MY BIG FAT GREEK YOGURT BOWLS – BREAKFAST

Greek yogurt or ‘the yogurt of the Gods’ is a superfood in itself with more than double the amount of protein and gut-friendly probiotics than regular yogurt.  It makes an ideal breakfast as the protein and fat content keep you fuller for longer.  I recommend using an authentic full-fat Greek yogurt such as ‘Fage Total’ which is simply milk and live active bacteria – no preservatives, no powdered milk or powdered anything!

For breakfast I like to customise my yogurt with a variety of toppings. Try fresh orange chunks with chopped 85% dark chocolate and chopped almonds, strawberries with pistachio nuts or walnut, fig and cinnamon.

Superfood Add-Ons: I don’t use the word ‘superfood’ lightly. Any food listed here has pretty hard evidence to suggest its particularly beneficial to our health. Here’s a line up of some evidence-based options….

  • Spirulina powder: a powdered blue-green algae that contains 55% to 70% protein. There is firm evidence that spirulina can improve fat (lipid) and sugar (glucose) metabolism, whilst reducing liver fat and protecting the heart! Spirulina has also been shown to reducing sneezing and stuffy nose. It can taste like pond water on its own but its great in smoothies or stirred into yogurt with a little honey and dried fruit.
  • Hulled Hemp Seeds: contain all the essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6 and 9), are high in fibre and contain about 33% protein. Because of their rich nutrient profile, hemp seeds may reduce the risk of heart disease, improve skin health and reduce symptoms of PMS or Menopause, making them a great little all-rounder.
  • Raw Cacao: I love when science justifies my love of a particular food! Cacao is rich in fibre, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorous and zinc. It is listed amongst the Top 10 most nutrient dense foods on the planet and is a powerful source of antioxidants. Dig in!
  • Blueberries: Dark berries are rich in anthocyanins that have antioxidant properties found to reduce damage to our cells. They have been shown to improve memory in older people and are rich in fibre whilst having low levels of natural fruit sugars.
  • Raw Honey: A tablespoon of honey contains about 17 grams of sugar but it hands-down beats refined table sugars when it comes to its antioxidant content and plant compounds found in high quality honey such as Manuka honey or unpasteurised raw honey that hasn’t been exposed to heat. Go easy on serving sizes, a teaspoon should suffice!

YOU WILL NEED: Full fat plain Greek yogurt (about 125g per person) or 100g dairy-free alternative such as CoYo; a selection of nuts, seeds, nut butters, berries and ‘superfood’ add-ons.  Featured bowls…..

MANGO + SPIRULINA:

  • 125g Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tbsp spirulina powder or Superlife Superfood Mix*
  • 1 tsp raw honey or Manuka honey
  • 1 ounce dried mango (I like ‘Crazy Jacks’ with no added sugar or preservatives such as sulphites)
  • 1/2 tbsp Nua Naturals hulled hemp seeds*

Instructions: Combine the yogurt, spirulina powder and honey to create a creamy-green consistency. Add toppings.

COCONUT YOGURT, MACA + BLUEBERRY (V)

  • 100g vanilla coconut yogurt (I use Coyo)
  • 1 teaspoon nua naturals maca powder*
  • 1 ounce coconut chips*
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Instructions: Combine the coconut yogurt and maca powder. Add toppings.

BANANA, CACAO + COCONUT BUTTER: 

  • 125g plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Nua Naturals raw cacao powder*
  • 1 tsp Nua Naturals raw cacao nibs*
  • 1/2 sliced banana
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp melted coconut butter (or peanut / almond butter)*

Instructions: Combine the yogurt and cacao powder.  Add toppings.

CACAO-QUINOA-CHIA CRUNCH (more preparation required!)

To make the Cacao-Quinoa-Chia Crunch topping: in a bowl combine 40g quinoa pops, 20g chia seeds*, 35g cacao powder*, 2tbsp cacao nibs*, 40g coconut chips*. Melt 6 tbsp coconut oil* with 4 tbsp maple syrup and add to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Spread onto a baking tray and let set in the fridge until hard and crumbly. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 10x 40g servings.  Serve sprinkled over your Greek yogurt or as a cereal with your favourite nut milk (I like hazelnut milk for this).

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Option Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Mango + Spirulina 275 7g 15g 43g 21g 1g
Vanilla Coyo, Blueberry + Maca 367 30g 5g 19g 11g 5g
Banana, Cacao + Coconut Butter 318 19.4g 13g 24.1g 14g 4.1g
Cacao Quinoa Crunch 278 18g 14g 17g 10g 3g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

 

NORI + BLACK SESAME MACRO BOWLS: MAIN

Macro bowls are a simplified way of eating nutrient-dense, whole foods with the added benefit that you don’t need to follow an ‘exact’ recipe. You get to choose your favourite seasonal vegetables, your preferred carbohydrate and protein sources and you can select from lots of extra superfood add ons depending on what you fancy.  It’s a good idea to batch cook rice, other grains or sweet potatoes in advance and roast a whole chicken so you can use the leftovers for quick meals or packed lunches during the week.

HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT MACRO BOWL:

Foundation: each macro bowl is a combination of grains, vegetables, beans, meat or fish; and seaweeds or fermented foods such as sauerkraut or kimchi. There is no correct breakdown of macronutrients but here are some rough guidelines (men can double the wholegrain and protein portions).

Wholegrain: 1 heaped handful of cooked grains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet or cooked sweet potato.

Vegetables: 1-2 fistfuls of raw or very lightly steamed vegetables such as kale, spring onions, broccoli, carrots, beetroot, green beans.

Protein: A palm-sized portion of cooked free-range chicken breast or baked wild salmon; 150g raw, hard tofu or a cup of beans such as cooked edamame or black beans.

Fermented Foods or Sea Vegetables: 1-2 tablespoons. Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi support healthy digestion and gut health. Sea vegetables such as nori, wakame, pulse and kombu are a valuable source of bioavailable essential minerals such as iodine, magnesium and sulphur and support hormonal health.

Seeds, Nuts, Oils + Condiments: Black or white sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds can be toasted for extra flavour. Toasted sesame oil and coconut oil are great for Asian themed bowls. Try extra virgin olive oil infused with red chilli, herbs or garlic for a Mediterranean theme.  For condiments I like tamari (a gluten free, non-GMO soy sauce), pickled ginger, pickled beetroot, tahini, basil or tomato pesto. Include 1-2 tbsp of seeds plus 1/2 to 1 tbsp oils or other oil based condiments.

FOR MY NORI + BLACK SESAME MACRO BOWELS

YOU WILL NEED:

(serves 1 – double / triple ingredients for additional servings).

  • 100g raw long-grain brown rice (weighs about 200g cooked)
  • 1/2 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil or melted coconut oil*
  • 1 cooked, skinless chicken breast (125g) or, 2 soft-boiled eggs or, 1 cup cooked black beans or, 150g raw firm tofu
  • 1/2 large carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1/4 sheet of nori (seaweed) cut into matchsticks using a scissors
  • 1 scallion, finely sliced

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cook the rice according to packet instructions (generally 1 part rice to 1.75 parts water and simmer for 15 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile prepare your choice of protein: shred the cooked chicken breast / place the eggs into a saucepan of water and simmer for 3 minutes, cool, remove the shell and halve / Drain the black beans and heat gently in a saucepan for 5 minutes / slice the tofu into cubes and stir into the rice.
  3. In a bowl combine the rice, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tamari and coconut or sesame oil.
  4. To build the macro-bowl spoon the rice into the bowl. Add the chicken/egg/beans/tofu. Tuck the carrot matchsticks between the chicken and rice and sprinkle with spring onion, nori and extra sesame seeds. Serve.
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Servings Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Chicken Breast Macro Bowl 434 15.5g 38.3g 32.4g 1.9g 4.1g
Egg Macro Bowl 424 23.6g 18.4g 32.3g 1.7g 3.5g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

TOASTED SOURDOUGH WITH: ALMOND & AVOCADO, COCONUT & BLUBERRY OR PEANUT BUTTER & BANANA! – SNACK

Toast. Pretty much universally adored and missed most by low carb aficionados (though they would completely deny it!!). The fact is bread is perfectly fine as part of a balanced diet. But I have only one rule. Please get yourself a decent loaf of real bread! That is, bread that doesn’t have a ‘best before’ date or more than 3-4 main ingredients (unless you are buying gluten-free). My top recommendation is a good quality sourdough.

Sourdough is more digestible and nutritious than industrial loaves thanks to naturally occurring acids that ferment the dough to bread down phytates (which impair nutrient absorption) and gluten (which may cause intolerances, though not to be confused with celiac disease). This fermentation process makes nutrients more available for absorption, and renders simple sugars less available, which may help to control blood sugar, particularly for people with diabetes.

This is not so much a strict recipe as it is a source of ideas for making a slice of toast into a nutritious, energy sustaining, mid-afternoon or evening snack. My advice is to stay away from overly processed shop bought spreads and try to make your own, or purchase whole, nut or seed spreads with no added sugars or oils. Real Irish butter, goats butter, olive oil or even coconut oil are also perfectly fine options if you’re not a fan of nut and seed spreads.

Serves: one to multiple

You will need:

  • Bread: 1 slice per person (I used a small loaf of german-style rye sourdough bread).
  • Nut Butters* (1 tbsp per person): choose from Meridian Almond butter, Meridian Peanut Butter and Coconut Butter.
  • Fruits: choose banana and avocado (3-4 slices per person), or blueberries (2 tbsp per person).
  • Nuts, Seeds & Sprinkles (1/3 tbsp) per person: 85% cacao dark chocolate (grated), black sesame seeds, coconut flake, ground cinnamon.

Topping Combinations featured:

  • Savoury: Crunchy Almond butter, Avocado & Black Sesame Seeds
  • A bit posh: Coconut butter, Crushed Blueberries & dark chocolate
  • Old-school: Crunchy Peanut butter, banana, cinnamon & coconut shavings

Instructions:

  1. Simple! Lay out small bowls and jars of your favourite toppings. Toast the bread and get creative!

To make your own coconut butter: dump 250g unsweetened desiccated coconut into a high-speed food processor and pulse for 8-10 minutes until smooth and runny. Decant into an airtight jar and store at room temperature. Note: coconut butter tends to harden even in the warmest cupboards. To soften, submerge the jar in warm water for 10 minutes before use.

To make other nut butters: you only need ONE ingredient to make any nut butter! Nuts! If you roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes at 150C (350F) you will get a lovely creamy texture as roasting helps to release the natural oils in nuts.  My favourites are walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds. Macadamias are also great but quite pricey! Cool the nuts slightly before tossing into a food processor and blending for about 8-10 minutes until smooth and creamy.  Store in an airtight jar.

NUTRITION INFORMATION
Option Serving Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Almond Butter, Avocado + Black Sesame Seeds 1 slice 266 15.7g 8g 26.7g 2.6g 5.8g
Coconut Butter, Blueberry & dark chocolate shavings 1 slice 239 13g 3.5g 28g 6.2g 3g
Peanut butter, banana & coconut 1 slice 259 11.1g 8.1g 32.6g 9.3g 4.4g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

SUPER-GREENS SKILLET-EGGS: MAIN

If you’ve been following my recipes over the last six weeks you’ll have read before that I tend to recommend a low carbohydrate, higher protein and fat breakfast; in particular for clients with goals to lose weight or regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.

I understand this can be a challenge, and cooked breakfasts often seem to take longer than a bowl of cereal. However I guarantee this recipe should take no longer than 10 minutes tops, and you will benefit from more stable energy levels throughout the morning and less sweet cravings as the day progresses.  I also like to recommend introducing some vegetables at breakfast, either in smoothie form or with eggs and avocado (it just makes that ‘5 to 7-a-day’ target less daunting!).

Eggs are such a great source of protein and micronutrients such as vitamin B12 and choline.  Poached, scrambled, fried or baked are all great. This is a one-pan recipe, and you can easily add more eggs if feeding a family.

Hardy winter greens such as kale, chard, cabbage and cavolo nero are cheap and easy to find at this time of year as well as being packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Serve straight from the pan with some sliced avocado or a tablespoon of plain natural yogurt, chilli flakes and a squeeze of vibrant lemon juice for a morning metabolism boost!

Serves: 2

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil*
  • 100g brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach or chard, roughly chopped
  • 1 big handful of curly kale (purple or green), roughly chopped
  • 4 free range eggs
  • Pinch of chilli flakes
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • To serve (optional): Juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 avocado, peeled and halved or 2tbsp full-fat natural yogurt (unsweetened)

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet melt the coconut oil over a medium heat and add the mushrooms. Cook for 3 minutes and add the spinach/chard and the kale as well as a tablespoon of water.
  2. As the greens begin to wilt, make 4 little ‘gaps’ in the greens for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the pan, cover with a lid and cook until the whites are set and the yolks still runny.
  3. Sprinkle with chilli flakes, sea salt and pepper and serve with sliced avocado or a dollop of natural yogurt and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Serving Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
per serving 241 17.4g 17g 4.5g 2g 4.2g
per serving with avocado + lemon 360 28g 18.4g 11.3g 2.8g 9.2g
per serving with yogurt + lemon 280 19.3g 19.1g 8.3g 5.2g 4.2g

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

CREAMY SQUASH, MUSHROOM & CHARD BAKE – MAIN

This creamy vegetarian bake is proof that comfort food need not be bad for you.  I replaced dairy cream with almond cream (available from health stores) which makes this dish suitable for vegans or those following a plant-based, dairy-free lifestyle. I did include some parmesan cheese to serve, but you can leave it out or sprinkle with toasted chopped hazelnuts for some additional texture or some nutritional yeast for a “cheesy” flavour.

We can be so used to the ‘meat & two veg’ formula that we tend to consider vegetables on their own, as an insufficient main meal. But adding shiitake mushrooms (or brown / portobello / chestnut mushrooms) provides a meaty texture and the addition of almond cream makes this dish more satisfying than you might think.

Mushrooms like shiitake can be hard to find but they’re incredibly nutritious and have been used for centuries in eastern traditions for their medicinal qualities. Shiitake mushrooms have been scientifically proven to help fight obesity1, support immune function2, inhibit the growth of cancer cells3 and support cardiovascular health4. They also provide vitamin D (something we are severely lacking in the northern hemisphere at this time of year!) and have antimicrobial qualities that can help to fight infection.

The recipe serves two people as a main course but you can stretch it to four servings if you want to use it as a side dish served with either Puy lentils or some roast chicken.

(serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side dish)

Ingredients:

  • 1 small-medium squash (I used a coquina squash)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin raw coconut oil* or olive oil
  • 125g shiitake mushrooms (or chestnut / brown mushrooms)
  • 150g rainbow chard, stalks removed and chopped finely, leaves torn in half
  • 300ml almond cream (I used Ecomil Cuisine)
  • 1 organic low-salt stock cube (I used Kallo Organic Mushroom Stock Cube)
  • 3/4 pint boiling water
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • 2 sage leaves, chopped finely
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • Optional: 1-2 tbsp grated parmesan to serve

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C / Gas Mark 4 / 400F.
  2. Peel the squash, cut in half and then slice into half moon shapes, removing the seeds. Arrange the squash onto a roasting tray, add the garlic cloves (you don’t need to peel them) and drizzle with a teaspoon of oil. Season and transfer to the oven. Cook until tender (about 25 minutes).
  3. While the squash is in the oven heat the remaining oil in a cast iron skillet or pan over a medium heat. Brush any excess dirt from the mushrooms, and slice them into chunky pieces and lay them into the pan. Cook for about 5 minutes before turning and then add the rosemary, thyme and sage. Cook for another minute.
  4. Pour the boiling water and 200ml of the almond cream into the pan with the mushrooms, add the stock cube and stir. Bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat for about 10-15 minutes.
  5. When the squash is ready, remove the roasting tray from the oven and leave aside to cool slightly. Remove the garlic cloves and gently squeeze the softened garlic bulbs into the pan with the mushrooms and almond cream (be careful that the skin from the garlic does not fall into the pan). Discard the skins.
  6. Take a lasagne or pie dish and arrange the chard stalks and some of the leaves on the bottom. Arrange a third of the squash on top of the chard and then pour half the creamy mushroom sauce over the top. Repeat 2 more times and then pour the remaining 100ml of almond cream over the top.
  7. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 30 minutes until bubbling and slightly browned on top.
  8. If adding parmesan cheese, remove the dish from the oven, sprinkle over the grated parmesan and place back into the oven for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted slightly. Remove from the oven and spoon the bake onto serving plates. Enjoy!
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Servings Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
Per half serving as a main course 439 24.6g 7g 40g 11g 4g
Per 1/4 serving as a side dish 110 6.2g 1.8g 10g 2.8g 1g

 

  1. Handayani, D., Chen, J., Meyer, B.J. and Huang, X.F. (2011) ‘Dietary Shiitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes) prevents fat deposition and lowers Triglyceride in rats fed a high-fat diet, Journal of Obesity, 2011, pp. 1 doi: 10.1155/2011/258051.
  1. Dai, X., Stanilka, J.M., Rowe, C.A., Esteves, E.A., Nieves, C., Spaiser, S.J., Christman, M.C., Langkamp-Henken, B. and Percival, S.S. (2015) Consuming Lentinula edodes (Shiitake) mushrooms daily improves human immunity: A Randomized dietary intervention in healthy young adults, Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 34(6), pp. 478 doi: 10.1080/07315724.2014.950391.
  1. Fang, N., Li, Q., Yu, S., Zhang, J., He, L., Ronis, M.J.J. and Badger, T.M. (2006) Inhibition of growth and induction of Apoptosis in human cancer cell lines by an ethyl acetate fraction from Shiitake mushrooms, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 12(2), pp. 125–132. doi: 10.1089/acm.2006.12.125.
  1. KABIR, Y., YAMAGUCHI, M. and KIMURA, S. (1987) Effect of shiitake(Lentinus edodes) and maitake(Grifola frondosa) mushrooms on blood pressure and plasma lipids of spontaneously hypertensive rats, Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology, 33(5), pp. 341–346. doi: 10.3177/jnsv.33.341.

 

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

CHOCOLATE FRUIT & NUT SQUARES – SNACK

Combining nuts and dates to create tasty raw treats is nothing new, a very well known chocolate confectionery brand has been doing a fruit & nut bar since 1926 and we all remember the ad campaign slogan sung to the tune of The Nutcracker!  I understand that the point to snack foods is that they are convenient. That being said putting an hour’s effort into making your own treats means you have a ready supply in the fridge for weeks, but more importantly you are avoiding ingredients such as artificial flavourings, emulsifiers and inflammatory vegetable fats, as well excessive sugar and trans fats.

A standard shop-bought fruit & nut bar will serve up 270 calories and 30g of sugar, which is  listed as the second ingredient after milk. In comparison this recipe provides 182 calories per serving and only 8g of sugars. There is no added vegetable oils with the only fats coming from the natural fats found in whole nuts and seeds that are linked to improved cognitive function, lower body fat, better blood lipid profile and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Using whole, natural foods provides fibre and a range of nutrients including antioxidant vitamin E, biotin for healthy skin, hair and nails, magnesium, manganese and copper. Even chocolate has its benefits but you must choose the darker kind. The darker the chocolate, the less likely there is to be added ingredients such as soya lecithin and other emulsifiers. I like either Green & Blacks Organic 85% or Lindt as ingredients are simply cocoa, cocoa butter, sugar and vanilla.

Given the sheer variety of nuts, seeds and superfood powders available these days there are endless options to cater for everyone’s tastes. Chocolate and hazelnuts are an age-old match made in heaven but you can use equivalent quantities of other nuts and seeds depending on your preferences or whatever you have available. You can also leave out the chocolate (but why would you want to do that?!).

(makes 16 bars)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (140g) whole almonds
  • 1 cup (135g) whole hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup (40g) hulled hemp seeds (NUA NATURALS)*
  • 10 dates (sulphur-free, pitted)
  • 1/4 cup (3-4 tbsp) maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup (50g) jumbo oats
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour(NUA NATURALS)*
  • 100g 85% dark chocolate
  • Coconut oil for lining the baking tray (OPTIMA)*

Topping Options: toasted coconut flakes, cacao nibs, chopped hazelnuts

Instructions

  1. Line a bakingtray with parchment and spread with a little melted coconut oil.
  2. In a blenderpulse the almonds and hazelnuts until they look like a coarse sand.
  3. Add the hemp seeds, dates, maple syrup, salt, oats andcoconut flour. Blitz again until well combined. The mixture should ‘stick’ a little when pressed.
  4. Dump the mixture onto the lined baking tray and use your hands to press down until its about an inch thick. If the tray is larger than normal, fold the parchment in over the free edge of the mixture.
  5. Refrigerate for an hour to set.
  6. In the meantime break the chocolate into small pieces and place into aPyrex dish over a pan of hot water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl. Allow the chocolate to melt completely and then remove from the stove.
  7. Remove the nut mixture from the fridge and pourthe chocolate over the top, tilting the baking tray around until the chocolate is evenly spread.
  8. Sprinkle with your chosen topping and place back into the fridge to set.
  9. Once set use a sharp knife to cut into squares. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks or in the freezer for 8 weeks.
NUTRITION INFORMATION
Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugars Fibre
182 13g 5g 13.3g 8g 3g
An excellent source of vitamin E, biotin, manganese, copper, magnesium & antioxidants

PAMELA RYAN | NUTRITIONIST | CORPORATE NUTRITION + YOGA

Website: www.thehealthonist.com

Instagram: @the_healthonist

*Available in LloydsPharmacy Stores

We must fight back against sugar

dr-nina-sugar-image-2

Dr Nina Byrnes

Ireland is grappling with sugar addiction. If we don’t wean ourselves off it, we risk an uncontrollable Type 2 diabetes epidemic affecting hundreds of thousands of people. This will put immense financial and infrastructural pressure on our health service.

Beyond tooth decay, headaches, mood swings and upset stomachs, long-term, unmoderated sugar consumption can lead to serious conditions like obesity. Obesity, in turn, can lead to heart disease, liver disease, cancers of the digestive system and Type 2 diabetes. I see this on a regular basis in my practice.

Type 2 diabetes, which impairs the body’s ability to create the hormone insulin, is on the rise in Ireland. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition caused by genetic and environmental factors, Type 2 diabetes is caused, in the main, by an unhealthy diet with poor food and drink choices, and sedentary lifestyles.

In 2015, the International Diabetes Federation released some startling statistics. That year, 171,800 Irish adults, or more than 5.5 percent of the population, were found to have the disease, and more than 1,200 died from it or diabetes-related diseases. The findings also estimated that almost 65,000 people were living with undiagnosed diabetes.

The prognosis for 2017 and beyond does not look much better. Irish men already have the highest BMI in Europe and Irish women the third. According to the World Health Organisation, we are on course to become Europe’s most obese country by 2030. Obesity, as we know, is the perfect kindling for Type 2 diabetes.

I am delighted to be supporting LloydsPharmacy’s diabetes awareness campaign as it is vital that people are educated on the adverse effects of sugar, the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and diet, and the importance of screening for diabetes.

As part of the initiative, LloydsPharmacy conducted a survey on attitudes to diabetes and sugar consumption among 1000 Irish people over the age of 16. The survey revealed some shocking trends.

80 percent of Irish adults do not know their daily recommended sugar intake, and almost half never check the sugar content of their food. 37 percent eat sugary confectionery on a daily basis, and 18 percent admit to drinking soft drinks—which are laden with sugar—every day.

Children and young adults are at high risk of developing obesity and developing lifestyle diseases like Type 2 diabetes. Primary and secondary school pupils need continuous education in healthy eating and exercise, but particularly the latter who have far more personal control over their own nutrition. It must be made crystal clear to them that crisps and cans of Coca-Cola cannot be consumed on a daily basis without detrimental health effects. Government-supported initiatives are essential in this area.

Thankfully, when Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, it can be treated with a mixture of diet, exercise and medication. Most diabetic patients lead perfectly healthy lives. Prevention is, of course, preferable, and in high-risk individuals, diabetes can be staved off with lifestyle changes, like frequent exercise, dietary modification and weight loss. In addition, the HSE also recommends limiting alcohol consumption and not smoking.

Colleagues at 84 LloydsPharmacy stores nationwide have received extensive training from Diabetes Ireland to help support those at risk and living with diabetes.

For more information or if you are concerned about developing diabetes, call into your local LloydsPharmacy store.

 

LloydsPharamcy diabetes information events

To help customers understand, prevent and manage diabetes, LloydsPharmacy will be hosting four information events in pharmacies nationwide in partnership with Diabetes Ireland and bestselling author Jules Coll. Diabetes Ireland will also provide free diabetes screening before each event. The events are free to attend, and all are welcome.

 

LloydsPharmacy, Blackrock, Co Dublin – 7 February at 6 pm

Free diabetes screening 2pm-6pm

LloydsPharmacy, Ballincollig, Co Cork – 28 February at 6:30 pm

Free diabetes screening 2pm-6pm

LloydsPharmacy, Northside Shopping Centre, Dublin 17 – 7 March at 6 pm

Free diabetes screening 2pm-6pm

LloydsPharmacy, Castletroy, Co Limerick – 21 March at 7:30 pm

Free diabetes screening 3pm-7pm