Tag Archives: healthy eating

Post-yoga energy balls

apricot and maca seed protein balls

Apricot and maca powder protein balls

Meet my new go-to post-Bikram energy booster: little balls of power that are quick and easy to make, taste great and are easy to digest after a 90-minute session in the studio.

Think lots of nuts for muscle-mending protein, maca powder for replenishing sapped energy reserves and dried apricots for a blood pressure-friendly potassium boost. Delicious, healthy and portable: pop a few in a pot and share them with your yoga buddies after your next Bikram practice.

To make a dozen or so small protein balls, blitz the following ingredients in a food processor then use your hands to squish the results into balls, roll in desiccated coconut (optional) and allow to harden a little in the fridge. The whole process should take about 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

Mixed handful of dried apricots and goji berries
1/4 cup of cashew nuts
1/4 cup of almonds
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/2 teaspoon of chia seeds
1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon of maca powder
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
a big pinch of ground salt flakes (after Bikram yoga you need to replenish the salt you have sweated out)
A couple of tablespoons of desiccated coconut

 

Enjoy!

Why cutting your sugar intake is about more than obesity

UK health experts want to see less sugar in the foods we eat, fruit juice and fizzy drinks banned from the dinner table, and possibly even a sugar tax.

In an instant, the current recommended sugar intake has been halved, so that an adult woman should now aim to consume no more than 25g of added sugar (5-6 teaspoons) per day; 35g (7-8 teaspoons) for a man.

About time too. If as a nation we don’t take action on improving our diets, there is no chance of beating the obesity crisis whereby in the UK, 67% of men and 57% of women are either overweight or obese, according to a recent Global Burden of Disease study. More than a quarter of children are also overweight or obese.

But cutting your sugar intake is about more than obesity. Being overweight increases your likelihood of suffering from a whole raft of unpleasant conditions, with type-2 diabetes sitting right there at the top of the danger list. That’s right, you won’t just be fat. You will also be seriously unwell.

One in three adults in the UK are at risk of developing type-2 diabetes, and sufferers are getting younger. What used to be a later life condition is turning onto a middle age problem – and younger. But despite these warning signs, new research from ShARP (the Simply Health Advisory Research Panel) reveals that more than 60% of us are unconcerned about it, and 40% admit to general ignorance about Type-2 diabetes.

Maybe it’s time to start getting worried: if you’re overweight, inactive and have a family history of diabetes, the bad news is: You Are Likely To Get Diabetes. Fact.

Which means …
1. You’re FIVE TIMES more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke, because diabetes damages your vascular system.
2. Painful foot ulcers caused by nerve damage as a result of diabetes are likely to reduce your mobility.
3. You’re 20 TIMES more likely to require a foot or lower leg amputation.
4. You’ll suffer more infections, because diabetes means high sugar levels in your body – and bacteria and fungi thrive on sugar!
5. You’ll be low on energy and suffer from extreme tiredness.
6. You may suffer renal disease because of the damage caused by high blood sugar to the small blood vessels within your kidneys. Kidney disease kills one in 10 people with type-2 diabetes.
7. You’re at increased risk of glaucoma and cataracts, which occur 10-15 years earlier in people with diabetes.
8. You are also more at risk from blindness as a result of retinopathy, because fluctuating blood sugars – especially high blood sugar, as in diabetes – damage the blood vessels at the back of your eye.
9. People with diabetes are 10-20 times more likely to lose their sight than a person with normal blood sugar levels.
10. Getting diabetes in middle age increases your likelihood of a form of brain damage associated with dementia.
11. In fact, blood sugar problems can actually shrink your brain: diabetics have an average of 2.9% less brain volume than non-sufferers, scans at the world-famous Mayo Clinic have shown.
12. Your long- and short-term memory will deteriorate as a result of diabetes: a condition known as vascular dementia.
13. You are at high risk of suffering from depression.

Well, wouldn’t you be depressed on realising that you’ve contracted a preventable disease that entails serious life changes (ongoing medication to control your diabetes and related conditions, taking more exercise, avoiding foods that contain glucose – that’s sugar, folks) – for the rest of your life?

Go easy on the sugar and do your whole body a favour.

Bravo! ‘mangerbouger’ France

While I was skiing in the French Alps last week, it caught my eye that ads for Coca Cola and Powerade carried a healthy living message – like we see on ads for alcohol in the UK to encourage drinking in moderation.

French Powerade ad

Power up with Powerade France

Intrigued, I did some research, and yep, forget France’s reputation for heart attack cuisine, it turns out the government is pushing nutrition and exercise as a means to improve the nation’s health. And rather than paying for all advertising themselves, they’re are making food and drinks manufacturers push the wellness message on their behalf.

Brilliant huh? As a result, all processed food and drinks products with added sugar, sweeteners or salt, have to display the prominent message ‘Pour votre santé, évitez de manger trop gras, trop sucré, trop salé.’  ‘For your health, avoid eating too many fats, sugar and salt.’ Plus a link to the website www.mangerbouger.fr

The programme for national health and nutrition (PNNS), which is behind the ongoing  campaign, has been in place since 2001 with the goal of improving health among the French population. And it’s scored some fine successes: a reduction in the number of overweight/obese children; a drop in the consumption of salt and sugar; and an increase in the amount of fruit eaten by adults.

But as its name suggests, the mangerbouger campaign doesn’t simply focus on nutrition. Physical activity is the second crucial message it promotes, recommending the equivalent of half an hour’s brisk walking daily for adults (an hour for children and teenagers).

French Coca Cola ad

Buvez, skiez! : Drink, ski!

So rather than attempting to ban or tax ‘unhealthy’ foodstuffs, the French Government is both spreading the message of mindful eating – be aware that this product may be higher in fat, salt or sugar than is necessarily good for you – and that combining exercise with consumption is the best way of improving your health. Plus they’ve roped in the multi-nationals to help pay for it.

Now that’s what I call a bonne idée.