The Carbohydrate Myth – Are Carbs Bad to Eat?

With the backlash against so-called “clean eating”, where whole food groups are labelled good and bad, a more common-sense anti-fad approach has been gaining strength.

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 Not only are these fads depriving us of necessary nutrients, at their worst they can be downright dangerous. Without carbs for fuel, in extreme cases, the body becomes catabolic, meaning it starts to break down lean muscle tissue for food.

Carbs are an excellent energy source for us. If our bodies need to use fat or protein, it takes longer for the body to convert these to energy. Good, healthy carbs are brain and mood food. However, make sure to control your portion size if you wish to reduce your weight leading into the spring and summer

I am advocating the use of low GI foods, which are highly nutritious: high-fibre whole foods such as organic brown basmati rice, sweet potatoes with the skin on, and small amounts of whole grain pasta. Always add a bit of fat to slow down the break-down of sugar in the body. Also, oats, which can be eaten as savoury or sweet, are excellent for providing fuel.

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Remember, many vegetables, nuts and beans have medium to high levels of carbs, so we are already eating carbs when we eat these foods too!

If you are a working mum or in a high-powered job, or even partaking in sports, you would not imagine eating starchy foods as they do not harm the body, especially if you need fuel to perform. We a need balance of all food groups. Fermented breads such as sourdough are great because they help good bacteria in the gut.

 

Top Tip - Resistant Starch

Place a bowl of cooked starches (pasta, sweet potatoes, rice) in the fridge and cool down, reheat and eat later in the day – this causes the starch to become more resistant and fibrous, which increases your fibre intake. Great for the brain and your mood!

Ingredient Spotlight: WALNUTS

Ingredient Spotlight: WALNUTS

Ahead of my talk on How to Recognise Burnout and Reduce Stress, I have been thinking a lot about the role that food plays in protecting our body from external and internal stressors, and reducing (or promoting) inflammation. This is why this week I want to talk about the importance of eating enough FAT, and how you can add more good fat to your diet by eating this week’s featured ingredient: WALNUTS.

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Ingredient Spotlight: WATERCRESS

Ingredient Spotlight: WATERCRESS

Autumn can be a particularly busy season - that’s when we begin to reflect and plan for the challenges ahead that can affect our health over the next six months. This is the season of peak performance, but sometimes we try to take on more than our minds and bodies can handle and succumb to burnout and stress.This is why this week I chose an ingredient that is available almost year round, and a very simple recipe to go with it: watercress, which is the start ingredient of my green soup. 

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Ingredient Spotlight: CUCUMBER

Ingredient Spotlight: CUCUMBER

For my first Ingredient Spotlight post, I celebrate the humble cucumber! I highlight some of its health properties and reveal some of my favourite recipes, giving you new ideas on how to include delicious, healthy and seasonal produce into your diet. 

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Pasta Sauce Magic

Eating good food should be a pleasure, not a burden.

That's why I am always looking for healthy and tasty convenience foods, that make cooking faster, easier and more enjoyable! One of my favourite magic ingredients is pasta sauce, which I love to use on pasta or rice, but also on steamed or baked fish, meat or vegetables.⠀

The problem is that all too often jarred sauces are laden with sugar and additives - even gourmet or organic ones! So I was ecstatic when I found in my local Marks & Spencer this delicious and incredibly well-priced sauce by Italian producer, La Malva Rosa.⠀

It's made with only THREE ingredients: tomatoes, Taggiasca olives (small black olives from the Liguria region) and extra virgin olive oil. And it TASTES AMAZING! You can seriously eat it straight out of the jar… But I suggest that you try to add a few spoonfuls to your roasted vegetables to boost flavour, healthy fats, vitamins and antioxidants. ⠀

** Food Fact: Tomatoes are an interesting exception to the rule that cooking food reduces micronutrients: lycopene is better absorbed when it has been heated, so tinned tomatoes are good for you. This powerful antioxidant is fat soluble - it's absorbed by the body in the presence of fats - which makes the olive oil & tomato pairing a perfect match! **