What’s all the fuss about the Mediterranean diet?

Published on the 30th Jun, 2011 by Azmina

I’m a great advocate of Med-eating. Not only do I love my garlic-infused pasta, I’m also pretty convinced by the evidence on the health benefits. Typical Med foods are olive oil, fish, nuts, garlic, grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables.

Research published in the British Medical Journal in 2004 studied almost 75,000 men and women over 60 in nine European countries over a period of 12 years. Those who followed a traditional Mediterranean diet had a lower overall mortality – basically, choose these foods and you could live longer. Note that this is about the whole diet, not just a token addition of some beans to your jacket potato. (more…)

To carb or not to carb?

Published on the 20th Jun, 2011 by Azmina

Are carbs good, bad or ugly? With all the confusing messages out there, it’s sometimes tough to know whether to ditch the carbs or to enjoy them with a clear conscience.

My view is don’t be tempted to go low carb; there’s really no need for you to do this for weight loss and it could be potentially harmful. If you cut out carbs, you could be missing out on a whole range of nutrients. And what do you replace the carbs with? Often low carbing means high fatting  – and eating more fat, especially saturated fat isn’t conducive to healthy eating. Low carb diets often also encourage you to avoid fruits and veg (or at least cut down on them) and this goes against a whole host of studies that support the benefits of fruit and veg for disease prevention. (more…)

Bikinis & Diets

Published on the 4th Jun, 2011 by Azmina


So, I’ve just completed working on the Real Woman’s Bikini Diet for GMTV’s Lorraine show. What fun sampling and analysing Masterchef winner Nadia Sawalha’s yummy recipes. You won’t believe you could lose weight on this mouth-watering array of tasty treats. From exciting breakfasts like No Fry Fry-Up to sumptuous suppers like Creamy Mushroom and Basil Chicken, you can be sure to find a delicious meal that won’t show up on your waistline.

I’ve taken Nadia’s recipes and checked them out for good nutrition so you don’t need to worry about getting the right balance. The diet goes live on the box on Monday 6 June but you can get a sneak preview here.

Cheat’s Whole lentil and coriander soup (taken from the 10-day Gi diet)

Published on the 2nd Jun, 2011 by Azmina

This recipe uses canned green lentils as a speedy shortcut for a filling soup.

Serves one

Spray oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
100 mls sieved tomatoes
Quarter of a pint vegetable stock, made using fresh vegetable stock, vegetable bullion or half a stock cube.
Half a can of green lentils, drained
Generous handful of coriander leaves and stems, chopped

  1. Heat a non-stick pan, spray on the oil and add the onions and garlic.  Stir-fry for about 5-8 minutes till soft.
  2. Add the tomatoes, stock and lentils, and cook for a few minutes to heat through.
  3. Stir in the coriander and serve hot.

Nutrition Nuggets

Lentils are a fantastic low GI carbohydrate.  But getting the pressure cooker out to cook them isn’t always very enticing. Using canned lentils as in this recipe is healthy and less time-consuming. Add a drizzle of lemon juice or a few drops of chilli sauce if you want to give this dish some extra zing.

(c) The 10-day Gi Diet by Azmina Govindji & Nina Puddefoot, 2005

Fitness Food

Published on the 2nd Jun, 2011 by Azmina

So, you’ve made the commitment to get fit and religiously go to the gym no matter what. Sometimes we forget the other part of the equation – the fuel that’s going to get you through the exercise.

split bananas

Your body’s preferred source of energy is starchy carbohydrates like bread, potatoes, pasta, rice and cereals. Even if you can’t stop for a proper meal there are quick and easy foods you could fill up on: a buttered granary roll, bean and couscous salad, packet of nuts and dried fruit, a banana or some ready-to-eat cereal with milk. If you need to graze throughout the day, pasta or rice salads, fruit breads or cereal bars are great choices to snack on. If you’re planning to go to the gym after work, you need to eat something starchy a couple of hours before you go for the best possible workout.

And after the gym, a glass of milk or some chocolate milkshake gives you a good combo of protein, carbs and fluid to refuel and rehydrate.