How to Stay Fit on a Summer Vacation

Today, I want to welcome and thank Peter, a beauty and fashion editor at HighStyleLife magazine in the UK, for doing up this amazing guest post for Beautiful Health. Peter is based in London, and occasionally in Brisbane, Australia and also works as a fashion stylist for many events around the UK and Australia.

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When it comes to the matters of getting in shape (or staying in shape) – there’s always a sense of urgency about it. We can’t really be sure why but the thing is, whenever the scale jumps to three, four pounds extra, we get a panic attack and decide there and then something must be changed about our daily routines. Talks of healthy diet are evoked, regular visits to the gym too, and of course – all other healthy habits are immediately called into practice.

Since you’ve nailed it all in time, and you’re just maintaining your goal weight, you are good to go. However, consider that you are about to go on a vacation, and you’ll probably be tempted to indulge in all kinds of gorgeously delicious and exotic sweets, drinks and foods you’ve never tried before. And sure, with all that – you’ll be at risk of gaining a few extra pounds… and we don’t want that now, do we?

Here’s how to keep yourself fit and still enjoy every single moment of your holiday:

Eat whatever you want…

…in moderation! Nobody expects you to say “no” to fresh baklavas or all the amazing Mediterranean food but, as long you are eating it smartly, you are okay. You won’t gain weight by eating one cake in five days, but you will if you eat five cakes in one day. Be smart, don’t let all the hard work go to waste.

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Party hard…

…but reduce alcohol and soda beverages to a minimum. Going to a foreign country and not experiencing their night life first hand is bizarre. Honestly, we’d never advise you against a good party, not in a million years. But… what we are strongly advocating is keeping yourself as far away from the alcohol as possible. Instead, hit the dance floor, sweat it out and it’ll be like squeezing in a workout while having an amazing time!

NOTE: What you should be drinking in liters is water! You already know that this magic drink is something to swear by. It’s keeping you hydrated, it’s keeping you full and you are feeling more and more energized with every new sip. So, drink up!

Don’t starve…

…rather, eat foods that are healthy, but keep you full. Going on vacation is the perfect opportunity to experiment with new types of veggies, fruits and extracts you haven’t tried before, so enjoy making your morning shakes and energy drinks. You can always mix up tastes you already like, so feel free to throw in some organic pea protein powder in your smoothie for taste, and combine it with the local’s recommended veggies for experience.

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Don’t join the local gym…

…but take a stroll down the beach every single day before bed or in the morning. If you are a runner, go for a morning run to kick start your metabolism and enjoy the wonderful seaside! Naturally, when you are on the beach, don’t focus on tanning – but swimming. Swimming is an amazing exercise that burns calories rapidly, gets your whole body in shape and is incredibly refreshing. Also you should consider yoga or pilates on the beach. It’s fun yet relaxing!

Sleep till late…

…but only if that means not waking up after 9am. Your body does need sleep to accumulate energy, so make sure you squeeze in at least six hours of sleep a night. You might want to challenge yourself and run on four hours or so (it does get tempting and we understand the urge to take all the new experiences in), but the more tired you are, the more food your body is going to need to keep you functioning. This will only lead to late night snacks, binge eating, romantic walks to the local food stands… ah, you know the drill.

Basically, it all comes down to self-control. Sure, 10 days of your life won’t change much overall, but they will have an impact on your body in the long run. So, be smart and careful about your choices, and you’ll keep that body banging!

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Fulfil your fitness goals with Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is becoming an increasingly widespread form of exercise for many fitness enthusiasts, whether they’re novices or fitness fanatics. It involves using a foam cylinder to massage the muscles where there is tension in your body and it can be a hugely effective exercise, but it is also likely to be rather painful at the start, and even experienced gym attendees are challenged by its intensity. That said, there is nothing better for relieving muscle pain and improving your overall body strength.

There’s nothing quite like a good infographic to explains the ins and outs of any health topic, and the folks down at Bracken Foam Fabricators have passed on this great infographic to help you understand.

Fulfil Your Fitness Goals with Foam Rolling – Infographic

Now that I know a bit more, I’ll bit grabbing a foam roller on my next trip to the gym to help with muscle tension!

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Have a Healthy Christmas with Beautiful Health and Holland & Barrett

Hot Drink

Nobody wants to be sick over Christmas, and I’m delighted to announce that Beautiful Health has teamed up with Holland & Barrett to bring one lucky reader the chance to look after their winter wellness, ensuring a happy, healthy Christmas.

I’ll be sending a winter wellness box to one lucky reader in two weeks time, and all you have to do is follow the simple instructions at the end of this post.

Holland & Barrett sent me a box of my own so that I could try out the products myself before filling you in, so rest assured, these products are top quality and well worth purchasing if you want to keep the winter flu away fro Christmas.

In this winter wellness box, you will receive:

Dead Sea Spa Magik Bath & Body Heroes:

You’ll notice, as you read, that there are a couple of products in this wellness box that would make perfect gifts for someone special. This one in particular makes an excellent Christmas present for your mother, sister, an aunt, or anyone who enjoys a nice hot bath.

Dead Sea Spa Magik Bath & Body Heroes costs less than €25 and includes three full-sized best-seller products: Bath Salts, Bath Shower Gel and a beautifully rich Body Lotion.

At the moment (if you’re planning a few stocking fillers for two friends), this product is ‘buy one, get one half price’ at the link above. These products are beautifully luxurious, and will certainly keep you pampered this winter. Dehydration is often more common in the winter, and this trio of skincare products will keep your skin hydrated and silky soft.

Comvita Winter Wellness Manuka Honey & Olive Leaf Hot Drink:

I’ve always been a fan of Comvita Herbal Elixir (currently available at a discount online). I always have it in my medicine cupboard, ready to go when I feel a cough or cold coming on.

So, when I received the Manuka Honey & Olive Leave drink in my pack, I couldn’t wait to see what it was like. Manuka honey has long been praised for its healing qualities, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants that little bit extra in their honey.

As I wasn’t sick, I let my boyfriend take this product (he suffered a sore throat at the time), and I tasted it. The taste is delicious – honey, lemon and ginger are the perfect ingredients for a delicious winter drink. It’s also high in Zinc, which is great for getting rid of colds and flus.

Burt’s Bees Naturally Nourished Baobab Edition

Dry hands and chapped lips are one of the curses of winter, but with this beautiful little Burt’s Bees collection, that doesn’t have to be a problem. With a tube of nourishing hand salve and two lip balms, your hands and lips will be naturally nourished all winter.

Best of all, this makes the perfect stocking filler for someone special, and at the moment, it’s ‘buy one, get one half price’ on the website.

Solgar Zinc Picolinate

I recently did a Zinc taste test which proved that I’m deficient in Zinc (a taste test is basically a liquid – if you taste it, you’re not deficient). So I was happy to receive this Zinc supplement – and from a very good brand – Solgar.

Solgar Vitamin D3

Vitamin D is, arguably, even better at protecting the body from cold and flue than Vitamin C. And we definitely don’t get enough of it here in Ireland. Nicknamed ‘the sunshine vitamin’, Vitamin D is absorbed by our skin when it comes in contact with the sun’s rays. And sadly, in winter, the sun’s rays aren’t all that common.

So a Vitamin D supplement is something we could all do with, and a brand like Solgar is one of the best on the market.

Mushroom Vegan Vitamin D

Much like the Solgar Vitamin D, this supplement is excellent for avoiding colds and flu in the winter months, with the added benefit of being vegan, for those of you who prefer vegan products.

All of the above products are perfect if you want to keep yourself healthy and avoid being sick for Christmas, so if you think you’d like to receive all of these products for free, simply follow the instructions below.

How to Enter:

  1. Follow @jessicadotie and @holland_barrett on Twitter.
  2. Tweet this link and tag both of the above Twitter handles: http://goo.gl/kcSkCr
  3. Use the hashtag #WWPickMe.

If you need some inspiration, you can tweet the following:

Win a Winter Wellness Pack with @holland_barrett and @jessicadotie at http://goo.gl/kcSkCr. #WWPickMe.

The competition will run for two weeks and the winner will be selected on Monday 14 December. The Winter Wellness box will be posted that week, so you’ll receive it just in time to start dosing yourself up for a happy, healthy Christmas.

Good luck!

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Cherries on Top: why you should eat more cherries

Image via Flickr: Pink Sherbet Photography

Image via Flickr: Pink Sherbet Photography

Recently, I have developed an addiction to cherries. I just can’t get enough of those delicious fruits. I would eat box after box if I could. My favourite way to eat them is with low fat natural yogurt and strawberries.

Because I’ve been eating them in large amounts, I decided to research the benefits cherries can have on my health. I was pleasantly surprised by what I discovered…

High in anti-oxidants: Cherries are high in anthocyanins, which are anti-oxidants commonly found in brightly-coloured fruits. These anti-oxidants lower the risk of heart disease and cancer while also promoting healthy skin and brain cells. They may also prevent dementia and memory-loss.

Anti-inflammatory: Cherries inhibit enzymes in the body that cause muscle pain and therefore prevent inflammation. Studies show that they can act as a painkiller and have almost the same effectiveness as ibuprofen, which is very valuable to athletes who may suffer from post-exercise muscle pain. It is also good for those suffering from gout and arthritis.

Healthy Sleep: I’ve been sleeping like a log lately, and I was happy to discover that my love of cherries is the reason for this. Sour cherries contain the anti-oxidant melatonin which occurs naturally in the body to promote and regulate our sleep-patterns. No wonder I’ve been getting my eight hours so easily!

Lower Cholesterol: Cherries limit the uptake of fat into the body, controlling cholesterol levels of the blood. This makes them great for weight-loss and also promotes a healthy heart. They lower the levels of inflammation indicators in the blood, thereby lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

High in vitamins: Cherries are very high in vitamins A (great for healthy eyes), C (for a healthy immune system) and E (for beautiful skin) and also contain iron, magnesium and potassium. They are also an excellent source of fibre, which means they are great for digestion.

What an excellent snack to get addicted to!

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5 of the Best Vitamins for Healthier Skin

Image via Flickr: tommerton2010

There are countless skin products lining the shelves of supermarkets, pharmacies and cosmetic counters that all claim to offer anti-ageing properties and an improved appearance of the skin. However, the best way to keep your skin looking fresh and healthy is to start from the inside. Nothing beats naturally healthy and beautiful skin and the best way to achieve that is by living a healthy and active lifestyle, eating the right foods and ensuring that your body gets the right amount of vitamins on a daily basis.

Taking daily vitamin supplements will ensure that you are getting the right amount of vitamins every day and popular health food stores, such as Evergreen, have a wide range of vitamins for healthier skin and much more.

However, here we look at the top 5 vitamins to help you on your way to perfectly radiant skin.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is well known for its immune-boosting and anti-oxidant properties, and can improve skin texture and appearance by applying anti-oxidant properties to detoxify your skin, helping to rid it of any impurities. Vitamin C is often found in many anti-ageing skin creams, as it stimulates collagen production, which makes your skin suppler and helps to fight the signs of aging. Vitamin C also helps to protect your skin from sun damage by decreasing cell damage and helping the healing process of damaged skin.

Vitamin E

For optimum skin health, one of the best vitamins you can take is vitamin E. This vitamin is an anti-oxidant that effectively kills free radicals, which accelerate the aging process and are yours and your skin’s biggest enemy. Vitamin E helps to get rid of free radicals to promote younger looking skin, helps to protect the skin from the sun’s UV rays, moisturises the skin, and can be used to treat some skin inflammations.

Vitamin B

Vitamin B complexes provide a wide range of benefits to help promote healthy and glowing skin. For example, vitamin B1 gives the skin a healthier glow as it boosts the blood circulation throughout the body, whereas vitamin B3 helps reduce acne by maintaining a high level of oxygen in the blood. A vitamin B complex often contains a nutrient called biotin, which is very important in the development of healthy hair, nails and skin.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K works very well in the body to reduce the appearance of skin discolorations, such as dark circles under the eyes and hyperpigmentation, whilst also helping to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Vitamin K is essential in aiding the body’s process of blood clotting and can help to heal, lighten and reduce areas of bruising. In addition to this, it can also help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, scars, stretch marks and spider veins.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is vital for the repair and maintenance of our skin, but can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles caused by aging and sun exposure as well. Additionally, it can also help prevent dry, flaky skin and acne.

Getting good skin through a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water along with taking some extra vitamins doesn’t have to take a long time, and some users notice a difference within a few days.

Thanks so much to Suzanne Elly for writing this post!

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Image via Flickr: tommerton2010

Your Shopping List for a Healthy Heart (with a delicious salmon and black bean recipe)

 

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Shopping for a balanced diet that’s right for you can be pretty confusing sometimes. As consumers, we receive so many mixed messages about what’s healthy and what’s not. Between ‘super-foods’, going organic, cutting down the carbs, and avoiding processed foods, it’s easy to lose faith in the advice we’re given – even the sound advice. Luckily, when it comes to fueling a healthy heart, there are some basic staples you know you can always turn to, that you can transform into delicious, creative meals.

Keep your Heart in Mind

We’ve all been hearing about Omega 3 for years, but the message remains true today. Omega 3 helps by managing your triglyceride levels, which can be harmful to your heart if they run too high. But with so many food tips on the go these days, it’s easy to miss out on the key sources of Omega 3 on your shopping list.

Here, I’ve broken down the key sources into fish, greens, beans and legumes, and oils. These should make up the basis of balanced shopping list. So as not to get caught up in the consumer crossfire, it’s good to plan ahead, and keep each of these key sources in mind when you put together your next shopping list.

Oily Fish: We’re not all born fish-lovers. Many of us were raised on a weekly fish intake of plain salmon and few boiled potatoes, so who can blame us? But oily fish such as tuna and mackerel are a great source of Omega 3. And if you stick with me, I’ll share a Mexican salmon recipe that just might have converted me to fish for life.

A great tip is to ask your local fishmonger how they would spruce up a recipe. Those of you in the west, if you haven’t paid a visit to Galway Bay Seafoods yet (just beyond the Harbour Hotel), then you’re in for a treat. They have a huge selection of seafood and a wonderful team of friendly experts, always happy to prepare your fish the way you like, and offer some sound recipe tips too. They even host cooking demonstrations if you’re really looking to be impressed.

Greens: The rumours were true. Green veggies, such as spinach and kale, are packed with alpha-lipoic acid which can help reduce triglycerides in your bloodstream by up to 60%. Not only this, but they are also low in calories. Unfortunately, certain fad diets over-rely on this fact, while ignoring the importance of healthy fats and fibres. Instead of going ‘all-salad’, consider adding greens to other meals: A handful spinach with your scrambled eggs, a boost of kale in your next smoothie, or some frozen peas in a Thai curry (tried and tested!).

Beans and Legumes: Beans are a great source of fibre, perfect for keeping you fuller longer, and keeping those sugar cravings at bay. When you think of black beans and lentils, some of you might lose interest at the thought of soaking them overnight. However, canned beans can be just as effective, can be stored for years, and better still, cooked in very little time.

It’s good to check that you’ve got at least one or two cans in the cupboard before you head out for your weekly shop. Just be sure to stick to brands with no-added-sugar, to keep your triglycerides at bay.

Another Galwegian tip: If you can resist the temptation of the ‘Yummy Crêpes’ stand at the Saturday market, pay a visit to the kind folks at The Bean Tree who make some fantastic curries packed with heart-loving lentils and chickpeas.

Oils on the plate… Olive oil is a wonderfully diverse staple to have on your shopping list. It’s rich in monounsaturated fat, which helps to lower triglycerides and can be used in cooking, salads, and even replacing butter on bread for a rich Italian flavour which isn’t heavy on the heart. Other heart-helping oils include cold pressed oils, like canola, flaxseed, and soybean.

…and off the plate: Certain generations of readers will still squirm remembering their regular spoon of cod liver oil before bedtime (unless you’ve blocked out the memory – and I wouldn’t blame you!). Luckily, there are now many alternatives to the dreaded spoon!

Omega 3 supplements have come a long way in recent years, with easy-to-swallow capsules cutting out the fishy after-taste. Consider adding a little extra Omega 3 to your next shopping list. Incorporating one or two capsules with breakfast can be an easy way to give your heart a healthy start to the day.

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Hopefully keeping these staples in mind, you can be more heart-focused on the next weekly shop. With these staples in mind, you have the basics to get creative with some new recipe ideas. So if you’re a trademark foodie, you can still give your heart the diet it deserves without losing your chef reputation.

Here’s my quick and healthy Mexican salmon to get you started…

Healthy Baked Mexican Salmon and Black Beans for Two

Ingredients:

1 tsp of cumin

Handful of chopped fresh coriander (plus a little extra for garnishing)

Juice of 1 lemon

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 finely chopped tomatoes

1 finely chopped red chilli (remove seeds for milder taste)

2 tsp of olive oil

2 salmon fillets

1 400g can of black beans

2 generous handfuls of baby spinach leaves

2 lime wedges (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. Combine coriander, cumin, lemon juice, chilli, chopped tomato, and crushed garlic in a bowl
  3. Brush salmon fillets with a little oil and place on a tinfoil sheet, leaving enough on the edges to cover later
  4. Pour over the tomato mixture from the bowl, and spread generously on each fillet.
  5. Wrap around the tin foil from the sides and pack tightly.
  6. Cook for 20mins or until just cooked through
  7. Meanwhile, on the hob cook your black beans on a medium heat for about ten minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper. Give them a quick mash with a potato masher for that ‘refried’ effect.
  8. Lastly, wash your spinach leaves for the side salad and toss with a little oil
  9. To serve, place your baked salmon on a bed of coarsely mashed black beans, with spinach salad on the side. No need for a salad dressing- use the excess juice from the oven to pour over the salmon, beans, and salad. Top with a final garnish of coriander, and a lime wedge on the side.
  10. Instagram at the ready, and provecho!

Thanks so much to Julie Hough for this guest post. I can’t wait to try out the salmon recipe!

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