Published on the 22nd Jan, 2017 by Azmina
Lazy Sunday morning…time for brunch. On average, as a population, we generally eat enough protein, but often breakfast is the meal that has the least protein. Today I needed something to fill me up, so I decided to opt for a satisfying protein-rich start to the day, as protein is the most satiating nutrient. Protein-based eating can help to reduce hunger pangs. No need to go overboard; most of us eat enough protein for our needs, but certain groups may need more. (As you age, your muscles start to lose their strength; eating protein at each meal might help prevent those bingo wings!). (more…)
Published on the 21st Dec, 2016 by Azmina
New data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests that almonds provide fewer calories than we previously thought, and this depends on whether the almonds are whole, chopped or roasted.
David Baer, PhD, and his team from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) conducted a controlled human clinical trial (Gebauer et al) using a new method to measure the calories absorbed from almonds, taking bioavailability into account. The new method allowed the researchers to determine the number of calories actually digested and absorbed from almonds.
In a nutshell:
- Compared to the number of calories listed on nutrition labels, participants in the study actually absorbed 25% fewer calories from whole unroasted almonds.
- If they ate whole roasted almonds, they absorbed 19% fewer calories.
- Chopped roasted almonds provided 17% fewer calories, though the difference between the calories absorbed from chopped and whole roasted almonds was not statistically different.
Published on the 15th Jul, 2016 by Azmina
Paul: “I used to be starving just before mealtimes and so ended up overeating a lot. Since I started having snacks between meals even when I wasn’t hungry, I no longer feel ravenous at meal-times.”
Wise, planned snacks can be part of a balanced eating plan, whether you’re slimming or not. With GiP eating, low glycaemic snacks can be your best friends, as they help you to keep blood sugar steady in between meals.
What’s more, they can positively help you watch that waistline, since a feeling of fullness means you’re less likely to raid the fridge as soon as you drop your briefcase in the hallway. Good snacking means having a healthy relationship with all foods.
The Gi Plan actually forces you to have snacks. The book has a whole chapter devoted to snacks, but here are some examples of low-GiP alternative snacks.
||2 Rice cakes
|Walnut halves (half a dozen)
|2 Cream crackers
||2 Water biscuits
|Roasted peanuts 25g (half-pack)
||Crisps (small packet 25g)
|Chocolate chip Muffin, American style
|Fun size Snickers bar (19g)
||Milk chocolate (4 square pieces)
|1 Pitta bread
||1 Baguette (individual)
The Gi Plan is about enjoyment of food, and being mindful of what you’re eating. So, at a glance you can see from the above that 2 cream crackers “cost” you more GiPs than 2 oatcakes, so this might nudge you in the right direction – the oatcakes will be more slowly digested. What you also need to be aware of, however, is that certain foods may be lower in GiPs (take the muffin for example) but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily a healthy food! Incidentally, the chocolate in this muffin helps to lower the GI, and the jam in the doughnut raises it; hence the swap idea.
The Comfort Cushion
Food only fills a physical hole, not an emotional need. If you become more aware of the underlying feeling that causes you to overeat, you are more able to make some changes by doing something different. You can regain control and experiment with new and healthier ways to meet this same need.
You may wish to keep a daily Food and Mood Diary (sample in the book) that will highlight the emotional need that causes you to reach for certain snacks, for example, boredom, stress, comfort, security or any other challenging feelings that you are striving to manage.
Remind yourself. ‘What would have to happen, that is within my control, for this need to be met in a healthy and functional way?’ Before you reach for solace in that ‘naughty but nice food’, remind yourself if choosing this is taking you nearer to the ‘new’ you and if it isn’t, choose again!
Taken from the best-selling Gi Plan by Azmina Govindji & Nina Puddefoot
Published on the 25th May, 2016 by Azmina
I’ve just published a brief feature on eggs, in my role as resident dietitian to patient.co.uk. Judging by the comments I received, it seems that the most surprising information was that “There’s no recommended limit on how many eggs you should eat in a week“. Yes, it’s true! Eggs are a great source of protein and essential nutrients, and although they contain cholesterol, this doesn’t have as much effect on your blood cholesterol as saturated fat.
I decided to test out Black Farmer eggs to see if they were in any way superior to regular eggs.
Published on the 12th Apr, 2015 by Azmina
Mindfulness helps you to achieve success…
You can only achieve your happy weight if you really want to! So, the very first step, is to make up your mind that this is what you really do want and then to take action that is likely to support you in getting the results. Patience, it is said, is a virtue. It took time to reach the weight that you are and it will take time to shed it, too. Tempting as they are, the quick-fixes that are on offer, can lull you into a false sense of security.
Think slim, see yourself at that ideal weight, feeling energetic, doing all the things and taking part in the activities that you would love to, with that increased sense of confidence, whilst enjoying your food as part of a new and healthy lifestyle. Just thinking about ‘going on a diet’ possibly conjures up food deprivation, preventing pleasurable sensations and more. Given that your mind will always look to find the easiest route to achieving a result, it’s no wonder that most so-called diets are so short lived! In effect, you are programming your mind ahead of time, to rebel against the diet, even before it’s started..
Published on the 20th Mar, 2015 by Azmina
Old habits die hard
The more you use the methods that you’ve created to sustain your own way of life, especially over time, the more embedded they become. Old habits die hard, so you may have heard. Not so. Change can happen in an instant if you are determined to make the change. It’s deciding to make the change that appears to take longer.
In other words, the more you use that same and familiar method or pathway, the more habitual your response becomes.
If you want to change it, then stop conditioning it: Use it or lose it! Practise becoming the minder of your own mind. Learn to catch yourself saying what you’re saying and if it isn’t encouraging you towards the goal that you really want, change your internal chatter. (more…)
Published on the 12th Mar, 2015 by Azmina
Want to know how to change your thinking?
Your beliefs are your reality. If you don’t like the reality you see, change your beliefs!
Think you gain weight by just looking at a cup of black coffee? How frustrating is it when someone you know can eat twice as much as you and still look like a stick insect? Without the ‘right’ thinking, approach and attitude, the best food plans in the world are unlikely to work! Lets look at the strategies to help those pounds roll off smoothly and steadily….
Published on the 30th Jan, 2014 by Azmina
Do you ever worry that your man has become super-obsessed with healthy eating? Label-reading for fat and calories…avoiding going out to dinner…spending a lot of time planning meals? Then start looking for tell-tale signs of orthorexia. You might notice he looks paler, or is always exhausted, yet will still be disciplined with his hundred push-ups.
I’m about to go on BBC Asian Network lunch-time news programme to increase awareness of orthorexia. This condition is masked as eating healthily, but it is taking a healthy diet to extremes, and often means you cut out all processed foods and live on fruit and veg.
Published on the 14th Jan, 2014 by Azmina
January is diet month and this is National Obesity Awareness Week, so a perfect time for the British Nutrition Foundation’s symposium on popular diets. I like to make sure I am convinced by the science before I recommend any weight management system, so I couldn’t wait to hear the latest insights from key researchers on the 5:2 diet, low GI diet, high protein low carb diets, Palaeolithic diets, and more.
We know that you get significant health benefits from losing just 5% of your body weight, and that miracle diets offering speedy and massive weight loss are doomed to failure. But let’s face it, the mantra of eating a sensible varied diet is dull, and one size doesn’t fit all. So the evidence behind popular diets needs to be considered and each one is part of a toolset that dietitians can use to suit the individual; different people will require different strategies that fit with their culture and lifestyle habits.
Published on the 13th Jan, 2014 by Azmina
I’m always keen to test out healthier versions of classic recipes and was recently attracted to Good Food Good Health, the latest book by Fatima Patel. Colour photos of mouth-watering dishes are always a good selling point, but my interest lies in the traffic light coded recipes, as I believe this helps people to make healthier choices at a glance.
Being Indian, I do like my food to be, let’s say, well flavoured, and flicking through the book, I see Chicken Kofte cooked in cumin and coriander, Enchiladas spiked with cayenne pepper, and Chicken Kashmir smothered in aromatic spices like garam masala and cinnamon.
The traffic lights are easy to read and the nutrition analysis relates to 100grams of the recipe, so it’s easy to compare one recipe with another and choose the one with more green or amber lights. I think the book could be improved by adding nutrition data per portion. I believe for the recipes to be of real practical use, we need to know how many calories we’re munching through, how much saturated fat we get in one serving, and so on. Otherwise we could end up eating a dish that we think is one thing according to the nutrient info, yet the amount on your plate tells a different story.
Published on the 9th Aug, 2013 by Azmina
This is a recovery tool for getting over Food Addiction or Binge Eating; it’s probably one of the most important tools.
Dieters tend to plan to lose weight for something in the future….the celebration, the holiday, the job interview, etc. This type of goal focuses on the future and it is this which can cause many people to relapse. The simple concept of taking things One Day At A Time is that the person trying to recover from overeating has to think about what they need to do for that day only. They do not have to project further forward than that. (more…)
Published on the 24th Jul, 2013 by Azmina
I was tempted to learn more about food addiction as I believe many people are somewhere along the spectrum of some sort of distorted relationship with food. So I enrolled on this fab course and summarise my learning here for you. There was something special about Rochelle Craig’s LinkedIn profile that attracted me to her way of thinking…
Published on the 6th Jun, 2013 by Azmina
I’ve been helping Duncan Walker at BBC online with his article on the rise of protein drinks for ordinary people, published today.
If you look at dietary surveys we are actually doing okay for protein and there’s no reason for dietary supplements unless you are in a vulnerable category. But who is vulnerable?
Nutrition and Diet surveys are based on people recording what they eat – if you’ve ever tried to do that, you’ll know how difficult it is to remember every mouthful. And food eaten outside the home, including sandwiches and takeaways, are estimates of portion size rather than accurate weighed measurements. So it’s not a complete picture of what we’re eating.
Protein as we get older…
Protein shakes could be important, or popular, with middle aged people. On average, between the age of 50 and 70, you will lose about 30% of your muscle strength. That’s why we look flabby as we get older! Protein is the nutrient that helps to re-build your muscles. And I think that’s probably one of the reasons why there’s this growing attention – we’re an ageing population and 50 is the new 30. We all want to be as active as we once were. (more…)
Published on the 11th Feb, 2013 by Azmina
Keep a note of what you’re eating, when, how much, and your mood at the time. This can help you lose weight! Research suggests that simply knowing and recording your eating habits makes you more conscious of what you’re eating and that in turn leads to improvements because you’ve got your brain in gear.
Print off your Food & Mood Diary by right clicking the table below, and saving it.
Published on the 2nd Jan, 2013 by Azmina
You don’t need me to tell you which foods are fattening; you probably already know that. You don’t need me to tell you to cut down on your portion size – you know that too. But you might not know what makes you reach for unhealthy foods, and what gets in the way of you keeping to your goals – that’s where I come in!
I’m a believer in the slow and steady approach to weight loss, and the more success I have in helping people avoid yoyo dieting, the more I am convinced that the trick is to find ways to make a healthier lifestyle fit around you, not the other way around.
There’s good published research to suggest that if you tackle your weight issues with good behaviour-change tools, you’re more likely to lose weight and most importantly, keep it off. Having practised behaviour-change strategies for years, I believe the Counterweight method is an effective way to lose weight. Here’s why, and what it could mean for you…
Why count on Counterweight?
This programme fits me like a glove because all my working life I’ve ensured my advice is based on good published evidence that encourages realistic weight loss. This philosophy promotes simple ways to change your eating behaviour, your activity levels and crucially, the thought processes that led you to becoming overweight in the first place! This is exactly the type of thinking that I practise and believe in; there’s no point in learning about fat and calories if we’re still holding on to those old habits that make us overeat.
Published on the 24th Dec, 2012 by Azmina
You really can enjoy a festive feast and still fit into your little black dress this holiday season…
If you plan ahead, you can have tasty nibbles around the house that won’t go straight to your waistline. And the full traditional Christmas fayre is all there for the taking; just be aware of which bits of the meal you pile onto your plate first, and your portion size…. (more…)
Published on the 16th Dec, 2012 by Azmina
Homemade burgers are full of texture and goodness. They are likely to contain far more beef than any fast food burger you could find, and you know exactly what’s in them! I had some leftover salad so just mixed it in for extra goodness – you can probably spot the cucumber and carrots! Here’s the original recipe (more…)
Published on the 13th Nov, 2012 by Azmina
Do you have Type 2 diabetes? If you’re overweight, losing only 10% of your weight could make a major contribution to your blood glucose levels and improving the quality of your long-term health.
eat a rainbow
There’s good evidence to suggest that a moderate weight loss of 5–10% of body weight will have a major impact on the long-term complications of obesity. Weight reductions of 5-10 kg have been shown to improve back and joint pain, and symptoms of breathlessness.
The science bit
The UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS), published in the Lancet in 1998, was carried out over 20 years on over 5000 people with type 2 diabetes. The results showed that weight loss of 10kg in people who weighed 100kg could achieve greater reductions in HBA1C (the longer term predictor of your blood glucose control; lower HBA1C is better). They also had better fasting blood glucose levels than if they’d been treated with the glucose lowering drug metformin. The weight loss also reduced the need for blood pressure and lipid-lowering drug treatment (drugs to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride) in people with diabetes.
A comprehensive review of studies on 10% or less weight reduction was published in the International Journal of Obesity in 1992. The studies indicated that 10% weight loss in obese people with non-insulin dependent diabetes (Type 2 diabetes) appeared to improve blood glucose control, reduce blood pressure, and reduce cholesterol levels. Modest weight reduction also appeared to increase length of life.
Even 5% loss of body weight can improve insulin action, decrease fasting blood glucose concentrations, and reduce the need for diabetes medications. Data from the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 demonstrated that weight loss (7% of weight loss in the first year) and increased physical activity (150 min of brisk walking per week) was nearly twice as effective as drug treatment with metformin in preventing diabetes in people who already had raised blood glucose levels.
In short, if you move from 100 kg to 90 kg or lose 10% of your body weight, you could enjoy the following benefits:
- Improved blood glucose levels
- Lower blood cholesterol and other blood fats
- Reduced blood pressure
- An improvement in back and joint pain
- Reduced risk of angina
- Less breathlessness
- Improved sleep
- Improved self esteem and confidence
For many people, losing 10% of your weight could also help to reduce your dosage of medication. Might be time for a chat with your dietitian or diabetes specialist team? More weight loss tips.
Check out Azmina’s Diabetes Weight Loss Diet with Antony Worrall Thompson and her Little Black Dress Diet on ITV’s Lorraine Show, launched 12 Nov 2012.
Published on the 30th Oct, 2012 by Azmina
- Ironing for half an hour can burn up to 150 calories.
- 30 minutes of vacuuming can shed up to 200 calories.
- 250 calories can be lost whilst cleaning the windows and with all that stretching on your tippy toes, you will tone the arms, thighs, love handles and shoulders, too!
- Using the stairs 10 times a day will see another 250 calories away, whilst toning the thighs and bottom.
- Check your room temperature. The green house effect is said to slow down the rate at which you burn calories.
- If gardening is your thing, 30 minutes can burn off around 150 calories.
- Cycling is a great incentive for burning calories and an hour on your bike can help you lose around 330.
- A brisk walk, so as you feel yourself getting slightly out of breath, for 15 minutes at a rate of 4mph, can burn 100 calories, effortlessly.
- Your brain becomes more energized when you stand whilst working or studying. Plug in your standing time at least 5 times for ten minutes, preferably every hour. This will see a further 25% of calories burnt away.
- Can’t get a seat on the train? Take heart – you burn more calories while standing!
Published on the 19th Jun, 2012 by Azmina
How many people do you know who at some point in their lives have been ‘on a diet’? And how many have kept the weight off? The dieting industry in the UK is estimated to be worth over a billion pounds each year, and most of us are likely to have contributed to this in one way or another, through buying meal replacements, books, diet plans and so on.
When you start to deny yourself of your favourite foods, they become even more desirable. So the trick is to allow yourself small amounts of those foods, but to enjoy every mouthful and to be very conscious of your habits.
Published on the 16th Mar, 2012 by Azmina
Snacking gets a lot of bad publicity – linked to weight gain and unhealthy habits. And it’s true that if you choose lots of unhealthy options, they won’t do your waistline any good. But I am someone who doesn’t like to deny people foods they enjoy. Eating well isn’t a life sentence; it’s about allowing yourself your favourite foods whilst being conscious of your choices.
So, are you a snacker? If so, examine what you’re reaching for. Here are my three top tips:
- Have healthy snacks accessible and get rid of those that don’t help you reach you healthy lifestyle goals.
- Stock up on lower calorie, lower fat versions of your favourite treats. Choose crisps that aren’t fried (e.g. popped crisps), popcorn (make your own so you can control the amount of salt or sugar), nuts that aren’t honey coated (e.g. mixed nuts and raisins), bites that fill you up (e.g. soya nuts), fridge goodies (e.g. olives, gherkins, cherry tomatoes).
- If you are hooked on choc chip cookies or the like, allow yourself to buy them but store them creatively. Put a couple in a separate container and allow yourself no more than two at one sitting (ideally not every day). That will help reduce the temptation to finish off the whole pack at once!
And think about eating more consciously. Engaging your brain means you’ll be more aware of what you’re snacking on, and how much you’re munching through. It also helps you to be aware of the fullness signals from your stomach, which in turn help you to stop overdoing it!
So, enjoy every mouthful and get rid of the guilt by making choices that nourish you but still taste yummy!
Published on the 27th Feb, 2012 by Azmina
Which fits for you:
- The only thing I can’t resist is temptation! Food is a comfort to me.
- Some days, when I’m feeling a tad under the weather or down in the dumps, I reach for the unhealthy snacks.
- Mostly, I eat when I’m hungry.
Striking up a healthy and balanced relationship with food is a positive thing. To eat consciously and enjoy each mouthful is an art in itself and the occasional overindulgence is fine too. Mainly, get to know your body so that you stop when you feel full.
Published on the 21st Dec, 2011 by Azmina
The British Dietetic Association estimates the average adult gains 5 to 7 lbs during the festive season. The good news is it doesn’t have to be so. If you plan ahead, you can have tasty nibbles around the house that won’t go straight to your waistline. And the full traditional Christmas fayre is all there for the taking; yes it’s true, provided you follow some simple guidelines.
Perhaps surprisingly, many of our traditional Christmas treats are healthy foods, low in calories and high in health-promoting vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Smoked salmon, roast turkey, lean ham, and a wonderful variety of fruit and vegetables all contribute to our enjoyment of Christmas.
Published on the 18th Sep, 2011 by Azmina
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
September is whole grain month in the USA. So I thought I would give you the lowdown on what a whole grain is and how to get more whole grains onto your plate. You can also check out my easy picture swaps below. (more…)
Published on the 31st Jul, 2011 by Azmina
1. Make a refreshing drink with crushed ice, sugar-free cordial and sparkling water.
2. Munch on some fresh dates. They’re much lower in calories than dried dates and the extra chewing means extra mouth-feel and satisfaction. (more…)
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…)
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…)
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.
Published on the 2nd Jun, 2011 by Azmina
This recipe uses canned green lentils as a speedy shortcut for a filling soup.
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
- Heat a non-stick pan, spray on the oil and add the onions and garlic. Stir-fry for about 5-8 minutes till soft.
- Add the tomatoes, stock and lentils, and cook for a few minutes to heat through.
- Stir in the coriander and serve hot.
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
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.
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.
Published on the 30th May, 2011 by Azmina
Just think about this… Your body has gone through an overnight fast and when you break that fast in the morning, you kick start your engine. This allows your brain to get its food for performance and if it doesn’t get this, it will have to find ways of getting it. So you sort of become more attracted to food; you are likely to feel hungry and be tempted to eat so that your blood glucose (sugar) and brain glucose, your brain’s performance fuel, go up quickly. It’s usually unhealthy high sugar foods that have the fastest effect on your blood glucose. (more…)
Published on the 30th Apr, 2011 by Azmina
You may not have tried bulgur wheat before but don’t judge this till you’ve had a go. It tastes nutty, it’s filling and you can throw in some leftovers if you want to make it more substantial. You just bung everything in the pot and leave it to cook for about 15 minutes.
50 g bulgur wheat
200 mgs vegetable stock (made with 200 mls of boiling water and half a stock cube)
Mug of frozen veg
Good pinch ground turmeric
3 whole black peppercorns
One cinnamon stick, broken
Good pinch garam masala (optional)
Quarter to a half-teaspoon hot red chilli powder, to taste
Handful of fresh mint or coriander leaves, chopped (optional)
Half fresh lime, cut into wedges
- Put everything into a pan.
- Bring back to the boil and simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes till all the water is absorbed and the veg and wheat are cooked.
- Stir in the fresh herbs (if using) and drizzle with lemon juice.
Bulgur is whole grain, low GI and really filling. Add some chopped peppers and extra veg for even more nourishment.
(c) The 10-day Gi Diet by Azmina Govindji & Nina Puddefoot, 2005