Love Your Gut Blog
Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
Nutrition and Exercise
Well done to all who ran the 33rd London Marathon on Sunday! Running is a fantastic form of exercise that can have great benefits for the body. However, the amount of excise required for a marathon can have significant health implication. While moderate exercise has been shown to increase the ability of the immune system, prolonged and intensive exercise can cause temporary depression of it. This can lead to an increased susceptibility to infections, such as upper respiratory tract infections. Gastrointestinal symptoms are also common complaints experienced during long runs, with symptoms such as bloating, nausea, vomiting and faecal incontinence often resulting. This can be due to a number of reasons such as reduced blood flow to the gut, anxiety and poor nutrition.
Below are a few tips for fuelling your body during periods of intense exercise:
- Always consume a varied well-balanced diet to ensure sufficient intake of vitamins and minerals as well as fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
- Consumption of sufficient fluids is essential during exercise to prevent dehydration and to compensate for mineral loss. Fluids should be consumed prior, during and after. Choose a sports drink which will help fuel the body and replace lost salts. Also, make sure to avoid alcohol as this dehydrates the body.
- Following exercise try to consume a small amount of carbohydrate as soon as possible to help replenish the body. Bananas or fruit juice are great options.
Anyone undertaking any large amount of exercise may benefit from consulting a nutritionist.
Monday, April 15th, 2013
This week, Margaret Thatcher’s funeral procession will make its way through the streets of London. Despite the strong political divide that surrounds her 11½ years as Prime Minister, the love she had for politics and her husband Dennis can never be debated.
Baroness Thatcher, without fail, would wake up and cook Dennis his breakfast every single morning. This got us thinking here at Love Your Gut, in memory of Margaret; let’s prepare breakfast that will help you to Love Your Gut!
When preparing your breakfast, remember that fibre is an important part of a healthy diet. It keeps everything moving through your digestive system and helps achieve optimal bowel movements. Try to choose wholegrain or brown bread if you enjoy toast in the morning.
To start you day with a high fibre boost choose porridge or a whole grain cereal. To make your porridge/cereal tastier try sprinkling some blueberries or sliced banana (our favourite!) over the top, this will also help to achieve your 5 A DAY!
Keeping hydrated is also an important dietary factor to ensure a healthy gut, so wash your breakfast down with a glass (250ml) of water to ensure your body remains hydrated, you could also try herbal teas or diluted fruit juice.
Here are a few options to try out;
- 40g Porridge made with 250ml semi-skimmed milk. Topped with ½ chopped banana and a handful of blueberries
- 45g Muesli made with 100g natural yogurt and add some prunes or raisins.
- 1 wholegrain bagel topped with cream cheese and strawberries
- 2 poached eggs served on a slice of whole grain toast (and a thin spread of butter)
Monday, March 25th, 2013
Easter brings the family together for a well-earned break. Make this Easter the tastiest one yet – not forgetting the important Easter eggs!
What are you doing this Easter weekend?
Why not try our recipes below for a delicious Easter feast!
Fruity Gammon – ideal for a relaxed entertaining at Easter, as it requires the minimal preparation, is easy to serve and yet looks very impressive.
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 100 minutes Serves: 6
- 1.5 kg Waitrose British Gammon Joint, unsmoked
- 500ml bottle of Waitrose Vintage English Cider
- 2 red skinned eating apples, quartered, cored and thickly sliced
- 2 ripe pear, peeled, quartered, cored and thickly sliced
- 75g pack Waitrose Semi-Dried Bing Cherries
- 3 tbsp. clear honey
- 25g Waitrose Slivered Almonds
- Place the gammon in a large saucepan and add the cider, reserving 3 tbsp. Cover and simmer for 1 hour then remove the gammon from the pan.
- Mix together the apples, pears and cherries with 2 tbsp. of the honey and the reserved cider. Arrange the fruit mixture in a roasting dish and add the gammon joint.
- Brush the gammon joint with the remaining honey and sprinkle with the almonds. Place in a preheated oven 180°C, gas mark 4 for 40-50 minutes, or until the gammon is thoroughly cooked. Turn the fruit occasionally. Loosely cover with foil if the joint becomes too brown.
- Allow to stand for 10 minutes before carving into slices. Serve the gammon and fruit with stir-fried green vegetables and boiled baby new potatoes.
Salmon with bacon and mushrooms – this is an alternative for those who are not meat lovers!
Preparation time: 10 Minutes Cooking time: 25 Minutes Serves: 4
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 x 150g salmon (or trout) fillets
- 1 x 250g pack smoked bacon lardons
- 1 large red onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 x 150g pack baby button mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
- A pinch of sugar
- Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Season the salmon and fry for 3 minutes skin-side up. Transfer to a plate.
- Fry the lardons for 4-5 minutes. Add the red onion, fry for 2 minutes, and then add the mushrooms, cook for 5 minutes more and stir in the lemon zest.
- Put the salmon on top of the onion mixture in the pan (or use an ovenproof dish) and grill on high for 2-3 minutes. Mix the vinegar, the rest of the oil and the rosemary with a pinch of sugar and season.
- Spoon over the salmon and serve with celeriac mash or crispy roast potatoes.
Finally not to forget the Easter treats – the classic Chocolate Nests!
- Wholegrain mini wheat
- Milk chocolate
- Speckled mini eggs
- Melt the milk chocolate and leave to cool
- Mix together crushed mini wheat and melted milk chocolate then spoon into a muffin tray.
- Chill until set and serve filled with mini chocolate eggs or chocolate-dipped grapes for some Easter fun.
With all the chocolate treats over the Easter break, why not make it healthier by enjoying a bowl of fruit salad along with the chocolate treats. Use the vibrant coloured fruits that are now in season; strawberries, raspberries, mango, pineapple, peaches, cantaloupe melon and watermelon – all very refreshing!
Happy Easter everybody!!!
Monday, March 18th, 2013
How does your shopping basket look? Does it contain more of a certain food group? Are there more chocolate and sugary items in the basket when you’re shopping with the children?
Make sure you pick up a range of foods, which will make your diet varied and interesting. A diet based on starchy foods such as rice and pasta, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish and lentils, and some milk and dairy foods (and not too much fat, salt or sugar) will give you all the nutrients that you need.
So try to include different food groups in your shopping basket;
- Fruit and vegetables
- Meat, fish, eggs and beans
- Bread, rice, potatoes, pasta
- Milk and dairy foods
- Foods and drinks high in fat and sugar (treats once on a while)
But achieving a healthy balanced diet in the modern life can be tricky. After a long day, it is very tempting to grab the first ready meal on the supermarket shelf, which is OK occasionally. But the nutritional labels on these foods show that many ready meals contain high levels of fat, added sugar and salt. If you eat ready meals too regularly, they’ll upset the balance in your diet.
So why not pay attention to the “traffic light” labelling system on the packaging of many foods in the supermarkets. Foods with red labels contain a high amount of sugar, fat or salt. Foods with a green label contain less sugar, fat or salt so will be a healthier option.
So when placing things in your basket, why not opt for foods with more green labels on its packaging?
Happy food shopping this week!
Monday, February 4th, 2013
The cold weather can tempt us to comfort eat and lack of good digestive fibre has been known to play havoc with our guts. Why not try this delicious winter soup to keep you warm and is packed full of nutrients to keep your body ticking over the long cold winter months. Spinach is a great source of iron and the potato makes this a filling meal that will give you lots of slow releasing energy.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1lb fresh, baby spinach, washed
- 1lb fresh watercress, washed
- ¼ lb rocket, washed
- 35 fl oz/1 litre vegetable stock (if not fresh use a good stock cube)
- 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 8
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a stock pot or large saucepan. Sauté the onion for five minutes, then add the garlic cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the spinach, watercress and rocket to the onion and stir.
- Add the vegetable stock and potato.
- Bring to a boil, reduce to a gentle simmer and cook until the potato is soft but not broken up.
- Blend the soup using a hand blender or food processor.
- Season to taste and serve or (optional) serve with bread croutons or with a little creme fraiche stirred through if you are not weight watching.