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It's Not Magic, It's Work!

25 Jul 2015

GCN/Hannah Grant Energy Bars

Today I tried to make some GCN/Hannah Grant energy bars. I fist had to convert from silly cups into sensible units*, and we were missing pumpkin seeds but we had everything else.

  • 4 ripe bananas - about 340 g. Blended to a fine mush
  • 200 g rolled oats
  • 100 g dried fruit - we used rasins
  • 60 g linseed/flax seeds - our were golden
  • 60 g sunflower seeds - ours were kernels only
  • 60 g almonds - chopped
  • 60 g pecans - chopped, we also had some cashews in this mix
  • cinnamon - I substituted nutmeg as my better half doesn't like cinnamon
  • salt - skipped as I'm on a low salt diet

Mix together, spread in a baking tray - ours wasn't deep enough, it should be 2 - 3 cm thick and bake on 170°C for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting into energy bar shaped pieces. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Before baking it looks a bit like a home made lard & seed cake for garden birds, which in may respects it is, albeit with a lot less fat and lot more expensive ingredients!

Mine is now cooling and we'll try this it afternoon!

How do you measure a cup full of banana? Weights are far easier to use.


19 Jul 2015

Hybrid Diet

I'm sticking to my calorie restricted diet. Once I get to the correct target weight or waist size I'll stick to the diet but increase the calories to match my burn rate so I stay put at the right size.

My diet is a combination of three highly regarded diets: the DASH; the portfolio and the Mediterranean diet. They are basically the same for over ~75% of their components and ideas, so they are easy to combine. All three are good for reducing blood pressure, reducing serum LDL and if used in a calorie restricted manner then good for reducing body mass.

The all share the following obvious components: lots of fresh fruit and vegetables every day (5 portions of each); high fibre un-refined cereals; plenty of nuts and pulses; low levels of fat & sugar and not much processed food.

The DASH diet keeps the salt levels low or ultra low. Lower than the national RDA and either aligned with the WHO upper limit in the basic version, or lower still in the ultra low salt version. Caffeine and alcohol are also moderated to lower than normal levels.

The portfolio diet adds more plant protein in the form of soya and other legumes. It also adds know "cholesterol" absorbing foods to the diet like beta-glucans from wholemeal oats, sterols from fortified dairy products and soya instead of some diary products.

Finally from the Mediterranean diet there is oily fish, e.g. mackerel and sardines instead of beef.

I'm now less than 75 kg, and starting to fit into medium sized men's clothing rather than large which is too lose and XL which fits like a tent. About 10 kg to go if you assume BMI, and about 1 trouser size if you accept waist:height ratio.


02 Jul 2015

Body Mass

It's now been a few weeks since I've been on my new diet. Since April I've lost a further ~6 kg, currently weighing in at around 77 kg. Other than my trip to Guernsey which appear to have added 1 kg (all the raspberries and tomatoes...) instead of a 440 g loss, taking me about 1.5 kg off track. I've stopped using a weekly weigh-in, opting for a 7-day moving average which is less volatile and probably more meaningful.

My diet is basically what I had when I was too heavy but slightly tweaked:

  • Five servings of fruit per day
  • Five servings of vegetables per day
  • Five servings of nuts and/or beans per week
  • One serving of protein per day, lean or oily fish or vegetable based
  • Plenty of fibre, from the food rather than added as a supplement

I've had to exclude:

  • Salt - need to keep to the WHO limit, not the much higher UK limit
  • Caffeine - I don't drink coffee but I can only have very little or no tea, which I do like
  • Added sugars - no added sugars on/to anything
  • Added fat, especially saturated, trans-fats and Palm fat
  • Alcohol - it's got too much energy in it and there isn't space for it in the budget
  • No substitute foods, e.g. fat-free fat or synthetic sweeteners

The up shot is that with the limit on sugars, fats and salt most processed foods are now off limits, and will probably remain that way for ever. The occasion item is okay but it really has to be only occasionally.

The main addition to my diet are the nuts, I'm not really a fan of them, but they apparently are good for LDL/HDL ratio and blood pressure. I've also added some xylitol based mints as they are minty (I have a sweet tooth) and apparently there is good evidence that they contribute to reducing dental decay.

I've also swapped some of my yoghurt to yoghurt with plant sterols in or yoghurt based on soya rather than milk. Both are proven to reduce your LDL levels in the blood, which is probably a good idea - though possibly not enough to make a clinically significant outcome.