The 5:2 Diet – New Guest Blogger!

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Thanks to all of you who applied to be guest blogger on We Eat Things for the 5:2 diet. I am happy to announce that Shiv has been chosen to record his ‘diet’ journey for the foreseeable future.

Shiv says: “I’ve been on this programme since last August, and stumbled on it quite by accident after watching the Horizon programme on iplayer! It really spoke to me, and after doing a little more reading on Intermittent Fasting (IF), decided to have a go. Well, that was 6 months ago, and in that time I have lost over 30 lbs, discovered the importance what I eat, and most importantly have started exercising as often as four times a week.I don’t want to bandy words like “life-changing”, etc, but this experience has really changed a lot of things for me – not least of all the need for a new wardrobe!”

 Even with a hectic lifestyle, the 5:2 way of eating can still work – “I work full-time in a job which requires me to travel quite a lot (I’m writing this from Zurich), but have tried to ensure that the 5:2 programme works around my schedule, rather than the other way around. I have (sort of) made my own rules about 5:2 such that it works for me in a manner that I will want to sustain this on a medium- to long-term basis rather than see this as something I will do for a finite period.”
Can’t wait to hear more exciting news from Shiv over the next few months!
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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall on The 5:2 Diet

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Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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! 🙂

We Eat Things Blog of the Month: January 2013

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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!

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.

So, how are you all getting on?

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It’s been a while since I have wanted to write about the 5:2 Diet. I never intended this site to be diet-based, but it’s still drawing in hundreds of visitors every day. I have to accept what my audience wants!

I just wondered how everyone is getting on with the 5:2 diet? How long have you been on the diet and how successful has it been for you? Did Christmas hinder your efforts?

Also, I am once again recruiting a guest blogger to share their personal dieting story (5:2 only, please). This time I will focus on just one dieter to keep it simple.

Email me at HEC527@live.co.uk with a paragraph about why you’d like to write for this blog for the foreseeable future and I will choose an appropriate volunteer  by Friday 25th January.

I require a writer for one or two posts per week and preferably someone with good grammar so I don’t have to do too much editing.

I look forward to your submissions!

Thanks for reading,

Heather
We Eat Things

Peas: An Often Overlooked Treasure

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Peas

You’ll be ecstatic to know that I am now back in the game as a writer after a short time away from words. During my time working in advertising (6 months ago) I seemed to have plenty of time to write. I then moved on and worked in Recruitment until December. This, as you would expect, left me with around 0 days spare time per week and approximately 0g of energy to type. After getting screwed over by what/who can only be described as a ‘con-man’, I was jobless. A couple of days later I bounced back and got a job as a Barista in a lovely coffee shop. This all ended last week when I was thrown across the kitchen of said coffee shop via electric shock. Needless to say I am not returning to an environment that poses such lovely surprises. So it’s back to writing!

You may be less ecstatic to learn my return post is about peas. I’d say 60% of people I know would happily pick peas out of a pea dish – despite it being a tedious activity.

Peas are often overlooked. I mean, really, who LOVES peas? They aren’t as fashionable as the sweet potato and they don’t sit so nicely on a pizza as their cousin, The Sweetcorn.

There are, however, some exceptional benefits of eating peas:

  • They are high in most things EXCEPT for fat. They contain micronutrients, fibre and protein but contain very few calories.
  • They contain lots of something called coumestrol which is said to help prevent stomach cancer.
  • The antioxidants in them give you energy, can boost your immune system and make you look younger.
  • Peas contain phytonutrients that are anti-inflammatory (preventing wrinkles, arthritis and bronchitis). Their anti-inflammatory properties also help maintain healthy blood vessels.

If you’d like some delicious recipes for peas, visit this interesting site.

Food Fashions: From Cupcakes to Macarons

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My friend baked some of these delicious Pistachio Macarons recently and it got me thinking about food fashions. A few years ago everyone was all over cupcakes like a rash. Some people are still having cupcake pyramids (and such) at their weddings. I prefer the idea of a ‘cheese cake’ (wedding cake made from a selection of cheeses but made to look like ‘normal cake’) – yum. For the past year, or maybe slightly more, everyone is obsessing over Macarons. Also, who do you know that hasn’t been for afternoon tea? You can get afternoon tea for £10 each on the high street now. How has this happened?

Apparently, cupcakes became fashionable after they appeared on an episode of Sex and the City. Macarons then featured on Gossip Girl.

Does everyone else think drinking coffee has an air of charm just because of Friends? Or was it just as trendy before the popular American show?

It just makes you wonder what’s next. Will it be Spam sandwiches or carrot juice? If you want to be ahead of the game, I suggest you keep well up to date with all popular American TV shows with a primarily female audience. Vampire Diaries here I come…sigh.