Eat Courgettes

Now, I’ve got to say, a couple of months ago, courgettes would’ve been one of the last foods I’d think of popping into my shopping basket. I love my veggies, especially the Mediterranean -and often green- ones. Courgettes though? No thanks. These guys were definitely featured in my top most disliked foods list, along with mushrooms, truffle and liquorice.

But, when you’ve just always had such a strong dislike for something there comes a point where you question why?Was it their taste? Their texture? Their smell? (Do they even have a smell?)  Or was the whole thing in my head? Psychological if you like. A figure of my imagination.

So then, one day, this weird thing happens.

I got up, got dressed, headed to the shop, grabbed a basket and what did I do? I went and put a courgette in it. That’s right. A courgette. In mybasket. What’s weirder is that once I returned home, I got a bowl out of the cupboard, and ate it.

courgettes

This literally happened. Ok so, not like literally. I didn’t just chop up a courgette and get a spoon ready to dive in (as the picture above suggests).

But I did however have it it for breakfast ….and I’m about the tell you how and more intriguingly -why…

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Why?

Quoted from Anna Vitality Instagram;
“These bad boys contain hardly any calories, have a high water content -making them a friend for people wanting to lose a bit of weight- and are the perfect ingredient for bulking out any meal to help you feel fuller for longer…. They aren’t packed with micronutrients, but they do contain significant amounts of vitamin C which is vital for our immune system, skin, hair and nails, as well as potassium which is key to controlling blood pressure”


So, y’know I said I hated the damn things? Well, it turns out
…. I don’t.

Their texture ain’t all that great as for taste and smellI really don’t think they have much.

They do, on the other hand, have some really beneficial nutritional properties and, when chopped finely and mixed together with oats -or even blended into a breakfast smoothie- you really can’t taste them.

So, why do it then?

Well, like I said, it bulks out the meal and is loaded with essential vitamins- this can suppress cravings and helps you feel fuller for longer. It’s also allows you start your morning knowing you’ve already consumed more than one of your five a day, especially when the berries and bananas get stirred into the equation.

How do I do it….


All you gotta do is roughly chop the courgette into small cubes, pop them in a bowl with a little water and microwave for 90 seconds, softening their otherwise hard texture. Next, I like to pop them in a mini food processor and whiz them up so they’re super fine, but you can skip this if you’re a more skilful chopper-upper than I am. Next, I pop them in my favourite breakfast bowl with one cup of oats, half a cup of chia seeds, half a mashed banana and whatever nut milk I have in the fridge …. and mix. Lastly I shake in a generous amount of ground cinnamon, stir thoroughly and then pop my magical mix of goodness intp the microwave for a further two minutes until it’s really gloopy and creamy. I add some blueberries, the other half of the banana and some wallnuts on top and in goes my spoon for my first taste. If I don’t add the banana to the mix I find that the oats can taste a little on the savoury side and so, if I’m all out of bananas, I’ll often add a small spoonful of honey, a form of nut butter or, to mix it up even further, I’ll blend the blueberries into the mixture at the start instead, which not only adds a bursting, sharp, sweetness but it gives the oats a fabulous vibrant purpley colour. So, however you chose to do it, as long as the courgettes are finely chopped and a few other (sweeter) ingredients are added to the bowl then you’ll have a winner. #BreakfastZoats


Cut Down on Milk

We all know how ‘good milk is for you’ right?  I mean, it’s rich in calcium, it’s good for your teeth, it’s good for your bones, it contains all the right proteins and fats to help you grow and become bigger, taller, healthier and stronger… Many of us can probably remember being told to “drink up your milk”, whether that was from a carton at school or in a mug and warmed up with honey before bed. I know I can and I loved it. When I was poorly I’d have warm milk & honey on tap! My mum would be making me a mug of the stuff several times a day and, honestly, it made me wish I was ill more often.

As I grew older I would have milk in my tea, with my cereal, in my chai tea lattes, incorporated into my cooking to make sauces and scrummy pasta dishes. As for other dairy products, well… cheese and butter were also a must have in the Beal Household.

With all that being said, Milk and Dairy have always been associated with ‘healthy’ or ‘yummy’. But, what actually is milk? Yeah, it’s good for growth, for nourishment, for bone strengthening and all the rest of it. But, for us humans? I’m not sure. I’m starting to think not.

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What IS milk?

It’s universally understood that a mother’s milk is a central part of our development and, essentially, is what Mother Nature had planned in order for us to feed our babies. It allows many species across the globe to provide their young with the nourishment they need. On top of that, it also allows a baby to share with its mother her immune system, getting the right balance of fats, hormones, vitamins, proteins, and enzymes to allow it to develop from a baby (e.g. puppy) into an adult (dog) as quickly as possible.

Yet, we humans do something that no other animal on Earth does. After feeding our babies with our nourishing, beloved milk…. we decide to let something pretty weird happen. And that is, to let Mrs Cow take over. No species on the planet consumes milk in their adult lives, let alone that of another species… but, for some reason, we do.

Although cow’s milk contains similar components as human breast milk, they will be in extremely diverse amounts. Cow’s milk, for example, contains significantly lower amounts of PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids) that humans will have more of due to our difference in intelligence and brain development, yet they will have far higher levels of saturated fats which helps with their rapid body growth.

Why is Cow’s milk bad for?

Expert Opinion: “Due to the extreme processes that milk goes through and the high amounts of antibiotics, hormones, and genetically-modified substances that cows are continually exposed to, I believe there are real and eminent concerns associated with drinking milk from cows. All cows release toxins through their milk, as milk is a natural exit-portal for substances that the body cannot use” – Dr. Edward Group, on the dangers of drinking cow’s milk.

Seemingly, cows milk and other dairy produce are not as good for us as we once thought. Plus, there are so many plant-based alternatives such as rice, soya, hemp, hazelnut, almond and coconut milk that are all rich in calcium and nutrients that there really isn’t a reason to drink cow’s milk. I haven’t completely cut out dairy (yet) as I’ve seen a massive difference by merely cutting down. Since I stopped consuming so much diary a few months ago I’ve noticed that my skin has improved, I feel like my energy levels have increased, I’m a lot less bloated and I’ve also lost a bit of weight too.

Some of the health issues linked with dairy milk:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Cancer (such as ovarian, breast and prostate)
  • Diabetes (insulin dependent)
  • Lactose Intolerance (No, you’re just not a cow)
  • Contamination
  • Vitamin D Toxicity

There’s so much to read online about how cow’s milk really isn’t good for you and there are so many alternatives out there to try- super yummy ones too. Dairy free coconut yogurts with blueberries make a lovely snack, and in the mornings I like to use coconut milk in my smoothies and as for porridge, hazelnut milk is the one!

It can make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing if you decide to cut down on dairy milk like I did. You’d be suprised at how much variety it can actually add to your diet too.

For more info on the dangers of consuming dairy and milk, check out this aricle:

‘Heath issues linked with Dairy’ by Dr Gina Shaw


Think Twice about Protein Shakes

Protein shakes may not exactly be the miracle solutions some adverts make them out to be. They can aid weight loss and muscle gain to an extent but not if they’re used as a single means to an end. If combined with normal healthy diet, regular exercise, and drunk when they’re supposed to be drunk (i.e. before/during/after working out) and only now and again then I suppose they can help with weight management. And yeah ok, drinking a protein shake is also easier, faster and more convenient than preparing a variety of balanced meals every day. But there are some serious limitations when it comes to these expensive shakes and, for me, there are far more reasons not to drink them then there are to…

Where the minerals at?

First and foremost they are nutritionally lacking. Most protein shakes don’t contain the goodness that a nutritionally balanced meal would. A serving of whole grains such brown rice, bulgar wheat or quinoa, with a mixture of veggies and some protein in the form of quorn, tofu or a lean meat is a perfect combination of food providing you with all the healthy carbs, good fats and protein you need (as well as containing heaps of vitamins and minerals). A protein shake on the other hand will have approximately 20 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat and 8 grams of carbohydrates. Shakes simply don’t contain the same level of antioxidants and other phytonutrients as whole foods, grains fruits and vegetables.

Limited Edition… I think not

Secondly, protein shakes are definitely limited in what they can do for you and your body. Even with shakes, you won’t lose weight if you don’t reduce your calorie intake, and you won’t tone and develop your muscles if you don’t train regularly. If you’re going to use shakes then make sure you include them as part of a diet and exercise plan that will help you reach and maintain your fitness and health goals for the long-term.

You paid how much?

Lastly, why are they soo darn expensive?? For up to 1kg of Whey Protein Powder you’re looking at around £25-£30, and for 2kg it’s more like £40-£50. For that kind of money you could be buying real food that’ll last you a whole week that’s far more nutritious and contains just as much protein. No Brainer.

Can they be harmful?

By supplying our bodies with excessive amounts of nitrogen protein shakes can tend to throw everything out of balance and can end up contributing to certain nutritional deficiencies. The body must try to eliminate the protein it cannot use that’s found in these supplements and shakes and additional stress and work is given to otu bodies. Protein supplements are also made from processed foods such as dried egg whites and powdered milk. When we eat foods in such a fragmented state they can oversupply the body with some nutrients while creating a deficiency of others. Basicallu, protein shakes not only supply us with excessive amounts of protein but they can also disrupt the body’s nutritional balance.

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Ultimately, what we need to do is understand what protein is for and how much we actually need. Protein is literally needed for our body’s growth and tissue repair. Protein is not necessary for energy and is not a source of fuel. Only is it a source of fuel when we have excess amounts of it or limited carbohydrates. When this happens, the body separates the nitrogenous matter from the protein molecule and uses the remaining carbon contents to produce fuel. This process places unnecessary strain on our kidneys, liver and other organs as they try to filter out and eliminate all the unusable nitrogenous waste.

What many of us fail to realise is that our bodies physically cannot store too much protein. On average, men should eat 55g and women 45g of protein a day. That’s probably about 2 handful-sized portions of meat, fish, nuts etc. If you’re eating about this but also drinking shakes and eating protein bars frequently, the chances that you’ll simply have too much of it are pretty damn high. Not only will this lead to you simply peeing out all the protein you just drunk (which would mean those shakes were a waste of time) but it will lead to organ damage as explained above.

All we need to do is merely understand our body’s true protein needs. The damage that could occur when we consume far beyond those needs is a little more serious than you think.

If you want to find out more about the serious health issues related to consuming too much protein then click here to have a read of an article I found from The Telegraph. Proper scary stuff….


Over the last six months I’ve felt the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever felt. I’m more positive, I’m focussed, I train harder and see results more readily, I’ve had one break out that consisted of three spots on my chin that lasted no longer than 48 hours and I hardly ever get ‘down days’ (which was something I was far too familiar with not too long ago.) So, what’s changed? I’ve finished Uni. I’m in a happy relationship. I have more self-confidence. Surely there’s got to be something else. Then, one morning while filling up my bottle for the gym, it hit me… Water.

Water is that one thing I can pin-point that’s changed in my life, and by changed I mean – I drink way more of the stuff. Having this moment made me realise just how important it is. It is that all-important, crucial ingredient we can give our bodies (of which are already made up of 60% of it.) It is the one vital element involved in pretty much every function of the human body. Not only does it improve our general well-being but it improves our abilities to achieve goals both mentally and physically; it enhances our brain functions, elevates our mood, optimises training potential and clears our skin.

It’s common knowledge that it’s ‘important’ to drink plenty of water it’s just that not many of us actually do. Instead we drink coffee, fizzy drinks, fruit juices, alcohol. But water really is the first step to being healthy.

Click Here to read my top 5 reasons as to why I believe this….



To help ease the monotony of drinking water here are some easy-peasy ideas to help add some flavour and texture to your bottle;

Citrus Water
Just add a squeeze of a lemon and some orange segments.

Berry Blast
I like to use blueberries & raspberries but use whatever berries tickle your fancy.

Cool as Cucumber
Chuck in some crushed ice and – you guessed it – cucumber.

S’lime H20
Don’t worry, there’s nothing slimy about it. It’s just some strawberries and lime… get it?

A breath of fresh air
Fresh mint leaves and a chunk of celery

Spice it up
Add some crushed ginger and lemongrass.


Drink More Water