Have your cake and eat it

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/ 

Mindful eating – how to have your cake and eat it (But not whilst watching the TV!)

By taking some simple steps and following these tips you can still enjoy your favourite takeaway or treat

Henpecked, the female over 40s online resource has kindly uploaded my article about being mindful when it comes to eating and other tips to enable you to ‘have your cake and eat it’!

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Click on this link for the full article  Henpicked article or follow their tweets

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But below is also a little snap shot of those hints and tip

 

mindful eating

 

Be mindful of what you are eating. Studies have found that if you eat while distracted, you don’t always register what you have eaten and you can consume up to 288 calories more! So, switch off the TV, put down your phone, shut your laptop and focus on your food and you’ll eat less and enjoy more!

 

 

 

eat slowly

 

Slow down your eating.  Appreciate the taste, texture, smell and look of your food.  take a small forkful and chew it properly (20-30 times!). Swallow before you put in the next mouthful, put down your knife and fork.  And finally try and take 20 minutes to eat your main meal

 

 

 

DSC_1228Who doesn’t love a treat?! But whenever you have a high fat or high calorie meal like a pizza always have it with a large salad (go easy on the dressing!).  This will fill you up without adding lots of calories.  For instance a medium 12” pepperoni pizza could have up to 1700 calories.  But if you share it with a friend and fill the gap on your plate with a large mixed salad (with a balsamic vinegar dressing) you would consume about 920 calories.  A big calorie saving and equally as important a reduction of up to 38g of fat (which accounts for nearly half of the calorie saving)

 

 

plates2Have you noticed how plates and bowls have got bigger, both in restaurants and in your home; that can affect the amount you eat.

Research has shown that if you serve yourself from a larger serving dish onto larger plates and bowls then you’re likely to help yourself to 56% more food! So downsize your dishes, plates and serving tools and fool your brain into saving calories

 

 

 

 

Case study – fasting and chemo

fastingFasting through chemotherapy is a new concept that I first heard of when I met Yasmin and she said she was thinking of trying it and asked for my views.  That conversation culminated in me working with and supporting her through the process.

 

 

misoMany people believe fasting means no food or drink is consumed on those days.  That is not the case in ‘fasting through chemo’ Rather like the 5:2 fasting principle calories are restricted to 4-500 per day and is called ‘the fasting mimicking diet’.

The research behind this new concept believes that a short-term fast starves cancer cells and facilitates the chemo drug therapies to better target the cancer, whilst protecting healthy cells.

A non medical way to understate it is that without lots of food (fuel) your healthy cells go into repair and protect mode, in effect hibernate. But cancer cells are highly energetic and constantly want to divide and multiply so they are still very active and therefore more susceptible to the chemo treatment

This method of coping through chemo may not be for everybody but it is a possible option.  If you’d like more information please get in touch or talk to your oncology team

yasmin preThis is Yasmin’s account of her fasting experience

  • how you heard about fasting through chemo

I first came across fasting with cancer and chemotherapy two years ago via Michael Mosley’s co-authored book on the 5:2 diet, Eat, Fast and Live Longer.   Also the Horizon programme 2012-13, which I think you can see on youtube.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2015 and subsequently found that my treatment plan required chemotherapy, I remembered reading about fasting and chemo and revisited the fasting subject doing as much internet research as I could find.  There were some useful discussion forums, published research articles and evidence of the effectiveness in research trials on mice (our closest comparator in the animal kingdom) and some human trials.  I was surprised that it was pretty unheard of here.

  • What made you consider trying it?
Yasmin short hair

a short chop before the chemo

I had some experience of fasting having taken up the 5:2 diet two years ago to help with regular but mild stomach upsets and found it to be beneficial.  I realised I felt healthier with one or two fasting days in the week.  When I discussed the idea with my oncologist and medical team they were supportive if it was something I wanted to try but they didn’t have any advice to offer.  I hadn’t discovered anyone else trying the approach in the UK but, having done as much research as I could, I found the evidence from the US and the explanation for how it worked compelling.  As well as helping to reduce the side effects of chemo, the idea that fasting helps protect good cells from chemo whilst cancer cells remain exposed also made me think it was worth doing.  However, as none of my medical team seemed to have heard of it and their advise was to eat to combat the side effects of chemo I was nervous.  I didn’t want to do anything that made me weaker or more vulnerable at a time when the treatment was going to attack my immune system. In addition, it became clear that I would need to fast for 4-5 consecutive days around chemotherapy.  I had only ever fasted for 1 or 2 days before so it was a challenge.   I became aware that there were nutrition workshops available through Maggie’s Centre, Nottingham and I was keen to learn as much as I could about how I could boost my diet in non-fasting days.

  • What support did you receive?

I was able to attend one of the nutrition workshops Susan gives at Maggie’s just before my first fast.  It was really helpful, first of all giving me some great tips on nutrition and recipe ideas and improving my understanding of the right balance of foods.  I had thought I was pretty knowledgeable but the session made me realise how much more there was to know.  Secondly Susan was familiar with 5:2 and its benefits and although she hadn’t heard of it being used with chemotherapy before she was really interested to find out more and to support me through the experience.  By the next workshop Susan had also done research and had been in touch with the team in America that have been studying the effects of fasting for the past 16 years and who were in the process of applying for a licence for their chemo food kits.  Although this would be too late for me, they were able to confirm the kinds of foods that were acceptable during fasting, as a small amount of food intake (400-500 calories) is okay.

  • What was your experience like?
My 50th during treatment

My 50th during treatment

I restricted my diet during fasting days to 400 calories and reduced/cut out protein and carbs and dairy.  I had some fruit and tended to make things like wholewheat couscous with stirfry veg and soy sauce – adding chillies for some flavour!.  Or salads.  When not fasting but not feeling like eating, I nutribullet/blended a good mix of greens/fruit and fibre which set me up for the day.  Being vegetarian helped but I did have some fish occasionally.  So the main thing was listening to what my body wanted, increasing plant based food, reducing processed foods and fasting round chemo.

I can’t say that I have been completely free of side-effects but I do seem to have fared much better than a lot of people.  It is impossible to say whether this would have been my experience anyway.  I came across the following article recently by a journalist and her experience seems more definitive than mine.  http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jun/03/how-to-get-through-chemotherapy-decca-aitkenhead-cancer-treatment

After each session of chemo I did feel under the weather and for a few days and I felt what I described as ‘jet-lagged’. There were also ‘awake’ spells in the night due to steroids and chemo has brought on my menopause so I have been having hot flushes. My ability to ‘taste’ went for a week or so and there were times when I felt tired or needed a sleep in the day. How I felt with chemo was hard to describe.  Not exactly ill but not exactly well either.  But I didn’t need to take the extra anti-sickness tablets I was prescribed each time, or use the mouthwash for mouth and throat sores.  The tests prior to each chemo were generally good so I also know that it didn’t have a detrimental effect on me from a medical perspective.  My weight went down a few pounds each time I fasted but then came back up again before the next round.  I lost a few pounds overall. I generally had a few days of not feeling well but was still able to function.  The rest of the time I felt ok and by week three back to normal.

The days of fasting were manageable.  I tended to keep busy and take on a lot of fluid.  I did sometimes get headaches which I initially put down to reducing caffeine.  Once or twice the headache persisted despite headache tablets but then I found the next day I felt even better.  The main thing was boredom – eating is such a pleasure!   Fasting felt cleansing and although there were times when my energy dipped overall I felt stronger for it and there was for me a sense of achievement and control.  Hunger pains don’t last and they don’t grow.  When I did eat, I really took my time and ate simple and nutritious food and kept broadly within the guidelines I had come across through my research.

  • Post treatment

    Post treatment

    Things I’ve learnt

Listening to your body is really important.  Also things that in your head are ‘treat’ foods don’t turn out to be during chemo – so the treat became a nutribullet smoothie rather than a jam donut – it takes a while for you to notice the felt experience is different to what your head remembers!

 

Alpro Go On – review

Alpro Go On – review

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

alpro-topWhat better way to celebrate World vegan month than taste and review a new vegan snack.  Alpro Go On is described as “the new plant-based alternative to strained yogurt”.  We all know the importance of calcium within a healthy balanced diet for bone building, blood clotting, nerve signalling and muscle contraction.

 

We also all need protein, the essential building block to help your body repair cells and make new ones

So a product that contains 18% (144mg) of our daily amount of calcium and nearly 8g of protein is not to be sniffed at.

More nutrition facts

I tried the blackcurrant flavour, there is also a mango and a passion fruit version.  The information on the pot is for both 100 and 150g.  Lets concentrate on 150g, which is the size of the container.

alpro-nutrition

You’ll consume 122 calories, 4.2g of fat (just over 1 teaspoon) but only 0.8 is saturated, 11.3g of sugar (nearly 4 teaspoons), 3g of fibre, 7.7g of protein and a collection of added vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, B12, E and calcium.  Powerful probiotic yoghurt cultures (S. thermopiles, L. bulgaricus) have also been added, these are great for aiding digestion.

The protein content in the ‘Go on’ range is certainly higher than any of Alpro’s other yogurts

How does that compare with a non vegan strained yoghurt, lets find out  

Danone Danio Blueberry Yoghurt 150g is also described as a high protein low fat strained yogurt with a fruit layer.  

alpro-danone

alpro-sideAlpro’s Go on has fewer calories, less sugar & saturated fat and more fibre.  Danone’s Danio has less fat, more protein and more calcium

On balance they are fairly similar, so Alpro’s version provides a good vegan alternative if you fancy a protein rich yoghurt.  The high fibre content will also keep you feeling fuller for longer. However, I would like to see a lower sugar content.

 

But does it taste good?!

alpro-spoonThe answer is most definitely …… YES!

The texture is very firm, the fruit base gives a lovely fresh taste and it isn’t overly sweet. The different textures in the layers makes it a nice eating experience.  The 150g serving of high protein makes it the perfect mid-morning or afternoon treat.  It will also make a great post-workout snack.  Add some extra fresh fruit and it makes a great dessert.  All for 85p, at most supermarkets and health food shops

These will become a regular addition to my shopping list

Shreddies with Max Protein

 

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Shreddies with Max Protein

shreddiesThe other day an advert came on the TV, it was for a new version of Shreddies, the malted wheat cereal.  And it got my attention!

According to Nestles website Shreddies with Max Protein is “Delicious Crunchy Oat Granola with SHREDDIES® pieces. Made with Protein from Whole Grain Wheat & Oats. MAXimise your morning!”

But lets look beyond the marketing and crunch some data.

shreddies-p-servingA recommended 45g serving has 181calories, 11g of sugar and 5.85g protein

Now lets compare that to Original Shreddies: A recommended 40g serving has 146 calories, 6g of sugar and 4g protein

shreddies-serving

A couple of things to mention, the recommended portion size of the protein version is bigger, so the sugar content and calories will both increase.  There is almost 3 teaspoons of sugar compared to only 1½ in the original version.

The price may also be a consideration; the original Shreddies 500g box is *£2.49 (49p/100g) and has 12 servings in a box, making it 20p per portion

Protein Shreddies is sold in a 400g box for *£2.49 (61.5p/100g) and has 8 servings in a box, making it 31p per portion

Is the extra 11p per portion worth the additional 1.85g of protein?!

shreddies-o

 

I don’t think it is.  My advice is to buy the original version and serve it with more milk.  A mere 50ml of semi skimmed milk or 60ml of soya milk has 1.8g of protein.

 

 

And judging by the comments on the Nestles website I’m not alone in my negative views

shreddies-p-review shreddies-p-review2

 

 

fuel-protein-bricksNestles are not the only brand to bring out a ‘Protein’ version; Fuel make protein boosted wheat biscuits.  2 biscuits ( a recommended  portion) contain 7.6 g protein and 23g of sugar ( or nearly 6 teaspoons of sugar).  They cost 22½p a portion

 

 

 

oatsOne of the best and cheapest protein packed cereals is porridge OATS, They contain 5.2g of protein), 0.4g of added sugar and a good hit of Fibre to boot.  A supermarkets own brand can work out as little as 6p per serving

Don’t be fooled by the advertising, you are paying extra for increased amounts of calories and sugar!

 

 

*Some supermarkets have both products on offer