Yesterday I made these really simple Tomato, Feta and Olive Tarts with added pesto. They were really easy to make and tasted delicious. I found the recipe over at the Good Food website.
I LOVE olives, but I’ve never really thought about different varieties, ripeness and colour in any way, apart from knowing that green olives often taste more sharp, and black olives seem to have a ‘deeper’ flavour. So, what is the difference between black and green olives?
- The colour of an olive depends on how ripe the fruit (yes; an olive is a fruit) is when it’s picked. Green olives are picked before they’re ripe and black olives are picked whilst ripe.
- Most olives are not edible raw, so both green and black olives need to go through a curing process (such as being pickled or soaked in oil or salt water) before we eat them.
- Green olives are typically more dense and bitter than their black cousins; however, the taste is mainly dependant on how the olive was cured.
- From my research, there seems to be no nutritional difference between green and black olives.
What’s your favourite type of olive? Green? Black? Stuffed…?
I’ve searched high and low so that you don’t have to (you’re welcome). There are loads and loads of delicious 5:2 recipe ideas out there. Women are supposed to eat 500 calories or less on a fast day, and men 600 calories or less.
You can of course snack on a handful of 100 calorie things throughout the day, or you can save yourself for one main meal. This post details recipes for meals that are 500 calories or less.
Their Steamed Fish with Lemon, Ginger & Chilli recipe is just 153 calories per serving.
Love pizza and can’t even resist it on a fast day? Why not try this 316 calorie Smoky Corn and Black Bean Pizza over at Eating Well! Or how about these Turkey and Lettuce Wraps at just 285 calories. Amazing!
If you’re in a rush or just aren’t a fan of cooking your grub from fresh, why not try a low-calorie ready meal? Marks & Spencer have a low-calorie range called count on us…™. They’re a selection of ready meals all under 400 calories and less than 3% fat.
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!
TV Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has this week written an article for The Guardian, about his recent experience on the 5:2 diet. He explains that fasting for two days out of seven has resulted in him losing an impressive eight pounds since the new year.
Hugh refers to it as The Fast Diet (I see it as more like The Eat Diet as you can eat more most of the time rather than less most of the time) and says, “…The Fast Diet says I can continue to butter my bread, cheese my butter, and raise my glass – at least for five days a week. It also promises much more than mere weight loss. It will reduce my bad cholestrol, protect me against cancer and even sharpen my mind. It pretty much promises that I will live longer, and healthier. As my half century approaches, that’s quite a punchy proposition.”
He then goes on to say, “could this diet, and the knowledge that underpins it, be harnessed to make a genuine impact on global health and the obesity epidemic? In principle, the answer would seem to be yes. (Though it wouldn’t be popular with the supermarkets, would it? Imagine if we all started shopping for a five-day eating week. That’d be more than 25% of Tesco’s turnover down the pan.)”
“So I believe in this fasting thing, I really do. With my strictly non-snacking version, I’ve lost eight pounds already, and I find the whole thing rather exhilarating. I feel I might just be part of a health revolution. But is it really sustainable, for me or for significant numbers of others?”
His article refers to a book written by Michael Moseley and Mimi Spencer. Michael was the guy in the original BBC Horizon documentary about the diet and Mimi Spencer is a columnist for YOU Magazine. The book is currently a UK bestseller on Amazon, so this whole thing is obviously catching on.
…if only I’d written that book! 🙂
- Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: Why I’m on the Fast Diet (guardian.co.uk)
- TV chefs’ recipes may be less healthy than ready meals, study finds (guardian.co.uk)
Blog of the month is back! And this month I’ve gone for what I always love: simplicity, good photography and great recipes.
The winner this month is a blog called Simple Food, written by Margaret who lives with her family in Brisbane, Australia.
Margaret says, “Ever since I was a young girl I have loved cooking and making up recipes. I started cooking in the 1970s, when complexity was king – think prawn cocktails, chocolate orange mousse cups, beef Wellington etc. etc. As an adult I have traversed pretty much all the cooking trends – nouvelle cuisine, Asian fusion, weird things on pizza, and more – but all the while, what I cooked day to day at home was a much pared back, simpler style that better suited me and my family – food that concentrated on flavour, local ingredients in season, and was easy to prepare and cook. This is the type of food that is most like me, and what I want to share.”
One of my favourite posts on the site is this Zucchini and Mint Salad which looks utterly delicious, healthy and so SIMPLE!
Go take a look at her other stuff – it’s worth a look!
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.