What could be going on to cause the following?

1.     Sluggish sperm in men that can’t break through to fertilise an egg

2.     Alterations in the menstrual cycle in women

3.     Young girls starting periods at ages as young as 5 or 6

4.     Babies receiving hormonal equivalent of 5 contraceptive pills daily

Some toxic leak?
A pharmaceutical cock up?

Nope.

These are just a few of the negative consequences of a so called superfood – soya

I have been asked to give a presentation on this prevalent legume and although I knew of doubts and misrepresentations surrounding soya, I was surprised to read about just how controversial it really is.

The Hormonal and reproductive disorders mentioned above are just one element of the problems associated with soy, there are many others which include:

Thyroid disorders

Digestive disorders

The Problems associated with genetic engineering

Nutrient absorption

Allergies

Increased risk of certain cancers


So what’s going on?

Why do so many believe soya to be a healthy food?

The Eastern Promise and the Western short sightedness
Soya has been part of a healthy diet for thousands of years in countries like China and Japan. They manage to live longer, have reduced rates of cancer and far less cardiovascular disease than the west.

BUT: We don’t eat soya in the same way:

Eastern versions of soya:
Miso
Natto
Tempeh

Western versions of soya:
As an oil in Salad dressing
An ingredient to bind Low fat peanut butter together
Imitation bacon bits

The difference:

1.    Not a wholefood
Many of the soya products we eat are unrecognisable as soya. They are not wholefoods but heavily processed ingredients used to bind and emulsify. As with any food that has been heavily processed, all the nutrients are stripped away.

2.    Fermentation
This is the key age old tradition that is vital to unlock the nutrition contained in the bean. Fermentation converts an element – called phytic acid which is inside the bean and can prevent nutrient absorption in the digestive process - into something else.

3.    Quantity
A 1998 study showed Japanese people ate an average 7-8g of soya in a day.

In 2008 the US Food & Drug Administration and the British Food Standards Agency issued a health claim advising that we eat 25g of soya protein a day to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

This advice was met with criticism from the medical profession who demanded more evidence before such wild claims were made.

The food industry was already too powerful and lobbied hard for the health messages of soya to get out there.

That’s when the mass marketing began:

Soya is every food manufacturers dream – cheap and abundant and with new health claims attached to it!

Marketing got clever too– think about where soya milk is in the supermarket. Right next to the cows milk in the fresh foods section. But bean juice doesn't need refrigeration! hmmm

Ok – so lets just avoid it. No more soya lattes down at Starbucks!

Easier said than done - Soya is an invisible food:

70% of our supermarket products contain soya! Its in everything from chocolates to pork sausages and Worcestershire sauce to iced desserts.

So we just check the label then...

Well more often than not soya is given an entirely different name! You wouldn't recognise words lecithin as soya but that's exactly what it is. 

Another thing - if you believe that you are what you eat then your meat is soya. 90% of the 200 million tonnes of soya produced each year goes into animal feed. Our meat is basically soya.

A final thought:

Soya is not intrinsically bad - how could it be? In its original state it's a wholefood. It's what we do to it, or don't learn to do to it (in the case of fermentation) along with the quantity of it that we consume in it's unhealthy processed form that can have negative effects on our health.

It always comes down to the same old story - just avoid processed foods as best you can and eat a fresh wholefoods diet...unless anybody knows of how soya might of made its way into our apples and pears, I think we'll live and perhaps go on to reproduce.

Alternatively - it all sounds like a very effective form of long term contraception! About time men took responsibility for this. Can we interest any of you boys into a lecithin cake? Great for sluggish sperm!     


Interested in reading more?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2004/nov/07/foodanddrink.features7

http://www.foodrenegade.com/dangers-of-soy/

http://www.livingwithout.com/issues/4_10/soy_controversy-2180-1.html

http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=79

 

 

 
 
Fancy a cheeky glimpse at one of the recipes from our (soon to be launched) e-book? You're in luck! How about a simplified version of apple crumble that can be made faster than you can say 'low fat, low calorie, no fuss, healthy dessert' There is no cooking involved in this apple crumble!

~ 1 minute Apple Crumble ~

2 Servings
 
Ingredients
1 large apple, peeled and chopped into bite sized pieces
2 tbsp raisins 
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g natural yoghurt
2 tbsp unsweetened apple puree 
2 tbsp granola 

Directions
Pour enough boiling water into a bowl to cover the raisins and let it sit for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

Sprinkle the apple with the allspice and cinnamon and microwave for 1 minute.

Mix the vanilla extract with the natural yoghurt.

In a small bowl layer the apple, then the raisins, then the yoghurt, followed by the apple puree (1 tbsp in each bowl) and finally the granola (1 tbsp in each bowl).

Serve and enjoy!


There's more where this came from! Sign up here to receive the full e-book '7 Days of Superfoods on a Budget' for free! Eat well, lose weight, save money!
 
 
Take out chicken tikka masala and pilau rice will cost you close to 1000 calories, try my version for a measly 420 calories! It will have you fooled!
~ Home-made Chicken Tikka Masala recipe ~

Ingredients
3 chicken thighs (skinned, boned and chopped up)
1 onion, diced
2 tbsp tomato puree
3 tbsp Greek yoghurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped (can also used tinned)
1 inch ginger, finely chopped
3 tsp garam masala
2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne powder (or to tatse)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Saute the onion in 2 tsp oil until soft and translucent
Add the chicken and cook until browned
Add the garlic, ginger and tomatoes, cover and cook for 5 minutes
stir through the spiced and cook for another 2 minutes until fragrant
Stir through the yoghurt, season to taste and serve with boiled Basmati rice.

 
 
1. Its really quick and easy.
2. You control the ingredients.
Unlike shop bought versions real houmous contains nothing put health giving ingredients.  Instead of extra virgin olive oil (which is good for you) you'll find cheap vegetable oils and soyabean oils that are chemically extracted, deodorized and altered. These oils have negative effect on our health as they create an imbalance in the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 - the consequences of which can be detrimental to your health. (I'll do a post on good and bad fats soon which will explain this in detail). Your home-made houmous will also be free of additives and preservatives.
3. It tastes so much better than shop bought.
4. You can make it lower calorie by altering the ingredients if you want to. (use less tahini and olive oil)
5. You can impress your family and friends with your culinary prowess. For some reason people always seem impressed with home-made houmous, despite the fact that it's easier to put together than a ham sandwich.

~Home-made Houmous Recipe~

Ingredients
400g can chickpeas , washed and drained
juice ½ lemon
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tahini paste
pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin

Directions
Place all ingredients into your blender (you can also make using a hand held) and blend. Add a little water to the mixture to loosen it if necessary.

Job done.





 
 
Tis the season for my favourite fruit! I’m a fig fancier by nature and can’t get enough of them when they’re in season.

Imagine my delight then, when I noticed that our Ibiza villa had two fig trees in the garden! To me the prospect of fresh and organic figs on tap for a week was more exciting than Pasha. I picked them fresh every morning for breakfast and snacked on them during the day and despite their delicate nature I couldn’t resist bringing a bag full home with me so I could enjoy my Spanish figs for just a little longer.

They didn’t last long in our house and so off I popped to the local shop to feed the fig habit. 70p a fig seemed a bit steep but a gal has to have her fix so I bought a bag full. Imagine my horror when I discovered that these fruits were mere imposters; tasteless, dry imposters! They were probably picked under-ripe in some far flung land and left to ripen unnaturally on the journey to my local market. There was nothing for it, I had to find another way to eat these that would introduce some flavour so I got all retro and tried my hand at some home made fig rolls (Fig Newtons in the states).  You remember the ones: 

Obviously I had to make a healthier version. If I couldn’t enjoy my figs fresh then the least I could do is make a healthier version of this classic high fat and high sugar treat. This recipe doesn’t include sugar and I’ve kept fat very very low. I've replaced refined white flour with (the gluten free, high protein) buckwheat flour and also some wholewheat flour. The fig rolls are sweetened with honey and apple puree and there is less than 100g of butter in the whole batch. These make a nice snack or are also good at breakfast.
A word on why we should eat fresh figs:

  • They’re low calorie. 100g of fresh figs contains just 74 calories (when dried 100g contains 249 calories!)
  • Excellent source of calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc.
  • High fibre
  • High in anti-oxidants
  • High in B vitamins, which aid metabolism
  • Contain chlorogenic acid, which can lower blood sugar levels and therefore help with the management and prevention of type 2 diabetes.

~ Recipe for Home-made, healthier fig rolls ~

Fig Jam:

3 tbsp unsweetened apple puree (I used a home made one but shop bought will also work)

8 fresh figs, roughly chopped and stems removed

2 tbsp honey (I used locally produced, organic honey)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp all spice

1 star anise


Dough

110g buckwheat flour

110g wholewheat flour

100g butter

1 egg

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt


Instructions

To make the jam filling
place the figs, along with all the other ingredients, except the honey in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then let simmer for about an hour, or until the figs are soft and the jam has thickened. Stir in the honey (to taste). Cool and place in a food processor or blender, blend on a low setting until all big chunks are gone but some smaller chucks remain.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees (Celsius).

To make the dough
blend all the ingredients well, either by hand or in a food processor until a ball of dough forms.

Separate the dough into 2 balls and chill for 30 minutes.

Take a ball of dough and place it on a piece of parchment paper. Roll the dough out to form a layer of about 12 by 4 inches and about ½ cm thickness.

Spread the jam along the length of the rectangle and fold the dough lengthways. Press the dough at the ends to seal it.

Repeat for the second ball of dough.

Keeping the dough on its parchment paper, place in a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes, or until they are browned on the sides and top.

Allow to cool or if you’re like me burn your mouth on the jam and eat them straight out of the oven!
 
 
Ever had a tricky meeting at work with your difficult boss and then blindly attacked the Hobnobs? Or a row with your partner and then wolfed down a slab of cheddar? Reaching for food during or after a difficult emotional moment is a way of distracting ourselves from dealing with the negative emotions that spring up. Most people lead busy and stressful lives and emotional triggers for dealing with stress and upset with food are making us fat. Learning to self sooth and deal with tricky situations is perhaps the last 'diet' you'll ever have to learn.

Unfortunately it's not the easiest diet to follow - the propensity to self sooth with food can easily become habit forming. We create emotional triggers that will lead to food (and it's not usually carrots and celery those emotions will lead us to!). Just like Pavlov's dogs, we can condition ourselves -  to respond to emotions with food.

Then to really seal the deal there is the chemical response we get from the type of food that is usually at play during an emotional moment. I think it's safe to say that ice cream is a typical 'pick me up' food, so taking ice cream as an example - it is a near perfect combination of fat and sugar and on a chemical level this combination gives us a drug like high. (It takes a strong will to have just one scoop of B&J's!) Ice cream releases the happy chemicals - serotonin, opioids and cannabinoids (that one sound familiar?) into the brain. On a chemical level it's almost as addictive as a class A drug.  Add to that the psychological dimension of self soothing and you have a dangerously seductive concoction!

But there is hope! In pausing for thought every time you suspect that something other than hunger is at play in your cupboard seeking antics and asking - what is this about, you'll get accustomed to differentiating between genuine hunger and emotional cravings. You'll recognise genuine hunger as it comes on slowly and will usually be satisfied with any palatable food. A craving comes on suddenly and is usually for a specific food that will provide that chemical high. The starting point is just questioning it - you may not be able to resist the craving at first but at least you'll have some understanding over it which will give it less power over you. The more often you can resist it, the stronger your resolve becomes and the easier it becomes to battle the urge to reach into the fridge. 

A study done by psychologist Cynthia Power showed that food cravings people repeatedly have correspond to certain emotional triggers:

Craving cheese and crackers - feelings of confusion and frustration.
Craving meat - feelings of anger.
Craving ice cream, custard - feeling the need for comfort.
Craving chocolate, coffee - feelings of sadness and neediness.
Craving crisps - feeling stressed.
Craving pasta - feeling lonely.

Just pausing for thought next time the food craving hits and asking yourself if this real hunger or something else can make you healthier, slimmer and a mentally stronger person. Now you just need to find another outlet for those emotions - look at that, the sales have started already!  




 
 
Subscribe for 6 free recipes from our new e-book 7 Days of Superfoods on a Budget
 
 
Tis the season for crispy green salads! Now all salad is good but some salad leaves will give you much more nutrition than others. I found a useful chart at FitSugar which compares leafy greens against each other for nutritional value.  See the difference between the most common type of lettuce (iceburg) and Romaine! Romaine is more nutritious than spinach - well I never! Makes you think twice when down the salad aisle!
 
 
Listen up yogi's...this is the practice we should be doing. My 30 mins of sun sals and standing postures of a morning just won't do anymore! Yoga is about dedication and daily practice. Time to take it up a notch. Practice makes a perfect You Tube video!