From Cookery Basics...
How to Poach an Egg
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- Crack the egg into a little bowl
- Add vinegar to a gently boiled pan of water
- Make a whirlpool in the water
- Gently pour the egg into the pan
- Let it cook for 4 minutes
Have the water at a gentle boil with vinegar to keep the egg together – do NOT have a high boil or add salt as this breaks up the egg
Cook for 3 minutes if you want it softer and 5 minutes if you want it firmer
Lentil and Butternut Squash Dahl
Click the image to watch the recipe video
- ½ onion
- 1tsp garlic powder
- 1tbsp curry powder
- 90g red lentils
- 300ml low fat coconut milk
- ½ tin of chopped tomatoes
- Handful of frozen spinach
- Handful of frozen butternut squash
- 100ml veg stock
- Pinch of salt
- Olive oil
- Prepare your ingredients
- Cut the end off and peel half an onion
- Lay it flat on the board and chop down repeatedly to create slices of onion
- Pour enough olive oil in a pan to cover the bottom and let it heat
- Once the oil is hot, add your sliced onion – stir and let them soften for a few mins
- Add curry powder and garlic powder and stir
- Add lentils, chopped tomatoes, spinach, butternut squash, veg stock and coconut milk and stir
- Bring up to the boil then reduce the heat, place the lid on at an angle and let it cook for 25 mins – if you feel you need to add more water when cooking, do so
- After 25 mins, add salt and give it a stir
- Serve and enjoy!
Coffee, tea (including green tea), energy drinks and chocolate. There are differing amounts of caffeine in each drink.
What contains caffeine?
Coffee, tea (including green tea), energy drinks and chocolate. There are differing amounts of caffeine in each drink. Coffee has the most caffeine while black tea has about half the amount of coffee and green tea about half the amount of black tea. The caffeine content of energy drinks and chocolate will depend on the manufacturer.
Should you give up caffeine?
There is so much confusion about the effects of caffeine on your body. There are some positive studies – it has been shown to improve your mood and enhance your sports performance. But there are also studies showing a negative effect such as altering your stress response and increasing your blood sugar. So, what’s best?
It comes down to genetics – some people are able to break down caffeine faster than others. If coffee leaves you feeling jittery, more stressed, causes sleep problems or you think you might be addicted, then it might not be for you. Too much coffee can leave us feeling more tired, not less and so we then need even more just to feel normal. For some people one coffee in the morning will leave them jittery – while there are those that can drink an expresso in the evening after dinner and have no problem with going to sleep at night.
Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it will cause you to go to the loo more and so there is a risk of becoming dehydrated, but this is more common if you drink lots of caffeinated drinks. It’s important to stay hydrated, so try and drink a glass of water to every cup of coffee or tea.
If you enjoy and are able to drink caffeine, do so in the morning so it doesn’t affect your sleep. Caffeine has a half-life of between 1.5-9.5 hours (again depending on the person). This means that if you drink your last cup of caffeine at 3pm, then it might still be in your blood stream when you want to go to bed and affect your sleep. If you have problems getting to sleep avoid caffeine for 2 weeks to see if it makes a difference.
If you are very stressed and constantly living on a heightened rush, then caffeine will be doing you no favours. It will increase the feelings of stress. If you are looking to lose weight, then stress is the enemy. Stress = high cortisol which causes your body to retain belly fat.
If you feel that caffeine has a positive benefit or you know that you metabolise caffeine quickly, then drink your tea and coffee black or with just a small amount of milk. Avoid lattes and coffee with added syrups (which is just sugar in disguise).
If you want to cut down or remove caffeine, then please do so slowly. I advise switching some of your cups to de-caffeinated for the first week (which still contain some caffeine) and then start cutting down. Make sure you drink lots of water if you decide to cut down to flush all the toxins away.
Use this monthly template to help track your progress, all you will need is a measuring tape and scales.
Handy to Have
In Your Cupboard
- Olive oil
- Garlic Powder
- Curry Powder
- Chilli Powder
- Chilli Flakes
- Brown Pasta
- Brown Rice
- Tinned chopped tomatoes
- Tinned potatoes
- Tinned Vegetables
- Tomato Purée
- Rolled Oats
- Protein powder
- Lentils (tinned or dried)
- Kidney beans (tinned)
- Chia seeds
- Tinned fish – Tuna
- Stock cubes
- Butter beans
- Balsamic vinegar
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