Eating and the Planet: How to Reduce Your Environmental Impact

I have an article today which is very close to my heart.

While I know I eat a lot of meat (yes, a lot of chicken wings) I don’t eat like this all the time (I can’t afford to for one thing!). Throughout the week I rarely eat meat. I eat a lot of fish (like tuna in my lunch and sea basa in the evening) and I adore Linda McCartney sausages. And I’m very conscious about food waste and not buying unnecessary food. But anyway, here are some fantastic tips for you to read!

Image credit – Pixabay

If you love food, eating and cooking and have never been a vegetarian before, then it can seem daunting. You might have tried out Veganuary or another vegan/veggie-based food challenge before, but committing to it long-term or on a permanent basis isn’t for you just now. But the food we eat does have an environmental impact it’s important to be aware of. With this in mind, here are some things you can think about with your food-shopping to have less of an impact on the environment.

Meat

The best way of reducing your environmental impact whilst still remaining a meat-eater is to cut down. Think about meat as a once or twice a week treat, rather than something you have every day, and make sure you are using the whole animal wherever possible. We don’t mean pig-snout sandwiches – more, that you are thinking about ways to use all of what you have. This might be making a stock out of a chicken carcass or using scraps to make gravy.

When you are buying meat, shop for organic and local meat wherever possible. Although often more expensive, if you’ve cut down your consumption anyway, this shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the food bill. Aside from the environment, it’s just more enjoyable to eat meat knowing that it’s been farmed in a responsible way, rather than battery farmed.

Shop Nearby

Heading out to the shops for a carton of milk in your car a few times a week adds up. Even if you do need to use your car to get to the supermarket, if you can plan your meals in advance and do a big food shop once a week, rather than multiple little trips throughout the week, you will drastically reduce your carbon emission. Obviously we’re all human and sometimes forget things, but try to stay organised and pick items on when you’re on other trips as much as possible.

Food Waste

The UK has made massive improvements reducing food waste recently. In the last year, it was reported that waste was reduced by almost five million tonnes. Previously, 8m tonnes of food waste was going straight to landfill and, with methane gases released from landfill having a global warming potential 21 times greater than carbon dioxide, how we use and dispose of food waste should be top of everyone’s list in terms of sustainability and eating environmentally. One of the best ways you can reduce your food waste is to plan your weekly shop in advance. Instead of buying ad hoc, make a meal plan, write a shopping list and stick to it. There’s a difference between replacing chicken with pork in a dish because the pork was on offer and just buying the pork as well because of the discount. Plan in advance and have a leftovers night once a week, where you make a hotchpotch meal with all the bits and pieces from previous nights to stop any wastage.

If you are looking at the ways you eat and buy food, sustainable clothing and trying to reduce your travel carbon emissions, ultimately we will all be living on a happier and greener planet.

What things do you do to be environmentally friendly?

Do you eat meat?

Why Following A Healthy Lifestyle Isn’t A Sacrifice

Hope you had a lovely weekend. I have another article today and it’s one close to my heart: being healthy for life.

I couldn’t imagine not exercising or thinking about the longevity of my health. Yes I love eating less nutritious food (cake…chicken wings…) but a lot of the time I eat vegetables, fruit and get a balanced diet – without becoming obsessive over it. And sleep! Sleep is SO important. I get up stupidly early but I go to bed at a reasonable time, which definitely helps! So here we go…

Pexels – CC0 License

There are many sentiments, easily found online, that hold mistaken impressions or somewhat incorrect premises. This is likely not news to anyone. However, when these impressions become the norm, or when they permeate culture, they can become a real problem. Perhaps the latest of these worrying trends is, that while accepting overweight people is absolutely paramount and should be commended, the ‘healthy at any size’ fad is leading to a harmful debate.

Most of us understand this. However, while this can seem like an extreme example, it’s often an attitude that we find throughout culture. For instance, we might hear people joke at the office about how they’ve already fallen off the gym wagon, or that they hate to run, or that it’s much easier to fall in love with pizza than it is to diet.

Of course, we’re not here to judge, nor act superior, nor pretend that those people are in any way lesser. The delicious call of a morning fry-up breakfast or how much we love to indulge over the Christmas period are facts better left unsaid. However, we’re here to discuss why, despite many claims to the opposite, following a healthy lifestyle is not a sacrifice, or something you have to pay for with true hardship.

Please, consider our warm advice:

A Good Sleep Schedule Is Everything

Getting your sleep schedule right can feel equal parts science and art. Science, because there are very real habits and practices that contribute to sleep hygiene, and sometimes your nutrition can make a massive impact. Art, because getting to sleep is an experience. It takes a practical ability, more than just switching off a light switch – if only things were that easy.

A good sleep schedule can aid your life in ways you may not understand. Any energy you feel will be thanks to a good nights sleep, and your body’s ability to repair itself. Even with the best nutrition, the best exercise, the healthiest body, the strongest genetics, you will feel like an absolute shadow of yourself if sleep-deprived for a few days.

In Matthew Walker’s illuminating book ‘Why We Sleep,’ he sheds like on many myths related to sleep hygiene and practice. One of these is the idea of ‘sleep debt,’ which he shows is very real, but trying to ‘pay off the debt’ as if a bank overdraft simply does not work. A good sleep schedule is able to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and if we fail to do that, then we slowly erode our health just a fraction more. This is why it’s important to take your sleep seriously, perhaps even as a prescription. Our society is fundamentally sleep deprived.

This means that living your best life, feeling energized, ensuring you keep a good memory, boosting your immune system and staying emotionally stable is all fundamentally aided by good sleep habits. Sure, you may not be able to watch that Netflix series late into the night, or it might be that partying all night each weekend may be a little less attractive, but what you miss in those small considerations you make up for in a healthy, well-sustained life. Of course, don’t be a fascist with yourself about this. Just aim for better sleep habits.

Losing Weight Feels Powerful

We can often see losing weight as a harmful challenge. We know that having to observe what we eat with clarity and care, or trying to limit our indulgences isn’t very nice. If we could, we would love to live in a world where going for that extra slice of cake for dessert or eating a large greasy breakfast each morning wouldn’t add on the pounds, but unfortunately, that’s not a possibility.

However, losing weight needn’t feel like some intensive and aggressive approach you need to take. In fact, losing weight can be an extremely worthwhile process. To begin with, it can teach you certain lifestyle skills that will help you in the long run. Learning to cook better, more nutritionally dense meals, perhaps with the help of a Sunday meal prep program, can help you feel more autonomy in the kitchen. Sooner rather than later you’ll find it intriguing to browse your local supermarket shelves to see what health foods are on offer, what international cuisine you may try, and much more.

Additionally, eating lighter, healthier meals simply feels good. It helps you feel less lethargic after that intensive carb load routine you are used to, and switching from intensive coffees to green teas, all while staying hydrated, feels phenomenal. The more weight you lose, the healthier you’ll feel, and the better your body will be to handle. You’ll also notice your face becoming thinner and your natural self shining through, and this can have major impacts on your skin quality, your hair density, and how in-shape you feel. Losing weight is not a sacrifice. It can be an absolutely emotionally rewarding, powerful journey.  If you’ve ever accomplished anything that gave you a sense of pride in life, imagine that but also felt during every single moment of your day.

Now, we’re not here to disparage overweight or obese people for a second. Many are trying their best to adopt healthier habits. But when you take a direct, structured approach to losing weight, learning your BMI and caloric maintenance, staying as active as you can, and eating a healthy, balanced diet, you’ll slowly notice yourself blossom. For some, this can be life-affirming to the extreme.

Furthermore, this most fundamental of healthy practices can help you start looking to other changes you can make. For instance, if needing to quit smoking, you can research the best nicotine therapy product and buy it online to aid in your efforts.

The Hard Challenge Of Exercise Can Help You Grow

Many consider exercise to be a hard challenge, and they’d be right. But there’s nothing like the feeling of coming off a treadmill after a good workout well completed. It is a glow that lasts for hours, and will help you in all social situations, in the confidence you have, and in the self-respect you curate.

Many people think of attending the gym and are instantly put off. We see those who have amazing physiques, those who are lifting hundreds of kilograms/pounds or those running a 10k on a treadmill and think that this is certainly not the place for us. But remember, you don’t need to be particularly physically skilled to join a gym. It could be that through using a program such as Couch 2 5k, joining a few classes, or simply getting back into the motion of using a rowing machine, you feel able and active.

When you have a training plan in place, you have something to look forward to and aim towards. You can move on from that point with confidence and care. Every little achievement you make means something. Take it day by day, perhaps twice a week, then three times, then four. When you get into the schedule you’ll start feeling more active, you’ll sleep more easily, and you’ll start noticing your body start to feel much, much healthier, even in the way you breathe. This will have a positive impact on all other aspects of your life, so don’t be afraid to begin in a humble context.

With all of this advice, we hope you can take worthwhile steps towards following a healthy lifestyle. As time passes on, you will feel nothing but pride and a renewed sense of confidence, knowing that the cost of feeling good was never that bad after all.

Do you get enough sleep?

Do you enjoy going to the gym?

Do you think about your health a lot?

Do You Hear Wedding Bells?

We survived Blue Monday! 😉

I have a post for you today about weddings (no I’m not getting married anytime soon!). Wedding season is going to be upon us soon and it can be a very stressful time if you’re organising a wedding but it’s important to remember the bigger picture and what it represents. Anyway, hope you enjoy!

If you hear wedding bells then you’re a very lucky person. To be planning a wedding and to have been proposed to by the person that you love is a magical thing. Weddings are actually dying out more than you might realise. Weddings used to be something people would find themselves at a few times a year, but now it seems to be engagement parties.

Engagement parties are the new most popular thing because that’s all people seem to be doing, getting engaged. To get to the stage of planning a wedding and making that fabulous memory takes years, and it takes a hell of a lot of money. So, many people are put off by the thought of having a wedding.

So, if you are planning a wedding, then you’re lucky. You have the love and the funds to do so, and that means that wedding bells are definitely on the horizon for you. So, we’re going to talk you through some wedding planning tips to help those bells sound so much better!

Wedding Attire Essentials

The wedding attire is what most people are going to be thinking about. The wedding attire is a chance for people to get dolled up and wear things that they wouldn’t usually wear, just so that they can enjoy the day. But it’s not just your dress that you need to be thinking about, your bank account is going to be in charge of the dresses that your bridesmaids want to wear.

You can search by colors to see what styles and colour you’d like best for your big day. At the end of the day, the bridesmaids should be wearing what you want them to wear, but we know it doesn’t always work out that way. Try and keep it as cheap as possible as well. Some brides spend thousands on their bridesmaids for a dress they’ll probably never wear again! You could even think about renting one to save some money.

Venue Meltdowns

Venue meltdowns are going to come in thick and fast when things don’t go your way. A venue meltdown can be anything from them changing the numbers that you’re allowed to invite, to them changing the time of the wedding, to the catering company saying they won’t travel to the location.

All we’d recommend is that you make sure you’re planning everything far enough in advance so that you can account for all of this happening. If something is going wrong when your wedding is a year or so in advance, you can’t really complain!

Wedding Day Meltdowns

Hopefully there won’t be any meltdowns on the day, but let’s be honest, anything could happen! If something doesn’t go how it should do, it’s so easy to have a meltdown. But our best advice for the day is to make sure you’re just relax into the day. As long as you and your partner are there and you’re getting married, that’s all that matters. Chances are your guests won’t even know if anything does go wrong!

Have you ever planned a wedding?

Do you enjoy going to weddings?

Have you ever gotten married?

The highs and lows

Christmas is close upon us, as is the delightfully aesthetic new year, 2020.

So I decided to do a little look back at the year – a review if you will. I want to keep it mostly positive because lord knows we need some positivity around here what with the election, Brexit and my own personal knee strife. But I’ll start with running, which will inevitably tumble down into a bit of negativity but then I’ll move on quickly to more happy affairs.

For running, 2019 has been a tale of two stories for me. The first half of the year I felt like my running was going really well. I ran a really strong Portsmouth Coastal Marathon at the end of 2018, then headed into 2019 and hit Barcelona Marathon (3:31:45) and Manchester Marathon (3:23:04) fairly close together with similar good results.

Good results for me basically means feeling strong in my running and finishing happy. I did both of those things for both of those marathons. Barcelona was quite hot and Manchester was quite boring, but asides from that they went really well.

I also managed to score a new PB for my 10k at the Manchester 10k (41:40). Considering I detest 10ks this hadn’t been a particular focus of mine but a happy outcome of some consistent strong running.

Then came the Hamstring Saga which stretched on far too long but eventually I was able to overcome this issue with a lot of rehab, support and whining. So much whining. I saw the end in sight as I hurtled towards the Chicago Marathon. The week before saw my knee blow up and I ran cautiously through the marathon (thank goodness painlessly) and here I stand over nine weeks later and my knee is still not right.

Regardless of the second half of the year stuttering to a rather sad running-less end, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. Three marathons – two very strong ones and one “victory lap” marathon. I got my Six Star Finisher medal. Of course I’m proud of that and happy I achieved it this year when so many times throughout the year the threat of my hamstring (and then knee) made me doubt myself.

But running aside… There have been so many good things this year.

Favourite food: Ah jeeze this year was bloody amazing for the food I ate. So many new restaurants tried and I even managed to go out of my usual habit of ordering chicken wings all the time (shock).

The top contenders are the incredible Jayne Salad from The Parade Tearooms as this speaks to my soul in a big way – I love salads but I HATE tiny portions. This is the perfect salad for me and my greedy personality.

The meal we had after I finished the Chicago Marathon was incredible. I mean, everything tastes incredible post marathon but this was really tasty. It had everything I craved: wings, rib bites and loaded nachos. Heavenly.

A recent addition was the meal we had in Brighton at MEATLiquor. The wings of course were awesome but it was the hot dog that I keep thinking about. It was amazing and opened my mind to ordering something different. I wasn’t sure if I liked it but not I just want to eat hot dogs all the time.

And top of the list must be the INCREDIBLE roast dinner we had in Bristol at Pasture. It was INSANELY good.

The meat, the vegetables, the gigantic Yorkshire pudding and of course the oh so tasty side dish of creamed leaks. It rocked my world and back.

Favourite books: I’ve read a number of books this year and a few highlights have been Ready Player One which I read in like two and a half days, I just loved it. It was so gripping! Way better than the film.

I also loved Big Little Lies – how I’d managed to avoid all spoilers is incredible because that twist at the end was really enjoyable! My favourite book though was the Cows by Dawn O’Porter.

I loved the feminist issues it brought up and it really made me think. As a side note, I’m currently reading Crazy Rich Asians and I’m loving how batshit it is.

Favourite films: Well Kyle and I have seen 40 films (so far) this year. Next week we’ll be adding probably four more before the end of the year. With our Unlimited Cards it has been AMAZING.

My favourite was Knives Out, followed closely by Green Book, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Long Shot, Beautiful Boy (that film destroyed me) and Us. On my dud list was Hellboy (horrifically awful), Detective Pikachu (I fell asleep) and Alita: Battle Angels (too much uncanny valley).

We also worked out we’ve spent about £180 on Subways (we always get a footlong to take with us to eat in the adverts) – that’s 480 inches of subway. The mind boggles.

Favourite song: I’m still as obsessed with Billie Eillish as ever. I’ve been listening to her music for years and was a fan before she sort of exploded this year. I’m so happy she’s so successful of course but part of me is a little bitter that now I have to share her 😉 She’s so talented (with her brother of course) and her voice is INCREDIBLE. Yes she’s a bit weird and quirky, but I love it.

So 2019 was a pretty solid year. I have made so many amazing memories, with both friends, family and of course Kyle. I’m a happy Anna right now, despite my sad knee.

What’s been your favourite movie of the year?

What food have you really loved this year?

What’s been your favourite race?

Four Ways To Re-Find Your Exercise Mojo

Source

As the winter months are drawing in, the motivation to get outside is diminishing… but here’s an article to help give you some tips to stay motivated.

The only way that exercise works in the long-term, is when it’s taken as a sustainable lifestyle choice. The desire to get healthy and stay that way is a driver that can last a lifetime. However good your intentions, though, sometimes it’s inevitable that your motivation will decline over time. It’s very hard to come back sometimes when you get stuck into a rut where exercise seems more like a chore than a pleasure. So, when you’re hit by a motivation slump, how do you bounce back?

Mix It Up

Everyone has a sport or an active pursuit that suits them – and whether you’re dedicated to your Saturday zumba class or you love the challenge of distance running, once you find that thing you love, exercise feels great. However, it’s quite natural to occasionally hit a plateau when the activity that you love just starts to feel a little bit harder work. When that happens, sometimes the key is simply to try something different for a while until that spark comes back. Think of something you’ve always wanted to try – finding a teacher at the RAD ballet school, learning to white water raft or even just an online Pilates challenge. Once you get moving again, it may reignite your love of your original sport, or you’ll find something you like even better – the key is to keep your brain and body engaged.

Teach Someone Else

If you’ve gotten quite good at your favourite active pursuit, why not teach it to someone else? If you have a stressed-out friend who could benefit from what you know about yoga, or you know someone wanting to start Couch to 5k when you’ve just cleared a half-marathon, why not offer them a little time? Explaining what you love about a sport to someone and watching them enjoy and develop a little is a great way of reminding yourself what you loved about it in the first place.

Create Some Entertainment

Sometimes, re-interesting yourself in a workout is all a matter of making more entertainment. Whether it’s using a Spotify workout playlists or an app like RockMyRun, the right music selection can be extremely motivating and help you to squeeze out that last mile when you feel like giving up. If you’re using a treadmill or weights at the gym, download a few episodes of your favourite show on Netflix to watch as you do your workout. You could even try gamifying your workout –  with apps that have zombies chase you as you run – perfect for Halloween!

Sign Up To An Event

Reinvigorating what you do can be as simple as signing up to an event, such as a fun run  – you can then have a target to aim for and raise money for a charity at the same time, which is a great motivator. You could also consider looking into a fitness break if you’re after a change of scenery. Learn a new skill like surfing, golfing or yoga at a resort dedicated to the activity and reset your wellness clock.

Do you struggle with motivation?

Do you have any tips to keep the exercise mojo?

Do work out more in the summer or winter?