Pomegranate Sauce [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 10
Yields: about 400ml
Prep & Cooking Time: ≤ 8mins
Type: Dip, Sauce, Dressing
Tools: Large measuring jug, whisk, small dish, non-stick pot

Like other ‘healthy’ and wholesome foods, pomegranate can play a great part in supporting a healthy diet and lifestyle! Originating from the Middle East, this lovely fruit is a good source of fibre but also contains vitamins C, E & K, iron and other antioxidants. Although there has been studies (1,2,3,4) that have indicated and helped support possible health benefits, such as protecting us against heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation and some cancers, the evidence is still inconclusive. Nonetheless we can still enjoy this delicious fruit as one 150ml serving of (pure) juice/day or by scattering these lovely, red jewels over our porridge, yoghurt, salads, rice dishes or any other delicious plant-based meal that we desire! It can be a wonderful way not only to brighten up our meals, but to add some additional nutritional value to them. 🙂

Today we are sharing a lovely pomegranate sauce (dressing or dip)! It’s easy to make and variable depending on what you want to use it for. In all honestly though, this sauce is a ‘treat’, simply because one being we don’t really drink juice and two, unless you can source cheap pomegranates or (100%) pomegranate juice (as ‘juice drinks’ tend to have added sugar, colourings and/or additives), it can be a bit pricey to make.

If you’re feeling rich or the change in your pocket is starting to weigh you down, then we recommend that you whip up a batch! You can adjust how much starch you use to create your prefect consistency and even experiment by adding a cheeky splash of red wine and/or your favourite spices or herbs for a delicious and unique fusion of flavours! We hope that you enjoy some as a dressing over salads or a plate of steamed veggies (mmm broccoli please!) or as a dip/sauce for your plant-based burgers (or bites) or tasty crudities! 

Have a great weekend everyone and happy cooking! 😀

 

Ingredients

+++400ml            100% Natural Pomegranate Juice (or 4 fresh pomegranates/juiced)
+++1 tbsp              Lemon Juice (fresh or concentrated)
+++½-1 tbsp         Fruit Sweetener (*optional)
+++4 tsp                Potato Starch (*variable)

Need and easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Pour the pomegranate and lemon juice into a large measuring jug. Add the sweetener (if using). Whisk together.

2. Place the starch into a small dish with equal parts water. Whisk with a fork to dissolve the flour and until combined; forming a ‘slurry’. Tip: you might want more or less potato starch depending on whether you are making a dip, sauce or thinner dressing.

3. Pour and whisk the slurry into the measuring jug.

4. Transfer the mixture into a non-stick pot. Place it over a medium-low heat. Keep whisking until the sauce starts to thicken (and/or your desired consistency is achieved); do not allow it to boil. Tip: start with a small volume of ‘thickener’. You can always add more of this ‘slurry’ mixture if you want a thicker sauce; just remove the pot from the heat and whisk through. Return to the heat and whisk until your desired thickness is achieved. Remove from the heat. Allow it to cool before storing.

5. Serve warm or cold as a dip, sauce or dressing!

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Mmm, it’s delicious with our kidney bean burgers!

 

Refrigerate any leftover sauce in a sterilised, air tight and resealable jar; best consumed within 5-7 days.

 

Sources:
NHS Choices- Pomegranate: superfood or fad?
USDA

 

Have you tried making pomegranate sauce before? What’s your favourite (homemade) go-to sauce that you just can’t live without?!

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BS Health Terms

BS Articles

Here we discuss some of the bewildering array of terms and phrases that are used when talking about a healthy diet. Even the word ‘healthy’ can be interpreted differently; for some its lack of illness for others it’s an idealised state of bodily perfection; so when you throw the word food or diet on the end, you’re left with a lake of ambiguity full of misunderstanding and ripe for exploitation by unscrupulous peoples.

Terms such as ‘clean eating’, ‘heath foods’, ‘super foods’, ‘juicing for health’ or even ‘eating a healthy diet’ have caused great interest among health enthusiast’s, along with controversy and confusion; as their definitions are ambiguous and transient. They might resonate with you, but what do they actually mean?

Well it’s likely that the average person, health enthusiast and Health professionals (and those scientifically-minded) will have differing views. Scientifically minded people are likely to define them using scientific evidence and reasoning whilst health enthusiast’s tend to measure their definitions not with true science, but more subjective reasoning; how these types of things ‘make them feel’ or through even less tangible concepts. The food industry and health enthusiast make use of the ambiguity of these terms so that to them it can mean anything they want it to! It allows them to tell each other and the unfortunate ‘average person’ whose stuck in the proverbial middle how health regimes should be followed, which products to consume and why everyone should join their ‘bubble’.

Below is a table listing some terms along with how they are often perceived/interpreted by the public and by science.

 

  Spoiler alert

This is BS corner so you can be sure that these terms are not evidence based!

 

We will continue to add to this list as we encounter new terms. If you have any terms that you have seen and want added, please let us know!

 

Article written by: Alex Risby BSc, RD & Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Susan von Struensee_Nutrition_flickr
Links:Detox The truth behind ‘superfoods’ FSA BS Corner(our blog’s latest section!)

Saturated Fat: A Killer or Not?

Diet & Weight Loss

This is a topic that I have sat on for some time, mainly because the media have been all over it and opinions have been going back and forth. However, I was eventually drawn into writing this article because of an experience in my work recently; I was educating a group about fats and was interrupted by a patient stating that butter is good for us and I was wrong to tell people to avoid or limit it. They were quite insistent and it required all my diplomatic skills to respond and move past the point. Afterwards I reflected on the experience and realised that many people might feel this way due to the recent (relatively) debate around the effect of fat, especially saturated fats on heart health.

 

So what’s all the hype about saturated fats?!

You’re likely already aware but to summarise…fat has long been blamed for causing heart disease, and in particular saturated fat; international guidance pushed for a reduction in total fat and saturated fat intakes with swaps to unsaturated (poly and mono) fats. So far no surprises, but in the last couple of years rumblings began about the evidence behind this stance, and in short order several studies and meta analyses came out which appeared to contradict our long held beliefs(1,2,3); namely saturated fats have no impact on heart disease risk, and that the guidance on reducing fat intake was based on unfounded research!

Some commentaries and media organisations took this further and suggested we had been lied to or that the carbohydrates were the real killers.

 

So what’s the real story?

To preface, as a Dietitian (yes there is no C) I am required to follow evidenced-based guidelines and best practice, this can appear to sometimes lag behind the latest research and trends/fads but for a good reason.

I had heard the news stories and read up on the topic when the topic resurfaced over a year ago… but I didn’t change my practice or advice!  Why you might ask?

Well the obvious answer is because the guidelines haven’t changed; but maybe they’re lagging? Well, that’s where best practice can step in… but no, that hasn’t changed either and neither has my own personal opinion.

 

…Why not?  You ask.

 

It’s because of what the media missed (through no real fault of their own), is that the underlying message from the studies is that more research and evidence is needed before any real conclusion can be made, and certainly before guidance is changed. Such was the confusion that many of the authors of the studies issued statements to try and clarify the situation; from the British Heart Foundation:

At the moment UK guidelines encourage us to swap saturated fats for unsaturated fats. You might have seen reports about a recent study we helped to fund which suggests there’s not enough evidence to back the current UK guidelines on the types of fat we eat. We think more research is needed before suggesting any major changes to healthy eating guidance.

 

So what does this mean?

 

Well it might turn out that saturated fat isn’t as bad as we all feared but hold off on eating that bacon and cheese sandwich full of butter.

It would be unwise to think that the claims that saturated fat is healthier than we previously thought, provides some sort of answer to our current health crisis. If your already obese and don’t exercise, eating more saturated fat and less sugar is not going to solve your problems.

The issue is further complicated because our overall health is affected by many factors; saturated fats being only part of an equation that includes almost every diet related public health message out there.

 

Why is this?

1. For starters, we don’t eat foods in isolation and many people avoiding saturated fat replace them with equally unhealthy foods.

2.Secondly, fats are twice as high in kcals as other food groups and it’s easy to over consume on a high fat diet and become overweight or obese, which increases heart disease risk. As our national rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease show; with ischemic heart disease a leading cause of death in the UK.(4)

3. Thirdly, a diet high in animal products (a major source of saturated fats) can be a risk factor for cancer.

4. Finally, processed meat products are high in salt, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

 

For now though, the UK Guidance for a cardioprotective diet is:

  1. No more than 30% energy from fat and less than 7% from saturated fat/day*.
  2. Replace saturated fats with mono and polyunsaturated fats.
  3. Aim for 2 servings of oily fish per week.

 *66g of fat and 15g of saturated fat/day based on 2000Kcals.

 

The bottom line, don’t take news stories at face value and appreciate that scientific studies are designed to be read by scientists who can fully evaluate the results; that’s not to dissuade you from taking an interest and reading up on nutrition, and I would recommend the following article: Is butter really back? It was written by the school of public health at Harvard, which does a great job of explaining the situation.

 

 

Article written by: Alex Risby BSc, RD
Feature image source: Krivochenco_Flickr

 

References:
1: Patty W Siri-TarinoQi SunFrank B Hu, and Ronald M Krauss (2010). Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/91/3/535 (accessed May 2015)
2: Chowdhury et-al 2014. Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1846638 (accessed may 2015)
3:Harcombe et-al (2015).  Evidence from randomised controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines in 1977 and 1983: a systematic review and meta-analysis:  http://openheart.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000196 (accessed may 2015)
4: ONS 2014.Mortality Statistics: Deaths Registered in England and Wales (Series DR), 2013 : http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/mortality-statistics–deaths-registered-in-england-and-wales–series-dr-/2013/stb-deaths-registered-in-england-and-wales-in-2013-by-cause.html#tab-Leading-Causes-of-Death-in-2013

Leading A Healthy Lifestyle & Weight Loss: A Personal Account

Diet & Weight Loss

When it comes to leading a better quality of life, we all have a journey, a story to tell, one that most can relate to… including mine. I am not searching for empathy or a pat on the back, nor am I trying to be your go-to health-nut guru. I’m just trying to express my views, my personal account of the pitfalls and harsh realities of weight loss and healthy living; an account that not everyone is capable of or willing to divulge. So, before you judge a book by its cover, let me tell you about some very candid personal truths.

 

Photo by: alyssa kirby_flickr

Photo by: Alyssa Kirby (Flickr)

I too can empathise with you…if you’re trying to lose weight…trying to find a balance of diet and exercise, or mindlessly eating without reflecting on the contents of your food. You may not believe it to look at me now, but I too have overcome my own personal demons and moved on with my life.

I’m someone who could put on and lose weight fairly easily- if I put the effort into it; whether it is eating too many snacks, having frequent/large portions or exercising 4-5 times a week with sensible meal planning. Genetically speaking, I am predisposed to a number of ailments….but so is everybody else…but this doesn’t mean that my health or future is completely mapped out.

Avoiding type two diabetes, heart disease, stroke and obesity is in my hands; I do not wish to live a life dictated by chronic illness and prescribed medications.

 

As our blog has mentioned before, we all have to take personal accountability; there is always a price to pay for lack of awareness and ignorance. Obviously one shoe does not fit all… but we can all take similar steps to lead healthier lives; as we’ve mentioned in a previous article in January.

There were periods in my life where my weight yo-yoed. I’ve never been clinically overweight or obese, but my BMI was 24.5kg/m2; the cusp of being overweight.  Some may think that it’s not that significant, but the revelation of deciding to change is the same…no matter what weight you are.

 

The truth is a bad diet, lack of exercise, or trying to out exercise a bad diet wreaks havoc on mental and physical health…and I was caught up in this vicious circle like all the other serial dieters…up until about my mid-twenties.

Photo by: Rose Waterman_Flickr

Photo by: Rose Waterman (Flickr)

During this time I tried these types of diets/ideas:

-A Very-Low Calorie Diet (VLCD)
-High protein, low carbs (or more commonly known as ‘Atkins’)
-Loads of exercise, low calorie but a high protein intake
-No-sugar, low-fat
-A Smoothie/juice cleanse

 

I don’t need to tell you that these types of fad diets are all rubbish and some are potentially dangerous… and for good reason. Obviously this was before I saw sense, took responsibility and of course when off to university to study human nutrition.

 

Photo by: Katherine of Chicago_Flickr

Photo by: Katherine of Chicago (Flickr)

I took a dogmatic approach towards health, an all or nothing view, and I could never find a healthy and happy medium; a common mind-set I’m sure.

I am not even going to try and justify why I attempted any of these regimes… because I can’t and equally I know the reasons why these diets did not work; I didn’t and couldn’t comply with them (especially long term) and I did not educate myself on portion sizes and general healthy eating. I just bought into the same hype a lot of young health-enthusiasts do, e.g. carbohydrates are bad, don’t eat after 5pm, everybody juice! and your body needs to be detoxed; nonsense. These types of myths and poor insight still exist which fuels similar diets; check out our article on  gluten free diets.

I also bought into media images; this was before the massive trend of social media and the dreaded skinny selfies…and perhaps there was less fat shaming and instant victimisation of those that were not a size two as a result, perhaps not? But I think that seeing any picture of yourself (fat or thin), or of a thin celebrity, when your mindset is that skewed can bring it all home and produce black and white thinking; creating distorted body images and a shit storm of dieting. It’s funny though, when I look at some of those pictures now- I wonder what I was complaining about?!

 

None of these types of behaviours or drastic thinking sat comfortably with me, and taking my health into my own hands without being properly informed only meant one thing, doomed to start again! Whether that be in a week, a fortnight or in a month’s time….and I don’t know about you, but I was tired of it and completely aware that it was my own fault. I needed to take a step back and analyse ‘what was the driving force behind my behaviours’… what steps did I need to take in order to change… and who do I turn to for some sound advice?

Photo by: Oliver Symens_Flickr

Photo by: Oliver Symens (Flickr)

 

When it comes to weight loss, there are some that say “I’ve tried everything and nothing has worked”…well it’s because they are going about weight loss the wrong way and potentially they’re not dealing with any underlying (personal) issues. The dynamics of weight loss and good nutrition isn’t complicated, but humans are… by nature we can over complicate everything! If more of us would just comply with our healthcare professional’s advice, we would see results…this might sound trite, but it’s true; sadly (healthy & permanent) weight loss won’t happen overnight, and it takes complete compliance and most of all patience…so don’t be too hard on yourself.

As I have mentioned in a previous article, there are too many reasons to be fit and healthy, but ultimately it’s just easier to take the whole healthy lifestyle approach and just run with it! No more fad diets, no more excuses.

Photos by (starting from top left/clockwise): Sam (Flickr), Mikey Sklar (Flickr), Nadyana Magazine (Flickr) & Karyn Bosnak (Flickr).

 

From June last year my husband I started to adopt a vegan lifestyle, but we still ate fish on occasion; that aspect has now diminished. Doing this really helped give my whole outlook on food (ethically and medically) and my health a ‘full 360°’; I never thought my digestion would improve so much, or that I would be able to get off the unpleasant ‘sugar-train’… and now I have. If you’re worried that your vitamin and mineral levels will decline, then don’t. A recent blood test showed my iron and Vitamin B12 levels were thriving; plant-based lifestyles are sustainable! Check out our article on Plant-based proteins for more persuasion and read our articles on Supplements and ‘Superfoods’ before you part with your cash! I’m not saying that this type of approach is suitable for everyone, but countless studies offer evidence to support it. Check out our article on veganism to help you digest some further reasons why people might adopt this type of lifestyle. As always, everybody should consult with their health care professionals before making any drastic changes to their health.

 

As far as healthy eating goes and what foods to buy- everybody has their own individual considerations. Social media, time, cooking skills and affordability can all dictate and influence what we will choose to buy, e.g. buying ground flaxseed may be expensive to some but not for others…and that goes for just about anything on the supermarket shelves.

Photo by: Thinkpanama_flickr

Photo by: Thinkpanama (Flickr)

 

…But I’m telling you right now, everyone can eat healthily on a low-income. We did it when we were students and we do it now because we’re frugal and trying to prevent food wastage! The ‘frugal diet’ can put everything into perspective. Try checking out some of our recipes!

Plant-based diets are relatively cheap; on average, we spend £50-70/week (and I’m sure we could reduce it further if we tried). This feeds two people (three meals and one a snack a-day/ 7 days a week). As long as you meal plan, then there really isn’t a problem…and hey, anything to prevent food wastage right? BBC1 has recently started a miniseries on healthy eating & food wastage (Eat Well for Less?); assisting families with how much they spend on the weekly shops by encouraging them to do more of their own food prep (and therefore improve their health), eliminating brand biases (sometimes value brands are OK!) and reducing their food wastage through meal planning; very apt and things everyone should reflect on. It’s also worth checking out thecountyfare.net, they have written a great article recently that touches on meal planning; definitely worth a read. What’s in your supermarket basket? Are you making the most of you pennies? Do your current choices depict your current health status? That reminds me of a post  the Life is Good blog put out last year; check it out!

 

Photo by: Diabetes Care_Flickr

Photo by: Diabetes Care (Flickr)

 

I know, sometimes jumping through these hoops is quite mundane, especially when it comes to chopping vegetables and potentially spending a chunk of your Sunday prepping for the week ahead…but it is worth it in the end.

It’s the same with exercise, it’s something that we should all partake in…but do you opt for more sitting and serial munching or walking and eating healthily? Your waistline and your overall disposition will reflect your choices. A recent article I saw on the blog ‘The Zeit‘, emphasises how we all should have a healthier relationship with exercise; don’t use it as an escape from your problems. By doing this, exercise can fast turn into a chore and a military style punishment…but I was guilty of this. Guilty of pounding the pavement to forget or suppress unpleasant feelings or events…. Pounding the pavement (at times) to try to out exercise a bad diet! I started running when I was nineteen and quickly clocked up a lot of mileage. Unfortunately my knees aren’t built for long term running, but that’s besides the point. I have now developed a healthier relationship with exercise too.

Photo by: Patrick Marella_Flickr

Photo by: Patrick Marella (Flickr)

 

We should all remember, the three P’s: patience, persistence and a positive attitude, along with having the ability to stay motivated and applying/adapting realistic expectations into our health and well-being. This outlook will carry you through to help you meet your weight loss goals and guide you into that permanent healthier lifestyle that you desire.

We have to remember that were only human and we’re all fallible; even those with health credentials smoke, drink and can be generally hypocritical with the health advice they supply us with.

Life is there to be lived and we all need to find a healthy balance; negative thoughts and filling our heads with nonsensical information isn’t living. We just end up punishing ourselves through gruelling exercise and nightmare eating regimes, making life a lot harder than it needs be.

 

So…

  • Don’t set yourself up to fail…
  • Don’t torture yourself over small mistakes (this journey is not perfect)…
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help (especially if you feel a bit blue or recognise that you are an emotional eater)…
  • Don’t give up too easily. It can take time to develop a permanent and healthy relationship with food and/or exercise again… to be able to ‘trust your body’…
  • Don’t take everything at face value, whether that be about what you read about health or how you feel; people can be quite good at suppressing emotions…stiff upper lip and all…

…just follow attainable and informed/accredited health advice and remember to embrace life.

 

This may just be only one person’s opinion and personal account… but I am offering you some informed advice that will hopefully set you up for life and prevent you from making the same mistakes that I’ve made; some of my thoughts and experiences may resonate with you…or you may choose to ignore them…

Just remember though that healthy living and healthy weight loss is achievable, and there is nothing to be ashamed of; I got there and so can you.

 

 

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Katherine Of Chicago (Flickr)

Vegan Thai Yellow ‘Laska’ Soup With Rice Noodles

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 4
Prep & Cooking Time: 60 mins

Recipe adapted from: Elephantjournal.com

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.

If you’re looking for an alternative cuisine… than look no further! This recipe is easy to execute (it doesn’t involve any frying) and packs so many wonderful textures and flavours! 

This soup is just under 300kcal/serving, but it still has 10g of saturated fat/serving (even with the reduced fat coconut milk). Plant-based diets are predominately healthy, but using coconut milks or oil, palm oils or cocoa butter can offer high intakes of saturated fats. Unfortunately, coconut oil, creamed coconut etc is made of approximately 90% saturated fat/100g.

We’re sure that when compared to some ‘authentic Thai meals’, it may be considered a ‘healthier’ option. We would recommend having a small portion, or try using half the amount of the reduced fat coconut milk and/or substitute it for unsweetened soya or almond milk; try making your own curry paste to also help reduce the amount of fat in this dish.

With any food or meal, just be mindful of the portion size and the overall fat/sugar/salt contents; all in moderation folks!

 

NB: We couldn’t source fresh lemon grass this week, so we have used a lemon grass paste instead.  We did not use the rapeseed oil. Also, this is NOT an advertisement for Amoy; the purchase of these items was solely influenced by their prices at the time of purchase.

 

Ingredients:

++++++++++++++++++++++++396g      Firm tofu
++++++++++++++++++++++++               ‘1 Kcal’ Spray (low-fat cooking oil)
++++++++++++++++++++++++100g       Carrot
++++++++++++++++++++++++60g         Fresh ginger root
++++++++++++++++++++++++2              Stalks of lemon grass (approx. 10g)
++++++++++++++++++++++++160g       Red bell pepper
++++++++++++++++++++++++100g       White mushrooms
++++++++++++++++++++++++40g         Spring onions
++++++++++++++++++++++++80g         Green beans
++++++++++++++++++++++++16g           Fresh basil
++++++++++++++++++++++++16g           Fresh Coriander
++++++++++++++++++++++++140g        Fresh bean sprouts
++++++++++++++++++++++++                Zest and juice of one lime
++++++++++++++++++++++++500ml    Vegetable stock (low-sodium, DF, GF)
++++++++++++++++++++++++400ml    Tin Reduced-fat coconut milk
++++++++++++++++++++++++30g         Thai yellow curry paste
++++++++++++++++++++++++300g       Rice noodles
++++++++++++++++++++++++10g           Peanuts (unsalted/not roasted)

NB: Check your rice noodles before cooking; do they need to be cooked or stir-fried before hand? Ours allowed us to add them straight into the soup to cook. Also, if you are using frozen vegetables, defrost them first.

 

Directions:

Open and drain the tofu. Press between two heavy chopping boards for 30 minutes to remove any excess water.

Heat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Spread to coat.

In the meantime, prepare the vegetables. Wash, trim the ends, peel and then chop the carrot into ‘matchstick’ pieces. Wash, peel and chop the ginger into thin pieces. Wash, trim the ends, lightly crush with the back of a large spoon and then roughly chop the lemon grass. Wash, remove the stem, de-seed and thinly slice the bell pepper into strips.

Wash, pat dry and roughly slice the mushrooms. Wash, trim the ends and chop the onion into large pieces. Wash, trim the ends, and halve the beans. Wash, dry and roughly chop the basil and coriander. Wash and drain the bean sprouts. Wash, zest and then juice the lime. Prepare the vegetable stock.

Ingredients ready to go!

 

Meanwhile, drain and chop the tofu into bite-sized pieces. Place it onto the baking sheet. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil. Place it into the oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned. TIP: You can refer to our previous recipe is you need some visual guidance for this step.

In the meantime, place a large non-stick saucepan over a medium heat. Add the stock, milk, carrot and ginger. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add the lemon grass and curry paste. Stir to dissolve. Cover with a lid. Allow it to cook for 5 mins.

It smells delicious right from the start 🙂

 

 

Add the bell pepper, mushrooms, onion, beans, basil and coriander (save a little for garnishing if you like) to the pan. Bring back to the boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10 mins.

 

 

In the meantime, prepare the rice noodles according to the packet instructions (at this stage if required). Drain.

Add the bean sprouts and rice noodles into the soup. Cover with a lid. Allow to cook for a further 3-5 mins or until the rice noodles are tender.

NB: Our vegetable stock has turmeric in it; another reason it’s so vibrantly yellow!

 

 

In the meantime, roughly chop the nuts; you can see we have everything else ready to go!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Remove from the heat. Pour in the juice. Add the tofu. Mix together gently.

 

 

We find because there is so much going on in the pot, it’s easier to use a spaghetti ladle to scoop out the larger pieces first….

 

 

…and then ladle the broth over it.

 

Once served, sprinkle over the zest (as mush as desired); top with the nuts and reserved coriander leaves (if using).

NB: The contents of this bowl represents 2 portions.

NB: The contents of this bowl represents 2 portions.

 

Enjoy!

If preferred…

  • Try different vegetables: pak choi, baby corn, water chestnuts, fresh red chillies, mange tout, sugar snap peas, red onion, fresh garlic, some torn baby spinach or maybe some cubed sweet potato or butternut squash.
  • Try using: fresh or dried Kaffir leaves instead of lime zest, Thai basil leaves instead of standard basil, fresh oyster or enoki mushrooms instead of standard white ones, replace the fresh lemon grass for a puree (if you can’t source the fresh variety or your trying to save money), or try brown basmati rice in place of the rice noodles.
  • Try making your own fresh curry paste (if you have the time) instead of using store bought varieties; this will help cut down on the salt and fat contents.
  • Add some fish sauce to the broth if you are not a vegan/vegetarian (but be mindful of the salt content).

 

MULTIVITAMINS, MINERALS AND SUPPLEMENTS: A NECESSITY OR AN EXPENSE?

Diet & Weight Loss

Hands up if you are currently taking multivitamins, minerals, or some form of supplement at the moment? How long have you been taking them and do you feel any healthier for it?

I think we all like to look and feel our best (myself included) and being healthy means different things to all of us. We all have different backgrounds, including dietary needs. I take calcium, vitamin D , some vitamin B12 and occasionally iron because I became a vegan this year.

Although I do try and get these things from my current diet, I know that it might not be possible to meet my dietary needs because:

  • Vitamin B12 predominantly comes from animal sources. (1)
  • Our Vitamin D intake mainly comes from sunlight (topping up our levels during April-September/October here in the UK) (2). My levels are reduced due to my factor SPF 40 I wear!
  • Calcium is more readily absorbed with lactose, a sugar found in cows, goat and sheep milk. (3)

Equally someone with high cholesterol could benefit from buying plant sterols tablets, taking 2mg/D, or those especially designed cholesterol lowering drinks/yoghurts with added sterols; studies have proven this along with healthy diet and lifestyle changes, they do help lower total cholesterol.

The market for dietary vitamins and supplements was worth more than £670 million in 2009, according to an NHS report in 2011; it highlighted 8% was for beauty use, and approximately 85% was for combined physical and mental health reasons.

The ‘health industry’ have created their own market by appealing to people’s desires and needs to be as healthy as possible, whilst preying on people’s lack of knowledge. The placebo affect is a very real phenomenon, which many of these companies know all too well; so how do we know that the products advertised and endorsed by celebrities are any better than sugar pills? So it’s understandable we are possibly making the wrong choices regarding the products we should buy or completely avoid.

Recently, articles have shown Kelly Brook to have accepted a new range of health products from her friend Gary Cockerill. His range of vitamin drinks contain: Green Caffeine, Raspberry Ketones, Colon Cleanser and Acai Berry. Health companies have had those various components in the spotlight for a while, have you tried them?

    Would you associate these products with solid healthy living advice?

Photo courtesy of: Holland & Barrett & Evolution Slimming

Photos adapted from: Holland & Barrett & Evolution Slimming

I could write a whole article debating on what these contain and why they aren’t necessarily worth your money.  A lot of articles push what are supposedly the best supplements to buy each season, but do you really want and can you a afford to have a cupboard full of pills valued over £200? No thanks. From a diet point of view, companies will always try to entice us with fancy terms, e.g. anti-oxidant and immune fighting, thermogenic  or colon cleansing effects etc, but if there was a ‘magic weight loss pill’, we’d all be taking it; this is just a costly and possibly unsafe endeavour.

The reality is that a healthy, balanced and well planned diet will provide the right balance of nutrients and keep you performing at your best, so buying a pill is a potential waste of money. Did you know that 50% of vitamins are water soluble? Which means you could literally be throwing money down the toilet if you take these in high doses due to poor absorption; many vitamins and minerals need to be taken with food for better absorption and many of them compete with each other for absorption whilst others can be lethal in high doses, e.g. vitamin A. Take a peek at the NHS or BDA sites for more information regarding vitamins, minerals and supplements.

Am I being cynical? After all, if you have the money we’re all entitled to spend it as we see fit. I suppose it can be a little concerning how much money we invest in health products, not knowing the full risks, but I guess it’s up to us to do our research and if you’re unsure that you’re at risk, talk to a health professional.

Ultimately it’s important to make informed choices regarding our health, don’t you agree?

Article written by: Lynn Risby BSc Nutritionist
Feature image by: Andreas Feldl Flickr
Sources:
1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17959839
2. Pearce SHS, et al. Diagnosis and management of vitamin D deficiency. British Medical Journal 2010;340:142-7.
3. Am J Clin Nutr August 2002vol. 76 no. 2 442-446