Monday, 16 October 2017

The Power of Smoothies

How often do we hear about the benefits of eating more fruit and veg? And do we do it? Probably not, most of the time. Of course, we mean to.  But life is a juggle and we often don't make time for the things we know are good for us.

This week on the blog, Zakia helps us to make getting healthier both easy and delicious.

Fruits and vegetables are essential to our well-being, especially if you are pregnant or have recently had a baby or are breastfeeding. Mothers really need to replenish their stores of nutrients as growing a whole little human being and nourshing them takes a significant amount from you.  One of the easiest ways to increase your daily consumption of fruit and veg is to make your own smoothies. And this can also be really great for the rest of the family too.  

How to make smoothies?

You don’t need any fancy equipment, all you need is a hand blender or standard blender.  If you have anything fancier, that's great. But it's not essential.  

You will also need a selection of fruit and veg that you can easily blend. These can be fresh or frozen.  Use good quality ingredients, including seasonal and/or organic if possible.  Consuming fruit and veg in a liquidised form means most of the nutrients are absorbed directly into your blood stream.  So the better-quality stuff you use, the more you are maximising the nutrients you are consuming with each smoothy.

I would avoid putting more than 5 different fruits or vegetables in one smoothie because we don’t want the body to have too many different things to process at once. Simply put your selection of fruits and vegetables in the blender, add a bit of water or almond milk and whizz it in the blender.

When to consume them?

To get the greatest benefits from your smoothies, avoid eating solid food an hour before and after having your smoothie. This is to allow the body to absorb all the vitamins and minerals.

You can make batches and freeze smoothies too.  So when you are busy you can easily defrost and have a quick daily dose of vitamins and minerals when you are on the go. 

If you find some greens too bitter, add an extra banana or mango. For mamas that are breastfeeding, this is a wonderful way for baby to get all the goodness directly. And, don’t forget, Vitamin K is present in most leafy green vegetables.

Some Yummy Recipes

Super green: 3 small bananas, 2 handfuls of spinach leaves, 1 apple and water

Raspberry dream: 2 pears, raspberries, 4 or 5 leaves of kale and water

Kiwi delight: 4 very ripe kiwis, 1 banana, 3 stalks of celery and water 

Stay healthy, stay happy!

Zakia Mance, Naturopath and Hypnobirthing Practitioner

Monday, 9 October 2017

Aqua Fitness for Pregnancy

We all know that keeping fit during pregnacy can be really beneficial.  So, today on the blog, Mara, our resident fitness guru, shares with us the benefits of aqua fitness for pregnant women.

Yesterday, I was teaching my regular aqua fitness class at the local leisure centre and I was delighted to see one my regular ladies who is pregnant.  She has been coming to my class for a few months now, and she really enjoys and understands the benefits of water fitness. The following are the many benefits that aqua fitness can provide:

  • Being in the water can be fun.  Having a good splash around can reduce stress and tension and offer therapeutic benefits. Plus water fitness can increase one of your most beneficial hormones during pregnancy, your endorphins;
  • When you are in water, your body is buoyant reducing pressure on the joints, legs and back. So, water fitness can reduce aches and pains, and therefore help you feel more comfortable;
  • You can enjoy a fat-burning, endurance-building workout without the impact of bouncing up and down on the ground or gym machines;
  • Water is denser than air, so requires increased muscular effort to move. So, you get an even better work out;
  • Thanks to the hydrostatic pressure, water exercise can help reduce swelling in the limbs;
  • Water fitness is also the perfect for those who are introducing fitness into their lifestyle during their pregnancy.  It is a gentle, yet highly-beneficial form of exercise; and
  • It is excellent for muscle toning, and for the cardio-vascular system.

The multiple benefits of water fitness means that is it amongst the best forms of exercise for pregnant women.  And, as long as you're having a healthy, low-risk pregnancy, you can keep being active in the water all the way to the end the pregnancy.

As with all exercise and fitness activites, always consult your midwife or GP before you start.  And, remember, that you still sweat in the water - even you do not feel it - so make sure you have plenty of water before, during and after the exercise. Plus, you can treat yourself at the the end of your workout to a bit of gentle relaxing time in the water. I guarantee you it will feel wonderful.

See you in the big blue!

With love
Mara x

Aqua Natal Teacher, Fitness Instructor, Hypnobirthing Practitioner 

'Mara is absolutely the best!  I am so excited for our birthing experience! I am amazed and delighted at how confident I feel.'