The Cup That Cheers

What do Brits do in a crisis? – put the kettle on! There is no calamity so great that it cannot be eased by a ‘nice cup of tea’.  We’ve even given it a special day of its own.

21st April is National Tea Day.

We started drinking tea in Britain way back in the mid 1600s when it was referred to as ‘China drink. We quickly took it to our hearts even though it was fantastically expensive due to import tax and was often kept in locked chests to prevent pilfering. It’s cheap as chips now and we consume 165 million cups a day!! That’s 60.2 billion cups a year and more than double the coffee we drink.

You can read about the history of tea and all the different types on the Tea Association website.  (One point for caution: they talk about what’s in tea and consider fluoride to be a nutrient which it is not; it’s a neurotoxin.)

There are so many types to sample and enjoy. There’s black tea, green tea, white tea, tea flavoured with flowers and herbs – even without including the herbal teas (called tisanes). When I was a student, there was a tea stall on Bath indoor market. From the array of exotic leaves, I would make my choice, then watch in wonder as the half pound was weighed and poured onto a single sheet of paper that magically became a parcel tied with string.  (I don’t know whether they still do this wondrous packaging but you can still buy tea in Bath market and I’m thrilled to see that my other favourite stalls are still there – selling cheese and second-hand books.)

Our favourite brew supports our health with anti-oxidant polyphenols and flavonoids. There are detriments too from caffeine and fluoride so it’s best have water sometimes rather than drinking tea (and coffee) all day long. It’s also diuretic and can play havoc with your bladder. If you take sugar, work on giving it up. I had one client who was surprised to discover she was consuming 24 teaspoons of sugar a day just from drinking tea!

My old pint pot now relegated to housing part of my pencil collection.

We don’t treat tea drinking with the elaborate rituals of China or Japan, usually using tea bags and brewing in a mug at home and work but we certainly do all like our tea a certain way – and in our favourite cup/mug. Some like a pint pot brewed so strong the spoon very nearly stands up it in. Others dip the bag in for a microsecond and barely colour the water. And I don’t dare comment on the milk first or tea first debate!

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Afternoon tea, however, has become a special event with delicate china cups and saucers, one pot for the tea, one for hot water, a little jug of milk and a tiered cake stand bearing dainty sandwiches, scones and cake.

Not healthy of course with all that flour and sugar but an inbuilt memory of a more genteel age. At least that’s how it should be; I was horrified on a cream tea spa day at a posh hotel with a friend to have a chunky Starbucks mug plonked down in front of me which completely jarred against the rest of our classy treat.

Do you always snack with your cuppa? It’s another of those marketing-induced habits. Think of Rich Tea – “a drink’s too wet without one” or “Have a break have a ….” you know the rest; that’s how successful they are at fixing their messages in our psyche. They’ve normalised snacking at every point through the day so now we graze constantly like we never did before. Tea rooms and coffee shops offer enormous portions of cakes and slices as I wrote about muffins vs buns.

So drink tea in moderation, for the pleasure of it and the good things it contains, rather than as your principle hydrator.  Realise that you can have it on its own. If you really want a snack, have a small bun or biscuit you’ve made yourself, or better still a handful of nuts or some fresh coconut. At the bottom of my recipes page are links to lots of websites with great recipes. Let me know of other healthy snacks you like.

Top tip: Enjoy your cuppa and be cheered.

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Quote of the month

He who takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the skill of his doctors.


Chinese Proverb

You can’t drug people into being healthy!

Dr Aseem Mahotra

Together with Sir Richard Thompson (the Queen’s doctor from 1984-2005), Aseem spoke in the European Parliament on over medication of the British people and how ineffective much of it is.  The bulk of ill health is lifestyle caused and therefore diet can have a strong beneficial effect especially with diseases of insulin resistance like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.

The Calorie Fallacy

How do you decide what to eat?

Since the introduction of calories as a measure of food energy content, we’ve become obsessed with them. The government’s official messages at the moment mention nothing else.  However in spite of its popularity, calorific content is a poor basis for making food choices.

A huge and powerful industry makes and aggressively markets low-calorie food products. The BBC showed some years ago in ‘The Big Fat Truth about Low Fat Food’, that these products are not good for your health.

Instead of thinking primarily about calories, I ask the people on my Nutrition Coaching courses to focus on the goodness in foods. Some foods provide nutrients and improve your health. These include fresh meat, fish, eggs, cheese, fruit, veg and natural fats. Good food gives you essential amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

Other foods are bad for you and your body has to work really hard to deal with them by using up lots of your vitamins, minerals and enzymes and most of your energy too. They leave you with compromised health and feeling exhausted. These include processed foods, biscuits, crisps, donuts, snack bars, fizzy pop, flavoured water and ready meals.

Bad food contains refined sugar, salt, damaged fats, artificial sweeteners and additives. Often processed foods are chemically altered to increase the appeal to your taste buds. They override your body’s ways of knowing when you’ve had enough and you can just carry on eating more and more.

So stop worrying about calories and think about goodness. Ignore the marketing hype which results in low-fat and low-calorie foods being labelled as healthy even if they’re not. Think instead how food can build your health or harm you.

Top tip – eat real food!

Happy Easter

There are lots of tempting Easter themed products in the shops now – well some appeared not long after Christmas! Most of them are designed to give a fun, spring-like mood with lots of flowers, chicks and bunnies. Easter eggs come in every size from teeny-tiny to humongous. I notice that the egg-sized ones now come by the half dozen in egg boxes – what a clever way to make you buy more. Most are hollow, some with other chocolates inside, some have creamy, sugary fillings and some of the smallest ones are solid with a sugar shell.

Whilst I find it sad that a joyous Christian festival has become an excuse to sell us heaps of sugary stuff, you can enjoy a healthier Easter without saying no to all Easter eggs or chocolate. Instead, aim for quality.

It’s certainly true that cheap, high-sugar, chemical-laden chocolate, consumed in large quantities, is going to damage your health. White chocolate isn’t actually chocolate at all. Dark chocolate (>70%) is best. It’s got a lower sugar content than milk chocolate and is good for you in moderation (check out my December article).

What about buying some chocolate egg moulds so you can have a go at making your own Easter eggs? Here are my efforts; I’m sure you could do better!

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Another fun activity with the kids is dying boiled, hens’ eggs. Use onion skins or dandelion flowers, put them round an egg, wrap in a piece of cloth, tie with string and boil for 10 minutes. You‘ll get beautiful effects and you can eat the highly nutritious egg.

Top tip: Go easy on the chocolate eggs. Happy Easter.

It’s a (Plastic) Wrap!

A spotlight is shining on today’s ubiquitous plastic food packaging. The main motivator is plastic waste in the oceans (think harrowing images from Blue Planet II). A very good reason for change. Another, you might not have thought about, is the effect the packaging has on your health.

Obviously, fast food isn’t good for you – but neither are its wrappers and packages. They contain chemicals to repel oil, grease and water (perfluoroalkyls) which may be linked to infertility, thyroid disease, immune system depression and cancer.

Other plastics (eg BPA, bisphenol A), often used in drinks bottles and as tin can linings, contain synthetic oestrogens which may affect fertility and hormone sensitive cancers.

It was thought that the chemicals would not migrate into the food – but they do (especially if heated). It was assumed that the chemicals would not be processed by your body – but they are. In addition to the toxins in the foods themselves, packaging contributes to your overall burden and these chemicals can be detected in almost everyone.

What about disposable coffee cups? So new, so trendy, so unnecessary! A firm in Kendal has pioneered a recycling process to separate the plastic from the paper. The reality is that only a tiny percentage of the 2.5 billion cups a year

Lovely in a real cup (yes, this really is the size a cappuccino should be -it’s in Italy)

thrown away in Britain get recycled. Why leave the office to buy drinks from shops when you can have a jar of coffee or box of tea bags in the cupboard and make your own in a nice mug? You’ll save ~£600 a year per weekday cup.

Real food tends to have less packaging and is usually cooked in pans, not microwaved in plastic. So for superior nutrition and plastic avoidance, real food’s a winner.

Top tip – Join the crusade against plastic-wrapped food

Make 2018 a Good Year

However 2017 turned out for you, we’re all hoping 2018 will be a good year. And you can make that more likely!

Did you know that the more you think about, talk about and write about something, the more likely it is to happen.

Jim Rohn said, You are the sum of the five people with whom you spend the most time

Who are those five people for you? Do they inspire you or drag you down? Since you’re going to end up like the people you spend time with it makes sense to keep company with the sort of people you’d like to be.

Jim Rohn also said you’re the average of “the five things around you, the ideas of the five books you read, the feelings from the five films or TV programmes you watch.” So it really matters what you choose to surround yourself with habitually.

I’ll continue with the theme:

  • the five websites you read
  • the five people you follow on social media

  • the five activities you do
  • the five items you use
  • the five songs you listen to
  • the five foods you eat!

Thinking of food, I’ve spent January consoling people who over-indulged at Christmas and New Year by reminding them that our regular habits matter more than what we eat or drink occasionally. So what is it that we eat most of in Britain? Chicken perhaps, or potatoes? No, apparently, it’s white flour – hardly a health food. Why so much? Think bread, wraps, pasta, pizza base, pies and pastry, Yorkshire pudding, cakes, biscuits, pancakes…need I go on? No wonder much of the population is over-fed but undernourished. What can you do?  (spoiler alert – top 5 at the end!)

Think of less processed alternatives to the floury things you eat.

  • A cabbage leaf makes a good wrap (blanch it first to make it more flexible).
  • Combine whatever filling you usually put in a sandwich with some salad. Top it with olive oil to make a superior lunch.

    Winter Salad

  • Too cold for salad?  Soups are a great way to get loads of different types of vegetables into your diet. You can put a bit of chopped up meat in for protein. (Use leftovers from dinner.) Have it with a hunk of cheese and there’s no need for any bread.
  • You can make pizza base from cauliflower chopped up in a food processor. Mix with egg, cheese and seasoning and shape into a circle. Bake for 20 minutes before adding toppings.
  • And there’s a wonderful Jon Gabriel recipe on YouTube for pizza that uses omelette as a base. It’s very satisfying; delicious hot when you make it or cold later on. Jon uses 3 eggs to make his but that’s too many for me so scale the recipe to match your appetite.
  • Instead of pasta, you can make courgetti using a spiralizer or simply making strips using a potato peeler. Have some meat with it to make up for the bit of protein you lose from the wheat. Wider strips can replace pasta sheets for lasagna.
  • Nuts (natural) and fresh coconut make great snacks.
  • Sticks of carrot, celery and cheese with apple slices makes an easy, portable lunch.
  • Instead of biscuits, have a square or 2 of the chocolate/nut/seed mix I showed you last issue.
  • You can make buns using ground almonds as a base – just mix a large egg, a tablespoon of melted butter, 3 oz ground almonds, a sprinkling of raisins, ¼ teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of salt. Bake in paper cases in a bun tin at Gas Mark 3, 160o C for about 25 minutes
  • You can even make cake in a cup in the microwave. Use a mix of ground almonds, raisins and egg.
  • Microwave ‘bread’ made in a mug is similar. Beat an egg with 2 desert spoonfuls of ground flax seeds, 1 teaspoon baking powder, pinch of salt. Cook of full power for 1min 20 seconds.

As you improve your habits, you’ll feel the benefits. Fill your diet with good nutrition by resolving to regularly include more good things in your diet.

Try these 5:

  • vegetables – have some with every meal (potatoes don’t count)
  • meat/fish – good quality, home cooked
  • healthy fats – olive oil, butter, avocado, nuts
  • fruit – have a piece or two each day (but skip the fruit juice)
  • water – as your number 1 drink

Top tip: Make your main 5 foods/drinks good ones.

What with all the confusing messages in the press and TV programmes about diets most nights throughout January it isn’t easy to know what’s good. If you’re not sure, get in touch and Learn to Eat Well.

Quote of the Month

The very inconvenient truth that nobody wants to talk about is that to resolve the obesity crisis, we need to eat less food. And we need to particularly eat less unhealthy food which generally comes in a packet and has a logo on it and is generally owned by a very large multinational corporation.

Dan Parker

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In a dramatic change of direction, ex-advertising executive (promoting the likes of Coca Cola and McDonalds), Dan is a founder and Chief Executive of Living Loud which aims to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives by overcoming, preventing and managing lifestyle illness.  Here’s a piece he wrote comparing the food industry to tobacco and a great article about snacking.

 

Chemical-free Cleaning

Happy New Year!!!

Before you leap into a frenzy of spring-cleaning, here’s a special treat; a guest blog post from Suzzane Lane of ENJO on chemical-free cleaning. She came to my house the other day to do a demo and I was so impressed with the textiles I just have to buy some of the them (especially the duster – you should see my TV stand!). They work just using cold water – amazing.

I’ll also be asking Suzanne to do a Jackie’s Gee-Up in April.  If you want to try ENJO fibres before then, get in touch with her on Facebook: ENJO UK with Suzanne Lane or call her on 07912561651.

Here’s her piece:

How toxic is your cleaning regime?

As we all start the annual vow to be healthier in 2018, I would like to ask you to consider an area of your life that is often overlooked and yet could be having a huge affect on your health. Your cleaning supplies.

What do you use to clean your house? How many different bottles of chemicals are in your bathroom? Your kitchen? Your living areas? How many chemicals do you put in your washing machine? Your dishwasher?

The vast majority of us, make our cleaning choices based on one of two things. We either do what our parents have always done or we are guided to new products by adverts that we see on television or in stores.

We have become conditioned to believe that spraying toxic chemicals around our homes is necessary in order to be clean and healthy.

More and more information is coming to light to suggest that the very products that we are using to try and improve the health of our homes, are actually damaging our health. Carcinogens, Endocrine disruptors and Neurotoxins can commonly be found in the sprays that we inhale as we clean. Research points to the toxic effects of these ingredients that can affect central nervous systems, reproductive systems and other vital bodily functions.

Did you see the documentary in Autumn 2017 that suggested that the air in our homes is much more toxic than the air outside of them? That’s not good news for those of us who work in the home.

This little girl suffered terribly from skin problems from birth. Her mum was desperate to find a solution and tried endless things suggested by doctors and specialists, to no avail. What no-one suggested was looking at what she used to clean her bathroom. Since she stopped using chemicals to clean her bath, her skin is clear.

Sadly, this is one of many very similar stories.

Have you seen the massive increase in the number of diagnosed asthma cases in the UK? I, myself, was diagnosed with adult onset asthma in my early forties. I needed inhalers morning and night and rescue inhalers throughout the day if I engaged in any sport. I stopped spraying chemical cleaners around my home and I haven’t needed an inhaler since.

Am I suggesting that we stop cleaning our homes?

No, of course not. But I am suggesting that you take the time to consider what you use to get the results that you want. Look into alternative option, such as the one outlined below and if you are going to use chemicals, then please read the warning labels and take the time to research all those scientific names that are difficult to interpret as well as the simple “harmful” words that we all ignore.

Is there an easy way to protect my family?

Yes, there absolutely is. The solution is not just better for health, but is also better for the environment, gets better results, is less expensive than chemicals and is much easier to use. It’s called ENJO.

What is ENJO?

Enjo, manufactured in Austria, sets the world standard for cleaning and believes that cleaning does not require toxic chemicals. For over 27 years ENJO have proven this, day after day, all over the world with its innovative ENJOtex fibres, comprehensive product range and just a little cold water. This protects our personal health and our environment.

6 times cleaner

The ENJO method allows you to clean six times more hygienically compared to conventional methods. ENJO fibres products were examined in detail by the hygiene expert at the department of health in Austria. The clear recommendation was “The use of ENJO fibre products in health care facilities is not only recommended but should be demanded in order to achieve optimal cleaning results”.

I mention the above, because if we are going to eliminate chemicals from our homes, in order to improve our health, we need to know that our homes will be healthy, clean and safe.

It’s not just better for your health and the environment – it’s also Easier and cheaper

On average, cleaning homes with ENJO takes less time than cleaning conventionally and costs less than buying toxic cleaning products.

What areas of the home does it cover?

ENJO is divided into 7 zones. Bathroom; Kitchen; Living; Floors, walls and ceilings; Windows; Skin care and Outdoor.

You can switch one zone at a time, go for the main areas that will benefit you first, or switch your whole house in one go.

ENJO products last for between 3 and 5 years and at the end of their life can be returned for recycling – creating zero waste. ENJO is also proud to be 100% carbon neutral.

We also have natural helpers like laundry liquid, dishwasher liquid and real soap, enabling you to get rid of toxic chemicals from your washing machine, dishwasher and sink.

Can I see it for myself?

Of course. ENJO turns cleaning completely on its head – no hot water and no chemicals – so we don’t expect you to believe us without seeing it first.

I’d be delighted to show you ENJO in action. You can try ENJO yourself at a private appointment or a group demonstration and you can borrow some products to have a try in your own home.

We want you to be completely satisfied, so when you decide to switch to ENJO, everything comes with a 30 day money back guarantee on top of the product warranty.

How can I find out more?

Join my facebook page and group with the same name “ENJO UK with Suzanne Lane”, have a look on Youtube at the many hygiene results or how to videos or call me on 07912561651. If you prefer to read information, I have brochures that I’d be happy to share with you.

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018,

Suzanne