Tag: nutrition

Going back to basics with nutrition.

In my conversations with women from all walks of life, I often get asked about food and what to eat.  Not surprising, considering my profession 🙂   The question I get asked the most is usually phrased something like this: “what should I eat / what shouldn’t […]

Sweet Potato Pancakes

It’s nearly Pancake Day and I’ve been avidly testing out my pancake recipes. Actually, who am I kidding? I love pancakes and we eat them nearly every weekend!   While plain pancakes are great, I love adding different ingredients to them to give them a […]

Autumn Pumpkin Waffles

autumn pumpkin waffles

I’m still on a pumpkin kick, adding it into as many dishes as possible to fully capture that lovely autumn feeling. They’re such an amazing vegetable, full of energy producing B vitamins, immune boosting zinc and fibre for your digestive system. And the seeds are such powerhouses – don’t throw them away! Wash them, and then toast them with a bit of olive oil, sea salt and your favourite herbs for a lovely snack.

 

We recently bought a waffle maker, partly to add a bit of diversity to breakfast, partly because I had such happy nostalgia about having big waffle breakfasts when I was growing up. And what better recipe to add pumpkin to than waffles?

 

If you get your timings right, you end up with waffles that are crisp on the outside, moist and fluffy on the inside.

autumn pumpkin waffles

 

What you need:

180g chestnut flour (you can also use wholemeal flour instead!)

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 large free-range eggs

275ml almond milk (or organic whole milk, if dairy works for you)

4 tbsp fresh pureéd pumpkin

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

20g melted butter

 

How to make it:

  1. Sift the chestnut flour, baking soda and cinnamon into a medium sized bowl and stir until the ingredients are combined.
  2. Crack the eggs and separate the egg yolks and whites, setting the yolks aside.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they are frothy. This is key for really fluffy waffles!
  4. Slowly fold the milk into the dry mixture, then add the egg yolks and pumpkin.
  5. Add the butter and stir.
  6. Slowly fold the egg whites in the mixture until the egg whites can no longer be seen. Do not over fold!
  7. Leave the batter to stand for at least 10 minutes so the milk and baking soda have enough time to interact.
  8. Warm up your waffle maker.
  9. Once the waffle maker is warm, I like to brush a little oil across the plates to stop the waffles from sticking and to help the waffles get crisper.
  10. Use a spoon to to drop the batter in, making sure to cover each plate. Take care not to overfill or the batter will leak out the front and side. (Trust me on this –  I learned this the hard way!)
  11. Let the waffles cook for at least two minutes or until they are the consistency you like. I like a softer waffle, but M likes crispier waffles so I leave his on for a bit longer.
  12. Once you’ve made your waffles, top with the toppings of your choice. I like adding toppings like chopped fresh fruit, fruit compote, grated coconut and crushed nuts.
  13. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Pumpkin Pancakes

I love making pancakes on the weekend. Something about the ritual of measuring out the ingredients and gently stirring, folding and mixing them all together is so calming to me.   My son loves his weekend pancakes and I now have the challenge of creating […]

How can I make Autumn meal planning and preparation easier?

I was recently asked to share my top tips for Autumn health and wellness with Motherhood Reconstructed. I love what Tamu and Leah are doing to share diverse stories of motherhood in the UK. Go check out their site and events!   The kids are […]

Stories I loved this week.

swan in kew gardens

How’s your week been? We’re in week 3 of the new school / work routine and we’ve finally started to find a new rhythm. And autumn looks like it’s finally here. Let squash season begin!

My recent yoga challenge has opened me up to what this practice can do for my body. The next challenge is to build up towards some proper inversions. They promote calm and can help release shoulder tension. (Shondaland)

True happiness is elusive but working towards good physical, spiritual and emotional health is a constant. (The Pool)

How do you know if you have a problem with your drinking? (Refinery29)

Proper education around food and nutrition in schools could be a way to reduce obesity. (The Guardian)

Education about food also includes gaining proper cooking skills. Here’s what happened when a single dad learned how to cook. (The Kitchn)

Taking a break from dieting may improve weight loss. Dieting is temporary, good eating habits are forever. (Science Daily)

I love these Sunday meal prep ideas. (Healthyish)

SaveSave

SaveSave

How much water do you drink a day?

Conventional wisdom suggests that we should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, or about 1.5 – 2L. How much water do you drink a day? For a lot of people, even drinking a litre of water a day is tricky. When I […]

Alcohol and anxiety.

It goes without saying, but of course I’ll say it anyway: Everyone’s anxiety manifests in different ways and you might be that unicorn that reads this and says, eh, this isn’t relevant to me. Great! I applaud you!   For everyone else: let’s have a […]

What I’m Reading: Anxiety For Beginners

anxiety for beginnersIn my usual pre-flight mad dash through the airport, I did a sweep of WH Smith for my standard holiday pile of magazines (I find reading fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar so relaxing on holiday! I don’t really know why, though? 🤔) and decided to pick up a couple of books as well.

I spotted this book, Anxiety for Beginners, mainly due to its Roy Lichtenstein cover image riff and although not light reading, thought it might be interesting to dive into this topic a bit more while I had some more headspace before my exam.

The author, Eleanor Morgan, has suffered from anxiety and depression since her late teens, culminating in several breakdowns and rounds of antidepressants. She decided to write the book as a way of educating herself and others about one of the fastest growing illnesses in the UK.

As a fellow anxiety sufferer, I read this book with a lot of interest, hoping to get more insight into how other people were handling the day to day management of the signs and symptoms of the disease. What really struck me was how common anxiety is, how many different ways it manifests itself and how it really cuts through all walks of life.

The author told a fascinating story about re-connecting with the most popular girls in her school years later during the writing of this book. She discovered that what she had thought was her old friend’s ‘cool girl aloofness’ was really her way of trying to manage her anxiety in the best way possible for her – holding everyone at a distance. It made me realise how quick we are to judge others, without really knowing what’s going on in their lives. Personally, I know that I can appear withdrawn and a bit cold at times, especially when my anxiety is at its peak and social interaction with new people can all be a bit too much.  A bit more compassion is needed all around, going back to the old adage: don’t judge a book by its cover.

Overall, I thought this book was a good overview into anxiety, with a lot of the author’s personal experiences interspersed throughout. What I found disappointing was how little she discussed the effects of the various food and drink we put into our bodies  and how they can exacerbate and ameliorate anxiety symptoms. The author took a very medicalised viewpoint, emphasising the benefits of anti-depressants. Obviously, given my nutrition background, I would’ve like to see more discussion about tryptophan food and the effect they have on producing serotonin, as well as the role of gut bacteria in supporting serotonin production.

The root causes of anxiety and depression can be complex and vary per person, but it stands to reason that if you treat your body like a garbage dump, filling yourself with foods that aren’t nutritionally dense and cause blood sugar spikes, your anxiety can be worsened.

I’ve written a bit about the foods I eat to help manage my anxiety here.

I Tried It: Whole30

I haven’t felt like writing much about food and nutrition recently. There’s been a lot going on, personally and professionally. New job, a heavier course load at school and loads of political distraction (every morning, I wake up and think, ‘what now?’. Don’t you?). It’s […]

Sweet Potato Sliders

This weekend, I really fancied an open-faced sandwich, but had no bread in the house. I shuffled through the cupboards and found a bag of sweet potatoes and decided to see what sweet potato ‘bread’ tasted like. Stay with me… it was pretty good.   […]

I Tried It: Dry January

coffee-and-date-ball

Have you ever done a dry January?

After a heavy November and December, I decided that I needed to give my body a break and get on the wagon for a month. And what better month than January, when everyone’s skint, partied out and needing a bit more time at home.

I also needed to regulate my relationship with alcohol. It’s easy, especially with the UK drinking culture and in a hectic city like London, to use alcohol to relax and let a quick drink after work turn into 3 or 4. Knowing everything I know about the effects alcohol has on the body, it was time to put all of my knowledge into practice for myself.  Alcohol is a tricky one for the body – it depletes your B vitamins, which can lead to anxiety and depression, it puts stress on your liver and diverts it from other, more important functions and it can lead to weight gain, poor sleep, spotty skin and dehydration. I decided it was time to take the advice I give to clients in clinic and get a grip on my alcohol intake.

On New Year’s Eve, I drained my last glass of champagne and rang in the new year, ready to kick booze to the curb for a while.

The first few days were hard. No glass of wine at lunch, no cold and crisp G&T while watching TV on the sofa in the evenings. But this was where the foundations for all the hard work of the next month started – breaking the little habits that I had developed and putting better ones in place.

I replaced my red wine and G&Ts with lots of warming cinnamon tea in the evening and sparkling water at lunchtimes. I asked M not to offer me any drinks (except tea or water) in the evenings. I talked about my dry January with my mates, so they knew what I was doing and changed plans to lunch and coffee dates, rather than evening meals, so I wouldn’t be tempted.

By weeks 2 and 3, I started to get in the groove and was enjoying waking up without a hangover and fuzzy brain. My skin was clearer and my jeans a little looser. And the biggest plus? My anxiety levels rapidly decreased.

Last Tuesday 31st January felt great. 31 days without alcohol, a clearer head, deeper sleep at night, more money in my bank account and less anxiety. I decided to carry on through to the end of February, as I have a big nutrition exam at the beginning of March and need all the focus I can get.

What comes after that? I’m not sure. I’d love to be able to get to a place that where I can have one drink and have that be enough. Any advice?

The Easiest Frittata Recipe

Aside from their significance as a major plot point in the Harrison Ford – Rachel McAdams film, Morning Glory, frittatas are one of those recipes that everyone seems to have their own little twist on. And why not? Their versatility means that even the newest […]

Just eat more vegetables.

People like shortcuts. Maybe it’s a symptom of our modern world, where we can get pretty much anything we want at the touch of a button.   Speaking of shortcuts, I’m often asked by friends, family and colleagues about the fastest ways to get healthy […]

Food is food – nutritious, cheap and tasty.

dsc_0001

This week, a prominent doctor in the UK talked about the need to reduce the 5-a-day fruit and vegetable intake recommendation because it was ‘unrealistic’ for low-income families to achieve this. She says that lots of families may struggle to afford the recommended amounts and that “many children are being brought up with a culture of not having any fresh fruits and vegetables at all.”

I was shocked when I read this headline (which was repeated across multiple websites) and decided to dig deeper into the story. What she is actually says, is that “in the consultation with patients, it’s vital that GPs sometimes need to tailor the advice to the family in front of them. That may be starting with one or two portions a day and building up to the five portions a day.”

My frustration with this misleading story (tailored advice is a good thing) reminded me of a quote I recently read in a profile of Jamie Oliver.

“It’s quite British, this association with having any degree of thought or love of food being upper class or middle class or whatever you want to class it up as. That’s not the rest of the world. On my travels, the best food has come from the most economically challenged areas.”

It’s easy to understand why there are such strong class associations with food in the United Kingdom – classism persists across all areas of life. It’s really quite remarkable. Even still, there has been a lot of great work by the likes of Jamie Oliver, Jack Munro and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to make food and food preparation more equalitarian and accessible.

It’s remains true that the more fresh fruit and veg you eat, the better for you.

So here are the million pound questions:

How can we continue to spread the message that eating well needn’t cost a lot?

That it is possible to get your 5 to 7-a-day without breaking the bank?

What role do supermarkets play in this? Schools?

I don’t have all the answers, clearly.

What I know, is that it’s our role as nutritionists and health professionals to present simple, easy to understand messages of food and health to our patients and clients. To teach them tasty and nutritious food can be inexpensive.

This lovely warm chickpea and bacon salad (47p per serving!) is a great example of cheap, tasty and nutritious.