At Last, I Hear You Say!

The new, updated 2 Weeks in the Fast Lane Diet is out today!

There's a brand new 14 day eating plan...

Lots of new (and delicious as always, may I say modestly!) recipes...

Loads of tips on how to keep you on the right track as you shed the pounds...

And some excellent exercise advice from the highly-respected Ben Camara of No1 Fitness

Click here or on the book cover or on the 'announcement bar' at the top of the page to find out more about the book and if you are tempted, where to order your copy...

A Feast of Election Night Madness!

Will you be staying up into the wee small hours on Election Night to watch dear, dear David in his role as BBC 'anchor man' for the very last time and to keep a keen eye on Jeremy and his oh-so-addictive 'swingometer'? If so, a bit of snacking might be in order!

If things are going your way, it might with luck, mean 'healthy and happy snacking' but if it's all going horribly wrong, so could the snacks so a bit of pre-planning could be the saviour of your waistline (if not the saviour of your chosen party)!

You don't want to be continually bobbing up and down to prepare something when you are glued to the TV so here are a few dishes and snacks that can be thrown together earlier in the evening so you can simply grab them and get back to the sofa! 

roast a chicken and a bunch of vegetables earlier in the evening and pick at the leftovers later on - lots of great protein and energy-enhancing carbohydrates!

roast a chicken and a bunch of vegetables earlier in the evening and pick at the leftovers later on - lots of great protein and energy-enhancing carbohydrates!

have a dip or two in the fridge and some crunchy raw vegetable sticks - they really take the edge off sugary and salty snack attacks!

have a dip or two in the fridge and some crunchy raw vegetable sticks - they really take the edge off sugary and salty snack attacks!

midnight is the perfect time for half a creamy, fat-rich avocado - just stone it and spoon the flesh out of the shell or pile in some tuna or prawns!

midnight is the perfect time for half a creamy, fat-rich avocado - just stone it and spoon the flesh out of the shell or pile in some tuna or prawns!

switchel... a great alternative to alcohol as the night ploughs on! really tasty and great for the digestion. see my recipe page...

switchel... a great alternative to alcohol as the night ploughs on! really tasty and great for the digestion. see my recipe page...

... and/or prepare a super green salad, sling some of the cold cooked chicken on top and smother with a Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil dressing!

... and/or prepare a super green salad, sling some of the cold cooked chicken on top and smother with a Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil dressing!

you can't beat a bowl of fresh fruit 'bites' at this time of the year - the more colourful the better and the choice out there is staggering!

you can't beat a bowl of fresh fruit 'bites' at this time of the year - the more colourful the better and the choice out there is staggering!

my very quick tomato soup sharpens up the palate and is great in a mug! the added dollop of yoghurt is inspired! see my recipe page...

my very quick tomato soup sharpens up the palate and is great in a mug! the added dollop of yoghurt is inspired! see my recipe page...

... or perhaps a pot of calming and refreshing herb tea? mint is especially good - just soak a bunch of fresh leaves in a pot for 10 minutes...

... or perhaps a pot of calming and refreshing herb tea? mint is especially good - just soak a bunch of fresh leaves in a pot for 10 minutes...

olives are a tasty and brilliant source of filling and brain-focusing fats - mixed, stuffed with anchovies or with feta cheese, they won't let you down!    

olives are a tasty and brilliant source of filling and brain-focusing fats - mixed, stuffed with anchovies or with feta cheese, they won't let you down!    

... and have a handful or two of nuts and seeds with your fruit for a bit of extra 'crunch', a few more good fats and to keep hunger at bay !

... and have a handful or two of nuts and seeds with your fruit for a bit of extra 'crunch', a few more good fats and to keep hunger at bay !

a fruit or vegetable smoothie (sipped not gulped) hits the spot as the night progresses! create your own or get one off the shelf...

a fruit or vegetable smoothie (sipped not gulped) hits the spot as the night progresses! create your own or get one off the shelf...

chocolate works no matter how the voting is going - but make it small, very, very dark and perhaps with added chilli to spice things up!

chocolate works no matter how the voting is going - but make it small, very, very dark and perhaps with added chilli to spice things up!

A Cheering Glass of Red with Mr Buettner!

There is always someone out there trying to spoil all the fun isn't there? Particularly when it comes to the occasional tipple after a stressful day!

The 'can alcohol be part of a health-enhancing diet?' debate rages on and on and on and on... but my good friend Dan Buettner (no I have never met the man and I am well-aware that he probably doesn't know I exist but I like to call him my friend anyway coz I like what he has to say!) has obsessively studied the diets of those who live to a healthy and ripe old age in those countries known as 'The Blue Zones' and he tells me (through his research) that "yes, a glass or two of red wine - especially when consumed with a Blue Zones, plant-based meal­­ - is a good idea for most people" so I can't imagine for a second why I might decide to argue?

Macro of a glass of wine with shallow focus on the glass lip

Of course, summer is upon us and many of us prefer a cool drink when the temperature has gone up a few notches but there are quite a few 'reds' offering a whole bunch of protective plant chemicals that lend themselves rather nicely to being chilled so try the following grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Gamay, Cinsault, Shiava, Grenache or ask your local wine merchant for advice.

NB: can I urge you to remember the bit about 'with a blue zones, plant-based meal'... ie: with a nutritiously-fabulous-every-colour-under-the-sun salad rather than a takeaway pizza! 

Easter = Chocolate = Weight Gain (or does it?)

It seems like only a few weeks ago that the supermarket shelves were groaning with 'quick to cook' pancake batter mixes and delicious toppings and the internet was awash with syrupy-sweet recipes to help us celebrate Shrove Tuesday and now here we are facing Easter and it’s all about chocolate!

Chocolate.jpg

How are we supposed to keep our waistlines in tact when faced with such potential indulgence? One route is to just say “no” but where’s the fun in that? Another route is to carefully plan your chocolate moments!

How, what and when we eat daily has a meaningful impact on how efficiently we digest and absorb the nutrients provided by our last meal or snack to generate energy within our trillions of hard-working brain and body cells. And when we get the timing right, there is a good chance that the occasional indulgence (be it a chocolatey or otherwise) won’t do too much damage!

Here are a few magical tips to keep up your sleeve and allow for a little guilt-free sweetness this Easter:

  • If a sweet treat is perhaps on the cards, have it somewhere between 11am and 4pm when your energy requirements are likely at their height and there is a good chance the sugars will be used to generate some of that energy rather than being stored in your fat cells.
  • Always have some protein just before or alongside a sweet treat - the protein helps to slow the release of the sugars into the blood stream and keeps you feeling fuller for longer so you don’t experience an energy dip and seek out more sugar all too soon. For example: have a small carton of natural yoghurt or a handful of unsalted mixed nuts and seeds or a protein-rich smoothie with your chocolate treat (darker the better by the way) for a mid morning or mid afternoon snack or have your sweet treat just after a protein-packed lunch (a chicken salad, a mixed vegetable omelette, a fish curry, a couple of rye, seeded crisp breads topped with avocado and smoked salmon).
  • If you exercise regularly and strenuously, your ‘cooling down’ time is perhaps the best time to sneak in a sweet treat as your metabolic rate is likely to be boosted for a couple of hours so the sugars will be used to replenish your depleted muscle glycogen levels rather than being stored as fat - but don’t forget to have some protein alongside and no, this is not an excuse to chow down a whole chocolate Easter egg!
  • And lastly… make soup your waistline-preserving friend. It’s almost impossible to get as much goodness into a small space as in a bowl of fabulously-tasty, filling and protein-rich soup. If you suspect that there may be a little too much chocolate indulgence over Easter, get the soup pot out now, make a couple of vats, bag them in portions and freeze them, have them for lunch or for a snack and be confident that a little sweetness in your life won’t cause too much drama when enjoyed just after a bowl or mug!
  • Have your tried my Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Chorizo Soup? - it's really, really good and seriously moreish let me tell you!

Go to Work on an Egg!

who doesn’t have eggs in the fridge?

Eggs are the easiest, cheapest and most versatile way to keep your protein levels up, and I’m not just talking about eggs for breakfast (nor am I about to try and convince you to go on a boiled egg diet!)

Way back in 2008, a major study revealed that “eating two eggs for breakfast, as part of a reduced-calorie diet, helps overweight adults lose more weight and feel more energetic than those who eat a bagel breakfast of equal calories” and further studies continued to convince us to reconsider our breakfast choices.

Astoundingly, the UK Egg Marketing Board’s request to re-broadcast their extremely successful go to work on an egg series of TV advertisements from the 1950’s were rejected in 2007 as the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre observed that “the adverts did not suggest a varied diet” - how things change over the decades in this crazy world of nutrition!

Our early ancestors depended on bird eggs for protein on the many days when hunting and fishing didn’t go too well and as my hunting and fishing skills aren’t too hot, I feel sure I would have to ask Kirsty Young of Desert Island Disks fame if I could take a couple of beautiful brown hens onto my desert island - sadly the Complete Works of Shakespeare doesn’t offer much in the way of bodily nourishment!

Eggs are packed with goodness - 13 essential vitamins and minerals, high-quality protein, healthy fats, protective antioxidants and they make a brilliant addition to any weight loss diet at only around 70 calories each. Have at least one a day* for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a snack, opt for free range, organic (or even better, from a local farm or farmers market), find your favourites from some of my egg dishes below (simply click on the images to download the recipes) and go to work, go to lunch, go to dinner, go for a snack or go to bed on an egg and lose weight along the way!

* the jury is still out on how many eggs we should consume in a week but if you are in good health and your diet is rich in plant foods and scant on processed foods, there is no evidence to suggest that 7-10 per week will offer anything other than a nutritional bonus.