Category Archives: Alcohol

Low Calorie Drinks for The 5:2 Diet

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Latte Machiatto

Latte Machiatto (Photo credit: 5.0OG)

Yesterday I had a ‘Skinny’ Vanilla Spiced Latte. Considering it was marketed as a low fat beverage, it was high in calories…269 in fact! If you’re on a fast day and are trying to cut down, don’t waste your calories on drinks (unless, for some crazy reason, you really don’t want to eat).Here are some really high-calorie drinks you may want to avoid:

  • Starbucks‘ large White Chocolate Mocha with Whipped Cream (whole milk) = 612 calories
  • Starbucks’ Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream = 690 calories
  • Starbucks’ Caramel Frappuccino with Whipped Cream (whole milk) = 1903 calories
  • Pina Colada has approximately 644 calories per drink
  • Long Island Ice Tea typically contains over 700 calories per serving

I love going for coffee and Starbucks isn’t all bad. If you’re fasting and want to check out the calories in their drinks, click here.

Instead, why not opt for some low or zero calorie drinks…it’s only for two days each week, after all!

  • Water, water, water! There are practically NO calories in water – and if you’re lucky enough to have drinkable tap water, then it’s also free!
  • Many teas have no calories. Try green tea, lemon and ginger tea or peppermint tea. There’s a flavour out there for everyone.
  • There are only a couple of calories in a mug of black coffee. Compared to a can of Red Bull (over 100 calories), this is a great way to still get your caffeine boost without compromising the diet.
  • Diet Coke has 0 calories. Sure, it might not have the health benefits of water or green tea, but if you usually drink non-diet coke you’ll be saving around 100 calories per 8 fl oz.

Do you just drink water on a fast day? Have you ever forgotten to ‘count’ a beverage, soon realising that it’s doubled your calorie intake for the day? Let me know!

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How to Stop Hot Flushes, Naturally

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The Night Sweats

The Night Sweats (Photo credit: ministryofstories)

I’ve had a lot of requests recently from women going through the menopause who are constantly aggravated by hot flushes (called hot flashes in America). This sudden feeling of almost unbearable heat (usually followed by feeling cold) happens when blood vessels close to the surface of your skin dilate to cool themselves. Lots of women also sweat to cool down and then get chills. Night sweats which can be awful if you’d like a good night’s sleep are also common.

There are some natural ways that may help you reduce chances of being terrorised by these sweats:

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, smoking and spicy foods. These can all raise the temperature of your body and make those vessels dilate.
  • Exercise every day if you can. A 15 minute walk every lunch time could do wonders. Or even get up 20 minutes earlier for a stroll around the block.
  • Vitamin E and Vitamin B Complex are also known to help.
  • Deep breathe morning and night. Just take 5 minutes to focus purely on breathing. It’s surprising how shallow most people breathe. You can also do this when you feel a hot flush creeping up on you.
  • Author, Alice Feinstein has written, “If you’re fed up with menopause, move to Japan [where] hot flashes and night sweats are virtually unheard of. Researchers believe that it has more to do with their traditional diet. Besides providing more vegetable protein and less animal protein than a Western diet, it’s also low in fat and high in soy products such as tofu. These foods are rich in plant compounds known as phytoestrogens, which seem to mimic some of the biological activities of female hormones.”
  • Choosing fresh vegetable juices over coffee or tea can help alkalise your system.
  • Most beans – especially soy beans – are beneficial. As long as your soy choices aren’t too fatty, eat as much soy as possible! Soy milk and tofu are two nice examples.
  • 2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil taken every day has also been known to reduce flushes. Flaxseed is estrogenic, just like soy.
  • Miso soup, which also contains soy.
  • Dairy products should be avoided due to their high fat content.
  • Sunflower seeds, walnuts, broccoli, cabbage, asparagus, oats and barely can also help to combat menopausal symptoms.

What works (or not) will differ between women. Keep a diary if you have time. Write down what you eat and when you have a hot flush. This might signal foods or beverages that aren’t helping you.

Good luck! And remember, if you find any amazing natural solutions, please come back and share your thoughts with others.

How Many Calories Are You Drinking?

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Coffee cup

Coffee cup (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

How many calories are really in a cup of tea or coffee? Is a glass of wine now and then okay if you’re on a diet, or can it tip your expected calorie intake for the day way off the scales?

Here’s a list of some popular beverages and the amount of calories they contain:

1 cup of tea with no milk and no sugar: Less than 3 calories
1 cup of tea made with semi-skimmed milk and no sugar: 14 calories
1 cup of tea with semi-skimmed milk and sugar: 50 calories
1 cup of coffee with semi-skimmed milk: 14 calories
1 coffee brewed from grounds and made with just water: 2 calories
1 coffee brewed from instant coffee and made with just water: 2 calories
1 small espresso (2 oz.): 1 calorie
1 small glass of red wine (120 ml): 80 calories
1 small glass of medium white wine (120 ml): 87 calories
1 250ml can of Red Bull: 113 calories
1 average pint of lager: 165 calories
1 can of Diet Coke: 1 calorie
Water (any amount): 0 calories

All of the above obviously vary according to quantity and things like the AMOUNT of milk etc you add to your drink. If you need to find out the calories in any other beverage, most can be found on the Internet on sites like Weight Loss Resource or Calorie Count – otherwise, drop me a comment with your query and I’ll find out for you!

Follow me on Twitter if you like @weeatthings

M&S Dine In for £10: Mushroom En Croute

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Last night the other half and I decided to be lazy and partake in M&S’s Dine In For Two £10 deal.

We chose the Mushroom En Croute, carrots and peas and also added new potatoes & herbs. Here’s the delicious main course:

It went really well with the Chez Pierre white wine, which was crisp and quite fruity.

The £10 Dine in for Two deal is excellent value and never fails to provide great quality food. You get to choose one main course and a side, one dessert and a bottle of wine – all for just a tenner! We chose the New York Cheesecake – which I’ll blog about soon.

What’s Healthier: Red Wine or White Wine?

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Image of two California wines.

Whenever I drink wine, I always drink white wine. I find that red wine is too ‘heavy’ and even after a small sniff of it, I can sense a massive hangover approaching. Red wine also stains my mouth (seemingly more so than anyone else’s). What I’ve always wondered is whether red wine is much more healthy than white.

Studies in the past twenty years tend to recommend that drinking red wine in moderation is good for your heart. Scientists have found that in red wine there are chemicals that prevent the formation of fatty streaks on the walls of arteries. “A  London team tested extracts from 23 red wines, four white wines, a rosé wine and one red non-alcoholic grape juice sample, after finding that certain chemicals – called polyphenols – from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes decreased the manufacture of ET-1 in bovine artery wall cells.” (See this BBC News article for more info). The white wines had no similar effect.

Red wines also contain antioxidants that come from the skin of grapes. This is because red wine grapes are in contact with their skins for much, much longer during the winemaking process than for white wine. However, the amount of antioxidants found in wine varies depending on the type of grape and where it was grown, how the wine was produced and how it was stored.

Allison Ford on the Sheerbalance website says, “Although we tend to think that red wine is what protects the body, it may actually be that red-wine drinkers are already healthier and therefore less likely to develop those chronic diseases in the first place. Studies show that regular drinkers of red wine are less likely to smoke than white-wine drinkers, and more likely to eat a Mediterranean-style diet low in saturated fats. There are a few clear-cut advantages to choosing white over red. For one, white wine tends to have fewer calories…In general, though, white wine is a better choice for people watching their weight. Another benefit is that it is far less likely to trigger headaches, especially migraines. Red wine, more than any other alcoholic beverage, is a known trigger for many migraine sufferers, and even healthy people often avoid it and its side effects, which can sometimes occur after as little as one glass.”

The Verdict? Either wine seems fine in moderation, and while the jury’s still out on whether red or white is significantly better, I’m sticking to white!

Which do you prefer?

How To Create A Simple Cheeseboard (A Guide For The Non-Expert)

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Here’s a cheese and meat board I created a few days ago.

I LOVE cheese but my knowledge on the subject is limited. I know what I like and what I don’t, but that’s pretty much as far as it goes.

If you like the look of this and would like to create one yourself, here’s what you need to do:

  • The cheese: for this board I’ve used a very very spicy Mexican cheese that can be purchased from most supermarkets. I also used a Le Rustique Camembert (popular, cheap, mainstream camembert).
  • Buy a few hams/meats you like the look of. Here I used some sort of salami and some parma ham.
  • Put some olives into a bowl. Garlic or jalapeno-stuffed olives are my fave.
  • Place the above onto a rustic-looking wooden board, with some oatcakes.
  • Binge on the cheeseboard until you’re suitably stuffed!

Best served at room temperature with a glass of your favourite wine.

Enjoy, Foodlings!

Becks Blue – The Best Alcohol Free Beer Yet?

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For the past ten days I have chosen not to drink alcohol for a few reasons:

• My body needed a break. After a recent trip to Devon, where I drank wine and cider every night, I decided enough was enough.
• I had to take antibiotics for seven days, so was instructed to avoid alcohol.
• It’s an expensive habit and isn’t particularly healthy.
• I was interested to find out the effects of no alcohol on my body.

Whilst on this alcohol-free binge, I came across Becks Blue. It tastes like ‘real’ alcoholic beer to me, except it doesn’t induce a hangover. One other benefit I loved was not feeling like I was ‘missing out’ when surrounded by others who were drinking alcohol. It also meant that I could: have a few beers and drive home, complete simple tasks without feeling woozy, and boast to others about my clean slate!

Most large supermarkets and some bars now sell it – at Sainsbury’s supermarket in the UK it’s about £2.99 for six bottles – bargain! Although it’s 0% alcohol, you’ll still have to provide ID to buy it if you look underage – which is understandable if you imagine what would happen if groups of children started running round drinking ‘beer’ because they ‘like the taste’. Or packing it into their lunchboxes for school, as a refreshing afternoon beverage.

Anyway, for three quid, I’d recommend it. It hasn’t converted me to being a teetotal and I experienced no obvious and immediate health benefits, but if I’m ever in a situation where I don’t want a hangover or need to drive, Becks Blue will be a welcome alternative. Thanks Becks!