Disqus for Where Are My Knees

#mybestsandwich - Carbs

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

"Carbs" has become a dirty word in recent times, especially in the weight loss world and the phrase 'No carbs before Marbs' comes to mind when I think about them. Plans like Atkins have led people to cut them out from their diets all together but not all carbs are the same and it is the type and quantity of carbohydrate in our diet that is important. Fibre, found in wholegrain versions of starchy carbs is good for our health. A survey conducted by YouGov revealed that almost half (49 per cent) of British women aged 18 to 35 who have been on a diet are cutting carbs, with a third (33 per cent) ditching bread in the last year.

Let's dispel some carbs myths...

Will carbs make my gain weight?

Consuming more calories than we need is what makes us gain weight rather than where they come from. Carbs can be useful and if we choose wholegrain ones which contain plenty of fibre they help us to feel fuller for longer. But beware processed carbs including sugary cereals, rice and pasta because they are stripped of vitamins, minerals and fibre so are less satisfying than wholegrain varieties. But they are way too tasty to cut out all together though right? ;)

Why do we need carbs? 

In a healthy balanced diet they are the body’s main source of energy. High fibre, starchy carbs release sugar into the blood more slowly than sugary foods and drinks. Vegetables, pulses, wholegrain varieties of starchy foods, and potatoes eaten with their skins on are all good sources of fibre. Fibre is an important part of a healthy balanced diet. It can promote good bowel health, reduce the risk of constipation, and some forms of fibre have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. 

Cutting out carbs means that you may miss out on essential vitamins and fibre, calcium and iron. A low carbohydrate diet can be accompanied by headaches, weakness and irritability in the short term so there's no harm in treating yourself to your favourite sandwich from time to time. 

My favourite sandwich has to be the classic BLT. You can't deviate from the five classic ingredients: bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise, and bread. I like to use some low fat mayo and I either trim some of the fat from the bacon or I use bacon medallions which are pretty lean. Yum!

Remember, before you embark on any new diet or fitness regimen:

• Carbohydrates help you to feel fuller for longer, making you less likely to snack on the unhealthy things and providing a great source of fuel before or after a workout
• Bread is low fat, low sugar and around 80 calories a slice, so if you’re watching your weight you can fit it easily to your health plan
• White bread is a good source of non-dairy calcium as white bread is fortified with calcium
• There is no singular dietary cause of bloating; low stress, eating a well-balanced diet containing fibre & drinking enough water can help

If you want to find out more about carbs, how they relate to your health or try some bread recipes head to http://fabflour.co.uk/fab-bread/

*post is written in association with the Federation of Bakers and the Flour Advisory Bureau.

Tomato & Basil Risotto

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Today’s recipe – Tomato & Basil Risotto is very simple to make and is a perfect midweek dinner to serve on its own or as a side to some grilled chicken. It's also the type of dish where you could use up any left overs you have like roasted veg from your Sunday roast or cheese that needs to be used up. If you don't have any of the ingredients listed you can experiment a bit.

Remember, risotto should have an overall creamy consistency; it shouldn't be too dry and the rice should be al dente, chewy but definitely not mushy so don't overcook it like I do by mistake sometimes. 

20g salted butter
10ml olive oil
3 tomatoes – cored, seeded and diced
½ onion – diced
1garlic clove – crushed
220g Arborio rice
400ml vegetable stock
20ml double cream
30g fresh basil – chopped
70g goats cheese – sliced
Pinch of ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

Roasted vegetables (optional):
100g butternut squash – diced and roasted
½ red pepper – diced and roasted

Serves 4

1. Heat the oil over a moderate heat and add the onion as well as garlic to the pan. Sauté until the onion softens. Then add the tomatoes and seasoning. Sauté for a further 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the rice, mix thoroughly and sauté for 3-4 minutes. You can add the optional roasted vegetables at this stage.
3. Gradually add the vegetable stock, stirring until all the liquid is absorbed.
4. Continue stirring until the rice is tender and creamy but still firm, then add the butter and cream.
5. To serve, top with basil and cheese.

Nutritional information: Calories - 283kcals Salt - 1.1g Fat -12.2g Saturated Fat - 7.1g Sugars 2.4g

The idea that making risotto requires hours of stirring over a hot stove is a total myth so I hope you give it a try this weekend. Have you got any risotto suggestions for me? I would like to try one using some nice seasonal asparagus next time or maybe a mushroom risotto.

Ingredients were provided by Care Home Provider, Sunrise Senior Living. 

Race for Life - Update - Healthy Eating

Sunday, 10 May 2015

When you start out on your Race for Life training weight loss and body toning are not the main focus, most people sign up to make a difference and raise money to help fund cancer research. If you train before the event but don’t normally do any regular exercise it might me a good idea to take a look at what you are eating. It is important that your efforts on the road or the treadmill are complemented by the food you eat.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of your Race for Life experience:

Keep a food diary. Make a note of everything you eat and when you eat it. The food diary will give you a really good idea of the things you need to change about your eating habits and might help you plan to have a post run out snack to hand or eat something to give you energy before you go out and train.

Start counting – not calories, because that takes the enjoyment out of eating. Add up the amount of fats, proteins and carbohydrates you eat during the day. As a guide, you should be looking to eat 2 portions of protein a day (eggs, lean meat, lentils), 5 portions of carbohydrates (pasta, bread, cereal), 3 portions of dairy food (milk, yogurt, cheese) and at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables. (If you are looking to lose weight, keep portion sizes small – a handful of rice/pasta, two medium size potatoes, one egg).

Swap food
. Red and processed meats are linked to bowel cancer so cutting down can help cut the risk. Try chicken curry instead of beef stew or switch from ham to tuna at lunch. Check out Change4Life for lots more ideas.

Plan your menu
. At the start of each week plan your main meals. Taking an overview of the whole week will enable you to see if you are getting the proportions of protein, carbohydrate and fat right. It will also help you with your weekly food shop and help you cut out buying high fat/high calorie food stuffs.

Here are some of the foods I have been eating recently, I'm trying to eat plenty of fruit, veg and protein but still feel satisfied:

Consider what you are snacking on. Crisps, cakes, biscuits and chocolates are tasty but empty calories – they have a high sugar content but they will not fill you up or give you the long-term energy you need. They give you a quick boost of energy which will soon drop leading to you becoming tired. After a work out, it is important that you re-fuel. If you do your run and then go straight to work without eating something, you will soon begin to feel hungry and this is the time you will chose to eat unwise snacks. It is really important that you drink plenty of water throughout the day. This will keep you alert, keep you healthy and can also counter hunger pangs.

For more tips on getting on track with your training download the Race for Life app, which provides advice and support in the build up to your race.

Are you taking part in Race for Life this year? How has your Race for Life training been going? I've had a few injuries and even some stitches so mine hasn't been great but I've been focusing on drinking more water and eating more fresh food and meals cooked from scratch.

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Superdrug Wellbeing Hamper

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

I love Superdrug and have written about their wonderful Cardiff Beauty Studio in the past. They have a commitment to ethical trading and lobby government to reduce Value Added Tax on products they believe to be essential to customers health and they ensure that their own brand cosmetics, toiletries and household ranges carry the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection BUAV leaping bunny logo which means they have not been tested on animals by Superdrug or our manufacturers. (They also don't avoid over a billion pounds worth of tax like Boots) All of this means they are my first stop when it comes to stocking up on holiday essentials and toiletries.

I've taken a few tumbles recently resulting in some stitches so I feel like my body needs to TLC and a good pamper so I was very pleased to receive a box of products that are exclusive to Superdrug to try out.

Lighterlife Fast Shakes and Lighterlife Fast Meal Replacement Bars - I love Lighterlife Fast products and have reviewed them on here before. For me they provide an easy way to reduce some bloating and lose the holiday/Christmas weight that can pile on so quickly. 5:2 dieting is a big trend right now but on a fast day, it’s almost impossible to get all your recommended daily allowances (RDAs) of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs if you were to prepare meals yourself. LighterLife Fastpacks are specially formulated nutritional food options that contain all the protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals required. The idea behind LighterLife Fast is to make life easier on those fast days providing you with four LighterLife Fastpacks  for those 600 calorie days. Super easy!

Scholl Luxury Pedicure Set - Scholl's Luxury Pedicure Set exclusive to Superdrug, includes the best-selling and ready to use Velvet Smooth Express Pedi Gadget and Intense Serum. I absolutely loved this, it left my feet looking and feeling good. I won't be ashamed to wear my sandals on holiday on June with this set. No more cracked heels and dry skin for me. 

Barebar Apple & Cinnamon - BareBar is a natural snack bar made only from pure, nutritious fruits and berries. The product is suitable for anyone as it is free from lactose, glucose, additives and animal-derived ingredients, BareBar is the perfect choice for those with dietary restrictions. These retail for £1.29 and are the perfect tasty snack.

Leader Detox Smoothie - I'm way too lazy to chop up loads of fruit and veg to make a smoothie and I've never got 10 different ingredients in my house to blend up so this sachet is perfect for someone like me or to take to work. All-in-one” Superfood Smoothies are made from the pure and natural ingredients and contain a balanced mix of essential dietary components like herbs, fruits and vegetables.You just add water, mix and drink. No messy blenders to clean up after either, hurrah!

Barefoot Peppermint and Plum Foot Lotion - Great smelling product that left my feet feeling super smooth and hydrated. This £4 tube will last you ages as you only need a small amount. 

Silver Line Complete Skin Beauty Tablets - This pack contains 28 days worth of Vitamin, Zinc, Argan Oil and Wheatgerm tablets meaning you take three tablets in total each day with a meal.I have to be careful when I take these because I take medication for my acne that stops working if you take them the same time as you take Zinc but I'm OK if I take it at different times of the day. Wheatgerm capsules offer numerous skin benefitting properties, ranging from softening and moisturising your skin to boosting its regenerative powers. It’s an excellent anti-ageing oil, works well to diminish fine lines and wrinkles and also generally supports a healthy, glowing complexion. The argan oil capsules promote overall skin health. It’s perfect for skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and acne rosacea, but is also great simply for nourishing and feeding the skin. I might report back on these after taking them for a month.

Have you tried any of these products before? What are your 'must have' products to help you feel healthy?