Saturday, 24 November 2012


Sport and nutrition are intertwined as the correct diet can help to maximise performance

The Royal Society For Public Health (RSPH) have just released a new qualification for sports nutrition.

This is an accredited qualification and of great  assistance to those involved with training and coaching.

Most people will be pleased to hear` that there are no exams but assessment is via assignments.

for more information please contact me or go to the RSPH website

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Christmas pudding

 Karderio Christmas Pudding Clip Art

Stir up Sunday --the day we are encouraged to make Christmas Puddings and cakes is not until 25th November but this will give you chance to buy ingredients.

Having looked at most luxury style Christmas puddings as well as recipes for homemade ones using traditional ingredients like suet in them I found that most provided around 600kacls and 80g carbohydrate per portion. So I was given the challenge of developing a lower calorie and carbohydrate pudding. 
This is what I made and it makes 8 small portions and each portion provides 204kcal 43g carbohydrate, 1.4 g fat, 0.3g saturated fat and 0.3g salt.
It was quick to make and also cheap. It will not keep so make it only the day before or freeze.


200g dried mixed fruit

100ml water

10 ml red wine

1 tbsp oat bran

I tbsp black treacle

200g self raising flour

1 tsp mixed spices

1 420g can of prunes drained

1 egg

Mix the wine and water together (I just washed out a wine bottle)

Pour the dried fruit into a dish

Pour on the wine and water mixture

Leave overnight in the fridge.

This soaking step is important as it plumps up the fruit.

To this mix add the oat bran and return the dish to the fridge

Take the stones out of the prunes and puree—if you have not got a liquidiser a potato masher works well

Add to the mix, then add the treacle and mix through.

Sift together the flour and spices and add to the mix

Finally beat in the egg

If the mix seems a bit dry add a little skimmed milk

Pour into a one and a half pint basin and smooth down

Alternatively pour into 8 small basins

Put in the microwave and cook for 7 minutes on high

Take out of the microwave and let stand for 5 minutes

Cook again for 7 minutes on high and again let stand

Test the inside is cooked with a knife or skewer –if not cooked –then cook again for 5 minutes and allow to stand then check it

 The smaller puddings will cook more quickly and so will a pudding in a shallower basin

 The pudding will not keep for long so freeze it or cook a day or so before required.

 If you do not want to cook in a microwave it can be baked for an hour in a medium oven in a covered basin stood in a bowl of water.

 Serve with custard or ice cream or as it is very low in fat a little brandy butter


You can use all wine, port or brandy to soak the fruit if you wish but this will boost the calories.

If you do not want to use alcohol soak the fruit in apple juice

Extra fruit can be added to the mixed dried fruit –dried cranberries are nice

If you want to have a cold pudding the soaked mixed dried fruit with added cranberries soaked in alcohol or fruit juice goes well with vanilla ice cream. You can even layer this up in a pudding basin and freeze it.

If you want to use puree apples instead of the prunes it will give a paler colour

You can use gluten free flour and soy bran instead of the ordinary flour and oat bran


If you do not want to cook a pudding them many of the supermarkets economy puddings seemed to be lower in calories than the luxury ones.

Sunday, 14 October 2012


Yesterday the Insulin Dependant Diabetes Trust held their annual conference at the Park Hotel in Kettering.

It was well attended and speakers gave updated advice on the topic. Having myself spoken and run a workshop on aspects of diet many people wanted to get ideas for adapting recipes plus tasty foods to make. I have already compiles some recipes for IDDT and will be doing more as well as putting ones on my blog.

Diabetes is a major problem and affects about 3 million people with more estimated to have the condition and not know it.

There are 2 types of diabetes;

  • Type 1 which needs insulin for treatment and type 2 which can be often managed by diet and medication.
  • Type 2 diabetes also tends to be linked with obesity and the onset is slower and often people do not know they have it
  • About 90% of people have type 2 diabetes
  • Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes tend to be tiredness, passing extra urine, feeling thirsty and needing to drink more plus repeated infections of various types
  • If you feel you have a problem do go and discuss this with your doctor or nurse


Sunday, 23 September 2012



Unfortunately  1in 2 women and 1in 5 men over the age of 50 years will break a fracture as a result of poor bone health

Bones require adequate calcium which is derived from foods like milk, cheese, yogurt (if you do not take these use a fortified form of soya milk or rice milk), fish with small bones provide calcium. White flour is also fortified with calcium.

Vitamin D is required for the absorption of calcium. This important vitamin is made by the action of sunlight on the skin. Unfortunately this year there has been about 50% of the days being rainy during the summer which obviously means that the synthesis of vitamin D is reduced.

There are a limited number of food sources like oily fish, butter and spreads, full fat milk and cheese made from it, egg yolks, fortified breakfast cereals, liver and red meat.

If you do not eat these foods it is wise to look at a supplement of vitamin D

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Heritage Pyramids

The Mediterranean diet is associated with health and longevity it advocates
  • lots of fruit and vegetables
  • nuts and pulses
  • low GI carbohydrates
  • herbs and spices
  • some olive oil
  • fish twice per week
  • poultry, eggs and cheese moderate portions daily
  • sweets and red meat less often
Indeed this fits in well with the healthy English diet. All components of the diet can be easily bought from supermarkets, shops and markets or indeed the vegetables, herbs and fruits can be grown.


About Oldways

Oldways is a nonprofit food and nutrition education organisation, with a mission to guide people to good health through heritage.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Diet and Diabetes

It is well established that diet is helpful in diabetes.

For those with type 1 diabetes balancing the amount of  carbohydrate with the insulin injected is important

For those with type 2 diabetes watching the amount of calories if overweight is helpful

Further information can be found at the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Cakes can make a lovely treat especially if home made. They can also incorporate fruit and vegetables.

Hereis my recipe for Beetroot cake

Chocolate beetroot cake per portion NB provides extra vegetables

Makes 12 slices

Energy kcal 329 per slice


3oz (75g) cocoa or chocolate drink powder

6oz (180g ) plain flour –can use 5oz white and 1 oz wholemeal

8 oz (225g) sugar

2tsp baking powder

250g cooked and cooled beetroot

3 large eggs

200ml sunflower oil

1tsp vanilla extract

Icing sugar for dusting


Pre-heat oven to 180 C/335F/gas4

Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl

Puree the beetroot

In a separate bowl mix the eggs one at a time with the oil and vanilla essence when smooth add the sugar. Add the puree beetroot

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the beetroot and oil and sugar mixture

Mix well

Pour into a greased and lined 9inch cake tin

Bake 30-40 mins or until firm and a skewer inserted in the cake leaves it cleanly

Cool on a rack

Dust with icing sugar

The cake can be split and filled with cream if desired or iced

  • Friday, 10 August 2012


    Books on nutrition abound and mine on "Nutrition and Health" is designed to provide information on nutrition to both students of the subject and a wider audience.

    I have been pleased to have a 4th edition of this book published.

    It has been reviewd by Azimina Govindji the Award -winning dietitian and Media Nutritionist seen on the One Show

  • Title: Intermediate Nutrition & Health
  • Author: Dr Mabel Blades
  • Pages: 138
  • ISBN: 978-1-1906404-24-6
  • Illustrations: Two colour
  • Format: B5 firmback, gloss finish
  • Published: 2012, 4th Edition

  • Monday, 6 August 2012

    Sports drinks

    Hydration is vital for anyone especially those involved in sport and activity.

    Water is excellent but isotonic drinks are really useful to replenish.

    Isotonic means in balance with the body fluids. So these drinks replace nutrients lost during activity.

    While there are lots on the market here are my simple home made ones. Both very cheap to make.

    Mabel's isotonic drink 1

    400g glucose ( very cheap from a chemist or supermarket)
    1 litre water
    splash of low calorie squash for flavour
    pinch of salt

    Mabel's isotonic drink 2

    500 ml fruit juice such as apple or orange
    500ml water
    pinch of salt

    For rapid absorption both are better taken un-chilled

    Wednesday, 18 July 2012



    An understanding of nutrition and its impact on health is vital for catering staff and indeed anyone! Therefore training in Healthier Foods and Special Diets has a beneficial role.

    This accredited qualification from the RSPH is aimed at those involved in catering, food and health-related occupations. I was delighted to be asked by the Catering Services Manager at Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to train some of her staff.

    We had a brilliant days training with lots of involvement and questions, which demonstrated how keen the group were to deliver good nutritious food, which was appropriate for patients. Indeed all passed the examination with flying colours and certificates were awarded.

    For information on training that I run in food safety, nutrition and health promotion go to the RSPH site.

    Monday, 9 July 2012

    Milk Intolerances

    image photo : Cows grazing freeAn intolerance to milk can be due to either the lactose the sugar in milk or the milk protein.

    Symptoms of lactose intolerance include: a bloated stomach, flatulence (wind) and diarrhoea

    The body digests lactose by using an enzyme called lactase to break down lactose into two simpler sugars which can then be easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

    In lactose intolerance, the body does not produce enough of the lactase enzyme so lactose stays in the digestive system, where it is fermented by bacteria (in the same way that yeast is fermented to produce beer). It’s this fermentation process that causes the symptoms associated with lactose intolerance.

    Sometimes if people have been ill with food poisoning or other conditions the lactase enzyme is reduced. They may then have a period of  intolerance.

    If you suspect that you may be lactose intolerant, it is important to make an appointment to get a diagnosis confirmed (or ruled out) by a doctor.

    Sunday, 1 July 2012

    Mediterranean Diet

    The Mediterranean Diet was the topic of a confrence I went to this week near Towcester.

    The word diet is derived from the Greek for way of living--so not just about food.

    Much of it links with what I said previously on diet and happiness. The Mediterranean Diet in the traditional form is associated with longevity.

    It ties in with many of the other ideas on healthy eating --which means lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, pulses and some olive oil.

    Lots of information on

    Wednesday, 27 June 2012

    Carbohydrates - What Are They?

    Carbohydrates - What Are They?

     Having looked at the information on happiness someone asked me “what are carbohydrates?” So I though I had better explain

    Our bodies need energy and glucose is the type of sugar found circulating in the blood. It provides all of the cells of the body with energy. Every organ in the body is made up of cells and every cell needs energy.

    Where does glucose come from?

    Glucose is produced by carbohydrates like bread, pasta, rice, table sugar, sweets, cakes and potatoes being broken down in the process of digestion into glucose, which is then absorbed into the blood.

    Understanding carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates are sugars and starches – bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, cereals and sugar. They provide the energy our bodies need for all its various activities.

    Different types of carbohydrate

    Not all carbohydrates are the same!

    Sugars and Sugary carbohydrates

    ¨      Sugary carbohydrates are a more concentrated source of carbohydrate. Examples are white and brown sugar, which are virtually pure carbohydrate and contain no other nutrients.  They are sometimes called “empty calories” as they only provide energy and no other nutrients

    ¨      Sugary foods, such as cakes, soft drinks and biscuits contain a significant amount of sugar.

    ¨      It is easy to eat large amounts of carbohydrates as sugars and sugary foods.

    Starchy carbohydrates

    ¨      Starchy carbohydrate, those such as cereals and bread, have other nutrients in them alongside the carbohydrate.

    ¨      Because the starchy carbohydrates contain other nutrients as well they are often more satisfying

    ¨      Depending on the type some take longer to be digested and absorbed and therefore tend to give more even blood glucose levels.

     Glycaemic Index GI

    The rate at which carbohydrates are digested and absorbed is called the glycaemic index (GI) of a food.  These measurements of how carbohydrates affect blood glucose levels are performed on human volunteers who are given glucose or other carbohydrates and the blood glucose measured.

    Foods with a lower GI help to maintain blood glucose levels at a more steady level without any peaks and troughs so they assist with better  blood glucose control. Additionally, due to this blood glucose control they make you feel full for longer which helps to stave off hunger pangs so can help with weight loss. They can also make sure your brain has that constant energy supply it needs so it can make people feel less irritable and also concentrate better.

    Sports people find that such lower GI foods help them to exercise for longer and often refer to them as “slow burning carbs.”

    Glucose or items containing it are absorbed rapidly –indeed this is why it is used in hypo situations for people with diabetes. As it raised the blood glucose levels rapidly it is said to have a GI of 100.

    The GI of different foods can be influenced by

    ·        The way food is prepared such as the more processed it is the higher the GI for example fruit juice has a higher GI

    ·        The amount of soluble fibre reduced the GI so oats and lentils have a lower GI

    ·        The actual chemical structure of the carbohydrates in the starch molecules so for example basmati rice (a different variety ) has a lower GI than ordinary white rice

    ·        If foods have been cooked than cooled the GI reduces so potatoes in a potato salad will have a lower GI than those freshly cooked

    ·        Tough coatings like are found in seeds will reduce the GI so grain breads have a lower GI than wholemeal bread

     Levels of GI

    •  Carbohydrates which produce a GI of over 70 are said to have a high GI—These foods obviously include glucose plus white and wholemeal breads and mashed potatoes
    • Carbohydrates which produce a GI of between 56-69 are said to have a medium GI. These foods include sultanas, canned apricots, ice cream and egg noodles
    • Carbohydrates which produce a GI of below 55 are said to have a low GI. These foods include chickpeas, lentils, green vegetables, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables, plums, apples and pears 

     Glycaemic Load (GL)

     This is a consideration of both the GI plus the amount of carbohydrate in a food. It is calculated by multiplying the amount of carbohydrate in a normal portion of a food by the GI and then dividing by 100.

     GL levels are

    • Low below 0-10
    • Medium 11-19
    • High 20 plus
    There are various books with tables in to help with this This includes some I have written.

    Product Details  Product DetailsProduct Details

    Product DetailsProduct Details

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    Tuesday, 26 June 2012

    Food And Happiness

    Food and Happiness

    With it being such a miserable summer, for a lot of people as regards the weather plus economic issues I though I would update something I researched a while ago.

    Richard Laynard described hapiness as “feeling good and enjoying life”. A study in 2001 showed that those who experienced more positive emotions lived longer than those who did not.
    Our diet in the UK has changed dramaticaly over the last 3 decades with a greater consumption of processed foods, more sugar and salt, less fibre, less vegetables and less omega 3 fatty acids. Some researchers believe that this change in diet may have contributed to a rise in depression.

    Depression and stress can alter food consumption with some sufferers avoiding food and others over eating.

    So what did I find linked with happiness? The key factors seem to be relatively simple ones;-
    1. Eat regular meals –so breakfast, lunch and dinner
    2. Eat meals with companions –eat with family and friends –socialising makes us happier
    3. Shop for foods and cook food –how lovely to see that cooking comes out as so important
    4. Take adequate fluid –that all important 2 litres per day. A lack of fluid can lead to feelings of tiredness and a lack of mental alertness
    5. Include some caffeine –so coffees, chocolate, teas and colas can be useful but only small amounts. Chocolate is associated with pleasure and happiness. It contains substances such as the stimulants thoebromine and caffeine.
    6. Include a small amount of alcohol However when taken in excess alcohol has the reverse effect.
    7. Take adequate carbohydrate especially those with a low GI. Carbohydrates stimulate the production of serotonin one of the mood enhancing hormones. Low GI foods also help to keep the all important blood glucose level 
    8. Ensure that the diet contains enough iron, magnesium and selenium. A lack of iron is well known to be associated with iron deficiency anaemia which results in symptoms such as tiredness and apathy, which are hardly likely to precipitate a happy state of mind. A lack of the trace element selenium is thought to have a negative effect on mood 
    9. Take foods containing omega 3 fatty acids. Lack of omega 3 fatty acids has been associated with irritability, depression and low moods
    10. Take foods containing B vitamins and vitamin D. A lack of vitamin D is associated with a low mood and depression and B vitamins are regarded as being essential for mental health.
    11. Try to be a healthy weight but not over slim –size 14 was found to be the happiest size for women.
    The information contained in this blog contains extracts from a full food and happiness paper I wrote for Nutrition and Food Science.

    Sunday, 24 June 2012

    Malnutrition - A Serious Problem


    Malnutrition is sadly a serious problem in the country.  Malnutrition and particularly under-nutrition where people do not take enough calories or protein has a major effect on health and well-being.

    This year a report from the annual Nutrition Screening Week showed that malnutrition affected;-

    • 1 in 4 adults admitted to hospital
    • 1 in 3 adults admitted to care homes
    Malnutrition is not a trivial problem as it affects how people recover from operations and treatments.

    Continual malnutrition over a long period contributes to

    • pressure sores
    • muscle weakness
    • apathy and depression
    • impaired immunity
    • poor wound healing
    • increased risk of fractures
    • anaemia
    • constipation
    • impaired temperature control –feelings of being cold
    People who are malnourished visit their GP more regularly plus have longer hospital stays. The costs of treating malnutrition are over £7.3 billion per year.

    Malnutrition is more likely in older people but the survey found it was also found in 26% of those admitted to hospital in the 20-29 year age group.

    People in hospital, in residential care plus at risk in the community are recommended to be screened for malnutrition and one of the ways of doing this is to use the MUST (Malnutrition Universal Screening Tool) which was produced by BAPEN. This is very easy to use and is found at.

    If malnutrition is detected it is then imperative to do something about it.

    Image kindly provided under the creative commons licence by

    Friday, 15 June 2012


    This Sunday on Kevins Kitchen Garden Show from 10-11am I hope to cover gluten and Coeliac Disease and related topics

    If you have any queries or comments please do phone in 01604 234455

    Click to show "Gluten-free bread" result 2

    Tuesday, 12 June 2012


    On Sunday on radio Northampton on Kevin’s Kitchen Garden show we talked about milk.

    Mainly raw milk as Vanessa had been to a farm in the South, which produces it.

    Milk is a really useful item in the diet as it is a source of calcium and protein and milk comes as full cream, skimmed and semi-skimmed. Nowadays the most popular milk is the semi-skimmed type. Also most milk is pasteurised or UHT milk, which means that it is heated to destroy harmful bacteria.

    The raw milk discussed was full cream and there were a number of callers with adverse tales about it, which was really interesting. Obviously raw milk can contain harmful bacteria.

    While raw milk is banned in Scotland while in England it can be sold from the farm or at  on site farm shops. If it is sold in farmers markets then it should be by the farmer.

    The Food Standards Agency has excellent information on raw milk. It is not recommended for pregnant women, nursing mothers, elderly people, young children or anyone with a compromised immune system.


     On Sunday on radio Northampton on Kevin’s Kitchen Garden show we talked about milk.

    Mainly raw milk as Vanessa had been to a farm in the South, which produces it.

    Milk is a really useful item as it is a source of calcium and protein and milk comes as full cream, skimmed and semi-skimmed. Nowadays the most popular milk is the semi-skimmed type. Also most milk is pasteurised or UHT milk, which means that it is heated to destroy harmful bacteria.

    The raw milk discussed was full cream and there were a number of callers with adverse tales about it, which was really interesting. Obviously raw milk can contain harmful bacteria.

    While raw milk is banned in Scotland  in England it can be sold from the farm or at  on site farm shops. If it is sold in farmers markets then it should be by the farmer.

    The Food Standards Agency has excellent information on raw milk. It is not recommended for pregnant women, nursing mothers, elderly people, young children or anyone with a compromised immune system.

    Saturday, 9 June 2012

    Milk and related topics

    Tomorrow morning on Kevin’s Kitchen Garden 10-11am BBC Radio Northampton milk is being discussed.

     If you have any queries please phone in to the studio 01604 234455 and we will do our best to answer.

    So as a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist I am hoping to cover some of the nutritional bits including;-

    • Benefits of milk
    • Types
    • Feeding infants and young children
    • Intolerances and allergies
    • Lactose
    • GORD
    • Sport
    • Alternatives

    Thursday, 7 June 2012



    Last night I was asked about cinnamon and its effect with diabetes.

    It is a lovely flavour and superb with porridge, stewed apples and also milk puddings. I have seen information about it being helpful in diabetes as there is some work to suggest it does help.

    This is what I found on the Diabetes UK website.

    "The theory that cinnamon can be beneficial in treating or preventing diabetes has been around for a while, and there has been some evidence to suggest that it is true in mice. Recent research has suggested that cinnamon may improve blood glucose levels and blood fats in people with Type 2 diabetes. The research is interesting but Diabetes UK is not recommending that people start taking large amounts."

    Sunday, 3 June 2012

    Radio Northampton

    I have been delighted over the last few weeks to be taking part in the Kitchen Garden Progamme on BBC Radio Northampton.

    It is 9-11 am on a Sunday morning and Keving Saddington is the presenter --I have managed to cover various pieces on diet and nutrition inter-twined with gardening and cookery advice.

    So do listen in next Sunday or even call the studio with queries or comments.

    Saturday, 2 June 2012


    I find writing about myself quite difficult as it always seems boastful,, and my aim of writing this was to provide snippets of information on various aspects of nutrition plus where people can look for information.

    One of the things I am really keen to promote is good nutrition in older people and I was pleased to have an article on "care home catering--are your residents getting what they need" published in Care Management Matters.

    Wednesday, 30 May 2012

    Vitamin D

    Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin which is made by the action of sunlight on the skin during the summer months. It is needed to enable the body to absorb calcium and which helps to keep the bones strong.

    With the sunny weather it seemed apt to talk about this on the radio plus at a talk I gave at the RSPH in London. It seemed especially important as a lack of vitamin D can contribute to falls in older people.

    It has been recognised that some people may require a supplement of Vitamin D and they are:-
    1. All pregnant and breastfeeding women
    2. Infants and young children under 5 years of age
    3. Older people aged 65 years and over
    4. People who have low or no exposure to the sun
    5. People who have darker skin
    Food sources are few and include oily fish, egg yolks, fortified breakfast cereals, red meat, butter and fortified spreads, hard cheese as well as full fat dairy products.

    For more information go to

    Sunday, 6 May 2012

    Fluid intake

    I found this fun when I saw it in a presentation on fluid so thought I would use it. Last week I was involved in speaking in Nottingham at a confernce on "Nutrition andf Hydration". It was aimed at those involved in the care of older people. Sadly many people do not drink enough--with enough being 1.5-2litres per day.

    Saturday, 28 April 2012

    Diabetes and diet

    This is a subject dear to my heart as I did research on it for my PhD.

    Almost 3 million people in the UK have diabetes --and about 85% have type 2 diabetes which is often found in people who are older and also overweight. This type of diabetes used to be called maturity onset or non insulin dependent diabetes. Often it can be controlled by diet or diet and medication.

    Type 1 diabetes affects younger people and requires insulin for control.

    Whichever type of diabetes, diet is an important part of management.

    I was pleased to be asked to work with the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust on producing a guide for people with diabetes on diet called "Diabetes Everyday Eating".

    While this in no way can be a substitute for an individual diet plan prepared by a dietitian or other health professional it can provide helpful information. This can be particularly useful for those who are newly diagnosed with diabetes or possibly want some ideas on menus.