Recipes

Courgette, leek and spinach soup

The clocks have gone back and it’s chilly out there today, so it’s definitely soup season!

This is a quick, easy, light soup for these cooler days. It is ridiculously low calorie – at around 100 cals a bowl (less if you leave the goats cheese out)! I made a massive batch as we had an over-grown courgette (basically a marrow) that I wanted to use up so it made over ten servings but the amounts below will make at least 5-6 portions.

You will need:

500g Courgettes

250g Leeks

400g Spinach

75g Soft Goat’s cheese (optional)

500ml strong vegetable stock

Mixed herbs, salt and pepper to taste

Slice the leeks thinly and pop in a large pan over a low heat and allow to soften.

Chop the courgettes thinly too and then add them to the pan and allow to cook through for around 5 mins with the lid on.

Add the stock and herbs and cook for a further 5-10 mins. If your vegetable stock isn’t very strong it’s worth adding an extra stock cube too.

Add the spinach and stir thoroughly, and then cook through for 3-5 mins.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 mins and then blend thoroughly.

Add salt and pepper to taste and then, if you’re using it, add the goat’s cheese and blend again to combine.

Serve immediately or you can keep it in the fridge or freezer for handy lunches or dinners in the week!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Low carb diets aren’t magic

Tuesday Tip: Low carb diets aren’t magic 🌟

Low carb (or keto) diets are ALL the rage, and for some people they do seem to work….but not because they magically make you burn fat. Here’s what actually happens

#1 A reduced carb intake leads to almost immediate loss of water weight, hence sudden drops in weight at the start. It’s not fat. It will come back once you eat carbs again.

#2 They involve eating more protein, which is important for hunger control. So you’ll feel fuller and eat less calories overall, and be in calorie deficit. Calories, not carbs, dictate fat loss and gain.

#3 Protein also plays a vital role in muscle preservation, and has the highest thermic effect of any nutrient (i.e. takes the most cals to metabolise). So you’ll be burning slightly more cals each day, contributing to the deficit.

#4 They also mean more veggies. These are high in fibre and water making you feel fuller, slowing digestion and less likely to eat as many cals.

#5 More fats are also consumed, another key for staying fuller for longer and slowing digestion. So once again you’re far more likely eat less.

#6 They revolve around reducing the amount of carbs; the biggest portion of people’s diets. AND most calorie dense junk foods are carb-based so you’d be cutting those out. When you remove a food group you’re removing calories too, so you end up in a deficit.

SO how do these diets work? By getting you to do things that lead to consuming fewer calories, whilst telling you it’s nothing to do with calories and all about magic low carbs….

Does this mean you should do it? If it works for you then sure! Do I think it’s sustainable? Nope. Avoidance of food groups creates a poor relationship with food leading to binges or blow outs. It can also lead to fatigue, health risks of increased fat intake, regaining water weight when you go back to carbs, etc and of course it will only work if you have a high refined carb-based diet anyway.

My advice – everything in moderation. We need carbs as much as we need protein and fat. If you want a long term sustainable diet then just focus on reducing overall calories by whatever means works for your lifestyle.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Protein isn’t magic!

Tuesday Tip: Protein isn’t magic 🔮

I talked about carbs last week – the devil food 😉 so now I thought I’d touch on the supposed super star – protein. Eat more protein and you’ll lose weight – right? That’s the rhetoric out there isn’t it? Well I’m sorry but protein isn’t magic – I wish it was, but it just isn’t!

The idea that eating more protein will magically alter the laws of thermodynamics and make you lose weight regardless of how much you eat is just silly. There is a basic law of physics at play here – to lower fat content of the body (i.e. to lose weight), you have to reduce the calories consumed, or increase the calories burned – where these calories come from makes no actual difference. In fact it’s been clearly disproved in many studies – in one study from Columbia University they fed participants liquid meals of fixed calories, some with vastly more protein, some with more carbs, some with more fat – but all contained the exact calories required for the participants to maintain their weight. Guess what – they all maintained their weight… even those eating more protein…

Now that’s not to say protein isn’t super important and a useful factor to consider though. There’s no denying that higher protein foods tend to keep you fuller and more satisfied for longer (especially when combined with fats), and as I’ve mentioned before there is a small increase in the calories used to digest protein (very small and not enough to really influence overall weight loss), it’s also full of vital amino acids for muscle repair and building. If you’re a body builder and looking to put on large quantities of muscle in a short time then yes def prioritise protein (but you’ll be over eating anyway as your goal is muscle gain… not weight loss). If you struggle to stick to your calories because you’re always hungry then yes definitely consider upping your protein and fats a bit in your meals – but not at the complete sacrifice of carbs (otherwise you will crash and burn).

So there it is – yes protein is great, but no it isn’t magic! So no need to fret over it too much!

Happy Tuesday 🤗 xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Carbs are ok

Tuesday Tip: Carbs are ok 🥖🍞🥔

Carbs are the devil right? We all know someone that cut carbs and lost a stone in 4 weeks or whatever… so obviously carbs are bad?

There is so much conflicting, scientific sounding rhetoric out there blasting carbs – saying you shouldn’t eat them, or if you do eat them you should only eat them at certain times, or that cutting them will result in massive weight loss (well yeah if you cut any major food group out of your diet you’ll lose weight – you’re eating less!).

This is not actually true. The common argument is that carbs cause insulin to be released and to spike and therefore it’s bad because that insulin will somehow cause fat to be stored ….well sorry but all meals do this – and in fact some proteins cause a greater response than carbs! In addition those insulin level changes have no direct impact on weight gain or weight loss. You have to be eating more than you’re using to store fat.

Carbs are the body’s preferred fuel source – breaking them down to glucose, but if there are no carbs around the body simply breaks protein to glucose instead. This applies at any time – not just when you’re exercising- because we need glucose to function – both physically and mentally.

Does that mean that there is no point in eating more carbs at certain times and fewer at others? No – you can definitely choose to have more carbs when your body may need extra fuel eg when working out, or in the morning when you’ve not eaten all night. But it’s not black and white and you certainly don’t need to ONLY eat carbs at these times and you definitely shouldn’t be avoiding carbs altogether.

How many carbs you eat doesn’t determine your weight loss – it’s total number of calories eaten and calories expended that matter. Carbs are just one part of the equation that you can play around with to help you meet those goals. There’s no need to obsess over carbs – yes small tweaks may help and YOU may find it easier to only eat carbs in the morning, or whenever, but if you like carbs eat them – just manage your portion size.

Happy Tuesday 🤗xx