Category Archives: Food

Healthy Chocolate Brownies

Did you know that today is Food Revolution Day?

The only reason I know is because in 2013 I volunteered to be an ambassador for this initiative started by Jamie Oliver that has spread worldwide in the endeavour to educate and inspire children and adults to learn where their food comes from and how to cook healthy food .

So it may seem strange that the word healthy and chocolate both feature next to each other! However this is the perfect way to get children involved in cooking something they will enjoy.

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Here’s how with these gluten free, dairy and sugar free chocolate brownies that everyone seems to love, especially those with with food allergies or intolerances who would like a sweet treat.

The secret ingredient in these is….sweet potato that is packed with nutrition and taste great.

SWEET POTATO BROWNIES

  • 2 medium/large sweet potatoes
  • 14 medjool dates- pitted
  • 80g ground almonds
  • 100g buckwheat or brown rice flour
  • 4 tbsp raw cacoa powder
  • pinch salt

Pre heat oven to 180C (fan 160)

1.Peel sweet potatoes, cut in chunks and steam for about 20 mins until really soft

2.Remove and allow to cool slightly

3.Add to food processor with dates, blend until smooth and creamy

4.Put all other ingredients in a bowl, then add date/potato mixture

5.Stir well – (This may be quite difficult and you may think its really dry but dont panic)

6. Place in baking dish/tray and cook for 20/30 mins until skewer comes out clean

7.Remove from oven and leave to cool in tray for 10 mins (REALLY IMPORTANT STEP)

After this time they can be turned out to finish cooling and cut into squares – enjoy!

So if you believe in helping spread the word about how easy and important healthy eating is for a future generation of happy, healthy children and adults then feel free to share this recipe.

If you’d like more ideas that the whole family will love then check out my cookbook with 90 recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas that are tasty, quick and of course good for your mind and body. There are smoothies, soups, hot meals and many ideas you may never had thought of but will be favourites for a long time. Click here to find out more 

Enjoy the brownies

Zita 🙂

ps If you eat too many brownies and want to work them off then join our next trial week at Zest Bootcamp in Bath – click here 

 

 

Easter chocolate tip

My butt Hurts

Just a super quick blog post today ….

FREEZE your chocolate.

Yes – out of sight, out of mind.

I’m sure by the time you get to Easter Monday you will have eaten enough so make some space in the freezer and throw a few easter bunnies in there for next time you fancy a nibble.

Have a great Easter and if by the middle of April you are still feeling like you need to work off that easter chocolate then sign up for a trial week at Zest bootcamp.

After just 2 sessions I had this lovely email from one of our new ladies who is in her 50’s …

“I am looking forward to Friday. I cannot remember the last time I looked forward to exercise so much.  I like the variety and the positive, encouraging approach.”

So if you want to feel great in your clothes and enjoy the journey of regaining or kickstarting your fitness then give us a try. Click here to read some of our testimonials 

Burger and chips

It was Mr Z birthday and he REALLY wanted to have a burger at somewhere we found that does a great one – no it wasn’t Grillstock this time, although they do a great one too 🙂

Just a pub in Somerset – The Talbot Inn in Mells, for any of you who might be interested.

But what made it so good is that they use high quality ingredients – and my view is that if you are going to eat a meal out why not think about quality and not quantity.

Did you know that poor quality food, such as regular fast food, is so devoid of nutrients and is really “dead, beige food” that your body makes you eat more and more because the cells are not being nourished.

You can be overweight but malnourished believe it or not!

That is why eating foods close to nature in their natural state that are packed with nutrients will satisfy you.

Anyway – I decided to also have the burger with birthday boy and enjoyed it because I asked them to ditch the bun and to switch the fries it came with for a portion of greens that were on the menu as a side order.

It tasted great, I wasn’t stuffed and bloated after and I had more nutrients to help digestion and health.

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So next time you go out to eat why not ask for more vegetables, sauce on the side, an extra side salad, no bread at the table – anything you need to in order to maintain your journey to better health and happiness.

Have a great weekend and I saw this great quote today from Christian Dior ..

“Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without Zest

Can’t agree more 🙂

Zita “burger burger” Alves

ps For any of you who may have enjoyed too many burgers or chips and want to get in shape for the start of summer (which is coming soon) then the best way to kick-start your fitness is to join our next trial week at Zest bootcamp which starts 30 March.

Delicious dates

I was at a networking meeting yesterday doing a presentation about my business to a group of ladies and as I’m sure you realise by now I love my food so thought I’d make them a little healthy treat to have with coffee after lunch.

Although I could have found a recipe I just thought I’d freestyle again so popped into the shops to get some dried fruit and nuts and see what I could whip with some of the staples I always have in the cupboard.

Given that one lady was gluten and dairy intolerant I wanted to make them as “clean” as I could.

Good news is that they went down very well with the business ladies and even the guys that I train who are in a band liked them so different type of people gave them the thumbs up 🙂

Why not get your children making them with you as they are a great natural alternative to all the sugar laden snacks that the supermarkets have available for children.

Dates are a great way to add natural sweetness to recipes but if you have any blood sugar issues or are trying to lose large amounts of body fat then go easy on them and make them an occasional treat. They are great source of iron and potassium and important dietary fibre.

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DATE & NUT BALLS

These healthy sweet treats are gluten free, dairy free as well as only containing natural sugars, good amounts of fibre, protein and healthy fats.

250g dried apricots

250g dates

250g walnuts (could use any nuts)

2-3 tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil

2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon

2 tablespoons chia seeds

Splash of coconut water (could use water)

Few tablespoons of peanut powder*

Lot of sesame seeds to roll balls in at end

Put everything except sesame seed into a blender and mix well. Make into small balls in your hands then roll in lots of sesame seeds.

These made about 40 treats and they are best stored in the freezer or fridge. Also I think that maybe adding some more nuts, a few spoons of almond or peanut butter or even some raw cacao powder might taste nice and make it slightly less sweet. Why not experiment as that’s exactly how I came up with these 🙂

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* This gives you taste and protein without the fat so great for cooking. I found it in Tesco but you can buy online as you can any of the ingredients you cant find in health food shops. I often add it to smoothies for a lovely taste.

Enjoy!

Zita

ps If you would like 90 recipes that are gluten free, packed with good nutrition and easy to prepare then have a look at my recipe book HERE

Healthy Pancake Recipe

Whoop whoop it’s nearly Pancake Day!
I’m sure you know how I love to try and make a standard meal a bit healthier by taking out the sugar or ditching the gluten so pancake day is no different.
Many of  you already know about the banana pancake which so many people try and then keep as a regular part of  their diet once they are hooked.
Well I had a go at a variation and it seems to work out ok.
So here is a gluten free, high protein, high fibre, sugar free pancake that you can top with anything you fancy and if you fry in coconut oil it is also dairy free. I was happy to eat my as it comes:)
It made about 6 pancakes so enough for 2 or more people
4 eggs
1/4 cup coconut flour (eg Tiana available from health food shops)
2 small ripe bananas
1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened ideally unless you have a sweet tooth)
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
pinch of baking soda
cinnamon and vanilla powder to taste
These could be used as a breakfast alternative as they are or top with berries, a dollop of almond butter or even my favourite – Coyo coconut yoghurt.
Let me know what you think as I always welcome feedback when I’ve only done 1 experiment so far for a healthy pancake day recipe
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If you over indulge in too many pancakes or other treats during half term then why not join Zest Bootcamp for a week’s trial on 2nd March in Bath.
Remember: EXCUSES DON’T BURN CALORIES but a 45 minute session at Zest bootcamp every Monday, Wednesday and Friday does – classes are at 6.30am, 9.30am or 6.15pm so plenty of options to fit into your schedule.
Book your trial week now so those pancakes have nowhere to hide!

Comfort zone

So last weekend was my birthday and all the fun I had has crept up on me 🙁

birthday cake

We went out for a lovely dinner on the Saturday (and plenty of wine) and I had fish starter and main course so on Sunday I really fancied some meat.

There is a place called Grillstock that I had yet to visit so I had my mind set on going there for lunch. We walked around the harbour in Bristol for over an hour to work up our appetite ……we climbed a hill and finally found the restaurant (which is pretty small in Bristol)

We walked in (and raised the average age by at least 15 years!) and I checked that Mr Z was happy to sit at the communal bench type table (that’s all there is there) and he wasn’t very keen and I realised he wanted to walk straight back out 🙁

BUT I had been really looking forward to it so I stuck to my guns and we sat down.

To cut a long story short he actually loved it and wants to go the Bath one soon!

So why am I telling you this?

Well the moral of this story is that getting out of our COMFORT ZONE is not something we really like to do but it can open exciting opportunities and adventures that we hadn’t expected.

Last week I also did my ever live webinar which REALLY got me out of my comfort zone but I’m glad I did it as I learnt from some of my mistakes and next time it will be easier.

Another example is when people, who don’t think they will like bootcamp, bite the bullet and sign up for a trial week and then several months or years later are still with us.

I recently had a lovely testimonial from one of our very long term members who came for a month and 50 months later is still doing it!

Anyway having almost eaten a days calories in one meal of ribs, chips and coleslaw washed down with a cider, I’ve got back to my regular exercise and better eating the last few days so that this coming Monday I won’t feel bloated, uncomfortable and lethargic like I did last Monday.

What could you do to get out of your comfort zone?

Life is no dress rehearsal so make the most of it…..

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If you are in Bath and would like to (maybe) get out of your comfort zone a little, it could be time to have a go at some outdoor fitness with supportive, like minded people at Zest Bootcamp.

 

Pumpkin Workout

So it’s finally Halloween – a chance to dress up, eat sweets and try to avoid A&E carving a pumpkin.

Any trick or treaters knocking on my door will be getting a healthy nakd bar – lucky devils 🙂

On the flip side Halloween is a great chance to use a pumpkin like a medicine ball for a total body workout and then afterwards make a tasty, healthy soup 🙂

That is exactly what we are doing at Zest Bootcamp today so I thought I’d make a video of some of the great exercises you can do with a good old pumpkin!

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In this pumpkin workout can either do 30 seconds of work with 30 seconds of rest or for a tougher challenge work for 40 seconds followed by a shorter 20 second rest.
You can do 3-4 sets of the whole workout after a little warm up and don’t forget to stretch afterwards too.

Watch out – If you have a giant pumpkin you might want to stick to the 30 seconds!

The exercises are:

1. Plank Tap overs – optional extra set of mountain climbers too
2. Overhead Press
3. Alternating circles
4. Squat
5. Squat Press
6. Side Lunge
7. Reverse Lunge
8. Pullover
9. Ab curls
10.Hop overs

Once you have done your workout you deserve a healthy bowl of soup so here is a gluten free (if you use a gluten free stock cube), sugar free and dairy free recipe.

This will make a big batch so half can be frozen.

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PUMPKIN SOUP
Chopped flesh from 1 pumpkin or 2 butternut squash
2 sweet potatoes
2 – 3 onions
2 – 3 carrots
4 sticks celery
2 gloves of garlic
Stock cube or fresh chicken or vegetable stock
2 -3 cups of unsweetened almond milk or 1- 2 cups coconut milk
optional :
fresh ginger, tumeric, chill

Chop all vegetables – start by gently frying the onion in coconut oil or ghee then add garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add all remaining vegetables, stock and make sure just covered with liquid. Bring to boil then simmer for 20-30 minutes. Blend then add almond milk or coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Delicious and nutritious!

Depending on how much garlic you put in I bet you could get your children to enjoy it too.

If you’d like more healthy, tasty recipes then check out our Healthy Mammas programme where we are offering you some quick, easy alternatives to breakfast – you can download your free copy here 

Happy Halloween!

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

Zita

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 http://adventurely.co.uk/2014/04/25/emmas-diary-i-finished-bootcamp-hold-on-i-think-i-definitely-need-more/

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.

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Ingredients

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

Cinnamon

Optional: Orange essence or zest

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

Method

  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