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Good morning, everyone. I have so many food- and exercise-related things I want to share with you, but I’ve set myself a goal of finishing the synopsis for my children’s novel this week so I’m trying not to get too distracted by other writing, i.e. this blog!

For now, here’s a very quick, very easy sugar-free biscuit recipe.

Ingredients:

175g wholemeal spelt flour or gluten-free flour (make sure it doesn’t have soya in it)

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp mixed spice

100g honey

100g coconut oil or sunflower oil

3 handfuls of chopped walnuts

3 handfuls of cocoa nibs

How to make them:

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5.

If you’re using coconut oil, melt it in a pan and then leave it to cool slightly. Sift the flour, baking powder and mixed spice into a bowl. Add the nuts and cocoa nibs. Pour in the sunflower oil or coconut oil and add the honey. Mix it all together with a wooden spoon until well mixed.

Place balls of the mixture onto a greased baking tray and flatten slightly. Bake for 8-12 minutes.

Easy!

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I hope you enjoyed reading Hayley‘s blog yesterday. Today, I’m sharing a piece about how drinking coke affects your body. Fascinating and terrifying in equal measure!

Here it is:

What Happens to Your Body If You Drink a Coke right now by Wade Meredith.

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EatWellChef

By Hank Eder
Eat Well Foods Guest Blogger

Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? I heard this from my teachers and my mother when I was a boy. Since I really liked the taste and texture of crisp, juicy apples, I accepted this as gospel at the time. Now that my school days are long past, I find myself questioning much of what I once took for granted. What I found out about apples showed me just how right teachers and mothers can be. It seems the humble apple may indeed keep the doctor away.

Apples are rich in antioxidants  and phytonutrients. Back in 2000, researchers from Cornell University discovered that these phytonutrients (or phytochemicals) are responsible for the apple’s incredible antioxidant properties. According to the scientists who conducted the study, some of the phytochemicals are known to be anti-allergenic, some are anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-proliferative. What…

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Do you check the labels on your food before you buy it, or do you just chuck it into your trolley without thinking? I’ve always checked the labels on certain things like canned vegetables, dried fruits and other packaged food to make sure they don’t contain any unnecessary additives. However, I must admit there are certain foods I buy every time I go shopping without even thinking about what they contain.

Over the past few years I’ve become more and more conscious of what I put into my body but it was only when I had to start feeding a 6 month old baby that I really began to take notice of every single ingredient listed on every single packet I bought, and it dawned on me: if I wouldn’t feed something to my baby, why would I feed it to myself?

Do you know what “Mono- and Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters of Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids” are? No? Well, you might just find them in your favourite, shop-bought biscuits!

I mentioned in my post yesterday that I found some gluten-  and dairy-free biscuits containing some pretty worrying ingredients. I’m sure a lot of people (myself included) would assume a ‘free-from’ biscuit is the healthier option, but look at the ingredients:

Maize Starch, Sugar, Soya Flour, Water, Palm Oil, Sugar Syrup, Salt, Flavourings, Raising Agent: Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate.

Here’s what bothers me about this list:

Sugar: We all know sugar is bad for us, but I don’t think we appreciate just how bad it is. I have to admit sugar is one of my main weaknesses and yet it’s disgusting stuff. It’s loaded with empty calories, robs the body of nutrients and can cause all sorts of health problems from headaches, bad skin, aching joints, candida overgrowth to more serious conditions such as diabetes. To make matters worse, it is an opiate which makes it addictive and hard to give up.

I could rant on about sugar forever…but I’ll leave that to a later post. Something for you all to look forward to!

Sugar Syrup: More nutrient robbing, refined sugar.

Palm Oil: It is shocking just how many products contain palm oil. My problem with this ingredient isn’t really to do with health, but rather to do with the environmental impact of using it, as explained here at www.saynotopalmoil.com:

Thousands of kilometres of pristine rainforest is slashed and burned in order to make way for oil palm plantations. Many orangutans and other animals are killed in the process, for the production of palm oil used in many of our everyday foods and products. This large-scale deforestation is pushing orangutans to extinction, along with many other native species of Borneo and Sumatra.”

I’ve known about this for a few years and I had thought I was doing a good job of avoiding palm oil, but I decided to have a little look in my cupboards and was horrified to find quite a number of products that contained it. They ranged from bouillon powder to my favourite make of soda bread. Very upsetting!

Salt: Actually, you may be surprised to know that this doesn’t bother me too much. I have recently read several pieces of research that suggest salt isn’t as bad for us as we thought. You can read more about this new research here. It’s really fascinating.

The quality of the salt still matters though, and I doubt whether the salt used in these biscuits is particularly high quality.

Flavourings: Uh, what flavourings?! Why haven’t they listed what they are? They could contain anything.

Next time you go shopping, check the ingredients before putting food into your trolley. If you don’t know what half the stuff in your food is, it’s probably best not to buy it.

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Here’s my confession: I love food…especially cake. It makes me happy!

Perhaps you’re thinking that’s not much of a confession but as a dancer and fitness fanatic, it’s sometimes difficult to admit something like that. Well, I’m not going to deny it any longer. I love sweet treats and cakes and breads and yummy, comforting fatty foods. I love to bake; I love to eat; I love reading recipe books and watching The Great British Bake Off and overindulging when I meet up with my friends. I also love being fit and healthy and being in control of my body; I love knowing that what goes into my body is natural and nutritious.

This blog is about all of these things. I will be discovering and sharing healthy but indulgent recipes, talking about my favourite foods, and trying out new ways of exercising and staying healthy.

Please get in touch with your own recipes, healthy eating tips and fitness news. x