When I was desperate to lose my belly fat and reduce my overall feelings of fatigue, I used to make my Italian Tomato Sauce recipe which features in the MyMT™ Food Guide in my 12 week programmes. I added lots of red peppers. Sometimes I would add a bit of chilli, but my distinctly non-chilli taste buds, prefer the peppers that aren’t burning hot.
At the time, I didn’t realise that I was helping to turn my white-fat around my belly and under my diaphragm into healthier, highly metabolic brown fat.
Although I was swimming for exercise as well as following the evidenced strategies to maintain a cooler body temperature during menopause (I have these in my Hot Flush Management module in the programmes), I wasn’t changing my food to help me burn belly-fat. Strategies which are evidenced to increase the body’s ability to burn calories and shed fat are due to a physiological process known as ‘Non-shivering Thermogenesis’. I talk about some of these strategies in my online Masterclasss on Menopause.
Non-shivering thermogenisis is the term given to how brown fat is able to increase our metabolism. I spoke about this in last Wednesday’s briefing, so if you missed it, then please check your emails. Put simply, brown fat helps to increase the body’s metabolism by increasing heat generation inside the body. The same principle as shivering does for heating up muscles, but this time it’s your fat tissue that is doing all the work. Brown fat that is, not white fat.
There are two ingredients in peppers that help with turning white fat to brown fat. These are Capsaicin and Capsinoids.
These compounds are active in peppers.
Many of you will know about capsaicin which is an active ingredient of hot chilli peppers. This is the ingredient that is responsible for the pungency and heat sensation of chilli peppers.
Capsinoids are in red peppers and this ingredient doesn’t have the pungency and heat of chilli peppers.
Both these compounds have elicited enormous interest in fat-loss supplements because of their role in enhancing fat oxidation (breaks down in the presence of oxygen) and increasing energy expenditure through moving white fat cells towards turning into brown fat cells.
Plant-based diets help to get your hormones into a healthier zone, but so too do foods which help you to increase your metabolism and help to reduce inflammation that accumulates in cells and tissues with ageing.
Peppers are one of these foods. So are tomatoes.
I don’t know about you, but over the years I was so caught up in the time-consuming exercise landscape, thinking that this was the daily dose of calorie burning that I needed. And yes, it certainly helped my mental health.
But what I WASN’T doing at the same time, was increasing my intake of vegetables and fruits and giving my body back the wonderful NUTRIENTS that it was craving.
How we ‘burn fat’ isn’t just about exercise. It’s also about giving your body a helping hand with the right ingredients.
So, why don’t you buy some peppers this week (chilli or not) and make the Italian Tomato Sauce recipe below and enjoy this over some vegies or a baked sweet potato and add this meal to your weekly repertoire. Enjoy your weekend everyone – give your body the power of the right foods that it needs as you transition menopause.
Italian Tomato Sauce – [from the original Moosewood Cookbook with some slight adjustments]
Preparation time 30 – 40 minutes 6 – 8 servings.
- 2 to 3 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 2 medium sized bell peppers – diced
- 2 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 ½ salt
- 1 x 13oz can tomatoes [and I add in 6 medium fresh tomatoes)
- 1 x 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 tsp honey (optional)
- Lots of black pepper
- 4 to 6 large cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup freshly chopped parsley
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add onion, bell pepper, herbs and salt and sauté over medium heat until the onion is very soft (8 to 10 minutes).
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, honey and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add garlic and cook about 10 minutes more. At this point, the sauce can sit for up to several hours or be refrigerated for up to a week. It can also be frozen. Heat gently before serving and add parsley on top.