Pear and ginger protein porridge | The Daily Glow

Pear and ginger protein porridge – breakfast in bed

Cold and dark mornings make life that little bit harder (this time of year I constantly question my decision to move home from Australia…Gold Coast, I miss you), but coffee and porridge (and cashmere) make it somewhat bearable.  I’ve added some extra protein to this recipe to help minimise the blood sugar spike the typical bowl of oats can cause.  I always make porridge with almond milk, as I try and keep it dairy free, and add nuts and seeds too.  This recipe gives the creamiest dairy-free porridge I’ve managed to make yet, and a  rainy Sunday morning is the perfect time to curl up on the couch or in bed with it.

Pear and ginger protein porridge | The Daily Glow

Serves 2 (or one if you’re hungry)

  • 1 x pear – 1/3 grated, 2/3 chopped
  • 1 x apple (red – gives the best flavour) 1/3 grated, 2/3 chopped
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger (ground)
  • Oats (1.5 cups)
  • 1 x heaped teaspoon coconut oil
  • Almond milk
  • 1 x egg

 

Soak the oats in a pot with almond milk for 10minutes, while you chop and grate the fruit. Heat some oil in a pan and lightly fry the chopped fruit and cinnamon.

Add the coconut oil, ginger and grated fruit to the oats and turn on the heat.  Stir porridge gently to dissolve the coconut oil, and when this is mixed in and most of the almond milk has been absorbed (and the porridge is practically cooked) add in the egg and stir vigorously – you have to be quick with this step or you may end up with egg-fried-porridge.

Pear and ginger protein porridge | The Daily Glow

Top with cinnamon and nutmeg to taste (and nuts/granola/dark chocolate if you’re feeling very extravagant) and serve with a large coffee and a good book.

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

Turmeric and vitamin C smoothie to fight off the flu

Is there anyone out there that is not actually sick? Seriously?  I thought I would have avoided it, due to a combination of not doing the dog on it over the festive season, and having the flu vaccine all the way back in October.  Nope, aches and pains, feeling light-headed and sniffling, with a mo’fo of a sore throat to top it off…even though perhaps it would be worse without said vaccine?  Who knows, and right now I don’t care, I just want to feel better.

 

We’ve all heard the classic advice, fluids, rest and paracetamol…but what if that’s just not cutting it?  Vitamin C, zinc, vitamin B – check.  After gargling water until drowning seems a realistic possibility, and genuinely considering swallowing an entire tube of the topical anaesthetic in work, I found some other ways to soothe my symptoms.

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

  1. Liquid chlorophyll

I’ve mentioned this before in relation to acne and clear skin, and the brand I’d recommend is Nature’s Sunshine, usually available from Here’s Health, or your local health food store might be able to order it in for you.  Chlorophyll is a great all round detoxer (hello there, January) but also really good to soothe a sore throat – and diluted in water, it’s another way to up your much needed fluid intake. The Nature’s Sunshine version tastes nice and isn’t as concentrated as some brands, which means it shouldn’t stain you teeth (some of them are really thick and dark).  I add a tablespoon to a 2L bottle that I keep in the fridge to drink throughout the day, and will have a few glasses with a half a teaspoon to treat a sore throat on top of that.  It has a really nice cooling effect and I have yet to get sick of the taste (can’t say as much for cough syrup).

 

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

2.  Tea tree oil

A blocked nose can really benefit from facial steaming (especially if your hearing has become affected) and I like to add tea tree oil to the bowl – which will not only help clear your sinuses, but  is also great for any skin breakouts.  Another way to do this is the get yourself an oil diffuser – I have a water based one in work that helps my surgery not smell like the dentist (which can help with nervous patients) and humidifies the air, helping both my sinuses and skin to function better (air conditioning can be a nightmare for both).  Not too sure where my diffuser came from, as it was a present, but you can easily find some online.

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

 

3. Turmeric

Currently in fashion, mainly for it’s anti-inflammatory effects, I’ve written about its benefits before.  Not only is it anti-inflammatory, but turmeric also has anti-microbial properties.  I have turmeric with hot water, lemon and ginger most days, but while run down I looked to up the dose somewhat – and this smoothie was the result:

1 x banana

1 x t1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 x small knob ginger, peeled

1 can of coconut milk (I use the full fat version, but either should work)

Handful of raspberries

Juice of 1/3 of a lemon

Turmeric and Vitamin C smoothie | The Daily Glow

Blend together and serve with your favourite netflix series and a box of tissues.  Have you also been struck down with the flu?  I’d love to hear any tips you have for fighting it off, and if you try any of the above – I hope they help!

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers | The Daily Glow

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers

I am a big “Wow” burger fan, as my instagram followers are well aware – but as its January (and dark and horrible…when will it end?) and I’m aiming for a month of being hangover-free, I will most likely be Wow burger free also.  I’m addicted to the kale and quinoa burgers from Strong Roots, but decided I needed a back up plan so I don’t overdose on them.  I was a vegetarian for a long time, and actually cooking meat tends to freak me out out of the time…so sweet potato burgers made the cut.  By popular request, find below a recipe for some that I made recently – which actually turned out to be vegan:

  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, roasted (VIP that they are roasted, not microwaved or boiled – flavour is nothing as good)
  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa (I used red, because that’s what I had in my cupboard – the colour will only really change the appearance, not the flavour, so use whatever you have/find)
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • coconut oil
  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup + of flour

*If you need to make these gluten free, just make sure to use gluten free cornstarch and flour.

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.  Peel the sweet potato and wrap separately in tinfoil, ad bake until soft – I find this takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes, depending on the shape of the potatoes.  Mash once roasted.

While these are roasting, cook the lentils and quinoa according to each packets instructions.

Mix the spices together, and place spinach leaves in a large bowl.  Begin sautéing the onions and garlic once everything else is cooked.

Mix together the mash, lentils, quinoa, onions and garlic, spices and spinach, adding the cornflour and 1 cup of flour as you do so.  Using some extra flour on your hands, make up to 8 burgers and place on baking paper on a large baking tray or chopping board (one that fits in your fridge).  Leave for a few hours or overnight.

This will make about 8 burgers – which, unless you have a giant family to feed, will probably make you feel sick to eat (they only keep for 2-3 days in the fridge).  I freeze about 5 of them whenever I make them, as 3 is the most I can get through in a couple of days.  2 will fit well in a small ziplock bag, just make sure to fold it over so they’re not touching each other (and subsequently stick together).

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers | The Daily Glow

Fry lightly in coconut oil, and serve with tomato relish (Ballymaloe for me, please) and mayonnaise – or veganaise if you prefer. I find I don’t really need a bun with these, as they have quite a “carby” taste to them anyway, and work well with a salad, or sliced avocado (I feel life in general works well with sliced avocado).

Spiced spinach and sweet potato burgers | The Daily Glow

There’s always a bit more work in vegetarian food, if you really want some flavour – but I found these ones worth the effort. Let me know how you get on with them, and I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

Butter and coffee – and mental clarity

Bulletproof coffee has been a fad for a few years now – with its main presence of social media consisting of videos of butter being blended with coffee and coconut oil.  It has been claimed to promote weight loss, improve physical performance and seriously boost energy…but do any of these claims actually stack up?

The original bulletproof recipe came from Dave Asprey, the bulletproof executive.  I started following Dave’s blog years ago, when he was experimenting with anything and everything that could make him more productive, and before his coffee recipe became a thing.  He has spent a serious amount of time and money trying out different sleep patterns, diets and exercise (among other things), in an attempt to discover the most efficient and easiest way to feel as healthy and energetic as possible – so he’s not advocating spending every hour in the gym and eating only green plants, but instead trying to “biohack” his body for maximum results, with the least investment of time and energy necessary.

I started drinking bulletproof coffee after reading Dave’s book, Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster-in Just Two Weeks, last May.  I had started a new job, and was studying part time, so I was looking for a way to focus more clearly and for longer – and one that wasn’t going to take up a tonne of my time, as I didn’t really have any to spare.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

I now have bulletproof coffee (and usually only bulletproof coffee) for breakfast, and have converted some of my nearest and dearest to it too.  There are a number of variations on the recipe, but I have the following:

  • one large cafetiere of coffee
  • a tablespoon of butter
  • a tablespoon of XCT oil (a fraction of coconut oil, consisting of medium chain triglycerides and completely flavourless)
  • a spoon of collagelatin protein powder

I blend all of this together in a nutribullet and drink it on the way to work.  With this I take omega 3 fish oils and Coenzyme Q 10 – because they are apparently best absorbed if consumed with fat.  I’ve noticed a big difference in mental clarity, as promised, and both my mood and blood sugar appear to be more stable.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

 

Blood sugar

Previously, I was the type of person that had to eat regularly, or I simply couldn’t function.  Having patients that ran through my lunch could be a big problem sometimes, and I would feel pretty awful if I didn’t eat when I was supposed to.   I have seen the difference that bulletproof coffee has made most clearly in this area – missing my lunch is unfortunately a regular enough occurrence, but once I’ve had my coffee, I no longer become foggy-headed or as tired as I did before.  I’ve had days when I haven’t had the chance to eat until after 5pm (not something I’d recommend), but have almost forgotten I missed lunch because the impact has been minimal.

 

Mid morning slump

This has all but disappeared – that crash that I used to experience after regular coffee (particularly on an empty stomach) no longer sends me looking  for toast/chocolate/anything that looks vaguely appealing around 11am – although if there’s a delivery of donuts from Aungier Danger in the staff room, I am not responsible for my actions.

 

Mental clarity

Avoiding both the mid morning slump and light headed moments have obviously improved how well I’m able to function, but on top of that, my head just feels clearer anyway – and I find it so much easier to focus, and for longer periods of time   The way I’ve really noticed this is that when I have porridge or toast as well as my coffee, I don’t have that same clarity.  This is, I think, down to the carbohydrates in the said toast or porridge.  Reducing carbohydrates or calories can promote a fat burning state called ketosis, in which your body gets energy from fat (ketone bodies) instead of glucose.  The XCT oil in the coffee contains exogenous ketones, and, along with reducing carbs, can help your body to burn fuel from fat instead of glucose – something that is gaining popularity in both fitness and health circles, as it can supposedly increase mental clarity and promote fat loss.

Bulletproof Coffee | The Daily Glow

Weight

I haven’t noticed much of a difference weight wise, although I would imagine if you have a big problem with cravings throughout the day (and have a job that allows you to eat while working), this could have a big impact on unwanted weight gain.  Some of my friends have found it fills them up though, and they tend to snack less as a result – and they can eat at their desk etc.

 

Have you tried bulletproof coffee, or any version of it yet?  Or do you have a go-to breakfast that is as quick to make?  I’d love to hear what keeps you focused throughout the day, and especially if you’ve your own variation of the recipe above!

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Supplements for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

The best supplements for glowing skin

While I do try and follow a healthy diet for the most part (weekly Wow burger habit not withstanding), and I don’t believe you should be too reliant on supplements, there are a few things I find hard to get enough of solely from food – and really recommend for that added glow.  And, with Black Friday approaching, it’s not a bad time to stock up on them.

 

Fish oils and omega 3

So what’s the deal with the omegas?  Do you need 3, 6 and 9?  No. Omega 9 is not classed as an essential fatty acid (which means your body can make it from other things), but you do need to make sure you’re getting enough 3 and 6 as your body can’t create these .  The Western diet tends to be heavy on omega 6, but not so much 3.  Omegas 6 and 3 work best when consumed in a ratio of somewhere between 1:1 and 5:1, however, many of us tend eat 15-16 times as much omega 6 as omega 3 – which throws this way out of balance.  Corn oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil and nuts and seeds all contain plenty of omega 6, but you really need to look to oily fish, along with flaxseeds and walnuts to get your omega 3.  (How many times can you say omega in one paragraph?)  I’m not great for cooking fish (or meat for that matter), so I take a fish oil supplement daily with my bulletproof coffee.  Omega 3 helps boost brain function, decrease inflammation (essential for glowing skin, regardless of your initial complaint) and improve skin moisture – sorely needed with the central heating I’ve been blasting over the past 24 hours (how am I so surprised every winter when it gets this cold?).

Supplements for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

Zinc

Low zinc levels have been linked to acne, as I’ve mentioned before, and whenever I run out of it for long enough I get white flecks on my nails – another sign of zinc intake being less than optimal.  Zinc picinolate and zinc sulphate are the more easily absorbed forms – I’ve stuck to zinc picinolate (out of habit, I know where it is on the shelf)and find it works well.  Certain medications or a copper deficiency can be negatively affected by zinc supplementation, so do check with your doctor first if either might affect you.

 

Gelatin and Collagen protein powder

Vegetarians and vegans look away now – collagen protein powder appears only to come in animal based form (however, if you do come across something similar that is plant-based, please let me know).  It is dairy free though, which I like, as the more common whey based protein powder can cause a skin flare up.  I’m currently taking the Bulletproof brand of Collagelatin, which is sourced from grass-fed cows, and has a similar nutrient profile to the oh-so-fashionable “bone broth” – basically loaded with amino acids and collagen that can benefit your skin, joints and bones, and help with weight management (it fills you up).  But it is a hell of a lot easier to prepare than broth – I blend mine in coffee, and have also made raspberry jellies with it (not quite as time intensive as bone broth – have you seen the advised cooking times for that stuff? 12 hours appears standard.  Ain’t nobody got time for that – incidentally though, Dunnes Stores do a decent one in their fresh foods/fridge section).  Gelatin can also facilitate healing of the lining of your stomach and reduce inflammation – and can reduce wrinkles and cellulite – so once again leading the way toward clear, glowing skin.

Supplements for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

 

Currently I take the above supplements every day (or I will be again as soon as my order from discountsupplements.ie arrives – I am running low) along with magnesium and a B vitamin.  This is the combination that I have found works well for me, after a lot of trial and error – I wouldn’t recommend that recipe as an across-the-board combination for everyone, but I’d love to hear what you would recommend, and please mail me if you’ve any questions about brands or formulations.

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Dairy Free Recipes | The Daily Glow

5 Dairy Free Recipes

Cutting back on dairy, despite the benefits my skin has experienced, has not been easy.  I have always been a big chocolate fan, and custard, crème brûlee and ice cream are up there with my favourite desserts.  So although I definitely still indulge in the odd milkshake or dessert, for the most part I avoid it – which has been helped by experimenting with dairy-free recipes.

Oat milk is the best replacement for milk in tea and coffee that I’ve found, especially this one (thank you Russell, you did say it was a game changer) from Oatley.  I like almond milk in porridge, with cinnamon and berries, and coconut yoghurt practically tastes like dessert.  I’ve found a few recipes online that do actually taste as good as dairy based ones, and can be a bit less expensive than health food shops.

Dairy Free Recipes | The Daily Glow

  • Homemade coconut yoghurt from The Little Green Spoon – one of the best websites to check out if you’re looking for baking options without dairy, gluten or processed sugar.
  • This panna cotta recipe from Food Renegade, which I particularly like because it’s not sweetened with dates (is it just me or are all “healthy” desserts these days just a variation of date flavoured something? Date-flavoured banoffi, date-flavoured brownies, date energy balls…personally, I can’t take anymore dates).
  • Food renegade once again comes up trumps with this ice-cream, that doesn’t require an ice cream maker (what people expect you to have in your kitchen these days sometimes astounds me).
  • These raspberry jellies from the I Quit Sugar website are so easy, and full of gelatin – which is great for your gut health and skin, and could not be easier to make.  I use the same Collagelatin that I put in my bulletproof coffee every morning.

Dairy Free Recipes | The Daily Glow

  • And finally, the original Bulletproof coffee itself – not a dairy-free recipe but you could leave out the butter (as I mentioned before, butter doesn’t seem to count as dairy, as far as my skin is concerned) and this coffee has now become my regular breakfast.  A scoop of collagen protein (which I tried initially), or collagelatin, as above, really fills me up for the morning – and I don’t get any post-caffeine crash afterwards.  I definitely find my mental clarity is improved, and it can also be useful for anyone trying to shed some excess weight (so basically a magic drink).

Dairy Free Recipes | The Daily Glow

Have you tried a variation of any of the above?  I am always on the lookout for more recipes, so I’d love to hear from you if you have any you’d recommend.

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Does dairy cause acne? | The Daily Glow

Does dairy cause acne?

Acne has many supposed causes, ranging from a genetic predisposition to gut health and skin hygiene – so it can be difficult to decide what to believe, and figure out what will work for you.  Although there are many dermatologists that refute any relationship between diet and acne vulgaris, dairy comes up time again among patients and magazine articles as a possible trigger.  I have found myself that there is no comparison between the clarity of my skin on a dairy-free* diet and how prone to breakouts it is when I’m having milk etc on a daily basis.  My own recipe for clear skin includes a proper skincare routine, regular exercise, zinc and chlorophyll supplementation and avoiding dairy – and most of the time it works pretty well.

*When I say dairy-free, I do still eat butter, as this doesn’t seem to have any effect either way.  This is supported by research to date that links low-fat milk consumption to acne more strongly than regular full-fat milk – which would suggest that the fat itself is not the issue.  (Fat is a friend, not a foe, remember?)

Does dairy cause acne? | The Daily Glow

One of the most common (and confidence-knocking) complaints my patients have is acne – honestly, I don’t know that I ever see people get so down about something that is not remotely life threatening, and doesn’t physically stop them from functioning.  The emotional and social impact is huge, and I have seen personalities do a complete 180 after their skin cleared up, changing from a shy, socially awkward wallflower that won’t make eye-contact, to a bubbly, friendly individual that walks into the clinic with a smile on their face.

Does dairy cause acne? | The Daily Glow

Acne is physically caused by sebum and dead skin cells clogging a pore (blackheads or comeodomes), which then become inflamed, and finally, infected.  Here, and here are some ways you can treat this topically.  The consistency and amount of sebum produced is very important – although excess sebum is blamed as one of the root causes of acne, you want some sebum that flows easily through the pore without getting clogged, as this is also what keeps your skin moisturised and supple.  Your hormones and diet can impact this very important consistency – so this is how, I would imagine, dairy can have an impact.  I generally prescribe different skincare products for acne patients (Obagi is my current go-to), as there can most definitely be local causes, but in my opinion, diet most definitely plays a part.

A study in published in 2005 showed intake of dairy in adolescence was associated with a history of teenage acne.  This may be caused by the presence of hormones and bioactive agents in milk (cows are technically breast-feeding, so hormones will be present, no matter how “organic” your milk is).  Many of these substances are precursors to DHT (dihydrotestosterone), the main stimulator of acne.  IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor one), which is also implicated in the malfunction of sebum and hair follicles and pores, and the IGF-1 in cows is similar to that in humans, and therefore may promote acne by its effect on the hormones involved in sebum production etc.

Does dairy cause acne? | The Daily Glow

The quality of the studies linking dairy and acne currently is not of the highest standard, and further research is definitely needed in this area – but coupled with my own experience, and other anecdotal stories, I think dairy is a likely cause of acne in many cases.  And if you’re having trouble with breakouts and suffering from acne, it’s undoubtedly worth a try (banging your head off a wall, not so much).  Have you ever tried cutting out dairy or any other food for the sake of your skin?  I’d love to hear what has worked for you.

 

 

 

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Travel Tips | The Daily Glow

Travel tips – keep your glow at 36,000 feet

In the last few months I’ve been over and back to London like a yoyo,  and up and down the motorway between Cork and Dublin more often than I can count, along with conferences and other events…so I am officially an expert at hand luggage and packing last minute (as despite my best intentions, last minute is always how it ends up).

Generally for short trips, clothes are not an issue – and if they are, I am definitely not the expert (I wear pyjamas,  aka scrubs,  for a living), but when you are limited to a single 1 litre plastic bag and 100ml bottles, cosmetics and the like certainly are.   Added onto this is the dehydrating effects of flying, the lost sleep that usually accompanies frequent travel and the less-than-ideal diet that seems to be my main travel companion (chips and hot chocolate for dinner, anyone?).

So, what can one do to ensure every trip, be it for work or leisure, doesn’t completely mess with your healthy lifestyle?  Because I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to have a cheat meal (cheat weekend, realistically) I’d like to spend it having fun with my friends or at a festival – not in the lounge at Gatwick airport.

 

Hydrate – inside and out

Easier said than done, but probably the most important factor.  Most of us don’t drink enough water as it is, and our digestive systems, skin and mental clarity can all be noticeably affected by this – especially when you’re then surrounded by air conditioning and heating all the time.  If I have an early flight I will always go to bed with a pint of water beside my bed, to be drunk on waking (before bed is  not the most ideal time, unless you’d also like to add bathroom trips to your reasons for lack of sleep).  I drink a green smoothie before I leave the house with flaxseed oil, cucumber and coconut water in it (among other things – those three on their own are not the most appealing thing to drink), and keep a dioralyte or two in my travel bag.

Travel Tips | The Daily Glow

Coconut oil is my go-to body moisturiser, and always make an effort to put some on the morning of a flight (just watch your clothes, especially if you’re wearing silk – you need to give it a few minutes to dry).  Elizabeth Arden’s iconic 8 hour cream really is all it’s cracked up to be when it comes to moisturising – fantastic for lips, cuticles and any dry patches, so along with a hand moisturiser from L’Occitan, I always have one in my travel bag.

Coffee and wine are both dehydrating, but seeing as I’m a shadow of myself without coffee, and CityJet offer a a complimentary glass of wine on their evening flights (I’m not realistically going to turn that down on a Friday evening), I’ve resigned myself to just working harder and hydrating myself and embracing the perks of flying with someone other than Ryan Air.

Travel Tips | The Daily Glow

Buy a silk eye mask

I’ve discussed my love of silk eye masks before, you can get mine on Amazon – and even if you have no trouble nodding off at night, you might want one for frequent travel.  Along with a pair of ear plugs, a comfortable eye mask is essential for catching up on lost hours of sleep on the train, bus or plane – especially if you’re lucky enough to be sitting near a few kids.  Even if I’m only away for the day, the evening light home can be ideal for a half hour snooze, so I always bring my eye mask in my handbag.

 

Exercise

Tim Ferris will famously go to the hotel gym shortly after touching down, even if his flight gets in at 2am – because he finds his jet lag, and the general “post-flight feeling” hugely reduced if he does so.  Now I am definitely not quite as committed to the cause (yet, at any rate) but wearing runners flying and trying to get some decent walking in shortly after landing helps me feel a little more normal (and tends not to be an issue in London, as there’s plenty of walking to be done anyway).  If I’m away for a couple of days I’ll always bring my running gear and try and fit in a short session at least once or twice – even if it’s just 15minutes, once I sweat to some degree I tend to feel better, and my skin certainly thanks me for it.

Travel Tips | The Daily Glow

I’ve learnt the hard way that eating a load of croissants and/or cakes in the departure lounge does not help me feel any better (especially if I’m flying for work), and sometimes it still happens…but the above tips do help minimise how sick I can feel, and definitely help me avoid that post-flight “look” with dehydrated skin and puffy eyes.  Have you found a way to resist the  temptation of the sugary pastries?  My schedule doesn’t look like it’s going to let up anytime soon, so I would to hear any advice you have for travelling or flying often.

The Daily Glow | Fat VS Sugar

Fat vs Sugar – who wins?

The Lancet is one of the most widely read medical journals in the world.  So when they published an article recently that appeared to endorse fats over carbohydrates to promote a healthy and longer life, a lot of people sat up and took notice.  The idea that fats are actually good for us, and that sugar is the true enemy, is an idea that has pervaded the “clean eating” community in recent years, has been mentioned in regular newspapers and magazines, and is espoused by notable figures like Dave Aspery and Tim Ferris, as the best way to superior physical and mental results. It can all get a little bit confusing though…it seems like there is a new superfood, or new “public enemy number one” every week, if tabloids and the media in general are to be believed without question.

My outlook on diet and health probably falls into the frequently advocated “80:20” rule (although I definitely don’t call it a rule in my head, and most certainly bend it when there’s craic to be had), however with the added caveat of “if it’s not going to make me feel better or healthier, I sure as hell want to enjoy it”.  What I mean by this, is that if I’m going to have sugar, I’ll eat my favourite chocolate/cake/dessert, but not waste it by eating a cereal bar (most of which contain 70% + sugar, and do not even begin to compare to a bar of Dairymilk).  If I eat a whole load of cr*p, I feel like a whole load of cr*p – so I categorically want to enjoy any sh*ite that makes me feel bad.  Fats vs sugar was a concept that interested me from the start (I’ve been following Dave Asprey for years now), and I’ve recently experimented with bulletproof coffee, and made a conscious effort to up my fat intake – mainly just out of curiosity, but also because I am weirdly obsessed with any food/exercise/technique that promises more efficiency and mental clarity or productivity (honestly, I can be fun too, I promise).

The Daily Glow | Fat VS Sugar

So is the jury still out, or has fat conquered sugar once and for all?

The Science

The current dietary guidelines, that recommend a low-fat diet and relatively high carbohydrate intake, are mainly based on findings studying European and North American populations.  This data is contradicted by many other studies that have been carried out to date, including the most recent Lancet publication. This latest article clearly shows an association between a high carb and low fat diet, and increased incidence of stroke, cardiovascular disease and general mortality – basically the opposite of the original studies completed in the 1950’s.  Higher fat consumption, even saturated fat, appears to improve health.  So it would seem science is increasingly moving to the fat side.

 

My Experience 

I always like to try things myself, rather than just blindly following the crowd (even if they are scientists with robust studies to back them up).  I haven’t fully adopted The Bulletproof Diet and certainly haven’t gone tee-total on grains and sugar, but I have noticed increased mental focus and a more balanced mood – particularly mid-afternoon, since introducing more fats and fishtails etc recommend in Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster-in Just Two Weeks.  I have noticed my stomach feeling less bloated, and my skin has improved.  Obviously you can over do pretty much anything, and my diet has never been particularly high in animal products (simply because I don’t like them) so it’s probably a more moderate increase in saturated fat than most people would create following the same guidelines.  Definitely, taking fat off the “naughty step” and consciously increasing my intake of it has been enjoyable (very important, if anything is too be sustainable!), I’ve noticed the above benefits – and I don’t feel like my favourite crème brûlée is quite so dangerous anymore.

The Daily Glow | Fat VS Sugar

Different things work for different people, and particular lifestyles etc, but I have found this change in mindset really works for me.  Someone with significant health issues should clearly discuss any major changes in diet with their doctor – and if you feel awful after making any changes, this may not be for you (light bulb moment).  What’s your take on fat vs sugar? I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried bulletproof coffee, MCT oil or anything else.

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The Daily Glow | The benefits of Turmeric

The Benefits of Turmeric

Following on from my last post, about how to ease aching muscles, I’m making myself feel even better about being sore post-exercise (and feeling old), by reading up about the inflammatory effects of too much exercise.  Yes…you read that correctly, exercise can cause inflammation, if you over do it – even though moderate exercise is widely touted for it’s healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits (especially the effect sweating can have on your skin).

The Daily Glow | Too much exercise can be inflammatory

Turmeric has come up again, and again as an anti-inflammatory.  Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial actions, along with hypoglycaemic (decreasing blood sugar) and wound-healing properties.  Anti-cancer properties have also been found, with curcumin being shown to affect the same targets as chemotherapy in some studies.

Inflammation is a causative factor in countless diseases and conditions, and this study even recommends curcumin as a safe and cheap way to reduce symptoms of Crohn’s disease, along with conventional treatment.  Lack of sleep, too much sugar and just generally not taking care of yourself can lead to increased inflammation – so including turmeric in your diet can be an easy way to reduce it.

Turmeric is also a common ingredient in DIY face masks – its anti-inflammatory effects are great for calming down acne, while it also targets hyperpigmentation. You might want stick to buying face masks with turmeric in them though, as home made ones can leave you with a deep Essex glow (and from personal experience, it takes a while to fade – not the best beauty prep for an event or night out!).

The Daily Glow | The benefits of Turmeric

You can add it to curries and stir fries, but I drink it in a tea/hot water as I don’t get the chance to cook as often as I would like to.  I aim to take in 2 teaspoons a day, one in the morning and one at night, in warm water with honey and lemon, as turmeric by itself is not so palatable. I definitely recommend using a straw, unless you’re a fan of orange-tinged teeth.  Have you ever tried turmeric?  If you have any other ideas about how to add it to your diet, I’d love to hear them.

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