apPEAling, no?


I made a pea and mint pesto for a pasta dish. It has pine nuts and garlic in it
which gave it a lovely taste. In its cold state it was thick and was very nice
on sticks of celery and spelt bread.


Once mixed with some of the pasta water it was great.
I served it with a mix of red cabbage, brussel sprouts, mushrooms,
walnuts, sesame seeds, leeks, celery and tomatoes.


The next day I watered it down, heated it up and used it as an
accompaniment to a Quorn curry with brown rice.
The mint and garlic really worked with the curry spices.

Dolmio et al

Whilst I am very happy that Mars Foods are planning to give advice on their website not to eat their sauces more than once a week (or some such wording), it saddens me that this is necessary. I understand they will use “occasional” and “every day”, though no processed food should be consumed every day.

Some years ago I tried a Dolmio pasta sauce and found it to be inedible because it was too sweet and far from authentic.

I do wonder who will checking their website, though. I doubt it will be those who would benefit from the advice.

Also in the press today, news that record numbers of children are losing teeth to decay caused by excess sugar. I heard some mothers on the radio saying their children like sweets and sweet drinks and that a bottle of coke is cheaper than a bottle of water. Yet a bottle of tap water is cheaper still!

That sugar is being consumed in amounts which rot teeth makes me shudder to think how much other damage it is doing to these children. A diet high in sugar leads to a very high risk of obesity, many cancers, kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, dementia, diabetes type 2, circulatory problems, failing eyesight, loss of limbs. Also, mood swings, depression, confusion, aggression, irritabilty. No wonder  the World Health Organisation consider it on a par with alcohol and smoking.

On the subject of sugar, there’s a list of its many guises here.

Bad Nutritionist?

I found this erroneous quote about the way a nutritionist works:

Nutritionist – “From tomorrow i [sic] want you to switch immediately to 3 healthy balanced meals a day, here’s some meal plans. Come and see me next week, ill [sic] give you exacty [sic] the same advice for the same fee” If it were that easy…

If you experience this approach, I would advise you to find a different nutritionist.

My approach is to help you improve your overall health through exercise, diet, lifestyle and attitude by introducing changes in your everyday life without impacting on anything other than your health…in a good way. I’ll be available to support you, encourage you, advise you throughout.

Catch up time

A quick meal catch up…

IMG_3041           IMG_3042
Whilst I am plant based, I understand this is not everyone’s choice.
For breakfast my stepson often has truly free range eggs poached on wholegrain toast.

IMG_3150           Photo 08-04-2016, 8 14 36 pm
The more colours on your plate, the more minerals and vitamins.
It’s a nice, simple way to make sure you’re getting a good variety.

IMG_3147     Photo 08-04-2016, 8 10 27 pm
Again, my favourite breakfast of muesli, fruit and seeds
and my favourite way to cook those wonder foods.
Broccoli, brussell sprouts and dark green leaves…this time, cavolo nero

Then there’s this, because, well, sometimes, just because…

I’m with Jamie…plate accompli

It saddens me that we have a nation of children who, in this time of plenty, are the most unhealthy since records began. With the tremendous advance in healthcare and medicine lives will be prolonged but they will not be lives full of health and vitality. Live long and prosper? There need to be some big, big changes for that.

I was recently given the food diary of a teenager. In each seven days the child, (and yes, physically still a child with growth and organ development still important) had one piece of fruit and no vegetables. Somewhat short of the five-a-day target. Potatoes don’t count as these are in the starchy carbohyrdates group. Nor do a few scraps of iceberg lettuce and cucumber found in a wrap.

Now, my big issue here is this: how on earth can a young person who has lunch at school five days a week have such a poor diet? Surely, at least five of their weekly meals should consist of all the necessary food groups in the right balance. So I’d be expecting to see protein (there was tuna twice), fibre (there was a small amount in a wrap and some pasta…wholemeal would be a far better option), carbs (there were carbs a-plenty but all bad ones), fruit and vegetables. The apple was eaten at home.

The diary showed a lack of all the important vitamins and minerals, not enough protein for muscle and nerve development and repair, no complex carbs for sustainable energy and not enough fibre to keep every thing healthy. Fibre doesn’t only help you poo, it encourages fermentation of the good bacteria in your gut so should good nutrients happen by, the gut can do its job.

What the diary did show was a dangerous amount of sugar, a large amount of it bought and consumed at school. And it is dangerous. A diet high in sugar leads to a very high risk of obesity, many cancers, kidney disease, heart disease, liver disease, dementia, diabetes type 2, circulatory problems, failing eyesight, loss of limbs. Also, mood swings, depression, confusion, aggression, irritabilty. No wonder  the World Health Organisation consider it on a par with alcohol and smoking.

School is the place our children should be safe and nurtured. Nurtured mentally and physically. We should be able to trust our schools to do this. We should be content in knowing our schools not only provide wholesome fare but do not provide sugar laden food and drink. Why are fizzy drinks and chocolate available in schools?

Our schools should be teaching our children good habits and leading by example. Perhaps it’s time to revert to the old system of school dinners, paid for once a term and presented to the children as a fait accompli…or a plate accompli! Should we go back to the dining hall/refectory style as clearly, the canteen style is not working?


You may have seen quite a few articles in the press recently about the cholesterol lowering qualities of walnuts. Well, it is true. They are very good all round.

  • Cholesterol lowering
  • Good bacteria promoting
  • High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids
  • Low on the Glycaemic Index
  • Blooming delicious

But walnuts can be vile. Remember the stale, rubbery thing on top of a Walnut Whip? Yuk! They need to be as fresh as possible and I have found one particular brand which is great and cheap, too…Asda Good & Balanced. The whole range is excellent but do beware…if you pick them up in the fruit and vegetable aisles they are more expensive than those in the baking aisle.


I have four to eight walnut halves a day, usually as a nibble while the kettle boils. I keep them in a jar close by.

Incidentally, checking my food diary for yesterday, I had seven portions of fruit and vegetables with no fretting! You’d be surprised how easily healthy eating becomes the norm.

Beware of Skinny Fat

Yes, this really is a thing, although it is the popular press giving it the name “Skinny Fat”.

Weight and Body Mass Index can be within a healthy range. Clothes still fit comfortably and clothed you look great. But, naked in the mirror you look a little flabby or not as toned as you’d like. This can be down to carrying more fat than muscle thus having a Body Fat percentage which is too high.

There are several ways to calculate the percentage, the most common being with the use of callipers but a simple test you can do using a tape measure will give you a rough calculation. Personally, I like to use both methods!

The calliper method gives me a percentage of 26.5, the tape measure method, which you can try here gives me a percentage of 22. This isn’t all completely definitive as ideal figures depend on more than just your age as activity levels, height and medication can be factor, too.






Sugar Tax

The Chancellor George Osborne has announced in the Budget Statement that the government will introduce a levy on sugar-sweetened drinks in April 2018 (subject to consultation). The levy will apply to drinks with more than 5g total sugar/100ml, with a higher rate for drinks with more than 8g total sugar/100ml. The levy will not apply to milk-based drinks or pure fruit juices.

Will this help stem the rise in obesity? I doubt it. The cost of a packet of cigarettes is obscene yet people still smoke and I believe people will still buy sugar laden drinks. At best, I think manufacturers will add a range of lower sugar drinks.

Taking them off sale in schools, along with all the other unhealthy offerings (sausage rolls, chips, pizza, crisps) would be far more beneficial, although schools would then have to offer healthy alternatives and as Jamie Oliver has discovered, the backlash from parents is something to behold!

Some say this is a tax on the poor. Please, enlighten me here as a bottle of water is cheaper than a can of Cola or Red Bull.

Drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml will be taxed at a lower rate of 6p per drink. These include:
Schweppes Indian Tonic Water:
Sprite: 6.6g
Fanta: 6.9g
Dr Pepper: 7.2g
Um Bongo: 7.5g

Drinks with more than 8g of sugar per 100ml will be taxed at a higher rate of 8p per drink. These include: 
Lucozade original:
Ribena: 9.9g
Dr Pepper: 10.3g
Irn Bru: 10.3g
Pepsi: 10.6g
Coca-Cola: 10.6g
7 Up: 10.6g
Red Bull: 11g
Rockstar energy drink: 12.7g
Old Jamaican ginger beer: 15.2g

On the subject of sugar, there’s a list of its many guises here


Dehydration and driving

Not drinking enough water has same effect as drink driving

This interesting article is from The Telegraph

Having as few as five sips of water an hour while driving is equivalent to being over the drink drive limit. Drivers make more than twice as many mistakes when they are just mildly dehydrated, according to new research.

The study revealed that drivers who had only had 25ml of water an hour made more than double the number of mistakes on the road than those who were hydrated – the same amount as those who have been drink driving.

Professor Ron Maughan, Emeritus Professor of Sport and Exercise Nutrition, who led the study at Loughborough University, said: “We all deplore drink driving, but we don’t usually think about the effects of other things that affect our driving skills, and one of those is not drinking and dehydration.

“There is no question that driving while incapable through drink or drugs increases the risk of accidents, but our findings highlight an unrecognised danger and suggest that drivers should be encouraged to make sure they are properly hydrated.

“To put our results into perspective, the levels of driver errors we found are of a similar magnitude to those found in people with a blood alcohol content of 0.08%, the current UK legal driving limit. In other words drivers who are not properly hydrated make the same number of errors as people who are over the drink drive limit.”

Dehydration can also result in impaired mental functioning, changes in mood, and reductions in concentration, alertness and short-term memory, say the researchers who carried out the first study into dehydration, driving errors and accident risk.

In the study, published in the journal Physiology and Behavior, the researchers carried out a range of tests over two days on male drivers using a laboratory-based driving simulator.

Each volunteer visited the laboratory on three separate occasions and used the simulator on one day while normally hydrated and on a dry day.

The simulated driving task included a two hour continuous monotonous drive on a dual carriageway, with bends, a hard shoulder and simulated auditory ‘rumble strips’, and slow moving vehicles which had to be overtaken.

On one day, the men were provided with 200ml of fluid every hour, and on the dehydration test day, only 25 ml an hour.

Drivers errors, including lane drifting, late braking, and touching or crossing the rumble strip or lane line, were calculated for each condition and compared.

Results show that there was a big increase in driving errors.

During the normal hydration test there were 47 driving incidents, but when the men were dehydrated, the number rose to 101.

The error rate also increased during the two hour period, peaking in the last quarter.

“The results of this initial exploratory study suggest that mild dehydration resulted in a significant increase in minor driving errors during a prolonged, monotonous drive, compared to that seen while performing the same task in a hydrated condition,” according to the researchers.

“The level of dehydration induced in the present study was mild and could easily be reproduced by individuals with limited access to fluid over the course of a busy working day.”

The researchers, who say that driver errors account for 68 per cent of all vehicle crashes in the UK, say mild dehydration can produce negative changes in mood and reductions in concentration, alertness and short-term memory,as well as headache and fatigue.

They found that a two per cent drop in weight due to insufficient hydration can impair mental functioning and the researchers say these changes in mood and cognition help to explain the drop in performance they found.

The researchers also warned that driving in a hot car may lead to significant losses of water over the course of a long journey, and that the the effects may be exacerbated by drivers who deliberately restrict drinking to avoid toilet stops on long journeys.