Month: May 2014

Is Going Gluten Free The Answer?


Gluten. In or Out?In my continuing quest to discover what “ultimate health” is all about and maybe see if I could shed a few pounds in the process, I recently tried a gluten-free period of eating. This meant that I ate no gluten-containing food stuffs such as wheat, barley and rye for 3 weeks. I was led to try this after having listened to many of ‘The Thyroid Sessions‘ webinars, where experts came together to discuss thyroid health and the various ways in which people suffering from thyroid disorders can help themselves. One of these such discussions claimed that (don’t quote me on exact numbers, this was the general gist of it) around 90% of people with thyroid issues also have some form of gluten sensitivity. That fact hit me right in the neck (the neck – where the thyroid is located – get it?!). If you’re not aware of my situation, I have an under-active thyroid, I was diagnosed with it around 6 years ago. So what I wondered was – could this claim mean that I may possibly improve my thyroid health, thereby reducing the amount of drugs I take for it? Maybe it would help me lose those last few pounds that refuse to leave my body? It was worth a shot.

As my trial of eating a gluten-free diet began, I switched my regular morning oats for either quinoa with blueberries or for gluten-free muesli. No problem there, easy peasy, and the best bit was that I realised that the quinoa breakfast actually filled me up for way longer than my old breakfast of porridge (oats are not themselves gluten-containing but most oats you buy CAN be cross-contaminated by other crops or at the factory so you need to buy gluten-free oats if you wish to continue with porridge). Another change I made was not having any bread, as this is made from wheat flour. This was not so much of a problem for me as I don’t eat bread more than once a week anyway. For lunch I would have an enormous salad with greens, chopped veg, salmon and quinoa, or maybe a chicken breast with 3 different veggies on the side. Following that I would have a small portion of fruit, to satisfy my sweet tooth and save myself from ‘needing’ my usual afternoon cup of Options Hot Chocolate. In the evening I would make a nice steak with garlic sautéed veggies, or a turkey/minced beef chilli with brown rice, or a chicken & lentil curry. And if was hungry between meals I just grabbed an apple with a little cashew or almond butter. Any whole foods that didn’t contain gluten were a go for my trial.

As I began, I steadily lost 0.2-0.4 lbs most days, which was nice to see on the scales. (more…)

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Vegetables – The Miracle Fat Loss Food


Roasted Butternut Squash

2, 3, 5, 10 a day? How many portions of vegetables do you eat on a daily basis? My guess is that it varies from day to day but averages around 3-6, a portion being approximately half a cup of cooked or 1 cup of raw veggies. If you’re reading this post, the chances are that you are healthier than most, or at least have a greater awareness of what healthy eating looks like (or you’re my husband, who is forced to read all my posts anyway!). I want to take a few moments to try to spell out the beauty of vegetables, not only how good they are for your health, but how even more valuable they are when on a weight or fat loss plan. Later on in this post I will show you how you can use vegetables to your advantage to help you in your quest to shed the fat!

Vegetables have some really great culinary and nutritional properties, such as:

  • having very varied flavours and textures
  • containing many vitamins & minerals
  • containing lots of fibre
  • having low amounts of sugar, helping keep blood sugar levels stable
  • being easily digestible
  • containing very few calories per portion compared to similar amounts of other foods

That last point above is the killer punch that vegetables pack, which makes them a very powerful tool in your arsenal when planning a menu for weight-/fat-loss. I’ll say it again – cup for cup, vegetables contain fewer calories per portion than other foods. What this really means is you can eat a shed load of vegetables for not a lot of calories. And who wouldn’t want to eat large amounts of food that has no adverse effect on their waistline?! One cup of vegetables contains just 30 to 80 calories, depending on the variety (to be clear, we are NOT including white potatoes in this discussion – yes they are a vegetable but they are another story – useful in your diet possibly yes, but not for the context that I’m talking about). Vegetables are also nutrient-dense – you get the most amount of nutrients packed in small amounts of food. So not only can you pile them onto your plate without adding hundreds of extra calories, you are also getting the maximum amount of nutrition at the same time. Vegetables are sounding even more attractive aren’t they?

So let’s assume you agree to put more vegetables on your plate in place of other less-nutritious items, what other positive effects does this have? (more…)