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Will I really live longer eating less meat?

New research released today suggests that cutting your meat intake to 3 meals a week could save the NHS £1.2 billion pounds each year while reducing early deaths by as many as 45,000.

The research conducted by Oxford University looked at different dietary options and concluded that diets with less meat could cut deaths from heart disease by around 31,000, cancer by 9,000 and strokes by 5,000 each year.

Burger

Cut down on Cheap Burgers

In particular, the research found that processed meats, such as cheap sausages and burgers were more unhealthy due to the high levels of salt and fat. Staggeringly, the research, commissioned by Friends of the Earth found that a supermarket chicken now contain 2.7 times more fat than it did in 1970 and 30 percent less protein!

Friends of the Earth’s Director of Policy and Campaigns, Craig Bennett said: “Eating less and better meat is a win win but we need the Government to act too – at the moment it promotes unhealthy high-meat diets and funds damaging factory farms”. He adds, “We don’t need to go vegetarian to look after ourselves and our planet – but we do need to cut down on meat.”

Other reported benefits include the curbing of deforestation and helping control climate change.

The research really does make you think about the quality of the meat we buy from the supermarket and its effect on our body. How much meat do you eat each week?

10 Top Brain Foods

The brain can be a very demanding muscle and giving it what it needs will pay massive dividends to the mental health of both you and your family. A sharp, focused brain with clarity of thought will make you more productive, produce higher quality results while saving you both time and energy. If you have a difficult decision to make about your finances, relationships or future then why not start off with your brain functioning in top gear? It may be that you just want to stay sharp-witted, improve memory or stave off mental decline. All you need to do is make some changes to your weekly shopping list and soon you will start to think more clearly!

Blueberries

Blueberries. Source: http://www.oregonberry.com

1. Blueberries

Studies have discovered that berries can help fight major conditions such as heart disease, cancer and infections. In particular, blueberries, strawberries and acai berries can help protect the brain; preserving memory and other mental faculties. Dr. Poulose, a researcher from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (USDA-ARS) stated: “The good news is that natural compounds called polyphenolics found in fruits, vegetables and nuts have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect that may protect against age-associated decline.”

2. Coffee

Coffee Beans

Enjoy a guilt-free morning coffee!

The risk of dementia can be cut where coffee blocks the damage that cholesterol can inflict on the body. The 2008 report from the BBC stated that coffee can lead to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr Jonathan Geiger from the University of North Dakota says, “Caffeine is a safe and readily available drug and its ability to stabilise the blood brain barrier means it could have an important part to play in therapies against neurological disorders.” Perhaps that daily cup of coffee could be having more long term benefits that you thought!

3. Salmon

Dr Byrne from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School states that: “There are certain ‘brain foods’ that seem to have a benefit on the brain. New research shows that Omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in salmon and other fish, may build the brain’s gray matter”.

4. Eggs

Eggs are a good source of choline, which has been found to be vital for healthy cells, liver and brain. In fact choline not only helps improve brain function but can also help with memory retention. With many people lacking adequate amounts of choline in their diets it seems like eggs are a great, accessible source.

5. Flax seeds

Increasing evidence supports the notion of increasing the amount of omega-3 healthy fats in our diets. Omega-3 can be found in fish oils and flax seed oil. It has been reported that these Omega-3 healthy fats can be good for your brain and overall mood.

6. Avocado

Steven Pratt, MD, and author of Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods Proven to Change Your Life states that avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health. Avocado is a fatty fruit but this is a monounsaturated fat which can actually contribute to healthy blood flow.

7. Spinach & Green leafy vegetables

The journal of American Heart Association found that there is a clear link between a high folate diet and reduced risk of strokes. In fact, spinach is high in folate and a great natural source. Some neurologists have recommended eating organic spinach 3+ times a week as a brain tonic!

8. Walnuts & mixed nuts

Walnuts have a high concentration of DHA, which is a type of Omega 3 fatty acid shown to improve brain performance in adults while helping stave off cognitive decline. One study has even suggested that mothers who get enough DHA in their diets have smarter children.

9. Dark chocolate

So, what makes dark chocolate such a great brain food? The answer is found in the flavonoids that it contains. The cocoa, high in flavonoids, has been found to help keep your heart and brain healthy. In fact, the Salk Institute has found initial evidence that eating dark chocolate can help improve brain blood flow which in turn can help improve memory.

10. Acai Berries

Like blueberries, acai berries contain a compound called polyphenol that can trigger the brain to clean and recycle toxic proteins that can lead to memory loss and mental decline. Dr Shibu Poulose, from the Human Nutrition Research Center on Ageing, stated: “In aging, microglia fail to do their work, and debris builds up within the brain. This research has shown that the polyphenolics in berries have a beneficial effect. They have been seen to restore the brains normal housekeeping function.”

Tell us about any other great brain foods that you eat to keep your cognitive sharpness at its peak. Also, why not read the following books to understand more about how some of these super foods can help keep your mind and body healthy into old age:

Shaving Pain Be Gone!

This is a follow up from the last post which I made on shaving. For the past few months I haven’t really shaved too much, but rather I would trim my facial hair short. Whenever I would think to myself, ‘You could shave today’, I would shy away at the idea as the last time I used my Mach 3 blade it felt incredibly blunt (and I didn’t have a replacement at hand). It’s one of those vibrating Mach 3 blades, and of course the battery has run out so it doesn’t vibrate at the moment. Yes, I know I should have bought some new ones…

I was even more concerned about shaving this morning as my facial hair was quite long, with each hair measuring about 8mm; not the ideal scenario even for a razor sharp blade brand new out the packet, let alone an 8 month old Mach 3 blade sorely in need of replacement.

As you may have gathered from my last shaving post; I loathe shaving. I woke up extra early as I knew it may take a while! There was no way on earth I was going to attempt this without the aid of steam so I started the steam running in the steam shower. I went into the kitchen, drank about one and a half pints of water, had breakfast and headed for the bathroom. At this point, maybe about 20 minutes, the steam was about 36c. I stepped in; the steam felt like a cloak of warm mist enveloping my body, warming and soothing my muscles; a brilliant feeling don’t get me wrong, but I was there on a different mission!

The razor and shaving cream used


I waited for about 15 minutes for the steam to open my pores and soften the hair on my face. I put my shaving gel on, it’s ‘Gillette Series: Moisturizing Hydration’. I’m not promoting this one by any means; this is just what I used! I started shaving. After 3 or 4 strokes on the same area the blade would be clogged up and unable to shave, so I would run it under the shower and continue. I looked into the mirror and couldn’t believe it; it didn’t even look like I had even shaved in that area, even though the razor was blocked with hair; it looked like I had just wiped all the shaving foam off! Have you ever had a shave where it took about 3 or 4 rinses of the blade just to cleanly shave one spot on your face? Frustrating isn’t it; that’s all I can say! I must have taken about 15 minutes to shave my face because I had to clean the blade so many times.

Let’s get onto how the shave felt: even with a blunt blade and long hair I didn’t feel any discomfort until the point where I was shaving the very short stubble. I should have reapplied some shaving cream, but the discomfort wasn’t to a level to warrant it. Even with my last post and my past experience with shaving in the steam shower, I was surprised at how comfortable it was.

For those like me who use a blade, try to at some point shave in a very steamy environment, steam showers work well; it’ll turn your mornings upside down!

Are there any of you who despise shaving? Has anybody shaved in a steam shower or a very steamy environment before? I want to hear your thoughts.

Commonwealth boxer gains 2 kilos in sauna!

The Commonwealth games XIX has been beset with problems and the latest has struck the boxers.

When Jason Maloney, an Australian fighter stood on the scales to his shock he found that he was 700 grams over the weight limit. As is customary when aiming to make a weight category, the boxer went to the sauna to sweat off the extra 700 grams.

Commonwealth Games Logo

After sweating off the extra weight in the sauna the boxer returned to the scales only to find he had actually gained 2 kilos! The problem was soon clear when a 50Kg weight was checked on the scales and found to weigh 51.43 kilograms.

Anger and uproar rose as Australia’s assistant coach, Don Abnett bawled, “I have never seen this before, it is a farce. I thought last year when I witnessed a bloke win a fight with one arm I had seen it all, but this even tops that.” Australian official John Gatfield said that “there were coaches from every nation just shouting at officials saying, ‘we cannot go with this’.”

Luckily, the problem had been identified before the England team were due to be weighed. However, this episode puts a cloud over the event where 2 fighters had to lose weight unnecessarily. “It is ridiculous!” added Don Abnett. “Now we have boys who have lost too much weight which is not good.”

Tell us about any stories where you have tried to lose weight but inadvertently gained weight. For more information see The Mirror.

7 tips to consider when adding an en suite

These days many potential buyers consider at least one en suite bathroom a must-have for the master bedroom. However, if you’re looking to add an en suite to one of your bedrooms you don’t want to fall into the trap of just adding any old shower enclosure in an unused airing cupboard. You want the en suite to be attractive and seem as spacious as possible so that it gets the use it deserves. Here are 7 top tips to consider when planning your en suite addition:

1 – Water & Drainage

It’s important to check your water supply and drainage accessibility – If you cannot access the main soil pipe then you will need to install a macerator thus increasing the overall cost of your installation. If at all possible, you should look to back your en suite onto an existing bathroom so that you have easy access to supplies and drainage points:

2 – Electrics & Pipework

Be sure to plan all pipework and electricity supply cables carefully, ensuring that they are well hidden whenever possible. Be sure to utilise your ceiling or under floor space if you have it, as exposed pipework and cabling can instantly make a small space look overcrowded. En suites are generally small to begin with, so look to gain space wherever you can!

3 – Ventilation

Remember that ventilation is now a Building Regs requirement. When planning anything within a small space, it’s important to implement good ventilation to ensure plenty of fresh air is circulated throughout the room.  This prevents any build up of mould and ensures the keeps the space feeling comfortable.

4 – Insulation

Be sure to insulate the entire area properly to prevent condensation, especially if the en suite has one wall as an outer brick wall. This will also help to keep the area feeling warmer and more enjoyable to use, especially in the upcoming colder winter months!

5 – Minimalistic Design

When consider what furniture and bathroom equipment you will be using in the en suite, look to keep your design minimal and maximise the available space.  This can be achieved by using all glass shower enclosures with low profile trays, small hand basins with vanity storage below, and wall mounted toilets.

6 – Colour & Light

The average en suite stands at around 2.5m so space isn’t something most of us have in abundance. Look to utilise a single colour scheme so the eye doesn’t become distracted, and utilise mirrors and decorative spot lights wherever possible. A large mirror covering one wall can instantly create the feeling of space, whilst a window can bring in all important natural light.

Never underestimate the importance of natural light!

Never underestimate the importance of natural light!

7 – Be Creative

Not every en suite addition needs to be limited to a small space added to your master bedroom. Of course, the toilet area needs to be private but other additions can potentially be placed in the bedroom area. Why not consider a freestanding bath at the end of the bed, or even a sealed freestanding shower cabin mounted in one corner. The options you have with the suppliers available these days is endless.

Inspired? Start planning your en suite today, and if there’s anything else worth mentioning just leave us a comment below!

Finns strip down to bask in Europes highest sauna

It never ceases to amaze us to what lengths the Finn’s will go to enjoy a sauna! A small team of Finnish mountaineers have just summited Mont Blanc, the highest peak in both the Alps and European Union. Once at the summit the team then proceeded to erect a temporary sauna before stripping down to their underwear to enjoy the staggering views from the warmth of the sauna.

Sauna on Mont Blanc. Photo source:Telegraph.co.uk

The team of 4 climbers reached the summit in sub-zero temperatures in late August 2010 along with a specially designed sauna stove and tent. Once a suitably clear day was decided upon the team departed in the dark so as to reach the summit at day-break. The tent was then constructed along with a sauna stove designed to burn wood at high altitudes and a wooden bench. Kari Härkönen exclaims “The sauna got so hot that it felt quite refreshing to wash in the snow at -5C outside”.

Sauna tent & heater. Photo source:Telegraph.co.uk

The group had been acclimatised to the high altitude with mountaineering experts before setting off on this exhilarating experience. Once heated and cooled the team took down the tent and descended back down the mountain. Watch their experience below and let us know your thoughts. What extremes have you gone to when experiencing the hot or cold?

Sauna @ Mont Blanc from saunamontblanc on Vimeo.