Excuses - what are your excuses for not working out or doing exercise?

Excuses, excuses, excuses.  I hear them all the time from people. Agreed, we do live in a fast, post-modern lifestyle where everything is immediate and we are all so, so busy, but I still think that we can manage our lives better.

This is why I have written this blog article to tackle and counteract the most common excuses I hear.

So here goes...

1) I can’t lose weight on my own.

Motivation is an important part of keeping fit. Try and make yourself accountable to someone by getting someone – a family member or close friend – involved with your fitness.  This way, you can report to someone, discuss difficulties and what you like, talk over your lack of motivation, or you could start a diary or a blog and make yourself accountable to yourself or to the internet and therefore the whole world!

2) “I don’t like exercise”

Sometimes, as adults, we have a bad taste in our mouth surrounding exercise because we did not enjoy school PE or sport lessons, and we take this negative view of exercise into our adulthood.  Try and lift yourself out of this negative mindset regarding exercise, and realise that actually, it can be fun, whether it is hiking, going on a bike ride, playing Frisbee, aqua aerobics, pliates – there is so much variety you need to try and find something that you like.  I promise you, there must be something out there!

Also, take a look at my fitspirational quote video:

3) "I’m too tired"

This is a hard one as if you’ve been out all day or have a full time job, tiredness can be a real demotivator. Remember that exercise can actually invigorate you and release more energy. Exercise can also suppress the appetite so that’s a double whammy!

4) "I do not have a gym membership/gym nearby"

People say to me, well it’s easy enough for you, you have your own mini gym at home and it’s so easy. Yes, fair enough, but there are so many other ways to exercise as well. 

You can be inventive – if you need to post a letter, run to the letterbox.

You have the internet – there are plenty of free exercise videos on youtube, including a few of my own.

If you have stairs in your house, do one step exercises – for 5 minutes with your favourite music, go up and down on the bottom stair. You can take it slowly or do it quickly. Be inventive…the list is endless.

5) "I don’t have enough time"

You need to make time, and time manage your weekly schedule better.  Give yourself a bird’s eye view of how your weeks pan out, and make changes of where you could fit in a 10 or 20 minute work out. Set goals and challenges for yourself.

6) “I’ve missed a session. I’ll never get back on track”

It happens to everybody, no one sails through life without ever missing a session. It's normal, the thing is not to let that mean a return to a sedentary lifestyle. Just start again and bear in mind you’re not starting back at the same place as before. You may have to redo some of what you’ve already done, but you’ll get back to where you were, faster. The body adapts quickly – especially if it’s doing something it's familiar with.

7) “It’s hard work”

Learn to love it. Find the sport you like, whether with other people like friends of a family member, and start to enjoy it.  Soon it’ll not feel like hard work.  Saying it’s hard work is a good excuse to give up.  Visit my ‘exercise’ page on my website and try out the different workouts.  They start slowly and build up gradually.  For example, you can't start running 5K without having to gradually build up, and that’s why there is the progression element of my exercise page, starting at the top. You will gradually improve your stamina.

Just remember that you can handle this and you are able to conquer any barrier.  When that little voice in your head tells you you cannot, tell it, “I CAN do this” and re-say this to yourself ten times; you need the mental strength to stay committed to the new lifestyle.  Where your head is right now will determine your success rate on the way to losing weight and having a healthy body and mind.

The key to achieving anything in life; not just weight loss; is with your mind. 

Feel free to see my vlog on this article too:


Carbs and Sugar vs Fat and Protein - What do you think?

Hi everyone!

I just been browsing youtube and the web, and I was just thinking that there are so many food theories out there, and so many are opposing to one another.  One example, is some people staunchly support consuming high amounts of sugar and carbs, with no or very low fat content. So that’s eating sweets, meringue, desserts, jelly, sugary biscuits, fruit, veg, fizzy drinks, bread, pasta, rice, breakfast cereals etc. these are all broken down by the body into sugar.

There’s another school of thought that supports eating high amounts of protein and fat, with virtually no sugar or carbs, because sugar is seen as the enemy.  So that’s eat as much bacon, sausages, meat, oil, cheese, cream, mayonnaise, butter, eggs etc as you wish, and you will lose weight.

Now, this low carb dieting (for example the Atkins diet), where you cut out all carbohydrates and starch, and can eat as much fat and protein as you desire, without any regard for calories, basically says that carbs and only carbs is what increases body weight; whether the source is bread, veg, fruit, sugar.  This is because they are all converted to blood glucose, kick-starting your pancreas to produce insulin to eliminate the excess glucose.  This insulin is responsible for the storage of the fat in your body. This is because converted into glycogen which, after storing a finite amount of glycogen in your liver and muscles, the excess glucose gets sorted as body fat, meaning we put on weight.  

When this whole process is over, in around 2 hours, there is still high insulin levels in our bodies, which stores any excess glucose as fat. Now, when the amount of glucose in our bodies falls, and becomes below normal, we will feel hungry again, tempted to snack on yet more carbs, initiating the whole process again.  Thus allowing our brains to think we are hungry when we do not actually need food. If we have continually high levels of insulin in our blood, this becomes a cycle of eating and eating, gaining weight and just feeling hungry all over again.

Therefore, the belief is that eating fats or protein does not raise blood glucose nor insulin in your body, allowing you to feel fuller for longer.

Many people believe that this eating pattern works and is healthy for you, others are of the opinion that it does not work and is dangerous for your health. We are unaware of the long term health impact of a high fat and high protein diet on the human body.  But one thing is for sure, protein makes you feel full, controlling appetite and therefore you eat less than you would normally. 

In my personal experience, my husband was told by an NHS nurse to cut down on the amount of melon he was eating as “this is full of sugar and is therefore fattening”.  What's your opinion on that?

I personally totally avoid bread, pasta, rice, couscous etc, but I do stack up on fruit and vegetables.  This is because I know the high levels of vitamins, minerals and healthy metals they contain which we need for normal bodily function.

Now, the other pool of thought is to load up on carbs.  This is because it is believed that fat blocks up the arteries and raises cholesterol, but sugar is supposed to help increase brain function as glucose acts as brain fuel. People from this school of thought say you can reverse type 2 diatetes and can help control heart disease, control your own blood sugar by stop eating meat and fats, and by eating plant-based products only.  This apparently helps cleanse your body and lose weight. This is because the body cannot digest animal products as well as plant and fruit based products, so avoiding all animal prodcuts incl dairy products is better for the body. On this sort of diet, blood sugar levels drop and stabilise better, even reversing type 2 diabetes, and helping us to lose weight.

I would love to hear what people think about this - please, please comment below and let me know where you stand and why.

Of course the other pool of thought would be that both are right – you just need to either reduce one or the other, but don’t eat both in equal amounts.

I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.


Sea Salt and Thyroid Function

Preventing Thyroid Cancer

“You have cancer” are words nobody wants to hear from their doctor, no matter where the cancer is located in your body. Sadly, cancer kills more of us in the West than anything except heart disease.
Thyroid cancer includes four different types of malignant tumors within this tiny gland responsible for regulating your metabolism. Since thyroid cancer often demonstrates no pain or symptoms in its early stages, it can spread to other organs in your body before it is detected.  Most people don’t realize it, but thyroid cancer strikes all ages — from young children to the elderly.

The thyroid is a tiny, master gland in your neck.  I like to think of it as in the shape of eagles wings, so if you conquer your thyroid problems, you will feel like you are soaring on eagles' wings!  It has great hormonal influence on your body - from regulating your heartbeat to regulating your sexual organs, to effecting every cell in the body including your energy levels, moods, fatigue levels. Thyroid hormones regulate your metabolic rate and therefore low levels of thyroid hormone can cause weight gain.

In addition to these symptoms, low thyroid function can cause:
Heart disease, cancer, depression, artritis, bad circulation, decreased hearing, ezcema, migranes, brain fog, hypertension, diabetes, and infertitily issues; all due to low thyroid function.

You can diagnose low thyroid activity in various ways.  Look at your tongue - is it swollen and does it feel too big for the mouth?  Do you have a puffy face?  Are you anemic?  Do you have dry skin and slow reflexes?  Test your morning body temperature - with a thermometre under your arm or mouth first thing in the morning.  A colder than average body temperature could signify a thyroid illness, as does difficulties swallowing or feeling a lump in the neck. If you are concerned, visit your GP if you & carry out appropriate blood tests with him/her.

Two, natural, holisitic ways to treat low thyroid function are the following:

1)  You need to avoid soy and soy products.  Soy is commonly know as a health food, but it is not.  It inhibits the absorption of basic minerals and nutrients including iodine into the blood stream and our bodies.

2) Iodine is very important to up the function of your thyroid.  This is readily available in unrefined natural sea salt - not normal table salt.

With 600 Brits dying every single day from cancer, there’s no time to waste; switch from using normal table salt to unrefined sea salt, and check out my recipes which are low fat and contain sea salt by clicking here.

One of my favourites is Chicken and Coconut Curry Recipe including Sea Salt:-

  • Chicken Breasts x 5
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 5 tablespoons of dessicated coconut
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato paste/puree
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons garam massala
  • 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • one teaspoon of sea salt
  • one teaspoon of chili flakes
  • Optional cornflour to thicken the sauce


Protect Yourself from Brain Diseases

Brain Diseases Now on the Rise
Don't Get Caught Up in the Epidemic 
You see, brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's now occur:
  • Earlier in life . . .
  • More frequently . . .
  • To a much more severe degree . . .
You've probably observed how many expensive assisted-living homes for those with dementia are cropping up all over the country — with their locked wards to prevent folks from wandering off.
Fortunately, there's good news.

While not widely known, there are many simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing a neuro-degenerative disease.

That's why I hope you take a few minutes from your busy schedule to read this blog article. I promise you will not regret it.

One major factor in the development of Alzheimer's involves a common substance you probably consume on a daily basis.

If You Have a Fondness for Sugar,
I Have Some Bad News . . . 

High levels of sugar in your diet damage your brain. 

New evidence continues to demonstrate this link.

In a recent study of 980 elderly people followed for four years, those with the highest intake of calories had a 50 percent increased incidence of dementia.
So why would eating lots of sweets and carbohydrates increase your risk of dementia?

Well, there are three scientific reasons:

Reason 1: Sugar dramatically increases your metabolism, and high rates of metabolism become a major source of free radical production. (Pesky free radicals damage your cells and impair their function.)

Reason 2: High levels of sugar in your body cause the sugar to react with various critical proteins, including enzymes that repair DNA damage caused by free radicals.

Reason 3: Continued high sugar consumption prevents your cells from absorbing the sugar needed to produce energy — a condition called insulin resistance. Another recent study found a high incidence of insulin resistance in those with Alzheimer's dementia. The worst form of sugar is high Fructose corn syrup.

So if you want to avoid this disease, you can see that minimizing your sugar and simple carbohydrate intake is crucial.

See my healthy recipe ideas on my youtube account.

But one special recipe which will fortify brain power and encourage you into clean eating is my Spinach Creamy Dip Recipe here:-

Enjoy and stay healthy!

Lou X


The Beauty of Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is jam-packed full of nutrients & antioxidants which can improve your health & lower the risks of heart disease and cancer.

It is the extract from the seed of the cocoa plant that has all the health benefits.  This means you should buy the good quality dark chocolate which has the highest percentage of cocoa.  It's a bit more expensive, but after reading this blog article, you will see it is well worth it!

Try out this great vegan chocolate drink which contains one teaspoon of powered cocoa:-
Ingredients: one mango, one avocado, one tablespoon of cocoa powder, 500ml of coconut milk (you can use almond milk instead).

A 100g bar of dark with 70-85% cocoa contains:-
  • 11g of fibre.
  • 67% RDA for Iron
  • 58% RDA for Magnesium
  • 89% RDA for Copper
  • 98% RDA for Manganese
  • And loads of potassium, phosphorus, zinc & selenium
Now, 100g of dark chocolate is also rich in calories and fat, but these are healthy fats; mainly saturated and monounsaturated with small amounts of polyunsaturates. Even so, you should still be careful with the quantity you eat as you could get fat!!

But it's not that simple; research has shown that it isn't just the amount of calories that determines your weight, but the character of those calories. We think of chocolate as full of empty calories, but they seem to have a serious impact on our bodies' metabolic functions, and those can be enough to offset the addition of all those calories in the first place.  

This means that because of dark chocolate boosting our metabolic function, it can help in weight loss & weight regulation.

Plus, according to studies, the flavonoids & antioxidants in dark chocolate can help decrease the risk of heart disease and reduce blood pressure. Dark chocolate is loaded with organic compounds that are biologically active and function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others. 1 study showed that cocoa and dark chocolate contained more antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols than fruit, incl blueberries and Acai berries.
All of this basically means that dark choc is great for heart and brain function.  The antioxidants help reduce stress and ease depression, the minerals mentioned above help control blood sugar levels and of courthey aid in weight loss.

In addition to all of these health benefits, the "good" bacteria in our guts (Bifidobacterium) and lactic acid bacteria feast on chocolate. The resulting compounds, or bi-products, are absorbed by our body, and they lessen the inflammation of cardiovascular tissue, which can reduce the long-term risk of stroke and heart disease.
In terms of the exact chemistry involved, cocoa powder contains several polyphenolic, or antioxidant, compounds such as catechin and epicatechin, and a small amount of dietary fibre. Once they reach the colon, the microbes take over. The fibre is fermented and the large polyphenolic polymers are converted into a smaller, more easily absorbable form.  This is all great for digestion, metabolic rate and general well-being. No more feeling groggy!

Please see this video below for a quick and easy way to eat dark choc:

Ingredients: 100g of 85% dark chocolate, strawberries, blueberries and black grapes. You also need a saucepan and cocktail sticks!


The Health Benefit of Bananas plus Some Great Healthy Banana Recipes

The banana has always intrigued me.  It is so different from other fruits; it is not what I would call a traditional fruit.  It is less juicy and has a weird texture.  It can be very popular with many, and extremely unpopular with others due to its slimey nature!

This observation of mine awakened an interest in bananas, so I decided to investigate their health benefits. Firstly, my studies took me to discover the nutritional elements a banana contains:

A banana (average weight around 126 grams) contains 110 calories, 30g of carbs and 1g of protein.  They are fat-free, and contain no salt or cholesterol.
1) Please view the below video of a healthy, super-low fat banana cake recipe I invented...

1 banana, 2 egg whites, water for cooking (alternatively you can also bake these in the oven on a medium heat!), a pinch of salt, a shake of cinnamon, optional: fresh fruit, a dab of honey.

1. Mash banana in a bowl
2. Mix in eggs, a pinch of salt & the dab of cinnamon
3. Place a small frying pan and warm it to medium/high temperature
4. Add a small amount of water & wait until it is sizzling
5. Pour the liquid on the pan into ideal sizes
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the liquid is all used up
7. (optional) add fresh fruit or any of the optional ingredients, but it tastes quite good on its own.

Hmmmm...delicious!  I can almost taste them in my mouth! ;)

2) I love the delicious, familiar flavour of banana loaf.  My mum sometimes made it when I was younger.  Here is my own healthy take on the famous loaf recipe:-

5 or 6 very ripe bananas, 4 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of dessicated coconut, raisins, 2 cups (200g) 50% fruit museli (or any other museli), 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of allspice, 1 teaspoon of ground 1 teaspoon of nutmeg, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Heat oven on 350 degrees farenheit (175 degrees centigrade). Mash up the bananas with a fork, put to the side.  In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the ingredients, adding the bicarbonate of soda at the end. Whisk the ingredients together, slowly add the mashed up bananas. Add to loaf tin with parchment paper as the lining.  Bake in the oven for around 50 minutes.

Bananas also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that plays a role in preserving memory & boosting people's moods...something my husband thinks I need!!

I would love to hear what you think about this recipe - you can DM me on myoutube channelmy Instagram page, my facebook page, my pinterest page and my twitter account.   


An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away! Baked Cinnamon and Brandy Apples with Raisins Recipe

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away" has been a age old saying for more than a century, & it turns out that people have been repeating it for good reason. Modern research shows that apples improve health in various ways, including the latest studies have found that apples can even boost a woman's sexual pleasure.

The study, (published in Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics), observed that women who ate 1 or 2 apples a day had better sex lives than those who didn't! The study states that high levels of polyphenols & antioxidants found in apples stimulate blood flow to the sexual organs & aid arousal!  Who would have thought it?! Plus, apples contain phloridzin, a phytoestrogen which is similar to the female sex hormone estradiol. I'll never look at an apple in the same way again! ;-)

Apples also fight many serious health problems incl:

Obesity. A Brazilian study published in the journal Nutrition believes that women who eat apples while dieting lose more weight  than dieters who do not. One reason could be that the high fibre contained in apples promotes "satiety," meaning we feel fuller for longer. Another study of healthy adults found that when they ate an apple 15 minutes before a meal, they reduced the total calories they induce by fifteen percent.
Cancer. Researchers believe that the phytochemicals in apples fight cancer. Researchers have  found that the antioxidant quercetin, which is plentiful in apples, stops changes in prostate cells that lead to cancer, slowing or preventing their growth.
Lung disease. Several studies have shown that eating apples improves lung function & lowers the risk of respiratory diseases including emphysema, bronchitis, & asthma. A Finnish study attributed a lower risk of asthma to the flavonoids quercetin, hesperetin, and naringenin contained in apples.
Diabetes. This same Finnish study that found a decreased risk of lung disease also found a significant decrease in the risk of Type 2 diabetes amongst people who eat apples. They attributed the decrease to a high intake of quercetin found in apple peels. (Remember - don't peel your apple; wash it well and eat as is!)
Strokes. Eating the equivalent of 2 apples a day cuts stroke risk by almost a third. Part of the benefit comes from pectin, a form of soluble fibre found in apples that lowers blood pressure and levels of bad cholesterol.
Heart attacks. Researchers at the University of Oxford calculated that if every adult aged 50 & above ate an apple everyday, deaths from heart attacks & strokes would be cut to the same degree as if everyone aged 50 & older who was not taking statins was prescribed the cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Remember that apples are cheap and a filling snack; next time you go past your local greengrocers or supermarket and see them on sale, stop, think about this article and buy one for you and your whole family. 

I have devised a recipe here to incorporate apples into your meal plan as a pudding:-

2x apples, 3 tablespoons of raisins, brandy, sprinkling of cinnamon.

Soak  the raisins in brandy for one to two hours.  De-core the apples as best as possible, ensuring removal of the pips etc. Place equal amounts of the raisins inside each apple, pour leftover brandy over the apples. Sprinkle cinnamon over the apples.  Heat in the microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!


Chocolate and Coconut Truffles Recipe

Well, chocolate (or cocoa) contains quercetin, which actually reverses memory loss.  But be careful, due to chocolate's high fat and calorific content, it is only recommended to eat one ounce of chocolate per day.
Try out this delicious recipe for size:-

1 tub of Philadelphia Lightest Cream Cheese (180g), half a cup of almonds, half a cup of coconut, one third of a cup of cocoa, half a cup of coconut, half a cup of raisins, 2 tablespoons of sweetener (splenda or stevia) or as much as you like, 1 table spoon of chia seeds, and one tea spoon of vanilla extract
The ingredients in this recipe encourage the brain to develop new neural pathways, generate new neurons and build and generate new brain mass.  They also increase memory and reduce stress and anxiety by 20%.


Yoghurt - Good For You or Bad For You?

I am particularly interested in digestive health, where the majority of our immune system lives. While keeping up with the latest research on many nutrients, I have been closely following all the hoo-haa on digestive-boosting yoghurts.

The digestive-boosting nutrient is called probiotics or "friendly bacteria." It plays a crucial role in promoting absorption of the maximum amount of nutrients from food in your stomach. What's more, many studies have been done to confirm that probiotics lower the risk of diarrhea associated with the use of antibiotic drugs.

Friendly bacteria should make up about 85% of the bacteria in your gut; however, several studies report that with aging, the population of friendly bacteria becomes significantly reduced. That means people in an older age group may be at risk of occasional bathroom frustrations such as:
✓ Constipation
✓ Diarrhea
✓ Irregular bowel movements
✓ Gas or bloating
✓ Abdominal discomfort 

Numerous studies show that probiotics could actually support a healthy immune system. A 2010 study by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggests that introducing probiotics into the gut may help maintain immune system activity.

For these reasons and more, people have been indulging on store-bought yogurt. Food manufacturers would like you to believe that this is an excellent source of probiotics, but the sad truth is that most yogurt products may be a waste of your hard-earned money.

Unfortunately, most commercial yogurts are loaded with sugar and other additives, and often are heat processed or pasteurized, which may destroy some of their live bacterial cultures. Additionally, many people have problems digesting dairy products, and the pasteurization process may kill the lactase enzyme, which would have made the dairy product more easily digestible.

This is why I use 100% Natural Greek Yoghurt in many of my recipes.

Try out this recipe:-


The Importance of Turmeric

Are you concerned about maintaining the health of your brain as you age? You're not alone. Losing one's memory and mental abilities to cognitive decline is something we all fear, and the current statistics on the prevalence of cognitive decline in this country are not pretty.

Researchers have been working for years to develop an effective treatment. But one "miracle" drug after another has failed to live up to its promises, and it's becoming more and more apparent that pharmaceuticals are not the solution. Unfortunately, the medical establishment is so narrowly focused on finding an elusive "cure" that scientifically proven prevention strategies are often ignored. 

Nature's Brain-Protecting Miracle

There are a number of natural brain protectors out there, but did you know that one herb has shown more promise when it comes to supporting your neurological system than any other medical finding to date? It's a scientific fact that curcumin, an antioxidant compound found in the root of the turmeric plant, is one of the most powerful natural brain protecting substances on the planet! It continues to amaze scientists with its remarkable cognitive health benefits.

You may be familiar with turmeric as the bright yellow spice that is commonly found in curry powder. Turmeric has a long history as a healing herb and culinary spice in India. Interestingly, India has the highest per capita consumption of turmeric AND the lowest incidence of cognitive decline worldwide!

Your Brain on Curcumin

The hallmark process associated with certain types of cognitive decline is the formation in the brain of abnormal protein structures. Normally when malformed proteins are formed within the brain, the immune system sends out cells known as macrophages, which engulf and destroy the proteins. If this ordinary function fails, defective proteins accumulate in the brain and cognitive decline can follow.

The Incredible Health Benefits of Curcumin
  • Boosts detoxification and liver health
  • Supports healthy mood balance
  • Boosts overall cognitive function
  • Protects brain cells from ageing
  • Promotes healthy cardiovascular function
  • Increases memory retention and clarity
  • Supports joint and muscle health
  • Supports a healthy inflammatory response
  • Supports natural weight loss
  • Promotes a healthy digestive system
Please click here to see my chicken korma recipe using turmeric!


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