Sunday, 14 December 2014

Traveling Healthy Living Style: Top tips for flying the healthy way...

Ho, Ho, Ho, holiday season is nigh, and for a lot of us it means becoming reacquainted with a giant, aluminium flying can for either few hours or what feels like an eternal hell that is the long haul flight. 
I'm literally a week out from starting my own holiday journey, which I like to call the mother of all long hauls: the London to Sydney. It's a flight I’ve done on and off over twenty years (Yes, before they had personal TVs in front of your face. Oh, it was tough). Over that time I have come up with my own tried and tested formula which helps me emerge from said plane feeling less like a dribbling zombie desiring fast food and more like a human ready to holiday it out. So here are my top tips for flying the healthy way: 
Order Ahead: Make sure you contact your airline in advance to choose your meal. There is nothing more annoying that having to stick with the last chicken meal when you actually haven’t eaten meat in years. It should be old news that you can get a huge variety; vegan, veggie, raw. Take your pick and hope for the best. And on the subject of eating, eat light meals in the days leading up to your flight. That way you won’t feel like you’re attempting to digest a lead balloon while sitting on your backside for what can feel like an age. 
Pick your seat prior: This isn’t being control freaky, this is you picking the seat you know that you want. Personally, I go for the aisle seat because it means that I have the freedom to get up and move whenever I want. For others, they like the window seat for the view and the argument that there are less germs (Thanks for the extra paranoia, internet). Make sure you check up on your seat the day before you fly because you could get lucky and change to a seat which neighbours unoccupied ones so you can make your own insta-bed! Who needs First Class?

Be rested: One year I decided to stay up all night before my flight to Australia thinking I’d drop off the moment I found my plane seat. Incorrect. I was irritable, my mind was cloudy and I ended up getting sick a few days after I arrived. Try be as rested as possible before you fly because chances are the Z’s you get on your flight aren’t going to be capital. 
BYO: Food, that is. I'm talking, nuts, oat cakes, dried fruit, protein bars, more oat cakes. Do not depend on your airport to supply you with healthy food. In my experience, there isn’t a lot of choice and you end up panic buying crap that won't help you feel good. I'm still waiting to spot a coconut water past security, but a girl can dream.   
Water: Of course I had to get this in here. Remember that if you do bring a bottle of water with you to the airport it will be taken off you at security. So, it’s best to prepare to buy another once you’re through to duty free. If you can find some coconut water after security then go for it! When on the flight, I recommend getting friendly with the airline hostesses. And I don’t mean swapping life stories, I mean getting up to visit them in their galley to score more water. You may even make friends out of them and get some free perks. 
Beautify: Being locked in an air conditioned tin will play havoc on your skin. In fact, you may emerge looking like the lizard queen. To combat this, I will quite happily slap on an invisible overnight mask (I swear by Origins Drink up Intensive Mask) after take off as well as reapply hand cream and lip balm whenever I feel like it. It gives me something to do, and it really does make a difference to your skin when you’re back on land. So save up those free samples and prepare to self-soothe on your next flight. 
Move: It is so important to keep the blood flowing while you’re sitting down for long periods of time. Plan to take a walk every thirty minutes, stretch and get on with some chair yoga because, let's face it, what else is there to do?
Be Kind: To combat the flying anxieties, have a playlist at hand that you’ve designed specifically to relax to. Make sure you use it back home in the weeks before you fly so that you’re body learns that those tracks mean chill out time. Flying is also a perfect place to try some mindfulness meditation. No one will even know you’re getting your zen on while flying at 30,000 feet. While your at it, bring out some aromatherapy action. Thisworks have a great In Transit Muscle Therapy roll on, which I've used and loved for the past year when I've travelled. Its relaxing Marjoram, Black Pepper and Clove scent beats the classic 'Eau de plane'.
Get the gear: As well as the products listed above my in-flight survival kit also includes: a neck pillow, my own headphones, eye drops, ear plugs, eye mask, anti-DVT socks, a kindle loaded with every book I've ever had an interest in as well as an iPad loaded with my favourite TV shows. This bit is all about the comfort and are noticeably in the category of: 'Pretend I’m anywhere but here'. Something that I think is paramount for ones wellbeing when going the long haul. 
Lastly, enjoy it! Yes, it can be tough, but what a privilege to be able to travel the world. Take on the challenge and remember to always look for the unexpected and the awesome. 


Sunday, 23 November 2014

Review: The Vitamix Aspire, the must have gadget for Healthy Cooks

The reason why my first review for anything on this blog is for the Vitamix Aspire is because it has literally changed the way I cook and eat. Without it I wouldn't get to try out all the amazing recipes I find on the internets or make a soup in under ten minutes. It’s one of the things I would grab in a fire, replace without question and possibly kiss goodnight.

The Boss
Recently I’ve had a lot of comments on my Instagram about the food that I showcase. This happens particularly with the desserts, of which there are many, because I am on a forever quest to find the perfect healthy dessert for me. In fact, dessert pictures are the ones the get the most attention on IG full stop. Sure, my photography skills are pretty fly, but it clearly has a lot to do with the recipes that I find. When my friends have asked me for these recipes because they're itching to try them at home, I gladly hand them over with a word of caution. This caution comes from my own experience of wasting hours as well as expensive ingredients when I've used equipment that just wasn't up to the task. You see, most of the healthy dessert recipes that I find require the kind of work that only my most favourite kitchen instrument can do. So although I end up sounding like I'm working on commission for Vitamix (I should be so lucky), I advise them to invest in one because I know that, like me, they won't regret it if they do.  

Make no mistake, friends, this isn’t the your run of the mill kitchen purchase. Getting a Vitamix is a wise investment just like buying Mayfair in Monopoly is as long as you’ve got Park Lane. Hold your breath, my Vitamix Aspire was a tidy £400. Again, I point to my cheapo-ness that I referred to in my last post so believe me when I say that purchasing my Vitamix was not a decision that I made without a lot of debate and research. I’m not in a position to drop a couple of hundred quid willy nilly (Probably the most British sentence I’ve ever written) so this bitch had to be worth it. 

But, oh my, it so is. 

At the moment, I’m using my Vitamix about four times a week at least. In the summer, when I have smoothies for breakfast, I use it every day. I’ve made smoothies, ice cream, soups, desserts, nut butters, sauces, and even used it to chop up veg when I can’t be bothered to get the knife and cutting board out (This is really handy when I’m in a rush but still want a juice). I feel like a gangster in the kitchen when I make quick word of almonds for my almond butter or frozen bananas for some quick healthy ice cream. If I was on a desert island experiencing mirages, mine would include a Vitamix along with Ryan Gosling and some coconut oil (I’m sure you’ll appreciate all of the above have multi uses for I am a resourceful girl). 

One of the tasty treats make with the help of my Vitamix
I have the wet container, which was the one that it came. I’ve been meaning to get the dry container but after a year of learning how to get the most out of it, I haven’t seen the need. Yes, I admit that when it first graced my kitchen side with its precence I went straight into processing dry datesand it cut out. After freaking out and having a mini diva strop in the kitchen, I swore that I’d take it back to the store and never again. That is until I actually read the manual and realised that cutting out is all part of the machines design to prevent the motor from blowing up. It’s the machines way of saying: “Back off, bitch!”. Important lesson here: the Vitamix Aspire is not an invincible piece of equipment and you do need to take your time when using it (The same applies to making sure the lids on properly when you start it. Made that mistake once...never again, I tell you!). My Vitamix and I get on just fine now. It hasn’t cut out for ages because I now soak my dates like I probably should do anyway considering I am still using the ‘wet’ container to this day.

If it died tomorrow there is no way I would get a cheaper alternative. Any time I cook at someone else's and use their blender, the quality just isn’t the same. When I return home and use my machine I remember just why I have one. Trust me, I would LOVE to find a cheaper version, but so far no such luck. If you know different, do share. 

It's the bees knees, the dogs bollocks and all that there is in between. All there is left to say is that so far I’m addicted. Vitamix, you complete me. 

x KB

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Fighting colds, the flu and any other winter related snotfest the natural way.

With a heavy weekend behind me, I feel like my body is currently treading on that thin line between feeling a bit run down and moving onto full blown snotty sickness. Tis’ the season to stock up on tissues after all, right? Sometimes we get sick and just have to deal with it. Since I’ve been trying to live the healthy lifestyle and be more mindful of what I put in my body, I’ve looked to natural remedies instead of heading straight to the over the counter concoctions to combat the sniffles and help me recover faster. 

Whenever I got a cold when I was young I would shudder in my boots and well as blow my nose because it meant only one thing: Dad was going to make his all natural anti-cold brew. He swore it would be the only thing that would help me feel like a person again. It was part ginger, part lemon, part garlic all yucky, throat burning, hell. But, it worked. I’m not surprised considering that each of those ingredients is a killer for battling the common cold:
Picked this zesty baby up from the FARMacy

Ginger:  Prevents and treats colds, sore throats and inflammation of your mucus membranes. It’s claimed that ginger reduces pain and fever as well as a host of other goodies that you can find here

Garlic: A powerhouse natural antibiotic that is excellent for fighting colds, coughs and the flu as well as boosting your immunity plus so much more. And it scared vampires off...of course!

Lemon: I drink warm water with lemon every morning to kick-start my digestion (And lucky me, I’ve trained my partner to make it for me every morning). Lemons are famously high in vitamin C and great for detox so another natural anti-cold powerhouse. Their health benefit list is crazy amazing.

I guess that ‘Drink from Hell’ was my first lesson in the ‘power’ of real food. No chemicals needed, and for me I feel just that bit better knowing that. 

Other natural remedies I’ve used and will use again when snotty include:

Gargle that salt- Sore throats are a nightmare and one of my real pet peeves. I find that gargling with warm water which has about a teaspoon of dissolved salt in it a few times a day alleviates that horrid feeling like magic. According to the power of google, the salt cuts the mucus and reduces the inflammation, so lessoning that nasty knife swallowing feeling. Just don’t swallow the salt water- something I learnt from an 80s episode of Home and Away- if you do that you may upchuck and that isn’t gonna help that throat. 

Drink up- One word: Hydration. If you’re fighting illnesses you need to keep your fluids up. Whether it’s hot water with lemon and honey, herbal teas, fresh juice or just a simple, beautiful glass of water.  

Gentle Yoga- Being inactive makes me feel poo. But when I’m sick, I know I that trying to beat my squat record when I can’t breathe through either nostril isn’t going to make me feel better. Instead, I take it slow with some light Yoga. Turn to YouTubes Yoga with Adriene, who has a great sequence to do when you’re sick. After completing this short video, I actually felt a hell of a lot better than I would have done sinking into my couch, covered in tissues watching another Vampire Diaries episode. 

Get some rest, idiot. I confess, I’m a bit of a night owl who is sometimes, maybe all the time, checking her phone, playing words with friends or watching a YouTube video. This doesn’t make early nights happen. And we know we need rest when our body is fighting a nasty. So be strong, switched off whatever electronic equipment you’ve got around you and put yourself to bed to catch those Z’s. 

Prevention: Oops, too late? The old saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ is a saying for a reason. Prepare your body for the winter months and you might get lucky and not have to splurge on the kleenex. I am a big user of echinacea, which has been reported to prevent colds as much as it’s been reported not to do a thing. Maybe it’s a placebo affect, but for me when the winter comes in I start adding it to my juice just out of habit. Practical wise, I will be more cautious washing my hands around my colleagues who bring their colds to the office (Cheers) as well as avoid smooching them at the Christmas party (Obvy). And another obvious one: stick to eating foods which are real and not a processed sugar fest that's only going to feed a virus. 

Enough about my experiences, what natural remedies sort you out a treat when you've got the sniffles? 

Have a lovely week,

x KB
Sunday, 2 November 2014

Staying Active in the Winter: AKA no WinterFAIL for you, my friend.

If you’re reading this in the UK, I’m sure that you are highly aware of the seasonal change thanks to the clocks going back last week (If not, consider this an education as to why you kept being so early for everything). Yes, you gained a new hour in bed in the morning but that excitement may have wore off that first Monday evening as you travelled back from work in the dark. You know, just the same darkness you left your home in hours earlier. Our days are now shorter and it’s getting colder, leaving me to conclude that mother nature doesn’t give a crap about your or my summer fitness routine. It's all change here. 
Embracing the crap out of Winter (Thermals not visible)

So the question is: how in the hell are we supposed to keep up with this healthy living, active thing when our couches and beds have now morphed into alluring cocoons ready to pad our butts right through into spring? After a bit of research, talking to myself in the car and chatting with my mates, I give you my top ways to keep active when it’s so cold outside, your nipples might actually fall off...

Think differently: Yes, it’s cold, dark and probably raining. We can either get really pissed off about it and resign ourselves to couch duty until the clocks change back, or use it to motivate us to try something new. The cold, hard fact here is that exercise is good for our mental health and wellbeing. You’ve heard the reports, you’ve felt the benefits yourself. You know, even if it’s really deep down, it’s not a load of bollocks. So with this in our heads, we know that continuing with keeping active will help us to have a happier, more positive outlook regardless of the weather that lies outside our door. Revisit your goals and inspiration so you can embrace the new season with the same kind of tenacity that you found over the summer. 

Spend some quality time with your TV: Running is my thing. Running in the dark by myself, however, isn’t. Winter is a great time to pull out those dusty fitness DVDs or turn to the numerous YouTube fitness gurus. There’s a massive variety: Yoga, Pilates, HIIT, ballet, dance- you name it, it’s available whenever the time is best for you. It depends on how much room you have, your lifestyle and how many kids will be watching you trying to stand on your head at the time. And the added bonus of having someone yell at you to move from your TV is that you can chose to partake at a time that suits you.  

Become a Gym Bunny: If you’re really against the feeling of an ice block being pressed against your face as you go outside for your endorphin dose. Or you don’t have enough room in your humble abode to end your day to carry out a billions star jumps, then winter is the perfect time to nose about your local gym. Yes, I’m not denying that they can initially be scary places. But I will say to you what my Super Gym Bunny friend said to me: check your ego. The majority of people are there for themselves and are not paying attention to how long you’ve been on the running machine or how many reps you’ve done. Go there for you; they are. Stop looking for excuses and instead say ‘yes’ to new experiences, new social connections and a new shape of ass for the spring. 

Get over it and get outside: It’s really easy to get stuck indoors in the darker months. Just like it’s easy to forget what you look like without clothes on when you’re spending most cold nights in a onesie (No shame). You go from home to car to work to car to home again quickly forgetting what the outside world actually looks like. We don’t want this, so we need to change up our routines. Run on weekends if you can’t get home for the light. Play a winter sport if you think you look good in puffy pants. And if your looking for something that’s less high impact, have you thought about walking outdoors? It’s free, you don’t need any equipment and it’s available to almost everyone. Set yourself a goal to get outside every day and use that time to leave your phone at home, take stock of the subtle seasonal changes around you and be in the moment. Even better if you have a willing partner or children to come with you. Use that time to be together without iPhones, TVs or the to do list. Make it your time to connect and improve yours and your families wellbeing. Getting matching wellies is optional but think of the instagram possibilities! 

Do it to warm up: Let us not forget that increasing your heart rate will warm you up. Those who know me well are more than aware of my penny saving antics in my day to day life. A good friend of mine was in hysterics when I told her last year that I refused to put my heating on before December (A challenge that I failed in). Yes, when I got home sometimes I felt like staying outside was the more temperate option, but some of the positives of being such a cheapo was that being cold motivated me to move my body. Although I don’t recommend that you lot challenge yourself like I did with my heating, I do want to point out that on those evenings or mornings when you say to yourself “Bah heck, it’s bloody cold” remember that going out for a 20 min run, or doing a 20 minute HIIT routine will warm you up better than a hundred cuddling, fluffy, heated teddybears. 

We can do this, people. We can see this winter through and still keep active. It can be done, it’s only you who can make it happen. Let’s stick with each other through this!

x KB

Friday, 24 October 2014

Cookbooks for Healthy Tables

My former cooking self loved to cook with double cream. At the time I was a fresh cook; new to the oven, so to speak. So I was more into the fact that I could cook something beyond beans on toast rather than focusing on cooking healthily. But after my healthy living revelation I did some research into what cook books would help me in stepping away from the cream and step towards the coconut oil.
I stopped eating meat about two years ago. My reasons were focused more on what felt right to me at the time. I realized that I didn’t crave meat so much as I was used to eating it. All my life, it was meat as the main event of the dish. I didn’t know any differently or that my plate could be any different. Meat was easy to say goodbye to, but fish was a different story. So my diet went from eating anything to pescetarian. 
My All-Star Cookbooks
On top of this, after reading up on what our modern diet does to our bodies (More recs that I will get to in the future), I decided to ditch a lot of dairy and processed sugar. Note my careful wording of ‘ditch a lot’. I haven’t managed to eradicate sugar and dairy from my diet completely, but Rome wasn’t built in a day like my newly planted bulbs won’t show me any signs of life until next spring. It’s a goal I’m looking forward to achieving it in the future. 

So, my mind was made up, I just needed a plan. And since I have no creative flair in the kitchen, I needed a guide. A Bible of sorts to steer my eating habits into a new direction. Walk into your local bookshop and there will be a hell of a lot of cookbooks filled with some annoyingly familiar faces to brand new ones. Every diet has its own shelf in the book world- you eat it, they will write it and it’s difficult to just pick and go. I felt overwhelmed by the choice but I was lucky in finding my first and favourite cook book of all time:

River Cottage Veg Everyday- This is my ‘go to’ book because it was the first one that I bought that showed me that I could have tasty, fulfilling and interesting food that was plant based. My big concern when giving up meat was: what the hell am I supposed to eat instead? Steamed broccoli and a salad for all eternity? No sir, Hugh Fernley-Whittingstallposh has got the recipes for you to make sure you’re eating food that’s good for you and way beyond beans on toast. Yes, he doesn’t mention coconut oil once, but like all recipes, you have to tweak them here and there to suit your own cooking ethos. Favourite recipes from the book include the Oven Roasted Ratatouille: so simple, so easy, so tasty. Anything that involved me bunging veg in the oven when I get home and leaving it for a few hours is a winner for me. His Pinto Bean Chilli is one that I’ll pull out when I’ve got visitors because it’s easy but also assaults the tastebuds in a very good way. Overall, I love it because it’s a vegetarian cookbook without a mention of tofu or quorn. Thank you, Mr Fearnley-Whittingstall, you rock. 

Gluten Free, Grain Free: Tania Hubbard- I love to flirt with the idea of eating gluten free and this book gives me a free pass. I found it tucked away in my families cookbook collection and after a brief flick through, it went straight on my Christmas list.
And I’m glad it did, because aside from it being an interesting read as she goes into why she eats grain free as well as her views on sugar, it introduced me to THE BREAD. Chia Seed and Almond Meal bread, to be specific. It doesn't involve kneading, fancy machines or a lot of effort but it does involve tasty, healthy bread.  Now this little gem, originally published in a Aussie town called Nambour, is hard to find in the UK. However, some of the recipes from the book are available on Hubbards website so I thoroughly recommend checking it out. Other recipes that I adore from the book include her Lemon biscuits- I challenge you not to eat more than your fair share. This book is well used and one that I will always refer back to. 
Honourable mention has to go to the internet: it really has everything. After biting off more than I could chew (ahem) with online recipes, I turned to Pinterest to get smart about keeping them in one place. It’s my own little online recipe folder, which I can use and add to any time anywhere. Spending some time there can introduce you to some absolute winners. God bless the internet indeed.
I adore cooking; it’s part of my evening routine and it keeps me happy because there’s nothing quite like dancing around your kitchen like an idiot while stirring a pot full of fresh ingredients. I challenge myself to make something new at least once a fortnight so my recipe collection is slowly building. It’s important to me to enjoy what I eat, and like Alicia Silverstone mentions in her book, The Kind Diet (Another honorable mention), every meal has the potential to be the best one ever. Something that I hold to in my continuous quest in finding amazing, healthy recipes. 

x KB

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Holy Trinity of getting your change on…... AKA- the films that motivated me to take better care of myself

Let it be known that I grew up with healthy parents. Oh yes, I remember whining at them at the age of about 9 saying I was hungry and being told to have a handful of almonds. I, of course being the precocious little nine year old that I was, turned my nose up at that kind of suggestion. No, clearly hungry filler foods meant biscuits, crisps and sugary cereals. You know, all the stuff that my friends had at their house. Or better yet, the type of stuff my grandparents used to let me eat with free rein (Hundreds and thousands on white bread with butter…just think about that for a moment and Insta the face you pull). 

When I flew the coop, I instantly developed the classic University bloat. This Uni-Bloat is primarily caused by multiple jacket potato and cheese dinners, 'Pound a pint' events at your Student Union and the fact that one doesn't actually see a piece of fruit for their three year university experience. When I visited my family in Australia after my first year, they politely suggested a few changes to my diet. Things like avoiding white bread, cutting my drinking down, 'When was the last time you ate fruit?' and 'Oh my god, why are you so pale?' (This is a usual Aussie comment, tbh). I turned my nose up at their concern, taking it to heart before I took it to my brain. Having my defences up, like a lot of eighteen year olds would, I put it down to thinking they were health nutters who were just sticking their nose into my business. 

Fast forward into adulthood and I decided that I needed to change simply because I didn’t feel good. So I did the diets. I swore off chocolate for the longest of afternoons. I dabbled in yoga. I walked everywhere (Easy to do when you don't have a car or money for cabs…). But I wasn’t feeling or looking any different (Of course vanity was in there- what's wrong with a little vanity?!). What I needed to change was my diet, my routine and my mentality. I knew this, but nothing stuck. I needed a massive kick up the arse to make the change. 

I remember reading that a lot of people went vegetarian after watching the film 'Babe' (That'll do, Pig). I seem to remember experiencing the same phenomenon as a kid after watching 'The Little Mermaid' when I stopped eating fish for about a week (The kitchen scene…for real). But my real kick up the arse didn't actually come until two years ago when I came across the following frankly life changing films...

Hungry for Change also goes into the power of positive affirmations-
so simple, but so awesome!
1- Hungry for Change (2012). My older sister, a glowing Sydney-ite who lives the life, sat me down and made me watch this. Jaw. Floor. Veil. Lifted. It all became clear; why the hell hadn’t I thought of all this before? I'll confess that it is my bible doco. It instantly made sense to me, so it’s the one that I will naturally turn to first. If you look past the dramatic Hollywoodisms in the trailer (THIS SUMMER....SUGAR IS GOING TO F*** YOU UP) then it holds a lot of really good learning points to ponder about our relationship with food. The conclusions are alarming. But, in my opinion, it presents truths that were powerful enough for me to take note of. It was literally like a foot came out of that screen and roundhouse kicked me in the face.  

2-  Sugar: The Bitter Truth This is a 90 minute lecture that was put up on YouTube in July 2009 causing a huge stir across the interwebs. It's led by a guy called Robert H. Lustig who is an American paediatric endocrinologist (For those of you, like me, who glazed over that bit- is means that his area of expertise is human metabolism). The lecture highlights how sugar is a toxin and is the reason for the global obesity epidemic. He doesn’t scare you with talk of calories, instead he talks about the fact that he believes sugar to be a poison that he identifies as 'evil'.  He’s passionate, he’s a little cocky but, trust me, it's another one that packs a punch and is definitely one to watch. 

3- 101 reasons to go Vegan Okay, I only made it halfway through this and I'm also not vegan (I flirt, but more on that in later posts). But, this doco made me question again what I was putting into my body. In fact, since watching it I've been pescatarian (So I still eat fish, eggs, cheese, honey…they didn't get me there but maybe I need to watch the whole thing…). Warning: it is heavy stuff. It is graphic. Laugh at me all you want, but it made me cry. It may not have put me off eggs, but it made me reflect on where the meat I was consuming came from (Leather goods included here). So, if you’re looking to step away from eating animal related food products this is your poison. 

So there you have it: my Holy Trinity of motivational, kick up arse, life changing for the better films. I'd highly recommend viewing them if you're looking for reasons to make changes to your lifestyle. Let me know what you think of them. And if you have others to recommend back, please do!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Exercising: the necessary pain in the ass (Sometimes quite literally)

Right, take a deep breath, because I'm going to talk about exercise. Don't' worry, I'm not going to go on about how it's good for you. You know that. I knew it for years and it didn't mean squat to me, nor make me do squats for the ‘lolz’. Exercise and I could never maintain a healthy, long term relationship. 

Exercise in Sydney go together like peas and carrots. Or Avocado and balsamic vinegar; it just happens. It makes sense. Walk along the Bondi promenade in the morning and you will see surfers, dog walkers, swimmers, photographers and joggers running the frankly intimidating Bondi to Bronte route along the coast. They all know that the day starts when the sun comes up, not just when your alarm goes off. It’s part of their lifestyle, and I wanted to start injecting that kind of enthusiasm with regards to exercise in my life in the UK. 

Autumnal East Anglia on this afternoons jog 
It was slow. Hell, sometimes it still is. And it all started with the simple walk. 

Realising that I wasn’t taking advantage of the pretty, quaint English fields I live near I pushed myself to go for a 30 min walk at least twice a week. Then I moved to power walking...but not with any fancy form. Actually, I call it ‘power walking’ to sound smart, but really it was just walking with slight speed. 

Once I felt I mastered the walk (laugh all you want) I started flirting with a few 30 second sprints all RIGOROUSLY timed so I didn’t go over. And then I would DIE. I became an out of breath, snotty mess with a really appealing copper taste in the back of my throat convinced that I’d broken something internally. And boy, isn’t it just great when that bit happens just as a certified jogger prances perfectly past you, not sweating but glowing with rose smelling perspiration? Yeah, that happened a lot. 

When I moved into a flat that had a gym, I felt I had no excuses. I was also newly single and ass know no inspiration like newly found singledom. So one evening after work, after I did my semi sweaty run, I gave the gym a go. It took me a lot of sweaty months through winter to finally reach ten minutes of running. Sure, that’s laughable to a seasoned runner, but to me it was amazing. I'd never done it before and I felt incredible. And I still do every time I go outside for a run and can now jog up the hills I used to grudgingly crawl up.

We’re so used to instant everything. If you want something, the chances are you can buy it from your phone and get it delivered the next day with bells on. Exercise doesn’t work like that. It’s a long, sometimes boring and painful process with lot of moments of feeling like a failure. But, let me tell you, the gratification is better than anything you can buy. That and the fact that there is always the next goal to achieve. It’s a continuous process. 
Dangerous. Obviously. 

At the moment I work out four times a week for about 45 minutes. I do a mix of jogging, Pilates, yoga, HIIT, all depending on what I feel like I need- and want- to do. I’m not super fit, I’ve still got a lot of goals to reach, but I think that’s what keeps me going. 

Do I feel better? Yes. Absolutely. I may not be jogging down Bondi every morning but by hell I feel good about what I can do. When I don't exercise, I get cranky and generally feel a bit poo. And those moments when you beat your records; wall sits, runs, reps; when you beat your personal best you get all slow-motion-movie-walk-with-an-explosion-behind-you afterwards. It’s the best feeling. Yes, I sound like a Nike add. But trust me when I say it's life changing for the better and it’s a necessity to positive wellbeing.

Getting going tips: 
  • Don’t make any choices about whether you’re going to work out until you’ve got your work out gear on. THEN make the choice. Driving home and playing the "Will I, won’t I" game will probably result in you sitting on the couch with a cuppa. 
  • Get something that will track what you do: a pedometer, a phone app or you’re own internal sat nav. Track that progress and celebrate that extra rep or centimetre. 
  • Don’t compete with everyone else. I thought I was the doggies running-nuts until I went for a run with a great friend of mine who literally ran circles around me. It brought me back down to realising that it really doesn’t matter. Everyone has a different fitness level. And at the end of the day, your competition is only with yourself.
So tell me, how do you motivate yourself to keep active?

x KB
Thursday, 2 October 2014

We've all got to start somewhere...

The reason behind this whole blog thing was down to a few things...

One: I’m a writer, but I never seem to write enough. 

Two: I have this inexplicable thirst to talk about things I’m into which is never quenched. 

And lastly: Why the hell not. 

The ‘Why the hell not’ aspect is the biggest point. Maybe even words to live by. 

Why the hell not make a positive change to your eating habits? Your lifestyle? Your ways of thinking? 

Events in my life made me review how I was living; my attitude, what I was putting in my body and my mind. It was time to change. And it was time to do something productive....and so cue blog.

I’m Australian but have been living in the UK for the bigger portion of my life. So some days when I’m enjoying fine tea, perfect autumn weather and everything that London has to offer I feel delightfully British. But other times when I’m craving the beach, the heat of the southern sun and ripe avocados, I’m Aussie through and through. 

Now, in Australia, you can’t walk down the street without running into a juice bar and getting smacked in the face with a beautifully ripe avocado. Despite being in the top five obese countries in the world, whenever I’m visiting I get the vibe that a lot of Australia is very dedicated to a healthy lifestyle. Whenever I’m there I am in heaven with raw food restaurants, beautiful organic produce, juice bars and avocado on everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. Even at McDonalds (And here is the only time I will mention the M D wordprobably). I leave feeling rested, rejuvenated and perfectly positive. 

But then I get back to the UK. The UK, or especially East Anglia where I live, doesn’t play ball when it comes to healthy living. Juice bars? Meh. Raw food? Not outside of London, bub. A decent vegetarian menu that doesn't involve some kind of risotto or pasta dish? You must be joking. So I find it hard to stick in that Sydney state of mind where I want to stay happy and healthy giving the best to my body and mind. 

Motivation. This blog is going to motivate me to sticking with healthy was of living, eating and being. If it motivates other people, well, that would be amazing. Plus I have the belief that the more we connect, the better the journey will be.   

The obligatory disclaimer: I’m not a personal trainer, I’m not a nutritionist or dietitian, I’m not a cook, I’m not any kind of health professional. I am, however, a wannabe pseudo-hippy living in a country that denies me good coconut water and a bloody ripe avocado. And this space, dear internet friend, is where I will pour out my soul/musings/adventures in trying to live with that Aussie state of mind while enjoying all that East Anglia has to offer. 

x KB


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