September 25, 2013

Reflexology Case Study- Treatment 3

by lrmetcalfe

Treatment Plan

My client has nearly recovered from her cold, she is producing a lot of mucus, which is a good sign and shows the body is ridding itself of the infection.

She has cut down the medication she takes for her anxiety to 5mg every other day; she is currently having no ill-effects from this, which she has experienced in the past when reducing her dosage. This is a major achievement for my client.

As usual, the client’s main wish from the treatment was to feel relaxed.

 

The Treatment

The treatment started by cleansing the feet and relaxing breathing and foot manipulation techniques. To encourage relaxation and to relieve anxiety I decided to focus on the reflexes for the head, pituitary and adrenal glands. Due to the client’s cold I also paid a little more attention to the sinuses, eyes, nose and face reflexes.

The client had dramatically less ‘popping’ on her reflexes today. She only had a little ‘popping’ on the shoulder reflexes. The shoulders are a reflex which commonly ‘pop’ showing an imbalance in this area. Most of us hold a lot of tension in the shoulder especially those of us who sit at a desk all day, or women who carry heavy handbags.

I used the same massage oil blend- almond oil with ginger, lavender and black pepper essential oil, as the client really liked it last time.

 

Feedback

At the end of the treatment the client said she felt relaxed.

 

Changes/ Areas to focus on for the next treatment

The client chattered through most of the treatment. Next time I want to concentrate on getting her to focus on relaxation more. I may try and get her to do breathing techniques throughout her treatment to encourage relaxation.

 

Aftercare

Client is drinking more water and has been taking her multivitamin and mineral tablets.

I have spoken to her about exercise, being good for anxiety- related conditions and she has started going for daily walks.

So her aftercare this week is to keep up the good work.

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September 23, 2013

Healthy Eyes

by lrmetcalfe

My mother took a trip to the opticians today, for her Spinach-photoannual check-up. Worryingly he has said that her eyes are showing the beginnings of cataracts. My mum dismissed this as just a part of the ageing process, however, there are dietary changes we can all make to improve the health of the eyes.

Increasing the levels of certain essential nutrients which are important for maintaining eye health, can help. Antioxidants are important- Vitamin A,C, E, selenium, lutein is particularly important as it has specific properties for protecting the eyes.

So, I thought I would look at some yummy foods and recipes which contain these antioxidants.

Popeye never wore glasses- Spinach is a great source of the antioxidant, Lutein, along with other leafy dark green vegetables.

Palak Paneer (Spinach & Paneer Curry)

Ingredients

4 cups of fresh finely chopped spinach

1/3 lb paneer

2 medium tomatoes

1tsp chopped ginger

1tsp coriander powder

½ tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp teaspoon chili powder

1 tablespoon oil

½ tsp cumin seeds

½ tsp salt, or to taste

2 tbsps of whole wheat flour

1 ½ cups of milk

  1. Blend the tomatoes and ginger to make a puree.
  2. Mix coriander, turmeric, and red chili with tomato puree and set aside.
  3. Mix whole-wheat flour with milk and set aside.
  4. Cube the paneer into pieces and  fry them on medium high heat just for few minutes so paneer becomes golden in colour, take paneer out, and put on kitchen towels
  5. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add cumin seeds.
  6. After cumin seeds crack, add the tomato puree mixture, and let it cook for a few minutes until the tomato puree is about half in volume.
  7. Add the spinach, and let it cook on low medium heat for about 10 minutes covered.
  8. Add milk mixture and let this cook another four to five minutes.
  9. Add paneer and fold it gently with spinach and let it simmer for a 2-3 minutes, keeping the pan covered.
  10. Serve with rice or chappatis.

 

Blueberries are a great source of bioflavonoids, which encourage eye health. Try this healthy smoothie…

Super-Berry Smoothie

50g blueberries

50g Canteloupe Melon, diced and de-seeded

Banana

Pure orange juice (not from concentrate)

½  tbsp ground flaxseeds

1. Place melon, blueberries, banana and flaxseed into a blender, and whizz. Use the orange juice to thin out the smoothie, making sure it is smooth.

 

Check out these other great sources and include them in your diet to improve your eye health….

Vitamin A liver, paprika, chilli powder, sweet potato, carrots, butternut   squash, dark leafy green vegetables such as- kale, spring greens, spinach
Vitamin C chilli peppers, dark leafy green vegetables, broccoli, cabbage,   brussel sprouts, kiwi fruits, oranges, strawberries, guava, papaya,   grapefruit, cantaloupe melon
Vitamin E Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, swiss chard, papaya, asparagus,   wheat germ
Lutein Spinach, kale, swiss chard
Selenium Brazil nuts, shellfish, liver, tuna, swordfish, anchovies, sunflower   seeds, bran
September 18, 2013

Reflexology Case Study…Treatment 2

by lrmetcalfe

Treatment Plan
This week, I met my client and last week’s slight sore throat, had turned into a fully-blown (pardon the pun!) cold. She had blocked sinuses, a headache and felt ill and shivery.

From today’s treatment, the client wanted to have a little symptomatic relief from her cold. Her feelings of anxiety have been worsening this week; she thinks this is partly due to her cold and also because her daughter has started nursery school- so she also wanted to feel relaxed.

The Treatment
I commenced the treatment with the usual combination of cleaning the feet and relaxation techniques. The client’s feet were very cold again.

Due to her cold, I decided to focus on the reflexes for the head, sinuses, eyes, nose and face.

The client had a lot of ‘popping’ in these areas. There was also popping in the upper spinal area.

The client’s feet were still in immaculate condition, with no dryness or issues. However, her ankles were slightly swollen; the client believed this was due to walking a lot that day. I focussed on massaging, in long firm strokes up the client’s calves to try and relieve the swelling and encourage drainage.

Today I used a different massage medium- almond oil blended with the warming essential oils, ginger and black pepper. I also used lavender oil to help blend the oils together and encourage relaxation. The client loved this oil blend; she liked the smell and said her feet felt warmer during and after the massage.
Feedback
At the end of the treatment the client said she felt much calmer, her feet felt warm, her sinus pain had eased a little and she was able to blow her nose, whereas previously her sinuses has been to blocked to do this.

Changes/ Areas to focus on for the next treatment
At the next treatment I will use the same oil blend, hopefully the client’s cold will have improved and I can go back to focussing on making the client feel more relaxed and less anxious.

Aftercare
Client is still not drinking water, and is forgetting to take her multivitamin and mineral tablets- I pressed the importance of this.

The client’s sinuses are very blocked, I suggested she have an Ear Candling treatment to help to relieve this, she has booked this treatment.

I also suggested she do some steam inhalation daily, using a few drops of A.Vogel Po Ho Oil.

September 16, 2013

1, 2, 3…..Breathe…..

by lrmetcalfe

breathAfter a long break, I recently started practicing yoga again; and was amazed at how powerful I find this activity.

Due to back problems, I now have to stick to the basics- warm up stretches, simple postures and breathing exercises; however controlling my breathing is the part of yoga I find most effective.

It’s during the breathing exercises that I feel most relaxed, I often feel inspired or have new ideas, as my mind is cleared and becomes more focussed.

Breathing is the most basic of all human functions, if we stopped breathing in and out we would cease to be- yet we all take breathing for granted. We never think of the power that we can have over our health and our bodies if we took a few minutes each day to focus on the breath.

You may be surprised at the changes you notice just controlling your breathing for even 5 minutes a day. Try  sitting down and focussing on your normal breath for a few minutes, then start to control it- breathe in and out, slowly and deeply, inhaling and exhaling through your nose.

 

There are many breathing techniques, some extremely simple, others take a little more time to master. If you attend a basic yoga class the teacher will be able to show you many effective techniques. I want to mention a few of my favourites in this post:

Basic Abdominal Breathing/ Low Breathing

If you ask most people to take a deep breath in, we immediately suck in our stomach and force in a sharp inhalation of air through the nose. This is incorrect.

Inhalation occurs when the lungs expand to take in air, air is then exhaled when the lungs contract.

Focus on slowly expanding the abdomen as you inhale through the nose, hold your tummy still for a second and then slowly exhale out through the nose pulling your tummy in. Place your hand on the tummy to help you focus on breathing into this area. It can take a little getting used to at first.

Once you’ve mastered this, try counting while you inhale and exhale- in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 8- increase the numbers you count to as you become more practiced.

 

Full Breathing/ Complete Breathing

Full breathing is the deepest possible breathing. It involves the shoulders, collarbone, ribs, abdomen and diaphragm. Once you have mastered abdominal breathing, you can move on to this more difficult technique.

  • Lie on the floor and tilt your chin into your chest a little.
  • Keep the mouth shut, you should only be inhaling and exhaling through the nose.
  • Breath into your tummy, expand the abdomen.
  • Let the breath move up the torso and expand the diaphragm and rib cage
  • Then try and expand your chest, raise the shoulders a little towards the ears.
  • Feel the breath create warmth in the throat. As you inhale, you should also hear a sound in the throat.
  • Slowly exhale, lower the shoulders and chest, relax the ribs, relax the diaphragm, slowly relax and pull in the abdomen. The slower the better. Use counting to help you maintain control.

 

Alternate Nostril Breathing

My favourite technique, this exercise is extremely relaxing.

Get comfortable- sit on a chair, on the floor or lie down. If you are seated keep your spine erect and shoulders relaxed.

Place your left hand at your side or on the left knee, palms open to the sky.

Close the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in towards your palm. Keep the fingers in this position throughout.

  • Place the ring finger and little finger on the left nostril, to breathe in through the right nostril
  • Gently press your thumb down on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril
  • Then inhale through the left nostril
  • Press the left nostril gently with the ring finger and little finger, to exhale through the right nostril.
  • Repeat this for 5 rounds to begin with, increasing the number of rounds when you are ready.

After every exhalation, remember to breathe in from the same nostril from which you exhaled. Keep your eyes closed throughout.

 

Try and do a little deep breathing each day. It is especially good when you’ve had a tiring or hectic day. Breathing is not only relaxing but energising, so, you can also use it to give yourself a boost. Why not swap your mid-morning coffee for 5 minutes of controlled breathing!

In addition these breathing techniques have many other healthy benefits. Controlled deep breathing….

  • kick-starts the metabolism
  • improves the condition of the core muscles, improving posture.
  • encourages elasticity in the lung tissue, allowing you to take in more oxygen.
  • tones the abdomen.
  • strengthens the immune system.
  • is useful for sufferers of respiratory conditions.
  • reduces levels of tension and anxiety.

So what are you waiting for! Controlled breathing can be done anywhere, by anyone, all ages and abilities.

So breeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeathe!

September 12, 2013

Reflexology Case Study…Treatment 1

by lrmetcalfe

Treatment Plan

We started today’s treatment in the usual way, by discussing our last meeting. We reviewed the changes she has made to her diet; Client A has reduced her diet coke intake to 1 glass a day, however she is still not drinking enough water. She has been eating more vegetables and making sure her meals are well-balanced.

We then went through the client’s expectations for today’s treatment and how she was feeling. She wanted to try and relax; today she was particularly agitated due to issues with work. She felt angry and wanted to let off steam.

She also has the beginnings of a cold- a sore throat and is feeling ‘under-the-weather’. She also felt cold.

I made sure she had a blanket, was warm and asked her to put her work phone  on silent and out of her eye-line, so she could have no diversions to relaxation.

The Treatment

I cleansed her feet and used warm-up foot manipulations and breathing techniques to aid initial relaxation. Her feet were very cold, a sign of poor circulation; apart from this the client has very healthy looking feet- a good sign.

During a reflexology treatment, a reflexologist looks for signs which can tell us more about our client. These signs include, dry skin, corns, calluses, a feeling of ‘popping’ when certain reflexes are pressed- all of these can tell a reflexologist about health problems or ‘imbalances’ in certain areas of the body.

I pressed all reflexes and paid particular attention to the reflexes for the adrenal and hypothalamus glands, lymphatic areas, head, solar plexus, face, eyes and sinuses.

When I pressed Client A’s head, shoulder, thyroid and small intestine reflexes, I felt popping. This shows me that there are imbalances in these areas.

After I pressed the client’s reflexes, she said her feet were feeling a little warmer. I then massaged her feet using grapeseed foot butter.

Feedback

At the end of the treatment the client said she felt much calmer and had forgotten her work troubles.

Changes/ Areas to focus on for the next treatment

At the next treatment I will use a blend of warming oils such as ginger and black pepper to massage the feet, to try and warm the client’s feet and improve circulation.

Aftercare

I have asked the client to try and increase how much water she drinks.

Her multivitamin and mineral supplement should help to support her immune system during her cold, so I’ve told her to ensure she takes this and to try taking a teaspoon of manuka honey to soothe her sore throat.

September 8, 2013

Reflexology Case Study…Meet Client A

by lrmetcalfe

409054_240835962658691_2146072352_nThis article is the first of a series of posts in which I am looking to give you an insight into Reflexology.

A client has agreed for me to use her treatments as a case study and to post my findings in this blog. I will refer to my client as Client A from this point onwards.

Reflexology is a form of foot or hand massage which manipulates points or ‘reflexes’ which correspond to various parts of the body. The practice of Reflexology was developed by the American physiotherapist Eunice Ingham in the 1950s. Eunice spent many hours studying and working on people’s feet, she mapped the anatomy of the body onto the corresponding areas of the feet and this practice developed into Reflexology.

A course of reflexology always begins with an initial consultation in which I find out more about the client’s diet, lifestyle, health conditions and reasons for treatment. The following summarises my initial consultation with ‘Client A’.

Client A

She is a 28 year old, mother of one; she has her own internet sales business and works from home, whilst also managing her household and caring for her 3 year old daughter.

Diet

Currently overweight, she is trying to diet and is a member of a well-known slimming club. She finds when she sticks to her diet she does lose weight, but finds this difficult at times. She drinks a lot of diet coke, approximately 2 litres a day and does not drink very much water. She eats about 2 portions of vegetables a day but doesn’t eat any fruit.

Stress Levels & Relaxation

Suffers from anxiety and has previously had panic attacks, she takes medication for this condition. Her condition is improving and she is trying to reduce the dose of her medication.

She describes her stress levels at home as low and has a good sleep pattern. To relax she enjoys knitting and crocheting.

Activity Levels & Exercise

Does not do any form of regular exercise and her day-to-day activity levels are low. She would like to do more exercise.

Health Conditions/Issues                           

  • Anxiety
  • Acne Rosacea on cheeks and dry skin
  • Tension headaches & pain behind eyes

Reason for Treatment

Client wants to feel healthier and improve her energy levels, often feels lethargic.

My Observations & Feedback

I have advised client to try and eat healthier. She has completed week long diet diary and I have spoken to her as to how to introduce more fruit and vegetables into what she usually eats. I asked her to either give up diet coke or drastically reduce her intake and instead to drink water. She has now cut down to one glass of diet coke a day. I think if she makes these changes to her diet, the condition of her skin will improve.

I have asked the client to supplement with a good quality multivitamin and mineral high in Vitamin C and B Vitamins; also advised to use lavender oil neat on her rosacea daily.

Client A needs to do more exercise as it will speed up weight loss and is a good way to reduce stress and anxiety levels.

My Aims & Areas to focus on

During the course of my treatments, I want to ensure my client uses the time to relax, to reduce her anxiety levels.

I will particularly focus on the reflexes which correspond to the hypothalmus gland, adrenal glands, solar plexus, face, eyes, head and sinuses.

August 26, 2013

Back to School

by lrmetcalfe

It’s that time again!kids

The summer is coming to a close and September is getting; we need to start getting back into the routine. So, I thought I would mention a few holistic helpers to make September a little easier.

Unmotivated sleepy children?

If your children are constantly tired and unfocussed at school, there are two ways you could help…

1. Make sure they have a healthy breakfast.

We all know the importance of breakfast, this meal essentially breaks-the-fast, that we have had whilst sleeping. The brain and body cannot function without this morning hit of energy. Look for slow-releasing carbohydrates, and combine with a portion of protein, if you can get them to eat 1 of their five a day too- this would be an excellent start.

Try one of these:

  • Wholemeal toast, with good-quality peanut butter and a sliced banana/strawberries on top.
  • Low sugar cereal- Weetabix, ready-brek or shreddies, with milk- I like whizzing a banana in with the milk too and pouring this on my cereal- a banana milkshake with cereal!
  • Eggs are a great protein rich start to the day- try cheesey scrambley eggs and wholemeal toast or boiled eggs and soliders.
  • Smoothies- let them get creative, put out a selection of fruit, milk and yoghurt, and get blending.Nakdbars
  • If you’re really in a rush, I love Nakd bars- they are packed with dried fruit and nuts and come in a variety of delicious flavours. One of these with a yoghurt or a piece of fruit is a must have for a busy morning.

2. Make sure their diet is rich in Omega 3.

Omega 3 is all over the news, and is especially important for children. Omega 3 is one of the group of what is known as- essential fatty acids, these are the good fats, the ones we should be eating (!) they have so many health benefits, but we just aren’t consuming enough in our diets.

DHA, has been shown to be the type of omega 3 which is most beneficial for children. Multiple studies have been done into DHA’s importance for a child’s brain development and learning; links have been made between low levels of DHA and behavioural disorders.

These fats are ‘essential’ meaning the body cannot produce enough of them, we need to consume them in our diets- leading us to the main dilemma, the best source of Omega 3 is oily fish- tuna, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring, salmon- not foods most kids love to eat!

Check out my ‘Getting Fishy’ recipe article for some delicious oily-fish recipes, or have a look at fish oil supplements, especially ones high in DHA. Many companies have become well practiced at disguising the ‘fishy’ smell and there are some pleasant fish oil children’s supplements around. My favourites are, ‘Biocare Childrens OmegaBerry’ and ‘Eskimo Kids Fish Oil- Tutti Frutti’.’

Children with itchy heads?

Head lice- eek! My skin is crawling just thinking about it, but September and back to school, often sees the return of these horrible creatures. Tea Tree oil is nature’s answer! To act as a deterrent use tea tree shampoo or rub a little oil behind the ears, around the hair line.

If the critters do invade, use ‘What Nits scalb rub’, which contains tea tree, eucalyptus and neem oil, follow with tea tree shampoo and conditioner, then use a nit comb to scrape out the invaders and their eggs.

Can’t get up when the alarm clock rings?

So, we have dealt with the little ones, what about mum and dad? We all know that horrid feeling when the alarm rings, and you just can’t work up the energy to get out of bed, as the mornings get darker this feeling worsens.

You could try a supplement of 5HTP, it is a naturally occurring amino acid and is a pre-cursor for the production of serotonin- the neurotransmitter which is associated with feelings of happiness and wellbeing and melatonin- essential for the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle.

Low energy levels, can often be improved by supplementing with a high potency muti-vitamin and mineral. Make sure the supplement is high in water soluble B vitamins and vitamin C as these are essential for regulating energy levels and the nervous system. Look for a timed release supplement too, such as ‘Quest Super Once a Day’.

I hope this will help and give you some healthy ideas to get through September.

August 25, 2013

Getting Fishy

by lrmetcalfe

sTrying to increase your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids?

Check out these delicious easy fish recipes.

 

 

 

Neptune Pizza

For kids top with tuna, prawns and sweetcorn; for adults use tuna, anchovies, prawns and spinach leaves.

Serves 4-6

For the dough

375g plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon caster sugar

7g dried active baking yeast

2 tablespoons olive oil

225ml warm water

For the topping

Tomato passata

Cheese

Tuna

Cocktail Prawns

Anchovies

Spinach

Sweetcorn

1. Combine flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Mix in oil and warm water to form dough. Spread out on a large circular baking tray.

2. Spread with a little passata, sprinkle with cheese and add toppings.

3. Bake at 190 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

For another omega 3 hit serve with a rocket salad, using a dressing of lemon juice and flaxseed oil (two parts lemon juice to one part oil).

 

Happy Cheesy Fish Pie

I find traditional cheese pie quite sickly with the white sauce; this cheesy version is moist and delicious. Easy to make with kids, get them to make mini pies in small dishes and decorate with smiley faces, use cherry tomato halves for eyes, a carrot slice for a nose, a pea pod for a mouth- get creative.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

1kg potatoes

1 carrot

2 sticks of celery

150g any white fish

150g salmon

150g smoked haddock

125g prawns

150g cheese

Olive oil

1 lemon- zest & juice

Milk

Butter

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and bring salted water to boil in a pan.

2. Peel potatoes, cut into chunks and add to water.

3. Get an oven dish, (or do steps 3-5 in a bowl and distribute into smaller oven dishes to make mini individual portions). Grate, carrot, celery and cheese into dish (or bowl).

4. Cut fish into chunks and add to oven dish (or bowl).

5. Add lemon zest and juice to fish, drizzle with a little oil and salt and pepper.

6. When potatoes are cooked, mash with a little milk and butter- enough to make a smooth mash.

7. Top fish with mashed potato.

8. If making ‘happy’ cheesy pies, top with smiley faces.

9. Bake in oven for 40 mins.

Serve with salad, steamed green vegetables or baked beans.

 

Tuna Sweetcorn Burgers

Serves 4

Ingredients

85g white bread, torn into pieces

198g can sweetcorn, drained

2 x 185g cans tuna in water, drained

25g grated cheese

3 spring onions, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Wholemeal bread rolls or pitta breads, salsa and salad to serve

1. Whizz the bread in a food processor to crumbs, tip into a bowl, then whizz half the sweetcorn until finely chopped. Add the chopped corn, whole corn, tuna, cheese, spring onions and some salt and pepper into the bowl with the bread and mix well. Add the egg, bit by bit, until the mixture is sticky enough to be shaped into four even-size burgers.

2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, then cook the burgers for 5 mins on each side until golden and hot through the middle. Stuff into buns or pittas with salad and a dollop of salsa.

 

Sesame Haddock

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 slices white bread, blitzed into crumbs

1 tbsp sesame seeds

4 fillets skinless haddock or any white fish

2 tbsp plain yogurt

1 tbsp olive oil

1. Heat oven to 220 degrees.

2. Tip crumbs into a bowl with half the sesame seeds.

3. Brush fish fillets with yogurt and coat in the crumb mix. Lay on a baking tray and sprinkle over the remaining seeds.

4. Drizzle with a little olive oil, then bake for 15-20 mins.

5. Serve with oven-baked sweet potato wedges & coleslaw or salad.

August 19, 2013

The Fast Diet

by lrmetcalfe

The Fast Diet or The 5:2 Diet, is the latest fad sweeping the diet world.

A few of my family members and friends, have started to undertake this diet, after speaking to them, I was concerned about the basis for this regime. I thought I would do some research and write an article on my findings.

 

The Fast Diet- The Premise

Fasting has been a part of many cultures for hundreds of years, and it’s health benefits have been studied by many research programmes.

Early findings show that benefits of intermittent fasting (the style of fasting promoted in the 5:2 diet) include reduced risks of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, insulin resistance and immune disorders. However research is in the early stages, many of these studies have been done on animals or on small, human sample groups.

The author of The Fast Diet, Michael Mosley, designed the 5:2 diet, after filming a BBC documentary called ‘Eat, Fast, Live Longer’. Following his research into fasting for this programme, he decided to restrict his calorie intake to 600 calories for two days a week and eat ‘normally’ for 5 days a week. He lost 19lb and his body-fat percentage decreased. His blood chemistry was analysed before and after the diet and many risk markers for disease such as cholesterol and fasting glucose levels improved.

He wrote a book detailing his experiences and advocating this diet, in which two days a week men consume 600 calories and women 500 calories, eating normally for the rest of the week.

 

What I like about the fast diet-

The sections on insulin and balancing blood sugar were of great interest to me. The diet places emphasis on controlling insulin levels, eating low GI/GL  foods on fast days which keep your blood sugar balanced. There is a lot of research to suggest that by controlling blood sugar levels we can lose weight, increase our energy levels and reduce the risk of contracting diseases such as diabetes.

The meal plans for the fast days do look delicious, and I think it is important if you are following this diet, to try and follow these plans as they ensure you are receiving the maximum amount of nutrients for the small amount of calories consumed.

 

My concerns- What about the 5 days you are not fasting?

‘The Fast Diet’ book goes into great lengths to tell you what to eat on your fast days, and gives a lot of healthy choices; my biggest concern is how little is mentioned about what to eat on the five days a week you are not fasting.

When I first heard about this diet, it was from someone who was excited to do the diet, as he could eat all his favourite junk foods five days a week and then only had to diet twice a week. The book says ‘eat what you like 5 days a week’, and provides no further guidance-so what if I like to eat a diet high in saturated fat, processed foods and low in fruit, vegetables and fibre, 5 days a week?

Does eating a small amount of healthy food twice a week, compensate for 5 days of eating unhealthily? The book assumes that we all know how to eat healthily for the 5 days a week, but a nation that struggles with obesity and a UK diet industry worth 2 billion pounds, may suggest otherwise.

 

What dieters say… A woman’s point of view:

Why did the Fast Diet appeal to you?
I can eat normally for 5 days I only have to count calories/ cook special meals twice a week. This is convenient as sometimes on diets I end up cooking three meals for me, husband and 3 year old child.

Did you experience any side effects when completing the fast diet?

On fast days I was hungry and lacked energy but otherwise no.

What do you think the pros and cons of the diet are?

Pros – health benefits are major and only dieting for 2 days
Cons -hard to have a ‘normal’ day on a fast day as you’re quite tired

How long have you done the diet for, do you think it is sustainable, could you do it long-term?
I did it for two weeks but lost and then gained weight, as I was eating too much on non-fast days.  I will go back on the diet when I have lost weight to maintain, as it’s much easier than doing a diet every day. I stopped as I needed to lose weight more quickly as am planning to have a baby but will definatly do it again for the health benefits. I think it is sustainable and I could do it long term.

How much weight have you lost doing this diet?

I lost 4lb and put 2lb back on so lost 2lb over 2 weeks.

Did you experience any health benefits other than weight loss when doing this diet?
No, not that I am aware of.

 

What dieters say… A man’s point of view:

Why did the Fast Diet appeal to you?

I saw the Horizon programme on BBC 2. I have believed for some time that fasting could be beneficial to health, the programme listed the benefits and backed them up with scientific research, this prompted me to start the diet.

Did you experience any side-effects when completing the fast diet?

No

What do you think the pros and cons of the diet are?

Pros- I find the diet works for me

Cons- The con, which is true of all diets- they are difficult to follow

How long have you done the diet for, do you think it is sustainable, could you do it long-term?

Three weeks, I believe the diet is sustainable, if you have the will-power to continue with it.

How much weight have you lost doing this diet?

6lb

Did you experience any health benefits other than weight loss when doing this diet?
No other noticeable health benefits.

 

What the NHS says…

The UK National Health Service posted an article about the diet on its website, citing limited evidence for weight loss in humans, and a lack of good evidence for increasing lifespan, improving cognitive decline, and prolonging life in humans in real life (as opposed to animal and laboratory results). The conclusion was: “compared to other types of weight loss programmes the evidence base of the safety and effectiveness of the 5:2 diet is limited. If you are considering it then you should first talk to your GP to see if it is suitable for you”.

 

My conclusion…

Research continues on fasting, and until there is more solid evidence on the best way to fast as part of a healthy diet, I would think carefully and consult your doctor on whether the 5:2 diet is suitable for you.

At the end of the day, the basis of ‘the Fast Diet’ is good old-fashioned calorie restriction. We all know if we want to lose weight we need to eat less, eat healthier foods and exercise more. I believe one of the main reasons the fast diet is so appealing is because it allows us to eat the foods we love but know are bad for us.

However, if you eat healthily and increase your activity levels, there is no reason why you cannot treat yourself occasionally.

I believe that the minute we place ourselves on a ‘diet’ we are setting ourselves up to fail, a ‘diet’ suggests a short-term change.  We should place more emphasis on eating and cooking healthier foods and living a more active lifestyle for the rest of our lives.

August 13, 2013

The Perfect Picnic

by lrmetcalfe

picnic

The Great British Picnic- a wonderful accompaniment to a summer outing in the UK, but how many times do you find yourself wanting more than the usual soggy sandwich?

There are so many healthy, delicious picnic ideas out there you could try. Here is a collection of my favourites:

 

Panzanella

Ingredients

700g very ripe, tomatoes

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp cider vinegar

½ a loaf slightly stale s bread (300-400g), torn into chunks

About 25 black olives

1 small cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into thick half-moons

1 small red onion, halved and finely sliced

1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed

A handful of basil leaves, torn

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Put the tomatoes in a large bowl and crush them with your hands. Tip them into a sieve and push through. Discard the skin and pips. Add the oil, vinegar and plenty of salt and pepper to the tomato juice to make a dressing.

2. Put the bread in a large bowl and pour over the dressing. Add the olives, cucumber, red onion, capers and basil. Toss everything together well with your hands. Leave for 20 minutes and serve or pack up in lunchboxes for your picnic.

 

Minty Coleslaw

This quick, easy and fresh coleslaw recipe, goes well on crusty rolls with ham or cheese.

Ingredients

½ red cabbage, finely shredded

½ white cabbage, finely shredded

½ onion, skinned and finely chopped

2 carrots, peeled and finely shredded

6 tbsp natural yoghurt

3 tbsp mint jelly

Black pepper

1. Mix the yoghurt and mint jelly in a large bowl.

2. Add the vegetables and mix well, if the yoghurt doesn’t coat the vegetables, add more yoghurt and mint jelly.

3. Season with black pepper to taste.

 

Mini pitta pizzas

Great for kids, they can make their own combinations and add their favourite toppings.

Makes 8 mini pizzas

Ingredients

4 Pitta breads, chopped into halves

Tomato puree

50g cheddar cheese

Topping ideas

  • Mozarella Cheese, Parmesan Cheese
  • Tuna, prawns
  • Sweetcorn, Jalapenos, Peppers, Onion, Chilli, Olives, Capers, Cherry Tomatoes, Mushrooms
  • Chorizo, Ham, Chicken, Pepperami, Bacon, Turkey
  • Pineapple
  • Boiled egg

1. Heat oven to 200C and put a baking tray inside to heat up. Spread each pitta with 1 tsp purée, add your favourite toppings and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.

2. Place the pittas on the tray and bake for 10 mins until the pittas are crisp and the cheese has melted. Leave to cool and pack in lunchboxes for your picnic.

 

Fruity Kebabs

You can get as creative as you want with these fruity kebabs, however I love this combination, it can also be drizzled with honey and grilled on a barbeque for a summer pudding.

Ingredients

Mango, nectarine,pineapple, banana, strawberries.

1. Soak skewers in cold water for an hour.

2. Cut the fruit into chunks, thread the fruits onto the skewers, alternating the different types.