Spring into Shape with help from the Experts at Be:Fit London, Leah Kim and Dr Christy Ferguson

With the clocks due to go forward and the first few sunny days appearing, it’s official – spring has sprung. If winter has put you in a funk – put down your Breaking Bad boxset and step away from the onesie, it’s time to revitalise your diet and get out of that workout slump, says Mea Perkins

Spring is an ideal time to give your dietary habits an overhaul as you can take advantage of all the seasonal spring foods – which can be fresher, cheaper and richer in nutrients. If it’s your exercise habits that need to be kicked in to touch, make use of the longer days and milder weather. To help inspire you to make positive changes to your lifestyle as the seasons change, we nabbed some time with wellness warriors; Leah Kim, Nikes Global Yoga Ambassador and Food Psychologist, Dr Christy Ferguson. Here are their top tips:

  • Avoid overwhelm “Take it easy on yourself” Leah advises, “if you’re basically coming out of hibernation, ease back into a routine of more exercise balanced with good sleep.” The same goes with your diet says Dr Christy, “never start a healthy eating plan on a Monday as it often leads to that ‘all or nothing’ mentality. If you eat something that’s not part of the plan, that’s okay! Don’t think of it as ‘falling off the wagon’ – shift your mind set and just carry on as planned to avoid regressing completely.”
  • Prioritise “I write my yoga/ exercise time into my diary like I do with all my other plans,” says Leah, “I set myself up for the week ahead, whether it’s blocking off time for my home practice, or seeing what classes I might like to attend. I treat my time with and for myself with just as much importance as my other appointments and obligations.” 
  • Get your blood sugar level back on trackIn the winter our serotonin levels drop,” says Dr Christy, “so this usually means we spend our time sitting on the sofa eating carbohydrates or highly refined foods, or reaching for that biscuit at work, which spike our sugar levels to boost serotonin temporarily. The spike in our blood sugar levels mean we get too much glucose in our system which then just gets stored as fat. Break the cycle and choose foods with low glycaemic loads (eggs, avocado, quinoa are just a few examples) which release energy slowly to avoid energy crashes. If you struggle with cravings, try a supplement such as Chromium – it’s good for blood sugar balance and will help with the transition if you’ve got into bad habits over the winter.”
  • Go green If you needed any more persuasion to eat these vegetable powerhouses, Dr Christy says, “leafy greens such as kale and spinach also increase energy levels due to their low glycaemic load are and are loaded with essential nutrients such as magnesium, betaine and potassium– they have a low sugar content too.” Leah agrees, “I can’t say enough about eating greens to keep me energised, alert, and feeling balanced.”
  • Don’t overload at breakfast “During the night when we sleep, our body is in fasting mode, so I believe that we should break that fast nice and gently to help support our digestive system” explains Dr Christy. “One of the best things to wake your body up with is a green juice, it’s very alkalising on the system and you can introduce it to your body slowly throughout the morning. It’s extremely hydrating and a good way to get nutrients in, which will give you energy throughout the day. My perfect morning juice includes cucumber, a squeeze of lemon, spinach, apple, ginger, celery. If I want something a bit more substantial, I’ll eat grass fed chicken eggs, or gluten free cereal with dairy free milk.”
  • Substitute and upgrade “Don’t think of it as cutting out foods, rather upgrading the quality of your meals and snacks,” suggests Dr Christy, “this way you won’t feel like you’re embarking on a radically different diet, and are more likely to succeed. Use substitution by thinking of the foods you really like the taste of, and then improve the quality in terms of what they offer. If you love chocolate, reach for a handful of berries the next time you get a craving. Coming into season from May, Berries have the luxurious, treat feel that we associate with chocolate. The lowest calorie fruits, they are full of antioxidants and fibre making them an ideal chocolate replacement and healthy grazing option. Good quality protein will give you the amino acids you need to make serotonin and colourful fruit and vegetables will provide good quality anti-oxidants – so always make sure your plate is 70% colour.” 
  • Refresh your tea cupboard “I love Yerbe mate for cleansing the system and increasing energy,” says Dr Christy, “it’s more potent than green tea, so definitely an acquired taste but those who like it swear by it.” For Leah, “matcha tea is my daily ritual. I also love a slow-juiced green drink of mostly veggies, and a superfood green powder – any brand without fillers; you can get a nice one in the UK called Kiki.”
  • Keep your regime rolling This doesn’t mean do the same routine every day explains Leah, “but if you can maintain the consistency of being active, exercise naturally becomes something you will crave from the inside. Then even if you have no motivation, your body will take over from you. Usually once I get moving on my yoga mat, it’s as if my body knows what is happening and is happy to be there, even if I don’t do a long or strenuous practice.”
  • Add a dose of yoga “What I love about yoga is it works not just the outer body, but the inner organs, the cells, and the energy body.” Leah adds, “There’s a natural detoxification process that happens when you do yoga poses, and also when you sweat. So yoga effects change on both the outside and the inside, and the deep, inner changes are what’s reflected in clearer skin, brighter eyes, and healthier hair.”
  • Have fun! “It’s important to ENJOY whatever exercise you choose to do,” Leah says, “if you dread getting on the elliptical machine, it will be so much better for you to find something different, that you actually look forward to. I believe there’s something for everyone, be it working with a trainer, taking a class, going for a run, or getting involved in a sport.”
Christy Close Up With Polka Dot Apron 2

Dr Christy Ferguson

To meet Dr.Christy Fergusson and Leah Kim, head down to Be:Fit London on 28-30th March at the Old Billingsgate, London. Visit www.befitlondon.com for tickets

Main Image: Leah Kim

Bump Love: The Do’s and Don’ts for Fitness in Pregnancy…

With more women now physically active and living a healthy lifestyle it’s important to know that you do not have ditch that positive mentality or bin your trainers as soon as you see the second line pop up on your pregnancy test says Pregnancy Fitness Expert, & celebrity trainer, Linda Jones from Vita Wellbeing

Training whilst pregnant has always been a topic of confusion. Can I train? Is it safe? What shall I stop doing? These are just some of the most commonly asked questions. Long gone are the days when a woman ‘with child’ took to bed rest for nine months but have things now swung too far the other way? With excessive focus being placed on the female form, the world is becoming more and more obsessed with not just how fast a model or actress springs back into shape post baby but also how many pounds she piles on during her more carb relaxed pregnancy months.

Linda has put together her top 10 tips for optimum health and a beautiful blossoming body during the whole nine months.

1. Be Careful Who you Take Advice From 
One of the biggest issues we see with women who are pregnant is their sudden urge to compare themselves to everyone else who is having or who has had a baby. This can quiet often come from celebrities or health professionals who make it seem easy on the surface and as a result make you feel like a failure. Often these people have something to sell and so it’s easy to create a ‘perfect’ image but the reality is very different. You are experiencing one of the biggest changes that will ever happen in your life and you are doing it perfectly, so go easy on yourself and try to enjoy the ride.

2. Don’t Start Anything New 
When we take up something new the physical and physiological load is huge. We can usually cope quiet well with a new skill but during pregnancy your body is changing and with it the ability to be able to adapt to new movement. Our balance and proprioception is not quiet itself and so its best to stick to what you already know unless you are with a specialised health professional.

3. Ditch the Diet 
When pregnant, your body and your growing baby requires a wide variety of foods. Cutting any amount of necessary nutrients is not good for the health or you or your baby. This does not signal a green light for sugary or highly processed foods but its vital to remember that you will need a balanced mix of protein, fats and carbohydrates. Ensure you have a whole array of colour in your diet, keep it varied and throw away that diet book you have stashed on the side!

4. No Circus Acts 
This sounds obvious but you would be amazed how ‘able’ pregnant women feel. While you most certainly do not need to be wrapped up in cotton wool, safety is, and has to be top priority. Taking part in any physical activity that involves balance or could mean falling is a big no no. Tiredness, reduced proprioception and a shift in your centre of gravity due to your growing baby bump all means you are at an increase risk of injury. So hold off on those trapeze classes for now!

5. Say No to Fat Loss 
One of the biggest hurdles most women face is learning to let go of the desire to loose weight. For most of us, it’s something that is on our minds most of the time and we have spent years trying to achieve it. However its important to know that unless you are under strict medical guidance, burning fat can actually cause harm during your pregnancy. In simple terms, toxins that are released when we use fat cells as energy can enter our system meaning your baby’s too, which is not good for anyone. Your body needs to store a certain amount of fat to sustain life so for the next few months at least think healthy, wholesome food and sensible exercise.

6. Think of B Day as your New Marathon 
Many hard-core gym bunnies struggle with suddenly feeling like they have no ‘goal’ to work towards. After focusing so much on marathons, races, fitness challenges and weight loss it can feel like the breaks have suddenly been slammed on. Anyone who has delivered a child can tell you how surprised they were by the physical demand of giving birth and how much strength they had to muster to complete the job! It’s called labour for a reason and it’s a good idea for you to think of the big day as your new goal. Train to be fit, strong and mentally focused during delivery and also to improve the speed of your recovery post baby. The healthier you are during your pregnancy months the faster you will be back on your feet afterwards.

7. Little and Often 
Most women are taken back by their ever-dwindling energy levels. Pregnancy can be a huge shock to even the most physically active of women. While exercise will actually improve stamina and energy levels, its important to think little and often. A 20-minute to half an hour walk, swim or gym session each day is more than enough to keep you and your baby’s health at optimum levels.

8. Posture is Key
Your body will change shape, fact. The key is to strengthen the parts that will excessively weaken and stretch the parts that will work too hard. Working against nature is not the idea here, your body will dramatically change shape but in order to keep your back and body injury and pain free it’s a good idea to gently give it a helping hand.

9. Now is Not the Time to Challenge Yourself
Now is not the time to put any additional stress on your body, its already experiencing enough! Because many of the changes happening to us are from within, it’s easy to underestimate how much is going on. Each and every day your body works hard to ensure not only that your baby growing and developing perfectly but also that your body is changing to accommodate it. Fighting against this process by giving yourself additional challenges such as running a 10k race or dropping body fat will only lead to poor health and total burn out.

10. Embrace Your New Shape 
While it feels a life stretch when you are submerged in your pregnancy months its so important to remember that its not forever, in fact its not a very long time at all in the grand scheme of things. Many women go through a period of missing their bump once delivering and realise how much of an incredibly special time it was nurturing your unborn child. You have the rest of your life to worry about being skinny so for now at least, marvel your beautiful, blossoming body.

Visit http://www.vitawellbeing.co.uk/ for more advice and information…

Live Your Lunch Break

Hip & Healthy Promotion

This spring Flexioffices are encouraging London workers to take back their lunch breaks after a recent study showed less than 30% of people actually take a lunch break… yes we’re talking to you! Hip & Healthy is joining the campaign, and our Food Editor, Saskia, shares her top 5 tips for Covent Garden based busy bees, that need to take a well deserved midday break!

1) Refuel:
Take some time out of your day to not only relax but re-energise with a delicious, healthy lunch. Covent Garden is full of delicious gems, but there are few really Hip & Healthy ones we just can’t rave enough about:

Wild Food Cafe: Hidden amongst the colours of Neil’s Yard, this café is an escape from London’s bustling streets. The food is vegan, primarily raw and satisfying on every level. The atmosphere is happy and vibrant, and the food reflects that. Treat yourself to the incredible green smoothie, a raw pizza filled with coconut cheese and raw pesto, and one of their incredible raw/vegan cakes.

Le Pain Quotidian: An organic cafe, with lots of options for everyone. We love the vegan soups, the organic lentil salad and the avocado tartine. Its located within the covent garden market, so you can have a little explore too!

Lab Organic: Perfect little juice and smoothie bar, when your in a hurry and fancy something a little lighter. We love the alkalising green juice and their delicious array of energy bars.

2) Yoga:
There is nothing better than breaking up your day with some yoga, its so calming, re-energising and makes any stress fade away. There are some fantastic yoga studios in covent garden, we love:

Yotopia & Good Vibes Studios

3) Exercise:
Why not take a run, or get a gym membership nearby? Theres no better way to combat a stressful day at work than sweating it out! Run down to the embankment and down to the river for some beautiful views.

4) Meditate:
Meditation is known to relieve stress in every aspect of your life, re-energise and restore zen to your day. So why not take 15 minutes out of your lunch break to do something for you, and turn every day into the best experience possible. Some great places to escape for meditation in London is among the benches of Neil’s Yard. If you prefer to be inside go have a look at the meditation rooms at Inner Space, www.innerspace.org.uk.

5) Have a treatment:
Treat yourself to a massage or reflexology at the Neil’s Yard therapy rooms. Get a half an hour appointment, and get a bite to eat across at Wild Food Cafe. Talk about a midday indulgence, you deserve it!

 image: GoodVibes Yoga

Visit Flexioffices for more info!

If you only do one thing this week… Spring Clean Your Fridge!

Spring cleaning, no matter which kind, is always a bit of a task… and when it comes to tossing out the old Christmas chocolates that are still lingering in the depths of your fridge, it can be a little painful! So this week, whip out your rubber gloves and roll up your sleeves because a healthy body starts with a healthy fridge!

Throw Out
This is no time to be sentimental! That ageing jar of marmalade your grandma gave you 3 years ago has got to go! Be ruthless and chuck away anything that is past its sell by date. Not only will this give you more room, but it will also help eliminate that distinctive, not-so-nice “fridge” odour! Next on your clean out list is the junk food. So summon all of your courage and get your bin bag at the ready! Say goodbye to anything that contains sugar (we’re talking cakes, store bought juice, jams, “low fat” yogurts, salad dressings etc.), processed foods and fizzy drinks. These are not bikini-body-friendly foods and certainly won’t do your health any good either.

I’ll admit, the smell of gooey, rotten compartment drawers and slimy egg trays makes my tummy churn, but it must be dealt with! You don’t want any of that bacteria spoiling your other food. Start by taking out all the contents of your fridge, (scrubbing around food isn’t going to cut it!) remove all compartments, draws and trays and then fill your sink with warm, soapy water and scrub away! Wipe down the inside of the fridge with a sponge and replace the food. Bish, bash, bosh… Job done!

It’s time to go shopping! Head down to your local department store and grab some clear, sealed containers. These tubs will be perfect for when you’ve cooked a little too much quinoa, (story of my life!) and they also help prevent food wastage. I often double my dinner ingredients so having a portable container on hand means I can pack away a healthy, delicious lunch for the next day. Another must have is some clear glass jars. These pretty pots are great for storing chia seed breakfasts and over night oats, plus they’re so handy for on the go! In need of a delicious chia seed pudding recipe? Try ours! http://www.hipandhealthy.co.uk/coconut-chia-seed-pudding/

An organised fridge is an organised mind, that’s how it goes right? I like to arrange my fridge shelves into food groups as I find it much easier to find ingredients (and it looks pretty too). Plastic magazine holders are also a savvy and sneaky way to create extra shelving! Just lie them on their side and stack as many as you desire! If you want to take fridge organisation to the next level, then you can label shelves, draws, containers etc. for extra fridge efficiency! I do love a good label. It’s up to you how you arrange your fridge but to prevent food poisoning, keep raw meat and seafood on the lowest shelf as this stops unwanted dripping.

words by Molly Jennings

Bjorn Borg launches a Women’s Sportswear Collection in time for Summer

We like to keep abreast of the latest news, trends and updates in fitness and health here at Hip & Healthy, and so we were intrigued to learn that the Swedish underwear brand, Bjorn Borg, has launched a women’s sportswear collection for Spring/Summer’14. It was only a matter of time really, seeing as the company’s namesake was the most successful tennis-star in Swedish sporting history…

The Hip & Healthy team went along to view the new collection and we were suitably impressed. Boasting bright, pop colours in electric blue and neon pink hues, the pieces are sure to make any wearer stand out from the fitness crowd. Patterned leggings and crop tops are covered with prints that have been inspired by elements of nature and reptiles in the jungle (we knew that the animal-print trend wasn’t going anywhere!), and look as though they have been lifted from a beautiful, blurred oil painting.

As if that wasn’t enough, each piece has been created using technical and functional fabrics that aid workouts rather than hinder them. The fabrics wick moisture away from the body, are breathable and lightweight meaning that the focus can be on the exercise and not on some sweat-sodden, hot and uncomfortable fitness clothes.

Bjorn Borg’s collection has been created with the aims to empower and motivate women to exercise; at the same time as being provocative and making the wearer feel sexy (of course, it’s an underwear brand after all). However don’t worry; the fears of buying a sportswear line designed by a lingerie company can be washed away. Every piece is tasteful rather than tacky, and there’s no risk of see-through fabrics in those un-wanted places when performing even the most bendy of yoga poses.

Available now on www.bjornborg.com

Cashew Berry Bliss

I’ve been absolutely loving the early spring weather and feeling the sun on my face the past few weeks and I got inspired to make a new, refreshingly fruity smoothie for you all! The mix of all the flavours and textures creates the perfect creamy, indulgent smoothie fit for any sunny garden snack time. Enjoy!

1 frozen banana

1/4 cup of cashews

1 cup of almond milk

1tbsp of chia seeds

1/4 cup of pomegranate

1/2 cup of blueberries

Method: Blend!

Recipe by Saskia Gregson-Williams

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Fat Phobia – Could it be doing our hearts more harm than good?

To keep our hearts healthy and to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, our intake of fat, and in particular saturated fat, should be kept to a minimum. Correct? Well, that’s certainly what we’ve been educated to believe. The mantra that “fat is bad” has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for decades. We have become a nation of fat-phobes, and the “low fat” and “fat-free” food market has soared. However despite this, we have a global epidemic of obesity, heart disease and other so-called “lifestyle diseases”.  So could it be that this key message is in fact based on bad science?

The vilification of fat began 40 years ago on the basis of an epidemiological study by Ancel Keyes which showed a relationship between the percentage of energy gained by fat intake, and incidence of coronary heart disease.  This has formed the basis of dietary guidelines on fat intake ever since, with fat being viewed as Public Health Enemy Number One. Analogies of arteries like kitchen pipes clogged with butter and bacon fat have been used by medical professionals to demonize fat on a level equivalent to cigarettes.

However, in a report published at the beginning of this month in the medical journal BMJ Open Heart Dr. James DiNicolantonio, a cardiovascular research scientist, suggests that it is our switch from saturated fat to a diet high in carbohydrates (especially processed carbs and sugar) that has, paradoxically, increased our risk of heart disease. He, along with many other health experts, claims that the Keyes landmark study was flawed, and that there is no conclusive proof that a low-fat diet has any positive effects on cardiovascular health. On this basis he is calling for the dietary guidelines on replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates to be urgently reassessed.

A recent analysis by the Telegraph found that many “low fat” foods are loaded with sugar, despite purporting to be healthy. Findings included some “low fat” meals to contain up to 6 times the sugar of their full fat equivalents, and a “low fat” drinking yoghurt to contain almost as much sugar as a Mars Bar. And herein lies the problem. Millions of consumers, led to believe that fat content is what they need to be scrutinizing when they scour food labels, have been instead opting for these sugar-filled, processed, but supposedly healthy “low-fat” equivalents.

Unlike fat and protein, refined sugar adds zero nutritional value to foods, and our body does not require any carbohydrate in the form of added sugar as a source of energy. In excess amounts the fructose component of sugar is toxic to the liver, and gets converted by the body to fat. Sugar is now being added to more and more of our foods- yoghurts, sushi, ready meals, salad dressings, bread and soup are just some of the unsuspecting victims.  And to make it even more challenging for the consumer to know exactly what they’re eating, sugar comes in a number of guises- fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, dextrose and cane sugar being just a handful from an extensive list.

London-based cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra, who is heading the up the “Action on Sugar” campaign (a campaign group formed to put pressure on the Government to reduce the amount of sugar added to food and soft drinks), claims there is now overwhelming evidence to support the fact that it is sugar, not fat, that is the driving force in the development of heart disease.  He draws on a recent study from the US, which has demonstrated a strong association between calories obtained from sugar-laden foods, and death rates from cardiovascular disease. In fact, a fear of fat could actually be detrimental to heart health. Intake of dietary fat is essential for the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and there is strong evidence of a link between vitamin D deficiency and significantly increased risk of cardiovascular mortality.  Fat is also essential for raising HDL “good” cholesterol , high levels of which are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

However, there is one type of fat that all scientists and health professionals agree should be avoided and these are the “trans” fats, or hydrogenated fats, found in many processed foods, bakery products and margarines. These industrially modified fats have been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases, and should be avoided at all costs.

So what should we eating for a healthy heart? The PREDIMED  trial, a large study of 7,447 subjects carried out between 2003 and 2011, found that a Mediterranean diet supplemented with extra-virgin oil or nuts (both rich in fat) reduced the incidence of major cardiovascular events (cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction or stroke) by 30%, compared to the control group on a low-fat diet.  Strong evidence, it seems, that fat really may be a friend, not foe…

Author Bio:
Naomi Mead’s passion about the role of nutrition in health and the therapeutic power of good food has inspired her to become a Nutritional Therapist at Nutrition Expert and her own site Food First. She is trained and accredited at the renowned Institute of Optimum Nutrition.

If you only do one thing this week…Get Happy!

We are officially in the middle of March! How crazy is that? Time seems to be going by so fast at the moment so this week we want to stop and take stock of what we have to be happy about. These days it’s so easy to get whisked up in the 21st Century pace of life and we can sometimes forget to enjoy ourselves and notice the beauty of life. It’s International Happiness Day this Thursday so H&H have got some fantastic tips to put a massive smile on your face!

Sometimes it’s the simplest things in life that can make us smile. This week, (wherever you may be in the world), make time with family and friends to get outdoors. Take some deep breaths and inhale the fresh air, after all it’s what keeps us alive! Stop and notice the little things; like flower buds ready to bloom or baby lambs leaping and bounding, or make a picnic and enjoy sitting on the grass! It sounds so silly but I don’t think we take enough time to enjoy the wonderful world we live in. Let’s open our eyes at look beyond the walls that surround us.

There’s nothing better than feeling grateful. It’s a sign that you are able to notice and acknowledge the positives in your own life. Before I go to bed, I think of at least three things I am thankful for. When work is stressful and nothing seems to be going right… just take a moment to think of all the good in your life. Whether it’s your family, your boyfriend, your job, where you live, or simply the fact that you are healthy. Gratitude is sure to bring you back down to the things that matter most.

“You” Time
It’s so important to spend time with friends and family, and quite often, a good movie with a girlfriend is the best cure for any lousy day! Having said this, spending time with yourself is also important for creating happiness. At least once a week, I like to set by an hour or so to focus on “me”.  Some weeks, that hour is spent indulging in a manicure, other weeks it’s simply spent soaking in an Epsom salt bubble bath whilst flicking through an array of dreamy interior magazines. Find something that you enjoy, and do it!

Ahh the good-old exercise tip. Well folks, it’s true… exercise can make you happy. The word “endorphins” is a common word in the world of fitness, but what are they and how do they make us happy? Endorphins are our bodies’ natural drug and are released when we put our body under stress or pain (exercise is a form of stress on the body). They interact with the opiate receptors in the brain to help reduce our awareness of pain and stress. As well as “blocking” pain, endorphins also bring on feelings of euphoria! Your instant happy-fix is waiting!

Be More Selfless
I once walked passed two homeless guys looking rather cold and miserable, sitting outside a supermarket. I suddenly thought to myself “I’m going to buy them both something to eat”… so to their absolute shock, I stopped and asked if they fancied anything from the shop! They looked at each other in disbelief. I ended up buying two chicken and sweetcorn sandwiches (not the healthiest, but I wasn’t about to give them my long “healthy eating” talk!). The happiness they got from something as simple as a sandwich, gave me happiness too. Hip & Healthy want to challenge you to make at least one persons’ day a little bit brighter this week. Not only will they reap the benefits, but also so will you.

words by Molly Jennings

From our Recipe Book: MINI RAW CARROT CAKES

recipe by Saskia Gregson-Williams

A small sweet snack on its own or delicious with a cup of Rooibos tea – these little carrotty lovelies always go down a treat! And they’re full of vitamin A! Bonus.


For the cake:
2/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup pecans
1 cup dates (soaked in water
for at least 2 hours)
2 cups carrots, grated
3/4 cup sultanas
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/3 cup – 1/2 cup sliced pineapple

For the Icing:
1 cup cashews (preferably soaked) 1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp nutmeg


Start by placing the almonds, pecans and dates in a blender, and blend until they start to crumb. Pour out and place to one side. Grate the carrots. Now slowly add all ingredients to the blender and blend the mixture until it forms a dough like ball in the blender. (You may have to do this in two parts – we often find things wedge under the blade!). Using your hands (yes – we like to get things messy) divide the mixture into 6 mini cakes and mould them into little cupcake shapes. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours before serving as this helps them to set and dry out a little.

The icing:
Meanwhile make the icing by blending all ingredients until smooth. Leave in the fridge until ready to spread on top and eat!

DF, SF, WF, GF, V, R, VG

Buy The Recipe Book “In the Hip & Healthy Kitchen” Here…

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Six Physio – Don’t Treat, Cure

The reputable Six Physio has been providing the very best in experienced physiotherapy in London for a quarter of a century. It’s no wonder they’ve been voted ‘Best Company’ and one of the ‘Sunday Times Top 100 Small Companies’ to work for four years in a row now, impressive stuff! Comprised of 10 clinics around the city, this close-knit business offers expert diagnosis and treatment for everyone ranging from elite level athletes to casual gym-goers. Six Physio have a wide range of practitioners and therapists on board to help with an assortment of ailments, from Women’s and Men’s health physiotherapy, clinical Pilates, Sports Massage, running coaching, cycling assessments and Work Station Ergonomics – whatever your condition, you’ll be sure to find someone on board to assist you. A gold star from Hip & Healthy!

To book a consultation or appointment click here

How to Build Strong Bones

words by Kathleen Flemming

Our skeleton is made up of 206 bones, all of which have their own unique functions. All of these bones work together to provide our structural support system, keeping our body upright and allowing us to move with ease. Without strong and healthy bones, we wouldn’t be able to stand up straight or walk properly, things we so often take for granted when we are young.

Many people don’t realise that our bones are continuously broken down and then rebuilt in tiny amounts. When we are young, our bones are always rebuilding themselves but at around the age of 30, everything changes – our bones reach their peak density and then begin to break down faster than they build up. If bones aren’t strengthened before this critical age, there is a higher risk of developing osteoporosis (porous bone disease).

Osteoporosis, often thought of as a disease affecting grannies, is becoming increasingly common among younger people, especially women. Today, there are more and more cases of women in their 20s and 30s suffering bone fractures and complications from early onset of osteoporosis. Although it is thought that there is a genetic element to some cases of osteoporosis, the alarming younger onset is thought to be related to lifestyle. The best insurance against osteoporosis is building the highest bone density possible before you reach the big 3-0 and then trying to minimise bone loss after that.

But maintaining strong, healthy bones goes beyond prevention of osteoporosis.  Strong bones are also important for good posture which enables us to hold ourselves upright. This in turn has all sorts of positive benefits including being able to breathe better as well as look better (standing up straight can make us look taller and slimmer!). In addition, healthy bones support movement and if you enjoy your morning run or love doing yoga, a strong frame will keep you moving easily for many more years to come. And lastly bones (more specifically bone marrow) produce red blood cells which play all sorts of critical roles in the healthy functioning of our beautiful bodies.

Here are H&H’s top tips on building strong bones and maintaining your healthy skeleton …….

Eat Green Foods
We know it sounds a little bit like a stuck record but leafy greens such as kale, watercress and bok choy, are jam packed full of nutrients, especially calcium and magnesium. Calcium is the main nutrient required for bone-building while magnesium is essential for healthy functioning of the parathyroid glands, which produce hormones essential for bone health.

Other essential nutrients for healthy bones include vitamin K and potassium, both of which are found in those gorgeous green foods! Vitamin D (see below) and protein are also important so ensure you add some quinoa, nuts (such as almonds or cashew nuts) or seeds on top of those leafy green salads (try our Ultimate Kale Salad for some awesome bone food).  

Get Out in the Sunshine
Vitamin D is another crucial nutrient for strong bones. It is as important as calcium because without it, calcium cannot be properly absorbed by the body. The best way to ensure that your body has enough vitamin D, is by getting out in the sunshine (in case you need another excuse for a holiday in the sun). Obviously frying yourself in the midday sun isn’t good for you, but getting some exposure to direct sunlight on a regular basis is important for sufficient production of vitamin D. You can also get small amounts of vitamin D from food sources such as wild oily fish (salmon and mackerel ) as well as eggs.

Unfortunately, due to our Nothern European climate (cold, cloud and rain) many people in the UK have a vitamin D deficiency. There are plenty of supplements available to top up your vitamin D but look for one that provides vitamin D3 which is more effective (read H & H’s guide to getting enough vitamin D). If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels, you can ask your doctor for a test and they can give you appropriate advice.

Do Strength and Resistance Exercises
Due to our modern lifestyles a lot of us spend the majority of our days sitting down. Our sedentary lifestyles mean that we under-utilise our bones and just like muscles, our bones start to weaken if we don’t use them enough – it’s another case of ‘use it or lose it.’ However, don’t despair if your job requires you to sit down a lot. Resistance exercises can provide an antidote to hours of sitting and can make all the difference in keeping your skeleton strong. If the thought of lifting heavy dumbbells in the gym makes your bones shake with fear, don’t worry – resistance exercises can also take the form of yoga, pilates and other body weight exercises which you can do in the comfort of home. Doing exercises on Power Plates is also thought to help with improving bone density (read H & H’s review of Power Plating).

Ditch the Bone Thieves
Some of the worst offending bone thieves are fizzy drinks, alcohol and refined table salt. These bone thieves cause calcium to be excreted from our bodies more quickly than normal. The result of this is that our body then has to search for more calcium to keep blood levels healthy and so it looks to our bones where calcium is stored. Calcium is then excreted from the bones to balance the calcium levels in the blood. The end result is that without sufficient calcium, our bone density will suffer which can potentially lead to health issues such as osteoporosis (another good reason to give up the diet cola habit).

And what about DAIRY?
We’ve all seen those adverts promoting bone and teeth health via the medium of drinking milk. Although dairy products such as milk and yogurt do contain plenty of calcium, fortunately for vegans and dairy-free friends they are not the only way to get your calcium fix. In fact, our earliest ancestors didn’t drink cow’s milk at all but got their necessary calcium from calcium-rich greens. More and more nutrition experts now believe that a lot of dairy is actually not good for us and we can get enough calcium from plant-based sources such as leafy greens, nuts, seeds and even oats. Plus as explained earlier, calcium is only one of the many nutrients required for healthy bones and the other important nutrients are can all be found in dairy-free foods.