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The Soup Diet

Healthy EatingPosted by Sharon Mon, January 12, 2015 16:38:36

Are you trying to lose weight? One of the challenges that dieters face is staving off hunger, especially for those on a calorie restricted diet. These dieters often feel deprived and hungry because of the reduction in volume of food.

But this need not be the case, studies have shown that people who include low-energy-dense (low calorie) foods which have a high water content (such as healthy soups) will not only reduce the number of daily calories consumed but will also experience shorter bouts of hunger because they feel fuller for longer. I would recommend having 1 to 2 bowls of soup or stew a day as part of a calorie-controlled diet to aid your weight loss. A BBC short documentary (link below) demonstrates just how effective including soup in your diet can be.

A Christmas Tale of Two Choices

Healthy EatingPosted by Sharon Sat, December 27, 2014 13:11:43

Did you know the food you eat can either be healing or toxic? A consistent eating habit can be medicinal for the body or cause unseen harm. In Deuteronomy God encourages the Israelites to make life giving choices – ‘I put before you the choice of life or death…Chose life?’ As we come towards the end of the festive season and the merriments have been had and the treats have been enjoyed, many of us will approach the New Year with a renewed promise to eat better and be kinder to our bodies – to put it quite simply, our subconscious evokes that question that was asked thousands of years ago, which will you choose life or death and of course we all want to ‘chose life’!

Once Christmas is over, every day we make countless good and bad decisions about what we eat. Depending on our mood, discipline or knowledge our diets can range from ‘mostly junk’ to ‘fairly good’ and perhaps even ‘excellent’. Did you have a breakfast that fuelled you through the morning or just provided enough of a sugar-spike to keep you going until lunch? And what about lunch was it fast, greasy and calorie laden or a carefully selected combination of whole foods, lean protein and fruit? Choices, choices! Factor in the cost of stocking our cupboards or buying lunch, options might be limited or way too many.

Some of the negative effects of a modern diet include more incidences of type II diabetes; IBS and diseases of the gut are also on the rise; not to mention intolerances to milk and increased allergies as the food we eat becomes more processed, genetically modified and laden with ‘extras’ to appease the 21st century pallet. By the time the food we eat makes it from the farm to the warehouse and then the supermarket shelf before spending a week or so in our refrigerators it’s no surprise that less than 50% of the nutrients have died before we even put it through a cooking process to destroy most of what’s remaining.

So what’s the answer? Buy locally produced produce; eat plenty of organic vegetables and meats; incorporate juicing and raw foods into your diet? Sure, that sounds like a plan! It is always worth the investment of your time to do the research, learn what foods have a high nutritional value and create a meal plan to incorporate all these goodies. The Food Standards Agency UK ‘eat well plate’ pictured above gives you some indication of portions (download their guidelines below).

If you’re like me and you’ve decided to choose life for 2015, take a moment to encourage yourself and make a few resolutions to eat more healing foods. Encourage those around you and our readers to do the same by sharing your stories, challenges and what you’re doing to overcome them.

Stay tuned to this blog for more on healthy eating, eating plans and nutrition.

Happy New Year and ‘here’s’ to your health and wellbeing in 2015.


Copyright: BristolOne Fitness

Less C.R.A.P. and more F.O.O.D.

Healthy EatingPosted by Sharon Fri, December 26, 2014 16:51:14

Just thought I’d make a quick post today.

They’re a couple of really cool acronyms you can use to help you eat healthy and keep weight gain at bay.

We need to drink and eat less:

C – Carbonated drinks

R – Refined sugars and carbs

A – Artificial sweeteners, colours and Alcohol

P – Processed foods

Have you considered what you are putting in your shopping trolley lately? Unless you have chosen a ‘clean’ diet, the produce you buy from the supermarket today is loaded with refined sugar, colorants, additives, preservatives and artificial flavours. The impact of all of these ‘loaded’ foods is that we, as a nation, are eating far too many calories; not enough foods in their natural state; packing in excessive amounts of refined sugar and carbs and causing our bodies to be overwhelmed by toxins. The body does a great job of protecting itself from the harmful side effects of a modern diet by converting the extra calories into fat; eliminating or absorbing toxins into cells; and releasing more insulin to deal with sugar spikes. But this coping mechanism has its own pitfalls – increased incidences of diabetes, the hardening of arteries, weight gain and chronic disease. Eating a ‘clean’ diet might seem a bit puritanical, if that’s the case there are easy changes you can make to have a ‘diet’ that promotes health and weight loss and reduces the stress food can place on our bodies.

Instead of eating so much C.R.A.P. we could exchange some of these unhealthy foods, with these alternatives:

F – Fruits and veg

O – Organic lean proteins

O – Omega 3 fatty acids

D – Drink enough water

Try making a few swaps at first; it’s not always easy to change your diet completely because old habits die hard. Our brains tell us it’s the right thing to do, but we are somehow drawn towards the C.R.A.P. (I’ll write about food addiction another time). But fitting in a minimum of 5 fruit and veg a day is at least a good start and of course drinking more water.

Let me know what you find challenging about changing your diet and I’ll make some suggestions in another blog. I look forward to your comments.

copyright: BristolOne Fitness

“Sweet for my Sweet…Sugar for my Honey”

Healthy EatingPosted by Sharon Tue, December 23, 2014 14:44:12

It was a popular song in the sixties, and one we sing to ourselves subconsciously every day, perhaps the words have been rearranged slightly to ‘sweet for my sweet tooth and sugar in just about everything’. Our love affair with sugar started in the fifties but was really ramped up in the seventies with the reduction in cost to manufacture processed foods and sweet treats. In particular, the food industry found a way to mass produce a cheaper source of sweetener for our foods (high fructose corn syrup – HFCS) foods became much sweeter (yummy) and because the products were cheaper to make the portion sizes got bigger too.

We are 3 stones heavier today than our counterparts were in the fifties; this is because of the huge increase in daily calorie consumption combined with a more sedentary lifestyle. Sugar has a great part to play in this weight gain. It’s in our cakes, biscuits, savoury snacks, breads, sauces, salad dressings, toppings, pizzas and soft drinks; the list goes on – just about every processed food.

Too much sugar causes weight gain, diabetes, cavities, increased hunger, high blood pressure, an impaired immune system, liver damage and risk of cancer. I’ll stop there because I’m not trying to give you or myself nightmares. No one is saying we have to give up sugar all together, a little of what you fancy is o.k. the trouble is according to studies the average person in the UK consumes 238 teaspoons of sugar each week and this is way too much. “A draft report by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) says sugar added to food or naturally present in fruit juice and honey should account for 5% of energy intake.” (BBC News June 2014 - Call to halve target for added sugar). Interesting right?

Let’s all make a promise to ourselves to cut down on our sugar intake. This is one New Year’s resolution that will be worth keeping.

If you haven't watched this informative BBC documentary, it's worthwhile:

copyright: BristolOne Fitness