SWEET TEETH TWO – My exercise guru, Tracy Anderson, recently depressed me by saying one should eat avocados, adding, ‘Treat them like hamburgers, make a whole meal of one.’ Fortunately, she has redeemed herself by saying she never goes anywhere without a bar of chocolate in her handbag.
Here are some sweet treats that are really quite good for you, gluten-free and protein-rich. They’re from Gwyneth Paltrow’s book, It’s All Good.
JUICE! – You can make some beautiful juices: watermelon and strawberry, nectarine and raspberry…but that’s not what this is about! This is about ingesting the maximum amount of vegetables with full on phyto-micro-nutrient-anti-oxidant stuff and minimising fruit juice’s blood sugar kick.
Juiced vegetables on their own aren’t particularly delicious, so I do add some fruit. After considerable experimentation, this is what I’ve settled on for my mid-afternoon-keep-me-writing-til-tea-time drink. To save time I tend to make a jugful and freeze it in plastic cups, defrosting it just before I’m going to drink it. These recipes make one large glass though. I use a champion juicer; vitamix is also supposed to be excellent.
IT’S ALL GOOD – It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen
Graham Norton recently gently poked fun at Gwyneth Paltrow for her breakfast recipes in her latest cookery book, It’s All Good. ‘Leftover Quinoa, Two Ways. Yes, I’m the kind of person who always has leftover quinoa.’
I am the sort of person who has a three year old who goes pretend shopping for quinoa. I’ve also been trying to eat a higher protein, low carb diet and so this book (subtitle – Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great) seemed perfect. And frankly, who wouldn’t want to look like Gwyneth, gleaming with health on the front cover.
SWEET TEETH – A week without a piece of cake, a day without a square of chocolate feels bleak indeed. And yet, like many, I want to be healthy and slim.
Here are some suggestions for sweet treats for sweet teeth that are relatively healthy (dark chocolate is not so bad for you), low in sugar, high in protein and healthy fats and mostly low in carbs.
A square or two of dark chocolate a day is quite good for you but I find it a little dry and bitter, particularly round 85% cocoa solids. This is a way of livening it up and adding extra nutrients.
Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a barely simmering saucepan of water. Once it’s melted, pour into a greaseproof paper lined baking tray. Sprinkle healthy stuff over it: I used bashed up banana chips, pistachio nuts and slivers of dried apricot. Other combinations would work too – hazelnut chunks and coconut shavings, for instance. Put it in the freezer. Once it’s set, break into pieces and keep in the fridge.
PROTEIN SHAKES – I have made some of the worst protein shakes going. I outdid myself with one that included a shot of wheatgrass and spirulina, a teaspoon of leucine and an ice cube tray of frozen espresso. It was truly disgusting. And gave me caffeine shakes.
Fortunately, with a bit of help and experimentation, I’ve created some better ones. Protein shakes are a great way to start the day: they’re quick and easy to make and ‘eat’, the protein fills you up (I don’t need anything until lunchtime after one of these), they’re low carb, so won’t make your blood sugar rocket, plus you can add all sorts of extra nutrients. Here are my favourites:
MORE TOAST PLEASE – For the last couple of weeks I’ve been on a radically low carb, relatively high protein diet. When I say low, I don’t mean, cutting out the odd slice of bread, I mean, a total of 20g of carbs a day. That means most vegetables (unless they’re green and watery) and most fruit (apart from rhubarb and occasionally raspberries) are too high! For someone who loves toast, chocolate and has an apple a day habit, this has been somewhat hard.
I noticed many years ago that I had an intolerance to wheat and that if I had high glycemic index carbs (anything white basically!) I would have awful blood sugar swings, migraines and put on weight. So I cut down on carbs and now try to only eat wholegrains, such as brown rice, wholemeal pasta, granary bread. Last autumn I saw nutritionist, Jamie Richards, who specialises in training athletes and is a proponent of low starch diets. I said that I want to be healthy, slimmer with more muscle definition, and have plenty of energy. I need the fuel from carbs for my runs, but then I don’t burn off enough calories to make a difference. Jamie checked my iron and vitamin D levels (both low) and recommended SpaTone, which is iron-rich water from a spring in Wales and doesn’t cause digestive problems like constipation. He advised taking Bio-D Mulsion Forte vitamin D drops and Allicin – a high dosage garlic supplement to help protect me from all the bugs my two year old daughter ‘shares’ with me.