Cooper Smith_Orthorexia nervosa_Flickr

A Healthy Diet & Lifestyle: Why You Should ‘Detox’ Your Attitude and Goal Setting Criteria & Not Your Body

Diet & Weight Loss, Exercise, Healthy Mind

HAPPY 2016 EVERYONE! 😀

We’ve had a relaxing break and hope that you’ve all had a safe, happy and healthy festive period too!

As we transition into this sparkling New Year, it offers the chance of promise and a ‘clean slate’ of fresh opportunities. What are you planning; resolutions to rid yourself of bad habits, drastic diets or some realistic permanent and positive changes?

 

This is a cheeky picture of us during Christmas and no we hadn’t been drinking, but we were still enjoying the moment! You do not have to drink to enjoy social occasions, and having preconceived ideas of what you need to do to have a good time can set you up for a bumpy ride. This can also apply to ‘getting healthy’, especially at this time of year.

January usually brings a flood of clichĂ©s and crazy regimes, including ‘detox diets’. We have previously mentioned how we feel about ‘superfoods’, ‘detox/BS Health Terms’ and ‘diets’ and to recap, it’s unnecessary and typically diets will set you up to fail. Instead of trying to ‘detox’ your liver, gut, or your right foot, maybe you should try ‘spring cleaning’ your attitude and goal setting criteria instead.

 

 

 

…So here are five areas which we recommend you concentrate your energy on:

 

1. Give Up On Quick Fixes & Following Fad Diets

Photo by: Steve Davis, Fad diet stock photo_flickr

Photo by: Steve Davis, (Fad diet stock photo) Flickr

We all know that quick fixes and fad diets do not work long term and yet a great many people convince themselves that this time they’ve discovered the secret to easy and rapid weight loss. The only secret is the one kept by the marketers of these diets, which is that you’ll regain the weight as soon as you stop following the diet. However, this isn’t much of a secret, as we’re sure many followers of these quick fixes have been through this cycle at least once already. So what we should be doing is retraining our brains and attitudes.

Creating bad, good or even easy habits can be addictive by nature, but when it comes to creating long term and permanent commitments, we should be seeking only positive ones. Recognise your strengths and weaknesses when modifying your diet and lifestyle and realise that it’s a long-term commitment, not just an intermittent hobby; meaningful changes will not occur overnight.

We have previously talked about ‘fad gluten free diets’, but the principle can be applied to most fad regimes. You might think you need to give up carbs, gluten or go on a seven day detox to lose weight, but why has this become ingrained into your thought processes? The important question to ask yourself is why no accredited nutritionist and/or Dietitian worthy of the name would suggest a quick fix or unscientifically based mantra?

So if someone and/or a product suggests that you can achieve meaningful weight loss through a quick fix (a.ka. a fad diet!), you should put as much distance between them and yourself as possible
 and query any other health advice they have to offer.

Which leads us to
.‘Detoxing’.

The term ‘detox’ is very real, especially if you’re suffering from alcoholism. When it comes to ‘detoxing’, there isn’t enough credible scientific data published to show that we should take it upon ourselves to ‘cleanse’ or detoxify our bodies in the absence of any genuine addictions. Eating whole foods and eliminating processed foods is a lifestyle change that will benefit anyone. A healthful diet and lifestyle helps our liver, kidneys, colon and other organs to preform our natural mechanisms of ‘detox ’to help keep our bodies running without fail; detox kits and/or regimes do not offer us any substantial benefit and can cause diarrhoea, short term water loss, nutritional deficiencies and a dent in our wallets.

 

2. Be Realistic About Exercise

Photo by: Randy and Sarita, Shoemakers Photostream (ReneeB_Crunchy time) Flickr

Exercise can help reduce our risk in developing heart disease, dementia and other chronic conditions but it does not always promote weight loss, especially if we disregard food portion controls and other healthy eating advice! It can be a great way to improve our mental and physical fitness, but don’t expect it to provide you with a ‘detoxing’ solution. When we sweat, we release sodium, not toxins; as mentioned above, our body has other processes to deal with this. Don’t get us wrong, you can work up a great sweat and detoxify your mind of negative and destructive thoughts, which is great a way to de-stress your mind of day-to-day anxieties and fears.

Developing a realistic exercise programme (one that we can easily fit into our day-to-day lives and enjoy!) can take time and a lot of trial and error. As we are hardwired to conserve energy, we can naturally procrastinate, trying to put off the inevitable… including regular exercise.

If you are new to exercise, it might be worth checking with your healthcare professional first. Embarking on a new exercise regime will take persistence and patience and there are ways to make it easier, but quite honestly it won’t always feel ‘fun’. There have been times where we have felt that exercise was a bit bothersome or that prior to the session it just wouldn’t be ‘good’. All of this pessimistic thinking only leads to failing before you have begun. Putting it into perspective, you wouldn’t expect that going into your office everyday would be prefect, bad days happen, but you do get through them; no one calls in sick because the day in question might be rubbish, so why treat your exercise sessions any differently?!

 

3. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Photo by: Comradehomer (Easy tricks to help you lose weight fast) Flickr

Genetics, age, personal circumstances
 we are all different, including the way that we lose weight. For example, Alex has the metabolism of a jet engine and struggles to gain weight, whilst my metabolism needs regular exercise and meals to make sure it’s running efficiently and to help keep my health (and waistline!) in check.

When it comes to meaningful weight loss, there are no quick fixes and there is definitely not a ‘one size fits all approach’; one method that will allow everyone to lose weight in the same timespan or manner.

Additionally we all come in different shapes and sizes; not everyone is designed to be a size 4! We need to appreciate our own circumstances, bodies and cast aside any unrealistic or unhealthy ideals.

A picture of a skinny body does not necessarily depict a healthy diet, it might be down to genetics or a case of someone having high levels of will power and/or potentially disordered eating behaviours.

So don’t compare yourselves to others, we all have our own journey and it is never truly finished; healthy living continues beyond ‘weight loss’, which is only one of many steps.

 

4. Manage Negative Influences

Photo by: Beauty Playin 'Eh's Photostream_img8564_digging for more_Flickr

Photo by: Beauty Playin ‘Eh’s Photostream (img8564_digging for more) Flickr

Negative influences can include anyone or anything that provokes or causes unnecessary stress, roadblocks and/or illness in our lives. Remember it is OK to say NO to people, especially to those ‘office feeders’, a friend that always gets you to skip your gym sessions, a spouse that does most of the cooking but refuses to cook vegetables or to fad health enthusiasts or even your friend’s mother that advises you to give up carbohydrates or that you shouldn’t eat after 6pm
 these are all examples of negative influences.

 

Social Contagion Theory

It’s been shown that social networks can influence the size of your waistband. According to a study (regarding obesity in large social networks) published during 2007 in the New England Journal of medicine, their analysis showed that a person’s risk of obesity has a greater influence from their social networks than their genetics. When a study participant’s friend became obese, that first participant had a 57% greater chance of becoming obese himself. We guess that it can be put down to social norms or preconceptions of what is ‘normal behaviour’.

To paraphrase a leading psychologist speaking on a BBC Radio 4 programme last month “we normalise our own behaviours and attitudes based on the averages of our social groups.” E.g. If your entire social network is overweight, you are unlikely to believe that being overweight yourself is unhealthy and/or a problem and are likely to avoid examples, groups and messages to the contrary. You may have heard the saying ‘we create our own realities’!

It’s not all bad news though; a study published during 2013 in Public Health Nutrition looked at weight-control strategies among adolescents with the assistance of family support. It showed that 50% of the group reporting sustained weight loss seemed to have more familial support.

Quite truthfully, you might lose friendships as you adapt and change your lifestyle because not everyone is ‘game to being a fitness buddy’ or ready to make permanent lifestyle changes themselves. However, true friends should understand your principles about making these healthy changes and should not be out to sabotage your good intentions.

 

5. Create Regular Consolidation (a.k.a Zen & Realistic Problem Solving!)

Photo by: Hannah Johnson_yoga_flickr

Photo by: Hannah Johnson (yoga) Flickr

It’s important for us to be diligent and create regular ways in which to reflect, focus on the positives and generate our own bespoke plans; allowing us to change our attitudes, behaviours and/or thought processes that could inhibit us from leading a healthier life, particularly one that we truly desire and deserve!

Plans might be set in motion in order to:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Reduce our alcohol consumption.
  • Improve our cooking skills so that we can eat healthier meals.
  • Go to our GP to see why we are having intestinal cramps (not just putting ourselves on a GF diet!).
  • Understand what the potential reasons are as to why we are overweight.
  • Learn how to control our emotions- jealously, anger, fear or sadness could all be a recipe for disaster!
  • Exercise to improve our total quality of life- but hey, that could mean spending more time in the bedroom too! 😉
  • Learn how to unplug from the mainstream (saying goodbye to long hours spent in front of a computer or iPhone!).
  • Become more social- spending more quality time with the people that matter.
  • Reduce frivolous spending, learning how to budget and/or reduce debt.

 

It could also include ways to help us unwind and deal with the stress in our lives, such as: meditation, yoga, trying not to overcommit to social engagements or making time to read in our bedrooms without any interruptions for one hour a week. Another trend is expressing your thoughts on paper; daily or weekly gratitude journal entries. Planning can help instil positive and long term behaviours, helping us to avoid temptations, distractions and/or being able to find the best time(s) in order to start modifying our diet and lifestyles.

It can be recognising that changing one thing in our life may not create the happiness that we have been craving, e.g. losing weight will not necessary make us happy. If you were depressed before the weight loss, it might be there afterwards. Sometimes it’s not only about weight loss- it’s about finding ways to enrich our lives, becoming happy, healthier and hopefully blessed with more friendships and positive experiences as a result.

 

So let’s remember that everyone has the ability to lead healthier and happier lives (no ‘detox’ pills, drinks or crazy regimes needed!)… we just need to focus on the right decisions, methods and actions to do it!

Are you feeling optimistic? Are you ready for some permanent
and positive changes this year? What are your SMART goals?

 

Article written by:
A. Risby BSc, RD and L. Risby BSc, Nutritionist

 

Sources:
BDA-Detox Diets
NHS Choices- Benefits to Exercise
NHS Choices- 10 Minute Workouts
PubMed
The New England Journal of Medicine
BBC Radio 4 Programme – A leading clinical psychologist !
Public Health Nutrition
BDA-Weight Wise (SMART Goals)
Feature Image by: Cooper Smith (Orthorexia nervosa)_Flickr

 

8 Modern Fitness Hacks That Are Making Your Workouts Easier

Diet & Weight Loss, Exercise

Avoiding exercise is like trying to avoid the tax man, it may be possible in the first instance, but both have unavoidable repercussions in the end!

We should all know that having a daily fitness regime will have a huge and positive impact on every aspect of our health. Most of us know that this can be difficult and even contemplating a jog around the block can seem like too much effort, but it is possible to go from your ‘Couch to 5k‘ within two to three months. It takes motivation, dedication and plenty of will power, and there are not any short cuts to getting in shape, but they are things that can help.

…So let’s look at some modern fitness hacks that are allowing us to lead healthier and easier lifestyles as a result!

 

Workout Kits

Apparel That Holds Your House Key!

Image: courtesy of Nike.com

Image: courtesy of Nike.com

Particularly during the summer months, I find that not all of my workout kit has appropriate pockets… so this hack is essential! Gone are the days where keys were placed under door mats, or in our shoes or sports bras! Modern key holders come in many forms, including:

  • Pouches that attach to your waistband or trainers (as shown above).
  • In the form of wristbands.
  • As part of your armband that holds your phone or Mp3 player.
  • Devices that allow your key to be clipped to your finger!

 There is something for every budget!

 

 

Specialised Sport Trainers!

saucony-ladies-hurricane-15-shoes

Image: courtesy of Barrington Sports

Personally, this modernisation has been a lifesaver! As an adult, I’ve felt the effects of having predominately flat feet; they’re great for swimming (ha!), but unfortunately nature is not very forgiving towards those that lack arches!

Specialised trainers have allowed me to enjoy the activities that I love whilst preserving my knee and hip joints. Variable to your sport and personal needs, they have really come a long way, both from a fitness and design perspective. When it comes to workout kits, you should only invest in the essentials (trainers being at the top of the list!). The phrase that I am familiar with goes like this, “spend ÂŁ80 on your trainers and a fiver on your t-shirt”!

This is partially true, apart from the next couple of items.

Such as…

 

Sports Bras!

Image by: Heikki Siltala_Flickr

Whether you’re well-endowed or not, all bosoms need some TLC when it comes to sports and leading an active lifestyle! Expect to forgo at least ÂŁ30 for anything decent. It’s a small price to pay considering what the alternative is, but can you really imagine a world without this fitness hack?!

 

sports-bra_BBC image

Image: courtesy of the BBC

The first sports bra was developed nearly 40 years ago! It was initially called ‘The JogBra‘, developed by Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller and Polly Palmer Smith. It’s certainly come a long way since then and our appreciation and recognition for this light-bulb moment has definitely not been loud enough!

Many major brands offer support to all shapes (big and small), even for nursing mothers.  However, a lot like well-used trainers, they will lose their shape and support over time (especially if you skip the handwash cycle girls!) and will need to be replaced…but this item is indeed priceless. No?

 

Specialised Clothing (and we’re not talking brand names)!

SION Apparel_Trapani_BSO_Flickr

Image by: SION Apparel_Flickr

Thermal or moisture absorbent tops, bottoms, socks and/or hats can be a lifesaver for die-hard runners and/or year-round fitness enthusiasts. Helping to regulate your body temperature and/or draw moisture away from your skin is a modern day fitness hack that most people take for granted. Definitely worth spending the pennies if it keeps you active and enjoying the outdoors all year round! Some general advice regarding fitness attire, wear something fun but skip the name brands unless it’s really offering you something of substance; the words ‘Do it!’ across your chest is free advertisement at best and only professional athletes reap the benefit of that one!

 

Fitness Aids

Image by: Fitness Crazy_Bosu Ball_Flickr

Fitness devices might sound ‘gimmicky’ to some, but I cannot stress enough the importance of a core (aka our back and abs) workout! Ever suffer the result of bad posture and/or weak core muscles? Well naturally slumping forward in a chair, being struck down with sciatica and/or slipping over wet rocks/leaves on a nature hike might ring a few alarm bells! Some of you might regularly practice yoga or Pilates, whilst the rest might be doing nothing or relying on these fitness aids! None the less, as we rely on our core for a variety of everyday movements, it’s especially important that we develop our own core workouts in order to improve our mobility, balance and overall muscle strength and fitness.

I was first introduced to this gismo over eight years ago and it was love at ‘first step’, particularity because I hate ‘standard’ sit-ups! It was an overdue awakening, highlighting that I was not truly as fit as I would like to think. It’s just so much fun too- no matter how silly I looked doing it!  How it works, you will simply wobble so much on it that you will really have to engage your core muscles, keeping them iron-tight so as not to wobble off!

The Bosu company provides a range of products (research before buying!), but the Bosu Ball offers a multitude of exercise platforms:

  • Dome side up: to build lower body strength, work on your core and for cardio workouts (which will have you in a pool of sweat)!
  • Platform side up: for upper body workouts and some ab work.

It’s great for all levels and if treated with respect, it can last a very long time! Unless you already have a rock-solid core, your legs will start to ‘shake like a leaf’ initially, but over time you will grow stronger and really feel and see the positive affects it has on your body (as long as you consistently use it!).

Thinking back, the infamous eighties ‘Pogo Ball’ (for those lucky enough to have one) got children active whilst strengthening their core muscles at the same time!

Now that's a happy face! :D Ignore the iconic stone wash jeans and '80's phrase shirt'.

Now that’s a happy face! 😀 Ignore the iconic 80’s stone wash jeans and ‘phrase shirt’.  Image by: Billy Lane_Flickr

 

 

Home Cardio & Strengthening Equipment 

Image: courtesy of Review-fr.com

This has always been an area of debate! Some might question why we would want to exercise indoors when we have nature on our doorstep (particularly those lucky enough to live near a lot green space or parks)?! Well sometimes it’s just not that clear cut; professional and/or personal circumstances (had a baby recently?!) don’t always allow us to have our dream or even the ideal and frequent workouts that we desire! Sadly, sometimes the things that we can afford (aka nature walks) do not offer’ the same benefits as, e.g. a cross trainer, some dumb bells and a yoga mat will.

I’ve owned my cross trainer for nearly four years and it’s been bliss, particularly for the times where I’ve finished work late, couldn’t afford leisure activity, the weather has been less than desirable or when I wanted a joint-friendly/diverse exercise; it’s really facilitated the momentum of my healthy lifestyle. I initially bought it and lost about ten pounds of laziness (bonus!) and it has not become a coat rack, dust magnet or a nuisance to my neighbours (its’ very quiet when in use)!

If you consider the cost of an average gym membership, it’s paid for its self in less than a year and a half (given that you use it frequently- and I have!).

My top tips, as long as you do try and make this your sole source of cardio and keep updating your music and the exercise programmes that you use on it, home exercise equipment is never boring.

Oh, and do not skip on doing some research before you invest in one!

 

 

‘You Got Music In Your Step (Literally Whenever You Feel Like It)’! 
Xnet Online_Flickr_Mp3_Mp4 Player

Image by:Xnet_Flickr

Kids today (yes, I’ve said it- I must be getting old!) don’t fully appreciate the handicaps of their predecessors! Walkman’s and portable CD players were not the best mediums for fitness (our struggle was very real)! Previous generations did not only endure the stress of manoeuvring them throughout their workout, with occasionally poor and inconsistent sound quality, but we had to source the music first! Recording music off the radio, creating ‘mix tapes’ or purchasing expensive CD’s ring any bells?? Torrent sites and Spotify were non-existent!

Ash Dowle_vintage sony walkman_flickr

Image by: Ash Dowle_Flickr

Mp3 players and modern mobiles that act as music players have limitless music supplies (ahem! large storage capabilities and internet connections!), enabling us to create timeless and/or addictive work-out playlists; not to mention that we can also source audio books to listen to whilst cycling at our local leisure centre (score!)

These devices are obviously a lot smaller and/or compact, making listening to music easy for everyone.

Some studies have shown that listening to music whilst working out can be moderately healthful… and I for one could not imagine workouts without music!

 

 The Internet
Computer screen macro

Image by: Cvrcak1_Flickr

The internet, for good or the bad can offer a huge range of information that can facilitate us with healthy eating and fitness hacks. Some areas of interest includes:

  • Your local markets for cheap produce and other food items.
  • Free workout videos (*but consult your GP before embarking on a new regime).
  • Food and fitness apps: making us accountable for our calories and fitness (as mentioned below!).
  • VLOGS: informative food prep and cooking instructions for all levels.
  • Blogs and health sites: that offers a tonne of free recipes and ‘health advice’. ****Click here for some tasty plant-based recipe ideas!****

In terms of health advice, just make sure to access quality information. For the love of God, use evidence-based information over someone’s opinion, pleaseee!

 

Fitness Trackers and Apps 
Karlis Dambrans_FitBit_Flickr

Image by: Karlis Dambrans_Flickr

For the tech-savvy or those that are motivated by having the facts and figures staring them straight in the face, these type of gadgets could possibly assist you in reaching your fitness goals and developing a more positive and permanent quality of life!

 Making yourself accountable for what you are eating (at the touch of a button!) and the rate at which you are ‘actually’ burning it off, could be the wakeup call and motivation that you need to make some informed choices about your health.

These devices and apps can aid a better workout (as some studies have shown) by tracking your fitness and helping you to meet your fitness goals. Personally, I think that  they could also help to bring out our competitive sides, pushing us to go on and be a healthier version of ourselves!

Unfortunately, unless you use them more often than none, it could end up being expensive paperweight.

 

The World Around Us Has Changed to Facilitate Our Health

Image: Eat2Health Blog Photography ©2015

It has been show that sitting for extended periods can have a negative effect on our health; it’s linked with chronic diseases and premature morality- as shown here.

Luckily the modern world has facilitated us to get off our bottoms by:

  • Modernised trails (some of which used to be rail lines, now allow for on-road and off-road cyclists and easy walking).
  • Modernised parks with free fitness equipment for all ages.
  • Free tennis and basketball courts (although we still need more!).
  • Dirt cheap and (occasionally 24 hour) gyms and leisure centres; some of which have childcare!

…just to name a few, all of which can help us to lead healthier lifestyles! #change4life

It’s also worth considering modern day architecture! Yes, odd structures and buildings, e.g. sports stadiums in the heart of our cities can allow us to make use of their design (and space) as part of our daily exercise regime.

Herrett_061015_0036 Steps leading to the new Arsenal Emirates Football Stadium London UK Copyright © Roberto Herrett. All rights reserved.

Image by: Roberto Herrett_Flickr

For instance, we used to run up and down the Arsenal Stadium’s front and posterior steps as part of our half marathon training (many moons ago)!

This particular stadium also allows for people to run or skate around it’s outside…just please do not do it when matches are on- unless you want possible confrontation with angry football fans!

And finally…

 

Inventive Workouts- Something for everyone!
Kevin__Flickr

Image by: Kevin_Flickr

I think that most people would agree that workouts have the nature of becoming very repetitive and boring. Changing our workouts is great for continued motivation, (keeping our sanity!) and partially because our body has an amazing ability to adapt, and exercising is no exception. Over time, doing our ‘go-to’ exercises over and over will decrease the effectiveness of our workouts. #weightlossplateau

This is why, if you are able, you should have a variety of strength and cardio workouts.

It’s a great feeling to do a new regime, testing our abilities and feeling ‘new muscles’… ones that might even keep us walking like a cowboy for three days! Yes, I’m sure we’ve all been there, the realisation that we have not utilised our inner thigh or glute muscles as much as we should of in the past. One sure solution, make sure you ‘stretch it out’ after each workout to help prevent your muscles from seizing up.

It’s worth looking at local bulletin boards or having a quick internet search; these should highlight a variety of fitness classes (there is something for everyone, no matter how young or old!) that should help to spruce up your current regimes.

If all else fails, you can literally exercise anywhere…

  • At your work desk: ‘glute flexing’ or bicep curls with water bottles anyone?!
  • In your kitchen: dance or do some squats whilst your waiting for the kettle to boil or your pasta to cook!
  • On your way to your local shops: speed walk or take longer strides… even break into full-blown lunges if you dare!
  • Whilst talking to your friends or family on your mobile: hands free options allow you to go lift some dumb bells and do leg lifts (Jane Fonda style if you like!).
  • Especially in front of the TV: cardio equipment or yoga poses can be easily positioned in front of your tube!
  • Utilising tried and true fitness hacks: walking whenever you can, e.g. getting off the bus, train or tube a couple of stops early, cycling to work, using the stairs instead of the lift or limiting the time spent in front of electronic devices.

Just go for it (30mins every 5/7 days if you can)! The only thing that can truly stop you from enjoying fitness and a healthy lifestyle is yourself…

…well, maybe your boss?! exercise with discretion!.

 

Sources:
NHS Choices
Nike.com
Flickr
BBC
Bosu.com
NCBI
Written by: L. Risby BSc Nutritionist

Oriental Salad Bowl

Exercise, Healthy Recipes

Serves: 1
Prep & Cooking Time: 40-60 minutes

Notes:This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & K, protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorus and is low in sugar and sat-fats!

This time of year can bring a constant change of weather, mood and life… so let’s help ourselves by keeping our meals reliable, simple and packed full of fresh flavours and healthy ingredients! This vegan salad is delicious, versatile and can be enjoyed at either lunch or dinner. Use any of your favourite cooked and/or raw vegetables. 🙂

 

Ingredients:

 

Directions:

1. Prepare your baked tofu (*use a firm variety); check out this recipe as a guide!. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, drain and press the tofu and gently stir-fry it for  6-7 minutes instead!

2. Wash the kale, broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes. Lightly pat the mushrooms dry with some kitchen paper.

3. Prepare the dressing. Place the soya sauce, mirin, rice vinegar and agave syrup into a measuring jug. Add some dried chilli flakes to taste. Mix to combine.

4. Cook the rice according to the the packet instructions. Drain.

5. Meanwhile, place a small saucepan of cold water over a medium heat. Bring to the boil. Add the broad beans. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for approx. 5 minutes or until tender. Drain.

6. Place a steamer pot with some cold water over a medium-low heat. Add the kale and broccoli. Bring to the boil. reduce the heat. Steam for 4-5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Drain.

7. In the meantime, heat a small frying pan over a medium-low heat. Spray with some low-fat cooking oil. Add the mushrooms. Lightly fry for approximately 3 minutes or until tender.

8. Meanwhile, drain the cabbage.

9. Assemble your salad. Place the rice, tofu, kale, broccoli, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, pumpkin seeds and cabbage into a large serving bowl. Gently pour the dressing over the salad. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the rice.

10. Serve.

 

 

 Enjoy!

 

 

If preferred…

  • Use wholemeal rice, pearl barley, quinoa, millet, or a baked sweet potato instead of the brown long-grain rice!
  • Instead of firm tofu, use another variety of beans, tempeh, or seasoned brown lentils instead.
  • Create your own bespoke dressing; go zesty, tangy, fruity or spicy!

These Boots Are Made For Walking: A Sunny Woodland Walk!

Exercise, Healthy Mind

So the meteorologist finally got something right! Saturday in the SE of England was sunny, warm and it didn’t have a cloud in sight! We were hopeful that it would carry on through the weekend, but the sun diminished by lunchtime yesterday; another teaser of the spring we all desire! At least our North American friends had their summer daylight saving time begin over the weekend (which will massively help with everyone’s moods= ↑happiness + ↓depressive slumps!); ours begins in three week’s time!

 

Like most Britain’s when faced with a bit of sunshine, we got out and about! The car was boiling after having bathed in the sunshine all morning, so the windows got rolled down and our coats were thrown into the back seat. Ah yes, glorious sunshine everywhere! Some sun enthusiasts were already sporting sandals, short skirts and enjoying ice cream cones; each to their own! It can’t be helped though… everyone in the UK knows that you cannot take our sunny days for granted; the weather can change every five minutes! We must all try and live in the moment.

 

 

So we drove to a great woodland area/nature reserve to explore, get our heart’s pumping and breath in all those wonderful springtime aromas…

 

…and so it began; c’mon boots! 🙂

 

 

Within five minutes of strolling down all of these tree-lined paths, we could feel the effect of the sun. We think that sunshine has the ability to put us all into a warm and dreamy bubble; creating a state of mindfulness.

NB: Exposure to sunlight can provide a great source for the body to help produce some Vitamin D (*although there are several factors that can determine our rate of absorption); the most optimum levels of the UV-B rays needed for this are obtained between April through to October here in the UK.

 

 

If only we could pause a moment in time…

 

 

This glorious woodland had numerous paths.

 

 

…But which way to go?!

 

 

This way was good…

Nothing beats a leisurely stroll…

 

 

…but ultimately we were spoiled for choice!

 

 

Presently most paths require you to dress in sturdy walking boots…but we had that covered!

 

 

Some of these trails went on forever… but this is fantastic in our books! Sometimes walking through a park can feel like walking in a herd of cattle…but this nature reserve allowed everyone to wander and explore without having to tail gate one another.

 

 

Thanks to treesculpting.co.uk (who we assumed used a wood chisel to design these beauties, but in actual fact used chainsaws!) we had all of these lovely wood sculptures to admire, like this ant …

 

 

this squirrel and hawk…

 

 

this bench with a badger and fox…

 

 

…or this creation, which we think is one of their ‘fern men’.

 

 

Maybe their creativity inspired others…or at least someone! Here’s a make-shift ‘teepee’!

A for effort!

 

 

Nature’s artistic flare created this little stream…

 

 

…and pond; it looks like a lagoon because of a) lime stone, or b) algae. What do else everyone else think?

 

 

As you probably noticed, a lot of this woodland is ‘naked’ at the moment… but we have no doubt how amazing this place is during late spring through until September. However, new vegetation was planted and thriving; just look at all of these tiny trees (not our shadows!)…

The silent giants…

 

 

Or this patch of holly!

We should have zoomed in the camera lens! Sorry!

 

 

We took advantage of the one piece of vegetation designated for woodland fun- this old, fallen tree…

Don’t lose your balance!

 

 

and then it was my turn…

Feeling confident!

 

 

 For some ‘log gymnastics’!

 

 

 

Or maybe we should try this tree swing??

Someone had made two of these over a little stream! Feeling lucky?!

 

 

We might of had an audience…

😀

Or not! Just look at this little fatty! I guess this grey squirrel has awoken from his winter slumber; no nuts in sight little guy!

 

 

On a serious note, here’s a lovely commemoration someone has made…

 

 

…for which we all can rest upon and be mindful.

 

 

 We would recommend this woodland to anyone. It’s perfect for dog walkers, mountain bikers, couples and families alike….but if your dog has an obsession with sticks, you might be in for a long afternoon!

 

So thank you SherrardsPark Wood… for encompassing so many wonderful pieces of nature, bringing families together and for putting the spring in so many people’s step today (dog’s included!).

Woodpeckers, deer, door mice and wild mushrooms were no where to be seen… but we’ll be back!

 

 

P.S. Many thanks to the kind traffic warden that we caught just in the nick of time! It was our first time to that area and we genuinely didn’t suss out the parking restrictions properly! Sorry!

 

 

What did everyone else in Britain get up to this weekend? Did the sunshine make you more energetic than usual?

What else motivated you to leave your house and your creature comforts?

As always, let us know! We love hearing about how you are making permanent lifestyle changes that enable you to Eat2Health and be more active!

Have a great week everyone! 😀

A Walk In The Park: Birds, Rain & Romans

Exercise, Healthy Mind

Whether you are you a stickler for consuming your 5-A-Day or follow a vegan or a pescetarian diet… The very definition of being healthy incorporates not only eating a ‘healthy diet’ but by also by implementing some sort of realistic fitness plan/routine.

Exercise doesn’t have to consist of a gruelling regime in the gym. When given the chance, we think that most people would prefer to be outdoors. We’re designed to move and we should make the most of what nature has to offer…rain or shine!

We know it’s less motivating when the trees are still bare, the wind has an icy bite and a blast of rain is imminent… but that’s what big, fuzzy apparel and robust winter boots are for!

 

This week we decided to stretch our legs with a trip into a Hertfordshire park. As you can see from the map, it’s a great size with lots of things to do (including plenty of hills to climb!).

This park is named after the Roman city ‘Verulamium’ on which it stands….

 

 

 

 We enjoyed an hour’s walk through sunshine, rain, a freak sleet storm…

 

 

…and groups of ravenous ducks!

 

 

This is a lovely park located within the centre of a historic town….so it’s obviously close to local amenities, like this pub….

If you venture off into the other direction, it will lead you to ‘The Waffle House’! Haha! Despite it having excellent reviews… it is unfortunately not vegan friendly! 😩

 

Just joking! We did not go into any pub, even at the end of our walk when we were cold and drenched!

 

 

With cheap bird seed on sale in the park’s cafe, the birds appreciate and expect to be fed…some even started to quack at the sound of our little, brown paper bag rustling…

So many ducks and beautiful swans…

 

 

Some of the swans we all too keen to show me their ‘bullying technique’ when it came to ‘feeding time’…

 

 

…biting at my hands…they really didn’t like eating off the pavement…but I guess who can really blame them?!

 

 

So we gave up and just enjoyed the peace and quiet (once we tuned out the sound of all of the honking Canadian geese!) and the sites, like these Roman ruins…

The remains of  the Roman city walls

 

 

This one is for all you history buffs or lovers of everything ‘English’…

 

We would have loved to have shown you more of these sites….but if you didn’t notice, the sign is stained in rain drops! The sky soon opened up and pelted us with heavy rain, followed by sleet. So we had to get a move on!

 

 

Our walk quickly turned into sprint…but we realised we still had one more bag of bird seed; we decided to brave the birds one last time. They were hungry and perhaps a bit aggravated about the freak storm…

Please excuse my ‘bear-paw’ blocking the corner of the camera lens!

 

 

A huge swan emerged from the pond and became aggressive; it snatched the bag of seeds from Al….and that was enough of that!

 

 

We’d just like to point out that it’s great to support your local wildlife, but please respect the advice laid out by the parks… do not feed birds white bread! This poor goose was a little worse for wear and feeding it half of loaf of bread from your local baker’s isn’t going to help matters…

Birds can be nutritionally depleted too! 😩

 

 

When the weather is more desirable (and the equipment is a little less slippery!), this outdoor ‘gym’…

Adidas allows everyone to bust a move in the park!

 

 

mini climbing wall…

To the left of this climbing wall is a large tennis court, and to the right is a custom-made volley ball court.

 

 

or basketball court…

To the left of this court is a huge, kids play area and numerous football pitches…perfect for when you’re tired of your kids turning you into a human gym-set! 🙂

 

 

…are among many of the resources that this park has to offer…which all allow people to support a healthy lifestyle with innovative ways of spicing up their fitness routines!

 

 

As we left the park we noticed that spring is just on the horizon with this budding tree…

Little pink buds are always a great sign!

 

 

…along with these little flowers that are lining the church cemetery.

We’re not sure what these flowers are; there are also many beautiful daffodils flowering around Hertfordshire at the moment too!

 

 

It’s always great to end a walk on a positive note; we would thoroughly recommend this park, rain or shine!

 

 

So we’d like to encourage everyone to get out into their local parks (or green spaces) this weekend and take their dog for a stroll, or allow their little ones the enjoyment of kicking a football across the pitch or just being able to run around (and be kids!)… and of course to allow yourself to de-stress from the week’s events.

 

So remember everyone- let’s all Eat2Health and get out and about more often!