Category Archives: Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy Tip: How To Curb Sugar Cravings

Roasted Plantain. Healthy Nigerian African Meal. Personal Trainer Adura.Last week, while working on a client’s 28 day plan, I got to the section on sugar cravings, the causes and how to curb them and it inspired last week’s email to my Mailing List.

Some causes of sugar cravings are more obvious that others, without going into too much detail:

  • Not eating enough – this leads to dips in blood sugar, which leads to wanting a quick fix for a sugar rush –> cravings!
    Solution: Eat more often – breakfast, lunch and dinner are a must.
  • Eating too much sugar – this is a vicious cycle, the more sugar you eat, the more you crave it. Eating simple or processed sugars causes a quick spike in blood sugar, and an even quicker dip in sugar and energy levels —> more cravings!
    Solution: Cut out/down processed sugars and eat less high sugar fruit.
  • PMT/Menopause – Hormones! Isn’t it great being a woman? We become more prone to insulin resistance closer to the time of the month, or menopause as oestrogen and progesterone levels change. For a lot of women (like me!), this can lead to sugar cravings, feeling tired and emotional.
    Solution: Take Vitamin B6 supplements. Also make a big effort to cut down on sugar. I’ll talk about how I’m usually able to do this below.
  • There could be other health related causes including thyroid problems, yeast infections and more. Which is why you shouldn’t ignore other symptoms you might have, especially those that never seem to go away.
    Solution: Consult a medical professional in this case.

Try my top tip which works for me, and my clients:
- Roast your plantains, sweet potatoes, squash or yam. Roasting brings out the sweetness and natural flavours.
TMI (for some) but this always helps when I crave sweet treats right before and during my time of the month.

Do you have any tricks for curbing sugar cravings? Share!

Quick & Healthy Breakfast: Eggs & A Green Smoothie

I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked, “Could you please suggest a healthy, quick breakfast?”. Most of us are busy and don’t have time to spend over ten minutes preparing breakfast, then another 5-10 eating it. This is where most people end up eating one of those snack bars that claim to be healthy but are packed with sugar… let me know if you want me to name names ;)
ENTER – *planning your meals* <-- This is a key step in sticking to your healthy goals. The days I've had no food in my fridge have been the hardest for me to eat clean and healthy. And my best days have been those where I've planned in advance so I don't find my self starving and nowhere near healthy enough options.
Anyway, back to the reason for this post! A healthy serving of protein, healthy fats and carbs & vitamins from green vegetables makes for a well rounded breakfast. My ideal breakfast is an omelette with veggies and fish, yum! But I don’t have time to make an omelette, especially during the week when I have a 7am start at the gym. I make my green smoothies in 2 (sometimes 3) day batches, |
e.g. I made some on Monday night, I had one serving on Tuesday morning, another on Wednesday morning and a half serving on Wednesday afternoon.
  • Tuesday’s breakfast was: green smoothie and eggs, 
  • Wednesday’s was green smoothie and baked mackerel.
As seen in this video below, it takes very little time to make eggs, if you’re REALLY pressed for time, you could go one better and boil 2 eggs the night before, cutting your preparation time right down.

Have you tried this combination for breakfast? Or green smoothies with something else? What did/do you think?

Take It Off (Healthy Tip)

I’m not in my usual (better) shape right now, I usually can tell when my abs are more defined and my tummy is leaner.

I usually resist temptation by following these tips:

This is a great way to stay away from the temptation of unhealthy food if you’re home for an extended period of time with some unexpected temptation in sight.

A New Video With Healthy Tips & Ginger/Paprika Beef Soup

I uploaded this video earlier this week and forgot to post on here. It’s been a long but very productive week :)

With the start of the The Get Trimmer Challenge (entry is officially closed), some interesting things coming up and life, I’ve been a little distracted.

Luckily I recorded and edited this video a while back so all I had to do was upload it to YouTube.

I have a blog post that goes hand in hand with this, as I used a step-by-step approach to reach my goal.
Read more here: “How To Cut Down On Carbs”

Watch the video here:

I’m playing with spice/herb combinations so I decided to try ginger and paprika. I love ginger with chicken but I hardly ever season my meat (goat meat, beef, etc) with it. Paprika is something I just started using more often last year after I ate some chicken my Aunt made. I went back for seconds AND thirds!

1kg Beef
4 medium carrots
2 medium onions
Seasonings: Ginger, paprika, mixed herbs and salt.

Cooked till tender :)

This turned out great and I can now say the ginger & paprika combination is a winner :)

Enjoy your weekend!

The Benefits of Lemon & Water… and A Personal Challenge

Happy Monday! Hope you had a great weekend. I spent most of my Sunday in bed or on the sofa – my typical LAZY Sunday!.

Ever since I learned of the many benefits of drinking lemon and water, I’ve aimed to have a glass every morning. It’s been relatively easy to stick to during the week, when I have a set routine, but I usually forget at the weekend!

I first tried lemon & water when it was a part of my daily Weight Watchers meal plan. Oh Lord, OVER ten years ago. Where did the years go???

Anyway, back to what I’m talking about here – I had a glass of warm/hot water and lemon (or lime!) every morning before breakfast. I didn’t know what the reason behind it was but I felt if WW orders it, then I’m doing it.

It wasn’t until years later, that I bothered to listen to a friend (Keris) and also read more about it on the internet. I also learned that it helped curved my cravings for chewing gum (which I am sometimes addicted to). As someone who’s had a history of bloatedness and a sensitive tummy, this (and green tea) with the combination of a healthier, cleaner diet has made a huge difference to how my stomach feels.

Now that I’m more enlightened, I try to have it every day. Although it’s advised to use warm water, which on its own has a nice effect on the stomach, I usually use room temperature water and have it at least an hour before eating breakfast.

A few benefits of lemon & water include:

  • It aids digestion and helps relieve the symptoms of indigestion and heartburn. This is because it is  has similar characteristics to our digestive juives eg saliva and bile. I can vouch for this!
  • It helps with efficiency of elimination from the bowels, to put it in a polite way ;) No need for TMI but this is one of the results I can vouch for. 
  • It helps cleanse the liver by helping liquefy bile and controlling its flow. It also helps with liver function as the liver produces more enzymes from lemon/lime water than any other food (according to A.F. Beddoe, author of Biological Ionization as Applied to Human Nutrition)
  • It helps balance pH as it’s highly alkaline. Yes, it contains citric acid but when processed by the body, it has an alkalising effect. A lot of foods we eat have acidic effects on the body including meats, fish and grains which most people consume a lot of. Read this page on acid/alkaline forming foods –> http://rense.com/1.mpicons/acidalka.htm
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties: it  dissolves uric acid, which is usually responsible for pain and inflammation in the body and joints.
Although this has nothing to do with drinking it, when applied topically it’s been known to gradually help fade blemishes and scars. I haven’t tried this yet. Maybe I will soon, I could do with a couple of blemishes being cleared up.

It has a lot more benefits which can all be read about here: http://www.quantumbalancing.com/news/lemon%20water.htm

How and When Do I Have Mine?
Half a lemon squeezed into a pint glass of (filtered or spring) water. First thing in the morning, at least an hour before breakfast.

So what’s my personal challenge? To continue this every single day this year but I’m going to start with this month. I will try to post on Twitter, Instagram, here or even on Facebook. Sometimes I will have it with my green drink to kill two birds with one stone, like I did today.

Feel free to join me on this little challenge :)

Note: As lemon is acidic in nature (before being processed by the body), it’s been said that daily drinking of lemon & water could wear away teeth enamel. So it’s been advised to drink with a straw, which I’m going to try to do more often than not. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

HEALTHY EATING OUT: California Pizza Kitchen

I’m going to make a huge effort to share any healthy meals I have when I eat out. It, of course, goes without saying that I will still share my home made meals ;)

I was at a mall with my sister in the US and she suggested California Pizza Kitchen. It has PIZZA in the name so of course I expected I wouldn’t have much to choose from if I wanted to stick to healthy eating.

Thankfully, I was wrong :) They had a good range of salads and some other healthy (enough) items on the menu.

I had the Grilled Chicken Chimichurri with the chimichurri (finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red vinegar) with the dressing on the side. I ended up using less than half of the dressing so although it wasn’t unhealthy, it’s proof that restaurants tend to be a bit to generous with their dressings!

For a list of all the salads available in CPK, go to: http://www.cpk.com/menu/

How To Stay Healthy Over The Festive Period (Pt II)

Happy New Week!

Two weeks to Christmas, whoop!

So, I did well enough at the Fitter London Christmas party on Saturday. Like I mentioned in the previous post, I ordered the yummiest cake ever from Vickii. Well, I had a couple of generous slices. What saved me wasn’t my self control, it was the yumminess of the cake! Almost everyone came back for seconds so it was gone with in 2 hours.


I didn’t get the chance to eat before the party so I ate more cake than I should have (because I hadn’t eaten before leaving home, so I was hungry). Which leads me to today’s tip that should help you eat responsibly at one of the many parties you’re going to attend this month:

Tip #3 Eat In Advance.

I’ve found that when I eat a big, healthy meal before going out, I do so much better at sticking to my healthy goals. Imagine going out on an empty stomach, and having to wait a while before your food is served (if it’s one where food will be served). You’ll most likely keep picking at anything that’s available, healthy or not. And by the time your meal arrives, eating everything on your plate and having a second helping would be the natural thing to do.

Even if it’s a party that serves ‘nibbles’, that’s more of a reason to eat a meal beforehand so you don’t end up picking at the usual unhealthy sweets and treats that would be lying around.

Tip #4 Water Down Your Alcoholic/Sugary Drinks

Alcoholic and sugary drinks contain empty calories – a high sugar content. And these are usually available in abundance at parties!

FYI
An 8oz glass of red wine, which is the least sugary alcohol option, contains 2-4g of sugar, depending on the type of red wine. (It helps to check the bottle.)
A 330ml can of coke contains ~40g (10 cubes) of sugar.

The best thing to do is to control your portions of alcohol and drink a lot of water too. This is important, not only to control your sugar intake, but to help keep you hydrated as high alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration.

Another thing you should take note of is – alcohol causes a sharp spike, then dip in blood sugar levels and you’re more likely to want to snack with a high consumption of it. If you eat in advance, I expect you’d drink less and snack less too!

Christmas Parties in 2011 and 2012. I always seem to find myself hovering around the cake ;)

Yes, it’s the festive season and it is okay to relax on your eating of course, I’m not going to pretend I don’t! BUT try not to overdo it. You don’t want to start the next year feeling like you’ve set your progress back by months just for a few weeks of celebration. 

How To Stay Healthy Over The Festive Period

… is HARD but possible. With a couple of smal treats here and there ;)

The problem is the long period over which we celebrate Christmas. It usually starts during the 2nd week of December and lasts all month!

Work parties, client parties, family parties, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 

And most of these parties have the usual overkill of chocolate, desserts and anything else you’d want to have only on treat days. There’s hardly any ‘Healthy’ section in these parties. So, what to do?!?

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll share tips which usually help me out during these (very!) testing times.
(And, um, this will serve as motivation and a reminder for myself because the Fitter London Christmas party is only a few days away and I’ve just ordered a SINFUL and YUMMY cake from Vickii.)

Tip #1: Fill your plate up with protein.

There’s usually a buffet at parties, with a variety of food. As tempting as it may be, avoid trying every single thing. I know that’s going to be challenging but pick one (maximum two) small portions of the rice, potatoes, pasta, pastries, etc so you do not feel like you’re depriving yourself.
Load up the rest of your plate with protein, there’s usually a tasty selection of turkey, chicken, sausages, meat, etc. Avoid the deep fried, breaded options of course. Don’t forget your veggies!

For set menus, you’re usually provided the option to choose meals in advance – apply the tips mentioned above.

Tip #2: Avoid ‘seconds’ or ‘thirds’.

Fortunately, you don’t usually have this option with set meals.
With buffets, it’s very easy to go back for a second, third or even fourth round. If you plan it well enough, you can pick the right foods and not go feel the need to go back for no more than a second helping.

*ahem* Although I did go for seconds a couple of weeks ago.
I was at a friend’s dinner and what helped was adding chicken, fish and sausages (those were the protein options available) and a small serving of beans (Nigerian style) to my plate for my 1st serving. By the time I was done with it, I was satisfied enough but went ahead (because my middle name is ‘Greedy’) and had small samples of two of the high carb options (see Tip #1 above) and a little more protein. My greed aside, I could have stopped after the first plate because of all the very filling protein I had.
Then I had some dessert, let’s just agree that I was good ;)

I’m going to follow these points above and will share more next week including alcohol intake, eating in advance, and more.

What’s In My Seasoning?

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you should know I stopped cooking my food with Maggi cubes, read THISTHIS and THIS.

After a lot of trial and error, I finally found the right combination of herbs, spices and salt to give me a similar taste to food cooked with Maggi. Not only is this a healthier alternative (read above posts for more information) but the herbs and spices have many benefits which I’ll blog more about in future posts..

My simple combination is mixed herbs, mixed spices and sea salt. I also use parsley when I’m cooking fish and, sometimes, pork.

BUT there are times when I don’t have access to these and I go back to my childhood favourite combo of curry, thyme and salt, then I throw in a spice I LOVE – ginger, especially for chicken. Ahhh, it seems like yesterday (and not over 2 decades ago), I remember waiting for my turn (we always had a cousin or the other over during the holidays) to fry my eggs, seasoned with – curry, thyme and salt :)

Mixed Herbs
I alternate between:
Schwartz* Mixed Herbs
Ingredients: Marjoram (40%), Basil, Thyme (20%), Oregano.
and
Sainsburys Mixed Herbs
Ingredients: Dried Sage (25%), Dried Thyme (25%), Dried Oregano (20%), Dried Marjoram (20%), Dried Parsley (10%)

Mixed Spice
I usually alternate between:
The Vital Ingredient Sweet Mixed Spices (Which I purchase from GNC here in the UK)
Ingredients: Coriander, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Fennel, Cloves, Cardamon
and
Schwartz Mixed Spices
Ingredients: Cassia (40%), Coriander Seed (38%), Caraway, Ginger, Cloves
(Although, sometimes I use the supermarket brand)

Salt
Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt
My go-to salt is Maldon sea salt which I buy from Sainsburys or Holland & Barrett.

*Schwartz is available in most supermarkets. Large tubs (and amazing value for money) are sold in Costco.

I suggest playing around with the ratios to find out what works for you although, I have mentioned how much I use in some recipe videos. 

Food Haul: What I Bought (And Cooked) This Week

Hi!

Hope you had a nice weekend. Here’s this week’s video showing you what I bought this week, and also the meals I prepared for the week.

  • I shopped on a budget this week. I bought healthy, fresh food and didn’t break the bank :)
  • I took a break from the usual supermarkets and went to the local market. I’ve lived in this area for 6 years and didn’t know about the massive market minutes away from my house!!!
  • As I had a small budget and also wanted to stick to healthy food, I planned my meals as I shopped.

If you like this video and would like to see more like it, please let me know.