Tara Stiles: Yoga Rebel

words by Rebecca Dalby, Pilates & Dance Fitness Trainer

You may or may not have heard about Tara Stiles or Strala Yoga, however one thing is for sure, you will most certainly very, very soon. Tara Stiles is setting the Yoga world on fire. Her innate, natural form of Yoga, called Strala Yoga, is currently the fastest selling and most rapidly worldwide spreading style of the ancient Indian practise.

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Tara in London at the launch of Reebok’s new Yoga line, of whom she has collaborated with and brand ambassador. Tara began life on a farm in the middle of rural America where she enjoyed the outdoors and relished the sense of freedom. At an incredibly young age she began to find herself meditating and creating easy flowing movements which she later discovered was Yoga. Through her dance training both at home and at University, she was officially introduced to the Yoga discipline and continued to explore and personally reap the benefits of her practise. Before Tara had chance to decide on a ‘career’, she was quickly picked up by a modelling agency after finishing her degree where she moved to the Big Apple.

During her successful modelling career, Tara continued practising and began to teach Yoga in between jobs and at every possible moment – even to fellow models whilst on shoot! The resounding success of Tara’s Yoga teaching organically led her to drop the modelling and focus 100% of her time on teaching Yoga, or as she would say – guiding. Within 4 years Strala Yoga (Tara’s Yoga studio in NYC), was born along with the help of her husband, Mike Taylor.

So what makes Tara different to other Yogis? Well, Tara believes Yoga is for quite literally everyone. No matter what age, ability, race or religion, “Yoga is the dance of life”.

What does the Strala style look like? Laid back, free flowing and fun. The focus is on the physicality of Yoga and connecting the breath to each movement you create. The “spiritual stuff” comes second and is not forced or instigated by the guide (what Tara calls the ‘teacher’). Tara believes that Yoga is about calm, conscious movement which leads to relaxation and a soothing of the mind, which transcends throughout your whole being and life. The spiritual aspect of Tara’s approach to Yoga is created through the deep connection of the body, mind and soul through movement. As I firmly believe and know to be true, your body reflects your mind and soul, and your mind and soul is reflected through the body.

Tara Stiles and Strala Yoga are refreshing and their enthusiasm for life is infectious. Although it has caused a stir amongst the hard core Yoga communities (mainly in the U.S.A), this is probably the most accessible approach I have ever come across. Whoever you are, this simple practise is easy to follow and addictive!

Tara’s aim is to bring Yoga to the masses. Her first step is to educate people about the benefits of Yoga and break down the stereotypes and barriers people have about it. Second is to make it affordable, (Strala Yoga is one of the cheapest Yoga classes you can attend in NYC), and build genuine, friendly (but not weird) communities people can be part of.

Perhaps on a more personal note I would like to say that what you see on all her various social media outlets is 100% genuinely her. She seems to have the ability to see straight into your soul (whether that’s face to face, or over the internet!), which is kind of weird, but means you feel safe to open up, follow and connect. Tara loves to see people flourish in life and the emphasis is always you, not her; quite the opposite to many other Yoga practises and ‘celebrity trainers’.  Although I spent only one day with her, I feel I have a friend for life!

All I can say is; get on You Tube and check her out immediately, see for yourself and then get involved.



What does yoga mean to you?
I firmly believe that regular yoga practice has transformative and healing powers as well as many positive physical benefits. It allows you to become not only radiant, healthy and toned but more compassionate towards yourself and others. The movements of yoga make you more open, flexible and focused so it really does have holistic benefits.

What are the key benefits of yoga?
Yoga is great for both physical and mental reasons – not only is it a great form of exercise in the morning, it’s good at any time throughout the day. The movements of yoga will carve out a long, lean, strong and confident body as well as resting your mind back to a natural state that is calm, focused and sharp – the result is an easy, calm, capable you.

What does a typical yoga session look like?
I don’t think there is such a thing as a ‘typical yoga session’, there are so many different styles that it’s up to you to find a style of Yoga that fits your needs.

What kind of music do you listen to when you exercise?
I like to play a real mix of music during my yoga sessions, everything from Cat Stevens to The XX. I’ve actually done a yoga playlist for Reebok on Spotify so people can listen to my favourite yoga tracks – it’s called Tara Stiles’ Rebel Yoga FitList.

Do you have any tips for keeping healthy?
Yoga is a powerful way to detox your entire body. Yoga postures help to heal the body by opening and twisting, sending the breath to the required area. Breathing is the key to cleansing your system and supplying fresh oxygen and nutrients to the area of the body that you are opening, so be sure to really “tune-in” to your breathing when you are doing these yoga postures. Nutrition is also a really important part of my life, and should in my opinion be to everyone’s lifestyle. It enhances all elements of general fitness and wellbeing.

What are your top beauty tips? 
Drink plenty of water and get lots of rest. Drinking water keeps your skin cleansed and hydrated, encouraging clear, fresh skin. By drinking water you flush out toxins and eliminate the dirt that clogs the pours of your skin, giving you a healthy glow. Also, always get lots of sleep!

What are your essential workout accessories? 
Definitely my water bottle and a snack to eat straight after a yoga session! I love to make my own trail nut mix with unsalted, raw nuts and my favourite dried fruit – it’s so good!

What foods can you not live without?
Greens, veggies, quinoa, tea, almond milk… oh and hummus!

What does your typical diet consist of on a daily basis? 
I love plant based mac & cheese – it’s healthy and delicious at the same time. One thing I love about this dish, besides that it is fun and easy to make, all the ingredients are so clean and fresh – you can mix out the pasta with all kinds of fun substitutes to keep this recipe fresh in your house. A tip is to try and keep all your ingredients clean and fresh.

Do you have any guilty pleasure foods?
I do love a good coffee and I definitely have a sweet tooth!

What fuels your passion for fitness and yoga?
Changing the rules like I have done with yoga! I like to ignite the “Fire” within me to push myself further and not to allow myself to feel completely satisfied.


HotPod Yoga: The PERFECT Winter Warmer Workout

Hot Pod Yoga brings hot yoga to you. Co-founders Nick and Max worked with specialist inflatable architects to design a ‘pod’ which can be heated to 38 degrees Celsius and taken just about anywhere. The purple pods are totally safe and create a wonderfully warm atmosphere in which to practice yoga in. Incense gentle scents the air (which cleverly masks the smell of sweat that can often be found taken up residence in hot yoga studios). The yoga sequence is unique to them and accommodates for all levels of yogis and the heat works well to gently encourage you to go deeper into your poses. Perfect for cold autumnal nights.


For more details or to book your class visit: http://www.hotpodyoga.com

Eat Clean Train Dirty: The Supermodel’s Exercise & Eat Plan

words by Molly Jennings

Lets admit it. We’re all just a little bit jealous of supermodels (ok a lot jealous). But the question is how do they achieve their lithe limbs and corset-like waists? What kind of exercise do they do? Pilates? Yoga? Crossfit? What do they eat? Sushi? Nothing? An endless supply of green juice? What is it that makes their skin glow and their bodies stand out?

The answer might not be what but who. Autumn welcomes the collaboration between Raw to Door, a delicious, organic juice cleanse brand, and Skinny Bitch Collective, the hottest and most effective exercise regime on the planet. Say hello to The Raw to Door, SBC Vitality plan. This three-day plan is like no other. A super-blend of healthy meals, juices and exercise programmes that promise to leave you feeling fit, healthy and as hot as a supermodel!

Meet The Team
Russ, founder of Skinny Bitch Collective, is the driving force behind the killer bods of some of the world’s top supermodels and favourite Victorias Secret girls. His no-nonsense “get it done” attitude to exercise is refreshing and appeals to all kinds of women. From new mums to business women, Russ has got it covered. He has created eight exclusive exercise videos that are available to download when you purchase the Vitality plan.

Ex-model Natasha is passionate about nutrition and healthy cleansing. She created Raw to Door to show that cleansing doesn’t have to be painful, but actually quite fun. Not only does she offer delicious juice programs for the cleansing veterans, but also meal plans aimed at people who need to ease into the transition of the world of cleansing. Her Vitality plan is designed for women who want to be able to train hard, eat well and achieve results.

The Vitality Plan – A Cleanse with a difference
Unlike normal juice cleanses, this Vitality program includes wholesome, Palaeolithic meals and delicious, raw snacks as well as some of SBC’s signature breakfast smoothies and shakes. The idea is that you eat every two hours to avoid the classic feeling of deprivation that most people experience when they try “fad” dieting. Not only do you get nutritious meals delivered right to your door, but the plan includes SBC’s awesome, downloadable exercise plans that you can do in your local gym or in the comfort of your living room. Russ and Natasha strongly believe that this plan is all about doing things the right way to achieve optimum health and body confidence.

Prices start at £225 – for more info and to buy go to http://www.rawtodoor.com/skinnybitch/



5:2 Diet… Part Two – THE RESULTS

 words by Francesca Londono-Brasington

A year on and 5:2 is still the diet and life plan of the moment. There are numerous books, websites and apps dedicated for recipes and inspiration. Everyone I know has either tried it or knows at least one other person doing it. It has become one of the most talked about and hotly debated subjects and definitely a topic of conversation in the kitchen at work.

After my initial enthusiasm for the 5:2 plan (read about it here) and the compelling science behind it, I decided I would attempt this plan for a period of 4 months, long enough for a proper trial. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to do any medical testing during this time so everything I have based this on is purely down to my personal experience and how I’ve felt.

Firstly, let me get this out there straight away, no I didn’t lose any weight! And yes that was the most frequently asked question along with ‘why are you on a diet, you don’t need to lose weight?’. But that was never really the point for me, I wanted to try the plan from a health perspective and to see what effects it had on my daily life. Just to reiterate, I’ve never formally ‘dieted’ before however I was intrigued to see if weight loss would be a consequence of the 5:2 plan but interestingly it wasn’t.

For someone who eats a lot, I did find the 5:2 a challenge; I had to re-train my body and fight the urge to snack every couple of hours, which wasn’t an easy feat! However, the hardest part was factoring my fasting days into a busy schedule especially if I wanted the weekends ‘off’. Realistically that meant fast days needed to fall Mon-Thurs (who really wants to fast on a Friday?!) and having a sociable job with a lot of client entertaining involving regularly eating out meant some weeks were a real struggle. That inevitably meant fasting at the weekend meaning my social life would take the hit. On top of this, I do a lot of exercise and the fasting made me feel lethargic and devoid of energy. I could get away with something like pilates but trying to swim 4km after a day of 500 calories was tough and I felt my body needed more fuel to get through my training sessions. Some people don’t find exercising when fasting an issue but I imagine this depends on your training schedule and hard training does require more fuel in terms of calories.

I also found the day following a fast I’d be absolutely ravenous especially if I’d been exercising and I wanted to eat everything in sight.  Some weeks I felt as though I’d developed an eating disorder and was trapped in a constant cycle of yo-yoing between fasting and binging! But I couldn’t seem to stop myself despite the book telling me things would improve and I’d stop wanting to eat so much on my days off.  Each week I thought maybe I’d turn a corner and things would be different but it never changed. No wonder I didn’t lose any weight! I began feeling less healthy than I normally do and I didn’t feel the plan was doing my body any favours. I hated obsessing over calories and checking every single thing I ate. Plus, I don’t believe all calories are equal especially in terms of their benefits. Personally I feel healthier eating fresh, natural produce at 1,500 + calories a day rather than restricting my calorie intake and then wanting fat laden, high calorie food the next day. I watched so many other people on their fast days drinking diet coke and eating a chocolate kitkat finger as part of their 500 calories and I really felt this was missing the point. It’s supposed to be about health so it should be important to feed your body the most nutritious food within the calorie limit; diet coke and chocolate really don’t cut it.

However, despite all this negativity, I did find the 5:2 experience a fascinating one and it really made me assess my eating habits. I have learnt that constant snacking or grazing isn’t necessarily good for me and it’s something I do a lot less frequently. And also the discovery that my body isn’t going to starve after missing one meal! But I also realised that I probably naturally adhere to a bit of indulgence along with a bit of holding back and that’s how I’ve maintained roughly the same weight all my adult life. And Mosley believes that the 5:2 plan is what most thin people naturally do anyway.

Perhaps if I’d been able to see some of the internal benefits I may have been persuaded to continue but physically and mentally it wasn’t for me. Ultimately everyone is different and will therefore experience varying degrees of success. Although how you measure success really depends on what you were looking to gain in the first place. I know a lot of people who have lost weight and feel it is a plan they can stick to and easily maintain. I would recommend that if you’re intrigued by the plan then try it and see whether it works for you. And then let us know your thoughts!


A Hip & Healthy Mocktail at BVI Pop Up Bar…

A Hip & Healthy Mocktail at

BVI Pop Up Bar…


Fancy immersing yourself in the chilled atmosphere of the Caribbean right here in London? Don’t mind if we do. Travel experts Black Tomato bring you Be the VI; a new collaboration with none than the beautiful British Virgin Islands aimed to deliver a slice of island life to London’s streets through video, a pop up bar and a brand new app.

The pop up in Box Park, Shoreditch, running from the 7th-11th October will house a master mixologist called Ninja (yes, that is his real name) flown over from the islands, offering a sneak peak of the relaxed atmosphere and beach bar ambience that is unique to the BVIs. And what’s more, they have totally catered for the hip & healthies amongst us as well by offering a delicious, healthy mocktail called The Hip & Healthy (how fitting) with a Caribbean twist. Now what can be better than that! Recipe below:

The Hip & Healthy Mocktail:

4 parts pineapple juice

1 part coconut cream

1 part orange juice

Method: Shake well and serve over the rocks with a generous amount of fresh nutmeg.


Pop Up Bar Details:

7-11th October

Upstairs at the BoxPark

Units 48-49,

2-4 Bethnal Green Road,

London E1 6GY

Watch the master classes, check out the app and find out more about our pop up bar: www.blacktomato.com/be-the-vis


Health Speak: We chat to the founder of one of London’s hottest health havens, Grace Belgravia, Kate Percival

We chat to founder of Grace Belgravia, Kate Percival about food habits, running a business and Pierce Brosnan…

What is the first thing you do in the morning?

Sadly, I check my emails, jump in the shower, then make a cup of hot water and lemon.

What do you eat for breakfast?

Goats milk yoghurt with raspberries or avocado and tomatoes on sour dough.

What is your work place like?

Probably the most beautiful space you could imagine – filled with light and very zen like!

What do you eat for lunch?

The chefs at Grace look after me every day with the most delicious food. Lunch could be a Tom Yum soup, or a wild seabass wrapped in paper with fresh vegetables, or fresh ceviche… I could go on!

Do you snack?

On hazlenuts and cranberries. And when I am having a sugar low – I tuck into some flourless chocolate cake – or the latest from the kitchen, chocolate and beetroot cake!

What do you have for supper?

More of the same… butternut squash pearl barley and spelt risotto, and if I am not eating at Grace, I take the supper home with me – Grace to Go!

What made you start Grace Belgravia?

Because I realised that women are too hard on themselves – that they need a very special place to be safe, to be nurtured and empowered, and to help them be the very best they can be at whatever it is they want to be. We have created a haven with everything from medical services to spa treatments, healthy eating to the best in fitness – all under one roof.

How does it feel owning your own business?

Normal… have done so for the past 22 years.

What do you enjoy about Grace Belgravia the most?

Meeting the most incredible people. Everyday I learn something from someone… a member, one of my colleagues, or just from somebody that I might meet that day.

What is the most important lesson in business you have learnt?

Attention to detail is crucial and always going the extra mile.

How do you keep fit?

Matt Roberts is unimpressed by my personal fitness regime but I have recently taken up Pilates. I practice early in the morning before the members come in, which is hard, but thanks to Paola (my Pilates instructor) I have kept it up so far!  We will see what happens when the winter weather sets in…

What keeps you young?

Grace, my two amazing daughters, my grandson and my very supportive husband!

Which three celebrities (dead or alive) would you invite to dinner?

Pierce Brosnan, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

What is your biggest luxury in life?

Silly, but having a great wardrobe so that I don’t have to think about what I am going to wear. I have collected clothes over the years that are enduring, beautifully made and make me feel good. The luxury is being able to afford being well dressed none of the stress of not knowing what to put on every day.

What three things can’t you live without?

Cashmere, a really beautiful, fully functioning bathroom, and my Kindle – I have to have a book on the go at all times.

What gets you up in the morning?


And what do you go to bed thinking about?


What motto do you live by?

Achieve something positive every day.


Google Glass: The Future or Fashion Faux Pas?

Hip & Healthy Promotion

Google Glass Gets a Makeover

Google Glass has certainly had its share of the headlines since the prototypes were released back in April. They’ve been described as the technology that will propel us into the future and the initial designs certainly looked futuristic. In fact they looked like they had been whipped straight out of a science fiction movie. That’s great for those who enjoy walking down the street looking like they’re dressed up for Comic-Con, but what about the rest of us? What about the fashion conscious?

Well pictures released of Google employee, Amanda Rosenberg, suggest that the company has given the fashion implications some serious consideration. The images show Amanda modelling the Google Glass device fitted to some fashion-friendly tortoiseshell frames.

So are they good enough to get the fashionista seal of approval? Would they translate to your average wearer?

Well this design does look great on Amanda, but there’s a danger that on most people these oversized tortoiseshell frames could look less geek-chic and more Deirdre Barlow circa 1985.

Then again, these images could simply be showing that the technology has gone mobile, allowing it to be fitted to the wearer’s current glasses or new frames of their choosing.

What about the other concerns they raise?

Privacy is a thorny issue when it comes to this product. A recent study conducted by Goldsmiths University showed that one in five UK adults want to see Google Glass banned because of fears that the technology, which includes intelligent cameras, will invade their privacy.

Google say the device is designed to make it obvious when it is in use, for instance a person needs to speak a command to activate the camera. However, hackers have already shown how they are able to make modifications to the device that get around these inbuilt privacy protections, leaving Google in a vulnerable position.

It has to be said that the product has some very cool features though, like the ability to post the things you see to social networks almost instantly. This hands-free access to real time information has a number of practical applications too. These include: interactive map overlays to help you navigate as you walk, or giving healthcare professionals the ability to access the latest medical information during procedures and consultations. This makeover may mark the start of a beautiful future for the Google Glass.

Fighting Spirit: We Trial BoxingYoga

Samantha Whitaker trials a new, powerful combo: boxing and yoga

When it comes to the sport and fitness spectrum, boxing and yoga couldn’t be further apart. However, the world is beginning to realise that, actually, practising yoga can be hugely beneficial to literally everyone – from ultramarathon runners and beefy rugby players to the many millions of us who sit in front of a computer all day.

Taking this idea a step further, BoxingYoga, a brand new super-effective and totally unique workout, combines dynamic Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga with boxing technique and hardcore body conditioning exercises. Conceived by Matt Garcia, founder of Total Boxer, and developed by ex-professional dancer Kajza Ekberg in collaboration with boxers, boxing coaches, martial artists, yogis and physiotherapists, the practice demonstrates that boxing and yoga actually have much more in common than you might think. Both demand flexibility, balance, core strength and physical control, as well as extreme focus and concentration.

‘A key element in BoxingYoga is opening up the chest,’ explains Kajza. Boxers tend to hunch over in self-defence, so this is an important counter-stretch for them, but also for anyone who is hunched over a desk most of the day. What’s more, by increasing your mind-body awareness, and improving your posture and co-ordination, BoxingYoga can aid injury prevention and recovery for any sport. ‘Some of the rugby players we trained at Saracens Rugby Club Academy have got beautiful six packs, but they can’t do some of these moves because they’re not used to engaging their core,’ says Kajza.

I certainly engaged my core when I tried BoxingYoga at Total Boxer’s boutique gym in North London. There are nine ‘rounds’ in a one-hour session, with dynamic sequences that flow between lunges, controlled punches, trikonasanas, backbends and fists-on-the-floor planks. Clenched fists made some of the well-known yoga asanas feel more powerful, and it wasn’t long before I’d worked up a sweat. It’s challenging, pushing your endurance levels to build stamina as well as lean muscle, and forcing you to focus on the task in hand. Whether you box or not, BoxingYoga is a fresh perspective on yoga that will take your practice to a whole new level.

To try a 30-minute BoxingYoga virtual workout video, visit www.boxingyoga.com. Total Boxer offers a range of boxing training options that are accessible to everyone. Read more here or visit www.totalboxer.com.


Quinoa Risotto with Avocado Cream

Recipe by Saskia Gregson-Williams

It’s getting to that time of year (let’s face it) when all we’re craving in the evening is cosy, warming comfort food! When I say comfort food, I’m not talking about loosing yourself in a pizza box or a bowl of carbonara- no, no, I’m talking about a hearty bowl of grain-loving goodness.

Quinoa is one of my favourite grains, I love its nutty flavour and it makes the base of many of my meals. Quinoa is a superfood, and is particularly special as it contains all nine amino acids, making it a complete protein. Because of its wealth of protein, it’s an incredible addition to those with a primarily plant based diet. It is also a great source of fibre, essential for maintaining a healthy digestive system, and regulating blood sugar levels. As quinoa is a low GI carbohydrate, it releases slower into the bloodstream, preventing sugar spikes, which keeps you energised and fuller for longer.

This risotto is full of sweet vegetables like roasted tomatoes, leeks and sweet potato which combines perfectly with the saltiness from the stock – creating a truly delicious texture and flavour combination. The avocado cream further boosts the vegan party in your mouth, and gives the dish a subtle lemon flavour.

I hope that you love this meal as much as I do. Let us know how you get on by hashtagging #hipandhealthy with all your awesome recreations on Instagram & twitters!

Quinoa Risotto with Sweet Potato, Courgette, Peas, Green Beans, Roasted Tomatoes and Avocado Cream 

1 cup quinoa
2 cups boiling water
1 cube vegetable stock
2 courgettes
handful of green beans
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 leeks
2 sweet potato
1/2 cup green peas

Avocado cream:
1 avocado
1/4 cup coconut milk (optional)
juice of 2 lemons

Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Place in a saucepan. Dissolve the vegetable stock into the boiling water, and pour over the quinoa. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Peel and cube the sweet potato and place on a baking tray with the tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and roast at 200 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes (or until soft).
Meanwhile prepare all other vegetables. Then make the avocado cream by blending all ingredients until smooth, refrigerate until you need it. Sauté the leeks, green beans and peas. When soft add the cooked quinoa and the roasted vegetables. Mix well, seasoning to taste.

Serve with the avocado cream and a big green salad.

Note: you may replace the stock cube with the juice of 1-2 lemons, if you are intolerant, or prefer to do so.

If you only do one thing this week… Overhaul Your Diet for Glowing Skin

In a recent survey 95% of us said that our skin affects how they feel. Hormones and stress wreak play havoc with our complexions, and sun exposure certainly plays its part too, but recent research now shows that diet is one of the overriding factors when it comes to our skin health. Here, we give you a few food rules that will get you glowing from head to toe and because we know that with many of these things it is easier said than done, we also give you a few top tips as to how to actually put these food suggestions into practice…

The Power of Antioxidants

We hear so much about antioxidants these days, but there is good reason why. Certain antioxidants target specific free-radicals, so it is best to eat a broad spectrum of foods containing these powerful little molecules. A study conducted at the University of Illinois revealed that the addition of antioxidants such as vitamins E or C into the diet can help prevent skin cancer and keep skin firm and young looking. When it comes to giving our skin an antioxidant-rich diet a clue to what’s good for you is in the colour. Try to pimp your plate out with as many colours as you can and you’ll be getting a broad range of different vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy glow. We love carrots (vitamin E), red bell peppers (full of vitamins A,C and E), lycopene watermelon and tomatoes, vitamin K packed Kale, kiwis for their vitamin C content, blueberries and nuts like almonds, walnuts and brazil nuts and even raw cacao.

Top Tip: We like our antioxidants served raw as the cooking process tends to make them less nutritionally rich. Why not make a delicious superfood salad.

Eat Now: Om Bar, chocolate enlightenment in a delicious snack size, http://www.ombar.co.uk. The ultimate good mood food!

If it’s White, it’s Probably Not Right

We have heard it many times before, but we will say it again. White carbohydrates are terrible agers and when it comes to our skin, plus they are also linked with causing spots. This is largely down to the amount of sugars that are in white carbs such as bread, pasta, rice, muffins etc. Volunteers who ate a high-carb diet for one week experienced a 20% increase in their levels of adrogens (a “male” hormone that stimulates oil glands and cause acne) where as a group of volunteers who had a diet high in protein had balanced blood sugar levels and lower levels of androgens. White Carbs are also broken down into glucose which stimulates enzymes that break own collagen and elastic tissue resulting in… you guessed it… wrinkles!

Top Tip: Try cutting out all processed carbohydrates for just one week and just see how great you will feel.

Eat now: If you like your carbs then swap pasta and potatoes for butternut squash or sweet potatoes as they are much lower in GI and so are broken down much slower.

Loose the Booze

Similar to the white carb story, booze also contains a lot of sugar, which when broken down eats away at all your lovely collagen which is what keeps the skin youthful. Alcohol is also incredibly dehydrating, which effects every part of you including your skin. And what’s more, alcohol puts a huge strain on your liver, the body’s cleansing organ.

Top Tip: Join the #SoberOctoer movement where you give up booze for a whole month. It’s not to late to start now!

Eat Now: Craving alcohol? This could mean that you are lacking in protein so perhaps introduce nuts as a snack and have more fish in your mealtimes.

Eat Your Water

Models often claim that drinking lots of water is what keeps their skin looking fresh, clear and glowy. And drinking lots of water is certainly one good way to keep your skin looking hydrated. However, Dr. Howard Murad claims that an even better way to improve your skin is to eat your water. In his book, The Water Secret, Dr Murad demonstrates that the key to youthful looking skin lies in maintaing strong cells that retain water the way that the younger cells do. The best way to do this? Eating your water not drinking it. That is, eating delicious nutritionally-packed foods that also contain lots of water. He also claims that the majority of your cells regenerate themselves within ten weeks – so it wo’t take long for you to notice the change.

Top Tip: Eat raw. Boiling vegetables actually leads to water loss because the heat breaks down the cell membranes and allows some of the water to leak out from the plant cells.

Eat Now: Cucumber, zucchini, melons, strawberries – they all are over 95% water.



Image taken from Pinterest



This Chef Shares His Healthy Dinner Tips

Healthy Dinner Tips

Healthy cooking can be tricky but with the right know how it is very easy to have delicious food that is really healthy. Its getting the right balance that makes all the difference. Here, cookbook author and founder of  www.eattravellive.com, John Gregory-Smith, shares his top tips to keep your dinner wonderfully healthy.

Go Lean
If you are cooking with meat chose a really lean cut. Chicken breasts, pork loin or fillet steak. This will ensure you have a really healthy base for you meal.

Watch the oil 
Go easy with the oil to keep the calories down. Using a good olive oil to cook with is far better than butter, but keeping the content at a minimal will ensure your food is really healthy. The best oil for a super healthy diet is good old Rapeseed oil, loads of omega 3 and it is low in saturated fats.

Spice it Up 
Spices are a great alternative to fat and also salt. A pinch of chilli powder, a sprinkle of ground cumin or a tsp. of garam masla will add such a big flavour and contains zero fat. What could be better?

Get Grilling
Grilling is a fab way to keep your dinner mega healthy. Make sure the grill is really hot to start with and rub a small amount of oil over what you want to grill. Season with salt and pepper and hopefully some fresh herbs and spices. and get grilling. You get an awesome flavour, use less oil and retain all the juices – this works for vegetables, meat and fish.

Keep it colourful 
Try and make sure that each one of your 5 a day is a different colour to maximise the amount of vitamins and healthy nutrients you get. Green is good, but mix it up with beetroot, red peppers, carrots and cauliflower.

John Gregory-Smith is author of Mighty Spice Express available to buy here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mighty-Spice-Express-Cookbook-Gregory-Smith/dp/1848991088/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377280260&sr=8-1&keywords=mighty+spice+express

A Health Retreat Like No Other: Grayshott Spa

Health Haven

Sometimes it takes more than a few massages and a couple of colonics to sort out your health problems. Caroline Wilks discovers just that at the uber luxe Grayshott Spa

The first thing you should know about the Grayshott Spa health regime is that the primary goal to work towards is not about weight loss. This is something that appealed to me greatly, as I am not a person that needs to lose weight – in fact if anything I have often been told to gain weight by my GP. This may sound like an enviable position to be in for a lot of people, but the truth is that I have always known I had a greater problem, and one that felt previously unfixable. A ‘leaky gut’ is not something anyone wants to be diagnosed with and when a homeopath I recently saw was convinced that this was the root of all my problems I did feel a little despairing. But also relieved, at least I had possibly, finally found out what the cause of my tiredness, sluggishness and zero energy could be. However, after much research I couldn’t find anywhere in the UK (the clinics and programmes available were all abroad) that could potentially help me tackle and kick-start a much-needed entirely new diet regime. So it was with great delight that I heard about Grayshott’s newly launched seven day Health Regime – all based around the effectiveness of the gut and applying the mantra that ‘true health’ can only be achieved once the digestive system is finely tuned.


On arrival at the spa the first thing that struck me was how peaceful the 47 acres of grounds surrounding the stunning building – you can see why Alfred Lord Tennyson had formally made this his home. The journey was a quick hour’s zip down the motorway from London into leafy Surrey; a stress-free trip that was really appreciated and ensured I didn’t arrive stressed and strung out like the beginning of most of my short breaks away. Following the pre-arrival guidelines given to me by the spa, I hadn’t eaten any refined carbohydrates or sugar and had cut out all caffeine and alcohol, I have to admit that I already felt better and we hadn’t even begun. The regime is very structured and full of information, including educational lectures on nutrition that I found particularly insightful and useful. The personalised health consultations (with medical herbalists and nutritional therapists) make sure that you are following the programme correctly for your body, everyone’s needs are different and they very much take this onboard.  They also make sure to incorporate spa therapy in the packages, including treatments such as abdominal massages (aimed to encourage healing of the gut), relaxing hydro-baths and even liver compresses to all aid the healing and regenerating of the body.


The food, of course, was key to the process and I found it to be quite different to what I would normally prepare for myself. Having rigidly stayed away from fats, and especially animal fats, for many years I was entirely surprised to hear that good oils and fats – for example lard, goose fat, duck fat and real butter are all absolutely essential to heal a leaky gut. This along with the normal ‘healthy’ choice of pulses, beans, superfoods, fruit and vegetables is the basis to most of their dishes, including chia muesli for breakfast, pumpkin soup or beetroot Gravalax for lunch and scallops with Cauliflower for dinner. There is however, within the seven days, compulsory fasting that takes place to allow your gut the maximum opportunity to heal and restore itself. As the portions themselves are very small (portion control is a big factor at Grayshott whether on the Health regime or not) these fasts can be quite difficult and testing, but there is always support around you – whether from the attentive staff or other fellow guests on the programme. In fact most of the clients that Grayshott take for this particular package are individuals so it is possible to make some great friends in the process too, the spa even encourage this, having a communal table in the dining room you can join should you so wish.


This is not a detox, cleanse or weight loss regime, it is a gut restoration programme which jointly strengthens the immune system. It is about eating for health, as opposed to striving for health and weight loss through deprivation and abstention – an ethos that I found very refreshing compared to so many ‘weight loss’ retreats and clinics currently swamping the overcrowded market . The experience was worth every penny and actually I think it is a very fair price for a retreat of its calibre, length and what the package includes. I came away with a strong desire to keep up the good work that the programme introduces you to. Although I am yet to feel the energy benefits, I can see that this regime is, for me, what is needed in the long term and hopefully with all the support, education and advice I have been given I will be able to sustain this lifestyle in order to regain the health and balance of my gut and in turn, my life.

Prices start from £1,495 per person for seven nights. This includes consultations, monitoring and support, lectures, meals, herbal tinctures, therapeutic treatments, gentle exercise programme and accommodation)

For more information visit: http://www.grayshottspa.com/grayshott-health/the-grayshott-programme