Healthy Snack Inspiration for the New Year

I’m not one for big resolutions with the new year but I do feel the need to clean my eating up just a teeeeny bit after all the leftovers and chocolate have been on the heavy side for the last few weeks.

So here’s an article to help give some good directions on some more balanced snack ideas…

Source: Image Pexels CC0 License

Everyone loves a sweet treat, especially as a pick me up during the cold winter months. But, if cutting down on sugary snacks is one of your resolutions for the new year, then you may be on the lookout for healthier alternatives. Trying to curb your snacking can be tough, especially as everyone is spending so much time at home and within easy reach of the fridge right now! If you need some inspiration for tasty, yet healthy alternatives to your usual snacks, then why not give some of these a try?

Seeds

Seeds are an excellent choice of healthy snack to satisfy your hunger between meals. One of the best varieties of seed to snack on is pumpkin seeds. They may be small, but these tasty seeds make a perfect snack choice to keep mid-morning hunger at bay. Each seed is packed full of protein, fibre, plus omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Vitamin B2, folate and calcium are all also contained in pumpkin seeds.

One of the best things about seeds is that they have a long shelf life, so if you are someone that often shops for health foods, but then ends up binning them because they have gone off before you have had a chance to eat them, seeds are an ideal choice.

Berries

Sometimes you need something sweet to satisfy your cravings. Berries are the perfect choice to relieve your urge for a sweet snack and are packed full of flavour. Choosing strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or a mix of each will help you get your five-a-day while satisfying your sweet tooth. These berries are full of antioxidants as well as flavour, which provides many benefits to your overall health. Antioxidants help to reduce inflammation levels in the body and also help to lower bad cholesterol.

Yoghurt

Some yoghurts are full of sugar, and fat-free varieties that are promoted as ‘diet’ foods can contain sweeteners. To avoid yoghurts that are not as healthy as they seem, it is well worth reading the ingredients list carefully and opting for natural yoghurts. Choosing natural yoghurts containing live cultures can provide benefits for your digestive health. Many people believe that these live cultures can improve the balance of good bacteria in your gut. 

Smoothies

If you want to pack as many nutrients as possible into one serving at snack time, then preparing a smoothie is an excellent way to do it. Making a fresh smoothie at home enables you to fill it with many of the healthy options listed above. Adding yoghurt, berries, and seeds to your smoothie will help to fill you up and makes a perfect snack for any time, whether you are working or out and about.

Hummus

Hummus is the perfect way to enjoy a tasty and filling snack. One of the best things about hummus is that it is easy to make yourself, and is also really versatile. Use hummus as a spread, or as a dip for crudites to help you get your five-a-day.

What are your favourite snacks?

Do you like to snack between meals or just have big meals?

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

Eating Well for Your Digestive Health

I’m so nervous about Sunday’s marathon I can’t tell you… but hopefully I’ll have a positive update next week.

Until then I have a post regarding keeping your digestion nice and healthy. Enjoy!

Sometimes the joy of eating is having whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s important to stay fuelled up if you’re an active person to make sure you’re getting enough energy. But sometimes you need to be a bit more careful about what you eat, especially if your digestive system starts objecting to what you’re putting in it. Changing what you eat or how you eat, even if it’s just some of the time, can help you if you have digestive issues or you just want to be healthier in general. Try these tips if you want to make your gut happier and healthier.

Enjoy a Diverse Diet

Eating lots of different things can help to keep your digestive system (and the rest of you) healthy. When you have a diverse microbiota in your gut, it’s generally going to be healthy. Different species of bacteria can do different things and help you to stay healthy in a variety of ways. Expanding your diet to include lots of different foods can help to make the bacteria in your intestines more diverse so that you have a happier tummy. Considering the different food groups and lots of types of plant foods can make your diet more varied.

Eat Plenty of Vegetables, Fruits, Legumes, and Beans

Fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes and beans, have lots of nutrients in them. Many of them also have a lot of fibre, which is great for your digestive system. When you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, you might even be able to prevent some bacteria that lead to disease. Some great foods that are high in fibre and good for your gut include chickpeas, broccoli, lentils, and all kinds of beans. Eating foods like these will help your digestive system to operate as it should.

Try Fermented Foods

You might have heard people talking about the magic of fermented foods. Fermentation usually involves the natural process of bacteria or yeast turning sugars into acids or alcohol. Some types of fermented food include yoghurt, kimchi, kombucha, kefir, and sauerkraut. If you wanted to try something new, buy Gutsy Ferments sauerkraut or a similar product. Not everyone likes all types of fermented products, but you’ll probably find some that you find very tasty. Try something different like kimchi or just stick to a less adventurous probiotic yoghurt if you’re not the sort of person to branch out.

Look for Prebiotic Foods

Prebiotic foods promote the growth of microbes that are beneficial to the gut. They include fibres and complex carbs that need bacteria to break them down. Lots of fruits, vegetables, and wholegrains count as prebiotics, such as the onion family (including garlic and leek), asparagus, bananas, and barley, and oats. These foods also contain lots of nutrients that are good for your health, as well as helping to give you a healthy digestive system.

Take good care of your gut health if you want to be healthier and feel more comfortable while enjoying a diverse diet.

Do you have any issues with your digestion?

Do you think you eat enough fruit and veg?

What I’m Loving Lately – May/June

Time is flying but also moving so slowly, eh?

So Kyle and I have been continuing to settle in nicely to our new little home and while there is still so much to do (not one room is fully “finished” yet) we’re loving our new way of life.

Luckily we’ve only had to paint one wall, and that was only because we wanted to change the colour. The whole house was left in such pristine condition and the previous owners had only recently decorated so thankfully it’s just furniture and organising that we need to sort out. (But big thank you shout out to the previous owners for their kindness and thoroughness – and the bottle of fizz they left us!)

Though we did have a rather stressful time of lack of internet which wasn’t fun. Ordinarily this would just be annoying but because Kyle and I are working from home we needed something to cover us for the week that our internet wouldn’t be in place. We bought a mobile broadband thing (like a dongle I guess) to cover us but the signal wasn’t great. But after a week or so, we now have proper internet and it’s lovely and fast. Work has become so much easier I can tell you! No more fuzzy stuttering Team meetings or waiting for a webpage to load.

My standing desk is doing well!

Anyway I thought I’d catch you up with some things I’ve been loving lately…House warming gifts

We’ve been really touched and grateful for lots of lovely cards and presents we’ve received since arriving. Kyle’s sister, Lucy, popped round (well, stood outside the door 2 metres away!) and gave us these gorgeous cupcakes she’d made (she’s actually got a baking Instagram that she’s looking into starting as a full-on business –> @dirrty.cakes to check her out).

There were some lemon flavoured ones and some chocolate flavoured ones. And they were INCREDIBLE. I’m not usually a big chocolate cake fan but damn these were so good.

So fantastic detail!

My lovely friend Emma made us some DELICIOUS rocky road as well and had it sent to us. This was amazing!

We adore rocky road and honestly it really didn’t last long… Such a thoughtful and lovely gift.

Marshmallows, cherries, biscuits… so good

And Kyle’s dad gave us a selection of Tony’s Chocolonely.

This was incredible! So many flavours I’ve never tried. My favourite is the dark chocolate and pretzel one, but the almond and honey was SO good too. A bit like Toblerone. Trying to pace ourselves and not eat them all at one.

FourfiveCBD Immunity Bundle

I was also recently sent the fiveCBDd Immunity Bundle, which contains a whole host of cool products:

  • CBD Effervescent Multivitamins (containing 5mg/0.13% Broad Spectrum CBD, vitamins, minerals and amino acids
  • Advanced Daily Biotic
  • Raw Organic Cacao Powder
  • Vitamin C supplements
  • Vegan Vitamin D3 2000iu supplements
  • Peanut Choc protein bar
  • Food-Grown KSM-66 Ashwagandha supplements

What’s cool is that they have a charity partnership with Compassion London who are supporting those most in need during the pandemic – which is just such a fantastic scheme. When you purchase this box, £5 is donated to help provide three meals to vulnerable people, the homeless and key workers.

The CBD multivitamin is easy to take – you just drop a tablet into water (like the nuun or High 5 hydration tabs). It has sweet organge flavour and 5mg of CBD per tablet.

The cacao powder which is untreated, high in magnesium and iron (good against fatigue) and can be used in protein shakes or baking (a great addition to porridge too!).

I didn’t know what Ashwagandha was before getting this box, but apparently it’s clinically proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and lower cortisol, as well as aid muscle recovery. It’s also supposed to help optimise libido in men and women, wahay 😉

The Daily Biotic provides Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, which is apparently the most scientifically studied strain of beneficial bacteria. This helps to support general wellbeing and keep you healthy.

I really like this selection box as it has a bit of everything. And to be honest, recently it’s been a big help what with all the stress of moving house, sorting things out and what with one with and another… it’s been a nice boost to my health I feel.

33 Fuel Ultimate Daily Greens

And to top  up my health even more, I’ve also been sent the Ultimate Daily Greens from 33 Fuel. I’ve tried other products from 33 Fuel and really like them (their chia seed energy gels are fantastic – I did a review of them a while ago).

The Ultimate Daily Greens is like a power drink for your health, containing good stuff like wheatgrass, barley grass, chlorella, spirulina, kale, spinach and without sugar, sweeteners, preservatives or flavourings.

Also what I love is that they don’t give you a plastic scoop – the world definitely needs less plastic (side note: MyProtein should really get on board with this as people who regularly buy protein powders have no need for more scoops! Just buy one separately if you need it). For this you only need a tablespoon so you can work that out yourself. You just add it to water and guzzle away.

I add it to squash and it’s perfect. You can add it to your porridge as well if you so desire. It’s an easy mix-in.

So things are very good round here at the moment. With lots of fantastic (and super tasty!) stuff from lots of lovely people and cool companies 🙂

Do you take any supplements?

Do you add anything to your porridge?

Do you have a favourite Tony’s Chocolonely flavour?

**Full Disclaimer: I was sent the immunity box and daily greens for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Missing The Gym? Here Are 10 Ways You Can Work Out During Lockdown

A few years ago I don’t think I’d ever think this but… damn I’m missing the gym. While it’s not up there with running, it is definitely something I enjoy doing on a weekly basis. And with the whole lockdown coronavirus crisis going to the gym seems like a distant memory (rightly so).

I’ve been trying to motivate myself into home workouts and it’s been going OK but nothing beats the gym to get you fully in the zone. However I hope this post might help spur you into action if you need it.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch from Pexels

During the pandemic, you might feel as though you’re missing the gym or doing your usual exercise classes with all of your friends. But don’t worry! There are so many ways that you can still workout whilst still maintaining social distancing and not breaking the government’s quarantine rules. No matter how much spare time you have or what equipment you own, you’ll easily be able to find an activity that suits you.

But if you don’t know where to start, this process could be daunting. To assist with this, here are 10 methods you can use to help you stay active. Complementing a healthy diet (whether you opt to use a range of diet shakes or change up what you eat), it will ensure you’re on the path to success!

Yoga

First up on the list is the tranquil and relaxing activity that is yoga. An activity that’s been around for over 5,000 years, yoga is a wonderful way to work out your body, whilst soothing and calming the mind. Particularly ideal during this time, you can learn yoga poses either through a virtual tutorial or by using a step-by-step guide.

There are so many physical benefits that come with yoga, including increased muscle flexibility and tone, improved cardio and circulatory health and enhanced athletic performance. An activity that anyone of all ages can do, you can safely do yoga in the comfort of your home – all you need is a yoga mat and an adequate space to do it in.

Skipping

Skipping isn’t just for children – it’s a high-intensity workout that can help you burn fat and promote weight loss. Of course, the number of calories that you lose will depend on the intensity of the workout and your weight initially. But if you aim for an accelerated 10-minute session, you could burn up to 110 calories – which will only go up with the longer that you do it for.

What’s great about this activity is that it only requires a skipping rope, some outdoor space and the motivation to keep it up!

Dance

If you’re looking for a unique way to work out, then maybe a dance session is more up your street. By dedicating 30 minutes each night to dancing you can lose hundreds of calories, tone muscles and increase your stamina – all whilst having some fun.

Plus, by doing a dance session, you’ll spend some of your energy, meaning that you’ll be able to sleep better each night. Whether you dance freestyle or use an online video, you’ll feel fabulous after dancing to your favourite music. You could also get your little ones involved – an extraordinary way of keeping them busy whilst expelling some of their energy!

Running 

You might think that you can’t go running during the lockdown. But as long as you only do this once a day and maintain social distancing, then there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a running session each day. Running is one of the best ways to lose some weight and exercise your body – plus it’s something that everyone, no matter what their age can enjoy.

With so much incredible scenery and countryside around this country, there’s ample opportunity to put on your running shoes and head out. It’s not just good for the body, however. Going out for a run is the ultimate opportunity to clear your mind and reset your batteries.

Walking

If running or jogging isn’t your forte, then perhaps head out on a long walk each day. Still a great way to exercise, walking long distances reduces the risk of heart disease, improves high blood pressure and strengthens the bones.

Incredibly important, especially during this time, it also gives you a chance to get away from the four walls of your house – even if it’s just for an hour or two. 

Virtual Aerobics

If you used to love going to your weekly aerobics class, then you’re probably missing it throughout lockdown. But don’t fret – there is a solution. There are now aerobics classes that you can enjoy virtually. Whether you’re a novice or you’ve been going to aerobics classes for years there is a free video online for you.

Alternatively, there are also subscription classes that you could join that would provide you with the right equipment and professional tutoring – for those looking for something a little more intense and less wallet-friendly.

Obstacle Courses

Ok, so this might sound a little crazy – but it’s an efficient and simple way of working out from the comfort of your own garden. By setting up an obstacle course with items that you have at home (for example, a hula hoop, slide and beanbag) you’ll be able to get some exercise in, without having to worry about working out with others around you.

It’s also something that your kids will love to do or your dog (if you have one) will undoubtedly take an interest in!

Hula Hooping

Yet again, you might be thinking that hula hooping is just a playground activity. But it can actually be an awesome way of working out. There are several key benefits of exercising with a hula hoop, including the fact that it:

  • Is a great ab exercise that keeps your core strong.
  • Can burn as much fat as a workout on a treadmill.
  • Strengthens your heart and back.
  • Increases endorphins.

Grab the Weights!

Whether you already have weights at home or you order some off the internet, it’s a fantastic way to work out. Although many people think that the main goal of weight lifting is to build muscle mass and bulk up so that you resemble something out of a competition, there are so many more benefits that people don’t realise.

These include boosting metabolism, strengthening bones, improving posture and maintaining weight loss. It’s also one of the easiest sports to do, as it only requires limited equipment.

Housework and Gardening

Ok, so you might be thinking – this isn’t a sport? But doing housework and gardening is a wonderful way to work out your body whilst being at home during the lockdown. For example, did you know that you can burn approximately 170 calories per hour by dusting and up to 190 calories by scrubbing? In terms of gardening, not only will you work out your body, but you’ll also be able to enjoy the fresh air. 

Although you might not be tempted to do the housework or gardening during this time as you won’t be having visitors around until the lockdown is lifted, it’s the perfect opportunity to do this. Not only will it keep you physically productive but will keep your brain active – plus it’s so much better than just sitting around and watching TV all day.

Final Thoughts

So, there you go! Those are 10 simple ways that you can work out during the lockdown. What exercise or activity you choose to do, of course, is up to you and what you prefer. But whichever you choose, it will ensure that you’re keeping active, maintaining a good level of exercise and assisting your wellbeing.

Just make sure, however, as aforementioned that whichever activity you do, this is done alongside maintaining a healthy diet – otherwise all of your exercise goes to waste the moment you start to eat unhealthily or increase the size of your portions – something that’s very easy to do at the moment with everyone having to remain inside!

Have you been doing any home workouts?

Do you miss the gym?

Ways to Calm Your Mind During Difficult Times

Hey everyone, I thought I’ve got a great post today looking at ways to find that inner calmness during these rather stressful and uncertain times. Some things you obviously can’t change, but you can definitely change how you react to the situation and find coping mechanisms to get through. Hope this helps!

We’re living through extremely stressful times. The rapid spread of coronavirus and Covid-19 has thrown many of our lives into disarray. Our routines have been thrown out of whack. Many of us aren’t working anymore. Kids are off school. We’re stuck in our houses with little to distract us other than news articles and broadcasts highlighting awful statistics and little comfort as to when all of this will all end. So, it’s not all too surprising that many people are finding it hard to stay calm, composed and in good spirits. It is, however, extremely important to take as positive a stance as possible right now. Here are just a few different things to consider doing to rest, ease and calm your mind!

Practice Mindfulness or Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation have increased in popularity over the past few years. Their popularity has skyrocketed over the past couple of months. This is for good reason. Mindfulness and meditation allow you to let go of stresses and worries, focus on the here and now and let everything in life pass without judgement. This can create feelings of peace and ease. Now, it’s absolutely free to try this out. There are plenty of apps, online tutorials and video tutorials that can guide you through what to do and how to achieve the best results possible.

Exercise

It’s still important that you get your recommended exercise. Official guidelines state that the average adult should get one hundred and fifty minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week or seventy five minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise a week. This is largely important for physical health. But exercise is good for your mind too! It releases endorphins that make you feel good and it can reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol in your brain. So, take sixty minutes’ worth of outdoor exercise a day – while maintaining social distancing measures – walking, jogging, running or cycling. Alternatively, you can practice indoors. Yoga, pilates and other indoor workouts are all great for body and mind!

Come Up With Logical Solutions

If you’re stressed due to circumstances, try to think of logical ways to deal with them. This will lift a huge weight from your shoulders. If you’re concerned about income, see what government help there is to tide you over. If you feel uncertain in your job, talk to your employer for some reassurance. If you’re concerned about the virus, listen to government guidelines and practice social distancing alongside good hygiene and you will dramatically reduce your chances of getting it.

Keep In Touch With Loved Ones
Hearing a loved ones’ voice is always going to help lift your spirits. Keep in touch. There are so many different ways to do this. We’re living in a technological age. We can email, text, call, video call and even group video call!

Sure, times are hard. But it’s so important that we try to keep our spirits high! Hopefully, the above information and advice can really help you out!

How are you coping at the moment?

Do you meditate?

What are you tips?