Category Archives: Nutrition Education

Beef and Red Pepper Noodle Soup.

Red meat is often seen as something to cut down on, but these messages are actually leading to an epidemic of iron deficiency, confusion over how much to eat and how often to eat it.  New research has shown that 51% of people did not know how much red meat you  can safely eat and 85% of people are likely to underestimate the amount of red meat that can be consumed.(1)

This “eat less red meat” message is leading to some of our population not eating enough iron rich foods. 27% of women aged 19-64yrs and 48% of girls aged 11-18yrs are not meeting their iron needs.(2) Why is this a concern? Lack of iron can result in symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitations and pallor. It can be quite debilitating for some people. Red meat is also a fabulous source of protein, providing the body with all the amino acids that it needs. Other notable nutrients include the B vitamin complex including B12, zinc, selenium and phosphorus.

What is a portion?

A portion of red meat is 70g of cooked meat. This quite simply is a palm sized portion. I love using hands as a way of measure portions as our hands grow with us, so a child’s portion of red meat is their palm size.

For example (adults portion sizes):

  • A palm size chop or steak 
  • 3 slices of back bacon 
  • 5 or 6 cubes of meat in casserole
  • 6 thin slices of beef, pork or ham 
  • 1 and a half standard sausages 
  • 4 to 5 meat balls

How often can I eat red meat?

If you are sticking to the portion guide above then 70g of red meat can be eaten 5 times a week. This includes red meat at breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it shows how red meat really isn’t something to be avoiding. The Meat Advisory Panel are running a “5 A WEEK” campaign and I think this is a really invaluable and important message to be highlighting.

So to get on board with the campaign here is a super tasty recipe that makes a wonderful lunch time soup:

If you would like to make this recipe at home (and I highly recommend it) then here are the step by step instructions:

Marianade 450g beef strips in 2 tsp chinese 5 spice, 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1 chilli
Place 2 pints of beef stock in a pan, add 2 cm grated ginger, 2 garlic cloves  and simmer for 5 mins.  Then add 7oz of chopped greens and simmer 1-2 mins.
Add the beef, 1 sliced red pepper and175g  noodles in, simmer for 3 minutes. Stir through some spring onions and coriander and serve.

Beef and Red Pepper Noodle Soup
Serves 4
A quick and delicious spicy beef noodle soup that is perfect for a lunch or light supper.
Write a review
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
394 calories
38 g
123 g
8 g
41 g
3 g
265 g
221 g
2 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
265g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 394
Calories from Fat 70
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
12%
Saturated Fat 3g
14%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 3g
Cholesterol 123mg
41%
Sodium 221mg
9%
Total Carbohydrates 38g
13%
Dietary Fiber 4g
16%
Sugars 2g
Protein 41g
Vitamin A
26%
Vitamin C
91%
Calcium
9%
Iron
21%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 450g/1lb lean beef stir-fry strips
  2. 10ml/2tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  3. 15-30ml/1-2tbsp soy sauce
  4. 15ml/1tbsp prepared chilli or Schezuan sauce
  5. 1.2L/2pint good, hot beef or vegetable stock
  6. 2.5cm/1inch piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  7. 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  8. 175g/6oz fresh or dried fine egg/rice noodles
  9. 200g/7oz pak choi or green cabbage, shredded
  10. 1 small red pepper, cored, deseeded and finely sliced
  11. Small bunch spring onions, finely chopped
  12. Large bunch freshly chopped coriander
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl dust the stir-fry strips in the Chinese five-spice powder. Add the soy sauce and chilli or schezuan sauce. Cover and set aside.
  2. In a large pan add the stock, ginger and garlic. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the noodles and pak choi or cabbage. Simmer for a further 1-2 minutes. Add the beef with the marinade mixture and the red pepper. Simmer for a further 2-3 minutes or until the noodles are tender. Remove from the heat, season if required and stir through half the spring onions and coriander.
  4. Divide the broth between four bowls and garnish with the remaining, spring onions and coriander.
beta
calories
394
fat
8g
protein
41g
carbs
38g
more
Dietitian UK http://www.dietitianuk.co.uk/
To find out more about the “5 A WEEK” Campaign you can pop to Simply Beef and Lamb on Facebook or to Love Pork.  Twitter: @lovepork.UK @simplybeefandlamb.

 

 

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

What makes it easier to recover from an eating disorder?

“Recovery is like riding a wild stallion. It is unpredictable, you will likely fall off many times. You will go through emotions ranging from fear to excitement, feeling out of control at times and clinging on to anything you can. Keep getting back on the horse, keep holding tight, sit up tall and go with the ride.”

There are many times in my working life that I just wish I had a magic wand to make recovery easier. The fact is, recovery is hard, damn hard and it takes a lot of guts, determination and hard work to even make a start on it. Once you start it can feel like it just gets harder at points, so you really need to plan and have support in place to help guide you and keep you going. Here are some things that can help the ride.

Have a social support structure in place

Deciding to make changes to your eating may sound simple, but once you plan it and then actually have to put it into place, it really gets harder. Having people around you who you are accountable to, people who will sit with you in the hard moments, challenge you to keep going and celebrate with you too. True friends and family who love you for you but want to see you healed up and able to live life to the full.

Have professional support

Yes you can do it on your own. However an eating disorder is an isolating illness, it can be a long and lonely path. So having a professional or a team of professionals who you trust is a good idea. People you can get the right information from and trust it, people who will challenge your thoughts, assumptions and beliefs and believe that you can do this. 

Being in the right place at the right point 

There is a cycle of change that I often use with people to talk through how you need to be in the right mindset and the right point of your life to begin recovery. This is especially key if you are in the community, recovering at home. In a eating disorders unit things are a little different and you have more support and encouragement. Take a look at the  phases below and see if you can identify where you are. Recovery can be a cyclical process where you move forward 5 spaces and then back 2 spaces, but do not give up, this is normal. 

Stages of ED recovery 

  1. I don’t think I have a problem
  2. I might have a problem but I’m ignoring it or I don’t care
  3. I don’t know how to change but I  want to
  4. I tried to change but it didn’t work
  5. I can stop some of the behaviours but not all of them
  6. I can stop the behaviours but not the thoughts
  7. I can be free from my eatind disorder some, but not all the time
  8. I am free from behaviours and thoughts = recovered

Have goals in mind

You need something to aim for. Why do you want to get better? What will life be like when you are free from your eating disorder? What do you want to do with your life that you cannot currently do. I recommend writing out or creating a vision board showing where you want to get to. Write out your dreams and dream big. Then use this as a motivational tool, put it up where you can see it. 

Surround yourself with the positive things

Part of recovery is about changing your mindset and the way you view life. It can be so easy to see the negatives about your life and yourself, then use food as a way to help with this. Or to get drawn into the negatives about weight gain. I challenge you to instead see the positives. Why is weight gain good? What does it mean for your body and your life? Grab hold of those negatives and turn them upside down. Having motivational phrases and images around you can be really helpful on those days that thinking is too tricky.

Go do it. I believe you can.

SaveSave

SaveSave

IBS and the Microbiome

Priya regularly writes for Network Health Digest (NHD Magazine), here is her latest article.  The microbiome is such an up and coming area with so much we are still to research and find out.

Click the link below for the article.

Issue 126 fermented foods IBS and microbiome

Messy Home, but Top Nutrition Tips.

When the BBC ask if they can come and film you in your home what do you do? 

Firstly –  Say Yes.

Secondly  – Flap about in panic at the state of your house and kitchen. People who know me well will know that my kitchen is rarely tidy and usually full of our home life. Pictures from the kids, plates ready to go in the dishwasher, toys on the floor. ARGH. 

Thirdly – Wonder what on earth they are going to ask your to talk about. Oh well, that can wait, I have a house to tidy.

So, when the crew turned up, their first statement was “Wow lovely kitchen, it’s very lived in” which I read as “It’s certainly not pristine and clean”. SIGH. I did tidy, I promise. 

Then when they ask to look in your freezer…. OH MY GOODNESS. Really? I can’t say No, but I didn’t see that coming. My freezer is outside the house and definitely NOT TIDY or video viewing. 

So you have been warned, this is a “lived in”, mum with 3 kids, messy life video. Or maybe I should say it is REAL LIFE.

Love to know your thoughts. 

 

 

Reduce your risk of breast cancer.

Today, a report entitled “Diet, nutrition, physical activity and breast cancer” came out from the World Cancer Research Fund. When you are a dietitian, this kind of thing excites you – why? Well it included a good review and analysis of the research on breast cancer. Looking at 119 studies worldwide and over 250,000 women, the evidence has been categorised into strong and limited evidence. 

Here is a little summary and a vlog I did as a Facebook Live.

 

Diet:

There is strong evidence for alcohol increasing the risk of breast cancer. The report states that a glass of wine or small beer a day (equivalent to 10g alcohol content) is linked to a 5% increase in breast cancer risk in pre-menopausal ladies and a 9% increase in post-menopausal ladies. We all know alcohol is a toxin for the body, I’m not sure I’m ready to give it up entirely though. Other evidence from the Mediterranean diet tells us that red wine can be good for heart health. So I think the take home message here is to stick to small amounts and to have plenty of alcohol free days too.

Limited evidence was found for

  1. Eating non starchy vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, beans, green leafy veg etc).
  2. Eating catotenoids – orange and red fruit  (orange peppers, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, carrots) and veggies plus dark leafy greens.
  3. Having a high  intake of dairy foods. Increasing these by 200g led to a 5% decreased risk. 

Exercise:

We all know we should be getting active. The research supports this showing exercise that increases your heart rate was helpful in reducing the risk of breast cancer. Swimming, running, fast walking, cycling – anything that gets you a bit out of breath.

A strong link was found with weight. Being a healthy weight could prevent 16% of cases in the UK. 

Having Children:

Pre-conception and pregnancy are key times for getting on top of your eating as what you eat will help lay the foundation for baby. Your diet at this point can influence your baby as an adult, Birthweight was found to be a predictor or later growth and being a healthy weight is linked to reducing the risk of so many chronic diseases including breast cancer.

Having children reduces your risk as does having a pregnancy before you are aged 30 yrs. 

Finally breastfeeding was found to reduce the risk for you as a mummy.

Lots of great take home tips that centre around eating well and being active. We already knew that waa a good idea, now there is more proof. 

Coeliac Disease: The Facts and Frustrations.

Coeliac Disease is often referred to as a gluten intolerance or allergy. Which makes sense as the treament for it is to follow a strict gluten free diet. However it is actually an autoimmune disease, which means it is a disease in which the body produces antibodies and  attacks it own tissues. In the case of coeliac disease there are 3 antibodies produced in response to gluten and these can be tested for: 

  • anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies
  • endomysial antibodies (EMA)
  • deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) antibodies

The immune response leads to damage to the villi in the intestinal linings. The villi are where nutrient absorption occurs, they produce enzymes that help digest carbohydrates and proteins, they absorb nutrients into the capillaries around them so the nutrients can then go to the blood stream. Destruction of the villi means that there is firstly less surface area available, so less absorption of nutrients occurs. Secondly the enzymes are not there to digest the food. This may mean that you eat food but just don’t absorb it, instead you excrete it, leaving you lacking nutrients and suffering with digestive symptoms such as abdominal pain and diarhoea. Over time this can have a major impact on your body and be very confusing. If you know you are eating a well balanced diet but you are showing symptoms of nutritional deficiencies or digestive problems this is definitely the moment to see your GP and get advice.  

 

The treament for Coeliac disease is a lifelong strict gluten free diet. This is not a fad diet, or a “choose to be gluten free for a while diet” but a gluten free diet that has to be followed to the letter. I’m not a coeliac but I can’t eat wheat, it won’t harm my villi but it can cause me to be unwell for a few days and is linked to a some digestive issues I have. When I eat out I have to double check and often I find things on my plate than I can’t eat! This can be very dangerous for a coeliac. Even a few crumbs of gluten can cause problems. When on a gluten free diet the villi should recover and nutrients should start be be better absorbed. 

What can be frustrating is that Coeliac disease is under-diagnosed and so there are people with it who have no idea. The rise in gluten free diets also means that there are more gluten free options around, but sometimes it can take aware from the severity and the need for a strict gluten free diet. I’ve seen quite a few places advertising gluten free foods with statement such as “we cannot guarantee these foods are made in  an area free from gluten”. So gluten free food that is not suitable for a coeliac! 

Coeliac Awareness Week is a great time to spread the word and to get people knowing more about these issues so please share and get talking.

Is having a cuppa soon to be history?

Britain has historically had a love affair with tea. In fact it was the British who introduced it to India in order to compete with the Chinese production of it.  According to the recent Cost of Tomorrow report, people between the age of 50 and 64 spend £31.20 on tea annually, but for millennials this drops to £10.40. So are we drinking less tea? If so what are we drinking instead?

© Tatjana Grinberg | Dreamstime Stock Photos
© Tatjana Grinberg | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Currently, the average household spends £1,475 on tea over a lifetime and  £2,585 on coffee over the course of their lives, so coffee has definitely overtake in the hot drink department. Soft drinks have definitely increased with smoothies, fruit juices, fizzy drinks and milk shakes being more popular now. All of these contain more calories and sugar than your average cuppa. 

Sadly, coffee shop culture means we spend a lot on the treats that go with that cuppa. The Cost of Tomorrow report suggested we spend £11,520 on cakes, buns and biscuits to complement our favourite hot drinks; 4.2% more than we spend on fresh fruit (£11,034) over a lifetime. 

So the take home message on National Tea Day 2017? 

  1. It is perfectly safe to drink 2-3 standard caffeinated cups (400mg) of tea or coffee a day. If you are concerned about the caffeine then try herbal/fruit tea or decaff versions.
  2. Tea contains polyphenols and there are health benefits stated for dental health, diabetes, heart disease and cognitive function. 
  3. Tea is a natural sources of fluoride so has benefits for dental health.
  4. The polyphenols in black tea are thought to be responsible for the links between tea and reduced risk of cardivascular disease. 
  5. Soem studies show a reduced risk of diabetes with 2-3 cups of tea a day (presumably tea without sugar).
  6. With less calories and sugar (if you don’t add it by the spoonful) tea is a good option to be drinking, better than a fizzy drink. 
  7. Tea does hydrate you. Studies have shown it to be equivalent to water!
  8. Tea provides calcium (from the milk), manganese and potassium as well as flavanoids which are potent antioxidants. 

Now who is for a cuppa?

Chocolate: the good, the bad and the portion. 

Chocolate originates from cocoa beans from the Theobroma cocoa tree. The beans are fermented, ground and separated to cocoa butter and powder. 

Cocoa has been used for many used as a medical aid. It is rich in flavonoids which have potent antioxidant functions. These include being :

  1. Anti-inflammatory 
  2. Helping blood vessels to dilate so helping reduce blood pressure. 
  3. Increasing insulin sensitivity 
  4. Decreasing the risk of atherosclerosis. 
  5. Positive affect on cholesterol: increase HDL (the good guys) and decrease LDL oxidation. 
  6. A reduction in cardiovascular risk factors. 

However we don’t eat cocoa on its own. Milk chocolate has a variety of other ingredients added in. It is high in energy, free sugars and saturated fat. One point to note here is that not all chocolate is equal. The darker the chocolate (higher % cocoa) the higher the flavanol content and the less sugar. White chocolate is not actually chocolate as it doesn’t contain any cocoa powder or cocoa solids but cocoa butter mixed with milk and sugar. The chocolate in eggs can be of a lower quality with lower flavanols and mineral content so watch out! Check the cocoa solids. 

An easy way to remember a portion of chocolate is “the size of your index finger”. That is about 2 squares for a child and 4 squares for an adult. 

© Magdalena Żurawska | Dreamstime Stock Photos

So chocolate is something that can definitely be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. The key is thinking about the quality of the chocolate you are having and the portion size. Space that chocolate out and enjoy it, rather than gorging on it all in one go.  Savour it and eat it mindfully, 

 

Eating Mediterranean to beat the bills

One thing I love about nutrition and dietetics is the conundrum that is complex science that usually translates down to simple health messages. The Mediterranean diet is a great example. The science behind how it all works on the body is long winded actions of  polyphenols and antioxidants. However you don’t really need to worry about all of that. What we really want to know is:

  1. What does the summary of the research say about the health benefits.
  2. How can I translate that into my everyday life.
  3. What do I need to eat and how often. 

A team from Ghent University analysed the research on the Med diet, looking at 8 meta analysis and 10 cohort studies, they founds some pretty huge results.  If we convinced 2% of the UK to eat a more Mediterranean diet it could lead to a saving of £1 billion. Increase this to 10% of the population eating more plant foods, olive oil, soya, nuts and seed would potentially save £5 billion.  Reductions through a decrease in hospital admissions, doctors bills and keeping people healthy to work more days a year. Isn’t it amazing that such simple changes can lead to such huge savings.

A summary of the research showed that a Med diet can:

  • Reduce diabetes risk by 26% 
  • Lead to a 42% reduction in CHD in men and 25% in women
  • 37% reduction in stroke
  • 33% reduction in breast cancer
Med diet reduces disease risk Women Men
Colon cancer

40%

44%

Stomach cancer

42%

29%

Lung cancer

25%

23%

Diabetes

28%

28%

Stroke

36%

9%

Prostrate cancer  

30%

Postmenopausal breast cancer

36%

 
coronary heart disease

4%

4%

Soya beans, soy products and tofu contain phyto-oestrogens. These are bioactive substances in plant foods that have naturally occurring oestrogen activity. Photo oestrogens have been widely studied and there is evidence they can help with menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats. Some bone sparing effects in osteoporosis and they may reduce the risk of certain cancers. They can reduce the risk of heart disease due to their cholesterol lowering effects. Eating more soy can displace the saturated fat intake from meat. 

 

 So the plan from this for you? 

Eat more fruit and vegetables – aim for over 5 portions a day if you can and include soy products in your eating (25g a day = 1 portion).

Eating to help in Chronic Fatigue

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (M.E.) is one of those areas that I didn’t ever set out to work in. It just came along and found me. An Occupational Therapist who I had worked with previously approached me and asked if I would be interested in joining their team. With every bit of work I take on I have to ask myself – is my heart in this. If the answer if No then I don’t accept it. Now my heart was very much in this, as years previously, as a teenager, my mum suffered from CFS. She went from being a very bubbly, energetic, full of life person, to someone who had to rest 95% of the time. Thankfully, she recovered and now lives life almost to the same capacity as before, perhaps with a bit more caution! So, working with this client group holds a special interest for me.

I work with South Coast Fatigue and Associates, a team who are full of care, in fact the most caring bunch I’ve worked with. Plus we have the most amazing Christmas meal ever! I don’t get to hang out in the office often but I feel very privilieged to be part of the team and to be trusted to give advice to the clients. This is a very vulnerable area, some people are literally bed-bound, others are able to do small day to day activities but there is a lot of loss, resting and frustration around. Everyone wants a magic fix and the internet abounds with diets that will cure, magic supplements and herbal remedies. This is where I come in.

I work on a 1-2-1 basis with people giving advice on IBS, healthy eating, weight loss, weight gain, special diets – whatever is needed. I also run a monthly nutrition group, which is usually a very interesting couple of hours due to all the questions people bring. So here are my top 5 tips on eating well for energy.

1. Eat regularly. Skipping meals is not a good idea. The body needs a energy to heal and to function. I completely understand that the nature of CFS means that sometimes people are too tired to prepare a meal, so this is where the planning comes in. Having instantly accessible healthy snacks that can be grabbed.

2. Focus on the balance and the portion control. I encourage people to fill their plates with 1/2 vegetables and then 1/4 lean protein and 1/4 wholegrains or starchy foods. If you are less active than before, then portions will need to reduce. This can be a tricky to work out, so I do sometimes recommend a portion plate.

3. Plan, plan and plan. Build up a folder of meals, recipes and snacks. Some that are fast to make (beans on toast, ready meals, tinned soup and a roll, hummus and pitta, peanut butter and rice cakes), some that take more preparation (jacket potatoes, fish cooked in a parcel, stir fry, pasta dishes) and some you can get help to bulk cook (slow cooker meals, bolognaise, fish pie). Then do an online shop and stock up the cupboards with easy meals.

4. Use the freezer. Frozen veggies and fruit are very nutritious and quick to use. They save peeling and chopping, which saves you energy and time. There is now so much variety in frozen vegetables, it isn’t all peas and sweetcorn. Bulk cooking meals and freezing them is also so useful so there is a stash of good food for days you need it.

5. Step away from the sugar. Although you may feel like you need a sugary boost to keep your energy levels high, that can lead to a sugar peak and crash effect. Instead fuel your body with low glycaemic index foods that will provide sustained energy over the day. Foods like oats, wholegrain bread, bulghar wheat, yoghurt, hummus, apples and nuts.
See this link here for a fact sheet and here for a table of the Glyacemic Index of Foods.