Loose weight with Arlene Normand

November 27, 2009


Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 4:04 am

Why do your good dietary intentions always seem to fizzle out in the winter? Because you, like many people, probably do not pay enough attention to issues like satisfaction and enjoyment when trying to change the way you eat long term.

Focus on Quality

The push for convenience has obliterated what we used to know about how to eat.  That means choosing foods that are in season.  Choose quality over quantity. Once you warm to the idea you will find yourself trading in unhealthy (and often bland and processed) foods for the full flavour of whole grains, the freshest meat and seafood, or the most spectacular salads and fruit. Now you could plant your own organic garden, but if you live in the real world, simply changing the way you shop can make a difference. In the supermarket, read labels, and look beyond the calories and fat grams. Learn more about food, and you will automatically become drawn to fruits and vegetables.

Eat Less of More
Australia is the land of plenty all right there are enough choices to make a visit to the market/supermarket downright perilous.  But variety can actually be a plus if you are trying to improve your diet.  Every food contains a unique set of vitamins and nutrients, including antioxidants that studies suggest can decrease your risk of developing all sorts of health problems, from cardiovascular disease and various cancers to diabetes. Recent research in animals found that certain foods in combination, such as broccoli and tomatoes, might actually pack more antioxidant power than eating them alone.
Many people don’t take advantage of the wide range of available foods.  Look at the selection of produce in an average supermarket – more than 320 fruits and vegetable.  Despite the bounty, a recent study showed that only 19% of people eat the recommended seven servings of produce per day.
Variety can work against you, of course, if you don’t know how to stop yourself filling your plate too much – and going back for seconds. The trick is to figure out when you have had enough, and to choose foods that get you to that point with the minimum number of calories and the maximum of nutrients.

Getting into the Zen of Cooking
Even the person who has nightmares about being chained to a hot stove can make preparing food as rewarding as eating it (well, almost). Achieving kitchen nirvana is crucial for anyone serious about changing the way they eat. Whipping up your own meals not only results in healthier food than you’d get at a restaurant or a delivery guy; home cooking – believe it or not – be as relaxing as gardening, artwork, needlework or any creative activity.  You have just got to find a way to turn cooking from a chore into a hobby.

Set One Goal a Month- Then Nail It
That is one way to turn wishful thinking into a habit. Lucky for us, good habits are as tough to break as bad ones.  Make your goals as simple and specific as possible: eating a healthy breakfast each morning, for instance, or sitting down with your family to a home-cooked dinner three times a week. At the end of the year, presto – you have automatically taken 12 steps towards better eating.  Even if you don’t succeed in all 12, you have proven to yourself that at least some permanent change is totally doable. This approach will help you establish your “food view”: the most comfortable and natural way of eating for you. You want transformation to happen over night, but that is no how it works (even in the Biggest Loser). Aim for the future, but whatever you do, get started now.

Savour Small Indulgences
Anyone who has ever tried knows that it is not realistic to think you will never have another piece of cake or scoop of ice cream. On the contrary: Allowing yourself occasional small treats can actually keep you on track toward your goals. But make the calories count. Be sure to eat something that is absolutely delicious, eat slowly and enjoy every morsel. Too often, we eat our treats like everything else, in a grab-and-go style.  That is an instant recipe for overeating. Look at your intake strategically. If you have a cup cake one afternoon, have a light dinner. A light dinner of fish and salad follows a night of pizza. You only need balance!

Hearty Vegetable Soup
2 Tblsp olive oil    1 large onion, chopped    2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 carrots, chopped    2 sticks celery, chopped    2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped    4 cups beef stock        810g can tomatoes, chopped
¼ small savoy cabbage, shredded    400g can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
200g green peas shelled        ground black pepper    Grated Parmesan
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.  Add carrots, celery, zuccini and potatoes and cook stirring often, for 5 minutes.
Stir in stock and tomatoes and reserved juice and bring mixture to the boil, stirring occasionally over medium-high heat.
Add cabbage and beans to pan and simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium to low heat for 1 hour.
Add peas to pan and simmer for 10 minutes or until peas are tender. Season with pepper to taste. Ladle soup into serving bowls and top with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese.
Serves 4-6        1 cup = 1 carbohydrate
Vegetable and Chickpea Curry
1 onion, chopped    2 garlic cloves, peeled        4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 Tblsp olive oil    2 Tblsp Indian curry paste    300g can chickpeas, drained
2 small zucchini chopped        150g green beans, chopped
350g sweet potato, chopped        ¼ small cauliflower cut in florets
Steamed basmati rice, mango chutney and pappadams to serve
Place onion, garlic and tomatoes in food processor, and process until well combined.
Heat oil in a large saucepan until hot. Add curry paste and cook, stirring often, for 1 minute.  Stir in tomato mixture and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes until just boiling.
Add sweet potato and stock to pan. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir in cauliflower, zucchini, chick peas and beans and cook for 10 minutes. Serve curry with 1/3 cup cooked rice and one pappadam.
Serves 4     1 serve = 1 protein, 2 carbohydrates

November 26, 2009

Should I eat salmon even if it contains pollutants?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 4:07 am


I have read that farmed salmon is bad for you because it contains pollutants.  But salmon is supposed to be one of the best sources of healthy omega-3 fats.  Should I eat it or not?


The high demand for salmon means that most of the salmon sold today is “farmed” in aquatic pens rather than caught in the wild.  The problem is farmed salmon are fed fishmeal that is made from smaller fish and contains large amounts of fish oil.  Both ingredients may be contaminated with industrial pollutants, including PCBs and dioxin.  These pollutants are stored in the fat of all animals, and high doses have been linked to cancer, neurological impairment and, in children, developmental delays.  Concentrations of these chemicals are especially high in farmed salmon because the fish are intentionally fattened.  However, pollutants are under continual surveillance and control.  The nutritional benefits of salmon outweigh any potential risk from PCB or mercury exposure.  However, it is suggested that women of childbearing age eat no more than 360g weekly, and to try and vary the seafood consumed.

November 25, 2009

Should I vary my workout if it’s working?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 1:55 am


For three months I have been kickboxing four times a week and strength training once a week.  I have read that I need to vary my workouts, but I am getting really toned.  Should I vary my routine even if it is working?


You are overdoing the kickboxing. Kickboxing puts a strain on your joints.  Your shoulders and elbows really take a beating.  Replace one or two of your kickboxing classes with a step aerobic class or a moderate cardio workout.  You should not do super high intensity workouts four days a week.  You might feel fine now, but the overtraining will catch up with you and you could become injured.  At the same time, lifting weights once a week isn’t enough.  Though you may see some strength gains initially if you have never lifted before, you will need to add a second day to keep progressing.  Make sure to give yourself a day or two of rest between workouts.

November 24, 2009

Will I gain weight if I go on the Pill?

Filed under: Questions — Arlene @ 6:59 am


I would like to go on the pill, but I am worried about gaining weight.  Are a few extra kilos inevitable?


While surveys show that concern about weight gain is the most common reason for women to abandon oral contraceptives, experts say it is nothing to worry about.  A recent review of nearly 50 studies on the matter concluded that there is no evidence of a link between using the Pill and putting on weight, even a few kilos.  Women often tend to gain weight as they get older, and I think many of them blame the Pill.  If you do gain a kilo or two and you need a scapegoat, I suggest that you examine how many late night trips you have been making to the refrigerator lately.

November 17, 2009

Filed under: Diet Menu — Arlene @ 4:21 am


Day 1

Breakfast: 1 slice wholegrain toast with vegemite/jam/honey

Morning Tea: 1 plum

Lunch: Pita with 100g lamb, ½ cup tabouli and 1 Tblsp hummous

Afternoon Tea: 1 small apple

Dinner: BBQ salmon and 2 cups steamed veges

Supper: ice block / 3 fresh dates

Day 2

Breakfast: Fruit smoothies (1 banana, ½ cup milk, 1 tsp honey, 100g


Morning Tea: 1 small peach

Lunch: Turkey roll with salad an cranberry jelly

Afternoon Tea: 1 small orange

Dinner: 120g skinless chicken breast fillets baked in rosemary, thyme, lemon juice an tsp olive oil and 2 cups salad

Supper: Jarrah hot chocolate/ 125g tinned fruit

Day 3

Breakfast: 2/3 cup cereal with 1 cup berries

Morning Tea: 1 nectarine

Lunch: Tuna and four bean salad – 100g tuna, 100g four bean mix,

1 Tblsp oil free salad dressing

Afternoon Tea: 3 vitawheat with tomato and black pepper

Dinner: Spaghetti bolognaise – ½ cup bolognaise; 2/3 cup pasta cooked

Supper: Low joule jelly

Day 4

Breakfast: 1 slice wholegrain toast with 3 Tblsp Ricotta, a drizzle honey

Morning Tea: 100g fruche-lite

Lunch: Greek salad

Afternoon Tea: 1 corn on the cob

Dinner: Stir fry chicken and veges

Supper: 1 grapefruit

Day 5

Breakfast: ½ cup cereal

Morning Tea: 15 grapes

Lunch: miso soup, 2 sushi rolls

Afternoon Tea: 1 apple/3 squares chocolate

Dinner: 150g Grilled fish and salad

Supper: Baked apple

Day 6

Breakfast: 1 poached egg on toast and grilled tomato and mushrooms

Morning Tea: small nectarine

Lunch: Chicken burger

Afternoon Tea: ice block/1 pear

Dinner: Curry chicken with ½ cup cooked rice

Supper: 200g low fat yoghurt

Day 7

Breakfast: 1 slice sour dough toast with slice tasty cheese and tomato

Morning Tea: 1 orange

Lunch: Chicken salad

Afternoon Tea: 1 small peach

Dinner: Stir fry vegetables with 100g tofu/100g beef

Supper: jarrah hot chocolate/swiss miss/ lite ovaltine and low joule jelly

Daily: 2 cups low fat milk; 2 teaspoons fat

Filed under: Vegetables — Arlene @ 4:20 am

Barbecued mushrooms with feta

Ingredients (serves 4) 1 serve = ½ protein

300g fresh shiitake mushrooms, halved if large

200g swiss brown mushrooms, halved if large

300g oyster mushrooms, halved if large

1 tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/3 cup (80ml) balsamic vinegar

150g mixed salad leaves (such as frisee, mizuna and rocket)

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

75g reduced-fat feta, crumbled


Place the mushrooms in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic and 1/4 cup (60ml) of the balsamic vinegar, and toss to coat mushrooms in the mixture.

Heat a lightly oiled chargrill over high heat. When hot, add the mushrooms in batches and cook for 3-4 minutes, tossing occasionally, until cooked all over.

Place salad and parsley leaves in a bowl with the remaining tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, then toss to combine.

Divide the salad among plates, then top with mushrooms and feta.

Cauliflower, chickpea, tomato & coriander curry

Looking for interesting, healthy ways to increase your vegie intake? Do it Indian style with this bright and spicy meal. Spring vegies and stir-fried spices give this low-fat curry loads of flavour.

Ingredients (serves 4) 1 serve = 1 protein

Olive oil spray 1 red onion, halved, cut into thin wedges

2 garlic cloves, crushed

2 long fresh green chillies, halved, deseeded, finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds, lightly crushed (see tip) 2 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground turmeric 500g cherry tomatoes, halved

500g cauliflower, trimmed, cut into florets 125ml (1/2 cup) water

1 x 400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained 200g green beans, cut into 3cm lengths

2 tbs chopped fresh coriander Steamed basmati rice, to serve

Fresh coriander leaves, to serve


Spray a wok or large non-stick frying pan lightly with olive oil spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and stir-fry for 3 minutes or until light golden. Add the garlic, chilli, cumin seeds, ground coriander and turmeric. Stir-fry for 1 minute or until aromatic.

Stir in the tomato, cauliflower and water. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, for 6 minutes.

Stir in the chickpeas and beans. Simmer, covered, for 3 minutes or until beans are bright green and tender crisp.

Stir in the chopped coriander and season with pepper. Divide the rice and curry among serving bowls. Top with coriander leaves to serve.

Notes & tips

Use a mortar and pestle, or the end of a rolling pin, to crush the cumin seeds.

Chickpea salad

Ingredients 1 serve = protein

400g can chickpeas, drained 3 spring onions, sliced

1 green capsicum, sliced 2-3 sticks celery, diced

1 carrot, grated 1/2 cup fresh coriander

2 handfuls bean sprouts

Dressing: salt and pepper

1 dessertspoon sesame oil tabasco to taste

1/4 cup lemon juice thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, grated

1 clove garlic 1 dessertspoon sesame seeds, toasted


Combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Set aside.
Chop all the vegetables and combine in a large bowl.
Add the dressing and use your hands to mix together.

This is great by itself as a light meal or serve with grilled chicken, fish or steak for a substantial dinner.

Greek Salad

1 head Romaine lettuce ¼ Spanish onion, thinly sliced

1 green capsicum, thinly sliced ½ cup radishes thinly sliced

1 large tomato cut into wedges 120 grams Feta cheese

¼ cup olive oil 1/8 cup lemon juice or wine

¼ tsp dry mustard vinegar

¼ tsp oregano salt and pepper to taste

½ can flat anchovies well-drained 8 Calamata olives

Wash lettuce and spin dry.

Place lettuce, peppers, radishes, olives and onion in a bowl. Crumble feta and add to salad.

Mix in blender garlic, lemon juice, mustard oregano, oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over salad. Toss well.

Arrange anchovies like the spokes of a wheel over the top of the salad.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein, 2 tsp fat

Grilled Chicken, Rocket, Pear and Parmesan Salad

300g skinless chicken breast fillet 120g rocket

1 punnet cherry tomatoes halved 2 medium pears thinly sliced

50g shaved parmesan cheese ¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through. Remove, cut into slices and keep warm.

Arrange rocket in four serving bowls. Top with sliced chicken, cherry tomatoes and pear slices.

Top with Parmesan cheese and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein, ½ carbohydrate


2 teaspoons oil 2 onions, chopped

2 carrots, chopped 1 turnip, chopped

2 sticks celery, sliced 2 medium potatoes, chopped

2 zucchini, chopped 5 cups beef stock

1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes ½ cup small tube pasta

1. Heat oil in a large pan; add onions and carrots, cook for about 5 minutes. Add turnip and celery, cook for a further 3 minutes.

2. Add potatoes and zucchini, cook for a further 1 minute.

3. Add stock, tomatoes and pasta. Bring to boil; simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4 1 cup = 1 carbohydrate

Indian-style gazpacho

Spain‘s famous chilled tomato and vegetable soup, made Indian with fresh chilli, ginger and pappadums, is the perfect start to your night.

Ingredients (serves 6)

250g vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered

1/2 red onion, chopped

1/2 red capsicum, deseeded, coarsely chopped

Lebanese cucumber, peeled, deseeded, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 small fresh red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped

1 tbs chopped fresh coriander

2 small cooked pappadums, coarsely broken

250ml (1 cup) chilled vegetable stock

1 tbs white wine vinegar

1 tsp caster sugar

Natural yoghurt, to serve

Coriander leaves, to serve


Place the tomato, onion, capsicum, cucumber, garlic, ginger, chilli and coriander in the jug of a blender and blend until almost smooth. Add pappadum and blend until the mixture thickens slightly.

Transfer the tomato mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the stock, vinegar and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the tomato mixture to an airtight container. Place in the fridge for 1 hour to chill.

Pour the tomato mixture among serving glasses. Top each glass with a small dollop of yoghurt and a coriander leaf to serve.

Notes & tips

You can prepare this recipe to the end of step 2 up to 1 day ahead. Continue from step 3 just before serving.

Couscous and Mushroom Casserole

1 cup couscous 2 cups water or vegetable broth

6 shallots chopped 1 red capsicum chopped

1 green capsicum chopped 2 cloves crushed garlic

2 tsp olive/canola oil 1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup canned chickpeas 1 medium carrot, grated

Salt and papper to taste ½ tsp dried basil

2 Tblsp minced fresh dill (or 1 tsp dried)

In a large saucepan sauté shallots, capsicum and garlic in oil until softened. Add mushrooms and sauté 3-4 minutes longer. Add water or broth and bring to boil. Stir in couscous along with remaining ingredients. Bring back to boil and simmer until all liquid is absorbed (5-10 minutes).

Serves 4 1 serve = 2 carbohydrates


2 tsps vegetable oil 200g button mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 x 425g can crushed tomatoes

Salt and pepper to taste

250g packet vermicelli egg noodles

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2cm lengths

1 cup frozen peas 3 cups small broccoli florets

1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

Heat oil in a large pan; add mushrooms and garlic, cook, stirring, until mushrooms are soft. Add undrained tomatoes; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, add noodles to a large pan of boiling water; boil, uncovered, until just tender. Add asparagus, peas and broccoli to noodles in pan; boil for 1 minute. Drain noodles and vegetables well. Return to pan.

Add tomato mixture and basil to noodles; toss gently to combine.

Serve primavera topped with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4. 1 serve = 1 protein, 2 carbohydrates


1 teaspoon oil 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed 1kg Queensland blue pumpkin, peeled, coarsely chopped 1 litre chicken stock

2 cups water 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste 1/4 cup light sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1. Heat oil in a large non-stick pan. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until onion is soft. Add pumpkin, stock, water and nutmeg. Bring to boil; simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until pumpkin is soft.

2. Blend soup, in batches, until smooth. Return soup to pan. Bring to boil; season with salt and pepper.

3. Serve soup topped with sour cream; garnish with fresh chives.

Serves 4 1 cup = 1 carbohydrate


1 teaspoon oil

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1kg Queensland blue pumpkin, peeled, coarsely chopped

1 litre chicken stock

2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup light sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1. Heat oil in a large non-stick pan. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, until onion is soft. Add pumpkin, stock, water and nutmeg. Bring to boil; simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until pumpkin is soft.

2. Blend soup, in batches, until smooth. Return soup to pan. Bring to boil; season with salt and pepper.

3. Serve soup topped with sour cream; garnish with fresh chives.

Serves 4

Ricotta and Rocket Cannelloni

2 spring onions, finely chopped 125g ricotta cheese

50g rocket or spinach leaves, blanched and roughly chopped

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste 2 tsp continental chopped parsley

1 fresh sheet lasagne 1 cup tomato pasta sauce

10g extra rocket for serving 20g shaved parmesan cheese for serving

Combine spring onions, ricotta and rocket or spinach leaves. Season to taste.

Cut lasagne into four. Cook sheets in a large pot of boiling water for 3 minutes or until tender, then refresh in cold water. Divide ricotta mixture evenly along the longest length of the sheet. Roll up to form a tube. Place I a 30cm x 18cm baking dish.

Pour tomato pasta sauce over cannelloni and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve cannelloni topped with rocket and shaved Parmesan.

Serves 2 1 serve = 1 protein, 1 carbohydrate

Veggie Surprise

1 brown onion diced 2 Tblsp olive oil

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced 2 carrots, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 cup diced pumpkin

1 cup diced sweet potato 1 zucchini, sliced

1 head of broccoli cut into florets ½ med head of cauliflower roughly cut

2 cups chicken/veg stock 1 bay leaf

2 Tblsp tomato paste 1 tsp oregano

½ cup low fat tasty cheese 2 Tblsp parsley

In a large saucepan cook onion in olive oil for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add remaining ingredients except cheese and parsley. Simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes, or cook covered in moderate oven (180 degrees) for 45 minutes.

Remove bay leaf, spoon into vegetable serving bowls and top with tasty cheese and chopped parsley.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein, 1 carbohydrate

Moroccan chickpea soup


2 teaspoons olive oil 1 onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled, diced 2 sticks celery, trimmed, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 teaspoons Moroccan seasoning

2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed, drained 400g can chopped tomatoes

2 cups salt-reduced vegetable stock (or chicken stock) and 1 cup water

black pepper, to season low-fat yoghurt, to serve (optional)

coriander leaves, to garnish


Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring, for 5-6 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add garlic and seasoning. Cook for 1 minute.

Add chickpeas, tomatoes and stock. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

Place half the soup in a blender. Blend until smooth. Return to pan with remaining soup. Place over a medium heat, season with pepper and warm through. Ladle into bowls, top with a dollop of yoghurt (if using) and garnish with coriander.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 carbohydrate

Pumpkin, Basil and Chilli Stir Fry

1 tsp peanut oil 1 brown onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly 4 fresh Thai chillies, sliced thinly

1 kg pumpkin, chopped coarsely 1 tsp grated palm sugar

250g sugar snap peas ¼ cup vegetable stock

2 Tblsp soy sauce ¾ cup loosely packed basil leaves

4 green onions, sliced thinly ¼ cup unsalted roasted peanuts, halved

Heat oil in a wok and stir-fy brown onion until browned and crisp. Drain on absorbent paper.

Stir fry garlic and chill in wok until fragrant. Add pumpkin and stir fry until browned all over and just tender.

Add peas, sugar, stock and sauce. Stir fry until sauce thickens.

Remove from heat. Toss basil, green onion and nuts through the stir fry until well combined. Serve topped with fried onion.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein, 1 carbohydrate


500g chopped fresh pineapple 2 kiwi fruit, peeled, chopped

2 mangoes, peeled, chopped 2 peaches, chopped

2 plums, chopped 1 passionfruit

1 x 250g punnet strawberries, quartered

200g ricotta cheese ¼ cup icing sugar

½ cup low-fat mango-flavoured yoghurt 1 passionfruit

1. Combine pineapple, kiwi fruit, mangoes, peaches, plums and strawberries in a large bowl. Add passionfruit pulp; stir gently. Cover; refrigerate until serving.

2. RICOTTA TOPPING. Combine ricotta cheese, icing sugar, yoghurt and passionfruit pulp in a bowl; mix well.

3. Serve fruit salad with Ricotta Topping.


Roast Pumpkin and Goat’s Cheese Salad

750g peeled pumpkin, diced Vegetable oil spray

1 Tblsp olive oil 2 large onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 Tblsp brown sugar 2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper 1 head butter lettuce

120g fresh goats’ cheese crumbled

Preheat oven to 200 degrees centigrade. Place pumpkin in a roasting dish and spray with vegetable oil spray. Roast for 30 minutes, until soft and golden.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a non-stick pan. Cook onion over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and pepper. Cook until brown and syrupy.

Place lettuce leaves on plate. Top with the pumpkin, caramelised onions and goat’s cheese.

Serve 4 1 serve = 1 protein, 1 carbohydrate.


350 grams cauliflower, chopped 350 grams broccoli, chopped

250 grams asparagus, sliced 350 grams green beans, sliced

3 medium carrots, sliced 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic crushed 1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper 375 grams firm tofu, cubed

2 medium onions, sliced 250 grams button mushrooms, sliced

½ cup dry white wine 1 vegetable stock cube

3 teaspoons corn flour 1 cup water

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Add cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, beans and carrots t large pan of boiling water; boil, uncovered, 2 minutes, drain. Rinse under cold water; drain.

Heat oil in wok or large non-stick pan; stir fry garlic, thyme, pepper, tofu until tofu is browned lightly, remove from pan.

Add onions and mushrooms to same pan; stir-fry until onions are soft. Stir in vegetable mixture, wine, crumbled sock cube and blended cornflour and wate; stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in tofu; serve sprinkled with cheese.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein

Vegetable Fried Rice

You will need to cook about 1/3 cup long grain rice for this recipe.

1 clove garlic crushed 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

2 Tblsp water 1 medium carrot finely chopped

2 small zucchini chopped finely ½ red capsicum finely chopped

1 cup cooked long grain rice 2 Tblsp soy sauce

3 shallots finely chopped 2 Tblsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Combine garlic, ginger and the water in wok or large non-stick frying pan; cook over heat until ginger is soft. Add carrot, capsicum and zucchini; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients; stir over heat until heated through.

Serves 2 1 serve = 1 ½ carbohydrate

Filed under: Fish — Arlene @ 4:20 am

Atlantic Salmon with Herb Crumble

2 x 150g Atlantic salmon fillets 1/3 cup stale white breadcrumbs

1 Tblsp lemon juice 1 Tblsp finely chopped fresh parsley

1 Tblsp finely chopped fresh chives 1 clove garlic crushed

Cook fish, skin side up, under hot grill for 5 minutes, turn.

Sprinkle with combined breadcrumbs, juice, herbs and garlic; cook for about 5 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned. Serve with tossed salad if desired.

Serves 2 1 serve = 1 protein

Baked salmon with lemon, thyme and asparagus

Ingredients (serves 4) 1 serve = 1 protein

4 x 150g skinless salmon fillets 1/4 cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 lemon, thinly sliced 4 fresh thyme sprigs

2 tsp Dijon mustard 1 tbs white wine vinegar

3 tsp chopped fresh tarragon 1/2 tsp caster sugar

2 bunches asparagus, trimmed


Heat oven to 220°C. Lay four 30cm squares of baking paper on 2 baking trays. Place a salmon fillet on each, then top with lemon slices and a thyme sprig. Drizzle with 1 tsp oil and season. Fold the edges of the paper together to form well-sealed parcels. Bake for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Meanwhile, whisk the mustard, vinegar, tarragon, sugar and remaining oil in a jug. Season, then set the dressing aside.

Blanch the asparagus in a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 2 minutes until just tender. Drain well, then keep warm.

Arrange the salmon and blanched asparagus on plates, drizzle with the tarragon dressing and serve.

Easy Salsa Fish Fillets

4 whitefish fillets (approx. 600 grams) Salt and pepper to taste

½ cup bottled salsa (mild or medium) ½ cup low-fat grated cheese

Preheat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Arrange fish in a single layer on a sprayed foil-lined baking pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Top each fillet with 2 tablespoons of salsa; sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered for approximately 25 minutes until golden. Fish should flake easily when tested with a fork

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein

Fast Asian fish

Ingredients (serves 4) 1 serve = 1 protein

4 x 120g skinless salmon or ocean trout fillets

1/3 cup (80ml) light soy sauce

2cm piece ginger, very finely shredded

1/3 cup (80ml) sweet chilli sauce

Steamed rice, to serve

4 spring onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal


Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place fish in a shallow baking dish. Combine soy, ginger and sweet chilli sauce, then pour over fish.

Cover with foil and bake for 8 minutes, or until just cooked through.

Serve fish on rice, drizzled with sauce and garnished with spring onion.


Cooking oil spray

4 x 150g fish fillets


1 Lebanese cucumber 1 medium tomato, finely diced

1 x 200g tub plain low-fat yoghurt 1 clove garlic, crushed

½ teaspoon finely grated lemon rind 1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon ground cumin 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

salt and pepper to taste

1. LEMON AND TOMATO HERB SAUCE. Cut cucumber in half lengthways. Using a teaspoon, scoop out seeds. Cut cucumber into thin slices. Place in a bowl with tomato, yoghurt, garlic, rind, juice, cumin and mint; season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a non-stick pan; spray with cooking oil. Add fish, cook on both sides, until browned and tender.

3. Serve fish topped with Lemon and Tomato Herb Sauce.

Serves 4 1 serve= 1 protein

Moroccan pan-fried fish

Ingredients (serves 4) 1 serve = 1 protein, 2 carbo

1 bunch coriander, washed, dried, ends trimmed 3 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tsp ground cumin Pinch of chilli powder

2 tsp finely grated lemon rind 60ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice 30ml olive oil 2 tsp sweet paprika

190g (1 cup) couscous 250ml (1 cup) boiling water

50g (1/3 cup) plain flour

4 (about 600g) firm white fish fillets (such as snapper)

Olive oil spray 90g baby spinach leaves


Place the coriander, garlic, cumin, chilli, lemon rind, lemon juice, oil and half the paprika in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth.

Place couscous in a heatproof bowl. Pour over the boiling water and set aside for 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Use a fork to separate grains.

Meanwhile, combine the flour and remaining paprika on a plate. Season with salt and pepper. Add the fish and turn to coat. Shake off excess. Spray a large non-stick frying pan with olive oil spray and place over medium heat. Add the fish and cook for 3-4 minutes each side or until golden brown.

Place the spinach on a serving platter. Top with the fish and drizzle over the coriander mixture. Serve with couscous.

Oriental Salmon

4 Salmon fillets 2 Tablespoons teriyake sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey

1 teaspoon fresh ginger 1 clove garlic crushed

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard 2 shallots thinly sliced

Heat oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Place salmon in an ungreased casserole.

Combine remaining ingredients except green onions. Spread over Salmon.

Place in oven approximately 20-30 minutes, until cooked as desired (some people prefer rare others well done).

Garnish with shallots. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein

Fish Fillets with Coriander Chilli Sauce

6 x 60g perch fillets 1 small onion thinly sliced

½ cup water ¼ cup dry vermouth

2 Tblsp lime juice 1 small fresh chilli, chopped finely

2 Tblsp sugar 1 tsp cornflour

½ red capsicum thinly sliced 2 green onions, cut into 5cm lengths

1 Tblsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

¼ cup firmly packed fresh coriander leaves, extra

Place fish in shallow ovenproof dish; top with brown onion. Pour over combined water, vermouth and 1 Tblsp of the juice; cover. Bake in moderate oven for about 15 minutes or until fish is tender.

Remove fish; keep warm. Strain and reserve liquid.

Place reserved liquid, chilli, sugar and combined cornflour and remaining juice in small saucepan.

Stir over heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil; simmer until mixture thicken. Stir in chopped coriander. Arrange fish, capsicum, green onion and coriander leaves on serving plate; drizzle with sauce.

Serves 2 1 serve = 1 protein


2 teaspoons oil 4 x 150g white fish fillets

100g mixed baby salad leaves


1 small red onion, finely chopped 2 tomatoes, seeded, finely chopped

1/3 cup pitted green olives, chopped 3 anchovy fillets, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

salt and pepper to taste

1. TOMATO SALSA. Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well.

2. Brush oil over a heated, grill pan; add fish fillets, cook for a few minutes on each side, or until cooked through.

3. Serve fillets on salad leaves with Tomato Salsa.

SERVES 4 1 serve = 1 protein

Grilled fish and lemon with olive salad

Try this fish with your favourite green salad and new potatoes or chunky fresh bread.


100g marinated chargrilled capsicum (not in oil), thinly sliced

1/3 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped 1/2 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced

1 cup baby rocket leaves, chopped 2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped

4 firm white fish fillets (approx 120g each), such as gurnard or ling

2 lemons, cut into wedges cooking oil spray

1/3 cup sun-dried tomato pesto 2 teaspoons olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


Combine the capsicum, parsley, olives, rocket and capers in a large bowl and set aside.

Heat a chargrill pan (heavy pan with raised grill lines) over medium-high heat. Spray the fish and lemon with cooking oil spray. Place the fish into the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and brush the top with pesto. Add the lemon wedges to the pan and cook for a further 2-3 minutes, or until fish is brown and cooked through and the lemon wedges are golden.

Drizzle the salad with oil and vinegar and gently toss. Divide the salad among serving plates, top with fish and lemon wedges and serve.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein

Salade Nicoise

200g green beans trimmed, chopped 250g cherry tomatoes halved

½ cup seeded black olives 2 lebanese cucumbers, sliced

1 medium red onion, sliced thinly 150g mesclun

6 hard boiled eggs 425g tin tuna in springwater, drained

Light Vinaigrette: 1 tsp olive oil; ¼ cup lemon juice; 1 clove garlic crushed; 2 tsp Dijon mustard

Boil, steam or microwave beans until just tender; drain. Rinse under cold water; drain.

Make light vinaigrette

Place tomato, olives, cucumber, onion, mesclun and egg in large bowl with vinaigrette; toss gently to combine. Divide salad among serving plates; flake fish over salad in large chunks.

Serves 4 1 serve = 2 protein

Salmon with Dill and Caper Dressing

2 Tblsp low-fat sour cream 1 Tblsp tiny capers

2 tsp coarsely chopped dill 2 tsp horseradish cream

1 Tblsp lime juice 4 x 150g salmon fillets

Combine sour cream with capers, dill, horseradish and juice in medium bowl.

Heat oiled large pan; cook salmon until browned both sides and cooked as desired. Serve salmon with dill and caper dressing.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein, 2 tsp fat

Salmon Steak Kyoto

4 Salmon Steaks – one per person

For the marinade:

1/3 cup soy sauce ¼ cup orange juice concentrate

2 tsp olive oil 2 Tblsp tomato sauce

1 tsp lemon juice ½ tsp prepared mustard

1 Tblsp prepared mustard 1 Tblsp spring onion minced

1 clove garlic, minced ½ tsp minced ginger root

In a shallow baking dish combine the marinade ingredients. Add the salmon and turn to coat each side. Cover and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Remove the salmon and reserve the marinade.

Pour the reserved marinade into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil for 1 minute. Lightly brush or spray the salmon with oil. Grill or bbq salmon until fish is tender and flakes with a fork, about 3-5 minutes each side, depending upon thickness of fish. Brush the salmon with the marinade once halfway through cooking.

1 serve = 1 protein


3/4 (150g) cup red lentils 2 tsp oil

4 medium onions, thinly sliced 1 Tblp grated fresh ginger

2 cloves garlic, crushed 3 tsp ground coriander

½ tsp ground turmeric ½ tsp ground fennel

2 tsp salt 1 ½ cups fish stock

4 boneless white fish fillets ½ cup chopped fresh coriander

½ cup low-fat plain yoghurt to serve

Add lentils to a medium pan of boiling water. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pan, add onions; cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes or until well browned. Add ginger, garlic, spices, salt and lentils; cook, stirring, for a further 1 minute.

Add stock, bring to boil; place fish on top of lentil mixture. Simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes, or until fish is tender.

Serve fish over lentil mixture; sprinkle with coriander. Top with yoghurt.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein, 1 carbohydrate

Teriyaki salmon 1 serve = 1 protein


4 x 150g salmon steaks

1/2 cup teriyaki marinade (I use Kikkoman)

1 cup long-grain rice

2 bunches bok choy or broccolini, steamed, to serve

2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted, to serve


Place salmon steaks into a ceramic dish. Add teriyaki marinade and turn salmon to coat well. Stand for 20 minutes.

Put rice into a saucepan and cover with 2 cups water. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes or until craters form over rice. Cover and turn off heat.

Heat a frying pan or cast iron chargrill over medium-high heat. When pan/grill is hot, place a piece of baking paper in pan – this will stop the fish sticking. Cook 2 salmon steaks for 2–3 minutes on each side for medium-rare or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining salmon.

Divide rice between 4 plates. Top with salmon and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with steamed greens.

Filed under: Meat — Arlene @ 4:19 am

Balsamic lamb and beetroot salad

Ingredients (serves 4) 1 serve = 1 protein

2 garlic cloves, crushed 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3 (400g) lamb leg steaks, trimmed olive oil cooking spray

80g baby rocket 1 medium red capsicum, chopped

1 small red onion, thinly chopped

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

425g can baby beets, drained, halved

60g reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled


Combine garlic and 2 tablespoons vinegar in a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Add lamb. Season with salt and pepper. Turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes to allow flavours to develop.

Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Spray lamb with oil. Cook for 3 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.

Combine rocket, capsicum onion, parsley, baby beets and remaining vinegar in a large bowl.

Cut lamb into 1cm-thick slices. Place rocket mixture on a serving plate. Top with lamb slices and feta. Serve.

Barbecued mustard veal cutlets

Ingredients (serves 4) 1 serve = 1 protein

60ml (1/4 cup) dry white wine 2 tbs tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)

1 tbs wholegrain mustard 1 garlic clove, crushed

4 veal cutlets, excess fat trimmed

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

salad, to serve


Combine the wine, tamari, wholegrain mustard and garlic in a large glass or ceramic bowl.

Add the veal cutlets and toss to coat in the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 10 minutes to develop the flavours.

Preheat a barbecue grill or chargrill pan on high. Remove the veal cutlets from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Season veal cutlets with salt and pepper. Cook on grill for 2 minutes each side. Reduce heat to medium and cook, basting the cutlets frequently with the reserved marinade, for a further 4-5 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Divide the veal cutlets among serving plates and serve with salad.


Cooking oil spray 500g lean diced beef 2 onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander ¼ cup tomato paste 2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes

1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander 1/2 cup beef stock

1. Heat a large heavy-based pan; spray with cooking oil. Add beef, in batches, cook until browned all over. Remove from pan.

2. Add onions, garlic and spices; cook, stirring until onions are soft. Add remaining ingredients and beef; bring to boil.

3. Simmer casserole, covered, for about 11/2 hours or until beef is tender.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein


Cooking oil spray 400g rump steak, thinly sliced

1 large onion, thinly sliced 1 ½ tblsps tikka masala curry paste

1 x 400g diced tomatoes 1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 zucchini, sliced salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander

1. Spray a heated non-stick pan with cooking oil; add beef, in batches, stir-fry until browned. Remove from pan.

2. Add onion, stir until soft. Stir in curry paste, tomatoes, paste and zucchini; stir until boiling. Reduce heat; simmer for 2 minutes.

3. Return beef to pan with coriander; season with salt and pepper. Stir until heated through.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein


2 teaspoons oil

500g lamb strips

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

3 teaspoons curry powder

2 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon cornflour

1 x 375ml can light and creamy evaporated milk

1/4 cup beef stock

1. Heat oil in a large pan, add lamb; cook, stirring, until browned. Remove from pan. Add onion and garlic to pan, cook, stirring until onion is soft. Add combined spices; stir for 1 minute.

2. Stir in blended cornflour, evaporated milk and stock; bring slowly to boil, stirring. Return lamb to pan; simmer for 10 minutes.

Serves 4

Mushroom Steak

4 lean beef steaks 1 Tblsp oil

1 small onion 180g mushrooms sliced

½ cup beef stock 2 Tblsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tblsp parsley chopped

Heat the non- stick fry pan. Brush oil on both sides of steak.

To seal cook steak 2-3 minutes on both sides. Turn when juices appear on uncooked side.

Remove from heat, rest while making sauce. Add onion and mushrooms to any pan juices, cook 1 minute. Add Worcestershire sauce and stock. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Add parsley and any juices from rested steak.

Note: steak thickness determines cooking time, and the way you want it done (rare, medium or well).

Serve with steamed veges.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein


2 teaspoons oil 4 x 125g veal steaks

1 cup chicken stock 2 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ cup fat-reduced cream 1 teaspoon cornflour

1 teaspoon water 1 tablespoon drained baby capers

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a pan, add veal, cook until browned on both sides and tender. Remove from pan; cover to keep warm.

2. Pour stock, juice and cream into a pan; bring to boil, simmer for 1 minute. Add cornflour blended with water; cook, stirring until boiling and slightly thickened. Stir in capers and chives; season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein, 2 tsp fat


8 lamb cutlets 1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon light soy sauce 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 fresh red chilli, seeded, finely chopped cooking oil spray

1. Place cutlets in a bowl with combined honey, sauces, juice, garlic and chilli. Cover; refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Drain cutlets; reserve marinade.

3. Cook drained cutlets on a heated oiled grill pan, on both sides, brushing with reserved marinade, until browned and tender.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein


500g lean sirloin beef strips 1 red capsicum, cut into cubes

3 teaspoons Moroccan seasoning 2 tsp lemon and herb seasoning

2 teaspoons olive oil 1/3 cup reduced-fat plain yoghurt

1 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander Salt and pepper to taste

Combine beef, capsicum, seasonings and oil in a medium bowl; mix well.

Thread beef and capsicum alternately onto 8 skewers.

Cook skewers on a heated, oiled grill plate (or grill or barbecue) until beef is browned all over and tender.

Serve skewers with combined yoghurt and coriander; season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein

Spiced lamb cutlets with garlic tomato salad

Ingredients (serves 4) 1 serve = 1 protein, 1 carbohydrate

2 teaspoons cumin seeds 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

3 teaspoons ground paprika 4 garlic cloves, crushed

8 lamb cutlets, trimmed 1/3 cup olive oil

2 rounds Lebanese bread olive oil cooking spray

4 ripe tomatoes, sliced into rounds 200g grape tomatoes, halved lengthways

1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves roughly chopped

2 large lemons


Combine cumin, pepper, 2 teaspoons paprika, half the garlic and salt on a large plate. Press cutlets into spice mixture to coat.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook cutlets, in batches, for 4 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Transfer to a plate. Cover with foil.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C. Place bread on a baking tray and spray lightly with oil. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon paprika. Bake for 5 minutes or until crisp. Break bread into pieces.

Divide tomatoes between plates. Sprinkle with remaining garlic. Top with parsley and bread pieces. Juice 1 lemon and cut remaining lemon into wedges. Whisk together 1/4 cup lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons oil and salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad. Toss to combine. Serve cutlets with salad and lemon wedges.

Steak and asparagus salad

Ingredients (serves 4) 1 serve = 1 protein

3 sirloin steaks oil, for brushing

75g cherry tomatoes, halved 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed

100g baby spinach


2 tablespoons oil 1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard

salt and cracked black pepper


To make the dressing, whisk together the oil, dijon, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Cut fat from steaks and brush with oil, salt and pepper. Heat a non-stick frying pan to medium-high and cook steak to your liking. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Blanch the asparagus spears in boiling water then plunge into iced water. Set aside.

Drain asparagus, toss with spinach and tomatoes, and divide between four


4 x 100g lean sirloin steaks 1/3 cup tandoori curry paste

¼ cup low-fat plain yoghurt salad to serve and fresh herbs to garnish


1 cup low-fat plain yoghurt 1 clove garlic, crushed

1 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander leaves 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1. Combine steaks in a bowl with curry paste and yoghurt; mix well. Cover; refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.

2. SAUCE. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

3. Cook steaks, on both sides, on a lightly oiled grill pan or barbecue hotplate, until cooked to your liking.

4. Serve steaks with Sauce and salad; garnish with fresh herbs.

SERVES 4. 1 serve = 1 protein

Thai Beef Salad

400g beef rump steak ¼ cup lime juice

2 Tblsp shredded fresh mint leaves 150g spinach leaves

2 Lebanese cucumbers, seeded and sliced 1 Tblsp white wine vinegar

2 Tblsp fish sauce 1 Tblsp brown sugar

Combine beef with juice and mint in medium bowl, cover; refrigerate at least 3 hours or until required.

Heat oiled large pan; cook beef until browned both sides and cooked as desired. Cover beef, rest 5 minutes; cut into thin slices. Combine beef with spinach and cucumber in large bowl. Gently toss combined vinegar, sauce and sugar through beef salad.

Serves 4 1 serve = 1 protein

Filed under: Article — Arlene @ 4:18 am

Chewing gum may help you lose weight, but it’s not a snap

The Checkup: O, for a stick of sugary gum!

But there is one tiny weapon in “The Biggest Loser” arsenal that most of us might happily enlist in our own battles of the bulge: gum. The Losers chew lots of gum, but does it really help them lose weight? Probably, in its own small way. But given the number of kilos these contestants need to drop, chewing gum isn’t likely to make a huge difference in the outcome of their competition.

For those of us who wage our wars with lesser kilos, though, taking up gum-chewing might not be a bad idea. There’s actually a bit of scientific evidence showing that chewing gum helps fight fat in a number of ways.

It’s important to note that much of the research regarding gum-chewing’s role in weight management is sponsored by the Wrigley Science Institute, which is in turn funded by Wrigley, maker of Extra and many other chewing gums. Gilbert Leveille, the institute’s executive director, assures me that the gum-makers don’t hold any sway over the scientists, whose primary goal is to “understand the fundamentals of the physiological effects of chewing gum.” Their work (which also investigates gum’s role in stress management, oral health and mental concentration), he adds, is usually conducted under the auspices of such outside organizations as the Obesity Society.

In any case, the findings aren’t dramatic enough to send every pudgy person to the store seeking gum. In short, the handful of gum studies so far suggest that chewing gum may help reduce cravings, particularly for sweet snacks, and spur people to cut their daily intake by about 50 calories. The latest study, presented at the annual scientific meeting of the Obesity Society in late October, showed that gum-chewing people consumed 67 fewer calories at lunch and didn’t compensate by eating more later in the day. Many of the men in that study, which, like the others in the field, was small, said they felt less hungry after chewing gum.

That last study made another contribution to our understanding of the physiology of gum-chewing: Not only do gum-chewers take in fewer calories, but they also burn more calories. As Leveille describes it, the study showed a “small but measurable increase in energy expenditure” among the gum-chewers. And gum adds hardly any calories to your day: Sugar-free varieties have about five calories per stick, and even regular gum has only 10.

The combined effects of gum-chewing on weight management — the reduced calorie intake, increased calorie burning and distraction from potentially fattening foods that Leveille says gum can offer — may not seem to add up to an awful lot compared with sweating it out on the treadmill and going on grapefruit diets.

But chewing gum may be in keeping with an emerging approach to weight management that calls for focusing on small changes rather than dramatic, hard-to-sustain weight-loss tactics.

In the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, James O. Hill, professor of pediatrics and medicine and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado/Denver, argues that so far, despite all the attention paid to diet, nutrition and obesity, nobody has come up with an effective way to help most people maintain weight loss. Hill suggests that small changes, such as consuming 100 fewer calories per day, can curb weight gain among overweight and obese people and that such changes are easy for most people to sustain.

In light of such a “small changes” approach, maybe popping a stick of gum in your mouth now and then is a good idea. Especially if it takes the place of a Snickers bar.

Filed under: Messages — Arlene @ 4:18 am

Think about what you eat. We have been given freedom of choice. Too often, however, we become creatures of habit and routine and lose sight of all the choices that we make, or can make in a day.

Review and re-evaluate your habits when it comes to eating and food. List habits in two columns – constructive and destructive. Then decide which habit you want to change first and plan an alternate course to take. Give yourself three weeks to make the change before tackling the next bad habit. Focus on where you are headed – toward more energy, greater fitness, and improved health – and not on what you have to give up to get there.

Conscious choices tend to be good choices.

Exercise early in the morning or in the evening – lunch time is often motivating!

Have a great week.

Best Wishes


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