In this months newsletter...
Spring is definitely in the air, measureable by the increasing number of runners out on Edinburgh streets (some in T-shirts!). If you are training for an event, whether it be the Race for Life, Great Scottish Walk or something more ambitious, make sure you have got your entry in. Some of these events book out, so book now to ensure your place.
Speaking of booked out, my diary is completely jam packed, however if you know someone who needs a little fitness in their life, please do get them to drop me a line… It's easy, email email@example.com and if you're a current client, you'll receive £5 off your next session for each new client who books in.
What's in Season for April / May
It's good to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables, so here's a list of what's in season locally:
Asparagus, beetroot, broccoli, carrots, leeks, mint, parsley, purple sprouting broccoli, radishes, rhubarb, rocket, sorrel, spring onions
Easy Recipe: A Scientific Exploration of Hommous
I have eaten hommous since I was a youngster and viewed it as a healthy option to fatty spreads. Imagine my surprise when I examined the nutritional content of Sainsbury hommous and discovered it was 27% fat! Scotmid doesn't fare much better at 25%.
As a University student, my hippy housemates and I would make 2 Litres of hommous at a time as a cheap and healthy snack. I decided to hark back to my student days and make my own and check the fat content.
Tin of chickpeas
Juice of ½ lemon (or more to taste)
1 Tab tahini (sesame seed paste, a middle Eastern ingredient now commonly available)
1 Tab olive oil
1 clove garlic, you can use roast garlic for a mellower flavour
Pulverise! Add extra water, rather than oil, to get it to the consistency that you like.
This recipe contains 31g of fat altogether, or 8.9g per 100 grams (about 9%). This is the real deal and tastes more like authentic hommous than supermarket hommous (supermarkets add extra fat to make it more palatable to our taste). Jamie Oliver's recipe has twice the tahini and olive oil as this recipe, but I personally think the extra fat is not necessary. When making my own, I always use good quality olive oil, however supermarket brands use rapeseed oil as it is cheaper. It will also have less fat if you cook the dried chickpeas from scratch, as a tin of chickpeas has 7g fat, whilst dried is about 3g. To use dried chickpeas, soak in cold water over night, change the water and then boil for a very, very long time until tender. The kind of thing I made time for when I was a student!
Resisting Temptation: Go Veggie!
At a restaurant? Want to eat healthy? Try the vegetarian option. Usually healthier and fresher (unless it involves a lot of cheese), the vegetarian option is often overlooked by meat eaters but is worthy of your consideration.
Fad or Fab: Ergonomic drink bottles
I never used to take a water bottle when out running, but have recently found myself getting dehydrated as I'm constantly on the go. It has taken me many years to buy a custom water bottle, however holding a bulky drink bottle whilst running can compromise your running style (especially on longer runs, when you're more likely to need the hydration). So I recently splashed out £3 on an ergonomically designed bottle to see if it is worthwhile. In a word, yes! Much easier to hold and therefore no strain going up the arm into the shoulder. My only gripe is that the spout is a bit wussy, but that's probably good to stop me from glugging my drink. It only holds 275mL, adequate for short - medium runs. Fab… if it had a better spout.
Try Something Different: Try Skating
Recently possessed by the urge to do something different on the weekend, I signed up husband Andy and myself for an inline skating lesson. As complete beginners, we were both a bit nervous, however instructor Don Morton proved to be a brilliant teacher and we were both skating (kind of) by the end of our first lesson. The best bit? We were hidden away at Victoria Park in Trinity, so we there were very few people to stare at us looking like dysfunctional robots (it's all part of the learning curve). Don also hires skates down at Silverknowles, near Cramond on Saturdays. Check out www.tryskating.com for more information or call him 07733 276 902.
Spotlight on Aloe: Aloe Berry Nectar (£18 for 1 Litre)
Did you know that drinking the inner gel of the aloe vera plant can help with dodgy digestion, troublesome tummies and gut problems caused by modern living? It sounds unlikely, but the aloe vera plant contains lots of wonderful minerals and vitamins and very important (but often overlooked) enzymes.
To make the aloe more palatable (as it usually tastes like cactus juice), Forever Living Products have mixed it with cranberry and apple. If you need help in the gut department, drop me a line and I will deliver it to your door within Edinburgh. Don't forget that all Forever Living Products come with a 60-day money back guarantee if you find that's it's not really your thing.
Article of the Month
Energy: You know you want it, but how do you get it?
It's amazing that in this day and age of convenience and time saving devices people complain about having a lack of energy. It's easy to revert to being a couch potato, but such a waste of a life!
There are a few crucial components that contribute to how energetic you feel: rest, nutrition and outlook. Here are some ideas to put some zip in your life:
Rest: a strangely often overlooked factor by many, rest is crucial to all beings. Our muscles repair themselves and our brains process information during sleep, so if you're lethargic – sleep more! Or even try an afternoon 20 minute power nap when you can… Is your bedding comfortable? Sometimes a new pillow can do wonders. You may like to switch off mobile phones, wi-fi and any other electrical equipment to ensure a better night's sleep.
If you suffer from insomnia, try writing a list of all the things you have to do the next day so you can relax without lots of thoughts whirling around your head. A nice hot bath also helps!
Nutrition: Always eat a decent sized slow-burning breakfast. It's essential to eat as early in the day as you can to kick start your metabolism. Also try a healthy mid morning snack so you aren't tempted by 'junk' food at lunch. Investigate the Glycaemic Index (known as GI) for a sustained energy way of eating. If you are lacking, a good Vitamin B Complex tablet may also help.
Eat lots of raw, unprocessed 'nutrient dense' foods. Enjoy salads for the goodness they provide! I always feel better after a bowl of leaves… Drink two litres of water a day to flush the toxins from your system. You may go to the loo more, but you will also have clearer skin.
Resist caffeine, as it can seriously mess with your energy levels. After the initial caffeine rush, most people feel more sluggish, and top themselves up with more caffeine, and so the cycle continues. If you are going to indulge, make it good quality caffeine (i.e. dark chocolate or freshly brewed coffee) and have it once a day to prevent the cyclical nature of energy dips and peaks.
Outlook: This basically covers everything else! Your mental outlook is a crucial component of your verve levels. Take time away from your computer (even at work) and get outside whenever possible. It's thought that a little time outdoors every day can significantly reduce Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Get your heart rate up and breathe deeply – you'll increase both your oxygen intake as well as endorphins. Yoga and swimming are both energising activities to try. I truly believe that energy creates energy – being more energetic pays dividends and you will feel more lively for it…
Next month: Protein: your body's pro-team
© Copyright all material Tracy Griffen 2008