Wednesday 11 December 2013

'Eat Yourself Young' Workshop

Recently I was lucky enough to be invited by Simplyhealth to a healthy cooking class with Nutritionist Kate Cook at the Underground Cookery School in London. The 'Eat Yourself Young' workshop hosted by Kate, who has been practising nutrition for over 13 years, to discuss healthy eating and nutrition was really engaging and very informative.

Kate was such a fun and lively presenter and in no time at all we were all listening intently as she talked to us about the 7 secrets to healthy ageing. A lot of it came as no surprise as Kate covered the 7 topics of digestion and fibre, stress, anti-oxidants, water, detoxification, fats and blood sugar, however it was really good to have Kate explain some of the science behind it all and importantly clear away some of the nutrition myths we so often hear in the media. The information I really took away with me from that day is the importance of maintaining blood sugar levels and the crucial part that balancing insulin and blood sugar plays in healthy ageing. We were told about how to avoid sugar and insulin peaks and dips and the effects that low and high blood sugars can have on how healthy we feel on a day to day basis. 

As an insulin dependent diabetic I am well aware of how important this balancing act between sugar and insulin is and unfortunately my diabetes means that instead of my body naturally regulating my blood sugars, I have to do this myself and at times it can be a real struggle for me to work out how much insulin to have and how my body and blood sugar will react to what I am eating. This is where I found Kate's presentation really invaluable on a really personal level. Kate talked us through the Glycemic Index (GI), explaining that high GI foods provide a quick sugar release and therefore a blood sugar peak and that low GI foods release energy more slowly which is much better and so it is important to incorporate more low GI food into your diet where you can. Another really useful fact I took away with me is that combining some protein with carbohydrate or glucose intakes can have a balancing effect on blood sugars so for example if you snack on an apple, having a small handful of almonds will minimise bloodsugar peaks. After the presentation I felt much more positive about the task of controlling my diabetes as I felt in a much more informed position and I'm really going to implement what I've learnt into my day to day routine.

                                                                                                                                                     Photo supplied by Greenlight
The second part of the workshop saw us put on our aprons, roll up our sleeves and head into the kitchen for the hands on cookery class with Kate and the Chefs from the Underground Cookery School. I have wanted to go on a cookery course for ages to learn the basics of cooking well but I was never really sure where to start so I was especially excited to have the opportunity to get involved. We learnt how to debone a whole chicken and fillet a fish (I'll spare you the gory pictures of raw chicken and fish!) as well as understanding the basics of taste and seasoning. We were also talked through how to cook the chicken and it was really fun to have a go. 

We then had a chance to sit down, enjoy a refreshing drink and discuss what we had learnt while the chefs took the food we had prepared and whipped it all up into an amazing three course meal!

The three course lunch menu which was designed by Kate and the cookery school chefs was as follows:
Upon arrival: Vegetable juice: Carrot or Orange and crudités with hummus
Starter: Fillet of mackerel with roasted beetroot and horseradish cream
Vegetarian starter: Griddled aubergine with garlic, chilli and thyme marinade, roasted beetroot and horseradish cream
Main: Grilled breast of chicken, with roasted butternut squash and puy lentils, balsamic reduction
Vegetarian main: Lentil 'burger' with roasted butternut squash wedges, goats cheese and rocket
Dessert: Poached pear with cinnamon syrup and vanilla ice cream

The chefs and staff at The Underground Cookery School were so friendly and patient. They really made it such a fun learning environment and even gave us a gorgeous bottle of infused olive oil to take home with us in our goodie bag! 

Simplyhealth have been helping people access affordable healthcare for 140 years. To find out more about the 'Eat Yourself Young' workshop and the different range of healthcare, dental plans and private medical insurance they provide, visit the Simplyhealth website 

*All photos are my own unless otherwise specified 

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