At this point in my life, I’m grabbing at straws for anything that might benefit my health and wellbeing. I recently purchased a gua sha in a sad attempt to iron out the life lines on my face and reduce the puffiness in my eyes. I vow to use it everyday and make it a part of my skin care regime but ask me again in three months time and I have a feeling it will be very much discarded like many fads. Today I very much enjoyed my little ritual and the extra couple of minutes of self care it offered.
The other ‘trends’ I’ve been looking into are collagen supplements and I’ve started experimenting.
The importance of collagen
Natural Beauty, Wellness Expert & Co-Founder Of New Generation Beauty Brand, Raw Beauty Lab, Sonia Bainbridge explains;
‘Collagen is the structural protein responsible for keeping your skin looking plump, glowing and wrinkle free. However, you lose collagen at the rate of 1% each year after your mid-twenties which causes fine lines and wrinkles to become more prominent.
Most women don’t notice any changes until they approach their 40’s and this is primarily because the rate of collagen degradation increases as you approach menopause.’
So how can you increase collagen production? One simple answer, for some, is bone broth!
‘The broth made from bones can be an excellent food for women in their 40s. The long, slow cooking of bones in a liquid which includes a little acidity (either wine or vinegar) helps to draw out minerals locked into the bone matrix, including calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
These are in a very bioavailable form and may help support strong bone health at a time when the breakdown of our own bone tissues may start to exceed that of new bone formation.
You can tell when a bone broth is rich in collagen as it will set to a jelly when chilled, forming gelatine. The gelatine, plus mucopolysaccharides like chondroitin, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid which are also found in bone broth, have all been shown to help support joint health and protect against the effects of ageing and degenerative disease throughout the body.’
Made from scratch
Meera Bhogal knows too well the ill effects of food intolerances having spent years experimenting before she found her remedy. She passionately shares her secrets on her website, Meera’s Made from Scratch.
I was keen to understand more about the hype around bone broth so went to Meera to find out more. She explained that bone broth is an ancient remedy known for easily absorbed nutrients, gelatine, and collagen; which are both thought to support and help repair the lining of the digestive tract. This broth can be drunk warm or added to dishes as a stock substitute. She says;
‘Women going through menopause benefit greatly because the loss of estrogen and hormonal changes will have an even more significant impact on our collagen levels.’ Meera’s broth is handmade with organic chicken carcass (the source of collagen) with other gut-friendly ingredients such as turmeric and apple cider vinegar. I was lucky enough to try some and it really was truly delicious.
My collagen journey
The last three months have been somewhat of an experiment for myself. I did actually purchase a supplement and interestingly, although I can’t really tell yet, my hairdresser commented on how much thicker my hair was. I’ve also had a couple of comments about my glowing skin. So there you go. Maybe there is something in it?
Do you feel like we are in a race against time to preserve ourselves? What do you do to help slow the inevitable ageing process? Comment below to keep the conversation going and hang out with us over on Instagram.
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Perimenopause is a time of change. Each woman’s journey will differ, but it can be an uncomfortable and confusing time for most women. Luckily, there are many ways to feel better during perimenopause. You can try hormone replacement therapy or natural supplements to relieve your symptoms.
You could also try meditation, yoga, or acupuncture to make yourself feel more balanced. Here we will discuss how you can ease into perimenopause to reduce the effects.
One thing you can do to help ease into perimenopause is to stop smoking. Smoking causes several health-related problems, but it also contributes to menopause symptoms. Quitting is easier said than done, but you might be able to make it happen with patience. You can try nicotine patches to help you stop, visit a Vape store for nicotine-free vape liquids to substitute for smoking or chew on gum to ease your cravings during the early weeks of quitting
Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake
Many women find themselves drinking more during perimenopause. This can lead to many problems. When you drink alcohol while going through perimenopause, the effects are even stronger and more pronounced.
Avoid drinking alcohol as much as possible during this time in your life. If you do drink, try to keep it limited to only one or two drinks a night and for every drink of alcohol, have at least one glass of water to stay hydrated!
Maintain a healthy weight
A common symptom of perimenopause is weight gain. Hormones fluctuate during this time, making it tougher to control your appetite and maintain weight.
The first step to easing into perimenopause is maintaining a healthy weight. Eating a balanced diet and incorporating physical activity can help with this. You might also try eating more fibre or drinking more water to curb your appetite.
Additionally, you should get plenty of sleep so that your body has time to recover and regenerate hormones. Sleep deprivation can lead to decreased energy levels and increased levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Finally, if you suffer from night sweats, wear loose-fitting clothing, so you aren’t uncomfortable while sleeping.
Add calcium to your diet
Perimenopause can make you feel tired and irritable. You might notice mood swings or other symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness. One way to ease into perimenopause is by taking calcium supplements. Calcium supplements are often recommended during perimenopause because they can help reduce the severity of symptoms. They are also helpful for protecting bones in the long term, which may be an issue during this time since perimenopausal women are at risk for osteoporosis. Plus, calcium supplements have reduced PMS symptoms like cramping, bloating, and mood swings.
Try natural remedies
There are several ways to ease into perimenopause. One way is to try natural remedies. These remedies are usually herbal and can be purchased in-store or online. Some common natural remedies include soy, vitamins, minerals, herbs, and essential oils. All of these items have different benefits for perimenopausal symptoms. For example, soy may reduce hot flashes or vaginal dryness, whereas minerals could help with mood swings or headaches.
Are you going through the perimenopause? Share your experience with us by commenting below or join our community on Instagram.
It’s freedom day. From today, Thursday 24th February 2022, In England, with self isolation restrictions lifted, you will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19. The advice is to stay at home if you can and avoid contact with other people. I just had the displeasure of experiencing the Rona first hand and was keen to talk about why I believe this is the right decision at this time.
The day I caught the virus
Well it was inevitable really wasn’t it. I’ve got two kids in primary school. My eldest got it first. We were only testing daily as there were so many cases in his school. When the double lines showed up, we were all a bit shocked really because he seemed totally fine and if it wasn’t for the school requirement, I wouldn’t have tested him. Despite someone in my household now positive, legally my youngest was still allowed to go to school and although it felt strange taking him, we knew how important it was for him to get out while he still could and learn in the best educational setting for him, which, for him, is at school.
My eldest developed a high temperature that day and complained of feeling very sick which was worrying but after a dose of calpol and a couple of hours sleep, he improved quickly and didn’t suffer any other symptoms at all for the rest of the time.
It felt like we’d been dreading and preparing for this for so long. Now it was here. In my home.
I infected myself
I may or may not have licked his positive swab. Let’s face it. It’s chicken pox party time. I’ve got shit to do. I can’t be tiptoeing around my own home in a hazmet suit avoiding the obvious. I decided to put my trust in science. I’ve had both jabs and a booster. I exercise daily. I’m within my BMI. I eat mindfully and as far as I know, I don’t have underlying health conditions. So my thought was to just get it over and done with already.
Am I stupid? Of course I am!
I’d felt rough two days previously. A scratchy throat and a tiredness akin to jetlag. There was also the mysterious case of my Mimosa tasting like washing up liquid but at the time I blamed my husband’s dishwashing abilities!
As a mum of two very bouncy boys, feeling jet lagged is not unusual for me. When I took the test I, honestly, felt relief. Two years ago I was really scared of this virus. Really scared. Today I know there are treatments. I know I’ve done all I can up to this point, successfully, not to get it. Until now. My son caught it from his class at school. Throughout the pandemic I’ve followed the guidelines and have always been mindful of the risk I put myself and my family in. School was out of my control but I knew how important and necessary it was for my boys to go. We took that calculated risk.
Once I confirmed my infection, I felt like I’d been arrested. I’d be fined if I leave my home. It was a really strange feeling. Even during lockdown we were allowed out for one hour. I couldn’t comprehend not walking out my front door for 11 days. I’m a walker. I need to be in the fresh air.
I couldn’t figure out if I felt really poorly or not. I managed to continue with my workouts but as the week went on I was too lethargic and knew my body was telling me to rest. It DID feel like a cold. A somewhat unnatural cold with a few symptoms I’d never experienced before. My skin was really itchy at times and I did lose my sense of taste and smell for a couple of weeks. Ultimately, I did wonder how much of it was in my head.
‘Drop the bags and run for your life’
The Ocado delivery driver laughed when I told him to drop the bags and run for his life. I felt ‘infected.’So many people I knew had it which was strangely comforting although I couldn’t help but feel I should be tucked up in bed with get well cards and a fruit basket (I totally got a get well card and a fruit basket, by the way, from my amazing in-laws.)
Not being allowed out was incredibly frustating and, in my opinion, was detrimental to my recovery. Gentle exercise and fresh air is the best medicine you can get and not being able to go out for a walk was bad. So that’s why I’m pleased we are moving into the next phase of living with this virus. Because that is what we have to do now.
I fully appreciate that not everyone will be quite so comfortable with it and I understand why. I realise this virus behaves in a way that affects everybody totally differently. It doesn’t matter if you’re 95 or if you’re fit and healthy. If it’s going to get you bad, it will. I was lucky not to suffer too badly. I DID suffer. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not something I want again.
I’m the kind of person that checks if the people around me are allergic to nuts before I eat something containing nuts! So I know that I will behave mindfully when it comes to having an infection of any kind and being in public.
What the doctor said
I wanted a doctor’s opinion on the recent rule changes. So who better to call on than Cambridge-based medical doctor Simon Poole MBBS DRCOG FBMA MIANE.
‘For many, Omicron is very mild, for some it is a fairly nasty illness you’d certainly prefer not to have, and for a minority it remains a potentially fatal illness.
As always there needs to be a balance between the cost in terms of serious illness, the toll of isolation on mental health and the economic harm that restrictions can create.
We are moving to a phase of personal responsibility.
With this comes the need, in my opinion, to be thoughtful and caring of others. Being kind and compassionate needs to be the foundation of the new era where we need to be respectful of good “Covid Etiquette”:
I shall behave in a way which follows the principles that I do not wish to inadvertently give you or your vulnerable loved ones a potentially fatal illness.
I shall remain socially distant unless invited closer by mutual consent.
I shall wear a mask if either you or I feel safer.
I shall do a lateral flow if I visit you and respect any requests to do so from others.(I think it’s a big mistake to limit availability of tests to those who choose to afford it)
This new Covid Etiquette depends on personal responsibility but it also depends on kindness and thoughtfulness towards others, loved ones and strangers alike).
I keep up to date with vaccination not only for my protection but also for the protection of my grandmother and the stranger who I might sit next to in a train..
Are we as a society capable of that?’
Dr Poole’s comments are mirrored by Abbas Kanani, a pharmacist at Chemist Click who said;
‘This is probably the right thing to do at this point in time. This January, the cases were three times more as last January, but due to most people being vaccinated, the deaths were nowhere near as many. We have to return to normality at some point. I still would advise those that are vulnerable to continue to socially distance and wear face masks.’
How do you feel about the self isolation restrictions lifted and the move to the next phase to ‘normality?’ Comment below and connect with us over on Instagram.
By now we can all safely admit that we have tried SOME form of restrictive dieting in our time. I remember an old boss going through the cabbage soup diet trend and just feeling so sorry for her. She must have been starving and farty! I had the benefit of working on Celebrity Fit Club where I worked closely with the team supporting the celebrities and I learned so much about nutrition. However, I was in my early 20s and had a metabolism faster than a speeding train. It’s only now, in my 40s, I’ve discovered that this train needs a frikking service!
These days, I look to maintain a healthy balance with food. I eat mindfully and I enjoy what I eat. That said, I know that at this stage of my life, I will benefit hugely from fuelling my body in the right way. I do enjoy meat but for various reasons I do want to cut back so I was super interested to learn more about the benefits to a plant-based diet.
What is a plant-based diet?
We asked Dr Kirstie Lawton, a registered nutritional therapist at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition and an AfN registered nutritionist to explain a little more. She offered us the following information.
According to the British Dietetic Association, a plant-based diet consists mostly or entirely of plant-based foods. While the term is synonymously used with veganism, a plant-based diet isn’t necessarily vegan and may include those who eat some meat, fish, egg, or dairy. The diet is predominantly made up of fruit and vegetables, grains, pulses and legumes, nuts and seeds.
What are the benefits to a plant-based diet?
An entirely plant-based diet, if correctly balanced, is rich in a wide range of protein building blocks, phytonutrients (plant-derived nutrients) and a diverse array of fibre, that can support the microbiota and improve gut health. Pulses and legumes are protein-rich and contain a variety of nutrients including B vitamins, iron, folate, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, and fibre to support the microbiota.
Nuts and seeds are highly nutritious food sources containing a wide variety of protein building blocks, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, potassium, selenium, magnesium, zinc and copper, and fibre. Fruit and vegetables are rich in a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibre also.
There is research supporting the use of a well-considered plant-based diet for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and blood lipid profiles, management of diabetes type 2, weight reduction and prevention of some cancers. However, what is key here is that the diet is from whole food sources that are prepared from scratch, rather than over-reliance on processed plant foods that are high in salt and additives.
What considerations are there for eating a plant-based diet?
While a number of vegan food sources contain protein, the amount is generally quite low, so it is essential to ensure that you are eating a good source of protein at each meal. A number of these sources also have what we call limiting amino acids, e.g. a protein building block that is essential from the diet is missing. By combining plant-based foods e.g. beans and rice, the meal becomes a source of all essential amino acids. The richest and most complete source of protein is soy, however, this can be highly processed and isn’t suitable for everyone.
Research indicates that those eating an entirely plant-based diet may be deficient in a number of nutrients including riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), vitamin B12, vitamin D, iodine, zinc, calcium, potassium, and selenium. Sources of all of these nutrients are available through a plant-based diet and some fortification (calcium, vitamin B12). However, someone who is plant-based and concerned that their diet isn’t diverse enough may wish to consider supplementation, which should be done in consultation with a registered nutritional therapist.
Further potential deficiencies include the essential fatty acids DHA and EPA, which are derived from fish, and are essential for a number of functions in the body. While these can also be converted from the fatty acids found in seeds, conversation rates are low. Algae is a plant-based source of DHA and EPA and should be considered in supplement form. Finally, choline is essential for a wide range of functions, and is especially important for the growing foetus, so choline supplementation may also be a consideration in those who are eating a plant-based diet and of childbearing age.
There are more and more plant-based products on the market that are highly processed, and full of inflammatory ingredients which may not be optimal for health. These should be eaten as an occasional food choice, and replaced with homemade recipes from raw or minimally processed ingredients where possible.
Finally, those with GI issues, such as an imbalance or overgrowth of bacteria, issues with nightshades, a soy allergy, or intolerance to histamine-rich or oxalate-rich foods may struggle with a plant-based diet, and should seek support from a registered nutritional therapist to correct these health concerns.
Packed with plant-based protein, the range is ideal for those looking for a natural protein boost, whether it’s to increase energy after a workout or to incorporate as part of a family meal, the delicious topper combinations are here to elevate and nutritionally optimise those bland dishes.
To add nutritional benefit to those more indulgent meals, these tasty toppers can be added to a wide range of dishes including your favourite pizza, curry, or burrito. In fact, the handy pouches can be easily resealed and used whenever a sprinkle of goodness is needed in your dish.
Good4U Super Seeds offer a crunchy and savoury mix of tamari roasted sunflower seeds, pumpkin, and British-grown green peas. At only 144 calories per 25g serving, the seeds contain zinc, known to help the immune system to reduce unwanted bacteria and viruses, ideal for fighting off those colds and flus during the winter months.
If you want to add a bit of spice to your evening meal, why not turn up the heat with Good4U’s Garlic and Chilli Salad Toppers. This spicy mix is only 123 calories per 25g serving, made with sweet red peppers, chilli roasted seeds, smoky chipotle, and a sprinkle of kale, which can be poured on your curry for a nourishing boost or added to your salad to give an extra punchy kick.
To find out more about the range and for recipe inspiration, visit the Good4U website.
I’ve been really enjoying building Buddha bowls for a satisfying lunch. Follow the steps below, picking one suggestion from each. Season to taste and enjoy! Send us your pictures on Instagram!
Grains are naturally high in fibre, helping you feel full and satisfied. Choose from one of the following:
Giant Cous Cous
We need protein in our diet to help our body repair cells and make new ones. Choose from one of the following:
There’s nothing more beautiful than eating the rainbow. So add one of the following to invite your eyes to the party:
Fats in dressings can actually help you absorb key nutrients. But don’t go crazy! Choose from one of the following:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Red or white wine vinegar
Pumpkin Seed Oil
Who doesn’t love that added crunch. Salads don’t need to be boring. What will you add from the following?
I love seeing all the gorgeous colours in the bowl knowing I’m eating mindfully and healthily. The best part is, it tastes amazing. We have introduced meat-free Mondays at home. It’s a start!
Are you plant-based? Are you considering cutting back on meat? Let us know by commenting below.
Myths surrounding cancer can cause unnecessary worry about your health and wellbeing. New research from Bupa UK has found a sharp rise in people turning to ‘Dr Google’ about the incorrect causes of cancer between December 2020 and 2021*:
With a surge of people searching for the biggest causes of cancer in 2021, it’s important to sort fact from fiction.
Dr Tim Woodman, a Medical Director at Bupa UK Insurance, says:’Myths, such as whether cancer is contagious, spread misinformation and can prevent people from speaking to healthcare professionals. Common misconceptions can also contribute to stigmas and taboos surrounding cancer.
It’s crucial to only use reputable sources for cancer support – for example, NHS, Cancer Research and Bupa’s free-to-access Health Hub, which has lots of advice on cancer and symptoms to look out for.
I would encourage anyone who is worried about their health or experiences a change that is unexplained or persistent to seek medical advice as soon as possible. For example, if you notice breast lumps and changes to your breasts, you’re having problems passing urine or you notice changes to an existing mole, speak to a healthcare professional.’
Here are the 5 biggest cancer myths, according to Bupa’s Dr Tim Woodman:
Myth 1: Cancer is contagious
300% increase in searches on Google for ‘is cancer transmittable’
250% more searches for ‘can cancer spread from one person to another’
You cannot catch cancer from someone else. If you know someone who has cancer, there’s no need to avoid them. It’s OK for you to look after them through their diagnosis. Often, a loved one who has cancer needs your support more than ever.
Myth 2: Burnt foods cause cancer
24% more searches for ‘does burnt food cause cancer’
22% increase in searches for ‘foods that cause cancer’
A quick search on Google shows a variety of articles linking burnt food to cancer. When you cook foods at a high temperature, acrylamide (a chemical that’s found in starchy foods like bread and potatoes) forms naturally.
However, there’s not enough evidence to link burnt food to an increased risk of cancer. Some things you eat, including processed food and red meats, can increase your risk, but this doesn’t mean that you will get cancer.
Myth 3: Hair dye can lead to cancer
40% more searches for ‘does hair dye cause cancer’
Based on the available research, personal use of hair dyes to change your hair colour won’t cause cancer. Hair dye is unlikely to be a significant risk factor, if it is one at all.
More research is needed, however there is a small amount of evidence that daily contact with hair dye may increase your risk of developing bladder cancer. However, family history, diet, smoking, and exercise have far more to do with your cancer risk. Additionally, smoking remains the biggest risk of developing bladder cancer. In fact, you’re three times more likely to develop bladder cancer if you smoke.
Myth 4: Deodorant can cause cancer
120% more searches for ‘does antiperspirant cause cancer’
250% more searches for ‘can cancer spread from one person to another’
120% more searches for ‘does antiperspirant cause cancer’ and 40% increase for ‘does hair dye cause cancer’
Bupa’s Medical Director Dr Tim Woodman warns us all about the dangers of believing these misconceptions, and why more people are turning to Google for their cancer queries
You may worry that certain chemicals found in personal care products, like deodorant, cause cancer. The myth that deodorant causes breast cancer has been circulated for many years.
There are strict safety regulations and laws that control which ingredients can be used in makeup and toiletries, so rest-assured that antiperspirants, body sprays and deodorants do not cause cancer.
Your chances of developing breast cancer increases with age, so make sure you’re regularly checking your breasts and take note of any changes. Being overweight, drinking more than the recommended weekly amount, and having a family history of breast cancer increases your risk too.
Myth 5: Injuries can lead to cancer
40% more searches on Google for ‘can injury cause cancer’ in September, October, and November 2021
Another common myth is that an injury can cause cancer. Stories about potential causes – like this one – are often in the media and it isn’t always clear which ideas are supported by evidence.
Injuries may sometimes lead to someone finding a cancer near to the injured area that was already there before the injury, but the injury won’t be the leading cause. There’s no evidence that an injury can cause cancer. Sometimes an injury can cause a lump, but again, this won’t lead to a cancer diagnosis.
Four simple ways to lower your risk of cancer, according to Bupa’s Medical Director:
1. Lead a healthy lifestyle
Studies have shown that if you do 30 minutes of moderate activity that raises your heart rate, every day, you can significantly reduce the risk of several major cancers (including breast, bowel, and womb cancer).
Exercise is also helpful if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer both during and after treatment. A balanced diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrains, and healthy sources of protein (white meats, fishes, and pulses) will help you maintain a healthy weight, and ultimately lower your risk of cancer.
2. Drink sensibly
Over the long term, drinking alcohol can increase your risk of serious illnesses, such as mouth, throat, and breast cancer. Drinking guidelines can be hard to follow but try to drink in moderation and have some alcohol-free days a week.
Why not try the latest trend of ‘mindful drinking’?Being aware of why you’re drinking and how much alcohol you’re having can often lead to a healthier relationship with alcohol and less consumption.
3. Stop smoking
Tobacco smoke contains lots of chemicals and toxic gases, known to harm to your health, and increase your risk of lung cancer.
Stopping smoking can be more effective if you choose your quit method and then establish a social support network to help you. If you need help quitting, options like nicotine replacement or support groups to help with the psychological addiction, could be for you.
4. Attend your screenings
Health checks and cancer screenings and across all ages are there to detect any early signs of abnormalities and cancer. It’s important to attend these and know how to identify changes in your own body.
Attending all appointments, even if you’re feeling well, is vital. An abnormality could be found before you start showing any symptoms. Early detection is key to effectively treating cancers.
*All data taken between December 2020 and December 2021. Source: Based on internal analysis from Bupa of Google search data.
We know cancer is scary but we hope this post has helped to de-bunk some of the myths surrounding the causes of cancer and wanted to use this world cancer day to spread the word. Carry on the conversation by commenting below or connecting with us on Instagram.
Making changes to your appearance is probably something that you do many times throughout your life. Some people are happy to make huge changes all at once, but not everyone is happy doing something completely different. You might want to change your appearance but do it in a way that’s a bit more discreet and perhaps that other people can’t even identify. Maybe you want people to notice that something is different and that you look good without really being able to say what it is. If you want to change your appearance in a more subtle way, here are some options.
Straighten your teeth
Straightening your teeth is a great way to get a new look and improve your smile. It’s something that you might have wanted to do before but couldn’t afford when you were younger. However, as an adult, the idea of wearing braces probably doesn’t appeal to you. Fortunately, you now have the option of Invisalign, which is transparent and discreet. Instead of having visible braces like a teenager, you’ll have see-through aligners that are custom-fit for you. People probably won’t even be able to tell that you have them in, so you can happily wear them without feeling self-conscious.
If you’ve worn glasses for a long time, you’re probably used to wearing them every day. But contact lenses provide an alternative that can allow you to change your look. As you get older, you could find that your vision changes and you might end up needing to wear glasses or contacts even if you never have before. Contact lenses allow you to correct your vision without having to wear glasses all the time, and it’s not difficult to learn to use them. Of course, if you don’t feel confident about it, you could consider switching up the style of your glasses.
Wear different underwear
The foundational garments that you wear can actually make a big difference to how you look in your clothes. In particular, wearing the right bra can really help your clothes to look better. You can also wear underwear to give you a smoother silhouette and help you get the right shape, especially if you’re wearing clothes with a closer fit. Try experimenting with some different styles to find underwear that you feel good wearing and that helps to provide your outfits with the right foundation.
Learn some new makeup techniques
Doing your makeup in a different way is something that other people might not pick up on straight away. You can make subtle changes that help you to feel more confident and give you a new look that you love, but you don’t have to do anything too drastic. You could change the way you do your eyeliner, choose a new lip colour, or try some subtle contouring if you want to do something a little different from your usual makeup.
If you want to make changes to your appearance, they don’t have to be huge changes. Try something a little more subtle that will still make a difference.
Trying to stay fit and healthy is a challenge for most people at the best of times. Lifestyle choices, work patterns and other factors will undoubtedly influence how a person can stay in shape and eat healthily.
The temptation to forego regular exercising and avoid take-out food is often too great to resist in today’s modern world. Do you find it hard to stay fit and healthy while leading a busy lifestyle? If so, don’t worry because you aren’t alone.
The following tips and suggestions will inspire you to stay healthier without needing to do much or make any significant changes in your life:
Eat lighter versions of your favourite foods
You’ve likely seen all kinds of diets advertised, and you’ve probably even tried some of them. The truth is, trying a diet and sticking with it can be highly challenging, both mentally and physically. Plus, if you keep “yo-yo” dieting, you could even harm your body in the long term.
A better idea to get fit and healthy is to eat the things you enjoy but swap out some of them for “lighter” versions. For example, you could swap your butter and cheese for versions with low fat and cholesterol in them.
Swap Smoking For Vaping
Are you a smoker? If so, consider giving up your cigarettes and switching to vaping instead. Vaping is something you can do to get your nicotine fix, and you could even try other “juices” like CBD e liquid to help you improve your wellness further.
What’s more, vaping means your clothing and your body doesn’t smell like you’ve been standing near a bonfire for too long! Also, you can choose from all kinds of flavours and varying levels of nicotine to help ween yourself off smoking for good.
Park Further Away From Your Destinations
Do you drive? If you spend a lot of time going to various destinations in your car, avoid parking close to where you have to go. Instead, purposely find parking spaces that require you to do some more walking than usual.
For example, park by the car park exit rather than close to your workplace’s entrance if you drive to work. Not only will you get in some extra physical exercise each day, but you can avoid queuing to get out of the car park when you finish work each day.
Avoid Eating Large Meals
Last but not least, you should avoid eating large meals each day. Instead, it’s a better idea to have several small meals spread out throughout the day and evening.
Why is that a good idea, you might ask yourself? The answer is simple: you diminish the chances of needing to snack on unhealthy food like chocolates and crisps to satisfy any hunger pangs between your meals.
The above isn’t an extensive list of what you can do. However, it gives you some ideas for getting started on your health kick without tiring or wearing yourself out in the process. Good luck!
Have you made a pact with yourself to eat better this year? If you’re reading this because you’ve already hit the 40 mark – which you most probably have – then you will know that we can’t quite get away with shovelling any old thing into our system and not pay the penalty for it. The bottom line is that at 40, we need to start thinking about eating well to age so we can feel more vibrant and vital for longer. Because that’s the aim of the game now folks isn’t it?
So what’s the schtick here? At 40, eating well to age means we should all be eating plenty of veggies – the more colourful and intense in colour the better, a variety of fruits, wholegrains, the right amount of protein, healthy fats and the like. As our metabolisms slow down, quite simply…we need to be more selective about what we eat if we want to walk the path to improved wellness.
With that said, today we are sharing some of our favourite recipes for eating well to age from the very appropriately named book – Eat Well to Age Well – the inspiring new cookbook by Beverley Jarvis – which is a veritable bible for eating well to age. It’s packed full of delicious whole food recipes, as well as insightful nutritional and invaluable practical guidance to help us all become super agers, without the hard work!
Vegetable medley with chickpeas and almonds – V
This filling vegetable dish is ideal served as a light lunch or supper, needing only the addition of a dressed, mixed-leaf salad to make it into a complete meal. If you don’t eat the whole dish at one sitting, leftovers can be chilled and re-heated the following day. You may prefer to cook the vegetables on the hob while you cook the sauce in the microwave.
250 g washed and diced butternut squash
1 celery stick, chopped
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 medium-size courgette, sliced
1 tsp dried mixed herbs
Juice ½ orange
25 g flaked almonds
1x 200 g chickpeas, drained
You will need a shallow microwaveable dish (about 1 ½ litre in capacity), a citrus juicer, microwaveable dinner plate, chopping board and knife, spoon for stirring and microwaveable dinner plate.
Butternut squash is a good source of dietary fibre and contains 22 g carbohydrate per cupful. One cup also contains 57% of the RDI for vitamin A and 52% of the RDI for vitamin C, as well as vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B9. It also makes a valuable contribution towards the RDI for the minerals calcium, iron, phosphorus and copper. The chickpeas provide 7.4 g fibre, 7.2 g protein and 15.7 g carbohydrate per 100 g.
Dressed, mixed-leaf salad with chopped apple; wholemeal bread rolls.
1. Put the prepared vegetables into the shallow dish, sprinkle with the herbs and then add the orange juice.
2. Cover the dish loosely with greaseproof paper, wrapping it under the dish to prevent it from blowing off.
3. Microwave on High for 5 minutes.
4. Remove the dish from microwave and carefully stir the vegetables, then recover and return to microwave for a
further 3½ minutes on High.
5. Set aside to stand, covered.
Toast the almonds:
1. Arrange them around the outside edge of the dinner plate and then microwave on High for 5 minutes, opening the door and rearranging the nuts once during cooking. They will turn lightly golden.
2. Add the drained chickpeas to the vegetables and return to the microwave for 1 minute on High.
3. Serve the vegetables with their delicious juices, topped with the toasted almonds, accompanied by the bread rolls and salad.
Cod and courgette kebabs with pineapple
These tasty fish kebabs, flavoured with lemon and garlic could be cooked on the BBQ, or under a pre-heated grill. They are as attractive to serve as they are good to eat.
250 g cod fillet (or salmon fillet if
preferred), skinned and cubed
6 button mushrooms
½ tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
Juice and finely grated zest of
½ lemon or lime
1 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
1 medium courgette, cut into 6 equal slices
1 small red pepper, cut into 2.5 cm pieces
2 canned pineapple rings in natural
juice, drained well, then cut into chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
You will need a chopping board and knife, small mixing bowl, shallow dish, fork, teaspoon, tablespoon, skewers, a pastry brush, citrus juicer, small bowl and fork.
The cod makes a valuable contribution towards your RDI for protein. It can also provide all or more of your RDI for vitamin B12 and is a valuable source of selenium and iodine. The potato mash makes a good contribution to your RDI for carbohydrate with the sweet potatoes adding vitamins A and B6, plus 6.6 g fibre per 100 g. The bell peppers are a good source of antioxidants.
Serve with the pickled vegetables on page 114 and a mash made from equal quantities of sweet and ordinary white potatoes, such as King Edwards, peeled, then cooked together in a covered large pan of boiling water until completely tender. Drain well, then mash, beating in a little semi-skimmed milk and a seasoning of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1. Put the cod and mushrooms into a shallow dish.
2. In a mug or small bowl, mix together the olive oil, garlic, lime/lemon zest and juice and the coriander.
3. Whisk with a fork and spoon over the mushrooms and fish. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
4. Carefully thread the fish and mushrooms onto 2 kebab skewers, alternating with the courgette, red pepper and pineapple pieces, if using.
5. Brush each skewer with some of the remaining marinade mixture and season with a little salt and pepper.
6. Grill on a grill rack, lined with tin foil, for 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally, or until cooked through.
7. Serve immediately, with the pickled vegetables and the mashed potatoes.
If you are using wooden/bamboo skewers, soak these in water for ½ hour before use to stop them burning.
Curried lamb soup with broccoli
Any leftovers can be cooled, then stored in the fridge, for up to 3 days. The soup also freezes well; re-heat until boiling and simmer for 3 minutes before serving. Filling and sustaining, serve the soup as a complete meal, accompanied with some warmed naan or chunky wholemeal bread.
2 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
3 tbsp tikka curry paste
1 clove garlic, chopped
½ red chilli, de-seeded and chopped
2.5 cm piece fresh ginger,
peeled and grated
1 x 400 g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
350 g lamb leg steaks, trimmed and diced
1 rounded tbsp plain flour, seasoned with
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1.2 litre lamb stock
1 x 400 g can cannellini beans,
drained and rinsed
1 head broccoli, florets only
You will need a chopping board and knife, 2 dinner plates, absorbent kitchen paper, a measuring jug, tablespoon, grater, teaspoon, wooden spoon, slotted spoon, large saucepan with lid and large frying pan.
The protein in the lamb contributes significantly to your RDI. Lamb also contributes vitamins B6 and B12, iron and magnesium. There are fibre and vitamins A and C in the carrot, tomatoes and broccoli and protein, fibre, vitamin B9, and the minerals copper, and iron in the cannellini beans.
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saucepan, on a high heat.
2. Add the onion and carrot and stir-fry for about 5 minutes, over a medium heat, until the onion is soft and translucent.
3. Stir in the curry paste with the garlic, chillies and ginger and keep stir-frying for a further minute.
4. Add the tomatoes and tomato purée to the pan; stir well.
5. On the dinner plate, toss the lamb in the seasoned flour.
6. In a large, shallow frying pan, heat the remaining oil.
7. Add the lamb to the hot oil in the frying pan and stir-fry, over a medium-high heat, until golden on all sides.
8. Lift from the pan, using a slotted spoon, and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
9. Add the lamb stock to the saucepan and bring to the boil.
10. Cover and simmer gently, for 30 minutes.
11. Stir in the drained beans and broccoli.
12. Continue to simmer for 5-7 minutes, covered, until the vegetables are just tender. Return lamb to pan. Stir.
13. Serve, in warmed soup bowls
Avocado and chicken bake
Avocados are highly nutritious and simply delicious, quickly baked in the microwave. This easy recipe makes a great light lunch or supper dish. As an alternative to the chicken, try chopped cooked prawns or drained, flaked, canned tuna fish.
50 g cooked chopped chicken thigh
or breast meat
50 g freshly made brown breadcrumbs
1 tbsp Greek-style natural yoghurt
1 tbsp freshly chopped tarragon or parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large ripe avocado, halved
Juice ½ lemon
25 g parmesan cheese, grated
You will need a 1-litre mixing bowl, tablespoon, teaspoon, citrus juicer, pastry brush, microwaveable avocado dish, 2 microwaveable dinner plates, chopping board and knife, and cheese grater.
Avocados have many nutritional benefits (see page 23). The chicken makes a significant contribution towards your RDI for protein. The breadcrumbs provide carbohydrate and fibre.
1. Put the chicken into the mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs and yoghurt then stir in the herbs with a seasoning of salt (keep to a minimum) and pepper.
2. Brush both halves of the avocado with lemon juice and wrap one half to chill in the fridge for use in a salad the following day.
3. Fill the remaining avocado half with the prepared filling.
4. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
5. Put the filled avocado half in the microwaveable avocado dish, then stand the dish on a dinner plate.
6. Microwave, uncovered, on High for 2½-3 minutes. Serve immediately with the crème fraîche and parsley.
This recipe can easily be doubled. If cooking two avocado halves together, allow about 4 minutes, and space them apart on a dinner plate.
Sweet jacket potatoes with smoked mackerel, horseradish and parsley
Sweet potatoes cook quickly in the microwave and can be counted as one of your seven-a-day. I often serve them for a quick lunch, straight from the microwave, with just some crumbled feta cheese and a dressed, mixed salad with a sliced kiwi fruit and some chopped dates added.
2 medium-size sweet potatoes,
washed and dried
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
75 g smoked mackerel fillet, skinned
3 tbsp Greek-style natural yoghurt
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp horseradish sauce
1 dsp freshly chopped parsley
You will need a vegetable knife, microwaveable dinner plate, 1-litre mixing bowl, fork, measuring spoons, chopping board and knife.
A good source of fibre, and providing 6% of your daily requirement for carbohydrate, and 4% of your daily vitamin C needs, sweet potatoes also provide 10% of the daily requirement for vitamin B6. The mackerel and yoghurt contribute significantly towards your daily protein requirement and the mackerel also provides more than the RDI for vitamin D, significant B3 (niacin) and B12 and the minerals iron, magnesium and selenium. Greek yoghurt contains 121 mg calcium per 100 g.
Accompany with a dressed, mixed salad.
1. Score a cross in the top of each potato you wish to cook.
2. Stand the potatoes, spaced apart, on the dinner plate and spray them all over with a little spray oil and season with a little salt and pepper.
3. Microwave them, uncovered, on High for 5-6 minutes for one potato or 8 minutes for two.
4. Set aside for 4 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In the mixing bowl, mash together using a fork, the mackerel fillet with the yoghurt,
lemon juice and horseradish sauce. Add the parsley and fork in.
6. Serve the opened jacket potato(es) with the mackerel filling, divided between them, accompanied by the salad.
Baked sweet potatoes are delicious served with a dollop of lightly seasoned Greek yoghurt, with a little finely chopped red onion or a few snipped chives.
Eat Well to Age Well is available to buy at Waterstones and on Amazon. Check out the first chapter of the book here.
We hope you enjoyed these recipes which are a fantastic way of eating well to age. Have you started eating well to age? Which is your favourite recipe from the above? And if you haven’t why not join our Instagram community where we share all things related to life in your 40s here.
You may have recently heard the word social prescribing coming up in the news. From the use of the arts to help those struggling with mental health including the possibility of using comedians to help those with trauma. But what is social prescribing and how could it help you? Here, we get the full-down on social prescribing from Bev Taylor, Director of Strategy, National Academy for Social Prescribing and why this latest form of lifestyle medicine might be coming to prescribed to you by your GP sometime soon….
What is a social prescription and when is it generally used?
Social prescribing changes lives. It connects people to practical and emotional community support, through social prescribing link workers, who are based in GP practices and take referrals from all local agencies. Link workers have time to build trusting relationships, start with what matters to the person, create a shared plan and introduce people to community support.
Link workers give people time, focusing on ‘what matters to me’ and taking a holistic approach to people’s health and wellbeing. They connect people to community groups and sources of advice, practical and emotional support. A social prescription helps people get more control over their health and wellbeing, to manage their needs and in a way that suits them. It can especially help people who:
have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing.
The NHS has committed to connecting people to activities in the community that help them manage their health and wellbeing. The National Academy for Social Prescribing exists to ensure these activities are supported, celebrated and able to support people’s needs.
How can it improve our health?
There is emerging evidence that social prescribing can lead to a range of positive health and wellbeing outcomes for people, such as improved quality of life and emotional wellbeing.
People may talk to their GP because they may be feeling stressed about their work, money, or because they are lonely and isolated. The impact that these issues can have on our physical and mental wellbeing has been particularly clear as the nation responds to COVID19.
But these problems cannot be fixed by medicine, or doctors, alone. That’s where a social prescription comes in. Social prescribing connects people to practical and emotional community support, through social prescribing link workers, who are based in GP practices and take referrals from all local agencies. Link workers have time to build trusting relationships, start with what matters to the person, create a shared plan and introduce people to community support.
Activities such as those connected with the arts, or natural environment, or engaging in exercise or sport can help us to maintain and build relationships, unlock our strengths, to have choice and control and to find constructive and helpful activities within our community.
How can it improve our enjoyment of life?
Everyone will gain from being asked the question ‘what matters to you?’ Social prescribing link workers help those people who need extra support to make community connections. They introduce people to community groups and practical support. They follow-up to ensure that people are included and getting the support they need. Having someone to help us deal with poor housing and money worries can be a real life saver. It can be positive to be out in the community, doing things, learning new skills, and meeting new people. All of these add to our enjoyment of life.
What could a social prescription include?
Social prescribing links people to a range of activities that are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations, for example, debt counselling, housing advice, volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports.
Reading Voluntary Action – Wild Being – An extensive programme of arts, culture, nature, physical activity and life advice for 300 people including pop up arts, English language conversations, and gardening.
Robin Hood Health Foundation Prescribe to Thrive Partnership – Tailored social prescribing to reach 100 residents to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing, alongside support for artists and creatives.
Argyle Community Trust Green Social Prescribing – A health and wellbeing programme in Central Park, Plymouth, to enhance use and enjoyment of green space and green social prescribing.
Canal & River Trust – Nottingham & Beeston Canal – The Canal & River Trust will lead partners will use the natural asset of the Nottingham & Beeston Canal to provide physical activity, art, heritage and food-based activities, reaching c.430 people.
Heeley Development Trust – Happier Healthier Heeley Plus – A range of creative, green and physical activities to help people reconnect – including bicycle powered Shakespeare.
Sunderland Culture Sunderland Social Prescribing Partnership – High-quality creative social prescribing activities for carers and their families including doorstep delivery, men’s shed, outdoor volunteering and singing for lung health.
How do we go about getting a social prescription?
In 2019 the NHS introduced social prescribing link workers as part of the NHS infrastructure, which acknowledged what was already happening in some places. They were introduced in primary care networks, as part of the multidisciplinary teams within the practice team.
When social prescribing works well, people can be easily referred to link workers within their GP practice. People can also refer themselves.
There are many opportunities for people to access community activities directly, but the social prescribing link worker role is crucial for those unable to connect for themselves, or facing barriers to achieving their health and wellbeing goals; or perhaps lacking skills, knowledge or confidence.
Anything else to add or any resources to share?
The Thriving Communities Ideas Hub is packed full of inspiring stories, and you can join our Network to connect with others interested in the field.
You know that moment when you start your period, and you think to yourself…oh my god, this explains so much! The week before your period can be a freakish time. While nothing is more offensive than someone asking us if we’re about to come on our period, the reality is, the week before our period can make us feel and seem totally psychotic.
My last run up to my period was a perfect case in point. Complete Nutters R Us, let me tell you. If I was in sync with any of my girlfriends we probably would have been incacerated so dangerous would we have been. Just think, if it were all the women of the world it would easily just become known as The Apocolypse. But now that I am through it, I can look back at giggle at some of the crazy things that happen the week before your period. Just don’t make any period jokes while I’m on it. Period.
So without furtherado, down below is a quick reference to some of the crazy things that happen the week before your period
As if our uterus was on track to shed all the food we shovel into our mouths, our sole raison raison d’etre for the week before our period seems to become a game of how much junk you can binge eat in said period of time. After which we then only stop to cry about the fact we just did so.
Raging murderous fury
Excuse us for being so hateful and foul, and a second away from a PMS-induced fit of anger like we have been posessed by some indescribable lunacy, it’s just that our bodies are ripping down our uterus walls and now we want to kill anyone in ourlife that merely looks our way.
Complete hatred for humankind
Well if it wasn’t bad enough having to deal with the people we actually like, we had to deal with the everyone else which means we have to resist the urge to want to punch everyone that crosses our path in the throat for an entire week!
Complete loss of any sense of humour
Humour? What bloody humour? And no being a walking PMS cliche is NOT FUNNY. Stop freaking patronising me!!
Extreme cack handedness
Dropping oven trays on the floor, your toothbrush doing acrobatics out of your hand and landing into the toilet bowl FFS (cue me bending over the toilet with a fricking ladel to try and rescue it), tripping over thin air, knocking water all over your phone and a million other ways you’ll find to be as a big old bumbling bear.
Mind boggling vivid dreams
Every night before your period you wake from your sleep needing a whole other sleep because you’ve been resurrecting The Matrix/ hosting Inception/ playing The Fugitive in your dreams.
Inability to curb your use of the f word
F-this, F-you, F-everyone, F-it, just F this effing s***, you can all F off!
Insaitable sexual appetite
You are as horny as an old goat. Only problem is you are unlikely to get some because who is going to want to do it with the boob-aching, sweaty, raging banshee you have become the week before your period. Oh the irony!
And then thank the Lord! Your period comes and your emotional, hell-inducing rollercoaster is finally over, and all is well with the world again…..until next time.
Which of the above gets your the most the week before your period and what else would you add to this list? Let it all out sistas and join our community over on Instagram here for more women’s talk.