“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…” There’s no other ingredient half as evocative of Christmas than the humble chestnut. You can buy fresh chestnuts and cook them yourself, or buy ready cooked.
To roast, pierce each nut and roast the nuts on a tray at 200˚C for 15 mins.
To boil, cover with cold water and bring to the boil, and simmer for 3 mins. Scoop a few out and peel off the shell. They become harder to peel as they cool, so keep them in hot water until you’re ready.
Chestnut, bacon + parsnip soup
Courtesty of BBC Good Food Magazine
4 chopped rashers smoked streaky bacon
6 parsnips, peeled and chopped
200g cooked, chopped chestnuts
Drizzle of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 chicken stock cube
Fresh thyme (4 sprigs)
Fry the bacon in the oil until crisp. Remove half the bacon and set aside until later. Add the onion and garlic to the pan, stirring until tender, then add the parsnips. Cook for another 5 mins, then crumble in the chicken stock cube.
Add the milk, 600ml water, the thyme and chestnuts. Cover and simmer for 30 mins until the parsnip is tender.
Blitz with a hand blender, then season to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with the reserved bacon.
Approx 1 tsp Coconut oil, 2 eggs, banana, plain yogurt (or plain soya yogurt/coconut yogurt), apple and cinnamon
Heat oil in a frying pan
Meanwhile mash the banana and add to the eggs, beat together
Pour into the frying pan. You can make a big pancake or small ones like drop scones. I must admit making a big one doesn't always turn out to be a perfect pancake...it often falls apart but still tastes yummy!
Once you have cooked the batter in the frying pan on both sides, tip onto a plate and put the yogurt, apple and a sprinkle of cinnamon on the top
Enjoy! This takes about two minutes to make so no time excuses please!!!
Apple crumble – and the smell of it cooking – is one of the most wonderful things about October. This healthy version uses dessert apples rather than tart cooking apples, meaning no sugar is needed for the filling to taste sweet.
Healthy apple crumble
For the topping
30g wholewheat flour, gluten free flour, or millet flour (do not use coconut flour)
25g chopped pecans
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
25g unsalted butter, melted
For the filling
750g chopped red apple*
2 tbsp cornflour
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 180˚C, and grease an 8”-square pan.
To make the topping, combine the oats, pecans, flour, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the maple syrup and melted butter. Stir until fully incorporated.
For the filling, mix the apples with the cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl until completely coated.
Transfer the filling to the prepared pan, and gently press down with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with the topping. (The topping tends to clump, so try to break it up into fairly small pieces.) Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the apple pieces are tender. The juices will start to thicken as the crumble cools.
* Fuji’s are ideal but Gala and Braeburn apples would work as well.
DISCOVER YOUR DOWNSIDE TO LOSING WEIGHT!
Yes, there really is one and it might be holding you back - so here’s what you can do about it…!
This might be a familiar scenario. You’ve been doing really well with what you’re eating and drinking. You’ve maybe been more consistent with your attempts to exercise (or, hang that, actually DOING it). But then you eat a whole box of cream cakes (or whatever). You’re not even hungry. You can barely remember doing it. But you did. And now you feel annoyed. And puzzled.
Welcome to the land of self sabotage. From a logical point of you, smart women can’t figure out what just happened. Why would you be getting in your own way and wrecking everything you have been working towards?
There are two sides to diet sabotage. There’s the downside that you feel bad and are putting the brakes on your progress. Then there’s the upside – you’ve something nice to eat that maybe you have denied yourself in a while.
There are many ways you can sabotage your progress but what I want to talk about today is when you sabotage without being conscious of wanting something to eat. Without being consciously drawn into the biscuit barrel.
You really need to look at the worst case scenario. One of the very common reasons for sabotaging your diet is fear of failure. You might wonder, ‘what if I have a goal and I fail?’
But worse still, what if you got everything you wanted? What would happen then? What would happen to the YOU you know and love? Would other people hate you?
Go and get yourself a notepad and pen because we’re going to do a little brainstorming exercise to get through this barrier… I’ll wait while you get them…
Write down your weight loss (or other) goals on the paper. For each of the goals on your list, you’ll now want an extra page. Write the goal in the middle of the page and draw a circle around it. Now start to brainstorm all the possible downsides to your goal. Write each point somewhere on that page. You can use lines coming off the central circle if you like. Whatever works. This is just for you, so get it all down. Even if it seems crazy or ridiculous.
You might be thinking that this is a crazy exercise or wonder how this will make a difference. It will, believe me. It is hugely important and gives you valuable information. Remember that successful weight loss for life is not going to come from willpower alone. The only way through this is to get rid of all the stuff in your head that is holding you back. If part of your brain is telling you that BAD THINGS will happen if you lose weight, what do you think your outcome is going to be?
Let me give you an example. You want to learn to eat more healthily and lose weight. Consider all the unintended negative consequences of that. Your first thought might be ‘there isn’t a downside; that would be great’. Believe me, there is always something…
Dig a little deeper and you might find things like:
If I commit to eating healthily, I’ll never be able to eat … again. And I would hate that.
If I eat healthily, I won’t be able to go out for dinner.
I won’t be invited to dinner parties as people will think I need to eat weird food
I’ll have to buy new clothes, and that would cost too much money.
People will treat me differently, and I don’t want that. It will be difficult to know who to trust.
My husband will hate the new me. He always says he loves my curves.
My friends might be jealous of my weight loss and talk about me behind my back or exclude me from things we used to do together.
I’ll miss the cosy nights in front of the TV with my husband and a giant chocolate cake.
I’ll never be able to lose enough weight, so what’s that point in starting?
Backhanded compliments (like ‘wow, you look so much better’) that insult me will make me miserable.
What if I start getting obsessed?
It doesn’t matter how crazy it seems, get down EVERY SINGLE downside you can think of. Huge ones, small ones, tiny ones. It doesn’t matter. Some of the things might be unresolved fears from way back.
What else can you write?
Even when you feel you can’t think of anything else, where are always a few more.
You might have a list of 15 to 20 downsides to eating healthily and losing weight. Read over what you have got and chances are, there will be two or three that really hit home.
It will start to dawn on you that YOU are holding yourself back from getting healthy and losing weight because of these fears you have (however crazy). There is part of you that is so scared about changing that you will do anything to keep yourself on familiar ground and stuck. And that is why you are sabotaging your goals.
In writing all this stuff down, there’s a high likelihood that none of it will happen. It also gives you some work to do. Naming your fears isn’t showing weakness. It’s the starting point, and voicing them releases the hold they have on you.
Now, I hear you shout, what do I do about it? For some people, simply recognizing the fears and how crazy some of them are is enough. For most people, you’ll want a helping hand.
The beauty of health coaching is that together we can work through whatever is holding you back and, through our sessions, move you forward. If any of this resonates with you, message me or give me a call on 07765 869670 to see whether a coaching programme is what you need right now. Diet alone isn't enough...we need to sort your head out too!
1⁄2 Cucumber, cut into 1cm chunks
175g Cherry tomato, halved
3 Spring onions , finely sliced
Handful parsley , roughly chopped
Handful coriander, roughly chopped
1tbsp Olive oil, plus 1tsp lemon juice
4 Turkey steaks
FOR THE TAHINI DRESSING
11⁄2tbsp Tahini paste | 11⁄2tbsp Plain yoghurt
Juice 1⁄2 lemon | Garlic clove, crushed
1⁄2tsp Clear honey
Cook the quinoa in a pan of boiling water – make
sure you don’t overcook it, should be about 10
minutes, watch for the seed popping open
Drain and leave to cool while you prepare the
turkey and salad
Tip the cucumber, tomatoes, spring onions and
herbs into a large mixing bowl. Pour over 1tbsp
olive oil & lemon juice, season & mix together
Heat a griddle pan and, when smoking hot, rub the
turkey steaks with 1 tsp olive oil. Cook for about 5
mins on each side, depending on thickness
Stir together all the dressing ingredients along with
3 tbsp water. Toss the quinoa together with the
salad and arrange on plates. Cut the turkey into
thick slices, pile up on the quinoa and drizzle over
Healthy Chocolate Brownie (Yes Healthy)!!!
100g (4oz) good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
Plus 50g (2oz) finely chopped into chips
150g (5 ½ oz) coconut oil, butter or dairy free margarine
100g (4oz) Xylitol
2 ripe bananas, mashed
4 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract (not artificial flavouring vanilla)
150g (5 ½ oz) ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
25g (1oz) cocoa powder
200g (7oz) hazelnuts, chopped
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4
Line a 22cm (9in) baking tin with baking paper
Melt 100g of chocolate over a bain marie (bowl over boiling water) or in the microwave
Cream the oil, butter or margarine and xylitol until soft and fluffy, then either blend in the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or, do it by hand.
Beat in the chocolate, bananas, beaten eggs, vanilla extract and then stir in the chocolate chips, ground almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and chopped hazelnuts
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for around 20 minutes or until the mixture no longer wobbles when shaken and the top is just firm to touch. You don’t want to cook it for too long or the brownies will lose their squidgy quality. Leave to cool, then cut into slices for serving
(Holford P “Delicious, Healthy, Sugar-Free”)
When it comes to snacks (scratch that, when it comes to ANY kind of eating), it’s important to include some protein and, ideally, some fibre. Why? You need protein (and fibre) to keep your blood sugar stable, so you’ll have a constant supply of energy to get you through to lunch or your evening meal
So what can you eat?
What you pack for snack will depend on the facilities you have at work. No fridge? You’re going to want to pack your snacks every day from home. In practice, most of the people I see in clinic have access to a fridge. Perfect! This means you can keep small tubs of goodies like hummus and cottage cheese in the fridge and store bulkier items like rice cakes, oat cakes, jars of nut butters, assorted bags of nuts or protein bars in your desk drawer (that is what the big one bottom left is for, isn’t it?).
Here are my top healthy snacks to keep at work
1) 2 oatcakes with sugar free cashew or almond nut butter (superior to peanut butter but, hey, if peanut’s all you’ve got, don’t worry)
2) Hummus with crudités like raw carrot, cucumber, cauliflower, peppers, courgette, celery – choose ones you like but go easy on the cauliflower if you have a thyroid problem
3) Fruit and nuts. An apple slices with nut butter of your choice (or if this is too messy for you, apple or pear and a small handful of nuts)
4) Small handful of seeds (pumpkin and sunflower) and a chunk of cheese no bigger than a small match box
5) 2 oat cakes with cottage cheese and tomato or cucumber slices
6) Berries and 4 walnuts
7) 2 squares of dark chocolate and an apricot
8) 5 olives and a mandarin
9) Nairn's ginger oat biscuit and 2 Brazil nuts
10) Small pot of Greek yoghurt with handful of raspberries
11) Half a Bounce Ball
12) A handful of roasted chickpeas
13) Large handful of cherry tomatoes and 5 cubes of feta
14) Handful of homemade trail mix (your own mix of: seeds, nuts, toasted coconut strips and goji berries)
15) 1 seeded Ryvita with cream cheese and cucumber
All of these options are quick and easy and can easily be stored at work!
Just in case you’re wondering, if you have a food intolerance (not the same as an allergy, see below), you don’t have to remove the food forever. But it’s important to know that it’s not enough to just take the food out and not do anything about it.
If you find you have a food intolerance, this is your body telling you your gut needs some TLC to restore, rebalance and heal. Without this vital step, you’re likely to end up (over time) with more intolerances and more symptoms
HAVE YOU GOT A FOOD INTOLERANCE?
Do you experience any of the following:
Weight that won’t shift
Itchy or overly waxy ears
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FOOD INTOLERANCE & ALLERGY
Food intolerance is different to a food allergy, which is actually pretty rare in the big scheme of things. However, both an intolerance and an allergy will provoke some kind of response from the immune system.
A true food allergy produces IgE antibodies in response to a food, drink or other substance the body mistakenly thinks is attacking it. The issue can be restricted to one area (your digestive system, skin and so on) or the whole body, where the immune system triggers widespread inflammation and swelling – anaphylaxis – which can be deadly. The reaction is often immediate.
If you think you have a food allergy, you can often get tested free of charge via your GP.
If you have a food allergy, you will need to avoid the food forever.
When you have a food intolerance, it can be vey difficult to spot the problem food because the reaction can happen quite some time after eating – hours or, in some cases, days after eating something your body doesn’t like. This makes it really hard to spot connections.
These food sensitivities cause the body to produce IgG antibodies, and raised levels to specific foods can cause low level inflammation through the body and a huge variety of symptoms. Signs of food intolerance vary greatly from one person to the next but some of them are listed above.
Now, I’m betting you identify with one or two of those in the list or, if you’re unlucky, even more. True? Do you want to do something about it?
WHO SHOULD TEST?
If you suspect you have a food intolerance, testing is the first step so you can actually start putting it right. However, if the symptoms don’t bother you enough to actually do anything about it (like temporarily remove offending foods and heal the gut), you will be wasting your money.
HOW TO TEST
This kind of test is a hair test. You send a hair sample back to the lab and get the results within 3-4 weeks
WHAT DO TESTS COST?
Various tests at different price points are available, with support to go through the results with a qualified Nutritional Therapist