A day in the life of Editor, Sadie: The Sure Test

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A day in the life of Editor, Sadie: The Sure Test – A Smoothie Shoot

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So it’s the day of the Smoothie Shoot, the day I have chosen to test out Sure’s brand new deodorant, Maximum Protection. My scent of choice? Their new Everyday Fresh. I am told that this is the deodorant for the modern woman. Someone who doesn’t really stop from the moment she wakes up until long into the evening. So, here’s a breakdown of my day illustrating just how well the new deodorant held out. 24 hrs later and I still feel like I only just had my shower!

6am I wake up, quickly apply the deodorant and pop on my running gear. By 6.15 I am out that door and running a cool 8k before the working day ahead. So far so good – no sweat is pretty remarkable especially as it is already quite warm and muggy.

7am I get home shower, reapply the deodorant and get dressed.

8am I then spend the rest of the morning unpacking the Ocado delivery that has arrived for our shoot which is down in the country – loading everything into the car. It feels like a gym workout in itself!

8.15am We realise that the coconut milk we ordered has not been delivered! I hop on my bike and pedal as fast as I can to the nearest Waitrose. Still not breaking a sweat – this is impressive!

9.45am After an hour’s journey we arrive at the shoot location in the middle of the countryside. It’s all hands on deck as we start unloading the ingredients for the shoot.

10.30am The kitchen is frantic: Two assistants are wizzing up the carefully created recipes, I am helping style the shoot and checking that all of our props have arrived and the photographer is outside setting up trying to find the best area for light. We only have one day to shoot 14 smoothie creations and a few lifestyle shots so we need to make sure we all work hard, work together and remain calm. Plus its about 26 degrees!

1pm We break for lunch, where we all sip on smoothies and chat about how the second half of the day is going to pan out. I realise that although today has been super busy, fun, but manic, I am still yet to actually break a sweat! This is very unlike me!

3pm Half way through the second half of the shoot and everything is really well, but then disaster strikes… you guessed a smoothie spillage! Luckily, we had some extra ingredients (first rule of every food shoot – over-buy on ingredients). So, after a quick clean up we are back on track.

6pm That’s a wrap! We have our shots thanks to the hardworking team and wonderful photographer. On our way back to London, I notice that despite the traffic sending my blood pressure sky high, my t-shirt is still dry as a bone. I am slowly being won over by this new deodorant. How lovely not to have to worry about things like sweat patches when you have a busy day ahead of you.

8pm Arrived home. But the working day doesn’t end there. I instantly fire up the laptop and start checking emails. I can feel my stress levels increasing again as I watch the emails fly in from the day. I make a cup of tea and get to it.

9pm It’s time to eat and relax. My husband comes in from work and gives me a hug – I feel confident hugging him that I still look and feel as fresh as when he left me this morning – no mean feat for the day’s activities.

For more information on Sure Maximum Protection visit http://www.suredeodorant.co.uk/en/women/products/maximum-protection-clean-fresh-scent

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One-Pot Vegetable Pulse Soup with a Tangy Tomato-Lime Broth

recipe by Saskia Gregson-Williams

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup passata

2 stock cubes

3 cups boiling water

3 tbsp nutritional yeast (can omit)

juice 1/2 a lime

1 cup lentils

1 courgette, chopped

1 bunch asparagus, chopped

1/2 cup sweetcorn

1 handful (100g) green beans, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

2 cups kale

Method: In a large pan start by cooking the lentils. Make sure the water covers the lentils and has an excess of about three inches more. Boil for 20 mins or until cooked. When cooked add the ingredients for the broth and the asparagus, green beans and red pepper. Boil for 5 minutes until the vegetables soften, then add the sweet corn and kale, boil for another minute.

Serve with another good squeeze of lime juice and a crusty piece of spelt bread.

 

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The Health Benefits of Chyawanprash

The Health Benefits of Chyawanprash

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Chyawanprash, an ancient Indian elixir, is an anti-aging supplement, which is purely herbal in nature. It lists Amla as one of its’ main ingredients, a powerful antioxidant which contains 30 times more vitamin C than an orange! It is most well known for its rejuvenating and restorative purposes but we’ve outlined some of this wonder-jam’s other super-powers below:

Immunity
Chyawanprash has been known to activate the immune system, increasing human body resistance to diseases (primarily respiratory in the winter). It is particularly good for the lungs because it nourishes the mucous membranes and helps to keep the respiratory passages clean and clear.

Digestion
It can help the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, helping people who suffer with poor digestion. Also, it aids in promoting healthy movement of gases through the digestive system, great for people suffering from IBS.

Beauty
Another appealing factor is its ability to help promote hair growth and helps the absorption of calcium resulting in strong bones and teeth. It improves the skin’s complexion and fights dermal bacteria infections.

Detoxify
The liver really benefits from the intake of this jam-like substance as it can help purify blood and invigorate the liver to help eliminate toxins from the body without overworking the urinary system.

Fertility
Finally, Chyawanprash has be shown to enhance fertility and keeps menstruation regular and helps to overcome difficulties in conception.

Eat me…
Chyawanprash has a tangy sweet-sour taste and has the consistency of a thick jam. It can be taken alone, stirred into milk or water, or it can be spread on toast/crackers like regular jam. The normal dosage is 1-2 teaspoons a day.

You can buy Chyawanprash at www.ayurvedapura.com

 

 


Forrest Yoga – Yoga for the Modern World

After a string of teachers telling her she wasn’t good enough for yoga, Natalie Edwards learned to listen to her body, who turned out to be the best teacher of all…

When I first started practicing yoga a few years ago, I was always left feeling out of my depth. I was told I wasn’t flexible enough and was advised not to go into certain poses due to my scoliosis. Whilst students around me were doing the perfect Wheel backbend or launching up into handstand, I was told to ‘sit this one out’. After several teachers telling me this, not surprisingly I stopped practicing and decided I’d be better off sticking to swimming or other regular exercise I already knew how to do.

That was until I met Charlie Speller, my first Forrest yoga teacher, who completely changed my outlook on yoga, and exercise for that matter. Charlie focused on what I could do rather than what I couldn’t and worked with me to show me that by learning to listen to what was going on in my body I could actually deepen my yoga practice to a degree that other teachers told me I would never be able to (I am now doing wheels and handstands no problem). This is the foundation of Forrest yoga, learning to connect with feeling deeper inside, listening to what your body is telling you, and focusing on building on what you can do rather than what you can’t, making it an incredibly empowering and accessible practice for everyone.

Ana Forrest developed Forrest Yoga over 40 years ago after practicing different types of yoga herself but finding that a lot of them were prone to injuries. She took her first yoga class at the age of 14 as a dare and was a qualified instructor by age 18. She wanted to create a yoga practice for the modern world, one to cope with people’s stresses and challenges and one to help people embody their true spirit, enabling them to work through their life’s challenges and heal themselves from within.

Forrest yoga has a huge emphasis on breath and core work, and students are challenged to learn to move energy through their bodies using the breath to do this. It’s a grounding, healing practice, but is also very physically challenging and motivating, so there’ll be no hanging in downward dog or relaxing in child’s pose in a Forrest class! Ana likes to keep her students moving, and therefore it’s a great workout! You’ll leave a Forrest class feeling refreshed, reenergised and inspired!

Forrest yoga is becoming increasingly popular in the UK as people look for more from their yoga practice. Expect a Forrest class to be different each week, you’ll never be bored and it’s always a mental as well as physical workout, sometimes even an emotional roller coaster on the mat as you deepen your practice with Forrest and are able to shift emotions which are ‘stuck’ as Ana refers to them as being.

Before I went away on my training, my teacher Charlie told me to get ready for some tears and some amazing emotional breakthroughs. ‘Tears?’ I said, very confused. I didn’t really understand what she meant until I’d got deeper into the Forrest teachings, but once there I finally understood and fully embraced the practice. During our intensive classes in the mornings with Ana, which were also open to the public to attend, it wasn’t unusual for each of us to often have a breakdown or a little cry in the middle of a yoga pose. That sounds insane to most, but during a Forrest yoga class the poses are held for much longer than usual, allowing students to really connect to what’s going on inside their bodies, unwinding years of stress and tension, and working through it on the mat. Ana encourages her students to ‘stalk their fear’. So when a pose becomes intense, rather than running away from it, you face it head on and breathe through it, working out what’s really making you afraid of the feeling the pose is giving you. It’s the most liberating feeling once you’re through with the class, and it’s this focus and intensity that’s made me a fan of the Forrest practice. Not only is my body stronger than it’s ever been, but Forrest has also taught me so many lessons that I use both on and off my mat, and whilst not all of them are easy things to do – being true to yourself and learning to face your fears head on for instance – they are certainly helping me become a better person and go deeper within myself to find out what it is I really want and need in life.

Don’t get me wrong though, it’s not all intense and certainly not always serious! Forrest classes are as playful as they are challenging and there are now several very experienced Forrest teachers within the UK with many studios now offering Forrest as part of their weekly program, including the new Life studio in Shoreditch, London. So go and give one of the classes a try and I’d love to hear your feedback, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

If you’d like to find out more visit www.yogawithnatalie.co.uk

Natalie is a Forrest Yoga teacher living in London, she completed her 200 hours of training with Ana at the beginning of this year.

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If you only do one thing this week… Try These Flat Tummy Foods

 words by Molly Jennings

I once heard a quote that really stuck with me, “abs are made in the kitchen”. Don’t get me wrong, exercise plays a huge role in achieving a flat tummy… but a thousand crunches a day is not going to solve your tummy troubles if you are filling your trunk full of junk. Changing the foods you put in your body is what really makes the most noticeable difference. So Hip & Healthy have compiled 5 awesome foods to help you achieve the gorgeously sleek tummy that you’ve always wanted.

Salmon
This coral coloured fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. What has that got to do with getting a sexy midriff you might be thinking? Well, these super healthy fatty acids have been shown to help promote fat burning by making your metabolism more efficient. Eat up!

Kale
Another reason that we might not be able to achieve a lovely flat tummy is because our gut is inflamed. Kale, and its long list of health benefits, has natural anti-inflammatory properties. Try adding kale to  your salads for an anti-inflammatory kick or to your smoothies to create the perfect flat tummy breakfast or that much needed 4pm pick-me-up. We promise you won’t even notice it’s in there!

Almonds
These delicious nuts are packed full of protein, healthy fats and fibre, which keep you feeling fuller for longer, helping ward off sugar cravings. Fibre is particularly important for a flat tummy as it keeps our digestive system in check making sure we don’t get that nasty sensation of felling “clogged up”, which is usually accompanied by a bloated and distended tummy. Almonds are such a convenient, tasty snack and perfect when on the go. And let’s face it – who isn’t these days!

Watermelon
The name gives it away. Watermelon is – yes, you guessed it – full of water (around 92% to be precise). This tropical fruit is great for flushing out toxins and extra water from your system, which in turn, reduces puffiness and water retention.

Eggs
These poor little guys have been given a bad rep in the past for being bad for you (due to their cholesterol content) but really, you’d be hard pushed to find a more brilliant all-round protein source. Eggs are flat-tummy friendly because the protein in them keeps you feeling full for absolutely ages and they really help banish any sweet cravings. So before your reach in to the cookie jar, boil an egg and have it as a snack or scramble them and add some smoked salmon for the ultimate flat tummy combo! Sound like a good breakfast option? We think so!

Image: Wild Heart Bikini by Vix available at Beach Cafe (http://www.beachcafe.com/wild-heat-bikini)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Acai Berry Bowl

 Healthy Breakfast Treat:

 recipe by Saskia Gregson-Williams

I have talked enough about my smoothie addiction by now; I love them for breakfast, snacks, lunch… you name it.  I love my smoothies thick, full of nutrients, poured into a bowl and eaten by the spoonful (this is actually better for you).

When I was younger, and lived in the US, I loved acai bowls, sweet, thick and full of delicious fruit. Although I devoured them, I  didn’t actually understand how good they are for you. Acai berry, nicknamed the “beauty berry” is full of antioxidants, amino acids and fatty acids which boost the immune and metabolic function. It packs more grams of protein than an egg and with all those omegas and fatty acids it has been shown to improve your hair, skin and nails and help remove free-radicals from our body. Sounds pretty good, no? This powder is a brilliant investment as it tastes delicious, packs a punch in the nutrition stakes, and is incredibly easy to use! This bowl is the perfect snack or meal replacement, its full of vitamins and minerals and will propel you into the best possible day.

Spread the love: Hashtag #hipandhealthy on Instagram and twitter and share your awesome recreations with us!

RECIPE

Makes 1-2 servings

Acai bowl

1 frozen banana

1/2 avocado

1 tsp lucuma

1 cup mixed frozen berries

juice 1/2 orange

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 acai sachet/ Serving

Simply blend!


BERRY DELICIOUS! – HIP & HEALTHY’S FAVOURITE BERRY BEAUTY BUYS!



Unravelling The Myth: Are Carbs Bad For You?

words by Zoe Louise Cronk

I am as guilty as anyone. When I have an important or high profile event coming up that I need to look good for, the first thing to go is the carbs. So many of us view this food group as the enemy (cue image of a potato with devil horns and a pitchfork) when it comes to slimming down, but is there actually any truth in this?

It was the popular Atkins diet of the seventies that brought low-carb diets to heightened fame, taking the concept of carb-counting to the extreme by providing dieters with charts that listed the net carb value of every food they could lay their hands on. Yet despite often being shunned as unhealthy or unrealistic in the long-term, low-carb diets and Atkins in particular have stuck around in the dieting arena and are still often advocated for weight loss today.

The basis for Atkins was to encourage the body to use stored fat as energy, rather than the glucose found in carbohydrates. In its place are increased protein and fibre, as these take longer to be absorbed by the body, which prolongs satiety.

The theory? Correct. The reality? Unsustainable.

As explained by Clinical Dietitian Lorraine McCreary (BSc RD MBDA MRSPH), “Faddy fast fixes (such as Atkins) may well see a reduction in overall body size but will usually, in the absence of exercise, result in a reduction of lean tissue (muscle) and bone density.” She continues, “Weight is eventually regained and in the absence of exercise, it tends to be more fat than lean tissue, therefore changing your overall body composition detrimentally.”

Instead, modern nutritional practitioners promote the importance of a wholly balanced diet that includes a sensible portion of carbohydrates. Registered Dietitian Sue Baic advocates that, “approximately half of our daily calories should come from carbs,” but it is important to note that, unfortunately, all carbs are not created equal. “I would advise reducing processed carbs,“ Sue suggests, “especially foods high in sugar, but keeping a good intake of other starchy carbs including whole-grains.

Dietitian Lorraine elaborates, “The less processed foods in your diet, the greater control you have over your energy intake. Processed foods have added calories, fats, sugars etc. and processed carbohydrates can be very detrimental in terms of glycaemic control (blood sugars).”

Referring to the sharp increase in insulin production that is brought on by the sugars in processed carbs, dieters or slimmers should also bear in mind that these demonic foods enable the body to more readily convert the sugars into storeable fat, which, as we all know, is frustratingly hard to shift. Furthermore, because this insulin spike dissipates quickly and is followed by a sugar low, it often results in cravings and unhealthy bingeing.

So, when tackling the carb, it all comes down to good versus bad. The basic notion to remember is that if it’s natural, enjoy (in moderation). If supplemented with admittedly tasty but ultimately waistline-ruining additives, best move onto the next aisle in the supermarket, my friends.

Good carbs (aka. complex carbs)…Natural carbs are present in everything from fruits, legumes and vegetables to whole-grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice and whole-wheat bread.

Why? High fibre content means they take longer to be broken down by the body. This aids digestion and keeps you fuller for longer, meaning you’re less likely to reach for the cookies when hunger pangs strike. Natural carbs are also rich in vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as boosting immunity to fight disease.

Stock up on…bananas, potatoes and carrots, as well as kidney beans and garbanzo beans, as they’re also a great source of protein.

Bad carbs (aka. simple carbs)…White bread, white rice, pasta, noodles, sugary cereals, cakes, biscuits, etc.

Why? These refined foods have been stripped of beneficial fibre, meaning that all you’re actually consuming is unhealthy sugar and empty calories. While the quick burst of energy they create might be helpful in terms of athletic activity, the average individual does not require such rapid boosts, and will often end up consuming even more harmful calories as a result of the sugar low that follows.

Chuck out the…muffins, pastries, crisps, etc. and if possible, try to completely avoid corn syrup (a sweetener found in processed foods and fizzy drinks) as its high fructose content is quickly converted into fat.

For many of us, the reason we view carbs as the dietary antichrist is down to the dreaded bloat. By embracing as many of the carb-swaps that we’ve listed below and including foods known for their de-bloating properties (e.g. peppermint, ginger, pineapple and probiotic yoghurts) in your diet, you’ll soon see results not just on the scales, but in your glowing skin and flat tum too!

– Exchange morning bagels for a slice of whole-wheat toast

– Drink water or peppermint tea instead of fizzy soda

– Trade white rice for brown rice

– Opt for oatmeal with raisins/nuts over mid-afternoon cereal bars

– Forgo calorific cake desserts in place of a hearty fruit salad with belly-flattening probiotic yoghurt

These small changes will not just help you lose weight and slim down in time for that all-important event, but will help you achieve a healthy body inside and out. Good luck!

 


Easy Healthy Pasta Recipe: Zucchini Alfredo Pasta

recipe by Saskia Gregson-Williams

Like my obsession with thick salad dressings, I am all for a creamy pasta sauce – which is why cheesy alfredo pasta was always one of my favourite Italian dishes growing up. I loved the creamy texture, and the comforting way it melts in your mouth. When I make any pasta dish this is always the most important aspect for me. This recipe for zuchinni pasta with an avocado alfredo sauce is a perfect raw, vegan alternative that knocks the socks of any dairy and wheat laden alfredo. It is outrageously creamy and delicious, unbelievably satisfying but leaves you feeling far lighter, fresher and filled with nutritious energy!

Zuchinni noodles are really filling, low in calories, high in nutrients and fairly bland in flavour, completely taking on the taste of the sauce, which makes them the best pasta alternative! I make them into noodles with a spiralizer (link below) or shred them into zucchini ‘fettucini’ with a peeler.

The avocado alfredo sauce is skin loving perfection, alkalising, bursting with omegas and full of fibre this sauce is nutritionally awesome!

SHOW US SOME SOCIAL LOVE: We love to see all your pictures, so remember to hashtag #hipandhealthy and show us your delicious recreations!

RECIPE

Ingredients:

2 zuchinnis

1/4 cup pomegranate

Healthy Alfredo sauce: 

1 avocado

1/4 cup coconut milk

juice 1 lemon

Italian side salad:

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

two handfuls of rocket

drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Method: With a spiraliser (link below) spiral your zucchini into noodles. If you do not have a spiralizer and are desperate to make these, then peal the zuchinni into fettucini.

To make the sauce blend all ingredients together until smooth. Mix with the zuchinni and pomegranate.

Compile the salad, and plate.

Spiralizer link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Spiralz-Vegetable-Spiralizer/dp/B003NXR086/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1376041695&sr=8-1&keywords=spiralizer

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Looking for adult skin tips? We chat to skin expert Debbie Thomas about spot squeezing, fake tan and much more!

 Everything you ever wanted to know about skincare but were too afraid to ask…

We talk to skin specialist, Debbie Thomas, about the woes of adult skin maintenance

Do you squeeze spots when you know you should’t? Are you sceptical that water really does help our skin? Do you find you ask yourself is fake tan doing me more harm then good? Then read on, as we quiz skincare expert, Debbie Thomas, on everything you ever wanted to know about looking after your skin but are too afraid to ask.

Is sunscreen really the best weapon for fighting ageing skin?
Yes, absolutely. Up to 80% of skin ageing is caused by UVA rays, so if you protect it from these harmful rays, you will be doing the best thing for your skin to keep it youthful looking. It’s also the easiest thing to do.

Does fake tan clog our pores?
If used occasionally they tend not to be a problem, but with constant use and incorrect cleansing & exfoliating, sometimes people can get more black heads and bumpy skin. I advise my clients who use fake tan regularly to double cleanse and exfoliate regularly or use a cleanser with acids to properly remove dead skin that can lead to clogged pores.

Are fake tans actually bad for you because of the chemicals in them?
As with all things the newer tans are better formulated so much kinder to our skins, but I personally wouldn’t continuously layer tan on top of tan without some break time. To allow the skin time to regenerate and breath between applications. The main concerns of fake tans centre around spray tans when you do potentially inhale the tan. On the skin the tan can not penetrate in to the blood stream but if breathed in it can line the lungs and enter the blood stream.

Are natural treatments any good at harnessing results?
Yes, nature actually has some very powerful ingredients. However, sometimes very natural products can irritate the skin because of how they are formulated. People think natural equals kind-to-skin, but this isn’t always the case. I personally think for treatments you want the products used within them to strengthen and desensitise the skin and these products need to contain targeted and active ingredients, whether they are ‘natural’ or not.

Do chemical peals have a lasting effect on the skin?
It does depend on the strength of the peel but for the more common mild AHA or BHA peels, a one off treatment would only give a 2-5 week boost before the next skin cycle produces more dead skin cells on the skin which need sloughing off

Is it ok to squeeze spots? 
Only if done correctly which many people don’t do. Most of the time not all the infection is removed causing the spot to keep flaring up, or more commonly spots are over squeezed then picked leaving scabs and ultimately long lasting marks or even scars. I would advise leaving it to your skin care professional.

Does skin scar more easily as you get older?
Our skin definitely doesn’t heal as well, due to the regeneration of the skin slowing down.

What should you do after you squeeze a spot to minimise scarring?  
Use tissue covered fingers to gently push down under the spot and wiggle to encourage any infection to come out, don’t push too hard, if not all out leave for 2-3 mins then try again. Once the pore is empty you must let it heal, do not pick, if there is a scab, picking it disrupts the natural healing process.

Does drinking lots of water really help our skin?
Yes. It helps to keep it hydrated and it will help flush out toxins and eliminate the dirt that clogs the pores of your skin

Which supplements will actually make our skin clearer? Do they even make a difference? 
The healthier we are on the inside the better the skin will look. The best supplements for skin are vitamin C, zinc and omega oils.

Vitamin C – boosts collagen production to keep skin looking youthful

Zinc – controls the production of oil in the skin

Omega oils – these fatty acids can help reduce inflammatory skin conditions and there has been some recent studies claiming that fish oils can boost the skins immunity to sunlight, therefore guarding against sun-light induced suppression of the immune system.

How do celebrities have such glowing skin? 
Some are naturally this way because of genetics but many do have access to some of the best skin treatments, nutritionists, personal trainers, products and make-up artists in the world. Keeping them and their skin healthy and looking its best. So they are very lucky!

What are your five must have skin products?
SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF serum, SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Cleansing Gel, La Roche Posay Tinted Anthelios XL cream SPF 50, Valmonts Renewing Pack and Valmonts AWF factor 1 eye gel.

For more information on Debbie visit www.debbiethomas.co.uk


New Yummy Mummy Heaven: Mermaid Maternity Retreat

 New Yummy Mummy Heaven: Mermaid Maternity Retreat

We check out a world built for new mummies; the Mermaid Maternity Retreat on London’s King’s Road has left no stone unturned

 

 

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Expectant-Yummy Mummies all over London rejoiced when Mermaid Maternity Retreat opened its doors this month on Chelsea’s King’s Road. The first of it’s kind in London, Mermaid is a non-medical maternity retreat designed to support new mothers and pregnant women throughout their pregnancies and once the baby has been born. With everything from luxury accommodation to complimentary therapy, exercise to mummy/baby workshops – Mermaid is a one-stop-uber-luxe-shop for all things maternity.

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Six years in the making, the founder and CEO, Nick Balfour is certainly no stranger to babies. Having had four gorgeous girls of his own, he got the idea for the retreat whilst in the delivery room of his third realising that there needed to be a space where new mothers can feel completely safe and supported throughout their pregnancy and the moments after the birth of their child. “We aim to bridge the gap between hospital and home, by giving [new mothers] the skills and nurturing to help you embrace your new responsibility with confidence” says Nick.

Their biggest USP? Apart from being the only place like this of it’s kind, they have managed to gather together the creme de la creme in holistic, maternity-focussed, experts. Everyone from nutrition queen, Vicki Edgson and well-known midwife Vicky Scott to fertility expert acupuncturist Emma Cannon and trainer to the stars Jonny Sayle are on hand to help expectant and new mothers throughout this major transition, both mentally and physically. With everything from pregnancy yoga and Pilates to baby massage and dynamic workout class activeMUM, Mermaid is a Hip & Healthy mummy and baby dream come true.

Visit http://mermaid.co.uk for more information.

 

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The History of Diets: What Diet is Best For Us?

The History of Diets: What Diet is Best For Us?

words by Helen Carr

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We’ve all heard of the Paleo or ‘Caveman’ diet, which is proven to help us lose weight by taking things back to basics and eating like our ancestors. It is certainly true that we could learn a thing or two from the way people used to eat as two hundred, to two thousand years ago, people were living and eating preservative, additive and fairly sugar free!

Today we are sold by slogans and we’re after something quick and easy. We’re so easily duped by packaged goods calling themselves ‘healthy’ but are usually stuffed full of sugar, salt and preservatives. Sadly, even now when we think we are being healthy by eating a bowl of strawberries, unless organic we’re also eating the chemicals they’ve been sprayed with. Before food could be preserved people were eating freshly grown fruit and vegetables and their animals were grass fed.

So the questions are, what were our ancestors’ diets really like, who were the healthiest, and could eating like them make us much healthier and happier? We review the diets of the past with an nutritionist, Hayley Stafford-Smith’s, opinion of whom we should try to imitate.

The Mayans

We all love chia seeds. They have eight times more the Omega 3 content than salmon, seven times more vitamin c than an orange and are without doubt one of the top recently declared super-foods. The Mayans used to trade this little seed with the same value as money and it was a staple in the Aztec and Mayan diet. Aztec warriors used Chia as their main source of fuel during conquests and medicinally, they also used it to relieve joint pain and stimulate saliva. The Mayans were also the forbearers of some of our favourite health foods such as cacao, making chocolate which became a favourite drink of the upper classes. Meat was eaten infrequently but was replaced with a lot of maize, made into tortillas. They also ate a lot of chilli which is full of anti-oxidants, iron and magnesium, beans, potassium rich bananas and honey.

Hayley Says: This diet is rich in anti-oxidants and vegetable protein and low in sugar.  Not only does the chilli pepper release endorphins and promote cardio-vascular health but it is also a powerful aphrodisiac!  One potential negative, however, is the lack of animal protein. Fish and poultry would be a good addition.

The Ancient Greeks

We all think of the Grecian diet as a healthy one, the typical Mediterranean feast of olives, salad, and fresh fish, and of course sunshine. The ancient Greeks certainly had a similar diet, that is, if they could afford it. The common folk in cities could rarely afford fresh fruit and vegetables which were extremely expensive, they had to make do with dried. The main foods consumed were bread made from barley, figs, pomegranates and nuts as well as chickpeas. Most people would eat birds and rabbits, sardines and anchovies and the wealthier citizens would dine on meat such as goat, lamb and beef. The island dwellers would have the luxury of seafood. The ancient Greeks are known for their athletes and the philosopher Pythagoras was the first to direct athletes into eating meat, with the idea that to eat beef would mean to be as strong as an ox!

Hayley Says: The lack of fresh fruit and vegetables in the diet of a poor ancient Greek would have led to reduced vitality, a weakened immune system, low mood and scurvy.  Fresh fruit and vegetables are the richest sources of vitamins and have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects; beneficial to both short and long term health Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene which would have protected the skin of richer Greeks from the sun. The island dwellers were lucky in that they had easy access to fresh fish; an ideal source of animal protein and rich in vitamins, minerals, omega 3 fatty acids and, in the case of shell fish, selenium which has cancer-fighting properties.  

The Tudors

Henry VIII was never famous for his slim waistline and by accounts of the court diet, it is certainly clear why! The Tudors were of the opinion that vegetables were for the poor and fresh fruit gave people digestive problems causing it to be banned in 1569! The Royal deserts were made with sugar which was rare and expensive leading to the upper classes suffering from tooth decay. The favourite food of the court were meat pies made with refined flour, along with delicacies such as beaver tail. The court would throw lavish feasts making a spectacle of the meal, often serving pies containing live animals that would burst out when it was cut. The Tudors also knew how to drink, famously putting away 600,000 gallons of ale a year in Hampton Court Palace alone! The decadence of the Tudor diet inevitably lead to serious ailments such as gout and scurvy. Scurvy became known as ‘the disease of London’ due to the courts consumption of such rich food.

Hayley Says: Large amounts of animal protein, animal fat, refined sugar, alcohol and salt make this diet highly fattening, acidic, dehydrating and quite quickly fatal. Their insides would have looked like a sink drain clogged with lard!

The Victorians 

The Victorian diet brings back memories of Oliver Twist and the infamous gruel served to the orphans in the workhouse. This stereotype leads us to believe the Victorians were under nourished when in actual fact the working class Victorians had a much healthier diet than originally thought.

The Victorian diet was largely plant based. Today we are told we should be consuming 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day but the Victorians were eating around eight! All seasonal and all organic. Favourites consisted of potatoes, artichokes and carotene rich carrots with staple foods such as beetroot, watercress and cabbage. The summer months brought fresh lettuce, radishes, peas, beans and delicious summer fruits like vitamin c rich strawberries. Not only did they eat a full diet of fruit and vegetables, they also enjoyed highly nutritious omega-3 rich oily fish such as herrings, oysters, mussels and cod and delicious but expensive brazil nuts and almonds as a Christmas treat. Families would often keep a hen in the garden to supply them with eggs, a fantastic source of protein and would keep their salt and sugar intake at a minimum. In contrast to our over indulgent lifestyle, the Victorians would stretch out their rations, often cooking a joint of meat for the family to consume throughout the week.

Hayley Says: The positives here are the large quantities of organic fruit and vegetables which were locally sourced, seasonal and fresh therefore containing high levels of vitamins and antioxidants.   Today we live in a time of 365 fruit and vegetable supply but actually eating seasonally and in accordance with nature has huge health benefits.  Non-seasonal foods require bending of nature’s rules in order for them to survive the improper season in which they are brought into the world. By eating freshly harvested produce the Victorian would have rotated their foods thereby keeping their bodies from developing intolerances to certain foods and reaping the health benefits of a diet that is diverse and naturally detoxifying.  

The Verdict:

Take the chia seeds and chilli from the Mayans, the olives, olive oil and fresh fish from the island dwelling Greeks and the seasonal fruit and vegetables and occasional joint of meat from the Victorians, you have a full and nutrient rich diet. The Tudors can forget it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tudor diet:

Victorian diet:

Ancient Greeks:

 


If you only do one thing this week… Try Matcha Tea

 words by Molly Jennings

We all know the amazing benefits of green tea, but lets talk Matcha! Matcha tea has been consumed in Japan for almost 900 years. Buddhist monks drink it to keep them focused and awake during long days of meditation. It’s now made its way to the UK and can be found in lots of health food shops and even smoothie bars! Matcha is grown under a shaded environment. By cutting out sunlight, the leaf retains more amino acids and results in a leaf rich in chlorophyll, which is what gives it a vibrant green colour.

What’s the difference between Green tea and Matcha tea?
It’s all in the brewing! You make green tea by soaking the leaves in water and then throwing them away, with the infused, light green water left behind. Matcha leaves are actually ground up in to a fine powder, which you whisk together with hot water. This means you are essentially drinking the whole leaf.

Benefits of drinking Matcha tea
Because you are ingesting the whole leaf, the concentration of the tea is a lot stronger than green tea. This is why it’s so awesome… it contains 130 times more antioxidants than green tea! It’s also a great support for the immune system which is why so many people drink it when they are unwell. Matcha contains two important amino acids called Theophylline and L-theanine. The reason why they are so important is because they work together with the naturally occurring caffeine to give you sustained energy for up to 6 hours. No crazy energy spurts and no zombie crashes either! It’s also great for your skin as it contains something called polyphenols, yes folks, we’re getting technical.  These polyphenols inhibit UV radiation-induced skin damage, which will help keep your skin looking young and fresh!

How do I eat it?
This is the fun part! Because it comes in a powdered form you can mix/put it in anything you fancy!

Traditional – Put 1/2 teaspoon of Matcha in a bowl, gradually add some boiled water and whisk until it forms a smooth texture. Transfer to your favourite mug and sip away!

Smoothie – Add 1/2 teaspoon to any combination you like! I like to mix it with strawberries, spinach, banana, flaxseed and a splash of almond/oat milk.

Baking – you don’t have to get your daily matcha fix by drinking it! I like to throw in 1/2 teaspoon of matcha in to my gluten and sugar free pancakes for a delicious breakfast boost!

Where can I buy it?
You can get it from most health food stores, and even supermarkets have started to sell it. We like to get ours from Clearspring, because their organic premium Matcha comes from Uji, a region high in the hills around Kyoto, renowned for producing the best Japanese teas.