The truth about those Christmas drinks

When December hits it’s many peoples favourite time of the year. Even the miserable weather can’t seem to hold us back from being excited about Christmas decorations, tree, presents, shopping, food etc. One of the oh so important signs that Christmas is on its way is when our local coffee houses start advertising their Christmas drinks on the menu. Everyone wants to try their festive drink and take a classic picture for the gram to represent the first signs of Christmas.  As we know, if its not on Instagram did it did it even happen?

Costa 

If you want to cut the calories with Costa drinks, don’t bother choosing an alternative milk option, just go for a smaller size with no whipped cream otherwise it will be at least 500 calories for one latte.

There are some exciting flavours to temp you though:

  • Black forest hot chocolate

443 calories (Large) or 319 calories (medium)

  • Caramelised orange and cream latte and hotchocolate

Hot chocolate – 467 calories (large) or 321 calories (medium)

Latte – 340 calories (large) or 243 calories (medium)

  • Hazelnut praline and cream latte and hot chocolate

Hot chocolate – 525 calories (large) and 381 calories (medium)

Latte – 398 calories (large) and 303 calories (medium)

  • The luxury caramel and the luxury chocolate

Hot chocolate – 150 calories

Hot caramel – 159 calories

  • Gingerbread and cream latte and hot chocolate

Hot chocolate –  413 calories (large) or 278 calories (medium)

Latte – 293 calories (large) or 200 calories (medium)

With the luxury caramel and luxury chocolate both under 200 calories they aren’t that bad if you’re really craving a treat, but some of the other options are over 500 calories. It’s just not sensible to consume a meals worth of calories in a glass. Not to mention the sugar content! All calories mentioned above include semi-skimmed milk as the milk of choice.

 You may remember Costa’s signature drink,  Christmas Billionaires Hot Chocolate. Costa has since discontinued it and for good reason given the calories within it. SIX HUNDRED AND SIXTY calories to be exact.

Billionaires hot chocolate costa

20 teaspoons of sugar or 78 grams and the equivalent of eating 3 mars bars. The NHS recommends that an individual has no more than 30 grams a day, so this is more than TWICE that. I would say keep away, but you can’t get it any more even if you wanted to. Thank god.

Starbucks

  • Grande Gingerbread Coffee Frappuccino with skimmed milk

Has 68.7 grams of sugar. This is the equivalent of 6 Krispy crème doughnuts.

  • Eggnog latte

271 calories and 33.8 grams of sugar.

  • Fudge hot chocolate

257 calories and 11.7 grams of fat. Personally, fat content doesn’t bother me as much as sugar, carbs and calories.

Pret A Manger

  • Small Orange Spiced Latte

186 calories, 21.4 grams of sugar (almost 2 doughnuts) and 5 grams of saturated fat

The best low-calorie winter drinks

  • Hot chocolate

When you think of a tasty warming cup of hot chocolate what comes to mind?

Probably this?

Topped with cream, marshmallows, sprinkles and thick and creamy. Obviously, this is a calorie nightmare and probably contains more sugar than your daily allowance. This is not what I’m recommending but there are some other yummy alternatives. Probably not as tasty as this version but better than nothing and all under 50 calories.

  • Sainsbury’s low calorie hot chocolate – 40 calories
  • Options hot chocolate drinks – 40 calories
  • Galaxy bubbles hot chocolate drinks – 40 calories
  • Weight Watchers hot chocolate – 40 calories
  • Cadbury’s highlights hot chocolate drinks – 38 calories
  • Tesco Healthy Living hot chocolate – 39 calories
  • Lidl Bellarom instant hot chocolate light – 40 calories
  • Asda light instant hot chocolate – 42 calories
  • Mark and Spencer hot chocolate drink – 50 calories
  • Mulled wine

Nothing that completes a cosy winter evening better than a nice hot warming glass of mulled wine on the sofa but do we want to add more alcohol into our diets over this holiday season? We probably don’t need anymore on top of all the Christmas dinners, Christmas parties that are filling the next month or so but mulled wine just isn’t as bad as you might think.

Save your holiday guests this season from consuming millions of empty alcohol calories and make skinny red wine. You can follow your usual recipe but use  red wine purchased from skinny booze for less calories and this will significantly reduce your calorie intake. A lot of mulled wine recipes also involve adding additional sugar to the beverage, avoid this by adding a drop of stevia instead.

I found a great recipe for Keto Mulled wine and at only 116 calories a glass. This is low sugar, no carb, gluten free and vegan. What more could you ask for?

https://www.vegannie.com/cocktails/mulled-wine/

Other than these I would just stick to what you usually drink whether that’s slim line G&Ts, vodka, green tea,just go with that. No need to over indulge and try all these fancy drinks just because its Christmas as you will only regret it in January. Most of these things we only have because they’re there. We would never pick these unusual extras in the supermarket but when offered them its tempting. Just say no as you’ll feel much better in the long run.

Only 2 weeks until Christmas.

Instagram @Keziakco

Is fish healthy?

We know there are so many positive things about incorporating fish into your diet:

  • Lean protein
  • Lighter food option
  • Omega 3
  • Lower in fat than any other source of animal protein

deep sea fish

There are also some negatives that you need to be aware of. I have made a list of fish to avoid and the reasons why:

Fish you should never eat:

  • Chilean Seabass

I was quite sad to find out this fish should be avoided as it is one of my favourites. It has very high mercury levels.

  • Farmed Salmon

Just to gross you out, the fish feed that is fed to these farmed salmon consists of chicken, duck and pig feces. This alone could be the reason why farmed salmon has 10 times the amount of cancer causing pollutants in comparison to the wild salmon. ALWAYS go for the wild option!

If that isn’t enough to put you off, the waters that these farmed salmon reside in are also often filled with pesticides, feces, bacteria and parasites.

A study where mice where fed farmed salmon showed weight gain and diabetes so if I were you I would stay well away.

You can easily tell if the salmon you buy is farmed or not by the colour:

wild vs farmed salmon

  • Catfish

Catfish might not be the most common item on the menu but it is growing in popularity. Beware as this is one of the dirtiest items on the menu as about 80% of it contains the bacteria responsible for food poisoning. Farmed catfish are also treated with antibiotics, pesticides and disinfectants so when consumed by us these drugs get into our system as well.

  • Imported farmed Shrimp

Most imported shrimp – about 90% is treated with a high oestrogen containing food additive. This increases the risk of breast cancer in women and reduces sperm count in men.

The shrimp pond waters are often treated with cancer causing pesticides and another linked with ADHD and Parkinson’s disease.

  • Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna

This is a large deep sea predatory fish that has very high levels of mercury so is best avoided. Mercury can cause neurological issues and has been linked with individuals getting symptoms of an uncontrollable tremor, numbness or pain in certain parts of the skin.

  • Swordfish

Swordfish is also a large predatory fish that contains high levels of mercury so is best avoided.

  • King and Spanish Mackerel

King and Spanish mackerel also contain high levels of mercury so is best avoided.

  • Grouper

Grouper, again has high levels of mercury.

  • Tilapia

Apparently eating tilapia is as bad as eating bacon and worse than eating a hamburger but recent studies have found that eating this type of farmed fish can increase the risk of inflammatory disease.

This are the reasons specifically associated to health. However, there are many other reasons to avoid the fish mentioned above. These include the following:

  • Extinction due to heavy fishing
  • Disturbing the natural food web
  • Reducing species
  • Farming is destroying river life and wetlands
  • Some fish is sourced from locations where unsustainable fishing practices are common
  • Imported fish is associated with a slavery network in Thailand

If you are concerned about the environment these fish should also be avoided but they do not pose as a health risk:

  • Atlantic cod
  • Atlantic flatfish
  • Caviar
  • Eel
  • Imported king crab
  • Orange roughy
  • Shark
  • Sturgeon

Not to worry, there are some fish types that are fine for you to eat and benefit your health, please see the list below:

Healthy fish options:

  • Wild caught Alaskan salmon
  • Pacific sardines
  • Atlantic mackerel
  • Albacore Tuna
  • Black cod

black cod

These fish are all farmed sustainably and contain far less contaminates. When you add these fish into your diet you will gain higher levels of omega 3 which is great for your health.

I hope I haven’t completely put you off from eating fish as I have also mentioned the great benefits it has. However, if you are put off and fish just isn’t for you any more you can still have fish oil supplements so that you don’t  miss out on the omega 3. The oils are taken from both fish caught for human consumption but also animal consumption. Please do make sure to only buy capsules made from purified fish oil or you may be exposed to contaminates.

It is not always immediately obvious as to which fish oil is purified so I have create a small list of recommended brands:

Benefits of Omega 3:

  • Fights depression and anxiety
  • Improves eye health
  • Connected with promoting brain health during pregnancy and early life
  • Improves risk factors for heart health
  • Reduces symptoms of ADHD in children
  • Reduces symptoms of metabolic syndrome
  • Fights and reduce inflammation
  • Fights autoimmune disease
  • Improves mental disorders
  • Fights age related mental decline including Alzheimer’s
  • Helps prevent cancer
  • Reduces Asthma
  • Reduces fat content in the liver
  • Alleviate menstrual pain
  • Improves sleep
  • Good for your skin

Are you sold yet? I am!

omega 3

If you are vegan or vegetarian and fish and capsules wont work for you, fear not as you can get Omega 3 from other sources including:

  • Flaxseed
  • Walnuts
  • Wheat germ

However, they are not quite as good as the omega 3 found in fish.

Instagram @Keziakco

xxx

Fitness supplements – what are they and what do I buy?

A friend of mine asked me to write my next blog on fitness supplements and of course, I said ‘yeah sure’. When I came to write this, I didn’t know what the exact definition of a fitness supplement was. Does this include protein powder, vitamins or just things associated with fitness professionals like creatine and BCAAs? Let’s find out.

On further research the internet has broken these supplements into various categories:

  • Protein supplements
  • Dietary supplements
  • Pre-Workout supplements
  • Sports supplements
  • Bodybuilding supplements

The definition of a supplement is as follows:

A thing added to something else in order to complete or enhance it.

Therefore, a fitness supplement includes all of the above and is designed to support whatever you are trying to achieve within your fitness goal.

This should already help you when shopping for fitness supplements. For example, if you’re struggling with getting enough protein into your diet you know you should look for protein supplements. If you lack energy and motivation before a workout you know to search for pre-workout supplements etc.

I strongly believe in going for the most natural approach as possible. I don’t think its good practise to fill your body full of things that you are unfamiliar with. Just because they claim to do amazing things on the pack doesn’t mean they do and you need to educate yourself on what you consume before doing so.

These are the supplements in my cupboard:

  • Protein powder – to get extra protein in my diet
  • BCAA’s (Branched chain amino acids) – Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They help with maintaining and creating muscle.
  • Lysine tablets – helps the body to absorb calcium and build muscle. *
  • Calcium tablets – to strengthen my teeth and bones. *

* Both Lysine and calcium together help with the production of collagen in the body which is good for skin and looking younger. It increases bone strength and density and build muscle.

So out of the million fitness supplement options to choose from I’ve whittled it down to just 4 things. As you would have noticed I don’t use pre-workout. I find that they are very synthetic and have an extremely high caffeine content that is not entirely necessary. Also, it can’t be healthy having a huge dose of caffeine and then increasing your heart rate further when working out – just saying. Another thing that puts me off is the huge list of chemical ingredients. I don’t know what they all are so when in doubt best not to have it in my opinion. Normally I don’t actually find a need to get additional energy before the gym and I wouldn’t want my body to get used to the extra boost and rely on this before every gym session. However, if I am exhausted and severely lacking energy I would either have a black coffee or espresso or alternatively make myself a matcha latte. I use the natural ground matcha that can be bought on Amazon – click here.

Fitness supplements

Match is extremely healthy and also very tasty. The latte tastes sweet but you can add some sweetener or agave syrup to sweeten and it will taste just like the ice cream (if you’ve ever tried it).

Matcha latte

Steps to making a matcha Latte:

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon matcha Powder
  • 1 cup of milk (almond, cashew, oat, skimmed, soya – your preference)
  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup

Steps:

  1. Poor cup of selected milk into saucepan
  2. Add one teaspoon on matcha powder
  3. Add one teaspoon of agave syrup
  4. Heat until boiling and serve

And the result should look like this:

What I use to boost my health - matcha

There are so many variations in the way that you can make a matcha latte. Here is some inspiration of pictures I took from Instagram:

There are so many fitness supplements out there, here is a list of others you can explore in your own time as these might work better for you and your personal goal:

  • Fat burners
  • Creatine
  • Casein
  • Multivitamins
  • Fish oil capsules

This selection of fitness supplements work for me and for what I’m trying to achieve but everyone is different. I suggest try things and see how they work for you. Remember less is more and always try to find a natural alternative if you can.

What fitness supplements do you use?

Instagram – @keziakco

xxx

Fitness myths – Mythbuster 2018

I have constructed a list of fitness myths that need to die. Carry on reading to understand these myths and misconceptions that could be holding you back.

  1. No pain no gain true or false?

No pain no gain fitness myths

Your training programs should not be painful. You want to challenge your body, get out of your comfort zone but actual pain should not be a part of it. If you experience pain when working out something is wrong. You have probably developed or are developing an injury and if you persist it will get worse and could result in your training coming to an end. Listen to your body as pain is a sign to stop.

It simply isn’t worth it as pain caused by exercise can often mean – electrolyte imbalance, mental burnout, injured muscles, damaged joints or all of the above. You then will not be able to work out for a significant period of time meaning that you cannot achieve your fitness goal.

Try and mix up your workouts to avoid strain on the same muscles over and over again. This allows you to get a well-balanced workout and body and the whole body can benefit.

Stretching before and after a workout helps to reduce the after workout aches we often all experience. This is vital in preventing injuries and assisting with muscle recovery.

Mythbuster – fatigue, sweat and endurance is all required for an effective workout but pain should not be a part of it.

  1. Lifting heavy weights bulks you up

lifting heavy bulks you up - fitness myths

Lifting weights helps you burn more calories than you would if you were to just do cardio. When you do cardio you burn and when you stop you stop burning the calories. When you lift weights you burn calories and then continue to burn calories for a considerable amount of time after your workout has finished. Burning calories makes you lose weight so this would suggest lifting weights contributes to making you smaller not bigger.

Weight training is used to shape your body and it’s your choice how you plan to shape it. If you want a perkier bum – squats and deadlifts or if you would like shapely toned arms you can work on your upper body.

Weight training alone will not bulk up your body, in order to bulk up you have to bulk up your diet as well.

Mythbuster – If you do weight training you aren’t going to wake up with Popeys muscles unless you’re eating a hell of a lot of food to match.

  1. Exercise machines beat free weights

machines vs free weights fitness myths

Both have their pros and cons

Exercise machines are great for beginners and they help with form and getting the movement correct. Exercise machines are also very easy to learn and makes what could be a complex movement, easy.

You use more muscles when using free weights. When using free weights the large muscles and all the tiny ones we are hardly aware of are hard at work. This means you are able to get the most out of your workout.

Mythbuster – personally free weights win for me every time. I rarely use assisted machines apart from the leg press. I just believe that you should only need to do what your body is capable of doing alone.

  1. Running on a treadmill is just as good as running outside

treadmill vs running outside fitness myths

Running outdoors is definitely more beneficial than running on the treadmill and here are some reasons why:

  • Weather, the wind, heat and cold all set up various different conditions that make our bodies work harder to adapt and so burn more calories. The wind give us resistance we have to work hard to fight against, the heat and the cold make our bodies work harder to regulate our temperatures therefore burning more as we exercise
  • Running outside is far more interesting than the treadmill. People often say that a minute on a treadmill can feel close to an hour but this is quite different when running outside. I quite enjoy running through the park on a sunny day as it’s a great way to be outside, get some fresh air and see the countryside.

Mythbuster – How does running on a treadmill compare to running outside? Well the answer is simple, outside the terrain varies so gives you a better workout than the consistent level terrain that the treadmill offers.

  1. You can’t work out when you’re sick

work out when sick fitness myths

Winter is coming and flu season is upon us, so does this mean we can’t work out when we catch a bug? This is absolute rubbish, in fact, if I have a fluy symptoms or even a hangover I find it great to sweat out the germs. Once the germs are out of your system you must still be mindful that you are not at 100% of your health. Take care to have a warm shower and wear warm dry clothes after a workout. Continue with any medication, vitamin C, warm teas and soups and get plenty of sleep. In no time you will be feeling great and smashing the gym again.

I recommend working out to boost your immune system but please don’t attempt anything too strenuous on the body. Perhaps a light jog and some medium to light weights will do the job. You have to remember your body is not at its best so recovery is harder than when you are at optimum health.

Also if you have anything more serious than a hangover or the flu please seek medical advice if you want to continuing working out.

Mythbuster – exercising regularly will reduce the chances of you getting sick in the first place. If you have flue like symptoms or a hangover, toughen up and sweat it out, this will make you feel better quicker in the long run.

  1. Crunches are the best exercise to give you abs

crunches give you abs fitness myth

There are so many exercises that are amazing for your core it is almost rude to suggest that crunches are the best. Here is a list of just some of the exercises that can be used for core exercise and strength:

  • Front plank

front plank

  • Crunches

crunches

  • Leg lowering

leg lowering

  • Dying bug

dying bug

  • Long lever front plank

long lever front plank

  • Side plank

side plank

  • Side plank with leg lift

side plank leg lift

  • Side plank band row

side plank band row

Let  me put some perspective on this. Think of someone who is overweight and they do 100 crunches a day in the hope that they will get abs. They will indeed strengthen their core muscles and underneath the layers of fat there will be stronger muscles but this will not be visible. You have to shed the fat first with a combination of cardio, weight training and a healthy diet. In time you will then see the results you are looking for – ABS.

Mythbuster – this is an outdated approach to abs. In fact as they say, abs are made in the kitchen. All exercise contributes to abs but all of the exercises listed above target the core muscles along with cardio, weight training and a healthy balanced diet.

  1. Running beats walking

running vs walking fitness myths

The ultimate goal for everyone is health and fitness so walking and or running is pushing you in the right direction. I would say after this it would depend on what you want to achieve.

Going for a leisurely country walk will increase your steps and indeed increase calories burned but you will have to walk a lot further to burn the same amount of calories if you were to run the same route.

Walking on an incline on the treadmill has a very similar calorie burn rate to that of running of a flat surface.

Personally my preference is walking on an incline. This increases fitness, burns calories and isn’t so aggressive on the knees. I also find that it maintains and increases leg and booty muscles. If your interested in keeping your shape I would opt for incline walks instead of flat running but if your main focus is weightloss definitely start running as much as possible.

If you look at Olympic long distance runners you can often see they have a very flat body shape. It is of course a matter of preference but I like to keep my shape hence the incline approach.

Mythbuster– if you run on the flat and walk the same distance running will of course burn more calories over a shorter period.

Both running and walking are great to improve health and fitness

Running on a treadmill and walking at an incline burn at a similar rate so are equal.

Running on the flat makes you skinny all over (with good diet) whilst incline walks maintain your body shape.

  1. You can target your fat burn

targetted fat burning fitness myth

As mentioned previously we know that doing 100 crunches a day isn’t going to give us abs, just as doing 500 tricep-dips isn’t going to get rid of our bingo wings. It is making sure you do a well-rounded exercise targeting the entire body and of course with a key focus on our problem areas.

Mythbuster – Targeted fat loss or spot reduction is an absolute myth – there is no scientific evidence to suggest that this is at all possible.

Read more on this in a great article written by The Body Coach.

  1. You shouldn’t work out on an empty stomach (fasted or fed workout)

working out on an empty stomach fitness myths

Ultimately there are pros and cons to both fed and fasted workouts. It is really about listening to your body and realising what works best for you. If you have your breakfast and coffee in the morning and feel this surge of energy that gets you through your workout its probably best to stick to this method. Some people like to work out first thing and don’t have the stomach for food at 5am and prefer to work up and appetite. Again, if this is you it might be best to stick with what’s currently working. If you’re new to working out I would recommend doing a week of both and weighing up your own pros and cons.

Mythbuster – There is no evidence to suggest that a fasted workout is bad. There is plenty of evidence to show the benefits of both fasted and fed workouts, all very interesting:

Fed:

Should you eat before a workout?

Fasted:

Exercising empty stomach secret weight loss

I would personally recommend doing a mixture of the two and design a pattern that fits in with your lifestyle.

  1. Sweating means you’re out of shape

sweating means you are unfit fitness myths

Everyone is different when sweating during a workout. Sweat is basically a cooling mechanism of the body, but is it linked to being out of shape or less fit?

Sweating sooner whilst exercising can actually be a sign that you are fitter than those who have not yet started to sweat. This is simply that your body is more acclimatised to the exercising conditions and is more efficient at cooling down.

Please make sure you are aware of how much you sweat during a workout and you need to replenish this amount of liquid lost. Make sure you always have water to hand whilst exercising to avoid dehydration.

Mythbuster– sweating is the bodies normal response to exercising and most definitely is not an indication that you are unfit.

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

Scare your body into losing weight this Halloween – 9 impressive health benefits of pumpkin.

You can incorporate pumpkin into your diet as a sweet or savoury dish. In winter I love soup, so I often eat pumpkin soup as its nice and warming. It’s also great for the planet to eat local and in season fruits and vegetables. If we were all a bit more thoughtful and did this more often it would cut down the demand for imported foods and reduce the worlds pollution levels.

pumpkin patch

Here are 9 impressive health benefits of pumpkin:

  1. Highly nutritious – one cup or 340 grams of pumpkin contains the following:

  • 49 calories

  • 2 grams fat

  • 2 grams protein

  • 12 grams carbohydrates

  • 3 grams fibre

  • 245 % RDI vitamin A

  • 19 % RDI vitamin C

  • 16 % RDI potassium

  • 11 % RDI copper

  • 11 % RDI manganese

  • 11 % RDI vitamin B2

  • 10 % RDI vitamin E

  • 8 % RDI Iron

  • Also includes small measurements of magnesium, folate, zinc, phosphorus and other B vitamins

Pumpkin is in fact 94 % water, this combined with the low calories makes it a healthy and nutritious snack.

  1. Reduce Risk of Disease–  pumpkin contains vast amounts of antioxidants. These protect our bodies from disease. Antioxidants have the ability to protect us from skin damage, reduce the risk of cancer and eye disease and many other conditions.

 

  1. Boosts Immunity – pumpkin is filled with vitamins that help our bodies with a variety of things. These include boosting our immunity so even more reason to eat it at this time of year. Pumpkin isn’t just for Halloween but can protect us from all those winter bugs that come about as it gets colder and darker. Pumpkin contains vitamin A, E and C and iron and folate.

 

 

  1. Protect Your Eyes – Pumpkin has a very high vitamin A content ( 245% RDI) and so is connected to reducing the risks of sight loss.

  2. Promote Weight Loss – pumpkin is a nutrient dense food, this means that it is packed full of nutrients but extremely low in calories. When dieting, pumpkin is a great source of carbohydrate as you can afford to eat more of it than the standard rice and potatoes.

 

  1. Reduce Cancer Risk – pumpkin is high in carotenoids and antioxidants that are responsible for removing free radicals from the body. It has been suggested that these can help reduce the risk of cancer.

 

  1. Increase Heart Health – the combination of vitamin C, potassium and fibre can improve heart health. Also the antioxidants inside the pumpkin have been linked to reducing bad cholesterol. If reducing your cholesterol level is of particular interest please see more information from a previous blog post I wrote. October is Cholesterol Month – a guide on cholesterol health including where to check your cholesterol level and where to get your cholesterol tested

 

  1. Promotes Healthy Skin – Pumpkin contains nutrients that when consumed act as a natural sun block to our skin. The vitamin C within the pumpkin aids with production of collagen that helps keep you looking younger for longer.

 

  1. Easily Accessible – Pumpkins are cheap, they are easy to find in any local store. You can easily add them into your diet as both a savoury or sweet dish, whatever suits you best.

 

Other Pumpkin Facts:

  • Pumpkins are a type of winter squash
  • Pumpkins are fruits
  • Pumpkins can be yellow as well as orange
  • 100g of pumpkin is only 26 kcals

pumpkin picking

Last weekend I went to the amazing The Pop Up Farm to go pumpkin picking for Halloween. I cannot recommend this highly enough. They have a 10 acre field full of pumpkins and squashes. It’s so colourful and really gets you feeling autumnal.

If you like taking pictures it’s a no brainer, the scenery is epic and great for a halloweeny October setting. I would recommend googling your local pumpkin picking pick your own farm and get there asap.

pick your own pumpkin

If you live in the London area I have listed 5 local pumpkin picking farms that you can visit:

  1. Crockford Bridge Farm, Weybridge Surrey, KT15 2BU. £4 entry charge, cash only.
  2. Pierson Agriculture at Four Winds Farm, Penshurst Road, Bidborough.
  3. Secretts, Hurst Farm, Chapel, Lane, Milford, Surrey, GUB 5HU
  4. Foxes Farm, Green Lane, Aldham, Colchester, CO6 3PR, and Watch House Farm, Wash Road, Basildon, SS25 4ER. Free entry to the fields just pay for the pumpkins you pick (cash only).
  5. Cammas Hall Farm, Needham Green, near Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, CM22 7JT

Many of these farms aren’t just available for pumpkin picking and offer seasonal fruit and vegetable picking all year round. Keep an eye out on their websites to find out what you can source locally. It’s a lovely healthy family friendly day out.

Pick Your Own farms not only provide you with healthy and fresh fruit and vegetables but they also support your local economy. When going to a Pick Your Own Farm you are guaranteed freshness and you can also do your own quality control when choosing your purchases. Pick Your Own is also a lot cheaper than buying from your local shop.

If you don’t live near a local pumpkin farm and want to decorate your house for Halloween fear not as believe it or not you can purchase these cute little ceramic pumpkins and squashes from amazon. Good old Amazon Prime will have your house looking halloweeny in no time – CLICK HERE

pumpkin picking for halloween

Happy Halloween! What are you going as this year?

Instagram @keziakco

Xxx

October is Cholesterol Month – a guide on cholesterol health including where to check your cholesterol level and where to get your cholesterol tested

What is cholesterol?

There are two type:

HDL (high density lipoprotein), this one is often associated with good cholesterol as it is protective.

LDL (low density lipoprotein), this one is often associated with bad cholesterol as it blocks your arteries.

Do you actually need cholesterol?

Cholesterol is needed to make vitamin D, some hormones and bile but too much of it in our bodies can be extremely dangerous. Cholesterol is labelled as the silent killer so awareness is crucial.

Signs of high cholesterol

You can have high cholesterol and experience no signs at all hence the name – the silent killer. That is why I urge you to get yours checked so something can be done before it’s too late. There are some signs you can look out for:

  • Chest pain
  • Heart burn
  • Angina
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Pain whilst walking

As you can see these are extreme symptoms and you wouldn’t want it to get to this before diagnosing the issue

Find out more on cholesterol symptoms, causes and treatments in the link. Stay woke.

Check your cholesterol level

Many people will ask the question how do I check my cholesterol level? What is the normal cholesterol level? And can I check my cholesterol level at home?

How do I check my cholesterol level?

You can start by booking an appointment with your local GP and they can advise you accordingly.

There are also home test kits designed for checking your cholesterol level. You can pick these up from your local pharmacy such as Boots.

Please find some suggested links here:

Boots home test kit

Lloyds Pharmacy home test kit

Amazon home test kit

What is the normal cholesterol level?

Please see the test results described below:

The lower your cholesterol ratio is the better. To work this out (total cholesterol / HDL cholesterol). The result should be below 4:1

A cholesterol level of 6 and above is considered ‘high risk’. If you do a home kit and get this result book an appointment with your GP to get further advice.

NHS recommended cholesterol level:

Adult

Total Cholesterol 5mmol/L or less
Non HDL Cholesterol 4mmol/L or less
LDL Cholesterol 3mmol/L or less
HDL Cholesterol 1mmol/L or less

My cholesterol Results:

So I went and bought a test form Amazon – the CARE diagnostica Cholesterol Health Care Test as seen below. This cost £12.99 from Amazon.

Test your cholesterol level from home

The kit comes with a lancet, plaster, the test wheel and instruction booklet as seen below:

cholesterol health care test

I carefully read the instruction manual before completing the test. Please note the test is only accurate if you have fasted for 12 hours prior to doing the test and the test is best read in day light. Please see instruction manual below:

cholesterol kit

Cholesterol test instructions

You now need to open the cholesterol wheel where you find a round circle. This is where the blood will go when you prick your finger. Now for the tricky part, you need to prepare the lancet and place it on your finger. When in the correct position you must press down and there should be a little bubble of blood that you dab onto the wheel. In my case I found it really difficult to prick my own finger and have this automatic response to pull my finger away. unfortunately there was very little blood and not enough for the test.

Self testing cholesterol kit, how how to do it at home

The circle above should really be full with blood and I just couldn’t do it to myself. I think the test itself needs to be better adapted for this as once you press the button on the lancet the mechanism is done. There is no option for a retry so that is basically £12.99 down the drain.

I never got to find out my results as there wasn’t enough blood so the test just remained red as you can see above. In an ideal situation it should change a shade of green to match the wheel giving you an indication of your cholesterol level.

After going through this ordeal to find out my cholesterol level and being unsuccessful I wasn’t going to give up just yet. I booked an appointment at the GP and was able to find out I have a healthy cholesterol level of 3.1.

If you don’t like the doctors or simply don’t have time I found these great Easy Cholesterol Test Strips. The great thing about them is that you get 10 if you mess up like I did and they are a lot cheaper £19.99 for 10.

The best method at keeping your cholesterol levels under control is to make a cholesterol diet sheet.

Foods that lower cholesterol:

  • Wholegrain
  • Bran
  • Oats
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Vegetables
  • Avocado
  • Flax
  • Nuts

Food to avoid as they increase your cholesterol:

  • Butter
  • Ghee
  • Margarine
  • Lard
  • Fatty meats
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Coconut oil
  • Coconut cream
  • Palm oil

Healthy food swaps to lower cholesterol levels can be found on Heart UK website with a load of other useful information.

If you are looking for cholesterol-friendly recipe inspiration, look no further. This is a dish I eat regularly that is great for your health and keeping your cholesterol at a healthy level:

Vegetarian Low cholesterol recipe (serves 4) – Garlic and Herb Freekeh

  • Ingredients:
  • 200g Freekeh
  • 175g Frozen peas
  • 6 tbsp Garlic oil
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Handful of herbs – mint parsley chives

Method

  1. Boil the freekeh
  2. After 15 minutes add the frozen peas and leave to boil for an addition 5 minutes.
  3. Finely chop the herbs.
  4. Drain the water and add contents to a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Now you can enjoy a lovely healthy vegetarian low cholesterol meal 🙂

low cholesterol recipe - freekeh

 

If you enjoyed the recipe and are serious about lowering your cholesterol there is a great cook book dedicated to just that. Eat Your Way To A Lower Cholesterol will keep you inspired and claims to reduce cholesterol level by 20% in just three months.

To increase your knowledge and awareness of National Cholesterol Month please take a look at the UK Heart website.

Please make a donation to Heart UK to keep supporting the amazing work they do.

Click the link to DONATE HERE.

national cholesterol month

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

 

Ben Nevis Blog – I’ve never climbed a mountain guide to climbing the tallest mountain in the UK

Planning our trip to the Scottish highlands and climbing Ben Nevis

Ben what? Is what I said when my friend suggested a weekend trip to climb Ben Nevis. Not the cleverest response but I had not actually heard of Ben Nevis as I’m not a very outdoorsy, country kind of girl but I do like to try new things, so of course, I said yes.

Expectation vs Reality – Ben Nevis

I had this idea that we would be going on a nice little walk up the mountain wearing matching crop tops and leggings and do an amazing Instagram photo shoot at the top before returning to the car. How wrong I was.

If you’re planning your trip now, you better stop thinking about the above and concentrate on what’s to come. The Scottish highlands are absolutely breath taking, the views are to die for so it is well worth it and an amazing experience but mountain climbing is not a joke. This is not a hill you are walking up and it can be very dangerous so please pay great attention to what is to follow.

Safety first – climbing Ben Nevis

The mountain summit is only visible 30 days of the year in a cloak of mist that is so dangerous people can quite literally walk off the edge.

The plan – climbing Ben Nevis

We went in a group of three girls and luckily one of us had done it before. I would recommend a group of three or more for safety and if you can, bring someone who has done it before. Even though people kept asking me if I was going as part of a guided group I don’t feel this is necessary at all. Perhaps in strong weathers it would be advisable but I think if we had payed someone to show us how to walk along a path I would feel pretty mugged off, just saying.

What I find quite amusing is people kept asking me if I had been training for this and I can say the answer is no. Not really at all, I just decided in incorporate more and lengthy walks on the stair master. 45 minutes in on the stair master I was absolutely shattered and I was really questioning whether I would be able to do it at this point but it was too late to cancel now. We booked the trip roughly three weeks before so there wasn’t really any time to make any drastic changes anyway, whether I wanted to or not.

My Ben Nevis shopping list:

  • Waterproof trousers – Amazon £14.99
  • Fleece – The North Face £50 reduced to £30
  • Waterproof Jacket – Karrimor, Sports Direct £75 reduced to £35
  • Thermal Socks – Primark £3
  • Walking Socks – Sports Direct £6.99
  • Thermal long sleeved top – Gym Shark £30 reduced to £15
  • Ski Gloves – Amazon £11.99
  • Waterproof back pack cover – Amazon £6.99
  • Back Pack – Nike £25
  • 1 litre water bottle –USN Amazon £4.49
  • Snow boots – Dare2be £115

Other things that I already owned include:

  • T-shirt
  • Fleecy leggings
  • Scarf
  • Snacks – go natural bars
  • Waterproof case for mobile phone
  • OS Locate App
  • OS Maps

Luckily for me there were three of us. I am not the most organised so my friends brought the additional essentials:

  • Emergency shelter
  • Plasters
  • Rehydration tablets
  • Whistle
  • Tiger balm
  • Heat patches
  • compass
  • map

Travelling to Ben Nevis

We booked flights from London to Edinburgh. I don’t believe it makes a huge difference whether you fly to Edinburgh or Glasgow but we found cheaper options to Edinburgh.

Flights cost in the region of £50 return if you’re up for dodgy Ryanair. Left on Friday morning and returned Monday evening. We decided to go for 4 days as this gives us a two day window so we could decide what day to climb – weather dependant.

We stayed at the Premier Inn Fort William, £228 for three nights in a family room – very good price, within walking distance to the station, town, Morrisons and McDonalds.

We hired a car from Edinburgh airport from Hertz. This is great as you don’t need to get a shuttle from the airport. Most car companies are walking distance from the terminal. £104 for one driver, car rental and insurance and then a £200 deposit. It was very quick to both pick up and return the car and that’s coming from the worst driver ever – but that’s another story.

What I had imagined was having a nice relaxing Friday to prepare myself for the walk the next day however this was far from it. I left my house at 9 am and didn’t get to fort William until 9 pm. Please believe the whole journey was TWELVE hours and it was mentally exhausting. Not only did I drive to the airport, the waiting, the flight, the more waiting, the driving for like 4 hours and then the checking in – god help me I was exhausted. Please bear this in mind if you’re travelling from London, or anywhere to be honest.

Climbing Ben Nevis

Ben Nevis

It was about 10 degrees and windy in Fort William, for me this is freezing. I wore two socks, boots, leggings, sports bra, gym shark top, Nike t-shirt, fleece, and jacket. I packed my waterproof trousers, scarf, gloves, water, snacks, phone, waterproof backpack cover all in my bag.

We fuelled up with porridge, fruit and crumpets. Lots of carbs to give us lots of energy and then we were ready to go.

Ben Nevis is around a five minute drive from Premier Inn and has a car park and visitor centre. We parked up for about 9 am and were ready to go. There are a couple of different paths up the  mountain but we took the obvious route – the tourist path or alternatively called the pony track.

I have to say we were extremely lucky with the weather. In Scotland it literally rains every day, and it did on our trip apart from the day we decided to climb. We had a clear sunny day – couldn’t believe our luck. Literally on the other days we were there I could barely walk to the shop without blowing away down the road. The weather was so extreme there was a yellow weather warning for heavy rain. I think if we had planned for a different day we wouldn’t have been able to attempt it due to safety.

As you are probably doing now, I read numerous blogs that state that the first quarter of the hike is steep and then it flattens out. This is not true at all. I found that it was very steep just after the half way point, very hard on the legs. The first quarter you are walking on mainly large rocks, you have to keep your eyes to the ground to avoid any slips and trips but it is very beautiful and you find after about 30 minutes you are already reasonably high up with lots of lovely views. We were even lucky enough to see a rainbow.

ben nevis rainbow

I started off at the bottom of the mountain feeling absolutely freezing, with the incline walking I quickly warmed up and was able to remove my raincoat, fleece, and t-shirt so just wearing the thermal long sleeved top.

You get to see all the stunning mountain streams, walk across little bridges and even a waterfall. At about half way you reach a lake, here some walkers can take a different path and then start their decent down the mountain. Many walkers stop here for lunch or snacks and refuel/ recharge for the rest of the trek.

Ben nevis blog

This ascent to the summit includes a combination of steep rocky pathway and flattish gravel pathway. As you get higher and higher you start to see frost on the floor, we even experienced a bit of snow fall and it was at this point we layered up, t-shirt, fleece, gloves and coat went back on. We also were unable to see the bottom of the mountain due to the mist surrounding Ben Nevis. I think it was now that I was starting to feel the strain on my legs the most. You could neither see the top nor the bottom and it was constantly on my mind, ‘ when are we going to get there’, ‘how much longer’.

ben nevis tallest mountain

After four hours we reached the top of Ben Nevis, what an achievement. At -11 degrees and actual frozen hair. Yes I said it, the hair on my head was frozen, I had crunchy hair. We took a few pictures on the tallest point and in the little ruins up there and quickly began the decent. It was absolutely freezing at the top, just taking your gloves off to take a quick picture was too much. I think what kept us going was the great sense of achievement and all the other walkers at the top with the same great energy, it really is  quite something.

ben nevis scotlandat the top of ben nevisBen nevis blogger

It took two hours to reach the bottom. Quite tough on the knees walking down and again you have to keep your eyes on the ground to avoid any accidents. You also don’t warm up as much going down so I kept all my layers on until the bottom minus the gloves. Again I felt absolutely fine on the decent but during the last quarter my feet were aching considerably and I was very focused on sitting down.

ben nevis hike

When reaching the bottom we had a little sit down and recover then quickly drove back. Our whole trip there and back took 6 hours which I was very pleased with. After the best shower I’ve ever had in my life, it was time for prosecco and pasta, YAY.

Looking back – climbing Ben Nevis

On reflection, it is so scenic along the route so well worth it just for that. I don’t think it was as challenging as expected if you are of reasonable fitness, and far better than I had anticipated.

Phone coverage up Ben Nevis

Also another point to add, for those concerned about phone coverage I didn’t really experience a signal issue, perhaps it cut out now and again but nothing too concerning. The main issue is the cold, as you go higher and higher the battery drains very quickly. One minute it’s 80% the next it’s switching off or on 1% so I would only take it out if absolutely necessary AKA Instagram picture time.

ben nevis scottish highlands

My advice would be to make sure you go at your own pace. We saw people running up and down the mountain, sorry not for me. When you think you can’t go on a second longer just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and keep going. For me, I found that when I stopped or sat down for a minute it was 10 times harder to start again.

ben nevis mountain

Additional facts about Ben Nevis:

  • Tallest mountain in the UK
  • 1344 meters
  • Based in the Scottish highlands – Fort William

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

Overcome fitness setbacks like the experts

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Let’s turn a fitness setback into a comeback

It’s impossible to give 100% 100% of the time. Don’t be too demanding on yourself, you need to give your mind and body time to rest and recuperate.

Even the most dedicated fitness enthusiasts suffer from setbacks. This is normal as you cant keep top of your game 24/7. So when you feel like you’re not doing as well as usual, don’t beat yourself up about.

Here are some top tips on preventing a set back before it happens:

  1. Too busy at work

No one loves a nap more than I do. That feeling when you get out of bed in the morning and you think ‘how much longer until I can get back in it’. The truth is you have enough time, you just need to make sure you make the time. Going to the gym is an excellent refresher away from work and boosts your health and immune system. You don’t want to work yourself into the ground as all you’ll end up doing is getting sick. When you’re sick you can’t work or exercise so you’re losing out on everything.

Best advice for this is to keep on top of your priorities and use the gym as ‘me time’. Fitness shouldn’t be considered a chore or some horrible extra job you have to attend to, it should be enjoyable. Try and change your image of maintaining your health and you will find more time for it – trust me.

  1. Lose all motivation to work out

I think this happens to everyone,  no matter how ‘fit an enthusiastic you may be we all have a down time. You can start to try and build up momentum by searching some motivational success stories on the internet or watching a motivational video. There are so many you can search via YouTube and Google. It just takes some time to search inside yourself for what you really want out of life and what you want to achieve in the now. For some people this can take a while and you need to mentally in the right place to start your fitness journey again. Just have faith, you will get there and you will achieve what you want to.

  1. Forgot you gym stuff or headphones

There is nothing worse than getting to the gym without your headphones – especially cardio. I’m not the biggest fan of cardio anyway so a minute on the treadmill feels like an hour anyway even with my music. There are some simple fixes to preventing this happening:

  1. You can pre pack and organise your gym stuff in advance. I prepare my things the evening before. When I go to work I put all my gym stuff in the back so I can go straight after work – nice and easy.
  2. You were in a rush or you pre packed and forgot your headphones – this happened to me once and I just avoided cardio. As there is music in the gym, it may not be as great listening to someone else’s ‘ top hits’ but it’s better than giving up.
  3. You forget all your gym stuff – go home and get it, this should teach you a lesson not to forget next time. NO EXCUSES.

headphones

  1. Bad weather

As mentioned in other categories below, just as you don’t need to go to the gym to work out, you also don’t need to exercise outside. Even if you can’t justify the expense of a gym membership each month you can still exercise effectively at home by using YouTube, work out DVD’s or doing your own thing. Please see my recommended YouTubers below in 7. Travel.

bad weather

  1. The gym is too expensive

Everyone has different commitments and what may be affordable to some is not to others. It is great that there are so many gyms and facilities offering a wide range of options to suit all needs. Gyms typically range from £100 per month to £15 per month, personal training sessions around £30 – £65 per hour, classes between £8 to £30 per class and the great outdoors for FREE.

So whether you have a spare £100 a month or nothing at all there really is no excuse. Here are some of my suggestions below:

Top end: £60 – £100 +

Mid range: £20 – £60

Free:

  • Your garden
  • The park
  • Your house

  1. The gym is too busy, all the machines I need are taken

This is one of the most frustrating. You’ve accomplished finding the motivation, you’ve accomplish getting ready and getting to the gym. You’re set on leg day or arm day, you get to the gym and it’s rammed. You get on the running machine to wait for the machine you need but no one’s getting off, you get frustrated and go home. Firstly, whatever you did in the gym in contributing to  your overall health and fitness so don’t feel bad if it wasn’t the same intensity as your normal one. However, you cannot use one bas experience as something to put you off returning. There are many ways round this. Some gyms offer an online system where you can see how many people are in the gym at one time, this allows you to avoid peak times. You can try various different times of day to avoid the peak after work rush. My favourite time to go is weekends, the gym is often fairly empty and I can access all the equipment easily.

Find a pattern that works for you and in no time you won’t be making these excuses any more.

  1. Travel

This is a tricky one as everyone deserves a break. I’m sure you didn’t book your luxury 5 star holiday to be stuck in the gym all day? Well I certainly didn’t but if you do a bit of pre planning you can make sure you don’t miss out completely.

I normally pack one or two exercise outfits and a resistance band. If possible pre plan by booking a hotel that has a gym within the vicinity. Try and make use of the outdoor facilities if you don’t have a gym. If you’re on a beach holiday go for an early morning job along the beach. Nothing like sand to tone those legs. Alternately, go for a swim in the pool or the sea. If you’re in the countryside go for a long hike or a run. If you’re in the snow mountains, ski, snow board or go for a long walk. Now if none of these options appeal, you still have no excuse as you can get onto YouTube and search – Hotel Room Workout. Some of my favourites are:

Now no one is suggesting you go every day of your holiday as I don’t think you would be able to call it a holiday then. It’s just good to go now and again to keep your body active and healthy. Then once you get back into the swing of things on your return, it won’t be such a shock to your body.

I hope at least on of these hints and tips gives you the inspiration you need to get back into focus and achieve your goal. Don’t give up.

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

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Sweaty Betty Live – SB LIVE 08/09/2018

Last year I attended Sweat Life – you can view my blog post here: www.keziafitco.co.uk/sweatlife-festival-2017/  so this year I thought I would go for something different and see what SB Live is all about.

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It is advertised as the wellness event of the year, with the best of fashion, fitness and food all under one roof. Not to mention his was the 20th birthday so expectations were high.

They were offering:

  • Talks
  • Workouts
  • Healthy food
  • Beauty area
  • 25% off Sweaty Betty clothing
  • 20% off everything else
  • Goody bag worth £70

There were 3 ticket options:

  • £35 – one class, talks and £70 goody bag
  • £40 – two classes, talks and £70 goody bag
  • £60 – unlimited classes, queue jump, talks and £200 goody bag

And three time slots:

  • Morning (8:30 – 12:30)
  • Afternoon (12:30 – 16:30)
  • Evening (16:30 – 20:30)

We went for the 2nd option – 2 classes included, and we opted to get there at the crazy time of 8:30am on a Saturday. Please believe this meant to getting up at 6am on Saturday morning – dedication.

Pre purchase you are unable to view the class availability so we were initially very disappointed. After spending £40 we logged into the class booking site to find most of the classes were full and there were few with ‘limited spaces’ remaining. I can’t really say we had much of a choice but we were able to pick one yoga session and one sweat session.

The event took place in the city in a very large warehouse type building. The Old Truman Brewery, Ely’s Yard, 15 Hanbury Street, London, E1 6QR

The first class we opted in for was:

Another Space Yoga

This class worked on strength and flexibility in equal measures. It combined traditional yoga movement with a dynamin flow to raise your heart rate. Not as relaxing as the yoga that I’m used to but was a new experience.

And the final class was:

Third Space Metaburn

This high-intensity metabolic conditioning workout using a mix of weighted upper body and lower body exercises combined with cardio intervals for a super-toned body. Building up to 7 exercises or eliminating back down to build a lean and strong physique.

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Unfortunately there wasn’t the time to attend any talks.

We took advantage of the photo opportunities around the venue, had a browse in the shops and bought some healthy food to refuel.

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Due to a mix up on the door I was actually given a VIP wrist band so was able to access the exclusive VIP area. In all honesty it was nothing special – there was a nice relaxed chill out area to sit down and eat your food away from all the crowds. They handed out free drinks and Duck and Rye were available to do your hair I believe free of charge.

Hair dressing doesn’t interest me as no one there would be able to do my hair. I don’t think I would have the energy to do more than 2 classes so for me it wouldn’t be worth the extra £20.

As my friend had the standard pass and I had the VIP I was a able to compare the goody bags. In the picture below you can see the contents of mine – pretty good freebies. I think the contents to come up to over £200 as well. The Murad cream is £51 and the top is worth £40 so that’s £91 already.

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Contents:

  • Tea Pigs
  • Eyeko Yoga Mascara
  • Murad nutrient charged gel water
  • Urban Veda soothing day cream sample
  • Sweaty Betty top
  • Natural Deodorant
  • Tangle Teezer
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Rebel Kitchen Chocolate Milk
  • Primroses Kitchen Museli
  • Brave roasted peas
  • Bounce protein bite
  • Pulsin bar
  • Oskia eye cream
  • Emily veg crisps
  • Ape coconut puffs
  • Fresh Vitamin Nectar
  • Sukin foaming facial cleanser
  • Pretty Athletic workout glow
  • 20% off Sweaty Betty voucher
  • Psycle free class

My friend had the same goody bag but smaller. Had the same contents minus the dry shampoo, Murad cream, tangle teezer and tea pigs. So I would say about £80 worth of content less.

It was a really fun and active day out. Great change for a weekend activity as it keeps you healthy and active and differs from the normal drinks on a night out.

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Wearing Pretty Little Thing

Instagram @Keziakco

xxx

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Health Benefits of Turmeric

Why is everyone so obsessed with turmeric? People are raving about it, all the big coffee chains are adding it to their lattes and there are even cooking books dedicated to turmeric. To find out why keep reading.

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Top 10 Health Benefits of Turmeric:

  1. Anti-Inflammatory properties
  2. Pain relief – studies have shown it to work as well as ibuprofen
  3. Improve liver functions – due to its antioxidant abilities
  4. Digestion – can even be used to treat IBS
  5. Reduce the risk of cancer
  6. Natural Medicine
  7. Reduces depression
  8. Reduces period pains
  9. Reduces Acne – add to your face mask to have clear smooth and healthy skin
  10. Fights age related diseases.

Health Brands and stores are going crazy for this everyday spice. Shop shelves are over flowing with turmeric tablets, teas and snacks. Restaurants and coffee shops are adding to it everything they can from juices, coffees, shots and cakes.

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Thinking you might find it hard to add this magical ingredient into your daily routine? Here is an easy way to kill your evening snacking and add this magic spice to your daily diet:

Recipe

Turmeric Latte

Prep time: 5 minutes

Serving size: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 Teaspoon of turmeric
  • 2 Teaspoons of agave syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon of ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon of nut butter
  • 1 Cup full of soya milk
  • Cinnamon to sprinkle

Instructions

Add all ingredients into a pan apart from the cinnamon and soya milk. Put on a low heat and mix until runny. Add in the soya milk and stir until boiling. Pour into a mug and add cinnamon. Serve straight away.

Best enjoyed as a late evening treat. If you feel something sweet or craving one more snack before bed try this. Not only is it filling but it’s healthy as well.

Here is the finished product:

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BEWARE: Turmeric stains very badly so try not to spill it, especially on anything white. Also clean your teeth straight after consuming to avoid a yellow smile.

Enjoy 🙂

Instagram – @Kezkiakco

 

xxx

 

Meditation

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Meditation helps you to progress in having a healthy mind. People always focus on a healthy body but we often neglect our minds and this is without question the most important part of us to care for. How can we be healthy if our mind is not? How can we be successful and happy with a mistreated mind? Meditation encourages our minds to slow down to benefit the body and soul. Meditation is the habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts, just as you would retrain your body to look a certain way or to perform a certain activity.

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Many people practice meditation in order to increase awareness of yourself and surroundings and one of the most popular reasons is to reduce stress. We live such busy and stressful lives sometimes we forget to stop and take a moment of peace. Rather than being tangled up in the speed of life and all the negatives that come with it, take some time for yourself. Work on generating a positive mood and outlook, increase your self-discipline, become healthier, improve your sleep pattern and increase your pain tolerance.

meditation

Meditation is very popular and many celebrities regularly practise. Big fans are:

  • Madonna
  • Katy Perry
  • Russell Brand
  • Hugh Jackman
  • Oprah Winfrey
  • Paul McCartney
  • Nicole Kidman

The list above shows a few big stars who regularly practice meditation and regularly promote the benefits.

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My first experience of meditation – Gong Meditation:

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You can wear whatever you feel comfortable in. I wore jeans and a top but most people wore sweatpants. To be honest I think next time I would choose something a bit more comfortable and you are supposed to feel relaxed. I suppose wear whatever you put on when you get home from work and want to chill out.

On arrival, you remove your shoes and enter the studio. The instructor had laid out all the pads, pillows and eye masks out and you were able to help yourself to blankets. As I had never been before I did not bring any additional blankets and pillows but you had the option to. I was surprised to see an older woman next to me had literally brought her whole bed with her – portable mattress included. Next time I may consider an additional pillow but nothing more was necessary as the mats were thick and blankets were available. I suggest checking with the class organiser to see what they provide prior to arrival.

I went to a gong meditation so this consists of someone playing a gong in the background as you meditate. It was very relaxing, you lie down, the instructor says a few words, and then you let your thoughts pass through your mind. In order to relax I started to think of positive things. It is hard, as you are not supposed to actively think but then I found myself thinking about not thinking. I guess this is something that takes time and much practise. On this occasion, I actually fell asleep and woke up 10 minutes before the class ended. I do not think you are supposed to do that and thank god, no one noticed. I was obviously able to relax due to falling asleep and after an hour, when the class came to an end I did feel very relaxed and rejuvenated.

I was quite close to the front as I got there early – I recommend doing this to receive the most benefit if you attend a gong meditation. It was very soothing listening to the sounds of the gong and the other instruments (not sure what else was there as my eyes were closed). I definitely heard a singing bowl as well. On occasion, I could hear the instructor walking around the room with the instruments, which created a nice effect. This provided the people at the back of the room a nice opportunity to hear the sounds clearer.  They could then receive the same experience as those at the front.

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I know there are many different types of meditation and I look forward to exploring them all in the future. I will share my experiences with you as and when I attend each class.

 

You can find classes local to you via meetup – https://www.meetup.com/

I went to a lovely class is Chesham local to me.

 

Now I have a couple of questions for you guys:

Can you recommend a specific type of meditation that I can explore next?

Can you recommend any meditation classes that are in the London are?

Appreciate your help 🙂

Instagram @Keziakco

xxx

Weekly Commitment

Tip 6

We all have dreams of what we want to achieve – let’s make them a reality.

You can get one step closer to achieving your dream by making a weekly/ daily commitment to yourself. This can be applied in all walks of life, not only health and fitness – be it your career, studies, wealth or health. To be honest they all tie into each other some way or another.

My focus at the moment is getting beach ready. I have 14 days until I’ll be by the pool in France, Singapore and Thailand and I really can’t wait. I just want to push myself the extra mile before I get there so I can be proud of the changes in my body and take some AMAZING pictures. I also want to reduce the guilt I feel when I’m pigging out on all the lush exotic foods.

Tip 2

I’m sure I speak for many people when I say, when I booked the holiday 2-3 months ago the initial excitement wore off and you fall back into normal life and routine. There’s no initial burst of motivation as you simply think – ‘I’ve got ages’ and ‘I’ll deal with that closer to the time’, but how many of us think when the time comes ‘why didn’t I start earlier’ or ‘I wish I did this’. Anyway not saying I’m fantastic as here I am with 22 days to go but better late than never.

 

My 10 point commitment this week:

 

  1. Go to the gym 5 times
  2. Do something active each day
  3. 4 litres of water per day
  4. 3 meat free days
  5. Burn at least 1600 calories in cardio alone
  6. No naughty food (natural sugars only)
  7. Stretch for 15 minutes at the end of each fitness session
  8. Meal prep
  9. Add three new exercises to my workout routines for each body area
  10. 3 lower body work out sessions

Tip 3

These may seem obvious and they are but with life getting in the way we forget or make excuses. It’s hard to stick to the ideal so my commitment to myself is to stick to my ideal for the next 7 days. This is my genuine plan but life can get in the way and things are missed. If this plan is stuck to for a significant amount of time you will see the positive changes and difference you want.

Tip 5

 

Today is your day

To start fresh

To eat right

To train hard

To live healthy

To be proud

 

Instagram – @keziakco

 

xxx

 

 

 

Mildred’s Vegan Restaurant

This is the first truly vegan and vegetarian restaurant I have ever been to in London and I have to say I was very impressed. They have four Locations across London – Camden, Soho, Kings Cross, Dalston. I went to the Kings Cross restaurant.

When you arrive they ask you if you’ve been there before and if not they check that you know that it is a vegetarian restaurant to avoid disappointment. I assume most people who attend would know in advance, as this is why they are here but you never know.

When we were seated we were asked if we had any allergies or intolerances and handed the menu. For a change almost everything was vegan and the few options that were not were clearly marked. It’s nice to go to a place where they assume the opposite to the norm. They assume you are vegan.

There is quite a large menu to choose from and the mains are all very large and filling. I didn’t get a starter and I don’t think I would have managed one if I had. I was very full by the end of the meal which is unusual for London.

I went for the chicken katsu curry as this is my favourite dish at Wagamama. I can’t say it tasted much like the one in Wagamama but it was very tasty. The texture and taste of the mock chicken was really good and it even looked the same as meat. As a meat eater it is an excellent alternative and I could quite easily eat this on a daily basis instead of chicken.

It is very reasonably priced at under £25 for main and alcoholic drink.

The only downside is that you cannot book in advance. When we arrived we were notified there would be a 20 minute wait so we decided to have a drink at the bar. This was not an issue for us but if in a rush this situation would not be ideal.

I very much like the idea of becoming vegan and I have read so much about the health benefits and understand the value it has on the planet but I honestly don’t know if I could do it on a permanent basis. I know it sounds lazy but I feel like it would involve a lot of reading ingredient labels and be quite inconvenient when socialising – restaurants and dinner parties. I would love it if I could eat like I did in Mildred’s every day but somehow I feel that wouldn’t be practical as I would have to spend hours in the kitchen ever evening. I am very interested in perhaps doing a 7 day trial, if you’ve done one or you are vegan let me know and drop me some advice.

Thanks!

 

Wood Roasted Mushroom and Ale Pie, Minted Mushy Peas & Fries:

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Chicken Katsu Curry:

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Instagram – @keziakco

xxx

8 Habits Of Highly Healthy People

  1. Routine:

I cannot stress how important having a routine is. It can seem boring when looking in from the outside but this structure is set up for success and reduces the chances of failure. Eventually this will become habit and you won’t need to think about what’s next. Having a routine makes a healthy and fit lifestyle easy to accomplish.

When starting out, you may have lots of plans for you new lifestyle. I would recommend that you don’t completely change your life over night but instead incorporate little changes day by day or week by week.

As I always say, if you stick to something for a month, day in day out, you won’t ever have to think about it again. It will become normal and a habit – GOALS.

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2. Go outside

Sometime we have lazy days, we are all guilty of it. Make sure you always spend at least 30 minutes actively walking outside. When possible always walk, take the stairs etc to try and get in those recommended 10,000 steps. Pop to the shops, walk instead of drive, walk that extra bus stop down, offer to take the dog for a walk or even better – go for a run, just do whatever it takes.

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3. Drink Water

This is my biggest struggle. Unless I’m working out and actually REALLY thirsty I tend to forget all about water. Try and drink at least 2 liters of water per day. Remember if you add this to your routine it should be easy in a few weeks.

Drinking water helps you to increase energy to keep you on top form throughout the day. This will help you to maintain your focus on your daily goals.

It gets rid of all those toxins that we come in to contact with giving you clear, fresh beautiful skin and boosts your immune system.

There are so many other benefits as well including;

  • weightloss
  • Mood boost
  • Headache cure
  • Save money (water is free)

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4. Balanced Diet (but don’t believe in dieting)

Never start a diet that isn’t sustainable. You will need to change your diet but this is a change you have to make that will last forever. This eliminates all fad diets, short term low calorie diets or anything of the sort. You need to find a diet that incorporates all the healthy food groups so you don’t loose out on any key nutrients.

You need to limit the sugar and the carbohydrates and increase the protein to promote muscle and decrease body fat.

Please don’t cut out any food groups as this is not sustainable for the future.

If people ask me what diet I’m on or what I do the answer is is that I’m not on a diet I just eat healthily. I still eat naughty food now and again, no ones perfect and it tastes good 😉

Remember diet is DIE with a T.

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5.  Get enough sleep

Going back to point one, routine, you really should have a regular bedtime. Your body craves consistency so schedule bedtime like you would other important things you do.

When you are sleep deprived you are unable to focus and this prevents you from performing your daily duties well. This also affects your mood and can make your day a worse than it should be.

With enough sleep you will look so much better, your skin can clear up, your happy and a delight to be around.

Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same area of the brain. Those of you who are starting your weight-loss journey should ensure that they up their rest as well. This will help speed up results.

For adults the recommend amount of sleep you should get is between 7 – 9 hours daily. Saying that, science has shown that more than 9 hours of sleep on a regular basis increases the risk of diabetes, stroke, heart disease and even death so don’t get carried away.

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6. Look on the bright side

When you are positive it attracts positive things. Meditate, drink water, be happy. Only you are in control of how you think and feel, no one else. When you think positively about things you reduce stress and are more likely to achieve your goals – a healthy fit life.

If your feeling really down make a gratitude list. List 10 things you are truly grateful for each day. This can change on how you reflect on your day/ life.

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7.  Meal Prep

I am a big supporter of meal prep as it makes keeping on track and saying healthy a lot easily. Its quite tricky finding something healthy to eat out and about on the go and when you get really hungry its easy to fall in to the trap of buying something unhealthy. We’ve all been there and done it but if you have a tasty prepared meal to hand its much harder to get tempted.

When you eat regularly and often this cuts cravings and keeps you full and satisfied for longer. Not to mention the amount of money you can save. Eating out every day at work can rack up a serious bill at the end of the month.

Joe Wicks Lean in 15 books are a good source for finding easy meal prep options – I’m a big fan. You can find them on Amazon.

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8. No Excuses

If I can do it, you can do it. No excuses, be strong and stay motivated.

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Why do People Jump on the Bandwagon Instead of Thinking for Themselves?

There are so many fitness trends out there at the moment, ranging from clothing, classes, diets, you name it and most of them cost ridiculous amounts of money and offer you no actual benefits.

The sad truth is, marketing campaigns feed off the laziness of the population. They know you want to loose weight, get fit and feel fantastic, whether its fitting into that amazing dress, getting married or a pregnancy snap back, they are feeding off your desperation to achieve your goal with minimum effort in the quickest amount of time.

If its too easy, its not going to work. I believe this applies to most things in life. DONT get scammed!

Top 5 diet scams:

l. Weight loss cigarettes

Banned in 1958 – claimed they would help you loose 20 pounds in 8 weeks if you smoked one 3 times a day.

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2. Sensa

This is a powder you sprinkle on your food. This enhances the smell and the taste so makes consumers eat less and loose weight without dieting. This powder is supposed to make you feel fuller for longer so no diet required. Celebrity endorsed crap.

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3. Any kind of skinny wraps and creams

L’occitane ‘Almond Beautiful Shape’ cream promised that you would loose 1.3 inches off your thighs in 4 weeks, was a complete scam. People who bought into it remained as fat as ever, just well moisturized.

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4. Slimming pills

A lot of people should now know the risks due to the recent deaths of individuals documented in the news. Most of these pills are just very dodgy, and we have no real way of identifying what it is that is in them as they often purchased from unregulated websites. Stay well away as they can damage your body and could even result in weight gain.

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5. Caffeine-infused underwear

Yes, you read correctly. Caffeine-infused underwear that promises to destroy fat cells. For $55 you can own a pair and be reshaped in no time – not.

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This is just looking at the extreme end of the spectrum but many of my friends have fallen into similar traps. This is due to seeking that quick fix but the main issue is lack of education. When starting something new, the first step should be to educate yourself on the topic. Read!

If you want to succeed in anything in life you must find experts and talented real people and learn from them. Read books, watch documentaries and listen to podcasts. This will help you learn the skills you need to be great and achieve your goal.

Day after day I hear people talking about how they are going to the gym whilst munching on a bag of crisps or eating  chips for lunch. Some even order very expensive juice cleanses and give up half way, body wraps shipped in from America, waist trainers suffocating you all day, is this really life? Why don’t you pay your gym membership, get some sexy outfits and crack on.

Every successful gym goer will say, there is no quick fix, it is a LIFESTYLE change so anything less than this will NOT help you. Trust me.

On many occasions people ask for my advice, I always offer it but ultimately you can only help yourself. We are our own worst enemy. I am a strong believer in that you can only achieve what you really want. Mind over matter.

This may seem harsh but it is reality. If I sat on my sofa all day and never went to work whilst complaining that I’m not rich I’m sure I would be told to get off my ass and do something about it. Its very unlikely you will get anything in this life with no effort, you have to get out there and earn it. Simple.

Keep Motivated

 

Instagram – @keziakco

Guilt free pancake day

Pancake day is a great excuse to binge out and stuff our faces with sweet and savoury treats. No need to feel guilty as its pancake day right? It’s cheat day come early but x1000, and who even needs to think about calories or how many? We’ve all been there and done that, and who says you shouldn’t? I’m all for enjoying myself and food really is my idea of enjoyment, but what if there is a slightly guilt free alternative?

When I’m really hungry on a normal day, and I mean really hungry, I will make myself protein pancakes. I find them quite heavy and a lot more filling than most dinners to be honest so you really have to be Starving!

The recipe below is very quick and easy and your pancakes will be with you within 10-15 minutes. I’m quite unusual as I hate the thin, crepe style pancakes, I only do the thick American style ones.

American Style Protein Pancakes:

Ingredients:

  • 100g oats
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 egg whites
  • water (just enough to mix)
  • Toppings of choice

Blend everything together apart from the toppings. Add enough for a pancake, to the heated pan containing coconut oil. Fry each side until done. When you have enough and are ready to eat you can decorate with toppings.

My favourite toppings are:

  • Lemon
  • Maple syrup
  • Jam
  • Honey
  • Blue berries
  • Fruit coolie
  • Grenade chocolate spreads
  • Melted My Protein chocolate
  • Pecans

The results should look similar to this:

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Even though this recipe is super easy there is also a cheat method. You can buy MET-Rx Supreme Protein Pancake Mix 300 g for £3.74. It’s on sale at the moment (usually £4.99). It comes with a scoop already so all you need is one scoop and 100ml of almond milk and your good to go. Easy peasy.

Each scoop contains 35 g of protein and its suitable for vegetarians.

Happy pancake day, you deserve it!

Instagram  @keziakco

xxx

 

 

Crazy about cashews

Cashew nuts are one of the most popular nuts that we incorporate into our diets on a daily basis. This can be through eating nut butter, consuming them raw, roasted or salted, naked bars, cashew milk or a tasty nut roast.

Nutritional value per 100g

  • Carbohydrates – 30g – 10%
  • Protein – 18g – 36%
  • Fat – 44g – 68%
  • Fiber – 3.3g – 13%
  • Calories – 553
  • Sodium – 12mg – 1%
  • Calcium – 4%
  • Iron – 37%
  • Vitamin C – 1%

Cashews contain the lowest amount of fiber out of all the nuts but make up for this in containing many minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

Cashews are extremely high in fat so best to stick to the handful recommendation (found in my previous blog post ‘Are nuts good for you?‘.  You do have to be careful and watch your fat content but the good news is that most these fats are good ones – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. When these fats are eaten instead of saturated fats (and within moderation) they assist in the prevention and fight against heart disease, stroke and weight gain.

When thinking about eye health, carrots probably pop into your mind. I’m sure you will be as surprised as I am that actually cashews are equally as beneficial due to their high levels of lutein and zeaxanthin. These compounds basically work together to prevent cataracts and protect the eye from light damage and ultimately blindness.

By chance I found the most delicious dish that contains cashews whilst visiting a popular cafe in Fitztrovia, London:

Riding House Cafe

This quirky little cafe offering all home comforts is located in the heart of Fitztrovia, London. I found out about this place from Instagram, it has suddenly taken off in popularity and I can see all the influencers and bloggers alike taking posts in this restaurant. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about for myself so went ahead and booked a table for the following week.

Dining wise, there is no set theme, you could rock up wearing any attire and have whatever experience you are seeking. What I mean by that is that they offer, brunch, cocktails, beer, breakfast, lunch, dinner, Sunday roast, dessert and anything and everything in between.

It took me a very long time to decide what to do for with all these options to hand. The menu can be found here – Riding House Cafe Menu

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There is just so much choice, even though I was tempted by the buttermilk pancakes I went for the healthy option and had Freekeh and Feta Salad along with a green smoothie.

I will start by saying the green smoothie did not go down to well at all. I don’t believe the ingredients below complimented each other at all. The spinach and kale completely over powered the rest of the ingredients making it taste very bitter and difficult to digest. Had there been slightly more apple and ginger I think it could have been a lot more pleasant. However, this drink is the definition of health so I braved it, and finished the lot. I did have to drink a lot of water after to wash it down though. I would NOT be ordering this again in a rush.

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(even the shade of green isn’t appetizing)

It contained:

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Apple
  • Ginger
  • Mint

The cost was £5

Freekeh and Feta Salad:

I am so so so pleased I picked this! It is absolutely delicious and full of nutrients. I had no idea what freekeh is but as I was out I thought why not try something new. I knew it wouldn’t be unhealthy and its hard to go wrong with a salad so why not. This is the final result:

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Inside it contains:

  • Grilled chicken
  • Mint
  • Parsley
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Feta cheese
  • Freekeh
  • Cashews

It is so healthy and filling and the flavors are amazing. So you have probably realized I’m more that just a bit obsessed with this dish so I went ahead and recreated it at home. I just purchased all the individual ingredients in the local supermarket and bought the freekeh from Holland and Barrett.

I boiled the freekeh in water with a bit of salt for about 15 minutes (taste it to check its soft enough, if still hard carry on boiling until soft). I then went ahead and chopped and prepped all other ingredients so that they were ready to mix into the freekeh.

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This is my final result:

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Freekeh:

If you’re like me you probably have never heard of this grain and no nothing about it. Little did I know, but freekeh is the all new exciting and popular super grain that has outshone the famous quinoa. This grain as celebrity fans including Oprah Winfrey and Jamie Oliver raving about it.

This grain is traditionally a middle eastern food. It is a fantastic base for getting the necessary protein and fiber into your diet. It contains three times more protein than brown rice and 2 times more fiber. So ditch the rice and jump of the freekeh craze. However, at over £5 per 500g it doesn’t come cheap.

If you enjoyed this, you can look at my other content within my nuts series:

Instagram – @keziakco

xxx

What are the health benefits of hazelnuts?

Hazelnuts are high in fiber and low in salts, but please don’t go nuts with them! haha

Nutritional information per 100g:

  • Calories – 650kcal
  • Fat – 64g
  • Saturates – 4.7g
  • Carbohydrates – 6g
  • Sugars – 4g
  • Fiber – 6.5g
  • Protein – 14g
  • Salt – 0.02g
  • Vitamin E – 208% recommended daily intake
  • Pantothenic Acid – 25% recommended daily intake
  • Potassium – 37% recommended daily intake
  • Phosphorus – 43% recommended daily intake

Hazelnuts are great for weight loss, heart health, cancer protection and more. The antioxidants they contain help in the fight against cancers and the fiber assists in maintaining a healthy heart.

 

These contribute to healthy skin and hair as hazelnuts contains high amounts of vitamin E. 100g of hazelnuts (as stated above) contains 208% of our recommended amount. Vitamin E also protects the skin from damaging ultraviolet light, which protects from cancers and dark skin spots. The natural oils in hazelnuts also protect from premature aging, wrinkles and dryness of the skin. So if you’re thinking of getting that filler perhaps you just need to rethink your diet first 😉

Hazel nuts are quite unique as they contain a lot of folate. This is particularly beneficial for pregnant women as it protects against neural defects in babies and prevents anemia.

Here is a nice recipe I found to help you incorporate hazelnuts into your diet. This does contain sugar so more of a treat instead of a daily snack – enjoy 🙂

Chocolate Hazelnut Smoothie with Bananas

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With the hazelnuts I purchased I decided to make a delicious desert smoothie that I sourced. Please see instructions for two servings below:

Ingredients:

  • 240ml milk (dairy, almond, cashew, soy, coconut) the choice is yours
  • 128g ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 64g hazelnuts (plain)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 4 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon hazelnut extract

Add everything to the blender and blend. Add more liquid if too thick.

I found this recipe from Jessica Gavins website I just decided to use plain hazelnuts instead of roasted and cacao powder instead of unsweetened coco powder.

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The benefits of these small marble sized nuts is endless. I was only able to list a few so it would be great to hear of any others.

Do you  know of any other health benefits or facts around hazelnuts?

Instagram – @keziakco

xxx

For more information on nuts please check out my previous post  – Are nuts good for you?

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Are nuts good for you?

The words on many peoples lips are, are nuts good for you? The simple answer is yes  but we will go into this in a lot more detail.

There is a lot to go into within this topic. Rather than writing a very long detailed post, I thought it would be easier, and more user friendly if I did a nuts series.

Across the series I will be  focusing my attention on the following nut:

  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Peanuts

First of all, nuts are very expensive. Six packets of nuts at Holland and Barret cost me over £22 and please believe that is using buy one get one half price. I know I probably should of gone to Aldi/ Lidl but I simply didn’t have the time.

In articles regarding weight loss, weight control and diet you often find they recommend consuming no more than a handful of nuts. I’m going to show you what that actually looks like, and how many calories you consume in doing so:

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As you can see a small handful of nuts contains a lot of calories but these are good calories. Actually eating nuts of a daily basis helps you live a healthier life. They contain compounds that work to lower cholesterol, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, omega-3 and various antioxidants.

As nuts are so calorific and contain a lot of protein and fat, they make you feel fuller for longer. They raise blood sugar so that you don’t get those sugar cravings and this ultimately helps you to loose weight.

Now the next question you probably have is, can eating too many nuts make you fat? As they are very high in calories many people would automatically jump to this conclusion and leave them out. Obviously, maintaining a healthy weight or indeed loosing weight involves consuming a specific calorie amount on a daily basis. Should you exceed this you will of course put on weight. Every time you eat excess of 3,500 calories this translates as 1 pound of fat on your body. Anyway, despite these calorie related concerns I can confirm that studies have shown that people who eat nuts regularly usually have a lower BMI than those that don’t.

A bit of science make simple for you; nuts contain a lot of calories however when we eat them our bodies cannot break down all the material. This means even though we eat the whole portion of nuts we cannot break out all the energy from them and so do not actually consume the full amount of calories. This is quite different to processed food as this is fully digestible and we absorb all the calories. So the next time someone says that they are eating a ‘be good to yourself’ diet bar for 100 calories instead of a 100 calorie portion of healthy almonds as ‘its the same thing’, they are completely wrong!

It is advisable to actually substitute the bulk of your carbohydrate intake with nuts but portion control is key. The worst offenders are macadamia nuts at 240 calories per 32g.

Nuts are an easy snack to consume, they do not require any preparation and can be eaten out and about. They are easily obtainable on the go and can be added to almost any dish, savory or sweet. They are a great alternative to grabbing a chocolate bar when on the go, so there are no excuses!

This post describes the benefits of nuts but check out the posts to follow that will show you which nuts are best for you and what are the healthiest nuts to eat on a daily basis.

Instagram @Keziakco

xxx

nuts

 

 

Chia Bites

Just a quick one this week 🙂

From my previous blog post on snacks I mentioned that I normally have banana slice to fulfill my sugar craving. I was getting a bit bored of it so found this recipe for chia bites. They are so tasty – enjoy 😉

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Chia seeds are very low in calories but hold a huge amount of nutrients within them. They come from South America and actually the word ‘chia’ means strength, so perfect for a strong body.

1 ounce or 28g of these tiny seeds contains the following nutrition:

  • 11g Fiber
  • 4g Protein
  • 9g Fat
  • 18% RDA Calcium
  • 30% RDA Manganese
  • 27% RDA Phosphorus
  • 137 calories in total

Almost all the carbohydrates in the chia seeds are fiber and due to their high protein content are perfect for weight loss. They also have the ability to make you feel fuller for longer. This is due to the fiber that swells in your belly giving you this full feeling.

In my opinion chia seeds don’t actually taste of anything so therefore they are very easy to incorporate into your diet. You can add them into baking, soups, salads smoothies, you name it!

These tiny seeds contain loads of antioxidants that maximize health and are high in Omega-3 fatty acids.

A lot of goodness for a tiny seed!

Chia Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup or 340g of oats
  • 1/4 cup or 85g of cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup or 170g chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup or 85g coconut flakes (unsweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon  vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup or 170g almond butter

Method:

  1.  Mix oats, cacao powder, chia seeds, coconut flakes, honey, vanilla essence and cinnamon in a bowl
  2. Heat the almond butter until soft and add to the mixture
  3. Roll the mixture into balls (add more honey if not sticking)
  4. Place on a tray with grease proof paper and put in the fridge for 10 minutes
  5. Store in the fridge in an airtight container

Final Result:

chia 3

 

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

 

Kaia at The Ned

I think one of the most challenging things (when watching your weight) are the weekends.  When most people think of the weekend, it involves eating out, drinking alcohol, unwinding and letting go. When going to a fine dining restaurant, you don’t want to miss out by opting for the garden salad and be the party pooper. Finding a classy and sophisticated place to eat that meets your dietary requirements can be a challenge, even in London.

After hearing a lot of good things about The Ned and it being described as ‘Harrods food hall crossed with Vegas’ I was very interested to go and see for myself.

The Ned hotel itself is stunning, on arrival you are greeted by large pillars, stunning chequered floors and a live band. Located in Bank, it contains multiple restaurants to pick from including:

  • Cecconi’s
  • Millie’s Lounge
  • Zobler’s Deli & Diner
  • Kaia
  • Malibu Kitchen
  • Lutyens Grill

This is one of the number one destinations for instagrammers on the gram, so I had to pay it a visit. It is fairly new and a creation by the people behind the likes of Soho House.

I booked a table at Kaia based on the healthy options available. The images on the website looked very colourful and tempted me to give it at go, especially as health was the main promotion factor. https://www.thened.com/restaurants/kaia

The cuisine is Asian pacific with poke bowls being the main attraction. For those who do not no what a poke bowl is, it is a traditional Hawaiian dish in a bowl that contains raw fish. It is a healthy eating trend that has recently hit The States and been extremely popular. This is a very new thing for The UK. In Hawaii the cubed fish is often eaten over a bowl of sushi rice and vegetables.

There were three options of poke bowls, 2 with raw fish and one vegetarian. I opted for the vegetarian as I wanted to try something from the grill as well.

We had:

  • The rainbow poke bowl – this included papaya, avocado, and tamari glazed nuts
  • Chicken meat balls
  • Teriyaki salmon
  • Asparagus
  • Edamame beans

Menu found here – Kaia Menu

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The edamame beans has a lovely spicy sauce on them. Not that easy to eat though as they were very saucy and you are not provided with any wet wipes or water bowl to clean your hands. The asparagus was very standard, nothing special at all. I wouldn’t say 12 slices for £6 was worth it on this occasion. The salmon was delicious, melt in the mouth perfectly cooked and not too saucy. It also came with a very healthy portion of pickled ginger which is my absolute favourite, so very impressed with that. Cant comment on the chicken meat balls as I didn’t give them a try but they looked very good, healthy portion and sizzling on arrival. The poke bowls were of a large healthy size and the fruit and veg tasted very fresh and crisp.

poke bowl

To drink we had:

  • Guava Gimlet – Bombay Sapphire, toasted cardamon, guava cordial

Menu found here – Kaia Cocktails 

The cocktail was sweet, short and very strong. It didn’t have that strong nasty taste but I would say too many of these could be very dangerous. I am not suggesting this as a healthy option at all, this is just me enjoying myself 🙂 Ideally no alcohol and certainly no more than one. I have also been honest and realistic, I simply do what I do for confidence and happiness reasons and so one or two drinks now and again it absolutely fine.

I cannot say I was blown away by the seating arrangements. You have to sit opposite each other on a very long table with stools instead of chairs. There is no cloak room and you are encouraged to hang your belongings on a hook under the table. I thoroughly enjoyed the food and atmosphere but I would say these seating arrangements bring it to the standard of a posh Wagamamas.

Kezia123456

Instagram – @keziakco

xxx

 

 

The benefits of boxing

After hearing that the Victoria’s Secret Models go boxing to keep fit that was enough inspiration for me to find out more.

Top celebrities including Khloe Kardashian, Gigi Hadid, Joan Smalls and Adriana Lima are regular boxers. This keeps them in great condition and gives them confidence within self defense.

The top benefits of boxing are:

  • Burning as much as 500 calories within one session
  • Muscle toning
  • Increase bone strength
  • Increase cardiovascular fitness
  • Improve muscle endurance
  • Improve core stability
  • Improve strength
  • Great stress relief
  • Full body workout

It is often thought of as an activity exclusively for men but it benefits women just as much and is increasingly becoming more popular among females.

Women often have difficulty in getting rid of that last bit of belly fat. Many women spend ages in the gym trying to get that flat stomach but struggle endlessly. Boxing help this immensely and allows you to ditch those sit ups. You burn a lot more calories in the belly area during a boxing session than with an isolated abs workout.

For my first ever boxing session I went to KOBOX City where fight club meets night club. This is slightly different from the usual boxing class as it is held in the darkened room with flashing lights and loud music (just like a club). It also doesn’t involve any actual boxing between two people, its just you and the punch bag. This is far more up my street as I actually having to fight with someone would have put me off and to be honest I don’t find it very lady like.

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We booked before online, you must sign up and make an account we booked the two classes for £25. It was a very quick and simple sign up process. On arrival we signed in and were asked if we would like to purchase a protein shake for the end of the class. I chose a coconut bounty one costing £5. The receptionist takes your order so that it is ready and prepared by the time your class ends so you don’t have to wait around. I found this very thoughtful of peoples busy lifestyles.

When you make your way downstairs you are offered wraps for free and directed to the changing rooms. Here you have access to fresh towels, hair spray, dry shampoo, blow dryer, straighteners etc very good facilities and equipment which means you don’t need to bring a massive bag with all your getting ready essentials for after the class.

As I was new I was invited in 5 minutes before to run through the names of the moves and a bit about what to expect. There are six rounds over 50 minutes and each one involves punch bag work and strength training combined.  .

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The music was really good, all new R&B and Hip Hop, felt like I was in Libertine haha.

It was a really good workout and I was lucky that there were only 6 people in the class. This meant the instructor had plenty of time to correct me and assist me (as it was my first time). I still have one more class and I am really looking forward to going back again. It was a tough workout but no where near as bad as I had anticipated.

Pricing for packages can be found here – https://www.koboxlondon.com/reserve/index.cfm?action=Reserve.viewSeries

I bought my gym outfit from Only really good quality endurance sports wear and I cannot fault them. Excellent quality sweat proof material. The colors don’t fade after countless washes and they are very easy to move in.

Sports bra – £18

Leggings – £42

Instagram – @keziakco

xxx

 

Farm Girl

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Farm Girl is a beautiful little holistic cafe in the center of Notting Hill and is located just down Portobello Road. You could easily miss it as it is tucked away down a little alley way. When we arrived we were greeted by quite a long queue. As it is so small and hidden away it was obvious that these people queuing clearly came out of their way to try this cafe. They most likely know about it through marketing or social media and were not passers by.

We were greeted by the man at the door who took our names and notified us that there would be a 30-45 minute waiting time. As we had come out of our way to try this healthy food we had heard so much about we decided to wait it out. Luckily the queuing time was only around 25 minutes and we were seated inside.

Farm girl has a tiny outdoor seating space and indoor space and this explains the wait. In the summer it would be lovely to sit outside but I was happy with indoors due to the weather. I would mention that the tables are very close together so not much privacy but this is fine in a casual setting.

The menu is on one board, one side drinks and the other food. I had difficulty choosing my main dish and everything sounded so healthy, tasty and wholesome.

We ordered:

  • Hibiscus Latte – Organic hibiscus matcha powder with coconut milk
  • Butterfly Latte – Organic blue matcha powder with almond milk
  • Avocado Toast – Lemon juice, fresh coriander & a sprinkle of pomegranate
    add a poached egg
  • Oven Baked Eggs – Turkish eggs traditionally baked in a tomato, red pepper & parsley sauce + Greek yogurt
  • Berry Pancakes – Benoit’s buckwheat mix with amber maple syrup, peppermint & fresh strawberries sprinkled with coconut shavings + coconut yogurt

 

When the drinks arrived they looked very colourful and Instagramable but I cant say I felt the same with the taste. Both had a very unusual taste that I wasn’t really accustomed to. The Butterfly was much better than the Hibiscus as the Hibiscus had a very powerful taste (I honestly haven’t ever tried anything like it). I thought they were interesting but for the price (£4.10)  and the taste I wouldn’t have either again. Great for a picture though 😉

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Now the food was something else, tasted very fresh and full of nutrients, ( you can see a quick video on my Instagram to really get a feel of what I’m talking about @Keziakco). The bread that came with both dishes was very small (good for me as I don’t really eat carbs). You could also tell from the taste that it was fresh, wholesome and full of goodness. The avocado was very fresh and a very generous portion was given. It was mixed with lemon oils (I believe) that gave a strong tasty flavors. The pomegranate went really well with the dish enhancing the overall taste. As I used to live in Istanbul I have eaten this egg dish on many occasion and it is one of my favorites. I was hopeful that it would have the same flavors and taste as when made in the traditional way. I was nicely surprised, the only difference was that this one was a bit more tomatoey. All in all the food was delicious and I would definitely return.

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We decided to go for dessert and had pancakes to share. This is a very large dish and I don’t believe someone could have this all to themselves but great to share or have on it own as a main. Think American style pancakes but you can taste that they are healthy and unrefined, probably baked with whole wheat flower.

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The bill was around £46 for two people. Quite pricey for a cafe lunch but was very healthy. Farm Girl has made quite a name for itself on social media so the price doesn’t put me off.

Another note I would add is that you do not need to book so you can just pop in at any time. Here is the link to their website for further information – http://www.thefarmgirl.co.uk/

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Instagram @Keziakco

xxx

 

 

 

 

 

All Inclusive Holidays and your Diet

Whether you are an avid gym goer or not, most of us make a special effort before we go on holiday. We wait all year for those few weeks off we get and we want to look our best and at the same time thoroughly enjoy ourselves.

Now if you are the same as me, nice food (the naughty food) is part of thoroughly enjoying yourself but you need to be careful, especially in the all inclusive. In these hotels there is no need to think about what you have eaten or what you plan to eat and drink for that day as everything is unlimited.  You always see these typical tourists with plates piled so high that it is almost unimaginable that they could eat it all, unfortunately I have witnessed that it is indeed possible.

Buffet

I’m by no means suggesting that you shouldn’t eat anything tasty and off you plan whilst away but please do it within reason. You have worked so hard to achieve this holiday body and are probably feeling fantastic when on the beach and in all you holiday outfits so don’t ruin it now.

What I do:

I often miss breakfast everyday as I honestly cannot wake up on time and anyone who knows me well knows that I love my sleep and a nap. I don’t think it’s a proper holiday if I don’t get to have a daily nap.

First meal of the day is lunch – I usually have a healthy selection of the salads and any meats from the grill and any sauces available. I often finish with a nice plate full of fruits. Diet coke or water to drink.

For dinner I have the same as lunch (maybe a slice of bread if needed)

When I go on holiday I have alcohol in the evenings nearly every night (not ideal I know, but realistic) and for snacks I usually eat crisps (my guilty pleasure). What is a holiday if you don’t lie on the bed after a day of sunbathing eating Lays ey?

drink

Normally on the last day of the holiday I will go absolutely all out, because I’ve earned it. This involves no holding back and eating exactly what I want and like. You would have noticed from the rest of my blog I do not promote weekly cheat days or meals but this is ok once or twice a year.

Happy holidays

me

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

 

 

Mood and Diet

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I haven’t written a blog for a month but I am back now with a new topic – How our mood can effect our diets, mainly focusing on stress and anxiety.

Whatever life we lead, we will at some point suffer from stress. This effects peoples diets in one of two ways:

  1.  You comfort eat or eat your pain away. When taken to the extreme this is classified as an eating disorder and actually a psychiatric condition.
  2. You don’t eat or under eat. Anorexia is the extreme in this case and a well known eating disorder.

Both 1 and 2 have serious effects on your diet whether they are extreme cases or not. Most people would assume that 1 is far worse than 2 (when thinking about your weight) but that is not necessarily true.

When you are in a good mood you often feel motivated and unstoppable. The more you do the more you can do. You see results, you’re excited to get back to the gym and push yourself. It is a positive cycle, you push yourself to do good and so you achieve good.

When you are in a bad mood you need to try and stop the negative cycle. The less you do, the less you can do. A week eating badly has a knock on effect and the impact can last a lot longer than anticipated.

We all have unique lives and at some point we may all suffer from one of the below:

  • Relationship problems – breakup, divorce, arguments
  • Money worries
  • Exams
  • Work stress
  • Family problems

My personal experience:

When very stressed I can get so absorbed and involved with the issue at hand that I actually forget to eat. As I have trained myself to work out at least 4 times a week and it is now habit but this means I have to be very careful. You should not go to the gym if you are not eating properly. It can be very dangerous causing muscle waste and can lead to weakness and passing out. The immediate effect will be that you loose weight and for some this might seem like a quick way to achieve your goal. Please take note that this will not last, you will not be able to exercise properly, in the long term it is not realistic, you will be skinny but not fit and most likely in a few weeks time over eat to compensate having the opposite effect.

This is why it is so important to focus on health instead of the focus being vanity – looks and weight loss. What is the point of looking fantastic if you don’t feel fantastic. To be honest this isn’t really possible anyway as when you loose weight in the wrong way you often look ill, your skin suffers, you are not toned and look gaunt in the face and I am certain this is no ones goal.

Try and use these difficult times and turn them into something positive. Remember god will only put you in situations that you can handle and they are there to make you stronger. If you are eating properly you can release the stress in the gym and turn those negative feelings into positive ones as when you work out you release endorphins (feel good hormones). Whenever I am down I head to the gym, have a really intense session and often feel great afterwards. I use the gym as a place of therapy and happiness.

Whatever is consuming you don’t let it get in the way of your goals, it simply isn’t worth it.

Just chill like this cat 😉

Chill_Cat-280

Instagram – @keziakco

xxx

 

 

 

Sweatlife Festival 2017

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On Saturday I attended The Sweatlife Festival in Tobacco Docks. It is a large health and fitness event that had many of the famous workout studios attend. It is a great place to go and give classes a try before you buy. You also get the opportunity to pick up some free class tokens for the real thing if your lucky.

The full list of attendees can be found here – https://thesweatlife.co.uk/whats-going-on/

Ticket cost is £30 per person, I found this to be quite reasonable as just one of these classes alone can cost on average £20 so if you do two you have already made your money back.

I was lucky enough to get myself some free tokens for Kobox, Un1t and Psycle and I will most definitely try them all so look out for the reviews to follow.

It was a very good event for trying classes as there were so many choose from throughout the day, however there was very little food and equipment wise. I was very excited to have the opportunity to try new foods, learn about different health supplements, shakes and unfortunately this wasn’t possible. There was also a very limited choice of food,  many of which were not particularly healthy options so we left to get something to eat outside of the venue, which was a shame.

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I attended a yoga class by Helen Russle Clarke. The room where we did this was very large and the class itself was almost full. Despite the venue being extremely busy and all the comings and going of the event you were still able to switch off and enjoy the class. It was a good 45 minute session that involved lots of core strength training. I really enjoyed the class but I would say that if you are not a regular in yoga it can be a bit difficult as Helen directs you using the proper yoga names of poses which not everyone is familiar with. I can imagine normally, in a smaller class this wouldn’t be a problem, but when the class is very large it can be difficult to see how to get into each pose safely and in the correct way.

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All in all it was a great day out but the event does need some improvement.

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

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The Facts about Fruits

Most people believe that fruit is super healthy and if you eat as much as possible of it, you are bound to loose weight and are a super healthy individual. The truth is, it is both healthy and unhealthy and everything in moderation is alright. Fruit contains plenty of fiber, minerals and vitamins that are really beneficial in any diet but most fruits contain a very high sugar content. Too much sugar, no matter where it comes from can seriously impact your weight, health and physical appearance.

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If you are anything like me and love fruit it would be impossible to cut this out of your diet and also quite inadvisable. Despite the sugar content, you do not want to miss out on key nutrients and we all need a bit of natural sugar to keep us going. I would recommend that most fruit is consumed before 12 o clock when your digestive system and metabolism is most active. I would also recommend that if you follow the ‘5 a day’ rule, which is actually now ’10 a day’ that more than 50% of this is vegetables.

Please believe me when I say, you could be the healthiest person and not eat one bite of processed food but if you are eating too much fruit you can still gain weight!

There is a saying that if you eat certain fruits they burn calories. You cannot eat a piece of chocolate cake and then eat 5 grapefruits and hope that this will counteract the cake. The fruits below have certain enzyme qualities that speed up and assist the way we break down food. This allows your metabolism to work at its optimum rate. These fruits are best consumed after a large meal:

  • Grapefruit
  • Pineapple
  • Apples
  • Watermelon
  • Berries
  • Papaya

Fruits that are best avoided or eaten least often due to very high sugar content are:

  • Cherries
  • Pomegranate
  • Grapes
  • Mangos
  • Figs

This is only  based on sugar content and each one of these fruits do have their own qualities and benefits.

Bananas actually contain the most amount of sugar and are high in carbs but these provide a lot of healthy energy in the morning. I would not recommend having a banana in the evening and certainly no more than one per day. The trick to consume less sugar is to eat bananas before they are dark yellow, the yellower they are the more sugar they contain. This is why dried fruit contains so much sugar  – the riper the fruit the more sugar it contains, (stay away).

The facts broken down:

Apples – We have all heard the saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ and it is some what true. It reduces the risk of lung cancer, colon cancer and breast cancer, especially the red apples.

Bananas – contain  a lot of potassium which helps with good nerve and muscle function.

Blackberries and Blueberries – contain many antioxidants, these help prevent cancer, and studies have shown the blackberry extract to assist with curing lung cancers.

Peaches – Very high in vitamin A, this helps to boost our immune systems and fights off disease and infection.

Raspberries – These contain various acids that help protect you from contracting cervical cancer and consuming them regularly can help cure colon and esophageal cancers.

The list of benefits continues and you can find our more information in this artical I found on Canada Living – http://www.canadianliving.com/health/nutrition/article/the-top-25-healthy-fruits-blueberries-apples-cherries-bananas-and-21-more-healthy-picks

Please do not be fooled by juice bars, natural juices and dried fruit as these are extremely high in sugar and shout be completed removed from any healthy diet. This will protect your weight and your teeth.

Just remember everything should be consumed in moderation and this is just a guideline to make you more mindful when choosing your healthy snack.

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

 

First Workout

Firstly I want to say congratulations as you have completed the first hurdle. You have got past the ‘I should loose weight’ or ‘I should make a change’ to ‘I am going to make a change’. So many of us sit on our sofas complaining about being over weight, tired, or not looking that person on Love Island but what are we actually doing about it?

When you have decided you are going to do something about it, that is fantastic but there are many hurdles ahead. On my first day going to the gym I felt like I didn’t belong there at all and had very little confidence. I didn’t think that I fitted in as I didn’t know how all the machines work, I wasn’t physically fit, and simply felt like everyone was thinking ‘what is she even doing here’. Now I am a regular at the gym and I can guarantee that no one is thinking these things, in fact they probably don’t even notice you because they are too wrapped up in their own workout and fitness regime. Everyone in the gym has one thing in common, they are there to better themselves and we all respect each other for that no matter what stage of the journey you are at.

Despite me preaching this to you I know it can still be very intimidating and a way to build your confidence is to start off with home workouts. With the internet there are so many youtube workouts that are accessible for free and many require no equipment. I would suggest purchasing some dumbbells to help you out and prepare you for the gym but that is a matter of choice as there are so many very effective body weight workouts available to you.

I used to do 4 – 5 HIIT workouts a week. This was very time effective as you only need to workout 30 minutes a day. It also increases your fitness level and you can learn new exercises and practice technique within the privacy of your own home. You can stop and start the sessions at any point and you don’t need to worry about being out of breath and doing things wrong. I worked out at home for a good 2 months before actually entering the gym and when I finally got to the gym I had a good understanding of what I needed to do and the confidence that what I was doing works.

Most people feel the greatest confidence when on the treadmill. Please do not spend hours on this, in fact 20 minutes is more then enough. When in the gym focus on weights and bodyweight exercises in order to see changes in the shortest amount of time. I would say 90% of the time spent in the gym should be completely away from all machines. Why use a machine to assist you when you body can do the work itself? Especially women, but also men do not need to lifting weight that your own body cannot support itself.

The most effective and simple exercises to start off with are listed below:

  • Walking up hill on the treadmill
  • Interval sprints
  • squats
  • Lunges
  • Press ups
  • Crunches
  • Bent over row

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After mastering these you can do more advanced training and exercise. Isolate muscle groups on certain days of the week and see your results improve even faster.

Keep motivated and don’t give up, you will get there as the method never fails if you have determination.

Instagram – Keziakco

xxx

 

Treats

The question on most dieters minds is when are they going to get to enjoy the food they loved so much before their diet began. On what day can I have that slice of cake? How much ‘bad’ food can I have without ruining all the progress I’ve made?

There are many options for people to follow and advice all over the internet. Please take extra caution when following this information as it varies. It is dependant on what you want to achieve, how quickly you want to achieve it and what you see as enjoying a treat.

As I promote this as a lifestyle and not a diet it is crucial that  you are not waiting for a treat day every week and seeing food as a reward. This ultimately ruins everything you worked for as this mindset is keeping you in your fat and unhealthy ways. Sugary, fatty and synthetic foods are not a reward and you simply setting yourself up for failure and not to mention, harming your body in the process.

We are all human and of course it is not realistic to go through life without indulging in what we most enjoy and for most of us we all have that favourite food that is not on the diet plan. When dieting it is evident that the majority of days in your life will be on plan and avoid unhealthy choices, the so limited days where you do eat what you enjoy, please do not waste this opportunity. Many of us snack when we are hungry and select the easiest option – crisps, sweets, cake (you name it). When you are starving you do not think about what you are eating and often do not enjoy it. Why waste a treat when you are unable to enjoy it. In order to avoid this meal prep is essential as this means healthy options are never out of reach.

When I have a treat I make it count. I save it for a celebration like a birthday, wedding, holiday, special restaurant, or when baking something. For example, last summer I worked really hard but when I knew all my holidays were over and I had a day off from work I ordered a pizza and I have to say it was a great feeling. This was one greatly appreciated treat meal after 3 months of low carbs, exercise and no treats. Not only did it taste better than ever but it was almost guilt free.

If you absolutely live for unhealthy food this will be very difficult for you and you must try to focus on reconditioning your brain in order to achieve your goal. Some people are more left-brained so more analytic and need a pattern to follow. In this situation you can follow this rule that is respected by many olympians:

12 days following your diet followed by the 13th days as a ‘cheat day’. I recommend  a cheat meal not day as this will only make the 14th day harder for you. Every 4 days on your diet your body makes an upgrade to its metabolism, improving itself and your health. After it has done this 4 times it is enough to remove everything bad out of your body, 4 x 4 = 16 days so if you consume a cheeky pizza or piece of cake on the 13th day your metabolism is in its optimum week and can remove the negatives from your body. This really does work and is scientifically proven, but please do not count days, and add dates to calendars etc. Do not live to eat, eat to live.

Despite us all enjoying a treat now and again the real reward is how you feel, your health, your appearance and your confidence.

This is a little something I created on the weekend for my one off treat (I only had one). Contains ALOT of sugar! BEWARE!

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Please find the recipe here – http://allrecipes.com/recipe/143083/fresh-fruit-flan/ (but instead of a flan I made meringues. Meringues recipe –http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/international/european/french/meringues Enjoy, but not too many please 😉

Instagram – keziakco

xxx

 

 

Daily Protein

When I first started my ‘new lifestyle’ or as people like to call it ‘diet’, I found it very difficult eating the correct quantity of protein. This was due to making many common mistakes, many of which are listed below:

  • Consuming too many carbs and too many of the wrong carbs
  • Not eating enough and eating the wrong things
  • Not doing any food prep so having to buy food on the go
  • When I was hungry I would choose easy instead of healthy

I ate a huge amount of bread. Bread is easy to eat for meals and snacks and its very tasty. You don’t have to wait for it to cook and takes minimal preparation. Due to my thyroid issues I now eat non/minimal break (maximum once a week). It just isn’t necessary in my opinion and something that is very easy to cut out and you will notice  the difference in how you feel and look.

Preparing your food in advance is a great help, as when you get really hungry or need a snack, you have a healthy meal ready and waiting. This is particularly important at work or on the go, especially during that 3 o clock slump we all get. It can also save you a lot of money when you plan in advance.

In order to manage my daily protein I checked my macros on MyFitnessPal and you protein intake should be a minimum 20% of your diet. This doesn’t seem like a lot but can be challenging especially when finding snacks that don’t take you over your sugar limit. Great snacks to eat filled with protein are:

  • Billtong
  • Nuts
  • Protein shake
  • Protein bars
  • M&S packet of ready to eat chicken/ ham
  • Greek yogurt
  • Boiled egg
  • Edamame peas
  • Chia pudding

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These are some different protein filled snacks I have tried and my review:

  • Maxi Nutrition Pro Max Milk – you can purchase this from Maxi Nutrition

It contains 30 g of protein which is very high for a snack product so excellent for boosting protein content. It tastes very sweet but a nice flavour to it, similar to a strawberry milkshake. It contains 16.5 g of sugar which is very high for a snack item. I would recommend this for taste and protein but its far to high in sugar. I would consider this snack to be more of a treat item, certainly not for daily consumption.

It contains 20g of protein, still very reasonable for a snack item. It tastes nice but does take some getting used to. It is rather chewy and has a chocolate but synthetic flavour. If you enjoy the taste it can be consumed daily as there are only 3.3 g of sugar in these. Almost guilt free 😉

This has 9 g of protein and contains 13.5 g of sugar. Despite it being labelled a protein bar  this is far from guilt free. This is a one off treat item and should be treated the same as having a biscuit. It tastes like any regular chocolate covered flapjack, very good!

  • Chocolate Caramel Protein Bar GEN P – you can purchase from Maxi Nutrition

Similar to the above, it only contains 10 g of protein. It tastes very sweet and synthetic – similar to a Mars Bar (not that I’m complaining). It contains 11 g of sugar so watch out for this one as well.

Always read all the ingredients when purchasing ‘healthy’ products as their marketing is out there to fool us.

My go to health bars are now Grenade Carb Killa bars. As the name suggests, they are high in protein and low in carbs.

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Lots of tasty flavours, over 23 g of protein per bar and as little as 1.4 g of sugar. Not only do they taste like regular chocolate bars but they are also extremely feeling and cut out cravings. I definitely recommend!

Instagram – keziakco

xxx

 

 

Vegetarian Dinner

I believe in the importance of not eating meat every day of the week. Some people might find this tricky, but try not to eat it every lunch and dinner for the benefit of your health. Various studies have actually revealed the following results due to eating less meat:

  • Weight loss
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced chance of getting diabetes
  • Reduced change of getting cancer
  • Healthy skin
  • Smell better
  • Increases happiness
  • Increases energy

I personally couldn’t be a vegetarian as I enjoy meat, I would find it extremely difficult to get my daily allowance of protein and not to mention the cost of the foods I would need to buy to maintain my health. I think for most people they do not have the time and money to commit to this lifestyle and most of us enjoy a ‘cheeky Nandos’ now and again 😉

However, if you could cut out meat all together or simply reduce it here are some of negative points of consuming meat that you would be avoiding:

  • Meat puts a lot of strain on your colon and your brain contributing to things like Alzheimers disease.
  • Build up of unwanted hormones
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • E.coli and other bacterial infections
  • Shorter life span in comparison to a vegetarian

Below is my Wednesday vegetarian dinner, a combination of healthy vegetables, seeds and feta cheese, inspired by fitness expert Clean Eating Alice.

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As the colours show, this dinner is filled with all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals you need and it is extremely filling. The sweet potato is there as a healthy carb as I went to the gym today.

Ingredients:

  • Rocket
  • Roasted sweet potato
  • Peppers
  • Tomatos
  • Asparagus
  • Feta
  • Sun flower seeds
  • Lemon juice

 

All of this mixed together in a bowl with salt and pepper to flavour.

Enjoy, stay healthy 🙂

Instagram @Keziakco

xxx

From Fat to Fit in 15 Days

Following on from yesterday’s blog post, I just want to show you what is achievable when you put your mind to it. In 15 days I was able to loose some weight but most importantly change my body image, size and appearance within this short time.

Please see images below:

Photo 1 06/08/2016: Drinking alcohol frequently, eating everything I enjoy (you name it), and no/minimal exercise.

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As you can see, my body is squishy and undefined. You can see the bumpy skin on my belly which is simply fat squished up. This prevents you from having smooth tight skin. I am also very bloated from water retention due to intake of excess salt. I don’t have must waist definition and my posture isn’t fantastic either.

Photo 2 20/08/2016: 5 days a week exercise, drinking 2 litres of water a day, no/ minimal carbs consumed, no/minimal alcohol consumed and lots of sleep.

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This image is by no means the picture of perfection but shows a significant difference and excellent work in progress for 15 days. There is a lot more waist definition giving my body a proper hour glass shape. My skin is smooth, no water retention and wrinkly bumpy skin. No proper definition as of yet but this is work in progress and very early on in the weight-loss journey.

I hope this is some fitspiration for you all!

Instagram – @Keziakco

xxx

Motivation

Motivation is key when starting your fitness journey. In my opinion no one can loose weight or achieve that beach body if they are not really motivated to do so. This doesn’t mean flicking through a magazine and wishing and hoping that one day you will look like that fitness model. It means finding that inner strength to make a huge change in your life and follow it through day in and day out.

I believe you have to really want it in order to achieve it and most people who try and fail simply think they want it. I don’t believe that these people want it that much if they give up. If your child was in a burning building would you think ‘oh I might get burnt, better not go and rescue him’? No you would not, you would run in there and risk everything, probably get burnt on the way, but you want to save him so badly you would risk everything to do so, no matter what. This is quite a dramatic example but I feel you need to have a similar mindset to achieve, and I think this is the same with anything in life.

motivation

At the start of my weightloss journey, motivation was harder than it is today. This is because at the start you don’t have any results to motivate you. You are simply believing and hoping that you or someone else will notice a difference after all the hard work you have put in.

I used to diet here and there, eventually giving up or having too many cheat meals to see any difference and so lost motivation on many occasions. What really pushed me was looking at a very unflattering photo of myself whilst on holiday. I was in Madrid, 42 degrees, in a beautiful rooftop hotel pool with stunning scenery. My friend took a photo of me and I was quite appalled by what I saw.  When I saw that I was larger than I had ever been before I was not happy at all, I knew I had to make a change and most importantly I knew that I would do whatever it takes.

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It is important to realise what might be unacceptable for you may be someone else’s goal. We all have different shapes, sizes, metabolisms and standards for ourselves and it is really important to celebrate each step along your journey to fitness.

Once you start to see results it can almost be addictive. One of my most motivational moments was at work. I used to get a coffee in Costa every morning from the same lady and one day she came over to my table to ask what on earth it was that I was doing as she could not believe how much weight I had lost. This really inspired me to carry on and I felt a great accomplishment with my efforts made.

They say that:

  • Stage 1: You notice some results
  • Stage 2: Your close friends and family notice some results
  • Stage 3: Random people who see you every day start to notice

Reaching stage three is a fantastic feeling! So don’t give up!

I also am a strong believer in the saying ‘do something for 3 months and it becomes a habit’. This is true in any routine you have, work, gym, a new class, studying, etc. If you do the same thing over and over again for three months, you no longer find it a strain. That’s not to say you will be skipping to the gym but it won’t be as dire as you may have thought before. This is also true for you muscles and metabolism. If you are burning and working your body and becoming fitter and leaner you are less likely to bounce back into that sluggish, squishy person you once were. Practise makes perfect.

I hope this was a bit of thinspiration for you all.

Stay motivated!

Instagram @keziakco

xxx

My Favourite Dinner

Tonight I had my favourite, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and avocado.

  • 2 slices of smoked salmon
  • 1 avodcado
  • 2 eggs scrambled (only one egg yolk)

This meal equates to

  • 37g of protein
  • 12g of carbs
  • 40g of fat (good fats)
  • 36% of daily vitamin C

This is quite honestly the quickest, simplest, and most satisfying dinner I can recommend. Prep time is about 5 minutes and then dinner is served.

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I used https://www.myfitnesspal.com to calculate this. I used to use this website daily to calculate my macros and make sure I’m on track for the day / week. I now pretty much know what I should and shouldn’t be eating the quantities to consume so I use the app a little less often now. I highly recommend it if you are just starting your healthy journey.

You’re probably thinking, that is a lot of fat, shouldn’t we stay away from fat? That is completely wrong, especially if you are on a low carb diet. I would recommend learning about your fats before you start meal planning as I am not suggesting you go away and enjoy cheese fondue every night. The types of fat we should be consuming is UNSATURATED fat and they come in two categories – polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. This is because the body can break down these fats easily and they don’t sit there and contribute to our waist lines. I won’t go on and bore you as to how and why (being the Biology graduate that I am) but instead here is a list of fatty foods that we should be consuming within moderation:

  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Nut butters
  • Olives
  • Olives oil
  • Flaxseed
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Dark chocolate
  • Tofu
  • Seeds
  • Edamame
  • Chia seeds
  • Eggs
  • Lean grass feed beef and pork
  • Milk
  • Yogurt

The trick is to educate yourself on food and then you can’t be mislead by the advertising campaigns. The truth is too much of anything is unhealthy, just as nothing of something isn’t very healthy (with most things).

Instagram Keziakco xxx

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Dining at Ethos

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By recommendation, I went to this lovely little eatery in the centre of Fitzrovia. As you can see from the photograph, it was so delicious that I didn’t have time to take a picture until half way through the food.

This is a delightful vegetarian, pay by weight restaurant. As you enter you are seated by waiters and then you go and select your food, buffet style. There is loads to choose from and you just fill up your plate accordingly. I don’t know about you, but I get a bit over excited by lots of choice so I went all out and took a bit of everything.

All the food tasted very fresh and flavoursome. I particularly enjoyed the halloumi cheese bites (not too many of these as you need to be careful of your fat intake). My entire plate of fresh meat-free food cost under £20 and included a fresh, natural and no added sugar water melon juice drink.

On leaving I felt full, satisfied and guilt free. I definitely recommend a visit and you can check them out here http://www.ethosfoods.com You simply cannot go wrong!

Insta Keziakco

xxx

 

Sunday’s we do yoga

Today I decided to try something different and signed up for a hot bikram yoga class. I chose http://sohotbikramyoga.co.uk as it is conveniently located in Central London and the class length is 90 minutes.

My Experience:

In order to join a class no booking is required but instead you need to buy credits. My friend purchased two single class credits at £20 each but in order to share these the other  person must also create an account. It is necessary to bring ID with you on your first class, have a photograph taken and arrive at least 30 minutes before the class starts. I think for someone like myself, just coming along for the experience it is quite a lengthy process, also no one asked me if I had any injuries or illnesses and why I had chosen to come in the first place. Instructions are found on the website that you should consume 2 litres of water prior to the class and give at least two hours between eating and the start time.

The room itself was 41 degrees C and 40% humidity and on arrival it doesn’t seem to hot. We started off with a breathing exercise and after about 2-3 minutes you realise how hot it really is. As mentioned by the instructor, the first few classes you do you need to focus on the movements and the sequence and you will not be able to really focus on the movements and let your mind go. Over the next 45 minutes I found this to be very true. We did many different poses, each set we did twice and it was very very hot. Mid way through whilst doing the warrior pose, you can actually hear the sweat dripping off people like rain in the silent room. After 60 minutes standing up we had the final 30 minutes doing floor work. This was by no means any easier than the previous. When this came to an end we had 10 minutes relaxation before the next class arrived. At this point I was extremely red faced, hot and sweaty.

Reflecting on my experience, I would go again as I feel very clean. I feel like all the toxins in my body have come out through the sweat and my skin feels softer and smoother. As I go to the gym a lot, yoga is necessary to increase my flexibility. I would like to try 4-5 sessions to see if I see any progress. I also feel that moving in these conditions improves your breathing and heart rate and will most likely improve your endurance levels in the gym under normal conditions. Unfortunately, once you have paid for one session you cannot sign up for the £40 21 day trial and this would probably prompt me to sign up for a trial elsewhere now that I have given it a go.

The day before the class I purchased some new sports wear to accommodate for the heat and thank god I did. I bought an outfit from Pink Soda Sport and I could not have been more grateful that I did. The materials were breathable, light and sweat absorbent which is exactly what I needed. Not to mention they are very sport chic. I highly recommend if you do hot yoga or any high intensity sporting activities where you sweat buckets. From a distance no one would actually be able to tell your sweating as the material doesn’t show it at all.

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Top and Sports bra – £30

Shorts – £18

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xxx

Kezia Fit Co.

My favourite fitness quote is ‘making excuses burns zero calories per hour’. We talk ourselves out of so much per day, complain about results we are not seeing and things we aren’t achieving  but in the grand scheme of things what are we doing about it?

Many of us believe we are trying and some of us genuinely are putting in the effort, but if we don’t see results, how can we expect to achieve something if we aren’t making any changes? I meet people every day who are constantly on some kind of diet or on crazy fitness schedule but why put yourself through it if you are unable to maintain it? Everyone is probably sick of hearing this but health and fitness is a lifestyle and there is no quick fix.

I am not an expert on health and fitness by any means but I went through a life changing health issue that changed my views completely. I was one of those people who had never stepped foot in the gym and I looked pretty good for it. I never thought about what I ate and drank, calorie counting was non existent for me, people who worried about what they ate were boring and in my opinion people who were overweight were simply greedy.

Early 2015 I had come back from travelling and had rapidly put on weight, I believe it was 3 stone in a very short amount of time. I wasn’t concerned because I thought this was due to over indulging and enjoying the local delicacies a little bit too often. I thought that since I have never been over weight that this weight would simply drop off when I got back into the swing of normal life but I was very wrong.

My mother encouraged me to go to the doctor to ensure that this was just weight gain due to travelling (as this is very common). I did multiple tests and discovered I had an extremely over active thyroid otherwise known as hyperthyroidism. I cannot remember the exact levels of the different hormones but I recall the doctor saying normal people have a thyroid level of 20 and mine was at 70. He went on to say that he was shocked that I was still carrying on with life as normal and referred me to a specialist.

After being in bed for a month unable to exercise due to constant exhaustion, eating huge amounts of food, and on 40mg Carbimizole and Beta Blockers for my heart I can confirm I was in the overweight catagory. I was extremely down about this and for the first time felt completely out of control of my body. I just wanted to go back to my normal size but the doctor had said that due to my heart rate I should not do any intense cardio. It’s funny what they say, but you always want what you can’t have. For some reason I suddenly felt really down by the fact that I couldn’t go to the gym, even though I never went in the first place. I was dying to exercise and get back to normal.

After my heart rate had decreased, I signed up for the gym. I tried numerous exercise regimes and fad diets. I used so much energy and didn’t achieve much at all. I used apps, calorie counting, eating hardly anything, and constantly counting my steps. I lost some weight and rapidly put it back on again as all of this was not possible to maintain.

In order to loose weight and how I achieved it is by going back to the basics. You have to take the food from its natural source and combine it in a healthy way. If you are not familiar with every ingredient in the food, do not eat it. To gain control of your body you need to know exactly what you are putting in it.

This blog is on how I got back to normal and achieved more than I thought was possible. Every day I am learning from experience, through friends and family and fitness experts.

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