Category Archives: Healthy eating

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!

Getting enough fibre

Just a quick post reminding you that our bodies are designed to go to the toilet after each meal we eat so theoretically if you don’t do a “no 2” every day you have seriously got to increase the amount of fibre you are eating.

If your diet is high in refined foods such as white bread and also a lot of meat but low on fresh vegetables it is likely that there is a serious backlog happening in your digestive tract.

Think of your body like the kitchen sink – if you throw fat and other things down there it will get blocked.

Foods that supply plenty of fibre are fruits, vegetables, whole grains but also some other special foods such as flaxseed and chia seeds.

So to keep it simple just look at the amount of fibre you are eating and try and increase it.

Half your dinner plate should be vegetables (no potato doesn’t count) – does that sound like a lot?

A great way to include flaxseed is in these sweet treats I made this week. I was doing a presentation at a local business hub about how to increase energy and productivity and as the event is called “coffee & croissants” I decided to make some healthy treats to take along and share.

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Here is the recipe if you want to have a go:

ZITA’S APRICOT CHIA NUT BITES

These dairy, sugar ang gluten free sweet treats are packed with fibre, good fats and protein and can be stored in the freezer if you make a batch. Store in fridge once made. Ingredients can be found at good health food shops or online.

Makes about 20 balls

225g bag of chopped, dried, apricots (could use dates for a sweeter flavour.

4 tablespoons flax seed

1 tablespoon chia seeds

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil

2 tablespoons unsweetened peanut butter

1/2 cup ground almonds

2 tablespoons tahini

1 tablespoon cinnamon powder

1 tablespoon vanilla powder

Blend everything in food processor then make into balls and coat in sesame seeds.

If you like the recipe feel free to share this blog post with your friends 🙂

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!

Christmas

So not long until Halloween, which means Christmas is coming!

This pretty much means we have 2 choices when it comes to our health & fitness

  1. We might as well wait until January now as there are sweets at Halloween, burgers on bonfire night, Xmas meals out so lots of socialising, eating & drinking…….  busy with Christmas shopping which often means more eating & drinking as there are extra temptations with gingerbread flavour lattes, mulled wine, mince pies etc that pop up everywhere and the list goes on.

The other option is………

  1. Do something NOW so that come January 1st we don’t feel like a bloated, beached whale, lacking energy and having to wear our “fat clothes” because nothing else fits.

You don’t want to look like this gingerbread man do you?

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The wise people will accept that eating and drinking a bit more than normal a few times over the run up to Christmas is perfectly natural and part of the fun.

They realise that in order to feel good in their clothes at the Christmas parties the hard work has to be put in now.

They understand that regular exercise will not only help them feel better in their clothes, but also will keep their energy levels up ( through what can be a challenging time for some people.)

They know that immunity, positive mental attitude, strong toned muscles and a healthier, fitter body will only be achieved if they put the effort in to do some exercise.

They want to enjoy some Christmas treats knowing that they can burn them during their workout.

These are the people who realise that our bodies are designed to move and so regular exercise is part of their life.

Which one are you?

Do you want to stick your head in the sand and wait until January, along with half of the population who decide they have had enough of feeling bloated and lethargic then no need to take action.

>>>>>> However if you want to breeze through the next few months feeling and looking great then take action now.<<<<<<<<

For those of you in Bath our next Trial week at bootcamp is on 27th October (a week Monday).

But for anyone who is not local to Bath (or me for 1-1 personal training) then there is our new online programme called HEALTHY MAMMAS. (yes you have to be a mum but that is the only requirement – your kids may have left home but that’s fine, you are still a mum).

The Healthy Mammas programme is for any mum, any age, anywhere in the world as the short workouts are done in the comfort of your own home plus there is nutritional support and a private group on Facebook for more help should you need it.

ps If you know anyone who might want to come to Zest Bootcamp in Bath please share our trial week page with them.

pps If you are not a mum but might know someone who is and wants to get back her VA VA VOOM then please share the website with her – there is a free breakfast recipe collection to download too HERE

Immunity boosting tips

I’m not sure about you but now the weather in the UK has changed (i.e..no more flips, the boots are out)…. I can guarantee I will be wearing socks in bed – yes, glamorous eh! I can’t sleep if my feet are cold – surely I’m not the only one?

It seems that several people have started to get colds so I thought I’d share my immunity boosting tips to help you get through the winter as best you can:

1. Get more sleep – I think we all know that lack of sleep reduces your immunity.

2. Eat less sugar – you may not realise that sugar can actually suppress your immune system.

3. Get your body moving – a moderate amount of regular exercise will improve immunity, overtraining actually won’t so you need your rest and recovery days.

4. Get outdoors – even when it is dark and cold you will be better to get some fresh air rather than being surrounded by people coughing and sneezing.

5. Eat a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables every day and as extra “health Insurance” I recommend a daily greens drink to boost your ability to fight the bugs (as well as other benefits)

6. Reduce stress – yes this can also depress your immune system

7. Vitamin D supplements can also boost our ability to fight flu and colds, and in the winter we severely lack this in the Northern Hemisphere.

So there you go, although I can’t promise you won’t catch a cold, you will be a lot less likely to get ill this winter if you can do all these.

Zita “love my bed socks” Alves

green zinger

ps If you’d like some ideas for recipes that contain loads of great nutrition and are easy to make including smoothies, soups, salads and loads more then grab your copy of my 90 recipe cookbook HERE

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

Chocolate vegetables

Eating your 5 a day can be easier than you think if you blend in smoothies, soups and even better into a chocolate cake!

beetroot choc protein bites

In Bath we are finally lucky enough to have a new health food place called “Beyond The kale” that makes amazing fresh juices and blends (healthy smoothies) as well as loads of other goodies.

Today I had a lettuce, kale, coriander, lemon and banana  (I think) and last time it was a beetroot and other goodies blend.

Even more exciting more me is that they make fresh almond milk which I love and don’t always get time to make myself. It’s not only dairy free but also loaded with enzymes  and goodness – plus it tastes wonderful.

If you are on my email list, have the 7 day detox (you can sign up for above) or have my cookbooks then you should already have tried a few delicious smoothy recipes. Also you can see my famous “kermit” recipe here on Martini Mum Blog

Anyway here is a super simple recipe (if you have kids it might be a way for you to get them to eat beetroot!)

Have a great weekend and if you are in Bath we start our April 4 week bootcamp on Monday – outdoor group fitness for all abilities at either 6.30am, 9.30am or 6.15pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Trial weeks available too – Click Here for more info

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Zita’s Beetroot Chocolate Protein Bites

These are dairy & gluten free sweet “treats” that are high in protein, good fat and are easy to make and taste great.  Great alternative to biscuits, chocolate or cakes.

Ingredients

100g of 80 to 90% dark chocolate

150 cooked beetroot (either cooked from fresh or vacuum packed – not in vinegar!)

3 eggs

3/4 cup almond or coconut milk

3/4 cup chopped dried apricots or dates

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup almond butter (or unsweetened peanut butter if can’t get almond)

1/2 cup ground almonds

2/3 large tablespoons coconut oil

Cinnamon

Method

  1. Melt chocolate and coconut oil slowly
  2. Blend beetroot & almond milk until smooth
  3. Mix all other ingredients then add beetroot mix then finally melted chocolate mix
  4. Spoon 10 or more bites onto greased baking tray & cook at 180 degrees for approx 15 mins
  5. Let cool then store in fridge
  6. Enjoy!

Zita x

Other options:

Could try banana instead of dried fruit and grated carrot or courgette instead of beetroot.

Also could add spoon of flaxseed or chia seeds for omega 3 and fibre 

 

Stop eating C.R.A.P

Until yesterday I was going to write about gratitude – which I still will on another blog post but I changed my mind as had to get this off my chest.

It seems the no make-up “selfie” has gone crazy on Facebook over the last few days and whilst I love the intent and the fact it’s raising awareness and money for breast cancer – a cause VERY close to my heart, I have a different approach.

stop eating crap

Yesterday I was in a major chain supermarket filming some educational nutrition information about how to choose the best foods for an online programme I’m running. We chose a large store so the ranges on offer would be as wide as possible and it truly shocked me how much rubbish is on the shelves.

I honestly hadn’t even heard or seen a lot of the brands of food and drinks that were on offer – is that because I don’t watch much TV or read magazines where they are advertised maybe? It could be that I use a fruit and vegetable box scheme for the majority of my foods, as well as farm shops, health food shops and I also prefer smaller supermarkets for other bits that we need.

Ok I know many of you have children and you need to shop for everything in one place to make life easier but really I’d say that 75% of what is there you DO NOT need. The cereal aisle for example, which I call the sugar aisle, is immense and squashed down the bottom on a tiny shelf we finally found some organic porridge oats – which are not only “closer to nature” the way I prefer to eat, but also work out much cheaper bowl for bowl than some of the so called “healthy” mueslis and granolas.

Want to get fat? Then check out some of the ingredients in a yoghurt – double cream, sugar, butter!!! Yes steam started coming out of my ears when I read that – can you believe it!

As you may realise this subject is one that I am super passionate about and I could talk all day about it. We got half way around the supermarket before they came over and told us to stop filming as it wasn’t allowed… kind of expected that to happen 🙁

So whilst breast cancer is not always straight forward I understand, we have got to start thinking more about what we put in our bodies, hence I write and say what I do to help people understand the truth and not what the food manufacturers and media mostly tell us, but in the end it is your choice of course.

Anyway here is a photo of a sugar, wheat and diary free “experiment” that turned out really well….

beetroot choc protein bites

I’ve just had one of my cookbooks reprinted so if you struggle with ideas of what healthy meals to prepare that are easy to make and taste great I recommend you have a look as I think you might be surprised. The 90 recipes are sugar and wheat free, and mainly dairy free too. Many of the mums on our online programme have said how they now love some of the fruit smoothies as alternatives for breakfast, as well as the fruit pancakes which everyone loves! For dinner the kids seem to all love the Spanish meatball recipe so check it out HERE

have a great weekend and if you are in Bath don’t forget you can sign up for a trial week at our outdoor bootcamp classes to see how we can help you feel healthier and happier.

Zita

ps Recipe for these chocolate treats coming next time as this post is long enough already.  You can sign up above for my 7 day detox and then you will the first to know about my future blog posts to make sure you don’t miss out:)