Wednesday, 17 September 2014

My new favourite foods Part 1: Hummus

Hummus is one of those foods I assumed I didn't like. No idea why, but I managed 28 years of my life without ever having had it. Man was I missing out! The chickpea based dip is a revelation of taste to me and I'm enjoying discovering all of the different varieties out there.

Having learned over time to make small but significant changes to my diet, I have become much more open to foods which I had automatically dismissed or passed over before. If something could be beneficial to me then I will try it and at least then I can make an informed decision.

Hummus is one of those foods. I'm still a novice - I am fairly uninventive with what I eat it with so far and I haven't braved trying to make a batch of my own but I can see my self getting there eventually.

I'm currently trying different flavours from Tesco and Dunnes (if anyone has some recommendations for me please send them my way!) and am really enjoying the smaller, multiple flavoured varieties which they sell in packs of three. (On a side note it takes me aaaages to find the hummus in different supermarkets, why can't they all be in the same sections!!). I've had traditional hummus, pepper varieties, extra lemon, so on, so on. The pea and mint one was amazing - especially as I hate peas.

For those of you who are still dubious, here are some very compelling reasons why hummus is so good for us.

The nutrients in hummus could help you with weight management.
Nutritionist Peggy Kotsopoulos told Fitness magazine that since hummus is so rich in protein, it can help fight hunger cravings and balance blood sugar levels. This could help curb excessive snacking. Kotsopoulos also says that the iron content in hummus helps boost your energy, which could make you more motivated to hit the gym.
Chickpeas can lower cholesterol.
In a study done by Jane Pittaway, an Australian lecturer in Health and Biomedical Science at the University of Tasmania's School of Human Life Sciences, a group of people aged between 30 and 70 and not in the best of health ate chickpeas every day for three years. She had a second group of people supply their daily fiber intake through wheat products like bread and cereal. The results showed that when both groups consumed the same amount of fiber, those on the chickpea diet consumed less fat and had a small reduction in cholesterol.
Hummus comes in so many awesome flavors.
You can never get bored with hummus because there are a myriad of ways to flavor it.There are 14 different Sabra flavors for your tasting pleasure, including roasted red pepper, chipotle, "supremely spicy," olive tapenade, spinach and artichoke, "luscious lemon" and basil pesto. 
Chickpeas may help reduce your cancer risk.
Foods that contain folate may reduce the risk of colorectal cancers (like colon cancer), possibly because of the nutrient's role healthy cell division. What's more, researchers believe dietary fiber helps promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon, which is also protective against cancer.
Eating hummus is part of the "Mediterranean diet," which is super good for you.
According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, about 30 percent of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people who are at high risk if they switch to the Mediterranean diet. And since eating beans is a big part of this diet, what could be more Mediterranean than eating a bean spread rumored to have originally been made by people in Egypt?
It's a much better spread to use on bread (trust us).
If you are trying to find healthier ways to continue to eat your (not so healthy) foods, hummus can be your savior. Instead of the typical cream cheese on a bagel, be different and try hummus -- it's even delicious with loxFood Republic suggestsreplacing the mayonnaise in chicken salad and deviled eggs with hummus for a healthy twist. Or you could just use hummus as a replacement for sandwich spreads. Just take a hint from Two Peas & Their Pod and mix hummus and avocado with roasted red pepper for a healthy and seriously tasty lunch.
It's so easy to make your own.
According to this recipe from Food & Wine, all you need to make your own hummus is a food processor, a can of chickpeas, a garlic clove, extra virgin olive oil, tahini, lemon juice and salt. Then all you have to do is throw all the ingredients in the processor. Voila! Homemade hummus is all yours to gorge on.
Information thanks to an article from

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Here we go again... :)

A year on since I first got involved in the 'Macra's Feirme Bodies' initiative, I have signed up again this year to be a Leader once more. I, along with a handful more of willing and able participants, are the 'faces' of the project this year; we are all up for getting fitter and healthier and hopefully losing a few pounds in the process. I lost over a stone last year and through laziness and bad choices put a lot of it back on but am more than willing for the challenge again this time.

I have even more of an incentive this year - I got engaged at Easter and am getting married just before Christmas. I'm under no illusions that I am going to be a miniature version of myself by December, however a fitter, marginally more-toned version won't be unwelcome! I know I am going to be glowing and beautiful on the day, but there is just a teeny part of me which is worried that when I look back on our wedding photos that all I will see are my not unsubstantial bingo wings... Tyra Banks has taught me the benefits of being 'Flawsome' (taking what is perceived as a flaw and making it awesome) but I'm not sure even I, of the cheery and (most of the time) optimistic disposition, can make flabby arms anything resembling chic!

So that is my physical goal for 'Feirme Bodies' this year - tone those arms! (P.s. Michelle Obama is my inspiration for this one).