In this months newsletter...
Hello healthy people,
What a busy month it’s been! I’m seeing more clients than ever, and consequently also seeing more results than ever… Three Sundays ago I had four clients all running 10km races – here’s the Champions table:
Andy 48 minutes 35 seconds (first 10km race ever)
Alison 52 minutes 25 seconds (first 10km race ever)
Tracy 52 minutes 48 seconds (see Fad or Fab below)
Carol 1 hour 15 seconds (second 10km race ever)
Avril 1 hour 5 minutes (first 10km race ever)
Please let me know if your goal is to run a race in 2008 – I can help you get there and do it in (relative) comfort.
Also this month I was interviewed by red business audio magazine on ‘Wellbeing in the Workplace’, advice for managers and business owners. You can borrow the CD from me if you’re interested, or purchase a copy at the red shop site.
It's good to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables, so here's a list of what's in season locally:
Fruit: apples, elderberries (in the wild), figs, pears
Vegetables: beetroot, courgettes, kale, marrow, mushrooms, parsnips, pumpkin, squash, watercress,
Easy Recipes – A Middle Eastern Feast
I nearly didn’t run a recipe section this month, as I have been too hectic to cook (sad but true). However the amazing Andy came to the rescue when he whipped up a Middle Eastern feast for two friends. Here’s what he did:
Dolmades (vine leaf rolls)
125g short grain rice, cooked, rinsed, drained and cooled
juice of one lemon
finely chopped fresh mint and parsley
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Combine all of the above ingredients (except vine leaves)
- Lay a vine leaf shiny side down on a chopping board and remove the largest veins, as they are chewy.
- Squeeze a small amount of the rice mixture and place in the middle of the vine leaf.
- Roll, wrapping the sides of the vine leaf in, so the rice is contained in the leaf (a bit like how they wrap hot chips at a chippie!)
- Arrange dolmades on a plate that is covered with vine leaves and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Chill before eating.
½ cucumber, peeled and chopped (deseeded if you can be bothered)
100ml natural Greek yoghurt
small handful of finely chopped mint leaves
½ teaspoon cumin
juice of ½ lemon
Garlic Yoghurt Dip
100ml natural greek yoghurt
small handful of finely chopped coriander
1 garlic clove, crushed
- combine! Best left overnight for the garlic to infuse.
These are chickpea balls, which are traditionally deep-fried. You can buy organic ready-made falafel from Scotmid (organic section) or make you own from a packet of dried powder*. It’s easier than making it from scratch, actually I’ve never made falafel from scratch as the packet stuff good enough for me. Instead of deep frying, just cook them in a very hot non stick fry pan with a bit of vegetable oil and drain on kitchen towel afterwards.
When I was a Uni student, my housemates and I used to make 2 litres of hummus at a time. Nowadays I buy it ready made as it’s easiest! To make it yourself:
- Soak dried chickpeas overnight, drain and cook in loads of water for ages until chickpeas are cooked.
- Rinse and drain.
- Blend with water, lemon juice, tahini (sesame seed paste) and olive oil to taste and to the texture you like.
Tabbouleh (a Lebanese salad)
125g bulgar wheat
1 –2 chopped ripe tomatoes (optional)
handful chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
juice of one lemon
1 Tab olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the bulgar wheat in a bowl. Pour over enough boiling water to cover the grains.
- Cover the bowl leave to steam until the water has been absorbed. Chill.
- Add the remaining ingredients and combine.
Serve all of the above on separate plates on a table with warm pita bread, and let your guests help themselves to your healthy feast. Enjoy!
Finish with fresh mint tea: a pot of boiled water infused with rinsed fresh mint (including stalks) and green tea.
* you can buy jars of vine leaves and falafel mix from Jordan Valley, South Bridge or Rajah’s Supermarket, Albert Street. You can also buy tins of ready stuffed peppers etc, which are actually quite healthy and good to add to the table.
Resisting Temptation tip of the month
It is quite common to snack at work to relieve stress or boredom (or both!). At these times we tend to reach for sugary snacks that give us a temporary sugar peak, but then an energy dip. Do yourself a favour, and next time you’d like a mid-afternoon biscuit or sweet, have an apple first.
I find this trick works by saying to myself “I’ll have that biscuit after I’ve eaten an apple”. Not only does this help you get your five a day, but quite often I’ve forgotten about the biscuit by the time I’ve eaten my apple. Incidentally, and I’ve just discovered this, apples are low GI (Glycemic Index) as the pectin in them makes them slow-burning.
If you end up eating both the apple and the biscuit, at least you’ve had something healthy with your sweet snack!
What is DIY Fitness?
Want to be trim and fit?
Can’t be bothered with gyms?
You need DIY Fitness…
DIY Fitness is a six-week series of fitness workshops where you will learn how to exercise safely and effectively, and discover how to be independent of gym fees forever!
Learn how to work your body and get the figure you really want in the most time effective way possible.
This is the first ever term of DIY Fitness, and of course you special people are the first to know. Workshops are limited to 6 – 10 places to ensure you get the attention you deserve, so get in fast!
At the end of the series you can expect to feel not only leaner and stronger, but also have your own fitness programme in place specifically designed to fulfil your goals and focus on activities you enjoy.
The autumn term of DIY Fitness will run for the very special price of £75 for the full six workshops. This price includes all course material, a pro-tube for upper body toning and a Pilates band for lower body and tummy toning. Act now!
DIY Fitness @ Iglu space, Jamaica Street, New Town
Wednesdays 7.30pm – 8.30pm
October 31st to December 12th (not Nov 14)
DIY Fitness @ Tonic Health, above Tiso, Commercial Street, Leith
Thursdays 8pm – 9pm
November 1st to December 13th (not Nov 15)
For more information or to book in, please email me or telephone 07743 741 088. Please specify if you’re interested in the Leith or New Town dates.
Fad or Fab?
I was excited recently to discover that there’s such a thing as ‘blister-preventing’ socks. For anyone who suffers blisters from running, you will know how painful they can be. In fact, blisters are what put me off pursuing more middle distance running when I was younger. So, I paid my £7.50 recently with the hope that these double-layered socks would save my delicate feet. Especially as they came with a money-back guarantee (as all good things should).
You can imagine my disappointment when 5km into the Hopetoun House run recently I felt a major blister forming on the arch of my foot. By the end of the race I was hobbling hoping that the darn thing wouldn’t burst. I admit it’s been awhile since I’ve run 10km, and I’d forgotten just how uncomfortable a 2 inch long blister is! Blister socks – a fad I’m afraid. And yes, I will be sending them back to get a refund…
Next month – Balls! (Swiss balls that is).
Spotlight on Drinking Aloe Gel -
Many people are aware of the healing properties of aloe vera on the skin, but did you know that you can also drink it?
In drinking form it’s a detoxifier and provides over 75 nutritional compounds, including Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C and E as well as over 20 minerals, including Calcium and Zinc, essential amino acids and enzymes.
Drinking aloe vera can help digestive conditions including stomach ulcers, IBS, Krohns disease and generally aids the digestive system. It can also assist the immune system. The downside it that it has a distinctive taste – it tastes a bit like mashed up cactus. It’s best to drink it in the morning on an empty stomach straight up, and the usual dosage is 25 – 35mL for maintaining good health (more for specific ailments). A 1 Litre of Forever Living Products drinking aloe comes in at £18, which should last about a month.
I highly recommend it for anyone with digestive issues, or anyone wanting to improve the health of their gut or strengthen their immune system. Remember that Forever Living Products offer a 60-day unconditional money back guarantee, so if you decide that drinking aloe isn’t working for you, you can just give me the cap back and I’ll refund your £18 no problem! Free delivery to newsletter subscribers within central Edinburgh, just drop me a line
Article: Are You Seasonally Affected?
Is its usual to lose motivation over winter? Or are you just lazy?
Last winter I conducted an informal survey of how people react to different light levels. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is meant to only affect a small percentage of our population. The funny thing is that nearly all the folk I talked to told me that they were affected by the lack of light over winter in some way. Whilst there may be a certain number of people suffering from the ‘disorder’ of SAD, we all feel it more or less depending on our gender, country of origin, and flexibility of our working lives.
Over December I notice a definite dropping of enthusiasm as the light levels are reduced to about six hours of daylight (and none, except for lunchtime, during the week for office workers). Through December many people want to be indoors, not necessarily for the warmth, but in my opinion, more for cheery light.
The amount of sunlight we get directly correlates to mood and energy levels. The turnover of the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin in the brain is directly related to sunlight, and therefore is lowest in winter. This varies from individual to individual, but explains why we can feel glum during December.
Also our climate shapes our culture. Whilst Australia has largely an outdoor culture, especially of leisure, the UK has one more of being indoors. Generally British are great conversationalists compared to Australians, but that’s because of the culture of sitting around indoors together chatting. In Australia, people are on the beach and out doing stuff.
One thing I love about Edinburgh is the impossibly long days of summer. Having grown up in Australia, these long evenings seem almost magical. I carry those memories around in my head through winter and look forward to the next summer.
A successful fitness programme in Britain needs to consider the light levels. Even professional athletes take a regular break from their training. Do you alter your own fitness programme to fit in with the seasons? If you find going to the gym in the morning in the dark difficult, consider going after work, or even on the weekend. See if you can use your lunchtimes to get outside and get active.
Professional athletes have competitions or sporting seasons to work towards, so there is no reason why ‘leisure trainers’ should not have the same focus. At this time of year I find it handy to have a goal to work towards with my clients. A common goal is looking good for festive celebrations and Hogmanay (only ten weeks away). Perhaps you can treat yourself to a new outfit and banish the winter blues by looking and feeling fab.
Once you have worked towards this goal, then take a week or two planned rest from your programme (perhaps time off over Christmas when the weather is at it’s darkest). By structuring your fitness routine like this, you are always working towards a goal or giving yourself a well-earned planned break.
Then, at the beginning of 2008, you can set a new goal and work towards that. Summer holidays anyone?
© Copyright all material Tracy Griffen 2007