Posts

Beat the bloat for a flatter stomach.

Comments written for Byrdie Magazine on the following foods and their impact on a flatter stomach?

There is so much literature out there on how we can have a flatter stomach. Is it through solely exercise, water intake, a nutritious diet , hormonal changes, or are there certain foods that we eat that make us feel incredibly uncomfortable. Us, women often experience a lot of bloating and  the factors that can influence it are wide ranging. I was asked to write a few comments for an online magazine, Byrdie about whether these foods could have an impact on our stomachs and its distension. Can we beat the bloat for a flatter stomach with those ?This is the first part of 2 blogs i will be uploading.

Oats
Loving porridge oats? Well you should definitely keep up with it, if achieving a flat stomach is one of your health goals. Oats are packed with a form of soluble dietary fibre; ‘beta glucans’ which support healthy digestion and regular bowel movements with the excretion of dietary waste and toxins. These help prevent the bloat. Beta -glucans supports a reduction in the rise in blood glucose levels that occurs after meals. By keeping blood glucose levels stable, we feel fuller for longer and experience fewer of those nagging sweet cravings. This effect can help us lose our belly as part of a nutritious diet and active lifestyle. Jazz up your oats with goji berries, cinnamon, almond milk, and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.

Garlic

Garlic is a world-renowned cure-all highly espoused as a home remedy in practically every culture. Studies conducted on animals so far, show that garlic may help in lowering blood glucose levels and lipid profiles in type 2 diabetics, which could help to better manage your weight. However, further research in the field must be carried out on its effect on weight in humans. Garlic’s active compound, ‘allium sativum’ has carminative properties; providing relief for excess flatulence and abdominal distension. A healthy body also relies on a healthy gut, which garlic can help support, being anti-microbial in nature. The latter properties may help to achieve a flatter stomach.

Fennel

We ought to use fennel in our goal in achieving a flatter stomach. This Mediterranean root vegetable has a pleasing licorice and aniseedy aroma with wide- ranging health benefits. Fennel seeds in particular are well known for their essential oils which support the body in absorbing nutrients present in food .They do so by stimulating the secretion of both digestive and gastric juices. Fennel’s carminative properties come from the active ingredient, ‘fenchone’ found in its seeds. Fenchone acts by relaxing the digestive’s tract smooth muscle lining and has long been known to provide relief from bloating, flatulence and indigestion. Its cleansing property is perfect to help flush out excess toxins. Latest research confirms the benefits of consuming fennel tea to help keep hunger at bay .Chew your fennel seeds after meals, use its leaves in your quinoa salads and don’t forget to sip on Heath and Heather’s fennel tea!

Chilli

Chillies don’t only add flavour and spice to our food but support the body’s metabolism through thermogenesis; our ability to produce heat to burn off fat and therefore excess calories. Chillies’ active components ‘capsicum annum’ and ‘capsaicin’, should be your ingredient of choice to help shift that stubborn layer of fat around the middle. Some studies show that chilli peppers cause an immediate increase in metabolic rate to 20% within thirty minutes of consuming a spicy chilli containing meal. Packed with Vitamin C, an antioxidant that helps protect our cells from free radical damage and support the normal production of collagen so is perfect in maintaining our youthful skins !

Asparagus

A luxury vegetable packed with fibre which supports healthy digestion and is particularly low in calories making it a great snack. It has natural diuretic properties so alleviating water retention and minimising the bloat. Asparagus are packed with ‘diosgenin’, a type of saponin (natural plant chemical), shown to support blood sugar level management and better control of the levels of fat .In addition, asparagus also contain ‘inulin’, supporting healthy gut bacteria. All these factors can help to achieve a flatter stomach.

References :

Ahuja, K. et al. (2006). Effects of chilli consumption on postprandial glucose, insulin, and energy metabolism. American Clinical Journal of Nutrition [Pub Med] online .Accessed at: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/1/63.long

Bae, J. et al.(2015) .Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) Tea Drinking Suppresses Subjective Short-term Appetite in Overweight Women. Clinical Nutrition Research [PubMed] online. Accessed at :http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4525133/

Clegg, M. E ; Golsorkhi, M. and Henry, C.J. (2013) .Combined medium-chain triglyceride and chilli feeding increases diet-induced thermogenesis in normal-weight humans. European Journal of Nutrition [online] .Accessed on: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00394-012-0463-9#page-1

El Khoury, D.et. al ( 2012) . Beta Glucan: Health Benefits in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. [Pub Med] online . Accessed on: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3236515/

Padiya, R. et al. (2011) Garlic improves insulin sensitivity and associated metabolic syndromes in fructose fed rats. Nutrition and Metabolism . [PubMed] online .Accessed on http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3168415/

Tierra, M. (1998).The Way of Herbs. Published by Pocket Books, New York.

Hoisin baked salmon with a vegetable stir fry and brown rice noodles

Special dinner on a tuesday night. I wanted to have a healthy dish that would be bursting with flavours, very quick to make, and had an asian influence to it. I spotted a jar of hoisin sauce that i forgot about. Hence this choice for my glaze. I very rarely used processed ingredients but sometimes it is what is accessible to us and it is still mostly made from scratch for a cleaner approach to eating 🙂 I also wanted to make the most of my freshly delivered Abel and Cole delivery!

Serves 2
2 pieces of salmon (Abel and Cole, sustainably sourced)
1/2 a pack of king soba, organic brown rice noodles ( gluten free and wheat free)
a bunch of spring onions
3 to 4 cloves of garlic
1/2 a lemon
a piece of ginger (peeled and chopped)
1 broccoli
other vegetables to include for your stir fry (oyster mushrooms/mange tout/carrots)
soy sauce or tamari sauce
honey
hoisin sauce (you won’t use much)
coconut oil to cook with .
sesame oil to drizzle on the noodles (I had none left, but did miss this added flavour)

For the hoisin glaze :

2 tablespoons of hoisin sauce, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce/tamari sauce, juice of half a lemon or more. a teaspoon of honey or agave nectar. 2 cloves of crushed and fresh garlic. I also added a tiny teaspoon of coconut oil for some creaminess .(I use Tiana organic coconut oil, but there so many other brands available)

Method for the salmon
I marinated my salmon with the glaze for about 15 minutes, but the longer you do so, the more flavour it would have. Place it on some parchment paper or foil. Cook when ready, in a pre- heated ventilated oven (190 degrees) for 15-20 minutes.

For the stir fry:
1 small pack of random stir fry vegetables from Sainsburys, which had shredded red cabbage, mange tout and strips of carrots. I quickly steamed those with the broccoli. Heat some garlic and ginger in a teaspoon or less of coconut oil, and add your vegetables.Spice it up with chilli flakes or red chillies, soy sauce/tamari sauce/pepper to taste.I soaked about 5 dried oyster mushrooms I had, in boiling water, chopped them  into pieces and added them to the mix of vegetables. If you have got these at hand, do add them. But if not, don’t worry. You can also add fresh oyster mushrooms which are beautiful and nutritious ,add them to your stir fry at the end without soaking.

Noodles were cooked in boiling water only for few minutes so make sure not to overcook them. I left them in the water until ready to serve as they do stick very easily.

Serve sprinkled with spring onions (and a drizzle of sesame oil). Eat as soon as the salmon is ready and enjoy your dinner!

I recently discovered those Organic Brown Rice Noodles (King SOBA) that are both wheat free and gluten free.You may wonder why you would use those instead of the egg or plain rice noodles you may find from the supermarket. Well I absolutely love my Asian food, but often felt very uncomfortable after a meal and had always put it down to refined flours. I usually avoid refined flours anyway since i know that their nutritional value or fibre content is low in comparison to  other flours (be it spelt, wholewheat, buckwheat)
I recently did an IgG food intolerance test after registering as a practitioner with one of the labs I use. It  showed that i had an intolerance to wheat amongst other things, which explains the digestive symptoms I  have experienced after the consumption of particular meals. You may find that doing an intolerance test, clarifies a lot of uncertainties you may have. The other option can be an elimination diet, but requires determination and definitely support from your entourage.

Again for any recipe, tailor it to your taste buds and what you feel most comfortable eating. Just always try to include lots of green vegetables, a form of healthy protein, cook from scratch and make it fun. Cook with coconut oil as at high temperature, it does not oxidise into harmful molecules to the body (called free radicals) which are a consequence of several chronic health conditions. Asian cooking does involve cooking with groundnut oil, but try to deviate from it as soon as you can.

I did treat myself with the occasional  glass of red wine after a productive day and an intense workout at the gym.tuesday night treat