I’ve had enough! I’m off to find a Grumpy Mule or a bullet proof Black Sheep.

*Originally posted on The Food Project/No Food Limits blog in November 2016*

Isn’t it always the way. You arrange a last minute (early morning) meeting to accommodate some awesome clients for the following day, which means getting up extra early, as one cannot depend on the UK’s train system, only to receive an email part way through your morning journey asking for the meeting to be rescheduled.

So I was then going to be in the office really early. Surely that warrants a coffee from your favourite coffee shop?

With a small human at home, I opted for the Black Sheep’s Bullet Proof coffee. I only budget for one of these per month as it is more expensive than the average coffee shop, but it is worth it. Bullet Proof combines good quality coffee, with coconut oil and cinnamon ensuring that the caffeine releases slowly with a massive coffee bean strength of 13, making it the ideal start if you are up early or haven’t had much sleep the night before.

The timing for this meeting was far from fortuitous as the following week our firm’s cafe was introducing Grumpy Mule coffee to replace it’s regular brand. ‎While there are no fancy blends in this brand and additional extras by default, they do concentrate on the quality of the beans also and they state they only use Arabica.

We were actually given the opportunity to test two blends before it was initiated into the firm’s cafe. A free coffee tasting morning, they were inundated, and the chance to win a chocolate bar if you guessed how many coffee beans there were in a mug. Well we did, that’s when you know you might have a slight coffee problem.

Remember to always drink coffee responsibly especially when you are dealing with extra strong blends such as the ones mentioned above. At present the ideal coffee intake it 2 cups per day. If you do indulge in the stronger blends then make sure you limit this to once or twice a week and make sure that your morning coffee is taken with food or around that time.

If you are pregnant your ideal limit is 200mg of caffeine per day. This equates to 2 cups of instant coffee, but bear in mind that this is 200mg of caffeine so if you are planning on eating chocolate or drinking a can of coke (for example), plan accordingly. Decaf is a good alternative to adopt into your eating plan.

Additionally, coffee is a diuretic so ensure you drink a glass of water with each cup of coffee to keep hydrated.

In other news, our resident Arabica coffee plants Costa and Starbuck are feeling the cold so we have given them their own spotlights. Poor things. They are still growing strong so they can’t be feeling that bad and when they reach maturity they can grow as tall as 10 feet.

“But if I don’t eat my lima beans, I can’t have my cookie”.‎ Raj was on to something

Balanced nutrition is all about portion control. Portion control and eating plans start with one small change every day and with one small change, it then turns into a non-arduous everyday habit.

Most would have heard this before, but it is true. Cold turkey and abrupt changes encourage negative reinforcement, where if you gradually become used to the change it doesn’t seem so bad.

I thought the reference in the title, taken from Series 03 Episode 14 (episode: The Einstein Approximation) of The Big Bang Theory was rather apt. Using this as an example, eat something healthy, then you can have a snack is all well and good BUT make sure the snack does not over balance the good. For example, there is no point having a healthy meal containing low fat prepared meats, vegetables and seasoning if you are going to have a 500 calorie piece of cake afterwards.

We won’t go into the what, why and how of cognitive behaviour therapy, we will just jump to the point, to break a habit you just need to modify one thing per day. The even better news is that for this to work, it has to be one small thing.

We won’t lie, it does take discipline as it is very difficult to break a habit when it has been in effect for a reasonable period of time, it doesn’t have to be a long time even but the good news is that habits are not that difficult to break, if you know how to.

While many say that it is bad to reward yourself with food because you have been good with food, this is especially so for children, food can also be used to modify your thinking patterns and the way you control your eating plan. After all the aim is to love food, and if you love food then you will want to find out more about it and will be more motivated to eat in a balanced manner.

In the coming months No Food Limits will be updating the website with documents detailing how to read the nutritional information on food and what they really mean, so watch this space.

In the meantime, a quick tip is to keep a food log book for one week. Log everything you eat in the book, no cheating. You will be tempted to but don’t do it, then after 7 days, go through the log and see if there is anything you can alter. There is always and alternative. Please find an example below:

Monday

Breakfast: Porridge with a spoonful of sugar

Lunch: A round of sandwiches on white thick bread with processed ham, mayonnaise and salad.

Snack: Mars bar

Dinner: Pizza and chips

Modification

Breakfast: Porridge with a spoonful of cinnamon

Lunch: A round of sandwiches on either wholemeal or ‘best of both’ bread with lean ham or half a chicken breast, light/reduced fat mayonnaise and salad.

Snack: 50g seaweed peanut crackers, a granola bar, carrot sticks.

Dinner: Reduced fat pizza (preferably homemade), homemade wedges baked in the oven with no oil, perhaps some herb seasoning.

Featured image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chocolate_DaVincis_Madagascar.jpg
Arnold Gatilao [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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