My Favourite Gluten-Free Treats This Week | February

So I may not follow a strict gluten-free diet (I eat regular wholemeal bread and the like) but I do try and eat less gluten than I used to, mainly because of how it makes me feel.

Lowering my gluten intake is a life choice; I feel it makes me less bloated and doesn’t give me the same gut inflammation as regular foods. That’s why finding a gluten-free alternative wherever possible is so important for people in a similar position to me.

Whilst there are a heap of gluten-free food  companies around at the minute, it’s easy to go for the first alternative you see and stick with it for life. Well, there is a whole host of hidden beauties lurking on the web, and they offer some amazing alternatives to foods you will definitely never find in the supermarket.

Check out my top five gluten-free treats from around the web – give them a try and see how right I am 😉

Pistachio energy bombs (Oatopia)

Oatopia are a company that love sport, and they created their ‘fatjacks’ and energy bombs to give triathletes and the like the option of healthy, vegetarian, high-energy, gluten-free treats.

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Their range is amazing, from thick-cut flapjacks (seriously, like the size of your head), to delicious fruit & veg energy bombs. Their range of bombs is most magical – beetroot, banana and ginseng are just some in the range, but my personal favourite is the pistachio energy bomb.

Complete with oats, dates, almond butter and agave syrup, these treats are great for when you need that extra bit of energy before working out. You can find more on them here: http://www.oatopia.co.uk/shop/energy-bombs/pistachio-energy-bomb/570

Coconut Marshmallows (Ananda’s Marshmallow Confections)

Ananda Foods started when the founder realised there really were no vegetarian marshmallows available in the UK market (and only one US company). The reason for this is because marshmallows are largely composed of gelatine, the boiled bones of animals.

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Luckily, Ananda Foods came up with an alternative whereby they could add vegetable glycerine, can keep them gluten-free and, thanks to premium locally-sourced ingredients, keep them tasting incredible.

My personal favourite? The gluten-free coconut marshmallows. I dip them into peanut butter or warm them up on toast for a healthy snack! You can see more on them here: http://www.anandafoods.co.uk/store/p102/%2ANEW%2A_Ananda%27s_Gelatine_Free_Strawberry_Marshmallows_90g.html

Spicy Chorizo and Red Pepper Flavour Crisps (Darling Spuds)

Darling Spuds is a lovely company based in Buckinghamshire who make all-natural gluten-free crisps for snackers who want to eat more healthily. Although I’m not a hugeee crisp fan (give me sweet over savoury any day) I thought I’d give these a try.

My reason for disliking crisps is because they always leave an oily residue on your fingers, are rarely gluten-free, plus you never actually get enough in a bag to satisfy your cravings.

Darling Spuds are the complete opposite – they taste so clean, you get tonnes of crisps, and the flavours are to die for.

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My favourite is the spicy chorizo red pepper flavour – you can literally taste the meat and the spiciness is so good you simply have to relish each crisp. For more on them, see here: http://www.darlingspuds.co.uk/products.html?p=0

Tangy Tomato Jerky (Top Herd)

This quaint company was founded by Philippa and Simon, two foodies who looked to give the public what they so desperately needed: healthy, high protein savoury snacks. Whilst the market is awash with sweet protein bars, finding savoury protein goods is way too difficult to come by.

So that’s when Top Herd was born. Fresh beef, marinated and air-dried into delicious jerky, these snack packets are low salt, high protein, all-natural and use only grass-fed animals.

My winner is the gluten-free Tangy Tomato jerky, which is composed of beef, tomato, honey and mm-mm RED WINE. Definitely satisfies the urge for naughty snacks and keeps you full for ages.

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I eat a packet post-workout to up my protein. See more about Top Herd’s jerky here: http://www.topherd.co.uk/product/tangy-tomato-beef/

Healthier Butterkist Popcorn Recipe

I have a bit of a problem with popcorn. I’ll tell you why… it’s because it so doesn’t need to be unhealthy. All of these pre-popped bags of popcorn with layers of salt, sugar and butter on are unnecessarily unhealthy and annoy me a lot. And don’t get me started on the microwaveable stuff.

20170202_195921.jpgRaw kernels are so much cheaper than pre-made popcorn and, if you buy the bagged stuff because you think convenience is key then you may be surprised to know the raw kind only takes one saucepan and that’s it.

It’s not even a faff – you just put it on the hob and wait for a few minutes and it’s done. Fresh, delicious, healthier than bagged and tastes just like the kind you’d pay £6 for in a cinema. All from a bag of kernels that would have cost you around 50p. You can thank me later.

Try this wicked recipe which cuts out the butter, additives and colourings and keeps it simple with just kernels, sea salt, coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, peanut butter instead of butter and Fudge Kitchen’s AMAZING sea salted caramel fudge for that extra sweetness. An amazing healthy recipe if you’re a huge Butterkist fan 😉

Ingredients

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Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan for about 30 seconds.
  2. Drop in 3 kernels and wait for them to pop.
  3. Once they’ve popped, take the pan off the heat for 30 seconds.
  4. Return the pan to the heat and add in the coconut oil and peanut butter.
  5. Add the kernels to the pan, pour in the fudge and place lid on pan to steam.
  6. Wait a few minutes for all the kernels to pop and take off the heat when kernels don’t pop for more than 10 seconds apart.
  7. Mix in the salt and serve up when cool.

The Best Nut Butters You Can’t Find In The Supermarket

I may have a full-time job, but my part-time job definitely is trying to find the best nut butters ever in the UK. Although the nut butters available in the supermarket are good, the range of 100% natural, low-sugar, no palm oil butters is really difficult to come by.

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Whilst I do love the big brands like Meridian (not Whole Earth, they’re rank), I always think it’s important to find local UK-based nut butter companies who really work hard to make the best nut butter ever. There is such diversity and, if you take a look on the web, will find some absolute crackers.

If you can’t be bothered to trawl through Google, don’t fear – trust my judgement and be the first to try some of the best nut butters you’ve probably never heard of. Take a look below at my favourite three nut butter brands at the minute.

The Best Nut Butters You Can’t Find In The Supermarket

Jake’s Boost

Jake’s Boost are a small, independent company based in Ascot and they make AMAZING peanut butter. Their range is fairly small, but it’s all about quality over quantity with them. They offer nut and seed butters and healthy fruit crisps which they package in helpful snack pots, with the fruit crisps the perfect spoon for the nut butter.

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My personal favourite is the Cacao Boost Spread (cos I love chocolate almost as much as I love peanut butter). It’s comprised of peanuts, chia and cacao nibs and are particularly amazing to mix into healthy homemade brownies! You can find out more about them here – http://www.jakesboost.com/

Hognuts Nut Butters

Hognuts are a lovely nut butter company based in Yorkshire and is solely run by a husband and wife. They’re one of my favourite companies for dessert-like nut butters that aren’t super high in sugar and still taste sweet. The whole range tastes super decadent and melts so delicately in the mouth that there really is no need for high calorie, high sugar puddings any more!

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My all-time favourite is their Signature Bakin’ Butter. Rather than traditional nut butters, this one is designed to make incredible high protein nut butter cookies with very little effort – literally all you do is take a tablespoon, pop it on a greased baking tray and bake for 12 minutes. With only 5% sugar, 30% protein and 100% gluten-free this nut butter is pretty much perfect for anyone. You can find out more about them here – https://hognutsbutters.com/

Funky Nut Company

Funky Nut Co. makes crazy-good nut butters and is one of the best companies if you’re looking to buy a complete range of affordable butters made from different nuts. From your traditional peanut butter, to pistachio butter, to tiger nut butter!

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For me, it’s so easy to find my favourite. Their dark chocolate hazelnut butter is just way too good to be true – it’s thick, 100% natural and made with 80% dark chocolate. And yes, this really is better than Nutella. Funky Nut Co. are based in lovely Liverpool, but you can find out more about them here – http://funkynutco.com/

 

Peanut Butter Hacks That Keep The kCals Down

If you’ve been reading my blog for any longer than 5 minutes, you’ll learn very quickly how much I LOVE peanut butter. I’m talking peanut butter on toast, peanut butter in porridge, peanut butter in stir frys… basically peanut butter 24/7.

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But as much as I love (LOVE!) peanut butter, there is just one problem I have with it. And that’s the incredibly high calories per serving. Of course, this is because it’s a wholefood comprised of mostly good fats and protein, but all the same, humans have never been designed to consumed 600 calories in sometimes just minutes, from just one food source.

So I’ll be the first to say it – being addicted to peanut butter can have its consequences (i.e. you’ll get a little more belly fat and, especially if you have IBS, will struggle to digest much post-peanut butter frenzy).

That’s why even peanut butter (my beautiful peanut b

utter) needs to be consumed in moderation. BUT if that’s too difficult, try these 5 peanut butter hacks that will see you not cutting back on your peanut butter addiction without ramping up the calories!

Five Peanut Butter Hacks You Need To Know

1.Mix in your nut butter with crumbled rice cakes

This is a peanut butter hack I live by. Rice cakes are very low calorie but have a lovely roasted taste that bodes delightfully with peanut butter. But that’s not the best bit – the best bit is how much your small peanut butter serving bulks up from the rice cakes, so you can chow down big mouthfuls (if that’s your thing) with around half of the nut butter calories consumed!

2. Eat it with a fork

If you love eating it straight from the tub but go through about one-third every serving, you’ll know you need to cut back somehow. Do this by eating with a fork, rather than a spoon. I know this sounds ridiculous, but spoons allow ‘heaping’ which is one of the most difficult things to abstain from when eating peanut butter. Instead, use a fork and you’ll still get the nut butter you crave and the actual action of dipping in is satisfied, but you’re eating somewhere around 30 calories per mouthful vs 120 calories with a spoon!

3. Buy individual serving pots

I get a whole load of plastic pots from Costco and dump my 1kg tub of peanut butter into them as soon as I get it (yes I get 1kg, yes it’s amazing, yes I have eaten mounds of it in bed with a serving spoon). Each pot is about 1 1/2 tablespoons worth which is around 130 calories, which I think is fairly moderate especially given the good fats and protein you’re getting too. Once you’ve finished off your pot, you’ll know that’s your lot. If you go to get another, you’ll be able to better quantify how many calories you’re actually consuming… and how much it really isn’t worth reaching for that 2nd pot.

4. Add fibre wherever possible

Peanut butter is naturally filling but a lot of the time this is masked over by the creamy deliciousness of it, making it incredibly difficult to stop completely. One hack I’ve found that allows my brain to connect to my tummy is to add a good helping of fibre to my peanut butter dish. So, if I’m eating peanut butter on toast, rather than heaping on the nut butter, I’ll sprinkle lots of pumpkin seeds on top and chopped banana. I’ll also make sure it’s on wholemeal bread and, if what I’m really looking for is that creamy texture, will spread some nice natural yogurt on top too.

5. Keep added sugars to a minimum

I’m totally judging you if you buy peanut butter with added sugar in. It’s SO not needed and degrades the quality of the delicious nuts and creamy non-gritty goodness of natural peanut butter made with 100% nuts. This being said, you really don’t need sugar in nut butter and you should definitely avoid adding any to it. I’m talking honey mixed in with your peanut butter oats, raisins added to your nut butter serving, chocolate spread to your nut butter on toast… any added sugar will just heap on the cravings and keep you eating it for longer. This is FACT – trust me, it does nothing but mask the yummy nut butter and will make you mindlessly eat something that should be savoured.

Now, let us pray to the Peanut Butter Gods and give thanks. AMEN!

 

Vegan Paradise: Nut Milk Yogurts Come to the UK

FINALLY! You can BUY nut milk yogurts from your local supermarket.

I think it’s fair to say there is no shortage of nut milks in the supermarkets any more. Go back several years and shoppers would have wondered ‘Nut milk who?’ with ‘dairy-free’ very rarely known about, let alone discussed. But now you can’t move for almond milk, hazelnut milk and cashew milk scattering the shelves!

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I’m personally a massive fan of nut milk – I adore creamy cashew milk with my porridge – but it always seems a shame that the nut milk train ends at just plain milk. After all, traditional cow’s milk also makes cheese, butter and yogurt – why isn’t nut milk as multi-dimensional? Why can’t I get a smorgasbord of rich, creamy nut milk goodies?

Turns out, scientists around the globe have been wondering the same question and have thankfully come up with their first revolutionary creation – nut milk yogurt!nush-dairy-free-yogurts

That’s right folks, dairy-free brand Nush have recently announced they’re going to be launching the UK’s very first nut milk yogurts, made with top quality avola almonds. Available at Whole Foods Market, Planet Organic and Ocado, these yummy dairy-free yogurts are harvested with less water than dairy alternatives and incorporate no pesticides or fertilisers at all, meaning vegans can also enjoy this creamy dreamy treat.

Are you a vegan or lead a dairy-free lifestyle? What do you think of nut milk yogurts coming to your supermarket?

Are Oatmeal Cookies Healthy?

Oatmeal cookies are quite possibly the most divisive cookie choice ever. It’s the Marmite of the baked goods world.

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So often they are considered “bland”, “like chewable Ovaltine” and, overarchingly, “too healthy”. But are oatmeal cookies actually a more nutritious choice than Double Chocolate Chip or Snickerdoodle? Or are Oatmeal Raisins just another tasty treat from the oatmeal franchise who have been several misrepresented?

Related: Are Granola Bars Actually Healthy? 

Are Oatmeal Cookies Healthy?

First of all, let’s look at the typical ingredients list on a standard Oatmeal Raisin cookie. Let’s go for the best of the bunch – Subway’s own.

Ingredients:

Flour Enriched ( Wheat Flour, Barley Malted Flour, Niacin Vitamin B3, Iron Reduced, Thiamine Mononitrate Vitamin B1, Riboflavin Vitamin B2, Folic Acid Vitamin B9 ), Sugar, Raisins, Palm Oil, Oats, Eggs, Water, Molasses, Salt, Whey, Baking Soda, Cinnamon

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Well, there are healthy oats in these cookies

Whilst we all know that eating oats can help improve digestion (See here for why oats are great for digestion) and regulate blood sugar levels, oats are actually the 11th ingredient in the bunch, preceded by sugar, raisins and palm oil. Before all of these, however, is enriched flour which ups the carb intake ten-fold.

Raisins are healthy snacks, so these are healthy too

Yeah, I guess raisins are okay but they are actually full of natural sugars and eating too many of these is just as bad as eating table sugar. They also have a medium GI (Glycemic index) which means they make your blood sugar shoot up if you eat too many of them (more on the Glycemic Index here).

There isn’t as much sugar as in other cookies

HA! Believe what you want but thanks to the pure sugar, raisins, and molasses (basically just brown sugar), four Oatmeal Raisin cookies contain on average 16g, whilst four Double Choc Chip cookies contain 9g of sugar on average.

So which cookie is my healthiest option?

Of course, we can now rule out Oatmeal Raisin as healthy, and a lot of cookies get their sweet and snappy nature from lots of sugar and oil, so your best option is to find a recipe online that suits your lifestyle. My favourite are the three ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies from My Whole Food Life which are comprised of just peanut butter, a little syrup and salt. Delish!

 

What is the difference between vitamins & minerals?

What does it mean when a food purports to have ‘essential vitamins & minerals’? We’ve all heard of Vitamin C being good for immunity and Vitamin B for hair and skin, but what is the real difference between a vitamin & a mineral?

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Vitamins

You’ll get all your essential vitamins from fruits and vegetables – which includes Vitamin C from oranges, Vitamin A in artichoke & Vitamin B in avocados. This is probably why you’ve heard vitamins talked more about in advertising campaigns and in the media, as a way of selling healthy fruits & veg.

You’ll also hear that vitamins are great for naturally maintaining healthy hair, skin & nails. That’s because vitamins help release energy from the food you eat, and produces the building blocks of red blood cell and protection against decay. Vitamin supplements are great for progressively gaining better health and work better when consumed regularly.

Vitamins are usually better absorbed when they come into contact with minerals, and that is why vitamins & minerals are usually associated – so that you can get the most goodness from your foods!

Minerals

Minerals are found in liquids & soils and are also found in root-based foods like potatoes, parsnips & legumes. This is why you get most of your minerals from plant-based dishes like stew or soups.

Whilst vitamins fight to protect the tender parts of the body – the red blood cells – minerals work with the harder parts of the body, such as the muscles, bones & maintaining a good acid-alkaline balance. For more short-term ailments, such as fatigue you’re better off with a mineral supplement. For longer-term general health ailments such as calcium deficiency, you’re good with vitamins.

You won’t find handy names for minerals in the same way you do with vitamins – there’s no Mineral A or Mineral B, minerals are instead the things you might buy supplements for, such as zinc, magnesium & potassium. Some metal-based minerals such as copper and lead aren’t good for you and should be avoided at all costs, so it pays to watch out for the good minerals.

In general, minerals retain more of their nutritional value in the form of a supplement than vitamins. Vitamins can lose nutrients when heated or chemically altered, so if you’re feeling sleepy, an Iron supplement is more likely to serve you well than a Vitamin B supplement.

Which Coffee Shop Makes The Best Porridge?

Starbucks

This is entitled ‘Perfect Porridge’ on its packaging, so it had a lot to live up to. Fresh milk is added to the dry oats rather than hot water, so you get the option after purchase of either regular or soya milk.

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Toppings are included in the £1.99 price tag, and you have a good choice of toppings, from sugar, sweeteners, vanilla, nutmeg, cocoa powder, cinnamon, honey and dried fruit in sachets. It’s nice to have the option of so many toppings included in the price, although something that isn’t hugely sugary would have been nice, such as peanut butter or fresh fruit.

Related: The Best IBS-Friendly Porridge Toppings

Although milk is added, the dried oats just don’t seem to blend properly and you get a synthetic tasting bland porridge without much integrity. Not very nice at all, not even with the addition of the toppings.

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Costa Coffee

A small 80g pot of packaged porridge – is it really worth £2.10? It’s difficult to think you’re getting your money’s worth when it looks so measly and when you know full well that the oats themselves probably cost around 2p.

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In the pot is 60% whole grain oat flakes (all good so far), dried skimmed milk (not bad at all), and lots and lots of refined sugar (uhoh). Hot water is added to mix it all together. Because of the dried skimmed milk, you don’t get the usual luxurious creaminess of fresh milk, nor do you get the option of choosing a dairy-free milk so vegans and lactose intolerants can say bye-bye to this morning staple.

Related: “Instant” & “Convenience” Oatmeal: Quaker Oats Aren’t Healthy

The texture is okay at best – the flakes are a bit mealy and it is way too sweet, and it didn’t actually fill me up at all. Fine for a sugary snack, but not really a decent breakfast option.

Caffe Nero

I’m a massive advocate of Caffe Nero so I had all the hope in the world going into this one and trying out their porridge, any disappointment would have felt like a massive blow.

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Like with Starbucks, skimmed, semi or soya milk is added hot to this porridge pot, or you can add water if you prefer. The choice of toppings isn’t as extensive as Starbucks but the options of maple syrup, berry compote or sugar and sweeteners is nice, although a less sugary topping would again be preferred.

This one was really nice and tasted more like the stuff I make myself at home. Smooth, full of large oats and really creamy. I had mine with soya milk and it tasted super luxurious yet light. Really nice even without any toppings and amazing with an espresso.

Pret A Manger

Pret generally make outstanding food so it’s no wonder they go the extra mile with their porridge options, with their Proper Porridge (the usual) and Five Grain Porridge (oats, quinoa, amaranth, golden linseed, brown linseed, cooked in coconut water).

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Proper Porridge

As you might expect, the latter is one of the nicest coffee shop porridges – rather than scolding it with hot water or lumping it full of hot milk, they cook it in advance and then keep in warm in serving pots. This gives the oats sufficient time to soak up their surrounding flavours and liquids – anyone who has made overnight oats knows the majesty of this technique.

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Five Grain Porridge

Toppings include the usual sugar, sweetener, honey and berry compote, plus a mango and seed compote which is actually really good. The seed addition is a nice touch as I was getting a bit fed up of only having sweet toppings.

The texture is lovely and because it’s been warmed through properly, every spoonful tastes great. On top of that, you can also eat it straight away out of the tub!


Overall, Pret wins because it actually tastes like some care has gone into making a perfect porridge. The others seem like they just want to make a pretty penny off of a very cheap breakfast staple.

In general, avoid the instant porridges which only use dried oats and hot water – the flavours won’t combine correctly and will taste bland.

On the flip side, too much milk and not enough stirring makes the liquid and the oats separate from one another – they need properly mixing, over a longer period of time, so they can combine whilst capturing all the flavours. A mixture of hot water and hot milk seems to work best for the Pret porridge.

Alflorex Biotics Review: How much does it help IBS?

I’m naturally sceptical when it comes to probiotic products. Before I was officially diagnosed with IBS, I tried expensive supermarket probiotic drinks like Yakult and Actimel because I imagined they’d fix my tempestuous stomach. Turns out, not so much.

All they did was make me feel more bloated, as well as giving me ‘squeaky teeth’ – the phenomenon of way too much sugar in concentrated form, so I had to stop taking them.

Since being diagnosed and learning more about IBS, I tried a few other probiotics (see my review of Symprove Probiotics here), which were pretty good, so I was less sceptical when this year I was given the chance to try Alflorex probiotics.

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Alflorex is a natural precision biotic food supplement which comes in the form of easy digestible small capsules. I was sent 4 weeks’ worth so had plenty of time to work it into my usual routine.

After 1 week I noticed subtle changes, but not dramatic. The bloating I would usually feel after a larger meal felt less uncomfortable, but I wasn’t sure if this was just a placebo effect and you can’t really tell after 1 week alone anyway.

After 2 weeks I did start to see noticeable improvements, mainly in terms of bowel movements and the way I was able to eat larger meals without experiencing stomach cramps. In general, from the moment I woke up my stomach felt calm, whereas before I had to down 2 pints of water just so I could feel like my gut was cleansed.

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After 3 weeks I wanted to see if the Yakult drinks I tried and failed with before would work better alongside Alflorex. I’d really not recommend it, it just exhausts your gut and makes digestion even more difficult than before. It turns out that consuming multiple strains of bacteria isn’t good for the gut at all – different cultures target different areas of the gut. Too many targeted areas just over-runs the gut and creates more muscle spasms than normal (there’s more detailed information on the use of multiple strains here).

After 4 weeks I stopped using Yakult and just had the one capsule of Alflorex a day as before and my stomach started to feel normal again. Easy and calm digestion reduced the bloating and made eating a lot more enjoyable.

Overall, I think this stuff works, but definitely give it four weeks to really ride out the full capacity of the product. Oh and don’t mix with other bacterial strains as it simply undoes all the natural good of Alflorex!

 

Are These The Worst Convenience Foods To Buy?

Have we reached peak laziness?

When did it become so difficult to take something out of its packaging, chop it, wash it or, heaven forbid, butter it?!

According to research by the BBC, sales of pre-peeled potatoes went up 40% from 2010 to 2011 and is continuing to grow year on year, whilst diced onions were up 14% and prepared vegetables were up 17%!

I, for one, am not a fan of lazy foods in the slightest.

Not only do they strip the heart and soul from the food by throwing in lashings of chemicals to preserve it/thicken it/make it stay pretty over time, but there is no enjoyment to be had during consumption any more.

We’re cramming morsels down our faces as we rush off to the next meeting, we’re no longer preparing food because our schedule doesn’t allow for it, so we don’t think of food as sustenance or important nourishment any more, all it is is another tick on the To Do list.

The unavoidable outcome of this is that these types of busy on-the-move people are unaware that this is why they’re always tired/stressed out/hungry for more… because what they’re eating, whilst colourful, is vacuous, tasteless and diminishes wellbeing at a horrific rate.

Here are the top 7 worst convenience foods you can find in stores, which will prove just how much we hate our bodies/using cutlery! FYI – This list is designed to showcase the worst of the worst… do NOT buy these if you care about good food!

Pre-buttered malt loaf

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I was shocked and disgusted when I saw this. PRE-BUTTERED?! Has the world gone mad? Next, Soreen will be sending a drone to open the ever-so-hard-to-open plastic wrapping too!

Pre-cooked jacket potato

mccain2Probably one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen, it’s almost laughable that a 5 minute microwaveable potato is considered one of the most revolutionary things to happen in the 2000s.

Oh, and there is How To Cook instructions on their site in case you really were struggling to make sense of your starchy nemesis.

Pre-cut avocado

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When M&S launched this in April there was considerable backlash concerning the sheer laziness of the product. Not only is it lazy, avocados are inherently good at a) telling you they’re ripe (the knobbly bit falls off), and b) keeping the flesh firm with its rough outer shell. By taking the flesh out, putting it in a pot, and preserving it with parsley no less, you’ll get a much mushier and mangey avocado experience.

Pre-mashed mashed potato

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This has been around for years, and it is one of my biggest bug bears. Homemade mashed potato is delicious, fluffy, filling and creamy. Pre-mashed mashed potato comes packed with heavy cream, lumps of butter and way too much salt, making it super unhealthy, and making you wish you’d just had the patience to boil a few potatoes for half an hour instead. Ruin your Sunday dinner with this delight today!

Crustless bread

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This is obviously one for the kids, but really – does this need to be a thing? Assuming the parents opened the packaging themselves (although I’m quite certain they’d deem this too difficult a task), they’re also probably not far away from a knife which, yes would you believe it, CUTS CRUSTS OFF MANUALLY. Unless you live in a cave and the closest thing to a knife you have is the sharp end of an elephant’s tusk, then you really have no excuse.

Grated cheese

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So so commonly used, grated cheese is a prime example of convenience food becoming normalised. To most, it’s far easier to whap out of a bag of grated cheese and sprinkle over your cottage pie, but just remember that by not bothering to grate a block of cheese yourself, you’re also eating heaps of potato starch into your diet (to stop the cheese from caking in the bag). Potato starch is a delicious combination of empty calories, carbs, and sugars. Yum!

Microwave sausages

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Sausages are not a food you eat if you’re trying to be healthy, but if you have kids who demand them, serving up microwave sausages is a massive sin that won’t help their health and wellbeing at all. That’s because the guys at Walls pack the ‘succulent’ sausages out with loads of water, rusk and yummy potato starch, leaving only 60% for actual pork meat. A typical good sausages needs at least 80% pork for it to give you the good bits such as protein without making you starve later on.

And here are some of the foods you should DEFINITELY be making yourself at home…

Hummus

Literally chickpeas, water and lemon juice. Throw in a bit of tahini if you fancy it, but you don’t have to if you don’t want the extra fat. Tahini-free hummus recipes are abundant, so don’t fret. Homemade hummus is cheap as chips, with half of the fat of packaged hummus.

Banana bread

Full of butter and sugar, you’re far better off making your own. Not only will it be tonnes healthier (you can add in oats, nuts, seeds, whatever you like) it will also taste so much fresher! See this healthy banana loaf recipe.

Salsa

Literally just chopped tomatoes and spices, you can easily whip up a homemade salsa in seconds from stock items you’ll definitely have in the pantry. Tastes so much better, and isn’t heaping with that nasty vinaigrette supermarkets like to plough their salsas with.

Smoothies

I’m sure this is common sense, but you’ll get so much more goodness from homemade smoothies. You can add in the bits and pieces you like the most and make and eat within seconds. If you struggle with IBS or have digestive issues, there are a list of Low FODMAP smoothies you can whip up super easily too.

Soup

Yes, I know canned soup is cheap, but with the sheer amount of salt in each can your palate will not thank you. Make your own with stock, fresh meat and vegetables and enjoy a whole new soup experience.