Category Archives: Health and Fitness

5 Tips on How to Find Balance in Your Life

Finding balance in our every day lives can often be very challenging especially today when we lead such hectic  lives. There are a lot of women who struggle to find the balance with motherhood and holding a job which leads to major stress. How often have we said to ourselves that there are not enough hours in a day to do everything. Finding balance is essential if we want to have a healthy body and mind. It is important to understand that balance is not a temporary fix. It is long term. It won’t always be easy to find that balance and you will struggle in the beginning, but the important thing is not to give up and keep trying until you get there. Here below are a few tips that I hope you will find useful.

Goals

When setting goals it is important to set realistic ones. Focus on the important things that matter most. Concentrate on setting long term and short term goals. Set goals focusing on your finances, job and relationships. Sit down, concentrate and write down what you really want to achieve and be consistent in committing to your goals.

Prioritise 

When you set goals and make lists you write down the most important things to do first. You just have to figure out what is more important and then you systematically get it done crossing it off your to do  list. This is important as it gives you structure and order stopping you stressing about doing everything at once, which is virtually impossible and just causes unnecessary anxiety.

Learn to say no

Do not feel obliged that you have to say yes to every one all the time whether it is at work or at home. This becomes easier as you get older. You can be polite and still say no. If you do not want to do something don’t do it. No point adding more stress to your already busy life.

Learn to delegate

Do not be afraid to ask for help. It is impossible to do everything yourself.  We all need help. So get your partners and children to help you. If you know you won’t have time to do something , instead of stressing just ask your partner. Get your children to do chores around the house. Write down a schedule with different tasks and stick it on the fridge so the whole family know what they have to do.

Find time for yourself

This is extremely important. Find one day a week where you totally relax and pamper yourself. Have a massage, facial or a manicure. This will make you feel good. Yoga is extremely relaxing and calming so try to do it at least once a week. Taking a break from social media is also a good idea. Instead of spending hours on the phone, tablet or computer  in the evenings, take a relaxing long bath and listen to some classical music. This will make you sleep well and you will be refreshed the next morning.

 

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Turmeric Paste

Turmeric is so good for you. It is anti-cancer. This paste is so easy to make. If you have it on its own it will not taste that great, but you can put it into your smoothies, almond milk, porridge and curries. I even put it on my oven baked fish.

Ingredients

I/2 cup of organic ground turmeric

1 cup of water (you may need more)

1 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

70 ml of coconut oil

Method

Place the turmeric  and water in a pot on medium heat and stir until it becomes a paste. This should take about 8 minutes. It should not be too watery so if it is add more turmeric and if it is too dry add more water.

Once the paste is ready let it cool a little and when still warm add the black pepper, coconut oil and ground ginger and mix well together.

Once it has cooled place in a glass jar and store it in fridge. It can be stored for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy.

 

 

Lamb Stew with Vegetables

Stews just like soups are perfect meals for the freezing cold weather and you can pretty much add whatever vegetables you like. You can use other meat like beef or chicken. Please make sure that the meat you use is organic as non organic meat is injected with antibiotics and hormones.

Ingredients

500 grams of  stewing lamb diced

300 grams of potatoes peeled and chopped

2 medium onions finely chopped

2 carrots chopped

2 celery sticks chopped

1/2 cup of frozen peas

A generous amount of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

500ml of meat stock

1 cup of water

1 garlic clove finely chopped

1/2 glass of organic red wine

1 bay leaf

1 small sprig fresh rosemary

Chili flakes

Himalayan salt and ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric

Method

Season the lamb with salt and pepper and sauté in olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots and sauté for 10 minutes adding the tomato paste, chili flakes, turmeric and the red wine.  Then add the bay leaf, rosemary, broth and water. Bring to a boil, then bring to a simmer and give it a good stir then put the lid on. Cook for 1 hour keeping an eye on it stirring it occasionally.  After one hour add the potatoes and cook for another 30-40 minutes. Keep tasting and season to your liking. Add the peas at the end before serving. If it looks dry add a little water.

 

Smoothies vs Juicing: Which One Is Better For You?

This is a question I often get asked by my clients. Both smoothies and juices are more popular than ever with everyone going on juice cleanses and detoxes. Which one is better for you? Both offer benefits in different ways. Here below I explain the differences.

Juicing

Juicing is good for quick absorption of nutrients. It takes 15 minutes for the nutrients from a juice to hit the blood stream. This is very good in people that have digestive issues, are suffering  from an illness and their digestion is compromised. It is also good for people that are stressed as stress places a strain on the digestive system.  Juicing is also good as it includes raw foods packed full of enzymes that are lost during cooking. Juicing places less of a strain on the liver. Ideally fruit and vegetable juices should not be mixed together. Apples and carrots are the exception. Since a juice is very quick in hitting the blood stream it is important not to use too much fruit as this can cause a spike in sugar levels. Vegetable juices are best for people suffering from blood sugar problems. Fruit juices are high in sugar and can also cause weight gain as juicing removes the fibre.

Removing the fibre is what makes juices easier to be absorbed as your digestive system does not have to work hard to absorb the nutrients. Also in a juice you can pack larger quantities of vegetables than you would be able to eat. This means you are able to get more nutrients from a glass of juice.

It is important to remember that fibre in your diet is important so if you tend to have lots of juices remember to also eat your greens.

Smoothies

Smoothies are fantastic especially in the morning as they are super quick to prepare. You just throw everything into a blender and blend away. You can really include all sorts of goodies in your smoothie. You can add chia seeds, nut butters, oats, superfood powders like spirulina and wheatgrass, protein powders. The list goes on.

The fibre in a smoothie releases nutrients into the blood stream slowly balancing blood sugar levels avoiding spikes. You pack in less fruit and vegetables into a smoothie but smoothies are more filling keeping you fuller for longer. A juice can leave you feeling hungry.

With both juices and smoothies it is important to drink them within 15 minutes so the nutrients to do not get destroyed.

I hope this helps and keep enjoying both your smoothies and juices.

Chicken Soup

I know it has been freezing cold back in the Uk so thought I would post a warming soup. This is a simple and easy soup to make and so delicious and healthy. Please make sure to use organic chicken as non organic meat is injected with hormones and antibiotics.

Ingredients

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

1/2 an onion finely chopped

2 chopped peeled carrots

1 small chopped sweet potato

1/2 teaspoon of ground turmeric

A generous amount of extra virgin olive oil

2 small chicken breasts (without the bone)

A handful of spinach

himalayan salt and pepper

4 cups of chicken stock

Method

Place a pan with the garlic, onion, olive oil on medium heat for a minute or two then add the chopped carrots and sweet potato and sauté for 7-10 minutes. If you prefer you can oven roast them for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to your liking.

The chicken you can roast in the oven, bear in mind that it will take longer to cook than the veggies so you can prepare the chicken the day before. It will take the chicken about 30-40 minutes to cook. Pre heat the oven to 200C and  place in an oven tray and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Heat the chicken stock in a pan and add the turmeric. Once the carrots and sweet potatoes are ready, you can put half in the blender with a cup of water, puree them and add them to the stock together with the other cooked vegetables. Shred the chicken breasts and place them in the chicken stock and cook for 15 minutes. Then add the spinach and once the spinach has wilted serve.

 

6 Tips to Live Longer

There are so many people living longer healthier lives today and you can be one of them. All you have to do is make simple changes in your lifestyle. Stop smoking, cut down on the alcohol and get active. Here below are a few tips that I hope will help.

Eat Healthy

Include more fruit and vegetables into your life. Put fruit in your porridge in the mornings and choose fruit as  a snack. Include plenty of vegetables lunch and dinner. Eat what is in season making sure to eat a wide range of colourful vegetables. Include plenty of green leafy vegetables. Make sure to clean your fruit and vegetables thoroughly with white vinegar or bicarbonate of soda especially if not organic. This will get rid of all the pesticides and nasty chemicals. Another great way to include more vegetables into your diet is by having more smoothies and juices.

Include good quality protein in your diet choosing plant based protein like lentils, chickpeas, all beans and tofu. Eat more fish and when eating meat make sure to go for organic and white meat without the skin. If going for red meats go for lean cuts. Too much animal fats in your diet can lead to disease like coronary heart disease and cancer.

Go for healthy fats like avocado, nuts and seeds. Choose complex carbohydrates like brown rice and wholewheat pastas.

Make sure you do not over eat. Over eating will cause you to age as well as onset of disease. You should always walk away from your  plate feeling still hungry not completely stuffed. All people that reach the age of 100 eat little. As we age it is important not to over eat in the evenings. This is not to put pressure on your digestive system and the  heart, so make dinner the lightest meal of the day and eat at least 2 hours before going to bed.

Get Moving

Being active is  the key to longevity. Being a couch potato in front of the tv for hours on end will shorten your life. Make sure to do at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. This can be either in the gym, or even  brisk walking is good. Be active during the day, Keep busy, do not spend hours sitting down. Instead of driving or catching the tube or bus choose to walk. Get off the bus a few stops before and walk to work or the shops.

Sleep 

Make sure to get a good nights sleep. This too is essential for a healthy body and mind. Make sure to switch off your tv and computer few hours before bed. This will help to unwind and relax. Have a relaxing bath, switch some classical music on and read your kindle.

Stress

Make sure to cut down stress. You can eat well but if you are highly stressed your digestive system will be compromised and you will not be assimilating essential nutrients. Stress is a killer, it can cause all sorts of conditions and diseases like heart disease and cancer. Find time to focus on yourself. Take a relaxing bath before bed, do yoga which is fantastic for relaxing the mind. Have a massage.

Drink in Moderation

If only people knew the damaging affects  alcohol has on  the body. It is poison for your liver and brain. It ages you and causes disease like liver cancer. If you are going to drink moderation is key. One glass of organic red wine at lunch and one at dinner. Drink a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have.

Do not Smoke

If you are a smoker you want to consider giving up. Smoking not only ages you, it causes disease like lung cancer, emphysema, strokes and heart disease. Just like alcohol this toxic habit will not make you live long. So stop now.

 

 

Broccoli Chili and Garlic Pasta

Pasta is a great comfort food and it does not necessarily have to be unhealthy. Having Italian parents meant I pretty much grew up on pasta. I am not gluten intolerant so I eat all different types of pasta: wheat, brown rice pasta, quinoa and millet pasta. The important thing is the quantity and the sauce. If you eat a massive plate of pasta with a  rich creamy sauce, not only will you end up feeling heavy but you will be piling on the weight. Did you also know that cooking pasta al dente is less fattening?. Ideally your plate should always be half full of greens, a quarter protein and a quarter carbohydrates. If you are a couch potato definitely do not eat massive plates of pasta. This recipe is simple, quick and delicious.

Ingredients

Serves 2

150g of pasta. For this recipe I used gluten free quinoa and millet

1 large head of broccoli cut into florets

3 garlic cloves finely chopped

A generous amount of olive oil

Fresh chili or chili flakes. How much you use depends on how spicy you like your pasta.

Himalayan salt and pepper, season to your liking.

Optional: Parmesan cheese

Start by steaming the broccoli florets for 10-12 minutes. When the broccoli is ready transfer to the pan and sautée with the garlic, olive oil, chili flakes for 7 minutes. In the meantime place the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until al dente. When the pasta is ready transfer to the pan and mix with the broccoli, chili and garlic adding parmesan cheese and seasoning to your liking. Serve immediately while hot and enjoy!