Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Cape Weligama Workout

I barely mentioned that about 6 weeks ago I went to beautiful Sri Lanka to a brand new stunning hotel called Cape Weligama. I was with my family and we decided to on a long haul adventure, and for me it was particularly about getting back into shape having had 2 babies in 14 months! 

The hotel is out of this world, views to die for, food to live for, accommodation beyond luxurious and the service was 7 star. The reason I am telling you about it is that everyday I trained for an hour in the gym, and got all my energy back that I had lost over the past few months, with healthy food and a little bit of sun sprinkled in, when I left this magical place I was refuelled and felt amazing. If you ever get a chance you must go. Below is a little workout for you to do in your gym!

This is the view on the way to the gym at Cape weligama!

 Start with 15 minutes on the bike to warm up

 V-sit with a 5kg twist and then move onto a single arm bicep curl

 Onto the treadmill for a 15 minute run (push yourself!)

 Lunge with a shoulder press

Leg press at a high resistance


So a little mini workout for you all to get involved with! Cape Weligama is a MUST! Sri Lanka is just magical!


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Sugar, aren't you sweet enough?

As you probably know by now I have 2 little boys, both under 2, well actually one has just turned 2 last week, and what do most people associate birthdays with.......CAKE! Since Indigo was born I made a decision that I would try and keep him off sugar for as long as I possibly could, he is now 2 and apart from natural sugars such as fruit and the odd fruit yoghurt (he prefers plain) I have succeeded. To be honest not without a lot of negative opinions along the way. I believe in years to come it will be the norm for kids to not have sugar but in todays society you are 'cruel' or 'mean' followed by comments like, 'you'll never be able to do that' and, 'you're holding your child back.'

Now don't get me wrong I think that everyone should be able to do what they want, I am not going to preach about the negatives of sugar but want to explain my reasoning behind my actions. It has been hard, as when you go to parties there are always cakes, biscuits, sweets and chocolate, but having never had these things, Indigo has not really clicked what they all are.  I always make a sugar free cupcake to take to parties with me so he does not feel left out, he never really eats it anyway but just in case. He drinks water only and loves it, I guess as he has never tried juice.

Here are a few reasons sugar is not so good for you.....

Sugar can damage your heart - It's been widely noted that excess sugar can increase the overall risk for heart disease, a 2013 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association displayed strong evidence that sugar can actually affect the pumping mechanism of your heart and could increase the risk for heart failure. Approx half of the people that are diagonsed with heart failure die within five years.

Sugar specifically promotes tummy fat - Adolescent obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years and childhood rates have doubled. One cause may be the increase in fructose-laden beverages. A 2010 study in children found that excess fructose intake (but not glucose intake) actually caused visceral fat cells to mature -- setting the stage for a big belly and even bigger future risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Sugar is the true silent killer - Move over salt and hypertension, you've got competition. Sugar, as it turns out, is just as much of a silent killer. A 2008 study found that excess fructose consumption was linked to an increase in a condition called leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that tells you when you've had enough food. The problem is, we often ignore the signal our brain sends to us. For some people though, leptin simply does not want to work, leaving the person with no signal whatsoever that the body has enough food to function. This in turn can lead to over consumption of food and consequently, obesity. Why the silent killer? Because it all happens without symptoms or warning bells. If you've gained weight in the past year and can't quite figure out why, perhaps you should look at how much fructose you're feeding your body.

Sugar may be linked to cancer production and may effect cancer survival - In the world of nutrition, it's hard to talk about sugar without talking about insulin. That's because insulin is sugar's little chaperone to the cells, and when too much of it is consumed, or our insulin does not work (probably because we're eating too much sugar) and the body revolts. One connection that has been well documented in the literature is the link between insulin resistance and cancer. A 2013 study found that sugars in the intestine triggered the formation of a hormone called GIP (controlled by a protein called β-catenin that is completely dependent on sugar levels), that in turn, increases insulin released by the pancreas. Researchers found that β-catenin may in fact affect the cells susceptibility to cancer formation. Further studies have found negative associations between high sugar and starch intake and survival rates in both breast cancer patients and colon cancer patients.

Sugar addiction may be genetic - If you've ever said, "I'm completely addicted to sugar," you may actually be correct. A recent study of 579 individuals showed that those who had genetic changes in a hormone called ghrelin consumed more sugar (and alcohol) than those that had no gene variation. Ghrelin is a hormone that tells the brain you're hungry. Researchers think that the genetic components that effect your ghrelin release may have a lot to do with whether or not you seek to enhance a neurological reward system through your sweet tooth. Findings with this study were similar to study conducted in 2012 as well.

Sugar and alcohol have similar toxic liver effects on the body - A 2012 paper in the journal Nature, brought forth the idea that limitations and warnings should be placed on sugar similar to warnings we see on alcohol. The authors showed evidence that fructose and glucose in excess can have a toxic effect on the liver as the metabolism of ethanol -- the alcohol contained in alcoholic beverages had similarities to the metabolic pathways that fructose took. Further, sugar increased the risk for several of the same chronic conditions that alcohol was responsible for. Finally, if you think that your slim stature keeps you immune from fructose causing liver damage, think again. A 2013 study found that liver damage could occur even without excess calories or weight gain.

Sugar may sap your brain power - When I think back on my childhood, I remember consuming more sugar than I probably should have. I should have enjoyed my youth back then, because unfortunately, all the sugar may have accelerated the aging process. A 2009 study found a positive relationship between glucose consumption and the aging of our cells. Aging of the cells consequently can be the cause of something as simple as wrinkles to something as dire as chronic disease. But there is other alarming evidence that sugar may affect the aging of your brain as well. A 2012 study found that excess sugar consumption was linked to deficiencies in memory and overall cognitive health. A 2009 study in rats showed similar findings.

An overload of sugar may shorten your life - A 2013 study estimated that 180,000 deaths worldwide may be attributed to sweetened beverage consumption. The United States alone accounted for 25,000 deaths in 2010. The authors summarize that deaths occurred due to the association with sugar-sweetened beverages and chronic disease risk such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Sugar can make you fat - While you may be aware that too many calories from any source will be stored as fat if not burned, what you may not connect is that the lack of other nutrients in sugar actually makes it much easier to eat gobs of it with no physical effects to warn us of the danger that lurks. Foods rich in fiber, fat and protein all have been associated with increased fullness. Sugar will give you the calories, but not the feeling that you've had enough. That's why you can have an entire king-size bag of licorice (with it's sky high glycemic index at the movies and come out afterwards ready to go for dinner. 

Enough of the negatives, we get enough sugar in everyday life from foods such as fruit and milk so for now I am going to encourage my kids to have no added sugar until the time comes that they can overule the situation!

So this is the sugar free cake Indigo had for his birthday made by Henni, doesn't look too bad does it?!

Next blog post will be all about Henni's cakes!


Thursday, 30 October 2014

Mum Kind - for all of you pregnant Mums or just Mums!

Mumkind is a new pregnancy nutrition brand that offers a range of snacks, drinks and lozenges that are all specifically designed for pregnant women and busy mums. 

Morning sickness? Pregnancy tiredness? Feeling dehydrated? Created by experts in the field of pregnancy nutrition and with support from midwives, Mumkind offers a new and simple way to make sure you are including a range of nutrients in your daily diet.  We all know its important to try and eat a healthy, balanced diet, but including Mumkind products will help you to ‘top up’ what you are already eating, because getting everything you and your baby need is not always easy.  All the products are carefully formulated to help provide nutrients where there is a tendency to fall short.

prod3 Water Our Way   Water Enhancer

I have been using the Water our Way, adding a squeeze to a glass of water, it has an amazing taste. It has been keeping me hydrated and with it's blend of B vitamins it helps reduce tiredness and fatigue. It has NO calories, NO carbs and therefore NO guilt! Its very portable and convenient! We all need a pick me up during and after pregnancy and this truely does work and tastes great.

The Ginger lozanges are very delicious soothing and calming, as we all know Ginger is great for morning sickness, and these are perfect to pop in your handbag and snack on during the day!

Give Mumkind a go, especially the Water Our Way, I will be trying the rest of the range soon!


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Bounce Balls

Have you ever tried a Bounce Energy Ball? I eat one most days, they give me an energy boost before training and are a great healthy snack. Bounce Energy Balls are great-tasting, energizing and nutrient-dense foods.

They’re an amazingly convenient and tasty way to nourish your body, satisfy your hunger and sustain your energy. They are full of the highest quality ingredients and come in many different flavours, such as Apple and Cinnamon, Peanut, Cacao Mint, Coconut and Macadamia, Almond, Cashew and Pecan, and many more. I have to say my favourite is Cacao Mint flavour it is like eating a Mint Aero but a whole lot better for you!

The best thing of all about them is they fit in your handbag and don't squash like most snacks and they don't take up too much room!

Go Bounce it up and give one a try, you can find them online here or in a shop near you.....


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The 3 day Bridal Purifyne Cleanse

I have only ever done a 24 hour cleanse before so when I was contacted to try out The Purifyne Cleanse for the Before the Big Day blog I jumped at the chance. I was to try out the Bridal Cleanse which involved a 3 day cleanse. The cleanse involved dark green, chorophyll-packed juices with a variety of beauty and cleanse supplements.

The juices arrived amazingly packaged and with clear instructions. Each day involved 4 x dark green juice, a Brazil Nut Milk, Acai Juice and Aloe Vera, and some beauty supplements. 

Day 1
I felt excited about trying the juices, and when I did they don't let you down, they taste good and are very filling. There are several morning supplements which you have to take before having your first juice which taste pretty horrible, but bearable.  Throughout the day I did not feel hungry in fact I found it hard to finish all the juices, but I craved caffeine.  I have two babies so have lived off caffeine for the past year, although no headaches came which I was relieved about.  I felt good, the evening I had to do a mask, bath in Epsom salts and body brush. I went to bed exhausted but content.

Day 2
Having been awake for most of the night due to the babies, I was craving coffee, but having to go and train a client meant I soon forgot about the caffeine craving, got my exercise hit instead. Started to feel very hungry at around 2 in the afternoon, and felt so exhausted. Got through the rest of the day but not feeling great.

Day 3
Woke up feeling quite energised, tummy feeling very flat and ready to take a circuit class. The juices were becoming a bit samey and I was missing chewing. But the day passed fairly quick.

So I lost 4lbs, the following day I felt full of energy, and it made me look at my everyday diet more carefully, I realised how much I snack, without even realising I'm doing it. It has been a week now since the cleanse and I have never slept so well in my life, I am sleeping far more deeply and whereas I used to lie awake for hours trying to sleep I now drop off immediately.  My skin definitely looked more radiant and clear and I guess hydrated. The Bridal Purifyne Cleanse was definitely a good thing, and the team behind it helped me with any questions I had and sent me through reminders of what to do each day. If you are thinking of doing a cleanse contact them so that they put you on the right cleanse, but when I get married I will definitely being doing this cleanse a few weeks before the wedding, I have never had such a flat tummy and it felt GREAT!

Check out the website and give the Purifyne Cleanse a go, you never know it might make you feel AMAZING too, so before you're big day, try out a Bridal Cleanse!



Monday, 25 August 2014

The NutriBullet

So last week I decided to buy a NutriBullet, as I am having to try out a Bride to Be cleanse next week for the wedding blog Before the Big Day! And NO I am not getting married but I am testing the Purifyne Cleanse Bridal cleanse and will let you know how it goes all you brides to be!

Anyway I thought I would start trying out having a juice for breakfast everyday as I go to work early and am on the run so seems like the best breakfast to have, also to prepare myself for the cleanse next week.

It's amazing, super easy, efficient, quick, and delicious with very little prep and little to wash up after.  My favorite combination so far is Beetroot, Spinach, Raspberries, Broccoli and Sprialina powder with a few almonds added for protein.  

In the one I had this morning I had banana, home grown spinach and raspberries, cucumber, spirulina and some of the wonderful Primrose Kitchen Cleansing powder.

If you are looking for an easy breakfast, lunch or supper full of goodness and getting the most out of your food, I highly recommend to buy a NutriBullet.

My kids like the juices too which is great as it is an easy way to get goodness into the little ones.

Juice it up!


Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Big Bowls with Nina Gill

We all have our favourite blogs and this is one of mine, The Big Bowls, a food blog with wonderful, inspirational, delicious, mouth watering dishes created by the beautiful Nina Gill.

What made you start a food blog?
I have always loved food and cooking alike, and as a child/ teenager could eat whatever I wanted, and could get away with it. Getting older, your metabolism slows down (well mine certainly did!) and your awareness of what you put into your body increases. As everything began to get a bit tighter, I had to say goodbye to the large Dominos Meateors, Big Macs, KFC Chicken Fillet Burgers, Double Deckers and endless cans of Diet Coke.. It was a sad day..

Friends of mine (ask Alice!) are gobsmacked to hear that I really do not miss any of the junk I used to eat. However, the only way I have managed to wean myself off it all is by replacing it with food that makes me feel better but still tastes as indulgent. I personally have found there doesn’t seem to be many happy mediums on the market, be it cookbooks or restaurants. There are plenty of places offering the ultimate burger or on the other end of the spectrum- green juices and detox this-and-that, but not enough places seem to offer something in the middle. 90% nutritious, but 10% naughty.. This is where Big Bowls comes in!

Where are you based and what do you do when you are not doing Big Bowls?

I currently live in Clapham and work in Central London at a small investment banking firm. I love my job but I spend rather a lot of time at a desk or on trains which has forced me to be organised with what I eat. It means most of what I cook must be quick, easy and most importantly, Tupperware-able!

Where do you get your inspiration for your recipes?

Everywhere and anywhere! Be it something I’ve had at a restaurant that I try to recreate, or walking through markets and seeing what is in season and looks colourful and delicious. My new thing is asking friends and family what their favourite meal would be, then inviting them round for my own healthy version of it. It’s a risky business messing with people’s dream foods but so far so good! Or they are just being very polite!

What can we expect to see on your food blog?

I think it is important and fun to cook with seasonal ingredients and to try new things, so I hope for there to be a broad spectrum of recipes as the blog grows. If I had to say there was a vague ‘theme’, I suppose healthy versions of comfort food classics? My new favourite is Courgetti Carbonara. Dreamy..

Is Big Bowls all about healthy food dishes?

The premise of the blog is to give readers ideas of recipes to experiment with that will nourish one's body, yet not deprive of the strong flavours we have all grown accustomed to in our fast food, ready meal diets. Some of the recipes are outright healthy, and some are outright naughty, but at the bottom of each recipe I have put in tweaks for if you are 'Feeling Healthy' or 'Feeling Naughty', because this is not a 'diet' blog. I don't endeavour to enforce any strict rules on readers- merely point out the obvious. Listen to your body, enjoy every single mouthful you eat and think about it a little more.

Do you follow a particular diet?

Over the years I have tried all kinds of fad diets and yes they do all work, but only for as long as you can keep them going. In my experience.. I’m not ready to sign up for a life of salads and warm filtered water but I’ll meet you half way! So, I aim for a bowl of 50% veggies or low sugar fruit, 25% protein, 20% complex carbs, 5% ‘treats’. This composition may change if I want to lose a couple of pounds. And of course there are the cheat meals!

The key is finding your personal composition equilibrium- and without an individual consultation with a nutritionist (which I am not), no book or blog can claim to be the right diet for everyone. This composition is what works for me- to make me feel good, maintain my weight and make me happy. For that reason, I can stick to it forever. Easy peasy.

How did you discover that this worked for you?

There are a few diets out there that just make sense. They are based on nutritional evidence and support a lifestyle change rather than a crash diet. Through reading into (and trying) Clean & Lean Diet by James Duigan, various Alkaline Diet books as well as more general Optimum Nutrition books, this is what I have ended up with. It is the most satisfying yet sustainable diet for me.

Name 3 things you have to use in most recipes?

I love experimenting, so current summer flavours of the month are;
-          Watermelon (one of the most alkaline fruits or veg around, plus high in vitamin C)
-          Green Beans (vitamin powerhouse and maintains healthy cells)
-          Fresh herbs- basil, parsley, thyme, tarragon, dill, mint, rosemary (an easy, healthy way to liven up all kinds of dishes- if only I had a garden to grow them all!)

However, my most popular year-round ingredients are probably:
-          Pumpkins seeds (magical superfood and can sprinkle over sweet or savoury dishes)
-          Spinach (an easy way to get a protein boost into your meal)
-          Garlic (great for the blood, plus very versatile in flavour and can liven up all sorts of dishes).

What is your favourite recipe to cook?

My Guilt Free Chicken Burrito Salad. This is yet to go on the blog but my god will it be worth the wait! I think this is my most successful healthy version of something naughty. Spicy chilli chicken & chorizo, refried kidney beans, my Zingy Guacamole, fresh tomato, cucumber and herb salsa and a dollop of my Feta Fraiche..

I love cooking this on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I can zone out and spend a couple of hours chopping, stirring and tasting. And it is completely worth it, I guarantee!

Starter or Dessert?!

After reading about, and following, a few different diets and nutritional advice, you come to realise quite quickly that sugar is the devil. Which makes me very grateful for my lack of sweet tooth! I try to generally avoid sugar as best I can which makes the answer to this question very easy- starter every time!

Your favourite cocktail?

I know girls are supposed to love cocktails, and I have tried and tried, but I just don’t. A big sugary hit of synthetic flavours, sweeteners and colours. Yuck.

I’m not sure I can get away with this being a ‘cocktail’ but as I prefer something refreshing and clean, I would go for good quality vodka, fresh lime juice, mint leaves, topped up with ice and fizzy water. I know carbonated drinks are dreadful, but we all love a few bubbles sometimes!

Favourite restaurant?

I have a very geeky restaurant spreadsheet, but my current favourite for a special occasion is a Peruvian restaurant and near my office called Coya. Peruvian food is getting a bit of a run out at the moment (how did we all survive before quinoa?!), and Coya balances an array of traditional dishes with a contemporary twist. From delicate ceviche to baked pots of melting truffles, mushrooms and potatoes. Magic. (Who cares that you don’t get truffles in Peru..!)

Your fave starter, main and dessert to eat?

Hmm.. Right now, the sun is shining and I wish I was by the sea. So it would be my Garlic Parsley Prawns to start, followed by grilled fresh squid with a side of my Summer Green Risotto. Then a watermelon, strawberry and basil salad (trust me, it works) for pudding.

Do you think healthy eating is important?

They say that losing weight is 75% diet and 25% exercise, that you can prevent the onset of diabetes by altering your diet, you can also reduce the symptoms and chance of contracting an array of different diseases, and you can raise your energy levels, improve your skin and smooth out your moods, all by eating well. So yes, I think it is important and incredibly powerful, far more so than most of us appreciate.

Best ever cookbook writer?

That’s a difficult one, I love Diana Henry at the moment as her cookbooks are packed with clear, wholesome recipes and beautiful pictures. Plus she is the queen of leftovers!
I also subscribed to olive magazine a few years ago and am entirely obsessed.. 

Top chef?

I have a bit of a crush on James Martin.. No Saturday in our house would be complete without Saturday Kitchen on in the background! Otherwise I think Simon Rogan is doing some amazing things at the moment. He has just opened a restaurant called Fera in Claridges, which I would love to go to one day.. Better start saving!

So check out www.thebigbowls.com, follow it on instagram and facebook, it really is a fab new blog to be following, there are recipes for everyone and they keep appearing thick and fast!  

Go make food!