Crustless Quiche with butternut squash, sweet potato, spinach, mushrooms and eggs

I have found an inspiration for this gorgeous Quiche online and have made it my own by adjusting few ingredients and balance of macro nutrients. It is as tasty as it is pretty when you look at it. Preparation is very simple and it represents a fully balanced, but low-calorie meal ready in 30 minutes or slightly more if cooking for 2 or more people.

You will need the following ingredients per person:

  • 1 small sweet potato or 1/2 medium sweet potato (around 60 gr) thinly sliced
  • 100 gr butternut squash – thinly sliced
  • 1 egg + 2 egg whites, beaten with some salt and pepper
  • handful of spinach, chopped
  • 2 medium mushrooms, chopped (optional)
  • 100 gr low-fat curd cheese or 50  gr feta cheese
  • teaspoon of olive oil
  • salt, pepper
  • tomatoes and rocket salad to garnish.
  • Double up or triple, etc, the measures above if making a dish for 2 or more people

PREPARATION:

  • Place baking paper over a small dish (for 1 person) or medium dish (for two or more people) and cover the bottom and sides with slices of sweet potato and butternut squash that you have previously greased with just a teaspoon of olive oil and bake for 15 minutes or until soft;
  • Take out of oven and pour over it a mix with chopped spinach, mushrooms, 1/2 a measure of curd/ feta cheese, eggs, salt, pepper… then place in the oven for further 15 minutes or until eggs set
  • Take out of oven and garnish with remaining curd or feta cheese, some tomatoes and rocket salad. Free free to add some chilli flakes too.
  • Enjoy!

The above measure per person has 350 calories once cooked, 30 grams of protein and around 5 grams of fibre. A perfect low-calorie and yet balanced meal to enjoy for lunch or dinner or even take as a lunch at work. Curd cheese I mentioned has around 100 calories in 100 grams and 16 grams of protein. I found it in Tescos and it is of a Polish origin. It reminds me of cheeses I used to enjoy as a child, it is very mild, but in absence of it, feel free to use feta cheese, but only 50grams as it is more calorific.

Let me know please how you got on with it, if you decide to make it…

Crustless Quiche with Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Spinach, Mushrooms & Curd Cheese


Sheila’s Story

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.

I have been working with Sheila since 2016 and it has not been an easy journey for Sheila, but, I hope you can gain an inspiration from her heart warming story for the champion that she is… Before we can conquer to great health, we must conquer our mind and emotions and I believe Sheila is on her way…

“I came to Sanela, through a dear friend who was losing weight with an inspirational lady, high energy, affectionate, warm and very enthusiastic, in her commitment to healthy eating. Sanela and her mother (in her late 70’s)  were good examples of the nutrition plan that they practised.

 

I have had a long history of complicated relations with food. I have  complex emotional issues from childhood. I started to help myself, in my early 20’s, years of psychotherapy, slimming clubs and no end of different diets. Some of these  were  very extreme starvations, or short-term fixes.

 

Through those experiences, I had my awareness raised to these childhood matters where I used food to block out negative feelings, and keep meyself productive. But with the birth of my two kids, (another emotional rollercoaster for me) I put on 5 stones which I have been unable to get rid of. Finally two years ago I had a consultation for a gastric band, but knew this was too radical a step even for me. Results for these procedures are not always successful.

 

Sanela and I have been working together, on a one to one, maximum half an hour, sometimes fifteen minutes. I try to focus my thoughts to help myself, before we meet as Sanela (who does not charge for her time, but only for nutritional food that is part of my personalised nutrition plan) tries to support my internal dialogue and confused thinking so I can make changes. I do respect her dedication to her clients, to give them this time.

 

Sanela has come up with ideas which help me gain a stronger sense of self so I can rely on myself without the support of food, to overcome daily issues.

 

Some very sensitive childhood matters came to the fore. I could not manage the weekly weigh in with Sanela. My parents had put me on a diet, and weighed me regularly from 7 yrs, and the weight I was supposed to lose was never enough, and really at 7 years old, I couldn’t understand why I needed to be on a regime of weight loss. So began the seeds of my issues with food. Being over controlled, by parents who thought they were doing their best, but it was too intrusive, especially as between 7-18 yrs girls bodies are changing as their bodies prepare for growth spurts upwards, and my sense of self was compromised. Also the mindset I developed of whatever I did in life was never enough.

 

It was revealing to me that Sanela was visibly affected to hear my story, so we agreed I would not be weighed and only come back to this when I was ready. The relief was enormous, and I continue to work on keeping on track without this sole measurement of the performance on the scales,  that I had used to inappropriately define me.

 

The stabilising thread of Herbalife  is that you can go through the day with 5-6 healthy meals and snacks, including a delicious meal. That it is the nutrition plan, and with the balance of protein, vitamins, minerals, including fibre supplements, so I feel more energetic,  and my nails are much stronger. What the program also gives is a relief that when the day or week is chaotic, and eating may go off-balance,  you have an old friend to return to. It presents as a golden  thread of balance in my life as an unbalanced eater.

 

What can I say about my empathetic Sanela. She listens, to my individual emotional needs, has come up with books, and references for mantras and affirmations, to keep me strong, which have been profoundly helpful. I talk about my internal irrational dialogue about food, and my need to change as it has so sabotaged efforts in the past.

 

Although I have eating issues, like many I have managed to outperform in other areas. I have always maintained a very successful career, marrying late, with 2 now grown up children.

 

Sanela asked me to write something that she could share, but secretly I think she felt it would be another way of helping me, and it certainly has! I am so pleased for my introduction to Sanela, and I must say that many others could benefit from her unique assistance, into your own journey with maintaining good health, and weight loss assistance, if you are ready for it.”

Thank you, dear Sheila and here is to you and your health and continued progress… And this makes me a very proud Herbalife Health Coach as, despite amazing Herbalife Nutrition that can help individuals with their health and weight management, what we also do is lock hands and hearts with our clients and sharing a bit of your heart is a magic ingredient that can help a client go even further.


Ramadan fasting and Herbalife Nutrition and Health

Have a Healthy Ramadan – Fasting during Holy Month & Your Health

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.

I would go to the top of the building where my grandmother used to live and wait for all the mosques to switch on the lights, marking the start of Iftar, break of a daily fast. I would rush down to report to everyone, whilst my grandmother is waiting for me with a glass of water with lemon in her hand, ready to break the fast, calm and content with herself, with a prayer on her lips before they touch the glass. Her apartment would be full with all my aunties, uncles & cousins, together with my parents, all ready to feast together, although not everyone fasted. It was a truly happy time I recall with the whole family together. Even more special now as majority has passed and I am blessed with only fond memories of my sweet and loving childhood.

The meaning of Ramadan?

Now, as an adult, I understand more about Ramadan and I came to appreciate its meaning.

While fasting is a very big part of this Holy Month and abstaining from food, drink and other physical needs during the daylight hours, the purpose of Ramadan is, I would say, more of a spiritual nature – to help men and women get rid of the habits they accumulated during the year, to teach discipline, self-sacrifice and self-control; it is a month of self-reflection, reformation and being closer to the Creator. You can almost call it as an MOT test and, when the test is over, we should be at a higher standard than when we started; it offers an opportunity to count our blessings, change ourselves for better, clean up our lives, our thoughts and our feelings. Our eyes must restrain themselves from looking at what is not whole and pure and what is unlawful; our tongue from arguments and gossip, hands from everything that does not belong to us, ears from listening words that are not pure & kind, feet from going to dirty & unpure places… Isn’t this how life should be lived, in general?

It truly is a time for devotion, generosity, charity, forgiveness. On a physical level, it is an opportunity to cleanse the bodies and, by experiencing thirst and hunger – to also sympathize with those in the world who have little to eat every day. Lessons we learn should stay with us for the rest of the year and this is an opportunity to start some healthy habits and stop some bad ones.

Healthy Eating and Hydration during Ramadan

Fasting during Ramadan, if done correctly, can be very good for our health. It is well-known that body starts breaking muscle when starved, so it is very important to eat right during this month. Food consumed during the pre-dawn and dusk meals may lead to some unwanted weight gain, but, if approached with discipline, it can be an opportunity to lose weight (or rather, body fat) and become healthier. No need to break the discipline at the end of the day.

It is very important not to break fast with a feast as that may cause weight gain. Break it slowly with some water first and a couple of dates, as an example. If eating right during Ramadan, body can also get rid of many toxins too, which is also very good for the body as it will appear more alert.

Good hydration between the fasts plays a huge part to help the detox process. You, can, however, become very dehydrated if you do not drink enough water before the fast. Hydration can be slightly more difficult if weather is hot. Islam does not require anyone to harm themselves during Ramadan, so, if you produce little or no urine, feel disoriented, confused or faint, you must stop fasting and you can compensate it by fasting at a later date.

Caffeine drinks such as tea, coffee and fizzy drinks should be avoided as caffeine is a diuretic and stimulates faster water loss through urination. Green tea is a great alternative as well as other herbal teas. Peppermint tea in particular is great for digestion.

I have created a plan for my mother who now finds it much easier and has more energy during the daylight than what she used to. She was 75 years old this February. This plan involves using some nutritional supplementation, which have proven to be a tremendous help and I touch on it in the next paragraph. The plan guides her in what & when to eat, drink and supplement. It helps her fulfill her fasting commitments a lot easier, as it is not easy at all. This year in particular, fasting period during the day is as long as 16 hours.

As far as regular food is concerned, Ramadan is no different from our normal diet. It is about making sure that we have a balanced intake of food from all major food groups, adequate amount of water, fibre, protein and nutrients. Refined carbohydrates and fatty foods should be avoided during Ramadan too.

Using Herbalife Nutrition during Ramadan

Fasting during Ramadan and Herbalife NutritionHerbalife Fasting Meal Plan includes nutritional products that can help tremendously to replenish lost nutrients during the day, to sustain healthy metabolism, increase absorption of nutrients, control hunger during the day & overeating when fast is broken, cut down unnecessary fat intake and ensure adequate protein intake to maintain muscle mass during Ramadan. This plan has been helping my mother and many like her have a lot more manageable fast. It has also helped her lose weight during Ramadan whilst preserving her lean muscle, which I monitor regularly during the month. There are the range of products that can help fill the gaps and, if this is of an interest to you, do get in touch.

Our Formula 1 Nutritional Healthy Meal is a great way to break the fast and to consume just before starting the fast. It is easily digestible meal to break the fast with and to replenish body with all the essential nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fibre, plant protein and it is a perfect meal to consume before starting a fast to ensure longer and sustained energy levels.

Our personalised plan can also help maximise hydration, may help avoid constipation developing as both hydration & fibre intake is personalised, although change in diet can be an unavoidable cause for changes in our digestion. Our plan may also prevent development of a heartburn by eliminating main culprits who cause it such as deep-fried foods, high-sugar and high-fat foods and rich, special dishes that are traditionally used to celebrate the fast.

My mother, like many muslims around the world, has been using Herbalife Nutrition for well over a decade for general health, as her ideal breakfast as well as major support during this Holy Month. Her favourite products are our Formula 1 Nutritional Healthy Meal and Thermojetics Herbal Beverage – fat burning, antioxidant rich green tea beverage that helps with hydration.

Who should take special care during Ramadan

UK NHS website provides some great information on who should and who should not be fasting during Ramadan. Whilst Islamic Law says that sick people should not fast and those that need to take tablets during the day should not fast either, people who take injections, patches, eardrops and eyedrops can indeed fast as those are not considered to be foods or drinks. Anyone with diabetes or high blood pressure should check with their doctor.

While breastfeeding women should not be fasting, pregnant are allowed, although it is not medically recommended, so it will depend whether woman feels strong and healthy enough to do it. It is also not advisable for children under the age of seven or eight. I have personally tried as a child and remember my first ever encounter with headaches, so I stopped. It is usually recommended for children once they reach puberty and fasting before this age will depend on the attitude of the parent and child’s general well-being, perhaps only advisable for a few hours in a day. What is more important is to teach them the meaning of the Holy Month. I somehow wish I was taught more as a child.

Use Ramadan to Quit Smoking

Last, but not the least, if you are a smoker, Ramadan is a great month to add extra benefit to your health by quitting smoking. Using patches during Ramadan, getting a help from a support group such as NHS Smokefree Helpline and involving friends and family members is a great idea. But, most importantly, one needs to be ready for it as many smokers claim that it is harder not to smoke during the day than not to eat. If you are ready, than this could be a great opportunity.

I have enjoyed writing this as it has brought so many happy memories of the month of Ramadan. If you are not a Muslim, I hope it gave you a useful insight into this very special month. Please feel free to reach out if you wish, have any questions or even need help with making this Ramadan more nutritious. Until then…

Wishing you and your family the blessings of Ramadan.

Ramadan Mubarak


Remarkable effects of drinking enough water each day

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.

So, let’s not underestimate the benefits of water:

  • It regulates the appetite. Research shows that thirst and hunger sensation are triggered together. If there is an even slight dehydration in the body, the thirst mechanism can be mistaken for hunger when body is actually craving fluids. You can only imagine how important this is for weight management as more food than we need, instead of fluids, can only mean weight gain.
  • It helps body metabolise fat. Here is another link with an effective weight management. Studies show that optimum water intake can help reduce fat deposits. We forget sometimes that kidneys, that help extract waste from the blood, simply can not function properly without enough water. In those circumstances, some of the load is passed on to the liver. The primary role of our liver is to break down and metabolise stored fat into usable energy for the body, however, if it needs to do some of the kidney’s work, it can not operate its primary function to its full capacity. As a result, liver metabolises less fat, which in turn, causes more fat to be stored in the body. This stops weight loss and can even cause weight gain. Retained water can show as excess weight too.
  • Maintains the function of the kidneys, reducing the risk of kidney stones. Leading from the previous point, as already demonstrated, water is essential for normal kidney function.
  • Helps reduce water retention. Drinking enough water is the very best treatment for water retention. Body that does not get enough fluids sees this as a threat to its survival and it then starts to hold water. Water is then stored outside of the cell in extra cellulite spaces, which manifests itself in swollen legs, feet, hands.
  • Helps with mental performance. Even slight dehydration can cause headaches, dizziness, tiredness as well as our reduced alertness and ability to concentrate. It is said that thirst is felt at only 2% dehydration, which can reduce our mental performance by 10-20%. Can you imagine what this means for an athlete? Dehydration between 3-5% can reduce aerobic exercise performance noticeably and impairs reaction time, judgement, concentration and decision-making, which are all vital elements in all sports,  whilst a particular issue for boxers is that dehydration increases risk of brain injury. Remember, when you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Also, with less water in your system, your blood volume decreases, meaning your heart has to work harder to pump it round. Your blood vessels also constrict, so don’t be surprised when dehydration headaches strike.
  • Boosts energy levels. Water also means more oxygen. It helps body’s pH factor and more oxygen means more energy as foods containing oxygen, like plants do, also mean life! Of course, water in itself has no energy, as it has no calories, however, by helping regulate body temperature and by keeping you hydrated, water enables the body to derive energy from ingested nutrients.
  • Aids healthy digestion. There used to be a concern that water will dilute the digestive juices or interfere with digestion. Research shows, in fact, that drinking water during or after a meal actually aids digestion. Water and other liquids help break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients. Water also softens stool, which helps prevent constipation. If body gets too little water – it gets it from internal sources and colon is its primary source, which results in constipation. There are other reasons for constipation, like inadequate amount of fibre in a diet, but, water, apart from fibre, is one of the primary reasons for a regular bowel function.
  • Aids with elimination of harmful substances and toxic products. Leading from the previous point of influence of water on healthy digestion, water, of course, also helps to flush out the waste and toxins, essential function for our health and disease prevention.
  • Reduces the risk of cancer. There are a few studies that support the beneficial effect of water drinking on cancer prevention in addition to other lifestyle factors, such as smoking avoidance or cessation, moderation of alcohol consumption, and treatment or prevention of obesity. Future clinical and epidemiologic studies might help to further define the role of water intake for cancer prevention, but what we know so far is that water plays a substantial role in cancer prevention, including bowel cancer.
  • Helps maintaining moisture in skin. Skin is our largest organ and water keeps skin cells stay hydrated, working well and it helps keep wrinkles away as it plumps the skin cells up making them look less wrinkled. Also it flushes impurities and toxins out of the system keeping your face fresh and clean and thus aid in reducing the breakouts and acne.
  • Helps keep blood pressure in check. Dehydration is a potential cause of low blood pressure (hypotension) due to decreased blood volume leading to reduced pressure against artery walls. However, when you do not drink adequate water the body will compensate by retaining sodium and consistent dehydration will lead the body to gradually ‘close’ some of the capillary beds, which leads to increased pressure places on arteries and a rise in blood pressure.

The above are just some of the benefits and many have not been mentioned such as that water helps to regulate body temperature and that it helps to keep joints lubricated and eases pain in them, etc. So, water plays a monumental role in our health and its benefits supercede its benefits just for weight loss alone. We all need a different amount of water depending on our body composition. 2 litres per day is a good guide, however, overweight person will need more water, especially as it is key to fat metabolism. I advise my clients around 3 litres of water daily, but no more than 4 litres.

The key is to drink little but more often, one glass of 250ml every hour, as an example. I drink water on its own, infused with fruit and veg, through green tea, with some aloe added. I do not suggest coffee and caffeinated teas as those are slight diuretics, meaning they make body produce more urine, which in turn leads to dehydration.

Tips how to increase water intake:

  • Drink one glass of water after each visit to the toilet. An ideal time to check your urine colour – pale or see-through urine is a sign of good hydration.
  • Carry a bottle with you at all times to increase access to water
  • Add taste to water by adding some lemon juice or infuse it with fruit.
  • Set goal for number of glasses each day and track it; you can also set water reminders throughout the day on your smart phone!
  • Buy 2 litre bottle of water and make sure you finish it by the end of the day; have some more if your aim is 3 litres a day.
  • Every time you drink tea or coffee, have a glass of water with it
  • Have water as soon as you get up, with every meal and between each meal/ snack
  • Avoid alcohol as it also aids to dehydration

Remember that natural thirst is lost if there is no habit to drink enough water. By developing a habit of hydrating regularly, natural thirst will return within few days. Every time we slip, we will need another breakthrough.

Happy hydration!

 


Formula 1 Ideal Breakfast Ideas (video)

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 provides your body with much-needed and often skipped protein (instead of carbs/ sugar and fat driven options), especially protein coming from a plant source rather than animal source;
  • It provides your body with fibre that is often low in our diets, hence so many digestive issues;
  • It provides your body with much-needed vitamins and minerals that our diet is deficient in as not only that we do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, but, even if we did, our soil is known to be deficient compared to seventy years ago, so our plants will be too, so no wonder the results of every experiment, wheather on a small or large scale involving 10 000 people, are that 100% of the subjects are proven to be nutritionally deficient.
  • Our ideal breakfast also ensures good hydration as the final element of an ideal meal.

It is simple to make, deliciously tasting, stops hunger and cravings, gives energy and is huge fun to make! The following is a YouTube video that shows why Formula 1 is an ideal breakfast and shows how it is made as well as gives options with water, milk and yoghurt and how fruit and vegetables can also be incorporated to give versatility to this really fun and healthy meal:

Click on the photo to watch the video!

The following are the healthy, balanced shake recipes featured in the video:

SIMPLE CHOCOLATE SHAKE:

  • 2 scoops of Formula 1 Chocolate (or any other flavour)
  • 250 ml soya milk/ semi skimmed milk
  • 18 grams of protein/ 220 calories/ 3 grams of fibre

CHOCOLATE DELIGHT:

  • 2 scoops of Formula 1 Chocolate
  • 2 Scoops of Protein Drink Mix
  • 1 scoop of Oat Apple Fibre
  • 250 ml cold water
  • 24 grams of protein/ 8 grams of fibre/ 220 calories

PDM or Protein Drink Mix is used in order to further decrease sugar in Formula 1 Healthy Meal. Formula 1 Shake Mix usually has in between 2.5-7 grams of naturaly occuring sugar from fruit (we use oranges and beets for ours), however, 250 ml of semi skimmed milk ads an aditional 12 grams of sugar, whist soya milk ads some too, however, slightly less. We skip that when we use PDM, which is delicious in itself and two scoops in water can be used as a delicious snack of 15 grams of protein and only 107 calories.

VERY BERRY SHAKE:

  • 2 scoops of Blueberry & Raspberry Formula 1
  • 2 scoops of Protein Drink Mix
  • 1 scoop of Oat Apple Fibre
  • half a cup of frozen berries
  • 250 ml cold water
  • 24 grams of protein/ 12 grams of fibre/ 250 calories

BERRY & BEETROOT DELIGHT:

  • 2 scoops of Vanilla F1
  • 2 scoops of Protein Drink Mix
  • 1 scoop of Oat Apple Fibre
  • half a cup of frozen berries
  • half medium beetroot (raw)
  • 250 ml cold water
  • 24 grams of protein/ 14 grams of fibre/ 270 calories

GREEN MONSTER SHAKE:

  • 2 scoops of Vanilla F1
  • 2 scoops of Protein Drink Mix
  • 1 scoop of Oat Apple Fibre
  • handful of spinach/ 1 kiwi/ few slices of cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon of organic chlorella powder
  • 250 ml cold water
  • 24 grams of protein/ 12 grams of fibre/ 280 calories

APPLE/BANANA & CINNAMON IN KEFIR

  • 2 scoops of Vanilla/ Cookies & Cream Formula 1
  • 1 scoop of Protein Drink Mix
  • 1 scoop of Oat Apple Fibre
  • 1/2 granny smith apple (or banana)
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 250 ml low-fat kefir or yogurt (if using thick yoghurt or greek yoghurt add a dash of water for consistency)
  • 26 grams of protein/ 10-12 grams of fibre/ 300 calories

Enjoy your breakfast, it is THE most important meal of the day and now you know what makes an ideal one that also can be fun, versatile and delicious.

To get onto the action, please contact me to obtain your Healthy Breakfast Nutrition Trial Pack!

Until then, thank you for watching and stay happy and healthy, always!

 

 


Skin regimen I trust…

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:

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Pancakes with a difference… for any day not just a Pancake Day

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.

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Poached Egg Parcels

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. 

Enjoy!


Soups – winter’s little warmers

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:

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February is a Healthy Heart Month and here is how we can improve our Heart 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…

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Suffer from high cholesterol? Here are 3 steps you can take to manage it…

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…

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Snack on this… 20 Healthy Protein Snacks

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).

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Become the best version of yourself… Start today!

Rome has not been built in one day and our attempt to improve our physique and health should pretty much be approached with bearing the same in mind… We need a plan, patience & vision. Those with vision move even in darkness. Our vision for ourselves is best when not focused on the outside appearance alone as our health and beauty are a lot more than just skin deep. Our vision needs to be strong and inspire action every day, which will make us more patient and committed to a long term goals. Then we need a plan that is simple, even fun and that nourishes us on our path to becoming the best version of ourselves.

Start Today

One of the biggest mistakes we all make is waiting for the “perfect storm”, that perfect moment to start something new… to start a new diet, to stop smoking, to look for a better job, start that project, make an important phone call, study for the exam… The only perfect moment is RIGHT NOW. Delaying action whilst waiting for that perfect opportunity is simply procrastination and the more we do it, the more we develop a habit of it that can be very costly.

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No need to diet… EVER!

The four main factors that influence our weight and how we feel are*: Nutrition: 75%, Environment: 11%, Hereditary: 8%, Stress: 6%. (*Source: www.euro.who.int), so, good news is – we can change a lot through a change in lifestyle! Through science, we have learnt that Nutrition plays a major role when it comes to not just Weight Management, but also our Heart Health, Energy Levels, Immunity & Aging process, Skin Health and so on. Losing weight does not always equal health if balanced nutrition is missing! Most diets you may hear about will usually restrict calorie intake or types of food you can consume. This means, your body may still not be receiving the nutrients it needs – not just for a healthy weight, but for a healthy life – strong immune system, healthy bones, healthy digestion, healthy heart, healthy skin and so on…

Losing weight can be hard. Right? It is a FACT, actually!

Statistics show that among those who succeed in losing weight, two-thirds return to their original weight within a year. Within 3-5 years only 3% of those who have lost weight maintain this weight loss. Of the remaining 97%, 15% return to their original weight and the majority (82%) put on even more weight. These statistics may alarm you. Furthermore, contributing factors to these statistics are:

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Group of people running in field.

The Power of Accountability for Weight Loss and Fitness Goals: one key missing ingredient

After 13 years of working with clients on their personal journeys to a better health, weight loss, as well as fitness in the last few years, one thing is for sure – it can be a bumpy ride for majority and hardly ever a straight line. Many times, despite having the best mechanics for weight loss, it is the psychology that fails us, which makes me believe that 80% is the psychology and having the right mindset to reach our goals. This is probably true for everything in life, not just our health efforts.

Once we have a great plan and a strategy, it is our mindset that needs the most support.

20% of Your Success – Having A Great Plan

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Protein Balls as a Healthy Snack

Protein Balls seem to be in fashion at the moment and there are many recipes – some I tried and they are to die for, but not all would constitute as a protein snack, in my humble opinion. I have seen many with over 200 calories and under 5 grams of protein. Just adding nuts does not hugely add to protein but it can add hugely to calories. And this does not work for me. So, based on some recipes I have seen, here is the one I came up with, but promise to keep trying improving on the protein v calories ratio:

  • 150 gr of almonds (944 calories/ 32 gr protein)
  • 100 gr Herbalife 24 Powder (380 calories/ 51 gr protein)
  • 20 gr coconut oil (172 calories)
  • 30 gr of raw honey, the one that bees actually make, not industrial (92 calories)
  • tablespoon of vanilla extract or (for adults) some rum
  • for garnish: sesame seeds or desiccated coconut and/ or raw cocoa powder

Mix it all in a chopper or blender until you get thick paste and using a bit of coconut oil on your palms – mould into balls and then roll in sesame seeds or desiccated coconut and add a sprinkle of raw cacao powder and, voila, they are done. Put your feet up and enjoy… one! (I know!)

I decided to use Herbalife 24 Rebuild Strength, normally used for a recovery shake after a strength training, because it contains array of essential nutrients, but also because I just love its distinctive chocolate flavour, reminding me of Baileys. Next time, and there will be next time, I will try with our Protein Drink Mix (Vanilla) and perhaps some other Formula 1 like Chocolate, Vanilla, Cookies & Cream or Cappuccino, or perhaps even some fruity flavours.

For my snacks, I am always looking for around 8-10 grams of protein under 150 calories and this snack just about does it. Above makes 12 balls each 25 grams and they are under 140 calories and 7 grams of protein. Not too shabby at all and makes a lovely difference. I think I still prefer my Herbalife Protein Bar with an optimum amount of protein (10 gr) and calories (140gr) per 35 gr snack as they are quick and handy and already done for me, but, if you do not mind a bit of fuffing around in making them, these protein balls are amazing and will be loved by everyone in the house.

The only two questions that run through my mind are where to hide them safely so they do not disappear in a flash and how to stop myself from not eating more than one in one go as they are superb and literally each is just one bite? Hmmm… But, mmmmmm….


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2017

I really wanted to do a little video to address and extend gratitude to all the people who made 2016 really special for me. Here it is…

I also hope you do not mind me adding some thoughts that did not make it into the video message… I feel I should start by acknowledging that year 2016 has been a difficult year for many and my thoughts are with the people of Syria and the people who are suffering right now in various pockets of the world. As a Bosnian, I feel tremendous pain that tragedy like this is allowed to happen again and feel powerless to do anything about it, as I am sure many feel right now too. World is watching, still. I can not help wondering what can we do individually. There is almost a sence of guilt for continuing each day to live the life I do, we all do, whilst so many people are dying and have died. I turn to great thinkers of our time Dr Wayne Dyer, Ekhart Tolle and more for a perspective that I know will be different to the feelings of anger and desperation we are all currently exposed to in the media, especially social media, because I do not think those feelings will solve anything and they surely do not lead to peace.

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How to make diseases disappear, TED Talk by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

I am always excited when I hear medical professionals stepping out of the usual “disease treatment” into “disease prevention” and acknowledging the fact that nutrition plays key part in not only treating but eradicating certain, if not most, diseases. Doctors in the 1940s knew this and somehow mainstream medicine nowadays still decided to choose a path of treating diseases with medications without enough emphasis or effort on the prevention side.

Dr Rangan Chatterjee talks very passionately about it in this video in his TED Talk in Liverpool. What excites me personally is that it is also very much aligned with Herbalife and what we believe in. In Herbalife, we have always believed in nutrition on a cellular level and the fact that in order to be healthy we need to focus not on body just meeting recommended daily amount of nutrients that merely perhaps just prevent some diseases, but the fact that we need to take it to the next level and achieve optimum nutrition to build our immunity and give body enough ammunition to be healthy and immune to most lifestyle diseases.

Optimum nutrition consists of giving the body what it needs in the right quantity and balance too. We are already, and have been for some time, personalizing protein levels and there is also drive to innovate and customize all the nutrient levels in the future. Our innovative Herbalifeline Max Omega 3 tablet is one of the testaments to that. Much of our scientific endeavour is focused on areas like the micro-biome, Dr Chatterjee mentions it in this video.

You give your health a true fighting chance when nutritional levels are balanced and optimised. I am excited to see even more mainstream doctors aligned with this message as times move on… Enjoy the video!


Here is how you can show your heart, brain and eyes that you care

I don’t think I have ever been excited as much as I was when Herbalifeline Max was announced to be released in Winter 2016.

I remember a training few years ago when one of our leading medical doctors mentioned that whilst our Core Nutrition (in the UK it is Formula 1 shake, Formula 2 Multivitamin & Mineral Tablets and Fibre & Herb Tablets), helps us reach optimum nutrition as part of a healthy eating regime, one other thing they would highly recommend adding to our daily nutrition intake are Omega 3 fish oils in form of a supplement.

To most people I speak to, thinking of fats as healthy seems to go against nearly every piece of nutrition advice they have ever had, but, there are certain types of fats that are considered healthy and that are actually essential to the body.

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Trip back home

Wherever you go, come back home. Strangely or not – home being where the heart is – I have two homes. One that was built for me and one that I built. I have built my home here in England since 1993, but heart always takes me back to my home in Banjaluka, Bosnia, where I was born back in 1973. I left when I was nearly nineteen, on my own, and those first years were turbulent as I did not leave by choice but necessity as war was starting in Bosnia.

But, I do not want to talk about the war and those unsettling times. Everyone has their story how war found them and where they ended and how they felt. And everyone’s story is heartbreaking if you care to truly listen and forget about yourself for a moment, some more than others when you factor in families they lost, including everything they lost that they have built over the years, if not decades for themselves and their families or inherited from ancestors. Everyone dealt with personal loss in their own way. But, all I know is that, thankfully, we live in better times right now (well, different times, and bad times still happen to someone else right now somewhere on Earth) and memories of my happy and beautiful childhood are bright and shiny as they ever where. I am so grateful to be born in this beautiful part of the world, it made me who I am today with all the good as well as all the bad and ugly.

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