Thursday, 30 January 2014

How to make your Fruit Ripe and Sweet. The Science behind the Magical Apple

Gone are the days when we used to get our fruit perfectly sweet and ready to eat from the local market. The sweetness and fragrance of a real fruit ripened in the branch and not in the storage room... Mouth watering oranges, apricots, kiwis, pears, melons...

But, has any of you thought of why some fruits get miraculously sweeter and softer in the fruit basket but others simply don´t? This strange phenomenon when suddenly the green, hard and tasteless pear gets perfectly ripe to eat is pure chemistry. And the food industry and fruit cooperatives know about it so they also take advantage of it to do what they really want. That is: to sell the fruit to the supermarkets that will be able to store it inside rooms for sometime without getting them all to waste due to excessive ripening.

Then , lets start with your mum´s or grandma´s best tip: "An apple in your fruit basket will make your fruit sweet". (But don´t ask her why that happens...)

There are 2 types of fruits to consider according to ripening process:

 ClimactericEthylene release= fruit gets sweet, color deepens, texture softens even after harvested from the tree

Non climacteric= No Ethylene release= fruit does not get sweeter after harvesting

This is the most basic concept to help you understand it. But other factors influence it too,like temperature, natural inhibitors on each variety, etc.

Here I leave you with a classification  of the most common fruits we eat that fall into each category.


1. Climacteric Fruit: Apple , Avocado, Apricot, Banana, Kiwis, Melon, Mango, Pear, Peach, Tomato

2. Non climacteric fruits: orange, lemon, mandarin,pineapple, grapes, strawberry, cherry

* And here is the simple but effective trick of the apple in the fruit basket: Apples release ethylene because they are climacteric. And when they are in contact with other climacteric fruits that are still green, the gas affects them too. So it induces ripening of the other fruits such as pears, bananas or kiwis.
You can use the bananas too, however they are less likely to stay forever in the kitchen as they get soft too fast.
Best thing to make ripening process even faster is cover the fruit bowl with a bag or put all fruits and the apple inside a paper bag:

And talking about tricks. Oranges and citrus that are harvested pretty green are treated by the industry with Ethylene! The oranges won´t get sweeter and ripe but the color will be deep orange instead of yellow.
The ethylene will 'de-green' them and this is a strategy to increase consumer acceptability in the market.

Key: Yes, fruits and vegetables can still ripe after they have been harvested. Take advantage of Nature´s wisdom and don´t eat your fruit green.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Understanding the ingredients list: Basic everyday checks!

 Everyday you open that packet of  crisps, or cereals, yogurt, tomato sauce or even a new bottle of milk. You sit with the package opened in front of you and you are suddenly lost in the literature of the food label. The most interesting (and scary part) comes when you focus on Ingredients list. And if you are brave enough to read it till the end you probably start questioning what is is that thing you are eating.

For example, for your (healthy)sandwich it is common to buy on a regular basis things like coldmeats( ham or turkey), spreadable cheese, crabmeat, tuna or smoked salmon. But they have more than just turkey, or salmon or cheese. There is a whole list of ingredients that you should quickly browse.

One of the most important things is the order of the ingredients, this is super easy and fast to check.

Did you know...?

- That the 1st ingredient in the list makes a minimum of 50%  of the total of ingredients added?
 So for example, one of my favorites to explain: Deli meat- turkey like the one below : turkey(55%), water, salt, stabilisers (E-420,E-451,E-407), potato starch, dextrose, lactose, milk protein, sugar, flavour(contains soy protein), flavour enhancer( E-621), antioxidant (E-316), spices.

This clearly indicates that you are buying slices of turkey at the price of water... cause 45% of the product is made of water, salt and "chemistry". Many deli meats (even the healthy ones like turkey) are poor in what you actually want, which is lean white meat.

- But! Sometimes if you combine the 2nd and 3rd ingredient all together will make more than the 1st one.Which means that better watch out cause your food might have much more of things you really don´t want to pay for and eat.
To illustrate this, I recently  bought a Soja Sauce by a famous UK brand . It is obviously not the brand I would go for this product but it happened anyways, bought by mistake cause I assumed I was going to get just what it said at the  front , Soja Sauce and I didn´t bother to look in detail. And when I read later on the ingredients list I almost died!:
Ingredients: water, fructose glucose syrup, sugar, soya sauce (water, soya, wheat, salt), molasses, salt, yeast extract, coloring (caramel), herbs and spice extract, acidulant(lactic acid).

Now we enter the funny part: Fructose syrup , glucose, sugar, molasses--- all are the same thing: Sugar.(big debate is finally going on about its dangers) So, by checking this you see that there is probably much more sugar in percentage than the rest of ingredients including water. Also, as you see we have salt repeated twice, in the actual soya sauce and and in the final list.
 This is not the soy sauce I wanted... this is a sauce made out of sugar and salt diluted in a bit of water and soya...

I could go on and on with many different examples of things we consider more "natural" but are actually not that much: Yogurts with fruit pieces, fruit and fibre cereals, sliced bread, etc.

Go and check some foods in the fridge or your cupboard and make your own assessment. You will learn a lot!

Moral of the story: Check check check! You are responsible for what you eat. Don´t blame the food industry.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Ponte las zapatillas y sube la cuesta de Enero!

Una de las razones por las que suelo escuchar en sesiones de coaching que la gente no hace ejercicio es por falta de tiempo.... Y lo pongo con puntos suspensivos porque realmente todo son prioriades y lo que somos capaces de hacer en muy poco tiempo si nos convencemos del beneficio tan grande!

El que más y el menos sufre de falta de tiempo, falta de ganas, falta de dinero, falta de espacio, falta de buen tiempo, falta de motivación en general! Y nos ponemos un montón de excusas para no ponernos las zapatillas.

Muchos dicen : Si no tengo una hora mínimo para ir al gimnasio no merece la pena.
¿Tiene que ser blanco o negro? ¿todo o nada?

Alguien me comentó una vez que posiblemente está 10 minutos al dia de pie, o caminando! Y segurísimo que no es el único: De casa al coche (en ascensor), de coche a oficina, de oficina al coche, de casa( en ascensor) al sofá!

 Hay muchas alternativas al gimnasio tradicional de rutina o clases en sala para mantener un estilo de vida activo según el dia:

*¿Vives en el tercer piso?Pues sube las escaleras olividaté del ascensor.
*¿Utilizas el transporte público? Baja una parada antes y anda de camino a casa. La mente y el cuerpo se desentumecerá y llegarás a casa con más energía.
*¿Las obligaciones familiares te impiden que puedas hacer algo de ejercicio a la vuelta del trabajo? Acuéstate temprano y levántate un poco antes para mover un poco el cuerpo.Desde ejercicios suaves como yoga  o balance, una caminata o correr según tu condición física son una excelente forma de comenzar el dia.

Os propongo una lista de sesiones en youtube(en inglés) que yo misma he probado( y sigo utilizando trás un año entero) para no dejar de moverse, aún cuando el espacio y el tiempo es limitado:

*Cardio y entrenamiento de alta intensidad HIIT:
Uno de los mejores sitios. Esta encantadora pareja tiene cientos de ejercicios que puedes combinar (para hombre o mujer) para sudar en muy poquito tiempo, tu pones la música :

*Kick boxing en modo aeróbico:
Jannis algo así como Paula Vázquez meets Madonna in concert. Sesiones completas:

*Yoga intermedio a través de la web Yogayak:

*BodyBalance! Las famosas series de LesMills que combinan pilates+fuerza+equilibrio+yoga+taichi...Son fantásticas:

Aqui hay una: 

Todo ejercicio que realices tiene un efecto positivo sobre tu físico y tu mente. La actividad física es la mejor adicción ,es el efecto de la dopamina!

Moraleja!: Todos tenemos 24h al dia, prioriza en la salud para poder afrontar el dia con vitalidad. Las alternativas están al alcance de tu mano! Que el ritmo de vida no te pase factura.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Fruit crafts, a ship full of goodness/ Un barco de frutas, creatividad y salud!

Leelo en español más abajo

 Ok! The Three Kings arrived and the party is finally over. We ate the famous "Roscón" or  "Galette de Rois" for those in France. But we didn´t forget that in between so much hot chocolate and dough we still wanted a refreshing and healthy dessert for lunch.

As I promised, my goal for yesterday was to build a fruity ship. It took me almost 3 hours of crafting, peeling and cutting but the result was worth it. After all, it was a special day.

Everybody forgot about chocolates, nougats, marzipans...

Moral of the story: Never underestimate the importance of a good presentation to enjoy your food and introduce the healthy veggies, fruits and fish.


Los 3 Reyes llegaron y las fiestas se terminaron. Nos comimos el Roscón de Reyes (o Galette de Rois for those in France). Pero no nos olvidamos que previo a ese chocolate caliente y bizcocho también queriamos dar un toque refrescante y saludable a nuestra comida de Reyes.
Cuando las ocasiones de celebración con pastelería son inevitables, que mejor que hacer una comida ligera y festiva que no incluya más dulce aún. Por eso, ante este dilema muchos olvidan la fruta (por no ser suficientemente festiva) pero en realidad, si lo decoramos bien no tiene nada que envidiar a un bonito pastelito.

Como ya prometí., mi objetivo de ayer era crear un barco velero repleto de frutas. Tras unas horas de corte, pelado y mucha paciencia conseguí presentar este barquito como postre principal.

 Un final de fiesta hecho para la ocasión. Y todos se olvidaron de los mazapanes, bombones y turrones.

Moraleja: No subestimes la importancia de una buena presentación para disfrutar de la comida más sana e introducir las verduras, frutas y pescados que más se resisten en la dieta.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Creative Food for Kids (and Adults too) / Creativo y divertido con la comida para niños (y adultos)

Leelo en español más abajo

Welcome to this new year, full of endless possibilities and resolutions to change little by little and be healthier in our choices for us and our children.

January is the month to start, to be born again, to get rid of the old and bring in the new. It is the month of the kids too! Their holidays culminate in the magical day of Wise Kings, the Magi , the 3 Kings or Reyes (whatever you want to call it )

Surrounding yourself by kids is an incredible opportunity to be food creative with them. There is so much food choice , sweets, chocolate that it is pretty easy to forget that the little ones still need to have healthy ideas appropriate for their age but with a little twist.

Creative fruit desserts are so eye catching for kids that they will ask you to do it again. And because it is super simple it won´t take much time.

This is just one of them! : The palm tree: Kiwi, banana and clementines.

There are plenty of ideas, books and even better: your kids imagination to engage them in eating better and healthier. 
Next entry I will post a superb and festive ship for Kings Day Lunch, that I am planning to do. Stay tuned!!


Bienvenido al nuevo año, lleno de infinitas posibilidades y propósitos para cambiar poquito a poco y ser más sanos en nuestras elecciones , tanto para los adultos como para los niños.

Enero es el mes del comienzo,  renacer, volver a ser niño y tener ilusiones. Estas vacaciones tan especiales para los más pequeños culminan con el dia de Reyes.

Rodearse de niños es una oportunidad increible para ser creativos con la comida. Los postres, dulces, turrones, chocolates y demás golosinas de navidad siguen en casa y a veces acaban reemplazando los buenos hábitos. Esto no puede ser!! La fruta también puede convertirse en motivo de fiesta:

Los postres de fruta creativos son muy atractivos para los peques y les gustan tanto que querrán repetirlo. 
Además, pueden ayudarte en la cocina y esto será muy importante para que la comida sea parte de la educación.

Esta palmera en una isla desierta es una creación muy fácil y divertida, con fruta de temporada: kiwi, plátano y mandarina:

Hay muchas ideas, libros y mejor aún: la creatividad de los propios niños para que se enganchen a comer más sano.
En el próximo post enseñaré un espectacular y festivo barco de fruta para la comida del Dia de Reyes que planeo hacer. Seguro que será un éxito entre los pequeños y adultos.