Vitamin C Recipes: 7 Fresh and Healthy Options

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential throughout the winter, as well as the summer, spring and autumn, to support good health year-round. It is an enormously important vitamin. It is an antioxidant, protecting cells against free radicals, which may contribute to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vitamin C also has antiviral properties with a particularly vital role in warding off colds. Did you know that because lemons are high in vitamin C they can prevent the disease scurvy which was common among sailors stuck on ships for months? Even today, the British Navy requires ships to carry enough lemons so that every sailor can have one ounce of juice a day.

The health benefits of the vitamins, also found in lime, orange, passion fruit and grapefruit include weight loss, skin care, improved digestion, relief from constipation, eye care, and treatment of scurvy, piles, peptic ulcer, respiratory disorders, gout, gums and urinary disorders.

Finally, ruby grapefruit has a huge additional nutritional bonus in lycopene, which gives the ruby red its distinctive colour. A member of the carotenoid family of plant-based pigments, lycopene is a powerful antioxidant in its own right. Antioxidants fight the free radicals believed to be responsible for disease and age-related cell damage.

The recipes below are delicious and moreover, all these recipes are contain citrus fruits with plenty of vitamin C. So tuck in and brighten up your health this winter.

Greek Lemon Delight

This light, fresh and fruity dessert is perfect all year round. The fat-free Greek yoghurt makes it a option healthier.

Ingredients

300ml 0% Greek yoghurt

A few drops of Stevia to taste

50ml white wine

Zest and juice from ½ lemon

A handful of blueberries, to serve

Method

Whip the yoghurt and Stevia together until well mixed. Stir in the wine, most of the lemon zest and the juice. Spoon into glasses or bowls, sprinkle with the remaining zest and serve with blueberries scattered over each portion.

Lime and Coriander Rice

When you want a delicious side dish with a zesty kick, try this fabulous rice recipe. You add the lime after cooking so the Vitamin C content remains intact.

Ingredients

300g basmati rice

3 tbsp fresh chopped coriander

2 limes, zest and juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Dash of olive oil

Method

Cook the rice according to the packet instructions and then stir in the coriander, lime zest and juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper and olive oil. Spoon into a bowl and serve.

Kiwi, Lime and Mint cooler

Ingredients

125ml boiling water

4 gold and 4 green kiwi fruit

80ml lime juice (from 3-4 limes)

A handful of mint leaves

10 ice cubes

250ml sparkling wine or water

A few drops of Stevia Clear to taste

Method

In a large jug, add the Stevia to in 125ml of water, then place in the fridge to chill. Peel and roughly chop 4 gold and 4 green kiwi fruit, then blend until smooth with the cooled syrup, lime juice, mint leaves and ice cubes. Pour into a jug and top up with the sparkling wine or water. Serve with extra mint.

Passion Fruit and Mango Sorbet

This light sorbet makes a perfect pudding and shows off the very best of passion fruit, with plenty of mango to men you need no added sugar.

Ingredients

1 cup mango and orange juice

12 passion fruit, pulp only

1 cup diced mango

2 egg whites

Method

  1. Combine the juice, passion fruit pulp and diced mangoes into a freezer-safe container. Freeze for an hour.
  2. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the fruit mixture. Freeze for another hour.
  3. Mix the sorbet, and return to the freezer until desired consistency has been reached.

Passion Fruit Party Sticks

Try these tasty fruity treats, ideal for a refreshing taste of summer during the winter months.

Ingredients

100g orange segments, halved

100g kiwi chunks

100g pineapple chunks

100g strawberries, halved

100g black grapes

For the drizzle

Juice 2 limes

4 ripe passion fruits, halved with the seeds scraped out.

  1. Mix the drizzle in a small bowl. If you want the sauce to be smooth, pass it through a sieve to remove the seeds, or leave them in if you prefer.
  2. Skewer the fruits onto wooden skewers and drizzle half the sauce on top. Put the skewers in the freezer for 45 mins, until just starting to freeze. Serve with the leftover drizzle.

Salmon and Chickpea Citrus Salad

½ pink grapefruit, peeled and segmented

1 lemon, juice only

1 lime, juice only

½ tsp caster sugar

salt, to taste

4 tbsp olive oil

For the salad

A handful butterhead lettuce, roughly torn

4 tbsp cooked tinned chickpeas

100g/2oz cooked salmon, flaked

1 tbsp fresh chervil leaves

1 red onion, sliced

Method

Mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl. Pile the salad leaves on a plate, pile on the salmon, scatter over chickpeas and slices of red onion, then the dressing.

Orange, Pomegranate, Walnut and Rocket Salad

This is a truly delicious vegetarian salad, bursting with vitamin C thanks to the fresh orange and pomegranate. Plenty more nutrients in the walnuts and rocket too: walnuts contain omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid unique and powerful antioxidants, plus vitamin E, folate and melatonin, whilst rocket is full of vitamin A, calcium, magnesium and more vitamin C.

Ingredients

2 large ripe oranges

1 pomegramate

100g rocket

1 handful of walnuts, shelled and halved

Olive oil

  1. Peel and segment the orange, removing all skin and pith. Break segments into pieces.
  2. Cut the pomegranate in half and tap out the seeds by bashing each half with a wooden spoon.
  3. Lay the rocket in a large bowl. Scatter over pomegranate seeds, the orange pieces and the walnuts.
  4. Drizzle with olive oil, season and serve.

Olive oil

Vitamin C: Stay Healthy Through 2016

To make sure you enjoy some of the most nutritious treats all year long, eat plenty of the most Vitamin C rich foods.

Vegetables that are high in Vitamin C are:

Bok Choy, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, Green Pepper, Kale, Rocket, Swiss Chard.

Fruits that are high in vitamin C are:

Blackcurrants, Breadfruit, Grapefruit, Guava, Kiwi, Lemon, Lime, Lychee, Mango, Mulberries, Orange, Papaya, Passion fruit, Pineapple, Strawberries.

These delicious, nutrient-rich foods will keep you brimming with energy and vitality, so tuck in and max out on your Vit C!

Matcha: 7 Fab Superfood Recipes

Matcha

It’s hot, it’s hip and it’s here: matcha is the Japanese powdered green tea that is ten times stronger than the standard green tea which the world has raved about for years. Matcha is chock full of detoxifying antioxidants and nutrients that boost the metabolism, energy and general well-being, plus vitamins and minerals help to prevent cancer, lower cholesterol and blood sugar and assist with weight loss. It really is a jolly green giant of a super food.

So: how did it suddenly come to our collective attention? Well, it was first discovered by Buddhist monks who were keen to stay more alert as they meditated. It was believed to increase the powers of concentration and modern-day fans feel that it does this without giving fans of matcha the jitters. Plus, it’s thought to be approximately ten times more potent than regular brewed green tea. Little wonder it is becoming as cool (or should that be hot) as coffee used to be on the achingly hip and health-conscious Californian scene. Moreover, the A list are becoming huge fans: Gwyneth Paltrow and Kylie Jenner are said to be enormous fans: in fact, check out

Paltrow’s lifestyle website Goop and you will find recommendations for matcha recipes and cool places to try it.

Tempted to try matcha for yourself? Here are 10 ways which you can enjoy this great, green superfood.

1. Drink as Matcha Tea

If you try a beverage such as EatClean Tea, which costs £18.85 for a 30-day supply, then you can benefit from a high quality, highly antioxidant, detoxifying drink which contains the nutritional equivalent ten cups of normal green tea. You can buy from the EatClean Tea website.

An equally good option is Steenbergs’ Matcha Tea, which costs £16.75 for a 30g tin. This organic drink is grown in the Nishio area of Japan, where much matcha has been drunk for eons. Buy your matcha in stay-fresh cans for a longer lasting deliciousness.

2. Try Matcha Hot Chocolate

Steenbergs also hand-blend an organic Matcha Hot Chocolate, to give a delectably different twist on a healthy hot drink. It costs £5.50 for 180g; you could serve it as a luxe indulgence that is sure to be a talking point at any tea table.

3. Tuck into Matcha Porridge

Love porridge? Want an even more health-conscious new option that is readily available on the high street? Popular chain Eat has introduced Matcha Porridge with blueberries and honey to its menu and at least some of the Qooton team have made it their new favourite breakfast!

4. Catcha Matcha Latte

Ever tried a matcha latte? If not, you’re in for a first-class antioxidant treat. Farm Girl in Portabello, London serve matcha lattes which cost £3.60 per serving. Also, independent Japanese café and deli called Tombo in Kensington serves green and matcha teas from the foothills of Mt. Fuji. They offer their own wonderful Matcha Latte Mix, which costs £3.60 per serving and it is a sweet, refreshing blend that many regulars love.

The Good Life Eatery in Chelsea also has a matcha latte on their menu and this superb outlet has got really ingenious with their offering, which can be enjoyed hot or over ice, not to mention with a choice of almond, or soy or regular milk.

5. Matcha Raspberry Smoothie

Take your antioxidant levels into overdrive, thanks to a super-healthy boost from this treat which features the bright sweetness of raspberries. So easy to make, try it at home – it’s especially good if you are trying to adjust to the unusual taste of matcha and want a little extra fruitiness.

Ingredients

1/4 cup raspberries. Frozen are just fine and will cool your smoothie right down too!

1/2 cup natural yoghurt

1/2 cup ice

1 tsp high quality matcha

Blend ingredients together in a blender until smooth and creamy. Pour your smoothie into a long tall glass and drink immediately.

6. Tropical Matcha Breakfast Bowl

½ cup reduced fat Greek yogurt

2 tsps high quality matcha

½ kiwi, sliced

½ juicy orange

¼ mango, in cubes

A good sprinkle of flax and chia seeds

A drizzle of premium honey

Sift the matcha powder over yoghurt and blend well. Then add berries and seeds and drizzle honey over the top. I always recommend organic berries when possible. This is a simple, nourishing breakfast which is rich in antioxidants and nutrients.

7. Simply Sprinkle

Of course, there are many other ways you can enjoy all the goodness of matcha if you give your favorite salads and dressings half a teaspoon or so of powder. Sprinkle and toss or blend and you’re good to go!

Simply Sprinkle

The Many Benefits of Matcha

So, there you have it: a large handful of ways in which you can enjoy the many benefits of matcha. In fact, here is a handy overview of the nutrients and superb health properties of this green wonder-powder:

Matcha has been discovered to be crammed with antioxidants including the powerful EGCg. EGCg appears to have powerful antioxidant effects against free radicals which can damage healthy cells and cause cancer as a result.

It can boost your metabolism and by doing so it helps to burn off calories

It provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium

It’s rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins

It can effectively detoxify the system, without the harsh effects of some cleansers… and it is 100% natural so it will have no negative effects on delicate constitutions. In other words, it will freshen and cleanse you without any side effects.

It has been shown to calm the mind and relax the body considerably

It reduces the presence of bad cholesterol and lowers the blood sugar to safer levels

Even moderate quantities can greatly enhance the mood, stimulate the mind and help with concentration

Research has shown that, if taken in sufficient quantities over a period of time, matcha may help to prevent serious, or even terminal diseases, such as cancer.

Dental trials have found instances where it has also strengthened tooth enamel…

…so, are you ready to give your taste buds and your health a treat? However you sample it, whichever recipes you try, matcha is sure to give you a tantalizing boost, morning or night. Bottoms up!

Survived Blue Monday? Stay Happy in 2017

Blue Monday

You see? It wasn’t so bad. You clearly survived Blue Monday which, due to the grey weather, post-Christmas skintness and general lack of cheer is supposed to be the worst day of the year. If you can get through that in one piece, then you should be just fine for the rest of the year, trust us! But to help bolster you through the harder days here are 10 top tips to help you stay happy in 2017:

1. Try to Think Positive

This tip always sound hard if you are feeling blue, but you really can think your way into a better frame of mind in many instances. If your job’s awful, think about the fantastic new one you can start working towards securing. If you are concerned about your health, think of ways that you can start an uplifting new regime. If you are simply worried about the state of the world in general, start thinking of changes you can make which will make it a better place. Read on for more ways to think yourself feel better and stay happy…

2.  Enjoy Some Exercise

Do take regular aerobic exercise and it will do you the world of good. Anything that gets you moving and that you really enjoy — walking, running, dancing, swimming, trampolining, cycling— will ensure that your body is flooded with happy hormones, endorphins, will help you burn off stress and leave you feeling calmer. Not to mention all the absolute brilliant toning, calorie-burning, fat-busting things exercise can do for your body, which will help you stay happy all over!

3. Eat Right, Day and Night

It is incredibly important that you eat the right things to help you stay happy. Filling yourself up with cheap, starchy, sugary rubbish might make you feel a rush or sated for a minute or two, but the cash will inevitably follow and in the longer term this way of eating will do you a lot of harm. The great new is, that if you eat foods that genuinely help you to stay happy in your body, mind and soul, then you will not only benefit hugely, but you can normally eat more of them too! Have fun discovering healthy recipes here on Qooton – full of fresh vegetables, fruits, fiber and super foods and eat well all year long.

4. Come into the Light

If you feel a little blue at present, regardless of what day it might be, it could be that you are not getting enough natural light. Natural daylight and bright sunlight help to stabilize the levels of serotonin and can trigger beneficial endorphin, both of which are key hormones when it comes to boosting the mood.

Never forget: we are animals with primal responses and it can be vital to satisfy some of these needs if we are going to stay happy. Try to get outside into the open air for at least ten minutes each day. Our grandparents may have talked about “blowing the cobwebs off” with a bit of fresh air and the truth is… it really does work! Go into the light and feel revitalized and reinvigorate.

Stay Happy Keep Learning

If you’re worried that you are falling behind in terms of your skills and education, then you are sure to find it harder to stay happier. The key to a better, more rewarding life is to make sure that you keep on re-skilling yourself: keep on learning.

One great way to do this is to identify an area of particular interest and then to take a course in it. This may seem prohibitive as it is an expensive undertaking for many people, but the fabulous news is that there are a number of exceptionally good value deals out there for courses, especially at this time of year. Whether you want to further your knowledge of a particular business discipline, or whether you want to learn new skills in order to obtain your new dream job, there is something for you, possibly at a bargain price and without leaving the comfort of your own lovely home: try looking at Group Online Courses for starter.

Stay Happy

Smile More, Every Day

You know exactly how the song goes:

Smile though your heart is aching

Smile even though its breaking

When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by

So, in other words… smile. Whenever you smile, your brain receives a huge payload of feel-good chemicals and your body relaxes enormously, so much so that your blood pressure may even be lowered. What’s more, if you smile you will make other people smile and so it goes, on and on, until the world is a happier place and better able to stay happy.

But, you have to ask, what exactly should you be smiling at? Well… if you can conjure up a merry face at the thought of a baby’s gurgle or perfect symphony, try more personal inspiration. What do you have to be happy about today. Maybe you woke up full of energy and health, or your children are in a great mood or simply maybe because you have enough money to buy some ingredients for a nice dinner. It is good to be grateful: it makes you feel optimistic and more likely to smile. If that doesn’t work and if you are feeling to tired, blue and immune to the blessing is your life, try volunteering – spend time at a homeless shelter, hostel or old people’s home. As well as helping out, you may be tempted to smile to encourage those who are far worse off. Moreover, you’ll smile even more because you will be feeling both grateful for your own relatively happy circumstances and very good indeed! But more than that you will smile because it is good just to give, for its own sake.

Stay Happy… All Year Long

So, there you go, a number of key ways in which you can stay happy from now until the next New Year and far beyond. If you feel the shadows of the blues creeping in once again, simply give yourself a ‘happiness review’ and look at what you can change for the better. Keep checking back to Qooton.com for more ideas to help you stay happy – we’re here to put a big smile on your face, after all!

Dry January? Enjoy Mocktail Hour!

Are you doing a dry January in 2016? How’s it going? Hopefully by undertaking a month without alcohol you are cleansing your system and feeling much lighter, brighter and more full of energy. Nice work! In fact, if you are one of the growing dry January devotees, you don’t have to completely deny yourself a liquid treat. It could be high time for you to enjoy an alcohol-free cocktail, or mocktail hour.

Why not try out a ‘virgin’ drink or mocktail from the tasty selection below. All of our delicious drinks are ideal if you are entertaining and would like to offer more than straight orange juice. Amounts are stated but you can vary to taste, depending on whether you prefer a sweeter or dryer drink. As long as there’s no alcohol involved, pour with a free hand!

Gin-free Slim

In the mix – Good quality tonic water, a generous twist of fresh lemon or lime, plenty of ice

This delicious twist on a cocktail classic can be deceptively satisfying when you make it with regular tonic water. Enjoy lighter version that tastes every bit as good, just by substituting regular tonic for a slim line version, or even a plain soda if you prefer. It is also a good mocktail to enjoy if you would like a discreet alternative to a GT. Refreshing and delicious.

Ginger Zinger

In the mix – Pineapple juice, ginger cordial, sparkling water, fresh lime juice

When you want a juicy drink with a kick but without the alcohol, this is a winner. Take a long slim glass, put in some ice cubes and fill it one third of the way with pineapple juice. Add a capful of ginger cordial, a generous squeeze of lime, then top up with sparkling water. This makes a refreshing and somewhat exotic, entirely alcohol-free mocktail.

Bellissimo

In the mix – Peach juice, alcohol-free Prosecco

Like a Bellini, but better! The trick with this delicious cocktail is to make careful choices with the two vital ingredients. Go for the best quality, sparkling no-alcohol white wine that you can afford. Also, do not be tricked into buying a heavy, syrupy peach nectar or anything artificial. A great organic peach juice will be perfect – then just mix the drink with half and half of each for the perfect taste of summer wrapped up in one delicate, delectable mocktail.

Sour Apple and Cherry Mocktini

In the mix – Good quality sour mix, apple juice, cherry sparkling mineral water, crushed ice

This tangy treat is perfect for when you would like a zingy lift in the middle of the winter. Simple mix 2.5 oz sour mix with an ounce of apple juice – go for the most sour and refresh-tasting juice you can find, and the same again of cherry juice, serve over crushed ice for a fantastic alcohol-free mocktail treat.

Pure Sea Breeze

In the mix – Grapefruit juice (try ruby grapefruit if you like it sweeter), cranberry juice, sparkling water

No, it’s not a weather report, just another delicious mocktail which won’t sabotage your Dry January. A long glass, half full with ice, a touch of grapefruit juice, half as much of natural cranberry juice, all topped up with sparkling water. Simply perfect.

Skinny Berry Daiquiri

In the mix – Raspberries, strawberries or blackberries or all three mixed, honey, sparkling water, lime juice.

Take a cup of fresh or frozen berries – as long as they are completely natural and unsweetened. Then just through them into the blender with a splash of the water, and some ice. Really good quality berries need no extra sweetening although you may be tempted to a quarter-teaspoon of honey for greater depth of flavor. Then, just squeeze over some lime and serve. This makes a lovely bright mocktail which is cool and bursting with berry flavors.

Virgin Colada

In the mix – Coconut water, coconut cream, ripe pineapple flesh and juice, ice

Forget the fatty, creamy version of this beach holiday favorite. Using no alcohol, natural coconut water and cream is delicious and can cut lots of calories when compared to a regular piña colada. Fresh pineapple, as long as it is ripe and juicy, will add both fiber and fruity flavor. Just blend half coconut water and pineapple juice, add a heaped teaspoon of coconut cream and pineapple flesh, a touch of ice and stir well. Utterly delicious and indulgent-tasting.

Virgin Colada

Mocktail Mojito

In the mix – Mint, lime, Stevia or sugar, sparkling water

If made with Stevia, the all-natural sugar substitute, you will find this light, refreshing mocktail to be very low in calories. Of course, you would be better off without the sugar, but you are already going with the calorific article, so if your tastes demand it, keep some perspective and have 1 teaspoon.

Watermelon Fizz

In the mix – Watermelon, ginger ale, lime juice

Puree some water melon and place into a glass, reserving some cubes for decoration. Pour in 2 tablespoons lime juice and top up with ginger ale. It is a pretty interesting, tasty and different drink and great for celebrating with friends.

There you are a great selection of drinks to enjoy which won’t break your healthy resolution to enjoy Dry January. Naturally, they are perfect for enjoying all year long, including times when you’re the designated driver, want a lower calorie option or just don’t fancy the hard stuff at parties and on nights out. In addition to these exciting mocktails, you can of course simply keep drinking plenty of good old water, fresh juices in moderation, a tea, or coffee or matcha drink or two and you will easily be able to stay teetotal for the rest of the month – in fact, it will probably fly by! Keep going, stay booze-free and try making up your own favorite alcohol-free cocktail or throwing a mocktail party whenever you fancy – your body will only thank you for it. Cheers!

Exercise Don’t Hibernate!

Exercise

Exercise well this winter, don’t stay shut away indoors watching films, over-eating and feeling shut in all day long – not for more than just a few festive days anyway. As the New Year approaches it is a perfect time to seize the opportunity to plan some winter exercise and start to look forward to a fitter shapelier 2016. Read on to discover the best antidotes to total hibernation this winter…

Enjoy Huge Health Benefits

Exercise offers an incredible range of benefits for the body, mind and soul:

It increases the lean muscle that eats up fat and glucose

It helps to shift unwanted fat

It increases your metabolism

It helps to reduce your waistline

It reduces your risk of getting diabetes and heart disease

It increases your feel-good serotonin levels in the brain

It can help with depression

It can reduce your stress levels

It can reduce your blood pressure

It makes your heart stronger

It reduces your cholesterol

It increases your circulation

It triggers the production of enzymes which remove bad LDL cholesterol

It increases the size of proteins to stop bad LDL clogging arteries

It makes bones and joints and stronger and more flexible, making us less likely to get arthritis and osteoporosis

It aids digestion

It improves our overall appearance.

Overcome Your Own Excuses

If you are the sort of person who will come up with lots of reasons why thy ‘can’t’ exercise in winter, then you are far from alone. But really, where there’s a will… Don’t dismiss exercise and an option because of the weather; be realistic. If you are cold to start off with, you won’t go out in the cold. Cold can immobilize, so make sure you are warm to start off with. You won’t venture out if you are already too chilly. Dress warmly and strip off layers, then simply carry them when warm. In the snow…walking or trudging is good as it is harder work and you do get puffed. Skiing and snow fights also make for great exercise when it turns very cold: let it snow!

Exercises to Burn Fat

If you haven’t exercised in a while and let’s face it many people haven’t then you need to go easy in your first few sessions. The type of exercises you need to do to effectively to get that fat burning, is exercise that gets you out of breath. The heavier you are the more weight you will lose initially. A good tip is to trick your body into thinking it is heavier. Carry weights in a back pack, it works a treat.

Walking

Walking is always a good exercise, whatever the time of year and you can build on your time. You can go all out and do an hour in one hit, or you can break it up and do 4 x 15 minute bursts. It all adds up. Eventually doing it all in one go can be better as you will be able to maintain an increased heart rate for a longer period and this helps strengthen your heart.

Step Tracker

If you can walk 10,000 steps a day you will lose weight. Investing in a decent step tracker is a good idea. You will be surprised at the number of steps you do each day. Unless you are a nurse walking all day most people don’t generally get near 10,000 steps.

DVDs

Weatherproof exercising. There are so many exercise DVDs available, it can be hard to choose, but as a rule, the simpler the exercises, the better. Don’t overestimate your abilities by going for something super-tough at first; it will put you off. You should start with something you can easily manage and work your way up to harder exercises

Walk Aerobics

Put some music on and march on the spot for 20 minutes. You can mix it up with knee lifts, kicking legs forward and backward leg curls towards the buttocks. Do 10 of each and return to walking on the spot in-between. Try it, it really works; great for when it is tipping it down. Break it up in the beginning, it all adds up. Try to fit in 2 x 20 minute slots or 4 x 15 in the beginning and work up until you are doing an hour a day. Easy, and you can get the breathlessness that indicated fat-busting going. Doesn’t cost anything, except time.

Upper Body Exercises

As you get fitter you can bring upper body exercises into your walk routine. Start by raising your arms above your head as if doing weights. Got some food cans in the larder? Use these as weights, Rocky-style. It starts building that muscle you need. This really helps increase the heart rate.

Home-Walking

Some people feel too embarrassed to walk or jog outside because of their weight. This is sad, but no excuse not to exercise. If this applies to you just walk around the house as much as possible: corridors, lounge, dining room and kitchen, up and down stairs as much as possible and try to cover several miles each day. This will lower your blood sugar levels and help you lose weight.

Don’t forget, you can make life even easier by buying a walking machine: you can position it in front of the TV if it makes you happier.

Home Walking

10 Top Home Exercise Tips

  1. Step up and down. Everyone has at least one step in their house. If you have stairs, try going up and down ten times. You will life your body weight and get puffed out.
  2. Squats. Find a table or bench top to steady yourself and do 5 squats.
  3. Washing line wind up. If you have a line with a winder, wind the washing line up and down a few times. A full line is even better when you get your strength up.
  4. BBQ Lift. If you have a large BBQ with a hinged lift open and close ten times. Try one-handed lifts.
  5. Cleaning windows. Great for upper arms and shoulder joints. Clean your windows once a week even if they are clean, or if you prefer try scrubbing the shower screens.
  6. Gardening has always been great exercise. Sweep your pathways, do some weeding and rake.
  7. Try stretching rubber resistance bands. These are clever, cheap exercising aids that physios use; but them in sports shops or online. They often come with a set of exercises that work key muscle groups.
  8. Swimming is fantastic and if you are lucky enough to have a pool at home, you will be in great stead. However, walking in water is also great resistance training for muscles. Plus you stay nice and cool and don’t put undue stress on joints.
  9. Bike riding is great fun and it really works the leg muscles. You can ride around your home town with relatively little fuss or outlay; if you don’t own a bike, second hand ones are not expensive.
  10. Stationary bikes are also excellent, as long as you do actually use it and don’t just let it sit there gathering dust. Set it up in front of a good movie and pedal yourself fitter.

17 Alternative Therapies That Could Change Your Life

Therapies

Many types of alternative therapies (also called complementary medicine or integrative medicine) come from traditional medicine practices of particular cultures and have been used for hundreds or thousands of years. Some are hands on, some hands off; for some, you work with a trained practitioner, and for others you can DIY. You’ll find a wide variety of therapies to explore.

Even though many of them haven’t been proven through controlled clinical trials to do what they say they can do, all of these alternative therapies have proponents who swear by them. You may discover that one of these therapies works for you, even if science can’t (yet) explain it.

(Note that this is not a medical website and I am not a doctor. This article is intended only as a brief introduction to a variety of therapies, and is not an endorsement of any or all of them. Enjoy!)

Acupuncture

What it is: Small needles are placed in the skin at acupuncture points to address different issues.

May be especially helpful for: pain relief, especially back and joint pain.

Acupressure

What it is: Like acupuncture, acupressure is centered around working with the acupuncture points on the body. Unlike acupuncture, needles aren’t used. Practitioners often use their hands and fingers instead.

May be especially helpful for: pain relief, including headaches and stomach aches

Therapeutic massage

What it is: Massage is already known as a stress reliever and is often seen as a luxury or a treat, but deliberate bodywork can do much more than simply aid relaxation.

May be especially helpful for: muscle pain and tightness, stress reduction, increased circulation

Reiki

What it is: A Reiki practitioner lightly place their hands on different areas of your body to manipulate your energy and improve health. Unlike a typical massage, with reiki you stay fully clothed.

May be especially helpful for: reducing pain and anxiety

Chiropractic

What it is: Doctors of Chiropractic often focus on the health of the spine and make “adjustments” in order to affect other parts of the body.

May be especially helpful for: back and neck pain, headaches, arthritis

Applied kinesiology

What it is: A system of evaluation involving “muscle challenges,” “chemical challenges,” and “emotional challenges” followed by a treatment plan that avoids drugs and surgery.

May be especially helpful for: relieving emotional stress, addressing emotional issues

Feldenkrais Method

What it is: In this method of “somatic education,” a practitioner works with a student to help them become aware of the way they habitually move and how that might be affecting their quality of life. The practitioner then leads the student through slow, repeated movements to replace undesirable movements with more beneficial movements.

May be especially helpful for: improving coordination and flexibility, increasing range of motion, reducing pain

Alexander technique

What it is: Like Feldenkrais, this technique is more about education than direct physical or energetic manipulation. The instructor helps the student become aware of when they respond to situations by tensing up so they can unlearn that response. Alignment and coordination are focuses of this technique.

May be especially helpful for: reducing chronic tension, improved posture and coordination

Trager psychophysical integration

What it is: Another method of somatic education, the Trager approach involves both a passive component (where the practitioner gently manipulates the body to teach the student how to move with more ease and less tension) and an active component (where the student learns some simple movements know as Mentastics).

May be especially helpful for: increasing ease and range of motion, promoting relaxation

Cupping

What it is: Cups are placed on the skin so that the air is drawn out and a suction effect occurs, encouraging blood flow, chi movement, and toxin removal. “Wet cupping” involves controlled bloodletting, while “dry cupping” doesn’t.

May be especially helpful for: alleviating back and neck pain, addressing high blood pressure, reducing stress

Moxibustion

What it is: Cones or bundles of “moxa” – dried plant materials – are burnt on or near the skin, manipulating the body’s chi.

May be especially helpful for: relieving the pain from arthritis, addressing digestion problems

Homeopathy

What it is: Plant-based homeopathy “remedies” are created to address a variety of physical and psychiatric ailments, using the concept of the Law of Similars in which “like cures like.”

May be especially helpful for: chronic issues like fatigue and stress

Homeopathy

Bach flower remedies

What it is: There are 38 of these patented “remedies” or “essences” made from flowers, each of which is intended to treat different emotional states like jealousy or lack of self confidence. To use the remedies, add a couple drops to spring water and drink.

May be especially helpful for: ridding unwanted negative emotions and replacing them with positive emotions

Herbal medicine

What it is: This general term encompasses medical practices that use plants to cure physical and emotional problems. Different practices of herbal medicine have developed in China, India, Indonesia, and in the Americas among the native peoples.

May be especially helpful for: improving skin condition, addressing digestive problems, relieving headaches and pain

Aromatherapy

What it is: The use of aromatic oils from plants and flowers to improve mental well-being. Oils can be massaged into the skin or simply inhaled to be effective.

May be especially helpful for: relieving pain, improving mood, focusing the mind

Music therapy

What it is: A music therapist works with you to tackle emotional and cognitive problems through music. That can mean listening to particular types of music or it can mean actually singing and playing instruments. It may be effective for certain populations, including people on the Autism Spectrum, those with Alzheimer’s, and children with emotional problems.

May be especially helpful for: aiding rehabilitation after a long illness, managing pain

Hypnosis and hypnotherapy

What it is: A hypnotherapist can help you break a bad habit or build a new habit by helping get you into a hypnotic state where appropriate goals are suggested to you. After coming out of hypnosis, you follow up with action to support those goals.

May be especially helpful for: breaking bad habits like smoking, overeating, biting nails, and wetting the bed, or building good habits like brushing teeth and exercising; also used for pain relief

Dead Sea Mud: Clear Skin for the Party Season

Dead Sea Mud

When the party season comes around, we all want to look our absolute best. Looking good during the season of velvet, fake fur, real diamonds, sequins and (normally) no tan can come down to one simple thing – having a beautiful complexion anf feeling great to boot.

The skin can become dull and problematic during the winter. Some people find that the skin becomes dry and lacklustre, others suffer from breakouts as the skin works less efficiently. Some get chapped skin, others might find that the skin on the face and elsewhere may just need a wonderfully stimulating, soothing boost… which is precisely where Dead Sea Mud comes in.

Dead Sea Mud is an extraordinary substance, famous throughout the world as being rich in nourishing, soothing, purifying, detoxifying, stimulating and health-giving minerals. But the big questions remain – what exactly is it and what can you actually do with it? What can it help with and how? Read on…

What is Dead Sea Mud?

Dead Sea Mud has been harvested from the banks of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, lying between Jordan and Israel. It contains around 45,000 million tons of salts which are extraordinarily rich in 26 or more minerals the world-famous Dead Sea Minerals. It is extremely beneficial for the skin and body. It is not what we think of as mud or ‘dirt’ in the ordinary sense – it is in fact alluvial silt that has washed down to ground level from the majestic peaks in the surrounding landscape, ending up on the shores of this inland sea of salt.

Critically, this is mud that has evolved over thousands of years as layer upon layer of silt has settled to create this remarkable natural gift. Dead Sea mud is exceptionally high in levels of calcium, magnesium, potassium, boron, strontium and iron and can supply the body with many of its essential mineral needs.

How Dead Sea Mud Helps Your Skin

Here are 5 truly fantastic ways in which Dead Sea Mud can help to get your skin ready to party all through the festive season:

Clearing up Acne

Dead Sea Mud contains many beneficial minerals, but it has also been shown to annihilate acne-causing bacteria. The unique, dark, enriched Mud can be used in masks, exfoliators, lotions and soaps to great effect. This is because Dead Sea Mud has been proven to have antimicrobiological properties. In other words, when scientists carried out lab tests where they exposed acne-causing bacteria to Dead Sea Mud, the results were astonishing – the bacteria rapidly lost its viability, it could not survive.

That is great news for anyone who suffers from acne and wants a highly effective natural solution. Apply Dead Sea Mud as a face mask and let it rest on your face until it starts to dry, then rinse your skin clear. Do this on a weekly basis and the improvements in the condition of your skin can be dramatic – wave goodbye to unsightly, uncomfortable acne.

Preventing or Reducing Wrinkles

Dead Sea Mud has a significant role to play as part of a highly effective anti-aging treatment. Studies have shown that Dead Sea salt when applied could lead to as much as a 40% reduction in the depth of wrinkling in the skin.

When it forms the basis of a face mask, Dead Sea Mud can have incredible results. The highly saline Mud actively helps unfold the wrinkled skin area and generate new cells so that the complexion becomes smoother and less lined. The difference in the tone and texture of the skin can be visible after just a few applications of Dead Sea Mud.

Soothing Eczema

The extremely high concentrations of salt and minerals in Dead Sea Mud can work absolute wonders on skin that is itchy and sore with eczema. People sometimes think eczema skin is dry, because it lacks oil, but it is actually because skin afflicted with eczema does not retain enough water. To correct dryness, the best thing to do is to mask the skin in Dead Sea Mud for 20 minutes, then bathe, pat the skin dry and apply a natural emollient like Argan oil to lock in the moisture.

Soothing Eczema

Easing Aches and Pains

The exceptionally high concentration of minerals in Dead Sea Mud is thoroughly recommended for natural relief of aching muscles which can be caused by arthritis pain, plus to help relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia, muscle stiffness, joint inflammation and back pain. Applying Dead Sea Mud can help ease knee aches and pains by stimulating the circulatory system and relaxing the nerves. Research from Ben Gurion University concluded that patients who were treated with Mud compresses made mineral-rich Dead Sea Mud reported less knee pain from osteoarthritis. It has proved equally effective for chronic low back pain – in studies pain severity was reduced in patients who had been treated with Dead Sea Mud compresses. Try applying Dead Sea Mud to painful joints such as knees, wrists and elbows. Leave it on until it dries and then rinse it clear for the best results.

Cleansing and Minimizing Pores

A Dead Sea Mud mask can vastly improve your complexion by improving elasticity and minimizing pores, increasing radiance and vitality. Apply a purifying mask of the mud to your face and leave it to dry. As it does so, toxins are drawn out from your skin cells. The skin of your face is left looking clean, clear, well-nourished and refreshed.

The purifying face mask works by creating a seal over the skin. The blood circulation increases, and the face becomes warmer, so that the pores release sebum and toxins through perspiration, as well as absorbing nourishing ingredients in the Dead Sea Mud mask. The skin is also more able to absorb vitamins, proteins and Dead Sea minerals and therefore to regenerate a healthy cell layer. These benefits last for some days as the performance of the skin’s vital regeneration functions are enhanced and the skin’s texture is visibly improved.

Where Can I Find Dead Sea Mud?

Dead Sea Mud comes in many forms and is used in a wide variety of products. If you would like to apply a body wrap or facial mask, try Seacret or the Ahava range of products which is available from a high street chemist such as Superdrug. There are also Dead Sea Mud soaps such as the range offered at Boots.

Super foods: Winter Salads

Winter Salads

Have you bought into the power of super foods? We certainly have. There is strong evidence that natural foods, from the ordinary, dark green broccoli and kale, to the extraordinary goji berry, acai berry and flax seed, are jam-packed with exceptional levels of nutrients, including essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids. Moreover once we get into the groove of eating healthily, we discover that the foods that are fantastically good for us are often also the most genuinely delicious.

The big thing about winter food is that it can often set us craving for sweet, sticky pudding and floury eats when what our body really needs to fend off all those winter colds are plenty of fresh fruit and veg:real super foods. So, what better way to give your system a real seasonal boost than to enjoy huge platefuls of delicious super foods in winter salads which as packed with some of the most nutritious vegetables, and occasional fruity additions, to be found. Tuck in – good health!

Chicken, Kale and Broccoli Superfoods Salad

This delicious winter salad packs in nutrient rich broccoli and super-boosts it with delicious fruity goji berries. A superbly healthy seasonal supper.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

6 skinless chicken breasts

200g kale, chopped

1 head of broccoli, florets chopped into small pieces

2 Granny Smiths apples, cut into matchsticks

2 large carrots, grated into long strips

1 large handful of parsley, roughly chopped

1 quarter of red cabbage, finely chopped

1 large handful pine nuts

1 handful of goji berries

1 tbsp of olive oil

For the dressing

125 ml fat-free natural yoghurt

2 tbsp olive oil

Juice of one lemon

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 good grinding of salt and pepper

Method

Drizzle the chicken breasts in olive oil and grill them under a medium heat until they are cooked through, in about 25-30 minutes but test with a knife to ensure there is no remaining pink.

While the chicken is cooking, get a large bowl and toss all the chopped vegetables and fruit together, reserving the pine nuts. In a smaller bowl, place the yoghurt, lemon juice, crushed garlic and whisk them together, then season well and mix again.

When the chicken is nearly cooked, heat a small frying pan without oil on the hob. When hot, scatter in the pine nuts into the pan and let them toast, tossing and stirring so as not to catch or char. When they are nicely dark gold and heated through, turn off the heat.

Remove the cooked chicken breasts from the oven. Take two forks and shred the chicken in the pan. Tip the hot chicken over the bowl of vegetables, then pour over the small bowlful of dressing. Mic well. Divide the winter salad between four or more plates, scatter over the toasted pine nuts and serve.

Superfoods_Salad

Spinach and Avocado with Cranberries

Vitamin-rich, fibrous spinach, avocado with its wealth of good fats and super Vitamin C source cranberries all pack a punch in this tasty, light, meat-free meal.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

400g baby spinach leaves

1 large handful of rocket

2 large avocadoes, sliced

2 tbsp sliced almonds

2 tbsp dried cranberries

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

For the dressing

4 tbsp olive oil

Juice of two large lemons

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Mixed all the green leaves in a large, decorative bowl.

Take a baking tray and evenly spread the sliced almonds all over. Toast them for 5-10 minutes until golden.

Meanwhile, slice avocadoes, thickly and lengthways. Add the avocado to the leaves. In a small separate bowl, mix the ingredients for the dressing and whisk them into an emulsion.

Finally, scatter the toasted almonds and cranberries over the green leaves, pour over the vinaigrette dressing and toss well, then serve.

Beetroot and Butternut Salad

Lovely colourful beetroot boosts the blood and has been proven to enhance physical performance. Twinned with butternut it makes a wonderful autumnal supper.

Serves 4

400g rocket

4 fresh beetroots, sliced into discs

1 large butternut squash, cut into small cubes

2 tbsp pine nuts

1 tbsp of olive oil

For the dressing

4 tbsp olive oil

Juice of two large lemons

1 tbsp wholegrain mustard

Salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Take a large baking tray and arrange the cubes of butternut at one end and the discs of beetroot at the other. Drizzle with a little olive oil roast for 35-40 minutes or until golden and tender.

Take a large ceramic bowl and arrange the rocket leaves in it.

In a small separate bowl, mix the ingredients for the dressing and whisk them into an emulsion.

Heat a pan, scatter in the pine nuts into the pan and let them toast, tossing and stirring so as not to char them. Turn off the heat after 5 minutes, or when well toasted.

Take the golden, roasted squash and tender hot beetroot and tip the pieces over the salad leaves. Next, pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Finally, scatter over the toasted pine nuts.

Salmon and Flax Salad

Not strictly a winter salad, this delicious light dish is packed with Omega 3 and 6 and good fats, as well as plenty of fiber for a taste of summer even in the darker months.

Serves 4Salmon and Flax Salad

Ingredients

4 fillets of salmon

1 medium aubergine

1 large iceberg lettuce, torn into pieces

2 beefsteak tomatoes, in chunky cubes

1 medium cucumber, in chunky cubes

4 tbsp flax seeds

For the dressing

3 tbsp sesame oil

Juice of 2 limes

Salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat the oven to180 degrees Celsius.

Place the aubergine onto a dry baking tray or into a roasting tin and leave it to cook for 30-35 mins, turning once, until crisp and browned at the edges, and thoroughly squashy.

Fifteen minutes into the aubergine cooking time, place the salmon fillets, skin side down, onto an oiled baking tray and place them into the over for 15-20 minutes or until the moment that the flesh is no longer translucent.

While the fish and aubergine are cooking, tear the iceberg lettuce into pieces and scatter into a large bowl. Add the cucumber and tomato and toss. Take a very sharp knife and cut the salmon into inch-square chunks and roughly cut the aubergine flesh into slightly smaller cubes too. Add to the salad vegetables.

Mix the dressing in a small bowl or jug, whisking well with a fork. Pour it over the salad, tossing the ingredients well once again, the sprinkle over all the flax seeds and serve.

20 Fun and Effective Alternatives to Meditation

Hate to meditate? You’re not alone. Although it seems like it should be the easiest thing in the world, sitting still and breathing deeply for even 5 minutes can be a big challenge. But since meditation is so beneficial to both mind and body, it’s worth trying to work it, or one of the alternatives below, into your regular routine.

1. Tai chi

This Chinese martial art is studied widely around the world for its health benefits, and it’s even been called “meditation in motion.” Common practice of tai chi (or t’ai chi) for health typically involves slow, deliberate movements through a sequence. Because it’s low impact, it’s great for a wide range of ages and fitness levels, and it’s known to calm the mind and improve the stress response.

2. Qigong

Also originating from China, qigong (or qi gong, chi gung) is a meditation-in-motion practice that also incorporates slow movement and energy work. It has many of the same health benefits as tai chi, but may be more suitable for people with fitness limitations.

3. Yoga

Great for the body, great for the mind. Some types of yoga focus on the meditation aspect more than others, like hatha, kundalini, and yin. But you can deliberately incorporate meditation and mindfulness into any form of yoga you choose.

4. Running

Many runners enter a flow state which looks a lot like meditation: time doesn’t seem to pass at the same rate, the sense of “self” becomes less clear, and attention is focused on the current moment.

5. Swimming

For physical types who don’t fancy running, swimming is an alternative that also does wonders for the body and the mind.

6. Rock climbing

Like running and swimming, rock climbing is a full-body sport that’s physically challenging. Unlike running and swimming, where you can get into the groove of the repetitive motion, rock climbing requires you to be mindful of each and every step you take.

Rock climbing

7. Golf

Golf requires patience, precision, and control of the body and the breath. Played with the goal of staying in the moment, it can be a wonderful alternative to sitting meditation.

8. Time in nature

A round of golf also has something else going for it: it’s outdoors. Being in nature – whether you’re running, boating, taking a walk, or just sitting quietly – improves your immune system, mental well-being and ability to focus.

9. Time with animals

Pets can be such powerful influences on our emotional health that many people have medically recognized Emotional Support Animals (ESAs). Whether we care for them or simply spend some time around them, animals can help reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, and focus our attention on something other than ourselves and our problems. The next time you take your dog for a walk or sit down with your cat, choose to be mindful and present in the moment. If you don’t own a pet, consider volunteering at a shelter. It’s win-win.

10. Gardening

Benefits of gardening go beyond spending time in nature: nurturing living things and tending their well-being is good for your well-being, too. And even simple gardening tasks like weeding can get you into the beneficial flow state.

11. Laughing

Meet up with a funny friend, watch a funny video on YouTube, or listen to a stand-up routine and laugh. In addition to just being fun, a study last year showed that laughter led to increased levels of gamma waves, brainwaves shown to increase during certain types of transcendental meditation.

12. Playing music

Deliberate practice of an instrument requires focused attention and connects your body and mind together. To make it effective as a meditation practice, just enjoy the experience of practicing scales or working on a tough passage, and don’t be overly attached to the outcome. Stressing about whether you’re playing well is not the point.

13. Listening to certain types of music

Drumming has long been used in many cultures for spiritual purposes, and one of the reasons is that it’s an effective way to manipulate your brainwaves. Drumming or listening to regular, rhythmic drumming increases alpha waves, the same seen in deep relaxation and light meditation. Other types of music, including trance and minimalism, may do the same.

14. Puzzles and games of logic

Doing a Sudoku or playing chess requires you to use logic and imagination, and it stretches your problem-solving skills to the limit. In addition to keeping your brain healthy and your mind sharp, it’s a great way to focus your attention on one thing and clear out the frustrations of your day.

15. Memorizing a poem

Memorizing a poem, like doing a puzzle, requires focused concentration that crowds out other stressful thoughts like what you’re making for dinner or how you’ll pay the bills next month.

16. Coloring

Grab some crayons or colored pencils and get coloring! This creative and attention-focusing activity is becoming popular among the mature crowd, and you can now find a variety of coloring books geared towards adults. Get an extra dose of spirituality and color in mandalas.

17. Knitting

Knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, embroidery, tatting, and other kinds of needlework not only focus your attention and engage your creativity, they also let you get into the flow state through repetitive motion.

18. Ship in a bottle

If knitting isn’t your thing, maybe building things is. Model kits for airplanes, ships, cars, buildings, robots, etc. give you the satisfaction of creating something with your hands while calming your mind and making it focus on one task.

19. Doing the dishes

Next time the sink is full, think of it as an opportunity rather than a chore – an opportunity to get into that state of mindfulness that’s at the heart of effective meditation. A recent study showed that mindful dish washing led to positive results like decreased nervousness and increased inspiration.

20. Bricklaying

Seems like a strange entry, but like many other items on this list, laying brick requires focus and a methodical approach to the task at hand. Winston Churchill famously had the hobby (he was so into it he joined the union of bricklayers and masons in 1928), and if it was good enough for Churchill, well, it’s probably good enough for us.

Bricklaying

Bonus: Meditation

Okay, this one is cheating a bit… meditation as an alternative to meditation? But hear me out. When we think of “meditating” we think of sitting still (possibly in the lotus position) for a period of time in a quiet room, eyes closed, and we’re told to clear our minds completely and just sit. For most of us, who have families, jobs, responsibilities, and long to-do lists, that’s easier said than done.

But that’s just one kind of meditation – there are many more. Instead of trying to clear your mind, you can meditate by focusing on something like a physical object in your hands, a mantra, a sound, or even the number of breaths going in and out of your body. You may want to choose a Zen Koan or a passage from a meaningful book to think deeply about during your meditation time. Just choose your object of focus and bring your mind back to it when you notice your attention drifting, and boom, you’re meditating!

Maintain Year-Round Beach Body Fitness With These Awesome Tips

At the start of the year, when thoughts turn to the impending summer months and exposing our bodies on the beach, we are usually sufficiently motivated to put ourselves through regular, intense sessions at the gym.

We pay close attention to our diets, follow the rigorous workout routines afflicted upon us by the fitness instructor, and begin filling our wardrobes with smaller clothes in readiness for hitting the sand.

But then, once the cool winds of autumn set in and it’s time to once again dust off the winter clothes, motivation wanes and with it that hard-earned beach body. Next year, however, we’ll do it all again. A grueling cycle of getting in shape, letting it all go and then starting from scratch every year. This is comparable to walking up the down escalator and stopping halfway for a rest.

Getting to beach body fitness is a tough battle, so once you achieve your goal it is better to maintain it long term. Ditch the in shape/out of shape cycle and stay beach body fit year-round. It’s easier than you think!

Abandon The “Dieting” Mentality

Lots of people are typically tempted to jump on a crash diet at the first sign of sunny weather. This type of thing might produce short-term results, but the usual calorie restrictive diets are not sustainable. Most of these diets are tedious and life-draining, which would explain why most people abandon them at the earliest opportunity.

To maintain a fit body all year round, you have to ditch the short-term dieting mentality. Instead, adopt a lifestyle buoyed by positive eating habits. Carefully planned and periodical dieting can help you to achieve certain goals, but maintaining the results will require a commitment to providing your body with the proper nutrition all year long.

This doesn’t mean eating lettuce for breakfast lunch and dinner. It means consuming a balanced diet of protein-rich foods, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.

Set Year-Round Goals

Think about how motivated you were to get in shape for summer. Perhaps it was the goal of being able to slip into a stylish new bikini, or to show off washboard abs while sunning yourself. After the summer season, those goals disappear and so you lack the required drive to keep working out. You’re tempted to eat lots of “comfort foods”, and thoughts of fitness fade to non-existence.

To stay beach body fit all year round, you need to set goals throughout the year. This could be milestones that align with holidays or events, like Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or birthdays.

Slimming to fit into a Christmas party dress, for example, might be a useful goal. If you want to lose a few extra pounds, buy a smaller outfit and set a goal to fit into it by a certain date.

Round Goals

Change The Scene

Boredom is another key reason that people abandon their fitness efforts midway through the year. Going through the same exercise routines, with the same people, in the same place can soon become unstimulating. It helps to occasionally change things up a little.

If you generally exercise outdoors, you can easily change your surroundings by going to a different park, run a different route, or try a few indoor sessions. Likewise, if you usually go to the gym you can exercise outdoors or, especially in the winter months, do a few workouts at home.

Whenever feel that familiar feeling of lackluster simply try a change of scenery. You will be surprised at how invigorating this simple act can be.

Variety is The Spice

In addition to a change of surroundings, it is also helpful to change your workout routine periodically. A mundane, repetitious routine can quickly drain motivation, causing a build-up of excuses and a reduction in exercise frequency. It’s time to spice up your fitness regime with a little variety.

Try experimenting with fitness classes. There is usually a wide selection of these to suit all fitness levels; Spin, Zumba, Boxercise, the list could go on. You could also get out of the gym environment altogether and take up some other fitness boosting activity such as dance classes, rock climbing, or even outdoor yoga.

There is a whole range of activities to choose from. Maintain your usual exercise routine, but be sure to switch things up every now and then. Your body and mind will be grateful.

Cheat from Time to Time

Seven days a week slogging it out in the cold, dark gym, five meals per day of tasteless, dull food, and countless weekends of watching your friends down exotic cocktails while you sip spring water. It’s enough to make you cheat. And why not go ahead and cheat! You’ve earned it after all.

But, slow down a second. This doesn’t mean wolfing down copious amounts of junk food in one debauched weekend. No, instead of blowing all your hard-earned gains and risk high cholesterol due to overeating, consider giving yourself a small reward. Depending on your metabolism you might allow yourself one cheat meal per week.

Cheat meals are moderate indulgences that do not jeopardise your overall fitness goals. They should allow you to remain on track without adverse urges to start eating the wrong kinds of foods again. View these meals as a reward for all your hard work during the week. But remember, if you haven’t earned the reward don’t have the cheat meal.

Easier Done Than Said

Maintaining a year-round beach body is easier than the alternative. If every new year you hit the gym after six months of hibernation, it will be like living in Groundhog Day or year. The same process of scrambling to get fit in time for those sunny days and skimpy clothing over and over again.

Instead of rushing up the down escalator and having to stop halfway for a rest, why not take it at a steady pace. You are less likely to require a rest stop, and before you know it, you will find yourself at the top.

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