Detox Do’s

Detoxing has had a lot of mixed media in the past. The good: detoxes will help you lose weight, clear your skin, increase energy levels, raise your self-esteem and genuinely make you feel like a much healthier version of yourself. The bad: they can be restrictive, boring, in some cases too extreme and not very good for you, not to mention anti-social and expensive. As for the ugly: anyone who has had a colonic irrigation or has eaten nothing but green juice for three days knows that it ‘aint pretty what comes out the other end. But when it comes to detoxes, there are dozens of ways to do it and it’s all about finding the one that is right for you. Below we have outlined four of our favourites…

Detox By: Raw Fairies
Which One: 5-Day mini Cleanse
Tested By: Sadie Macleod
Price: £295
Give us an outline: The cleanse is made up of raw food, supplements, and juices and is delivered straight to your door (or desk) each morning. Day one felt easy, as there was enough juices and meals to be eaten throughout the day without feeling ravenous. Having said that, I realised how heavily I relied upon snacking at my desk to get me through the afternoon at work. But I was really pleasantly supplied with the juices, which were tasty and fresh, and made a good substitute for the popcorn I am usually scoffing. But it is much easier said than done. The cleanse builds you up for a full day of juices in the middle of the week, which was harder than I thought it would be. Even for one day I missed the sensation of chewing. The following day you are introduced to raw meals again, and I also snacked on a few nuts (which Raw Fairies allow). On the last day of the cleanse I was really starting to see improvements in my skin, and my eyes even looked brighter and I just felt much more alert than I had done the rest of the week.
Best thing about it: It opens your eyes to raw food meals that you would have never normally thought of.
What is it good for: Great for a post-indulgent holiday detox.
Result: I lost 1.1Kg. My skin felt brighter and clearer.

Detox By: Nosh
Which One: 7-Day ABC Cleanse
Tested By: Sadie Macleod
Price: £290
Give us an outline: ABC is an acronym for Alkalise, Balance, Cleanse, which is what the entire aim of the programme is. The seven day programme is split into two parts. The first part consists of (delicious) juices and smoothies up until 4pm followed by a balanced meal in the evening. The breakfast smoothie is a generous size followed by a mid-morning, vitamin boosting juice and a soup at lunchtime. Easy. The tough bit sets in in the afternoon when you start wanting to chew something and I gave in to having the supper (rice and veg or chicken) very early in the evening. The second part of the cleanse involves a raw food diet with a balanced meal in the evening. I never felt hungry during the second part of the diet, which makes it easier to stick to it. Everything is dairy and gluten free and delivered to your door the night before. Alongside the diet, Nosh suggest you have a bath each night with special bath salts (which are also supplied) to help aid your body rid itself of toxins. Make sure you also supplement the diet with plenty of water and herbal tea.
Best thing about it: I really loved the juices. This is perfect for someone who needs structure but doesn’t want a full on juice fast.
What is it good for: Great for those woh want the benefits of a juice fast but wouldn’t enjoy one. This is a great happy-medium.
Result: I lost 1kg, felt very energetic.

Detox By: My Food
Which One: New Body (7 day plan)
Tested By: Harriet Chubb
Price: £132.45 (inclusive of delivery)
Give us an outline: Inspired by cuisine from all over the world, what is wonderful about this detox is the variation of delicious food that have been so carefully prepared and packaged. The New Body plan is just one of 3 plans to choose from at 1,300 calories a day, including an edible (no juices!) breakfast, lunch and dinner. The rise & shine muesli was a great way to start the day and some of my favourite meals included the Thai green curry, the Algerian humus and roasted tomato salad and the vegetable lasagne. It’s important to freeze and refrigerate the meals according to the instructions on arrival and the frozen meals last for 30days, great if you have a dinner party you just can’t get out of! The food contains a very low GI, which allows your body to use all of it for energy, instead of storing it as fat. Combined with no dairy, wheat or artificial additives.
Best thing about it: It is perfect for people wanting to diet and cleanse without experiencing the gruelling hunger and boredom that often comes with other detox plans.
What is it good for: Kick-starting a whole new regime, as this is a sustainable diet it is easy to continue for longer than 7 days.
Result: I lost 4lbs and noticed a much flatter stomach due to the lack of carbohydrates. I also felt a definite energy boost after 4 days!

Dr Dukan: The Man with a Plan

With 30 years of experience as a nutritionist under his belt, 2.5 million book sales, and an expert insight into food behaviour, there is definitely something special about Dr Pierre Dukan and his diet, The Dukan Diet. It has been tried, tested, critiqued and written about all over the world, and its list of followers include Carole Middleton, Jennifer Lopez and Gisele. Here, we speak to the man behind the plan and find out what his guilty pleasure is, what he can’t live without and what he has in store for 2012 as well as just why The Dukan Diet has been so successful…


How and why did you come up with the diet? Whilst at my surgery in Paris over 30yrs ago, one of my patients who was very obese asked me to help him lose weight. Although I wanted to help, I declined, explaining that I didn’t specialise in nutrition. However, the patient insisted saying “Doctor, you know I have to lose weight and that all my attempt have failed. Prescribe me any diet you want, get rid of any foods you like but not meat, I couldn’t not eat meat.” I agreed to help and advised the patient to eat meat, but as lean as possible, drink lots of water and come back to get weighed in five days time. After those five days, the patient returned and to both our amazement he had lost over five kilos. This is how it all started. I gave up Neurology and concentrated solely on Nutrition. Over 20yrs I started to build my four phase plan and by 2003 the Dukan Diet book was published and sales soared.

Please outline it for us… My diet is a high-protein, low-carb, low-fat diet which provides long-term, sustainable weight loss. It’s a simple, accessible and natural method, based on 100 natural foods, 78 protein rich foods and 28 vegetables that you may eat as much as you want of which helps people reach their true weight.

It has a unique FOUR phase structure: two to lose weight and two to maintain the weight:

Phase 1: A brief Attack Phase of between two and seven days kick starts the diet and gives immediate results. There are 72 protein foods you can eat as much as you want, to choose from at this stage, so no need for the dreaded “what have I let myself in for” feeling, common in other diets.

Phase 2: Cruise Phase where you add 28 vegetables, again you can eat as much as you want, which averages a sustainable 2lb/week loss until the desired target weight is reached.

Phase 3: The Consolidation Phase is designed to prevent any re-bound effect as the dieter seeks to keep to the new weight and avoid putting on pounds while eating in a more relaxed fashion. You can add cheese, complete whole bread, fruits, starchy food and ‘Celebration’ meals.

Phase 4: Finally a Stabilisation Phase where you can eat normally but you must include a day of protein only foods once a week to maintain your weight.

How does it work? It works by providing a strong support structure for the dieter to aid quick weight loss and then stabilise and control their weight long term. The Dukan Diet was the number one best seller in France last year.

What makes it so successful? It works! Thousands of people around the world have successfully followed my diet and as we know dieting is a hot topic! The Dukan Diet shows results quickly, which serves as a great psychological stimulus for the dieter and then the 4 phase plan provides a structure which is easy to follow. Hunger is the biggest inhibitor to maintaining a diet, but with a list of approved foods for dieters to choose from, they can eat as much as much as they like without calorie counting or portion control. We also appreciate one-diet-doesn’t-fit-all and therefore our personalised online coaching provides support and helps to overcome any issues when there are slips.

Does it incorporate exercise? The level of exercise will depend upon the individual, but the minimum I recommend is 20mins walking every day.

Who is the diet aimed at? The diet is aimed at people with serious weight issues and who are unable to grasp control and manage a healthy eating plan on their own. It’s really recommended for people with over 10lbs to lose .

Can you drink with the diet? Go to dinner parties? If you’re serious about the diet, I would say no to alcohol, but if you have to have a glass of wine I would say you must pay for it with an extra 20min walking the next day. Diets aren’t just about restriction and you shouldn’t have to miss out. If you feel you are missing out, that’s when you’re more likely to fall off the wagon. There is always something you can eat at a party – it’s just about making the right choices. Choose the shellfish or slices of ham to nibble, rather than crisps or nuts. A good tip is to eat a little before the party like a boiled egg, ham or my favourite; an oatbran  galette. You’ll feel full and are less likely to snack or eat lots of bad foods. If you can’t resist at a party,  don’t waste time feeling guilty, make the following day a day of pure protein and correct it.

Are those with dairy allergies able to partake in the diet given the amount of dairy involved? You can substitute all dairy products with soya alternatives.

And what about vegetarians? Yes you can follow the diet if you’re  vegetarian. The Attack phase, which lasts for a maximum of 7 days, is the only phase where vegetables aren’t allowed. Dairy products and eggs can make a good substitute for meat and you can also eat tofu, seitan (corn protein) or tempeh. Pure vegans are a little bit more difficult, but it is possible. I would recommend that Vegans eat tofu, 50g of wholegrain rice and 50g of quinoa or lentils during the Attack phase and then add vegetables and cereals when they reach the second phase of the diet.

Do you and your family go on the diet? My family lives by a healthy, balanced diet and we don’t have weight problems so we don’t have need of the diet. My salvation is I’d rather eat a plate of vegetables than anything else. I drink very little alcohol, I’m in control and I know how to keep control. I think that’s the main reason my diet is successful is because it teaches people how to manage their diet. Admittedly after the holidays or Christmas I normally put on a few pounds so will do a day or two of Attack after this.

What is your guilty food pleasure? Couscous – I love couscous. It’s not that guilty though is it? The way I like to prepare couscous is to put it in a glass bowl, with a little water. I leave it to absorb the water, then add salt, a few drops of olive oil and then pop it in the microwave for one minute, mix  with a fork, put in microwave for another 30 seconds. Yum!

Do you often get friends asking you how they can lose weight? Yes, all the time. Every time I am out and eating at friends – everyone asks for a special solution. I do try and adapt my diet for them. The other thing I’ve noticed is that everyone wants me to put on weight. I’m constantly given cakes and things they have made.

What can’t you live without?

  • Vegetables
  • Salmon (fresh and smoked)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Apples
  • Oat bran galette
  • 25 minutes running every morning
  • My daughter Maya

What will you be doing in 2012? I hope to be living! I’m working on my new book at the moment which will help dieters to maintain their healthy weight for the rest of their life, so I’ll hopefully be launching that. I’ll also be taking my method to India and to Brazil. I’m introducing a series of new Dukan products to Britain including biscuits, galettes, special milled oatbran and flavorings. There’s also a fantastic but relatively unknown Japanese root called shirataki, which contains absolutely no calories at all and is the 3rd generation of pasta – it’s really a revolution. I’m also going to be opening my first Dukan practice in the UK. It’s going to be a busy year!   For more information on the diet or to create your free personal weight-loss plan please visit

Top 3 Running Backpacks

Chosen for their comfort, durability, quality and ease these running backpacks won’t disappoint even the most savvy of runners. Now there is no excuse not to turn your daily commute into a daily run.


North Face Ion 20: This versatile little number can pack away up to 20 litres. It’s great for all types of outdoor adventures and we love its bright colour. £70,

Salomon XA 10+3 EXP INSULATE: Fantastically light and with good storage this bag won’t let you down. It also contains useful waistband pockets. £65,

Karrimor Zodiak: Not only can you choose this backpack’s colour and fabric to suit your tastes but it also comes with a super cool back system wind tunnel for extra breathability. £30,

10 Rules for Healthy Hair by Kathleen Bray

Winter makes everything just that little bit harder and hair just loves to do its own thing, which is often not what you want it to do. Here are our ten rules to happy, healthy hair…



Diet: If the cold winter days are making you reach for comfort carbs rather than proteins and leafy greens, then a supplement is well worth taking, we are what we eat and hair shows this. Hair, Skin and Nails, £8.97,

Get it cut: Get prepared now with strong, healthy ends and you will be able to keep them for longer when they become sun-kissed in summer.

Dullness: Leave in serum or argan oil, which is getting rave reviews left, right and centre as it really nourishes the hair and brings shine back on those dull winter days. Organic Argan Oil, £4.99,

Go Style Wild: Be more adventurous and try sharp looks that complement a bolder winter wardrobe, and they are also more likely to hold now without summer’s heat. Try a gelled tight high pony, or an updo pleat, or even the very on trend high ballerina bun.

Go Blonde: If you are a natural blonde, now is the perfect time to introduce a few subtle highlights as this is the darkest time of year for your hair. Make them last until summer and the sun will do the rest.

Dryness: Central heating and cosy cars, and excessive hair drying rather than air drying, all dry out healthy hair. To counteract these issues use a moisture infusing shampoo and conditioner and put on a hair mask for an extra boost. I love the Kérastase Nutritive line, you will see and feel the difference.

Try a Different Shade: Clairol Nice and Easy level 1 lasting 6 to 8 washes does wash out so you can have a touch of drama whilst skin tones are paler.

Frizziness: Stop a beat short when rinsing out conditioner as it will help leave a little more weight in the hair. Use a paddle brush as this will also help keep it under control. Aveda, £18,

Fly-Away Hair: Central heating, and brushing hair just increases the problem! Hairspray on your hairbrush is one recommendation, but I prefer hands under the tap and almost towel dry, then just smooth over the hair. This gives just a touch of moisture and can be repeated as the problem reappears without any product build up.

Hat Hair: Cycling to work? Or keeping dry from the rain? Hat hair is easy to revive with some of the amazing styling powders around, shake, rub and you are restored. I like V05’s Instant oomph.



Yummy Mummy Diaries: Yummy Mummy Does Yoga

This issue, Yummy Mummy, Matilda Sturridge,talks about her experience at Tara Lee’s Mummy and Baby Yoga classes and finds it is a fantastic way to bond with her baby boy, Rudy


Every Monday and Wednesday morning for nine months you would find me and my bump at Tara Lees Pregnancy Yoga Class at the Life Centre Notting Hill. That Woman is the Goddess of all things pregnant, and as my due date grew nearer i knew my time with Tara would be coming to an end. But i jumped for joy when I found out that she did a class for mummies and their babies. A class that me and my ever growing bump could continue to share. Hooray.

So six weeks to the day after my beautiful boy, Rudy, was born there we were back at the Life Centre first in the queue for the Mummies and Babies Yoga. I had no idea what to expect or how it was going to work. Rudy and I set up our little space, and as I predicted, the minute we got ourselves sorted he wanted a feed but Tara explained that this was a relaxed, slow-paced class where we could feed change and comfort our babies whenever needed. The class started with a group discussion, we all went round the room introducing ourselves and our babies, talking about what kind of birth we had and where we needed help most, whether it be relieving stress, strengthening our pelvic floor, toning, restoring, re- energising and so forth. It was also a time to discuss any problems that we had and share advice about being a new mummy, when most of us were still getting use to that word. It was so reassuring to hear all the different stories and know it is normal when your baby has trouble sleeping, or has colic ect. It  was also fantastic to learn all the different, helpful tips that people had and to share and discovering ones that actually worked for you. It was like a little community, and I immediately felt like I was in a safe environment.

Then the yoga part began, the first part of the class was dedicated to mummies and the second to babies. For the first  few classes I mainly observed the mummy bit as Rudy was a bit bewildered by all the babies and much preferred being breast fed. But as the weeks went by he began to love the social part, he allowed me to do at least 45 mins of yoga while he quite happily rolled around playing with all his new friends. There was also amazing Alice who was on hand to pick up and comfort any baby bored of watching their mummy doing downward dog.

The second part of the class was my favourite. This is where the babies were incorporated. The babies did some yoga poses to help with wind and colic. We learnt light touch baby massage (Rudy loved this and would sleep for hours after class). We did singing and bonding games. It was such special time, and Rudy just adored it.

At the end of each class there is 10 minutes of relaxing time where you can chat to other mums or feed your baby or remain in a yoga pose with your legs stretched out up the wall.

I could not recommend this class more. It is such a warm and supportive environment, and one that guided me through my postnatal recovery while allowing me to bond with my gorgeous boy, Rudy.

For more information visit

Over and out for now. Let me know if there is anything you want us to review. Whether it’s products, classes, clothes or even food. Email [email protected] and put Yummy Mummy Diaries in the subject box.


A Close Up On Yoga

Yoga can take some getting used to. Finding the right teacher is hugely important, but before that you need to find the right style for you. The right amount of spirituality versus physical activity. Whether you want to de-stress or work out. To ‘om’ or not to ‘om’.

Yoga has been incorporated into the western world to suit our western tastes, but all classes are still based on fundamental yogic traditions.

What is yoga?
In Sanskrit yoga means ‘yoke’, from the root ‘yuj’, meaning to unite. It is an ancient Hindu discipline that unites your mind (through focus and attention), energy (through breathing exercises) and body (through movement and postures). Yoga in the west is usually Hatha yoga, the physical ‘limb’ of the discipline that refers to a series of exercises and postures. ‘Ha’ and ‘tha’ are ‘sun’ and ‘moon’, and the practice works to balance and unite the opposites in your body, allowing energy to flow freely. The benefits can be felt physically, mentally and emotionally, from lowering blood pressure and increasing metabolism to strengthening and toning muscle. It is thought that yoga is the only way to really counteract the damage we are doing to our spines by sitting at desks all day long. The postures gently stretch muscles and joints, which not only improves flexibility, but also massages glands and organs for an internal detox. Mentally, yoga provides an opportunity to pause for a moment and be calm, to reflect and relax. It reduces levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, which creates a nice chilled feeling of contentment.

Under the umbrella of Hatha yoga, there are nine internationally recognised styles: Ashtanga, Bikram, Integral, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Kripalu, Kundalini, Sivananda and Viniyoga.

These are the most popular…

This is the most athletic and physically demanding form of yoga. It involves synchronising movement with breathing while performing a sequence of postures, explains Jonathan Sattin, Managing Director at triyoga in London. ‘There are six series of postures and the body becomes heated internally through the practice, so be prepared to sweat!’ This internal heat purifies the muscles and organs, expelling unwanted toxins and releasing beneficial hormones and minerals which nourish the body. triyoga has four centres in London which offer over 250 classes a week, including Ashtanga yoga ( A deviation of Ashtanga is Power yoga, where the series are not so strictly adhered to and the movement flows from one pose to another at a fast pace.

Taking heat to a whole new level, Bikram yoga is practised in a 40 degree room which allows for a loosening of tight muscles and profuse sweating, which is thought to be cleansing. In the 1970s, Bikram Choudhury developed a series of 26 postures performed over 90 minutes, but not all hot classes make use of this method. Yogahaven in Clapham offers an alternative, less spiritual, more athletic, but still hot version. The unique style is called ‘Leela yoga’ (meaning ‘play’) and it includes more postures than Bikram for an all-over body work out. ‘The heat raises the heart rate’, explains Allie Hill, one of the owners of Yogahaven. ‘This means that you get a cardiovascular workout as well as a stretch. Also, like metal in fire, the heat makes your muscles more pliable so you can stretch deeper.’ She says that in her experience of teaching, hot yoga has three main benefits: easing back problems from the many hours we spend sitting; relieving stress, as you release toxins through your sweat and receive a boost of seratonin; and weight loss, because the practice helps to balance your metabolism and makes you less likely to crave unhealthy food and drink. The heat does takes some getting used to – Allie recommends Yogahaven’s introductory offer so that you can take a few classes, building up gently – and like anything, it takes a little while to begin to feel the full benefits (

Devised by B.K.S Iyengar, this type of yoga is less spiritual and more practical with a strong focus on performing each pose correctly and holding it for a period of time. A variety of props, such as the wall, chairs, blocks and straps are used to compensate for for a lack of flexibility so that everyone can perform each pose correctly and comfortably. Iyengar is the ideal style of yoga for beginners.

Something a bit different…

Pulse Yoga
Incorporating light weights into the yoga practice stimulates muscle toning and strength as well as building core stability, bone density and balance. In yoga, you usually work with just your body weight, so using the light hand weights makes you work harder and burn more calories.

Yoga for Runners
Laura Denham-Jones offers classes that are grounded in biomechanics, sports psychology and yoga philosophy. ‘I teach postures and variations that target typical runners’ tight spots, such as hips and hamstrings,’ she says, ‘as well as building core and leg power, and upper body strength.’ Laura avoids extreme yoga poses, as many athletes, although aerobically fit, have little to gain from these and would risk injury. ‘Runners spend a lot of time being dynamic, vertical and on their feet so yoga gives also them a chance to slow down and recover. A typical class will include standing poses, upper body, core work and slow, floor-based postures which release tension – yoga’s answer to a sports massage!’

New yoga styles and classes are evolving all the time. There are special pre- and post-natal yoga sessions, and classes tailored to other specific sports, including yoga for cyclists and for golfers.  And if you want something really different, look out for laughter yoga, shadow yoga or naked yoga… namaste!


Trail Running: What Shoe Works for You?


It is no surprise that trail running is a challenging form of exercise due to the uneven terrain,   however running outdoors is actually better for your health and wellbeing than being confined in a stuffy gym. What’s more, with the longer evenings and warm climate there really is no better feeling than the freedom of running over vibrant green hills or through flower-packed woodlands with the eerie orange twinge of the sunset taking over the sky.

However, you’ll need to think carefully about your footwear; whereas you’ll (hopefully!) have chosen your road running shoes based on the support and cushioning they offer you, you’ll need a pair of running shoes that have good grip and cushioning when going off-road.

Don’t let your shoes hamper your enjoyment because there are some great models on the market perfect for trail running at this time of year. Brett Bannister, MD and footwear specialist at has put together some top tips to help you find the right trail running shoe.

Shoe size
Your foot will expand when running anything over a couple of miles and even sooner in the Summer heat, and while you’ll want your shoes to be a bit tighter and more responsive when trail running, you’ll still need to leave a spare half a thumb-width gap at the front of your running shoes for your foot to expand in to – which is likely to mean going up half a size.

This may feel strange to begin with and you might find yourself hunching forward when running to compensate your balance but it is really important to keep your back straight as it allows your lungs sufficient room to expand, making breathing easier. Swinging your arms powerfully can help to give you that bit more momentum too.

Foot width
The better the fit, the better you’ll run! Most shoes are built on a standard D-width fitting, but some cater to different widths as well. Generally, Brooks shoes tend to be broader, Adidas shoes tend to be narrower, while other brands, such as New Balance offer different width sizes.

Lots of models offer lace designs which cradle the foot in a webbed design to offer a snug, close fit around the contours. Also, another design spec which is handy in trail running shoes is ‘full surround tongue stitching’ (also known as a ‘gusseted tongue’) which helps to keep any debris from finding its way into your shoe.

Your weight
Did you know that when you run you are exerting two or three times your body weight on to your running shoes? By opting for some built in cushioning you can relieve pressure on your shoes and reduce stress on your feet. For heavier runners, more cushioning will be required whereas lighter runners will fare better with a more responsive running shoe.

If you are a road runner looking to begin trail running then the Nike Pegasus Trail Running Shoes are a good starter point as they have a responsive, cushioned EVA midsole and Carbon rubber outsole which gives great durability in key wearing areas.

Foot Position
Another key consideration to make is foot position in relation to the ground below. Many trail runners value low soles which enable a more natural foot position, closer to the floor for better stability over uneven terrain and a higher level of proprioception. However, a low sole does not necessarily mean a thin one – you will still need some protection for your underfoot when you are running across sharp and pointed objects like twigs, rocks and thistles.

Currently one of the favoured models on the market is the Inov8 X-Talon™ 190 due to it being super lightweight (just 190 grams) with a 3mm footbed. It also has a replication of the foot’s planter fascia ligament built in to the shoe which assists in increasing propulsion efficiency and reducing fatigue.

Quite simply, the British summer does not guarantee sunshine and so there is the likely possibility that you could be caught out by a spot of rain whilst out blazing the trail. This is where the grip on your shoe can make the difference between sliding down a muddy mound and tackling it like a pro.

By opting for a shoe with a deeply grooved sole or protruding, rugged nodes you can ensure that you come away from the muddy mound unscathed!  The Adidas Kanadia TR4 trail shoe has superb grip and is a quality, rugged trainer which has a superbly ventilated design which allows them to dry quickly on wet trails. Don’t be concerned that the shoe has less cushioning- the ground is much softer on trails than on-road so you’ll be fine!

If you’re likely to be using your shoes for a combination of road and trail running, you’ll need to look for a shoe that offers some cushioning, and less grip with a harder compound rubber. This is so you get the correct support while on-road.

With the correct footwear you will be more comfortable to endure longer runs and embrace the open beauty and calming effect of the countryside in its prime – just remember to take your water bottle because you won’t be passing any newsagents!

For more running shoe tips and advice visit

Winter Pilates: with Karen Laing

Winter days may look pretty but for beautiful bodies who love to be outside getting active, the dark nights and cold days can sap motivation and leave us feeling lethargic, sluggish and grouchy. And with the party season and rich Christmas pickings looming on the frosty horizon, your body and your mind need to find effective training alternatives in order to combat the winter workout blues and to prevent a plumper shadow of our summer selves.

Pilates in the Winter
Far from being just that-low-impact-core-conditioning-class-that’s-good-for-your-back, Pilates (when practiced effectively) also has brilliant mood boosting and circulatory benefits. And on a practical level, Pilates is usually practiced indoors. So who cares if it’s raining, hailing or snowing outside? Once you get the basics down, you can incorporate short workouts into your day.

Off-Season Training
Pilates can also complement more high intensity training. So if you’re a super charged fit type who needs to compete for her sanity, try thinking of the winter months like an elite level athlete does and use the time out of competition for rehab, training and conditioning.

Tennis ace Serena Williams recently added Pilates to her training regime and Tom Cruise swears he could not have been Ethan Hawke without it. So if you can’t face crawling out of bed for an early morning, frosty workout, do 15 minutes of Pilates mat work in the cozy comfort of your living room instead.

The lack of daylight in winter can wreak havoc with our sleep cycles and mood. According to Sue Pavlovich of the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association (SADA) it’s now thought that all of us suffer from SAD to some degree. Winter’s lack of daylight alters our brain’s production of melatonin and serotonin, which is why even the most motivated exerciser can end up snuggled up on the sofa with a good movie and a bowl of popcorn.

Exercise is a brilliant antidote to the winter blues because of the effect it has on our hormones. Train in the morning for a boost of the wake up hormone, cortisol. For the ultimate feel-good workout, combine an intense Pilates sequence with cardio intervals, or a brisk walk outside. That way you’ll get all the conditioning, mobilizing and circulatory benefits of Pilates alongside that cardio-cortisol boost. Plus exercising outside will help you to get as much natural daylight as possible, vital for your brain chemistry.

So before you tuck into your first mince pie of the season, try this essential winter Pilates workout.


Karen is a Pilates and fitness specialist and writer based in Essex. To find out more about Pilates or for more information on the workout, visit or email her at [email protected]

Reference: Sue Pavlovich Email: [email protected] Call: 07803203494


Above: Airex Fitline 140 Mat, £36.67,

Eat for Youthfulness

The secret to looking and feeling younger could be held in the food that you eat. Here are our top five anti-aging foods that will keep every little bit of you looking youthful and healthy…

Wild Salmon: Packed with a particular kind of fat (known as youth boosting omega-3s) that has the most powerful health benefits of any fish, anywhere, Salmon is one of the healthiest foods you can eat. These special fats help improve collagen, assist with protecting skin cells from the sun’s harmful rays and reduce inflammation, all of which help keep mind, skin and body looking and feeling young.

Dark Chocolate: We’re not talking about the kind that’s packed full of sugar and dairy and is often found next to tills in supermarkets. No. The chocolate that is good for you needs to be very dark and at least 70% cocoa (this will be labeled on the packet). This latter form of chocolate is full of flavanoids (also found in tea), which help maintain a healthy heart and helps shield the body from toxins, which in turn, promotes healthy blood flow and therefore a younger, happier bod!

All Over
Avocados: Often avoided out of fear for their fat content Avocados are actually an amazingly healthy food and one of nature’s gifts to us to keep us looking young. Yes they are high in fat but it is largely mono-unsaturated fat, particularly omega-9, which actually lowers cholesterol, and reduces the risk of cancer and diabetes. Their other great health benefit? Promoting beautiful eyes, hair and skin. This is due to their lutein content, which is an antioxidant that also reduces cholesterol absorption.

Blueberries: When it comes to ORAC (a rating system for antioxidant power) values, blueberries are the highest-scoring fruit of all time. These little blue balls of joy are brilliant for maintaining memory function in both the brain and muscles. Due to their high levels of antioxidants, blueberries actually help the neurons in the brain to communicate with one another effectively.

Cinnamon: Recently applauded for its ability to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, cinnamon is also fantastic for the metabolism. It contains newly-identified phytochemicals called chalone polymers that increase glucose metabolism in the cells by at least twenty times of one’s normal rate. It is also incredibly anti-inflammatory and and can help alleviate pain in muscles and stiffness in joints so is great friend to those who want to keep their bodies as healthy and as youthful as can be.


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How to ease IBS Naturally by Jayne Stevens


Excruciating stomach pain? Wind? Diarrhea? Or even just uncomfortable bloating? If you experience any of these frequently could be that you are a victim of IBS. The cause of IBS is uncertain, but there are a number of possibilities, including food intolerance, inflammation, over-activity of intestinal muscles, stress and infection. It is also associated with fibromyalgia, and depression (most of the body’s serotonin is produced in the bowel). IBS is the diagnosis of last resort and you should visit your GP to rule out other conditions, rather than assume you are affected. But fear not – if diagnosed, here’s what you can to do to help it…

Lower Stress
Reduce stress and/or find ways to cope with it (through exercise and relaxation, for example yoga).

Not so Sweet
Sugar can be a problem, so keep to a minimum. Fructose in fruit juices can aggravate the condition, so should be avoided. Limit fresh fruit to three portions a day Bananas are a good source or probiotic fibre and are low in acidity, so should be included if possible.

Become a Detective
Write a food diary and note adverse reactions. Use this Jonathan Saunders Soho Diary for Smythson, £295,

Embrace the Aloe
Aloe Vera is soothing for all inflammatory conditions and can be taken as a juice or in capsule form. It can help maintain bowel regularity.

Supplement it
A calcium and/or magnesium supplement can help IBS sufferers; calcium is binding, so can help in cases of diarrhoea and magnesium relaxes muscles, so can relieve constipation.

Ground your Nuts
Although a diet high in nuts is great since they are highly nutritious, the insoluble fibre and fat can cause reactions. Ground nuts are easier to digest.

The Drink
Reduce alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated drinks. Even decaffeinated coffee has around 500 other chemicals, some of which can cause cramping and it can have a laxative effect. Avoid or reduce fizzy drinks. Try herbal teas; camomile is soothing and relaxing, peppermint is antispasmodic and fennel can help with excess gas. Clipper Tea, right, is only £1.35, available from Waitrose.


A Day in the Life of Sebastian Pole: Pukka Herbs Co-Founder



Sebastian Pole is an Ayurvedic practitioner, herbalist, husband and father of one. He and his business partner, Tim Westwell, launched Pukka Herbs in the 90s, wanting to provide people with good quality herbs everyday. He believes in improving people’s health while looking after the planet, and so uses Certified Organic ingredients in all the Pukka Herbs products. The new Pukka Ayurveda Skincare range also uses eco-friendly packaging. Sebastian works at Pukka Herbs in Bristol and also has a herbal practice in Bath.

My alarm goes off at 7am. I usually start the day with a warm spicy tea such as Pukka’s Three Ginger blend, as this helps to get the digestion going. I then take some herbs and have a glass of Clean Greens with Aloe Vera juice for its cleansing properties.

I like to practice hatha yoga in the morning, in an attempt to begin my day relaxed and focused. I normally do a few postures and then some breathing practice. Digestion at the ready, I then eat a good porridge-like breakfast of amaranth, quinoa and rice with some cinnamon, nuts, hemp protein and honey.

My office space at home doubles as an inspirational space; it’s where I keep all my herb and yoga books, as well as pictures of inspiring people in my life, from members of my family to an image of the Medicine Buddha. They help remind me of my intention in life. My working days are filled with variety; I oversee all of the herbs we purchase at Pukka and work closely with the Quality Team, and the growers themselves, to ensure that we only buy in the highest quality. What I have for lunch depends on how busy I am as I often only have time for something quick and light like soup.

The process of growing; importing; quality-checking; and manufacturing is not always straight forward and I am certainly prone to some high blood pressure moments, or as we say in Ayurveda, a tendency for my pitta to be high! I always try and balance these responsibilities with spending time researching, developing new products and writing. I also have a busy herbal clinic to run and find it an extremely rewarding to be able to work with people one-on-one.

The first thing I do when I get home is have a cup of tea – usually something to help me relax like a cup of our Three Tulsi blend. A cup of tea is a predictably-good moment in life and, in my unpredictable life, I like the predictably-good.

After work I always want to catch up with my wife and son and see how everyone is. On a quiet evening I find gardening a great way to unwind. As the winter draws in though, I find myself listening to music to relax.

Before bed I often indulge in a massage and a bath. Massage is a very important part of health in Ayurveda as it helps us to connect with ourselves and clears tension and toxins from our system. As someone obsessed with all things healing I will use apply rose otto lotion after the bath. It is one of my favourite fragrances. It is also one of the key components in the Nourishing Face Oil, from our new Pukka Ayurveda Skincare range. We work with a wonderful rose producer in Bulgaria who collects 1.5 million organic rose buds to make 1 litre of the oil. It’s an intense essence.

I’ll then often take a ‘herb’ book to bed; Ayurveda: Life Health & Longevity by Robert Svoboda is a great introduction. And it’s not long before I find myself fast asleep.

All of the Pukka Herbs products, including supplements, award-winning teas and their brand new skin care range, are available from and selected health food stores nationwide. Pukka Teas retail at £2.25 for 20 sachets. Pukka Ayurveda Skincare is priced from £11.