The 7 greatest nutrition myths debunked

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Whether it’s scrolling Instagram or flicking through newsfeeds, we’re constantly being fed messages to make sure we eat healthily. But what does good nutrition really mean, and how can we separate the myths from the tips actually worth following? Jenna Farmer speaks to the experts to get to the bottom of some of the most common nutrition myths to separate fact from fiction

The 7 greatest nutrition myths debunked

When it comes to eating healthily, we all know the general rule of having our five a day and drinking plenty of water. But when trying to keep up to date with the latest nutritional advice, it can seem as though superfoods are changing all the time, and a week won’t go by without a new trend hitting the headlines. Is it any wonder many of us feel clueless? How can we know which tips are valuable, and which ones we should take with a pinch of salt? Our experts unravel these common nutrition myths to help you sort facts from fiction.

Myth: Low-fat foods are healthier

Reality: Any trip to the supermarket will leave you bombarded with low-fat alternatives to the staples. But high-fat foods don’t always deserve their bad reputation. For example, you may read about high-fat foods being linked to heart attack risk, but one study published in the Lancet found your total fat intake isn’t actually linked to your risk of cardiovascular disease. Many healthy foods are high in fat but are still super healthy, such as avocados and oily fish. These are both rich in omega 3s, found to support brain health.

In turn, lower fat equivalents aren’t always what they seem. “With food and drinks that are labeled low-fat or even fat-free, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good for you, in fact it can be the opposite. They often come with more salt and sugar than the real deal,” says nutrition advisor Simone Thomas.

Myth: Opt for sugar free dupes

Reality: Research has found many of us eat double the amount we should. However, sugar isn’t always the enemy – it’s actually found in a whole range of healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables. These foods also contain other beneficial nutrients as well as fibre (which can slow down the absorption of sugar, which is why eating a whole apple would have less impact on your blood sugar levels than drinking a cup of juice).

“Processed, low-sugar products from the supermarket come with their own health concerns – sugar is replaced with artificial sweeteners in these foods, and these can lead to changes in gut bacteria, and continued sugar cravings. A better option is low sugar fruit, such as berries that contain other nutrients, or raw honey that contains B vitamins and iron,” says nutritionist Hannah Hope.

Myth: Everyone should take a multivitamin

Reality: Whether it’s to help with your energy levels, or for better skin, should we always reach for the multivitamin? Well, not necessarily. According to the NHS website, most of us don’t need to take a multivitamin if we’

The Little Things Newsletter #345 – Life, laughter, and lots of great food!

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Happy New Year, my friends! Do you remember that song, “this is the song that never ends?” It just goes on and on, my friends. I’ve had it playing in my mind on repeat all afternoon, with the word “flu” swapped in for “song.” Someone in my family has been sick with one thing or another ever since Thanksgiving and we are all sooooo over it. 

I thought we were in the clear at last and go figure, one of the boys spiked a fever yesterday. Super super fun times. However, when I think back to where we were a year ago, with Sean in the hospital and so many unknowns in our future, I’m grateful beyond words for a simple stubborn flu bug. Here’s hoping for a happy and healthy start to the new year for all of us!

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” Psalm 46:1‭-‬3 ESV

ON THE BLOG this week: Roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts are pure awesomeness from start to finish. Adding salty bacon and a splash of vinegar makes this one heck of a fantastic side dish.

This simple baked spinach artichoke dip is creamy, rich, and full of great flavors. My family reminds me quite regularly that there is nothing under the sun that is not enhanced through the inclusion of bacon.

Savory ham and cheddar cheese are layered into these fluffy biscuits. Served on their own or with a plate of scrambled eggs for breakfast or alongside a bowl of soup for dinner, these biscuits disappear almost as quickly as I can make them.

This creamy, rich slow cooker potato soup with a sprinkling of rosemary and thyme simmers in the crock-pot throughout the day, until you are ready to eat. I’ve been calling this my “Busy Day Potato Soup” for years.

Spiced pear oatmeal is full of rolled oats, cooked pears, cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter. It is a weekday breakfast delight that you can make in just a few minutes. When you have a few more minutes to spare, these Banana Coconut Pancakes topped with butter and syrup are a sweet and tasty way to change up your weekend pancake routine.

Want to know how to make gooey, soft, and chewy Rice Krispie Treats? Whether you’re serving them after dinner, taking them to a potluck, or simply making them for a fun snack with your kids after school, find out how t

Ham and Cheese Biscuits

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Savory ham and cheddar cheese are layered into these fluffy biscuits. Served on their own or with a plate of scrambled eggs or alongside a bowl of soup, these biscuits disappear almost as quickly as I can make them.

No one can resist these buttery Ham and Cheese Biscuits

Ham and Cheese Biscuits

I’ve been making these Ham and Cheese biscuits for about four years now and they are frequently found tucked into our freezer. While they’re delicious on their own, they also make a terrific egg sandwich and pretty amazing biscuits with gravy too.

We are huge fans of “leftover” recipes. Anytime I can cook a meal and then use the leftovers in another meal, that makes my day.

Ham is one of my favorites for making multiple meals. This Balsamic and Dijon Glazed Ham is frequently the main player in my ham recipes.

I often make Old Fashioned Ham Balls and this amazing Stir Fry with our leftover ham. Next on my list is this Cheesy Potato, Ham, and Egg Breakfast Casserole.

These Ham and Cheese Biscuits were originally made with leftover ham and they turned out so well, I made them again the very next day because my boys begged for more of them.

Since then, the biscuits have been more frequently made with chopped-up deli ham than anything else, because I crave these biscuits far more frequently than we happen to have leftover ham available.

How to support a loved one who has stopped drinking

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Giving up alcohol can be a massive challenge – but also brings many benefits. So, what can you do to help a friend or loved one on the journey?

How to support a loved one who has stopped drinking

When my husband decided to stop drinking alcohol, I wanted to do all I could to help him. But worries about what to say – or what not to say – and the supportive actions I should take, made it a challenge to know how I could best be there for him.

There are many reasons why someone may cut back, or stop drinking alcohol altogether. For some, challenges like Dry January and Sober October give us the chance to rethink our relationship with alcohol, while others may be experiencing alcohol addiction.

Whatever the reason, when someone we care about tells us they are going to stop drinking, it’s important that we respond in a supportive way.

“Making changes in relation to problematic alcohol drinking, for some, can be extremely challenging and difficult,” says Andrew Harvey, a psychotherapeutic counsellor and addictions specialist. “Support from people around the person making changes can be extremely helpful, but has the potential to be difficult to do.

“Problematic drinking can be devastating for people affected by it, the drinker and those around them,” Andrew adds. “There is help, there is support, not only for the drinker but also for affected others. Depending upon the severity of the issue, recovery with additional support might be the best option.”

Harmful drinking can often impact the people around them, says Andrew. “This can range from negatively affecting people’s mental health, emotional wellbeing, and can be devastating to relationships. Equally, recovery and positive change in people’s relationship with alcohol can enable stability, hope, and a strengthening of relationships for those around them.”

Support from the start

When our loved one tells us they are going to stop drinking, we need to show them empathy and compassion. “Patience is also often important, as change doesn’t always happen in a straight line or at a pace we would like,” says Andrew. “Sometimes people’s motivations and desire for change wavers. Often asking someone how they would like to be supported in making the change is helpful to them, and then following through on that, when we can.”

How to support a loved one who has stopped drinking

Try to have an open conversation with them, letting them lead, to help you understand how you can best be there for them. While you can gently ask about their reasons for deciding to stop drinking, avoid being pushy with this, as some people may not want to go into a lot of detail about why they have made this decision. Respect that they are making this change.

And, for many, it’s a hugely positive change to make. “The benefits to people making changes to their relationship with alcohol are often in proportion to the damage that the drinking is doing,” says Andrew. “It can range from marginal health gains to saving their lives.”

It can be dangerous for some people to stop or reduce their alcohol consumption too quickly, so they should speak to their GP before they go ahead, to make sure they can get the right treatment a