Healthy Eating

Why Detoxing Sometimes Hurts!

Posted by on 03-03-2015 in Nutrition | 0 comments

Ever tried to come off caffeine or sugar but been hit with the headache from hell or just quit and gone back to old ways? Here’s the truth on what happens and how to detox safely and effectively… Headaches and other pains are very common when people try to detox their bodies. Yet sometimes other people don’t seem to feel any pain at all. Why is that? The biggest thing that is missed in the health industry (and many industry’s actually) is the fact that everyone is unique; therefore the approach and the results will be slightly different with everyone. How does this relate to you? Depending on current level of health, it is actually very common for people to feel a little bit “off” during the first few weeks of eating healthily. Without trying to sound dramatic, processed foods, especially sugar are toxic drugs, so when the body comes off any drug it can produce a response. Especially when drastic and rapid improvements in your eating are made, these physical responses are actually a sign something’s working. Whenever issues are dealt with (toxins, emotional issues, traumas, injury’s etc), the pain starts to move. It goes from: Stage 1: Deep inside (as it has been pushed down and ignored in an attempt not to deal with it) Stage 2: To the surface (as it is on its way out of the body) Stage 3: Leaves the body During stage 2, because the pain is now on the surface you will now feel it (e.g. headaches after quitting caffeine/sugar, cold turkey after heavy drugs, crying when working through an emotional challenge etc). Ever heard of people who genuinely want to lose weight/quit smoking/get healthier etc etc etc but they only ever get so far then fall back into old habits? This is because they know deep down that for healing and improvement to take place, stage 2 must happen and it will be painful, so they make a start then self-sabotage. What can we do to make it easier? 1) Clarify your goals for why you want to change. Developing a strong enough WHY will help tremendously 2) You are who surrounds you. Surround yourself with encouraging people who have either successfully been through what you are experiencing or can lend moral support. Negative people will drain you to the point of quitting at this point. 3) Make SMALL incremental changes. Drastic changes produce drastic responses. Making smaller changes tricks the mind into thinking everything’s ok and there’s no need to rebel! 4) Instead of CUTTING EVERYTHING out of your diet (which is all too common) try first to ADD goodness in. Green vegetables in your meals and drinking green juices will really help with things like...

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How to Use a Food Journal

Posted by on 03-03-2015 in Meal plan ideas, Nutrition | 0 comments

How this one tool can DRAMATICALLY increase your chances of losing fat. Two groups of people wanted to lose some body fat. One group started exercising at the local gym; the other group did nothing else but keep a log of everything they ate. Who do you think lost the most fat after 2 months? You may be surprised to know that it was the group that kept the food diary that lost the most. WHY IS THIS?? Food has a much bigger effect on your body fat levels than exercise. Every meal affects you, and how many meals do you have a week compared to exercise sessions? When we write down everything we eat, we become a lot more aware of what we put in our mouths, especially if we have to show anyone! So here is the guide I use with my private clients that you can use on yourself to make a food diary get great results for you: First thing to do is: Set ONE objective. Is it to lose fat, gain strength, gain muscle size, have more energy etc? Going after one result usually produces better results than trying to achieve everything at once. Second thing to do is: Measure yourself. Tape measure, piece of clothing, body fat %, photos, weighing scales etc all are fine. Have a look at your food diary and make an educated guess as to whether you think your measurements should be going up or down. Quick tip: Due to the enormous amount of variables in measurements (hormones, human error etc) measurements taken every 3 weeks are a better gauge than weekly. Then look at your food diary and use the following questions: Q1) Is there protein with every meal? Q2) What is the quality of the carbohydrates like? E.g. Does it look like the type of carbohydrates that will help me lose fat? Q3) Am I drinking enough water? Q4) Is there enough good quality fat? Q5) Does the quantity look about right if fat loss is the aim? Once you’ve used the above questions to gauge how your food was this week as yourself how did you do over the week as a whole, what did you learn? Name ONE improvement you could have a go at next week? What did you do well this week? e.g. was it simply to just keep the journal, did you plan your meals, did you learn snacks that worked well or prep ideas that save time. Were your meals helping you stay fuller for longer etc. By working through this sheet you will be setting yourself up for success and not failure. This is because you are following principles almost 99% of the population that are trying to lose weight don’t do: you are reviewing what you’re doing, seeing if it’s working or not and developing a unique plan for you for the coming week. Go for...

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Welshy and Healthy

Posted by on 17-02-2015 in Exercise, Lifestyle, Nutrition | 0 comments

Welshy and healthy – A fun look celebrating your health all Wales has to offer! And the gym won’t be mentioned once On March 1st Wales celebrates St. David’s day. So as a slight break from the norm and also to have a bit of fun, I thought we’d look at how to have the healthiest Welsh day ever, celebrating your health and all that the land of our fathers has to offer….. and the gym won’t be mentioned once! What to eat? Breakfast: Cockles and Lava bread. As you all know, anything green is a sure fire hit to be good for you (no, not absinthe ;-), and due to the mineral content it gains from the salt water it grows in lava bread packs a nutritional punch that is hard to beat. Couple that with local cockles for protein, B vitamins, magnesium (the list goes on…) and you’ll have a breakfast that will keep you fired up for hours Lunch: Cawl. No welsh day would be complete without this dish. Traditionally used to stretch out the last few ingredients on the shelf, cawl can provide a fantastic way to boost your vegetable intake, and on a cold blustery day is a real God send. Dinner: For the Welsh that travel, they will know how famous Wales is for one creature in particular… sheep. Welsh lamb is rated as some of the best in the world, couple this with the national vegetable, leeks, and you have dinner that not only tastes amazing but couldn’t be better for sky rocketing your health. Exercise: Walking or cycling through the breathtaking country side and coastal paths. Wales is obviously known for its rugby traditions, but as Papa Coates keeps telling me, when he moved to Wales from Lancashire years ago he was very impressed with the range of facilities and sports available. This is mainly due to a passion for sport and a huge number of amazing volunteer coaches that provide a chance for people to try a sport for a fraction of the price it would be in other parts of the UK. So why not try a sport you’ve either never considered or always wanted to have a go at. And for those who feel inclined to, why not slap on the outfit and folk dance away to your heart’s content! A great social, fun and dynamic way to move your body. REMEMBER THE GOAL, it’s to get healthy whilst ENJOYING the process, not punishing and berating yourself whilst doing things you hate! Love is always a stronger and longer lasting motivator than fear. Have a great St David’s day....

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New Year, New Start – Part IV

Posted by on 05-02-2015 in Lifestyle, Nutrition | 0 comments

Healthy eating: Where to start? When trying to improve an aspect of our health, a major reason why people often fall short of their target is because the goal is either too unrealistic and/or the whole process of trying to achieve it becomes too overwhelming and too drastic a change of lifestyle to sustain. Along with exercise, healthy eating is one of the most common areas people find hard to maintain. Why is what we eat so important? Your body is making millions of new cells every single day. So guess what your body uses as building blocks for these cells? Yep, the food we eat. What we eat can determine not only how we look, but how much energy we have, how our joints feel and even our mood (ever noticed people get a bit grumpy/have an energy crash after sugary food and junk food?!) How would our cars perform if we put dirty fuel in it as opposed to premium, filtered rocket fuel?!! If food’s so important why can it be so hard to change? As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, it is harder than we think to change habits that have been there for a long time, and what we eat can be a very strong habit (if you’ve ever tried taking chocolate off a chocoholic you’ll know what I mean!) Another factor which can prove challenging is simply not knowing what to do. With so much conflicting evidence out there regarding what’s best to eat, it is very easy to get so confused you don’t know where to start. So to help, here are a few basic tips to get you started: 1) The number one rule of nutrition is to eat food as close to its natural state as possible. For every stage of processing a food goes through it loses some of its goodness. Small changes like having a jacket potato instead of curly fries, cooking with lean mince instead of a fast food burger, or an apple instead of apple juice can really help. 2) Aim to reduce the amount of sugary foods in our diet. Watch out, big claim coming up: sugar is one of the most dangerous substances for your health there is. It is toxic. Unfortunately, because it makes foods a lot tastier and addictive, food companies add it to everything. Sugar increases the chance of weight gain and drastic drops in health and energy. Aim to buy natural foods and if you like sweeter tastes, add your own sweetness using foods like honey or natural fruit juices. 3) Go green. Green vegetables would do more for your health than Mr Motivator and the magic drink from the Nutty Professor combined. Eat as much as you can. If you don’t like them, start by adding them in small quantities to things like soups and stews where they can be hidden. You can also add things like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, herbs and spices to make them taste better. These may sound ridiculously simple, but you’d be amazed at how you start feeling and looking once you start feeding your body the fuel it thrives...

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Festive Fitness This Christmas

Posted by on 29-12-2013 in Christmas Tips | 0 comments

Festive Fitness This Christmas

Festive fitness – How ten minutes can keep the weight off this Christmas Celebrations and holidays are usually great times. We often get the chance to spend time with people we don’t often see, relax from our daily work and more often than not, eat lots of our favourite food! If you’re anything like me however, you may have experienced over the years that with all the good points, it is all too easy to indulge a little too much, and for our health to be put off track just a little too far.     Can anything limit the damage of our indulgences?!! Exercise is superbly good for us, helping our heart and lungs stay strong, our weight in check, and it can even be a good stress reliever. But I was taught a saying that is very useful to keep in mind: “You can’t out-train a bad diet”. Meaning, even if you exercise all day, if you ate takeaways every night you wouldn’t see many inches falling off round the waist. But eating and drinking is all part of the fun isn’t it?!! Is there anything we can do?! Be realistic with your expectations. If you are anything like I used to be; house stocked full of treats and attending more parties than Paris Hilton, you can’t expect much weight loss. With so many things on at this time of year, finding the time to exercise can also be challenging. So with this in mind here are a few ways to use exercise that can help curb the damage: Get outside whenever you can. The fresh air will make you feel better and get the blood pumping If you know you have a big meal or night out coming, exercise just before it. Exercise helps your body to deal better with the large sugar intake that a big meal or alcohol usually brings. If time, space or equipment is at a premium, use a few body-weight exercises performed one after another, with not much rest in between. This helps to maximise the time you do have. Below is an example of a circuit you could use. After a good warm up (a 5minute walk for example) perform as many of the exercises as you can in 30 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then move on to the next exercise. Beginner                                                     Not so beginner! 1) Squats                                                       Jumping squats 2) Kneeling press ups                                     Full press ups 3) Walking up a hill                                        Running up a hill Once you have performed each exercise; that is one circuit. Build up slowly until you can perform as many circuits as possible in ten minutes. This short sharp burst of intensity, even though it is only ten minutes long has an amazing impact on your health and can really curb the damage done by our holiday excesses! With all this said I wish you all a fantastically peaceful, fun and blessed festive time. I’ll see you in the New...

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Staying on Track at Christmas Part 3

Posted by on 20-12-2013 in Christmas Tips | 0 comments

Staying on Track at Christmas Part 3

Part 3 – Healthy, Gorgeous Christmas Recipes Food can bring people together and be a fantastic centerpiece to any celebration (this is why I love celebrations!) Unfortunately, a lot of food these days is highly processed. There is so much conflicting evidence out there regarding what is best to eat, but the one thing everyone agrees on: processed foods are bad news! They can result in bloating, feeling tired all the time, achy joints, weight gain and many other nasty things. These symptoms can really put a downer on a time that should be a celebration. So in today’s article we’ve compiled a mixture of cooking tips, recipes and alternative ideas that can help us have our treats but without the side effects, mince pie be praised! Puds: Gluten free pastry: 4oz cold organic butter, 6oz ground almond, 2oz quinoa flour, pinch of salt. Bind together by hand or with machine. If it doesn’t bind use an egg. This healthier pastry can be used for any pie. Gluten & sugar free mince pie: Use the above pastry with the filling recipe below to create the healthiest mince pie ever: 220g fresh cranberries, 340g Bramley apples (cored and grated, don’t peel), 170g shredded suet, 340g raisins, 280g sultanas, 280g currants, 5tbsp honey, 140g Xylitol/Stevia (or another natural sugar alternative), grated zest and juice of two oranges and two lemons, 4tsp ground mixed spice, 1tsp cinnamon, 1tsp freshly ground nutmeg, 6tbsp of brandy. Carrot cake: make with ground almonds (instead of flour) and honey/Stevia instead of sugar   ****Tips for baking: Use honey, stevia or fruit juice instead of sugar. Use quinoa, ground almonds, gram (chickpea) or flaxseed flour instead of regular flour (takes out the gluten) ****   Snacks:   Roasted mixed nuts, pumpkin & butternut squash seeds: Drizzle olive oil, salt, pepper and spices of your choice over the nuts & seeds. Roast in a hot oven for ten minutes or until brown and crispy. These are gorgeous and much healthier than the processed, salted peanut variety in the shops. Parmesan Crisps: Preheat oven to 190C/gas5, line a flat baking dish with baking paper. Place heaped teaspoons of grated Parmesan cheese on the baking sheet, leaving space for them to spread when cooking. Bake for 8-10 mins, until golden brown and bubbling. – Prunes/dates dipped in melted dark chocolate: Gently melt a bowl of dark chocolate, using a cocktail stick dip prune into chocolate, allow to cool on baking paper (a cheeky festive...

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Staying on track at Christmas Part 2

Posted by on 15-12-2013 in Christmas Tips | 0 comments

Staying on track at Christmas Part 2

In part 1 of this article we looked at some of the reasons why we do the things we do at this time of year (even if we know we shouldn’t sometimes!!) In this installment we’re going to share some real practical tips that can keep Christmas healthy and happy: – Control what you can control, eat as you normally do whenever you can. This way you can relax more in those ‘uncontrollable’ food situations e.g. eating at a friend’s house.     – Don’t feel obliged to have an extra drink or mince pie that you don’t want just because everyone else is having one. Let your friends know you are there for their company! This will take a huge amount of pressure off you, and instead of making the host (and everyone else) uncomfortable, it will transform them completely and make them feel hugely valued. 1) If there’s nothing healthy to eat, choose the least worse option. 2) Christmas day is the perfect time to start planning your targets for next year. Why wait for New Years to set your resolutions?! 3) You will hear me say time and time again “You are who surrounds you”. A great way to stay on track with your health goals over Christmas is to link up with a buddy who’s doing similar things. 4) Time can fly sometimes over this period, so plan sessions of exercise and fun activities with family & friends, ice skating, going to a Christmas market, walking etc. Setting a time for events like these can really make this a magical time. 5) If it’s not in the house you can’t eat it! Fill your house with the food you really want, not the foods that society says we ‘must have’ at this time of year. When you have done this throw out the rest or give it to charity. There will be enough of the usual Christmas treats at everyone else’s house so there will not be a shortage! 6) If you are out and about at other people’s houses and really don’t want to eat or drink anything else here are a few pointers that have really helped me and others: sit away from the treats, take one then say you’ve just eaten at home and are stuffed, or just truthfully say that food doesn’t make you feel too good afterwards! 7) If you enjoy making your own treats there are always healthier versions. In part 3 of this series I will be sharing with you recipes of well known treats that are far healthier than their shop based counterparts. These recipes were put together because I was sick of eating my favourite treats and feeling terrible the next day!! So with these recipes you can finally have your cake and eat it! A guilt free mince pie recipe I hear you ask??!!! Part 3 will contain exactly that and a few other crackers we’ve compiled…. Christmas. On your...

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Staying on track at Christmas Part 1

Posted by on 08-12-2013 in Christmas Tips | 0 comments

Staying on track at Christmas Part 1

FOR many people, Christmas time means one thing — the journey towards a leaner, healthier body goes out the window! Putting on fat, clothes getting tight and health issues getting worse (heartburn, skin flare ups, arthritis etc) are very common. Also, with parties, family coming round and a change of routine, Christmas can also provide a real emotional challenge, which takes its toll on health.     So to prove that it is possible to have a great time over Christmas without having to pay the price with your health, over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing: Practical tips on how to really enjoy Christmas without the ‘inevitable’ weight gain. Gorgeous and healthy recipes (so you can treat yourself and not feel guilty!) The best exercises to do that take less than 15 minutes and keep the weight down. So why does Christmas cause this ‘inevitable’ weight gain? Around Christmas time there are many social pressures that cause us to act in ways we wouldn’t normally or even want to! I used to dread going to friends’ houses at this time because I knew I would end up eating and drinking things I didn’t really want to. So instead of enjoying the time with my friends I was worrying about all the weight I was putting on! Ridiculous, isn’t it? Then one comment from a friend changed everything. I asked him if he wanted another drink and he said no. This surprised me a little as back then I was conditioned to think you ‘had to’ drink if you were out with friends. He said he was there to enjoy my company not to drink a lot. So I challenge you today (if you’re up for it) to take a step back this year and see the celebration for what it really is. I’m not here to tell you what to believe spiritually, as that is a very personal thing, but what celebrations can be, are times when people come together and you get an opportunity to spend time with those you don’t usually get the chance to (for the super busy this could also include some quality ‘me’ time!). Good food and drink is a fantastic part of celebration, and on Christmas day I’ll be eating more than most of you — and why not treat yourself now and again? But don’t feel pressured to behave in a way that you don’t want too, that can result in guilt, fat gain and stress. You are in control! And if someone makes a little comment or dig about your healthy lifestyle, instead of being negatively affected by it, celebrate — it shows you are making progress! Remember, the digs aren’t actually against you personally at all; it is a self preservation act from them, aiming to avoid the need to move out of their comfort zone. Next week we’ll look at practical tips to help enjoy Christmas without having to pile on the...

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Why is breakfast so important?

Posted by on 23-11-2013 in Nutrition | 0 comments

Why is breakfast so important?

MOST people have been told how important breakfast is, but why is that and does it matter what we have? First thing in the morning our bodies are getting ready for the day, so the first thing we put in our mouths is crucial. Ever reached mid morning and really felt the need for a quick pick me up like coffee, biscuits, chocolate etc? Eating a good quality breakfast will make you feel better throughout the day, feel fuller for longer, have more consistent energy levels, have better focus, and can really boost fat burning.     A friend of mine who doesn’t normally eat breakfast raised another worry that she would put on weight if she started because of the extra calories. However, eating first thing kick starts your metabolism so can actually get you better results long term. So what’s best to eat? To get all the benefits mentioned above, try to include protein of some kind in your meal. Examples could be poached eggs, fish, omelettes, beans, or yogurt with nuts and berries. This may sound odd as things like cereal and toast are so popular; but as my dad Papa Coates told me, it wasn’t long ago that kippers for breakfast was the norm! Also, many modern cereals and breads are so processed and high in sugar that this sets up the sugar roller coaster for the day, which is very hard to stop. It can result in our energy levels going up and down, increased fat storage, ADHD symptoms (very important for your kids in school), poor skin and the hankering for snacks! How to get started? Ever known what to do but then find it hard to keep up? I know I have, so here are a few tips that have helped me and dozens others get on the right road: 1. Plan your meals and make sure you have the ingredients in the house. Not all of us are at our best in the morning, so when starting something new make it as easy as possible for yourself by having everything there. 2. Throw out the food you used to eat and know will take you away from the results you want. I know this sounds crazy and wasteful but we are creatures of habit and any chance we have we always revert to type. This means if we come across any challenge in the morning, no matter how small it would be so easy to reach for the Special K or bread bin. If they’re not there they can’t do you damage! 3. Stick with the same meals initially to make it easy. Then if you want to mix it up make your meals interesting with seasoning, spices or homemade sauces. 4. If you really find it a struggle to change from cereal, break it down into steps by switching to porridge with organic oats, and then use almond or coconut milk, or even just change one breakfast a...

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The importance of eating natural foods

Posted by on 03-11-2013 in Nutrition | 0 comments

The importance of eating natural foods

DID you know that the human body creates two million new red blood cells every second? Technically, this gives you a new body every seven years! Just like you cannot build a house without bricks and cement, you cannot make new cells in your body without raw materials.     As you can imagine, these cells have to be made out of something. And yep, you guessed it — the food we eat provides the building blocks for the new cells we make every single day. So the old saying of you are what you eat is truer than you think. This is why the fuel we put into our bodies has such an impact on the way we feel and the way we look. Feel tired a lot? Don’t like how much you weigh? Your joints feel painful and skin doesn’t look how you want it to? For all these I’d look at what you’re eating, as believe it or not what we eat can impact each and every one of them. But for many people even the thought of changing our diet produces more stress than a driving test, and with so much conflicting evidence out there where do you start? The best starting point is with the number one rule of nutrition — eat food as close to its natural state as possible. Why is eating natural important? Every time food goes through a stage of processing, nutrients are lost. To make the food palatable, companies have to add things like sugar and preservatives. In some cases this is done to increase the shelf life of a product, and believe it or not, to get you addicted to their foods. Have you ever opened a pack of biscuits or crisps intending to just have one or two, then ten minutes later the whole pack has somehow miraculously disappeared? Unless the product is 100 per cent certified organic there is probably real science behind this. So don’t beat yourself up when you’ve just finished off another pack of custard creams, because a lot of money has been spent on making that happen! As we regularly discuss, the best way to make a change is with small and consistent steps. So here are some simple examples of how you can put this into practice: Natural Roast chicken Potato Steak Fresh fruit Few stages of processing Chicken from the deli Oven chips Shop-bought burgers Fruit juice Heavily processed Chicken nuggets Fries Fast-food burgers Juice from concentrate, fizzy drinks Action points: Aim to increase the amount of natural whole foods and reduce the amount of processed foods in your meals. Try it for three weeks and notice how you feel. Remember, you don’t have to make wholesale changes all at once. If your diet is mostly made up of heavily processed foods at the moment just aim to start eating a few foods which are a little less processed — like eating fruit instead of juice. Three reasons to avoid processed food: Digesting processed food drains your energy It increases the amount of toxins in your system And leads to putting on fat, bad skin and joint problems. We would love to know how you get on, tweet your comments to @AlphaPW...

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