SUGAR: THE BOOK I WISH HAD CHANGED THE WORLD – There is something sweet and sickly in the air.
It’s ten years since my book on sugar, Sugar: The Grass that Changed the World, was published. Next week I’ve been asked to open a conference at Bristol University on sugar – covering many of the topics I wrote about, from the evolution of sugar cane through to its effect on our health – although I’m expecting the academics at Bristol, a decade since I researched the subject, to have far more insightful things to say.
DOES THE TRACY ANDERSON METHOD WORK? – It was 10 am in Brazil and a sweet voice thick with sleep answered. It sounded as if I had woken her up after a hard night and, of course, I had. As Madonna’s personal trainer on the star’s Hard Candy tour, Tracy Anderson had probably had a late one. This was 2008.
Now the trainer is a star in her own right. I was supposed to be interviewing her for The Independent newspaper, but even back then my editor declined because she was too much of a celeb. Shooting to fame after she sculpted Gwyneth Paltrow’s body, she now owns a chain of gyms, has designed a line of workout gear, masterminded a food programme and produced a fitness programme (The Tracy Anderson Method) followed by millions. She’s developed a workout machine, a workout for men, teenagers and pregnant women; there’s a juice line in the pipes, detox weeks, hair salons, wellness shakes; she’s far too busy to actually train celebrities herself. Continue reading
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.
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: