Monthly Archives

November 2019


By Recipes No Comments

Makes 6 muffins

I’ve been testing this one for a while now but have finally mastered it. In Australia savoury muffins are basically found in every cafe and we often eat them for breakfast, but it’s not much of a thing here in the U.K.
I must admit, these are much nicer when warm, but do also make a good snack to be taken cold in a lunchbox.

220g SR flour⠀
1 carrot, grated⠀
200ml milk⠀
1 large egg⠀
50g cheddar cheese, grated⠀
50g feta cheese, crumbled⠀
1 teaspoon ground ginger⠀
2 teaspoon dried oregano⠀
Salt & pepper⠀
65g pancetta⠀
3 spring onions⠀
1 tablespoon tomato chutney ⠀

Preheat oven to 200C⠀
Grease a muffin tray with butter or olive oil. You’ll only need 6 moulds.⠀
Heat a small frying pan on a medium heat, lightly fry the pancetta and spring onions until golden brown. Leave to cool slightly. ⠀
Sift the flour. Then mix in the herbs, carrot and cheeses.⠀
Add the pancetta and spring onions to the flour mix.⠀
Whisk the milk, egg and tomato chutney together in a separate bowl.⠀
Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix together well. If it’s a little dry, add a dash more milk. It should be quite a thick consistency. ⠀
Place evenly in 6 muffin moulds.⠀
Bake for 20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Why I’m not eating my placenta

By Pregnancy, Supplements, Vitamins No Comments

This may be too much information for some. But I felt it important to write, and also sum up the evidence on this topic.⠀

What is it?

Making your placenta into pills seems somewhat trend at the moment. It’s a bit like celery juice and turmeric and their unproven health benefits. Consumption of the human placenta post birth has reportedly been linked to better mood, enhanced recovery and an increase in milk production. With anything this new, we simply haven’t had the time yet to research any claimed benefits or on the other hand any harmful effects to human health. The most common form for consumption is through the placenta being dehydrated and turned into pills, just like a supplement.⠀

Yes, other mammals consume theirs. We are not other mammals.⠀
Yes, it contains lots of nutrients which have kept your baby alive for 10 months. That doesn’t mean we should eat it.⠀

What does the evidence say?

It is important to note the growing body of evidence in this area. A study conducted by Young et al. in 2016 looked at 28 placenta samples to see if, after processing, the 17 hormones found within it were still present. 16 of them were. However the effect they would have on the human body after consumption was not investigated.⠀

A review of the literature conducted in 2018 by Farr. A. et al found that the majority of studies in humans are anecdotal and based on self-reported surveys. This translates to personal experiences and has a load of bias associated with it because it can’t account for anything else that happened whilst consuming the pills. Such as, you are no longer pregnant and may feel better for that fact alone. Your diet may have changed since baby arrived, you may be breastfeeding, you may not. This review also found that no nutrients or hormones were retained in amounts that would be beneficial for mothers after birth.⠀

As with anything there are also risks, including group B streptococcus being passed on to baby if the placenta is infected and remains undetected which has been reported in one case in the USA.

In summary

Whilst there is no doubt interest in this area and ongoing research, for me, these anecdotal reports are not enough. And the fact we can obtain optimum nutrition through our own diet with a few proven supplements is.

Zinc & colds

By Supplements, Vitamins No Comments
Quite a timely post given I’m suffering this week. I have wanted to post on this for a long time, so here goes…⠀

Previous thoughts…

It’s long been thought vitamin C is the cure for the common cold or at least something that will help the symptoms. A Cochrane systematic review published in 2013 looked at 29 studies on developing a cold while taking a vitamin C supplement regularly. It was found that this is only really beneficial for those participating in high level sports but not the average Joe like you and me. There was an overall failure to see a reduction in the incidence of common colds in the general population and supplementation only reduced the symptoms of the cold by 8%. When this has been tested again these results were not replicated.⠀

Research on zinc 

Zinc however, well there is some promising research on this micronutrient.⠀

A meta-analysis conducted by Rondanelli et al (2018) where they looked at 82 research studies found that zinc supplementation can reduce the duration of the common cold by 33% however it must be taken within the first 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. And as for the dosage well that’s a little bit tougher to decipher and there are no formal recommendations. This is also where it becomes tricky because you may not know exactly when that 24 hour period starts. In another review conducted by Harri Hemila in 2011 it was found that a daily supplement of more the 75mg/day was also associated with a reduction in duration but any less and the results weren’t seen.⠀

It’s also important to note these studies and another systematic review by Singh and Das in 2015 reported a reduction of duration but not how bad the symptoms are. The common cold on average lasts around 10 days so if you can get it early you could reduce its length by about 3 of those days.⠀

And finally it seems zinc acetate lozenges are best for the above. The challenge is finding one with an adequate dosage, which to be fair is difficult given there is uncertainty around how much will be of benefit. Many zinc lozenges come with added vitamin C which is totally fine, check the mg content per lozenge and aim for around 75mg/day for the duration of the cold. This is likely to be more than what’s in one or two lozenges. Do be mindful there could be side effects including a bad taste and nausea and if you experience these then dosage should be dropped or stopped.

In summary…

You cannot avoid it completely, if you catch the bug you’ve gotta ride it out, just perhaps not for as long.

#31 BCAA’s

By Sunday Shutdown Series No Comments


What are they?

Branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) have been big business in the health and fitness industry for a while now. That being said I still get asked about them and I still know people taking them. It makes me angry sometimes.

Out of the nine amino acids that make up protein, three of them are of the branched chain variety:

The most important of the three in terms of muscle gain and maintenance is leucine, the other two have no added benefit. So here’s your first hurdle, you are paying for those extra two for no reason. No benefit, nada.

Why do people take them?

Most individuals currently taking or considering taking BCAA’s are those who actually give a sh*t about training and nutrition. They will already be taking on additional protein and be conscious of what they consume throughout the day. They will also be easy to market new products to. The thing is, if you are hitting your protein target/threshold per day then there is absolutely no benefit in taking these. The only time they may be beneficial is in super low protein meals, which you are unlikely to be eating.

The science?

An in depth review of the science conducted by Wolfe in 2017 found no human studies that showed an increase in muscle protein synthesis after taking BCAA supplements orally. And when taken intravenously it actually resulted in muscle breakdown and less muscle synthesis.

A time when they may be useful are for those participating in ultra-endurance events, think #ironman. And this is due to the severe carbohydrate depletion towards the end of the exercise period, we are talking like 6 hours in. Once your carbohydrate stores are gone, your body will start to breakdown protein to use for fuel, not ideal, but by taking BCAA’s this can limit the amount of protein broken down which is going to assist with your performance right to the end and also your recovery too.

If you are an avid BCAA user, try investing your money elsewhere and perhaps think about other areas of your diet and or nutrition which may have got you those results. #justsayin

#30 Manuka Honey

By Sunday Shutdown Series No Comments

SUNDAY SHUTDOWN #30 MANUKA HONEY, is it worth the price tag?⠀

What is it?

Manuka honey is native to New Zealand and is a product of the manuka tree where bees collect their honey from. In recent years it has landed on the shelves of many health food stores and even supermarkets with a price tag upwards of £20, some even coming in at £70. Health claims on manuka honey (and any products containing it) include it’s positive effects on your gut health, treating cancer and diabetes, boosting your immune system and generally being good for oral hygiene. It is both marketed for external or topical use and for ingestion as well.⠀

All types of honey have been praised for thousands of years on their antibacterial properties and have been used for wounds and burns. Manuka honey has a special chemical called methylglyoxal which has specific antimicrobial properties, this compound is not found in standard honey and is what makes it different. However, the benefits of methylglyoxal found in Manuka honey is not quite known just yet. In general terms for wound care there is medical grade honey which is licensed around the world. Manuka honey is not medical grade. And you should not use any honey purchased from a supermarket to heal your wounds at home.⠀

What does the science say?

Most people will see manuka honey and buy it for ailments such as a sore throat and because it costs more and has a fancy rating system on it then surely it must work, right? False. Despite all the claims you read about manuka honey there are no large scale human trials that have looked at its effect on cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol or gut health (or anything for that matter). Most of the limited research conducted using manuka honey has been done in a lab or in animals therefore it cannot be applied to humans.⠀

And finally…

So whilst a well known remedy for a sore throat is a hot cup of water with lemon and honey, the standard stuff will do just fine. And a side note from a sustainability perspective, our bees are in danger so plant some bee loving varieties in your garden next spring or buy some bee bombs, the kids will love them.⠀