Archive for February, 2010
Monday, February 22nd, 2010
Healthy foods for battling the cold
I have to admit that by now I was hoping to be able to start talking about getting ready for springtime, encouraging you to throw off the winter layers and start tackling some new health challenges to help improve our digestive health.
But sadly the winter weather seems to be very much here and no respite on the horizon this week. So much so that am seriously considering leaving my walking boots in the car and getting the shovel out of the shed! And not for the gardening.
But as we know, cold weather can tempt us to comfort eat and lack of good digestive fibre has been known to play havoc with our guts. So perhaps this recipe may help us stay warm and healthy at the same time! This soup, which contains broccoli and brussels sprouts has an added bonus as both vegetables are rich in anti cancer plant chemicals. Also the chick peas supply the body with fermentable carbohydrates, serve with a wholemeal roll and you’ll be well on the way to a happier you on the inside and out.
Cream of broccoli & brussels sprouts soup with almonds
365 calories 28g fat
5g saturated fat 6.5g fibre
3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion (chopped)
1 clove garlic
1.2 litres (2 pints) basic stock (see Sauces section below)
1 bouquet garni
2 medium head broccoli
(cut into florets)
350g (12oz) brussels sprouts (halved)
110g (4oz) ground almonds
150g canned chickpeas (drained)
100ml (10fl oz) single cream
4tbsp slivered almonds
1. Heat the oil. Add the onion garlic, and sweat gently in the oil for 5 mins. Add the stock and bring to the boil.
2. Add the broccoli to the pan. Pick over the brussels sprouts and add to the pan. Add the bouquet garni and ground almonds.
3. Simmer gently for 10 mins, add the chickpeas, remove bouquet garni and simmer for another 5 minutes. Allow to cool a little before liquidising, in a food processor and return to pan.
4. Stir in the cream and heat through. Serve with the slivered almonds floating on top.
For a creamier but higher fat version of this recipe, add more cream (up to 300ml)
Tuesday, February 16th, 2010
Time to take some gut love action?
Today is commonly known as Pancake Day throughout the country, and while many people may be eagerly looking forward to pancakes at teatime, the actual day, Shrove Tuesday, has more religious significance.
Before the period of Lent, a period of fasting, many people with religious beliefs would say their confessions and use up food stuffs. Using foods such as sugar, fat and eggs was limited during Lent so these would be used up and have a last big feast.
Traditions have changed somewhat over the years, but interestingly while many people may not fast, the concept of ‘giving up’ in Lent seems to ring true with many people – regardless of religion.
And this idea mainly sees people give up some of the naughtier treats, things which predominantly aren’t always good for your gut. A few colleagues and I at Love Your Gut have made a chocolate pact and have decided that we will not eat chocolate or sweets during the next six weeks. It was a little tough, after having been given a fabulous chocolate recipe book for my birthday last week, but the book will still be there come April. Perhaps though, a little bit of the winter excess around my midriff may have reduced by the time we reach Easter Sunday. I’ll just have to be careful not to undo all the hard work with lots of Easter eggs!
For some people they may decide than rather giving up, they take up in Lent. For instance, have you been thinking about starting a new exercise programme? Did you get a fitness DVD for Christmas that is still in its wrapper? Is your Wii Fit wondering if you’ve disappeared off the planet? Or have you got a juicer collecting dust in the kitchen? Could you start the day with your own fruit smoothie?
Whatever it might be you’ve been putting off, how about making a concerted effort for the next six weeks? You may find your gut health improves as a result. And if you need some extra motivation, then share your goals here and we can support each other.
Monday, February 8th, 2010
Being aware - every day of the year
Driving into work today I heard about a National Swap Day and didn’t know if this was a made up cause or had some substance behind it.
Some people are very anti awareness days and weeks, but not us at Love Your Gut as we of course celebrate Gut Week each year! And we are very proud of the week as we want to encourage people to take time out and consider the impacts they make on their digestive health, understand what warning signs they should look out for and seek medical help where necessary. Sometimes you have to stop being embarrassed and take action. It could have long term benefits.
While the 12th annual Gut Week is still a few months away (don’t worry we’ll be posting details here!) I’ve been thinking a little more about a swap day and how we could incorporate into better digestive health.
For instance – what did you have for breakfast this morning? Did you grab something as you were rushing out the door or a quick coffee en route to the office? Or did you go for muesli or porridge at home?
How many of us get the right sort of fibre in our diets? Are we eating pasta, bread and rice? And are we getting the healthiest versions? Perhaps swap for a wholemeal or wholegrain variety. Perhaps if you go to a deli or sandwich bar at lunchtime choose a different bread product for your sandwich?
I made a swap already today and went for an apple juice instead of a coffee. I know it’s not enough on its own, and don’t worry I’ll be thinking of some more along the way. But what things can you swap today? And will it be too much of an effort? I think you may be surprised.
Monday, February 1st, 2010
Wintry start halts resolutions
How has your gut health been so far this year? Have you managed to shift those extra pounds you put on over Christmas or are you still feeling a little extra weight around your midriff?
If you haven’t managed to get the New Year off to the perfect start then you might be heartened to know you’re not alone. A recent Yakult survey has shown that 73% of Brits have planned a new year health kick but the poor weather in January – the coldest for 20 years – has meant that about a third of people delayed their plans until they were sure the snow and ice had passed whereas one in five have said they would wait until February.
And there’s nothing wrong in waiting if your new digestive health plan is set to be a long term plan. Because the long term benefits will still be achieved. But make sure that you make your goals realistic and achievable. The same way that you may look at setting realistic and achievable goals at work, aim to set the same goals when looking at your health plan.
To get you started, we’ve got some top gut health nutrition tips from one of our Love Your Gut specialists:
•1. Nourish with nutrients & top up your good bacteria – The gut processes and absorbs nutrients from food so eating a healthy, varied diet, rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals is crucial. The good bacteria in your gut help your body to break down nutrients and reduce or neutralise the bad. Probiotic products contain billions of good bacteria which top up your natural supply.
•2. Sleep well but keep moving – Sleepless nights and stressful days can affect our bowel function, appetite and body weight so sleep is essential for re-charging our system. ‘Going regularly’ keeps our bowels moving and our digestive system on track. Exercising regularly and not smoking are also big contributors in improving gut health.
•3. Drink plenty of fluids – Drink 8-10 glasses a day. Drinking sufficient fluid keeps us hydrated and helps to prevent constipation.
If you’re committing to start again in 2010 why not share your stories with other Love Your Gut followers? We’d love to hear how you’re doing and also any advice you may have for others.