Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Yum Dum Dammer Foods

A little side line of mine is beginning to come to fruition...........healthy eating 'treats'. Who out there doesn't like a little sweet treat every now and again, or even more regularly than that! But most of the cakes, biscuits, scones, flapjacks etc that you can buy anywhere from supermarkets to little corner cafes contain so much refined sugar and flours, and hydrogated fats that you end up feeling guilty , with weight problems, particularly fat around your middle, and other health problems, which takes away alot of the enjoyment of eating them in the first place.

All my 'treats' are full of organic ingredients and NO hydrogenated fats and NO refined sugar and NO refined carbohydrates, so you can enjoy them without the guilt and without the blood sugar spikes. Still in moderation though.

Here's a recipe for Chocolate Brownies for you to try, and if you do please let me know what you think. I love them and so do my kids. The variations are endless too, try adding different nuts, coconut, berries, seeds etc. for a different treat every time.


Plain chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, and organic 175g
Butter, organic 175g
Cocoa powder, organic 40g
Baking Powder ( I use wheat free) 1/4 tsp
Buckwheat flour, organic,85g
Seasalt, optional 1/4tsp
Vanilla essence 1 tsp
Zylitol/Agave syrup mix 300g

Melt butter and chocolate over pan of boiling water
Sieve flour, cocoa powder,baking powder into bowl.
Whizz up eggs and zylitol/syrup with electric mixer for a few minutes until frothy.
Mix flour mixture into egg mixture and add choc/butter mixture.

Pour into lined baking tin (I use grease proof paper) and bake for 20 minutes, approx, at 180 degrees. Leave to cool before transferring to a cooling tray and cutting into pieces. A little goes a long way.

Hope you like it. RX

Monday, 16 March 2009

Think Before You Drink

This blog post is for all of you out there who still drink soft carbonated drinks as a 'treat'( or for any other reason!).

I see this alot with having kids, parents letting their child have a coke as a treat, and in limited quantites (80/20 rule) this is fine. Don't get me wrong, by the way, my kids love sweets and confectionery as much as any other, but thankfully we've managed to steer clear of the dreaded fizz!(although their dad does drink it and I can't persuade him otherwise).

I read a really funny article the other day in a magazine on alternative cleaning products. One suggestion for cleaning the toilet, was to use Coca Cola. Apparently if you have a stained toilet and you pour a can of coke down it, leave it over night and then flush (you may need to assist this process with a brush depending....) your toilet will look as good as new!

Apparently it's all down to the acidity of the coke! So what's it doing to our insides then when we consume gallons of the stuff?! think about it.........

It was a tongue in cheek article but I tried it the other day and it worked a treat. Better to use it for cleaning toilets and polishing bumpers on cars (another useful tip) than for pouring down your gullet. Why?..........because it soooooooooo bad for you in any great quantity, and you really don't need it. No you really don't need it.

Apart from colourings, flavourings, and artificial sweeteners in the case of Diet Coke, soft drinks and energy drinks tend to include relatively large amouunts of caffeine. And the downsides of lots of caffeine are :

Raised blood sugar, giving you an energy spike and then shortly after an energy slump - when you reach for another drink.....

Heartburn and other digestive problems, from bloating to IBS.

A horrible coating on your teeth and tongue. Yuk!

Its a diuretic, making you lose water, leading to dehydration.

It overstimulates the nervous system, leading to allsorts of nasties from irritability, insomnia, rapid and irregular hearbeat and in extreme cases a risk of a heat attack.

May contain pesticides used during the growing of the coffee beans, and these contain cancer causing compounds (so choose organic caffeinated drinks if you have to drink them).

On the caffeinated drinks scale Coco Cola is not top of the list for the amount of caffeine it contains per can,34mg. An 8oz regular coffee will contain anywhere between 60-120mg of caffeine, and a regular cup of tea approx 45mg.With the recommended 'safe' levels of daily caffeine consumption currently standing at around 300mg it's easy to 'overdose' if you're a regular fizzy drink and Starbucks merchant.

Dark chocolate unfortunately also contains caffeine (my vice and I refuse to give it up, but it is somewhat self limiting), with 1oz of the yummy stuff containing approx 20mg. However, you do get the added benefits of antioxidants and flavanoids if you pick the good organic stuff.

Worth thinking about giving up the fizz ..........? Especially when cold fresh water and herbal teas taste so good, why bother with the sugary/artificially sweetened/non nutrient stuff?

Oh and also in the article I read, and equally as tongue in cheek as the loo cleaning tip, you can use shampoo to clean limescale off the bath tub, biological washing powder to remove food from a saucepan, and indigestion tablets to unblock a plughole!!

Today's Tip : Sit down and drink a large glass of pure, clear, fresh water and tell me you didn't enjoy it.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009


Here's a dead easy to read blog post full of healthy, holistic tips to live your life by. Choose one, choose two choose ten or choose 'em all. Up to you. Whichever, you'll be helping your mind and your body in the long run! Enjoy, and lets have some comments and suggestions back. Let's see how long we can get this list.

- Be open to change

- Don't obsess about your weight, eat right for your Metabolic Type

- Listen to your body, it's usually right

- Ditch eating soya foods

- Don't give up, don't beat yourself up, rather learn by your mistakes

- Use supplements wisely

- Love yourself, you're gorgeous

- Eat enough, no starvation diets, they mess up your metabolism

- Drink more water - ditch the fizz!

- Eat consciously - not whilst watching telly, reading etc.

- Vary your food

- Eat meat, good meat, free range, organic, grass fed

- Don't nuke your food, particularly in plastic food containers

- Don't eat food labelled 'low fat' - if they've taken the fat out, they've added some rubbish in to make it tasty. Read the label, I guarantee it. Anyway, we all need some fat, just make it good fat - hydrogenated trans fats have no place in our body

- Eat real unprocessed food, as close to nature as possible. If it grows, it tends to be a good place to start

- Exercise reguarly doing something you enjoy

- Get some sunshine between 11am and 2pm, increase the Vitamin D levels in your body and fresh air in your lungs

- Go to bed for quality sleep by 10.30pm at least four nights a week

- Leave the white processed goods on the shelves in the supermarket - flours, breads, pastas,sugars etc. They're very refined

- Avoid artificial sweeteners- they are seriosuly rubbish!

- Avoid NSAIDS (non steroidal anti inflammatories) where at all possible. If you need them regularly your body is trying to tell you something - listen to it, as I mentioned earlier.

- If you need sugar use honey, xylitol, or agave syrup. At least they have the nutrients still intact. White refined sugar has not.

Hope this lot has given you something to think about. And please let's have some comments and some additions to the list.

I'm going on a book keeping course now, oh no boring! I've been told I'll need caffeine to stay awake - will try peppermint tea, see how that goes down.


I went to see Flashdance at the Grand Theatre in Leeds last night, wow what a show! It was lively, sexy, funny, full of amazing talent, and overall a great nights entertainment.

It also rekindled my love of Pole Dancing - this featured fairly heavily and the girls who were dancing were awesome.

I've had a pole in my lounge for over a year now after having lessons the year before - not only is it a great talking point for visitors but it is truly great exercise. And so much harder than it looks.

There are classes springing up in lots of gyms around the country and are well worth trying for the following reasons:

They're fun, sexy and enjoyable.

Sessions on the pole work the whole body from head to toe.

A session can boost metabolism as much any other resistance class.

Pole dancing is a top exercise for improving:

- core stability
- back strength
- upper body strength (this is a biggy, it's dead hard on your arms and shoulders!)
- flexibility
- co-ordination

Don't think strip joints anymore (although I'm sure they're still popular in them) think main stream, healthy, fun exercise with attitude.

I loved my lessons, and loved my workout this morning in my lounge, after last nights theatre trip reminder, and feel great now. My whole body feels like it's been 'worked' and I love that feeling.

Take care when you're starting out - and don't use oils on the pole! I had a lesson after someone with oil on their legs which left the pole greasy, and slipped doing a handstand and damaged a rotator cuff muscle, ouch! But in the main have had the most fun with this different form of exercise.

My children love pretending to be firemen, so it provides fun for them too! And last year at the Vitality Show (Olympia end of March this year- worth a visit) there were guys having a go. They were covered in bruises which shows how tough it is( and the skimpy shorts weren't the most attractive thing I've seen on a man but...).

Today's Tip : Variation is the key to sticking to exercise!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009


And by CRAP I mean caffeine,refined,alcohol or processed - and todays blog covers a very,very processed product and that's most yoghurts sold in supermarkets, under the guise of being good for you.!

I have a bee in my bonnet as a member of my family keeps offering my eldest son (who is eight) one of the above after his tea at their house. Now,they might be on a diet (even then these products won't help) but Benjamin most certainly is not.

The yoghurt in question is Muller Light Vanilla Flavour, and this is just one of a range of flavours that Muller offer, and as far as I can make out in my little study of the yoghurt market they seem to dominate the cooler shelves in most supermarkets.

Take a look at their web site, it's super and at least the milk they use to make the yoghurt is from cows who live and graze in Shropshire, which is where their products are processed.

However, these little pots of creaminess are not superfoods. They will not add a great deal, if anything, to the average persons diet.They are not a necessary part of our daily adult diet, let alone an eight year olds who needs to grow strong and healthy.

I'm not just having a go at Muller here,but all the other so called 'healthy yoghurts' which are either rammed full of sweeteners (see earlier blog on these dreaded things) or refined sugar - they are nothing more than liquid candy.

I had a look at the ingredients and this is what's in the vanilla one :

Water, yoghurt,fructose, maize starch, gelatine, flavourings, colourings, aspartame and pectins. Ok, any of those (apart from water) ever feature in a list of superfoods to be eaten as part of a healthy diet????!!!!

We all need some fat in our diets, it serves lots of essential purposes :
insulation/skin/energy store/cell membranes/hormone prodcution/assist vitamin absorption/maintain bodily systems and more. This should be good fat by the way, not the hydrogenated fats and trans fats found in so many pre-prepared foods.

So to eat something that has had the fat extracted from it (as their 99% fat free products have) is counter productive. Not only is their no goodness in it, but it has been processed highly to take the fat out in the first place.

They claim there are only 100 calories in a pot, no preservatives, no artificial colours and it's rich in calcium (33% RDA). But,the sugar and sweeteners will spike blood sugar and then drop it, leaving you wanting more to eat half an hour or so later. Your body will be wondering when the nutrititious food is coming that it can work with to give you decent energy, and so again you'll crave more food. Counter productive big time!

If you do like the creamy, sensual texture and taste of yoghurt and need something sweet (and can tolerate dairy!) why not check out the organic plain probiotic yoghurts, which offer nothing other than yoghurt and some friendly bacteria for your gut - sheep and goats yoghurts taste yum too. Add to it any of the following and you've got a delicious dessert that your body will thank you for : chopped nuts,berries, agave syrup, xylitol, cinnamon, vanilla extract, or a little Manuka honey. Enjoy!

Today's Tip : Eat consciously - think about what's going into your mouth, at least 80% of the time.