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With Christmas around the corner a more seasonal newsletter from Anna Collins (Dip ION), nutritional therapist at the Littlejohn Centre. 
Topics include:
  • Losing weight and boost digestive wellness!
  • Channel your inner cave man (or woman) if you love your body.
  • Anna's top 5 Christmas Tips.
  • The Best Ever Mince Pies.
  • Do this if you want to lose weight and boost digestive wellness!

Did you know that the more you chew each mouthful, the sooner you feel full and stop eating?

Grehlin is a hormone made in the stomach.  Its function is to tell us we are hungry and to get eating.  Researchers measured the levels of the ghrelin in 2 groups of study volunteers.  The first group chewed their food 15 times per mouthful, the second group chewed 40 times.  40 chews resulted in lower ghrelin levels and reduced food intake.  The study also showed that overweight individuals chewed their food fewer times than lean people.  Another reason why chewing your food really well is important is that food needs to mix with the digestive enzymes in your saliva to be start the digestion process.  Chewing is vital for repairing or keeping your stomach lining healthy. Chewing stimulates the production of epithelial growth factor in saliva.  This then bonds with dietary thiocyanates to repair wear and tear on the stomach.  Thiocyanates are found in cruciferous veg (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage) and the seeds of all fruits except citrus.

Li J, Zhang N et al.  Improvement in chewing activity reduces energy intake in one meal and modulates plasma gut hormone concentrations in obese and lean young Chinese men.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2011;94(3)

Read the study on http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/94/3/709.full.pdf+html

Channel your inner caveman (or woman) if you love your body

A tsunami of research shows our health is dependent on the microscopic organisms living in our gut.  Healthy adults contain around 1 kilo of live bacteria. Large colonies of “good” bacteria on the gut wall manufacture vitamins, intestinal repair factors (eg butyrate), digest milk and carbs, regulate immunity, aid toxin removal and even keep you lean. You may have heard of the Paleolithic diet – the sort of diet eaten by our hunter gatherer ancestors.  This type of diet encourages growth of good bacteria in the lower part of the small intestine.  In contrast, modern foods such as refined grains, sugar and high carb veg (eg potatoes, parsnips) do not feed good bacteria.  Modern, high calorie foods, animal fats and foods heated above 100C encourage the growth of  “bad” bacteria.  These pathogenic bacteria promote infections (eg. acne), and inflammation (eg colitis, gastritis, eczema).  If you want digestive wellness, great skin and a youthful appearance the key is eating ancient style foods prepared at low temperatures (raw or below 100C).  This means lots of fresh and raw greens, spices and vegetables and ancient high fibre grains (eg millet, buckwheat, amaranth), raw nuts & seeds and beans and pulses.  The desirable Stone Age diet would also contain some (but not too much) fruit, plenty of (ideally wild) fish and lean, fresh, naturally-reared meat.  This diet does not contain wheat or milk products. This way of eating is known as the Paleo(lithic), Stone Age or Hunter-Gatherer Diet.

Bengmark S. gut microbiota, Immune development and function.  Pharmacol Res 2012, S1043-6618(12), 00166-1 online Sep 16

Read more on    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22989504

Anna’s Top 5 Christmas Tips

  • Get plenty of water or herb teas. Being well hydrated will help offset the negative effects of alcohol, stimulants and high carb drinks and foods.  Try having a glass of water before every coffee, tea or tipple. Instead of soft drinks try half fizzy water half apple juice (cloudy apple juice is the best for this – Lidl does a good one).
  • Line your stomach with protein.  Always line your stomach with protein before eating anything sweet or starchy, even fruit and especially before having alcohol.  This satisfies you faster, reduces cravings and makes you less likely to binge.  Protein means a teaspoon of nuts/seeds, a few spoons of natural yoghurt, or some meat fish, beans, eggs or lentils/chickpeas.
  • Eat 3 meals a day that contain a palm-size portion of protein (eg. beans, fish, eggs, meat).  Eating protein at each meal helps regulate blood sugar levels to keep energy and mood stable and prevent bingeing.  Eating protein before drinking alcohol is especially useful as alcohol also disrupts blood sugar.
  • Get the Good Stuff in first.  This is a no-brainer but surprisingly effective. At every meal and snack, eat the healthy foods (coloured veg and protein) before hitting the sweet or starchy ones. Half a plateful of  coloured veggies at lunch and dinner is the ideal.  At meals, eating veggies and first will limit your capacity for cakes, pies, puddings and breads (even wholegrains shouldn’t be more than 30% of your diet).
  • Get active outside for even ½ an hour every day.  Exercise boosts digestion and helps your burn more calories for the rest of the day.  Daylight helps boost mood-enhancing serotonin in your brain for a happier, healthier Christmas.

The Best Ever Mince Pies

With options for dairy-free, citrus-free, gluten-free. This mincemeat doesn’t boil over when you bake it. Store in the fridge in a sterile jar.

When making your pastry:

For a slightly healthier alternative to normal pastry, use ½ organic wholemeal flour (eg Doves farm fine wholemeal) ½ plain organic white flour.

1lb peeled cored eating (no cooking) apples

8ozs organic sultanas

8ozs organic raisins

4ozs organic dried mixed peel (if you avoid citrus, use currants instead)

Rind and juice of 1 organic orange (if avoiding citrus, use apple juice instead)

¼ teasp allspice

¼ teasp cinnamon

¼ teasp nutmeg

A little cloudy apple juice

To store: 1 tbsp brandy or whiskey

  1. Mix together all the ingredients in a large cooking pot with lid
  2. Simmer ½ hour with enough apple juice to get .
  3. When cool, add the brandy/whisky & mix well before storing in sterilised jars.  You can sterilise glass by heating at 70C in the oven for 10 minutes, and lids by boiling in water for 5 minutes or more.

Bake pies 20-25 mins at 200C/400F until golden.

You can use an egg wash to stick the pastry tops on the pies

Put a baking try over the next rack up in the oven so the pies don’t burn before being cooked through.

If you have an intolerance/allergy to dairy products:

If you have a dairy intolerance then you can use clarified butter to make the pastry.  Make this by very gently heating the butter in a pan.  Chill in a tall glass, then use only the solid part of the butter to make your pastry.  The remaining liquid part underneath contains the milk proteins – which is what you react to if you have a food intolerance or allergy.  Discard the liquid part.

If you have an intolerance to gluten:

Use the pastry from the Almond Pastry Case recipe to make an open large mince pie (available by sending me a mail through www.annacollins.ie).  Just make sure to cover the exposed mincemeat (but not the pastry) with either a sliced apple or a small heatproof plate or cake tin base during baking so the filling doesn’t dry out and burn.

If you are avoiding dairy, serve with Cashew Nut Cream (see recipe)

Cashew Nut Cream                                                            Dairy-free.         3 servings.

This is a brilliant substitute for dairy cream and naturally has a slightly sweet taste.  It keeps for at least 3-4 days in the fridge, covered.  If it dries out a bit, just add a little water and mix well.

½ cup raw cashew nuts soaked overnight

1 cup filtered water

A few drops of vanilla extract

  1. Blitz all ingredients in a miniature food processor until it reaches a creamy consistency.  Alternatively, grind the cashews finely in a coffee grinder, then beat in the water and vanilla essence.
  2. If you want it thinner add more water, thicker add more nuts.
  3. You can make a similar “cream” using soaked and peeled almonds.

Dietary Note:

The mincemeat contains no fat and no refined sugar.  Dried fruit is high in natural sugars and pastry is high in saturated fat so eat in moderation!  Make sure you have some protein in your stomach when you eat these pies so you keep blood sugar levels even.  Keeping blood sugar levels even helps maintain stable mood, energy and immunity.  Alternatively munch a teaspoon of raw nuts/seeds before/with your pie(s), or serve with delicious cashew cream. Wishing you the best of health,

Tailored diet & lifestyle coaching: 21 Church Rd, Dalkey & Littlejohn Centre

For an appointment, call: 01 4737992/087 9816666

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