Category Archives: Healthy eating

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

Giving up sugar for Lent

I saw this Chinese Proverb this week which I love….

“The teacher opens the doors, but your must enter by yourself”

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Can’t argue with that!

Much as sometimes my clients would love me to do their burpees and press ups, that wouldn’t actually get them the results they desire 🙂

Anyway, hope you enjoyed pancake day – maybe they were topped with nutella or golden syrup, and maybe now you have given up sugar for Lent.

Ofcourse I think giving up sugar is a great move towards better health, teeth and weight loss but I have a different challenge for you over the next 6 weeks.

Instead of giving something up why not add something good in every day.

Here are a few ideas to start you off:

1. An extra glass of water every day

2. Say hello (or at least smile) to someone in the street

3. Add in an extra portion of green vegetables to your dinner

4. Let a car out at a junction if you are driving

5. Phone a friend you’ve not spoken to for a while

6. Try a new healthy food you have never had before

7. Skin brush before you shower

8. Make your lunch to take to work instead of buying the same old thing

9. Meditate for 10 minutes

10. Go for a walk during your lunch hour to get some fresh air

The possibilities are endless!

Which is really exciting – are you in?

Zita “glass half full” Alves

ps If you want the Zest Bootcamp “teachers” to open the door so you can go through it (and get the energy, fitness, health and weight loss results your desire) then I recommend joining our next trial week which starts soon – Click here to grab your place ready for 2nd March

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.

 

Ditch the diet

So now it feels like Christmas is well and truly over it seems the adverts are all about booking a holiday and infact they are right – we should be thinking about our beach bodies now not in June.

Rather than starting a drastic diet (that cuts out everything you love) in January or a few weeks before you head off for your holiday why not start to swap your bad habits for healthier ones now and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Good food

A sustainable plan should allow for treats whilst supporting your body so that you have:

  • Loads of energy
  • Glowing Skin
  • Able to wear anything you want
  • Feel good wearing clothes that show off your body
  • Good sleep
  • Toned body
  • Free from illness and disease
  • Feeling happy and healthy

It’s not that difficult to achieve all of these but you have to start doing something such as:

  • Drinking a herb or fruit tea instead of a cappuccino or latte
  • Going out for a walk during your lunch hour
  • Taking a big bottle of water to work with you and making sure you have drunk it all by the time you leave
  • Adding some more vegetables into your dinner
  • Having nuts and fruit for a snack instead of a biscuit or cake
  • Only having alcohol one night a week instead of several
  • Starting the day with a green smoothie (check out some recipes in my cookbook)
  • Swapping your lunchtime sandwich for a vegetable soup or a salad
  • Joining an exercise class

It’s great to see how already after just 2 weeks at bootcamp our new members are noticing they can do more (that’s why we make the 4 weeks a progressive programme that gets harder). No matter what level you are starting at you can always make improvements – even if you feel other people are much fitter than you. Everyone has to start somewhere and that’s why our longer term members are very supportive of new people as they know how it feel when you start out and even just the warm up gets you hot and sweaty.

Our next trial week starts on Monday 2nd February so if you are still struggling to get back into your clothes after Christmas or are feeling bloated and lethargic and just not as healthy as you’d like to be, then why not join us?

Maya Tweeted this a few days ago “Feeling amazing – thought I’d hate exercising outdoors but I love it” and Fiona loved being back at bootcamp doing boxing after several months off.

For any of you ladies who aren’t able to get to Bath for bootcamp but want to do something for your health why not join our f.ree webinar on Thursday 29th January at 8pm

“Ditch the diet forever –  7 Simple strategies that get results and you wish you’d known years ago”  – REGISTER HERE

Look forward to seeing you soon at bootcamp or on the live online webinar

Zita

Sweat fat crying

Small Business Saturday

Did you know today is Small Business Saturday –  to inspire, support and promote small businesses in UK on 6th December.

It reminded me that looking after your health and fitness is a bit like running a small business.

Weekend Magazine Feature

{ This was an article in Bath Chronicle Weekend Magazine a few months ago.}

IMAGINE if when we started Zest Bootcamp almost 6 years ago, we just did an initial advert and then no promotion at all in the time after that – not sure many people would know about us.

Same as if you did a month of exercise and healthy eating, got great results and then didn’t carry on those habits – you wouldn’t still have the results you achieved at the start.

IMAGINE if we did exactly the same workouts every month for 6 years at bootcamp – people would get bored.

Same as if you do the same workout every time you go into the gym, or you just go running on the same route every week for same length of time – your body gets bored. You have to challenge your body and mix it up to get results as well as avoid overuse injuries.

IMAGINE if I never did anymore courses, study or self development in the time since starting Zest Bootcamp – I would become stale. In this time I have worked with several coaches on my technical knowledge and skills as well as learning about relevant business aspects to constantly grow and evolve.

Same as if you just rely on what you read in magazines and on TV to get a better body – you may be wasting your time. By hiring a professional to work with you, it’s likely you will not only achieve better results but you will probably get there quicker.

**** You wouldn’t try and fix your car engine if it broke down so why should you expect to know how to fix your body.*****

Having worked crazy hours, under immense pressure for someone else before I changed careers and not looking after my body therefore being overweight, bloated, lethargic and unhealthy, I am super passionate about helping more people run their own “body” businesses better.

So if next year you don’t want to try and run “your own business” alone join us at Zest Bootcamp for a trial week or even our online programme for women called Healthy Mammas.

Running your own business is hard but it does bring benefits. EXACTLY like looking after your own body

Easy to follow diet

So not long until Christmas and as I’ve said in previous posts you can either give up and eat all the high calorie treats that are everywhere at the moment or you can still keep on the healthy nutrition for 80% of the time and allow your self to enjoy some Christmas treats in the run up to the day Santa arrives.

During most of the week you can focus on eating vegetables, meat, fish, some nuts, some fruit and some starches such as sweet potato, rice, quinoa plus making sure you get plenty of water every day.

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This means that if you fancy a glass of mulled wine, mince pie or gingerbread latte occasionally you can enjoy it without putting on the average 5-10lbs that most people put on over the upcoming festive season.

Here is a quick tip I recorded to share with you to ensure you don’t have an excuse of being too busy to eat properly.

Also if you don’t yet have my 7 day detox diet plan which is packed with tasty, filling meals that are easy to prepare then grab a copy and follow it for an easy way to feel less bloated and sluggish.

If you add in some exercise then you will feel more energetic and vibrant.

Yesterday I had this lovely text from one of our Zest Bootcampers

“Zest Bootcamp has been life changing – really!”

So if you want to make 2015 the year you get your health and fitness sorted out we would love to help you. Why not sign up for a trial week at Zest bootcamp if you are in or near Bath – hundreds of people that we have helped over the last 6 years can’t be wrong 🙂

Grab your easy to follow 7 day healthy eating plan here so you can feel great in your festive clothes!