Wednesday, 20 April 2011


Some people love the sour taste of them, and some people hate them. I love them. Not just for their great taste, but because of all the amazing benefits they have.

They are a great way to start your day, so have one before breakfast. Just don't cover it in sugar like some people do. They are also good in salads with some nuts or you can make sorbet or marmalade from them.

They are full of vitamin C which is great for keeping colds at bay. I am currently drinking a pint of vitamin C suppliment every morning to keep me healthy for the wedding.
A surpring, but really healthy, part of the grapefruit (and oranges too) is the albedo. That is the white skin between the peel and the actual fruit you eat. Most people will try and take as much of that off as possible because it is bitter but it is so good for you as it is full of anti-cancer agents.

One of the famous benefits of grapefruit is its cholesterol reducing benefits. This is because of the levels of pectin it contains. Basically, your arteries will be better off if you eat grapefruit once a day. Red grapefruit is most effective for this.

Other benefits are sleep promotion, helps digestive disorders, relieves sore throats and they can perk you up at the end of a long day.

The reason I first starting eating grapefruit is because of their fat-burning enzymes. They also reduce and absorb the sugar and starch in the body. There are fad diets out there that tell you to eat pretty much nothing but grapefruits for a week. This is just stupid as too much of anything is bad for you. Too much grapefruit can make you calcium deficient and cause tooth decay because of all the citrus. There is another, much healthy way to benefit from these fat-burning enzymes. Cut up a grapefruit in the morning into 6 segments and have 2 before each of your meals in the day. They will help burn the fat you are eating.

The one thing I will say though is that grapefruits high levels of flavoured naringin which will reject pharmaceutical drugs. So, if you are on medication, avoid grapefruit. But your doctor should have told you that already.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

How to treat yourself on a nice sunny day

When England gets one of those rare sunny days, ice cream is one of the first things that comes to mind. If you are trying to be healthy, or lose weight, then ice cream is one of the worst things you can have. It is made from cream (full of fat), sugar (pretty much the devil) and egg yolks (the unhealthy part of egg) and that is without it being on a stick and covered in chocolate (more sugar). So, here is a way you can enjoy a cold treat on a hot day, without chasing the ice cream van down the road. It will also ensure you will look better in those shorts you have been dreading wearing this summer.

Whilst I was backpacking round the U.S. I fell in love with frozen yogurt. In the beginning I am not sure what I loved about it, the taste or the fact I felt more American eating it - I'm a Americanophile! I was also drawn to the fact that it is a low fat alternative to ice cream. Whilst this is true, as they use low fat yogurt instead of cream, they still mix it with piles of sugar which doesn't make it low in calorie. But since coming home and experimenting with recipes, I have fallen in love with the taste.

So, I have created my own frozen yogurt recipe. Whilst it takes a few hours to make, it is really really simple and can be adapted in so many ways, so have an experiment and have a guilt free treat when the sun is out.

- 1 tub of fat free natural yogurt
- Strawberries
- Blueberries
- Agave or honey

1) Pour the yogurt into a Tupperware pot and put in the freezer for 2 hours.

2) Take the pot out of the freezer and squeeze the sides to loosen in. Then mix it to prevent it from crystallising and until it goes soft again. Put it back in the freezer for 40 minutes
3) Take the yogurt out of the freezer and leave to stand for 10-20 minutes until it softens a bit.

4) Scoop the frozen yogurt out and put in a bowl, drizzle a little agave or honey on it and top with strawberries and blueberries.

You can top it with loads of different things. Just don't top it with chocolate or golden syrup otherwise it will defeat the point of it. You can also blend fruit with the yogurt before you start the freezing process, then it is all mixed in.

I'm not going to tell you it tastes exactly like ice cream and you will never crave ice cream again, because it doesn't and you will. But, it is creamy and cold like ice cream and can be sweetened naturally to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way. Therefore, if you care about your health, then it is a great choice this summer.

I shall be blogging more cold sweet treats over the summer too :)

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Mid afternoon energy slump

Hello there!!!

During one of the group sessions at work (I volunteer at a drug and alcohol recovery centre) we were discussing times when the clients felt down and would therefore reach for drugs or alcohol. For a lot of people, this happened mid afternoon, around 3pm when they had a lack or energy and they mistook this for needing drugs or a drink. They were all really surprised when I told them that this mid afternoon energy slump was normal, and happened to most people and that they could get through it with healthy eating. They thought they were the only ones that suffered from this, because of their addiction, but why do you think some cultures have a siesta? Because they are naturally tired in the afternoon! The scientific explanation for this is that your core body temperature drops between 2pm and 4pm, which is a signal to your brain to feel sleepy. The same thing happens at night before you go to sleep too. What you need to learn to do, is stay awake through this temperature drop with healthy eating and exercise.

I think most of us suffer from this, and we usually reach for the coffee or chocolate to cheer us up, and give us an energy boost. This is the worst thing to do as it will initially give you a boost (albeit an unhealthy one), but you will have a massive crash a couple of hours later, leaving you feeling worse than you did before.
If you are not hungry, but you start to feel down, or tired in the afternoon, then a great thing to do is go for a walk. The fresh air will waken you up a bit and the exercise will make you happier.

There are lots of healthy things you can eat to give you an energy boost.
Firstly, you should be eating a good breakfast to set you up for the day so that the energy slump is not as bad as it could be. Eating something slow releasing like porridge and a banana is best. Sugary cereal will lead to a crash by about 11am. Yes, that "healthy" Special K cereal you are eating is full of sugar and very bad for you. Women should be eating around 300-400 calories for breakfast and men should be eating around 500. Carbs like porridge are a great option for breakfast because your muscles and brain function best when they have carbs to fuel them. Eating protein with carbs can increase concentration levels, so egg on wholewheat bread is also a good option.

It also goes without saying that an afternoon energy slump can be affected by what you ate for lunch. So avoid white carbs which will make you feel sluggish. If you are trying to lose weight, it might be tempting to just eat a salad for lunch. This isn't a good idea unless it is a protein filled salad (with chicken, beans, fish, egg or tofu) which will keep your energy levels up and stop you reaching for the chocolate later in the day.

If you want something sweet for an energy fix, then peanut butter on apple slices or celery sticks is a good option. Avoid a lunch that is full of fat, not only is this generally bad for your health, it will take longer to digest and will leave you feeling sluggish for longer.

So, that is how to prevent the energy slump. But what if it happens anyway. Sometimes it doesn't matter how well you have eaten for breakfast and lunch, you just feel a bit down in the afternoon.
Well, apart from taking a walk, drinking lots of water can help if you don't fancy eating anything. Try adding a slice of lemon if you are bored of normal water.

If that still doesn't help, then a snack is the way forward. Good options for energy boosting snacks are nuts, seeds, lean protein, low fast dairy and fruit.

Sunshine can also work wonders. If you have been in the house all day and have not eaten properly, then it is no wonder you are not feeling great. It is found that 20 minutes exposure to sunshine can boost your brain's responses. If you usually feel sleepy at 3pm, then go for a walk at 2.30pm to try and prevent it.

It can be tempting to take a nap, but this won't help the situation. If you normally take a nap, try to stop doing that. You won't feel the benefits immediately, but after a couple of weeks of no napping and healthy eating, you should feel great.

All you need to know is that this energy slump is normal. It could be due to an underlying health problem, but you would have other symptoms as well which would have led you to the doctors already. There are lots of things you can do to prevent lack of energy and boost your energy when it is needed. You just need to make sure that you have a healthy diet.