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Monday, 20 October 2014

Healthy eating

I am always learning new things about health and nutrition. It has been a bit of a passion of mine for many years now. I believe that God created different foods, and plants for our healing, and nutrition. If we make good choices, then we can help ourselves by having less health problems, and illnesses etc.

After having being disappointed by The Trim Healthy Mama diet, I decided to do more research on losing weight (I have actually lost 2 stone since then).

I have also since discovered I can tolerate small amounts of xylitol. You can purchase this as ''total sweet'' at Holland and Barrat, and Waitrose. This isn't zero calories, but is half the amount of normal sugar. Beware though, as this is highly toxic to dogs.

I have also decided to try to concentrate on eating more lower GI foods. Gi, is the glycaemic index which has been given to foods, based on how the blood glucose level rises after eating certain foods. Porridge, for example gives a steady response, and is low GI, and Cheerios gives a quick burst, which then slumps,giving it a high GI. Protein lowers the GI content, so it is important to choose protein at every meal, and probably why I lose more weight when I snack on nuts!

Now, it is impossible to cut out all sugar from the diet, because even vegetables. However, I have tried to cut it right down, by not choosing grapes, eating only just ripe bananas, etc. I gave up sugar in tea and coffee a couple of years ago, and that has cut a dramatic amount of sugar from the diet. Think 4g is 1 teaspoon, and I was having 3 coffees, with 2 sugars in each, and 3 teas with 1 sugar. That is 36g of sugar, less, and in ten days is equal to more than a third of a small packet of sugar!

I have a grave concern with how diets such as THM use an awful lot of high fat foods, such as double cream, cheese, etc, and also fatty meats like pork, etc, which also contains nitrates. I believe moderation is the key with everything, even vegetables! We all know the effects of eating too much fruit, and veg.

So, what am I eating, and what am I doing?
Well, I bake a lot of my own, which means I control the amount of sugar, etc, and use good ingredients.
Here is a typical list of what I eat during a typical day:
Breakfast: a small bowl of porridge with wholemilk, and a sprinkling of xylitol.
Lunch: 2 slices of wholemeal toast, with butter, and baked beans.
Dinner: Roast free range chicken, roast sweet potato, and half a small roast normal potato with 3 different veg, and gravy.
Pudding might be some yoghurt, or some home made cake.
snacks include nuts, a piece of fruit, veg, and a hot chocolate made with almond milk, and a teaspoon xylitol.
Occasionally I allow myself a 15g pack of crisps, but usually only once a week.

So major keys to weight loss?
1) Cut down the refined sugars
2) Eat less carbs (you don't need as much bread and potatoes, as you think you do)
3) Exercise. (Very important, as you can be slim, but unfit)
4) Eat saturated fats in moderation, and ditch meats like pork. Free range chicken is much healthier.
I find by not denying myself a pudding, I am less likely to feel deprived. My pudding usually contains no more than 30g sugar, and that is less than what I was having in hot drinks!
This week I shall be experimenting with a healthier muffin in a mug recipe. Watch this space! When I have tweaked it, I will post it.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Natural Toilet Cleaning

I have been using vinegar to clean windows, and generally around the house, but never thought of using it to clean the toilet. That was until a local man said it was the ONLY thing to rid the toilet of the dreaded limescale rings.
Believe me, I had tried everything on the market, but none delivered. All I got was a nasty cocktail of chemicals, which will eventually damage the environment.
So, the first thing is to purchase lots of white, distilled vinegar. They sell it quite cheaply at Asda and Tesco, at around 50p for 500ml.
First put some in a spray bottle, this is to squirt around the rim. Squirt some on the toilet brush too, leave for 30 mins, then scrub. It will start to loosen off, but may take a few applications to come off completely. Do this weekly, at least.
Next, you need to empty the toilet bowl of as much water as possible, and this can be done by plunging the toilet brush up and down. If it is very bad, then you will need about 2 cups of vinegar. Pour it in, and then leave for at least an hour. If possible, overnight is best. Then scrub.
Vinegar is a natural anibacterial product, so it will kill germs dead. Forget the dettol, which costs 5 times as much, and is full of cancer causing chemicals. Here are some more uses for vinegar:
1) cleaning windows- put a little on a cloth, and wipe, or spray on.
2) The dishwasher rinse aid- just pour in, and it will also help kill germs!
3) The rinse drawer of the washing machine- great for softening, and fab for nappies, and towels etc, as it adds germ power.
4) general bathroom cleaning-tackle limescale effectively, and safely.
5) worktops, and highchair trays.
If you can think of any more, then let me know!

Saturday, 4 October 2014


Much as I love Summer, the end of it heralds some great foraging.
Last week we picked a couple bushels of apples. I am going to peel, and cook them this weekend, and use them to freeze for sponges. I will include the sponge topping recipe at the end.
We also found lots of juicy blackberries, which I also made into bramble jelly/jam. It is quite simple to do, just wash them, and weigh them, and add just under the same quantity of sugar to a saucepan, with a little lemon juice. Boil for around 7-10 minutes, and leave to cool. It should set nicely.
Yesterday, we found some sweet chestnuts. There were also some conkers thrown in though, but it is easy enough to tell the difference.
Here is the horse chestnut, which as you can see has less spikes, and different shaped leaves...

The sweet chestnut, which I think sometimes looks like a furry animal! Well, the outer casing does, anyway.....

(pictures courtesy of woodland trust)
Here are some of us picking them...(Good idea to use gloves)

Oh, and I almost forgot about picking Bilberries/wynberries in Wales. They are like a smaller and sweeter version of blueberry. Taste lovely with a sponge on top, and the best organic icecream you can buy!

Interesting, as we spotted just two bushes in Sherwood Forest, the last ones left.

Here is the sponge recipe, to go on top of fruit. This serves six, so double, or triple, as needed.
Marg/butter, selfraising flour (I use some wholegrain, too) sugar, eggs, milk.
Cream 4 ounces marg with a little sugar (maybe 2-3 TBS)
Add 2 beaten eggs
Fold in the 6 ounces of self raising flour.
Mix, and add a couple TBS of milk. Add some vanilla if you like.
Spread evenly over your fruit mix, so it is on top.
Bake at 200 c for around 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes clean.
Enjoy with ice cream, or custard!