetarian diet, you can obtain iron from soybeans and legumes.

Vitamin B12 – Fight fatigue. Vitamin B12 helps maintain your nerve and blood cells, and those who are particularly deficient in B12 can find themselves fighting constant fatigue. Meat, fish and dairy products tend to be the best sources of vitamin B12, so vegetarians and vegans often are more deficient. A meal-sized portion (4 oz. or more) of salmon or trout will provide 100% of your recommended daily intake, while 6 oz. of beef will give you half of what you need. A cup of milk or an ounce of hard cheese will provide about 15% of your vitamin B12 requirements.

So, please, before you decide to exclude any food group, do check what else you will be removing from your diet. Make sure that you are not missing out on any other vital vitamins or minerals. If you are, your health will suffer in ways you may not be expecting.

frozen

FROZEN YOGURT – A healthier, Delicious & Versatile Alternative to Ice Cream

Frozen yogurt, along with my banana ice creams have taken the place of my favourite full fat, dairy summer time treats.  Now, I did not see that coming.  From when I was a little girl, I have always loved an ice cream.  I remember with such fondness the ice cream van coming to our street what seemed like every day of the year, but surely can only have been in the summer.  The blare of tinny, jangly music to announce its arrival and its gooey, sweet, synthetic offerings covered in either chocolate, or strawberry sauce, nuts and a flake if I had a few extra pennies.  Ah, delish!  But it was not ice cream and definitely had no real chocolate or strawberries in the sauce.  In fact, because of my knowledge now, I shudder to think what ingredients were in those garishly bright coloured sauces.  Anyway, I digress.

Now at 53, my tastes have evolved.  I do still like my sweet, icy desserts, but now I prefer the fresh taste of the fruit melting on my tongue and the quality of the ice cream sliding down my throat is of paramount enjoyment to me. Sadly though I can no longer scoff an ice cream every day without it hugging my waistline for the rest of the summer.

So, what to do? I am absolutely not prepared to give up frozen treats, so have experimented and the results are fabulous.  Frozen yogurt, like my banana ice creams are so easy to make, only three basic ingredients, delicious and refreshing to eat and so much lower in saturated fat (that’s the one we should be checking out on food labels).

For ice cream to be labelled ice cream, it must contain at least 10 percent milkfat and this is usually met through the addition of cream. Top quality, premium ice creams can contain as much as 16 percent milkfat. Frozen yogurt is not made with cream and does not have a fat requirement.  Without the added cream, frozen yogurt is much lower in fat. In one cup of ice cream the fat content is 15g fat, 9g saturated fat.  Frozen yogurt comes in at, per cup, 6g of fat, 4g of saturated fat.  A huge difference.

However, whilst frozen yogurt is much healthier, you do need to keep an eye on portion sizing, especially if you go for some of the higher fat additions.

So, how to make.  Frozen yogurt is so simple. For a basic, but still delicious one, grab, Greek yogurt (higher in protein), honey, and fruit (packed with fibre and nutrients). That’s it.  Literally, that’s it! You can serve in a bowl, cone or pop a lolly stick in before you freeze and you have gorgeous “ice lollies” for the kids.

  • 1 x cup plain Greek Yogurt.
  •  4 x cups frozen, fresh fruit or drained tinned fruit
  • 2 x 3 tbsp honey.

Blitz until the consistency you like, either creamy for approx. 5 mins, or if with “bits” in for 3 – this is entirely up to your taste.Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours, depending on how much you make.You can add to your frozen yogurt any fruit you like. Below are some other suggestions. Obviously, some are healthier than others, but you know that right!

  • Add cinnamon, allspice, peanut butter or Nutella in to the blitz
  • Caco powder & mint essence
  • Add crushed nuts as a topping
  • Add more fruit as a topping

So, make some today, keep in the fridge and be ready for a sunny afternoons delicious and nutritious treat.

good

Why Does It Feel So Hard To Make Good Food Choices On Bad Days?

 

On a good day when we are feeling confident, happy and in control it is easy to make the best food choices. The ones that will make us feel proud of ourselves, enhance our eyes, skin and hair and give us looser waistbands.

On a good day, it is easy to wander around the shops contented and un-tempted by the high sugar, high salt, frankly high rubbish, quick foods and sweets on offer.  On a good day, we don’t need to raise our hands to form the sign of a cross and hiss, “Temptation get behind me”.  Instead, although we see these “treats” as we pass by, all brightly packaged and maybe even on three for two offers, they don’t call to us. They might gently whisper or nudge at our consciousness, but on the whole, it is fairly easy to give ourselves a mental shake and move on to the real foods, the sweet, juicy fruits, fresh veg and unprocessed meats that we know will, a) make a delicious, nourishing meal in next to no time, b) keep us on our weight and health track, and c) actually enhance all our good feelings, both physically and mentally.  So, on a good day, healthy eating really does seem to be an easy no brainer.

Then comes a bad day.  A bad day can take many forms. Disturbed night’s sleep, stress at work, argument with husband/partner/kids – it is usually men though isn’t it (or maybe that’s just me). The car breaks down, you don’t get the job you went for, maybe the cat becomes worryingly unwell or something truly devastating happens.

What do we do then?  How does this affect our food choices, and more importantly why?

Well, we usually look for comfort and support.  Something to make us feel better, to fill the “hole” the bad day has created within us.  And our go to “hole” filler is usually sugar and fat saturated food products and/or drink, be it an overwhelmingly sweet latte with syrup and sugar or alcohol. Anything in fact that takes our minds off our distress/tiredness whatever is getting us down.  Then as we wander around the shops, feeling upset or low, the very same brightly packaged food products, sweets and so-called treats seem to jump straight into our line of vision and suddenly we crave them.

We want to feel better quickly and we think that these are the perfect quick fix solutions to all our woes. So, we buy the rubbish and eat the rubbish,  usually in a much larger quantity than is our norm, and expect to feel better.  But then how do we feel? In my experience with clients they feel exactly the opposite of what they were longing for.  They feel sick, more upset, depressed, disappointed, completely derailed and hopeless.  Basically, feeling as rubbish as the food products they have eaten.  They never, ever feel better, so mission is definitely NOT accomplished.

This is my absolute area of expertise, and my understanding is unique. As a former alcoholic, I also used to view booze as an answer.  Actually, the answer to everything.  I drank to feel better, happier, more confident, to help me sleep, to get me through the day, the tough times, whatever I didn’t want to deal with.  And I thought, like my clients who feel the same way about their food choices,  that I could never stop.  And then I did.  It took one simple thought shift.  I stopped thinking about what I thought it gave me, and focused on what it took away.  I suddenly knew that what I drank only ever made a situation worse.  No bad day was ever brightened by my drinking, instead it was darkened.

From the moment I understood this, I was able, after 27 years to stop drinking.

I get my clients to view food in the same way.  I ask them, “Did that slab of cake, ice cream, glass of wine, ready meal make you feel better?”. “Did it make your day happier? Did you feel more able to cope? Did it take you back to the contented confident feelings you have on a good day?  Ultimately, did it make your day better or worse?”  Never once has a client said “Yes, it did” to even one of those questions, let alone all of them.

There is no connection between a bad day and making a bad food choice.  None. Nada, Zilch.  We allow ourselves to justify our poor food choices – “I need something nice to eat/drink to cheer me up”, on a bad day, but they are just excuses which harm us.  They are choices that will make you feel worse, which then promotes further poor food choices because we feel discouraged and so give up on ourselves. Conversely, on a good day when you make good food choices, you are spurred on by the way you look and feel to make even better ones.

Once we break the connection between rubbish days and rubbish food, making healthier choices becomes easier, plus those healthier choices can actually make a rubbish day better, even if it’s just that you feel in control of at least one area.  Your food.

Certainly, a good food choice on a bad day will make it easier to cope with a bad day, because you will be giving your greatest support in life, your body, the fuel it needs to fight all your good fights. You just have to stop in the rubbish food aisle and ask yourself, “How will I feel after I have eaten this? Will I feel better 30 minutes after? Will my day seem brighter? Will my problems have gone away or will they feel worse? How will eating this improve any aspect of my day” If you answer any and all of these questions honestly, the answer will be NO!

Don’t let a bad day tip you into food chaos. Once in, it can be hard to get out.  If you do make a poorer choice, look at in as a one off, dust your self down and commit to making better choices for the rest of the day.

Contact me if you would like to chat about your bad day and bad food choices and let’s see how I can do to help you x

 

 

looking

Looking and Feeling Amazing For Summer on YOUtrition’s 6 Week Group Program!

Looking & Feeling  Your Best  for Summer with YOUtrition – I make simple changes that work in your life easy and fun, REALLY!

Testimonials

*I have counted calories for over 16 years and nothing has worked for me before, but you do. Thank you!*

*Sonia, I love you and now I love me. I know I can stick with this, its me!*

With my YOUtrition program,  Looking & Feeling Your Best For Summer, I understand that the great, easy, tasty recipes you will get from me are not enough.   The tips on planning & prepping whilst vital, will get you to where you want to be, but maybe not keep you there.

I address both the “why” of our food choices and eating habits as well as the fabulous food.  My uniqueness lies in my 25 year drug & alcohol addictions.   For so many years I  was beyond desperate to be different and knew what I should be doing but just couldn’t stick with it.  Now at 53 years old, in the menopause (suffering no symptoms because of my way of eating) at 5ft 8, and weighing a steady 9st 7lbs, I do it easily.  This experience and my incredible strategies for long lasting change are what I do differently and what I share with you on my programs.

A one hour group session once a week for 6 weeks.  The group dynamic creates an excellent opportunity to work through what is and isn’t working for you and to find a way around an obstacles – believe me, as a group, we always find a way.

  • Professional, individual, qualified nutrition & weight loss support and information – this is no franchise diet club run by an unqualified rep!
  • A basic food plan – recipes and tips.
  • Every week a new breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe along with snack ideas –  based around the group’s needs, abilities and time constraints.
  • A shopping and meal planner
  • A food diary to keep with you and keep you motivated.
  • Professional exercise advice.
  • Strategies around food and your lifestyle that you build on over the 6 weeks, giving you confidence in yourself and your abilities and literally giving you the tools to set you and your food choices up for life.
  • Access to a private What’s App group message that I write on every day and that you can also contribute to.  This ensures you stay on track long after the program has finished.
  • A one-off  Maintenance session 4 weeks after the Program ends, to see how you are doing and to reinforce the program.

I create a powerful and non-judgmental environment where you are given the recipes, the motivation and the absolute support you need to create new habits.  New habits take six weeks to form, hence the length of my program.  Every week you will sit, in a small group, talking through what worked for you and what didn’t, receive at least one new recipe and in a truly supportive, encouraging space we work to find what’s right for YOU!  Not me, not the person sitting next to you, YOU!  We laugh, occasionally we cry and we clap a LOT.  We don’t just focus on the food we focus on the “why” of the food and find the way forward for you.


I preparing for my Summer programs for the areas local to Beaconsfield, High Wycombe and Slough, so please contact me for more information and to reserve your space!

The cost of the 6 Weeks to Looking Great & Feeling Great is £100.

YOUtrition has been featured in

pesto

Hey Pesto! Quick, easy, delicious & nutritious pesto sauces

I love a pesto sauce, so quick, versatile and tasty and healthy – bit of a winning formula, don’t you think? I am on a sugar free quest right now (it is the subject of my next book), so I am working on as many fabulous sugar free recipes as possible, and pesto sauces are perfect.

Homemade in about 5 minutes, pesto sauces have long been one of my favourite go to solutions for any time when I have unexpected guests or simply run out of my prepped meals (and that does happen even to this self-crowned Queen of Prep). They can be stored easily for up to three days in the fridge and used not just with pasta meals, but on pizzas, in sandwiches, as dips, on chicken or salmon and the list goes on…….. See what I mean by versatile?

With pesto sauces, you don’t even have to rely on fresh leaves/veg, well I don’t, which is perfect if you return home as silly o’clock, as I did last month from LA, with horrible jet lag and absolutely no inclination to go anywhere or see anyone other than my sofa and Netflix.  Whilst I do usually have a store of frozen homemade meals, I always have a store of frozen veg.  Cauliflower, chopped spinach and even herbs.  And at times when the fridge is bare, they really do come in to their own when I need something quick and after a trip away, a hefty dose of nutrients.

I don’t want you to think though that pesto sauces are just about the times when I am tired, they most definitely are not.  I often use them to jazz up dinner parties – many a dull looking meal has been transformed by a gloriously glossy, beautifully jewel coloured, delicious pesto.  And for my 19-year-old son and his friends they are one of their most popular choices when they visit.  A huge bowl of pasta, homemade pesto and pulled chicken or tinned tuna are among their favourite meals, so easy to cook and there is miraculously very little mess.  Hallelujah!

So, my pesto sauces are whizzed in little more than 5 mins, less  time than it takes to cook some wholemeal pasta, courgetti or sweet potato pasta, and I have a fabulous nutritious and delicious meal that I will really enjoy.

I have put together a few of my fav pesto sauce recipes for you to try, but I would also like you to be brave and chuck in some of your favourite leaves & nuts, give them a whizz and see what you can create, maybe add chilli, or jalapenos and if you love it, let me know.

Method for all pesto’s.

Place all ingredients in food processor and blitz!  It’s as easy as that for all the recipes.  As you can see, I have often written 1 – 2 of ingredients, because we all have different tastes, and as long as you have the basic ingredients, just add or take away the garlic, parmesan and nuts to suit you.   Add salt and pepper to taste and you’re good to go.

It is important to note that with the olive oil, start with a little and add as required – as it is high in fat, I add splashes of water at the end to get the consistency I require, and I only ever use up to 1 tbsp on my own portion of courgetti.

Classic Basil Pesto 

  • 100g basil
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Watercress & Brazil Nut Pesto

  • 100g watercress
  • Handful of basil
  • 40g brazil nuts, chopped
  • I squeezed lemon
  • 2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g parmesan cheese

Spinach & Walnut Pesto

  • 100g spinach leaves
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 squeezed lemon
  • 2 – 3 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 30g parmesan cheese
  • 2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Cauliflower Pesto

  • 1 medium cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 – 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 30g parmesan cheese

Red Pepper Pesto

  • 1 x jar peppers, drained
  • 1 – 2 garlic cloves
  • 70g blanched almonds or cashews (not blanched)
  • 40g parmesan cheese
  • 2 – 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
plates

Want to Lose Weight? Change Your PLATES!

When I start working with a new client who wants to lose weight, there are two things I ask them to do immediately. One is to change their drinking habits, limit their caffeine, cut out alcohol and fizzy drinks and to replace all with water – pure, life giving, beautifying, simple and cheap water.

The second is to buy smaller plates.  Much smaller plates.  I ask them to put their standard size plates in the cupboard out of sight and only to use the new smaller ones.  Every single client who follows just these two tips lose weight even if they make no other immediate changes.  There is of course more to YOUtrition’ s method than water and smaller plates, but they are an excellent start.

The first tip, the water, all my clients understand.  Ultimately, whether you like water or not, and there is so much you can do to jazz it up, we all know that water is good for us and that it has no calories.  Most aren’t aware that it also takes the edge off hunger but they soon notice that and learn to love this elixir of life. The plates are a different story.

To demonstrate why I ask them to buy the smaller plates, I place on my table four plates dated from the 1970’s, 1980’s 2000 & 2009.  The difference in sizes is quite incredible and of course as our plates have grown in size, so have our portions.

In fact, we have gone from eating off 8.5” plates to 12” dinner plates in 40 years.  Can you imagine the extra calories as each plate grows?  Let me tell you that the 1970’s plate would have held approx. 800 calories, the 1980’s plate 1000 calories, the 2000’s plate 1600 calories and the 2009 plate a whopping 1900 calories. Now imagine a portion from the 1970’s of any meal on a modern day plate, it would look woefully small and yet is more than enough for all our bodies needs.

Then there is the quality of the foods on these plates. I am old enough to remember bread being sold in brown paper bags, which lasted only one day to today’s loaf that can last up 7 days. What is the difference?  There must be something “extra” in the bread. Now, in our instant gratification, fast everything, including food world, meals can be so easy to buy pre-prepared, beautifully coloured and wrapped in plastic ready for us to heat in our super quick microwaves and decant on to our huge plates.  These ready meals have plenty of ingredients, most of which aren’t food related, but not the ones we need.  They often lack both nutrients and the fibre required to keep us full, and so we can eat much larger portions.  I guess you can see where I am going with this………

Not only that, but along with the rapid advancement of technology, we now have remote controls for everything from the tv to the lighting at home.  I don’t think my 19 year old son has ever had to rouse himself from the comfort of his armchair to either turn the tv over or volume down.  We now have emails to whiz between departments so no longer have to move from our desks to confer with colleagues. Most of us have at least two cars per household (more if you have grown up children), so there is no need to walk anywhere. There are enormous supermarkets that cater for all our shopping needs from food to furniture,  and we can do our whole life shop in one place if we wish, rather than wander up and down the high street going to the bakers, butchers etc before lugging our heavy shopping home. Or better still, we can shop from our computers at home and get anything delivered.  Is some cases, it can even be put away by the lovely chap who drives it to our door.  So not only are we eating more, we are also moving less.

There is however, one element of our increased food consumption life that hasn’t overly changed, and that is the size of our stomachs.  They have remained pretty much the same regardless of our fast food world and humongous plates. Still, not to worry, as we continue to consume ever larger portions of unsatisfying “foods” that offer little taste and no nourishment, our stomachs are becoming increasingly stretched and distorted to accommodate the load.

So, take my professional advice, all of it works. Pop out to any supermarket, buy yourself a few smaller plates. Ignore the processed food products, fill half your plate with veggies, one quarter lean protein and healthy fats, and the last quarter grains or wholemeal carbs and take the first important step to successful weight loss.  I promise you, within a week, you won’t even notice the difference in portion sizes.  Then of course come back to me for some more tips.  Happy eating everyone!

protein

Protein Powder – Why Choose Dust Over Food?

Protein powders are all the rage right now.  In every supermarket and health food shop, the choice seems to me to be overwhelming with all of them extolling their potentially miraculous results.  Some I acknowledge do sound healthier than others. The ones for instance that do not have sweeteners, synthetic fruit and chocolate added, but still, when did dust become a healthy food source?

I understand that in our high-speed, immediate gratification world, so wonderfully promoted through super clever marketing to re-enforce that we are time poor, such powders just might have some place occasionally in a balanced diet – but only the least processed and least added to (always remember to check out the ingredients list. The less ingredients, usually, the less processed), but still they are not a true alternative to any good whole food protein source that comes bound with fibre, vitamins and other health giving nutrients that our bodies not only need but know how to effectively utilise.

If we plan our food properly in advance there is very little need for protein powders and unless you are a super athlete, try to minimise their usage and fuel your body with real foods instead.

Remember that your body can’t store any excess protein anyway, so unless you need the extra boost  it is wasted.  Plus protein powders are so much more expensive and so much less tasty than whole foods – have you ever lusted over a plate of dust, the way you have over a gorgeous steak or salmon?

From the committed carnivore to the dedicated herbivore and for every group in between, there are options for fabulous, wholefoods proteins. To make it easy for you, I have included below a list of meat and vegetarian protein sources and their protein content so that you can make the best food not powder choices!

MEATS

Beef (6 oz.) – 54 grams

Turkey, breast (6 oz.) – 51.4 grams
Pork Chop (6 oz.) 49 grams
Turkey, dark meat (6 oz.) – 48.6 grams
Hamburger (6 oz.) – 48.6 grams
Chicken, dark meat (6 oz.) – 47.2 grams
Tuna (6 oz.) – 40.1 grams
Broiled Beefsteak (6 oz.) – 38.6 grams
Chicken, breast (6 oz.) – 37.8 grams
Ham (6 oz.) – 35.4 grams
Salmon (6 oz.) – 33.6 grams

DAIRY/EGGS

Cottage cheese (1 cup) – 28.1 grams
Yogurt, low fat (1 cup) – 10.7 grams
Skim milk (1 cup) – 8.3 grams
Whole milk (1 cup) – 8 grams
American cheese (1 oz.) – 7 grams
Soymilk (6 oz.) – 6.7 grams
Egg (1 large) – 6.3 grams

MEAT SUBSTITUTES, BEANS AND LEGUMES, NUTS

Veggie Burger (6 oz.) – 51.4 grams
Tofu (6 oz.) – 13.8 grams
Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp.) – 8.1 grams
Almond Butter (2 Tbsp.) – 7 grams
Lentils (1/2 cup) – 9 grams
Split Peas (1/2 cup) – 8.1 grams
Kidney Beans (1/2 cup) – 7.6 grams
Sesame Seeds (1 oz.) – 7.5 grams
Black Beans (1/2 cup) – 7.5 grams
Garbanzo Beans (1/2 cup) – 7.3 grams
Green Peas (1/2 cup) – 4.1 grams

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Orange (large) – 1.7 grams
Banana (medium) – 1.2 grams
Green Beans (1/2 cup) – 1 gram
Carrots (1/2 cup) – .8 gram
Apple (large) – 0 grams

 

sweet

Sweet Potato Toast – the perfect bread alternative!

I am very good at food planning and prepping. I see and feel the benefits on every level myself, from the lack of food panic over what’s is/isn’t in the fridge when I am hungry, to my weight and health.  I feel the difference in my energy levels and overall sense of wellbeing very quickly if I have eaten rubbish.  Most of us do, but in our super high-speed world we are sadly not as tuned into our bodies and its needs as we could be. Plus of course, is it my passion to get clients to eat a healthy balanced diet that brings them all the health and weight benefits I know they can enjoy and that they deserve, but still sometimes I do get caught short.

This morning is one such instance.  I have had family staying for the weekend, a lovely, happy time, but also a time of total fridge depletion.  I often find that when I have guests, the foods that I always have prepared are dipped into purely out of interest to see what the “Mad Professor Food Aunt” (I am sure that it is said with love) has been working on.  Only trouble is, they don’t tell me and I don’t realize until I need to eat the “experiment”.

Today my homemade muesli is gone, along with my breakfast burrito filling and all my fruit salad with seeds and nuts.  Hey Ho! they had a good dose of nutrients and I love them so.

Meanwhile, I have no bread, I rarely do, I find it bloats me and make me sluggish, but I sometimes have half a bagel and they are gone too, so I can’t even have toast.  Or can I?  I do have sweet potatoes, I wonder what they will be like toasted? Here goes.

They are wonderful! Low on the GI scale (slower sugar release so no sugar slump),  packed with nutrients, slightly sweet and perfect with a buttery fried egg on avocado smash. Under 250 cals with avocado and fried egg topping, and with 11g of protein to keep you full, the “mad prof” has come through again! Check out this recipe, be bold and brave with your topping and try the latest toast to hit town.  Let me know how it goes.  Happy eating.

Ingredient

1 x Large Sweet Potato

Method

Slice sweet potato lengthwise into 2cm slices.

Insert slices into toaster (as you would bread) and toast on high. Check the sweet potatoes after it pops up from toaster. (It’s ready when you can easily pierce a fork into the flesh, it’s ready.) Continue toasting until tender, if necessary.

Keep a close eye until you have perfected your toast, if it browns too quickly , turn the toaster down.

Top with your avocado smash and buttery fried egg and serve immediately.

Mix Your Toppings Up 

  • tsp Tahini and sesame seeds
  • tsp peanut butter & sliced banana
  • tsp honey and sprinkle of mixed seeds
  • tsp marmite
  • tsp cottage cheese, sliced cucumber & tomato