Sugar-Free Me Workshop with Maple & Fitz – Thurs 5th May 2016

Thrilled to announce the second in our series of workshops with Maple & Fitz, Fitzrovia’s best healthy eatery and first cold-pressed juice bar. The Sugar-Free Me workshop will focus on Sugar - something many of us are looking to reduce in our daily diets. However, how can we do this practically and how can we do it without feeling deprived and restricted?

In this evening session, you will learn how to reduce your consumption of refined sugar and identify hidden sources, understand how your lifestyle can cause sugar cravings, gain practical tools on managing cravings and discover how to prepare meals which support your energy levels throughout the day while using natural unrefined sugars for those sweet treats. Food will be provided and the session includes a mini cooking demonstration by Le Cordon Bleu Trained Chef and owner of Maple & Fitz, Adria Wu, using wholesome and unprocessed ingredients to ensure you come away with the skills to create healthy meals for yourself.

Looking forward to seeing you!

Date: Thursday 5th May 2016

Time: 6.30-8.30pm

Location: Maple & Fitz, 36A Berners St, W1T 3LY


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Mindful Eating Workshop with Maple & Fitz – Thursday 10th March 2016

Exciting news! Thursday 10th March will see the first in our series of workshops with Maple & Fitz, Fitzrovia’s best healthy eatery and first cold-pressed juice bar. The workshop will focus on Mindful Eating, an area many of us struggle with, especially when we’re busy, tired or stressed.

During these times, it’s easy to grab something from the nearest location or default to a take away meal without considering what is the healthiest and most nutritious option for you. And then when you’re eating, you guzzle it down without stopping to chew or taking the time to really taste and enjoy your meal.

In this evening session, you will learn how to choose and make meals that nourish you and support your energy levels throughout the day. You will also consider how to enjoy your meal more mindfully, which will benefit you physically, mentally and emotionally.

Food will be provided and the session will include a mini cooking lesson by Le Cordon Bleu Trained Chef and owner of Maple & Fitz, Adria Wu, using wholesome and unprocessed ingredients to ensure you come away with the skills to create healthy meals for yourself.

Come and join us!

Date: Thursday 10th March 2016

Time: 6.30-8.30pm

Location: Maple & Fitz, 36A Berners St, W1T 3LY


Mindful Eating

The ONE thing we should be doing to eat healthy

With so many different and conflicting messages around food, diet and nutrition, it’s no wonder that we’re confused about what we should and shouldn’t be eating. We shouldn’t be consuming dairy. We should be drinking organic raw milk. We shouldn’t eat meat. We should be Paleo. We shouldn’t be eating fruit. We should be eating kale and avocado with every meal. We should be adding spirulina to our juices and smoothies. We should be cooking with coconut oil.

It’s a minefield of information and contradictions but you want to be healthier (and maybe lose a bit of weight while you’re at it) so you read up, get inspiration from Instagram and try some things out. You’re inspired by the poster-people of healthy eating and learning so much about the benefits of superfoods and how good they are for you. Then, when even the Mail Online is raving about chia seeds and spirulina, you know you need to add them to your diet.

So you buy some chia seeds and make one of the breakfast recipes and you hate it (you’ve never liked that tapioca / rice pudding texture in food). However, you try something else, and you still hate it but you know it’s good for you so you keep at it. After a few weeks of trying, you finally decide you’re really not into the gloopy, flavoured frogspawn and it now languishes at the back of your cupboard. Every time you see it you feel a little guilty that you’re not being the healthiest you could be and a little part of you feels like you’ve let yourself down. So occasionally you try again but it’s always the same – that cycle of trial, distaste and then the disappointment in yourself. How many of us feel like this? How many of us have felt like this about chia seeds?*

It’s something I’ve heard from a number of clients about various food and drink, and the accompanying sense of failure and disappointment that they haven’t managed to be the healthiest versions of themselves is sad to see. We need to get over the idea that food is a battlefield that we need to conquer. Don’t get me wrong, some things do get better over time and are an acquired taste (remember when you first ate olives or tried wine?). If you’re starting to reduce the amount of fruit in your green juices and getting used to the ‘green’ taste, keep going, you do eventually get used to and enjoy the flavor of a vegetable-based green juice. However, there are times when common sense goes out of the window in the quest to be more healthy and that’s the area we need to look at.

I say this as someone who is so guilty of this approach to healthy eating. Take coconuts for example. I have never ever been a fan. As I child, I avoided Bounties and anything with coconut in it. Thai curries have never really agreed with me, the coconut milk has always left me feeling a little unsettled and borderline nauseous. I hate the smell of coconuts, never liked coconut water and avoid it in beauty products. All of which would indicate that perhaps coconuts aren’t my thing. You would think I’d pay attention to that.

Over the last couple of years, coconuts have been having their moment in the spotlight. They’re the fantastic dairy free alternative, coconut oil is the perfect saturated fat for cooking and coconut water is super hydrating and full of electrolytes. Not to mention its use as a miracle moisturiser / beauty product and star home cleaning product.

So because I avoid dairy because of its effect on my skin, off I trotted to buy some coconut yoghurt as the perfect dairy-free breakfast, dessert or snack option. I tried the natural flavour a few times. It made me feel slightly queasy but I’d load it up with fruit and seeds to mask the coconut-ness. I then discovered vanilla, less intense definitely but I was still getting that sickly coconut feeling. However, I continued, adding it to breakfast muesli, having it as an afternoon snack, never shaking off the uncomfortable feeling, never feeling nourished and satisfied after I’d eaten it, just a bit sick. But it was good for me right? I had to make myself get over it, so I forced myself and continued this for about 3 months, after which I had this ridiculous epiphany of thinking ‘I hate coconuts, why am I wasting my time when it’s making me feel sick and there are a million other great and tasty healthy things that I like that I can be eating?’.

It was such simple realisation, I feel a bit stupid even telling you about it. However, I was so influenced by all the positive media messages on what I should be eating, rather than listening to my body which was giving me quite strong signals about what I shouldn’t be eating.

And that’s exactly it. The ONE thing you should be doing to eat healthy is listen to your body. Really take the time to consider how different food makes you feel. As Dr. David Katz says, “love food that loves you back”. Yes, we can get inspiration and try out new things, but we don’t have to be eating the latest superfoods to be healthy. We don’t need to be forcing ourselves to eat food we don’t like. All we should be doing is eating tasty, real, unadulterated, unprocessed food that nourishes us deeply from within.

Your Mission Starts Here…

* I’m raising my hands to this one, I have never liked that kind of texture. Let’s have a Chia Seed Challenge. How about we sprinkle them over cereal and salads to add a little crunch? Let’s use them up and then make sure to remember that we don’t like them and never buy them again. #chiaseedchallenge – let’s do this!

Why ‘gluten-free’, ‘vegan’, ‘local’ or ‘organic’ does not automatically mean ‘good for you’

A couple of months ago I was in NYC for a conference and I went to the Whole Foods at the bottom of the building for lunch. As I waited in line for a tea, I took a good look at my surroundings. All around me were signs promoting local, vegan and gluten free products – “local pastries”, “vegan cupcakes”, “gluten free cookies”, “organic crisps”. Standing there, taking it all in, I had a realisation about the power of labels and how much of an impact words have on our choices.

Many people shopping in that store would have seen those labels and automatically presumed those products were healthy. In the ever-changing world of nutrition and bombarded by a proliferation of messages, these are the things we’re currently being told are good for you (just as we were educated about ‘low-fat’ or ‘high-fibre’ foods in the past). And yes, organic produce may be higher in nutrients. There are some people who do have a sensitivity to gluten and removing it from their diets has been beneficial to them. For environmental and ethical reasons, buying local produce can be a positive thing. A vegan approach has had health benefits for a number of people.

However, just because a product has one of these labels doesn’t mean it’s nutritious and the reality is, we need to be curious about the food we eat (like animals who naturally sniff food before they consume it). We need to be looking at the what’s actually inside these ‘healthy’ products and we need to question what we are putting inside our bodies.Continue Reading..

Loving Yourself

Valentine’s Day approaches and people are focusing attentions on romantic relationships. They’re celebrating the relationships they’re in, perhaps questioning if they’re in the right relationships or maybe bemoaning the fact that don’t have anyone to share Valentine’s Day with. However, in each of these scenarios, the focus is on the love people have for other people, and while this is important (although the commercialisation of love in this way is something I struggle with but that’s not a discussion for now!), I think it’s an important time to consider the love people have for themselves.

When I was teenager at high school in London, the biggest criticism you could make of someone was that they loved themselves. “Urgh, she’s so bigheaded, she loves herself so much”. It’s that unique British characteristic isn’t it? Playing things down, that self-critical, self-deprecating attitude that isn’t the most positive approach to bring into adulthood.

In health and wellness circles, the idea of self-love is something that’s promoted as essential to a healthy balanced life. However, I do think some people struggle with what that even means (I mean, ‘self-love’ can sound like something else can’t it?!) It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve come to realise what self-love means for me and that it’s something unique to every individual.Continue Reading..

Why Healthy Eating Is Anything But Boring

I’ve been really surprised recently by the levels of criticism and vitriol being experienced by some of the current wave of healthy food advocates such as Deliciously Ella who have been condemned as ‘boring’ for following a gluten-free, vegan way of eating which is free of refined sugars and processed foods. Now, I’m not saying that this specific way of eating is the best approach for everyone because we are all different and bio-individuality means that what enriches one person can be challenging for another. Ella’s approach works for her and she has experienced personal benefits changing her diet in this way.

However, this reaction is indicative of the issues some people face when they want to make the move towards a healthier way of living. Friends and family can be unsupportive as you start to explore different options. You may start to feel like you’re that annoying, difficult person who is asking way too many questions about the menu when you’re out for dinner. You feel like you’re being judged for what’s on your plate, “Oh, no bread? Are you being healthy?” In some cases, people may actively try and persuade you to come off the path you’re following, “Come on, why don’t you just have another glass of wine, it won’t hurt you.” The pressure can make you feel boring and restrictive and having a more nourishing approach to food seems like it’s a negative thing.Continue Reading..

Re-evaluating Resolutions

So you’ve started 2015. You have a list of resolutions. This is the year it’s going to change. You’re on a mission. You’re going to lose those 8lbs you’ve always wanted to shed. You’re going to tone up, get fit and do loads of exercise. And you’re off the booze, dry January here you come. Yes! 2015 is the year it’s all going to change and you’re going to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

You’ve bought the latest diet / health book and you’re buying salads and sushi for lunch. And you’re there with the rest of the January gym bunnies as you wait your turn for the treadmill. You’re making some nice healthy meals at home rather than drinking in the evening (and it’s actually great because the weather is awful and cozying up on the sofa watching Game of Thrones is really appealing).

Throughout January you’re feeling fantastic, you’re losing some weight, you’ve got a bit of a glow and you’re feeling less lethargic. This carries on for the first couple of weeks in February too. But at some point, as always, life just gets in the way. Work is a bit manic so your 3 day per week gym routine goes down to 1 and then a bit more sporadic as you start to try and squeeze it in amongst your other obligations. And you’ve been avoiding carbs so when it’s your friend’s birthday meal, you literally devour the bread basket. Then after a really stressful day, you’re just craving cake (which you’ve been avoiding for weeks) so you pass by the shops on the way home and eat half a Sara Lee while you’re watching House of Cards on Netflix.Continue Reading..

When Life Gets In The Way Of Your Good Intentions

I remember when I first started my nutrition course and I was telling a couple of my friends about my renewed approach to life, that I was focusing on myself, eating more consciously, exercising more and feeling great. One of them asked me “is everything perfect now? Do bad things not happen anymore?” which at the time I thought was an interesting question.  I replied “no, at the end of the day, life is life and stuff is going to happen but it’s about having better tools to deal with them so the overall impact isn’t so negative on your physical wellbeing”. At the time, I was feeling amazing, I had control over my work, was sleeping enough and had the time to do what I really wanted to do (yoga, my course, cook, see friends). So I dispensed these ‘pearls of wisdom’, poured myself another glass of wine and felt good about myself and what I was doing and the fact that I could share it with people I care about.

Maybe I was being a bit smug… everything was going well, I was loving my life and even though I was saying all this like I was a wise old sage, I didn’t think about what it really meant to be on the other side. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reminded of this conversation and the fact that despite best intentions, sometimes you can’t stop life from getting in the way.Continue Reading..

Eating Seasonally – Fun at the Farmers Market

In the last year, I’ve found myself a new weekend hobby – wandering around my local farmers market. When I started taking more of an interest in what I was eating and where it was coming from, I discovered that I was lucky enough to have a farmers market a short walk away from where I live. Since then, I’ve loved going whenever I can.

Initially, the main draw was the idea of being able to buy fresh organic fruit and vegetables nearby. What it soon became though, was a weekly education in appreciating the value in eating seasonally. Nature is amazing in that it provides the right foods for us when we need it, and a farmers market is where this comes to life right in from of your eyes. E.g. in the winter, when it’s cold, there are a proliferation of root vegetables which are perfect ingredients in the warming soups and stews that are ideal for cold weather. Then in summer, when it’s a bit warmer, that’s when the fruit comes out, full of water to refresh and help you cool down. So, what’s on offer at the market changes throughout the year, reflecting what’s in season and meaning you’re kind of forced to prepare food that’s actually giving your body what it needs to cope with the weather. Right now, there’s no fruit, and there hasn’t been for the last month or so, and the stalls are filled with squashes, parsnips, carrots, so many different varieties of potato, turnips and greens. But with the coming of spring, that’s soon to change.Continue Reading..

Popcorn for Dinner…

It was such a regular dish for me, it became a running joke among my friends (that, and the fact I never had any food in the house). It wasn’t because I was trying to lose weight though, it’s just that was my life. Busy and stressed, working long hours, no time, energy or inclination to make a proper meal.

That dinner was my comfort food.  Those addictive little salty crackly texture explosions. The perfect quick fix for collapsing in front of the tv, mindlessly watching whatever was on and recuperating. Trying to get over whatever challenges a day (and sometimes part of the night) at the office had thrown at me. Or the perfect accompaniment to doing more work once I got home. Eating with one hand, typing with the other. You didn’t even need cutlery.

And it was kind of like cooking… I mean I made it in a saucepan. And I made it so well I called it one of my specialist skills. I had that combination of hot oil, bit of air, regular shaking, down.Continue Reading..

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