I’ll be honest, I’m pretty sick to death of this cold weather. I am not a winter person. It makes me miserable. I get cabin fever stuck indoors and crave being outdoors. But I can’t go outdoors as I really detest the cold. It makes me sniff instantly and my hands sting and dry up. I miss long summer walks and venturing up picturesque hills. At this point in the year the winter seems far too long and the countdown to summer begins. One thing that does get me through the winter and cheer me up is staying active, even if it has to be indoors.
Luckily there are lots of indoor activities to keep the whole family fit and healthy during the winter months, as well as have a lot of fun! Here are four great indoor activities you should try out with the kids too:
One thing I’m yet to try is an indoor ski slope. They look like the perfect place for the family to learn to ski or snowboard and also to have a little fun at the same time – have you heard of tubing? It’s basically where you slide down the slope in a giant inflatable ‘doughnut’ ring. Not exactly exercise, but it sounds exhilarating! Some indoor slopes even have snow parks with slides made out of ice. If you’ve never skied before then see if your local centre offers taster lessons for beginners.
Some of our friends have been attending a climbing centre with their three year old son and he absolutely loves it. It’s another great indoor activity for all ages. I climbed a few times as an older child and remember really enjoying myself. Not only does climbing improve your agility, strength and fitness levels, but it also improves coordination giving your mind a workout too!
Swimming is one of our easy go-to keep fit as a family activities and we usually visit a pool on a weekly basis. With two kids in tow, me and my husband can take it in turns to watch them whilst the other gets a couple of laps in. Whilst playing with the kids we tread the water or cycle our legs. Just keep moving in the water and the resistance of the water will help you exercise. To make it fun for the kids take floats and pool toys to play games with.
That’s right, it’s not just for kids! Trampolining has a whole load of benefits for the body. It is great exercise! Trampoline parks seem to be on the rise so I’m sure you can find an indoor park local to you that the whole family can enjoy. Ours even has dedicated toddler sessions so all ages can experience the fun.
Hopefully this will inspire you to find a local indoor activity centre this winter and have some keep-fit fun!
The benefits of Hemp Seeds and Camu Camu (plus a £5 Nutriseed discount code for you)
It’s been such a long time since I posted about the healthy things I’ve been trying and eating. I’m a health freak and love trying new superfoods as well as researching such topics every single day. Back in 2015/2016 I was writing a lot on my blog about the things I was trying and their incredible benefits. I haven’t stopped trying them at all. In fact, I’ve got more obsessed!
This year, 2017, I’ve been refined sugar free all year. I’ve had a couple of slip ups. I do treat myself to chippy chips every 1-2 weeks and I did start getting mushy peas on them thinking surely they are just peas. WRONG! After trying to get some in the supermarket one week when they were a strange luminous green colour from the chip shop, I discovered they ALL have sugar added! Crazy! Another thing I’ll have to make myself without the added sugar. It’s so annoying they put sugar in EVERYTHING!
If you want to read more about my healthy living journey and why I recommend going sugar free, check out these blog posts:
My favourite online store for superfood goodness is, by far, Nutriseed. Not only can you use code for a £5 discount off your order but they stock one of the most vast ranges of superfood items I’ve seen. Plus they’re nearly all organic which is a bonus.
I use their green superfood powder every morning in my smoothie and highly recommend it. My latest purchase though is for camu camu capsules and hemp seeds. I’m not a stranger to hemp seeds as they’re an ingredient in my green powder, plus I’ve had the hemp powder before for my smoothies.
Camu camu is new to me and I purchased it as I was reading an article all about their benefits and amazing vitamin C content. I knew straight away to check Nutriseed for them and decided to go with the capsules as an extra vitamin C boost for the winter months.
Read on to see the amazing benefits of these two products and why they’re now going to be a staple in my cupboard.
I’ve been watching so much about cannabis recently and how the whole plant is an incredible medicine. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years as a medicine and has the most incredible healing properties for many daily complaints as well as horrific illnesses and disease like cancer thanks to its cannabinoid content.
Unfortunately the government concentrated on its getting high qualities and made it illegal to grow and use for some time. Only now is cannabis getting the recognition it deserves as such an incredible plant for so many uses and the stigma is beginning to change.
I really want to get my hands on some CBD oil to add a drop to my smoothie each day. I’m hoping it may clear up my skin and be a preventive for many diseases. I’ve watched several stories of people with 20 years+ of chronic pain being able to relieve the pain in 20 seconds with the oil. There are also several stories of it helping people with much worse disease. If you start researching it, you’ll be amazed at the life changing stories you find. Sounds incredible doesn’t it? Plus it’s 100% natural and doesn’t contain nasty ingredients like most prescription medicines do.
Unfortunately Nutriseed don’t stock the CBD oil, but they do sell hemp powder and hemp seeds. These aren’t going to have the medicinal properties of the oil, but they are both a nutrient powerhouse!
Hemp is from the same plant Cannabis Sativa, but don’t worry, eating the seeds won’t get you high! The seeds contain only a trace amount of THC (the psychoactive compound that gets people high when smoked) and are actually highly nutritious and healthy to eat. I have some in my smoothie everyday already in powder form and now I’ve been adding these hemp seed to my home made muesli each morning and also chucking a teaspoon to my smoothie for a more nutty flavour. They can also be eaten as a snack on their own and would be a great replacement for those with nut allergies.
Let’s look at the amazing properties of the product I bought, hemp seeds:
A full protein source containing all 21 amino acids, making it a healthy non meat source of protein
Rich in several minerals including zinc (great for immune system), phosphorus (good for bone health), magnesium (also good for bone health) and iron (delivering oxygen around your body in the blood).
High in essential fatty acids and containing the perfect ratio of omega-3 and omega-6. Our bodies can’t make these itself so we must rely on a food source for these fatty acids.
Rich in vitamins B1, B2, B6, D and high in vitamin E.
They contain the rare gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which is linked to several health benefits including a reduced risk of heart disease.
Good source of fibre.
The Nutriseed version is organic. Read more on my thoughts about organic food here:
This can also be purchased as a powder, but I went for the capsules to make sure I take one every day. I already have two smoothie superfood powders on the go, so didn’t want to add another just yet. The capsules are filled with 100% camu camu powder so I’m still getting the exact same goodness.
Camu camu is a shrub found in the flooded parts of the Amazon rainforest and it’s the berries that are full of nutritional goodness. The fruit is said to be ‘excessively sour’ so is ground into powder to mix with other things.
Here are some of the incredible benefits of camu camu:
One teaspoon or one capsule provides 1180% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, that’s more than any other natural source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is produced by our body so must come from food. It’s also not stored by the body, so a daily source is required. These capsules will make it super easy for me to get enough on a daily basis and from a natural source.
The Nutriseed version are organic certified by the UK Soil Association
High in vitamins and minerals, particularly in essential trace mineral manganese which supports bone health and normal brain function amongst many other health benefits.
Rich in antioxidants
For me I’m all about getting my vitamins and minerals from natural sources, so this is now my vitamin C tablet.
I absolutely love receiving my orders from Nutriseed - boxes filled to the brim with wholesome nutritious ingredients. The type of ingredients which are ideal for smoothies, sprinkling on soups and making delicious raw energy treats. This package of wonderfulness was sent to me from a company called Nutriseed.
Nutriseed are a young start up business who are passionate about healthy living and eating the most nutritious nature provided foods (sound like anyone else you know?!). Their website is awesome. It’s basically like opening my kitchen cupboard door and seeing exactly what’s in all my piled up Kilner jars!
They have the most perfect selection of superfoods and ingredients, which in my household really are cupboard staples. I chuck these things on my oat cereal in the morning (gojis, chia, flax), whizz in to smoothies (most of their ingredients), add to soup (sesame seeds), make hot drinks from (cacao), pop a few pills (spirulina ones of course)… you get the picture!
Just today I’ve made a homemade butternut squash soup and I’ve sprinkled some of the sesame seeds on top for extra flavour and a great nutty crunch. I’ve also whizzed together a banana and oat milk with half a teaspoon of maca powder for a fantastic energy boost in a tasty 'milk'shake.
It’s so easy to start eating healthy with these ingredients just by adding some of them to the foods you already eat daily. There are also so many easy recipes you can whip up in no time at all such as energy balls. Just mix a handful each of oats, flaxseed, goji berries and chia seeds together with a few table spoons of nut only butter, mould into balls and voila – raw scrumptious superfood balls!
They’re also offering £5 off your order in their impressive online shop with my code:
I believe there’s nothing more important than what you put in (and on) your body!
When Bella was one year old (which is how I remember when it was), so four and a half years ago, I returned to being a vegetarian. I was never a massive meat eater. I was never obsessed with steak or bacon like many are, so missing these things really wasn’t a problem for me. Before becoming veggie again I was only eating chicken, salmon and occasionally a tuna mayo jacket potato.
When I was younger a friend of mine and my mum became vegetarian. It always interested me and I decided as a teenager I would no longer eat meat. I stopped eating meat and anything containing gelatine. It lasted until I was around 18 if I remember correctly, so possibly a few years. I got drunk and my friend bought me a chicken burger. Chicken was probably my biggest weakness and in my drunk hungry state I ate it. I then craved chicken so much I returned to eating it. I sometimes ate double cheeseburgers from Macdonalds which I cited in my early 20s as a perfect cure to a hangover! (The thought makes me feel sick now!)
I carried on eating mainly chicken as though it was a normal thing to do, until Bella was one. One night me and Ben had a KFC (his favourite) and I pulled out a big string thing from my chicken burger or piece of chicken, I can’t remember what I was eating exactly, but it was chicken.
Oh my goodness.
‘Ben is this what I think it is?’
I nearly threw up. It was a vein. I was peeling a VEIN off my food.
That was that. I immediately changed back to vegetarianism and I haven’t looked back.
Now, however, in my 30s, I have so many reasons for being a vegetarian and not just because eating flesh and blood grosses me out. After considering it for over a year and reducing my intake, I have also cut out dairy one month ago. I’m not a vegan as I have fresh eggs from our chickens in the garden and I still eat honey.
Here are some of the reasons I am vegetarian and can’t imagine ever eating meat again:
Being vegetarian is better for the environment
It’s becoming well known nowadays that the meat industry is one of the top environmental polluters. From the methane in the cows flatulence, to the rainforests being wiped out to make room for rearing cattle and growing the soy to feed them. Plus all the antibiotics and medicines routinely given to the animals that end up in the food or washed away into our water supplies contaminating it. This also happens in the dairy industry, so it’s best to avoid dairy too. The dairy industry is no better and perhaps even crueller than the meat industry, but that’s a blog post for another time.
Being vegetarian is healthier
Eating processed meat is as dangerous as smoking. Processed meat is as carcinogenic as cigarettes according to the World Health Organisation. I feel cleaner and lighter since not eating meat. I feel healthier. I never feel gross after eating a meal filled with veggies and plant based foods, yet I often felt sick and flatulent after a heavy meat filled meal. Red meat consumption is linked to an increase risk of cancer and diabetes. Most people I know who get food poisoning get it from eating meat. There are even diseases you can catch from eating meat. You can catch Hepatitis E from eating undercooked pork. Let’s not forget about Mad Cow Disease which humans could catch by eating affected meat.
Being vegetarian is kinder
Raising animals just to kill them is sickening. Killing animals to eat them is weird and cruel. It’s kinder to the animals and it’s kinder to the environment to not eat them. Many people are opposed to animal cruelty, yet not to killing animals to consume them. That IS animal cruelty.
Being vegetarian makes more sense
We feed cattle so much corn and soy, enough to feed ourselves more times than the meat can. It doesn’t make sense. Why don’t we just eat the plants in the first place?
‘An additional 4 billion people in the world could be fed if land currently used to grow crops for livestock were given over to crops for human consumption’ Meat Free Mondays
That’s insane! Our ‘normal’ system is so backwards. It doesn’t make sense. People are starving when we have enough food to feed everyone if we used it more wisely.
I believe we’re not meant to eat meat
Imagine before man discovered fire. Do you suppose we ate meat then? I really can’t imagine that we did. We have hands that are the right size for picking fruit and pulling up veg. We can peel them and feed ourselves. We don’t have claws for catching and killing animals and tearing them apart and eating them. We don’t even have spiky teeth to do this. Before fire, did we really eat animals? I know many meats need to be cooked or else they’ll make us ill. Surely then it’s not natural for us to eat them? Would you want to jump on a cow, kill it and sink your teeth in to it? Doesn’t sound tasty or normal to me.
I don’t NEED to eat meat
I think many of us have confused a want to eat meat with a need to eat meat. If I was stranded and my only option to survive was to eat an animal, then yes as a matter of survival I would probably do it or at least consider it. But we’re not in a life or death situation. In fact it’s been proven time and time again that vegans and vegetarians can be way healthier that meat eaters. We don’t need to eat meat to survive. Most people just want to eat meat because they think it tastes nice (and that’s debateable once you’re not eating it anymore and get your normal taste buds back, I’d find the taste disgusting now, it was like an addiction, not really tasty at all).
Most people eat it for pleasure. It’s a sick pleasure to have if you ask me. Killing an innocent animal for your own pleasure. To eat it. It’s just crazy.
Honestly, I'd do it even if it was more expensive, but this is something I hear people say all the time. They think it's more expensive somehow. Meat is really expensive. I’m not talking about those cheap 99p burgers from fast food chains that are full of who knows what and highly processed, I’m talking about real organic quality meat. A pack of two organic chicken breasts that are rather small costs around £4. My husband would polish these off in one meal! That bumps up the price of one meal considerably. We don’t even have a microwave. Just a food blender, processor and good old oven and hobs. Some good sharp knives and kitchen utensils. Most people say it’s too expensive to eat healthier or turn veggie, but I disagree. Use the money saved on expensive meat to invest in superfood staples that will last for weeks and good quality kitchen equipment. How about a vegetable spiralizer to make spaghetti from your veg?
I’m certain in 50, 100 years, people will look back at us and think we were all backwards and crazy for eating meat!
Surely, there is no field of study as rife with controversy and vociferous opinion as the field of diet and nutrition. The pattern of vilification or deification of different food groups is nothing new and the food industry has done what all industries do… catered to increased demand. Therefore whenever one high profile study said that fat was bad, the market became flooded with low fat, high carb alternatives. When Dr Atkins said that fats were fine, and protein was paramount it was carbs that were the problem, the industry shifted again and everything was suddenly low in carbs and big on protein. The emphasis now, however, appears to be on the dichotomy of vegan diets (which eschew all animal products) and paleo diets (which promote the eating of both animal and plant products at the expense of all processed foods).
As many people try Veganuary this month, the tide is turning towards plant based diets, but for every article online extolling the virtues of a plant based diet, there’s another article primed to label it as hogwash. The facts, however, speak for themselves and while no diet is inherently perfect, there’s evidence to suggest that plant based diets can facilitate a long, healthy and independent life.
First a warning: a vegan diet isn’t always a healthy diet
It may sound obvious, but a healthy vegan diet should be rich in fresh (and organic if possible) vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and pulses rather than relying on breads, processed snacks and soy or gluten based meat substitutes. A diet of bread, instant noodles and crisps may be vegan, but nobody would argue that it’s a healthy diet.
Veganism can help prevent cancer
In 2012 it was estimated that cancer kills 8.2 million people worldwide. Of these, 53% of people were of retirement age (75 or over). Thus, to live to a ripe old age, it makes sense to mitigate the factors that cause cancer. Processed meats like salami, pepperoni and bacon have been found to be type 1 carcinogens. That’s the same group as cigarettes!
Veganism can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer's
For most of us, it’s not enough to live. We want to live well. While a live in care company might make the end of our lives more comfortable without encroaching on our freedom, we don’t want to come to rely on them before our time. We want to be as independent and self reliant as possible. Fortunately a vegan diet can give you everything you need for good brain health including omega 3s found in nuts and seeds and vitamin A found in greens, sweet potatoes and squashes. These are proven to aid cognitive function and memory and impede the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Veganism can help heart health
Heart health is a major factor in determining a person’s lifespan, and a diet that is rich in processed and red meat can have an adverse effect on heart health. Processed and red meat consumption is also a high risk factor for diabetes. If a person is diabetic, they are also at greater risk of conditions related to poor cardiovascular health.