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Winning the battle of the blood sugar

Published Mar 21, 2006

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There is a new buzzword on the dietary scene - glycaemic index (GI). It is a rating of foods according to their effect on blood glucose levels.

So now it's not the amount of carbohydrates you consume but rather it's their rate of digestion and absorption that determines the physiological response of the body.

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GI is a rating scale whereby foods are ranked from 0 to 100 according to the actual effect on blood sugar levels.

At this point, if you are completely confused, a new guide by nutrition guru Patrick Holford - The Holford Low-GL (glycaemic load) Diet Cookbook - has relevance.

We liked it because it's a bright and cheerful guide packed with easy to understand information and low-glycaemic load recipes for weight loss, health and energy.

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There's also an extensive guide on how to cook the GL way and it's packed with really interesting recipes developed by nutritionist Fiona McDonald Joyce.

Here are some examples:

Pork medallions with watercress salsa verde

Serves 2

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2 lean trimmed pork medallions

1 clove garlic, crushed

4 anchovy fillets

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15ml capers, rinsed

30ml fresh flat leaf parsley leaves

15ml fresh basil leaves

good handful of watercress, roughly chopped

freshly ground black pepper

30ml extra virgin olive oil

15ml lemon juice

Preheat grill and grill medallions for 15 minutes, turning halfway.

Make the salsa verde. Place the salsa ingredients in a mini food processor and blitz until sauce is well combined (or do this by hand, chopping everything finely and mixing it together with oil and lemon juice.) Serve a dollop of the salsa on top of each medallion.

Granola

Serves 2

15ml coconut or olive oil

15ml xylitol (sugar-free alternative available at health stores)

50g whole oat flakes

15ml flaked almonds

15ml macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

15ml pumpkin seeds

5ml ground almonds

Gently melt the oil in a frying pan with the xylitol, add the oat flakes and stir for three minutes or until they start to go golden and crisp up slightly. Add flaked almonds and macadamia nuts and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the pumpkin seeds and ground almonds.

Spiced turkey burgers

Serves 2

250g turkey mince

1 egg yolk, beaten

4 spring onions, finely chopped

1 red chilli, deseeded and with the white pith removed

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

2.5ml ground cumin

2.5ml ground coriander

freshly ground black pepper

Mix the turkey mince with the rest of the ingredients and leave to sit in the fridge to marinate for at least an hour. Shape into burgers and grill under medium heat for 10 minutes, then turn and grill for a further 7 minutes.

Oriental dressing

We loved the dressing to jazz up vegetables or added to stir fries - instead of using extra fat.

10ml sesame oil

30ml tamari (wheat-free soy sauce) or soy sauce

10ml fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic crushed

10ml mirin (Japanese cooking wine)

60ml cold water

Mix all ingredients together.

Pesto crusted salmon

Serves 2

8ml olive oil

2 fresh salmon fillets

2 portions pesto

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a baking tray with olive oil and place salmon fillets on it, spreading pesto on top of them. Bake for 18 minutes or until the flesh flakes easily when pressed.

Weigh-loss menu

DAY 1

Breakfast

Low-carb muesli with berries and milk or yoghurt

Lunch

Leek and potato soup

Dinner

Pesto crusted salmon with 3 boiled baby new potatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes on the vine and rocket

Snacks

Apple with 5 almonds

Peanut butter and sunflower seed muffin

Drinks

Unlimited water, herbal teas and coffee alternatives, plus 1 glass of diluted juice

DAY 2

Breakfast

Plum yoghurt crunch and 1 thin slice toasted rye bread or 1 medium slice wholemeal toast with peanut butter or pumpkin seed butter

Lunch

Avocado gazpacho with sesame cornbread

Dinner

Pork medallions with watercress salsa verde and3 boiled baby new potatoes

Snacks

Punnet of berries

Thai mushroom broth

Drinks

Unlimited water, herbal teas and coffee alternatives, plus 1 glass of diluted juice

DAY 3

Breakfast

Scrambled eggs and mushrooms with 1 1/2 thin slices toasted pumpernickel style rye bread or 1 medium slice wholemeal toast

Lunch

Salad niçoise followed by hazelnut yoghurt

Dinner

Spiced turkey burgers with sweet potato wedges and red pepper and cucumber salsa

Snacks

Pear and pumpkin seeds

Carrot and walnut cake

Drinks

Unlimited water, herbal teas and coffee alternatives, plus 1 glass of diluted juice

DAY 4

Breakfast

Granola with apple compote and milk or yoghurt

Lunch

Chicken satay wrap

Dinner

Roasted pepper and artichoke tortilla with rocket and watercress

Snacks

2 rough oat cakes with pumpkin seed butter or peanut butter

Pear and blueberry smoothie

Drinks

Unlimited water, herbal teas and coffee alternatives, plus 1 glass of diluted juice

DAY 5

Breakfast

2 boiled eggs and 1 1/2 thin slices toasted

pumpernickel style rye bread or 1 medium slice wholemeal toast

Lunch

Stuffed pepper and green salad

Dinner

Mediterranean tomato risotto with tuna and baked fennel

Snacks

Sesame and poppy seed muffin

Tahini yoghurt

Drinks

Unlimited water, herbal teas and coffee alternatives, plus 1 glass of diluted juice

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