Tag Archives: Health

5 Ways to Get Back on Track After the Holidays

This is my first post of 2018 and my first post in over a year. Due to personal reasons I took a break and I have to say that I actually enjoyed being away from social media. Like everyone I enjoyed the festive season and had a lovely Christmas, but now time to get back on track. I guess most of you are feeling bloated, fatigued and overweight after eating and drinking too much over the holidays. The secret to getting back to your usual routine is to do it straight away as soon as the festive season ends. The more you postpone it the harder it will be.

Get to bed early

Routine starts with going to bed early and getting up early. During the holidays most of us including myself would have gone to bed late. In order to get your body to its normal routine sleep is vital. When sleep is disrupted you wake up feeling exhausted and groggy. Getting back to a healthy sleeping habit will leave you feeling refreshed.

Grab a green Juice

Instead of grabbing another coffee go for a green juice. This is a fantastic way to include more greens into your diet. After all the over eating and drinking too much alcohol you need to alkalise your body. So go grab a juice on your way to work.

Get moving

Physical activity goes hand in hand with healthy eating. Get up early and go run or walk in the winter sun. Exercising not only will help you lose the kilos put on over Christmas but it will make you feel good and improve your mood. I suggest you exercise early morning before work. This is a great way to start the day.

Eat Healthy

I do not believe in diets but I do believe in healthy eating. A balanced diet is key to feeling good and functioning well. If we want to keep our bodies and brain active we must fuel it with the correct nutrients. Include more fruit and vegetables into your diet. Make sure you get plenty of good quality protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. As mentioned before after the festive season your body will be pretty acidic with all the alcohol and sweets consumed so you need to be alkaline. Give your liver a break and cut back on the alcohol and drink more water.

Have a light week

For the first week of the new year concentrate on you, on resting your body and mind. Spend time at home and cancel your social diary for that first week. You need to take a break. Have relaxing massages and listen to  classical music. This will help boost your  energy levels and it is also a time to reflect and set realistic goals for the year ahead.

 

I hope the above tips help. If you are looking to lose weight or have other health issues please email me or feel free to purchase my initial consultation on my website.

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How to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

No matter your level of fitness, you want to make sure that you get the most out of your workout. Here below are a few tips that will help you to achieve best results.

Stay hydrated

I discussed the importance of drinking water in my previous post. You should drink before, during and after exercising. Dehydration will lead to muscle weakness and fatigue. If you are tired you will not be able to make the most of your workout.

Get a personal trainer to prepare your fitness programme

Join a gym and get a personal trainer to give you a bespoke fitness programme. No matter what level of fitness you are at,  you will always benefit from a personal trainer. You tell them your goals, which area of your body you want to focus on. Not only will they show you the correct way of performing exercises but they will constantly be giving you new exercises to challenge yourself.

Plan your workout

Write down your goals and exercise plan for the next two weeks. By writing your workout programme it will encourage routine and you are most likely to stick to the plan. The plan should include the time you intend to workout, what activities you plan on doing each day and the duration.

Don’t forget to stretch

It is so important to stretch before and after any physical activity. So many people do not stretch enough. Stretching prevents soreness and muscle, joint and tendon injuries. Have you ever suffered from a low back pain upon waking up in the morning?  If you stretch before and after you won’t have any pain. I know from personal experience. I always used to stretch very little at the end of my workout and I suffered terrible lower back pain. This pain disappeared the minute I started stretching more. Stretching also improves flexibility.

Make sure to warm up before any physical activity

This is just as important as stretching as it helps to prevent injuries. by warming up you are preparing the muscles for a vigorous workout. Warm up should be light, you are warming up the body so no need to wear yourself out. Save your energy for the actual workout. I normally always do 10 minutes light cycling as my warm up followed by stretching.

Mix it up

Do not always do the same things. Not only will your body get used to it but you will end up getting bored of doing the same exercises day in and day out. To see results you have to challenge yourself and try different exercises. Try cardio, resistance training, yoga, HIIT, boxing etc. The more the better.

Calorie intake

Are you eating too little or too much? Healthy eating is essential if you want to get the best results in the gym. However starving is not the solution. Too often I see women not eating enough because they fear putting on weight. If you do not fuel your body correctly and eat too little, the body will feel fatigued and will not be able to perform at its best. Consuming too many calories is also not good. Having a big workout does not mean over indulging in junk food. Moderation is key. You should be having 3 healthy meals and 2 snacks a day. Make sure you have protein after your workout.  If you eat the right foods you will have an abundance of energy thus gaining maximum results from your workout.

Watch your form

No point in doing lots of repetitions if you are not performing the exercises properly. You risk injuring yourself. Best to do less but correctly. Form is everything. If you are new to exercise or not sure about a particular exercise please ask a qualified personal trainer who will be more than willing to help you.

Change your exercise routine 4-6 weeks

If you want to see changes in your body you have to change your workout regime every 4 – 6 weeks. It is important to keep challenging yourself. Not to mention you will get bored of performing the same exercises. You want to keep pushing yourself. You want to feel the burn when you exercise. By performing the same physical activity your muscles will adapt and you will not see results

Foam rollers

Foam rollers are truly great as they iron out your muscle. It is like having a deep tissue massage releasing knots and is used by athletes. It improves cellulite, posture, range of motion, flexibility and improves athletic performance. I did a  previous blog post on the benefits of foam rolling and how to use them with exercises.

I hope the above tips help you to achieve the best results!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kale and Broccoli Smoothie

After all the Valentine’s Day chocolate treats over the weekend I thought a cleansing green smoothie was called for. It is so important to keep the body alkaline and start the day right! This smoothie is full of healthy fats and goodness to make sure you have tons of energy through out the day.

Ingredients

A handful of kale

2 broccoli florets

A handful of spinach

1 frozen banana

1/2 an avocado peeled and stone removed

juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

Water

1 scoop of hemp protein

Ice

Place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy

5 Immune Boosting Foods

Winter is a time when it is very easy to catch a cold or the flu. If you have a strong immune system you are unlikely to become ill. A diet high in sugar, processed foods and too much caffeine will lower your immune system and open the door to illness. There are a lot of immune supporting foods. I wanted to keep it simple and chose five of my favourites.

Garlic

Garlic has to be my all time favourite. I love it so much I eat it raw rubbed on toast with cherry tomatoes. Many shy away from garlic due to getting garlic breath but your health is important. A useful tip is to chew fresh parsley after having eaten garlic, this helps to take away the odour. Garlic is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It strengthens your immune system and is excellent for colds and flu. It is rich in vitamin C and selenium. Selenium prevents cancer.

Ginger

Make sure to include fresh ginger to your smoothies and cooking. It is super healthy and another great immune booster fighting colds and flu. It also aids digestion and is very good for nausea. It also contains compounds that are called gingerols making it a very powerful anti-inflammatory. It has a strong flavour so if using it in your smoothies you will need a small piece.

Lemons

Lemon juice mixed with ginger is a very powerful remedy to fight of a cold, flu or  sore throat. Lemons are packed full of vitamin C, calcium and potassium. Lemons are also good for the skin, bleeding gums and help in wound healing. Lemons are also very good for the liver.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a very powerful spice that has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It is good for bloating, colds, diarrhoea and fighting cancer. You can use it in your cooking.  I always start my morning with warm water and lemon and a little turmeric. It really energises me.

Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass  is probably my favourite superfood as it has endless benefits. It is extremely alkalising, rejuvenating and rich in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll cleanses and fortifies the organs and blood increasing red blood count. Chlorophyll is a very powerful detoxifier, detoxifying the liver and hence improving metabolism.

Looking after your health is so important that I can never stress it enough! It is so important to keep the body alkaline by eating lots of fruit and vegetables. You want to prevent disease creeping in.

If you would like a bespoke nutritional plan email me.

 

3 Day Cleanse

A 3 day cleanse is great for giving the digestive system a rest and rebooting your health especially after a period like Christmas where we all tend to over indulge. You can actually do this cleanse any time during the year. Change of season is a good time to do a cleanse or any time we feel we need to detox from toxins. 3 days is a short period which is ideal for busy people and I would suggest starting on a Friday. If 3 days is too daunting for some 1 – 2 days is fine. If you have never done a cleanse before then I would recommend starting with 1 day.

When embarking on any detox it is important to prepare at least one- two weeks before, especially if you have a diet high in meat, alcohol, caffeine and sugar. So you may want to cut down on these slowly. For example if you drink a lot of coffee cut it back to 1 cup a day in the two weeks leading up to the detox. The reason for this is that during a detox it is normal to experience withdrawal symptoms. You can experience headaches, nausea, lethargy, dizziness, skin outbreaks, constipation or diarrhoea (mainly diarrhoea as your intake of fibre increases), coated tongue and bad breath as the toxins are released into the blood stream. This is perfectly normal. It means the detox is working. The more toxic you are the more you are likely to suffer from the above symptoms. These symptoms normally last for about 24 – 72 hours. After this time period you will start to feel better.

During the cleanse do not drink alcohol, coffee, any fizzy drinks. Do not eat sugar, cakes, ready made meals. No meat or animal products as these place a strain on the digestive system defeating the whole purpose of a cleanse.  If at any time you find yourself really struggling, have a piece of fruit or vegetable with some nuts.

Make sure you are drinking 1.5 – 2 litres of water through out the day. Drink detox teas, peppermint tea and green tea. Peppermint tea is good after a meal as it aids digestion.

I would also suggest a relaxing bath before bedtime with Epsom salts. Make sure you skin brush your body before the bath to get the circulation going and it is great for the lymphatic system getting rid of toxins.

Make sure you are in a relaxed environment. Do not do a cleanse if you are working or in a stressed environment. Make sure you get plenty of rest.

Day 1

Morning

Warm water with lemon and turmeric.  20 minutes later a Cleansing Green Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1 celery stalk chopped

1/4  of a cucumber peeled and chopped

1 apple peeled and cored

Juice of 1 lemon

1/4 of a piece of ginger

2 romaine leaves chopped

5 kale leaves chopped

1/2 a tablespoon of flax seeds

Coconut water

Bee pollen for the topping

Optional

1 teaspoon of Neil’s Yard Super Greens Complex

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add some ice to improve the taste.

Mid morning

Beetroot Apple and Carrot Juice

2 small beetroots

2 carrots peeled

Remove the hard skin from the beetroots, If the apple are organic leave the skin on, cut into piece and remove the seeds. Place all the ingredients into the juicer , serve and drink.

After the juice take 15 drops of A Vogel milk thistle in a little water.

Lunch

Cleansing Salad:

Handful of spinach

Handful of rucola (rocket salad)

Half a fennel sliced

1 carrot grated

2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds

Place ingredients in a bowl and season with olive oil and apple cider  vinegar.

Dinner

Cavolo Nero, Broccoli and Barlotti Bean Soup

2-3 Tablespoons of extra virgin oil

100g of cavolo nero

100g of tender stem broccoli

1/2 a can of barlotti beans

1/2 a white onion finely chopped

2 garlic cloves finely chopped

Small piece of ginger finely chopped

cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp of turmeric

1 1/2 tsp of bouillon powder

3 cups of water

Start by placing the olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper in a saucepan and sauté’ adding a little water for 2minutes, then add the chopped tender stem broccoli, cavolo nero and beans and sauté’ for 5 minutes adding a little more water if it has been absorbed. Then add 3 cups of water and bouillon powder. Bring to the boil for 15 minutes. Blend the soup with a hand blender and serve.

Day 2

Breakfast

Warm water with lemon and turmeric upon rising and 20 minutes later a Avocado Smoothie:

Ingredients:

A handful of kale

1 small avocado

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1/2 cup of coconut water ( you can add more to adjust the consistency)

1-2 red apples (depending on how sweet you like it)

A handful of cashew nuts

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender, add ice, blend until smooth and enjoy.

Mid morning:

A handful of collard greens

2 apples

3 sprigs of coriander

3 sprigs of parsley

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

coconut water

Place the ingredients in the blender and blitz until lovely and smooth.

After the smoothie take 15 drops of milk thistle in a little water.

Lunch

Sweet Potato and carrot Soup:

1 sweet potato peeled and chopped

2 Carrots peeled and chopped

1 small onion finely chopped

1 garlic clove finely chopped

1 tsp of cumin

cayenne pepper

1.5 tsp of bouillon powder or vegetable broth

Coriander

500ml of water

Olive oil

Saute’ the garlic, onion, for a minute then add the sweet potatoes, carrots, cumin, coriander, 1/4 cup of water, bouillon powder and sauté’ for another 7 minutes then add 500ml of water and simmer for 40 minutes. Once the sweet potatoes are tender blend the soup with a hand blender.

Dinner

Steamed asparagus with olive oil and lemon.

Day 3

Breakfast

Warm water with lemon and turmeric, After 20 minutes Spinach, Kale and Mango Smoothie:

A handful of Kale

A handful of Spinach

1/2 a banana

A handful of mango chunks

Just place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until lovely and smooth.

Mid Morning:

Berry Smoothie:

1 cup of blueberries

2 tablespoons of coyo coconut yoghurt

1 cup of coconut milk

1/2 a banana

1 tablespoons of linseeds, pumpkins and sunflower seeds.

chia seeds to sprinkle on top.

Place all the ingredients in the blender except for the chia seeds and blend until smooth.

After the smoothie 15 drops of A Vogel milk thistle in a little water.

Lunch

Quinoa Salad:

1/2 cup of cooked quinoa

A handful of rocket salad

1 small avocado

2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds

A handful of steamed baby asparagus

Dressing: Olive oil and apple cider Vinegar.

Dinner

Zucchini Soup with Pine Kernels

3 medium sized courgettes sliced

2-3 garlic cloves finely choppped

cayenne pepper

1 tsp of bouillon powder or you can use vegetable broth

A generous amount of olive oil

Pine kernels

saute’ the garlic with the courgettes, olive oil, cayenne pepper for 7 minutes with 1/4 water. Add 500ml of water and once cooked blend with a hand blender. Serve and sprinkle with pine kernels.

I do online consultations so if you would like a bespoke nutritional plan please email me.

Tips to Beat Depression

Anxiety and depression are very common in the Uk. There are many different levels of depression and since we are all different the signs are not always so obvious. It is sometimes difficult to realise the extent of a person’s depression. There is a huge difference between feeling a little down after a bad day and full blown depression. Women tend to be affected more by depression. Depression can be a severe mental illness that if untreated can become very destructive, destroying a persons life and the lives of those around them.

Causes for depression

Loss of loved one

Poor nutrition

Neurotransmitter imbalance

Nutrient deficiencies

Blood sugar imbalance

Genetic

Symptoms of depression

Constant feeling of being sad

feeling incompetent, inadequate and worthless

constantly thinking about suicide

difficulty concentrating

Loss of interest in everything

frequent crying spells

Neurotransmitter imbalance

Neurotransmitters are responsible for mood function:

Serotonin is responsible for feelings of well being, your mood and sleep.

Adrenalin, Noradrenalin and Dopamine are responsible for alertness and motivation.

Melatonin is responsible for the sleep, wake cycle.

Histamine is responsible for motivation and metabolism.

GABA is responsible for anti-anxiety and relaxation.

Acetylcholine is responsible for memory and learning.

If your neurotransmitters are out of balance this will alter your brain chemistry affecting your mood and behaviour causing anxiety, stress and depression. Contributing factors include: recreational drugs, sugar and stimulants like coffee and alcohol, lack of sleep and stress.

Foods to avoid

Avoid all ready made meals. Cook everything fresh so you know exactly what ingredients go into your cooking. Avoid all refined sugar like cakes, pastries, biscuits, white pasta, bread and rice. Avoid all fizzy drinks and foods that contain colourings and flavourings as these can alter mood. Alcohol is a depressant therefore drink in moderation or avoid altogether if you have feelings of depression. Avoid drinking too much coffee and all caffeine drinks.

Friendly foods to include in your diet

Since the brain is made up of mainly fat it needs healthy fats to function so include foods that are rich in Essential Fatty acids: almonds, selenium nuts, brazil nuts, walnuts, avocado, wheatgerm, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, wild salmon, sardines and mackerel.

Include more fruits and vegetables into your diet as well as quinoa, brown rice, millet, gluten free oats. to increase your levels of serotonin eat foods that contain tryptophan, such as, chicken, bananas, turkey, tahini, avocados, lentils, chickpeas, almonds, walnuts.

Include super foods into your diet, such as, wheat grass, spirulina, barley grass, bee pollen. Drink green smoothies on a daily basis. Drink plenty of water to flush out all toxins.

A poor diet will result in malabsorption and vitamin deficiencies. Lack of the B vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid, zinc and magnesium can all lead to depression.

Blood sugar balance

Make sure to not to skip breakfast as it is the most important meal of the day. Eat healthy and try to include protein with every meal as protein makes you feel full for longer. Try to eat regularly. Do not skip meals. Have 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. Try to eat every 4 hours.

Sunlight

Do not underestimate the healing power of nature. Studies show that people that live in colder climates are most likely to suffer from depression and be suicidal. Have you noticed how the warmer weather seems to put everyone in a good mood?! So take advantage and go outdoors. Go for a walk or jog in the park. If you are working in an office all day have regular breaks and go outside for some fresh air and sunlight.

Exercise

Regular exercise is excellent for depression. Exercise release endorphins which act like a natural antidepressant. All you need to do is 30 minutes a day to see the benefits. Try to walk to work. I would also recommend yoga as it relaxes the mind.

Other helpful hints

Watch comedy shows and funny movies that make you laugh. There is nothing like laughter to make you feel better. Avoid movies that will provoke feelings of sadness.

Be sure to get plenty of quality sleep. This is so important to keep the brain functioning properly. Lack of sleep will make you tired, stressed, lower your immune system and cause depression.

I hope the above information is useful. If you suffer from severe depression you must seek help from your GP who will refer you to a counsellor. Do not be afraid to ask for help and surround yourself with a good network of family and friends.

If you require more information or a bespoke nutritional plan please email me for an online consultation.

Quinoa Pizza

Being Italian there are certain foods I could never completely give up and  real pizza is one of them!  However I will only indulge in the occasional wheat pizza when I am in Italy once in a while. It always leaves me feeling bloated so I have decided to come up with a healthy alternative. I eat a lot of quinoa, I simply love it.  It is high in fibre and rich in protein so ideal for vegans and vegetarians. It is so versatile. You can use it in salads, burgers and pizzas. The good thing about quinoa apart from being incredibly healthy is that it leaves you feeling light and fulfilled.

Ingredients

For the crust:

2 cups of cooked quinoa

1 egg

1/4 white onion

2 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons of olive oil

a handful of basil

1/4 teaspoon of oregano

1/4 thyme

salt

 

For the topping:

tomato puree or sauce

a handful of goats cheese

a handful of rocket

a handful of black olives

a handful of artichokes

Place all the ingredients for the crust in a food processor and blend till smooth. Put baking paper in your pizza tray and pour the mixture spreading it evenly and keeping it thin. This is important so the crust does not remain soft in the middle. You want a firm base. Place it in the oven at 190C. It will cook rather quickly so keep an eye on it. It should take about 20 minutes.

Once the pizza crust is ready remove it from the oven and place your chosen toppings. You can either pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or leave your toppings raw. I like to put mine back in the oven with the tomato sauce and goats cheese so the cheese melts and I then put the rest of the ingredients on top after. You can choose any topping you like. This not only is a healthier way to eat your pizza but it is also delicious! Enjoy!