healthy eating

Read the email that made my day! Student Volunteering Week 23 February – 1 March 2015

I received a lovely email this morning telling me I’d been nominated for the Student Volunteer of the Year Award by Skelmersdale Community Food Initiative (SCFI). Although I wasn’t shortlisted it was a great surprise and brilliant that they took the time to prepare a nomination especially when I know how busy they are.

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Since I started volunteering with SCFI l’ve met some lovely people, improved my knowledge (especially of social media) and attended a marketing training course specifically targeted at charities. I can definitely recommend volunteering and whether you’re a student or not, there are loads of opportunities available to use the skills you already have, to gain new ones, or to help others and just have fun.

Good luck to the five shortlisted finalists; Conor, Gary, Harriette, Henry and Simon. http://www.studentvolunteeringweek.org.uk

If you are thinking of volunteering and live in West Lancashire, don’t hesitate, contact: http://www.wlcvs.org (who helped me) or elsewhere in the UK https://do-it.org

Val

…………………..Here is the email that made my day!.………………..

Hello Valerie,

Congratulations! You were nominated for the Student Volunteer of the Year Award! The Award is run by Student Volunteering Week, an annual, nationwide campaign that celebrates students like you all over the country and inspires many more students to get involved in social action.

Unfortunately you were not selected by our panel of judges to be shortlisted for the Award, although being nominated is a fantastic achievement and a sign that you deserve to be recognised for your commitment to making a positive impact in your community. We’ve included your nomination at the end of this email so that you can find out who nominated you and why they thought you deserved to be recognised.

We’ll be presenting the Award to the winner today at a special Parliamentary Celebration in the House of Commons in London. 

Congratulations again on your nomination, and all the best as your social action journey continues!

The Student Volunteering Week team

Nomination:

  • Please describe the nominee’s volunteering activity. How have they demonstrated passion and commitment? Who has benefitted from their volunteering? Describe their positive social impact.
    “Val has committed herself to working with us in terms of developing a cohesive approach to our social media. As a small charity her commitment to us is invaluable as she brings with her not only passion and enthusiasm but real skills both in nutrition and social media knowledge. I cannot praise her commitment to us enough.”
  • Please tell us what you think makes this student an inspiring volunteer.
    “Val is giving her time freely and without any cost to us either on a monetary or time basis to us. Val comes prepared for every interaction she has with staff and fellow volunteers and we have found her extremely efficient in her dealings with us. She has worked autonomously and with great purpose in her own time

Nominator: Skelmersdale Community Food Initiative

www.studentvolunteeringweek.org.uk
http://www.facebook.com/StudentVolWeek
www.twitter.com/SVW2015

Coronary Heart Disease

I’ve just submitted my assignment for my module ‘Therapeutic Approaches to Nutrition’ and wanted to share some of my findings.  We were asked to choose a topic ourselves, so I chose one that was close to my heart ❤ – Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Now that’s a subject literally close to my heart, (and the rest of my family), as my father died prematurely of a myocardial infarction at the age of 52 (when I was only 10).

Syl, Val, Pam & Alf

Syl, Val, Pam & Alf

Only now do I understand the biochemical and physiological processes that cause this condition which is one that develops over time, often with no symptoms. Here are some of my findings:

  • Fatty material and cholesterol called plaque builds up in the walls of the coronary arteries.
  • This condition is called atherosclerosis and the fatty material is called atheroma.
  • This narrows or blocks them, limiting or stopping oxygenated blood to the heart.
  • This plaque becomes covered by a fibrous cap which may rupture and cause blood clots which can be fatal (Thomas 2001).
  • Smoking is the major risk factor as it increases permeability of the artery walls contributing to plaque formation (Clancy & McVicar 2009).
  • being overweight, obese, physically inactive, having diabetes and a family history of heart disease, increases your risk.
  • Too much sodium(from eating salt) in the blood impairs the kidneys ability to remove water and extra fluid causes higher blood pressure and if left untreated can severely damage the arteries and kidneys.
  • Eating more fruit and vegetables increases intake of antioxidant vitamins which protect against free radicals.

Here are some practical steps to help reduce the risk of developing CHD.

Steps to reduce saturated fat intake
  • Select lower-fat dairy products
  • Grate cheese instead of slicing it
  • Eat chicken without the skin
  • Select leaner cuts of meat or trim the fat off
  • Use turkey mince instead of beef or lamb mince
  • Compare labels and choose the one with less saturated fat
  • Use sunflower or olive oil instead of butter or lard
  • Eat less pastry, cakes and biscuits
  • Switch from whole milk to semi skimmed, 1% or skimmed milk
  • Eat healthier snacks like fruit
Food Standards Agency (2009) http://collections.europarchive.org/tna/20100927130941/http:/food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/publication/satfata4poster0110.pdf
Cardio-protective Diet Features
  • Eat 2 or more portions of fish weekly, 1 portion should be oily
  • Eat at least 5 portions of a mixture of fruit and vegetables each day
  • Replace saturated fat with monounsaturated fat (e.g.rapeseed or olive oil)
  • Replace some dietary fat energy by increasing complex carbohydrate intake
  • Divide fat intake between at least 3 regular daily meals
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake – 3 or less units a day for women & 4 or less for men
  • Limit salt intake.
Reproduced from Daniels L. (2002) Diet and coronary heart disease: advice on a cardioprotective diet. British Journal of Community Nursing. 7, 7.

 

Me and my Dad X

Me and my Dad X

There are also lots of studies recommending the `Mediterranean diet’ to help prevent CHD – you can find out more via my previous post https://nutritionval.com/2014/06/03/mediterranean-diet

More information is available via The British Heart Foundation. https://bhf.precedenthost.com/heart-health/preventing-heart-disease

Approximately 46,500 men and just under 34,000 women died of this disease in the UK, in 2010, sad, shocking, preventable!

Val

Love you Alfred Booth X

 

 

Foodie Pen Pals – delivered a lovely surprise!

I don’t normally like surprises but my ‘foodie pen pals parcel’ is definitely the exception. I recently signed up via the blog ‘thisisrocksalt.com’, and when my very first parcel arrived this month I was over the moon.

IMG_1703.JPGDawn my pen pal this month sent me a lovely card outlining what she had sent which included:

Barenaked Gluten Free noodles – which were featured on Dragons Den and only have 8 calories per 100g serving.

Green and Black’s chocolate bar – when, like Dawn said, anything other than chocolate just won’t do!

Graze Popping Corn – a gluten free treat ready in 40 seconds.

Itsu – pack of three chocolate covered rice cakes, yummy!

Mini caramel syrup – this made a great addition to my camomile tea.

Thespicery – jamaicanmethirsty – a cute little pack of spices to make a refreshing Caribbean cocktail.

Thespicery – ‘Brown Down’ chicken a world kitchen recipe kit. This was my absolute favourite item and my families too. It has a shopping list on the back and an easy to follow recipe inside.

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This gorgeous array of food + the delicious spices = a chicken and mash dinner with a difference.

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The sweet, spicy chicken, sweet potato mash and herby salsa made a great combination.

IMG_1795.JPGWill be making this again….

IMG_1777.JPGAnd again…….
IMG_1801-1.JPGI also enjoyed buying the contents of the parcel that I sent to my pen pal Nikki and I hope she enjoys the goodies (Mallorcan almonds covered in gold leaf, Tabasco and popcorn flavoured jelly beans from Selfridges, Carob for baking, dried physalis berries and gluten free stars) as much as I enjoyed choosing them.

If you are in Europe and you want to join, click on the link below.

I for one can’t wait for next months foodiepenpals surprise!
Thanks again Dawn for my first parcel it was a delight.
Val

Grow your own and reap the benefits!

Had a fabulous day volunteering this week with work colleagues at the Walton Lea Project a charity providing supported employment for adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems, mobility issues and early onset Alzheimers.

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There is said to be compelling evidence that there are major health benefits to growing your own fruit and vegetables, as it leads to increased fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity and outdoor interaction with green space. There are estimated to be over 300,000 allotments and urban gardens in the UK. A 2009 study concluded that growing your own food in urban areas could positively improve psychological and physical health of participants. The study also weighed up the risks of growing food in urban areas but concluded that the benefits outweighed the risks. IMG_1704.JPG

We had a great time working outdoors with the beneficiaries and enjoyed a lovely lunch that they prepared supported by a team from ASDA who do a weekly healthy eating session. The sense of achievement was great we worked together as a team to clear a patch of land for planting and everyone we met were lovely and so enthusiastic about the project which was infectious. IMG_1705.JPG

We all left smiling and exhausted!

Val
Leake, J.R., Adam-Bradford, a., & Rigby, J.E. (2009) Health benefits of ‘grow your own’ food in urban areas: implications for contaminated land risk assessment and risk management. ‘Environmental Health’.

A festival in a day!

I’ve always loved the idea of going to a festival but for one reason or another never managed to get to one. On Sunday however that all changed when I got a little taste of festival life and joined 50,000 other Radio 2 listeners at the ‘Festival in a Day’ The sun shone, the atmosphere was amazing and for 10 hours we owned a patch of grass 4msq in London’s Hyde Park!

20140917-215343.jpgThe line up included Paloma Faith, Bellowhead, Kacey Musgrave, Blondie, Chrissie Hyde, Billy Ocean and ELO’s Jeff Lynne who was on stage for his first gig in 28 years. It was great seeing inhibitions disappear and everyone going back to their youth and dancing ‘like nobody was watching’ including me!

20140917-220023.jpgAs a student nutritionist I was interested to see what the quality of the food would be like and it’s fair to say I was expecting a small selection of food outlets with poor quality food. But that wasn’t the case. There were noodle and deli bars, freshly made fish and chips, delicious smelling Churros, but what I didn’t expect was to find a great little gem of a stall called ‘The Honest Carrot‘ selling lovely vegetarian, vegan and gluten free food.

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I went for the halloumi, falafel wrap with chilli sauce which was absolutely delicious! Fiona the owner of ‘The Honest Carrot‘ said they had been trading at all the major festival with their biggest success being the Reading festival.

20140917-125959.jpgIt was great to see tasty, nutritious food on sale, and I’m glad I don’t need to wait for my next festival to enjoy what The Honest Carrot had to offer because I can order online for delivery to my door. That said, I don’t think you can beat picnicking on a sunny day, glass of wine in hand, accompanied by great company and great music.
Happy memories.😀
Val

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A is for Aspartame; B is for Barge pole!

There is evidence that more and more consumers are losing confidence in artificial sweeteners with 38% of people in a recent poll saying they actively avoided food & drink with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame.  This figure is a rise of 7% since 2012 when 31% said they avoided it.

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These concerns were reported in ‘The Grocer’ the on-line fast moving consumer goods magazine, who also referred to further evidence that 40% of consumers would potentially buy more diet products if they contained only natural sweeteners.

Aspartame is the artificial sweetener also referred to as E951. It is approximately 200 times sweeter than sugar, and has been used in soft drinks and other low-calorie or sugar-free foods worldwide for over 25 years.

The scepticism felt by consumers about artificial sweeteners, is backed up by a study in to the ‘Neurobehavioural effects of aspartame consumption’,  published April 2014. This particular research found that those consuming high-aspartame diets, exhibited more depression, more irritable mood, and performed worse on spatial tests. It didn’t however link aspartame consumption with impaired working memory.

There is a whole host of other research focusing on artificial sweeteners, some saying it’s harmless some saying the complete opposite. The Food Standards Agency however outlines that the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI) set for aspartame is 40 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. This is equivalent to 2800 milligrams for an average British adult and means that an adult would have to consume 14 cans of a sugar free drink every day before reaching the ADI. That is assuming the sweetener was used in the drink at the maximum permitted level.

Whatever the evidence or ADI, it appears that many consumers wouldn’t touch artificial sweeteners with a barge pole.

Val

References & links:
The Grocer 23.8.14 Artificial sweeteners: consumer suspicion on the rise.

Lindseth, GN., Coolahan, S.E.,  Petros. T.V., & Lindseth. P.D. (2014) Neurobehavioral Effects of Aspartame Consumption, Research in nursing and health.