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Obsessive Society – Health, Weight Loss, Diets….

We are obsessed with healthy eating, dieting, weight loss. But do we actually eat/live healthy? Looking at the rising obesity and diseases (such as cancer, heart diseases, diabetes) rates worldwide, we definitely do not eat/live healthy! Majority of us do talk a “good game” (or procrastinate to the next more “convenient day” or always find an excuse not to do it, pulled through!) but when it actually comes to eating/living/being healthy/doing it, fail! Why? What is holding some of us back or off? Why many of us struggle with loosing weight, keeping the weight off (!), being healthy, active and ultimately happy?

Lately I get to hear very often when people look at my food and say: ‘oh that looks very healthy?’ ‘You are eating very healthy!’ ‘Oh that looks delicious’. ‘Oh that is so colourful and appetising!’ ‘Oh I wish I would have time to do my own lunches, make home-cooked meals’…..

Well for me it is natural and essential, as we all call it “healthy” eating. That is what makes me, ME. A Human Being! And to be totally honest with you, I am starting to hate this phrase “healthy eating”!

And why do I eat such “shockingly” healthy foods? Because I don’t eat and want crap which is full of sugar (artificial or not. I won’t go into the detailed science with you here), bad fats, preservatives, artificial colours/flavours and other ingredients which I cannot even pronounce. Just think, if you cannot pronounce a certain ingredient how on earth does your body deal with it? Stores as fat, messes with your neurotransmitters, hormones and and and….

I came across something very interesting the other day. “If you are reading ingredient lists on products, then you don’t eat clean/lean/natural and (ok I say it here), healthy”. It is bloody true! Absolutely, if you are in the supermarket and read label after label then you are avoiding the real food! The food which is good for you, your body, mind, and and and! And you are in the wrong aisle! (Ok enough of rant).

On some occasions I get asked: ‘Don’t you treat yourself? Have some of the yummy cakes in the kitchen’. I just wonder – why? And that is what I really don’t get! Why do I want to “treat” my body and mind with high sugar, bad fats, crap food, empty calories?! A treat for me is a nice bowl of fresh berries (you can even have a spoon of full fat crème or Greek yogurt if you like), big fresh steak of tuna or piece of nice dark chocolate (at least 70%)! That is what a treat is – and should be! Treat, that actually gives your body good nutrients, cleansing your body from free radicals, oxidation stress, nourish your mind, gives you positive energy (emphasis on POSITIVE). Not crap, highly processed food! Please….

And then people say: ‘oh that is so difficult to resist those cakes, chocolate, biscuits, sweets in the kitchen’. Really? I don’t have a problem with that. Why? Just read the ingredients list and research each ingredient (good old google will help you with that). Find out more information and then think about it (digest the information you just read). Do you really want to have it in your body? Probably not (I hope so though otherwise I really don’t understand the world anymore).

The emphasis here is on natural, real, fresh food! We are designed to move, we are designed to eat whole food, real food.

And just an end note: I am proud to say that I haven’t been to McDonald’s (or similar establishments) in 15 Years! And I am not going to change it! I am shocked to see a queue in the Drive Through every time I pass a McDonald’s. Shocked! Seeing all the families with their kids stuffing their face with who knows what is in the “foods”!

Happy & natural eating!

Irina

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Posted by on 23 May, 2013 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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Home-made fizzy drink – A healthier option

With the spring in the air, longer and warmer (ish) days, I do make sure we are both well hydrated for our active lifestyle. We don’t buy any fizzy, flavored drinks. Those are full of sugar, artificial sugars and other ingredients which are not good for your body and mind.

We make our own flavoured fizzy (or still) drinks. It is so simple. Actually it doesn’t get simplier than this.

Take a big jug, a few slices of lemon/lime/orange, a handful of frozen berries, add either sparkling or still water. You can also add few extra ice cubes if you like a big cooler. Leave for 20-30 min so the flavours and colours come out of fruits. Done!

You can also use cucumber and add few herbs like mint, basil or parsley for more savory flavour.

Enjoy!

Irina. 🙂

Home-made drink

 

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Breakfast: Banana Omelette – The ultimate fuel for active day

I made this breakfast a few times and it blows my mind every time. The flavours are just amazing, especially as I use coconut oil to cook the omelette I find that it brings the flavour of the banana more out. It takes you to the exotic place and this first thing in the morning. Ultimate orgasmic sensation! Plus it gives you the needed energy for the active day.

Ingredients – enough for one person:

3 free range medium to large eggs
1 medium banana – mashed
1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional)
1 teaspoon cocoa nibs (optional)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
pinch of salt

Direction:

Mash the banana in a bowl, crack the eggs in, add chia seeds, cocoa nibs, and salt. Give good mix. In the meantime, heat a frying pan on medium heat, melt coconut oil. Once the coconut oil is melted add the egg mixture. Enjoy the smell! Takes about 5-7 minutes (depending on the thickness of the omelette and how you like your omelette). Done! Serve with some fresh grapefruit/berries or avocado.

Very simple and delicious. Give it a go! You will be amazed by the flavours…

Irina

Banana Omelette

 

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(Virgin) Olive Oil vs (Virgin) Coconut Oil

Something I have never thought of before, but after going to a Sports Nutrition seminar few weeks ago (where I learned a lot of amazing scientific evidences), I have to share this with you.

(Virgin) Olive Oil has been cultivated for thousands of years! It’s a great source of Vitamin K, E and Omega 9 fatty acids.
Being monounsaturated fat, Olive Oil protects against coronary heart disease, prevents diabetes and lowers blood pressure. It is no surprise that many doctors recommend to follow “Mediterranean diet”!

Coconut Oil on the other hand classed as a saturated fat and as we all know is not as healthy as (mono/poly)unsaturated fats. But the saturated fat in coconut oil is a different type as to those found in meat and dairy and doesn’t have the same health risks.
Coconut Oil is known as Medium Chain Fatty acids (MCTs) which means it is more soluble, easy to digest and metabolised by the body, used as energy source rather than stored as fat. The Medium Chain Fatty acids help with Calcium and Magnesium absorption.

But the problem with Olive Oil is that it is a low heat oil which means if using it for cooking (frying) it has a very low point at which is starts to burn and to smoke (Don’t tell me you don’t get it!). This results in activation of Free Radicals. In general unsaturated fatty acids are unstable and easily oxidized when exposed to oxygen free-radicals.
What are these Free Radicals? Free Radicals are highly reactive molecules contain one or more unpaired electrons, are extremely unstable and immediately react with another molecule (which then forms a new radical – the cycle of free radicals). They damage various body cells and could be the cause for various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, immune system weakness, cataracts etc. Free Radicals have to be neutralized with antioxidants. Fresh fruit and vegetables are great source of antioxidants. No wonder medics, dietitians and scientists recommend eating at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day and include various colours (mix it up, brighten it up!).
BUT there are however also some benefits of Free Radicals such as production of sperm, and eggs in ovaries.

Conclusion even though coconut oil is saturated fat (MCTs) it is a much healthier option than olive oil.

Use (Virgin) Olive Oil as salad dressing without getting those nasty free radicals. Very simple recipe:

Olive Oil
Fresh Lemon juice
Lemon zest
Salt, pepper.
Mix all good together until you get silky dressing. Done!

That now explains to me why I never liked the smell in the house after cooking with olive oil. I found the smell very heavy, somehow poisonous. Since understanding a bit of science, I’ve started using coconut oil and the transformation is amazing. The house smells nice, it doesn’t burn, the meal is much cleaner, tastier and delicious. Check out my recent recipe.

Did you know that Vitamin E helps to keep the skin wrinkle-free and hair glossy? Vitamin K is the green leafy vitamin which helps against blood clotting.

Irina

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Mood Food

I am currently reading a Sports Psychology course book and came across some interesting facts/information which linked to food/nutrition (of course!)

We all know food can affect not only your health, body, digestive system etc. but also mood. The phrase “comfort foods” is familiar to anyone. Unfortunately those so-called “comfort foods” are high in fat and/or sugar which is somehow deceptive. How can high fat/sugar food comfort you without feeling guilty afterward?! For many it becomes a cycle of comfort foods/eating/guilt/mood/depression/comfort foods…..

Here is what I find very interesting:

Mood Foods

Dark chocolate: Elation (an emotion of happiness).
Chamomile, bread, and pasta: Calmness and relaxation
Salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines: Increased alertness and vigor
Leafy green vegetables, fortified cereals: Reduce depression
Oatmeal and low-GI rice: Greater mood stability and more positive mood
Fish, chicken: Alertness
Coffee, ginseng tea: Stimulation
Bananas, leafy greens and almonds: increase vigor
All protein sources, grains and nuts: lowered anxiety and irritability
Dark, leafy greens, avocados, yogurt, tuna, and milk: improve positive mood

Reading these facts made me think. Why are we reaching to high fat/sugar foods as “comfort foods” where clearly from the information above we can prevent the guilt feeling by consuming good mood foods, doing good for our bodies and mind? Why do we care so little while we consume so-called “comfort foods” but care a lot and are emotional only few minutes later? And can we prevent depressions, anxiety, emotional stress by consuming well-balanced, healthy meals made from real food?

Rather than reaching for high-fat/high-sugar foods when you feel stressed or down why not reach for something from above?!

Irina

 
 

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Peas & Broad Beans Risotto – A classic with a twist

I love a good home-made risotto. And over the last few years I tried different versions all of which tasted slightly different but still delicious. But this one I made few days ago is topping all of them.

I used coconut oil for the first time ever and was slightly sceptical but the final result was a sense of pleasure, delight and cleanness… wanting more.

–          Coconut oil (twist No. 1)
–          1 shallot – finely chopped
–          2 garlic gloves – crushed
–          2 celery sticks – finely chopped
–          250 grams arborio risotto rice
–          1 big glass of prosecco (twist No 2) – taste first 🙂
–          1L of home-made hot chicken stock (twist No. 3) – this extra effort is worth it believe me!
–          200 grams of mixed frozen peas and broad beans
–          Basil, mint, chives finely chopped – a good handful in total
–          1 teaspoon butter (real butter!)
–          30 grams grated parmesan plus extra for serving (optional)
–          Lemon
–          Salt, pepper to taste

Instruction

I made my own chicken stock. I know that sounds a lot of work, but is actually not. See my blog here. It is worth the extra effort. Try it out and you will see/taste it for yourself!

Also I used heavy iron casserole pot (twist No 4). Heat the pot over medium heat (careful the iron casserole can get very, very hot), add coconut oil (and smell the amazing coconut flavour which takes you to a far far away land… twist No. 5). Fry shallot, garlic, celery for about 5 minutes. Add risotto rice and fry for 2-3 minutes. Then add prosecco. Again smell the amazing flavour combination. Let the alcohol cook off than start adding chicken stock ladle by ladle. As we all know cooking risotto requires patient and close eye – somehow relaxing. So have a glass of prosecco to enjoy the task (twist No. 6). After 10 minutes add peas and broad beans. Keep stirring and adding more stock (if required). We like our risotto with a bit of a bite. Another 10 minutes the rice has the right bite. Turn heat off. Mix in herbs, butter, grated parmesan. Put lid on and leave for 5 minutes. This will allow the flavours to mix and risotto becomes creamy. Drizzle the lemon juice. Serve immediately! (you wouldn’t be able to resist it any longer).

I found using coconut oil gave risotto much cleaner texture and flavour rather than olive oil or rapeseed/sunflower oil. The reason is that coconut oil is a high heat oil where for example olive oil is not. Means coconut oil doesn’t burn and get smoky/greasy.

Also prosecco worked very well. I guess there isn’t much different between a good quality white wine and a good prosecco.

Happy cooking!

Irina

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