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Scrolling Instagram in search of the most visually appetising food has become one of our passions in life. 

And behind one of our favourite foodie Instagram accounts is Amanda Holtz, aka Yummy Dublin.

Looking at her feed, you would wonder how Amanda manages to sport such a healthy figure with what she puts in her mouth…  

"When people look at my page, they assume I must be a 300-pound woman!" she laughs. "In actuality, I am a fairly good example of how to add balance to your diet. I eat quite healthy during the week, and allow myself 2 – 3 spread out cheat meals, which end up on YummyDublin."

"Life is about balance and food tastes so much better when it’s a splurge!"

 

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What is your typical breakfast?

6 out of 7 of my breakfasts consist of egg white omelettes with tonnes of veggies. I am a big fan of goats cheese and sun dried tomatoes so they almost always make an appearance as well.

On Sundays, I love a good brunch. I usually always go for a Benedict covered in Hollandaise sauce but if there’s something that seems particularly different or wild on the menu, I’ll go for that. And always with a side of extra crispy bacon!
 
What about lunch?

My lunches are usually huge salads with lots of veg and protein. My splurge lunch is (no surprise) a big fat juicy burger and American style buffalo wings. If calories didn’t exist, I’d live at Just Wing It in Tallaght and just eat both every day!

 

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What do you usually have for dinner?

Dinners are my usual eating out meals. As I’m sure you can see from my page, I like to switch it up and try different things. Italian, sushi and tapas are my absolute favourites, but I do enjoy a good steak every once and a while too.
 
Is your diet different at the weekend?

Well, I see my boyfriend on weekends as we live a distance away from each other. As a rugby player, he is able to eat just about anything he wants. So, when we’re together I’m often eating whatever he is.

Mondays are usually my cleanse day because of it! We love a good dessert, so the weekend is when I’m eating all those ice creams and donuts on Yummy Dublin.
 
Do you snack during the day?

I usually snack on fruits and a boatload of cheese (any kind, I don’t discriminate). I also love Proper Corn – especially the sundried tomato and Worcester sauce kind.
 
What would be your ideal food day?

Breakfast would be fillet steak, eggs benedict with extra hollandaise sauce, a side of extra crispy bacon, really dense brown bread and butter and a bottomless mimosa, obviously.
 
Lunch would be from Fallon & Byrne – homemade Pappardelle pasta with an assortment of salads.
 
And for dinner, I really love sharing food so my favourite dinner date is always tapas. A little bit of this, a little bit of that and of course, a jug of red sangria. 

 

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The one food you could have everyday for the rest of your life?

Chicken Parmigiana!
 
What is your favourite dessert?

Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Salted Caramel Ice cream with fresh crème.
 
What is your favourite meal of the day?

Dinner because I always overdo it… and it is acceptable to drink a bottle of wine with it.
 
Your favourite restaurant in Dublin/Ireland/the world?

In Dublin my favourite is actually The Back Page. I love it because not only are the people awesome and the food fantastic, but also the vibe is great. For dinner and drinks, you can get the best pizza in town while kickin’ it and playing board games with your friends. On the other hand, if you go for brunch – you can sit outside and eat it in a hammock! Awesome spot.
 
In the world, there’s a little restaurant in Ocean City Maryland called Sello’s. It’s a great real authentic Italian restaurant with the best homemade gnocchi you’d ever eat.
 
The best brunch place in Dublin?

Bloom Brasserie for bottomless bubbly brunch!

 
Any “food pet peeves”?

I think going out to eat should be a experience, and it can be absolutely ruined by having bad service and especially cold food.

I’m also addicted to hot sauce so when a restaurant doesn’t have it, especially for breakfast, I hate that.
 
What food would you NEVER eat?

Ketchup. You could not pay me to eat it.
 
What can we always find in your fridge?

Goats cheese, sundried tomatoes and Ben & Jerry's ice cream.
 
You have friends over for dinner, what do you cook for them?

I would make Caprese chicken with tomatoes, balsamic and buffalo mozzarella or pasta with grilled chicken & prawns in a sundried tomato cream sauce. Oh and two words… White. Wine.
 
Do you find it hard to eat a healthy diet in a daily basis?

Not at all, I think it’s a lifestyle change and it’s all about balance. I eat healthy most of the time, making my splurges that much tastier. Plus, when you’re able to cook well or know what to order, healthy food is fantastic.

 

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What is your guilty pleasure?

Pasta, ice cream and carrot cake.
 
What is you go-to drink?

Vodka & soda water or a pint of Guinness, depending on my mood.
 
Your favourite place for a drink in Dublin? 

If I’m having a night where I’ll undeniably end up in Coppers, I would go for a flavoured vodka at Camden Exchange. But honestly, I really love heading to Temple Bar area. I love a pint at the Auld Dubliner and a great Saturday night at Bad Bobs.

 

Marshmallow vodka anyone? #BestCraftCocktailsInTown

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With three branches in Dublin – one currently hosting a smoothie bowl pop up – Cocu is one of our favourite places for a health food fix in town. 

And we have asked founder of Cocu, Emilia Rowan, successful chef and entrepreneur, to share her food and drinks habits with us. 

 

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What is your typical breakfast?
I usually have eggs, smoked salmon and smashed avocado in Cocu.

What about lunch?
It is very boring, but I would mostly have a Cocu salad, or a wrap when I'm on the go.

I love sushi and ramen so I go to The Ramen Bar on South William Street when I meet my dad for lunch.

Another favourite is the "Al pastor tacos" in El Grito on Merchant's Arch – they do the most authentic tacos and it is always busy and affordable.  

What do you usually have for dinner? 
I love fish: it's quick and easy to prepare so perfect for dinner as I am usually home late.

It is different at the weekend, I would either be eating out or having people over to our flat. When eating out, I love a good pizza place, or a Bunsen! 

Do you snack during the day?
I don't really snack, probably because I am working on my feet and on the move. I think if I was sitting at a desk all day I would probably snack to break up the day. 

What would be your ideal food day?
Breakfast would be in Spain, a tostada with jamon iberico and tomato spread, a strong coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Lunch would be moules frites and for dinner, I would share an Indian feast in Pickle Restaurant on Camden Street.

The one food you could have everyday for the rest of your life?
Eggs; I eat them every day, in lots of different ways.

What is your favourite dessert? 
Vanilla ice cream with loads of hot chocolate sauce! 

What is your favourite meal of the day?
Dinner, because there's time to enjoy it and I'm usually eating with either my boyfriend, family or friends. I love cooking dinner for anyone who is around.

Your favourite restaurant in Dublin/Ireland/the world? 
Terra Madre on the quays: it is like you have stepped into an Italian family home. The food and welcome is the best, if I could eat there every day I would! 

The world…Japan; I am dying to go to Japan and eat my way around.

The best brunch place in Dublin?
I'd have to say Cocu on Chatham Street! We do a healthy brunch there at the weekend and there is no booking needed.

I'm not a big fan of eating brunch around Dublin, I like to be more spontaneous at the weekends and most brunch places you have to book which doesn't really suit me.

Any “food pet peeves”? 
Poorly filled sambos. I like mine to be packed with filling.

 

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What food would you NEVER eat? 
Not much, I will try anything once, and haven't come across much that I wouldn't eat again. I'm easy to please food wise.

What can we always find in your fridge?
Lemons and garlic. I would use both a lot in cooking, Lemons especially; if in doubt, add a squeeze of lemon or some zest. 

You have friends over for dinner, what do you cook for them?
Anything and everything. I love cooking Middle Eastern things, as they're great for sharing.

My favourite cookbook at the moment is called Honey & Co (from a Middle Eastern restaurant in London). Last week, I cooked butterflied lamb with salad, hummus, pomegranate, pickled red onion and yoghurt. It was tasty and perfect for sharing. 

 

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Do you find it hard to eat a healthy diet in a daily basis?
Yes and no; I have pretty good habits generally. However if I am in any way hungover, the healthy diet gets derailed slightly. But there's no point not enjoying life, so I try not to beat myself up about it and annoyingly follow my dads advice of 'everything in moderation' – it is the best advice but I don't like telling him he's right!

What is your guilty pleasure?
Fried chicken from the chipper. A recent find and it is a serious guilty pleasure…

What is you go-to drink? 
I love ice cold beers in a pub and if I need a pick me up, an espresso martini is my favourite. 

Your favourite place for a drink in Dublin? 
Slatterys in Rathmines. Great atmosphere and interesting people to chat to.

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So, there’s no question that our diets have changed in the past few years.

Avocados, chia seeds, almond butter – these things were barely in our vocabulary in 2011 never mind our fridge.

But it seems that these foods could actually be changing the way our bodies react to hunger.

Researchers from the University of Georgia discovered that foods rich in polyunsaturated fats may alter our appetites and in turn, contribute to overall weight loss.

Millenial staples like avocado, quinoa, chickpeas and walnuts have all been linked to improved problem-solving skills and better memory, but now scientists hope they could help tackle the obesity epidemic.

During the study, researchers monitored participants’ hormone levels when following a diet high polyunsaturated fats.

The group of 18 to 35-year-olds were also asked to indicate on a scale how hungry they were and how much they thought they could eat.

The results showed that those who consumed more polyunsaturated fats were less hungry and felt fuller for longer.

According to The Independent, lead researcher, Jamie A. Cooper said, “Appetite hormones play an important role in regulating how much we eat.”

“These findings tell us that eating foods rich in PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats), like those found in walnuts, may favourably change appetite hormones so that we can feel fuller for longer.”

Now for the science bit.

The reason that following a so-called millenial diet resulted in better appetite control is that it decreases the amount of ghrelin and increases the amount of peptide in your body.

Ghrelin is the hormone which controls hunger, while peptide controls the feeling of satisfaction you get after a meal.

So, what have we learned?

Eating fat will not necessarily make you fat and millenials are making the world a healthier place, one smashed avocado at a time.

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If you think about it, no one knows you better than your Deliveroo man. 

He knows about that celebratory Chinese when you finished your exams and he knows that your 'treat yourself Thursday' often spills over into the rest of the weekend. 

So it's not surprising that Deliveroo knows exactly what kind of takeaway meals make the top five when it comes to our capital's preferences. 

 

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When 8pm on a Saturday night (the most popular time to order) rolls around, there are a few takeaways Dubliners love most.

Taking the top spot is the family meal from Eddie Rockets, comprising of two burger meals and two kids meals, so a true family favourite.

At number two there is the humble but mighty Boojum burrito, the ideal hangover food. 

At number three, Aussie BBQ takes the crown for their pulled pork and bacon fries. *drools*

 

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The number four spot is held by another family favourite from Beshoff Bros, the haddock fish and chips family meal for four. 

And last but not least, the capital's notions come to life with salmon sashimi from Aoki Sushi. 

The delivery service also looked into the eating habits of Co Cork, and they are distinctly different to those in the capital. 

 

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Cork residents prefer something a little spicy when they order in, with Yuan Ming Yuan's Hung Sung Pa Aromatic Duck taking the top spot. 

Ramen's Pad Thai came in second, with Tung Sing Crispy Chilli Chicken a close third. 

Burritos were again featured, this time it was Burritos & Blues Deliveroo Special in fourth place.

 

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And proving that you can't beat a takeaway classic, in fifth place is Uncle Pete’s Burger Meal for two. Romantic AF.

Now we're craving a takeaway dinner…

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Tate of Dublin is just around the corner, and we're getting pretty excited for the foodie festival.

There are a few ways to get prepped and ready for the bountiful banquet, and like any festival, there are some specific tips and tricks to help you make the most of the experience. 

 

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1. Plan ahead

Visit the website and plan the day as there is so much to do and see with all the demos, master classes and new Food for Thought.

2. Create your own foodie checklist

Check out the menus on offer from each restaurant ahead of time to curate the perfect gourmet checklist. 

There are over 20 restaurants to choose from, so it’s good to come with a plan on what you want to sample.

3. Check out the live musical entertainment line up

There is plenty more than food on offer at Taste of Dublin. 

Entertainment will be on the main stage from noon on Thursday to close on Sunday evening, and keeping the buzz alive are bands such Spring Break and Smash Hits.

 

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4. Remember the weather

Taste of Dublin is primarily an outdoor event, and the forecast is good – so don’t forget the sun cream.

5. Swap your cash for florins

Taste of Dublin has its own currency, so be sure to exchange euro for Florins.

Visit one of the Florin banks dotted around the venue (or use one of the many roving Florin sellers) to buy your currency.

One Euro equates to one Florin.

 

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'We are really excited about this year’s Taste of Dublin and the amazing line up we have planned,” said Taste of Dublin Managing Director Avril Bannerton. 

'Never before have we had so much cooking talent at Taste.' 

'There will be more than 30 world class chefs participating in this year’s event. We’re really looking forward to seeing all the intriguing dishes and exciting demonstrations they will be unveiling over the next four days.'

There are still a few tickets left for the amazing event, which you can get here

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So, if your skin care regime is leaving much to be desired, it may be high time you tackled those pesky complexion issues from the inside out.

We all know the age old saying 'you are what you eat', and when it comes to the condition of our skin, it could not be more true.

Whether you've got dry, oily or combination skin, the nutritional value of the food you eat can play a huge role in keeping your face looking fresh and hydrated.

Here are just a few foods to consider introducing to your diet. 

Chocolate

Yes, you read that right. Giving in to those cocoa cravings could actually be good for your complexion.

According to a 2015 study in the Journal of Nutrition, the consumption of cocoa flavonols can reduce some of the tell-tale signs of aging such as age spots and wrinkles. Flavonals are also powerful antioxidants that work to protect your skin from the damaging effects of UV rays.

Of course, to get most benefits you'll need to opt for a chocolate that's at least 70 per cent cocoa, but even just a few squares a day will leave your skin hydrated and glowing from within.

Walnuts

These little guys are absolutely loaded with copper – a mineral known to boost collagen production.

They are also high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which according to Dr David Bank, a dermatologist in Mount Kisco, New York, can help improve the skin's elasticity.

So, next time you're feeling peckish, why not opt for a handful of walnuts? Your skin will thank you later.

Green Tea

OK, by this stage we know that there is no end to the health benefits offered by this miracle drink, but did you know that it can actually be used to reduce redness and inflammation?

Green tea is extremely high in antioxidants that help fight the root of the issue.

What's more, an investigation by German scientists discovered that the polyphenols contained in green tea may actually offer protection against UV radiation.

Aim to drink at least two cups daily for optimal effect.

Kindey Beans

These tasty legumes are loaded with zinc, and studies have indicated a link between blemishes and low zinc levels.

So, if your skin is going through a rough patch at the moment, a small serving of kidney beans everyday could be just what's needed to keep you in the clear.

Peppers

According to Dr Jessica Wu, a dermatologist in Los Angeles and the author of Feed Your Face, "Women who eat green and yellow vegetables regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes." 

Who's going to argue with that?

As well as that, studies have found that caronteniods, the antioxidant found in orange and yellow vegetables, can actually help decrease the skin's sensitivity to the sun, and God knows that's something us Irish gals need.  

 

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Hands up who basically thinks about their lunch the minute they finish their breakfast?!

Many of our days are based around food, but it turns out a lot of thought goes into choosing what we have for lunch.

A group of researchers decided to analyse the thought process behind how we decide what to eat once 1pm rolls around, and a few of the findings were pretty surprising.

Pasta penne with tomato and rucola

The researchers, from Canvas 8, asked 20 men and women from the UK about their lunch time preferences to discover why they chose the food they did.

Three of the biggest factors were convenience (38 per cent), taste (37 per cent) and price (35 per cent), which isn't really all thst surprising.

The next trend, which is a little bit more interesting, was the weather. If it was a sunny day, people generally went for something light, like a salad or a smoothie.

beverages, brunch, cocktail

However, if it was a damp and cold day (hello, Ireland!), then people opted for a heartier meal, like soup or creamy pasta.

But that's not all. Another factor that goes into the decision-making process is what colleagues and friends have for lunch (which includes going to a nice restaurant with your work wives once payday rolls around).

And last but not least, hangovers. Yep, hangovers also come into play, because if you're feeling a bit rotten from the night before, a carbohydrate-packed lunch is exactly what you reach for.

We can relate to that one.

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Period week is probably the hardest time of the month when you are trying to be healthy.

Thanks to those hormones, all you want is to crawl onto the couch under a blanket with a bottomless carton of cookie dough ice-cream.

While cramps, bad skin, back and breast pain on the menu, there are good food options you should try and include in your diet to make you feel better. 

Iron is your friend…

Losing blood probably means you are running low on iron, which makes you feel weak, tired, probably moody, and could lead to anaemia.

To prevent it, choose food that provides a good amount of iron, such as clams, mussels, red meat, leafy greens, beans and legumes.

Dark chocolate is also a good source of the mineral, should you need another reason to always keep a supply at your desk. 

… and so is vitamin C

To enhance iron absorption, you need to make sure to get enough vitamin C, which also helps you feel more energised.

Good sources of Vitamin C are kiwis, oranges, mangoes, strawberries, as well as broccoli and peppers.

Don’t forget magnesium 

While magnesium is essential to prevent premenstrual syndrome (whose effects include mood swings, irritability, anxiety, bloating, fluid retention, breast pain or headaches), it is also an important nutrient you need during your period, as it helps relieve muscle pain, stress and tensions in the body.

Go for bananas, nuts, spinach, porridge, quinoa and dark chocolate and you should meet your daily needs.

Calcium calms the cramps

Calcium has been shown to help reduce menstrual pain so if you suffer from cramps, watch your calcium intake.

Dairy products are obvious sources of calcium but almonds, kale, broccoli, oats, spinach, beans and tofu also provide a healthy amount of the mineral.

Good fats are anti-inflammatory

Salmon, sardines and mackerel are among the good sources of Omega 3, a fatty acid that helps combat inflammation. If you don’t like fish, avocado and rapeseed oil also contain a lot of Omega 3.

 

Do as well as you can, but no pressure…

We know it might be hard to find motivation to go to the gym and reach for healthy food at that time of the month, but maybe you could, say, eat your ice-cream, but have a healthy stir-fry beforehand to make sure you get all the nutrients you need?

Sorted!
 

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We are encouraged to practise mindfulness on a daily basis, right?

And while many of us understand it to be an approach which can impact positively on our mental health, recent studies have suggested that mindfulness can actually impact on our waistline too.

Researchers at the University of North Carolina have established that by focusing on each mouthful of food consumed, the individual increases their likelihood of losing weight.

Dividing 80 participants into two groups, researchers encouraged the first to practice mindful eating which required each individual to pay attention to feelings of hunger, avoid distractions and savour tastes, while the second group were not required to do any of this

Without restricting calories or following a nutrition plan, the first group lost 4 lbs over the course of 15 weeks while the second group lost 0.6 lbs.

Explaining the basis of the study, Dr Carolyn Dunn said:"Mindfulness is paying attention to your surroundings, being in the present moment."

"Mindful eating is eating with purpose, eating on purpose, eating with awareness, eating without distraction, when eating only eating, not watching television or playing computer games or having any other distractions, and not eating at our desks," she continued.

Commenting on the findings of the study, she asserted:"People did increase their mindfulness and they did absolutely decrease their weight”.

Sounds like we might need to start 'losing' the remote around dinner time, right?

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When your exams are just around the corner, food is probably the last thing you have time to worry about.

Long gone are the healthy days of wholesome food and regular exercise, you decide to survive on chocolate bars, takeaways and energy drinks.

Sorry to disappoint, but this is the worst thing you can do to your wallet, your body, and therefore your brain.

To function properly and get you through this challenging and stressful time, your brain needs to be fed properly and regularly. Meals don’t have to be complicated or time consuming if you follow our list. 

1. Pasta, rice and complex carbs

Ensuring a good level of energy during your studies is essential to make the most of your time and not feel sluggish.

Include wholegrain rice, pasta, porridge and bread in your diet, as well as starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and pulses. 

2. Nuts

Good fats are essential for your brain, especially Omega 3 which are said to boost your memory.

When you get peckish, snack on almonds, walnuts, cashews and seeds to make sure you cover your needs.

Fatty fish are also a great source of Omega 3 so if you want to get a takeaway, go for a plate of sushi and a salad.

3. Fruits and vegetables

To get as much nutrients as possible, make sure to include fruits and vegetables in every meal and snack you have.

Kiwis, grapefruits, peppers, tomatoes, parsley and oranges for example are great sources of Vitamin C, which helps combat fatigue.

Overall, the more colourful your plate the better! (and we are not talking about pouring Skittles in a bowl and calling it dinner.)

4. Eggs

An excellent and cheap source of protein (to help build those brain cells), eggs might also improve memory according to a recent study.

Eggs and avocado on toast are a delicious, quick and super healthy meal that is perfect for the exam season.

5. Drink water!

Ditch the energy drinks and go easy on the coffee.

The one and only drink you really need during your exams is water as your cognitive functions and learning abilities decrease massively if your body is dehydrated – which happens even before you feel thirsty.

Aim at a minimum of 1.5l a day. 

Extra tip: SLEEP!

Going to bed at 5 am before an exam in order to catch up with all the classes you missed is the worst idea.

Sometimes, getting a good night of sleep – allowing you to show up with a refreshed mind and functioning brain – might actually be more useful than a last minute learning bootcamp. 
 

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'Avocado hand,' as doctors are calling it, is a new phenomenon that has prompted the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons to warn people about the practice of slicing.

Apparently, improper slicing of avocados can lead to nerve and tendon damage – which is a very upsetting revelation. 

"People do not anticipate that the avocados they buy can be very ripe and there is minimal understanding of how to handle them," Simon Eccles, a former Royal Society of Medicine president of plastic surgery told The Times.

avocado, close-up, color

He also added that his hospital endures a Saturday 'post-brunch surge' of such injuries, and he sees four patients each week due to avocado hand.

Some people even require surgery to fix the issue, and they may never regain full use of the affected hand.

The injury has become so common that doctors are now calling for safety warning stickers to be put on the fruit (btw, we had no idea avocados were fruits until today).

Avocado Fruits

To avoid giving yourself avocado hand, place the avocado on a flat surface with your hand on top and gently make incisions around the outside. When you are de-stoning the fruit, wrap it in a towel and leave only the stone exposed.

'Use the edge of a heavy sharp knife to chop into the summit of the soft pit, so that it is slightly buried. Holding the knife, so that the pit is stabilised, use a towel to twist the pit out,' David Shewring, vice-president of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, told The Times.

Next time you want to make guacamole – be careful, ladies. 

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Our Instagram feeds would feel incomplete without a stylised snap of our superfood salad, or a table flat lay shot of Sunday brunch, mimosas included.

But according to new research, we shouldn't actually be snapping photos of our food before we dig in.

As well as the social faux pas of making our food go cold and preventing everyone at the table from eating in the pursuit of the perfect picture, a study has shown that paying too much detail to the appearance of our food makes us enjoy the overall experience less. 

Overexposure to food, brought on by looking at it for ages to create that gorgeous picture, leads to pre-satiation.

The study established 'sensory simulations as an important mechanism underlying satiation, and provides behavioural evidence that simple evaluations can produce sensory-specific satiety.'

This basically means that you're bored of the food before you even start eating it, and where's the fun in that? 

'When we Instagram, we inherently must focus our attention on the item in the picture, even for that very brief moment,' the paper's co-author Professor Joseph Redden told The Independent

'This can have a range of effects on later enjoyment.'

So essentially, spending so much time 'gramming your food means that you're taking less time to enjoy it, which can ultimately lead to you not getting as much satisfaction from the meal as you could have.

And we'd much rather eat the perfect meal at it's best than get a few extra likes on Insta. 

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