Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Hows the Cycling going you ask

Last week I started cycling to work 5K to the station and 5K from Euston into wok so that's 20K a day. It was hard pushed at first to get used to Cycling in London what with all the traffic and a few incidents thrown in where I couldn't declip from my clip ins quickly enough, resulting in some great photos for the Japanese Tourists. At the end of the week I was feeling great having clocked up 100K just from cycling to work and what with my Triathlon ride of 45K and a ride round the park with my lovely young lady thats a grand total of 165K, not bad.
I can only use the moutnain bike at the moment and am in the market for a fold up bike to negotiate the Train rules of no bikes during busy times but my PB for Euston to St James's Park is 11 minutes. 

Just from cycling to work my garmin has clocked it as 500 calories each way (Im having that checked as the iphone Map My ride clocks it as 300 each way) so roughly around 600-1000 calories a day from cycling to work, Not bad, not bad at all and it beats the tube

Hope you are all inspired by the sunshine and taking advantage of getting out on the bikes.  

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Cycling to work this week, 3 miles to the station then 3 miles through London. Unfortunately SPD's are not London friendly and with the amount of Traffic and Traffic lights it's rather a nuisance to keep unclipping and clipping back in in time to stop. A big thankyou to the Japanese tourist today who stopped to help me when my SPD failed to declip at the lights, resulting in me kissing the kirb. Although posing next to me for pictures taken by the rest of the coachload of tourists was a bit much. Perhaps I should have charged commision fee like Brad Pitt.

Monday, 14 May 2012

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Saturday, 5 May 2012

Why is peanut butter "healthy" if it has saturated fat?

Q. I keep reading that peanut butter is a healthy food. But it contains saturated fat and has more sodium than potassium. That doesn't sound healthy to me.
A. The presence of saturated fat doesn't automatically put a food into the "unhealthy" camp. Olive oil, wheat germ, and even tofu are all "healthy" foods but have some saturated fat. It's the whole package of nutrients, not just one or two, that determines how good a particular food is for health.
If you look at the peanut butter package you’ll see one serving (about 2 tablespoons) has 3.3 grams of saturated fat and 12.3 grams of unsaturated fat, or about 80% unsaturated fat. That puts it up there with olive oil in terms of the ratio of unsaturated to saturated fat. Peanut butter also gives you some fiber, some vitamins and minerals (including 200 milligrams of potassium), and other nutrients. Unsalted peanut butter, with 5 milligrams of sodium, has a terrific potassium-to-sodium ratio. Salted peanut butter has roughly twice as much potassium as sodium. That profile compares quite favorably with bologna, roast beef, and many other sandwich fixings.
Over the years, numerous studies have shown that people who regularly include nuts or peanut butter in their diets are less likely to develop heart disease or type 2 diabetes than those who rarely eat nuts. Although it is possible that nut eaters are somehow different from, and healthier than, non-nutters, it is more likely that nuts themselves have a lot to do with these benefits.
Saturated fat isn't the deadly toxin it is sometimes made out to be. The body's response to saturated fat in food is to increase the amounts of both harmful LDL and protective HDL in circulation. In moderation, some saturated fat is okay. Eating a lot of it, though, promotes artery-clogging atherosclerosis, the process that underlies most cardiovascular disease. In contrast, unsaturated fats, which make up the majority of the fat content in peanut butter, help reduce LDL cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease.
I try to eat as healthful a diet as I can. It includes all kinds of nuts, as well as peanut and other nut butters.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Secrets to drinking coffee as a health benefit

Mmm, coffee... almost everybody drinks it... some people have 3-4 cups per day or more. 

But most people don't think of it as a "health drink".  And it's certainly NOT healthy the way most people make it with loads of added sugar or artificial sweeteners and artificial creamers.

But I'll give you my tips here on how I make a healthier cup of coffee and what to watch out for...

First, you may have seen debate in the past about how coffee has some compounds in it that could have negative health effects such as some tars or other possibly inflammatory compounds in brewed coffee.  But, the good news is that coffee has such high concentrations of beneficial antioxidants, phenolic nutrients, chlorogenic acids, and other healthy compounds, that it more than counteracts any bad compounds.

In fact, coffee provides the biggest source of antioxidants for most Americans.  Although a lot of that has to do with the fact that many Americans don't get enough antioxidants from fruits and veggies, so coffee ends up being their biggest source.  You should try to diversify your sources of antioxidants from fruits, veggies, spices, berries, beans, unsweetened organic cocoa, teas, and yes, even coffee if you like it.

So what's the best way to make a healthy cup of coffee?  Well, here's my 3 most important tricks to maximize the benefits of coffee and minimize the negatives:

1.  First of all, you need to AVOID adding any refined sugar or harmful artificial sweeteners.  What I do instead is use either a very small touch of organic maple syrup or a half packet of natural stevia to just lightly sweeten my coffee.  If you like your coffee black with no sweetener at all, that's the healthiest way.

If you're getting your coffee at a coffee shop, make sure to avoid all of those fancy specialty coffees (sweetened flavored lattes, frappuccinos, etc) as they are almost ALWAYS loaded with extra sugars or artificial sweeteners.  Some of those fancy coffee drinks at Starbucks or other coffee shops can have 300-400 calories in just one coffee!  Definitely not good for your body or your blood sugar or insulin levels.

A latte or cappucino can be okay as long as you make sure to ask for it unsweetened, and then use your own stevia if you need a light sweet taste.

2.  You also should try to AVOID at all costs any of those crappy artificial creamers (liquid or powder), which are usually made with corn syrup solids and hydrogenated oils (harmful trans fats).  Instead, use a little bit of REAL full-fat cream (organic grass-fed if you can find it, as the CLA in grass-fed cream is very healthy). 

Or, better yet, what I've been using for a while now is coconut milk/cream as one of the healthiest creamer alternatives.  I get this by buying cans of organic coconut milk, and then after opening the can (shake the can well before opening), I store the coconut milk in the fridge in a container.  Note that the cans of coconut milk are much creamier and better as a coffee creamer than those cartons of "coconut milk drink" which are just watered down coconut milk.

The thick creamy coconut milk is the healthiest option for coffee creamer because it's loaded with super healthy saturated fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are known to boost your immune system and your metabolism!  Plus, coconut milk in coffee is just plain delicious!  It's the best healthy creamer option by far.

When people visit my house and we make a pot of coffee, I'll have them try the coconut milk/cream in their coffee and almost everyone always comments how much they love it!

3.  If you want to load your coffee up with more healthy antioxidants and good taste, consider trying some added cinnamon to your coffee (cinnamon can help control blood sugar and has many other health benefits).  It's also really tasty in coffee!

I also sometimes like to add a teaspoon of organic cocoa powder (non-sweetened) to my coffee to make my own sort of mocha coffee (but without the loads of sugar in a typical mocha you'd get at the coffee shop).  The added cocoa powder also gives you great taste and a good dose of extra healthy antioxidants (and cocoa is also known for helping to lower blood pressure!)

I personally only drink coffee about 2-3 times per week, because I don't want to get addicted to caffeine like some people are.  I see people that drink 3-4 cups per day that get a massive headache if they don't have their daily coffee due to caffeine withdrawal.  I choose to avoid this addiction by only drinking it about 3-4 times a week, and I drink various teas like green, oolong, black, and detox teas most other days, which are much lower in caffeine if any at all.

But despite the caffeine content, there is loads of data that show the high antioxidant levels and health benefits to coffee.

Lastly, it's extremely important to choose organic coffee beans, as conventional coffee is one of the most heavily treated crops with pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides.  Remember that one of the many health risks with these chemicals is that some pesticides can act as "xenoestrogens" in your body, disrupting hormone balance for both men and women.  Chronic xenoestrogen exposure can also be one cause of "stubborn abdominal fat" in both sexes as well as "man boobs" in men... so choose organic as often as you can with most foods, but especially with coffee!