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Slimming World

The Good, The Bad, The Curly Wurly Cake

I can't help but feel that here in the UK, people have been brain-washed by corporate food industry giants selling the idea of a perfect diet.


Yet on closer inspection it is an eating plan filled with some very unhealthy food masquerading as ideal food choices for weight loss.


This enticing diet plan is filled with low fat, low calorie,  high sugar meals and snacks, making it an easy choice for many people because they are on a "diet" and yet able to eat what I would call junk food. I suppose there is a feeling of not being deprived of any vice and therefore its almost a too good to be true weight loss wonder.


I know there have been many success stories of great weight loss achieved with Slimming World and in that respect for some people this can work. However what we should be looking at is not the weight loss which is very much due to a restricted calorie controlled regime and very unachievable for most people, but the unspoken sugar content.


Sugar is addictive, it’s a known fact. It's also the cause for so many illnesses, diseases, malnutrition and of course weight gain.


All viruses thrive in a sugar laden environment and each time you eat junk food, you are just heading down a slippery slope to a decline in your own health which can lead to extremely serious medical conditions such as diabetes.


Instagram is filled with people on Slimming World keeping a food diary through photography which I think is a great idea. However what I see posted by a great majority is heartbreaking:



The Curly Wurly Cake



Most of the above allowed foods are not real foods, they are processed foods of convenience filled with chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavourings, colourings and sugar.


To see these dieters getting depressed and speaking out on forums when no amount of weight loss has been achieved is sad, although their last photo post was of a bag of crisps and a Crunchie bar, so who's fooling who? If that person was to stop and really think for a moment about whether eating junk food was conducive to losing weight healthily,  would they stop eating this rubbish?


A friend on Instagram made a delicious looking Slimming World approved vegetable and barley soup, it was healthy, nutritious but she hated it and had a mug shot instead!


After going on the Slimming World website, I can see that there is a great deal of healthy recipes to choose from that I would happily eat, such as:



But it would appear that for the most part these healthy nutritious options are ignored for the sake of the addictive convenience foods.


Even though there are healthy meal options, it would seem healthy fats such as avocado, coconut, and nuts are a no-no yet it is a diet that endorses jelly babies, spaghetti hoops, biscuits, meringues, trifles and cheese in a tube and then a can of diet coke to wash it all down. It's just so wrong.


This cannot be accepted as healthy or nutritious and yet it is!


At a recent party, our host who was on this diet, laid on a buffet of all approved Slimming World goodies. It was a table filled with frosted cupcakes, biscuits, sandwiches, sausages and in the centre of it all was a cake, the "The Curly Wurly Cake"

A cake made from low fat crackers and Cadbury’s chocolate caramel bars....I rest my case.


Looking for healthy sweet treat?


See my healthy alternative to the Curly Wurly cake, my Coconut Dream Balls.


Coconut Dream Balls



In conclusion, this is a diet that for some people weight loss may be achieved, but at what cost to your overall health?  Just because a product is approved by a diet company doesn't make it a healthy choice.


It makes sense to choose natural fresh foods, whole grains and healthy fats. To drink lots of water, keep a food diary and exercise regularly. Skip the toxic diet and make conscious healthy choices.


Read ingredients on packaging and if it's got something in it you've never heard of or can't pronounce, it's probably not good for you.


As the saying goes "We are what we eat" so lets be healthy, make better choices and live longer healthier, happy lives.


Welcome to the Dark Side

Considered by the ancient Mayan people as the food of the gods, chocolate has been a worldwide sweet treat for many, many years.


The lining of our supermarket shelves with the variety of chocolate bars these days is mind boggling.


There was a time when I couldn't pass up the chance for a Cadbury’s chocolate bar but I now know that there is no nutritional value to milk chocolate because, while delicious, milk chocolate obviously contains actual sugar, but also lactose which breaks down into sugar.


Dark chocolate on the other hand is actually rich in fibre, iron, magnesium and loaded with antioxidants which can help improve blood flow in arteries and may help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Dark chocolate is also higher in cocoa powder and even though it does contain some sugar, the amount is usually small and the darker the chocolate is, the less sugar it will have and the better it will be for you.


You will find it quite possible to gorge yourself on milk chocolate which can easily make you feel ill, or full of food guilt, whereas it takes a much smaller quantity of dark chocolate to satisfy cravings.


After 1 or 2 squares of dark chocolate,  my sweet tooth is satisfied and and I've gained some health benefits.


So, next time you are faced with an array of sweet treats, come over to the dark side; it's healthy, nutritious and delicious!


Check out my recipe:


Dark Chocolate Coconut Dream Balls


Coconut Dream Balls


The Healthy Spud

White potatoes have long been a staple food in every household.  Extremely versatile and easy to prepare they are an obvious choice for your shopping basket.  But are they the healthiest option?


White potatoes are high in carbohydrates and starch and are therefore high on the glycemic index. The glycemic index is a way in which to measure how a food can increase blood glucose and raise blood sugar which can over time potentially lead to metabolic complications.


If you are an extremely active person you are of course more likely to burn off the carbohydrates from let’s say a baked potato and you have used that potato and the energy it gives you as fuel.


However if you are more of a couch potato...pun intended, and you are not burning off the carbohydrates, this excess fuel will be stored as fat. Over time this habit will lead to weight gain, lethargy, high blood pressure and diabetes.


The Good Spud = The Sweet Potato



Over the last couple of years a new variety of potato has begun to gain popularity. The sweet potato with it's beautiful orange flesh does seem to have more health benefits.


Sweet potatoes are higher in vitamins A & C and full of beta carotene which is the powerful antioxidant giving the potato it's vibrant orange colour.

They also contain more fibre which helps to keep you fuller for longer, helping with the digestion process and they have a much lower impact on your blood sugar levels.


A diet filled with healthy foods with a low glycemic load will definitely have a positive effect on blood sugar levels, weight control, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.


A classic meal of choice in the UK is without doubt a baked potato topped with Heinz baked beans and sprinkled with low fat cheese. The carbohydrate,  starch, salt and sugar content of this meal is ridiculously high and yet assumed to be a healthy meal due to being low fat, and beans being one of your five a day.


Beans are a wonderfully healthy form of protein and fibre, however when covered in a sugar and corn flour based sauce they are no longer a great choice.


Check out my quick and easy recipe for homemade beans and next time you do fancy a baked potato with beans, why not give a sweet potato a try with my healthylicious beans.


Homemade Beans with Baked Sweet Potato

Baked Sweet Potato


Almond Joy

Almonds are one of nature's perfect nibbles.


High in monounsaturated fats which are the same healthy fats found in olive oil and are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.  Packed full of fibre, antioxidants and vitamins they bring smart snacking to a whole new level..



Not only are these little bites super healthy but also incredibly versatile.

Whether you have a handful as a snack, a few sprinkled on your granola or scattered over a salad they provide a delightful crunch.


But that’s not where the magic stops, because almonds can also be ground into a flour and used in baking. Almond flour or almond meal is now widely available in supermarkets and is a great flour alternative.


Try my Cranberry and Almond Biscotti


Cranberry and Almond Biscotti


As if they’re not brilliant enough,  almonds are also made into almond milk which is delicious poured over a healthy cereal, in your coffee or in smoothies.

And then we come to my favourite,  almond butter, and this is how it all began....


Once upon a time there was a delicious spread called peanut butter, and this nut butter ruled the supermarket shelves,  boasting of both a smooth and a crunchy variety, it was a popular item for many a shopper.


But peanut butter was lonely as he looked across and saw the multitude of marmalades,  jams and preserves all stacked together and longed for other nutty friends to join the supermarket shelves. And so  the evolution of nut butters was born. I'm pretty sure that’s how it happened.


These days you will often find almond, cashew and brazil nut butters along with the original peanut butter and they are all delicious and definitely worth trying.


However they can be expensive, or if you are like me and live somewhere yet to have a supermarket stocking these healthy spreads, it's time to make your own.


Check out my Almond Butter recipe.


Snack the smart way with almonds.


The Simple Cook

I am delighted to introduce you all to a wonderful new friend of mine. Originally from Africa, but now residing in the UK with his adorable daughter, Colin is an outstanding self taught cook and I want you all to check out his blog and recipe website which showcases his drool worthy food.



Now don’t be fooled by the name "The Simple Cook" his food is far from simple and his narrative alongside the food is both informative and charming.


Colin's delicious food has definite influences from both the Caribbean and the UK, whether it's a lamb and chicken tikka masala or his own take on a Sunday roast or an apple crumble, they are all sure to make your tummy rumble.


Colin will also be hosting a "Come Dine With Me" experience evening for a chance to meet like-minded people with a love of food and drink.

If I were you I would RSVP straight away. Click on the link below.



http://thesimplecook9.wordpress.com



Mr Kellogg has a lot to answer for

There are so many breakfast choices these days in supermarkets including a mind blowing array of cereals, stacked row after row with their brightly coloured packaging, calling to you, promising all kinds of health benefits.


Kellogg's Cereal


In fact you would be very lucky to find a healthy cereal on those shelves as they are mostly stripped of goodness and laden with sugar, corn syrups, preservatives and additives, making your morning munch a very unhealthy choice after all.


I am not a fan of Kellogg’s cereals for this reason and there is a certain Kellogg’s cereal called “Special K” that I particularly take umbrage with. The television commercial promotes weight-loss through eating 3 bowls a day of this low-fat yet high in sugar cereal.


It is frustrating because there could well be a little weight loss experienced initially by this fad diet, however it’s more likely due to the restricted amount of calories, making this an extremely difficult plan to follow resulting in fatigue, hunger pangs, low blood sugar levels and due to the actual sugar content alone, a whole host of other health issues including diabetes!


No one really has time these days to check every single ingredient on every product that you put in your basket, but if you did, I'm sure you would be horrified. Therefore I really do believe that if you can keep your diet as natural as possible, then you are onto a health winner!


Looking for a healthy breakfast?

Try my “Glorious Granola”


Glorious Granola


You say, “Tomato soup”, I say, “Not out of a can”

The common can of soup, a lazy yet convenient quick fix meal enjoyed by many, especially in the colder weather.


Tinned Tomato Soup


With the high salt content and a good old dose of high fructose corn syrup, I would be having a bad day to have to eat soup from a can. What you thought was a healthy meal in a bowl is really one of the worst possible choices to store in your cupboard.


Most canned soups are absolutely loaded with sodium and harmful sugars which over time can lead to horrendous health issues including fluid retention,  high blood pressure,  heart disease,  kidney disease,  stroke and diabetes!


Cream or cheese based soups are another diet nightmare, adding unnecessary calories to your bowl and inches to your waist line.


The canned soups also often contain harmful preservatives such as MSG, another nightmare ingredient health wise as it can cause headaches, dizziness, tightness of chest and nausea!


A fresh tomato or vegetable/meat based broth is by far your best choice, along with healthy carbs such as spelt or whole grain pasta, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato or barley as a replacement for white pasta, white rice or white potatoes.


Healthy proteins such as chickpeas, beans, lentils, tofu, skinless meat and fish are perfect additions along with all vegetables.


Chickpeas, beans and lentils can also be used instead of potato as a soup thickener when blended, making it once again a perfect protein packed thick soup.


I really don't want to take my chances with a can so full of nastiness so I like to make my own soup. This way you too can be in control of what you eat, turning that bowl of soup from a health hazard to a bowl of nutritious goodness.

Fresh is always best!



Looking for a healthy soup?


Try my “Roasted Tomato Soup”



Date Night!

Dates are a wondrous nibble filled with important vitamins, minerals and fibre.


Dates


They are cholesterol free and due to their naturally occurring sugar they help to balance blood sugar levels and are a great energy booster.


There is definitely controversy surrounding dates as a lot of people still class them as another form of sugar or sweetener.


However elimination of artificial and refined sugars in your diet is important,  but ultimately dates are a fruit and good for our overall health.


And as with any food, moderation is key.


Check out this super easy and seriously tasty recipe for my goji berry date balls. A much healthier sweet treat as they are made with all natural ingredients.


Looking for a healthy sweet treat?


Try my “Goji Berry Date Balls”


Goji Berry Date Balls


For The Love Of Zoodles!

If you love spaghetti  but not the carb coma that quickly follows, then this is the most perfect healthy alternative.



Not long ago a foodie craze was born for spiraling such vegetables as carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, courgettes ( also known as zucchini ).


I can't recommend this highly enough my healthylicious friends. A low carb meal for pasta lovers that won't make you feel like you are missing out.

Surely it's a dream or it  won't taste great, well its no dream and it is scrumptious!


Leave that spaghetti on the supermarket shelves and start spiralizing your veggies for a no food guilt, waist line shrinking healthylicious dinner.


Click on the image and get your Spiralizer today!


Salter Fruit And Vegetable Spiralizer


Looking for a low-carb meal?


Try my “Zoodle Pad Thai”


Zoodle Pad Thai


Life’s a Peach

When I'm at the market I just can't resist a juicy peach! They are so vibrant and delicious but they are also full of healthy vitamins and antioxidants.




They are a great addition when sliced to any salads or on top of your morning granola or as a perfectly healthy low calorie, fat free snack.


After bringing home some rather chunky peaches this week I decided to make something a little different with them, peach chutney!


So tangy yet sweet it’s a perfect accompaniment to any grilled meats, veggies or fish. Liven up any sandwich with a spoonful of this or just delightful with cheese and crackers!



Try my “Peach Chutney”


Peach Chutney


Love Your Lemons

I am so lucky to have lemon trees in my garden and I've harvested a lovely bowl full this morning.



I absolutely adore lemons, I love their tart, tangy and palette cleansing taste and I know how good they are for us.


Packed full of vitamin C, they aid in the restoration of the body's acid to alkaline balance, resulting in a stable alkaline PH level., boosting your immune system.


Lemons are natural diuretic helping to purify and stimulate the liver, aiding in digestion and hydrating the lymph system.


I always have a hot water and lemon first thing in the morning, followed by jugs of lemon water and of course my green tea throughout the day.


I squeeze lemons and use the juice as a salad dressing, or over chicken and fish to give it a zing!


Do you love your lemons? Because they love you!


Try my “Lemon and Cranberry Nut Loaf”


Ditch the corporate diet


An everyday battle with food is a real deal for a lot of people.  Whether it's trying to lose weight, overcome an eating disorder or just trying to stay healthy...the struggle is real.


And guess what? The diet industry is exactly that, an industry whose main prerogative is making money, not helping you to be healthy.


Low fat calorie controlled microwave meals, low fat crisps, low fat sugary yogurts, tinned soups and chips just to name a few...all foods of convenience but not of nutrition and yet absolutely allowed on various faddy diets. These diets are made up of the same unhealthy products that led you to put weight on in the first place and people follow these diets blindly in denial of what is so obviously nutrition free junk.


The actual way to lose weight is to burn more calories a day than you eat along with drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep. This doesn't mean cutting calories and good fats; it means being mindful of what you eat and being active.


 There is no healthy shortcut to achieve your weight-loss goals


Eating healthy fats won't make you fat and starving yourself or skipping meals won't make you slim. Skipping meals really is even more hazardous to your health because your body has no fuel therefore you will lack energy, burn fewer calories and actually gain weight!


When tired, rushed or stressed temptation to reach for convenience food is at an all time high but with a bit of planning you can have healthy nutritious snacks and meals at your finger tips ready to healthily feed your face.


I live by the rule that if it's not in my fridge or cupboards I can't eat it...by refusing to buy junk food you are on the first step to a healthier new you and that bag of crisps or biscuits remain on the supermarket shelf rather than calling your name (you know they do) from your kitchen drawer enticing you to respond by binging.


Counting calories just feels like such a waste of your life and the calculations are more often than not of processed convenience junk food that isn't even good for you.


A poor diet will also zap your energy making you feel unable to be active, instead gravitating to the couch potato position and reaching for more junk food. It's a vicious cycle. You are what you eat is a true statement, for those engaged in a healthy lifestyle it will show through their energy, healthy skin, hair, nails and body size and good immune system and the opposite can be said of unhealthy faddy dieters.


We live in a world of knowledge that is easily accessible to us, and we now know that certain foods once thought bad for us (and are still avoided on ridiculous low fat diets) are in fact very good for us.




Food is energy, it fuels our body. If you were to put the wrong oil into your car it wouldn't start or work efficiently, Our bodies work the same way and we need to make sure we fuel up correctly with healthy proteins, fats and whole grain carbs.


Diabetes is also a huge health risk and the reason for this is too much sugar and lack of exercise, Remember sugar comes in many different forms from actual white sugar to corn syrup, white bread, white rice, white pasta and white potatoes to name only a few. When all of these foods hit our blood streams our blood sugars spike. The pancreas produces insulin which opens up muscle cells so they can absorb that sugar for energy, but if this energy is not used and the cells are over filled, insulin resistance eventually causes the pancreas to break down. Without the insulin now being produced, blood sugars rise dramatically leaving you with life threatening diabetes which also leads to cardiovascular disease due to the high sugar levels mixing with proteins in your blood creating molecules that stick to the artery walls that form blockages.


If that’s not enough to get you off the couch and be active I don't know what is. Food is a huge and necessary part of our survival and should be enjoyed at the same time as being beneficial to our everyday lives.

The Ready Steady Cook Club

Thanks to social media, the world of foodies has become a wonderland of food love. Taking pictures of food before being consumed is now a common place fact of foodie life and where once perhaps it was frowned upon it is now embraced as the norm.

I've always loved food. It was a big part of my childhood as it brought the family together every night and on many a friends and family get together.

And if I think about it I can reveal that my Nanna was a "feeder" lol in the nicest possible way of course. From the moment my sister and I got home from school we would be greeted with an array of yummy cooking aromas filling the air. A big slice of homemade Madeira cake or ginger biscuits would be presented as we gave the lowdown on our day. Only a couple of hours later, with the arrival of our mum and dad from work, we would be sat at the dinner table feasting on a roast chicken dinner and stick to your ribs rice pudding or a classic Lancashire hot pot and pineapple upside down cake to name only a few culinary delights that our Nanna, the feeder would make. It's no wonder I was a chubby child and it's no wonder I have an ingrained love of all things food.

Which brings me to the reason for this blog.

A few months ago I joined a wonderful online cooking club called:

The Ready Steady Cook Club.

The Ready Steady Cook Club

It was started by my bff ( best foodie friend)  aka Colin,  The Simple Cook (See his link below and check out his blog)

It's a wonderful community of like minded food bloggers, home cooks, chefs and anyone who just loves to cook.

Every few weeks a challenge is hosted where one member will pick a bag of groceries under an agreed budget and along with a free ingredients list we all create one or two dishes. We then all showcase our creations on our home Facebook page and Instagram and this is naturally followed by lots of likes, appreciative comments and recipe sharing ;)

It's a club that brings positivity, foodie love and friendship. I really feel that food can and does bring people together and I want to especially thank Colin for this.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to join the club. There is no entry fee and its all about foodie fun.

We have members from all over the world and we would love for you to join us!

Check out some of my fellow foodie friends and their amazing blogs!

www.thesimplecook9.wordpress.com

www.chrisdogandablog.blogspot.com.es

www.thehungarypollock.wordpress.com

www.thebakeawayblog.wix.com/bakeaway

www.thetoleranttable.com

www.the-babbling-brooke.com

www.deesinthekitchen.com

www.granduniondiningden.com

www.blog.taryndelish.com

www.lanicooks.com

www.yourguardianchef.com

www.binkysculinarycarnival.com

www.pineneedlesinmysalad.com

www.gurulukshmi.com

www.messycook79.com

www.missbakerybakes.com

www.yuminyourtum.com


Going Green

Along with cooking up Healthylicious creations in my kitchen, I actually work on cruise ships with my husband. We are guest entertainers and we perform an energetic Celtic show for the passengers :)


To take a cruise is a dream holiday for lots of people all over the world and it is a wonderful job.


One of the only down sides for us is trying to stay as healthy and eat as nutritiously as we possibly can. But when faced with buffet food daily it can be challenging.

The ship food is great if you are enjoying an indulgent vacation, but not so much if you are trying to stay a certain size and maintain a healthy lifestyle lol


So every time we are home, my most used kitchen appliance has to be my Nutribullet.


Nutribullet



With this genius speedy blender I can whip up Healthylicious juices instantly and I definitely make up for it when I’m home and I wanted to share with you my number one favourite veggie juice. It's simple, but full of alkaline and cleansing, vitamin fuelled goodies.


Green Goodness


For this green goodness you will need:



You can play around with the measurements so that they suit you, but this combination is detoxifying and delicious!


Pop all of the ingredients into the Nutribullet, fill with water up to the line and blitz until you have a smooth juice.


Here's why each ingredient is a winner :)


Lemons

Lemons and Ginger


Ginger

Cucumber

Cucumber

Parsley


Parsley

The reason why I choose to use a Nutribullet over any other blender or juicer is because the powerful bullet completely breaks down and blends all of the essential nutrition along with the fibre that a normal juicer would discard.  The necessary fibre helps to slow down the digestion of the juice which aids in a stable blood sugar level and it also keeps you fuller for longer. The bullet is faster, has convenient carry cups with lids and very easy to keep clean.



If you would like to purchase your own Nutribullet please click on the below link.


Happy Healthylicious juicing friends.


NUTRiBULLET Pro 900 Series 15 Piece Set, 900 W