Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.
Think for a moment of a food from your past, one that makes you feel great after you eat it for no specific reason. Maybe it is macaroni and cheese, slow-simmered tomato sauce, ice cream cones or potato pancakes. Eating comfort foods (every now and then) can be incredibly healing, even though your rational brain might not consider it highly nutritious.
Food has the power to impact us on a level deeper than just our physical well-being. What we eat can reconnect us to precious memories, like childhood playtimes, first dates, holidays, our grandmother’s cooking or our country of ancestry. Our bodies remember foods from the past on an emotional and cellular level. Eating this food connects us to our roots and has youthening and nurturing effects that go far beyond the food’s biochemical make-up.
Acknowledging what different foods mean to us is an important part of cultivating a good relationship with food. This month when we celebrate lovers and relationships, it’s important to notice that we each have a relationship with food—and that this relationship is often far from loving. Many of us restrict food, attempting to control our weight. We often abuse food, substituting it for emotional well-being. Others ignore food, swallowing it whole before we’ve even tasted it.
What would your life be like if you treated food and your body as you would treat your beloved – with gentleness, playfulness, communication, honesty, respect and love? The next time you eat your soul food, do so with awareness and without guilt, and enjoy all the healing and nourishment it brings you.
Food Focus: Beans
Beans, or legumes, including peas and lentils, are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Beans are found in most traditional cultures as a staple food, offering grounding and strengthening properties that enhance endurance. They offer a highly usable, highly absorbable source of calcium for the body. A very inexpensive source of high nutrition, beans can be rich, delicious and satisfying,
Lack of sexual energy is often due to overtaxed adrenal glands and kidneys. Beans are known for strengthening these organs (ever noticed the shape of a bean?) and can help restore vital energy as well as sexual energy.
Beans have a reputation for causing digestive distress, but this is usually because they have been undercooked or improperly prepared. To help reduce gas-forming properties, soak beans overnight prior to cooking, increase cooking time, add spices like bay leaf, oregano or cumin, or add kombu (a sea vegetable) when cooking.
Recipe of the Month: Easy Beans and Greens
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yield: 2-3 servings
1 can black beans (or pinto, red, kidney—your choice)
1 bunch collard greens (or kale, spinach—your choice)
Your favorite toppings, such as salsa, avocado or guacamole and sour cream
1. In a medium saucepan, heat drained beans. Add your favorite seasonings, if desired.
2. Fill a separate medium saucepan with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a boil.
3. Wash and chop greens (you can use the stems, too) and add to boiling water.
4. Cook for 2-3 minutes until greens are bright green and tender. Drain off water.
5. On a plate, arrange a portion of the greens, top with a portion of the beans and finish with toppings of your choice.
Remember also to get excited in the kitchen and add your favorite seasonal fruits and vegetables to salads, main dishes or simply to snack on, in season now:
Purple Sprouted Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Leeks, Brussels sprouts, Rhubarb, Kale, Celery, field mushrooms, apples, pears, cooking apples and lots more.
The Yoga Health Coach
Alive are pleased to welcome Nutritional Therapist Shirley Ward, who is now available for nutritional consultations in Alive’s therapy rooms.
So as well as keeping fit, you can also keep yourself healthy, with diet and lifestyle advice from Shirley
Shirley can help you:
• Improve energy levels
• Reduce stress
• Improve digestion
• Prepare for pregnancy
• Improve gym performance
How Shirley Can Help You:
There are many factors in our modern diet and lifestyle that can work against good health and contribute to a wide range of health issues Shirley can help by identifying these factors and addressing them through manageable tweaks to diet and lifestyle. Written advice is provided after each session, together with a selection of delicious and easy to prepare meal and snack suggestions
Having been in private practice since 2008 Shirley has a wealth of experience in health improvement for a wide range of clients and their health issues. Shirley is fully insured and a full member of professional body BANT (British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy) and as such abides by their strict code of conduct and practice
Want to start improving your health? Then book an appointment with Shirley on 07590 527665
(evening and weekend appointments available). For more information visit www.downtoearthnutrition.co.uk
Joe Addison, Personal Trainer, gives us his top summer tip of using nutrition to help protect you from the sun’s rays.
‘Now that the sun is finally here (for a little while, at least), it’s really important to look after your skin.
As well as covering up and using sun screen, there are a few foods you can eat to help protect against the sun’s powerful rays. Luckily, they are all things you should be eating anyway, as part of a healthy balanced diet!’
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
First up we have Omega-3s. These have been shown to protect from free radical damage (like that caused by the sun) and can be found in shellfish and oily fish like sardines.
Red and Orange Fruit and Veg
Lycopene, which is found in red and pink foods such as tomatoes, has been shown to protect the skin against some UV-induced irritations.
Beta-carotine, which can be found in orange and red fruit and veg has been linked to reduced reaction to sunburn. And Flavanoid-filled orange and pink citrus fruits have been shown to protect the skin from UV rays.
Cruciferous and Green Veggies
Things like kale, cauliflower and broccoli are packed with antioxidants that help to rid the body of those pesky free-radicals.
Green leafy veg is also filled with the antioxidants and one study has suggested that dark leafy veg such as Spinach can reduce the risk of skin cancer reoccurring in remission patients.
Both the green and black varieties (which start off as leafy greens anyway) contain polyphenols, which have been shown to help stop cancer development, just don’t add lots of milk and sugar!
The flavanoids found in dark chocolate could help protect against sun burns. Plus, they keep the skin hydrated, increase oxygen saturation and increase blood flow. Hurrah!
‘So load up on these goodies and you’ll help protect yourself against that nasty ball of fire that only seems to appear a couple of times a year!’
Grilled wild salmon with anchovies, capers & lentils
Wild Salmon is now in season so this delicious dish is perfect cooked on the griddle or the barbecue.
Difficulty and servings:
Preparation and cooking times
ready in 35-40 minutes
- 4 Lemons
- 16 salted anchovies, rinsed, filleted and dried
- extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 8 tbsp capers, well rinsed
- 6 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- 1 side of wild salmon from a 3.5kg/7lb 8oz fish, cut into 8, 175/6oz portions
FOR THE LENTILS
- 300g small brown lentils , such as Castelluccio or Puy
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 2 sprigs of sage(8-10 leaves)
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Get the lentils ready first. Tip them into a small saucepan, cover with water and add the garlic and sage. Simmer gently for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain, discard garlic and sage, season with salt and pepper. Stir in olive oil and set aside.
- Squeeze the juice of one lemon over anchovies in a bowl, add freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Mix capers with the parsley in another bowl. You can get to here several hours in advance.
- Preheat griddle pan until very hot. Season salmon on both sides, then sear, skin-side down (if pan is very hot the skin won’t stick – this goes for grilling on a barbecue, too). Turn fish over when you see it change colour halfway, then sear the other side. This will take 2-3 minutes on each side for rare salmon, but cooking time may vary if pieces of fish are very thick.
- To serve, reheat the lentils and put a large spoonful in the centre of warmed plates. Top with the salmon, skin-side up, then scatter the anchovies, capers and parsley on top. Serve with the remaining lemons.
485 kcalories, protein 38g, carbohydrate 19g, fat 26 g, saturated fat 4g, fibre 4g, salt 1.52
Baked Raspberry Cheesecake
Raspberries are in Season during July so why not take advantage and bake this delicious baked cheescake. Its a dead easy 2 step recipe which looks as though it took lots of time and skill to make.
Difficulty and servings:
Preparation and cooking times
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Ready in 1 hour
- 8 Digestive biscuits
- 50g butter, melted
- 600g cream cheese
- 2tbsp plain flour
- 175g castor sugar
- Vanilla extract
- 2 eggs plus 1 yolk
- 142ml pot soured cream
- 300g raspberries
- Icing sugar
- Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Crush 8 digestive biscuits in a food processor (or put in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin). Mix with 50g melted butter. Press into a 20cm springform tin and bake for 5 minutes, then cool.
- Beat 600g cream cheese with 2 tbsp flour, 175g caster sugar, a few drops of vanilla extract, 2 eggs, 1 yolk and a 142ml pot of soured cream until light and fluffy. Stir in 150g raspberries and pour into the tin. Bake for 40 minutes and then check, it should be set but slightly wobbly in the centre. Leave in the tin to cool.
- Using the remaining 150g raspberries, keep a few for the top and put the rest in a pan with 1 tbsp icing sugar. Heat until juicy and then squash with a fork. Push through a sieve. Serve the cheescake with the raspberry sauce and raspberries.
A warm asparagus salad suitable for a simple, lunch using fresh British asparagus when in season between May and June or whenever fresh asparagus is available. This asparagus salad recipe is filled with the best of summer vegetables, peas, beans and rocket. If you can’t find any of these just use any that take your fancy.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 1 lb/ 450g asparagus
- 6 oz/175g shelled young peas
- 6 oz/175g shelled young broad beans
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
- ½ tsp runny honey
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 oz/110g rocket
- Clean the asparagus and trim any white ends; peel with a vegetable peeler if necessary.
- Blanch the asparagus, peas and beans in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes or until just tender.
- Place olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, honey and seasoning in a screw top jar and shake well until combined.
- Drain the vegetables and toss in the dressing while they are still warm.
- Serve on a bed of rocket leaves
Recipe courtesy of British Asparagus
Artichoke-Scrambled Eggs Benedict
Roasted artichoke bottoms stand in for English muffins in this quick yet elegant supper. Substitute roasted mushrooms for the pancetta for a vegetarian option. Serve with roasted new potatoes or a tossed salad.
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 8 canned artichoke bottoms, (1 1/2 cans), rinsed (see Shopping Tip)
- 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, divided, plus 4 sprigs for garnish
- 1/3 cup chopped pancetta
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons non-fat plain yogurt
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon water
- 6 large eggs
- 4 large egg whites
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Toss artichoke bottoms with 2 teaspoons oil and 2 teaspoons oregano. Place them top-side down on half of a large baking sheet. Spread pancetta in an even layer on the other half. Roast until the artichokes are just beginning to brown and the pancetta is crispy, 12 to 14 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice and water in a small bowl until smooth. Beat eggs and egg whites in a large bowl.
- Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook, folding and stirring frequently with a heatproof rubber spatula until almost set, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and fold in cream cheese, the remaining 1 teaspoon oregano and salt.
- To serve, divide the artichoke bottoms among 4 plates. Top each artichoke with equal portions scrambled egg, crispy pancetta and creamy lemon sauce. Garnish with oregano sprigs, if desired.
TIPS & NOTES
- Shopping tip: Artichoke bottoms can be purchased in 14-ounce cans—found near other canned vegetables. If unavailable, substitute two 14-ounce cans rinsed and halved artichoke hearts.
Per serving: 282 calories; 19 g fat ( 6 g sat , 7 g mono ); 333 mg cholesterol; 9 g carbohydrates; 17 gprotein; 3 g fiber; 737 mg sodium; 171 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (44% daily value).
Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2
Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 2 medium fat meat, 2 fat
Personal Training Benefits
The benefits of exercise are widely documented and using the gym is a great way of enjoying them. Whether you are coming to the gym to improve your fitness, change your body shape, improve your energy or relieve some of the stress of modern life. Personal training at Alive can make that experience more effective for you!
Using a personal trainer is a great way of helping you achieve your goals safely and effectively. At Alive we have a team of highly experienced personal trainers available to support you in getting the most out of your time in the gym.
Our trainers offer a free consultation to find out about you so you can work together in a relaxed environment to discuss your goals and come up with a challenging realistic plan on how to achieve them whatever your current fitness level. There is a wealth of conflicting information out there and ours trainers can work with you to tailor your training to suit your individual needs in an enjoyable and effective way. We believe that if you are enjoying your exercise you will put more in and get more out of it!
Why not work with one of our personal trainers to get more from your gym sessions PLUS mention this newsletter and receive £5 off your first session! You can approach Toby, Matt or Jenny directly or ask at Reception for more information.
By Matt Dunn
Spring Chicken & Barley Soup
You might think of barley as an addition to hearty, wintery soups, such as mushroom-barley or beef-barley soup, but it also works well in lighter soups like this one with chicken, asparagus and peas.
4 servings, about 2 cups each
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/4 hours
Diabetes appropriate | Low calorie | Low cholesterol | Low saturated fat | Heart healthy | Healthy weight | High fiber | High potassium
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, divided
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 large bone-in chicken breast, (10-12 ounces), skin removed, trimmed
1/3 cup pearl barley
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup trimmed and diagonally sliced asparagus, (1/4 inch thick)
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup lightly packed torn fresh basil leaves
1 strip orange zest, (1/2 by 2 inches)
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat; add onion and celery and cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 2 to 4 minutes. Grate or finely chop 1 clove garlic; add to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth, chicken and barley. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate with a slotted spoon. Return the broth to a simmer and cook until the barley is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, shred the chicken or cut into bite-size pieces; discard the bone. When the barley is done, add the chicken, tomatoes and juice, asparagus, peas, salt and a grinding of pepper; return to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat until the asparagus is tender, about 5 minutes more.
Coarsely chop the remaining garlic clove. Gather basil, orange zest and the garlic and finely chop together. Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle each serving with a generous pinch of the basil mixture.
TIPS & NOTES:
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 3, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat the soup, thin with broth if desired and finish with Step 4 just before serving.
Per serving: 265 calories; 6 g fat ( 2 g sat , 3 g mono ); 39 mg cholesterol; 28 g carbohydrates; 24 g protein; 7 g fiber; 745 mg sodium; 405 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (40% daily value), Vitamin A (30% dv), Iron (15% dv).
1 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 2 lean meat
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
• 1½ lb lean ground beef
• 1 large red onion, chopped
• 1 medium red pepper, chopped
• 3 Tbsp chili powder
• 2 tsp minced garlic
• 2 tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin
• 1 tsp dried oregano
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 can (28 oz) fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
• 1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed
• 1 cup water
• 1 Tbsp chopped bittersweet chocolate (optional)
Toppings: shredded Cheddar cheese, chopped red onion, red pepper and cilantro
Garnish: sliced avocado and red pepper (optional)
Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef, onion and red pepper. Cook 5 minutes, stirring to break up meat, until it is no longer pink.
Stir in chili powder, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt. Cook, stirring, 1 minute until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes, beans and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes to develop flavors.
Remove from heat; stir in chocolate (if using) until melted. Serve with some or all of the Toppings.