How do you access Health Information?

I’ve been quiet on the blogging front for a while because it’s been final Masters exam time and I’ve been preparing to start my dissertation. The research is on how people access health-related information (i.e. is it though the news or magazines) and then looking into how reliable the information is.

I’ve got a short (anonymous) questionnaire on the go to help me find out which sources people use/trust the most and it would be amazing if you could help me out please:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5XTPYPV

If you have any ideas that don’t fit into the questions please do comment or message me!
Thanks so much :)
Alicia x

Chia Seeds: Side effects??

So the latest healthy food obsession is chia seeds. I am always skeptical of “superfood” labels because it is just a marketing buzzword, but being an inquisitive foodie and recipe hoarder I wanted to try these seeds that everyone seemed to be putting in everything.

So I bought some and baked them into flapjacks and porridge. To me they didn’t seem any different than sesame seeds for food contributions, but this might of been the stingy proportions I added them (£3 per 100g!).

But when I saw this Chia Seed Pudding and delicious sounding recipes I had to give it a go. The premise is that the seeds absorb liquid so when you soak them in almond milk etc they expand and end up looking like frog spawn (as my bf pointed out).  The first one I made was with cinnamon, nutmeg and agave syrup and tasted really nice!

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The texture was a bit weird but I thought I’d get used to it and loved the idea of such a great tasting healthy dessert. That evening and the following day I felt quite bloated, but put this down to eating a heavy evening meal.

It wasn’t until I made another variation of Chia seed pudding two days later that I noticed that I felt very bloated and unwell after eating that dessert too.

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And then the following day I woke up with severe gastro pains which lasted well into the afternoon. The short lived nature of the cramping and lack of other symptoms makes me  feel that it was food related – and as I hadn’t eaten anything else differently that day I am blaming the chia seed pudding. Even thinking about it now makes me feel a bit off (classical conditioning eh). I don’t have problems with any other seeds but I have since read online that the absorptive nature of the seeds can give you stomach cramps- so perhaps that explains it?

Anyway, not to rag on the superfood of the month but I just wanted to share my experience and ask whether any one else has had a similar reaction? It has certainly put me off them (at least for now!).

I had a look into the research on Chia seeds and health effects but it is still inconclusive (systematic review). So I don’t feel like I’m missing much. I also found this paper which shows no effect on inflammation and disease risk facts. As a Human Nutrition Student I’d love to know where the health claims in the media stem from. I’d also like to read some positive research if available, please let me know if you have found any!

Amway, if it’s healthy Omega-3 you’re after, flaxseed has the same amount per gram, and is cheaper now that chia has overshadowed it :)

Quinoa and Oat Porridge

First attempt at making porridge with quinoa flakes and am very impressed. I mixed them with oats to make it cheaper and more nutritionally diverse. I think this will be my new breakfast obsession! This is a great source of protein for vegans too.

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Ingredients: (makes one large bowl)
- 1 cup (around 250ml) unsweetened almond milk
- 20g quinoa flakes
- 30g quick oats (I’ll try large oats tomorrow)
- topping of choice (I sed a tablespoon of mixed seeds and drizzle of maple syrup)

1. Warm the milk over a medium heat and stir in the oats and flakes. Stir.
2. Stir frequently for around 5 mins as the porridge thickens up.
3. Spoon in to a bowl and top with favourite nuts, seeds or fruit.

The Favourite Veggie Chili

This is a really tasty, hot chili that everyone from vegan to carnivore will love. It’s really easy and freezes well so you can batch cook for busier times ahead.

Ingredients (serves 4 to 6 depending on how big your appetite is!)

  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red pepper
  • chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • fresh chili
  • tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 can of mixed beans
  • few sticks of celery (or other fridge dwellers such as mushrooms, carrot, corn…)
  • rice and pitta to serve

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1. heat around 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan on medium heat

2. add in the chopped onion and garlic, stir occasionally until translucent

3. add in your choices of spices (paprika, chili, oregano, cumin etc) – smoked paprika is essential to the smokey taste! Stir.

4. drain and rinse the beans and add to pan. Also chuck in the chopped red pepper and tin of chopped tomatoes. Stir.

5. leave to simmer with the lid on for as long as it takes to cook brown rice in a separate pan (about 20-30 minutes). Take the lid off the chili for the last 5 minutes if looking a bit watery.

6. serve with rice and pitta. Leave half to cool and freeze for another day (take out of the freezer in the morning, defrost in the fridge until dinner time then boil in pan with a little water for 3 mins then simmer for 30 mins again).

7. eat, enjoy, share.

You Beauty Treat

I received an excellent surprise from my parents in the post today – it’s sort of like a birthday/exam time treat and it got me really excited! It’s a box of fitness related goodies from You Beauty Discover

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The box contains a couple of workout related beauty products such as muscle cooling gel, exfoliator and a body brush.

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There’s also a Zumba DVD (a class I’ve fancied trying but can’t afford a gym membership, so that’s excellent!) and an exercise band (which feature in some of the YouTube workout channel I use so will finally get to try it out!).

I’m also looking forward to trying some of the Clean & Lean recipes included. Especially this Italian baked aubergine mmm

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I have already had Oh So Good For You Chocolate (the orange ones) before so was pleased to get another box of these too.

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The box is such a good gift for anyone into health and fitness, it covers all the basics – diet, exercise and beauty. I’m super excited to try out all the bits and it’s really cheered me up in the middle of Masters stress times : )

 

Hazlenut and cacao flapjacks

I love flapjacks but the amount of butter and sugar in traditional recipes often puts me off baking them. So I’ve researched and adapted various recipes into a delicious hazelnut and cacao flapjack that satisfies a sweet tooth without being too unhealthy. 

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Dry Ingredients
90g quick cook oats
2 tablespoons of cacao nibs (could use dark chocolate chips if you don’t like cacao)
1.5 tablespoon chia seeds (could use any small seeds)
1 tablespoon wheat/oat bran (optional)

Wet Ingredients
40g butter
40g stevia baking blend
60g hazelnut butter (could use any nut butter)
3 tablespoons maple syrup (could use honey/agave/rice syrup/golden syrup)

1. Preheat oven to 180C

2. Over a low heat, melt wet ingredients together, stir occasionally (I’m lazy so I put the pan on digital scales and measure ingredients directly into pan).
It will smell delicious!

3. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together well

4. Stir the melted wet ingredients into the dry. Combine well.

5. Line a small baking dish with baking paper and press the mixture in. Bake for 15 minutes until the oats turn golden (and your kitchen smells delicious).

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Makes 6 generous flapjacks. Nutritional info per flapjack:
Calories: 219
Sat Fat: 5g 
Sugar: 10g
Protein: 4g
Fibre: 5g
Calcium: 3g

Which compared to Quorndon’s Oaty Flapjack makes for an excellent (and better tasting) substitute:
Calories: 451
Sat Fat: 7g 
Sugar: 22g
Protein: 7g
Fibre: 5g
Calcium: 0g

Groceries

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Healthy eating isn’t expensive. Here’s my weekly shop (which I will probably add more veg to in the week) which costs £21. Going to batch cook 4 portions of chicken curry to eat/freeze. Got fish for two nights, houmous with peppers and celery to dip/wrap for lunch, Clementines and Popcorn for snacking, ginger and spinach to add to breakfast smoothies and the rest will be using freezer foods and store cupboard items!