This week’s Born This Day feature celebrates the birthday of Sacha Baron Cohen, the English stand-up comedian, writer and actor. A graduate of Cambridge University, Sacha Baron Cohen is most [...]
So what is the Fat in the City column about? What am I going to tell you that you haven’t read or heard before? Well, it kind of depends on what you are looking for. But, if you are like me and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get through your “to-do” list read on. And, more importantly if you are carting around a few (or more than a few) excess pounds that are slowing you down and you desperately want to shed the flab forever, you might just have stumbled upon nirvana – it’s not a guarantee but it’s certainly worth a go!
People like and loathe nutritionists in equal measures; sometimes unfair but all-too-often deserved. Many seem hell-bent on taking all the fun out of eating and demand dedication, self-discipline, willpower and a whole host of other impossible stuff that few of us can even begin to embrace on a daily basis. You will be delighted to know that we are not going down that route – that’s the road to short term success and long term failure so let’s not go there!
How many of these scenarios do you recognise?
- The sun comes out, you want to sling on your cutest summer frock/linen breeks but there is altogether too much white flab trying to escape so you have to cover it up somehow and spend the day trying but failing to look cool and at ease with your wardrobe choice.
- You have been invited to a social event where you know there are going to be way too many slim, lean and beautiful bodies cruising the room so rather than wearing the slightly-too-tight outfit you had planned, you plump for the comfortable one that never lets you down despite the fact that it is looking a little tired and not too current.
- You have secured an interview for your dream job and not only have you got the stress of ensuring that you have rehearsed your answers to the important questions but your interview suit is pinching more than just a little so you have to spend more hours than you have available the night before trying to work an outfit that might just give you the edge over the competition.
- You booked your beach holiday months ago and are counting the hours until you step on the plane and escape to the sun for a couple of weeks but somehow or other you haven’t lost that crucial half stone that is going to see you walking along the water’s edge with confidence or saying “I’m in” to the game of beach volley ball.
The definition of vanity is ‘an excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities and achievements’ and what’s wrong with that? For some strange reason the word vanity has become linked to self-obsession. Oh please! Life is sure as hell easier to cope with when you feel good, look good, are bursting with energy and feel slim. It doesn’t matter whether you are tall, small, shapely, straight up and down or ‘big boned’ – a healthy body with less than 25% body fat works so that’s what this column is going to concentrate on – fast and lasting fat loss for all you hard-working, over-stretched, over-stressed people out there!
I want to pass on every bit of fat busting research I have gleaned over the last 20 years, every diet tip that makes sense and will help you shed the flab and every ground-breaking fitness strategy that I have picked up from the many Personal Trainers I have worked with so your daily eating and exercise programme becomes an easy-to-manage pleasure and not a hard-to-bear punishment.
So, let’s get started on the road to permanent fat loss and let’s start with soup. It’s almost impossible to get more nourishment into a very small place than in a bowl of soup and I am in the very fortunate position of having a soup guru in my life, who also happens to be my best friend. This woman can make a nourishing, fat busting, filling and fabulous soup in a matter of 20 minutes, does it daily and while she is not far off celebrating her sixth decade, looks fabulous – it’s clearly the soups! Every diet I have ever devised for magazines, newspapers, websites and my 2 books include her soups and my inbox is continually over-stuffed with demands for more recipes. Watch this space, the soup book is developing nicely and will be published just as soon as we find the time to rigorously test every recipe and get it all down in print.
Here’s one of the all-time favourites:-
SPICY MEATBALL SOUP
For the Meatballs
500g lean minced beef/chicken/turkey
50g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp freshly chopped herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme or a mix of Italian Herbs)
½ tsp salt
Ground black pepper
For the soup
1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1-2 large red chillies, finely diced
1 large clove garlic, crushed
2 large carrots, diced
1 large courgette, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
100g Kale/Savoy cabbage, finely sliced
1 good tbsp tomato puree
1 litre good beef or chicken stock dependent on whether you are using beef or chicken/turkey for the meatballs
400g tinned tomatoes
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Good bunch of parsley, chopped finely
1tbsp fresh oregano, chopped finely
Parmesan cheese to serve
- Put all the meatball ingredients in a food processor and whizz until it forms a ball, divide into bite-sized balls and chill.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the onion, chillies and garlic and gently cook until softened.
- Add the carrots, courgette, celery, kale/cabbage and tomato puree and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the stock and tinned tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 mins until the carrots are tender.
- When soup is cooked gently add the meatballs to the soup, simmer very gently for 15 minutes then add the fresh parsley and oregano.
- Check the seasoning and ensure that the meatballs are cooked through and serve with a good grating of Parmesan cheese on top.
City Connect has kindly invited me to regularly blog, post and pass on my fat busting tips but if you would like to get started right now, my 2 Weeks in the Fast Lane diet has just been published as an eBook which you can download from my bookshop or a Kindle version is available through Amazon.
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About the Author: When it comes to healthy eating, dieting and finding a route that works, confusion reigns! Nutritionist and best selling author Fiona Kirk’s ability to cut through the ‘noise’ that is being hurled at us from all sides, enables us to make a few small changes that can reap big rewards in minimum time. By writing articles for the press, books (4 to date), giving talks, blogging and contributing to numerous diet and health websites, Fiona has discovered that her somewhat cynical (but always honest) take on some of the nonsense being touted has struck a chord with her ‘followers’ - putting them back in the driving seat of their diet and long term health. After all, she knows good nutrition... and isn't afraid to talk about it! For more from Fiona, check out www.fatbustforever.com