Eating as the season dictates means that your food is fresh, flavourful and inexpensive. Eating local, seasonal produce is good for your body, mind, purse and environment. Some foods that are in season and at their best right now include:WatercressBroccoliCauliflowerSpinachSpring Onions ChicoryKaleLeeksJersey RoyalsRhubarbOrangesPassion FruitI've tried to re-create a recipe based on whats good to eat right now:Pan Seared Salmon marinated in Salsa Verde, served on a Jersey Royal Potato and Orange salad, with a Chili Lime Dressing. Ingredients (serves two) Ingredients:2 salmon fillets (wild is best)250g of Jersey Royals
Seasonal mixed greens (choose from watercress, baby spinach, kale, chicory)small bunch of spring onions 1 orangeChili, Lime dressing
The juice of 1 fresh lime
(or you can use dried chili flakes)
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil1 tbsp chili oil
(Or use 2 tbsp of olive oil and add some dried chili flakes)
1/4 tsp salt1 tsp chopped coriander.1 tsp tahini (can omit)Salsa Verde MarinadeYou can buy this pre-made. I made my own following this Jamie Oliver recipe
.Once you've made it it lasts in the fridge for ages. (You can also omit the marinade if you want a quick and easy dinner.
It will still be good!)
Marinate the salmon in the salsa verde for at least 30 mins in the fridge.To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a clean jar
and shake until well combined.Build the salad on the plates by combining the mixed salad leaves, spring onion
and orange segments.Boil the potatoes until cooked but still crunchy, allow time to cool, cut in half and then saute in a little olive oil and sea salt until golden brown. (If you want to save calories you have just serve boiled)In the same pan cook the skinless salmon fillets for 2-3 mins on each side (depending on how pink you like your salmon!)Pop the potatoe
s and salmon on the dressed salad and serve. Tip of the day (found at www.eattheseasons.co.uk: To keep your watercress fresh
, refrigerate stems down in a glass of water and cover with a plastic bag. (Or you could just gobble it up within two days!)
One for the parents, or those who still like to play or those who appreciate the retro! (That must be nearly everyone?)
Great excuse if you have kids to buy some toys of our youth to reminisce, entertain the little ones and get a work-out! With the nights getting longer and the weather a little warmer now's the time for some back garden fitness.
Kids can have standard small (cheap) hoops and mum has a weighted full size hoop that sculpts the waist and tones the hips.
Get yourself a big Space Hopper - oh please, you so want to have a go when no-ones looking! These come in large adult sizes and kiddie small ones (as shown below)
Lolo balls and Skip It!!
Ahhh the 80's! Both provide excellent cardio work-outs. Skip it is great for your legs and the Lolo will work legs, glutes and core like a dream!
Pogo Sticks and Stilts.
I think I spent more time on stilts as a 8 year old than I did on solid ground. These days its the stilettos, but they only give you a few measly inches - get the stilts out! Also any balancing activity works your core.
Skipping and Trampolining are obvious calorie burners that get your heart rate high.
Now anyone got a child I can borrow?
This clip is worth watching for the statistics alone. Research based proof that all we need to do to avoid many of the chronic disease that are making us sick is move a bit more. What could be simpler, cheaper and easier than that?
I want to share with you my favourite treadmill workout. I have done this for years and it's what I do if I want a good sweaty running session and don't want to think about it too much.
1. Warm up slowly. Start with a walk and build up to a light jog (I go to 7.5 kmph/4.7mph). This should take 5 minutes.
2. Start to build speed by 0.5 kmph every minute from minute 6 until you reach a moderate intensity run or 5/10 on rate of perceived exertion (RPE) (I go to 9.0kmph/5.6mph)
3. From here increase the speed by 0.2 kmph every minute until you reach a mod/high intensity. 7/10 on RPE. (I go to 11.0 kmph/7 mph)
4. From here increase speed by 0.1 kmph until you reach your peak speed and can't get any faster (I usually go to 14.0 - 16.5 kmph/8.5 - 10.5 mph)
5. Once that peak speed is reached start to decrease the speed every minute. If you want a longer workout with more intensity (time at your faster pace) decrease the speed in the same way as you increased it. By 0.1 until you get to 11.0kmph, 0.2 until you reach 9.0kmph and 0.5 until you're back to a light jog.
If you are short on time or are left a little spent after reaching your peak speed then come down faster - from 0.2 to 1 kmph every 30 seconds to a minute until you're back to your cool down speed.
This is a great way to train on the treadmill for a variety of reasons:
1. It keeps you engaged and focused on what you are doing so time passes by much faster. (Really it does!)
2. It challenges you to push yourself hard and if you're competitive with yourself you'll want to beat your own top speed every time.
3. It naturally incorporates a warm up and cool down.
4. You can play with the speed as much as you want to increase intensity and/or duration of the workout.
5. It works for all levels. These are the speeds that I find work for me but you can start to build your speed from a slower or faster pace - depending on your level.
6. It burns a lot of calories during the session and as you've reached a high intensity you will have a higher EPOC rate (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) meaning you'll continue to burn calories after the session too. lovely!
1. You'll have to find more time to catch up on your celeb gossip later on.
2. You're going to be a sweaty mess.
Imagine chlorella like a shrunken down, white suit and marigold wearing Kim & Aggie, getting all excited at cleaning up your insides.
Its actually a single-celled blue algae that is in fact green and tastes probably as bad as you think it does but you have to forgive it that as that’s where the negatives end.
The Big Clean
It’s a magical powder that binds to the harmful substances in your blood and carries them swiftly out through the back door. It has miraculous detoxifying qualities and is especially good at removing heavy metals that build up in our system. We’re regularly exposed to these poisonous substances in small quantities from the environment, whether it be mercury in fish, dental fillings or arsenic, lead and PCB’s in processed foods (yes really). These small quantities can take a toll on your health in a variety of ways.
Much like a good super hero, clever chlorella recognises the good from the bad in the blink of an eye, mopping up the dangerous stuff on its travels, and escorting it out of the back exit in a lock hold before the harmless and oblivious bystanders (healthy gut flora) are any the wiser.
Kim & Aggie - they're going in.
Nutritious Whole Food
Aside from detoxifying the body, chlorella also provides a multitude of nutrients. It is a complete food in itself - 58% of chlorella is protein (double the amount of spinach), the fats are the healthy EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) that we thrive on and as a natural plant food chlorella is rich in a incredibly wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals. It is one of the few foods that contain all of the B vitamins (with more B12 than liver). It has more calcium per ounce than milk, all its nutrients are present in their natural form (unlike synthetic vitamin supplements) and all in perfect ratio for optimum human health. It is also arguably the richest source of chlorophyll on earth. Now that is a big shout as chlorophyll delivers a big healthy hit of liquid oxygen into your bloodstream which makes us thrive. Chlorella and Weight Loss
This superfood aids weight loss in a variety of ways. It creates the right environment to support weight loss efforts by filling in any nutritional deficiencies that may be hampering those efforts. For example many food cravings are a sign of nutritional deficiency or hormonal dysfunction; both of which lead to weight gain or difficulty in losing weight. Chocolate is a common one; many people who crave chocolate regularly are deficient in magnesium. The high levels of protein in chlorella also make it good at satiating appetite and reducing the hypoglycemic appetite response that comes with elevated levels of insulin in the blood.
The B vitamins help to counteract the hormonal dysfunctions that often lead to weight gain or difficulty in losing weight. (See my posts on Leptin
for more info on hormonal dysfunctions that lead to weight gain) Other Benefits of Chlorella
Protects and strengthens the heart
Prevents (and sometimes reverses) cancer
Repairs nerve tissues,
Optimizes the gatro-intenstinal systemRelieves constipation
Boosts the immune system
Boosts energy and vitality
...and a whole blog post more. You get the idea. This stuff is good for you. I take mine in a powder form – a teaspoon a day mixed with a little water, taken first thing in the morning. The taste is very ‘green’ but I prefer to take it in this way as it’s the least processed form and I can add it to smoothies and juices. There are also little green pills available which are much easier to swallow (if you have a sensitive gag reflex!).
I gave a shot of chlorella powder mixed with water to my husband for the first time at the weekend and it was like a scene from the exorcist. A violently thrashing body and words that would turn the air blue. Obviously he has a lot of demons of exorcise. (I saw that second portion of apple pie sneak in!) Lucky he has me to administer the daily exorcism then! Just call me the green fairy godmother.
You can't OD on chlorella as its not a drug, its a natural food, but it's a powerful detoxifying food so start off with smaller amounts to see how your body responds. I take about 5g (or a teaspoon a day.)
I've also seen a really good deal on Amazon for the Chlorella powder. Click through from my favourite products
page to view.
Everyone loves a Sunday fry up but with bacon, eggs, sausage, toast, butter, marmalade it's easy to rack up the calories, fat and salt. Add in hash browns, black pudding, fried bread and its heart attack on a plate territory. If you like a traditional breakfast then you can save lots of fat by shunning the frying pan and having a grill and poach up but if you want to go a step further and make your breakfast nutritious then have a Full English Nouveau brekkie. Eggs scrambled in (odourless) coconut cream (coconut oil/butter is also good but I chose Royal Green Coconut Cooking Cream because you can't taste the coconut which means you can use it for everything. Including your full English Nouveau) , smoked salmon, avocado, lightly grilled tomato and wholemeal toast spread with sunflower seed butter.
Original Full English (Fried)
2 Rashers bacon
1 Pork sausage
2 fried eggs
1 slice fried bread
1027 calories and very high in saturated fat
Healthier Option Traditional Full English
Grill and Poach up of all the items above, leaving out the black pudding and replacing fried bread with lightly buttered toast:
537 calories, big difference in calories but still high in saturated fat with few real health benefits.
Healthiest option Full English Nouveau
2 slices Smoked salmon
2 scrambled eggs
quarter of an avocado
half a grilled tomato
slice of wholemeal bread spread with sunflower seed butter
485 calories high in healthy, natural fats, good source of fibre and loaded with vitamins and minerals. I always try to eat some 'raw' foods at every meal because it really bumps up the nutrition. The avocado alone in this breakfast provides 20 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Avocado is a nutrient booster - the monounsaturated fat in an avocado enables your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins ( A,D,E, and K). The smoked salmon is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and the coconut butter is a raw saturated fat but unlike the cholesterol soaked animal fats, it is stable when heated and actually lowers cholesterol. It has less calories than other saturated fats and has antibacterial properties. Finally sunflower seed butter is full of vitamins and minerals (especially rich in B and E vitamins and manganese) and is a good source of healthy polyunsaturated fat.
I think we have a winner.
Prefer your breakfast in a sandwich? How about this little beauty:
Breakfast Sandwich Nouveau
Wholemeal pitta (warmed)
sliced avocado (I usually do mashed and use it in place of butter but my avocado wasn't ripe enough)
1 egg and 1 rasher bacon fried in a teaspoon of coconut oil (I drain the excess fat off the egg and bacon on kitchen paper after cooking)
A small slice of Gouda cheese
350 calories, good source of fibre and protein and lots of other good stuff (vitamins and minerals).
So, I have an injury. I’ve mentioned this before? Well it does occupy most of my waking hours at the moment, probably because I’ve never had an injury before. My body was always well behaved. I took good care of it (or so I thought) and it served me well. I thought I had a great relations with my physical self but it turns out that I’m the EU and my right calf is David Cameron - vetoing out of the European treaty (Paris marathon) when the rest of me (The EU) thinks it’s a reasonable idea and is raring to go. I’m not political enough to keep that going but you get the point.
I’ve been running for 7 years. What started off as a means to keep fit (and back then by fit, I just meant slim) soon turned into my exercise of choice because I got good at it and always felt reassuringly exhausted. Sprints, hill running and anything that gave me a face that looked like it was on fire is what brought me exercise satisfaction. Yes, I admit to being a red faced exerciser (but that’s a whole other post) and wasn’t happy unless I left the treadmill a red and sweaty mess. Intensity was key (and I stick by that still today), nothing like that feeling of sheer exhaustion as that’s what releases the good stuff – I’m talking about those feel good chemicals.
Like many runners I like the big hit of endorphins that running releases. I like that little high and have come to expect it after a run. However good old Davey C isn’t letting me push it hard enough to get my hit which has brought on an unforeseen danger of being injured – pray tell, I hear you say. Well, today I actually came home from a very gentle and very short ‘rehabilitation’ jog with the craving for chocolate…is this to satisfy my endorphin craving because I didn’t achieve it through mild exercise? If so then I’m embarking on dangerous territory!
But back to marathon training and the cause of my injury. After so many years of training my anaerobic system with short, fast (7-11km) runs , I was good at tapping into that energy system and it became automatic. However marathon training requires a much different approach and when I wrote out my marathon train plan, lots of long distance slow running featured heavily. Easy written down that actually done. I did slow down but it wasn’t until I sustained an injury that I fully appreciated how much I needed to slow down on the long endurance runs to build that strong aerobic foundation which I’d always bypassed until now.
The way you exercise determines the shape of your body and the ratio of fast twitch to slow twitch fibres that make up your muscles. Sprinters will generally be leaner, with larger muscles made up of mainly fast twitch fibres which contract fast and tire easily. Endurance athletes are lighter with less lean mass and a higher number of slow twitch fibres that are able to endure long periods of action. I’d trained my muscles to sit in the former camp and as form follows function I’d also developed a running technique geared up to a faster running style; on my toes with a forward lean. At the distances that marathon training demands, this technique put far too much pressure on my already over worked and under long distance experienced calf.
On top of that I am guilty of a little neglect. Niggling hip issues made me suspect an imminent injury in that part of my body and so I focused my attention there during stretching, failing to stretch all of the muscles in my lower legs. As in life never focus your attention on those shouting the loudest, they're usually leading you down the wrong path - always take time to listen to the quite ones too. That's my wisdom for the day!
My physio told me to be patient and humble...! Turns out I’m going to have to re-train my brain too then. That’s going to be the hardest part…especially with less than two months to go.
If I manage to complete this marathon, I should get a tattoo of DC’s face on my right calf. Good lord that would be hideous. Second thought I should be made to get the tattoo if I don't manage to finish the race. I'd probably win it if that were the case.
So remember do your stretches and train smart or your body will punish you with pain, the inability to exercise and the need for chocolate. Don't say I didn't warn you.
If there is a breakfast club I want to be president. I love any meal time but breakfast is the best. Many a mid-week mornings start with something seedy in our house...
This is my favourite take on porridge - I've named it the Oatsey Jumble (mainly because I'm the kind of loser who names meals). I use jumbo oats heated up on the stove (never microwave!) with water and almond milk and throw on a few items from my breakfast sweet shop; including flaxseed, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, fresh blueberries and finished with a dollop of sunflower seed butter.
Part of the breakfast sweet shop
Unlike me, Juri (the husband) isn't a massive fan of seeds. Up until recently he would say, 'hold the bird food' when I was making oats and I did for a while, then I started sneaking in the odd teaspoon, (under the porridge at the bottom of the bowl) building it up slowly adding a bit more each time and now well we might as well call him big bird - he can't get enough. The seeds will win out eventually! Even if you're not a big fan of the taste, it's worth re-training your brain to like bird food.
Because seeds are packed with nutrients:-
Rich source of iron (helps your blood deliver oxygen to muscles), zinc (keeps the immune system strong) and also good source of calcium, magnesium, selenium and phosphorus.
Excellent source of the B vitamins folic acid and niacin (help your body convert food to energy and improve circulation). Also rich in vitamin E, the beauty vitamin (gives you good hair, nails, skin)
3. Healthy fats
Seeds are high in the good fats - poly and monounsaturated 'heart healthy' fats that your body uses to reduce cholesterol, manage inflammation, and maintain the integrity of your cells. If we don't give our body what it needs then its going to look for it - best to have a bit of the good stuff than to be craving crisps later on...I've yet to meet anyone (bird or human) who got fat from a sprinkling of seeds!
Around 5 grams of protein for every ounce (28g) of sunflower, chia and flax and 8.5g of protein in an ounce of pumpkin seeds!
5. Makes you brave enough to skate on the frozen harbour outside your house! oh I'm such a dare devil!
Here are some of my favourites:
When the frost sets in we crave warmth and comfort usually in the form of fats and sugars. Don't be hard on yourself - it’s not your fault, its evolution! Cold weather makes your brain want to add on the blubber to keep you warm to prepare for times ahead. Someone should tell mother nature about cashmere socks and thermal undies but until then we best get smart and have a plan when it comes to fighting the cold front with calorie dense snack cravings. Have healthier fats and natural sugars on hand to satisfy those comfort food demands and sneak in some powerful nutrients while you're at it!
Chai Tea with Honey and a Square of Dark Chocolate Cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamon, I can’t get enough of chai tea at the moment. The most natural way to warm up from the inside out. Add a teaspoon of honey if you like it sweet and a square of dark, organic (and maybe even raw for the super healthy) chocolate…purely for the antioxidant hit mind! Calories: 70 (with honey)
Nairns Stem Ginger Oat Biscuits
Warming, sweet and satisfying. These biscuits are made with natural ingredients, wheat Free, Low GI, high fibre and wholegrain. Convenient and easily available from the supermarket.
Calories: 43 each
Banana and Peanut Butter
...are made for each other (and were a firm favourite of Elvis I hear, but in a fried sandwich no doubt). Half a banana spread with a teaspoon of natural peanut butter (without added sugar or oils - my favourite brand is Meridian). Natural sugars, healthy fats, potassium and a little protein.
Avocado Smoothie Adding avocado to your smoothie makes it really creamy and satisfies your body's need for essential fats. See my smoothie recipe. Calories: Depends on what goes in but who cares its all good, healthy stuff!
Home-made Trail Mix
In the mix: cranberries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, a handful of wholemeal cereal flakes, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans...and a fun size bag of Milky Way Magic Stars! (milky way is lighter and lower calorie than most chocolate bars)
Calories: 200 for two handfuls
Walnut Kiss Cookies by Buttercream Blondie
Not necessarily the healthiest option on the list but I like the fact that they contain ground walnuts for essential fats, they are home-made (leaving out the processed nasties that interfere with your metabolism), they’re small and can be frozen in individual balls so you can keep them in the freezer and bake when necessary. You can have a single, freshly baked home cookie in 12 minutes. No need to do a dozen - Genius! Calories: Hard to say, it depends on the size of your cookie. Best Ask Buttercream Blondie herself but I’d guess 50 cals each (if a dough scoop is the size of a ping pong ball)
Greek Yoghurt, Nuts and Honey The classic Greek dessert is packed with healthy fats, natural sugars and protein. Also makes a nice breakfast. Calories: 200
for 100g Greek Yoghurt, 14 walnut halves and 1 TBSP honey. Nice one shown here from SkinnyTaste.com
(Home popped) Popcorn. Home popped corn is the easiest thing in the world and the best part is – you can control exactly what oil it’s cooked in (I hope you’ll choose coconut) and what goes on it. Have a look here for plenty of popcorn topping inspiration! Puffed Rice, Dark Chocolate Crispy BunsSimilar to it’s cousin the Rice Crispy Bun but with less sugar and more decadence. I add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut to mine for the essential fats and satisfying crunch. Calories: 76 each Oatmeal apple crisp. Not my creation. This belongs to 'yes i want cake
'. Not sure on calories but less than apple crumble, with more benefits for your health and your time..this can be whipped up in no time at all!
Every now and then a fitness product comes along which will make you scream, but only with laughter. I give you the Shake Weight and the Hawaiian Chair and I really don't need to say anymore...