January 2017

How cooking burns calories

31st January 2017

We believe in cooking from scratch not just for healthier eating, but for a healthier life. Getting active in the kitchen requires a bit more effort, but you’ll burn a good few more calories too!

Here at Health Apps, the Cook&Count app team don’t believe in strict calorie counting, but we absolutely do believe in calorie awareness and portion control. We need to know what we’re taking in in order to adjust our portions and daily exercise accordingly.

So does shopping for, preparing, cooking, serving and clearing a meal really count as exercise? It certainly does.

Food shopping

Wandering up and down the supermarket aisles or around the local shops is a healthy walk. You can burn close to 90 calories simply on your weekly food shop. And over 100 calories carrying your bags home or up some steps. Don’t ignore the effect of this routine exercise. It’s not just about the calories, it’s the movement and activity that really counts.

Preparing the dish

Thought standing around in the kitchen while you chop veg was a waste of time? Think again. From fridge to oven to sideboard and back again, you’ll be burning calories you didn’t even know about. Put some music on and you might even find yourself having an extra little jig!

Post-meal tidy up

Food bought, meal prepared and you thought you were done. But there are still more calories to lose. Laying and clearing the table then washing up will keep you moving and burning energy. The numbers may look small, but they all add up to a more active life.

That’s a grand total of 337 calories simply from creating a tasty meal! And that’s just an average. Calories burned will vary depending on your weight, so take a look on CalorieLab.com.

Cook&Count app has some tasty recipes for you to try and will show you how many calories are in any size portion, plus lots more useful nutritional information. Download Cook&Count app for free now!

Susan’s story: Cutting out the carb calculations

18th January 2017

Susan has had type 1 diabetes for 45 years, and was diagnosed as having Coeliac Disease and an overactive thyroid 8 years ago. But this wasn’t to be the last of her health issues. A keen cook who values healthy eating and nutrition, Susan discovered Cook&Count app while searching for an easier way to carb count when home cooking. She shares her story with us…

All was good until 2010 when I detected a breast lump which turned out to be cancerous. I’m glad to say, because I found the lump early, I’m alive and kicking!

As a result of my various health conditions, healthy eating and nutrition is really important to me. I try to avoid processed foods as much as possible. Though of course there are times when I’m in a hurry or have a low blood sugar when I tend to grab whatever I can.

I try as much as possible to make my own gluten free soup, bread, cookies and cakes with reduced sugar. When I make my own products I know exactly what goes into them, especially ingredients like sugar, salt and fat. I keep only gluten free flour and baking powder in the cupboard so I can’t ever get mixed up with normal flours.

The problem: Too many calculations!

Knowing the nutritional values of food was always important being a type 1 diabetic, but now more than ever as I’m on multiple daily insulin injections. It is imperative to know how many carbohydrates are in everything I eat before I inject. If I underestimate the carbs in a food, and so don’t inject enough insulin, it can lead to elevated blood glucose. While if I overestimate I can inject too much insulin, causing low blood glucose levels. I have often miscalculated in the past – there was a lot of guess work and sometimes I’d cook the same meals as I’d know how I was going to react.

I find it so annoying that many companies give nutritional values per 100 grams rather than per portion. Diabetics have to do constant calculations – see what blood glucose is, try and assess carbs in meals they’re about to eat, and then decide how much insulin to give. Other factors like alcohol, exercise and illness may need to be factored in too!

The solution: Save your sum-free recipes

In desperation I went to Google to see what I could find on counting carbs. There was loads of stuff on calorie counting but that was of no use to me. I often said to my husband you nearly need to be a diabetic to understand all the calculations that need to be done. I came across Cook&Count app, read some reviews, saw that Deborah is the parent of a Diabetic son and was sold!

The app makes life so much easier, especially for home baking. Many gluten free recipes have a lot of ingredients, but once you get into the hang of how the app works it’s a great resource. Some ingredients aren’t on the database but you can easily insert them in yourself. I love the fact that I can keep my usual recipes or even my favourite breakfast cereals saved there. It’s so great to type in the weight of the food you want to eat, which might not be the standard weight, and not have to do the sums!

I’ve been using Cook&Count app for a year now and overall I can honestly say it was a great find for me.

Try out Cook&Count app for free for yourself from the App Store or Google Play.

Ten top tips for a healthy lifestyle

5th January 2017

Just in time for the new year, Cook&Count app founder Deborah Wilder-Wood shares her ten top tips for a healthy lifestyle in 2017…

Over the last two generations our lifestyles have changed dramatically. We can’t ignore this anymore. 60 years ago food was scarce and we were trying to get our hands on as much as we could. Now there is a lot of food. Most of it is cheap, convenient, and calorie dense. There are also so many labour saving devices, technological advances and home deliveries that most of us are not moving around enough. If we want to lose weight and be healthier, we need to forget about dieting and permanently change what we eat and how much we move.

1. Say no to ‘Good and bad’

Stop punishing yourself! Feeling annoyed because you’ve eaten something ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’ is not going to help. Most people are eating too much sugar and could do with reducing their intake. But the occasional treat will not hurt. We just need to remember that we are animals. We need to eat and we need to move. We can have our cake and eat it. Providing we’re active.

2. Cook at home

Cook your own meals from scratch, rather than eating ready meals and takeaways. It will be rewarding, more nutritious and it’s a great way of controlling what’s in there – no chemicals, lower or no sugar, and so on. Aim to eat at least 4 portions of veg and 1 portion of fruit a day. Do not count fruit juice and smoothies – they contain too much sugar.

3. Snack on veg

Snack on raw vegetables like carrots, celery, beetroot and radishes. And try other nutritious foods, in smaller amounts, such as fresh fruit, unsalted nuts, dried fruit, dark chocolate (at least 70%), and grainy crackers. Do not starve yourself – if you miss meals your metabolism may slow down as your body tries to store all the nutrients because it doesn’t know when the next meal will come.

4. Physical Activity 5 x 30 minutes

Physical activity is not just for weight loss, it will help prevent cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. It will help keep your bones and muscles strong and your mood good. Do at least 5 thirty minute sessions of moderate intensity physical activity a week. Moderate intensity activity examples are: fast walking; hill walking; swimming; dancing, cycling; vacuuming; mowing the lawn; or digging the garden. To make it achievable and maintainable, fit as much of it as you can into your daily routine, such as walking and cycling to work. Stick to your intentions by writing down what, when and where you’re going to do something. Don’t be overambitious. And make plans together with a friend so that you can’t wriggle out of it. Check out the NHS One You page for some more tips on getting active.

5. Limit booze

Stick to the recommended maximum 14 units a week for women and 21 for a man and make sure you have at least two days off a week. This limits can be tough because the alcohol content of many wines and beers has increased. And serving sizes too, with the standard size for a glass of wine now 175ml. Which means there are 2.3 units in a standard glass of wine with 13% alcohol! Take a look at the World Cancer Research Fund Alcohol Calorie Counter to find out the number of calories in your drinks.

6. Cut smoking

At the moment e-cigarettes are very popular, but as they are so new there’s little research into their long-term side effects. They are not approved or regulated and recent research shows that this kind of nicotine use could lead to heart disease. If you are using one that contains nicotine, make sure you gradually reduce the strength of the vapour. See it as a tool to quit smoking rather than replacing one dependence with another. Just because e-cigarettes are ‘healthier’ does not mean that they are healthy.

7. Take a break

Get out every day for a brisk walk, even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes. Don’t convince yourself that you’re too busy – a few minutes getting some fresh air, burning off some adrenaline and releasing some endorphins will make you feel more energetic, clearheaded and happier!

8. Ditch the scales

Give them to the charity shop, or take them round to a friend’s house and use them no more than once a month. Your weight is not about a number, it’s about how you feel and look. And remember that if you’re doing more exercise, you may be building more muscle which weighs more than fat.

9. Deal with stress

Stress isn’t always a bad thing – in the short term it can provide mental alertness, motivation and efficiency. Focus on the things that are within your realm of control. Live in the present and the future, there is nothing you can do about the past. When you do feel stressed, burn off the extra adrenaline by taking exercise.

10. Do a job you find fulfilling and challenging

Our work takes up most of our waking hours. If we don’t enjoy it, it will spill over into the rest of our lives and may lead us to become negative, demotivated and stagnant. Challenge yourself and be proactive about taking responsibility for your life. Do not say “I’ll try” or “I’ll see if I can”. You are already setting yourself up for failure. Say “I’ll do that” and then do it!

The Cook&Count app team wishes you a happy and healthy 2017! And for top tip number two, download Cook&Count app for free from the App Store and get back in the kitchen!