Good Calories Versus Bad Calories

  • By Maxine Dean
  • 01 Dec, 2016

Are All Calories Created Equal?

Are All Calories Created Equal?

Interestingly, the calories your body takes in may not be the same as the calories your body uses. A 2500 calorie per day diet may cause some people to gain weight, while a 2500 calorie per day diet consisting of different foods may cause no weight gain or even a weight loss. It all depends on how the calories are counted and on how your body digests those calories.
How Calorie Count Is Measured

Calories are the units of energy we use every day to measure the food intake we eat. One calorie is the amount of energy necessary to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at normal atmospheric pressure.

Calories In Food

When we talk about calories in food, we are actually talking about kilocalories. One scientific kilocalorie is equal to a thousand calories. When talking about food, one calorie is actually a kilocalorie.

Manufacturers of different types of food are measured using what is called a “bomb calorimeter.” The food is placed in a sealed container that is also filled with water at normal atmospheric pressure. Electrical energy is used to burn the food. When it is burned completely, the temperature of the water is measured and a calculation is made as to how many calories are in that food.

How The Body Uses Calories

The problem with the bomb calorimeter is that it measures every available calorie the food contains and, in our diets, we don’t always use up every available calorie.
Take fiber, for example. Fiber can be burned in a bomb calorimeter and its calories are measured as part of the total amount of calories in a specific food. In the gut, however, fiber is not digested (especially insoluble fiber) and it instead passes through the body to make up the bulky portion of stool. This means that the calories you ate from fiber aren’t absorbed and you are actually consuming fewer calories than you’d expect. This is a good reason to eat high fiber foods.

The Atwater System

Another method of determining calories is called the Atwater system. In this system, the calories are broken down into the number of calories in the protein, fat, carbohydrates, and alcohol in each food. There are reference tables based on the energy density of the food. For protein, there are 4 kilocalories in each gram of protein. There are also 4 kilocalories in each gram of carbohydrate. Organic acids contain 3 kilocalories per gram and fats contain 9 kilocalories per gram. If you drink alcohol, it takes up 7 kilocalories per gram of alcohol. The food is broken down into the amount of each of these components and the calorie count is added up.

Neither Method Is Truly Accurate

Neither method is a true measure of the digestibility of food and the degree of absorption of the digested products. The truth is that the food those calories come from greatly determines how they are processed in the body.

Calories are NOT created equal as the exact same amount of calories from two different types of food can pose completely different biological effects in the body.

Soda Versus Mushrooms: A Case Study
Is 182 calories worth of soda the same as 182 calories worth of mushrooms? Let us see.

The Soda
A 22-ounce serving of soda has 44 grams of sugar, 182 calories and nothing else. The stomach quickly absorbs the sugar causing a spike in blood glucose levels and a variety of bad chemical reactions in the body, including, but not limited to increases in storage of belly fat, increases in bad cholesterol and blood pressure, and may even contribute to infertility in women.

The flood of insulin also blocks leptin, the hormone that controls appetite. As people become more resistant to leptin, they never register satiation, and this leads to overeating, out of control cravings and adds fuel to the sugar addiction fire. This domino effect leads to bad eating habits, and cravings for sugar that will never truly get satisfied.

Additionally, the fructose in the soda does not send a signal to the brain that the body just received calories, so they are not registered as food, and this means that it will also effect ghrelin, the appetite hormone that is reduced when the body receives real food, leading to more hunger, more cravings, and over eating.

The Mushrooms
Mushrooms are also carbohydrates, but instead of being simple sugars like the soda, they are complex carbs that digest slowly in the body. They will not cause blood sugar spikes, but instead be digested slowly and they provide essential nutrients, like potassium, fiber, protein, iron, vitamin D, and magnesium, healing the body instead of causing immense harm.

The quality nutritional profile of the mushrooms supports numerous healthy results in the body, and also helps protect against chronic disease, including various cancers and heart disease.

The nutritional profile, slow digestion, and fiber found in mushrooms allow you to feel full and satisfied, eliminating out of control cravings and over eating. Will mushrooms contribute to weight gain? NO WAY!

The difference between the calories in soda and mushrooms is marked. In fact, as opposed to the soda that is all harmful, there is not one thing in mushrooms that is.

One study that looked at the correlation of sugar and calories to risk of diabetes found that simply adding 150 calories a day to a diet barely raised the risk for diabetes, however when those calories were from soda the risk increased by 700%.

The Volume Is Impressive Too
By the way, 186 calories worth of mushrooms is almost 9 cups, which is a lot of mushrooms, especially in comparison to the 22 ounces of soda.

Now, most people will not consume 9 cups of mushrooms in one sitting (mainly because they are so filling), but think about how much more food you can actually eat when choosing quality food?

What Does This Mean For Eating And Counting Calories?
*Eat slow digesting foods and skip the simple sugars!

*Eat real whole food!

Look at food labels for foods that contain a high amount of fiber. Plant foods naturally contain a great deal of indigestible fiber that will bulk up the stool and won’t be counted as “real” calories because they are not digested or absorbed in the body.
Vegetables are always your best choices, as are low sugar fruits like berries.

More Count
Meats, proteins, and other low fiber foods are more fully digested and absorbed, so those foods will count more than vegetables.

Highest Count
Empty calorie foods, like cake, donuts, cookies, potato chips, soda and other junky foods are your worst choices that will do nothing good for your body and will cause serious harm.

Stock up on high complex real food for your health!

Philadelphia Skin Care And Beauty Blog | Best Skin Care Advice

By Maxine Dean 21 Apr, 2017

What Are Complex Carbs and Why Do We Need Them?

Have you heard someone mention "complex carbs", and you wondered what they were talking about? Basically, carbohydrates are either simple or complex. At first glance, you may think that simple carbohydrates are better for your body. They are broken down simply, so doesn't it make sense that these would be healthy for you? Actually, the opposite is true.


The Difference Between Complex (Good) and Simple (Bad) Carbohydrates

Complex and simple carbohydrates very differ in how they are absorbed into your body. They are also digested differently. Think of simple carbohydrates as simple sugars. Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly, and deliver no nutrition, just energy. Complex carbohydrates deliver lots of nutrients and minerals, as well as energy.

Complex carbohydrates have longer molecular chains. So it takes your body a long time to break them down and absorb them. This leads to an even distribution of energy over a longer period of time, and a much longer feeling of fullness. Simple carbohydrates, like those delivered by refined sugar, enter your bloodstream immediately. They are processed quickly, have little nutritional value, and lead to fat storage, short spikes in energy and an energy crash.

 

Why Your Body Needs Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are important for a few reasons. As mentioned above, they are nutrient and mineral rich. They have all of the vitamins, phytonutrients and healthy, natural goodness your body needs to function properly.

They are usually also very high in dietary fiber. Fiber keeps your digestive system working properly, and helps you regulate a naturally healthy body weight. Complex carbs are energy rich, and deliver that energy consistently over a long period of time.

"Good" carbs promote proper sleep, boosted brain function and a healthy nervous system. In many cases, they are also low in calories, as opposed to unhealthy simple carbohydrates. Simply put, complex carbohydrates deliver much-needed benefits that promote inner and outer overall health.

Some Examples of Complex Carbohydrates

The following list includes some healthy complex carbohydrates you definitely should be eating more of.

·        Quinoa

·        Oats

·        Broccoli

·        Oatmeal

·        Spinach

·        Brown rice

·        Cucumbers

·        Peas

·        Asparagus

·        Beans

·        Soy Milk

·        Whole grain breads

 

Simple Carbohydrates to Avoid

Avoid or limit the following simple carbs. Your health and waistline will thank you.

·        Sugar

·        White carbohydrates – rice, bread, pasta

·        Potatoes - technically a complex carbohydrate, they are treated like simple carbs in your body

·        Desserts, pastries

·        Artificial syrups

·        Candy and cookies

·        Soda and energy drinks

Complex carbs also have great benefits for the skin due to the anti inflammatory properties they posess.

Eat more healthy complex carbs and watch your skin improve

For more information and skin care tips email us @ maxaesthetics@maxaesthetics.com

Visit Us For More Healty Tips Or A Free Healthy skin consultation 

By Maxine Dean 06 Jan, 2017

If you look up a definition of unrefined, you will be presented with something that roughly says “not processed to remove impurities”. In essence, that is what unrefined food refers to. However, this could lead to some confusion. In general parlance, we tend to think of refined as being superior to unrefined. When it comes to foods, the opposite is often true. Refined foods tend to be heavily processed, altered or ‘enriched’ foods, whereas unrefined foods are those foods occurring naturally and unaltered. The development of refined foods has grown exponentially in recent years, as society has become busier and more reliant on these convenience foods. 

 In modern society, refined foods serve an important purpose. Unfortunately, their role has grown in stature in the average person’s daily diet. This is not a welcome development. Store bread, packaged pasta, breakfast cereals, flavoured chips, candy bars and soft drinks all hold a strong place in many people's diets, and yet none of these foods are naturally occurring. On the contrary, they are full of artificial preservatives and lacking in many of the necessary and fundamental nutrients and minerals that our bodies thrive on.

 We are a society that demands instant gratification, and that attitude has filtered down to our food. We want quick cook pasta, instant rice and frozen ready meals that can be easily heated up for convenience. From a health perspective, this is incredibly worrying. We are becoming increasingly dependent on these refined foods and moving away from the basic unrefined foods that are so critical to our health. Fruits and vegetables, fatty fish, nuts and seeds and unrefined whole grains are all excellent sources of the fuel that our body craves, but their perceived lack of convenience means they are increasingly shunted to the side. 

 The benefits of adopting a diet more weighted towards unrefined foods cannot be overstated. As with any diet plan, balance is important, but when there exists a choice between unrefined and refined, unrefined should always be the victor. Choosing fresh vegetables and fruit over frozen and canned alternatives is an easy switch to make, but one that all too few people make. Similarly, the difference between making your own home style French fries and cooking frozen ones might be only ten minutes, so why do so few people choose to make their own? To truly overcome our reliance on refined foods, we must first change our convenience approach to diet.

More Posts

Philadelphia Skin Care And Beauty Blog | Best Skin Care Advice

By Maxine Dean 21 Apr, 2017

What Are Complex Carbs and Why Do We Need Them?

Have you heard someone mention "complex carbs", and you wondered what they were talking about? Basically, carbohydrates are either simple or complex. At first glance, you may think that simple carbohydrates are better for your body. They are broken down simply, so doesn't it make sense that these would be healthy for you? Actually, the opposite is true.


The Difference Between Complex (Good) and Simple (Bad) Carbohydrates

Complex and simple carbohydrates very differ in how they are absorbed into your body. They are also digested differently. Think of simple carbohydrates as simple sugars. Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly, and deliver no nutrition, just energy. Complex carbohydrates deliver lots of nutrients and minerals, as well as energy.

Complex carbohydrates have longer molecular chains. So it takes your body a long time to break them down and absorb them. This leads to an even distribution of energy over a longer period of time, and a much longer feeling of fullness. Simple carbohydrates, like those delivered by refined sugar, enter your bloodstream immediately. They are processed quickly, have little nutritional value, and lead to fat storage, short spikes in energy and an energy crash.

 

Why Your Body Needs Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates are important for a few reasons. As mentioned above, they are nutrient and mineral rich. They have all of the vitamins, phytonutrients and healthy, natural goodness your body needs to function properly.

They are usually also very high in dietary fiber. Fiber keeps your digestive system working properly, and helps you regulate a naturally healthy body weight. Complex carbs are energy rich, and deliver that energy consistently over a long period of time.

"Good" carbs promote proper sleep, boosted brain function and a healthy nervous system. In many cases, they are also low in calories, as opposed to unhealthy simple carbohydrates. Simply put, complex carbohydrates deliver much-needed benefits that promote inner and outer overall health.

Some Examples of Complex Carbohydrates

The following list includes some healthy complex carbohydrates you definitely should be eating more of.

·        Quinoa

·        Oats

·        Broccoli

·        Oatmeal

·        Spinach

·        Brown rice

·        Cucumbers

·        Peas

·        Asparagus

·        Beans

·        Soy Milk

·        Whole grain breads

 

Simple Carbohydrates to Avoid

Avoid or limit the following simple carbs. Your health and waistline will thank you.

·        Sugar

·        White carbohydrates – rice, bread, pasta

·        Potatoes - technically a complex carbohydrate, they are treated like simple carbs in your body

·        Desserts, pastries

·        Artificial syrups

·        Candy and cookies

·        Soda and energy drinks

Complex carbs also have great benefits for the skin due to the anti inflammatory properties they posess.

Eat more healthy complex carbs and watch your skin improve

For more information and skin care tips email us @ maxaesthetics@maxaesthetics.com

Visit Us For More Healty Tips Or A Free Healthy skin consultation 

By Maxine Dean 06 Jan, 2017

If you look up a definition of unrefined, you will be presented with something that roughly says “not processed to remove impurities”. In essence, that is what unrefined food refers to. However, this could lead to some confusion. In general parlance, we tend to think of refined as being superior to unrefined. When it comes to foods, the opposite is often true. Refined foods tend to be heavily processed, altered or ‘enriched’ foods, whereas unrefined foods are those foods occurring naturally and unaltered. The development of refined foods has grown exponentially in recent years, as society has become busier and more reliant on these convenience foods. 

 In modern society, refined foods serve an important purpose. Unfortunately, their role has grown in stature in the average person’s daily diet. This is not a welcome development. Store bread, packaged pasta, breakfast cereals, flavoured chips, candy bars and soft drinks all hold a strong place in many people's diets, and yet none of these foods are naturally occurring. On the contrary, they are full of artificial preservatives and lacking in many of the necessary and fundamental nutrients and minerals that our bodies thrive on.

 We are a society that demands instant gratification, and that attitude has filtered down to our food. We want quick cook pasta, instant rice and frozen ready meals that can be easily heated up for convenience. From a health perspective, this is incredibly worrying. We are becoming increasingly dependent on these refined foods and moving away from the basic unrefined foods that are so critical to our health. Fruits and vegetables, fatty fish, nuts and seeds and unrefined whole grains are all excellent sources of the fuel that our body craves, but their perceived lack of convenience means they are increasingly shunted to the side. 

 The benefits of adopting a diet more weighted towards unrefined foods cannot be overstated. As with any diet plan, balance is important, but when there exists a choice between unrefined and refined, unrefined should always be the victor. Choosing fresh vegetables and fruit over frozen and canned alternatives is an easy switch to make, but one that all too few people make. Similarly, the difference between making your own home style French fries and cooking frozen ones might be only ten minutes, so why do so few people choose to make their own? To truly overcome our reliance on refined foods, we must first change our convenience approach to diet.

By Maxine Dean 06 Jan, 2017

 Most of us have grown up eating 3 square meals a day; breakfast lunch and dinner. However, the wisdom of this convention has been challenged with increasing regularity in recent years. There are those who insist that eating 5 - 6 times per day, but reducing the amount of food per meal, is a more efficient way of monitoring your intake, is healthier for your body and can lead to weight loss. So just how accurate are these claims? Let’s look at them in more detail.

 Claim 1: More Regular Meals Increase Your Metabolism 

 The most common claim by those who recommend eating more often during the day is that the process of eating a meal raises your metabolism, so by eating several smaller meals every day you are increasing your metabolism more regularly. This, in turn, should lead to more fat being burned by your body. While the statement that eating does increase your metabolism, it’s not quite right to suggest that by digesting more often, you are expending more energy. The truth is that the amount of energy you use when digesting food is directly related to the quantity of food to be digested. The net benefit of more regular meals in this instance is little. 

 Claim 2: Eating More Frequently Helps to Control Cravings  

 This is a far more practical claim, and one that is more readily accepted by many health experts. No matter how big a meal we eat, there always seems to be room for a snack in between meals. This tends to be true regardless of the size of the meals consumed. However, by eating twice as often, you can remove the cravings for snacks, simply because they don’t have time to present themselves. By the time you start to crave a snack, it’s time for your next meal! For this reason, eating several smaller meals per day can be hugely beneficial in monitoring calorific intake.

  Claim 3: Eating More Frequently Helps to Maintain Stable Blood Sugar Levels  

 Unfortunately, this claim stops dead in its tracks when compared against actual evidence. The theory that blood sugar levels can be more accurately maintained by regular meals makes sense, but in practice it has little impact on most people. For this reason, it really shouldn’t be considered a benefit of eating more frequently. The science simply isn’t there to back it up. 

 Conclusion 

Eating more frequently every day might work for some people, but it should not be pitched as a scientific solution to fat loss. Are there benefits? For some people, absolutely. Eating more regularly can be an effective tool in controlling cravings and thus lead to a more managed diet. However, from a strictly biological point of view, the differences between strategies are negligible. Ultimately, if it works for you, stick to it. If it doesn’t, stick to what does work. It’s that simple!

By Maxine Dean 06 Jan, 2017

 While canned food used to be limited to simple vegetables, fishes and beans, the increase in modern demand for long lasting preserved foods has resulted in all manner of food types ending up in canned forms. Canned potatoes, canned burgers and canned whole chickens are just some of the strange offerings that have made their way to shelves in recent years. For many people, canned foods can never or will never be as good as the fresh alternative. However, the reality is not as clear cut as you might think. While some canned produce is undoubtedly less healthy than the fresh alternative, there are some anomalies.

 Beans are one of the most commonly canned goods. From baked beans to kidney beans, the vast majority of beans are sold canned. And are they unhealthier as a result? Not quite. Although being canned does rid beans of some of their folic acid, they retain much the same levels of iron and calcium as with fresh beans. Similarly, canned beans are also a superb source of fibre. When comparing canned to fresh, the argument against canned beans is weak. 

 Corn, or sweetcorn, is also one of the most heavily canned vegetables on our shelves. While there are a number of varieties with canned corn, there remains one fairly inarguable truth; canned corn gives just as much fibre as fresh corn, and does so at a cheaper cost. You do sacrifice some vitamin C along the way, but few people are eating corn because they are looking to get the vitamin C for the day. Much like the beans, canned corn stands up pretty well to scrutiny. 

 Tinned tomatoes are a life-saver. The variety of chopped, peeled, diced or whole tomatoes allow even the laziest of shoppers to find exactly what they want at very affordable prices. That may be all well and good, but what about the nutritional content of tinned tomatoes? The canning process for tomatoes involves preserving them with heat. This process releases a certain carotenoid which has been linked with reducing the risk of certain types of cancers.

 So as you can see, there are huge benefits from some canned goods. This is not to say that you should soon be going out to buy a whole chicken in a can - far from it. However, you also know that not everything in a can is to be avoided. Do your research, and you’ll find that there are some cans worth picking up.

By Maxine Dean 06 Jan, 2017

Choosing the right kind of cooking oil can be a nightmare for people looking to monitor their fat levels. With so many different oils to choose from, and so much conflicting advice on what kind of oils to choose, it can be particularly difficult to know what kind of cooking oil is right for you. While there are some cooking oils where opinion is split, there are also several inarguable truths about some great oils, and some not so great oils. So let’s have a look at some of the best…and some of the worst. 

 The Best - Olive Oil 

 Olive oil is one of the few undisputed kings of the cooking oil market. With a smoke point of somewhere between 375 and 470 degrees, olive oil is not always perfect for high heat cooking, but its health benefits cannot be overstated. Olive oil is packed full of antioxidants that have proven health benefits, and with a number of varieties on offer, buyers can ensure they choose an extra virgin olive oil that is entirely unrefined. Olive oil has a high ratio of monounsaturated fat to polyunsaturated fat, making it great for fat levels. 

 The Very Good - Avocado Oil

 Avocados are slowly being recognised as something of a superfood, so it’s not surprising to see that avocado oil is amongst the best in show. With a smoke point of 400 degrees, avocado oil is full of vitamin E, a vitamin that is heavily linked to boosting the immune system. Avocado oil is also not too far behind olive oil in terms of its monounsaturated fat ratio. 

 The Not So Good - Corn Oil

Corn oil is made from the most inner part of the corn grain, and it has a monounsaturated fat to polyunsaturated fat ratio of around 1 : 2.5. Compare this to the ratio in Olive oil of roughly 8 : 1 and you can clearly see the difference. Corn oil also has an Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio that is more than 10 times greater than the ideal. All of this adds up to corn oil being a bad choice for cooking. 

 The Worst - Vegetable Oil

 Generally made from soybeans, vegetable oil is usually the cheapest cooking oil you can find…and with very good reason. Vegetable oil is heavily refined, has terrible fat ratios and is more often than not used in heavily processed foods like snacks or potato chips. If you’re looking to keep an eye on your fat levels, you should stay well clear of vegetable oil.

By Maxine Dean 06 Jan, 2017

Many of us grew up with parents and teachers advocating that we should be eating fruit and vegetables 5 times a day. “One of your 5 a day” has long been an advertising slogan for branded foodstuffs, more often than not slapped on an item that really shouldn’t be considered a fruit or veg helping. Yet, in adulthood, we often forget that which we learned as a child. Few people doubt that fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and nutrients, but does that mean that we are eating enough of them? 

 Consensus differs amongst academics regarding specific quantities, but the most up to date recommendations on this subject would advocate that an adult eat five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day. That might sound like a lot, but when you break it down it really shouldn’t be considered all that much. In fact, it should be a basic standard.

 When considering breakfast, many people will stick to that which they know. This often involves toast, cereal or even nothing more than a cup of coffee. Whether breakfast is or is not the most important meal of the day may be debatable, but there is no doubt that a good breakfast sets your body up for the day ahead. Very few people consider fruit for their breakfast, when it should be a staple. Switching a bowl of cereal full of added sugars for a banana could make a huge difference in your overall diet.

Lunch is a great time to load up on vegetables. Again, all too often people repeat the same mistake that they make at breakfast time. Deli made sandwiches and rolls may taste nice, but they are packed full of carbs and calories, and are often severely lacking in proper servings of vegetables. Swapping the sandwich for a homemade salad can be the perfect way to redress an imbalance you may have in your diet. Vegetables also make for ideal snacks. Ditch the packet of popcorn, the biscuits or the fizzy drink you have to keep you going between lunch and dinner and swap it for a piece of fruit, or even a fruit and veg smoothie. 

 These are all small changes you can make to your diet, but these small changes can do wonders for your health, and your waistline. Fruit and vegetables should be at the core of our daily dietary intake, and yet they are all too often forgotten about for their more attractive carb-cousins. Ask yourself this; are you eating 5 servings of veg and 2 of fruit every day? If not, you’re probably not eating enough fruit and veg.

Besides your health, fruits and vegetables have minerals and vitamins that do wonders for your skin. So Do your skin a favor and eat your fruits and vegetables 5 servings a day


By Maxine Dean 03 Jan, 2017

One of the most difficult aspects of sticking to a strict, balanced diet is keeping that balance when snacking at work. Long days at work often need to be broken up, and people snack to keep their energy levels up or often just to break up the day. While it can be quite easy to carefully plan the main meals of your day, planning your in between meal snacks can often prove problematic. However, it can be done. With a little preparation and the right mind-set, you can ensure that those mid-morning or late afternoon snacks don’t ruin your diet! Let’s take a look at a number of simple snacks that are easy to prepare and tasty to eat! 

 Mixed Fruit

 Fruit is an excellent source of vitamins and nutrients, and yet it’s something that most of us don’t eat enough of. Bringing an apple or banana in to work involves no preparation, little cost, and is a tasty way of boosting your energy levels. For those looking for a little more variety, why not prepare a fruit salad. Chop up your favourite fruit or berries and you can have a delicious treat that won’t mess up your daily diet! 

 Yoghurt 

 Yoghurts can be a superb source of probiotics, vital for maintaining a healthy gut. Much like fruit, yoghurts involve little no preparation, and also offer a range of flavours for a varied experience from day to day. Similarly, by choosing healthy yoghurts, you can ensure that your afternoon snack doesn’t ruin your appetite, nor your waist line! 

 Smoothies 

 Smoothies can be a superb way of treating yourself during the working day. By preparing a smoothie to bring to work, you can ensure that you are getting enough fruit and veg in your diet, and give yourself an excellent energy boost when the afternoon lag sets in! Smoothies also allow you to vary your snack from day to day, ensuring that every day feels like a new treat!

 Salads

 Salads don’t have to be grand, extravagant affairs. A simple salad can consist of a hard-boiled egg and just a few of your favourite vegetables. The preparation time for a salad snack is minimal, but the benefits are huge. Tasty and healthy, salads are one of the most under-utilised workplace snacks So why not ditch the chocolate bar and crisps for a healthy, easy to prepare workplace snack!

By Maxine Dean 03 Jan, 2017

 It is often suggested that eating seasonally is a great idea, but it is rarely explained why. Look at any restaurant menu and they will proudly boast about their “Seasonal Fruits” dessert, or go in to any supermarket and wonder at their seasonal vegetables. Local, seasonal foods are all around us, and yet so many of us remain ignorant as to the real reasons why we should care. When it comes to making food choices, there are generally 3 main reasons to pick one food over another. Is it cheaper? Does it taste better? Is it healthier? Let’s consider local, seasonal foods under those 3 headings. 

 Is it Cheaper? By its very nature, seasonal foods are cheaper than foods out of season. The reasons for this are simple; when something is in season, there is plenty of it to be supplied. Contrast this with something that is out of season, and there is far less of it supplied. As a result, the cost of seasonal produce is always cheaper than foods that are produced out of season. This is one of the biggest reasons why people should consider shopping seasonally. There are huge savings to be had be simply being aware of what is scarce and what is in great supply. 

 Does it Taste Better? This is directly linked to the considerations above. Food tastes at its best when it is freshest, and it will undoubtedly be at its freshest when it’s in season! There is also the very real consideration that in season foods can generally be sourced locally, as there are less preservation considerations when the produce is at its freshest. As a result, seasonal foods can often be some of the freshest, tastiest and most affordable foods available. 

 Is it Healthier? You can probably answer this one yourself by now, but let’s consider it anyway. We already know that a balanced diet consists of fresh, unrefined foods that haven’t been heavily processed or tampered with. Local, seasonal foods are exactly what you’re looking for in this regard. Farmed up the road and entirely unprocessed, local seasonal foods give you the best chance to get the most out of your food. And the brilliant thing about eating seasonally is that your diet changes throughout the year! As a result, seasonal eaters get a huge variety in their diet throughout the year, further enhancing the health benefits of seasonal eating. 

 When you consider all of these benefits, it’s hard to explain why anyone wouldn’t consider tailoring their diet with a more local, seasonal focus.

By Maxine Dean 03 Jan, 2017

The number of pre-prepared meals being handled by individuals on a daily basis has grown hugely in recent years. From children bringing their lunches into school, to professionals bringing cooked or prepared lunches into work, the prevalence of the pre-prepared meal has never been so obvious. However, there exists a worrying ignorance surrounding the storage of these pre-prepared meals. Ask 100 office workers what kind of storage container they use for their lunch and the vast majority will say a plastic box. This might be fine, but unfortunately all too many of us are unaware of the dangers that plastic lunch containers might present. 

 Have you ever been told not to drink water from a plastic bottle that has been left in the sun all day? If not, you should have been. The problem here is that plastic containers can release certain chemicals into the food they are storing. Certain actions can exacerbate this situation, such as exposure to direct sunlight, or even putting these containers into the microwave. While there does exist a small market of plastic containers free from these leaky chemicals, they are few and far between, and rarely used.  

So what is the alternative? Should we all just stop making pre-prepared meals? Of course not. Alternatives exist, and they are reasonably straight forward to implement. Inexpensive glass lunch boxes and containers are available in many places, and while these might prove slightly heavier than their plastic alternatives, they offer peace of mind that no harmful chemicals are making their way into your food. Another alternative is to bring your food in a ceramic bowl from home, covered in cling film or aluminium foil. Again, this might prove slightly more hassle than a cheap plastic lunch box, but there exists no risk of exposure to contamination. 

Going one step further, you could even pick up a pack of disposable paper plates, depending on what your pre-prepared meal is. Disposable paper plates are extremely cheap, and have the added benefit of being recyclable. Again, using these with cling film or aluminium foil can avoid contact with these cheap, harmful plastics. Ultimately, you should not be put off by the risk of plastic contamination. The warnings are there not to scare people into changing their habits, but to simply raise awareness of the potential risks. These risks are minimal, but. However, with the right storage options, you need not worry any more!

By Maxine Dean 01 Jan, 2017

Is there anything more perfect in design than a Mason Jar Salad? The concept is ideal - a fresh and delicious salad, perfectly preserved in a strong container that won’t imprint on the food and is easily transportable - what’s not to love!? While many people know what they want from a Mason Jar Salad, constructing the perfect one is not quite as simple as simply filling a jar with whatever you want! Without careful planning, your delicious salad can quickly turn into a soggy mess. So just how do you make the perfect, healthy Mason Jar Salad? 

 The trick real here is in how you go about layering your salad. It doesn’t matter what you plan on putting in, as long as you put the ingredients in an order that makes sense! So first things first, you should always start with the dressing. Choose whatever dressing you want, but putting it in first the cornerstone of the perfect Mason Jar Salad. Next, choose an ingredient from your salad that won’t just soak up all your dressing. Carrots are a good choice, as are chickpeas or cherry tomatoes. These will retain their own flavour without soaking up all of the dressing, and provides a stable base for further layers on top.

Once you have a solid layer above the level of your dressing, it’s time to start layering up. Keep your green leaves, cheeses or nuts aside, as they will make up the final layer. Always try to pack each layer tightly. This helps maintain the freshness of the salad. The less tightly your jar is packed, the less time your salad will stay fresh for. This is the core fundamental of a great Mason Jar Salad. Layer it cleverly, and pack it tightly. 

 Finally, add your green leaves, cheeses and nuts at the top. The green leaves will form a barrier that will help to maintain freshness, and this allows you place cheeses, nuts or even proteins like chicken on top without risking any soggy spread. And that’s it! Screw your lid on tightly and you’re ready to go. When you are ready to consume, simply open the jar, pour the contents into a bowl and toss as necessary. If you’ve layered your jar correctly and kept it upright, you will be rewarded with a crisp, fresh and delicious salad every single time.

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