27 February 2017

Raspberry & Prosecco Flavour Viennese Creams (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

These are not macho Viennese Whirls, but they feel very middle class biscuits. I find it difficult to think of another hight street store that would carry Raspberry and Prosecco Flavour Viennese Whirls, but for some reason they fit right in at Marks and Spencer.
The biscuits are very pretty, they are a lovely shade of pink, and are neatly shaped with a white filling. The biscuit section is raspberry flavoured and the filling is where the Prosecco flavour fits in.
The Viennese Whirl biscuits have a good texture, they are fairly soft, but still crumbly and they sort of melt in the mouth. The raspberry flavour is most dominant, and the flavour of the Prosecco, is mild. I actually tried some of the cream filling on its own to try and single it out, and it was still delicate, with an almost floral undertone.
The flavour combination worked very well, and although it started off by sounding like a bit of a novelty, I was totally taken in by them. They are fun, but they are designed to impress. Anyone you offer one to will be sure to ask where they are from, as I think they will be wanting their own box. The flavour combination is a complete win, even if you think pink biscuits might not be your thing.

26 February 2017

The First Rule Of Diet Club Is They Probably Don't Work #superslimmers (@NLi10)

Recently in the UK a program called Super Slimmers: Did they really keep it off? aired on Chanel 4. (it's available on their site for another 2 weeks to watch for free).

This followed a side of diet clubs (Weight Watchers, Slimming World amongst others) that I'd never really considered - what happens if you go back to the people that had those great losses three years later and see what happened after that.  Naturally I'd suspected that some people kept it off, and some people put it back on but what the small sample in the program showed was that only one of the people from diet clubs managed to keep the weight off.  That person was also a bit of an extreme case - Dan Wheeler now works as a fitness instructor and excersises for two hours a day - but also eats no processed food and his only vice appears to be massive bags of Haribo.

All of the other participants had reasons for falling off the wagon (so to speak) but they were varied.

"Took my eyes off the ball foodwise" "I just haven't got organised on the food aspect" 

It almost seems like to be a record slimmer that the goal was the most important thing, and not the health behind it.  This is very contradictory to what I found through investigating the Eat To Live series - there the weight loss is almost a side-effect of the food and nutrition and not really the goal.

Interestingly the three scientists involved kind of expected this - they have published papers showing that they expect people using diet clubs to regain to within 2lb of their original weight within 3 years, and only 5-10% of the participants keep it off.  This seemed staggeringly low to me - as the NHS actually pay for people to go to these clubs as an obesity solution, and it's the most socially acceptable way for people to 'get healthy' along with exercise regimes.

The scientists talked about blaming that old spectre of metabolism and that if you loose it too fast then your body will panic and store everything you eat (which has recently been proven to be very shaky reasoning).  This has caused a new wave of supplements (such as those by EvolvHealth) in America which try to change the way that your hormones react to weight loss and to push that in the right direction.  In the UK when you try to watch the show online you get adverts for over the counter 'fat-binding' pills from XLSMedical which claim to have similar effects.  There is even one you take when you get hunger cravings like nicotine replacement therapy.  I have to be skeptical though - is more medication dependancy really the answer?  What happens when you live on these pills then stop taking them?

The scientists asked really didn't think these were the answers either.  While the soundbites they used at the start made them sound a little non-expert towards the end they were allowed to express some valid and well backed up opinions, and all of them essentially said that eating more healthfully would cause a reversal of the obesity symptoms.

The one part that really brought the whole thing home was a 30st guy who has been going to Weight Watchers for 15 years (?!) and now has developed Type 2 diabetes. I tend to presume that the people with these issues are like smokers and don't really know what they are doing and aren't bothered by it, but this guy could recite exactly what diabetes was doing to his body and knew that it'd mean that he'd not only shorten his life, but that he'd be less active and spend less time with his children too. It makes me sad when we see people that are completely aware that they are destroying themselves and their family but struggling to do anything about it - even with expert advice.

So is it just that we really don't understand how our unique micro-biomes in our respective guts work and that you can't just lose weight by reducing calories and expect it to stay off without keeping them low or exercising so much that you burn it all?  Will 'Our Broken Plate' help to fix this and inadvertently did 'Eat To Live' discover a diet that causes us to terraform our gut to encourage fat burning microbes and discourage fat storage microbes?

All we know for sure is that eating whole foods, and eliminating additional SOS (salt oil and sugar) seems to cause people to shed weight.  And three years after those changes will we revisit to find people large and unhappy again? Who knows.

The scientists featured in the programs were:
Prof Traci Mann 
The health and eating lab
University of Minnesota

Dr Thomas barber
Human metabolism research unit
University hospital Coventry 

Dr Kevin Hall
Senior Investigator 
National Institute of health

Their current research can be found on PubMed via search engines and goes into much more depth about the mechanisms behind the themes featured on the show, and what medical professionals are doing to help stop the obesity epidemic.

25 February 2017

Alederflower Organic Pale Ale (Gloucester M5 Service Station) By @SpectreUK

Stroud Brewery in the Cotswolds produced this Alederflower Organic Pale Ale. It was made with organic barley malt, organic wheat malt, organic Cascade hops and Nelson Sauvin hops, and infused with organic elderflowers during the brewing. Flowery pale ale doesn't always enthuse me, but I'm sure I've tried elderflower beer in past and enjoyed it. On opening the 330ml can there was a very subtle flowery smell to this pale ale, which was overshadowed by the pale malt and the light refreshing hops. This instantly felt like a spring or summer type of drink, rather than a damp windy winter, which we seem to be suffering presently. The label on this 4.9% volume beer mentioned that this was unfiltered, so it was unsurprising that it gave off a murky golden glow upon pouring. On taste there was an initial bitter blast from the mixture of hops, quickly followed by a flowery flavour from the elderflower infusion. The sweetness from the pale malt and likely crystal malt comes soon after whisking the tastebuds off into the aftertaste. Despite it's claim on the label of subtle undertones of elderflower, and its even subtler aroma, this is quite a strong bitter beer, with a kick and a punch of hops to start with, then a little taste of the flowers of summer followed by sweetness from the barley malt. I'd certainly have this again and you should not be put off by the elderflower infusion at all.

24 February 2017

Pejoy Cheese Cake Flavour Biscuit Sticks By @Cinabar

We spotted these Pejoy biscuit sticks in York, from an independent import shop. They didn’t have many Pejoy products, just this and a chocolate version, but as I hadn’t seen the Cheese Cake edition before I had to pick them up.
Unlike Pocky the style of these is that the filling is on the inside of a biscuit tube. Pocky (or Mikado for its UK name) are biscuit sticks which are dipped in a flavoured coating. They always leave one end clear, so that you can pick them up without getting your fingers messy.
I gave one of these Pejoy Cheese Cake sticks a try and found them to be very pleasant, but not quite as exciting as I thought they may have been. The biscuit was firm and crunchy and the filling was creamy, with a good sweet vanilla taste. The filling was soft, but as there was so much biscuit around them the ratio meant the texture felt pretty monotone.
The conclusion is that these are very mildly flavoured biscuits. That makes them easy to snack on, and nice to introduce to people who are new to Pejoy. They just didn’t have the fun of finding a crazy import snack with an interesting flavour. Perhaps I’m being over picky, but these just felt more vanilla and plain that cheese cake.

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