Category Archives: Cooking

Sweet treats

If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that I love food!

And I also like a sweet treat now and then 🙂

sesame energy balls
In an attempt to create “cleaner” healthier versions of foods, as a way to not feel deprived, I love to see if I can make dairy, gluten and sugar free versions of different things. Sometimes it works – sometimes it doesn’t!

This is how I do it….

1. Decide what I am in the mood to create
2. Throw a bunch of ingredients into the bowl
3. Taste it and if it seems ok, test it out on Mr Z
4. If we both like it then I might do a further taste test out with Zest Bootcampers as they are always VERY honest!
5. Type up the recipe properly for me to keep and to share if I’m feeling generous 🙂

Luckily these “energy balls” seemed to go down pretty well so here is the recipe:

Energy balls

Actually that was my scribble as I made another version (not photographed) so here is the recipe in full

1 cup of dates

1/2 cup of dried apricots

2-3 tablespoons of (sugar free) nut butter e.g. peanut, almond or cashew

1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil

1/2 cup ground almonds

Optional extras

1/4 cup sesame seeds

cinnamon powder

vanilla powder or vanilla bean paste

1 teaspoon of chia seeds or ground flaxseed

Blend everything well in a mixer then make small round balls in your hand and leave as they are or coat in sesame seeds as I did in the photo or you could try desiccated coconut.

This makes 10-15 balls depending on size.

Store in fridge (or freezer if you want to make them last).

Just realised these are also raw and vegan as well as being dairy free, sugar free and gluten free (just no good if you are allergic to nuts)

These are perfect when you’d like a sweat treat and great for kids too. They contain good fats, natural sugars, some protein and fibre too but like any treat you don’t want to eat too many otherwise your jeans will get tight!

I do also have a COOKBOOK with 90 recipes that are gluten, dairy & sugar free – 30 breakfasts, lunches & dinners that the whole family will love – plenty of customers have told me in the past.

For any of you in Bath who would like to exercise outdoors with like-minded people to improve your fitness, health, body shape, energy levels and to feel more positive and happy – then why not join our next 4 week bootcamp that starts on Monday 29th September. You can come for a trial week to see what you think – find out more here

Have a great weekend


Rainbow nutrition

There is something magical about a rainbow, infact I saw one on Sunday after having got soaked with an unexpected shower 🙁

So when I came across this image I thought it was the perfect way to show people how many different fruits and vegetables there are out there to try.

Fibre, water, vitamins, minerals, enzymes – just a few reasons to include fruits & vegetables into your diet EVERY day.

colourful fruit & veg

We are all guilty (me included) of often going for the same old choices so why not use this image and cross off as many as you can by the end of August.

Maybe you could get the kids involved too.

If you lack inspiration then checkout my cookbook which includes some great smoothie recipes that are easy to make, filling and tasty as well as being packed with good nutrition.

Perhaps you really struggle with time in which case having a shot of lean greens every morning is a great way to get a supercharged vegetable hit (you can also add it to smoothies).

Enjoy the challenge 🙂

Candy Crush

What is it with Candy Crush Saga! All I know is my mum plays it along with what seems like half the population!

Anyway have you eaten all your Easter chocolate yet?

Did you feel sick over the weekend with too much sugar, possibly after giving up chocolate and sweets for Lent?

A few people coming to bootcamp did!

If you are not yet over your Easter excesses then best way to get back on track is to do these 3 things:

  1. Increase your water intake back to what it should be – 0.039litres per kg of bodyweight is a good guide.
  2. Get moving – even if just for a long walk or 10 mins of exercises at home
  3. Go green, lots of big salads, some homemade green smoothies or some lean greens powder. All of these will help alkalise your body from the acidity which will give you more energy, better digestion and also health.

There is a recipe for Kermit smoothie in blog post below if you’ve not yet had it. Otherwise why not fill in your details in box above to download my free 7 day cleanse – it has smoothie recipes as well as great lunch and dinner suggestions.

I’ve been playing around with some more ideas for smoothies this week – made one yesterday I have called “pink paradise” but need to make it a few times more and get other peoples feedback before I share it with the world.

Last week, before the photo shoot, I had a few days cleansing with lots of homemade, healthy smoothies (not the sugary “Innocent” ones you buy in the shops) plus salads and fish just to feel as good as I could before going infront of the camera. I felt good so ‘cleaning up your act” really is worth it if you are feeling sluggish and bloated. ( I will be seeing the photos next week – very excited! )

If you can’t imagine life without chocolate then check out this new recipe I created that is a healthy alternative from the “candy” sold in the shops – I got some great feedback from the bootcampers and clients who tried it.

Finally if you need to burn off that Easter “cheer” our May bootcamp starts Monday and if the weather is as nice as most days we had in April (today excluded) we are in for a treat. Last chance to book your trial week today, Emma has just done her first month at Zest Bootcamp and is sleeping better, her mood and energy are better and she can get in her skinny jeans!

You can read her blog post about bootcamp here

Zita’s Dairy, Sugar & Gluten free Chocolate Truffles

These are satisfying and have a surprise ingredient. You can also make a batch and have in the freezer.



1/2 cup chopped apricots or dates (soaked in water overnight)

1/2 cup cooked and drained chickpeas

1/4 cup chopped hazlenuts, pistacios, almonds or cashews (can be toasted lightly to bring out flavour)

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup almond or coconut milk

1 bar of 80 – 90% dark chocolate

2 tablespoons of coconut oil


Optional: Orange essence or zest

Tablespoon of honey, agave syrup, coconut palm sugar or stevia for extra sweetness


  1. Slowly melt the coconut oil and broken up chocolate in a pan
  2. Mash up or blend the chickpeas , drain the dried fruit of soaked then mix with all other ingredients
  3. Add the melted chocolate and mix well
  4. Put into paper cases or roll into balls and store in fridge or freezer.
  5. Enjoy!

Zita x

Broken heart

So Valentine’s Day is over – hope it brought you whatever you wished for….. a mountain of cards from secret admirers, flowers, chocolates, dinner or just an unexpected cup of tea in bed ( it’s the little things) or maybe you are single and suffering from a broken heart 🙁

Well this post is actually about your health – and most importantly your heart. See whilst we talk about the emotional broken heart, the truth is that many people don’t look after their physical heart and hell, without it your heart pumping blood and oxygen around your body, the fact that someone dumped you and you might feel like Bridget Jones will be the least of your problems.


February is National Heart Month and organizations and charities like the British Heart Foundation are asking everybody to pay attention to their hearts and start living healthier lifestyles.

Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer causing around 82,000 deaths a year and around one in five men and one in eight women die from the disease.

In the UK, there are an estimated 2.7m people living with the condition and 2m people affected by angina, the most common symptom of coronary heart disease.

Most people know someone or have themselves been directly affected by heart disease and the saddest part is a lot of times it is avoidable by changing lifestyle habits. Simple changes in diet by reducing your salt intake and eliminating processed foods from your diet and trying to get a several hours of exercise a week can make a huge difference.

A healthy diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and prevents weight gain which puts pressure on your heart, the introduction of a healthy diet also helps to prevent further worsening of existing heart disease and it’s NEVER too late to start eating healthily. Just eat foods that are close to nature and you can’t go wrong – the mediterranean diet is a very heart healthy diet so would be a good one for us to follow. If foods is packaged with loads of additives to make it last months then it isn’t very close to it’s original state. Most people know that fast food isn’t good for us but some of the foods sold in supermarkets as healthy aren’t good to consume all the time either.

To help prevent heart disease here are a few obvious, but often overlooked tips that anyone can do.


  1. Quit smoking – this is one of the most important things you can do today to help your heart and there is so much support available to find the best way for you.
  2. Cardio workouts that work the heart and lungs are a great way to keep your heart healthy with the added benefit of increasing your energy, making your skin glow, improving your sleep and toning up your body. You don’t have to go for long runs to get the heart pumping, even just dancing to a few of your favourite songs can get your heart and lungs pumping ( if you are not sweating after 10 minutes you need to work a bit harder). At Zest bootcamp we do fitness boxing in many of the sessions which everyone loves as it works a sweat.
  3. Lose weight by joining a fitness class – training with like minded people gives your the support and encouragement to keep going when you don’t want to. It’s also a great way to make friends with people who are also interested in a healthier lifestyle.
  4. Drink less alcohol and switch to red instead of white wine as it contains a compounds called resveratrol that is heart healthy – just one glass a day though not a bottle!
  5. Walk instead of driving when possible such as on short trips – can yousometimes walk the children home from school instead of using the car? (plus helps be a good role model for the next generation). In the supermarket park as far away, not close to the doors. In car parks, shopping malls or at work you can use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator.

If you live in Bath our next 4 week bootcamp starts on Monday 3rd March and we are offering a TRIAL WEEK for you to try out our group exercise classes – Click here today as spaces are limited.

Can’t get to our classes but want to cook tasty, easy to prepare, heart healthy meals that the family will love – then check out our 90 recipe cookbook here 

Happy hearts and minds 🙂

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day BATH

FR-logo Bath

It started in the winter when some Fitness Professional friends of mine mentioned about becoming a Jamie Oliver Food Ambassador. I’d not actually heard of Food Revolution Day at that point so researched more via the website and the idea appealed as I love food – cooking and eating plus any way to meet more members of the community is great as it’s hard when a lot of my work is done from home sat infront of a computer. So I applied to become a local ambassador for Bath and Somerset and this is when I was first introduced to the lovely Sarah Curl who was my main point of contact throughout the whole process.

A brief summary of my background before I continue is that I was born in the UK to an English mother (who is a great cook) and a Portuguese father who loves to eat. Evening meals were always a focus and we sat down together at the table and despite holding down a full time job and bringing me up my mum always cooked from scratch. I also learnt from her mainly by watching and to this day I still don’t really like to follow recipes (often foolish) as I like to “freestyle” and throw a bit in see what happens and cary on etc! Going to Portugal for our holidays also meant sitting around big table with the family and friends and eating grilled sardines, Bacalhau (salted cod) and bean stew amongst other things. This communal love of cooking, eating and sharing is the essence to me of what Food Revolution (FR) is all about, in addition to the education element for children, so I wanted to be part of bringing this into UK homes and families as I see it is sadly so lacking in comparison to Portugal and other foreign countries.

My working background included 5 years working in highly stressful marketing agencies before I switched careers to become a Personal Trainer 15 years ago. Before this change I was fat, unfit, ill, tired and not the real Zita that I am today due to poor lifestyle choices. I now love to work with other people and share my knowledge and skills of how to use diet, hydration, exercise, sleep and other lifestyle changes to maximise their potential and be disease free and happy. I run group exercise programmes through Zest Bootcamp, do 1-1 Personal Training, have cookbooks and I also created a fitness product called the Ztrainer in 2010.

Life for me is busy too and has it’s ups and downs including bereavements, house moves and other challenges but the foundation is still built on trying to be the healthiest I can be and when I see people and children who look sick and tired I want to help them so going back to Food Revolution Day (sorry as I got a bit sidetracked) this is why I signed up as a voluntary ambassador.

Months went by and May 17th seemed like ages away and I just couldn’t decide what I should do for FR day but once it got to April I really HAD to sort something out so off I went in organising my community event in Bath. I secured a great outdoor (covered) space near Sainsburys in Bath called Green Park Station and huge thanks to Dan from Ethical Properties who was very helpful through the whole process.

FRD food pic

Next I needed to get some great people along and luckily I knew a few already and several people gave me names of other people I should ask. After sending emails to many, many people and not getting replies I realised that I needed to see people in person to share my passion face to face and get them excited about taking part so off I went knocking on doors. Sadly so many people had to say no as Friday was their busiest day and they just didn’t have the manpower to send someone along but after a few “pleeeaaaassseeee” will you come I got the following local people to come along.

Bini Ludlow from Sweet Cumin Indian Cookery School shared her simple omelette recipe with spices that tasted great. She also shared some of her homemade chutneys and other delights.

Noya from Noya’s Kitchen showed us how to make some super-simple spring rolls and children and adults alike had a go.

Sarah Jane from Minky Kitten cakes brought her tasty cupcakes ready to be decorated by children (and adults)

Debbie from Bath Harvest Oils had her various Rapeseed Oils to taste and try.

Celia and Kirsty from Newton Farm Foods made and shared burgers made with their beef.

Rina showed and shared her raw foods including chocolate, a green smoothie and other bits & pieces.

Simi from Simi’s Kitchen brought along plants and flowers she had picked that morning including wild garlic and shared some foods that were great to eat with these flowers and plants.

Anna from Faulkand Veg who run a local fruit & vegetable box scheme ran a great quiz for children to find certain foods around the event and then come back to collect a free piece of fruit as a prize

Cat from AtCatherines made some simple stirfries that the whole family love

Riverford Home Delivery were showing their vegetable boxes and other ingredients/fresh foods they can deliver in Bath

Jamie at Home had kitchen equipment to share that can make cooking at home easier

We also had Chilli Hut Bath, Maria from Nourish and Littleton Mill all taking part and I had a simple smoothie recipe to handout for people to try at home as a way of getting spinach into a drink that no-one would taste!


I set up a community Facebook Page which was the hub of sharing with people what was going on on May 17th and I see as a place for the rest of year for us to share recipes, ideas, education with each other

How was I going to tell everyone about it (apart from telling all my friends, clients, bootcampers etc)? Flyers – Kate one of our very kind bootcampers offered to design the flyer and Dave Dixon from Minuteman Press kindly printed them free of charge. I spent a long day going all across town putting flyers on noticeboards, leaving them in cafes, public places and handing them to clients, friends etc to share at school or anywhere they could. The ladies in the WIBN networking group I go to were great in sharing the event on Facebook and Twitter too.

Twitter was a great way to spread the word in the local community and we used #FRD2013 as much as possible. I sent press releases out which the local papers didn’t pick up and print but Lisa from Bath mums did which was great as we want to share the event with parents who might not have heard about it

A few days before the event I contacted Bath On TV who came down to film part of the event and this has been a great way of us sharing what we did so that next year we can get even more interest. Talking on camera is a bit scary so well done to Bini and Anna who did a great job.

Finally Friday May 17th arrived and I knew that people all around the world were doing things too. We started at 11am and had balloons all around the area to jazz it up plus kids love balloons so we could give them away. Everyone had free recipes to give away and there were tastings, demos and general information to help educate people. We ran until about 5.30pm by which time most people just wanted to head home after work.

Here is a link to the video of the day VIDEO

Yes it was a lot of work to organise, it was hard to get people involved and excited and I was exhausted but there was a great buzz and energy during the day and I met some lovely people who all want to help educate and help people so worth the effort. Knowing that you were doing something in your local area along with thousands of people around the world made it special and having the Food Revolution Facebook group for all of us ambassadors to share our events/ideas etc meant that we never felft alone.

HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE INVOLVED IN ANY WAY including my husband who came and along on the day.What we learnt – more awareness was needed prior to the event to get more members of the public along and maybe my idea of having someone in a banana suit handing out flyers would have got people to come and stop by. As it was a school day it was only pre-school children that came and at 4pm after school we didn’t get the children and parents that we expected so maybe next time we get schools to bring children along for 45 mins and take part. I’d love to get more volunteers to help with making next year an even bigger better event so if you are local please do get in touch on 07970 988128 or email

Here are some photos of the day and there will be more coming soon…

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