Refreshing Watermelon Salad, with Feta Cheese and Olives
I first went searching for a similar recipes when one of our runners brought watermelon, feta and black olive canapes along to a post running session Christmas celebration. This recipe comes from Nigella Lawson.
It’s super simple, and everyone loves it. Having said that, I do have a few exceptions in my family -my mother is not a watermelon fan, my husband can take it or leave it, and my sons think olives are “disgusting”, but other than that, everyone loves it!!
The Easy Version
Serve chunks of watermelon with black olives on a plate, sprinkled with feta and mint, with a splash of lime juice.
The Full Version
1 small red onion
1.5 kilograms watermelon (sweet and ripe)
250 grams feta cheese
1 bunch fresh flatleaf parsley
1 bunch fresh mint (chopped)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
100 grams pitted black olives
Cut the red onion into very fine slivers, put in a bowl with the lime juice. The juice of a couple of limes should do.
Cut the watermelon into triangular chunks, about 4cm each side. Cut the feta into 4cm triangles. Put them both into a wide, shallow bowl.
Add chopped mint and torn parsley.
Tip the onions and the juice over the salad bowl, add oil and olives.
Toss using your hands gently so that the feta and watermelon keep their shape.
Add cracked pepper, and more lime juice if you like.
We’ve all been there. Running along happily, breathing through your mouth, or perhaps having a chat with a fellow runner, and wham! A disgusting flying creature decides to take a closer look at your mouth.
Think about the poor fly!
We got to talking about flies last night after a particularly warm, fly infested session, and what actually happened to the fly after it entered your body. How long would it survive? Where does it actually go. I’ve always assumed we swallowed them, but someone suggested we are inhaling them, which sounds reasonable. Sometimes it seems as if your mouth is a vacuum when you’re running and breathing hard. Watch out any suckers that get in it’s way! Must be pretty scary being sucked into a dark smelly tunnel with no chance of escape.
Inhaling or Swallowing?
I’d always assumed that when a fly went into my mouth, my epiglottis would close over my larynx (which leads to the lungs), and I’d just swallow it. It would then fly around a little bit on the way down to a painful death at the hands of the hydrochloric acid in my stomach. Serves it right, I reckon. It’s disgusting swallowing a fly!
But thinking about it a little bit more, it’s quite possible the fly is inhaled. They dart into your mouth when you are least expecting it. That means your brain doesn’t know that it should be getting the mechanisms in your mouth ready to swallow. The epiglottis will be open, allowing you to breath whilst you’re running. Closing the epiglottis and performing the action of swallowing, requires the activity of about 30 different muscles. Even though they activate in less than a second, unless your brain knows to signal to these muscles to swallow, anything that’s sucked into your mouth unexpectedly is likely to head down your larynx, at least for a short while.
Will An Inhaled Fly Go Into Your Lungs?
It’s not very likely that the fly will get very far. The far more likely scenario is that you’ll cough like crazy (in fact you might feel like you’re coughing your lungs right up). The offending fly will then be coughed into your mouth along with a bit of mucus which has entombed the fly in order to stop it from proceeding down the larynx, and then you’ll swallow it. Much the same as would happen if you had a piece of food “go down the wrong way”. Your body’s cough reflex will help you to get it out of your airways so that you can breathe freely again.
If you’re sure that the fly’s gone down your windpipe, and you don’t see it come out again when you cough, it’s much more likely that it has come out into your mouth and you’ve swallowed it. It’s not like you’re going to cough it up, open up your mouth, and see it fly away free again (only to bug the next unsuspecting runner who comes along).
How Long Will A Fly Live For Inside You?
I have no idea on this one, but I have seen someone perform a circus act where they swallowed a live gold fish, vomited it back up and it was still alive. Absolutely gross, and probably too much information, but I think it means the fly would probably live for at least a little while inside you before it died. Eventually it will go the way of all good waste products, out to Bondi, which for those of you not in the know, is where a large percentage of the sewerage generated by those living in our fine city of Sydney is treated before being dumped into the ocean.
I was absent-mindedly watching someone buying a couple of bottles of Powerade at the Little Athletic’s canteen on the weekend, and watched her hand over $10 for the two drinks – with not much change coming back to her. It seemed a lot to pay for two bottles of lolly water.
Back in the day, when you were thirsty, you found a bubbler or a tap, and drank from it, but today apparently, our kids do so much more sustained and vigorous exercise, that they need to replenish their fluids, electrolytes and glycogen to prep them for their next big sustained exercise bout!
Your kids do need a sports drink…if they “train hard and push their body to the limits” (1) and if they participate in “sustained, strenuous exercise” (2). And in my experience, very few children fall into that category (and I live in a whole street full of very active kids!)
What’s in a sports drink
Generally speaking, sports drinks contain electrolytes and carbohydrates, though there are some which contain electrolytes and practically no carbohydrates and subsequently almost no calories. Powerade Zero is one such drink. Some contain just two electrolytes – sodium and potassium (eg Gatorade G Series Thirst Quencher), and some contain calcium and magnesium and as well as sodium and potassium (eg Powerade Ion 4).
What are Electrolytes
They are positively or negatively charged ions that conduct electrical activity. We humans need electrolytes present in the right concentrations to maintain fluid balance in the body, for muscle contraction and relaxation, and nerve activity. The kidneys play a big role in maintaining electrolyte balance, by conserving or excreting electrolytes.
Water is drawn to areas in the body where electrolytes (particularly sodium and chloride) are most concentrated, so they play a large role in maintaining the equilibrium of water throughout the body.
The electrolytes sodium and chloride can be lost in high concentrations in sweat, whilst potassium, magnesium and calcium are lost in smaller amounts.
So, does your kid need sports drink?
It’s generally agreed amongst researchers that sports drinks can aid in hydration and the replenishment of carbohydrate and salts lost through bouts of moderate to high level exercise lasting over 60 minutes, where the participant has lost a large amount of sweat and electrolytes.
Just how much sweat someone loses, and how much of each electrolyte is excreted with the sweat, is a very individual thing. This varies not only across individuals, but can vary for the individual from exercise bout to exercise bout. Many factors come into play, including the weather, the intensity and duration of activity, and the level of hydration before exercising. So in the real world, fluid and electrolyte replacement is not an exact science (in spite of what the sports drinks manufacturers may have you believe).
Children (and adults) rarely need sports drinks. Unless you’ve been exercising continuously for at least 60 mins, there’s really no need for you to have a sports drink to replace glucose or salts. Often adults are fine for up to 90 minutes of sustained moderate to vigorous exercise without needing to replace glycogen or electrolytes. With children, you could start looking at a sports drink at the hour mark. But, let’s face it, most kids don’t exercise vigorously for an hour or so non-stop, and they tend not to sweat in the same way adults do. It’s common to see kids a bit sweaty, but not at all common to see them come off the playing field dripping with sweat.
For kids, usually a piece of fruit and a swig of water will do just as nicely to quench their thirst and replenish lost sugars. If they’ve been running round a lot, and they’ve been particularly sweaty, you can throw in a handful of salted cashews to help retain the water, replenish electrolytes, and utilise the carbohydrate from the fruit more quickly.
For the most part, your kids don’t need to replenish electrolytes in a hurry by guzzling sports drinks. What electrolytes they’ve lost whilst playing sport will be replaced over a day of healthy eating.
Are there any situations when sports drinks are good for kids?
Sure. If your child is attending a sports tournament, when they are playing many games of a vigorous sport such as any of the football codes, hockey, netball, basketball, then electrolyte replacement drinks could be a good option for rehydration and energy replenishment, particularly if they do not get enough rest in between games to take on more substantial nutrition.
If your child sweats A LOT, and their sweat is particularly salty – as evidenced by salt marks on their clothing for example, you may need to consider a sports drink for them, on those occasions when they do need to rehydrate quickly, but for the most part, kids should understand that sports drinks are a treat, just like lemonade is.
For the record, a 600ml bottle of Gatorade holds 140 calories, about 7% of the daily energy needs of a 9-13 year old boy!
Problems with your teeth and gums can affect your overall health. Your mouth is a veritable cess-pool of bacteria – most of them harmless – which the body’s natural defences and good oral health care (like brushing and flossing) can keep under control. Without proper care however, the bacteria can reach level that might lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Poor oral health has been linked to a number of conditions including
Endocarditis. – an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). It usually occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
Cardiovascular disease. There is some research to suggest that heart disease, stroke, anda clogged arteries may be linked to inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria.
Low Birth Weight. Poor oral health has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease is more frequent and more severe in diabetics. People with gum disease find it more difficult to control their blood sugar levels.
Alzheimer’s disease. Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
Other conditions. Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include Sjogren’s syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth — and eating disorders.
So take the time to brush regularly and well, and floss every day for a mouth full of nice healthy choppers, and the rest of your body will thank you!!!
Sharing a conversation over a family meal is a great way to get to know what your kids are up to. We sometimes lose sight of this these days, and many families rarely sit down to eat together. Or, if you’re like me, much of the time at the table is spent correcting manners (If only I had a dollar for everytime I’ve said “don’t speak with your mouth full” or “use your knife and fork!”).
One of our favourite family meals is rice paper rolls. They’re a great way to get all the family involved in preparation, and they can be put together at the table and eaten immediately. Manners go out the window for the night, (which is good thing), and conversation flows.
If you’ve not made rice paper rolls before, don’t be intimidated. They are very easy to make-my kids have no problems soaking the rice paper and then assembling their own rolls. Have a couple of shallow dishes such as a quiche flan at the table to soak the rice paper in – just make sure everyone washes their hands before you get started!!
Rice paper rolls are a great healthy meal the whole family can enjoy, and work well as part of your family meal plan, if you’re trying to lose a few kgs.
Spicy Rice Paper Rolls
Serves : 4
Total Preparation Time : Up to 15 minutes.
2 tsp peanut oil
4 spring onions (approx 15g each)
4 piecechilli, red, fresh (approx 2g ea)
2 medium cucumber, lebanese, fresh, skin on (approx 100g ea)
4 tbsp mint, fresh, chopped
4 tsp ginger, raw, grated 4 tspfish sauce
400 gprawns, raw, shelled
8 pieces rice paper sheet (approx 10cm sq.)
2 tbsp lime juice
2 kaffir lime leaves
Shred the chilli, lime leaf, spring onion, mint and cucumber.-
Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat.
Add the ginger and the chilli and cook until crisp.
Add the kaffir lime leaf and prawns and cook for 3 minutes or until prawns are cooked through. Set aside to cool.
Once cooled, combine with spring onion, cucumber, mint, lime juice and fish sauce.- Place a rice paper roll in a bowl of warm water for 30 seconds or until soft and pliable. Remove and pat dry.
Place a little of the chilli mixture down the center of the rice paper wrapper.
Fold over one end of the rice wrapper to make a base. Roll over the other sides of the wrapper to enclose the filling.
Serve the rice paper rolls with soy sauce or sweet chilli sauce in bowls for dipping.
Total Preparation Time : Up to 15 minutes.
Fat: 3.0 gms
Protein: 23.4 gms
Carbohydrates: 23.8 gms
Fibre: 1.8 gms
Very Quick and Easy Option
You can put pretty much anything inside the rolls. I often use a Sang Choi Bow mix you can buy in the supermarket – I think I usually get it from Woolies – a small packet of spices is packaged with pork mince, and you just need to add water, spices and pork and cook. I always add very finely chopped carrots and broccoli into the mix, along with some oyster sauce. Then chop extra carrot carrot and cucumber strips to add to the rolls. Make sure you let the mince cool before assembling, and you may need to drain some of the liquid off before serving.
If you like this recipe, you can download 7 more healthy dinner recipes for the whole family here
I was asked the other day what would be the one key piece of advice I’d give to someone if they wanted to “improve their fitness”. Wow. What a question. There’s so much that it can cover.
I immediately thought of “get enough sleep”, but then that’s not a particularly easy piece of advice to follow for some people.
“Exercise more” is another obvious one that comes to mind, but again, that could mean many things to many people.
I came up with a few more sage pieces of advice which I’ll probably share with you another day, but none of them hit the spot. Some of it was too running specific, some of it wasn’t necessarily easy to implement, some of it didn’t take into account everybody’s life circumstances. The one piece of advice I arrived at, the one thing that everyone can do, the one thing that could help anyone take the first step towards looking and feeling younger, was something that is sitting right under our noses, and costs next to nothing.
And that something is…………WATER folks. Simple, cost effective and something that many of us need reminding of from time to time!
So, what’s so great about water?
If you’re well hydrated, your skin will look fresh and clear – because it will help to flush toxins out of the body, and it will increase blood flow to the skin
Water can aid in weight loss, by ensuring maximum uptake of nutrients from your food. Often, your body’s cry for food is a cry for micronutrients -(vitamins and minerals) not the bulky macronutrients -fat, protein and carbs. In short, water can make you want to eat less
It helps to eliminate waste from your body in a number of ways, including through the bowel, often eliminating feelings of bloatedness
Drinking enough water helps with muscle function and improves sporting performance
Water aids in disease prevention (it has been shown to decrease the risk of colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50%)
It just makes you fell better
It’s pretty cheap and readily available
And did I say it aids in weight loss?
Water is a natural appetite suppressant. Next time you reach for a snack, think again, and go for water instead. You’ll be surprised how far a glass of water can go towards satisfying your hunger.
Enough water ensures your body can metabolise fat effectively. Water ensures your kidneys are functioning effectively, which in turns ensures your liver is able to remove toxins and waster from your blood. With your liver switched to maximum efficiency, it can better metabolise fat.
Water is a great substitute for high energy drinks such as shakes, smoothies, soft drinks, sports drinks. Swap these for a cool glass of water with a slice of lemon, and you’ll be saving calories big time.
What about fitness?
An inadequate amount of water will impair muscle function, leading to a less functional you
Too little water will cause your body to slow down, and you’ll lack energy
Dehydration leads to a reduction in blood volume, impairing performance
You won’t be able to regulate your body temperature efficiently if you are dehydrated
As your brain is over 70% water, you can expect to experience headaches if you aren’t well hydrated
If you are chronically dehydrated, leading to the impaired performance outlined above, you can’t train at your optimum level, which means you can’t realise your true fitness potential.
A few tips on staying hydrated
Water Tip #1. Drink the stuff. Even though fish do naughty things in it, you have to drink it to feel the benefits! Tea and coffee count. The caffeine in tea and coffee do act as a very mild diuretic, but the balance is overwhelmingly tipped towards hydration rather than dehydration after a cup of coffee. For caffeine to dehydrate you, you have to consume a lot of it, in a short space of time
Water Tip #2. Add a slice of lemon and/or some mint to your water to make it more interesting. The lemon will also help to stimulate hydrochloric acid
Water Tip#3. Carry water with you throughout the day. Better still, set an alarm to go off every hour. Get up and walk to the water cooler. Pour yourself some water, and drink it! Delicious
Water Tip #4. Limit the amount of water you drink at meal time. Whilst some people will recommend that you fill up on a big glass of water before a meal to help you to eat less, the water will only serve to dilute the hydrochloric acid necessary for the break-down of food.
Water Tip #5. Get into the habit of having a big glass of water when you wake up, or have some hot water with lemon juice for an extra digestive boost
Bonus Tip: For expert advice on health and fitness, train with us. Leave your details here, and we’ll give you a call.