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healthy eating

Anyone who’s been giving clean eating a go will have heard the word ‘superfood‘. But what does it really mean?

When it comes to eating healthily it is important to know what exactly you are putting into your body – especially if you’re trying to drop a few pounds.

The truth is, some so-called ‘superfoods’ are not so super for you after all. With that in mind we’ve put together a list of what to include in your diet and what to avoid.

Superfoods you need in your life…

Cocoa powder
Like chocolate, cocoa powder contains flavonoids which are known to help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the brain and the heart. With less than 15 calories per tablespoon cocoa provides a strong chocolate flavour without the guilt.

Try adding the powder to a smoothie for a rich chocolatey taste.

Sea-grown vegetables are packed with omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc and vitamin C. However seaweed is most treasured for its concentrated source of iodine which is crucial for normal growth and production of thyroid hormones.

Slice up some nori sheets and add to your salad or wrap for an extra crunch or add to your smoothie for an extra mineral kick.

Goji berries
Goji berries contain a lot of vitamin C needed for healthy teeth and gums and for protecting the liver. The have been used for centuries by Chinese herbalists to treat eye, liver and kidney ailments.

Sprinkle over cereal to instantly increase the nutritional density of the cereal.


And the superfoods best ignored…

Wheatgrass can cause nausea, appetite loss, and constipation and is often blended with sweeteners. It’s much better to stick to the leafy greens, like spinach for example, which is more affordable – and tastes better.


Vitamin-enriched drinks
Many vitamin drinks come flavoured with excess sugar and artificial additives. So keep things natural instead by simply adding lemon or lime slices to your normal water.

Gluten-free products 
These often have added sugars to make up for the lack of flavour. So unless you have an intolerance for gluten you should give these expensive items a skip.



In case you may not have noticed, we enjoy Instagram for the food possibly more than the fashion.

Although, that really depends on the day that’s in it, but at SHEmazing we find it hard not to double tap any time we see a pretty foodie snap. For example, this beautiful cake:


A photo posted by SHEmazing (@shemazingie) on

Or indeed, cheesecake of all sizes:


A photo posted by SHEmazing (@shemazingie) on

So almost every time we open the app we are left feeling practically ravenous, and that’s before we’re even close to lunch time!

While many believe that scrolling through some #foodporn is just harmless fun, a new study has made us all regret following that last pastry chef immediately.

A new study in the journal Brain and Cognition suggests we may have been using Instagram wrong: "Regular exposure to virtual foods nowadays, and the array of neural, physiological, and behavioral responses linked to it, might be exacerbating our physiological hunger way too often.”

Basically, seeing everybody and their pug post pictures of their meals encourages you to feast every time they feast regardless of whether you are actually hungry or not.

If you spend too much time scrolling through a food-heavy Instagram feed you could end up eating excess calories that contribute to weight gain.

Apparently, even seeing images of food can physically affect you, making you salivate, messing with insulin levels, and even shaking up your heart rate. This is all in anticipation of eating the food you see on screen.

The study is not all bad news though. Eating habits are quite complicated and vary from person to person, so you may not need to unfollow every pizzeria on social media.

However, the study does draw attention to the link between those staring at mouth-watering looking recipes all day every day and their weight-gain.


We are all for a healthy diet and ditching the sweets and treats for the lighter options. However, when we bring our healthy food haul home and find it rotten two days later, we get frustrated.

It can be hard to stick to a healthy eating regime when we find ourselves spending money on food that won’t last.

So, to try and avoid any unnecessary food frustrations, try these tricks for keeping your healthy food fresher for longer.

Don’t put tomatoes in fridge:

The flavour diminishes and their texture can go a bit off. It is recommended you keep them on the counter in order to allow them to fully ripen.

Lettuce and chill:

You work too hard to come home to limp lettuce with no flavour and zero charm. So, avoid shrinking leaves by separating them and putting them in a sink full of iced water for up to 30 mins. So fresh and so crisp.

Ripen avocados at room temperature:

One of the most temperamental of all the foods; avocados can seem to take forever to be ready to eat and then turn in split second. When you need them to ripen quickly one interesting trick is popping them in a brown paper bag with a banana. Just make sure you keep an eye on them!

Put your bananas together:

If you’re not a fan of peeling blackened bananas, although what lies beyond the skin is far more important, then don’t separate them before storing. Also, refrigerating your ripened bananas will stop them from turning before you eat them.

Line your salad drawers:

Putting a few sheets of kitchen roll in the drawer with your veggies will keep them crisp while they chill. The kitchen roll will keep them fresh also make your cleaning faster, hurrah!


If you're trying to eat light, salads probably seems like the perfect option, but they're not always the mealtime wonders they're made out to be.

Salads, especially ones that aren't homemade (think pre-packaged, dressing-laden varieties) often tend to be one of two things. Either they're jam-packed with hidden calories from additions like croutons, creamy dressing, bacon or breaded chicken, or they're bland, boring plates of iceberg lettuce and little else.

If you're planning a clean eating kick, take a few minutes to make up a salad at home with some of the following ingredients. It'll be far cheaper, tastier and healthier. Who can argue with that?

1. Dark leafy greens
Iceberg, baby gem and other light green lettuces have an extremely high water content and very few nutrients. Base your salad around darker greens like spinach, rocket and kale for a tastier and more beneficial meal.

2. Nuts and seeds
Add crunch, texture and a whole load of protein and heart-healthy fats by sprinkling a large spoonful of seeds or chopped nuts over your salad. Pistachios, almonds and walnuts are all great options. If you find seeds boring, try lightly toasting them first in a dry frying pan until golden brown. Toasted sunflower and sesame seeds are a revelation… you'll be hooked.

3. Eggs
Filling, packed with protein and pretty much carb-free… what more could you want? A slightly runny poached egg is perfect over a salad, or if you're on the go, make egg muffins ahead of time and slice them over the salad. We love this recipe from Irish blog Cup Of Three.

4. Quinoa, pearl barely or farro
Wholegrains FTW. Cooked grains instantly make a light salad into a filling meal with minimal effort. Cook the grain using your preferred method ahead of time and stir through the salad once it's ready to go.

5. Beans
Kidney beans, black-eyed beans and chickpeas are all tasty salad fillers, and if you go for the canned options there is literally no prep involved. Simply open, drain and rinse. They're packed with fibre and protein and will leave you feeling satisfied until dinner.

6. Citrus fruits
Want a salad that looks incredible AND tastes amazing? Slice some grapefruit, blood orange or tangerine on top of that bad boy. Light vinaigrettes and balsamic dressings are perfect with that citrus tang.

7. Beetroot
The health benefits of beetroot are endless, and it's a cheap and hassle-free salad ingredient. Try slicing and roasting beetroot wedges for 20 -25 minutes with some honey and oil, or simply grate some raw beetroot over the top of your salad. Beware though, raw beetroot will stain everything in sight, so don't mix it through the other ingredients unless you want an entirely pink meal.



If certain health publications are to be believed, we should all have sworn off cooking with olive oil long ago in favour of coconut, sunflower or other "safer" cooking products.

While olive oil has always been considered a heart-healthy oil when used in salad dressings or as a dip for bread, many foodies wrote off using the oil for cooking as it was believed to develop dangerous toxic compounds when used with high heats.

Now though, new research says olive oil might be a much safer choice than previously thought, and it is actually more resistant to heat than other plant-based oils like sunflower, corn, and soybean. 

"I have found no evidence that high-heat cooking with olive oil is unhealthy," says US clinical nutrition director Rebecca Blake to Prevention magazine. "There's no proof."

All oils (including your beloved coconut oil) will break down, lose nutrients and can even develop harmful compounds when heat is applied. However olive oil is relatively resistant to these changes given its high antioxidant content.

The key when cooking with olive oil is to avoid the "smoke point", i.e. the temperature at which the oil begins to break down. Olive oil has a fairly low smoke point, so you should avoid it when cooking on very high heats eg. when searing or using a wok.

The smoke point for a standard extra virgin olive oil starts at about 190 degrees Celsius, but gets higher for lower quality olive oils.

If you do plan on cooking with high heats, Ms. Blake recommends using corn, soybean, peanut oil or sesame oil, all of which have a high smoke point.


As if we don’t have enough things to worry about on a day-to-day basis, trying to remember to get the right amount of fruit and veg into our diets can cause more stress than it needs to.

And while we can’t ignore the importance of getting enough nutrients, we CAN give you a few sneaky tips to make the process that bit easier and less tiresome.

1. Load your breakfast

We know everyone doesn’t always have the time in the morning to cook up a tasty breakfast when they’re running out the door to work or school, but mixing some banana slices and fresh berries into your yoghurt or cereal is a great way to kick-start your day in the right direction.

2. Hide them in your cooking

If you find there’s only so much veg you can put on your plate before you explode, grate them down and hide it in your cooking. What exactly do we mean? Finely shred or grate your fruit and veg down and mix them into your favourite recipes. For example, grated courgette or carrots are delicious when mixed into meat to make burgers. Or try pureeing cooked cauliflower and stirring it through your mash.

3. Double the recipe

Whether you are making soup, sandwiches, or pizza, whatever your usual amount of veg is – double it. Don’t worry about ruining a recipe if it requires a certain amount of veg. Adding more will simply add to the nutritional value of your meal, as well as the flavour of it.

4. Experiment

Keep things interesting by adding one new fruit or vegetable to your shopping list each week. If you are trying something new, it is important to make sure that your chosen item is in season to make the experience more enjoyable. As we’re rolling into summer (and the weather seems to finally be catching up) it is a good time to add asparagus and aubergine to your cooking, and to nibble on berries for dessert.

5. Daily dessert

When most of us think dessert we think loads of cream and calories. But why not have a dessert after every dinner? Fruit desserts will provide something sweet after your meal, and provide extra nutritional goodness into your daily intake. Strawberries are great after dinner, or try freezing grapes or banana slices for a tasty summer snack.

6. Drink them

If you want a huge fruit and veg boost when you’re on the go, smoothies are a great way to get it. Create your own with your favourite fruit and veg to suit your tastes. Don’t be afraid to mix things up as well. Mango and papaya are delicious in smoothies and even cucumber can work surprisingly well. 



Now that we’ve all gotten over the disappointment of Beyonce’s ‘big surprise’ being that she has a new 22-day vegan diet, we can stop to actually appreciate just how utterly fab she’s looking.

Indeed, the 33-year-old looks hotter than she ever did as a 20-something year old (and she was a pretty hot 20-something year old).

Need proof? Just check out the poolside pics that she posted to her Instagram account, showing off just how amazingly well a plant-based diet has worked for her.

But Queen B isn't the only A-lister ditching meat and dairy. In fact, it is definitely the Hollywood diet trend of the moment.

So without further ado, here are eight beautiful celebrities evidently for whom a vegan-diet is perfectly suited…

Rosanna Davison:

The beautiful former Miss World gave up animal products
several years ago as a result of her degree studies
– she's now a fully qualified and practising nutritionist 


Ellie Goulding

For this blonde bombshell, the hardest part is giving up
cheese – still, it seems the sacrifice is worth it:
she's shed a load of weight lately and looks fantastic


Jennifer Lopez

J-Lo admits giving up butter is the most difficult part
for her, but as a 45 year old who looks 25,
we reckon she doesn't miss it that much


Jessica Simpson

She's definitely not eating chicken of the sea anymore!
A vegan diet has worked wonders for Jessica: she
lost 60lbs after the birth of her second child


Brad Pitt

Apparently Angie doesn't agree with it, but Brad is looking
ever-so handsome in his 50s following the adoption of a
more vegan-focused diet programme


Lea Michele

Lea Michele is a vegan because of health reasons and
because she's passionate about animal rights


Ariana Grande

Ariana explained her vegan lifestyle saying
that she loves animals more than people


Jared Leto

The Oscar winner follows a vegan lifestyle along
with the rest of his 30 Seconds To Mars bandmates



When we're not creeping on Kylie and Kendall, we generally use Instagram for one other purpose: food porn.

Luckily, Ireland is full of amazing foodies who are only delighted to share their recipes and meal pictures with us all via social media.

If you've been finding it hard to stay motivated when it comes to eating clean, hit "follow" on these IG accounts right now. You won't regret it…

1. The Paleo Chemist
Considering going grain-free? You'll love this Instagram account, full of gorgeous recipe inspiration with the paleo lifestyle in mind. 


A photo posted by Mary Treasa (@thepaleochemist) on


2. Nourishing Fir
Fresh, colourful food from a self-confessed "nutrition nerd," with lots of summer-ready meals.


A photo posted by Fir (@nourishingfir) on


3. The Irish Health Diaries
Mouth-watering vegetarian and vegan food, all beautifully presented. If you're considering changing to a plant-based diet, you need to check this account out.


A photo posted by @theirishhealthdiaries on


4. Katy Tanham
Fitness instructor and PT Katy is a walking advertisement for a clean eating, clean living lifestyle. Her IG is a great mix of exercise tips and meal inspo.


A photo posted by Katy Tanham Fitness (@kt_pt_) on


5. Ohh Mai Goodness
A gym addict with a love of healthy, fresh food (and the odd indulgence), Ohh Mai Goodness gives us serious life envy.


A photo posted by Mairín (@ohh_mai_goodness) on


6. Lisa Eats Healthy Food
Lisa's Instagram account offers exactly what it says on the tin – realistic, healthy meals that aren't too try-hard.


A photo posted by Lisa (@lisaeatshealthyfood) on


No matter how good your intentions are when it comes to clean eating, it's hard to ignore that 3pm slump. Working in an office environment, late afternoon boredom or tiredness can have us reaching from that off-limits bar of chocolate or slice of cake without even thinking.

The best way to avoid breaking your good habits once a mid-afternoon craving hits is to prepare well and always have a variety of tasty and healthy snacks on hand. Mix it up from day to day so you don't get bored. Here are a few ideas to get you started…

1. Dried mango or apricot
Dried fruits are the perfect craving killer – sweet enough to satisfy your need for sugar, but moreish enough that just a few pieces will do. You can buy small prepackaged bags of dried fruit in most supermarkets, or go for a larger bag and pop a few in a sandwich bag or Tupperware to bring to the office.

2. Nut butters
Almond butter, peanut butter and cashew butter are all filling, high-protein snack options that won't ruin your diet. Spread them on a rice cake, Ryvita or some wholemeal toast and top with banana or sliced grapes for a simple, satisfying treat.

3. Fruit and nut mixes
When it comes to snacking on nuts, almond and pistachios are your best bet as they offer the biggest protein boost per gram. If a handful isn't enough, mix your nuts with some blueberries or raspberries to sweeten things up.

4. Smoothies and shakes
A fruit smoothie or protein shake is an easy make-ahead option that you'll look forward to come the afternoon. Blend whatever mix of fruits you prefer with some ice, yoghurt and a banana, plus a scoop of protein if you wish. 

5. Hummus or guacamole dippers
Sliced carrots, peppers and mange tout are great when teamed with a dip like hummus or homemade guacamole. Simply slice and go.


If you're trying to lose weight or simply to eat clean, it can be easy to be tempted by foods that claim to be healthy or "fat-free."

Not all so-called "healthy" foods are necessarily good for you or your waistline, though, so it's important to be clear what it is you're actually eating.

Here are a few not-so-healthy foods to watch out for…

1. Pre-made salads
A salad might seem like it's definitely the healthier option if you're grabbing lunch on the go, but watch out for dressings which can be packed with oil and sugar. As for tuna or prawn salads, these are generally loaded with mayonnaise and are far from a healthy choice. If you're ordering a salad when eating out, ask for the dressing on the side and watch your portion sizes. 

2. Energy bars or protein bars
If your pre-workout snack of choice is a shop-bought energy bar, you could be packing in excess calories without realising. These can often be filled with sugar and fat, so make your own instead or simply go for a protein-heavy snack like a handful of almonds instead.

3. Wholemeal bread
Many wholemeal breads, especially cheaper brands, are often simply dyed with colouring agent to appear brown and can in fact be worse for you than plain white bread. Even if you're choosing fresh wholemeal bread, be careful – just because it's wholegrain doesn't mean it won't bloat you as much as any other kind of bread.

4. Smoothies
Portion size is a huge issue when it comes to smoothies, especially if you are buying them from a juice or smoothie bar. While smoothies are a great source of fruit, they are often thickened and sweetened with sugar, full-fat yoghurt or even ice cream. Not good. Make your own at home instead and use a dollop or two of natural yoghurt instead of ice cream or excess sugar.

5. Granola
Granola once had a reputation as a serious health food, but there are so many better options out there than a bowl of honey coated oats with dried fruit. Try a wholemeal porridge instead – it'll fill you up for longer and you only need a small portion to feel satisfied. As for granola bars, look for brands with less than 10g sugar per bar or simply make your own to be sure of what's going into them.


Healthy eating doesn't have to be bland and boring. If you're trying to maintain a clean diet but are losing inspiration fast, you need to get your hands on one of these bad boys – four cookbooks that prove just how exciting (and tasty) natural foods can be.

Whether you're going for a plant-based diet or are simply trying to cut down on certain food groups, the recipes and tips in these books are sure to get you motivated.

The Happy Pear: Recipes and Stories From The First Ten Years
David & Stephen Flynn

Irish brothers David and Stephen set up The Happy Pear back in 2004 as a grocery shop, but it has since grown into a household name for clean eating. The boys published their first book just before Christmas, and with more than 250 original and colourful recipes inside, you won't want to leave the kitchen!


The Extra Virgin Kitchen: Recipes for Wheat-Free, Sugar-Free and Dairy-Free Eating
Susan Jane White
Gill & Macmillan

Since its release last year, The Extra Virgin Kitchen has become an essential for many health conscious eaters. Journalist Susan Jane White's clean eating journey began when she was told to stay away from wheat, sugar and dairy. Rather than face a bland and lifeless future, Susan set out developing her own innovative recipes, full of flavour and imagination.


Plenish: Juices to Boost, Cleanse and Heal
Kara Rosen
Mitchell Beazley

Whether you're turning to juicing as a multi-day detox or simply want to start your day off right with something fresh and full of nutrients, Kara Rosen's book is jampacked with recipes to suit every need.  As well as containing information on over 40 juice blends, Plenish can show you how to detox, heal your body naturally, fuel your system, fight disease, improve wellbeing, and lose weight. Win!


Deliciously Ella
Ella Woodward
Yellow Kite

From decadent desserts to vibrant salads, Deliciously Ella will school you in how to create a variety of simple and tasty made from natural and fresh ingredients. A must-have for summertime cooking!



So the diet's been going well all day, until 3pm hits and all thoughts of healthy eating go out the window. You're in the mood for chocolate and those biscuits in the cupboard are looking mighty tempting.

When you've got a craving, it can be hard to ignore – but you don't necessarily have to eat something high-fat or high-sugar to satisfy it.

Here are a few suggestions of snack ideas to satisy each and every craving type.

1. The sugar craving

What you want: Something sweet. Haribo jellies, cake, whatever – just give me the sugar.

What to snack on: Tangy fruits contain natural sugars which are better for your body than processed and refined ones. Try some fresh pineapple for a real sweet hit, or some low-fat yoghurt with granola and berries. If you want something more substantial, frozen yoghurt is a great low-fat option – just stick to plain rather than flavoured yoghurt and choose healthier toppings like fruit and nuts.

2. The chocolate craving

What you want: Dairy Milk, Galaxy, last year's Easter egg, basically anything containing delicious cocoa. 

What to snack on: A square or two of dark chocolate is far lower in fat and will satisfy you more quickly than milk or white chocolate. Stick to chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. A chocolate covered rice cake only contains around 60 calories so is another great healthy option. If you're after something really moreish, try light chocolate regular milk or soy milk.

3. The salt craving

What you want: McDonalds or a messy Chinese takeaway. MSG please!

What to snack on: Pistachios will still satisfy your salt cravings and they contain more antioxidants than other nuts. Plus, having to crack open a shell each time means you can't mindlessly eat three handfuls without realising. Pita chips and popcorn are other low-fat salty snacks that will get you through the worst of any craving!