My meal planner for this week

www.newleafhealthandwellbeing.com

 

Hello Everybody

Firstly I would like to express my sincere love and sympathy to all those who were affected by the terrible bombing in Manchester this week.  It’s so hard to comprehend how anyone can think and carry out such atrocious acts on innocent children.

Whilst such acts make me want to bundle my family up and run away to a deserted island, I know this is not the answer.  As the wonderful people of Manchester have shown us all, we have to stand united in love and community.   There are many quotes posted around on the internet but I think the most powerful one to share with our children is that where ever something terrible happens, there are always hundreds of acts of human kindness to reassure and inspire us.

I hope this week you are able to enjoy some quality time with your family, enjoying the love and community of eating and sharing meals together.

Here’s my meal planner for this week:-

  1. Balsamic vinegar chicken with potato and tomato salad, and green salad
  2. Homemade lamb burgers and salad
  3. Lemon and mustard pork steaks, crushed new potatoes and tropical salad
  4. Salmon, avocado and asparagus salad
  5. Chicken and mushroom pie with mash and greens (for when the weather changes!).

This evening we are actually off to a local beach to enjoy fish and chips in the sunshine.  Naughty but nice!

 

Have a beautiful week everybody and keep love in your hearts.

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The Power of Walking

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Struggling to fit exercise into your weekly routine?

Do you have small children who absorb all your time?

Not keen on organised fitness classes?

 

Like most people, over the years I’ve tried many different types of exercise routines.  I’m not a naturally sporty type, so often it’s been a struggle.

Now I’m older and wiser I’ve decided the activities that suit me best are:-

walking; yoga/pilates; swimming; easy bike rides and some Hiit exercises – Joe Wickes style!

Of the five activities above, my favourite is definitely walking.

Why?

  1. It’s free – on the whole you don’t really need any specialist equipment to get started.
  2. Because you don’t need specialist equipment you can just get out there and get on with it without having to change into different clothes etc –  unless you’re wearing your best Jimmy Choos!
  3. You can do it anywhere, anytime and in any weather
  4. Most importantly, when you have a tribe of kids like me, it’s something the whole family can do.  If you start kids off from a young age, they won’t think twice about going for walks, especially in the countryside/parks where they can explore, pick up sticks and splash in puddles.   We always see something interesting when we are out and about.  If you have babies, you can still get out walking with them in prams or in a child carrier on your back.
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Walking in the Lake District

What are the health benefits?

Studies show walking 30-60 minutes per day at a moderate pace can substantially reduce health risks such as high blood pressure and heart health.   If you walk briskly (i.e 3 miles per hour) for a minimum of 150 minutes per week you can significantly reduce your risk of having a heart attack.

The British Journal of Sports Medicine has found that just 30 minutes per day, for six days a week, of any physical activity at any intensity can provide a 40% lower risk of death in elderly men.  Walking is one of the easiest activities that anyone can undertake.

If you add in some steep inclines, you can burn up to 60% more calories and build up your leg muscles.

Every hour you spend walking could add 2 hours to your life.

Getting outside can have great mental health benefits.  There are even mindful walking retreats available  – check out http://www.sharphamtrust.org to enjoy walking in Devon.

Ways to make it fun

  • walk as a family and add in a pub or tea garden half way round to keep the kids interested
  • walk with friends and have a good gossip
  • search for pokemon
  • take a picnic
  • walk listening to music or a podcast
  • join a walking group
  • take part in a walking challenge for charity
  • take notice of nature on your walk, maybe taking photos too.
  • walk around the shops, window shopping
  • walk round your local neighbourhood – you’ll be surprised at the number of interesting sights you discover such as hidden doorways, interesting gardens and unusual cars etc

Want to make it more challenging?

Try out Nordic Walking

This is a type of fitness walking with especially designed poles (like ski poles) that originated from Finland.

When walking you have to apply force to the poles with each stride.  This excerts a greater intensity over the whole body as you walk.  Muscles in the chest, arms, shoulders, abdominals, spinal and core muscles all get a good workout.

It will also increase your heart rate and increase your energy consumption by about 46% compared to normal walking.  Research has linked Nordic walking to decreases in the risk of heart disease, stoke, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, stress, anxiety and obesity.

Check out http://www.nordicwalking.co.uk to find a group near you.

Power Walking

If you’re my age, you will probably remember this craze from the 90’s!

Power walking or speed walking is basically walking as fast as you can without running or jogging.  An exaggerated arm swing is usually added, which helps really get your heart rate up.

Power walking offers a good low to moderate exercise which is much more gentle on joints than running.

Like Nordic walking, power walking helps to strengthen and tone muscles and burn calories.

 

Or you can set yourself a challenge to complete the UK Coast Path, tick off some Monroes in Scotland or follow a pilgrimage route across Europe.  There are hundreds of ways to make walking fit in with your interests and lifestyle.

 

Right, I’m off now to meet some friends and have a walk and a picnic in the sun – hopefully!

 

As May is National Walking Month, my challenge to you over the  Bank Holiday or school holiday is to get out walking and tell me in the comments below what you’ve been up to.  If you’re already a walker, let me know what your favourite walk is.

If you enjoyed this article, please like and share on social media.

 

Sources: Healthy Magazine Feb 2017 issue, March/April 2017 issue

http://www.wikipedia.org, http://www.nordicwalking.co.uk, http://www.livingstreets.org.uk, http://www.bhf.org.uk, https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1

 

 

 

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My menu planner for this week

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Hello Everybody

My question for you this week is “Do you every feel overwhelmed by the healthy eating movement?”.

I’ve been listening recently to varying medical experts who were interviewed for the Food Revolution Summit in the U.S.  (http://www.foodrevolutionsummit.org).

Whilst many of the interviews were very balanced and informative, I did find myself becoming overwhelmed by all the information.  Sometimes it just seems that everything is bad for us, from the food we eat, to the environment we live in.  To be honest it makes me feel completely despondent and want to give up on the whole “trying to be healthy” thing because it just seems too hard!  I expect this is how 90% of the population feels as well.

So my mantra is “everything in moderation”.

The human body is an amazing machine and it can cope with dealing with a lot of the rubbish and bad habits that we throw at it, as long as we don’t go overboard.   The recent crisis in sugar consumption is an example of what can go wrong if we get carried away.  However, if we all strive to just make small changes here and there, they will have a cumulative effect over time that will improve your health and wellbeing.  In my opinion this is a much better step to undertake than to become totally overwhelmed and give up completely.

Small steps = continued progress

Here’s my menu planner for this week:

  • Piquant pork steaks with jacket potatoes and peas
  • Thai sweet chilli turkey rissoles and salad
  • Chicken schnitzel, salad and maybe Chips!
  • Lasagne and salad
  • Salmon & pea quiche with salad
  • Roast pork with apples and cider, roast potatoes and vegies
  • Homemade chicken curry and rice

I hope you have a super week.

Let me know in the comments below if you feel overwhelmed by the healthy eating movement too sometimes.

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My top 6 daily drinks

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Hello everybody

I know I keep going on about this, but as a food lover it makes sense – one of the easiest ways to reduce your daily calorie intake is to check the calories you are drinking each day.

Alcohol, sugary fizzy drinks, milkshakes, fruit juice and smoothies all contain high levels of calories and can really sabotage any healthy eating plan.  By swapping them for lower calorie options you could start to see improvements in your weight loss and health, before you even have to start changing your food diet.

So, here are the top 6 drinks I have every day instead of sugary sodas:-

1. Water

I’ve never been a big fan of drinking water so it’s taken a bit of effort to start training myself to drink more.  I’ve decided the best way for me is sparkling mineral water.  If you buy the home-brand supermarket litre bottles then it’s not too expensive.

Alternative ways of drinking water – A jug of nice, cold tap water in the fridge or bottles/jugs of water with slices of fruit, cucumber or mint added to give it some flavour.

Beware though of shop flavoured waters – these are often flavoured with artificial ingredients and added sweetners.

2. Green Tea

Numerous studies on green tea show evidence of health benefits such as reducing the risk of cancer and heart disease.  It also contains antioxidants and catechins which have been linked to weight loss and reduced belly fat.

I’ve tried several different brands of pure green tea and really can’t find one I like.  However, I do enjoy Twinings Lemon Green Tea, so I would suggest maybe trying some different flavoured green teas until you find one you like.  It seems a shame not to make the most of all the wonderful health and weight loss benefits linked to green tea consumption.

3. Tea

I always start the day with a cup of black Earl Grey or Lady Grey tea, but old fashioned “builders” tea with a dash of milk is equally good and full of flavonoids, just make sure you don’t add sugar.  I know celebrities all swear by hot/cold water with lemon but the citric acid from lemons dissolves your tooth enamel, so personally I don’t think that’s a good idea.

Fruit and herbal teas are another good addition to your drinks list for the day.  During the winter months I have been enjoying Pukka Three Ginger Tea (nice and warming), Pukka Three Cinnamon tea (quite sweet), Jasmine tea I bought from a Chinese food store and Teapigs Liquorice and peppermint (again quite sweet).

During the summer months I might experiment with fruit teas made up in a big jug and chilled in the fridge as iced tea.

4. Coffee

I’m a big fan of coffee but I limit my intake to about 2 or 3 small, strong cups of cappuccino per day.  Again there are lots of flavonoids and antioxidants in coffee beans and calcium and nutrients from milk.  But be careful you don’t go supersized with lots of added sugar, cream and flavourings or you will rack up the calories.  If you are trying to lose weight then ‘go black’ to reduce the calories significantly.

5. Smoothies

I sometimes have a homemade smoothie at breakfast time.  This is made up of soy milk, oats, two spoons of Greek yogurt, one banana, a handful of frozen berries and blitzed.  The oats help fill me up and balance out the sugars so you get a slow release of nutrients. I’m actually less tempted to have a morning snack when I have this at breakfast time.

Again just beware of commercially produced or coffee shop smoothies which usually have lots of added sugar.

6. Pure fruit juice

Yes, I know there’s lots of sugars in fruit juice but I usually only have a small glass with breakfast.  I would certainly suggest diluting fruit juice for children if you can’t get them to drink water or milk.  Be very careful to read the labels on the carton though.  I’ve noticed that since the pressure on drinks companies to reduce their sugar content, a lot of them have started adding sweetners to their recipes.  Not only do the juices taste different, I strongly feel sweetners are bad news for our bodies.

A little note on alcohol

I have always enjoyed alcohol.  Back when I was younger, I couldn’t really afford to drink much at home so it was only ever at special occasions or a night out.  Now alcohol is so much cheaper and widely available in supermarkets, it’s very easy for all of us to get into a habit of having a beer or  a glass of wine every night.

So, this year I have decided to try and cut back just to help shrink the muffin top belly.  It was quite hard because I’d got into the ‘glass of wine with dinner routine’.  I started off first by alternating each night – one night off, one night on.  Then I went to no drinks on Mon/Tues/Thurs.  Now, most of the time I go from Sun or Monday through to Friday (and sometimes even Saturday)with no alcohol.  I have to admit I do feel better for it – much more motivated in the evening to get stuff done and I find waking up in the morning for the school run easier too. I do tend to slip a bit during school holidays, when the kids are going to bed later and we’re all relaxing together watching TV.  But overall I haven’t missed it anywhere near as much as I thought I would and I definitely think I have lost a bit of weight because of it.

 

So, what do you think of my alternative drinks to sugary sodas?  Are you already controlling your drink calorie intake or is it an area you could work on?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so send me a comment.

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Till next time x

 

 

 

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My menu planner for this week

www.newleafhealthandwellbeing.com

 

Hello Everyone

A quick question for you – are you struggling with sticking to a healthy eating/life style plan?

One of the easiest ways to stay on track is to surround yourself with a like minded tribe.  If you are surrounded by friends and relatives eating burgers, chips and sitting about watching TV then the chances are you will too.  We all do it.  We want to fit in and be part of our tribe.  Equally, those friends and relatives may not want us to change, so they may pressurise you into ditching your plans.

How can you overcome this? 

Try to explain to your friends and relatives why this is important to you.

Encourage them to join in on your plan.

Make small changes here and there so that you are not in direct conflict with those around you.

Maybe suggest a few challenges – who can come up with the best salad or finding a new exercise regime you can all try together.

Once you start implementing healthy habits here and there, they will become contagious and others will start to follow your lead.

 

Here’s my menu planner for this week:-

  1. Chicken saltimbocca spirali (chicken, wrapped in prosciutto with a white wine, tomato and basil sauce and spiral pasta).
  2. Creamy salmon and pasta
  3. Good quality sausages, mash and balsamic onions and roasted tomatoes.
  4. Rigatoni Bolognaise
  5. Chicken with satay chilli sauce and mango salad
  6. Seared pork fillet with wild rice salad
  7. Pepper and chorizo quiche and salad

 

Have a wonderful week and let me know on my facebook page if you have come up with any challenges for your friends and families to try out.

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