The Award for Best Gluten Free Carrot Cake Goes To…

The Woods Café at Cardinham Woods in Bodmin! This is a favourite spot for us – my husband cycles the mountain bike trails while I go for a 6 km jog with the dog and then we reward ourselves with coffee and cake in one of the prettiest cafés to be found in Cornwall . There’s a fire to sit by in the winter indoors and plenty of seating outside too for those warmer days.

woods cafe cake

They always have a couple of gluten free options, my husband loves the carrot cake, it’s so delicious, you wouldn’t believe it’s gluten free! The gluten free brownies are also a strong contender. Recently they started baking some vegan options (also suitable for a paleo diet) and I just can’t resist the chocolate coconut balls (you can see them just on the left of the photo). At our last visit I tried the vegan chocolate nut bar which was delicious too.

It’s so nice to see somewhere catering for all sorts of dietary needs with home-baked goodies. They don’t just bake cakes, there are plenty of savoury options if you don’t have such a sweet tooth but it takes someone extremely strong-willed not to be tempted with such an amazing cake counter!





Sugar Free September

The Noakes Foundation have come up with this great guide to how much sugar is hiding in some of our favourite regular meals. Who would have thought that an apparently healthy bowl of muesli for breakfast would be one of the worst offenders?!

Hidden sugar

There are many times in the year where we are encouraged to give up our addictions, “Stoptober” always proves popular for those trying to give up smoking. Sugar is just as addictive so why not join in and try a Sugar Free September? If you manage to stick to it and get yourself through those initial cravings and withdrawals, I can guarantee you will question whether you really want to go back to your old sugar habit! Being sugar free opens up a whole new world of exciting and delicious foods and you will experience a new-found energy, no longer suffering hunger and sugar crashes.

How about starting with some eggs and bacon for breakfast? Or perhaps you are more of  scrambled eggs and salmon person? Add some avocado on the side. And don’t forget the butter.

For a snack have some full fat Greek yoghurt with berries, nuts and seeds. For dinner swap the spaghetti for spiralised courgetti (see my earlier post for details on Courgetti) or cauliflower rice and add some 10-20% good quality mince to transform your spaghetti bolognaise into a much more satisfying meal.

I purposely missed out the lunch swap because I’d be amazed if you could manage lunch after such a hearty breakfast!


Six Foods for a Good Night’s Sleep

The Royal Society of Public Health in the UK undertook a study of 2000 people and revealed that on average the UK adult sleeps for 6.8 hours a night but this falls short of the optimum amount of sleep by 50 minutes. This can lead to a negative impact on health and well-being. Losing just 50 minutes sleep each night means that we lose the equivalent of one whole night’s sleep every week!

There are many contributory factors which disrupt our sleep but nutrition plays an important role and is a natural way to help regulate sleep. There are some foods which contain essential nutrients and minerals to help achieve optimum sleep if eaten regularly.

Almonds – 80% of us are lacking magnesium in our diet which helps achieve good quality sleep and almonds provide a rich source of this, one of the most powerful ‘relaxation’ minerals.

Avocados – containing high quality fats, they contain plenty of potassium which, in combination with magnesium, works to improve sleep.

Chamomile tea – this isn’t just a myth – if you drink a cup of chamomile tea about an hour before bedtime, you will have a rise in the chemical glycine which is a natural sedative and encourages muscle relaxation.

Cherries – these are another excellent source of magnesium, just a handful of cherries an hour or two before bedtime will help promote good quality sleep.

Green leafy vegetables -again packed with magnesium, rich in calcium and loaded with minerals and vitamins proven to help you sleep.

Walnuts – these contain a good supply of tryptophan which is an amino acid that helps the body to make melatonin. Melatonin regulates the sleeping and waking cycle and other circadian rhythms, it triggers chemical receptors in the brain to encourage sleep.

Sweet Dreams!!!


Three Day Keto Fat Fast

Keto diet benefitsHaving drifted slightly from my routine ketogenic diet during my holiday and then struggling to get back into the swing of things, I decided to do a keto fat fast for 3 days to give my mind and body a kick start back to ketosis. I always feel so much healthier when I’m in ketosis, my IBS settles down and I no longer suffer from fatigue and the dreaded stomach bloating.

I’m not a qualified practitioner so would not encourage anyone to do this unless they had done their own research on the internet and checked with their doctor if necessary before-hand. I thought I’d just let you know a little bit about the keto fat fast and what it involves.

The keto fat fast is usually recommended only for those who are already used to a ketogenic or low carb diet and have perhaps hit a weight loss plateau or have “gone off the rails” slightly and need to reign it back in again. It can be a good way to get quickly into ketosis if you are looking at following a ketogenic or Atkins-style diet. It should not be done for more than 3 to 5 days though as you run the risk of getting into starvation mode, losing muscle and becoming deficient in essential nutrients.

keto pie chart

During a keto fat fast you need to stick to between 1000 and 1200 calories per day. This is achieved by splitting your food into the ratios as shown in the chart on the left. 75% of your calorie intake should be from fat, 20% from protein and the remaining 5% from carbohydrate.

There are, as always, some foods which are better than others for achieving these ratios and helping you to feel fuller for longer. It is not for the faint-hearted though as it is fairly restrictive. It is also not advisable to do any strenuous exercise during this time. It’s up to you how you tackle the meals – you could perhaps miss breakfast, you could have 4-5 small meals during the day or you could save your calories for 1 or 2 larger meals. It really is personal choice as you may need to fit this in around work, family meals etc.

To make life very simple, it’s definitely advisable to use My Fitness Pal to record all your entries. By weighing out and scanning your food you can quickly see how many calories you are consuming and track the ratios so that you can adjust these throughout the day as necessary.

Below is a list of foods recommended for a keto fat fast that I would normally use:

  • Macadamia nuts
  • Full fat cream cheese
  • Full fat mayonnaise
  • Double cream (heavy cream)
  • Sour cream
  • Grass-fed butter
  • Bacon
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber
  • Sugar-free jelly (you might need a treat!)

It’s not as bad as it sounds, you can actually come up with some quite inventive meals with the above list. Cream cheese pancakes and omelettes are very good choices. Just remember to be honest and weigh the foods or you may end up eating more than you think.

Most importantly, drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. You can of course drink as much black tea, black coffee or herbal tea as you like. Sugar-free jelly is a great treat for the evening with a little double cream.

I did my keto fat fast for three days on 1200 calories per day and my total weight loss was 2.2 kg. I am now following my ketogenic diet as normal using the ratios as above but have increased my calorie intake and list of foods.