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Is Healthy Eating a luxury?

We get to hear it all the time – healthy eating is unaffordable, complicated and takes too much time and effort. But perhaps all these are “easy” excuses?!

In my opinion, Healthy Eating doesn’t necessarily mean Organic food, from farmers/market or health shops only. It is easy to achieve by shopping at the local supermarket and even if you are on a budget. Expensive doesn’t automatically mean healthy! There are easy steps to follow when shopping at the big supermarkets (and not to fall for the big marketing foods). But lets start from the beginning…….

A few days ago I read an interesting comment from a Psychology professor at University of Oxford. He states that we can accomplish a healthy eating plan/life style by buying a few basic ingredients like eggs, chicken, potatoes, milk, apples, bananas, cabbage, onions, garlic, beans (even baked beans) and other fruit/vegetables which are in season….. The list could be huge and those are very basic, simple ingredients which are easily accessible and affordable, and can make up healthy meals/snacks. That made me think…. what steps do we need to take? How and when? Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on 1 December, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing, Recipes & Nutrition

 

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Do our childhood eating habits affect us later in life? (And how much?)

I recently published a blog about the discoveries I am making while studying a Sports Nutrition course and my blog about Food Advertising. And somehow it make me thinking about my own childhood, what I eat and how I think now (after a long journey to this point). Here is the story….

As some of you might know, I was born and raised (for 12 years) in Kazakhstan (Karaganda to be exactly), in a pre-town area with very few shops/café within walking distance – about 15-20 minutes. No bus route to these shops only to the city centre or bigger parts of town. Our school was in walking distance too, about 10 minutes walk, maybe more if we start messing around with other kids. Just a bit of fun before/after school…. So as you can see walking was the main source of “travel”. No matter what the weather, in rain, hail, snow storm (oh yes, big snow storm), temperature outside etc.

Growing up in Kazakhstan was harsh, especially as a German national. I was bullied a lot in the school because of my nationality. I was always jealous at the children growing up in the cities (because they had a toilet in the house and ours was outside, no matter the weather you had to go….). When I was old enough to understand what my parents meant by “Western”, I dreamt about those big, free, open minded countries. Big opportunities….

But never the less thinking now I had great childhood in terms of active, outdoors live, neighbourhood, looking after each other, or just being a child.  And fresh food straight from our own back garden (or neighbour’s, just because it tasted somehow better ?! J). You think now what this story has to do with the healthy living, nutrition, food? Well let me take you to what I ate and snacked on during my childhood. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 28 November, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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Food Advertising

On a sunny Saturday I was stuck in Saturday’s lunch time traffic on my way to The Mall (shopping mall), listening to the radio….
When I heard an advert about sausages. The play-actor in the advert (in this case a stressed and how it sounded to me, young mum) was promoting the sausages as a way to keep her children quiet so that she can have a moment of peace. That is when it became clear to me that the food advertising nowadays is mainly based on fast, convenient and unfortunately unhealthy food. We rarely see or hear healthy, nutritious food in TV/Radio etc. adverts (and if there are any those are usually fake “healthy” foods). Shouldn’t those kind of marking sources be used as an education channels?

Back to this sausage advert – at no point during the 20 second advert the mum was referring to the nutritional values of the product (in this case we all know that the sausages are not really a healthy option, unless they come from a good source like direct from farmers) or taste, texture etc. All she was happy about, is that her children were quiet…. For a moment.
Is that the only important factor for the majority of the population? Do we (as a society as a whole) actually care what goes into our children – our future? And…. Are we blindly trusting the food manufactures? Food Marketing? Food Advertising regulators? Or is it all just about savings? Big profit for the food industry? What is a “healthy” dose of junk food marketing? If any…..

I never thought or paid much attention to the marketing of junk food and sugary beverages (or any food adverts). I researched the food advertising regulations in the UK and found this recent study. Very interesting! So even though there are regulations in place, how and why do junk foods/beverages (including so-called “diet” drinks) get predominantly advertised? And why are there not tougher measures being introduced? Are governments in developed countries scared of the food industry? Scared to loose the big income which than they have to spend (or overspend) on high NHS costs (public health insurance)?

In my opinion the food adverts broadcast should include healthy foods, explaining their nutritional values, what vitamins, minerals are present in that food, why are those vitamins/mineral good and what they do.
Since doing my Sports Nutrition course I learned how important a well balanced nutritious diet is. What role vitamins and minerals play in our bodies and how important those are for human health, and what happens if our bodies don’t get enough of those vitamins/minerals. It is only the basics I’ve learned so far but even they help me to make the right choices while shopping, reading the labels for hidden “stuff”  and creating healthy, balanced and nutritious meals/snacks.

I do understand that not everyone has time, money or particular interest in nutrition to do such a course. That is why it is so important to use the food advertising as an education source to reach to the general population (as it seems that we spend a lot of our free time in front of the television anyway). And then there is the money factor, especially in the times of recession and a double dip recession. BUT shouldn’t we invest more in our health and our children (our future) rather than into the big fat and already rich fast-food manufacturers? Shouldn’t we better support our local farmers and growers who can you tell exactly what is in their products. Clearly that is the way for healthier and happier lives….

Irina

 
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Posted by on 22 November, 2012 in Health & Wellbeing

 

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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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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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