I’m NOT ‘On a Diet’

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I have recently posted a few blogs about how I am trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle and lose some weight. It’s annoying me how many people have asked me how my diet is going or if I am struggling with being on a diet. I hate the term ‘on a diet’ and refuse to use it.
First of all, everybody has a diet, it is just that some people’s are healthier than others. A diet is simply what you eat. Second, if you refer to yourself as being ‘on a diet’, I think it gives the impression that you are depriving yourself in some way and struggling on through life. These are the reasons why I do not refer to myself as being ‘on a diet’.
I prefer to call it changing my eating habits or adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Anyway, I have hardly deprived my self of anything. I have simply made a few changes in an effort to fit back into my jeans. My biggest sacrifice, if you want to call it that, is to reduce my wine intake. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Other than that, I have replaced fizzy drinks with water, put sweeteners in my coffee, stopped eating crisps in bed and walked a bit more. That is the extent of my efforts so far.
It is already working. Making these simple changes to my eating and lifestyle habits have led to a weight loss so far of six pounds in under two weeks. Hopefully, I will have hit the half a stone mark by next week.

Catch up with my previous weight loss posts here:

My New Weight Loss Plan

A Mixed Start to My Healthy Lifestyle

 

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8 Reasons I Hate My Deep Fat Fryer

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Like most people, I have many kitchen gadgets. Some of these can save lots of time and make life so much simpler. However, there is one kitchen appliance that I hate…. my deep fat fryer. Here are the reasons why I hate the deep fat fryer so much.

  1. I had a bad accident– The main reason I hate these appliances is that I had a really nasty injury once. It was turned on and had the lid open ready to use. I decided that I would put it under the kitchen extractor, which is above the hob, to get rid of the fatty smell. The hob is inbuilt into the work surface and is raised glass. As I slid the deep fat fryer along, the hot fat sloshed over the side an badly burned my skin. It was such a bad burn that it didn’t go red and blister; it went white as it had gone through deeper skin tissue. (I do realize this was my own fault!)
  2. They are no better than a chip pan– I don’t think they are any easier to use than a chip man and they don’t save you any time. Therefore, they seem a bit pointless.
  3. I hate cleaning it– Cleaning is something I do because I have to, not because I enjoy it. One of my worst jobs is emptying and cleaning the deep fat fryer. This alone is enough to put me off using it. 
  4. Expensive to buy and use– A chip pan is far cheaper to buy and use. Just to fill a deep fat fryer uses three bottles of oil compared to just one in a pan.
  5. Take up kitchen space– Regardless of whether you keep it in a cupboard or on the work surface, a deep fat fryer takes up space. They are just another dust collector. The limited amount of use mine gets really doesn’t warrant the space. 
  6. Makes the kitchen smell- OK, so does the chip pan. In general, I am just not a big fan of deep fat frying.
  7. Hardly used- The only thing I really make in the deep fat fryer is chips and we only have these 2-3 times a month. I am not one for buying frozen things to cook in a fryer and it is not my favourite cooking method. 
  8. Unhealthy- I am not a health freak by any means, but there is no denying that deep fat frying is probably the most unhealthy cooking method. There are so many other ways that you can cook food that is delicious. 

Am I alone in disliking this piece of kitchen equipment or are others not fans, either?

 

A Mixed Start to My New Healthy Lifestyle

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I wrote a post the other day about how much weight I have put on and realizing that I need to make some drastic changes to my eating habits and my lifestyle to lose weight and improve my health. (You can read it here if you missed it). So far, I have had a fairly mixed start in my efforts to do this.

In terms of my eating, I have done well. It is not the meals that I eat that are particularly unhealthy, nor the portion sizes as I have a relatively small appetite. My problem is the late night snacking that is encouraged by my partner buying me treats. My second problem is drink rather than food. I drink lots of coffee with sugar, fizzy soda drinks, and wine. 

I have done well with removing the snacks from my diet and my partner has been good about not buying chocolate and crisps. I have cut down on wine, replaced sodas with water, and started taking sweeteners in my coffee. I even ate some new potatoes with a ham salad the other day without drowning them in butter.

My problem has been my lack of exercise. The main plan was to start walking and swimming again. My first plan was that my mum would come on the school run with a few times a week. We would take the children to school in her car and she would then drive off to conduct her own business for the day, leaving me outside the school. It is a 2.5-mile walk back from school, and this is a pleasant distance to walk. It is particularly nice if the weather is good and I often walk along the coastal path, which has excellent views across the bay and estuary. 

I have already been thwarted in my plans to do this as my work deadlines have meant that I have needed to drive straight home from school to complete work for my clients. I am not disheartened, I have planned my workload better for next week to make sure that I get to do the walk home a few times. My best effort at walking so far has been when I went on a spa day with my sister and mum and we walked a few miles around the shops. Does shopping count as exercise?

My swimming plans have also fallen by the wayside. I bought a swimming costume while I was away ready to start doing lengths at the swimming pool. I tried to go swimming with my older son on Saturday. However, by the time I had found out the opening times and he had gone to ask his friend from down the road if he wanted to come along, it wouldn’t have been worth making the drive as the pool was due to close. 

I am just making excuses now and I hope to do a lot better this week. I am certainly not planning to give up. We hope to get married this year and that is motivation enough for anyone to lose weight and not become the center of attention for all the wrong reasons on their wedding day. 

My New Weight Loss Plan

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Last year I was diagnosed as having a severe vitamin D deficiency. This is becoming an increasingly common issue for people in the UK as they are spending longer working indoors and not enough time outside. One of the steps I took to improve my vitamin D levels in addition to taking medication was to start walking. I walked miles each week and this resulted in me losing around 28 pounds and really toning up. Unfortunately, I have since put all this weight back on.

My car was stolen from outside my home last year. While you may assume that this resulted in me walking more, the opposite was true. I needed a car sooner than the insurance was going to pay out, so I worked lots of extra hours to pay for another car. This stopped me from walking back from the school run each day as I did not have the time. I had also intended to start swimming one morning a week once my youngest started at school. Again, I couldn’t do this because I didn’t have a car to get there.

One of the main reasons I have put on so much weight is that my partner moved in with me last year. He likes to treat me and is always bringing home boxes of chocolates and bottles of wine. This has contributed to me now being the largest I have ever been. Writing this food blog isn’t helping as I am making meals that I might not necessarily make so that I can add them to the blog. 

I am now taking action to lose the weight. First, I have told my partner to stop buying me treats. Second, I am going to add more healthy meals to the blog rather than ones that have rich and creamy sauces (although I do have a creamy and cheesy stuffed mushroom recipe that I am planning on adding later today!). 

The next thing is to get myself physically active again. The warmer months are arriving now, so walking home from the school run will be a pleasant start to my day. Now I have another car, I can also start going swimming once a week. I even bought myself a new swimming costume yesterday while I was visiting Southport for a spa day with my mum and sister. Hopefully, my new cozzie will inspire me to take the plunge and start swimming again. 

No doubt I will report in with my weight loss success or failure on The Fruity Tart at some point soon. I might even be brave enough to post some before and after pics!

Can Following a Mediterranean Diet Reduce the Risk of Developing Dementia?

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Scientists have conducted many studies into whether there is a link between the diet you eat and the likelihood of you developing dementia. Some have even found that following specific diets may reduce the risk of suffering from this debilitating condition later in life. According to the Alzheimer’s society, the best diet to follow if you want to reduce the risk of suffering from dementia is a Mediterranean diet and evidence also shows that this diet also helps with reducing the risk of developing memory and thinking problems.

What is a Mediterranean Diet?

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Mediterranean diet is now a term used to describe a diet that is influenced by the ingredients traditionally used in the region surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It is typically high in fruits and vegetables. Other food groups that are largely used in this type of diet are cereals and legumes. The diet includes a moderate consumption of dairy and oily fish, while it is low in meat content. Other foods that are rarely used are those that are high in sugar and saturated fat.

Studies into Mediterranean Diet and Dementia

There have been many studies into the benefits of a Mediterranean diet. One of the earlier studies was conducted in the 1960s and this showed that there were lower rates of heart attacks amongst men living in Mediterranean regions. Further studies have also shown links between following this diet and reduced rates of type 2 diabetes. In terms of dementia, studies began into links between this diet and a decreased risk of dementia when scientists learned that those who followed this diet experienced fewer problems with memory and thinking. Recently, more research was conducted to pull all the previous findings together to learn more about the potential link between following a Mediterranean diet and a lower risk of dementia development.

How Does a Mediterranean Diet Reduce the Risk of Dementia?

One reason it is believed that this diet can impact on the chances of developing dementia is that many of the foods eaten are high in antioxidants. These can help to protect brain cells against the damage caused by conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. The diet can also reduce the signs of inflammation and lower cholesterol levels. Both factors are proven to have an impact on memory and thinking. It is important to note that there have been some inconsistencies amongst the studies and it is possible that the reason people eating a Mediterranean diet have lower rates of dementia is simply as a result of this group of people living a generally healthier life.

Is Diet the Only Factor?

Of course, eating a Mediterranean diet alone will not reduce the risk of developing dementia as there are many other factors that are believed to contribute to the development of this condition. Some people are genetically predisposed to develop dementia and there is some evidence to suggest that you are more likely to develop dementia if someone else in your family has suffered from this condition. Lifestyle factors also play a part, so reducing alcohol intake, not smoking, and exercising regularly are all important steps to take to reduce the risk of developing dementia in the future.

To learn more about working with people with dementia, visit  https://www.createcare.co.uk/ and check out the range of courses available.

Source: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20010/risk_factors_and_prevention/149/mediterranean_diet

The Unusual Diet of The Inuit People Living in the Frigid Zone

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The Frigid Zone is the area including and surrounding the Arctic, that encompasses Alaska, Greenland and the most northern parts of Canada. This part of the world has a very low population and is only inhabited by the Inuit people. Due to the cold climate and the sparse environment, the Inuit have a very unusual diet.

Traditionally, the Inuit are hunters and fishers who eat only what they can catch themselves. They have no access to grocery stores and eat only what is naturally available. This results in a somewhat limited diet of seal, whale, reindeer, birds, and seafood. Their diet is almost carbohydrate-free and fruit and vegetables are generally limited to seaweed, tubers, and berries that are gathered during the season and then preserved. 

With all the hype about eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, this lack of carbohydrates and fresh fruit and vegetables may seem concerning. It makes sense to believe that a diet that is so protein-rich would potentially cause health problems.

However, studies have shown that this is not the case. Despite what most would consider a very poor diet, the Inuit enjoy extremely good health and research shows that they are accessing all the vitamins and minerals they need to maintain good health. 

Written in response to the Daily Prompt ‘Frigid’ on The Daily Post.

7 Foods to Include in Your Diet for Radiant Skin

Anyone who is interested in health and beauty will know the importance of taking good care of their skin. There are plenty of products available on the market, each of which has a different role to play in good skin health. However, diet can play just as an important role in the health and appearance of your skin. A healthy balanced diet can have a significant impact on the health of your skin and whether or not it looks radiant. It is vital to make sure you are getting all the vitamins and minerals you need in your diet to maintain good skin health. If you want to make your skin healthier and appear more radiant, you should try including the following seven foods in your diet.

Leafy Greens

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Foods such as spinach and Brussel sprouts are high in alpha lipoic acid. This helps to protect against premature aging and keeps the skin tight and wrinkle-free.

Oily Fish

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Examples of oily fish include anchovies, sardines, and salmon. This fish contains dimethylaminoethanol which protects the skin, reduces the risk of premature aging, and strengthens cell membranes.

Eggs

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Eggs contain choline and lutein. These are both important nutrients in terms of skin health. Choline plays a role in keeping skin smooth and also regulates vitamin B levels. Vitamin is needed to keep skin smooth and firm. Lutein is an antioxidant that prevents skin damage and protects skin elasticity.

Blueberries

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Blueberries are full of antioxidants that will protect you against many diseases. An additional bonus is that the antioxidants will also make your skin more radiant.

Red Grapefruit

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Eating just one red grapefruit a day will give you your daily recommended dose of vitamin C, which is essential for good skin health.

Walnuts

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Your body needs omega-3 fatty acids but can’t produce it itself. Walnuts are a great source of these and it will keep your skin cell membranes strong and help them to retain moisture.

Tomatoes

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Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. It can help to protect skin from the damage of UV rays and the effects of premature aging.

Written in response to the Daily Prompt ‘Radiant’ on The Daily Post.