Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Diet...urgh! Here are 5 easy tips to staying slim!

Since I heard that Nigella Lawson is the same age as Gillian Mckeith, I vowed that I would never attempt a fully fledged diet plan in my entire life. I'm sorry but if eating chocolate and donuts at 3am keeps your skin looking plump and healthily flushed into your 50's, rather than pale and gaunt, I'm all for it!

I know who Id rather look like!

....having said that, there are obvious limits to indulgence, and I wouldn't want to be seen as a gluten so here are my tips for staying slim but keeping that youthful glow!

1. Green Tea
I live by herbal tea and you can be sure to find me sat at my desk with a tea pot full of peppermint or green tea, day in day out. Green Tea, often referred to as the 'super brew', is full of anti-oxidants and apparently speeds up your metabolism, so get guzzling!

2. Go Brown
Brown Rice, Brown Bread and any grain that looks a bit brown - ie. Quinoa, Peal Barely etc.
Occasionally I do have cravings for a french baguette with loads of butter or a bowl of pasta drenched in olive oil, salt and pepper, but when I get these cravings I often reach from the brown option, and then have a little treat of white once in a while! Trust me you will notice a, waistline and energy level, difference!

3. Eat when your hungry and Listen to your body
This is probably the most important tip. When you are on a planned diet, you have to eat what the diet dictates not what your body tells you you need. The more in tune with your body the easier you will find it to lose or maintain your weight. I, like most people, like to gorge on certain foods once in a while and I'm the first to admit that when I'm hungover I will eat my way through bowls of pasta, thousands of packets of salt and vinegar crisps and a diet coke! However, normally I manage to control my cravings - for example, if I'm feeling tired or run down I'll eat an orange, make a vegetable stew or roast chicken salad to get those vital vitamins that my body needs, if i still need a boost I might have a few squares of dark chocolate or some beetroot. The key is to stop eating when you are full and the easiest way to do this is to eat food that your body needs so that it feels satisfied 95% of the time. The other 5% is reserved for moments of weaknesses and guilty pleasures!

4. Beetroot
The miracle that is! If I'm ever feeling tired or groggy, stressed or confused, for me Beetroot seems to hold some miraculous power that just sorts my head out. Its also the perfect hangover cure.  If your not a big fan of it on its own, try mixing it with Cucumber, Spring Onions and Creme fraiche and popping inside a pitta bread.

5. Wine
I probably shouldn't be promoting drinking wine but I truly believe that without wine I would be fatter. When I say wine, i mean one glass of wine, not the whole bottle. In moderation, women who drink wine generally feel more relaxed and the more relaxed you feel the less likely you are to crave sugar, which can only be a good thing!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Ever wondered why wierd food combos work?

When I was at school I literally lived on Marmite and chocolate spread on toast - I found it fascinating that I could combine my two favorite things in one mouthful, so much so that in one sitting I managed to munch through 8 pieces of toast.

We all hear chefs on TV talking about balancing food, comments on master chef that the 'acidity from the lemons really complements the sweetness of the plump tomato'  - but even in everyday cooking we naturally crave and create this balance of flavours. Think Eggy bread with Golden Syrup or even ketchup with chips!

Well, last night I got home pretty late and didn't have time to cook anything special but I was craving big flavours and comforting food - so I searched in my fridge and found eggs and a mushroom, I always have Marmite and balsamic vinegar so I decided to put them all together and it was heavenly!

To make: Fry the Mushroom on both sides for 2 minutes. Then drizzle with balsamic and season, place under the grill for 5 mins. Meanwhile, poach the egg in simmering water for two minutes (i don't bother with all the swirling and the vinegar in the water, i just plonk it in). Pop the toast in the toaster, then spread with butter and Marmite. Place the mushroom on top and the egg on top of that. Season and garnish with some chives.

I have decided to now make it my mission to discover weird food combinations that just seem to work......to be continued!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

January Blues? Food to make you smilier and slimmer!!

Its the same for all of us, the Festive Season has the power of making us believe that we have bottomless tummies and all accommodating livers....only to then turn around in the New Year and slap it on our cheeks and bottoms!

Well if your feeling like me - a waddling little turkey - then you too will be desperately searching for the miracle cure that will flatten your tummy and brighten yours eyes. Sadly there is no one miracle cure, but I'm always a great believer that food is medicine and therefore here are my three favorite things to eat to cure those January Blues.

1. Beetroot and Pearl Barley Salad

Its a known fact that Beetroot is brilliant for your liver (a great hangover cure) and it full of vitamins which brighten your skin too!

4 x Beetroots (buy pre cooked to save time)
1 x Cucumber
200g Pearl Barley
1 x spring onion
Tbsp good Olive Oil

Prepare the Pearl Barely by washing it in cold water. Add the barley to a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Then drain and refill with cold water and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for 45 mins or until soft.

Slice the Beet Root and Cucumber, finely chop the spring onion and place all the ingredients in a big bowl. When the pearl barely is cooked add it to the bowl with the olive oil, season and stir. Serve on a bed of rocket and ice-breg lettuce.

2. Seabass with Prawns and Tomato Puree

Two Seabass Fillets
300g Raw King Prawns
500g Cherry Tomatoes
3 x Spring onions finely chopped
5 x sprigs fresh Thyme
3 x cloves garlic finely chopped

Place the Cherry Toms, spring onion and Thyme in a saucepan and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes. Add water if the mixture starts to stick.

Hear a little oil in a frying pan, add the prawns and then place the Seabass skin side down in the pan. Cook for 3-5 mins until the skin is golden. Turn over and add a know of butter to the pan, turn the heat of after about 30 seconds.

Strain the tomato mix and place back on the heat for 2 minutes.

Place the fish in the centre of the plate with the prawns around the side. Pour over the tomato puree.

Serves with mixed salad leaves or mash potato if you feel a bit hungrier!

3. Spicy Chicken Soup

2 x Chicken Breasts cut into strips
2 x  tablespoon White wine vinegar
1 x Red chilled de seeded and finely chopped
A pinch of nutmeg
1 x bunch of coriander
2 x Lime zest
3 x Pak Choi
1 x Red pepper cut into strips
2 x pints chicken stock
1 tbsp of freshly grate coconut

Fry the Chicken in a little oil until golden on each side. Add the white wine vinegar, chili and nutmeg and simmer for 5 minutes.  Finley Chop the stalks of the coriander and add to the pan with the lime zest and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the pak choi, red peppers and chicken stock and cook for a further 5 minutes. Serve with the coconut and chopped coriander leaves.