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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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(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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Eggs = Performance Enhancers

I have been avoiding eggs (or was very careful consuming on regular basis) for years. We all heard it before, eggs are too fat, too many calories, cholesterol rich. In short, not good for you if eaten on regular or daily basis, an so on. Well you get the picture.

It has changed for me few weeks ago as I discovered and researched that eggs are actually very good for you, especially if you exercise on daily basis. And during my Sports Nutrition course this has been confirmed and here is why:

Eggs are packed with vitamins and minerals, which are essential for human health. Eggs contain outstandingly balanced nutrition with many B vitamins, Vitamin A, many minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fat). And are low in fat and calories! (did someone say OMG!) And of course a perfect source for protein.
But why does my title say “Eggs = Performance Enhancers”? Let take a look at three B vitamins in a bit of detail.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) – also called “The Carbo Burner”
Thiamin plays an important role in the metabolism of energy in all cells because it’s a coenzyme (TPP and TTP) which is essential for energy production. In short, Thiamin releases energy from carbohydrates. Good source of Thiamin is brown rice, pulses, cereals, vegetables and not to forget our good friend the egg.

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – also called “The Fat Burner”
Same as Thiamin, Riboflavin also releases energy from carbohydrates. Riboflavin works effectively with iron which helps to promote red cells blood which transport oxygen. The coenzyme Flavin from riboflavin is needed for the metabolism of carbs, fat and proteins = energy source.
Good source of Riboflavin is milk, beef, spinach (which also contains iron) and our good old friend the egg.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – also called “Feel the Burn”
Niacin is essential for growth and healthy skin. And like Thiamin and Riboflavin, Niacin also releases energy from carbohydrates. Niacin is used in two coenzyme which are involved in energy production from carbohydrates, protein and fat (and alcohol, but I don’t count alcohol as a “good”source of energy).
Niacin can be found in meat, nuts, beef, chicken and yes, you are right thinking, the egg.

So here is a little bit of scientific evidence that eggs are actually very good for you and classed as Super Food. (or shall we call it “Wonderfood”!?)

Happy egg eating!

Irina

 
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Posted by on 21 November, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing, Super Foods

 

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Healthy Savoury Rice – Lunches for Work

Most weeks we make a savoury (brown) rice dish which we can keep in the fridge and take to work for lunch, or have handy for a quick & easy meal at home. The basic recipe is easy and healthy, and normally we’d use cooked ham or chicken as the meat ingredient, but this week I found a couple of packs of diced chorizo sausage on offer so decided to have a treat! 😉

Ingredients:

1 x celery stick, diced
1 x carrot, diced
2 x peppers, diced
1 x cup of peas
1 x cup of diced or chopped meat of your choice
Finely chopped Chilli’s to suit your taste. We like a spicy kick so use 2 or 3 birds eyes!
Half a bag of brown Rice.
Pepper to season & a couple of tsp’s of dried parsley

Method:

Cook the rice as instructed, but not for the full time on the bag as we will fry and then steam it a little at the end, put it to one side. (When the rice is cooking, I chop all the veg ready, then drain the rice and put it in a large bowl, so I can use the same large pan to cook the veg. Saves on washing up!) Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 20 November, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing, Recipes & Nutrition

 

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Sweet Potato & Egg bake

After coming back home from our long weekend in Scotland, our fridge looks very sad…. But still we manage to eat healthy. We are lucky enough to have fruit/veg stand (and free range eggs) every day at work, where they sell good quality food at very reasonable prices.

I bought mangos which are still a little bit green few days ago. I remember from my time in Fiji having green mango chutney. I just couldn’t get these mangos out of my head and all the memories from Fiji….. So I created something very easy but delicious and healthy too.

The Menu:
Chunky Sweet Potato and Egg bake
Cut sweet potatoes in big chunky pieces, drizzle of olive oil, fresh thyme, sea salt and pepper. Give a good mix, put in the oven dish and up in the pre-heated oven (180 degrees) for 20 minutes. When potatoes are cooked and golden brown (check with the knife), crack two eggs in the middle. Back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the eggs are cooked but the egg yolk is still runny (or as you like your eggs).
Served with Mango salsa with some serious chilli heat and Avocados.
So super easy recipe but you get all three macronutrients – fresh carbs, protein, healthy fat, plus vitamins and minerals!
Don’t get discourage by the look….. 🙂

Irina

 

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Peppers and Eggs – A Hearty Birthday Breakfast!

It’s Irina’s birthday today… happy birthday! 🙂

This morning I fancied eggs, but made them with a twist. They were really yummy! Crunchy, juicy peppers, perfectly cooked soft eggs with runny yolk, tasty salt pepper and dill. We ate it with some rye bread and spelt bread and a glass of orange juice. A healthy, hearty, nutritious start to the day! Carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals and a little fat.
We’re off for a run this morning and a bouldering session this afternoon, so need a good start. B)

It’s super easy to make, so no excuses!

Ingredients:

Eggs!
Peppers cut into a thick ring (I broke one egg into a small glass bowl to get an idea of the thickness needed)
Salt, pepper and some chopped fresh dill
1 x Tbsp olive oil Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 8 November, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing, Recipes & Nutrition

 

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