Elf for Health: Day 5 of the H&H Advent Calendar

Elf for Health: Day 5 of the H&H Advent Calendar

25 days of a Hip and Healthy Christmas: Tips to make this the best holiday season yet

On the fifth day of Christmas… we reveal five ways with Coconut Oil
From soothing skin to encouraging weight-loss, coconut oil has been getting a lot of positive press recently. And for good reason. Here are four ways in which you can use this wonder nut to it’s best:

Make like Miranda Kerr and put it in your green tea
A study reported in the Journal of Nutrition that coconut oil can actually boost metabolism, which in turn can help you burn more fat. The research revealed that those who consumed two tablespoons of coconut oil per day burned more kilojoules than those who didn’t. Buy adding it to your green tea – your body get’s hit double whammy as green tea is also well-known for its metabolism boosting ways as well.

Apply it as a moisturiser
Coconut oil is packed full of skin loving Vitamin E making it an ideal moisturiser. Vitamin E works to reduce pigmentation, scars and heal the skin and the smell of coconut oil is an added bonus (does it remind anyone else of holidays?). You don’t even have to spend a lot of money – in fact – Waitrose sells pure coconut oil in the baby aisle and it costs no more than £2.89 and lasts forever! Apply after a shower all over the body.

Cook with it
Despite what many say about coconut oil being high in saturated fat, it is actually one of the safest forms of oil to cook with as it is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid. This gives it a higher smoking temperature than polyunsaturated or monounsaturated oils (olive oil) which oxidise at high temperatures which in turn creates free-radicals (horrible things!). As for the saturated fat content – it is the healthiest form of saturated fat compared to trans fat. The two are metabolised in an entirely different way – coconut oil is converted into energy rather than stored as fat.

Bake with it
Use it instead of butter in cakes, pastries, and other baked goods. It’s a great healthy alternative and perfect for those of us who are dairy-free or lactose-intolerant. Although it may take a bit of experimenting to get the quantities right, the general rule is to use about 25% less than water the recipe says use in butter. We would love to hear how your recipes turn out so do get in touch via out facebook page or twitter feed!

Start your day with it
Add it to your porridge to give your metabolism a boost first thing. It also gives the porridge a wonderful nutty flavour. It has also been known to help curb sugar craving. This is because the quality of good fats is so high that it will help you to feel less hungary.



Three of the Best (and healthiest – of course!) Snacks

words by Charlotte Newnham

Charlotte spent the first fifteen years of her working life in the advertising industry working across various brands such as Johnson & Johnson, Tesco and John Lewis. After having two children, she has now turned her attention to the world of nutrition which has long been a passion of hers. She will qualify as a nutritionist in 2015 so for now, if she’s not studying the intricacies of short chain fatty acids, she can be found on the kitchen floor playing fire engines with her young boys. Here is what she has been snacking on this month…

Clif Energy Bars

Choosing chocolate buttons for a snack seems rather passé these days as snacking becomes less about a quick fix and more about sustaining energy levels. My latest find, Clif energy bars pride themselves on just this by offering up a densely packed slab of power food, bursting with protein and fibre. The enticing flavours such as ‘chocolate almond fudge’ draw you in but the real pull is how much energy it provides. Given it’s aimed at endurance athletes, I feel pretty confident that one bar should keep me going for an afternoon in front of the lap top.

Nature’s Store Corn Cakes made with Flax Seeds

I have become slightly obsessed with these over the last few weeks and I blame the fact they taste like popcorn. Shaped like the traditional rice cake, these are made with corn and flax seeds.  I began my craze by eating them – in copious quantities – by themselves but after some very high brow experimentation in the kitchen, I can confidently recommend them topped with avocado hoummous (for healthy days) and nutella (for the less healthy ones) The challenge is stopping after a few.


There’s nothing new or glitzy about the humble almond but this nut is truly versatile and an excellent source of many vitamins, minerals and essential fats. Whether you opt for a handful of unsalted almonds as a snack or almond butter on toast in the morning, there’s plenty of ways to include them in your diet. I like adding ground almonds (with grated nutmeg) to porridge or soaking whole ones overnight in water and adding them to muesli. Soaking them not only hugely improves the nutritional benefits but also gives them an unusually soft crunch.


Elf for Health: Day 4 of the H&H Advent Calendar

Elf for Health: Day 4 of the H&H Advent Calendar

25 days of a Hip and Healthy Christmas: Tips to make this the best holiday season yet


On the fourth day of Christmas… Stock up on Top Beauty Prods at 10% off

Hip and Healthy has teamed up with Works of Beauty, an online one-stop beauty shop, to give our readers 10% off some of their favourite products. Unlike other online stores Works of Beauty provide you with the very best, and some of the most advanced beauty products that are not available on the high street and are well-known for being brilliant at delivering results. Sourcing innovative brands from all over the world, Works of Beauty brings you the very best in advanced skincare products. Go to their online store and enter the discount code: HIPANDHEALTHY at the checkout! www.worksofbeauty.com

Three of our Favourite Christmas SuperFoods

Elf for Health: Day 3 of the H&H Advent Calendar

25 days of a Hip and Healthy Christmas: Tips to make this the best holiday season yet

On the third day of Christmas… We bring you three of our favourite Christmas SuperFoods

Christmas is a pretty decadent time of year but what if I told you you could that some of the best Christmas foods are actually very good for us? Read on for our favourite three foods that you can eat guilt-free till your heart is content:

Cranberries, when eaten fresh, are low in calories with just 46 calories in a cup of raw cranberries. They are an excellent source if Vitamin C, which is great for warding off winter colds, and they are packed with both insoluble and soluble fibre making sure that our digestive system get’s off to a good start. At this time of year we all enjoy a tipple or two but some people who over-load their system with alcohol can find that it causes them cystitis. Why the sudden tangent? Cranberries are well-known for preventing urinary tract infections so consuming these little red pockets of power can help in this department too. And they are also understood to help prevent kidney stones as well as being packed full of antioxidants! There is little these little red friends can’t do. But a word of warning – when cooked within an inch of their lives and covered in sugar to make a sauce their antioxidant potency is somewhat deflated!

Turkey is in fact increasing in popularity beyond the winter holidays as many Hip and Healthies look to leaner sources of protein – it provides 65% of the recommended daily value in one 4-ounce portion. It is also a good source of selenium (great for the brain) and vitamin B6, Zinc and B12. It is also the perfect food for those who get stressed or unhappy around Christmas time since it is high in the amino acid, tryptophan, a building block of the brain compound serotonin. Serotonin is not only the ‘happy’ hormone, it also encourages sleep and better quality of sleep at that. Now we know why we always need a nap after the Christmas meal!

Dark Chocolate (must be at least 70%)
Health benefits of chocolate centre around its flavanoid content, which are especially important in protecting against damage to ‘good’ cholesterol and the lining of the arteries. In fact, cocoa powder can contain as much as 10 percent flavonoids on a dry-weight basis. According to a recent study by the National Institute of Public Health and Environment of the Netherlands, dark chocolate also contains up to four times the antioxidants found in tea and has also been found to contain the same amount of antioxidants as those found in red wine. Best excuse ever to drink red wine and eat chocolate? We think so…


Elf for Health: Day 2 of the H&H Advent Calendar

Elf for Health: Day 2 of the H&H Advent Calendar

25 days of a Hip and Healthy Christmas: Tips to make this the best holiday season yet


On the second day of Christmas… set the scene with candles

One of the quickest and easiest ways to feel all Christmassy is by lighting a beautifully scented candle. Not only does the scent have a therapeutic effect helping you to feel calmer and happier, but if you choose the right one your whole home will be bursting with holiday cheer. These are some of our Hip and Healthy favourites:

Neom’s Christmas Wish Home Candle £42 (http://www.neomorganics.com)
This really is a total fave. The lighting of it signifies that the holiday season has truly started in our home. Made only using vegetable wax and essential oils, Neom candles don’t release any toxic chemicals into the atmostphere. And the scent is divine; mandarin, cinnamon, and tonka bean all combine to fill your home with an unrivaled scent of Christmas. Plus For each candle sold they donate £1 to Make-A-Wish Foundation, granting magical wishes to children & young people fighting life-threatening illnesses.

Diptyque’s Oranger Candle £38 (www.diptyqueparis.co.uk)
Not one from their Christmas collection but none-the-less this has the most seasonal scent to it which is why we love it so much. I have been known to burn this candle at other times of the year as well but it still always reminds me of Christmas. If however you want one that looks just as pretty as it smells then do venture into their limited edition seasonal range as the candles come in beautiful and rich colours from purple to red.

Jo Malone’s Pine and Eucalyptus Candle £260 for 2.5Kg (www.jomalone.co.uk)
If you love the smell of Christmas tress than this is the one for you. Fresh yet evocative this candle from Jo Malone will fill your home with the heady aromas of pine trees. The eucalyptus also works well to keep unwanted seasonal colds at bay! It is expensive but worth every penny.

Sweet Dreams: The benefits of sleep to your health

Elf for Health: Day 1 of the H&H Advent Calendar

25 days of a Hip and Healthy Christmas: Tips to make this the best holiday season yet

On the first day of Christmas… Catch up on some SLEEP 

I went to a wellbeing workshop this morning and something that came out of it was that women all over are fantasising about getting more sleep. It appears that getting the recommended 7-9 hours of good quality sleep is rare these days. As soon as our lives get busy, and Christmas is the year’s busiest time of all, this seems to be one of the first things to be sacrificed. But not enough sleep has a knock on effect. Here is why getting your forty winks may be one of the best things you do this Christmas…

No Sleep = Bigger Appetite
Scientists have recently found a connection between sleep and appetite. When you are sleep deprived, your body makes too much ghrelin – the hormone that makes you hungry and it lacks in leptin – the hormone that tells you you’re full up.

Sleep For Your Skin’s Sake
It is not a myth – sleeping will improve your skin. Skimping on sleep stresses out the body which can cause the body to produce to much excess pigment that can appear as light brown patches on your face (I should know – I have them!). And I don’t need to tell you about the dark circles under your eyes – who wants those. You need to sleep to allow your body to fully absorb all the fluids in your face and to help your skin to repair itself.

Sleep to Reduce Stress
I don’t need to tell you that little sleep makes us cranky, inefficient and stressed. When you are rushing about the house trying to get everything done before you go to bed, stop and think for a moment. Say to yourself “Is what I am doing urgent and important?” If the answer is yes than you better carry on. But I am willing to bet that 80% of the time it is a ‘no’ (late night cleaning anyone?). It is much better to get the sleep, feel bright and energetic the next day and finish off what you were doing early in the morning.

Is all-natural, organic skincare really best?

Is all-natural, organic skincare really best?

words by Harriet Chubb


Why are we so frightened of synthetic ingredients and how can we make our decisions about skincare, especially natural versus synthetic, when we do not feel fully informed as consumers?

What is one of the first things that you do when picking up a new moisturiser from the shelves? My guess is that you causally flip it around and glance, all at once intimidated and terrified at the mighty tome of unfathomable ingredients it lists. A habit we have most likely picked up from years of responsible food shopping, however, instead of reeling at the amount of sugar or gasping at the salt levels there is only a feeling of inferiority and blankness, for pathenol or butrospermum parkii mean nothing to us as consumers. (They mean Pro- Vitamin B5 and Shea Butter – good to know eh?).

We care as much, if not more, about what we put on our skin as we do what we eat so it is understandable why we want to put (what we deem to be) the most natural, organic ingredients possible on our skin. It feels like a sorry state of affairs however, that a growing number of us like to see what is not in a product rather than what is. Phrases such as ‘No Parabens’ or ‘No Silicones’ have become buzz-words in the natural and organic skincare industry and are what a supposedly increasingly savvy customer should look for in a skincare product. But why did such chemicals get a bad reputation and are we really better off without them?

Let’s go back over 70 years, sharp maroon lip liner and charcoal smudged smoky eyes were the latest beauty trends. Meanwhile parabens were being developed and subsequently revolutionised the beauty manufacturing process. They were formulated to stop fungus, bacteria and other nasties developing in your favourite foundation or coveted moisturiser; in fact parabens have been and still are the most widely used preservative in personal care products. It is only recently that a debate has formed between scientists and cosmetic manufacturers that investigates if parabens may be harmful to your skin. For example there have been studies showing that parabens can be present in cancerous tumours, but there is no proof that they have cause these cancerous cells. In 2004, Philippa Darbre, Senior Lecturer in Oncology at the University of Reading, conducted this test and found that 18 out of 20 samples of tissue from a breast cancer biopsy displayed parabens. Although this concludes that parabens are easily detected in cancerous cells, it did not prove that parabens cause or ‘encourage’ breast cancer to develop. In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration, who house the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel have actively disagreed with this study, saying that parabens are ‘safe as used’ in cosmetics. Health Canada also agrees with this statement saying that “currently, there is no evidence to suggest a causal link between parabens and breast cancer”.  In 2008 further studies were carried out which proved that there is no actual scientific evidence found to support the direct causal link between parabens and cancer. Cosmetic Scientist for Alfa Chemicals, Jennifer Cargill, (who also used to work in-house developing ingredients for Neal’s Yard) states that, as a result, the “mainstream cosmetic industry still believes that parabens are safe based on their long term use and safety records, however as the link to parabens and breast cancer has been made, most companies prefer to show that they are listening to their customers and are using different preservative systems in their products”.

Skin Expert and Cosmetic Scientist, Pauline Hili, who is the founder of organic skincare range Nourish, also concludes that the “jury is out regarding the link between parabens and cancer”.  As Jennifer said, this doesn’t mean that companies haven’t been cautious about their use in light of this research, Pauline informed me, “there has been a strong lobby among consumer groups to apply the ‘Precautionary Principle’ and have them removed from products which has resulted in a dramatic fall in their use.  None of the global organic standards allow the use of parabens”.

The simple fact is that parabens are only ever used at entirely safe levels in cosmetics – to be precise, a level of 0.3 %. Personally, this sheer lack of evidence does not put me off using my favorite cleanser. In fact, there are currently discussions within cosmetic legislation that products will soon not be able to use the ‘Contains No …’ phrase, a step that could prove to be a positive move for the industry in quelling this unnecessary deep-rooted fear that customers have. I don’t use my moisturiser because it does or does not contain parabens, I use it because it works, it feels good and it’s rich in natural ingredients.

Let’s also take a quick look at silicones. Silicones are used in products because they impart a particular ‘silky’ feel to the skin that a lot of consumers like. Again certain friends of mine are intent on avoiding these slippery customers because they are not natural; but silicones do not readily cross the membrane barrier of the skin so therefore are never absorbed, making them a very safe range of ingredients. However, as they are derived from petroleum by-products they are not found in organic skincare and are prohibited by the Soil Association (the organic standard for cosmetics in the UK). Pauline divulged that “although they are beneficial in imparting a particular feel on the skin, unlike natural oils they do not provide any nutritional value such as vitamins and omega fatty acids”. They may not provide any active benefits, but they do help the product spread evenly across your skin and leave a nice, light, powdery finish which is why they are often used in make-up. Nothing natural, yet nothing to be afraid of.

To those Hip and Healthy paraben dodging, silicon-free readers, this is not a pro-chemical monologue, it is about you feeling informed regarding the entire skincare market, both natural and synthetic, enabling you to make your own decisions. Nevertheless, it would be rude of us not to tell you what natural ingredients you should be looking out for that have had the Hip and Healthy seal of approval from both Pauline and  Jennifer. It seems that sugar is currently making a come-back in the natural ingredients lists, not only because they are natural and they are mild for the skin, but they have a strong retention for water leaving you highly moisturised as well as providing those all important anti-aging properties. Jennifer advises to “look out for ingredients with sucrose in them and of course the widely used hyaluronic acid; both made from sugar”. In other natural news, Pauline suggests looking out for any “natural fragrances, natural tocopheral (Vitamin E to you and I) and natural vegetable derived glycerine” in your beauty products; effective natural ingredients.

Hip and Healthy Ingredient Translator:

Retinol Palmitate = Vitamin A

Tocopherol = Vitamin E

Asorbic acid/ascorbyl phosphate = Vitamin C

Panthenol = Pro Vitamin B5

Benzyl Alcohol = Actually a naturally occurring alcohol found in many essential oils which has preservative properties

Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol = These are often read as “alcohol” by the consumer when in fact there in no actual alcohol in them at all. They work as consistency agents in your moisturiser!

Hip and Healthy Top 5 Organic/Natural Skincare Brands

1.       Nourish – Possibly (we believe) the best organic skincare available on the market today. We wish all products told us in a clear, helpful percentage just how organic they are.

2.       Liz Earle – A Hip and Healthy favourite and the best example of the types of products written about above, this is one of Jennifer Cargill’s favourite brands also as they have a perfect balance of active, natural ingredients to synthetic ones such as silicones; “They use synthetic ingredients where they are affective and not just to bring costs down”.

3.       Neal’s Yard Remedies – They stay true to their brand with high quality ingredients, in fact their motto is, if an ingredient can be found organically they will use it.

4.       Pai Skincare – A fantastic new brand that Hip and Healthy jumped on as soon as they launched! They spend a long time researching their ingredients, so the products they put on the market are not only filled with ingredients they trust, each ingredient has a purpose in the product.

5.       A’Kin – For those who still feel intimidated by ingredients lists, A’Kin’s products all have the ‘plain English’ translation in brackets after the chemical – so you know exactly what you are buying.

One to Watch = Korres, a Greek brand which is fast becoming more well-known around the world. We are yet to test it but Jennifer assures us that “their products aren’t certified organic but they do contain a lot of natural ingredients in them, especially active ingredients which are unique to Greece where they have sourced them from collaborations with local farmers”.

Hip and Healthy would like to give special thanks to Pauline Hili from Nourish Skincare and Jennifer Cargill from Alfa Chemicals for their help with this article.

Winter Makeup Must-Haves

Winter Makeup Must-Haves

 words by Frankie Rozwadowska

Now you know all about the best winter skincare products – it only makes sense to continue looking after your skin with makeup that nourishes, protects and withstands winter winds. What’s that you ask? Makeup that isn’t full of nasty chemicals or harsh ingredients and is actually good for your skin? Yup, it’s true. These are the essential makeup must-haves…

First stop – primer. It smoothes out fine lines and pesky pores to create an even skin-surface and is the secret to longer lasting makeup. The Youngblood Mineral Primer (£30) is not only paraben free – it’s loaded with minerals (to protect cells and rejuvenate tissue), vitamins A and E (to protect against environmental damage), and Jojoba Seed Oil (to restore the skin’s natural lipid barrier function). A luxurious silky formula – it will transform your face from flawed to flawless in a flash.

Next up, foundation. This should enhance your skin’s natural beauty, not sit caked on it a là  TOWIE…and when it comes to a complexion with a conscience – Becca is best. Hailing from Oz and a fave of many natural Aussie beauties (Elle MacPherson, Gemma Ward and Naomi Watts to name a few) it now sees the arrival of the Radiant Skin Satin Finish Foundation (£35). Coming in 18 shades, this foundation is long-wearing and water resistant (in your face wind and rain) and contains an array of ingredients to calm and protect skin – including Ejitsu Rose to improve elasticity and radiance (whilst also providing anti-inflammatory properties) and vitamin E to enhance moisture retention while protecting against pollution and free radical damage.

To set your base off beautifully – the bareMinerals  READY SPF 15 Touch Up Veil (£22) is powder perfection. It reduces shine, diffuses imperfections and protects skin from UVA/UVB rays (yes, you’re still at risk of damage despite the gloomy skies). It is also composed of positive-charged sea minerals, antioxidants and cold-pressed grapeseed oil to nourish skin. Opt for the translucent powder to wear over foundation, or use the tinted option alone for a hint of colour – both come in a compact that fits oh-so-perfectly in the palm of your hand, so you can keep shine and flaws at bay all day.

Spots, redness, and dreaded under-eye bags? The Living Nature Concealer (£16) tackles them all – New Zealand style. Made from 100% pure certified KIWI natural ingredients, this creamy concealer can be used alone to target problematic imperfections, under foundation to contour the face, or over foundation to hide bothersome blemishes. With botanicals taken only from sustainable sources, it’s even been listed as a Safe Cosmetics Champion on the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database – looking good has never been so guiltless.

Panda eyes – aptly named seeing as they only look cute on a panda and no one else. The Alva Mascara (£14.35) is not only organic, it’s also vegan and made with nourishing beta glutens, wild rose oil, vitamin E and candelilla wax – making it suitable for sensitive eyes too. This makeup bag essential thickens and volumises lashes and, thanks to the addition of acacia, is run proof – meaning come rain or shine, wind or snow – this mascara magically stays put. (Alva are offering H&H readers 20% off their first order online – simply enter ONE20 at the check-out).

For a pop of colour and the perfect rosy cheek, Dr Hauschka’s Rouge Powder Accento in 03 Blushing Rose (£20.45) is blush made beautiful. Natural colour that blends seamlessly with a delicate, velvet texture whilst loading skin with a powerful potion of rose petal extract, jojoba oil, witch hazel, sage and silk powder. Brush over the apples of your cheeks for colour that’s good enough to eat.

For winter berry lips, Inika’s Certified Vegan Mineral Lipstick (£17.00) is a gorgeous creamy formula with natural shea butter and jojoba oil to moisture, protect and keep chapping at bay. Try Tuscan Tales for a classic terracotta red, or Rose Bud with its delicate pink undertones. With no harmful additives (64% of leading lippies contain lead…scary) or animal derivatives – it also has great stay-ability, making it not only weather proof but kiss proof too. Pass the Mistletoe please.

There’s not forgetting your nails – because yes, they too can be dressed up naturally. Organic Glam’s Nail Polishes (£10) come in 32 shades, including three new colours perfect for the Christmas party season. (Try Cosmic with its multidimensional glitter flakes – alone for a subtle sparkle or on top of a coloured shade for a classic ombre effect). Free from DBP, Toluene and Formaldehyde, it’s chip resistant, durable and vibrant colour for tantalising talons.

And to take it all off – Aveda’s Pure Comfort Eye Makeup Remover (£14.50) is just the ticket. Gentle enough for the more delicate eye area, it cleans with care – using soothing botanical extracts of organic cucumber and camomile. Sweep over the face and eyes and follow with any of the winter skin-care wonders for your skin that will stay happy through any season.

Winter Running Style Tips

Winter Running Style Tips 

Nike knows how to kit out all-weather runners

As the temperature outside gets lower and lower so does our motivation to run. But running in the cold not only burns more calories (our bodies need to work even harder to keep us warm) it’s also a great way to clear your mind, get outdoors and fill your lungs with fresh air. Here are a few top style tips to make that first step out the door and into the cold that little bit easier…

Layer: Layering your tops means that you can meet your perfect temperature as when things start to hotten up  you can always remove items, but it makes the start of your run much more bearable – so you will never be to cold or too hot. I wear a sports bra, sports vest, long-sleeved dry-fit top and light-weight rain jacket.

Wear Earmuffs: I find that running in the cold weather can make my ears so cold that they hurt. Headbands make my forehead to hot and sometimes give me spots near my hairline but earmuffs are a perfect way to avoid all of that.

Running Gloves: Gloves are key for obvious reasons but I also find that when my hands are the warm the rest of me is warmer to. There really is nothing more painful than a pair of frozen fingers!

iPod Armband: Not only will it protect your iPod if it begins to drizzle, an armband just makes everything easier – it really is no fun having to hold an iPod with icy cold hands or have it banging around in your pocket.

Reflective Gear: As the days get shorter it is important to make sure that you are visible if you venture out in the dark. Reflective strips may not look like much in your bedroom, but when you are out on the road you are much more easily seen with them than without them. Try picking garments that have reflective strips on the legs or on backs of jackets. See the Nike jacket above that has one on the pocket.

The clothes above can be brought from the following sites: www.purelimeshop.comwww.splits59.comwww.hpe-shop.comwww.store.nike.comwww.activeinstyle.co.uk (for Lorna Jane).

Eat to Beat Stress This Christmas

words by Belinda Mann

Who doesn’t get stressed around Christmas? Whatever you like to call it “crazy busy, frantic, socially popular” stress has a big impact on your physiology. But don’t get stressed more, as the Christmas season fast approaches follow these diet tips to help keep you cool, calm and collected…

Rule One: Balance Blood Sugar
The relationship between your blood sugar level and stress is a strong one. When your blood sugar levels drop too low stress hormones are released to stimulate the release of glucose into the blood stream. It’s best to eat small meals regularly to keep blood sugar levels balanced. It’s especially important to eat within an hour of waking as this makes a difference in your blood sugar response that lasts the whole day 

Make it happen: carry a small bag of nuts or low GI snack bar (such as naked bars) in your handbag to nibble on when you are caught out and haven’t eaten

Rule Two: Eat Well 
Eating a clean diet is going to put your body in a much better state to deal with stress. Load up on vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and wholegrains to get your through the day. If you know you are going to eat out try to check the menu before and see what healthy options are on offer. Don’t be shy to ask for something bespoke.

Make it happen: Any restaurant can add a side of vegetables or brown rice.

Make it happen at home: Try and take a day off from Christmas socialising and prepare this nourishing soup from Dr James Wilson which is designed to nourish the glands that produce your stress hormones.

16 oz green beans

1 cup chopped celery

1 zucchini sliced

1 medium onion chopped

1 cup tomato juice

1 cup spring water

2 tbspn raw honey

1 tspn paprika

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

Combine ingredients and simmer for one hour until vegetables are tender. Add pepper to taste.

Rule Three: Easy On The Stimulants 
As tempting as it may be to reach for yet another coffee to get you through the afternoon or a chocolate bar to see you through the 3pm slump these foods are going to do you no good in the long term. See them as nutritional “credit cards”. Yes they give you a feeling of increased energy, but this is borrowed from an energy bank that has to be paid back – with interest. you can run up an energy debt pretty quickly, leaving you feeling more tired and more dependent on stimulants to get you through the day. Try to realise what your true energy levels are so you don’t push yourself so much. This applies to alcohol too!

Make it happen: for a more gentle energy boost try yerba mate tea or matcha green tea.

Rule Four: Don’t Skip the Gym
Exercising is a great way to disperse any pent up emotions and release stress. Schedule in a yoga class too (spend extra time in savasana if possible!)

Make it happen: even with a 10 minute run you going to feel miles better.

Rule Five: Sleep!
Sleep is key to keeping stress levels in control. Without enough sleep your body is already physiologically in a state of stress, meaning that it doesn’t take much to tip you emotionally.

Make it happen: on the weekend try and sleep between 7am and 9am it’s thought that this is the most restorative time for the adrenal glands (where the stress hormones are produced).

If the thought of trying to schedule in time to eat well on top of your xmas to do list is enough to stress you out then you might want to consider getting some help in. which-detox.com can help you find which detox or healthy food delivery is best for you and most companies do one or two day plans for when your diet has slid and you need a little help.

Mid-Winter Health and Beauty Do’s

Mid-Winter Health and Beauty Do’s

words by Sadie Macleod

Winter and I do not get on. Chapped lips, cracked hands, frizzy, fly-away hair not to mention dull skin and pasty legs are all part and parcel of this ‘festive’ season for me. So I have spent many years trying to combat the effects of winter and finally think I have come up with a few solutions that help me to tackle the year’s colder months head on. Here are just a few of my winter do’s…

Sleep More:
There is a reason that doormouse go into six month’s hibernation now. Sleep is particularly crucial at this time of year. It is all to do with preparing our body for the winter to come and the amount of sleep we get is, of course, directly linked to our energy levels. It is recommended that we get eight hours of sleep a night. The best sleep is that before 12am, so try and get into bed as early as possible, even if it means reading for a bit before you are tired. If you have trouble sleeping there are a few things you can do. Neal’s Yard make a wonderful Sleep Kit, which includes calm-infusing camomile tea, lavender remedies to role and Unwind flower essence (£26.25). Buy it – you won’t regret it. Also, another good trick is that if it is the thoughts in your head that are keeping you awake then keep a notepad by your bed and write them all down before you close your eyes. You will sleep much easier knowing that you won’t forget them come morning.

Stock up on Vitamins:
Make sure you stock up on as many vitamins and minerals as possible. Vitamin C is your absolute go to this season as it is the best possible ways to boost your immune system (plus it is great for the skin – bonus). The best sources of Vitamin C are found in strawberries, kiwis, oranges and guavas, but since guavas aren’t the easiest thing to get hold of and it’s not the season for strawberries, the best way to do it is to take a supplement. My go to brand of supplements is Viridian (www.viridian-nutrition.com) as their products are reliable, fantastic quality and the packaging is pretty (perhaps not as important as the first two – but makes buying vitamins more fun).

Treat Your Hair:
Central heating can cause our hair to frizz, fly, knot, dry and break – not to mention that this is all on top of the damage that has been done to it all summer. Aveda has the answer – something that I swear by that will get your locks looking luscious and lovely in no time at all. Damage Therapy Intensive Restructuring Treatment is a weekly treatment that is formulated to deeply penetrate the hair helping to repair it from root to end. It contains quinoa protein too, which will also give it extra shine. Apply from root to end after shampooing and leave on for 5 minutes for best results, then rinse and voila!

Health Speak with Health Loving Yogi, Sophie Peach

We talk to the  yoga goddness who loves her kitten, tries not to snack and would be lost without her iPhone… read on to find out about how she stays just so hip and healthy

Sophie Peach is a an expert yoga teacher that specialises in Ashtanga and teaches all over London having completed her Teacher Training at the original YogaWorks in Santa Monica. She has recently just released a book called Yoga Home Practice Plan and an iPhone app to enable people wanting to develop their own personal practices from home.

What is the first thing you do in the morning? 
These days, my kitten wakes me up by padding my face, telling me to ‘get up and feed me!’ So I feed her, and then off I go to do my own yoga practice.

What do you eat for breakfast?
Plain greek yogurt topped with manuka honey, coffee and juice. Sometimes we have brioche toast and butter.

What is your work place like?
I teach yoga, so my workplace is a big studio room with a wooden floor. The energy of the yoga students tends to really make a place – so it doesn’t matter what the place looks like. My fantasy though is to have my own studio with sprung wooden floors, and a water feature with fish…

What do you eat for lunch?
It depends on my schedule that day, but I try to have some sort of protein with cooked greens or salad.

Do you snack?
If I a get desperate I have some fruit or some nuts with honey. I always sit down to have afternoon tea though: some green tea with a piece of chocolate!

What do you have for supper?
Supper is similar to lunch. I aim to always have ‘something green’ and eat the least processed available option. I practice ashtanga 4-5 times a week so I need to keep my diet clean to stay strong. Basically, the body has to work extra to get rid of excess salt, sugar and all the additives and other unnecessary rubbish put in food. I try not to be obsessive though and, if I am out with friends, I’ll go with the flow and eat whatever everyone else is eating.

How did you get into yoga?
When I was five my cousin bought a yoga book and I remember looking at the pictures and attempting lotus! I loved that book and made many, many attempts growing up to complete that series… Hence my motto (see below)!

How does yoga make you feel?
If my mind is festering about something, yoga gives me perspective (and occasionally clarity!) Over the years it has helped me develop my focus – helping me to concentrate effort on things that really matter to me.

What is the most important part of yoga to you?
To start with – the most important thing for me was to develop a consistent personal practice. Even if it was only 10 minutes a day.

Do you do other forms of exercise?
People are always asking me that. ‘Do I need to do weights?’ or ‘something aerobic?’. Ashtanga yoga was designed to keep the body fit (and extend lifespan), thereby setting the mind free from worldly concerns (like back ache, or snacking) and explore ourselves and the world around us. With the exception of a whole lot of walking around central London, I don’t do any other form of physical exercise. In my personal experience, a good yoga practice has everything the body needs to stay in top form. It’s aerobic, weight bearing, and creates a strong yet flexible physique. However, not all yoga is the same – there are many diluted yoga forms which will not have much effect. It needs to be a consistent practice as well.

What is your skincare like?
Basic! I use organic Weleda products (rose or almond) and pure coconut oil. When I do buy make up – I splash out on Chantecaille as I like the texture and colour of their products.

What do you like wearing to do yoga?
Black leggings from Topshop and white bra tops from Sweaty Betty. When I teach, I wear a cashmere hoody to keep warm.

What is your biggest luxury in life?
Travel. It’s been a few years since my last big trip and I’m getting itchy feet…

What three things can’t you live without?
iPhone, yoga, hot water bottles (not necessarily in that order)

What motto do you live by?
The triumph of hope over experience.