Monday, 27 January 2014

Food: Quick & easy health tips (Pt 4)

As part of my five-part 'Quick & easy health tips' features, I continue to round up the best bits of advice I received from nutritionists and my own research that I wanted to share with you. I'm on a journey to find the best ways to alter my lifestyle towards a healthier one and I thought I would share this with you. I absolutely hate exercise and prefer dance class, so this will be more of a goal to find alternative ways of eating, drinking and behaving healthier on a day to day basis and making it part of everyday life...the easy way. Hope you like the tips and find them useful!

Check out the other posts in this 'Quick & easy health tips' series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3



11. Limit alcohol, fizzy drinks and caffeine intake
Allright I know this one isn't as easy as it sounds...so I didn't say eliminate. I personally did eliminate fizzy drinks and caffeine completely out of my diet as they are the worst things for my IBS. They cause bloating for a lot of people and sometimes instant stomach aches, so my life is better without them. A lot of people become very dependent on caffeine, and there are always alternatives to bringing your energy levels up such as Ginseng tea, eating something like an apple (natural sugars!) or just having a big glass of water. Your body will eventually know it doesn't need the coffee anymore and you will feel great! I'm not even going to preach about the alcohol part but cutting back on this has made me feel better all round, and I'm happier knowing I don't waste days feeling hungover sometimes. I also stick to just spirits (triple distilled, not the cheap stuff!) like vodka and no fizzy drinks, and I make sure I have a good meal beforehand to line my stomach. I then have a big glass of water before bed which helps with the next day. These strategies ensure I have a fun night out!



12. Study the ingredients on the food you buy and know where your food comes from
Some people take this very seriously, and only buy their food from local sources or organic farms. Living in a big city, this isn't always easy or cheap, but I have lately been trying to do my very best to eat well in every way possible, including CARING more about where my food comes from. Most products will now have labels telling you where the product is from (i.e. a farm, etc.), and what it is made of. The most deceiving labels are still legal, and labels like '80% less fat' or 'low fat' are the worst. Take a look in the back and you will probably get the shock of your life when you see the substitutes for the 'fat' such as high levels of sugar (most common) and E numbers. The labels are so deceiving, but it's not always just about the fat, it's about the sugar and saturated fat and I try to live by a rule where I don't eat anything will more than 3-4g of saturated fat. And why would anyone want to drink something with 35g/6 teaspoons of sugar (Coca Cola) and that damages your teeth, AND messes with your stomach (bloating)?!

Additionally, knowing what is really in your food will open your eyes and make you realise how foul some of the processed foods are (i.e. frankfurters) and will hopefully motivate you to eat healthier options. I don't think all organic is best, but organic, free range, etc. is a good way to go....and you can tell the difference in the taste and texture, too! You really do get what you pay for, and some things are worth the money.


13. Drink more green tea
Green tea and peppermint tea in particular are my daily drinks of choice. Green tea will help with controlling weight loss, regulating diabetes, reducing high blood pressure, reducing bad cholesterol, and even the improvement of skin. Hot or iced, green tea can help with a workout, too. It's catechins (destroys viral bacteria like flus), antioxidants and caffeine help increase metabolic generation of heat if you drink it 10 minutes before you exercise. Personally, peppermint tea works wonders for my digestion and helps me relax so I absolutely love it.


14. Try lavender and epsom salts
A lovely old man I once met told me all about epsom salts and how he has been using it for years, helping him relax and unwind. I didn't know much about the amazing benefits until I researched it a little, and am determined to try it out even though I never take baths. For example, stress drains the body of magnesium and increases levels of adrenaline. When dissolved in warm water, epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and replenishes the level of magnesium in the body. The salt baths help ease stress, relax the body, relieve pain and muscle cramps, and helps the muscles and nerves function properly. Another great benefit is that it will help eliminate toxins from the body by pulling the salt and harmful toxis out of your body whilst in the bath, Try it out - just two cups of epsom salt in a warm bath and a 12 minute soak will do the job. If you want a little moisturiser, add some baby oil in as well.

Lavender is a lovely scent used in many products, and I love to smell it in pillows, closets, and heated for soothing effects. Lavender is used in many health and beauty treatments, and can be found anywhere. Try spritzing some L'Occitane lavender pillow spray on your pillow and enjoy :)



15. Always have some echinacea on hand
This might not work for everyone (just like anything else!) but it works really well for me when trying ti prevent colds. If I can sense a cold/flu coming, I take echinacea tablets every day and my symptoms always get better. It's a herbal remedy so I prefer to do this than to take any other medicine unless I really have to (as a general life rule!). There are mixed studies about echinacea and its benefits, but trying the plant based herbal medicine won't hurt you in any way but can only boost your immunity, so why not give it a go? Its certainly better than stuffing yourself with manufactured medicine.


16. Get creative with your food, use cool gadgets
There are so many great foodie gadgets out there that can help you get more creative with your food. My favourite nutritionist Madeleine Shaw uses a great vegetable spiralizer to make yummy light salads, and I recently bought the amazing NutriBullet to make juices and smoothies. You can buy lots of cheaper clever things as well, that can help you lead a healthier lifestyle on a day to day basis, like this Citrus Zinger Bottle I recently received to review.

You may remember I mentioned the benefits of drinking lemon every day, and this is the perfect little bottle to help with that. It's easy to use as all you have to do is squeeze a lemon or fruit of choice on to the bottom infuser, and the natural juice will flow into your water to provide that little extra flavour. The bottle is lightweight and a lovely colour, and great quality. It costs £14.99 on JD Harris, and I can see myself using this all the time as it's quite easy to attach to a bag when travelling as well.





*I am not a professional nutritionist or doctor, so take this advice lightly and find what's best for your body! I do not endorse any of the products mentioned, and am not paid to feature them. I will only feature things that I have tried and tested and that have worked for me, but am not in any way entitled to give medical advice.


Images from Amazon and Google
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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

London Food: Season Kitchen



Season Kitchen is a tiny, tiny, charismatic restaurant in Finsbury Park on Stroud Green Road. The special thing about them is that they only use ingredients and style of cooking influenced by the seasons, ultimately only using the freshest fruit and veg when at their best.

Due to this style, the menu changes every week. The food styles vary, but they are generally French, British and Italian with inspiration from all over the world. The ingredients are also locally sourced, which is lovely. 


AMBIANCE ****
As mentioned above, it;s a really small restaurant with a lot of character...it almost feels like you are in someone's living room so it's a very warm atmosphere. There are old paintings on the walls and everything looks very rustic. It's fairly dark inside but this adds to the charm of it all. Some people might not like the small space, as other guests are very close to one another and it can feel like someone is listening to your conversations. If you aren't bothered by this, you will love it here.

SERVICE ****
The service was great. The size of the restaurant really allows the staff to tend to all the guests and be able to see when something is needed. There was a bit of a wait for our drinks but the food came very quickly and the staff were all lovely.


DRINKS ****
Due to the frequent menu changes, the drinks menu is fairly small so that it compliments a lot of the food. There were two types of wine, port and a cognac as well as coffee, tea and a few soft drinks. I don't drink wine but my boyfriend enjoyed his! I gave this 3 stars because I think some people would prefer a wider choice of wines with their food, but I'm sure the staff have chosen the best out there. The prices are reasonable and they also offer aperitifs.

FOOD *****
We ate there during the summer, and had the 'toast, marmalade, rabbit & ham hock' starter which had an interesting and unusual taste as you can imagine. Other things on the starter menu were 'octopus carpaccio w/lime & chilli dressing', char-grilled wye valley asparagus w/ red wine & anchovy dressing' which also sounded great. I love it when the food on my plate has an element of surprise as I sometime can't really imagine what it will taste like.

For the mains, we had the 'rooftop risotto' and the 'pulled kid w/ spinach & sauternes sauce'. The rooftop risotto certanly was a surprise, as it came with a flower on top which turned out to be an edible onion sourced from a local garden! It tasted lovely and so did the pulled kid...succulent with lots of juice everywhere and lovely complimentary vegetables. For our sides we had the 'jersey royals w/ fresh mint'. The dessert menu looked just as interesting with the 'nougat glace' and rosemary chocolate pot w/ black pepper biscotti' amongst other options.


I really enjoyed my evening here and can't wait to go back to try something new. There's something about this little gem that makes you feel like you're in your mama's house, getting the most delicious food in a cosy environment but with that extra bit of affordable luxury.

A meal for two with drinks, starters, sides and mains costs around £60

53 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EF



Last four images from Google and the Season Kitchen website

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Saturday, 18 January 2014

Food: Quick & easy health tips (Pt 3)

As part of my five-part 'Quick & easy health tips' features, I continue to round up the best bits of advice I received from nutritionists and my own research that I wanted to share with you. I'm on a journey to find the best ways to alter my lifestyle towards a healthier one and I thought I would share this with you. I absolutely hate exercise and prefer dance class, so this will be more of a goal to find alternative ways of eating, drinking and behaving healthier on a day to day basis and making it part of everyday life...the easy way.


Check out the other posts in this 'Quick & easy health tips' series:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 4



6. Juice it up!
Juicing is the best way to detoxify your body. Whether you're doing the hardcore 7-day juice-only detox, trying to lose weight (I wouldn't recommend), or just want to get the goodness a few times a week, it's beneficial for everyone. I could write a whole new blog post on this (and I will!) as I just bought myself a NutriBullet, but I'll keep it short and simple here. According to experts, 95% of the vitamins and enzymes our bodies need are found in raw fruit and veg, so you need lots of it! Juicing enables us to have the right amount of nutrients in one glass rather than chomping on the stuff all day...and who would want to do that? For example, we would need 2lbs of carrots, 12 apples, 8 lbs of spinach to get the same amount of nutrients that we would get in a 16oz juice. The highly concentrated vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes in juices enter your bloodstream much quicker and you absorb all the benefits this way, giving your digestive organs a little rest!

Did you know that bottled juices are usually pasteurised, meaning they are heated and processed which kills vitamins and minerals. Buy your own blender and get your ingredients at a local shop.
7. Get your Omega 3 and Iron straight
Having a balanced diet is so important, and avoiding certain foods like fish because you don't like it can cause problems. Your body needs what it needs, and without eating fish you won't be getting your Omega-3 fatty acids which are considered essential for our bodies to be able to work normally. There are dozens of amazing health benefits to Omega-3 which you can find here. You can get Omega-3 in flax seeds, walnuts, sardines, salmon, soy beans, tofu, shrimp, and of course Omega-3 supplements. People taking these have reported improvements in their hair, skin, digestion and moods, but to name a few.

Iron is also essential for the growth and development of our bodies, and helps get rid of fatigue by straightening our immune system. It's also vital for muscle health and blood cell health, and helps supply oxygen to blood making it important for brain health. Foods like lentils, soy beans, whole grains, cereals, bread, spinach, turnip, fish, meat, broccoli and dry fruit are all foods that have a high iron content. If you have ever felt constantly tired, a great supplement is Floradix. Containing iron, it helped me gain more energy even though I was eating a lot of the above foods anyway.


8. Stretch at work
Working at a desk or on your feet all day can be a real strain on the body and mind, and doing little stretches every day does wonders. I do mine at my desk, and I don't think anyone should feel in any way awkward about this (just don't break into any crazy yoga positions!) Doing some light arm, shoulder, neck and leg stretches will improve your flexibility, ease the tightness in your body, and leave you feeling refreshed, essentially enabling you to do your job better and enjoy it.


9. Banish the 3pm slump by eating little and often
I don't know about you guys, but this is the worst part of the day for me when it comes to food...as soon as it gets around 3pm I start to majorly crave sugar, carbs, ANYTHING! I find it hard to concentrate and get through the rest of the day, so I grab anything that's around to eat. Something I recently tried was to eat a snack around 11am (I have breakfast at 9) and this has definitely helped. This is of course a healthy snack like a big fruit, nuts, or rice cake. If you eat little and often, including minimising main meal portions, your metabolism will work much more effectively as you're keeping it busy! The snacking in between will also prevent sugar cravings so it's the best way to go. This works pretty well for people with IBS. Finally, the No1 rule is avoid the coffee!!! I've completely cut it out of my diet.


10. Get rid of the bad bacteria and feed the good bacteria
Another tip I got from the lovely Madeleine Shaw was that getting rid of sugars could be the best thing for me. I personally eat too much sugar, and this is essentially feeding the 'bad' bacteria in my body and my stomach. It's also telling my body that I need the sugar, and this causes the midday slump all too often. Bad sugar is your obvious 'added sugar', so fizzy drinks, crisps, sweets, white bread and more...and good sugar is what's a naturally occurring sugar in whole foods like fruit, veg, beans, nuts and whole grains. Bad sugars increase your risk of gaining weight and getting heart disease.

So fill that belly with good sugars and feed the 'good bacteria' that helps your body function the way it should...these include pineapples, carrots, beets, yoghurt, prunes, bananas, honey and apples...the list goes on but there is a whole host of 'sugary' healthy snacks you can replace that chocolate bar with!



11. Replace regular milk with Soya, Almond or Lactose-Free

This isn't necessary for everyone, but some people find they feel much better when drinking lactose-free (or sugar free) milk whether in their coffee or cereal. It has the same nutrients as regular milk but helps ease bloating, stomach aches, nausea or gas. If you have an intolerance, LactoFree milk (available in most supermarkets) tastes just like regular milk and is great - I drink it every day as I have IBS. Soy, rise and almond milk do taste different and not everyone likes them, but they contain no cholesterol as they are plant based so they're a healthier choice for people trying to reduce cholesterol consumption. Give it a try!




*I am not a professional nutritionist or doctor, so take this advice lightly and find what's best for your body! I do not endorse any of the products mentioned, and am not paid to feature them. I will only feature things that I have tried and tested and that have worked for me, but am not in any way entitled to give medical advice.

Images from Google Images

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Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Style Icon: Kate Moss

Can you believe it...Kate Moss is turning 40 on the 16th of January. She still looks absolutely stunning, and here's a little homage to her career from the tender age of 14....with some beautiful images through the years. Happy birthday Kate, you fox!





























Photos from Google images

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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Food: Quick & easy health tips (Pt 2)

As part of my five-part 'Quick & easy health tips' features, I wanted to find accessories that help me stay healthy in every day life...something that will make it easier for a lazy one like me!! *guilty face*

One of the brilliant things I found is the new Brita Fill & Go water bottle. It does what it says on the tin - filters your water! It's a no brainer, but there is a lot more to this bottle than just that.

It's very lightweight, perfectly sized, and the design is beautiful which is hard to find in a water bottle. Water bottles are usually very sporty, or in odd shapes and colours.

I love this one because it's extremely stylish (as stylish as a bottle can get!) and timeless, and the design embodies that 'lean and healthy' concept. I might not be making any sense when I say this but it's the best way I could describe it! It's that type of design you see on very expensive water bottles in a posh restaurant!

When you see this bottle in a photo, it probably looks heavy but it is incredibly lightweight 

I got the beautiful green design

You will get four filters in your pack as well as the instructions on how to insert them

 You can take the straw out if you prefer to, and the logo is very subtle

The bottle comes in four stylish colours which fit the design perfectly

Check out the other posts in this 'Quick & easy health tips' series:
Part 4



Images from Brita's website

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