Metabolism Movers

Some women seem to be blessed with a fast metabolism that allows them the pleasure of eating anything they want without putting on a pound!

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The good news is that if you are not blessed with a fast metabolism you do have the ability to speed it up. Yes, it’s true you can burn an extra 500 calories every day simply by making a few pain-free lifestyle swaps.

Here are a few metabolism hacks that you need to know…

  1. Always have a hearty breakfast: avoiding breakfast means that your metabolism goes into starvation mode and slows down.  Try to eat protein with complex carbohydrates like an omelette made with one egg and two egg whites, plus a handful of sliced mixed peppers and onions.
  2. Elevensies: According to research those who drink caffeinated drinks metabolise faster by increasing your heart rate and breathing. Try to make the most of this by having a glass of ice cold water.
  3. Lunchtime Workout: Swap a long haul on the treadmill for interval training. Do as many reps as you can of the first exercise in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat eight times. Rest for two minutes, and then do it again for the other two exercises. Got it?
  4. Diner Date: Pile your plate with protein and chase your meal with a cup of green tea.

With each passing decade, your metabolism slows down by about 5%. This is largely down to hormones and the typical drop in physical activity, which can cause a loss of muscle mass, a major calorie consumer. So make sure you work on the above to make sure you are doing everything you can to keep you metabolism moving as quickly as possible.

 

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Should you run after a night of drinking?

Most of us know how awful it feels to have a hangover. But should you grab your trainers and head out for a run when you’re suffering from too much alcohol?!

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The problem with mixing alcohol with running is that they are both dehydrating. It is crucial that you are well hydrated when you run. Alcohol is a diuretic meaning that it works on your kidneys to make you pee out more fluid than you are taking in. For every unit of alcohol you drink, you’ll lose 100ml of extra urine – two large glasses of wine containing four units is nearly half a litre of additional urine. The headache and dry mouth that you suffer with after drinking is a result of this dehydration.

Alcohol can also interfere with your blood sugar. Your liver breaks down the alcohol taking about an hour to deal with one unit. While it does this it is unable to effectively produce glucose so your blood sugar tends to be lower while alcohol is in your system. Your liver may still be working its way through your alcohol intake the day after you’ve drank. Lower blood glucose can make you less coordinated, reduce your concentration and slow reaction times which can make you more likely to get injured if you run. Your liver is also slower at clearing lactic acid, which can reduce your strength and increase your tiredness.

You cannot sweat out alcohol, contrary to popular opinion; this work has to be done by your liver. Fresh air and gentle exercise can help to clear your head and burn off excess alcohol calories, but you need to take it easy and be sensible. You will need to rehydrate as much as possible and eat before you run. Take a drink with you and don’t aim to do your hardest hill runs on a hangover day.

It doesn’t matter what you drink, it’s the amount of alcohol in your system that matters the most. If you can keep track of you units you’ll be able to work out how many excess units you’ll lose in excess urine. If you can, alternate between alcohol and water by ordering a pint of water with every drink. And make sure you have a large glass of water before you go to bed.

Running on a hangover risks dehydration, higher injury risks and reduces performance so make sensible choices. It’s the hangover or the hill runs!

Is it ok to have sugar after a workout?

45Many soft drinks are often referred to as ‘energising’, ‘refreshing’ or ‘hydrating’. They should really be called ‘weight-gaining’, ‘tooth-decaying’ or ‘health-disrupting’.

Products like ketchups, cereals and sweet treats are typically full of sugar. They can be hard to spot as they often appear in different guises (caramels, syrups, etc.).

They recommended amount of sugar we should have in our diet differs from country to country, but the most are around five teaspoons for women and nine for men. So how many are we having?!

The average can of coke has ten teaspoons; a can of Red Bull has seven teaspoons; a Vitamin Water has eight teaspoons and a sports can bottle has seven teaspoons. If you’re a female all of the above will push you over your daily recommended allowance.

There was a time when fat was blamed for globally increasing waistlines and too much saturated fat, but sugar now takes the centre stage. This is because you primarily because the body struggles to cope if you continue to overtax the pancreas (which is employed to keep the blood glucose levels within safe limits) and body cells (which overtime get tired of opening the gates to let yet more sugar in). Insulin sensitivity then develops which normally leads to weight gain and can lead to insulin resistance or an increased risk of type II diabetes.

Many innocently assume that swapping full sugar soft drinks for ‘diet’ versions is the answer but the body doesn’t see it that way. Artificial sweeteners do nothing to dull your cravings for more sugar. Plus they still promote the insulin spikes that require the pancreas to work overtime!

If you train regularly try to swap your sports drinks for a banana, which provides vitamins, minerals, and fibre – and drink water!

August Recipe: Skinny Golden Mojito

djdIt’s time to make the most of the long summer nights before they begin to draw back in and Christmas crops up out of nowhere! August meals should be al fresco! Why not enjoy delicate scallops, with barbecued sea bass or homemade burgers with fresh sweetcorn? Whatever you decide to enjoy this summer make sure you try this delicious cocktail recipe for a skinny golden mojito.

 

Ingredients

  • 8 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 wedges fresh lime
  • 2 tsp agave syrup
  • 25ml/1fl oz golden rum
  • Sparkling water, to top up
  • Fresh mint sprig, to garnish

Method

  • Place the mint leaves, lime wedges and agave syrup into a cocktail shaker and crush with the end of a rolling pin.
  • Add the golden rum and a handful of ice and shake hard.
  • Strain the cocktail into a highball glass, top with sparkling water and garnish with the mint sprig.

Running the right way

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Running is a simple sport, but there are a few ways to do it that are better than other ways…Good running technique is important as it will reduce your risk of injury and make it more enjoyable.

Make sure you keep your head straight and avoid looking down at your feet. Looking down will create tension in your neck and shoulders. This will help to prevent you from hunching your shoulders, which should be back and down. Keep them relaxed and avoid tensing them as this restricts breathing, allowing less oxygen to get to the muscles.

It can be difficult to relax your hands but this is an important task; keep your arms at 90 degrees.  Try to swing your arms forward and back, not across your body. The arm movement helps to propel you forward, so swinging them sideways is a waste of energy.

This sounds silly, but if you can lean forward while running. Experts advise that leaning forward a bit while running can reduce heel strike and help you land on the middle of your foot. Trust me this makes all of the difference to your feet! To increase the chances of happy feet, try to keep your hips stable to prevent lower back pain.

Always land with a slight bend in the knee to absorb the impact of running on hard surfaces; your knees should be lifting forwards rather than upwards. Landing on the middle of your foot is the safest way to land for most recreational runners. Avoid striking the ground with your heel or your forefoot first. Your foot should land below your hips – not out in front of you. And don’t hit the ground heavily, instead aim for short light steps. Good running is light and quiet. Whatever your weight, your feet should not slap loudly as they hit the ground. Light steps are more efficient and cause less stress to the body.

Oh and don’t forget to breathe deeply and rhythmically through your nose or mouth. Avoid shallow and quick breaths and take one breath for every two strides.

The most outlandish food health claims

I recently came across this article on The Guardian and wanted to share it because it is so fantastic that we believe some of the below claims that are often created by marketers! Have you come across any food claims like the below? Did you fall into the trap and believe any of these claims?

Advert for Coca-colaCoca-Cola to cure impotence

Fizzy drinks might now be considered the root of all evil, but when Coca-Cola was created by American pharmacist John Pemberton in the late 19th century, it was said to cure morphine addiction, dyspepsia, and headaches – even impotence. Cola, wrote Pemberton, was “a most wonderful invigorator of sexual organs”. Adverts described it as the “ideal brain tonic”. It is fairly well-known now, of course, that drinkers may have felt a certain buzz, as the cola leaf used in early versions yielded traces of cocaine, which weren’t eliminated until the turn of the century.

 

 

 

Guinness is good for youGuinness advert

When this famous ad was introduced in 1931, it was reported that enjoying a pint of stout a day promoted strength, aided digestion and relieved sleeplessness. Since Guinness contains iron, it was fed to post-operative patients, blood donors and, on occasion, pregnant women. In fact, while Guinness is high in flavonoids, which can reduce the risk of heart attack from blood clotting, the iron content is relatively low. You’d have to drink a reported three pints to get the same amount provided by an egg yolk.

 

Mars advertA Mars a day helps you work, rest and play

Often wrongly attributed to racing commentator and ad man Murray Walker, the original “A Mars a day …” slogan was first used in the UK in 1960, appearing in print well into the 90s. With 229 calories and 30.4g of sugar a bar, it is hard to imagine the ad getting past health authorities today. A modified version of the slogan – “Work, rest, play” – was introduced in 2008.

Sugar as a diet aid Advert for sugar

In the 50s, America’s Sugar Association took out a series of ads arguing that sugar could help dieters lose weight. How? By sating the appetite “faster than any other food” and keeping diners “satisfied on less”. Today’s research suggests precisely the opposite: in the form of fructose, sugar may actually stimulate the appetite.

 

 

 

McDonald's advertGet your protein needs from McDonald’s

Eggs, chicken, salmon – all fantastic sources of protein. But a Big Mac, milkshake and fries? Yes, according to this Australian ad, apparently from the 80s. A similar campaign claimed that “not only are McDonald’s meals good to eat, they’re good for you”. Judging by this advice given to the company’s own employees late last year, their definition of “good for you” has changed somewhat.

 

 

 

Cheat death with pomegranate juice Pomegranate juice advert

Want to live longer? Then buy some pomegranate juice. That appeared to be the implication of POM Wonderful’s notorious ‘Cheat Death’ campaign. The Advertising Standards Authority duly slapped it down.

Today, you can buy “low-calorie” Skinny Water at supermarkets – a confusing prospect for those of us who thought all water was calorie-free– and, until a few years ago, sugar-laden breakfast cereals were being sold as a way to improve attentiveness and bolster the immune system. All of which goes to show that miracle claims are far from a thing of the past.

 

AFTER RUN MISTAKES

Just finished a good run? What do you do now? Some people head straight for the shower and others tuck into a meal. Check out this list of the worst things you can do after your run to make sure you’re not making any mistakes.

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1)            REFLECT: Immediately after your run you want to take time to consider how your run went. The Nike+ running app is good for encouraging you to do this as it tell you your average pace and asks how you felt during your run. It is important to monitor your progress so you can see if your stamina and strength is improving each time you run. The more attention and mind-space you give to your running sessions the more you’ll get out of them.

2)            DON’T OVERINDULGE: Every runner needs to refuel after a run and you should aim to eat a decent meal that contains slow release carbohydrates and protein within two hours of finishing your run.  Please don’t reach for cakes and chocolate, as that will not aid in your bodies recovery.  Remember that a 30 minute training session will not burn off the calorie equivalent of a typical 45g chocolate bar – so put it down!

3)            GO EASY: If you had a difficult run – you could not manage the hill sections or your pace was slower than you had hoped – don’t give up! There are bound to be set backs in your runs from time to time. You may be recovering from an injury and this can hold you back. You need to stay motivated and take every day as it comes….and more importantly enjoy every run on its own merit.

4)            DON’T JUMP IN A BATH: Jumping in a relaxing hot bath might sound like the dream after a long run, but this will not do your muscles any favours. The best way to relieve your muscles and aid recovery after your run is to use a combination of ice treatments and heat treatments. First use ice to reduce any soreness and swelling. You can either fill a bath with ice cubes and cold water or apply a bag of peas or an ice pack onto the aching muscles. Once the pain has subsided after a few days of ice and rest you can then use heat to help relieve muscle pain, either through bath, or by using heat treatments.

Image via weheartit.com/ena_domazet

Why I am tired?!

A quick snooze has more benefit than just reducing your dark circles – it gives your brain time to refresh.  It’s time to start focusing on how to get more sleep…

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A recent study shows that the brain’s unique method of cleansing itself – known as the glymphatic system – is highly active during sleep, clearing away toxins that would otherwise build up and trigger neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

If you still don’t feel refreshed after a long night’s sleep the following things could be getting in the way of your dreams:

YOU’RE DEHYDRATED

The amount of fluid needed depends on the individual, but you should aim to go to the toilet at least three times a day. Between six and eight glasses of water-based drinks – including tea and coffee – a day are recommended.

ALCOHOL

More than half of us reach for a glass of vino between three to four times per week to relax after a hectic day. While alcohol relaxes you initially, it can compromise your sleep quality – even if you are getting the recommended 7-8 hours. The chemicals in alcohol disrupt your sleep cycle, preventing you from entering deep sleep.

SLEEP APNEA

The disorder affects 3-7% of the population. Sufferers wake up because they stop breathing anywhere from five times to hundreds of times an hour. Sounds scarier than it us but you’ll sleep for longer because your sleep quality is compromised. Snoring, being overweight, and waking up with a headache – caused by a nocturnal lack of oxygen – are all symptoms of sleep apnea. Speak to your doctor if they sound familiar.

SIESTA

A nap can take the edge off an afternoon slump – how do you have time for naps?! – But the duration of your downtime is crucial. It has been clinically proven that taking a nap for up to 30 minutes is revitalising, but any longer than that and you’ll end up in a REM cycle for an hour. Waking mid-cycle can leave you feeling groggy so if you want to nap for longer, have one lasting 90 minutes.

Picnic Ideas

Now that summer’s here it’s time to load up your picnic basket and enjoy some alfresco eating. Try these healthy and delicious recipes >

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Summer Frittatas: This protein-rich meal is full of colour and flavour.

Ingredients
350g sweet potato, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
125g fresh or frozen peas
7 medium eggs
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp snipped chives
Freshly ground black pepper, to serve

Method
1. Cook the sweet potato in a pan of boiling water for eight minutes until just tender. Drain.

2. Heat half the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion with the sweet potato and red peppers for five to six minutes. Add the peas and cook for one minute more.

3. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, pour in the vegetables and mix well. Season and stir in the herbs.

4. Heat the remaining oil in the same frying pan and pour the egg and vegetables back into the pan.

5. Cook over a low heat for 15-18 minutes, until the bottom of the frittata is golden. Meanwhile, preheat the grill to hot.

6. Finish cooking under the grill for six to eight minutes, until golden on top. Leave the frittata to stand for a minute, then run a knife around the edge of the pan, place a plate or board on top and turn over to remove from the pan. Cut into wedges to serve hot or cold.

Red Cabbage, Orange & Cashew Salad Recipe: a refreshing salad that is full of crunch and a delightful citrus flavour

Ingredients
1 tbsp cashew nuts
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 large orange, segmented
¼ small red cabbage, shredded
2 small carrots, peeled and grated
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method
1. Toast the cashew nuts and cumin seeds for two minutes, then remove them from the heat.

2. Toss together all of the ingredients and leave them to stand for 10 minutes at room temperature before serving, to allow the flavours to develop.

Spinach, mushroom and ricotta quiche with sautéed spinach: Cook this vegetarian quiche for a special picnic.

Ingredients
For the quiche
butter, for greasing
400g ready-made shortcrust pastry
350g flat mushrooms
3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
400g baby spinach leaves
freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
250g ricotta cheese
1 tbsp grainy mustard
3 free-range egg yolks
300ml double cream
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the spinach
25g butter
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed
500g baby spinach leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method
1. Preheat the oven to Gas 4 and grease a 25cm/10in loose-bottomed tart tin with butter.

2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to line the tart tin. Cover with cling film and place into the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

3.Remove the pastry tart case from the fridge, cover with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Transfer to the oven and bake blind for 10-15 minutes.

4. Remove the beans and greaseproof paper and return the tart case to the oven to bake for a further 3-5 minutes, until golden and just cooked.

5. Turn the oven temperature up to Gas 6. Meanwhile, place the mushrooms onto a baking tray, sprinkle over the thyme, drizzle over one tablespoon of the olive oil and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place into the oven to bake for 5-6 minutes, or until the mushrooms are beginning to soften. Remove and set aside.

6. Heat a large frying pan until hot and add the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil and the spinach and cover with a lid. Cook until the spinach has just wilted, then remove from the pan and drain.

7. Season the spinach well with freshly grated nutmeg and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

8. Place the ricotta into a bowl. Add the grainy mustard, season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.

9. Spoon the mustard and ricotta mixture into the bottom of the tart case, top with the wilted spinach, and carefully place the roasted mushrooms on top.

10. Place the egg yolks and cream into a bowl, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and whisk together. Pour the egg mixture into the tart case.

11. Transfer to the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbling. Remove and cool slightly before serving.

12. For the sautéed spinach, heat a frying pan until hot. Add the butter and swirl the garlic clove around to flavour the oil.

13. Remove the garlic clove, add the spinach and sauté until wilted down. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

14. To serve, cut slices of quiche and place onto plates with a spoonful of sautéed spinach alongside.

Image via: http://www.apacolorado.org/content/epp-annual-picnic-save-date

Summer Skincare

With the heat of the sun beaming down it is important to take care of your skin in the summer months.

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Stay safe in the sunshine with the following tips…

1. Cover up

Make sure that you cover up in the midday sun with a stylish hat and good quality sunglasses. Getting sunburned will increase your susceptibility to skin cancer in later life. Who wants to look like a lobster?! Sun creams do protect you from getting burnt but they don’t protect you from the suns damaging effects – so cover up to protect yourself from UV.

2. Know yourself…

Check for any new moles and take note of existing moles that are darkly pigmented, change in colour and/or size, have an irregular outline and itch, bleed or crust. If you are unsure or concerned that you may have one or more of these symptoms, visit your GP.

3. Know your chemical sunscreens from your mineral sunscreens

There are two main types of sun cream: chemical and mineral. The main difference is that chemical sun care products need to be applied 20 minutes before sun exposure while mineral sun creams work right away. That’s because mineral sun creams form a protective barrier on top of the skin while chemical sun creams contain UV filtering ingredients that need to be absorbed.

4. Reapply sunscreen regularly

Apply liberally and evenly every four hours and each time you get out of the water. Don’t forget commonly missed areas like your ears, under your chin and the soles of your feet. Alternatively, if you don’t want to be slapping sun cream on every couple of hours try a long lasting lotion. Most are non-greasy and sweat/water resistant.

5. High-tech sunscreen?!

If you would like something a little fancier, try Gel Cream Colour SPF 50, which offers advanced protection both on the skin and from within. It is the only UV protection to contain Fernblock Photoimmunoprotection Technology – a plant extract clinically-proven to protect skin from damaging effects of sun exposure.

6. Eat a skin-boosting diet

A good diet with plenty of fruit and veg will boost antioxidant levels in your body to help strengthen skin so it can cope better with the sun.

7. Don’t get me wrong…

While it is really important to make sure that you protect your skin from harmful sun exposure, your body actually needs some direct exposure to the sun. Around 50% of adults in the UK have low levels of vitamin D which could be solved by 20-30 mins of sun exposure up to three times a week. It’ll make you feel happier too!