Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Guest Blog Post - Ian Mulrooney

I'm delighted to introduce Ian Mulrooney as my guest blogger this week. I've known Ian for over thirty years (OMG really?!) and we re-connected many years ago, via social media. He was just in the process of changing his career, and he's now progressed to being one of the most knowledgeable sports injury therapists in the area. I love him getting his hands on me!! And so does my son Ben. 

You can find Ian at smartway2fitness.co.uk, and on FB - smartway2fitness.

So, here he is : 

1. Tell us how you got into this field? 

I am a sports injury specialist, structural integrator and neural/visceral body worker! Are you any the wiser? I got into this after meeting a magical lady..Janet Lech, on a train one morning whilst commuting to my previous job! After chatting I went for a treatment and thought why didn't anyone treat me in the same way when I was injured in the 80's! I quite like the sound of this.. I was a little bored and stagnant in my job, so I thought I'd look at training as a Sports Injury Therapist. I did this with Active Health and completed my Advanced Level 5 Diploma. I now work with that lady; she's very special!

2. Can you explain how you help clients to improve their health and well being? 

It all depends on the person. I work with them to resolve issues that they may have, highlighting the impact on their body, lifestyle changes, movement changes, nutritional advice, referrals, prefab, rehab, and looking at the problem causing the injury.

3. What are your top three health and lifestyle tips? 

Eat less and move more
Eat as much home grown, or locally grown food
Look after your body with good fuel (food), exercise, and bodywork!

4. How do you start your day?

I always start my day with a shower, quick meditation, and then if it's a Tuesday or Thursday I have blueberries, strawberries, grapes, apple, yoghurt, seeds, nuts, honey, cinnamon and porridge made with Raw milk. If it's Monday, Wednesday, or Friday I may have a run to start the day. Saturday is either a social bike ride with friends, or a lazy morning with the grand kids. Sunday is cycling, with coffee and a cake stop! 

5. What is currently in your fridge? 

A lot of everything, it's Christmas. I pride myself on having such things as Raw unpasteurised milk and butter, fruit, vegetables, and organically sourced meat.

6. What is your guilty food pleasure? Go on, tell us, you must have one! 

Wine, chocolate and cake! The cake I enjoy when I'm out cycling at quality caf├ęs around Yorkshire!

7. How do you keep yourself fit? 

I like to cycle , run and walk! Also, I ensure I have bodywork every month.

8. What is your biggest daily challenge? The one thing that could pull you off course if you let it? 

Not sure I have one, if I'm honest I'd say patients.... they are all challenging, and I learn more from everyone!

9. Describe how you relax? 
I like to cycle , run, walk and read

10. If you had three wishes, that would help our planet, what would they be? 

Have dedicated cycle routes - to reduce obesity, pollution, and improve the health of the nation. 
Stop the population of the world increasing so quickly, we are a virus that is consuming  too much of the natural resource.
Be kind to each other with more hugs!!

Please go to Ian's Facebook page at smartway2fitness, and his website smartway2fitness.co.uk for more information, and to make an appointment. I promise you, you will NOT be disappointed. 

If you liked this blog I'd be grateful if you would click to follow, or leave a comment here or on Facebook.
Thankyou, here's to a healthy week.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Guest Blog Post Andrea Wood

I'm excited to introduce my first ever guest blog post. Andrea practises nutritional therapy at the Mind and Body Clinic, in the Rydale area of North Yorkshire; she can also do sessions by Skype. Here she's answers a series of questions I'm sure we're all interested in finding out the answers to! 

So without further a do.... Over to Andrea! 

Hi Andrea, tell  us what you do and how you first got into this field? 

I'm a nutritional therapist; I help people to improve their health with dietary changes, using functional foods, and supplements (where necessary) targeting the root cause of the problem. Nutritional therapy is about lifestyle changes for long term benefits, and not simply attaching a sticking plaster over the problem as so many conventional drugs tend to do.

Can you explain how you inspire clients to take an interest in improving their health and well being? 
With science based and anecdotal evidence, I help people to see how different their lives would be without that gut pain, arthritis, fatigue etc. etc. I show people  how small changes can make a huge difference, and how it can be done eating foods they enjoy. It's not always about giving something up, but putting something back in.

What are your top three health and lifestyle tips? 
1. Do eat a minimum of four veggies and two fruits daily to ensure an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals.
2. Move! Even a twenty minute walk helps the body to work more efficiently.
3. Cut down sugar, it is THE most detrimental non-nutrient known to man!

How do you start your day?
With a cup of red bush tea, followed by some exercise and fresh air before my usual breakfast of porridge oats, almond milk, fruit and protein powder(I'm dairy intolerant).

What do you regularly have in your fridge?
Almond milk, vegetables and salad, probiotics, organic full fat milk for my son. Fruit juice, butter, free range eggs, avocados, local free range bacon, organic cheese, cans of tuna,mackerel, salmon, home made mayonnaise and soups..... (Oh and Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc!) 

What is your guilty food pleasure, go on, you must have one?! 
Lindt 70% Chilli Chocolate....yummmmm!

How do you keep yourself fit?
I run, walk and cycle.

What is your biggest daily challenge - the thing that 'could' sabotage your good intentions if you let it?
Cooking for my son; he eats everything, and using cheese for him when I can't have it can be a real challenge.

Describe how you love to relax? 
In a hot bubbly bath with magnesium salts after a long bike ride or walk, listening to music with a good book in front of the fire, and I also find cycling long distances very relaxing.

If you had three wishes that would help our planet, what would they be?
1. That people would be more tolerant of each other, different cultures and opinions. We are all entitled to our beliefs but don't need to impose them on others.
2. That the NHS wasn't a puppet of the pharmaceutical industry and that nutrition was a large part of the medical qualification, so that GP's would understand how important it is (sorry that's' two!).
3. That more taxes were imposed on highly processed, refined and sugary foods and that the revenue raised went towards promoting healthy foods and teaching young people the benefits of a healthy diet, and more importantly, the very real risks of an unhealthy one.

Thankyou so much Andrea! 

Andrea can be found at mindandbodyclinic.net, and on Facebook as Andrea Wood. 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Day Three : Juices, Smoothies and Soups

Yeah! Day three done and dusted, and we're still feeling great. Keeping it simple today, so here are the recipes :

Hot water and lemon to start the day, kick start your metabolism .

Breakfast : Chocolate - Coconut Smoothie

Makes enough for two (not sure whether I've said this on previous blog posts, the juices make enough for two as well, the soups make enough for four bowls, generally.

Ingredients :
2 scoops of Sun  Warrior Chocolate Protein Powder
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 small bananas 
Handful of spinach
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger
Pumpkin seeds

Method :
Whizz up in the Viatmix, and devour it, it's gorgeous! And it will fill you up for hours.
No photograph guys - sorry!! I'll make it again and add one in at a later date. It looked good though! 

Mid morning Juice : Up The Apples And Pears

Ingredients :
Chunk of cucumber
1 large pear, or 2 small
2 small apples
Handful of spinach
Chunk of pineapple
Chunk of lime
Chunk of ginger

Method : juice the lot! And enjoy. I love this one, pears are one of my favourite fruits and I could really taste it. They're great because they're full of fibre, and help balance the blood sugar. 

Looks awesome doesn't it? I think it would work sooo well in the summer, with ice cubes added. 

Lunch today was Sweet Potato and Ginger Soup, recipe as of Day 1. This is one of my faves, really tasty, really warming.

Mid afternoon juice : Berry Burst. Wow! This is off the scale gorgeous! I love berries, any berries, and this is so berry rich, I likened it to a good red wine, but John didn't agree! 

Ingredients :

1 pear
Handful of spinach
Large handful of mixed frozen berries (I used predominantly blackberries and blueberries hence the dark colour) 
Handful of cabbage leaves - Kale great
Chunk of cucumber
1 tbsp Maca powder

Method - juice the lot and then add the Maca powder. Enjoy!

Dinner : Carrot, onion and ginger soup

Ingredients :

1 can beans/ pulses of your choice
600g carrots approx
2 pints chicken or vegetable stock
Sea salt and pepper to season
2 red onions 
3 cloves garlic
Chunk of root ginger
Fresh coriander to garnish
Coconut oil

Method :
Gently fry the opinions and garlic in the coconut oil
Add the stock and the chopped carrots and ginger (cut into small pieces) and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the carrots have softened. Add the pulses/beans and the salt and pepper and whizz up until smooth. Garnish with the coriander, and enjoy really warm. 

Wow that's day three done already, this week is flying by. Looking forward to tomorrow to continue eating good clean juices, smoothies  and soups.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Day Two : Juices, Smoothies and Soups

We've done day one, and it was fine! More than fine, we both even enjoyed it. We've got an absolute mountain of fruit and veg in the kitchen and we're having fun mixing them up to make different tastes. I'm in charge of smoothies, and we're sharing the juice and soup making. 

Very Berry Smoothie this morning - need some more unusual names don't we?! Anyway, it was yummy  and with the Sun Warrior Protein Powder in it fills us up for hours. We gave it 9/10.

Very Berry Smoothie Recipe

Ingredients :
Handful of Goji berries
Handful of frozen strawberries
2 cups Almond milk
1 cup Coconut milk
1 Avacado
1 tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Raw honey

Method : simple, just whizz it all up in the Vitamix! And drink, slowly, and chew! Remember it's a food.

I walked/ran the dog, and collected wood again. And then did some yoga. Exercise done for the day- tick.

Mid morning juice - It's All Green (except it wasn't because it had lemon and ginger in it!) . Very refreshing! 

It's All Green (well nearly!) 

Ingredients :

Chunk of courgette
1 Apple
1 Pear
Chunk of lime
Chunk of ginger
Chunk of lemon

Method : juice everything and drink! Yum.

Lunchtime - Celeriac Soup, really creamy and very filling. We scored this with 7/10.

Celeriac Soup :

Ingredients : 

2 onions red or white
3 cloves of garlic
1 celeriac
1 large sweet potato 
2 pints of chicken stock or vegetable stock - home made
1 tin of beans or pulses, of your choice (optional but adds more protein)
Coconut oil 

Method :

Gently fry the onions and garlic in the coconut oil
Add the stock, and the celeriac and sweet potato chopped into small pieces.
Leave to simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are soft
Add the beans/ pulses and whizz up in a Vitamix or using a hand blender

Celeriac is a great seasonal root vegetable perfect for soups. It contains lots of essential minerals, and B Vits,and plenty of dietary fibre.

Mid afternoon juice - Omega Juice, great this one, bit of an acquired taste! 7/10 but you can taste it doing you good! 

Omega Juice :

Ingredients. :

2 small apples
Chunk of pineapple
Chunk of ginger
Chunk of lime
1 tbsp spirulina
1 tbsp Organic Cold pressed Flax oil
1 shot glass of Aloe Vera
1 tsp Raw honey
Chunk of cucumber
1 Avacado

Method :

I whizzed the Avacado, flax oil. Chia seeds, aloe vera , Raw honey and  spirulina up in the Vitamix, and juiced the rest. Then mix the two together and drink slowly, swishing around your mouth like a food.

Dinner time soup - Spicy Chickpea and Lentil Soup. John made this and he wasn't over impressed but I really enjoyed it. It tasted like Chana Dahl, and I love that! I gave it 8/10, John probably slightly lower. 

Spicy Chickpea, mushroom and  Lentil Soup

Ingredients :

1 can coconut milk
1 pint of vegetable or chicken stock
1 can chickpeas
1 can lentils
2 red onions
3 cloves garlic
Cumin 1 - 2 tsps
Coriander, fresh or dried 1-2 tsps
Chilli flakes 1-2 tsps
Coconut oil
Handful of mushrooms

Method :
Gently fry the onions and garlic in the coconut oil with the mushrooms
Add the spices, and stir for a minute
Add the stock , the coconut milk, and the lentils and chickpeas and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes

Serve hot with fresh coriander to garnish. Yummy!! 

I had my usual spoonfuls of fermented cabbage before lunch and dinner to boost my gut health. Still acquiring a taste for it, but I'll get there because I know it's doing me good! 

So that's day two- we both feel great doing this eating plan. It's not torture, we're not starving, we don't feel deprived. We do feel clean, vibrant and excited for our next juice, smoothie or soup! Roll on day three. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Day One : Juice, Smoothies and Soups

Day One is complete, and I'm feeling great, if a little tired. 

We began the day early; 5.50am the alarm went off!! I don't do that time of day, it was pitch black dark. John started his new teaching job this morning, and was just a little anxious. I gave him the responsibility of juicing, thought it would help take his mind off things... Just ended up making a great deal of noise that woke the kids and probably half of the neighbourhood. Lauren said the juicer sounded like a chain saw! 
Anyway, I was in charge of the breakfast smoothie, we're calling it Wake 'N' Shake, which I did I in the Vitamix. Quick and no mess. This we drank after a large mug of warm water with a slice of lemon to kick start the digestion. 

Serves 2

2 Scoops Sun warrior Protein Powder, Chocolate 
2 1/2 Cups  Almond Milk
Large handful of frozen berries
1/2 Large Avacado
1 tbsp Almond Butter
1 tbsp Chia Seeds
Large handful of spinach

Simply put everything in the Vitamix (or other blender) and whizz up until smooth!!! And drink - yum! Really yum, and filling. Make sure you sit down and 'eat' the smoothie. Swish it around your mouth to get those enzymes activated and then swallow. John and I gave this little recipe 8/10, pretty good for Day 1.

Following the shake I packed John off to work and got the kids up and ready for school. Walked Millie, my mums part time dog on the Ings,and collected wood for the stove. Cardio and weight training all in one by the time I'd lugged the wood home.

Ten minutes yoga relaxation and then a bath in sea salt to help detox after a 5 minute dry skin brush all over. It really makes the skin tingle and as the skin is the largest detox organ brushing off dead skin cells is an easy way assist.
Moisturised with organic olive oil and left on my skin to sink in before dressing.

Time for mid morning juice :

Serves 2 

1 large orange
2 tangerines
Large handful of spinach
3 sticks of celery
2 apples
1/2 beet root 

This juice is such a fabulous colour! And tastes divine. We both gave it a 9/10 and John literally made it up on the spot this morning. 

Lunch was Sweet Potato, Ginger, Chilli and Coconut Soup, a great steaming bowl full. A very easy recipe and the coconut milk makes it really filling.

I had a couple of tablespoons of fermented red cabbage with my soup, eaten before actually. I've been reading a couple of books with fermented veg recipes and it's apparently really good for the gut. My gut needs all the help it can get so I figured eating a little before lunch and dinner can only do good. It's a little bit of an acquired taste, but after just two spoonfuls today I'm already getting used to it. Separate blog post coming up.

Mid afternoon Snack : LIME ZINGER JUICE 

Serves Two
1/2 Lime
4 Tangerines
Large handful of spinach
2 apples
2 pears

Really simple, clean tasting juice :

Dinner : John back so he made this yummy concoction! He had a headache by the time he got back from work, but think it was more the anxiety of his first day rather than the food/drink. The soups is a variation on Tuscan bean, he added mushrooms which isn't in the original recipe but they worked well.

We're calling it Tomato, Bean and mushroom - pretty clear what's in it!! Very filling indeed. 


Makes four bowls

1/2 cabbage
2 tins organic chopped tomatoes
Handful of mushrooms 
A tin of butter beans
Large jug of vegetable or chicken stock
2 red onions 
2 cloves of garlic
Coconut oil

Method : 
Fry the onions and garlic in coconut oil for a few minutes
Warm the tomatoes in a pan, add the onions and garlic, and strips of cabbage and the stock and simmer.
We whizzed ours up in the Vitamix , but you can eat it 'unwhizzed', the chunky soup version! 

In summary today couldn't have gone better! My energy levels have been great all day. John flaked out at 9pm this evening, I went to bed at 10pm .  

Successful day 1 -yeah! Not a mince pie, turkey dinner, Christmas pudding or cake, champagne, or chocolates in sight, literally, because I got rid of them all from the houses before today. I'm not saying I've got no will power but... 


Saturday, 4 January 2014

CLEAN 2014...

I'm not one for dieting, never have been, mainly because I've never had a weight problem, but also be sue I don't believe they ever really work, not long term. I have to admit however, to indulging in the wrong kind of food and drink every now and then.. like over Christmas. However much I tell myself this year is going to be different, I always end up feeling weak willed and giving in.

Right now I don't care if I never see a glass of champagne again ( I can't believe I've actually written that down!!) , or a mince pie, or a piece of Christmas cake , or a full roast dinner. I have to admit to feeling sluggish; I moved less in the last two weeks too! Had the odd walk in the sunshine, when it appeared, but my usual routine changed beyond belief. I'm lacking my usual energy and am so excited about doing something to change things.

As Tony Robbins says "Make A Move". So I'm making a move to change my state. Starting Monday morning, because I'm still in the planning stages for my meals, but well on the way to completing them.

My goals:  to love and support my body and mind by cleaning up my eating habits, to maximise my energy, bring back my usual flexibility, and increase overall daily movement. 

And to do this I plan to use wholesome, clean, nutritious food, not a short term chemical based diet plan. I LOVE food and I love to eat, but it's all about balance.  A balanced diet incorporating all the food groups is sustainable, and exactly what the body needs to feel nourished . That, of course, means losing refined carbohydrates, sugars, processed packaged foods, the wrong fats, alcohol... Yes it really does! 

And to me the word 'diet' automatically equals restrictions anyway, and as soon as that happens it kind of overtakes all other thoughts, and you find yourself thinking about food that you wouldn't normally even touch, but because you're on a diet you'd quite fancy it! It's bizarre! 

The most pure form of cleansing for me is juice - fruit and vegetables . Juices offer a wide variety of nutrients in an amazingly accessible way to be utilised quickly and efficiently by our bodies. Little work has to be done to break them down, as the fiber has been removed ( if you use a juicer rather than a blender) , so the nutrients can be assimilated in my matter of minutes rather than hours - how absolutely fantastic is that!!!

Last night I watched the film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead ( thanks for the recommendation my lovely friend Rachel in snowy Canada) . Joe Cross drank fruit and veg juices (with nuts, seeds and pulses) for 60 days exclusively to correct an auto immune disorder he'd suffered from for years. It worked!!! And as an additional plus he released a shed load of weight, and gained an awesome amount of energy and vitality.

This sounds extreme, and although Rachel has suggested we have a little 'competition ' across the pond, I'm not sure I'm up to 60 days at the moment! I'll see how I feel after the end of next week.

Smoothies are great too, whole foods blended into a thick drink, are more sustainable and more food  like than juices, so they're on my plan too. With delightfully tasty ingredients such as nut butters, chia seeds, Maca powder, various berries/other fruits, some organic probiotic yoghurt, almond and coconut milk, and even Raw cacao powder, and Raw honey . Really , what's not to love?!! 

Sun Warrior do the best protein powder in both Vanilla and Chocolate and they make a great chemical free addition to smoothies to help balance blood sugar and provide us with complete protein containing all the essential amino acids. No soya used at all. They use Stevia to sweeten, and all ingredients are RAW, GMO free, solvent free, artificial colour, preservative and radiation free! Recommended by Emma lane, CHEK digestive specialist and Andrea Wood, Nutritionalist at the Mind and Body Clinic (find on FB). 

In addition to juices and smoothies to sustain me through the day I'm planning on hearty bowls of wholesome soup. The variety is endless, as I've discovered through ploughing through my recipes books and websites. 

I'm not a vegetarian but don't eat a great deal of meat and what I do eat I'm very choosy about. Grass fed, organic, local if at all possible and definitely free range ; I'm using organic chicken stock for the base of all my juices. I'll also be including various beans, including green mung beans (great food) , and lentils to bulk up and provide more protein . Creme fraiche , the proper stuff, will be added at the last minute to help the body digest the vegetables (picked up this little tip from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, amazing book) .

So Monday morning John and I will begin our day with warm lemon water, followed by a smoothie for breakfast. Mid morning we'll drink a delicious and nutritious juice. It'll be soooo good we'll literally feel the nutrients coursing through our bodies (his line!) Lunch will be a thick, hearty soup; mid afternoon another juice, and an early dinner of another soup.

I honestly can't wait! I know after seven day we'll both be feeling ready to take on anything... and we've made some big plans for 2014.

I'll be posting all details up on Sweet Enough and Balanced PT, and may blog some more too so if you fancy joining us for all or part of this EAT CLEAN week, please do, and please share how delicious (I'm confident) you find the juices, soups and smoothies.

Here's to a happy, healthy, clean eating week!