I have been coaching clients into a better health since 2004, however, despite all the trainings and education, I have never had a health coach myself to guide me and make me accountable for the choices I make in order to achieve my wellness goals. Despite my own best efforts, while I was in what is considered a pretty GOOD shape, I have felt for a while that I needed to take it up a notch and get to the next level so I can inspire more people that we can all be fit at forty, fifty and beyond. Of course, I wanted this for myself too.
I often ask clients if they would share their story of working with me and how Herbalife Nutrition plan works for them. I believe in telling stories as I always had an open heart to be affected and inspired by a story. So, when I ask someone to write something it is because I recognise something in them worth sharing with others. I may admire them for their perseverance, commitment, loyalty, transformation or all of it together and hope sharing their story from their own perspective would inspire others into action. We all need more inspiration in our lives. Also, I believe putting our journey on paper and using the power of reflection can be a great personal exercise in appreciating our journey to date and help us gain clarity and decide on the clearer vision we have for ourselves for the future.
Ramadan is a Holy Month for Muslims all around the world, during which time strict fasting is observed in daylight hours, from dusk till dawn, sunrise to sunset.
I personally have a very fond memories of it as a child. My grandmother was a devoted Muslim and Ramadan used to be my favourite time of the year because, as I did not know in-depth the true meaning of it until I was older, I enjoyed the custom of bearing gifts for children, usually in money and new clothes. House would have been cleaned from top to bottom prior the start of Ramadan, with crispy, brand new or freshly washed and ironed bed linen, even carpet rugs would have been washed in the garden, if season allowed it, and there was this excitement and anticipation in the air. When it was time in the evening to break the fast, food was so plentiful and colourful. Some of my favourite dishes were almost exclusively cooked during Ramadan, like my favourite dish with okra – “bamija”. I guess, I have always been a bit of a foodie.
Apart from body’s need for air and breathing, water is possibly the second most important catalyst in keeping us alive. We all know stories of how, in extreme circumstances, some people have survived for weeks without food as long as they had water. It feels almost strange to be compelled to write about water, such basic human need and what can be more written about it in the first place? Yet, so many I work with struggle with drinking enough. There are so many strategies that can help us develop a habit of drinking enough, however, it was a very smart friend of mine who suggested I find an information on WHY we need to drink water to help our mutual friend, and HOW will, perhaps, sort itself out. I then remembered an article I read over decade ago that still echoes in my mind and I often use the information to help my own clients, which seems to be quite effective at the time, until they need to be reminded again.
It is a common knowledge these days that having a breakfast is a must. Preferably, having not just A breakfast, but a healthy, balanced breakfast. There are many healthy breakfast options around that will leave you fuller for longer, but it still does not mean they are nutritionally fully balanced or that they fit into the optimal nutrition concept, the one that, ideally, we shuld all be aiming for. That is why Herbalife, for over 35 years now, has been pioneering Formula 1 Healthy Meal that has been used initially for weight loss, but, it also ticks all the boxes of an Ideal Breakfast Meal suitable for the whole family:
It feels great to be 43 and often complemented on the health of my skin and asked what my skin regimen is. However, before I say what actually goes ON my skin, it is impossible to talk about skin health without talking about overall nutrition…
Healthy skin is a lot more than just skin deep, so nourishing your skin starts from the inside first. No cream or skin regimen will be a good substitute for a bad diet or lack of sleep and rest. One does not need to be a skin health specialist to say with confidence that what we eat and drink will show itself on the outside too. From personal experience, the moment there is more sugar in my diet, more fat or processed food, especially lack of water or good night’s sleep – my skin will feel it too, not just my overall body, be it digestion, energy levels or else. It is also well known that teenagers who suffer from skin conditions like spots and acne almost always benefit and see skin improvement when decreasing saturated fat and sugar in diet, starting with replacing sugary cereals in the morning with healthier and more balanced breakfast options.
So, my top nutrition tips for healthy skin are:
The tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday has been around since the 15th century, when certain produce, especially perishables like eggs and butter, had to be used up before fasting began a day later in Lent. Saying that, anything else could go in, therefore, pancakes could possibly be made with anything, not just eggs, butter and flour. And I like that idea a lot. Hence, I had an idea of spicing up my pancakes a bit and, when researching for savoury pancake ideas, I could see I was not the only one.
Eggs are a great source of protein, around 6 grams per egg, and all nine essential amino acids. They could also be an excellent source of choline and selenium, and a good source of vitamin D, vitamin B12, phosphorus and riboflavin. Poached eggs are a great way to enjoy them. I have never attempted poaching them until recently, however, have not done very well as they need to be very fresh and freshly bought does not necessarily mean fresh. I even got a special pan, but did not like the fact that eggs were sticking to it. Then some swear by adding vinegar to the water – I can not think of anything more revolting then for my eggs to taste of vinegar.
So, I am forever thankful to the maestro everyone knows, called Jamie Oliver, for coming up with poached egg parcels idea. By adding some veggies to it, they are quite an exquisite experience. I tried them today for the first time and they are a winner! I made egg muffins before, but this was even quicker and less messy.
- place a piece of cling film over a glass, cup or a small sieve
- break an egg into it
- add some chopped veg (I used spinach and red pepper)
- add salt, pepper and even chilli flakes to taste
- close the parcel and place in hot water
- for one egg alone – they are perfect at boiling for 3 minutes; 4 minutes or longer with veg
- take them out of a wrapper once done and enjoy on its own as a snack or as a part of a balanced meal
For more protein, I would suggest 1 egg and 2 egg whites per parcel (around 16-18 gr protein) and extending cooking time to 5-6 minutes.
My boys already ordered some today after school with cuts of turkey rushers in it. I bet it would go great with some smoked salmon too.
So, they are fun to make and delicious to eat.
Soups could be a great healthy meal or a snack at any season, however, they really “hit the spot” in cold winter days. I personally enjoy them throughout the year especially as my children do not seem to like all the vegetables that I normally eat and I would like them to have in their diet. Soups are a great way to disguise them so boys get their fair share of “unloved” vegetables regularly through soups, whether they know it or not. And they happen to really like soups, which is a bonus.
Home made soups are a much healthier option compared to canned soups that are usually high in sodium and some in sugar too, like tomato soup, as well as a chemical BPA. They are easy to make and cheaper too than store-bought ones. So, win on all counts.
I always make my own and I alternate between vegetable soups and chicken bone broth soups. Bone broth in particular has been found to have incredible benefits on our health:
Officially, February is a Healthy Heart Month. Heart disease happens to be our leading cause of death and virtually everyone nowadays will know someone who either has suffered, or still is suffering from some form of heart disease. Treatment of heart disease nowadays is merely through the prescription drugs. However, heart disease is a lifestyle disease and, as such, preventable and even reversible with the change in lifestyle, which could mean, for many, longer, quality life without prescription drugs…
Firstly, what is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a natural fatty substance made in the body by the liver. It plays a vital role in the formation of cells, production of vitamin D, production of hormones, production of bile and digestion, BUT high levels can lead to an increased risk or a heart attack, stroke, developing atherosclerosis and other heart diseases… There are two types of cholesterol or lipoproteins:
low density lipoproteins (LDL) or bad cholesterol and
high density lipoproteins (HDL) or good cholesterol.
High levels of blood cholesterol from either diet or genetics will speed up the plaque’s growth faster. If the plaque bursts suddenly, it cuts off the oxygen supply to a part of the heart: which is when a heart attack can occur. The higher the level of LDL, the greater the risk of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). The lower the level of HDL, also the higher the risk of CHD.
There are no noticeable symptoms of high blood cholesterol or dislipidaemia and it is usually diagnosed based on medical & family history and blood test results. Whilst we can not control risk factors such as family history, getting a heart friendly diet & getting regular exercise is something we all can control. These are the lifestyle factors that affect our cholesterol levels. So, whatever our age, if our lifestyle involves smoking, drinking alcohol, sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy diet, excess body weight and body fat or existing health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, then we are at risk of having high cholesterol. High cholesterol is not only an issue for older or overweight people.
Statistics show, according to the World Health Organisation, that 133.3 million people in the five biggest European countries (Germany, France, Italy, Spain and the UK) have high blood cholesterol.
A 10% reduction of blood cholesterol levels will result in 50% reduction in heart disease in men of 40 years old in the next 5 years and a 20% risk reduction in those who are 70 years old.
Here are practical ways we can all manage our blood cholesterol…
Healthy snacking is an important part of our diet and lifestyle for many reasons:
- It prevents us from being too hungry and over-eating for lunch or dinner by helping keep blood sugar levels stable;
- It is an opportunity to sneak in some veggies or fruit to increase our nutrient intake of vitamins, minerals and fibre;
- Keeping our lean muscle on throughout life depends, apart from exercising, also on eating enough protein, therefore, balanced, protein snacks are a great way to help us reach our daily protein requirements.
When creating meal plans for clients, snacks play an important part for all the reasons mentioned above. For a snack to be considered healthy, we need to take into consideration both energy it gives us (we want just enough calories to keep hunger at bay until next main meal) and balance (low in carbs and high in protein, healthy fats and fibre, which all nourishes, but combined, also keeps blood sugar levels stable).