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Kate Taylor

CHUCK IT ALL IN CHICKEN TRAYBAKE

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I make this at least once a week, purely because it takes no time at all and uses up loads of leftover veggies. Plus it’s a pretty balanced meal too.
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS
4 chicken thighs
1 medium potato
½ large sweet potato
½ courgette
1 red pepper
½ onion
Chopped garlic
Paprika
Turmeric
Rapeseed oil
Salt & black pepper

METHOD
Marinade the chicken in the garlic, paprika and turmeric for 2 hours or overnight if you can.
Preheat the oven to 180C
Slice the courgette into fairly thick slices
Chop the potato and sweet potato
Roughly chop the pepper and onion
Place all the veg into an oven tray, season with herbs, salt & pepper and a dash of rapeseed oil.
Make four spaces for the chicken thighs and place them in the tray too
Bake for 20 minutes.
Stir the veg to ensure it is brown on all sides.
Increase the oven temperature to 200C and bake for another 20 minutes.
Serve and enjoy.

MUMS CREAMY CHICKEN RISOTTO

By Cooking, Recipes No Comments

Mum is a lover of really easy meals. And being a mum myself I now know why. This isn’t like the traditional risotto you have to continuously stir, it’s adapted so you can out the lid on and come back when it’s pretty much done.

INGREDIENTS
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 medium chicken breasts (roughly 500g)
1 onion
350g arborio rice
1 packet of chicken flavoured cup of soup
1/2 a chicken stock cube
4 cups of boiling water (1L)
1/2 cup of frozen peas (100g)
1/2 cup of single cream
Black pepper
Dried mixed herbs
Parmesan cheese

METHOD
Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat.
Brown the chicken and onion with some black pepper and dried mixed herbs.
Add the rice and stir for 1 minute.
Add the cup of soup mix, stock cube and water. Stir.
Turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
Add the peas and cream and cook uncovered for a further 5 minutes. If the risotto is starting to stick, loosen with a dash of extra water.
Serve with a sprinkle of black pepper and grated parmesan cheese.

Nutrition as we age

By Food for thought, Guidelines, Hydration, Tips No Comments

A topic I don’t spend enough time talking about, however it’s only after recent discussions with my parents, in laws and my husband’s 92 year old nan that I’ve realised it’s a particularly niche area that not many people know much about. I actually spoke at a retirement home on this topic in late 2019 and shared some easy tips the residents could implement themselves or with the help of their own families.

This is especially important at a time when loneliness and being isolated can impact your nutrition status too.

Nutritional requirements change as we hit our late 30’s, into our 40’s and onwards from there. It’s never too late to start but by building these habits early it means you’ll be setting yourself up for when you are just that little bit older. Without trying to over complicate things, and in no particular order, here are just a few science backed tips that can help.

Protein.

Research suggest that as we age, we actually need more protein, yet we tend to consume much less (Morley et al, 2016). Think about your grandparents, would they consume a good source of protein at every meal. Probably not. If we could get every care and retirement home to provide a protein-based drink per day imagine the difference that could make to the elderly population. An increase in protein consumption can assist with the reduction of muscle wastage and even improve rates of new muscle being built. Less muscle to support our frame means we are more likely to fall. Less people falling means less pressure on the NHS and more people living with a better quality of life. Obviously, encouraging protein consumption through consuming protein rich foods would be far more beneficial from a nutritional standpoint but for convenience a drink may be more suitable. Perhaps framing it like a milkshake might get more individuals onboard?

Hydration.

Of all the topics we covered at the retirement home, hydration definitely had the most interest and questions, which in all honesty is great because it means a lot of these residents weren’t hydrated enough. I sent a post workshop follow up with the urine colour chart for them to use. Last year I bought dad a water bottle, he was never drinking enough (water that is). Now every time we Facetime he has it with him, like he’s proving a point. Being dehydrated can lead you to feel less energised, tired and generally flat. It’s a big easy win. Make sure you use a reusable bottle if you can too.

Vitamin D supplementation.

In the UK everyone over the age of one is currently required to take a supplement of 10ug (micrograms) of vitamin D3 per day. This has now been extended to cover not only winter months but also the summer months too due to us being in lock down because of Covid-19. Those with darker skin should also take a vitamin D supplement all year round as they aren’t able to absorb as much vitamin D3 from sunlight due to their skin pigmentation. This also applies to the older population group too, coupled with the fact this group of people spend a fairly large amount of time indoors. Vitamin D is involved in many things, namely, the maintenance of strong bones and teeth, supporting our immune system and has positive associations with mood. It comes in tablets or sprays which may be suitable for those who have trouble swallowing.

Fish oil supplementation, AKA Omega 3.

The research on fish oil intake and supplementation is only growing. Fish oil is comprised of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Studies show it positively effects the bodies reduced ability to build muscle in the elderly (anabolic resistance). As well as helping to facilitate weight loss and assist in improvements with depression. Yet the majority of the adult population fail to consume the recommendation of one portion of oily fish per week which is our main source of omega 3. One average portion is thought to contain around 450mg (milligrams) of EPA & DHA combined. Recommendation wise if you consume no oily fish (salmon, herring, mackerel, trout, sardines, pilchards) you are looking at anywhere between 300-1800 milligrams per day.

If you are taking any blood thinning medication (such as Warfarin) then you should consult your GP before taking a fish oil supplement due to it having similar effects on the blood. You can obtain omega 3 from other food sources however the dose is very low. These include linseeds, rapeseed oil, walnuts and pumpkin seeds. For those with allergies to fish or on a vegetarian/vegan diet there are algae sourced supplements available.

Resistance training.

This was another really good tip for the retirement home in particular as the warden mentioned that they offer chair workouts but don’t usually get a lot of uptake. Your body weight is enough, no expensive equipment is needed. So many people still just focus on cardiovascular exercise in a bid to burn more calories, however by doing resistance/strength training once or twice a week you are in fact strengthening your muscles so when you do go for that run, walk or cycle you’ll perform better and recover faster. As we age, continuing to strength train helps reduce muscle wastage and maintains our bone strength.

In summary….

As always my motto is if every attendee takes just one thing away from every workshop, blog post or social media caption that helps them, then my job is done. And quote of the day goes to one gentleman who was walking outside when I left. In his words “when I heard a nutritionist was coming in, I thought it was going to be really boring, but I actually learnt so much, thankyou!” And that’s what this job is all about.

I’m also pleased to say, mum and dad are now delving into the world of protein shakes and taking regular fish oil supplements, if they can, you can.

ICED COFFEE SHAKE

By Recipes No Comments

Due to popular demand. And endless sunshine. It’s an easy one

INGREDIENTS

1 scoop vanilla protein (whey or vegan)
Ice
150ml milk of your choice
Water
Coffee

METHOD
Boil the kettle
Melt 1 teaspoon of coffee with a dash of water
Put all ingredients into a blender
Blend

SUMMER SHAKE

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I’m always asked about protein shakes. Yes they are a healthy part of our diet and can be a convenient way to get protein in. Here’s a quick recipe. This one works best with a fruit flavoured powder.

INGREDIENTS

Ice
Water
1 scoop banana whey
Handful of spinach
2 pineapple rings
Semi skimmed milk

METHOD
Blend

#38 THE VEGAN DIET

By Sunday Shutdown Series No Comments

SUNDAY SHUTDOWN #38 THE VEGAN DIET

I was asked by one of my high school friends to cover this. And with good reason too. I have previously discussed it in my post on The Gamechangers movie on Netflix if you’d like some further reading.

The vegan diet gets hailed as the be all and end all of healthy eating sometimes. And whilst there are elements of it we can all take into our current lifestyle I wanted to set the record straight.

The main things to think about

  • Excluding all animal products from the human diet isn’t suitable for most people, it can leave the diet lacking vital nutrients and also be a form of controlled obsessive eating masking other problems like eating disorders.
  • Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient which only comes from animals. We cannot make it in our own body. Therefore if we don’t consume animal products we must take a supplement. This is fine in principal, we do it for other nutrients too. However it’s worth noting that when we obtain nutrients from food we get other nutrients too. So in this instance, we get B12 from animal sources but we can also get protein, dietary fats, iron and zinc to name a few.
  • Dairy is the main source of iodine for the human population. It can also be obtained from things such as seaweed however not in the same quantities. To date we have no data on how iodine deficiency may or may not affect those adopting a vegan diet. Iodine is important for brain development, particularly for pregnant women and their babies.
  • From an environmental perspective, yes consuming less meat is advisable. But if we all just stopped consuming animal products, we’d be in a bit of a pickle too. Take the current state of affairs in the UK.
  • Dairies are having to throw away excess milk because it’s not in demand as much as it was. This is because the hospitality sector has near on closed down. Imagine if everyone stopped consuming milk. That’s just one example.
  • What about for losing weight. There is no superior diet for losing weight. It comes down to consistently being a in a calorie deficit.
  • You can safely consume a vegan diet, I’d just ensure you get some advice to ensure you aren’t lacking any macro or micro nutrients. .

So my advice….

Consume less meat. Consume less dairy. Don’t exclude them completely unless its for a medical or ethical reason.

CHICKEN BROWN RICE

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This recipe has been shared with us from a friend @supasparks It’s the perfect one pot meal and you can up the spice if you like it extra hot. Or drop it right down if you if you’re kids aren’t a fan. It makes enough for 4 generous portions.

INGREDIENTS

6 chicken thighs, skinless & boneless, diced
1 mug of white basmati rice
2 mugs of tap water
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander

METHOD

In a large pot (preferably oven proof with a lid) fry the onion in a teaspoon of oil until it’s gone black. It will also leave a residue on the pan. It’s not burnt just blackened.
Add the tomato, ginger and garlic and cook for around 8 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Add the chicken, salt and chilli powder and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Add the water and bring to the boil.
Then add the spices.
Rinse the rice under warm running water until it runs clear.
Add the rice to the pot. Stir.
Cover the pot with the lid or tin foil.
Place in the oven for around 20 minutes. Remove and check, if it’s a little dry add a dash of water to loosen.
Serve with mango chutney and mint yoghurt.

ZUCCHINI SLICE

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A true Australian staple as a kid. Hot or cold. At a BBQ or in your lunch box. Keeps in the fridge for 3 days.

INGREDIENTS
400g Zucchini / Courgette for those in the U.K. (about 2 medium ones)
5 free range eggs
100g of bacon pieces or sliced ham
1 Onion
150g Self raising flour
120g Cheddar cheese
60ml veg oil

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Line a pan with baking paper (roughly 20cm x 30cm. Many roasting trays are about this size).
Finely chop the onion and grated the zucchini and cheese.
Whisk the eggs in a large bowl.
Add the flour and stir until combined.
Mix in the remaining ingredients and season with black pepper.
Pour into baking tray and cook for around 30mins.
A butter knife should come out clean when checking if cooked and it should be lightly brown on top.
Once cooled cut into bars. Serve cold, it’s much better and less gooey.

#37 Soya

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SUNDAY SHUTDOWN #37 SOYA

I get this question all the time – “but I heard soya isn’t good for you is it because of the estrogen?” Let’s debunk this shall we.

What is soya?

Soya is a legume and popular nowadays as a milk alternative. It is also consumed as soya beans (edamame) and tofu.

Why do people think soya is “bad”?

The majority of the evidence around soya being “bad” for you comes from animal studies and those conducted in a lab. We know that the findings from these studies cannot be applied to humans as we are a different species all together and how something affects animals is different to how it can affect humans (I’ve discussed this before). Soy contains phytoestrogens. These are different to the hormone estrogen found in the body. Even though they both contain the word estrogen, the way they function is very different.

Soy consumption in Asian populations and cardiovascular disease

The body of thought existing around soy consumption in Asian population groups and a lower rate of cardiovascular disease has never been proven. Whilst, Asian populations consume a large volume of soy based products and yes there is a lower rate of cardiovascular disease, research has failed to show this is the cause. This population group also consume a wide variety of other foods (think fruit and veggies) which we don’t in the western world. They are also less stressed, they live in sunnier climates and are far more social than we are. This all plays a role in health and cannot be excluded from the conversation.

Soy consumption and bone health

Bone health, particularly in post-menopausal women. This has been well researched and concluded that there is a positive association with soy consumption and increased bone mineral density. This means it’s good for your bone health. However it’s not known if this is because of the protein and calcium content of soy which is similar to cows milk or because of the isoflavones (a compound found in soy). It certainly hasn’t been shown to be detrimental though. (Messina. M. 2016)

A few studies have reported a reduction in blood pressure although this wasn’t the main aim of those studies, therefore further research is needed here.

Soy consumption and breast cancer

Finally, when looking at the evidence on soy consumption and breast cancer a review in 2010 (Hilakivi-Clarke et al) concluded that soy consumption throughout your life can have a protective effect. This is also the case when discussing menopausal symptoms and bone loss. This doesn’t mean you should only consume soy, it means consuming it as part of your diet is safe, encouraged and actually starting it in your youth may have benefits when you are older.

My advice….

…if you cannot consume dairy and need a milk alternative then soya is a good choice. Actually out of all the milk alternatives soys protein content is highest in comparison to dairy, the others don’t stand a chance. And anyone who’s preaching that soy consumption is detrimental to your health…I’d be asking for the studies proving it.

CURRIED SAUSAGES

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A family classic passed down from my nanna, to mum and now to me and my sister.

INGREDIENTS
1 large onion
1 small apple
1 teaspoon salted butter or margarine
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon plain flour
1 cup (250ml) water
1 desertspoon strawberry jam
1 dessertspoon chutney
1 dessertspoon tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon sugar
handful sultanans
8 sausages of any flavour (i used half pork and half beef)

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Roughly chop the onion and apple, discarding the core.
Add the butter/margarine, onion and apple to a pan on a medium heat and cook stirring occasionally until brown. If you have a pan that is oven proof then use that (as this will go in the oven later).
While that’s cooking on the hob, cook your sausages under the grill or in the oven.
Mix the curry powder and flour with a dash of water to a smooth paste.
Add this, the water, jam, chutney, tomato ketchup, sugar and sultanas to the pan once the onions and apple have browned.
Turn the heat down to low, stir until combined and after 2 minutes turn off.
Once the sausages are cooked, slice them into circles and add to the mixture. Stir to combine.
Place the mixture in a baking dish (or use the pan you have from the beginning if it’s oven proof) in the oven for 20 minutes until bubbling.
Serve with mashed potato or rice.
TIP: When making mash I leave the skin on as it adds extra fibre and just deal with it being a little lumpy.