TURN UP THE HEAT ON YOUR METABOLISM

Metabolism

“What do you do when you metabolism is slow and you want to increase it ?”

One of the surest way to increase your metabolism is through exercise.

Burn more calories by burning  (pun intended) the soles off your gym shoes is a sure fire way to lose weight.

A slow metabolism may be due to lack of physical activity,genes or hyperthyroidism  which is when your thyroid gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone and your metabolism slows down.

The thyroid gland is located at the base of your neck and produces the thyroid hormone which helps regulate your metabolism which is the way your body uses energy.

Th thyroid gland uses iodine from your diet to produce its two main hormones that are important for some very important bodily functions like;

  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Breathing
  • Body temperature
  • Body weight
  • Menstrual cycle …

The two hormones produced by the thyroid are T3 (Triiodothyronineand) T4 (Thyroxine).

The levels of these two hormones in your body should neither be too high nor too low as they regulate how fast or slow your metabolism is.

These two hormones also work together with insulin which is the hormone that tells the body cells to take up the glucose to be used as energy fuel.

See how a slow metabolism affects your weight ?

If you have no underlying medical conditions, becoming more physically active is a great way to boost your metabolism and now thanks to science there are foods that together with regular physical exercise can help increase your metabolism.

Increasing your metabolism means that you burn more calories as you turn your food into energy that keeps your heart beating, your breathing constant ,your body temperature just right   as well as making sure your body functions as it should.All these things are using up energy which comes from the food you eat.

Thanks to one of the blog’s readers Susan,  who asked about how she could increase her metabolism.I thought about all the other readers who without any underlying medical reason may be having the same question and are wondering how to speed up their metabolism.then I should mention and here.

Exercise should be the first point of callas a means to increasing your metabolism but mother nature does provide means and ways with which we can help her along .

It is worth repeating that while our metabolism is affected by our genes and gender , exercising and eating right will go some way in helping us burn some extra more and who would not want that.

1.Do eat Breakfast

Sounds like a no brainer but you will be surprised by the number of people who do not take breakfast because they do not think it is important or even necessary.

By not eating breakfast you set your body into starvation mode and your metabolism slows and starts crawling at a snails pace to conserve energy.

(Yes,your body is that intelligent)

For breakfast try having foods that are slower to digest and leave you feeling fuller for longer so that you are not craving sugary things.

Try whole wheat bread with a vegetable omelette and a cup of tea or coffee with a fruit as a mid morning snack.

2.Do eat iron rich foods

Every month women  lose some amount of blood through their periods and blood contains the red blood cells that are  responsible for carrying oxygen into your body cells.

Remember the class 6 science lessons on the components of blood?

The red blood cells in your body contain Hemoglobin which  carry 70% of the iron in your body and hemoglobin is responsible for carrying oxygen from your lungs to your tissues.n.

If the levels of iron in your body are low,your muscles do not have enough oxygen,you start feeling lethargic and your  body activity slows down.

What to do ?

Eat foods that will  boost the level of iron in your body and aid in its functions.

Great sources of iron are of course  dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli , spinach,kales,peas and beans as well as lean cuts of meat and poultry.

3.Do take dairy

Dairy products like milk and yoghurt are great sources of calcium ,an adult needs about 1000mgs of calcium daily,pregnant and lactating women as well as those over 50 will need more .You can meet your daily requirement of calcium with your breakfast,having a serving of yoghurt and with your tea or coffee.

A glass of milk is equal to 300 mgs of calcium.

Calcium helps metabolize your fat more efficiently and if you are wary of dairy because of the fat it contains there are now brands of milk with a skim version that will give you the calcium without the fat.

4.Do cut back on alcohol

If you drink at least two glasses of wine in a sitting or 2 beers you slow down the process of fat burning by your body as much as 70 %.Instead of having the liver ,the organ in your body at the center of metabolism  turning  the food you take into nutrients that the body can use it instead turns to the  acetate in alcohol as a fuel source.

5.Do take more protein

When paired with exercise  intake of  protein as part of your daily meals will help increase your muscles and muscles burn more calories than fat.

Having protein in your meals will help curb hunger as well as help you maintain a healthy weight and your body does burn more calories by digesting it.

Great sources of protein are beans,eggs,milk,chicken,fish and peanut butter.

6.Do sleep for at least 8 hours

Sleep deprivation slows down your metabolism and makes your body more sluggish which means you are less likely to engage in any physical activity.A sluggish body equals a slowed metabolism.

Make sure you get at least 7- hours sleep daily and you will wake up hale and hearty ready to tackle the challenges of the day .You will see and find that you are more active after a good nights sleep than otherwise.

Lack of sleep has also been linked to the hunger hormone ghrelin which stimulates appetite,an increased food intake and fat storage.

 

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PERFECTLY OVEN ROASTED POTATOES

*DRUM ROLLS*

A new oven and i decided to break it with roasting potatoes!

I love potatoes,my kids love potatoes in all forms,fried,roasted,mashed…

Here is a recipe that will make your tastebuds swoon without expanding your waist line.

I had run out of fresh garlic and i replaced it with garlic powder ,feel free to replace that with a clove or two of crushed or minced garlic.

Ingredients

1 kilo of medium sized irish potatoes,peeled,washed and quartered

2-3 tablespoons corn oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 pinches salt

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Roast potatoes are ready.....!
Roast potatoes are ready…..!

Method

1.Parboil your potatoes for 5-7 minutes,then drain

2. Pre- heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

3.Line your drained potatoes onto a roasting pan,make sure all potatoes touch the bottom of the pan.

4.Drizzle the oil on the potatoes,sprinkle the garlic powder and salt on to the potatoes and using clean hands rub the oil,garlic powder ,salt onto the potatoes.Making sure all the potatoes are coated.

5.Once your oven is ready pop your potatoes for 30 minutes,,with kitchen gloves on remove the pan from your oven and sprinkle the chopped rosemary leaves on the potatoes and pop back the pan into the oven for a further 20 minutes.

6.Serve hot with a vegetable salad or a meat dish of your choice.

MY BETTER THAN A THOUSAND ISLAND DRESSING

All you need for this dressing are these four things :

2013-02-19-1468

The salad dressing is great with your favourite vegetables or with pasta.
I had it with some blanched broccoli,grated carots,tomatoes,red onions and julienned cucmber slices…deliciously scrumptious is all i can say.

I prefer these recipe rather than go buy a bottle of ready made dressing because reading the labels of most commercial dressings,the ingredients are on a list as long as my arm.This allows me to enjoy my salad without all of the guilt of unhealthy ingredients i am  putting in my body as i saw that Kenya Orchards does try to keep their ingredients as simple as possible.
The only thing to note is the mayonnaise has eggs,for anyone with an egg allergy please do get an alternative.

Ingredients
4 level tablespoons mayonnaise
2 level tablespoons tomato ketchup
2 pinches of black pepper
freshly squeezed juice of 1 small lemon.

It should look like this...
It should look like this…

Method
In a small bowl add the above ingredients then thotoughly mix with a fork or spoon
Cover with cling film and let it rest in the refridgerator for flavours to mesh and develop.
A half hour before serving add your vegetables and toss then return to the fridge.
It can keep for a day.

CREAMY GARLIC MUKIMO

Mukimo…how to describe it… a food ,a staple of the Eastern and Central parts of Kenya especially to the communities living around Mount Kenya,the second highest peak in Africa that stands at an elevation of 5,199 metres.In the early morning when we visited my grandma we could actually see the mountain top from her house.

Back to Mukimo…its mashed potatoes with peas,corn,beans and some vegetables thrown in for color..There are as many ways to make it as there are to make chapatis but here is mine:

After some muscle work you get this…..

Ingredients

10  medium-sized potatoes(red)

1 cup green peas

1 cup shredded pumpkin leaves

3 cloves minced garlic

1 medium-sized onion

1/4 cup fresh cream

4 tablespoons milk

salt to taste

2 tablespoons  corn oil

 1 cob shelled sweet corn(optional)

Method

1.Put your peeled and cleaned potatoes in a medium sized saucepan and add water till it covers the potatoes,cover the saucepan and bring the potatoes to boil then add your green peas.Boil till potatoes are cooked and fork easily passes through them,may take about 10-20 minutes and peas soften.

2.Drain the potatoes and peas and in the same saucepan add the corn oil,then sliced red onion, fry till so ftened then add garlic,fry for a further 30 -60 seconds then add the shredded pumpkin leaves and salt to taste and cover.Let cook for about 5-7 minutes covered  on medium low heat.

3.Add your sweet corn if using then the drained potatoes and peas and cover for a further 5 minutes.

4.Remove from heat and using a mwiko(wooden spoon used for making ugali) or a potato masher mash the potatoes  to break them for about 5 minutes.

5.Return to heat and make a well with your wooden spoon then add cream and milk,heat till it bubbles then turn off heat,and mash till its soft and creamy.

Mashed mukimo…….thats my mwiko on your top right.

It is great with any kind of beef/chicken stew or on its own with a colorful salad.

NB:Red/pink/brown skinned  potatoes are my firm favourite for mashed potatoes as they give a better consistency

 

“POOR” CABBAGE

History has been very unfair to the cabbage as for quite a long time it has relegated the cabbage to a nondescript position as a poor mans vegetable.

Yet the vegetable has been known to contain anti carcinogenic properties that may help fight cancer as well as prevent growth of malignant tumours.

Cabbage contains significant amounts of the B,K and E vitamins as well as Vitamin C and A.

Vitamins are an essential component in the regulation of body functions from playing a role in immunity to helping in blood clotting,a role vitamin K plays very well.

It is also rich in the essential minerals potassium and since it is low in sodium is good for anyone with hypertension or oedema.It also has considerable amounts of calcium and phosphorus which are known bone builders.

Cabbage is great in salads or steamed.It is best to cook it for as little time as possible as it loses a lot of its Vitamin component when cooked.

If cooking make sure it retains its bright color and crunchy consistency so that you get the best from it.

When shopping it is best to go for firm cabbages,with bright green and from leaves and keep off cabbages that have started to turn yellow.

You can make salads with them fresh from the market but i have found once i store them in the fridge then it is better to steam them with just a little olive oil and grated carrots.

Here and here are recipes to start you off.

PEAR – MELON SALAD

Pears are a great source of dietary fibre in the form of pectin and are great source of naturally occurring sugars in the form of sucrose,fructose.

They also contain potassium and vitamin C.

Store them in your refrigerator,packed  in a plastic bag for up to 3 days,after that they lose their crispness and turn soft and mushy.Its pear season in Kenya and just today after going shopping at my local market I was feeling really hot and decided to buy a really nice looking luscious pear and some water melon and decided to cool off after my lunch with this juicy salad.

 

Pear image from 123rf.com

Ingredients

1 medium sized pear,cubed

1/2 cup of water melon cubed

1/2 juice of 1 lemon

Method

In a small salad bowl mix the lemon and pear and squeeze the lemon juice on top then toss.

2.Sit on the couch put the first spoonful in your mouth close your eyes and chew slowly enjoying each crunchy bite

You can add any other fruit of your choice like sliced avocado,banana,strawberry whatever your heart desires.

Sorry i have to go back to  the kitchen to make more  salad.

Buon appetito!

CARROTS AND MORE……..

One of my sisters ,who shall remain unnamed decided she wanted to run away.

And the only thing she carried was a carrot and her favourite dress.

A carrot! I still wonder how she thought she would survive on a carrot for who knows how long, till she got hungry and came back home.

Luckily we found her just as she turned the corner after our house.

Like most children she loved carrots and this root vegetables is a go to snack anytime.

If you store them in a plastic bag unwashed,and keep in the coolest part of of your fridge,this way   they can keep fresh for weeks.

Remember to wash them  before use.

They are  a rich source of beta carotene which gives them their yellow color,beta carotene once it gets  into  the body is turned into Vitamin A.

Carrots are rich in Vitamins C,B,D,E and K.They also contain minerals like potassium,manganese,calcium,phosphorus and sodium.

So how can you make more use of carrots.

1.Grated or cubed,make sure carrots are a staple in all your meat and vegetable dishes,Whether they be stews or salads.

Start off with this carrot cake inspired salad

2. Make carrot juice and blend it with other fruit drinks like fresh apples/beetroot and orange juice.

3.Use grated or julienned carrots to garnish dishes in which you have used carrots.

4.Carrots also add a wonderful accent to things like soup,include them when making items like this ox tail soup

5.Blend carrot juice with some thick yoghurt and some pieces of pineapple/beetroot or any fruit of your liking and you have a drink that is a powerhouse of nutrients.

What other carrot uses can you come up with?

MANGO AND ROASTED CHICKEN SALAD ON A BED OF BROCCOLI WITH LEMON AIOLI

 These supper yummy salad is easy to assemble and is delicious with some roast potatoes or any kind of flat bread at hand be it chapati or pita bread.

What you need:

1/2 roast chicken

2 cups blanched broccoli

2 ripe mangos julienned(cut into thin strips)

3 sun-dried tomatoes,chopped.

Fresh lemon juice from 1 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and black  pepper to taste

Assembling.

1.Remove the flesh from the roast chicken shredding it into bite size pieces.

2.Meanwhile in a small bowl using a wire whisk pour the lemon juice,add some black pepper   and slowly drizzle in olive oil.Whisk till it forms a thick emulsion.

3.Meanwhile get a salad bowl,put in the chicken pieces and the pieces of the mango and the chopped sun-dried tomatoes and pour the dressing over them.

Taste and if need be, add some more salt or black pepper.

5.When serving blanch the broccoli then serve the cold chicken salad over the vegetables.the broccoli will absorb the juices from the chicken salad making it delicious.

Garnish with some  slices of lemon.

HONEY IN 6 AMAZING WAYS!

“I am wearing Ralp Lauren,no pants”-Barry Bee(Bee Movie)

A honey dip

One of my all time  favourite movies is the Bee Movie!I have watched it with my five-year old daughter countless number of times .

It tells the story of Barry the Bee who wants to save the bees from what he sees as  human exploitation.

If the law suit the bees had filed against human exploitation had gone through,it would have made it illegal for humans to say things such as “honey am home” or using honey in  beauty products and kitchens without paying royalties!.

It is a wonderful movie that captures in a very whimsical manner the really hard work and the complexity of bees..

Did you know a colony of bees will fly the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect just 1 kilo of honey!

Find interesting honey bee facts here.

Not only is honey great because it is a natural sweetener but it is also has anti oxidants that are  great in fighting off free radicals that cause disease ,Vitamin C,minimal amounts of phosphorus and selenium .

There are many things you can use honey for in the kitchen and they do not include using it as a bread spread.

1.In salad dressings

Mix a table-spoon of honey with the juice of three fresh lemons or lime an d use it as a dressing on fruit salads.

2.In marinades

Use it to marinade chicken or pork.Try out my sweet and sour chicken recipe.

3.In placeof sugar

Do you know it can replace sugar in most of your pastry recipes like chapatis,bread ,tea and other types of drinks that require sweetening.

4.In oven roasted bacon

Brush your strips of bacon with honey and then pop them under your grill.

5.In butter

Mix one tablespoon of honey with a few tablespoons of butter and you have honey butter.

6.”Hot” Honey

Add a few pinches of pepper flakes to honey,blend it together with some wine vinegar,olive oil,parsley,garlic  and you have a hot and sweet  dressing that can be drizzled over salads.

Its super yummy!

Like all things good,honey consumption should be in moderation as it is twice as sweet as  regular sugar.

SWEET POTATOES(NGWACI)-THE UNSUNG SUPERFOOD

Ngwaci’s or sweet potatoes are a super food and next time you are in the market, do not ignore this super food and here is why……

In Kenya we grow three kinds of sweet potatoes ,white,purple and red skinned ones whose flesh will either be yellow or white.

The yellow fleshed sweet potato variety is the most nutritious of all as it comes packed with beta carotene that is great for your eyes and immune system,Vitamin C ,dietary fibre and carbohydrates.

Read more about sweet potatoes and diabetes  here.

Here is how you can enjoy this superfood:

1.Sweet potatoes are very versatile and canbe  boiled and mashed and had  in place of regular potatoes.

2.You can have sweet potatoes fries by baking  them in a 180 degrees centigrade oven for about 35-40 minutes .

Just drizzle some olive oil ,black pepper and salt  over them and pop them in the oven.

3.They can be added(pre-cooked) to pastry dough and cake/pancake   batters  as a natural sweetener  and to boost the nutritional value of these foods.

4.They can be an alternative to regular potatoes in salads ,soups and stews.

5.You can make  sweet potato pie, even souffles!

Flavours that really go well with sweet potatoes are:bananas,rosemary,garlic,chicken,honey,cheese and bacon.

Spices:Cinnamon,nutmeg,black pepper

How to store them

Sweet potatoes should not be stored in the fridge as it alters their flavour ,store them in a cool dry dark place and they should keep for atleast a week