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Commuters arriving into Dublin’s Connolly and Heuston stations on Wednesday morning next (April 17) will be invited to go bananas – all in the interests of healthy eating.

There to welcome passengers and help get their day off to a healthy start with the gift of complimentary bananas will be Fyffes mascot Freddy Fyffes.

Marking National Banana Day, now in its third year, the celebration supports the national drive to encourage better and more-healthy eating habits.

As Emma Hunt-Duffy, Fyffes marketing manager puts it: ‘This is especially important for young and growing children’ and a reminder to adults to ‘think bananas’ when it comes to choosing a wholly-natural and nutritious convenience food or main meal accompaniment.

Get ready to go bananas on April 17 and join Fyffes in making Ireland a happier and healthier place!

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Veganism – it's taking hold of the world and it seems that everyone is becoming or has become vegan these days.

Ireland has definitely caught up with its European counterparts when it comes to giving meat the chop from our diets.

When ranked, the most popular countries for veganism in 2018 shows that Ireland came in at…number eight. 

Looks like the days of Irish stew are long behind us. 

Image result for worldwide veganism

Veganism means nothing animal based – so no meat nor fish nor dairy nor honey.

As well as food, it also means embracing a lifestyle where you don't wear leather or wool or visit the zoo.

For people, it all means different things for different people – for some, it's all about animal rights and others it's about having a healthier diet.

So where do other countries come on the list? 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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We have, in order…
1.        Australia (Score 100)
2.        United Kingdom (Score 98)
3.        New Zealand (Score 87)
4.        Sweden (Score 84)
5.        Canada (Score 79)
6.         Israel (Score 78)
7.         United States (Score 65)
8.         Ireland (Score 62)
9.         Austria (Score 60)
10.       Germany (Score 59)

Ireland has climbed from 11th place in 2018 to 8th this year, which puts it below the United States, but above European vegan powerhouse Germany.

The vegan diet is becoming so popular in Ireland that last year Deliveroo reported a 73% jump in vegan orders across the country through its app, clearly showing there’s a change in the air.

And when it comes to veganism in Ireland itself, the top five places are as follows: Bray (Score 100), Galway (Score 90), Dublin (Score 83), Cork (Score 81), Waterford (Score 78).

So we're not doing too badly when it comes to the health stakes.

Fair play to us we say. 

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One of the UK's most senior doctors, Professor Stephen Powis, has written in The Telegraph that weight loss advertisements which are celebrity-endorsed should be banned.

Professor Powis is currently the NHS' medical director, and has criticised well-known celebrities such as the Kardashians for promoting weight-loss products and aids such as teas, shakes and pills on social media, and has even called for Instagram to oppose them.

The doctor referenced the troubling statistic that more than one in 10 young people are affected by mental health issues in the UK, and are heavily influenced by body insecurity and famous faces encouraging them to lose weight.

He emphasised that mental health issues are one of the "most pressing issues facing out country".

SHEmazing recently wrote about the level of profit which people like the Kardashians can gain from the insecurity of their fans. 

Poor messaging can lead to dangerous consequences, and numerous organisations such as the National Eating Disorder Association have branded the Kardashian family’s representation of weight loss products as ‘triggering’ for those who struggle with eating disorders.

Professor Powis made sure to emphasise that impressionable young people look to these people for lifestyle guidance; "At what is already a sensitive and important time in their development, this group is especially vulnerable to pressures which trigger or exacerbate mental ill health," he writes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

#ad You guys all know I looove @flattummyco shakes. I've just restarted them (it's Day 2 today) and I’m already feeling so good. We had a huuuuge Christmas this year and between that, New Years and everything inbetween… I felt like it was impossible to fit in my regular work outs and eat healthy. But this program is giving me a kick in the right direction that I need. These meal replacement shakes are so good and they're helping me get my tummy back to flat. I’m already feeling amazing and I’m so excited for the next few weeks. Because they’re all about getting women back on track… they’ve got a 20% off sale going on right now, so if you want to start 2019 off right… trust me, you’re going to want to check them out. PS. I’m doing the chocolate program

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A shocking HALF of young girls say that they feel under pressure to lose weight, the doctor says that social media's ascension has escalated this pressure and both celebrities and the platforms themselves must take responsibility for their posts.

"Our young people are bombarded with ideas, images and advertising which set such a high bar for what they should feel and look like," he writes. "And yet there is little accountability for the impact this has.

"Where celebrities and the platforms which promote them exploit this vulnerability by pushing products like laxative teas, diet pills and other get-thin-quick solutions, they are taking the health of our young people in their hands and should act with far greater responsibility."

Activist and actress Jameela Jamil tweeted her support for Professor Powis:

Prof. Powis also suggested that practical measures should be taken to stamp out the 'exploitation' of youth, such as online platforms "banning adverts for products with a known health risk". YAS KING.

He argued that the NHS is working on understanding and treating mental health conditions in young people;

"Everyone, especially those engaging with young people like social media firms, and celebrities who profit from them, have a duty of care to do more for our health and wellbeing".

"The NHS can't keep putting out fires if some parts of society keep lighting matches," he concluded, using a pretty effective allegory. 

Kim Kardashian West has an especially long history of promoting weight loss products on social media, as well as her sisters, Kylie and Kourtney. Kim faced backlash in May for promoting appetite suppressant lollipops on her Instagram.

One of the world's most powerful women was literally telling other women and young girls NOT TO EAT.  The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil founded the i Weigh body positivity social media movement and Kardashian West "a terrible and toxic influence on young girls".

Jamil has consistently called out celebrities including Cardi B and Iggy Azalea for promoting 'detox' teas, claiming they're just selling digestion problems instead.

She also called Kardashian 'an agent of the patriarchy', for her incessant need to 'recycle self-hatred.'

Jamil herself experienced an eating disorder as a teenager, and skipped meals for years at a time. She spent money on "miracle cures and laxatives and tips from celebrities" which later left her with "digestion and metabolism problems for life".

The Competition and Markets Authority has announced a clampdown on celebrities who don't label their posts as promotional advertisements, but solid rules aren't in place.

NHS England's national mental health director Claire Murdoch expressed concern over the influence which these celebrities have young people at an "impressionable" stage in their lives.

"Both the celebrities themselves and these social media companies themselves should be more responsible," she told BBC Breakfast.

We're so glad the NSH are finally using their influential platform to steer people in the right direction. Time will tell what type of future diet fads will hold, but they're looking highly unpopular right now.

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We can all agree that Vogue Williams has a stunning figure.

And now the presenter has revealed the secret behind her amazing body by showing fans what she eats in a day.

And it's definitely not what we expected.

Vogue Williams shares a snap of her breakfast with fans

Since giving birth to her first baby in September, the 33-year-old had snapped back into fantastic shape so we were keen to see what her diet consists of.

She took to Instagram to document her day-to-day routine.

She started off with her breakfast, showing us that she ate porridge made with milk , water, berries and honey followed by two marshmallows and two or three cups of tea.

Sounds like heaven to us. 

Vogue shares a snap of her snack after tennis

This was followed by an after tennis snack of a yoghurt, pear and cup of tea…plus two sneaky marshmallows.

However, Vogue then posted saying, ''Then Spen gave me a piece of his chicken so I put the pear back.''

Then it was lunch time.

Vogue revealed her day-to-day diet with her devoted followers

She snapped a picture of bread writing, ''I can't help eating the bread and then I kind of ruin my meal because I'm full.''

Her lunch was tacos to start followed by prawns and grilled octopus for mains.

Then it was on to sushi and lamb for dinner followed more chocolate and almonds.

This balanced range of food is something we can all realistically do and not deprive ourselves of anything. 

Sounds good to us.

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Prince Harry’s days of partying are well and truly behind him. The dad-to-be decided to give up alcohol as a mark of respect to pregnant wife Meghan Markle, and now he has made another major changed to his diet.

It is understood that the Duchess of Sussex has encouraged Harry to follow a healthier lifestyle.

As part of the new regime, Harry can’t drink tea or coffee.

According to the Express, the lifestyle changes have had a major impact on Harry’s health and wellbeing.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Duke & Duchess Of Sussex. (@meghanandharry2018) on

A source told the publication that he is a lot more relaxed than he used to be: “Considering he’s been a pretty brutal drinker since he was a young teenager, it’s quite an achievement.”

They added: “He was always fidgeting and on the go, always looking for the next thrill. He was a great laugh but it was always very full on.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Duke & Duchess Of Sussex. (@meghanandharry2018) on

He is no longer the wild, booze-loving prince he once was, “Now his new regime doesn’t make him the most entertaining party guest in the world, but he’s definitely more chilled and relaxed.”

Since marrying the former Suits actress, Harry has been living a healthier life. “All she [Meghan] did was show him there’s another way to live and he’s become a huge fan. He eats well, doesn’t poison his body, exercises, does a bit of yoga and is a lot happier.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Duke & Duchess Of Sussex. (@meghanandharry2018) on

It is also understood that Meghan is hoping Harry will become a vegetarian, or at least cut down on how much meat he is eating.

The Duchess of Sussex is a big animal rights activists and is hoping her husband will follow in her footsteps.

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While it's not uncommon to enter the New Year on a total health buzz, we were surprised to discover that women are almost twice as likely to do so when compared to their male counterparts.

A recent survey conducted by iReach Insights looked at the resolutions made by 1,000 Irish adults, and found some pretty big differences in the way men and women chose to interpret the 'new year, new me' mantra.

Rather surprisingly, results showed that just over one quarter of us made any New Year's resolution at all this year – though 39 per cent say they are starting a new diet plan this January.

Surely a new diet plan counts as a resolution, no?

Anyway, whatever you want to call it, 50 per cent of Irish woman plan to eat healthier over the coming year, while just 28 per cent of men intend to do the same.

The figures highlight the pressures and unrealistic beauty standards facing young women today.

Sure, there's no harm in trying to shed those Christmas lbs, but when the female population are almost twice as likely to want to do so, it's worth looking at the bigger picture.

What's more, another recent survey conducted by iReach Insights found that 51 per cent of Irish females felt deflated and low upon returning to work after the Christmas holidays, compared to 44 per cent of men.

Chin up ladies, you're doing great!

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We've heard it time and time again.

Thanks to various diets such as Atkins and Paleo, it has become more and more common to hear your mate say, 'I'm cutting out ALL carbs this week' when she wants to lose a few inches.

Of course, most people give up within a few days (or hours) because bread and pasta… glorious.

food water perfect make genius

However, a new study has revealed that pasta isn't that bad, and can actually help you along the way to becoming a healthier person.

Department of Epidemiology at the Institute for Research, Hospitalization, and Health Care in Italy analysed the eating habits of 23,000 people.

The Late Show With Stephen Colbert food hungry yum late show

Out of all the participants, they found that those who ate pasta regularly had a reduced likelihood of being obese.

"Our data shows that enjoying pasta according to individuals' needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference, and better waist-hip ratio," George Pounis, the author of the study wrote.

pasta

Taking a line from the Mediterranean diet, which has been proved to be one of the healthiest, pasta is a "fundamental" part and cutting it out to lose weight is not the "correct attitude."

Well, pass the Carbonara then.

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The term 'clean eating,' is now one that evokes both eye-rolling and a considerable amount of backlash online. Its devotees swear it's the key to a healthier lifestyle while its critics are quick to point out how unsafe it is to swear gospel to terminology that became a phenomenon on the back of many foodie bloggers and Instagram stories.

Blogger and author Ella Woodward, now Mills, AKA Deliciously Ella is one who knows how fast the tables can turn – she is regarded as the one who spearheaded this, despite never once using the term on any cookbook or product.

She has always affirmed that when it comes to eating healthy and eating well, it's about simple dishes that taste great – and more importantly that you enjoy eating. At the launch of her latest range of products – you'll find them stacked with plenty of healthy food options in SuperValu, she spoke to SHEmazing about self-care, her favourite dishes for a woman on-the-go and why doing this one thing is the key to successfully changing your diet.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Deliciously Ella (@deliciouslyella) on

Tell us a bit more about your latest range of products?

We’ve just launched our energy balls, oat bars, granola and muesli, which we’re so excited about. They’re all made with a few simple plant-based ingredients with a big focus on flavour. Each one is vegan-friendly and gluten-free. 

So many hear the words Vegan or Gluten Free and think that the food will compromise on taste, what advice do you have for someone wanting to eat healthier but is afraid to take the plunge?

Start experimenting with your cooking, adding lots and lots of herbs and spices to everything you do – that’s the key to veggie cooking. It’s not about stripping things back and taking flavour away but celebrating flavour, texture and deliciousness. Try something like our five bean chilli; the Thai curries or a spread with a black rice, piquillo pepper and pistachio salad, roasted aubergine, tomato and pesto salad and sweet potatoes with spring onions, chilli and tahini.​

Many women on-the-go want to eat better and cut out the gluten or eat more plant-based foods but are fearful these type of meals will just eat into their time. Do you have any particular meals or foods that you like to prepare if you're in a hurry?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Deliciously Ella (@deliciouslyella) on

Stews, curries and dahls – they take just a few mins of prep time, they’re so hearty and filling and they’re brilliant for batch cooking and freezing. The recipes in the orange chapter of our new book, The Plant-Based Cookbook, are my go-to’s when I’m busy. Each dish is full of warming, toasted spices; hearty veg, potatoes and beans; lots of creamy coconut milk and so much flavour. The Tuscan bean stew, cauliflower lentil dahl with dried apricots and the Thai curries are such winners in our house.

Tell us about your self-care routine – how important do you think it is to have one?

Looking after myself is really important, as we work 14-15 hours a day often seven days a week, so I need all the energy I can get! Yoga is a big part of this, I practice every morning before my day starts and it really helps me create a positive headspace – I absolutely love it, it’s magic for my mental health.
If you're planning to kick-start a new diet change, what are your top tips?   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Deliciously Ella (@deliciouslyella) on

For anything to be sustainable it has to be enjoyable, so find things you love and don’t be too hard on yourself – go slow and steady and think about what you’re adding in not just what you’re taking out.    

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Veganism has become pretty popular these days, with the number of vegans in the UK rising by 360 per cent in the last 10 years, according to a recent study by The Vegan Society.

With this in mind, we're sure there are plenty of Irish people willing to try the vegan lifestyle, which strictly prohibits the consumption of any animal by-products. 

Veganism has been cited to improve the health, aid weight loss and be better for the environment than a carnivorous diet according to its followers. 

Here are a few tips to get started if you want to give it a try: 

8. Watch a few documentaries.

There are plenty of documentaries out there about the reasons for going vegan, and plenty of videos about how to do it efficiently.

Films like Earthlings, Cowspiricy and Vegucated have been credited for turning many people on to the vegan lifestyle. 

A warning though, these flicks expose the grim realities of the meat and animal by-product business and may be a bit much for squeamish folk. 

7. Order PETA's free vegan guide

Animal rights organisation PETA is a huge promoter of the vegan lifestyle.

They have a free Vegan Starter Kit for those interested, all you have to do is head to the website and give your address, and the kit will be sent out to you anywhere in the world, completely free. 

6. Make small swaps

Making small steps like swapping cow's milk for soy or oat milk and switching crisp flavours can take your diet from carnivorous to vegan. 

There are tonnes of options to try when it comes to milk and cheese alternatives. 

5. Try new things

Speaking of these alternatives, don't be afraid to branch out of your comfort zone and try some new taste experiences.

While almond butter and hemp seeds may not sound the most appetising, trying vegan alternatives is so important in order to maintain a balanced plant-based diet. It's not just about eating salad!

 

A post shared by HappyRealFood (@happyrealfood) on

4. Consider why you're doing it.

There are people who move to veganism for ethical reasons, those who do it for health reasons and those who do it to lose weight.

Having a clear motive for your transition will make sticking to it so much easier. 

3. Ditch dairy. 

People cite the amazing benefits of minimising their dairy intake. 

Ditching dairy is a prerequisite for the vegan diet, but it can also help clear the skin and put an end to bloating. 

 

A post shared by Bonnie (@the_wholesome_vegan) on

2. Consider your non-food choices.

A lot of people who choose veganism for ethical reasons look further than their diet when it comes to incorporating the message into their everyday lives. 

Some avoid leather or products made at the expense of any animal, and actively avoid beauty products that test on animals or include animal by-products. 

1. Keep an eye on the carbs.

When going vegan or even vegetarian, it can be easy to rely on pure carbs to keep yourself going if you haven't taken the time to look into new food choices. 

This can leave your plates looking pretty beige, so make sure you're getting plenty of variety into your diet. 

Feature image: Instagram/ Vegan Food Spot/ Lumadeline

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Creating frustration, preventing you from socialising with your friends, heavy on the wallet… here are some of the main reasons most diets don't work on the long run.

Yet, a new type of diet has been widely talked about in the past few months for actually allowing people to lose weight long term, and it is called intermittent fasting. 

While there are different ways of practising it, a new study published this week in the journal Nutrition and Healthy Ageing establishes that the 16:8 method actually works.

According to the researchers of the University of Illinois at Chicago, daily fasting is an effective tool to reduce weight and lower blood pressure on obese individuals.

Scientists worked with 23 obese volunteers who had an average age of 45 and average body mass index, or BMI, of 35.

Between 10am and 6pm, the dieters could eat any type and quantity of food they desired, but for the remaining 16 hours they could only drink water or calorie-free beverages. The study followed the participants for 12 weeks.

When compared to a matched historical control group from a previous weight loss trial on a different type of fasting, the researchers found that those who followed the time-restricted eating diet consumed fewer calories, lost weight and had improvements in blood pressure. 

"The take-home message from this study is that there are options for weight loss that do not include calorie counting or eliminating certain foods," said Krista Varady, associate professor of kinesiology and nutrition in the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences and corresponding author on the study.

"The results we saw in this study are similar to the results we've seen in other studies on alternate day fasting, another type of diet," Varady said, "but one of the benefits of the 16:8 diet may be that it is easier for people to maintain. We observed that fewer participants dropped out of this study when compared to studies on other fasting diets."

So, could you fast from 6pm to 10am? Would you want to give it a go?

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We all know how important regular exercise is for maintaining a healthy mind and body, but when it comes to proper brain function, it looks like a certain diet could actually be more beneficial than hours spent in the gym.

Research has shown that following a low-fat diet may help preserve brain cells as we age. 

Scientists at the University Medical Centre Groningen in The Netherlands discovered that a diet with 40 per cent fewer calories than the recommended intake contributed to reduced inflammation of subjects brain cells, as well as the maintenance of brain tissue. 

The research, published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, looked specifically at the Microgalia call, which keeps the brain functioning properly. 

And while the term 'proper brain function' might seem slightly vague, the research becomes highly significant when you consider that inflammation in brain cells has been linked to diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Rasmussen's encephalitis and dementia. 

It should be noted, however, that the best results were seen with a combination of a low-fat diet and limited calorie intake, and simply reducing the your fat intake may not be enough to prevent these change in the brain. 

Dr Bart Eggen who was the lead author of the study is quoted by PsyBlog as saying: "A low-fat diet per se was not sufficient to prevent these changes."

"Nevertheless, these data do show that, in mice, the fat content of a diet is an important parameter in terms of the detrimental effects of ageing on the brain, as well as caloric intake."

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Who would have ever thought that getting 40 extra winks could make you slimmer?

A new study from a research team at King's College London has found that sleeping more cuts down on sugar cravings.

Losing weight and sleeping in? This is a diet plan that sounds right up our alley, if you're into weight watching.

In the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition-published study, the researchers examined what happened when they extended the amount of time people slept each night.

They found that when people slept longer, they ate about 10 grams less sugar each day than average levels of sugar intake. Participants who slept longer also reduced their carbohydrate consumption.

'The fact that extending sleep led to a reduction in intake of free sugars, by which we mean the sugars that are added to foods by manufacturers or in cooking at home as well as sugars in honey, syrups, and fruit juice, suggests that a simple change in lifestyle may really help people to consume healthier diets,' principal investigator Dr. Wendy Hall noted.

In the study, 21 participants had sleep consultations in order to extend their visit to the land of nod by 90 minutes each night.

These participants were all people who previously slept less than seven hours a night, the recommended minimum time adults should sleep.

The team also studied 21 other adults who also were getting less than seven hours' sleep as a control group.

The participants who received sleep consultations were advised to avoid caffeine before going to bed, start a relaxing night time routine and not go to bed feeling too full or hungry. They were also given a specific bedtime.

Their sleep patterns and diets were monitored for a week after, and the results were impressive.

 

86 percent of the people in the sleep consultation group increased their amount of time in bed, and half increased their actual time spent asleep, from 52 to almost 90 minutes.

Those in the other group did not extend their time sleeping significantly.

However, it is thought that the extended sleep experienced by the group who received sleep advice may not have been of the best quality.

The team suggested that any new sleep routine will take some time to get used to.

'Sleep duration and quality is an area of increasing public health concern and has been linked as a risk factor for various conditions.'

'We have shown that sleep habits can be changed with relative ease in healthy adults using a personalised approach,' lead researcher Haya Al Khatib, from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, stated.

'Our results also suggest that increasing time in bed for an hour or so longer may lead to healthier food choices. This further strengthens the link between short sleep and poorer quality diets that has already been observed by previous studies.'

He continued that they hope to further examine nutrient intake and sleep patterns, especially in longer-term studies and populations that are at a higher risk of obesity or cardiovascular problems.

As if we needed an excuse to stay in bed longer…

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