Category Archives: Healthy habits

Gut feeling

So during the hottest week of the year I had to get a loan vehicle as mine was in the garage for repair and although I rarely use the air- conditioning, the fact the hire vehicle didn’t have any really threw me! Luckily the fact is was diesel wasn’t a problem as that is what I use normally.

BUT…

If I had put petrol into it I dread to think how much time, hassle and money I would have used to sort it out.

So why is it that we often put the wrong fuel into our bodies and wonder why we feel sluggish, tired, have bad skin, brain fog, have aches and pains, indigestion or anything else that just generally makes us feel – yuk.

Yesterday I donated blood and was chatting to someone whilst we were enjoying our well deserved tea and biscuits after donation, and I’m not sure how but we got onto subject of digestion and he said he was off to buy his wife some probiotic yoghurt drinks. The conversation reminded me that I should do a blog post about gut health.

Ever thought about the phrase we use “gut feeling”?

Well it is because often our gut (digestive tract) is referred to as our second brain and that’s why if we don’t treat it properly we won’t be firing on all cylinders.

“We are what we eat” yes but really we are what we absorb and given our gut is filled with billions of bacteria (good and bad) then our top priority should be to assist digestion and absorption as much as we can.

Ofcourse firstly we need to avoid anything that we are intolerant of – common ones are gluten and dairy and often people aren’t great with soy or even eggs.

Following on from that we should support our system with natural foods in their original state, with plenty of raw fruits and vegetables for their enzymes.

As well as eating vegetables at every meal then you can boost your enzymes and digestion by having a daily greens powder such as Lean Greens, especially important if you are way on business or holidays or just when you can’t get access to as many green vegetables.

I was recently telling the story of when I was travelling in Hungary and Czechoslovakia about 22 years ago (yikes some of you might were probably in nappies then!) that the food was really stodgy – dumplings, bread and some meat and NO green or raw vegetables. I was constipated and felt awful 🙁 The supermarkets literally had big gaps on shelves where there were things missing and there wasn’t much of anything in the supermarkets (makes you realise how very lucky we are in the UK) so one day when I saw a man selling cucumbers on the roadside, yes that is all he had, I grabbed several and started chomping away as my body was telling me that is needed fibre and enzymes.

Luckily we have no excuses not to eat well except maybe laziness 🙁

Have you ever taken antibiotics? If so watch this…

Anyone who has taken a course of antibiotics (which are prescribed to kill the bad bacteria but unfortunately also kill the good bacteria in our gut) should follow up with a course of probiotic capsules which you can buy in good health food shops.

As I told the man at the blood donation, I’d avoid the Yakut and Actimel type drinks as they contain sugar and are an expensive way to get what you can better in a capsule. (plus for me I don’t believe in all that packaging which we have to dispose of).

Another great way to get some fibre and good bacteria into the gut is through raw sauerkraut that you can buy in good health food shops. It is fermented cabbage and great to add alongside your meals to help digestion.

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There is far more detail that I could go into but I just want to make it simple and this post is already long!

As a side note if you have never donated blood then why not give it a go – apart from the free teas and biscuits, it is also a great way to get your iron levels checked. I’ve been donating for years (infact I recently got my 25 donation certificate which was a lovely surprise) and I’ve always passed the first check for iron levels but yesterday I didn’t so they did an extra test and I was fine to donate. It made me think though that it is a good way to see if you are low on iron (which can make you feel tired) which many people are due to poor diet or lack of absorption which highlights the importance of gut health. A bit like coming to trial week at Zest Bootcamp, I say to people why not try it as you will never know until you have a go. If you’d like to find your nearest blood donation session click HERE

have a great weekend

Zita 🙂

Ps If you are near Bath and would like to join Zest Bootcamp for a trial week then click HERE  

 

 

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 

 

 

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

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!

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