According to an Assyrian legend, when the gods met to create the world, they drank wine made from sesame seeds. It didn’t catch on, though.
‘A woman won’t have the same body she had at 40 as she had at 30’ a journalist solemnly wrote in a newspaper article the other day. Many other columnists nodded their heads wisely. What was needed, they concurred, was for women, once they approached 40, to adopt a fairly constant approach to dieting. No desserts. No alcohol. Not much food of any kind, in fact. An awful lot of exercise.
Why do we start to put on weight as we age? Some of it’s to do with habits that tend to become ingrained, of course – slumping into an armchair with a packet of biscuits when the kids are finally off to bed, or unwinding with a glass of wine as our jobs become more stressful. But, everyone agrees, whereas all these things were perfectly possible in your 20s and 30s as well, and didn’t lead to you putting on any weight, once you get to around 40, the pounds tend to stick a little closer to your body.
The main reason for this is a reduction in muscle mass (which can be counteracted to some degree by exercise), serving to slow your metabolic rate, meaning that fewer calories are burned off and more are stored as fat. So, just at the time in your life when you might be tempted to think of comfort eating as an appealing hobby, you actually find that your body needs a little less.
We’ll leave the exercise to you. How can Naturally Good Food help with the food side of things? Here are five ideas: Read the rest of this entry »
Do you incorporate any seeds into your daily diet? Or, like many people, are the seeds you eat limited to sesame seeds on the top of a burger bun – or the odd few included in a cereal bar? It’s a shame if that’s the case, because eating seeds is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make a real difference to your daily diet. And it’s not expensive either.
Seeds are a great source of iron, magnesium and zinc. They are high in polyunsaturated fats, and as they’re also stuffed with calories, make a great ‘energy food’ – keeping you going in a healthy way, without needing to resort to a sugary snack. For vegetarians wanting to boost their protein levels, try pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds. Pumpkin are also good for omega 6 and 3 fatty acids, and zinc. Sesame seeds meanwhile, score highly for calcium, and sunflower seeds are fantastic for vitamin E.
You’re probably not going to eat a plain handful of them, though. You need to think about your usual daily diet, and how you could include seeds in it easily. How about:
- a teaspoonful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds on top of your muesli or porridge
- a handful of pumpkin seeds in a thick stew
- a sprinkling of sesame or sunflower seeds on top of a stir-fry or vegetable side dish
- some roasted pumpkin seeds in a salad
- a teaspoonful of your favourite seeds stirred into cake, bread or pancake mix
- an ounce or two of linseed in your flapjack mix, to replace some of the oats
- linseed as a decoration for home-made bread
- some of your favourite seeds sprinkled into yoghurt?
This is a really easy recipe that packs goodness in every mouthful. The figs make it naturally sweet, while the almonds add some crunch. Just don’t eat too many – there are lots of calories in these bars!
- 250g organic figs - stemmed and cut in half
- 100g organic almonds
- 50g organic sesame seeds
- tsp cinnamon
- a little water if needed
(Note: you could try substituting organic dates for the figs if you wished.)
- 75g Crazy Jack Sesame Seeds or other Organic Sesame Seeds
- 3 spring onions chopped
- 1 yellow pepper deseeded and sliced
- 1 red pepper deseeded and sliced
- 2 courgettes cut into sticks
- 4 asparagus spears, trimmed if out of season try french beans
- 250g Tofu, cubed - you could try aged Tofu which has a great taste.
- 2 large mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tbsp Soy Sauce or Tamari for a gluten free alternative
- 2 tbsp sesame oil for that extra flavour try toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp medium Sherry
- salt & pepper.
1.Fry the sesame seeds in a dry wok until toasted, and set aside.
2.Place 1 tbsp of sesame oil in the wok and, when hot, stir fry the tofu until evenly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
3.Add remaining sesame oil and fry the vegetables for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
4.Add the sesame seeds and tofu and heat through. Pour in the Soy Sauce and Sherry, add seasoning and serve immediately.
Looking through an old Wholefood cook book from the 1970’s I came across these interesting recipes for dips and spreads that make good party food for Christmas. The first is for a:
- 100g cooked red lentils
- 1 medium onion – chopped
- 2 tablespoons Tahiti
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1/s teaspoon gomasio (we used Furikake)
Cook the lentils until very soft then liquidise the lentils, tomato puree, gomasio, chopped onions, coriander and cumin together. Add Tahini and mix well.