Monthly Archives

May 2019

#16 Coconut oil

By Sunday Shutdown Series No Comments

SUNDAY SHUTDOWN #16 Coconut oil, the most superior oil in the world right? Hmmm let’s see…⠀

Coconut oil started becoming trendy in the U.K. about 5 years ago and has since apparently contributed towards weight loss, better skin, enhanced memory and supporting a healthy heart.⠀

So what do we know about coconut oil:⠀
? It’s high in saturated fat. Don’t immediately think “bad” it’s just a fact. This also means it’s solid at room temperature.⠀
? It flavours food, so if you don’t like the taste of coconut oil it’s probably not for you.⠀
? It’s a stable cooking oil but shouldn’t be used for frying as it has a low smoke point, ie. it burns easily.⠀

A review of lots of studies (meta analysis) by Eyres et al in 2016 found that it does raise total and LDL (the dangerous type) cholesterol more than other plant oils (like sunflower, olive or rapeseed) but less than butter. So if you have high cholesterol may be best to chose another oil. ⠀
On the weight loss front, science talk coming……it was once thought that coconut oil behaved in the same way as medium chain triglycerides (MCT) which when consumed can reduce food intake by making you feel more satisfied with the meal you’ve consumed. However, a clinical study conducted by Kinsella et al in 2017 found this was not the case and coconut oil does not work in this way. So that’s out the window too. ⠀

Any information you see about skin health is purely anecdotal which means whilst it may work for some, it won’t for others. ⠀

The truth is there are simply not enough studies out there to show what impact, positive or negative coconut oil has on our overall health. So be sensible, if weight loss is your goal I wouldn’t recommend adding extra fats to your diet. If health is your goal my advice has always been to use a variety of oils, that way you can benefit from the nutritious properties of them oil. ⠀
? Rapeseed/canola oil for frying⠀
?Olive oil for roasting⠀
? Extra virgin olive oil and/or sesame oil for dressings or anything that doesn’t involve heating⠀
? Coconut oil for baking⠀

#15 Sweeteners⠀

By Sunday Shutdown Series No Comments

SUNDAY SHUTDOWN #15 Sweeteners

I blogged on this last year which is useful for further reading, however wanted to write up a short summary for anyone who just wants to know the facts. Now.⠀

Low calorie sweeteners (LCS) come in a few different forms, artificial or a little more naturally from plants, you’ll know these as things like aspartame, saccharin or stevia. They are typically used in food manufacturing to replicate the taste of sugar without the calories or the damage to teeth. Many consumers now prefer the taste of the products made with LCS over their sugary counterparts.⠀

The current research base tells us that artificial sweeteners are not harmful to human health. The majority of studies showing any negative effect or link to disease have been done on animals and the initial cause for concern started way back in the 1970’s. Needless to say research has come on a fair bit since then. There are some observational studies which show that consumers of sweeteners tend to have a higher BMI, however, a meta-analysis conducted by Rogers et al (2016) found that sweeteners may aid weight loss. Given that this period of time (during weight loss) is not life long, consumption during this short term period while behaviour change is discussed may be a worthwhile consideration.⠀

There was once a school of thought that using artificial sweeteners meant you were more likely over eat at other occasions throughout the day. However, a recent randomised controlled trial by Fantino et al (2018) showed that short or longer-term consumption of LCS beverages with meals does not affect appetite and hunger or overall calorie and food intake.

And practically from a coaching perspective, if you are trying to lose weight and you can cut circa 150 calories from swapping a sugar sweetened beverage to a “diet” variety then you should. Done.⠀


By Recipes No Comments

Makes 14 cakes or 4 burgers

Hands up, this was my husbands creation and I stole it from him. Sharing is caring and all that. These make lovely mini chicken cakes which you could add to a stir fry or have with a salad. Equally you can make them into larger style burgers. They have a fresh yet spicy taste and can be enjoyed hot or cold.

400g chicken mince
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
40g grated carrot, (1 small)
1 medium onion
2 dessertspoons red thai curry paste
Salt & pepper
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
1 dessertspoon soy sauce
1 medium egg
1 teaspoon mixed spices

Finely chop the onion.
Heat a pan with one teaspoon of rapeseed oil and gently fry the onion, garlic and ginger for 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Mix all remaining ingredients together with the onion mix. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Roll into bite sized pieces or 4 larger burgers
Heat a frying pan on medium with 1 teaspoon of rapeseed oil.
Place the cakes in the pan and fry for roughly 5-6 minutes each, turning halfway through.
Enjoy warm or these will keep in the fridge for 2 days.

#14 Milk and dairy

By Sunday Shutdown Series No Comments

SUNDAY SHUTDOWN #14 Milk an dairy: but mostly milk because to cover dairy as an entire category is too much information for a Sunday.⠀

It was posed to me at a workshop recently “humans are the only mammal that drink milk from another animal” and that the fact I was referencing cow’s milk as a good source of nutrition was wrong. We are also the only animal to drive cars, peel our vegetables, cook using gas and wear clothes and but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Does it?⠀

So I just wanted to set the record straight. Dairy is one of the best sources of nutrients we have available to us. It contains calcium and vitamin D which help to protect our bones and B12 which is important for red blood cells. Protein to aid muscle repair and growth. Water and electrolytes for hydration levels and cell regulation. Cow’s milk is pretty much our only source of iodine, a mineral often overlooked yet extremely important for pregnant women and young children, it helps our brain develop. (Many plant drinks don’t contain it so check the label). It’s also relatively cheap, tastes nice but unfortunately doesn’t have a great carbon footprint.⠀

Dairy and cancer risk. There is no research to suggest dairy increases or causes cancer. In a meta-analysis conducted by Lu et al in 2016 (this is where lots of studies are reviewed and combined into one review so the research is strong) no relationship between the two was found.⠀

Bone health. There was once a school of thought that dairy consumption negatively affected bone health. Ie. Caused fractures. What we do know is that milk consumption as a child is most important as this has a protective effect on bones later on in life.⠀

Acne I hear you say? There could be a link here, but only in some people. Looking at the small number of studies that have been published, those with an increased dairy intake also had increased presence of acne. However, the evidence is only observational which means it’s not strong enough to link the two together.⠀

Lactose intolerance is when your body cannot digest lactose from dairy products. Some children may experience an intolerance to lactose but grow out of it after about 1 year. True dairy allergy only affects about 1-2% of children. It’s worth noting that when you routinely stop consuming dairy products, the body can produce less (down regulate) lactase. This is the enzyme that digests lactose (milk). Therefore when/if you reintroduce it you may experience problems digesting it until your body can regulate the lactase enzyme again.

If you are wanting to try plant based drinks (they aren’t milk really) then go for it. But not at the sole detriment of cows milk. I’d advise to include both. Cows milk for coffee, almond milk for cereal.

Also post endurance exercise milk is very hydrating, more than water in fact. It contains mostly water but also electrolytes and protein for muscle recovery.

#13 Good food vs bad food vs just food

By Sunday Shutdown Series No Comments

SUNDAY SHUTDOWN #13 Good food vs bad food vs just food: think about that for a minute.⠀

I’m getting pretty fed up of hearing people use a “feeling” or “emotion” to describe a specific “food” but it’s so inherently engrained in our lives it seems normal. Us of a certain era have called foods good or bad for as long as we can remember, it’s almost just “what we know”. However, food is not good, bad, dirty, healthy, clean, guilt free, a treat or unhealthy.⠀

Most people categorise bananas as healthy or good, yet only eating bananas wouldn’t be that good or healthy for you would it?⠀

Sure food can be part of a happy occasion, it can make you feel great for a number of reasons and sometimes not make you feel very good at all, think sick, bloated or by causing a reaction such as an allergy. But it is so much more than good or bad, it gives us energy, helps us stay focussed, forms part of our social lives and keeps us alive!⠀

So the next time you call a food good or bad, try to catch yourself and reframe it as just food. Remove the rule. Focus on looking after yourself. ⠀

Rather than restrict bad foods and only eat good foods, try to allow yourself all of the things you love but work out when and how much you need them within the context of your whole diet and lifestyle. ⠀

This also takes time. It won’t happen overnight. No good foods. No bad foods. Just foods.

Also Sundays are for roast dinners. Always. ⠀