Get that vegetable vibe

Get that vegetable vibe – all hail the kale!!

UnknownNational Vegetarian Week 2016 runs from 16-24 May; it is a celebration of all things veggie.  We are all told that when it comes to vegetables 5 a-day doesn’t cut it any more and we should be eating 7 or more a-day.

So during this celebratory week ask yourself how is it possible to consume more veg and even if we could why should we?


For an answer to those questions and a few more check out my new article on the Health Sciences Academy website

IMG_1368I go on to explain that vegetables (and fruit) should form a large part of a healthy diet in order to reduce the risk of suffering from some major illness like strokes, type 2 diabetes’s and some forms of cancer.  Its in part down to the wealth of antioxidants they contain.


veggies on the rise


Perhaps the message about the health benefits of being vegetarian is fining ground; The media, only this week announced that 25% of us will be veggie within the next 25 years.

So whether they are fresh, frozen, tinned, dried, cooked or raw vegetables and fruits will all add fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your diet; without adding lots of calories, fat or cholesterol.  Whats not to love?!

One of the easiest ways to add more veg to your diet is to buy an inexpensive stick blender and blend lots of cooked imagesvegetables into a thick tomato sauce.  This can be used to make a healthy lasagna, vegetable and lentil soup, veggie pizzas, spaghetti Bolognese or shepherds pie.

Another tip is to turn your veggies and fruit into smoothies.  A green smoothie is a great way to mix the two.  IMG_2210Try adding kale, spinach, apple, mint and pineapple to a powerful blender like a nutribullet.  The resulting green mix will be packed with vitamins, minerals (including iron and calcium) and disease fighting antioxidants.  Add a couple of spoonfuls of oats and you will increase the fibre content, which will have you feeling fuller for longer

Try taking your time with your smoothie; think of it as a meal rather than a drink.  It takes about 20 minutes for messages to get from your stomach to your brain to say you are full.    Taking your time also allows all those hard working enzymes to extract maximum nutrients from your food.

If the thought of going veggie is too much then why not start with just one day a week.  There is a movement called ‘Meat free Monday’, and you’ve guessed it you have a meat free day on a Monday (and possibly Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday..!) I have created some great recipes that may inspire you to embrace this concept

If you don’t fancy cooking your own veggie food then why not check out my reviews of vegetarian food in local restaurants around Nottingham. Cafe Roya, in Beeston is a great example of how veggie food can be imaginatively prepared and served

IMG_6140Sometimes I even go further a field like Fellinis in Windermere, Lake District.  Their vegetarian food is well worth the trip

Today is also #foodrevolutionday, an idea devised by Jamie Oliver to encourage more children to become involved in fresh and healthy ingredients.  And you guessed it vegetables and fruits are high on the agenda

Why not share your tips for adding veg to your diet –   what worked best?

English watercress; king of the summer salad leaves

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

watercressDid you know it is the start of the English watercress season, which means that the greengrocers and supermarkets will be full of those peppery verdant leaves.  But why is it so good for you and what can you do with it?

That question was put to me by Jeremy Lewis at the Nottingham Post, and I replied…..

Watercress contains lots of vitamin K that helps calcium to form strong bones.  It also has an abundance of vitamin A, which is really good for eye health.  And if that wasn’t good 14281445-largeenough it also contains good levels of glucosinolate compounds, which many studies now suggest have anti-cancer effects.

So what to do with these little leaves of goodness?  Soup is the obvious choice, adding it to bulk out a salad is another great idea and cooking it into a frittata is a great way to get some additional nutrients.  And at only 26 calories per 100g you can afford to be generous



My full response can be read in todays Nottingham Post or online English watercress, king summer salad leaves





Did we have a healthier diet in World War 2?

Did we have a healthier diet during World War 2?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

This question was posed to me by the editor of ‘Nottingham Live’; an online magazine. Initially my assumption was ‘No’, because we now have greater choice, better farming methods and a greater understanding of what makes a healthy balanced diet. But I wasn’t completely right.


imagesDid you know that we eat about the same amount of calories as we did in the 40s, but those calories come from different food sources and it probably comes as no surprise to hear that ‘sugar’ is where the major difference is. During the war it was rationed to 225g per person a week, that equates to 56 teaspoons. Some of you may think that’s quite generous, but back in those days convenience foods were rare so cakes, jams and biscuits were nearly always homemade, using some of the 56 teaspoons

_75844736_2010623_daily_added_sugar_v3Cancer Research UK has today revealed that children aged between 11 and 16 consume about 75g of sugar a day, or 19 teaspoons (mostly in the form of sugary drinks); that’s 575g, or more than double a weeks worth of sugar rationing during the war


WW2 food. food Nottingham


If you’d like to read the complete article, then please follow this link


The latest National Food Survey also reveals we are a nation of ‘convenience food’ consumers; especially pizza and chips


A diet high in fat, salt and sugar could explain why there are 6 million pre diabetic patients in the UK. Simple changes to IMG_4250dietary habits could have a positive impact on that figure. By incorporating more oats and vegetables (for their fibre and low GI) in to our diets and possibly consider a regime like 5: 2 fasting to reduce our overall calorie consumption, people could not only lose the dangerous fat from around their middle , but potentially move out of the pre-diabetic category


shopping 1950sAnother noticeable difference between the lifestyle of the 1940s and todays was the level of activity that we did then. We didn’t rely on the car as much, our main form of regular transport was the bike or our feet.  We also had fewer labour saving devises so women spend about 70 hours a week doing housework and manual work was also more common


So maybe next time you order that large sugar laden drink and burger at the fast food drive through consider if there is a healthier alternative

Should the day start with breakfast?

Should the day start with breakfast?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website

From the 24th January you have seven days in which to celebrate national breakfast week; It is an ideal opportunity to promote the wealth of wonderful breakfast produce on offer around the UK.

Breakfast comes from the word ‘break fast.’- the first meal you have after a long period of abstinence. So yes it is important but it doesn’t have to be eaten immediately after waking up. Some people’s digestion is a bit sluggish and like me they might like to start the day with a glass of hot water and lemon; there are lots of claims about the health benefits of IMG_3797consuming this drink from weight loss, to detox, to liver cleanse. I drink it because I like the taste and it is gentle on the stomach.  An hour or so later I then have my breakfast; usually homemade muesli, porridge, or scrambled eggs on toast. Protein is great for keeping you full until lunch and eggs are particularly good and could help you to eat fewer calories for the rest of the day

Eggs are a great way to start the day.  Being a ‘complete’ source of protein, they contain all eight essential amino acids; the ones you can’t make in your body and must obtain from the foods you eat.  As well as protein they are also high in essential fatty acids, both of which have a satiety value that helps keep you feeling fuller for longer.

A 2008 study (International Journal of Obesity August 5, 2008) supports previous research which showed that people who ate eggs for breakfast felt more satisfied and ate fewer calories at the following meal.


If I had a choice between a sugary cereal or nothing at all, I’d probably take nothing at all and IMG_2182about 10ish I’d have a handful of nuts and seeds or a rice cake and peanut butter (not always with pomegranate seeds but they are delicious!) or wholemeal toast; all would give me slow releasing energy and good protein. But if that weren’t possible I’d have a small bowl of the sugary cereal with some fresh fruit and some protein and calcium rich milk (or non dairy alternative). Doing so would however potentially give me up to 3 teaspoons of sugar



Extracts of this blog have appeared in todays (23/1/16) Nottingham Post, its also available online at Nottingham Post national Breakfast Week

Some people who like a sweet start to the day and will often have a coffee with a muffin on the way to work. What they may not appreciate is the muffin could have up toIMG_4811 10 teaspoons of sugar and 500 calories. That’s on top of a 250 calorie and 5 teaspoon ladened latte

To put that in contact, it is recommended that our daily sugar consumption should be no more than 25g or 6 teaspoons


I prefer a savoury start to the day and as a treat love having a IMG_4458lazy brunch at a café. My favourite place so far has been Bills restaurant In Nottingham; its rather pricey so it wouldn’t be my regular haunt. A more affordable and equally tasty place is The Kiosk in Sherwood. Their Middle Eastern Fried Egg sandwich is delicious and very reasonably priced


Do you go out for breakfast, if so where’s your favourite place, or are you a breakfast skipper and prefer to have just a cuppa?