If you’ve visited your local supermarket during the last couple of weeks, you won’t have failed to notice the ever-increasing quantities of Christmas biscuits, chocolates and mince pies along with all the other usual edible festive things.
These scrummy bits and pieces were always an integral part of Christmas for me and it got me into trouble! Every year was completely over the top and lasted far too long, until Christmas 2009/2010 when I decided to put a stop to it.
I entered Tom Venuto’s first ever Holiday Challenge – a 49-day transformation contest running right through Christmas and New Year – and instead of ending up fatter after Father Christmas and Auld Lang Syne had been to visit, I won the title of ‘Most Ripped’ and felt awesome.
A lot of people labour under the misapprehension that nothing sweet and/or chocolatey passes my lips any more; that I’ll never again eat the odd Pringle (or 10, let’s be realistic here) and eat nothing but raw vegetables with chicken or salmon every day. Guess what? It’s not true!
Although, having just said that, I’m going to tell you that my favourite six-pack snacks of the moment are raw sugarsnap peas and they’re really hitting the spot.
They’re sweet, they’re crunchy; a real little superfood and I LOVE THEM. Here’s why…
- Low in calories – approximately 34 calories per 100 grams; hurrah!
- High in fibre – which, as we all know, helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels, obesity and constipation
- High in Vitamin C – in fact just 100 grams of sugarsnap peas provides 100% of the recommended daily amount of vit’ C
- High in Vitamin K – vit’ K is essential for blood clotting and helps to build strong bones
- High in Vitamin A – aka retinol and is required for a whole host of things: strengthening the immune system, good skin, healthy mucous membranes and helps you to see in low light levels
- Great source of folic acid – if you’re a pregnant mummy-to-be, then sugarsnap peas should definitely be in your diet
- Contain antioxidants in the form of various carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin – all good for the eyes again; lutein and zexanthin are particularly good for helping to prevent macular degenration
- Contain Vitamin B5 - aka pantothenic acid which is great for helping to get rid of acne
- Contain Vitamin B1 - aka thiamin; essential for nervous system, heart and muscle function. It also helps the body convert carbs, fat and protein into energy
- Contan Vitamin B3 – aka niacin. Vit’ B3 is needed for healthy skin, hair, eyes, and liver and it helps to improve circulation
- Contan Vitamin B6 – aka pyridoxine. You need pyridoxine for normal brain development and function and it helps the body make serotonin and norepinephrine – good mood hormones – along with melatonin, which helps keep your body clock in check. Not only that, the body needs vitamin B6 to be able to absorb vitamin B12
- Contain high levels of calcium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium and manganese – I don’t really need to explain why these are good for you, do I? Okay, quickly then:
- calcium = bones
- iron = blood
- copper = blood, bones and nervous system
- zinc = immune system, cell generation, sense of taste and smell
- selenium = cell damage prevention and
- maganese = formation of connective tissue, bones, blood clotting factors and sex hormones, along with calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation
And you thought they were just little green pea pods!
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the A-M-AZING six-pack snack bars I made today, for those times when some serious sweetness is required; seriously, you won’t want to miss out on this one