Let’s Walk a Marathon – Intermittent Fasting and new series of Cook from Scratch


I hope that those of you who are now measuring your exericise in terms of marathons are doing well. I continue to walk every day and I am also helping my fat burning (she says hopefully) by eating a moderate amount of protein with each meal and also continuing to practice Intermittent Fasting which is something I began in 2013 after reading the Fast Diet book by Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer.

To be honest I am not an advocate for complete fasting over extended periods. Even under medical supervision I always feel that unless it is a method of eating that the body has developed over time, it can add more stress to the organs and our emotional response to food. Additionally those who embark on a fast unsupervised may have an underlying health problem that can cause serious issues. For very young people particularly teenagers this can be a very dangerous and complicated process that can result in not just physical damage but emotionally and mentally too. So first and foremost, do seek advice before contemplating any form of radical dieting.

Intermittent Fasting advocates claim that there are a number of health benefits outside of steady weight-loss. These include reversal of Type II diabetes.  Here is a summary.

  1. Blood levels of insulin drop which leads to more efficient fat burning
  2. Your body has downtime when it can initiate vital cellular repair.
  3. Blood levels of human growth hormone increase dramatically which also encourages fat burning.
  4. It is claimed that intermittent fasting increases your metabolic rate encouraging weight loss and reduction in fat in stubborn places such as the belly.
  5. Type II diabetes has responded well to intermittent fasting with a significant drop in fasting blood sugar levels and fasting insulin levels.
  6. Some research is indicating that intermittent fasting can benefit oxidative stress on cells and reduce inflammation.
  7. There are many studies into the benefits currently and new evidence is being published frequently and is worth keeping an eye open for.

For people who embark on Intermittent Fasting or IF – there are a number of programmes to choose from and because this is now the new dieting Buzz Word – or Words – I wanted to write about its application in this marathon challenge.

However, I am also keen to do so with not just the facts and figures gleaned from the various research I have undertaken in the last three years but with my own experience under my belt so to speak.

On the plane home from the UK in 2013 I read the Fast Diet which advocates the 5:2 approach where you eat sensibly but normally for five days a week. Then only 500 calories for a woman or 600 calories for a man for the other two days a week.

My willpower is pretty good when I make my mind up but certainly when I began this programme in the cold and wet months on our return to Madrid, eating a quarter of my calories two days in a row was not appealing, however I settled on Monday’s and Wednesdays for the next six weeks. It did help that there were plenty of fresh salad and vegetables available in Spain year round.

That was four years ago and in that time I have adapted the diet to suit my own circumstances. I only eat within an 8 hour window every day, seven days a week rather than the original five days on and two days off.  When combined with exercise I found that I was getting very tired on the off food days and then was hungrier on the on food days. I began to eat more.

As I mentioned earlier this year my weight began creeping on again last year and that was because my schedule of exercise and eating to a normal pattern was disrupted by a number of factors involved in our move back from Spain to Ireland. Once off track I found myself staying there and getting back into bad habits. The excuses that I thought I had packed away in a trunk in my brain’s attic started to make an appearance again.

For example.. jeez I am 63 years old… what can you expect!  Why deny myself some treats from time to time.. I am good the rest of the week!! 

I am sure you have your own set of go to reasons why you should not work at keeping your body healthy.

Anyway from my birthday in February this year when I turned 64 years old, I gave myself a damn good talking to. We invested in a new treadmill so that I could not use the wet weather as an excuse… I began some light weight training and I also went back to eating within an 8 hour window.

Thankfully that is now making a difference and I am happily back on the right track.

I still cook from scratch, have modified by carbohydrate intake so that I have wholegrains in smaller amounts at main meals and I don’t snack between meals. I exercise for the first time in the day around 10.30 and we have coffee and our Spanish Tostada at 11.30/12.00.(Recipe in the post tomorrow)

We eat our main meal around 2.00/2.30 which is always lean protein and lots of vegetables. For example.. Red cabbage and beetroot, green cabbage, cauliflower and carrots today with pork fillet.  David likes a raw salad and apart from celery, carrot, beetroot, lettuce, spring onions he also has half an avocado with his pork.

If we have been active in the garden then we might have a piece of wholegrain toast around 5pm with some tea or some fruit..I do my second session on the treadmill around 6.30pm .. a mile usually and then we have supper around 7.30pm. which is usually a sandwich for David and eggs on toast for me.  It varies of course.

That is not to say that there are not days when we might fit in an ice-cream or a scone and jam.. but within the 8 hours window.

If you are interested in reading the Fast Diet it is available in print, Kindle and audio: https://www.amazon.com/Fast-Diet-Intermittent-Fasting-Healthy/dp/1780721676

The new series of cook from scratch begins tomorrow and I will be starting with our Spanish mid-morning breakfast.

If you have an queries about this challenge or about your nutritional needs then please  contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

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Let’s Walk a Marathon – How to burn more fat… and exercise equivalents!


First an update as of Sunday afternoon – and I am half way through my second marathon.. Training was interrupted this week because of work in the garden and I needed to give my knee a couple of light days but I am on target to beat my personal best of 10 hours in 14 days for my first marathon by 30 minutes.

If you would like to share your exercise this week towards your marathon challenge please do so in the comments.. or you can email me sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Before I give you some exercise equivalents for miles completed towards a marathon, I wanted to give you some ways to make your food work for you. The object of this challenge is to shift internal fat which also means getting rid of that belly fat and spare tyre.

All foods have a thermogenic effect as it takes calories to process them. Some even take more calories to process than its calorie value. Vegetables with a high fibre content for example such as celery or grapefruit.  A diet in these two items alone would be very restrictive.

The food that takes the least calorie effort to process is dietary fat… tasty thought it might be and the body thinks so too.

The body needs the good fats for health and you will find more of that in this post : https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/04/27/lets-walk-a-marathon-part-three-taking-in-the-right-fuel/

However, we need a balanced diet and the most effective foods to achieve efficient fat burning is lean protein and you should have a portion with every meal.

For example – an egg on toast for breakfast, a chicken breast with a large spoon of brown rice and mixed vegetables for lunch and a prawn salad or tofu salad for supper.

You can include any lean poultry, eggs, fish or game..(venison etc) – if you are going to cook do so with a minimum of oil and use olive oil, coconut oil or butter. You don’t need much especially if you are grilling or cooking in a microwave or oven/

If you are vegetarian you can include Tofu or Tempeh made from soybeans (organic), chickpeas, lentils, peas, spirulina, quinoa or products made from soy milk.

There is one food that I do find useful but you still need to drink at least four cups of it a day and that is Green Tea.

In its own right Green Tea has some pretty useful health benefits and certainly drinking it when in training with hydrate you and possibly help shift some of the fat.

A little reminder of the benefits.

Green tea is the least processed of the three and therefore retains nearly all its nutritional content. One particular antioxidant which is called a Catechin (epigallocatechin-3-gallate EGCG for short) is believed to be responsible for the health benefits linked to the tea at this stage. Green tea is derived after the tea leaves have been gently steamed until they are soft, but have not fermented or changed colour. They are then rolled – spread out and fired which is either dried with hot air or fried in a wok until they are crisp. When you add boiling water to the leaves you get a pale yellowy green colour liquid.

Black tea on the other hand is first spread out on racks and withered with hot air – this removes about a third of their moisture and makes them soft. Then they are rolled which breaks the cell walls and releases juices. They are then laid out again in a high humidity environment to encourage the juice to ferment. The leaves turn a dark copper colour and they are then fired turning the leaves black. This gives your tea its dark brown colour when you add boiling water to it.

Oolong tea is partially fermented which means it comes half way between the green and the black.

What are its main health benefits?

As with any food or supplement it is important not too over emphasis the health properties but in this case there is some compelling evidence to suggest that Green Tea has many benefits that could be effective in many different areas.

I mentioned EGCG, the flavonoid antioxidant, which is left in the green tea, and this is what researchers believe may be the secret to its health benefits. Because green tea is so widely drunk, mainly in Asian countries where dairy products are not used to flavour the tea – most of the early research was carried out in China and Japan. One of the diseases that has been studied is coronary artery disease – there are indications that the antioxidant in green tea inhibits the enzymes that produce free radicals in the lining of the arteries. It has been shown to lower the LDL, smaller particle cholesterol which becomes dangerous when oxidised and improving the ratio to HDL (larger particle and healthy cholesterol).

Drinking green tea may help with stroke prevention because it thins the blood preventing blood clots from forming and travelling around the body. Eating a high trans fat diet can produce compounds in the blood that encourage platelets to clump together forming the clot. Not only that, it seems it may protect the cells in the heart muscle following damage so anyone recovering from a heart attack could find it a good tea to drink.

Researchers found that stroke victims who drank green tea were less likely to suffer any further damage and their brain cells were less likely to die off following an episode.

All of the above is linked to Green Tea’s ability to thin the blood, therefore the flow is unrestricted and people are less likely to suffer from high blood pressure.

One of the largest areas of research is in Green Tea’s possible protection against cancer. Obviously this is down to this incredible anti-oxidant EGCG but studies have also shown that apart from triggering cell suicide in cancer cells, apparently it might also inhibit the development of new blood vessels. Cancer like any parasite has an enormous appetite and the only way this can be catered for is for the body to produce new blood vessels in the form of a tumour. By inhibiting this, the green tea is effectively starving the cancer and it therefore dies.

What is even more interesting is that green tea has been shown to inhibit the growth of genetic cancerous cells such as those in breast cancer. Again it is this antioxidant’s way of working that is so effective – it simply damages the rogue cells so much that it triggers a self-destruct mechanism that kills the cancer. The cancers that they have studied include Prostate, Ovarian, Breast and brain tumours in children. Colon, lung cancers have responded well and Green tea has been shown to improve the efficiency of cancer drugs while at the same time lessening their side effects.

Obviously it is very important to note that this is not a recognised medical treatment for cancer and should never be considered as an alternative without consultation with your doctor.

Other diseases that have come under the microscope are diabetes, kidney disease, osteoporosis, gum disease, liver damage, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Epilepsy and green tea together are being researched because of the possible lessening effect of seizures in patients who drink it.

It has been shown to be anti-inflammatory which means that diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis may benefit – either from severity of the symptoms or preventing all together. Bacterial infections from tooth decay to intestinal problems such as Candida – where green tea catechins have been shown to effect the metabolism of the fungus and reduce the overgrowth substantially.

Viruses do not seem to like green tea and apparently it stops the virus from replicating which might be interesting for some diseases such as HIV where inhibiting replication is critical to prevent the disease from developing.

For example Japan where there is virtually only green tea consumption, they have a very low incidence of Alzheimer’s, compared to western countries. However, Japanese living in the USA have 2.5 times the incidence of Alzheimer’s of those living in Japan – In Japan people sip green tea all day – not so in the western environment or for 2nd and 3rd generation Japanese living in the USA. This particular health benefit has a knock-on effect on ageing as the cells are protected throughout the body for much longer.

As I mentioned there is some reason to believe that drinking green tea (or taking the extract in capsule form) may help burn fat.. If you do drink four cups a day or take the capsules perhaps you might like to give your feedback in the comments section.

I know that some of you might walk from time to time but also attend  exercise classes during the week, or have some other form of activity that keeps you fit.  That is fine and I have a way so that you can complete a marathon in equivalent terms and join the rest of us.

For example here are some exercises and their calories per hour converted into miles.

These are based on someone who weighs 150lbs – you will use slightly more calories the heavier you are.  So if you cycle leisurely for an hour a day for ten days you will complete a marathon.. 26 miles.

This is an estimate based on the fact that the calorie value of a mile is 100 which is average for someone of a healthy weight. For those of you who cannot walk or run due to weight, injury or other physical reasons, you might like to note the value of swimming.

These are the mile values you can apply for an hour of activity.

  • Cycling leisurely 10mph = 2.6 miles
  • Cycling moderately 12-14mph = 4 miles
  • Stationary cycle in gym – moderate = 4.6 miles
  • Weight lifting – light weights = 2miles
  • Rowing machine – moderate = 4.6 miles
  • Aerobics – low impact = 3.3 miles
  • Aerobics – high impact = 4.6 miles
  • Hatha Yoga and stretching = 2.6 miles
  • Water aerobics = 2.6 miles
  • Ballroom dancing slow = 2 miles
  • Badminton = 3 miles
  • Bowling = 2 miles
  • Football – non-competitive = 4.5 miles
  • Golf carrying clubs = 3 miles
  • Golf with power cart = 2.3 miles
  • Tennis singles active = 5.3 miles
  • Walking the dog – leisurely = 2 miles
  • Swimming laps leisurely = 4 miles
  • Swimming breastroke active = 5 miles

Good luck with your marathon training what ever your chosen activity and look forward to hearing when you have completed your first and every future marathon.

If you have any questions about the challenge then please contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

All the posts so far are in this directory. Preparation, breathing exercises, food

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/lets-walk-a-marathon/

Let’s Walk a Marathon – The internal fitness programme coming next week!


Right about now the women’s magazines will be starting with the headlines that drive up gym revenues and bikini sales.

‘Get a bikini body in six weeks’

‘ Get beach ready in just four weeks’

‘Drop two dress sizes in a month’

I look in the mirror, and if I put the right glasses on, it is clear that short of having extensive liposuction there is no way in the world that I will be displaying my body, in a bikini, on the beach in six weeks. And I have a sneaking suspicion that lying on the beach in four weeks in any form of swimming costume might result in a rescue effort to push me back into the ocean.

I can hear you now.

 “Oh Sally don’t say such dreadful things about your self.. Love the body you have and beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

That is lovely of you, but you have to understand that having been 24 stone (330lbs or 150kilos) 22 years ago, I am not very keen  to get to that weight again. This requires honesty and  being very overweight is not healthy, it is not attractive and it shortens your life.

Sorry to be so blunt, but not only was I morbidly obese, but I had all the lifestyle induced diseases to go with it.  I have worked hard to maintain both my weight and the key indicators of health such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels and fitness.

However, I realised a couple of months ago that I was slipping back into a sedentary lifestyle, weight was going on around more than just my middle, and I was getting out of breath climbing the stairs. So easy to slip into denial, and I realised that I was really missing the sunny days outside walking, swimming from May to October and daily workouts on my treadmill in the winter months.

The weather does have a lot to do with it, and whilst I love being back in Ireland, and in the past have walked our dog Sam in rain, hail and snow, I just could not work up the enthusiasm.  I was going to join the gym.. however I realised that like many before me, I would go for a month and then leave the balance of my membership in their bank account;  part  of their marketing mission!

So three weeks ago I made the decision and we bought a top of the range treadmill.  It is in the spare room downstairs… has a monitor on the wall connected to a playlist of videos and looks out over the garden. My playlist on my iPod is loaded with my favourite work out music and I also have a 4kilo kettle weight that I use after walking. (more about my progress during the challenge)

Get fit or die sooner than later.

The issue here is not what you look like on the outside and certainly you can carry a certain amount of extra weight and still be fit. However, the more important picture is the one we cannot see.

If we are carrying a lot of extra fat it is not just lying under our ever expanding skin… it is wrapped around our major organs, slowly sucking the life out of them by limiting their effectiveness.

You are not going to like these images.

Here is the link to the article that goes along with these images.

Confirmed: Belly Fat associated with visceral Fat is Far More Dangerous than Having a Total BMI

A study on belly fat presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress confirms that visceral fat – the type that gathers around your internal organs – is far more dangerous to your health than you might think.

The traditional index of obesity, BMI (body mass index), has been proven to be terribly flawed as having a normal overall BMI and high abdominal obesity was found to be more dangerous than having a total BMI in the obese range.

For example, cardiovascular deaths in the study were 2.75 times higher for those of normal weight who had big bellies compared to those with both a normal BMI and a normal waist-to-hip ratio. It also implies that monitoring one’s belly fat is more important than watching BMI.

Images and article courtesy of: http://www.impianemasmedicalcentre.com/visceral-fat-more-dangerous-than-you-think/

 Back to my view of my body.

I can live with being a bit chubby and certainly I have clothes in my wardrobe that expand over a number of sizes. But what I cannot live with is the build up of fat around my heart, liver, kidneys etc.

A note about that! A little fat around our kidney’s is there to act as a cushion to protect them in case of severe injury. But there is not supposed to be enough to strangle them.

Earlier in the year I serialised my weight loss programme that I have developed and introduced hundreds of clients too during my career as a nutritional therapist, and if you want and need to lose weight then I will give you the links to all the posts that you can read and adapt for your own requirements.

Smorgasbord Weight Reduction 2017

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/02/smorgasbord-health-weightloss-meet-helena-the-first-of-my-clan/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-how-much-should-you-really-weigh/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-the-nutrient-shopping-list/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/10/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-the-accumulative-factor/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/smorgasbord-health-2017-weigh-reduction-reward-system-and-calories/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/13/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-reward-system-and-calories/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-get-your-beauty-sleep/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/18/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-stress-factor/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2017/01/20/smorgasbord-health-2017-weight-reduction-the-plateau-and-fluids/

But whilst you are embarking on this safe and healthy weight loss programme you can be joining me in my own challenge which will help speed up the process, help lose the internal fat and get you fit.

The aim of the challenge:

Walk the equivalent of a 26 mile marathon in 6.5 hours over one week after 12 weeks of training.

Starting at midnight on Monday, I will be posting the preparations you need to make to walk safely and to set realistic targets.

For those of you who might just be starting out in getting fit then please join us and remain on the various training levels for longer until you are comfortable moving up to the next level. It is not about how long you take as you will still be getting the health benefits once you take that first step.

NB. If you are very overweight then it is important to begin to exercise slowly but surely to prevent injury or health problems. Do consult your doctor if you have concerns.

By the way – I have just completed my first marathon and I did it in 10 hours over 14 days. So I have a way to go too.

During this challenge please feel free to ask me any questions regarding the weight loss programme and I am very happy to help to design your eating programme to suit you shouuld you need that.  sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Ready, Steady Go  and see you on the start line Midnight UK time on Monday.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – The Flying Officer by Sally Cronin

Status


The first time Patrick Walsh saw her, was as he wended his way slowly down the hill between the slow moving trucks on his motorbike. The road was lined with women and old men who were handing out hastily cut sandwiches and mugs of tea to the men in the trucks, whose outstretched hands gratefully received these simple acts of kindness. It was clear from the their faces that they found the peaceful summer skies overhead, and clamour of women’s voices, a much needed reminder of home and safety.

He knew where they had come from, as for the last six days he had been flying over them as they had scrambled into small boats to be ferried out to the larger naval vessels waiting to take them to safety. He and his squadron were a part of the massive air defence operaton. Thousands of soldiers were pouring off the beaches having gathered over the last few days from the surrounding countryside; exposed and being attacked by superior German forces. On the last run today his spitfire had received a direct hit to the cockpit from a persistent Messerschmitt Me 109; luckily missing his head by inches apart from a cut over his eye, earning him a few hours respite. His plane would be ready to fly first thing in the morning. The ground crews at all fighter squadrons were working around the clock to get pilots back in the air until the evacuation from the French coast was complete.

As he carefully maneuvered between the trucks he responded to the shouts from the men above him with a small wave. He knew that their good natured jibes were aimed at his uniform and the wings that it displayed, and that their friendly ribbing was their way of showing gratitude. He decided that it would be easier to wait until the convoy had passed to continue into the village square. He dismounted, standing by the hedge to watch the villagers as they persisted in their need to comfort these dispirited men with tea and offerings of food.

She stood out from the crowd of women. Tall with long red hair tied back with an emerald green ribbon, she was dressed in overalls and wore heavy boots. She had a natural elegance as she darted between an older woman, holding a tea tray piled with jam sandwiches, and the trucks. Despite the men’s exhaustion, eager hands grasped the food, winking and flirting with the prettiest thing they had seen for a long while.

Patrick leaned back against the saddle of his bike and let himself enjoy this brief moment of humanity that was so rare today. He had been flying since the first weeks of the war and his squadron had suffered huge losses; particularly in the last few weeks as they had provided air cover for the retreating British forces. They had been warned that far worse was to come as the enemy amassed both fighters and bombers for an all-out offensive on the country. Having already lost many friends, Patrick knew that it was only a matter of time before he became a statistic.

Some of his fellow pilots and aircrew decided that they would live as hard as they fought. There were plenty of pretty girls around the station that were delighted to dance the night away and bring some laughter and sometimes love into the young men’s lives. He had seen the results of these whirlwind romances at the Saturday night dance in the village hall. As the airmen arrived in an ever changing group of young men, expectant faces would be watching the door and it was not unusual to see a girl being led away in tears by her friends.

Patrick loved to dance but gently refused the invitations to take to the floor and over the last few months he had become regarded as something of a misery. His friends gave up on their attempts to persuade him that he should live for the moment, and with a wry smile he listened to the chat up lines that were guaranteed to pull the heartstrings of a pretty girl.

But now as he watched the red head flying back and forth and smiling up at the men in the trucks, he felt an overwhelming urge to hold her in his arms and waltz around a dance floor. He shook his head and reminded himself that it would only lead to heartbreak for her, and he couldn’t bear the thought of those beautiful green eyes filling with tears.

An hour later the last truck in the convoy disappeared through the village square and out of sight. There would be more coming through from the coast, and Patrick watched as the crowd of villagers gathered up their cups and trays and disappeared back into their homes. They would prepare more from their meagre rations for the next wave of returning soldiers and be waiting for them by the roadside. He remained by the hedge until the red headed girl had linked arms with her mother and entered her house before riding down to the square.

‘Patrick, are you awake my friend?’ The voice of his Polish friend Jakub intruded into his daydream about dancing with his stunning red head.

‘Just about, do you want to go to the Black Swan for a beer? He sat up and rested his head in his hands and tried to bring his mind back to reality.

He looked around the Nissen hut that was their home, taking in the four empty cots that waited for the new arrivals. They would be mostly teenagers with only a few hours flying solo, and none of them in combat. He was only twenty-four, but he felt like an old man compared to the fresh faced and eager boys that would come through that door tomorrow.

It was now August and the skies were filled with formations of enemy bombers most nights. His plane was grounded again having the undercarriage repaired after a problem on his last landing. His mechanic said he had the ‘luck of the Irish’. Patrick was well aware that he was now one of only a handful of pilots remaining from the original group a year ago; he knew that his luck was bound to run out sooner or later. There was just one thing that he needed tonight, and that was the sight of Red, and she would be helping out her dad behind the bar at the Black Swan.

Two hours later he and Jakub sat quietly at a corner table with their glasses of beer. One beer was the limit as both of them would be back in the skies tomorrow; a cockpit was no place for lack of concentration. Jakub was married and expecting his first child and was happy to sit quietly in the warm and welcoming atmosphere thinking about his next leave in a week’s time. Patrick however spent his time watching Red as she served customers and laughed with the regulars. That laugh was in his head and was added to all the other pieces of her that he carried with him as he flew missions. The thought of those green eyes helped dispel the voice of the other constant companion that was by his side each time he buckled himself into the cockpit. Her presence in his heart and mind had helped him control his fear; bringing the realisation that he was in love for the first time in his life.

Over the weeks since that first day on the hill, there had been moments in the pub, when he would catch her eye and they would both smile then look away. By sitting at the bar when he popped in alone, he had gathered more information about her. She wasn’t called Red of course, but Georgina and Georgie to her friends. She didn’t seem to have a boyfriend amongst the regulars who frequented the pub, and one day he overheard that she had been engaged to a soldier who had been killed within weeks of the war starting.

He would watch as she gently refused all attempts by eager young warriors to take her on a date, realising that her heart had already been broken. This reinforced his resolve not to give in to the growing need to tell Georgie of his feelings; convinced it would only bring her further sorrow.

Through the rest of the summer months missions intensified, with both daylight and night bombing raids on the docks and major cities; almost bringing the country to its knees. In the October the tide began to turn, but not without the loss of thousands of fighter pilots and bomber air crews. It was then that Patrick’s luck ran out as he limped home with a badly damaged plane and shrapnel injuries in his chest and arm.

Patrick fought to stay conscious as the plane shuddered and bucked as he flew using his one good hand. Blood from a head wound almost blinded him, but as he saw the runway rushing up to meet him, he managed to bring the nose around and head for the grass to the side. The last thing that he thought about as the world went black was Georgie’s face and laugh.

A month later Patrick got one of the pilots to drop him off at the Black Swan and he walked into the early evening quiet of the bar. He had just received his new orders on his return from the hospital. From Monday he would be moving into an intelligence role where his experience in combat could be put to use. He was making a good recovery, but the extensive injuries to his arm meant the end of his flying career; now he would be ensuring that he kept others safe in the skies. In one way he felt that he was abandoning those that he regarded as family in their close knit squadron, but he also knew that it offered him the opportunity to fulfil a dream that was equally important.

Georgie was polishing glasses and looked up to greet the new customer with her usual smile but instead she took a deep breath. As he moved closer Patrick could see that there were tears in her glorious green eyes. Georgie stepped out from behind the bar and walked towards him, glancing at his arm in its sling and the scar that was etched into his forehead. She stood in front of him and neither spoke for a moment until he reached out his good arm to take her hand.

‘Is there any chance that you might let me take you to the dance tomorrow night?’

She smiled through her tears. ‘How are you going to be able to dance with only one free arm?’

He pulled her into him and looked down at the lips that he had imagined kissing so many times in the last few months.

‘Don’t worry Red… I’ll manage just fine.’

 

©sallycronin 2017

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you enjoyed the story. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Health 2017- Weight Reduction – Stress factor.


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Stress is the modern equivalent of being chased by a mammoth which you promised your wife you would bring back for dinner and knowing how ‘disappointed’ she is going to be when you fail to do so! In our modern world we have a different set of stress triggers and it can certainly cause you to gain weight and certainly sabotage your efforts to lose excess fat. Stress is silent and can be deadly. It is useful to understand why we react in this way and to manage this natural response to life’s ups and downs.

mammoth

WHAT CAUSES A STRESS REACTION?

Stress is the modern day equivalent of our ancestral ‘fight or flight’ mechanism that was necessary in the highly competitive and predatory world throughout our evolution. There may no longer be cave lions or mammoths in our world but the modern day alternatives can be just as daunting.

A threatening or tense situation triggers this stress response demanding that we take physical action. Unfortunately most modern day stress involves situations that we cannot run away from such as relationship issues, a demanding job and boss, financial worries and traffic jams on the way home. There are two types of stress. Acute and Chronic stress and both have very distinctive patterns.

Acute stress is a short-term response by the body’s sympathetic nervous system and the response may only last for a few minutes, days or a few weeks. How many times have you said that your heart stopped or your stomach lurched during a moment of intense stress such as an accident? We have all heard stories of mothers and fathers who have been suddenly infused with superhuman strength and able to lift cars and other heavy objects off their trapped children. They are empowered to do this by the actions of their body in a moment of crisis.

Blood sugar levels rise and additional red blood cells are released to carry strength giving oxygen levels a boost. The pulse quickens, blood pressure rises and the digestive process stops to enable the focus to be entirely on regaining safety.

Chronic Stress is when this acute stress response is repeated on a continuous basis. Whilst the body after a few hundred thousand years is well able to handle the occasional stress response and in fact uses it positively, if the response becomes a normal way of life, other parts of the brain and body become involved leading to long term damage.

For example on-going stress causes the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland that are the master controllers for the body to release a chemical called ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) which stimulates the adrenal gland to produce and release cortisol which disrupts sleep patterns leading to increased levels of stress. Our bodies are simply not designed to live at high alert for sustained periods of time; it just wears it down leading to illness.

Symptoms of stress can be subtle such as fatigue, insomnia, depression, headaches, back or neck pain, irritability and sudden weight loss or gain. The less common but more damaging are heart palpitations, shortness of breath, diarrhoea, nausea, panic attacks, inability to concentrate and chronic fear. If not controlled stress leads to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and ulcers. Mental health is also affected as people struggle to contain what is essentially a heightened sense of fear.

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT WEIGHT GAIN AND LOSS?

I understand after all these years, that my relationship with food has always been dependent on my stress levels. It is learned behaviour. As a child our parents or older family members did not just reward us with sweets and food if we had been good. They would also indulge us if we skinned our knees, banged our heads, were frightened by next door’s dog, and had an earache. How many of us have run off, lost sight of our mother or father, been in panic mode, been found and given a great big hug, lots of attention even if it meant being scolded, everybody so happy to see you. “Come on we will all have an ice-cream. That will make it feel better”. How many times have we seen the toddler, working up a head of steam, stamping feet, getting red in the face being appeased by a cuddle and some food?

What I want to illustrate is that we are not just at the mercy of outside stress we also are quite capable of working ourselves up into a frenzy and creating a physical response that activates all the same reactions. The expression “worrying myself to death” is firmly established in our modern language.

If you are mentally, physically and emotionally under pressure, being concerned about the food you are putting in your mouth seems to take a back seat. Just give me chocolate!

baby-eating-chocolate

Also when hormones like cortisol which have normal, daily functions in the body are being secreted all the time, some of your maintenance systems are affected. Cortisol should be at different levels at certain times of the day – highest in the morning and lowest last thing at night. This makes sense as it helps maintain a healthy blood pressure, raising it early in the morning as you wake up and decreasing it as you go to sleep.

You can imagine how confused the body is going to get if you are pumping cortisol into the system at increased levels throughout the day in response to your stress triggers. Cortisol is also necessary for metabolism or the fats and carbohydrates that we eat for that fast hit of energy and also the management of insulin and blood sugar levels.

We all know that sugar high that we get after eating too many sweet foods and then the sudden drop that urges us to consume even more of the nectar…. And that is why diving into the chocolate biscuits or the tub of ice-cream when stressed is so predictable. Particular if this has been your learned response since childhood.

As I mentioned earlier during a stress response the digestive process stops. That may be fine for an hour or two but if you are stressed the whole time you are not going to be able to process any healthy foods that you do eat efficiently. Long term this can lead to nutritional deficiency syndrome that encourages your body to store rather that utilise fat.

So if you are on a weight loss programme and even if you are eating a wonderfully rich diet of unprocessed foods, if you do not get your stress levels reduced, you will find it difficult to lose the excess weight.

HOW CAN WE MANAGE MODERN DAY STRESS AND SUCCESSFULLY LOSE WEIGHT?

When I started this theme of weight loss, I mentioned that we need to have a three dimensional approach to losing weight.

Physically, mentally and emotionally.

The physical is getting the foods right and by consuming non industrialised foods (some of our foods have to be processed such as milk, cheese so it is wrong to cut out all processed foods). We also need to limit our sugary food intake as this causes a chemical imbalance in our blood that encourages storage particularly around our middles. You need to consistently provide your body with the basic nutrients it needs on a daily basis to function efficiently and healthily.

But you also need to back this up by recognising where you are in real terms in the stress cycle – acute or chronic? Is the stress external or are you the one that is creating the stress yourself. Whatever the origin you have to learn how to drop the threat level. This is not just about losing weight but preventing possible long term health problems.

A major challenge is to make the stress in your life work for you instead of against you. Stress is now on tap 24/7; you only have to switch on a communication device including the mobile one in your pocket, to get a slice of world stress. At another level we have our own personal stress and we also affected by the stress we inflict on others around us. We have all heard the term ‘mass hysteria’ and you can see the affect if you watch an audience of mainly teenage girls at a One Direction concert. Within minutes thousands are screaming, crying, some are distraught. This might only be for a 2 hour concert but it is still a stress reaction. In more subtle ways this happens to our family and friends as our behaviour raises their stress levels. You need to recognise if this is your pattern and if so learn how to adapt that behaviour for your own health’s sake and those around you.

Finding ways to reduce both externally and internally created stress is a challenge. It is unique and personal to each of us because we all handle it in a different way. So personal in fact that what may be relaxing for one person may be extremely stressful to another. One person may delight in throwing themselves out of a plane at 15,000 feet attached to a small, silk umbrella which would frankly freak me out!! A busy executive might find a beach holiday boring and unproductive leading to stress whereas another can completely chill out.

Although too much emotional or mental stress can cause physical illnesses such as high blood pressure, ulcers or even heart disease, physical stress from work or exercise is very unlikely to cause these problems, unless you really do overdo it. The truth is that physical exercise can help you relax and to handle your emotional and mental stress. That is another good reason to include a regular exercise programme alongside the changes you have made to your foods.

Here are some basic techniques to help you manage whatever stress you do have in your lives. It would be a perfect world where we had absolutely no worries whatsoever but I am afraid there are only a few people who live in that serene an environment.

  1. It is easier said than done, but you must find a way to relax that suits you. Think carefully about what makes you feel alive but calm, that gives you satisfaction and creates a feel good factor. For you as an individual it could be skiing down a mountain or it could be walking along a sandy beach at sunset. As unique as the causes of stress are, so are the ways that we find to counteract the tension.
  2. Next time you begin to hyperventilate, and start getting wound up, saying things like “I’m freaking out!” take a breath and check to see if this is an external threat that needs to be dealt with or it is your own creation. If in doubt walk away and find somewhere you can think about the situation for a few minutes calmly and rationally. Of course if you are faced with immediate physical danger then you need to do whatever you must to survive.
  3. If you really cannot think of anything on your own then find yourself a professional advisor who can help you find your bit of space and peace. Learn relaxation techniques and new coping mechanisms that are not based on your reward system. It is always a good idea to find someone who has been referred by a friend or family matter but your G.P should also be able to recommend someone.
  4. Keep to a regular sleep pattern, although people do need varying amounts of sleep the average is seven hours. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time even at the weekends. Lack of sleep is one of the leading causes of stress and has been linked to weight gain
  5. Try to find at least 30 minutes in the day when you are not being bombarded by any outside stimulus. Music does not count. As you know I consider it to be another food group, and provided it is your favourite type of music, sticking your headphones on and closing your eyes for half an hour will help break the cycle of daily stress.
  6. I am afraid that stimulants such as cigarettes and alcohol and recreational drugs are absolutely the wrong things to rely on during a stress episode. As hard as it may be, avoid these at all costs.

DIET AND STRESS.

A healthy diet is absolutely necessary whatever lifestyle we have but if we are under excessive levels of stress then it becomes critical.

Make sure that you are hydrated. Dehydration is a leading physical cause of stress and you need at least 2 litres of fluids from various sources per day and more if you are exercising hard or live in countries with very low humidity. (See last Friday’s blog) This is particular important for young children – they need moderate amounts of fluids regularly as their small bodies get dehydrated very quickly.

We have already established that when the body is under stress, the digestive process is compromised and your body will use stored nutrients in an effort to keep the systems functioning. However, if the stress situation continues for a period of weeks or months you will not be replacing these stored vitamins and minerals and you need to increase levels of particular foods as they contain specific vitamins and minerals which the body needs.

The shopping lists that I have already given you have plenty of these vitamins, however, they are basic levels needed during normal activity and you need to up slightly during stressful times. If you cannot eat because you are stressed then at the very least make some homemade soup – Chicken and vegetables, blitz in a blender and drink three or four cups during the day.

VITAMINS ESSENTIAL FOR THE BODY TO MANAGE STRESS.

Vitamin A mops up the toxic residue of elevated stress hormone levels. (Liver, fish oils, butter, cheese, Free range eggs, oily fish and Beta-carotene that converts to Vitamin A from carrots, green leafy vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli, spinach, orange and red coloured vegetables such as apricots)

Vitamin B1 improves your mood and is vital for nerve function. (Whole grains, seeds, peas, beans and nuts.)

Vitamin B3 helps you regulate your sleep patterns. (Liver, brewer’s yeast, chicken, turkey, fish, meat, peanuts, whole grains, eggs and milk.)

Vitamin B5 better known as Pantothenic Acid controls the action of the adrenal glands, which play a vital part in the stress response. (Liver, yeast, salmon, dairy, eggs, grains, meat and vegetables.

Vitamin B6 is essential for the manufacture of the brain chemical serotonin which is also called the feel good chemical. (Potatoes, bananas, cereals, lentils, liver, turkey, chicken, lamb, fish, liver, avocados, soybeans, walnuts and oats.)

Vitamin B12 is necessary to help produce brain chemicals such as serotonin (dairy, eggs, meat, poultry and fish, for vegetarians in Miso and Tempeh both fermented soybean products)

Vitamin C is one of those vitamins that is used up very quickly during a stress reaction and needs to be replaced immediately as a deficiency leads to increased levels of anxiety and irritability. Smokers should take in Vitamin C in their diet and under the supervision of a professional should also take supplemental Vitamin C. (found in all fruit and vegetables but best sources are blackcurrants, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, cherries, grapefruits, guavas, kiwi fruit, lemons, parsley, peppers, rosehips, potatoes, tomatoes and watercress.)

MINERALS NECESSARY TO HELP THE BODY MANAGE STRESS.

Calcium helps you relax. (Dairy, sardines, canned salmon with the bones, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and soy products such as tofu.)

Magnesium works with calcium and also helps to reduce stress. (Whole grains, beans, seeds, wheat germ, dried apricots, dark green vegetables, soybeans and fish)

Chromium stabilises blood sugar levels that create stress. (Brewer’s yeast, whole grains, shellfish, liver and molasses)

As we get older and our body less efficient in processing foods it can be a good idea to take the B-vitamins in supplement form. Make sure you get good advice and get the best quality you can. If you feel that you are under stress for long periods of time, do not be afraid to ask for help from a nutritionist and get some counselling.

Finally something to watch to calm your frayed nerves from reading this lengthy blog on stress.. I would not want you tearing your hair out in frustration!  Down girls……..

You can find all the other posts in the series on Weight Reduction in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/weight-reduction-programme-2017/

©sallycronin 2016

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and if you would like a private word then please email me sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

Smorgasbord Health 2017- Weight Reduction – The Nutrient Shopping List


Smorgasbord Health 2017

Welcome to the next post in the Weight Reduction programme for 2017.  I do understand that these posts are quite long but we have a great deal to cover in the next three weeks. I hope you can bookmark to read when you have the time.

I mentioned in the first post in the series that whilst we might love to lose weight rapidly by munching on a couple of diet bars a day and a bowl of cabbage soup… our bodies would find that revolting… and will show their disdain for this industrial diet by becoming increasingly weaker and sicker.

The trick to losing weight consistently is not to give your body a fright. Most of us women have been dieting since our teens with a regular famine every few months whilst we try to retain our previous weight.  Unfortunately the body gets into the swing of things too. It recognises that it is about to enter another six week famine and decides to hang onto the stores that it already has. This is why we begin to set ourselves up for failure each time we embark on a crash diet. Not only that but once you do start eating normally, the weight piles back on with a bit extra because the body wants to replenish its stores.

This is why your shopping list is crucial so that whilst you might reduce your calorie intake to create a deficit in what your body might need on a dailty basis… it will be getting a rich infusion of nutrients which will reassure it… and encouraging it to give up its precious store of fat.

Do bear in mind that if you only need to lose a few pounds your body will also be concerned that its fat cells will drop too low.  Fat of the right kind plays a very important role in the health of all the major organs in the body including the brain. Cholesterol is in our bodies for a reason… it is an essential element in the production of hormones and if our fat intake and body fat reduce too low, hormone production stops.  Which is why young women with an eating disorder cease to menstruate.

The Shopping List for your weight reduction programme.

This is my shopping list and each week I try to find as much variety as I can amongst the seasonal foods.  There are two lists.. .one with the nutrients you need to be healthy and the foods that provide them.. The second list is those foods into their categories.. Please feel free to print off and use as a guideline.

Ancient man  had to trek miles in search of game and plant foods and they were opportunistic eaters, picking leaves, fruit and digging for roots when they found a patch that looked edible. However, we as modern humans tend to have a very narrow range of foods and this is partly down to supermarkets that stock up based on their bottom line. I expect like me that you have a shopping list for when you go to the supermarket and it seldom changes week to week unless you are entertaining. Some of you might have the approach that if it is Tuesday it is cottage pie and Friday it is cod and chips. As long as there is some fruit and lots of vegetables this will give you the basics.

N.B. You may be wondering when I am going to give you a list of approved breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options.  Well, I am not going to do that. If you have the following foods in your larder and fridge or freezer then you don’t need me to tell you what to eat.

I do however, suggest that you throw a few rules out regarding what is suitable food for various times of day. You can eat curry for breakfast if you wish.. or roast chicken… an omelette or porridge. The same applies for any of the meals.

Before the invention of the billion dollar industry that provides us with ‘Breakfast Cereal’ we would have eaten meats, cheese, bacon and eggs, soft boiled eggs, etc. depending on our circumstances.  Personally I am not adverse to finishing off leftovers from supper given a quick blast in the microwave….

However, I would like you to look at your shopping list in a slightly different way.

We usually compile our shopping list based on our preferences, tastes and sometimes pocket. But I have a slightly different method that you might find useful. The chemical interactions within our body that are essential for life – including the healthy functioning of our immune system – are only made possible by the raw ingredients in our diet. Even if you are having the occasional food fest, if your basic diet contains the right raw ingredients it won’t matter to your body. It is the everyday ingestion of sugars, Trans fats and white starches that cripple the system – I follow the 80/20 rule. If 80% of the time your body is getting what it needs, 20% of the time you can have what your heart and taste buds would like too.

Here are the two different lists – the nutrients we need and then the foods that are some of the best sources for those nutrients.  You can ring the changes within the categories and it is best to eat when fruit is in season. We now have access to a great many varieties of exotic fruits that give added benefit to our diets including the powerhouse that is the Avocado.

On a personal level I have half an avocado and a whole cooked onion every day and some fruits and vegetables are so nutrient dense that you can have these as staples and add others to bring in variety and other nutrients.

vegetables

First the basic nutrients we need for energy and healthy functioning systems and organs.

Vitamins and anti-oxidants – A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 (Folate) B12, C, D, E, K,

Minerals – Calcium, chloride, chromium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc.

Amino Acids –   Essential Fatty Acids – Bioflavonoids – very strong anti-oxidants.

Quite a few foods fall into several categories so I will give you the top sources within the groups- these are the foods that should make up your basic shopping with seasonal fruits and vegetables when available.

For example, spinach has Vitamin A, B1, B2, B9, E, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium – I have included in the first group only. (Popeye knew what he was doing)

Vitamin A – carrots, red peppers, apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe melon, nectarines, peaches and spinach. Cashew nuts.

Vitamin B1 – Pineapple, watermelon, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, oats, brown rice, lentils, beans, eggs, lean ham and pork.

B2 – All green leafy vegetables, fish, milk, wheat germ, liver and kidney

B3 Asparagus, mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, wholegrain bread and cereals. Turkey, Salmon, tuna, and cheese.

B5 – Corn, Cauliflower, Brewer’s yeast, avocado, duck, soybeans, lobster and strawberries.

B6 – Walnuts, bananas, lamb

B9 (folate) – nuts, beans and dark green vegetables.

B12– offal, dairy, marmite,

Vitamin C – virtually all fruit and vegetables already mentioned but also blackcurrants, blueberries, kiwi, cherries, grapefruits, oranges and watercress.

Vitamin D – Eggs, tinned salmon – fresh and tinned herrings.

Vitamin E – almonds, maize, apples, onions, shell fish, sunflower oil.

Vitamin K– dark green leafy vegetables, avocado, eggs.

MINERALS

Calcium – dairy, sardines, canned salmon, green leafy vegetables.

Chromium – Whole grains, potatoes, onions and tomatoes – liver, seafood, cheese, chicken, turkey, beef, lamb and pork

Copper – olives, nuts, beans, wholegrain cereals, dried fruits, meat, fish and poultry.

Iodine – cod, mackerel, haddock, eggs, live yoghurt, milk and strawberries.

Iron– shellfish, prunes, spinach, meats, cocoa.

Magnesium –dairy, seafood, apples, apricots, avocado, brown rice, spinach.

Manganese – beans, brown rice, spinach, tomatoes, walnuts, fresh fruit.

Phosphorus – poultry, whole grains.

Potassium – most fresh fruit and vegetables but in particular bananas, apricots, Brussel sprouts, kiwi, nectarines, potatoes.

Selenium – halibut, cod, salmon and tuna, mushrooms and Brazil Nuts.

Sodium – usually enough in our food but no more than 1 level teaspoon a day.

Zinc– seafood, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, egg yolks and tofu.

Essential fatty acids –

Omega 3– flaxseed, walnuts, pumpkinseeds, avocados, dark green vegetables, poultry and salmon.

Omega 6 olive oil and some of the above.

Omega 9– avocado, olives, almonds.

Amino Acids – dairy products, fish, meat, poultry, soybeans, nuts and seeds.

The foods that supply these nutrients.

To ensure that you have everything in your basic diet to provide the nutrients you need your shopping list would look something like the following. Aim for at least 8 portions of fruit and vegetables per day not five. I know that people say that they could not possibly manage that but view them separately.. An apple, tomato, carrot, rocket leaves, portion of cucumber, medium potato, handful of cabbage, large spoonful of broccoli over two meals. That would be a salad at lunchtime and some cooked vegetables at night with a piece of fruit as a snack.

If you eat these foods each week you will be providing your body with the basic nutrients it needs to be healthy – you can obviously add other foods when you are eating out or for variety. Do try and avoid processed packets of vegetables or salads. Pre-cut vegetables (lose a very high percentage of their nutrients) and make sauces from these fresh ingredients for pasta and rice dishes. Make your own whole grain pizza base with fresh toppings. You will notice the difference in flavour.

tomatoes

Vegetables – carrots, red peppers, broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, corn on the cob- any dark cabbage or Brussel sprouts, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, watercress, dark lettuce leaves, cucumbers, celery, avocados and potatoes. (Frozen vegetables are fine and in fact I use often )

bananas

Fruit – Bananas, apples, pears, oranges, kiwi and any dark berries that are reasonably priced – try frozen. When in season – pineapples, apricots, cantaloupe melon, watermelon.

wholegrains

Wholegrains – brown rice- wholegrain bread – whole wheat pasta – Weetabix – shredded wheat – porridge oats. If you make your own bread then use wholegrain flour. Please do not buy sugar or chocolate covered cereals – more sugar than goodness.

salmon

Fish– Salmon fresh and tinned- cod – haddock (again frozen can be a good option) any white fish on offer – shellfish once a week such as mussels. Tinned sardines, Tuna and herrings – great for lighter meals.

beef

Meat and poultry and Tofu– chicken or turkey – lamb, beef and pork. Lean ham for sandwiches, Venison if you enjoy it. Liver provides a wonderful array of nutrients served with onions and vegetables is delicious. Tofu for vegetarians has become more accessible and can be used by non-vegetarians once a week to provide the other benefits of soya it offers. Bacon once a week is fine but do bear in mind that most processed meats contain a lot of salt.

nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds – to put on your cereal in the mornings or as snacks – check prices out in your health food shop as well as supermarket. Almonds, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts.

eggs

Dairy and Eggs- milk (full fat), butter and cheese (better to have the real stuff than whipped margarine) – yoghurt. Free Range Eggs – have at least three or four a week.

olive oil

Oils – Extra virgin Olive Oil (least processed) – great drizzled on vegetables with some seasoning and also eaten the Spanish way with balsamic vinegar on salads and also drizzled over toasted fresh bread. If you do not like the taste of Olive Oil then use Sunflower oil – do not use the light version of any oil as it has been processed heavily – use the good stuff.

green tea

Tea, coffee, honey and extras

Fluids are very important and we all need to take in at least one to two litres per day depending on your personal circumstances.. this means water, not fizzy drinks or glasses or fruit juice or six cups of tea.  Whilst tea and coffee will add to your fluid intake and do contain anti-oxidants that are good for health, you cannot beat plain water as far as your body is concerned.  We have 25 percent humidity this week and I will be drinking more than usual otherwise headaches, skin dryness and brain fog take over.

Rather than spoonful’s of sugar on your cereal etc, try honey. Try and find a local honey to you but do remember it is still high in sugars. Dark chocolate – over 70% a one or two squares per day particularly with a lovely cup of Americano coffee is a delicious way to get your antioxidants. Cocoa is great with some hot milk before bed – antioxidants and melatonin in a cup.

I hope you find these shopping lists helpful and certainly if you do eat a diet that regularly includes these particular ingredients, you will go a long way to preventing dementia.

You can find all the other posts in the series on Weight Reduction in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/weight-reduction-programme-2017/

©sallycronin 2016

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment section and if you would like a private word then please email me sally.cronin@moyhill.com.