Tag Archives: eat

5 Mood Boosting Foods to keep you smiling this winter!

With the autumnal season at full peak and the cold of winter knocking on the door, it’s easy to become a victim of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – also known as the “winter blues”. The lack of natural light is the cause, recognised as an official medical condition that affects up to 2 million people in the UK each year. By kick-starting the right hormones there are few simple ways that you keep the blues at bay – starting with the food that we eat.

Nutritionists regularly recommend slow release complex carbohydrates as the go to food when you’re feeling low. The complex sugars find their way into your bloodstream gradually, helping to keep your body alert for longer. Complex carbohydrates also help to create serotonin (the mood boosting chemical) by helping to transport trytophan (the relaxation chemical) to the brain. It’s all part of food science, but it’s a lot simpler than it sounds.

Here are the Healthy Hideout’s top 5 mood boosting foods to help keep you smiling this Winter:

Greek Yoghurt

When calcium levels drop in the body, you can quickly become irritable and even depressed. Prevent this by introducing greek yoghurt into diet, as it’s packed with calcium and a high degree of healthy fats proven to help reduce stress levels. Greek yoghurt isn’t heat treated like most of the common sources of dairy that we eat day to day, so it still contains essential healthy bacteria aiding intestinal health. There’s no better start to your morning routine than a bowl a oats topped with a handful of fresh fruit and a tablespoon of Greek yoghurt. For added sweetness, add a teaspoon of organic forest honey – perfect winter morning fuel!

Coconut

This exotic hard shelled dry drupe contains medium-chain triglyceride’s (MCT) that help to boost energy levels and general brain activity. Regular consumption can have a profound effect on those that find themselves feeling tired more easily.  If you can’t get hold of fresh coconut, why not look at trying coconut butter which is available from most health food stores – perfect on rye toast for a quick boost! If your out and about you may have noticed the wealth of coconut snacks and health drinks – another great energy fix.

Asparagus

Widely available from most supermarkets, these spear shaped stalk like vegetables are a great source of folate and tryptophan. Folate helps the brain produce serotonin whilst tryptopahn helps to aid in relaxation and promote a positive mood state. Asparagus can be particularly effective when eaten alongside a slow release carbohydrate, aiding the release into the body. Try to keep your asparagus recipes as simple as possible – tossing in olive oil, lemon and garlic before grilling is a great place to start.

Oily Fish

Packed with omega oils and essential fatty acids, fish has been proven to aid better moods and maintain high levels of mental health. The powerful combination of tryptophan, omega essential oils and energy boosting protein make fish an essential meal choice for anybody this winter. Wild Alaskan Salmon contains high levels of rich omega 3 fats, and the potent antioxidant astaxanthin – the natural mood lifter. The high nutritional value of fish make it an ideal meal choice for anyone – make it part of your diet this winter.

Dark Chocolate

Yes you read that correctly – we’re promoting chocolate to be part of your healthy diet this winter. Shouldn’t really be too hard should it? The moreish, satisfying flavour of chocolate can quickly boost anybody’s mood no matter how down their feeling. The science behind it demonstrates that chocolate is high in phenylethylamine, which is responsible for inducing a sense of elation when consumed. Blood sugar levels are sure to rise, causing your pulse to quicken and pupils to dilate. Dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa can have numerous health benefits, including a positive boost in your mood. Give yourself a little treat when your feeling the winter blues!

Pros & Cons of a Clean Food Diet

As people are starting to pay attention to what goes into their food and look at the long term effects of additives and preservatives, many people are considering the clean food diet. The clean food diet is one that involves only eating healthy and natural foods. People on this diet cut out added sugars, processed foods and foods that are filled with chemicals. This means focusing on fruits, vegetables and lean meat.

With any diet or eating regimen, there are pros and cons to following it. With the clean food diet there are more pros than cons, but both need to be considered before someone makes this type of lifestyle change. Following this diet has a lot of advantages because it allows people to lose weight, improve their overall health and does not require calorie counting. However, some people find it hard to follow for a few reasons, such as the cost of these foods.

The clean food diet can be one of the easiest diets to follow, but it does represent a lifelong change in eating. People on this diet do not have to count calories, add up points or eliminate carbs completely, and the clean food diet allows people to eat until they are satisfied. Since they are eating healthy foods that are low in bad fats and added sugars, people are still able to lose weight without limiting the amount of food that they eat.

The goal of this diet is twofold. First, and most importantly, this change in eating is to ensure the health and longevity of the person following it. By eating foods that are natural and filled with nutrients rather than additives leads to better digestion, more energy and an improved immune system.

Second, the diet aims to help people lose weight in a way that is completely natural. Most of the foods that we eat today are filled with sugar and bad fats because those foods taste good and light up the pleasure center of people’s brains. This is probably carried over from when food was scarce and people needed to seek out high fat and calorie foods to survive; however, this is clearly not the case today. Since there is more than enough of all kinds of food available today, it is up to people to make choices that promote health and longevity.

Still, there are some issues with the clean food diet. As with any diet that cuts out added sugar and bad fats, many people will have problems sticking to it. While it is not a particularly restrictive diet, totally forgoing most of the food people currently eat is difficult to adjust to. That said, both fat and sugar are completely acceptable in a clean food diet, they just need to be a part of food naturally, like the sugar in fruit and fat in meat and nuts.

Another common problem that people run into when following the clean food diet is the cost of these foods. Sugary, fatty, high calorie mass produced foods are cheap, whereas raw fruit, vegetables and low fat meat are not. The price rises even further if someone following the clean food diet wants to eat organic foods. Unfortunately, outside of budgeting and trying to get food at farmer’s markets, there is not a way to get around the high cost of good food. However, the fact that they are more expensive should make clear that they are more valuable to people than processed foods.

The clean food diet does represent a lifestyle change, but it is to a healthy lifestyle.

———————————————————————————————————

Sam is a blogger who focuses on health and fitness as well as diet and how that can alter lifestyle. He also has recently tried the clean food diet. Thanks to Sam for providing us with this great article.

Do not bring us the Figgy Pudding!

Christmas is a notorious time for overindulgence and expanding waistbands. Research suggests that weight gain over the 4 week Christmas period can be as much as 2kg, which is an awful lot of mince pies! Whilst most people do not maintain this level of overindulgence throughout the year (not to mention the New Years resolution to shift those creeping pounds) there are a few festive foods for the health conscious, which are packed with nutrition and can be enjoyed (nearly) guilt free!

1. Clementines– A popular fruit at Christmas, this little gem is packed with vitamin C, thiamin, potassium and dietary fibre. They are naturally high in sugar but swap a few mince pies for these when you crave something sweet, at only 35 calories each they are a saintly snack.

2. Chestnuts – Often overshadowed by their popular counterpart-the Brussels sprout, this nut contains high levels of vitamin C, lower fat content than other types of nut and high levels of minerals, in particular potassium. Potassium is highly rated for helping lower blood pressure (often running high in the stressful Christmas season) and heart rate.

3. Carrots– Rudolph’s preferred mid-present delivery snack. From the taproot family of vegetables, high in vitamins, minerals and beta-carotene. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A by the body which helps with visual function and frontline bodily defense against infections and diseases. These will help keep away the dreaded ‘Christmas colds’ and other festive spirit-dampening ailments.

4. Turkey– Trussed and carved, the ultimate centrepiece for any Christmas Dinner table. Turkey is a lean meat which is low in saturated fat but high in protein and phosphorus which is essential for bone and teeth growth, not to mention it is a main component of every body cell.

5. Brussels Sprouts – Either love them or hate them, this Christmas dinner Brassica is without doubt full of good things (even if they smell somewhat suspect). Sprouts contain a whole host of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin K can be found in each one of these little green machines, which has been found to help limit neuronal damage and even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s!

6. Parsnips – This taproot is a classic Christmas dinner vegetable. High in fibre( but also natural sugars) this vegetable contains folic acid, vitamin b-6 and pentathenic acid which is known for it’s stress busting properties. Perfect after slaving away in a hot kitchen with hungry mouths to feed!

7. Cranberries – This berry is often sidelined to a table sauce at Christmas, which is high in sugar but the berries themselves are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They contain Manganese, a mineral known for health benefits such as maintaining healthy bones and sugar levels, promoting optimal functioning of the thyroid and for helping the body absorb other key nutrients.

8. Cinnamon – this fragrant spice is full of antioxidants, essential oils and minerals. It has been used for centuries in medicine for its antiseptic, anesthetic and anti-inflammatory qualities. It has the highest anti-oxidant level for all natural foods, combating nasty free-radicals. Cinnamon has also been found to have anti-clotting properties, helping reduce the risk of strokes and coronary disease.

9. Smoked salmon – This cured fish is a popular choice for a celebratory brunch or Christmas Party canapés. High in omega-3, this food can help with brain function, cell function and improved cardiovascular function. Other benefits from Omega-3 include improved joint operation and some research has shown it to help alleviate symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis.

5 Top Foods for a Flat Stomach

OK – So the summer season is quickly coming to close, with the doors to Autumn & Winter swinging wide open. But that doesn’t mean that your fitness and looking good need to go out of the window. The heavy jumpers and trousers may hide your figure from the public, but you’ll still know inside you what’s going on underneath those layers!

Not many people know that achieving a flat stomach can be easier than getting rid of the dreaded “love handles” – Your stomach is more about what you eat and how much of it you eat. Chewing your food throughly for example, triggers the stomach to create more stomach acid which helps to maintain a smooth digestive process. Not chewing food properly can cause food to ferment in the gut, leaving your feeling overly full and bloated.

The following top five foods are great ways to help achieve a flat stomach:

  • Oats – A easy balanced breakfast that’s guaranteed to fill you up. It makes a great alternative to the wheat based cereals that are laced in salts & sugars which don’t even keep you alert a few hours later. Don’t take our word for it either – The benefits over oats compared to these cereals is well documented.  As written in You Can be Thin by Marisa Peer, oats help to feed the friendly bacteria in your gut, helping you feel fuller for longer. Getting the right start to the day is the first step to a flat stomach – It’s a great way to cut out all the cravings for sugary snacks during the day.
  • Yoghurt – According to the The Food Doctor by Ian Marber eating a pot of plain yoghurt each day can be a great way of trimming the abdominal area.  Packed with gut friendly bacteria, yoghurt can help to reduce that bloated feeling that you may get after eating. If plain yoghurt doesn’t sound too appetising, try adding some honey, seeds or sliced fruit for flavour. Contrary to popular belief, it’s important to avoid fat free yoghurt. You’ll find it contains more sugar than the standard stuff!
  • Berries – If you’re concerned about looking too bloated, it may be worth looking at cutting out any fruit juices you may have in your diet. Ian Marber author of How Not To Get Fat demonstrates how the fructose in fruit juices can create carbon dioxide in the gut which causes the digestive process to slow down. Replace these fruit juices with fresh berries which are available in abundance this time of year. Mix it up with a spoonful of almonds and a drop of agave nectar for a guilt-free treat.
  • Papaya – An exotic fruit not often explored by many, the papaya is a delicate and juicy fruit similiar to the mango in some aspects. A staple food in Miami, where a flat stomach is almost compulsory! Papaya contains a soluble fibre which helps to aid the digestive system, keeping you feeling less bloated and getting you closer to that flat stomach.  Make sure to not eat too much however – excessive papaya can actually trigger bloating!
  • Herbal Teas – One of the easiest changes to make in your diet and quest towards a flat stomach – Cut out all of the fizzy drinks and energy booster liquids! The carbon dioxide used to create the bubbles in these drinks can get into the gut and cause problems. Instead, get yourself involved in the world of herbal tea drinking. The Healthy Hideout offers a great guide on herbal teas which can be found here: 6 Top Teas – The Real Wonder Drink.

Top 5 Recipe Books for Healthy Cooks

Maintaining a healthy diet can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing, but with the right resources and know how, healthy eating can be done without too much thought or bother. Providing you know the basics, combined with some easy recipes, you’re bound to be cooking up your very own health food storm in no time at all.

Here are a selection of some of the top recipe cook books that should be on nestled on your kitchen shelf. You can simply never have too many cook books – Our personal collections just keep on growing like a field of organic corn.

We hope you find this list as useful as we did.

Carbs & Cals by Yello Balolia

Carbs & Cals by Yello Balolia


1. Carbs & Cals by Yello Balolia – This book is directed towards individuals with diabetic dietary needs specifically type one, but still serves as a great source of healthy eating ideas. If you’re looking to reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet to lose weight or keep blood sugars down, then this is certainly the book for your.

The book is packed with visual aids to help give you an idea of portion size, so that you can keep on track with your diet without the need for technical measuring devices. I love the way you can just look at a page and see what is considered a “portion” and what isn’t. Portion your food properly along with regular exercise, and your bound to see quick results.

 

 

 

 

Jamies Ministry of Food by Jamie Oliver

Jamies Ministry of Food by Jamie Oliver


2. Jamie’s Ministry of Food by Jamie Oliver – When thinking of quick to assemble, “bish bash bosh,” great tasting food, no chef springs to mind quicker than Mr Jamie Oliver himself. This isn’t his latest cookery book available, but it’s certainly proven to be a must have book amongst the masses. Designed to reinvent the way you cook, even if you consider yourself a fairly decent whizz in the kitchen, Jamie’s Ministry of Food will have you looking at cooking in a completely different light.

Need to new way to make your texan chilli kick? Possible alternative methods to making a fish pie? Look no further than this great publication from Mr Oliver himself. I particularly like the way he reduces the amount of washing up created by each cooking experience – no body likes washing up!

 

 

 

You Can Be Thin by Marisa Peer

You Can Be Thin by Marisa Peer


3. You Can Be Thin by Marisa Peer – A dieting book like no other, this insightful text takes a different approach to dieting which has proven to be a massive success amongst it’s readers. This isn’t so much jam-packed with health recipes as such, but is more so aimed towards those of us who need to lose excess weight first. Many of us on diets already know what we should and shouldn’t be eating, but putting these thoughts into actions is a completely different story altogether. I for one know that eating too many doughnuts in exchange for a nice piece of ripe fruit, won’t bode too well with my figure.

This books aims to deal with the mental side of dieting as opposed to the actual physical action of replacing that cream cake with a carrot. An incredibly motivating read supported by many of it’s readers, if you plan to diet any time soon, this is certainly the book for your.

 

 

 

 

Bread - River Cottage by Daniel Stevens

Bread – River Cottage by Daniel Stevens

4. Bread – River Cottage by Daniel Stevens – Bread is a massive staple in many of our daily lives, from toast in the morning to sandwiches in the afternoon. However, because of convenience and a whole host of other reasons, a lot of us don’t even attempt to make our own bread. Bread from the River Cottage gives a great insight into the basics of bread including a closer look at the key ingredients (flour, years, salt and water) whilst including approximately 60 different bread recipes for your to try at home. I don’t think there’s anything better than the smell of fresh bread in a home, it does wonders for the mind.

Classics including pizza bases, wholemeal buns,  simple white loafs or complex seed & nut ensembles, this recipe book provides something for everyone.

 

 

 

 

Mum Knows Best - by Dave Myers & Si King

Mum Knows Best – by Dave Myers & Si King


5. Mum Knows Best – The Hairy Bikers Family Cookbook by Dave Myers & Si King – Now if like ourselves, you were lucky enough to grow up on delicious Mums home cooking, you’ll know that nothing gets the nostalgia train racing quicker than a home cooked meal. There’s something incredibly satisfying about sitting down to a roast dinner with all the trimmings made to the standard only a Mum could produce. That’s where the Hairy Bikers come in. Check out the roast potatoes recipe when you get hold of this glorious book – simply wonderful!

This book addresses all the key elements, tips and tricks of the trade required to create delicious meals for you and your family. Recipes are straight forward, with most of the ingredients available to any kitchen novice. Take a step back to childhood and relive timeless moments of tasty excellence.

 

 

8 Food myths that will shock you

Every day 2.5 million people in Britain eat from McDonald’s! So, is the 5-a-day campaign just a way to make fruit and vegetable companies rich? Is fibre actually good for you? Is fat healthy? A new book called The Obesity Epidemic: What caused it? How can we stop it? claims that many things we believe about food are wrong.

MYTH 1: Fat is bad for us

According to Harcombe: “Real fat is not bad for us”. It is the man made fats that we should be avoiding. In fact our body needs fat as it is essential for every cell. In a pork chop there is about 2.3% of unsaturated fat and 1.5% of saturated fat. According to a 2008 Family Food Survey we are deficient in the fat-soluble vitamins E, D and A. These fat-soluble vitamins are responsible for bone strength, mental health, healthy eyesight, protection of blood vessels and protection against cancer. When we eat “real” fat these vitamins are absorbed into the body.

Burger

‘Real’ fat will help us store fat soluble vitamins

MYTH 2: We should eat more fibre

We have always been told that fibre is important to help our digestive system and keep the food moving. Harcombe argues that this is not a good idea. She says: “The advice to eat more fibre is put forward along with the theory that we need to flush out our digestive systems. But essential minerals are absorbed from food while it is in the intestines, so why do we want to flush everything out? Concentrate on not putting bad foods in.”

MYTH 3: Saturated fat causes heart disease

Foods containing a high proportion of saturated fats include cream, cheese,  butter, fatty meat, chocolate and coconut oil. We have become accustomed into believing that these foods can lead to heart disease. However, Harcombe writes: “No research has ever properly proved that eating saturated fat is associated with heart disease , let alone that causes it.”

MYTH 4: More exercise is a cure for the obesity epidemic

Exercise will speed up our metabolism and mean we burn more calories and lose fat. Harcombe is not convinced, telling us: “If you push yourself into doing extra exercise, it will be counter-productive because you will get hungry – your body will be craving carbohydrate to replenish its lost stores. If you are trying to control weight loss, it is so much easier to control what you put into your mouth. Not how much, but what. Then it doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do by way of exercise.”

MYTH 5: Cholesterol is a dietary enemy

Are high levels of cholesterol really a bad thing. Harcombe thinks not and believes that like your height it is difficult to prescribe a set level that we should aim for. Aiming for a level like 5 mmol/l is meaningless. Harcombe says, “Ancel Keys, who studied cholesterol extensively in the Fifties, said categorically that cholesterol in food does not have any impact on cholesterol in the blood. What is abnormal is the amount of carbohydrate we eat, especially refined carbohydrate, and this has been shown to determine triglyceride levels – the part of the cholesterol reading your GP may be most concerned about.”

“It’s the ultimate irony. We only told people to eat carbs because we demonised fat and, having picked the wrong villain, we are making things worse.”

MYTH 6: You need to eat 5 portions of fruit & veg every day

According to Harcombe: “Five-a-day is the most well-known  piece of nutritional advice. You’d think it was based on firm evidence of health benefit. Think again!”

She continues, “Five-a-day started as a marketing campaign by 25 fruit and veg companies and the American National Cancer Institute in 1991. There was no evidence for any cancer benefit.”

MYTH 7: Fruit  & Veg is the most nutritious things you can eat

Vegetables are a great addition to our diets but fruit is best avoided by those trying to lose weight. Harcombe states, “If served in butter to deliver the fat-soluble vitamins they contain – but fructose, the fruit sugar in fruit, goes straight to the liver and is stored as fat.”

She adds, “Vitamins and minerals in animal foods – meat, fish, eggs and dairy products – beat those in fruit hands down.”

MYTH 8: Food advisory bodies give us good, impartial advice

It seems that the food industry sponsors some of those impartial organisations we rely upon for our food advice. For example, the British Dietetic Association (BDA), who deliver much  advice for the Department of Health and NHS is sponsored by Danone, who create yoghurt’s, and Abbott Nutrition, who produce infant formula and energy bars.

Furthermore, The British Nutrition Foundation, founded in 1967 has among its sustaining members British Sugar PLC, J Sainsbury PLC, Kraft foods, Cadbury and Coca-Cola. Harcombe states, “When the food and drink industry is so actively embracing public health advice, isn’t it time to wonder how healhty that advice can be?”

Tell us what you think. For more reading why not buy Zoe Harcombe’s book now to find out more. Source: Daily Mail newspaper.