The Menopause, HIIT & what food to eat to refuel your body

Benefits of HIIT & how to refuel your body I’m an avid exerciser and have been for years but with two children still at school, holding down a job and going through the transition into menopause (the peri-menopause), I find that tiredness and lack of time can become problematic.  Enter HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training.  Studies show that HIIT – short sharp bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by short rest periods – has been linked to weight loss, and increase in aerobic and anaerobic fitness, strengthening bone & muscle and is ideal if you are short on time or feeling tired. Heart, muscle and bone healthy, the benefits of HIIT training for women going through peri-menopause and who are post menopausal are great, but you do need to refuel your body wisely afterwards. So what should you eat after a HIIT session? It’s important that post-workout we eat the right foods to aid muscle repair and growth and help replace any energy that was lost during the workout.  High-protein, antioxidant-rich foods are fabulous as by their very nature, will replenish your muscles and fuel your body with the right nutrients to boost your immune system and fight oxidation that happens within our cells, helping us feel great after exercise and limit the post-workout aches that you may experience. Timing:  You should look to refuel your body no later than 60 to 90 minutes after your HIIT workout. This provides your muscles with what they need to replenish their glycogen (energy) stores adequately. So, if like me you want to introduce HIIT training to your schedule make sure you’re...
February is Heart Health Month – not just for Valentine’s Day

February is Heart Health Month – not just for Valentine’s Day

Look After Your Heart – after all it is the month of love and generosity J  January just whizzed by and now we find ourselves thrown into February.  A cold and icy month, the last month of winter in the UK and the only month that can pass without a single full moon.  However, to warm the “cockles of our hearts” February is also a time for celebration.  Some of you may be celebrating the life of St Valentine by sending valentine cards, depicting hearts and roses to show your love and affection to another. So who was Valentine? He was a Roman priest who fell in love whilst in jail during the reign of Emperor Claudius II in the third Century AD. On his day of execution, the 14 February, he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine” – so the story goes. The heart is one of the most important organs and has long been recognized across cultures as being a symbol of love, charity, joy and compassion.  It is the first organ to form during our development in the womb and whilst it has to go through several complicated stages of development, it begins to nourish our growing embryo with only a few cells that resemble a long tube. So why should women, especially those going through peri-menopause or who have gone through menopause need to look after their heart?  Research shows that the female hormone oestrogen protects our heart by increasing HDL (good cholesterol), lowers LDL (bad cholesterol), relaxes and dilates blood vessels so flood flow increases, soaks up free radicals that occur naturally...
Workout at home – some great Christmas gift ideas that won’t break the bank

Workout at home – some great Christmas gift ideas that won’t break the bank

I found working from home somewhat difficult to keep to a strict schedule.  I’d find that household tasks would creep in and I’d quite easily lose focus on what I was supposed to be doing.  Setting my own lunch hours and breaks was easy but trying to fit in a workout could prove difficult.  I decided that if I was unable to attend the gym or class I could squeeze an exercise routine in somehow and here are a few things I bought to help me.   With Christmas just around the corner, here are a few inexpensive fitness ideas that you could ask Santa for so that you can maintain your fitness over the festive period or begin your health & fitness journey in the New Year!   Stability Ball This big, inflatable rubber ball goes by a host of names, including Swiss ball, stability ball, exercise ball and body ball, to name a few. It is terrific as a tool to help keep smaller “stabilizing” muscles strong. Make the most of it by using it in place of a desk chair to remind yourself to sit up straight since the stability ball has no back. In addition, by doing so, you will be making a multitude of minute adjustments all the time to keep yourself from rolling off while you work. If you are especially motivated, you can take breaks and perform various exercises, such as crunches for your abs. Tip: Measure your desk before purchase so that you know what size stability ball to buy.  I have an extra large one so I’m high enough to...
Scallops & wilted spinach

Scallops & wilted spinach

If you’re looking for a delicious easy, quick and nutritious meal that is a fabulous treat for any woman – why not try this recipe. Ingredients 1 handful of scallops fresh or frozen (thawed) 2 large handfuls os spinach 1 clove garlic crushed olive oil 1 small handful of pumpkin seeds Method Drizzle a little olive oil in a frying pan and throw in the scallops to cook Cook the scallops for about 5 mins or until they begin to turn a lovely golden colour on the edges Pop to one side, clean the pan with kitchen roll and return to the heat Add a drizzle of olive oil and throw in the crushed garlic & spinach and allow to wilt in the pan Take the pan off the heat and pop the spinach & garlic on a plate, add the scollops on top and drizzle with a little olive oil.  Delicately throw over the pumpkin seeds and...

A Miracle Supplement for Women and Peri/menopause?

Is this the new anti-ageing, peri-menopausal supplement of the future?  What’s all the fuss about Alpha Lipoic Acid?  Here’s what I found out about this wonder compound and why I’ve decided that it’s part of my daily nutritional plan. When it comes to women’s health from teenage years right through our peri- menopause and beyond, a varied diet full of colour is an absolute must, and that’s natural colour from fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants that are a fabulous source of nutrients that counteract the natural deterioration of cells within our body and organic, raw varieties are the best.  I’ve noticed over the years that CoQ10 and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) have had some very positive write-ups and that’s not a surprise as it offers many health benefits.  It promotes healthy aging, organ function, heart health, brain and nervous system health, just what we women need as we get older.  It also encourages our body’s network of antioxidants become stronger by boosting cellular production of other antioxidants and antioxidant enzymes. Wow!  That’s a real bonus.  Here, I will take you through an in-depth look at alpha lipoic acid and all that it has to offer women all over the world and especially those of us going through our second spring, peri-menopause. Top 10 Benefits of Alpha Lipoic Acid Encourages normal thyroid hormone levels Support healthy nerves Encourages healthy skin Promotes normal heart health Protects muscles from exercise- related stress Protects the liver Promotes a strong brain and sharp memory Promotes graceful aging Maintains a healthy blood glucose level Supports healthy body weight What Is...

The Benefits of Raspberries

The Benefits of Raspberries Did you know that the raspberry is the edible fruit of a multitude of plants related to the rose family?  They are natures “sweets” with many nutritional benefits especially for us women going through peri-menopause.  The humble raspberry ranges in colour from the popular richest red and black varieties to the pale yellow or golden ones, which my parents grow in their back garden.  Each colour of raspberry has it’s own unique composition of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  The lighter the colour the less anthocyanin content, which is the blue, violet or red pigment found in the berries. I love raspberries to brighten up a salad or to top my yoghurt or porridge in the morning, but not only do they provide extra colour and taste they are packed with fabulous nutritional benefits., some of which I have highlighted below.  Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables has long been associated with a reduced risk of many adverse health conditions and can provide an easy way of maintaining a healthy weight, which you will read many times throughout this article. If you eat a diet full of plant foods, which could include raspberries, science would suggest that you are less likely to be at risk of developing obesity, diabetes and heart disease all of which are valuable for peri-menopausal and menopausal women.  Apart from helping you feel good, eating a variety of fruit and vegetables can also promote healthy skin, increase energy levels and help maintain a lower weight, which as we age can soon creep up on us. Just take-a-look at the other benefits...
Chicken & Feta Cheese Salad

Chicken & Feta Cheese Salad

Chicken & Feta Cheese Salad (with a twist) This is a great recipe for women’s health it is heart, bone and brain healthy!  Packed with protein, antioxidants and fibre it tastes delicious and so easy and quick to make.   Ingredients 1 large handful of baby spinach 1 large handful of rocket 4 cherry tomatoes 2 florets of brocolli – broken into small pieces 1 handful of blueberries 1 handful of raspberries 3 strawberries – halved feta cheese 1 cooked chicken breast – chopped into chunks a drizzle of avocado oil (or olive oil) Optional extras:  sprinkle of sunflower/pumpkin seeds or walnuts to add a little crunch   Method Throw all the ingredients into a large bowl and drizzle over the avocado or olive oil and gently mix until the oil has been dispersed.  Pop onto a clean plate and Enjoy!  If you want keep the salad in the bowl and sprinkle the seeds/nuts over the top and Enjoy!  – saves washing up too...
The Benefits of Co-Enzyme Q10

The Benefits of Co-Enzyme Q10

As we enter our 3rd Age women can encounter some really odd symptoms, sometimes bizarre and sometimes damn debilitating, but what is happening to us is a natural process which can be made easier with the right nutrition, exercise, lifestyle changes and supplementation.  Have a read of my story …. I hope it will be of help and interest and of course i’ll keep you posted as to my results! Over the past few months, like many of you, I’ve been suffering migraine type headaches, which, as a newbie to this, has been a shock.  Two days a month of sheer hell!  If you’re a migraine sufferer you will know it’s debilitating and renders you to either the bed or sofa with a cold flannel over your eyes, in the dark to try and sleep it off.   How impractical is that when you have to try and work, look after the children, older members of the family and the house? Eventually, enough was enough and I discussed my symptoms with my Doctor as I felt that it could be hormone or nutrition related.  My full blood tests are due to take place in October, which could potentially mean “tweaking” my hormone treatment, however in the meantime I decided to try his Q-Cell product for 4 months and see if it makes a difference. Even though I eat a varied diet and believe that most of our nutritional needs should come from what we eat, sometimes we need to give nature a helping hand, and using supplements just bridges the gap and ensures our bodies get enough of the right...
Avocado & Prawn salad

Avocado & Prawn salad

Great food for healthy eating & peri-menopause Ingredients 1 avocado cut in half (please use a special avocado knife to cut in half and de-stone) handful of prawns – fresh or thawed frozen handful of rocket Optional: a drizzle or olive oil or avocado oil Method Take 1 clean fresh ripe avocado, cut in half Pop some rocket onto a plate, place the avocado on the rocket, then add the prawns Enjoy!  Easy, quick and nutritious food...
How to get your 5-a-day

How to get your 5-a-day

Fruit and vegetables – how to get five-a-day Given the many health benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables, we should all be trying to meet the government’s ‘five-a-day’ target.  I try and encourage everyone to eat at least 5 and even 7 or 9 portions per day!  For women it’s so important as we go through our reproductive lifecycle to eat a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, pulses and grains, as they help maintain our natural hormone balance and protect us from heart disease, osteoarthritis and keep our brain functioning well. So why is it that most UK adults are falling short by around one portion a day, with only 8% of teenagers and about a third of adults actually managing to meet the target?  Why aren’t we eating enough? Perhaps people are still confused about how many portions they need a day, what counts as a portion, or even what constitutes a fruit or vegetable?  The following information will hopefully help you understand a little bit better, what you should be eating and how to get your minimum of five-a-day. Why are fruits and vegetables so beneficial? As well as tasting great, fruits and vegetables are incredibly versatile, packed with essential vitamins and minerals, a variety of phytochemicals (naturally occurring plant substances) and fibre that are vital for good health. Many of these nutrients also act as powerful antioxidants, protecting the body from harmful free radicals (found in pollutants) that can cause disease. As I said above, fruits & vegetables are vital for women’s health and studies have shown that people who eat plenty of fruit and veg...