Staying Healthy With Careful Diets

weighing scale

The world might be starting to re-open, at least in the richer countries, but a lot is still unknown about the coronavirus, and more specifically COVID-19. In the UK, the picture is becoming gradually clearer, relative to when the country went into lockdown back in March 2020.

It’s now known that certain groups of people seem to have been hit hardest by the virus, especially those in care homes. While that group are predominantly elderly, and it’s easy to write them off flippantly as having underlying medical conditions, that’s far from the whole story.

People who are overweight have been more heavily impacted too, with a growing risk the higher the BMI is. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a ratio of height to weight, and while it’s a very blunt tool, statistically at the population level it’s a great measure of where an individual’s risk might lie.

BMI isn’t something people should dwell upon individually though, people can be perfectly healthy and have a BMI level that might label them overweight or even obese. That tends to be true for people who have a lot of muscle mass, such as athletes or body builders. Those groups (assuming they exercise in a healthy manner) are likely to be more healthy on average rather than less.

Exercise is one half of the equation when it comes to getting BMI under control, and while we said people shouldn’t focus on their number, you should have a fairly good idea if you need to shed a few pounds (or more). If in doubt, speak to your doctor – especially if you have health conditions or are under 18 and thinking of dieting. When it comes to losing weight, though, no matter what diet fad is popular, the simplest and most effective technique is a calories in, calories out deficit.

In other words, however much energy (calories) you get eating each day, you should aim to burn off – and then some. Adult women typically naturally burn 2,000 calories a day just going about their daily lives. For men, that rises to 2,500 calories. That’s why recommended daily calorie intake figures you see on food packaging matches those numbers, for the average person in the middle of the NHS defined ‘green zone’ for BMI, eating those amounts will maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, you’d gradually gain weight until you level out and likewise if you need to ideal gain a little, your weight will increase slowly.

What that doesn’t account for is exercise. If you walk more, ideally more than the often quoted 10,000 steps per day at a pace to raise your heart rate sufficiently, you’ll get through even more calories. Add a fast session cycling and you’ll burn seven to eight calories a minute. In essence, moving more during the day will help increase that threshold of 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men.

It’s been suggested recently that exercise isn’t a great way to lose weight – by that, people are referring to exercise in isolation without modifying your diet. Of course it’s possible to do it that way, but you have to do a lot of exercise to shed fat. It’s generally accepted that a pound of weight loss equates to 3,500 calories.

In other words, if you get an exercise bike and burn 100 calories per day (that’s probably around 12 and a half minutes or so of pedalling), you’ll be just under a pound lighter a month later than you would have been without that time on the bike.

It’s important to note that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be a pound lighter in a month that you are today – if you’re currently gaining two pounds a month from overeating, you might only gain a pound this month with the cycling – a pound less than you’d otherwise have gained.

That last example highlights why turning to exercise can be a red herring, typically if you’re looking to lose weight, you’ve probably been eating more calories that you’ve been burning off, possibly over a very long period of time. At the very least, you need to tip the balance the other way to shed pounds. Ideally, if you can manage your diet to eat that maximum of 2,000 calories per day for women and 2,500 for men, you’ll be in a much better place. That way you’re changing your lifestyle which is required for long term results. Add in more exercise on top of that and you’ll see quicker results too.

At a time when being overweight means been far more susceptible to getting very ill from a virus on the loose, we should all be thinking about our waistlines and staying as healthy as possible. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg in the place of junk food is wise, and making meals like soups at home from fresh produce can be both healthy and satisfying too.

Making Soup, Toast, Tea & Coffee – What Else?

uk plug

I love electric machines that do things for you! Of all the places in the house I want my kitchen to have as many things in it as it can. Why wouldn’t I? ALL I want to do is make life simple. From being a little girl there’s now loads more things I could use to make my life quicker and easier in the kitchen than I ever saw or knew about when I was younger!

The things I already knew about

Electric kettles:

I mean I have seen ‘old school’ kettles that people use on the cooker or hob, but we had an electric one in our house when I was little. My grandparents even had them! There are tonnes out there to choose from these days. I’ve seen them in different shapes, sizes and colours as well as loads of different shops.


Now this is a bit different for me. When I was really little toast was always made under the grill in my house. When I got a bit older my Mum must have got fed up needing to keep watching the bread under the grill because we then had a toaster in the kitchen. I’ve now discovered that, just like kettles, there are loads of different ones about. Some toast 2 slices of bread but there are others double the size that can toast 4 pieces! If you like things that match, there’s even quite a few matching sets of electric things like kettles and toasters for the kitchen.


This was one of the things my Mum used to heat up and make food loads of the time; even sponge pudding treats on a Sunday! Since growing up a bit I’ve discovered that there are different types you can buy from simple, old school microwaves to well flashy ones like microwave ovens! Winner. You can see loads to buy at


I loved baking as a kid; my Mum must have as well cause one of the best things we had in our kitchen was a mixer. It was brilliant. It had a bowl that attached to it, and an arm that you lifted up and down. You could change the metal bit that went into the bowl and the speed it whizzed round at. It was fab! Ramble, ramble! Basically, mixers can do all sorts and are great at helping you make things on your own – if you want to!

Things I’ve since discovered

Coffee machines:

Since I’ve got older, I know that coffee machines exist. I’ve known this ever since I’ve been in coffee shops and seen the staff making my coffee using a machine! What I DIDN’T realise until I read more online was you could get them for your own kitchen! It turns out there are loads of different ones. One of my friends has a machine she puts ground coffee in, another has one that crushes coffee beans each time it makes a drink and then there’s my Mum. She’s now got a machine you put coffee capsules in – good choice after I left home! You think that’s funny – I didn’t even know that cafetières existed until I went to see my boyfriend’s parents! ‘Cause I love coffee so much I’ve now got an electric bean-to-cup machine for myself. All I’ve got to do once the beans are in is make sure there’s water in and press a button! The next thing I know my cup is full of freshly made coffee. Another winner.

Soup makers:

I’ve always loved soup since being a little girl, but again as I grew up I didn’t even know you can make soup yourself. I only thought, till I was in my twenties, that soup came in tins or packets! I got into making my own soup when I wanted to get healthier. All I used to use was a pan and a masher or blender [another thing I discovered as a grown up!]. When a friend invited me round for dinner, soup it was, she got it out of something that was plugged into the wall. Turns out there are soup makers out there! (Here’s some examples)

I’ve now discovered that having one means I can make my soup a) with less work and b) even faster. I love it. Now I can make even more soups!

Slow cookers:

Another thing introduced to me by a friend. I’ve always loved eating stews and casseroles but if I’m honest making them takes too long. I don’t even trust myself anymore either after I left it on its own, forgot about it and it burnt and stuck to the bottom of the pan! The downside is I love stew! What a winner to find out that slow cookers can make things like stews for you.I simply need to sort the ingredients out, put them in, set the machine and presto! Dinner is ready when I want it.

Raw Foods Make Perfect Ingredients

woman carrying veg

There are some people who swear by a diet of raw food. This can be a great idea, but you do have to be careful that you are getting a balanced diet. Most raw foods will be in the form of fruits and vegetables, but there are other things you can try as well. When you eat a lot of these things, you have to worry about getting enough protein. This is why when you are on a diet you have to make sure you get your multi vitamin each day to stay healthy and strong.

Some of the most common ingredients you may like are the things you put into a salad. Lettuce and tomatoes are very good for you, and you want to add as much of a variety as possible. You can also have a fruit salad made up of almost any fruit you wish, and these raw foods will be nice and filling for you. You might get bored though, and that is why you should make sure you are getting a great variety of these foods.

You may soon find, however, that a raw diet is something that you are going to get bored with rather quickly no matter how much you switch things up. You can have raw eggs in this diet, but that is something that most people will tell you to shy away from. The danger of getting sick from them is very high. Some athletes like to drink eggs in the morning to get a shot of protein, but some of them get sick while doing so. This might be one of the ingredients that you want to avoid. You can never be sure that an egg is free of bacteria that can cause sickness.

You can still enjoy raw food as the biggest part of your diet, but you may find that you need to add some cooked foods to it. You may want to get lean meats or fish to go with the food you are eating just for the sake of the protein and so that you don’t get bored with your diet. Boredom in one of the biggest diet killers out there. You can do well for a while, but you will soon wish you had something else to eat. If you feel panicked, make sure you add something else as you go along before you end up lying in bed with a bag of Doritos and a gallon of soda. Be healthy, but also be realistic when you are trying any diet plan.

Making soup is a brilliant example of why it’s so important to source the freshest ingredients possible. Soups taste so much better when prepared soon after the vegetables (and fruits in the case of the humble tomato!) are harvested. Quick action means better nutrition. Family meals can be more rich tasting by using fresh raw foodstuffs, and can keep your children healthy with a good diet. The whole family benefits from a few simple changes. You can even grow your own fruit and vegetables – no shop can ever rival produce in the freshness stakes when you grow your own!

Teen Diets

citrus fruit

If you have a teenager that is expressing a need to lose weight, you should do everything that you can to help them. You really have to be careful though, or you could send them on a lifetime trail of dieting and unhealthy body image. When you want to assist with weight loss in children, even older children, you have to watch how you speak and what you focus on. If you talk about looks and clothing sizes, you are going to do a lot of damage. There are some things kids can bounce back from, but developing a phobia about gaining a few extra pounds is not something that you want them to carry around with them forever.

Teen diets can be tricky because they are still growing. They can’t cut their calories down too far or they may end up not getting the essential vitamins they need each day. That can lead to poor health and huge problems. Diet plans have to be slow to work, and they have to focus on regular portions of healthy foods and a lot of exercise. It is healthier to get them moving than to cut down their portions to almost nothing. The best part though, is that it is far easier to get teens moving for exercise than it is for adults.

When it comes to teenage nutrition, make sure you focus on health and not beauty. Though we all feel that we are more attractive when we are thin, we don’t want that to be something that they focus on. They should focus on health, well being, and living a longer life. Though life span is not something that teens seem to take seriously, you should still make that your focus. The best gift you can give them is to make meal plans seem like they aren’t diets at all, but rather a new way to look at healthy living.

When weight loss goals fail, you might want to get intervention from your doctor. If your child is just twenty pounds overweight that might not be necessary, but if they are carrying around more than that, you want to get them help before their health suffers. You have to be careful how you go about these calorie controlled diets, but you do have to do something for the sake of their health. They may moan and whine, but if you want them to be around for a long time, you have to push past that and help them get moving and eating better, even if it means being sneaky about it.

Here at Low Dog, we’re all about fresh ingredients to create balanced, nutrient rich meals. We hope you read a lot about how to achieve that, as all ages can benefit from well thought through meal plans with the best ingredients.

The Kennel Is Open

come in we're open

Welcome To Low Dogs, the new home of the Big Dawg.

We’ve spent years learning our culinary crafts and finally we’re ready to unleash our taste-bud tingling creations on the world.

This is our brand new kennel on the web, our eKennel, our digital home.

We’ve started here on the web to bring our creations to you wherever you are, the computer at home, on the go on mobile, or even when kicking back with the iPad. We’re literally teaching this old dog new tricks, and we want you to benefit from our innovative recipe book too.

It may be a new start, but the food in our kitchen is still just the same, just as the music still plays the same, and that music will always find its way home. For now though, here’s the new, and we hope you’ll be returning to see us again soon.