If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.
If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.
The school holidays have started and while the kids rejoice, parents may worry how expensive the next six weeks might be. Food need not add to the pressure – you can eat well without spending a fortune.
A while ago, ITV ran a series Save Money Good Food. I’ve included a few of their tips here with some of mine.
The first way to save money is not to waste any of your food. A scandalous £12.5 billion of edible food is thrown away every year in the UK. Part of this is down to overbuying. Know what’s in your cupboard so you don’t repeat buy what you already have a home. We all love bargains and the BOGOF but when you buy a bargain and don’t eat it, you’re throwing your money straight into the bin. Do a bit of planning, shop with a list, cook in bulk, make good use of your freezer and learn to love leftovers (my favourite lunches).
When you pay for food, you don’t want added charges for labour. The super rich may employ private chefs but many ordinary people do too without realising. I’ve got a big downer on ready meals for lots of reasons and cost is just one. But even if you don’t go that far you might pop the odd packet of ready-chopped something in your trolley. Salad perhaps or some fruit for the kids. Ready chopped produce is 3 to 5 times more expensive. That’s 300 to 500% more. It takes less than a minute to chop an apple / carrot / onion / bit of lettuce. The more prep you do yourself, the lower the cost and the fresher the produce. By using it straight away you keep more precious nutrients and flavour. Plus you avoid eating something that’s been dipped in a chemical solution and packed in a modified atmosphere to stop it giving away its age by turning brown (see Swallow This by Joanna Blythman).
Fresh herbs soon wilt or dry up and die so why not plant them out to increase their yield 100 fold. See my Herb Garden post.
We only started eating cornflakes in 1922 so we clearly don’t need breakfast cereal from a biological viewpoint. Really it’s highly processed carbohydrate with good PR and marketing. It will put your blood sugar up, damage your health and cause weight gain. People think that the cereals with less added sugar are good for you. They aren’t as damaging as the high sugar types of course but the corn/rice/wheat itself will still be quickly broken down into sugar by your body’s enzymes. Ditch the box cereals and enjoy a good quality muesli or natural porridge oats (beware the sachets – see Oats so Expensive on Survival Guide for the Skint).
Better still go to work on an egg. Have it with own brand smoked salmon and you’ll feel satisfied right through to lunchtime and save more money and health damage by not needing to buy snacks.
Here are some other pieces I’ve written on breakfasts:
And what about the most nutritious food of all? It’s also one of the cheapest – liver. You can feed a family of four for £3.
Sardines come second for nutrition. If you don’t like them on their own, here’s my recipe for sardine pate:
Put it all in a bowl and mash with a fork until well mixed. Serve with a crisp salad.
Enjoy the holidays and I hope you get better weather than the rain that poured as I wrote this!
Top tip – learn to spend less and still eat well.
Happiness is a cup of coffee and a really good book
The New Bookshop, Cockermouth
(one of my favourite haunts and one of my favourite occupations)
When I’m out in the woods doing field archery, I’m usually picking something to eat, much to the surprise of my companions. If they pluck up courage to accept a taste, they marvel at the citrus freshness of young wood-sorrel leaves and the sweet nectar you can suck from the base of red clover flowers. I can often be seen chewing on the stems of sorrel or wild grasses. Later in the summer, some woods will have wild strawberries and raspberries too.
Come the autumn, it’s time for blackberries and bilberries (which put blue berries in the shade, both as a super food and for intensity of flavour). These deserve a dedicated collecting trip. A couple of bags in the freezer lasts for months as a topping for Greek yoghurt at breakfast or the magic ingredient in a lilac smoothie.
With 75 % of the world’s food provided by just 12 plants and 5 animal species, it’s no wonder that food allergies, intolerances and digestive difficulties are increasing. Your body thrives on variety.
Urban lifestyles and screen addiction mean that few children can name trees and flowers and don’t know what can be eaten and, most importantly, what’s poisonous and shouldn’t be touched. Richard Louv (author of Last Child in the Woods) called these kids ‘nature-deficient’ and links this to the worrying trends in childhood obesity, ADHD and depression.
Although I’ve read more about foraging in recent years, I learned most of what I know as a child out with my parents and grandparents. And we were always picking something for wine making including sticky dandelions, delicate gorse petals (ouch!) and foamy white heads of elderflower. In the war our grandparents put dandelion leaves in salad – perhaps with the resurgence of stronger tasting leaves like rocket, today’s generation would again find them appealing.
Top tip – teach your children and grandchildren what you know.
In the last 10 years, a theory that had somehow held up unsupported for nearly half a century has been rejected by several comprehensive evidence reviews, even as it staggers on, zombie-like, in our dietary guidelines and medical advice.
Ian Leslie in The Guardian
On the diet-heart hypothesis and the sugar conspiracy
April was a chilly old month but now the days are longer, the leaves are out and you might notice your energy levels rising and the urge to get moving. Combined with good diet, regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. It boosts your metabolism and your mood, keeps everything flowing round your body, makes you strong and supple and keeps your heart healthy. However, it’s a minor player for weight loss (20%) compared to how you eat and drink (80%).
Energy balance (calories in vs calories out) has been heavily promoted by the food industry to keep the spotlight off their products. Coca-cola even funded a ‘science’ website (rumbled and disbanded) to falsely blame obesity on consumers’ sloth when it was their drinks’ fault all along. It’s a concept that’s resulted in thousands of people pounding treadmills week after
week hoping to get slim. Aerobic exercise tends to increase appetite and people reach for the quick hit of a sweet snack/drink. “I’ve run so I’ll eat cake!” The truth is you can’t outrun a bad diet.
Simply reckoning calories doesn’t work because they don’t all have the same effect. What matters is the type of food you eat and the hormones your body makes in response. Every time you eat something sweet, you produce insulin. Insulin makes you store fat. And it stops your stored fat being released. This is the opposite of what you want.
Try strength training (sadly discouraged by some slimming clubs) followed by protein based snacks like cheese or a whey shake. You’ll increase muscle which burns calories even at rest, you’ll lose fat and you’ll gain the more svelte figure you want. HIIT (High intensity interval training) is great too. Check with your doctor that it’s OK for you to do something this strenuous and remember to take rest days if you do these types of exercise. With plenty of variety you’ll gain strength, stamina and flexibility.
So eat well to manage your weight and do some sort of movement every day for your health.
Top tip: Move and eat well.
Obesity poses such a threat to the country that it should be treated as a “national risk” alongside terrorism.
Prof Dame Sally Davies
Chief Medical Officer 2015
Recently I went to see Dr Phil Hammond at Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake. Hilarious as always, Dr Phil brought a serious message. The NHS is in trouble (we’d noticed) and the best way we can help is ….. to use it less. That means looking after ourselves so we need less medical intervention.
“Health care begins with self-care.”
He wants us all to drop CLANGERS. Honestly, I make enough mistakes without encouragement but here’s what he meant:
Connect doesn’t mean social media. A spreader of love and kindness, Dr Phil’s Connect means face to face conversations, shared joy and hugs. He even got the audience hugging each other. I’ve seen people gathered round a cafe table, each playing with their own device, isolated whilst in company. We’re losing the ability to connect to the people we’re actually with.
We hear about the troubling rise of depression and anxiety amongst young people and the toxic effect of Facebook. Our ‘always on’ culture make us unhappy and doesn’t allow us to relax. Even some of the rich and famous are switching to the liberation of dumb ‘phones, choosing when to go on line, and finding a life where you live in the moment somehow less cluttered.
Find out what difference it makes to eat together as a family as a shared pleasure. The Italians and French love their food and lead the way; meals can last for hours with chat and laughter. Calm, relaxed eating even aids your absorption of nutrients.
A survey showed that 73% of people felt happier after spending time doing things with others. Science, too backs up the benefits of physical contact. It increases the production of the love hormone oxytocin which reduces cravings for drugs, alcohol and sugar. Very useful if you’re trying to give up highly addictive processed food.
Top tip – drop your CLANGERS daily!
The tour lasts until 8th July – check here to see if Dr Phil is coming to your area.
50% of what we are taught is wrong, the challenge is to work out which 50%.
|When you know better, you do better.
On 12th April (10am to 4pm), I’m bringing Eat for Better Business to the Mintworks, Kendal for a Cumbria Chamber of Commerce event.
It’s an interactive day focused on busting many currently fashionable food myths to help you feel great and work at the top of your game.
For quality work you need to be at your best without suffering any afternoon slump or fuzzy concentration. That means putting the right things in your body. You wouldn’t try to run your computer on gas or your car on jet fuel, but with confusing messages everywhere it’s hard to know what to eat for the best.
By the end of the workshop, delegates will:
The delegate rate for this full day workshop is £65 +VAT Chamber and Made in Cumbria members / £120 +VAT non-members – to book your place(s) please – BOOK HERE
Should you have any questions regarding the above training event, please do not hesitate to contact me or Catherynn Dunstan from Cumbria Chamber email@example.com.