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Showing posts from tagged with: fit

Our Favourite Autumnal Treats..

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09.11.16

HEALTHY AUTUMN TREATS - SO SIMPLE AND DELICIOUS!

So Bonfire Night has been and gone, and we made some AMAZING healthy treats to tuck into! They were so simple to make, and so incredibly healthy too with our Giving Tree strawberry crisps and plenty of toppings. Recipe 1: Banana Choco Kebabs Method:
  • Cut 3 large bananas in half, and place a wooden skewer through each half.
  • Melt your favourite Dark Chocolate brand (we like 70% cocoa solids) and stir continuously, we added a little Chi Coconut Milk to make it extra creamy too!
  • Dunk bananas into the chocolatey bowl and let drip over a cooling rack (pop a plate underneath to collect any drippings!)
  • Now add your crushed Giving Tree fruit and your favourite nuts, seeds, grains and anything else you can get your hands on!
  • Leave to set in fridge for 3-4 hours and enjoy!
  screenshot-2016-11-09-13-28-41 Recipe 2: Sticky Choccy Apples  Method:
  • Cut 2 large apples in half, and place a wooden skewer through each half.
  • Melt your favourite Dark Chocolate brand (we like 70% cocoa solids) and stir continuously, we added a little Chi Coconut Milk to make it extra creamy too!
  • Dunk apples or drizzle in a fun pattern, into the chocolatey bowl and let drip over a cooling rack (pop a plate underneath to collect any drippings!)
  • Now add your crushed Giving Tree fruit and your favourite nuts, seeds, grains and anything else you can get your hands on!
  • Leave to set in fridge for 3-4 hours and enjoy!
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Modern Dieting – balance is key!

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13.07.16

Put together by the Guardian, this article perfectly describes the issues of modern day dieting and the 'gospel' words of many un-qualified celebrity like role models which encourage clean eating and missing out crucial food groups from our diets..

It mustn't be forgotten that despite healthy cook books and advice being great for those interested in pursuing a healthier lifestyle and encouraging cooking rather than buying ready meals, to not take this advice so literally as balance is key!

"Every Sunday in the centre of Brixton, a group of Afro-Caribbean women of a certain age, gather on Atlantic Road to sing lustily about Jesus while wearing big hats. As a diehard atheist I am meant to have no time for organised religion. But the fact is they’re not harming anyone and they look very happy indeed.

If only all religions were so benign. If only all religions were so cheerful. But they are not. Recently a new kind of religion has arisen; one engineered for a godless age and specifically designed to make its devotees feel worse about themselves more often than they feel better. Like all religions it is based on hocus-pocus, misdirection and delusion. This new religion is called The Diet.

Yes of course diets have been around for centuries, promoted just as they are now through books. And for the most part they have always been stupid: the grapefruit diet, the red wine and steak diet, the kitten and stilton diet. I may have invented one of those. But generally they were functional. Do thing A and thing B and you will get result C. They didn’t work because like, pyramid investment schemes, they never do.

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What the modern diet books have that the previous lot didn’t is a moral dimension. They are not merely instruction manuals. They are secular catechisms. There is an implication in these titles, written by young people with glossy hair and clear eyes who look like they think their farts smell only of peaches and peppermint, that if you don’t follow their plans you will not merely be fat. You will be bad. You will be a flawed person who through, lack of insight and moral fibre, has failed to reach their full potential in the way the authors have.

Well I wonder if I might be permitted to make a learned intervention into this noble discussion of the human soul, by saying this: sod off! Really, go away. Find something else to do. Take up boxing; it may involve hurting people but at least there are rules. In saying this I am only adding my voice to a growing choir. The brilliant Ruby Tandoh recently examined the speciousness of some of the faux-scientific thinking underpinning various of these works. A new blogger called the Angry Chef has been laying waste in superbly forensic style to the flaws in dietary advice and a general failure to understand the science of food and cooking. And Nigella has had a stab at the use of the phrase “Clean Eating”. Food does not have a moral aspect. Only the people eating it do.

But we need to go further and argue against one other element of all this: the use of guilt as if it were a weapon being wielded by a 14th-century pope. I am often asked what my guilty food secret is. I reply that I don’t have one. Because if I started feeling guilty, where would I stop? There are some foods that I like but which I know I shouldn’t eat too much of and that’s what I try to do. Guilt corrodes. Instead I go to the gym and watch what I eat, like any responsible adult. But I also make a point of enjoying what life has to offer. Food is just too much of a pleasure to be sullied by the stupidities of a bunch of swivel-eyed hucksters whose only real credential is the size of their Instagram following. Put that in your nutribullet and drink it."

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It’s all about the Yoghurt recipes!

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10.05.16

We are absolutely loving mixing up our breakfasts at the moment with lighter recipes now Winter is over it can be so lovely to have a breakfast that does't need to give you that warm feeling like porridge but instead yoghurt makes a great option too, and so versatile. If you are Dairy Free these are perfect for you and remember the non-dairy free yoghurt recipes, you can always substitute for the dairy free versions! 1. This recipe is DELICIOUS and especially good if you like fruit flavours. We used Blueberry yoghurt from The Coconut Collaborative, Giving Tree Strawberry Crisps and fresh banana sliced up. A sprinkling of chia seeds is also delicious and granola for an extra crunch. Coconut Collaborative is totally dairy free, gluten and soya free too!Screenshot 2016-05-10 12.28.25 2. Co Yo is so thick and creamy it feels like your being far too naughty to have this for breakfast, however with only coconut milk and dairy free again as well as no added sugars this is one of our favourites! We mixed the natural and raw chocolate yoghurts together to create a delicious breakfast with a drizzle of Pip & Nut Peanut Butter and our Giving Tree strawberry crips plus chia seeds!Screenshot 2016-05-10 12.30.22 3. Yorica - This creation is from the fantastic totally free from every allergen Ice-cream/Fro Yo store in Soho! This was violet and matcha green tea plus our Giving Tree crisps for toppings. We couldn't believe this was allergen free and so delicious!Screenshot 2016-05-10 12.30.32 4. A very simple yet super delicious recipe, simply use your favourite natural yoghurt add granola and crushed Giving Tree strawberry crisps or your favourite flavour! Screenshot 2016-05-10 12.30.42

Portion Control – Are your eyes bigger than your belly?

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26.04.16

It's a common problem for us lovers of food, that it can often be hard to say no to seconds, and when food is infront of you we tend to 'pick' and overindulge when in reality are stomachs are more than full. It takes self-control to put back that extra portion, or stop yourself from reaching for a naughty dessert but modern day society doesn't seem to help us either!

Back in a modern kitchen, you suddenly notice how large everything is – 28cm has become a normal diameter for a dinner plate, which in the 1950s would have been 25cm. Serving on these large plates doesn't mean that we have to serve ourselves bigger portions, but we generally tend to! Brian Wansink is a psychologist (author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think) who has done numerous experiments to prove what you would hope common sense might already tell us: that oversized tableware makes us consume bigger portions. Take for example, a large ice-cream scoop makes you take more ice-cream; a short glass makes you pour more juice. This is because it doesn't look as much, so we  feel we are consuming roughly the same amount.

What a recommended portion actually looks like

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It seems that the only people who are immune to big portions are tiny children. Up until the age of three or four, children have an enviable ability to stop eating when they are full. After that age, this self-regulation of hunger is lost, and sometimes never relearned. This is a cross-cultural phenomenon, from London to Beijing. One study from the US found that when three-year olds were served small, medium and larger portions of macaroni cheese, they always ate roughly the same amount. By contrast, five-year-olds ate a lot more when the portion of macaroni cheese was oversized.

In a world where food is ever-present, many of us have become like Alice in Wonderland, controlled by cakes that say Eat Me and bottles that say Drink Me. As the nutritionist Marion Nestle remarked 10 years ago in her book, What to Eat: “It is human nature to eat when presented with food, and to eat more when presented with more food.” The trouble is that we are pushed more food, more often, every day. In 2013, the British Heart Foundation published a report called Portion Distortion on how portion sizes in Britain have changed since 1993. Back then, the average American-style muffin weighed 85g, whereas 20 years later it was not uncommon to find muffins weighing 130g. Ready meals have also ballooned in size, with chicken pies expanding by 49% and the average shepherd’s pie nearly doubling in size since 1993 (from 210g to 400g).

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Our problem with portions and portion control, is partly this: no one likes the concept of “less”. We are conditioned from childhood onwards to yearn for the overflowing glass and the laden table. An easy way to address this at home is simply to use smaller tableware.

Often at the end of a meal, you may not really be hungry but yearn for something sweet. First of all, ensure you are keeping hydrated and drinking enough water throughout the day too as thirst can often be mistaken for hunger. Once you have finished a meal, enjoy your favourite herbal tea or fruit flavour infused water. If you still are craving that sweet treat, then opt for a healthy version of your favourite indulgent treat such as our Giving Tree snacks which are the same nutrition as fresh and SO tasty. If you fancy that chocolate bar, then allow yourself a few squares instead of the whole block!

Healthy gadgets for on the go snacking!

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21.04.16

Let’s be honest: most of the time, being healthy is not convenient. If you fancy a quick snack at work or need to grab breakfast on the go, you often have to settle for whatever’s on offer at your local shop and usually, it’s not exactly what you want.

The best way to avoid this situation is simple – BE PREPARED. But how? Healthy gadgets are here to help..

Fortunately, there are a number of wonderful items available to help make the whole process easier. Here are five things that will help you to become healthier on a day-to-day basis. They’re all affordable too – hooray!

1. Blender Bottle GoStak – starting from £9.00 So simple, and yet so clever. You can stock up on bags of nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc., and fill each of the little interlocking jars so that you have snacks for the day ahead. This way you have tasty treats to hand at all times, and you're also able to make sure you don’t overindulge. Take a look at our lovely strawberry Giving Tree snacks which perfectly into the handy GoStak!

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2. Water Infuser Bottle – starting from £6.99 If you find drinking or even enjoying water a struggle, why not try infusing it with good stuff? Lemon, strawberry, cucumber – whatever you want! It all tastes amazing in water-y form. Just chop up your chosen fruit or veg, pop it into the little cage, fill the bottle with water and leave it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, drink up and delight in your delicious refreshment.

3. Vacu Vin Banana Guard – £2.49 If you love bananas this is for you, especially when you don't want them bruising . This handy guard allows you to transport your banana in safety, free of any nasty black marks. There are a few varieties of guard available, but we like this as it accommodates any shape banana!

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4. A blender with a portable cup – starting from £19.99 When you're in rush in the mornings,  a good smoothie or shake for breakfast is perfect as it’s a quick way to get fruit inside your body. Now it’s even easier thanks to blenders that come with portable travel bottles or cups! Delicious and simple!

6. Food hugger and  avocado saver container - for when you have that half of an avocado ALWAYS left and it goes brown the next day, this is the perfect avocado saver! Say goodbye to brown fruit and veg

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1 mile fitness!

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04.04.16

With growing Obesity issues throughout the UK, healthy eating as we all know is key to a healthy inside however, fitness should be incorporated into your daily lifestyle too,  1 mile a day of running / walking, whether it is to work, school, walking the dogs will all help your heart health

While a mile a day won't turn back the clocks and make you as fresh faced as a school child, here are just some of the ways it could change your life…

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1. YOU'LL BE MORE ALERT FOR WORK

A study from the University of Georgia looked at using exercise as a treatment for fatigue. They tested three groups, one with low intensity work, one with moderate and one with none.

Both of the exercise groups had a 20% increase in energy levels by the end of the study.

2. YOU'LL BURN CALORIES

While the exact number is variable based on weight, heart-rate and speed, most experts agree that on average people burn about 100 calories running for a mile.

Whether that contributes to a weight loss plan or allows you to eat a little more peanut butter in the morning - it's always good to have a calorie deficit to play with!

3. YOU'LL BE CALMER AND HAPPIER

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that people with mild to moderate depression take part in about three sessions of exercise a week.

While you may be fortunate enough to not suffer from depression, the positive effects are nothing to be scoffed at

Last year researchers found that the 'running high' activates the same part of the brain as marijuana!

4. YOU'LL IMPROVE YOUR FITNESS

Unsurprisingly, if you run a mile every day your fitness levels will go up. While you would have to up your millage if you were planning on running a marathon, simply being active every day will make a huge difference to your endurance and ability to process oxygen.

5. YOU'LL BE PART OF A COMMUNITY

The running community is huge and even if you don't want to join a club - although there are great ones available - you can join the select few people putting in the work to maintain a #runstreak.

With a recent survey of British women finding that sports and the gym were their top hobby (88% of respondents) it's clear that this is a simple change that a lot of us could embrace!

Don't forget to refuel with a post workout snack of  Giving Tree crisps!

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Don’t banish the carbs.. embrace the right ones!

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22.02.16

Giving Tree gives the low down on carbs..

When out for dinner, it's often now perceived as a bit of a taboo to grab those hot crusty bread rolls from the middle of the table, and asking for wholegrain rice or quinoa as a side is quite the norm.

Thanks to popular carb-avoiding diets such as the Atkins and more recently the Paleo lifestyle, the once well loved staples such as rice, bread, potatoes and pasta – even poor old porridge, once considered breakfast of champions are slowly diminishing..

But are theses cupboard staples really so bad for us? Or are we just getting ployed into a big old marketing ploy of the new power grains?

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In the last 12 months, sales of bread in Britain’s supermarkets has dropped by 8.9 per cent, according to a report by market analysts Nielsen. Even in Italy, pasta the staple of Italians.. has dropped by a staggering 25 per cent since 2009.

So what is the science behind all the talk.. Well first of all, carbs play a crucial part of giving us energy which when we're active in particular, is so important. Often getting rid of carbs can make people feel fatigued. This is because when we eat carbohydrates, they turn into glycogen in muscles which is the fuel that keeps us going during exercise and when we are working out.

Not only that though, when we eat carbohydrates, they turn into glycogen in muscles, which is the fuel that gives us the kick we need for maintaining exercise.

Carbohydrate-free diets have now been found to affect gut health, too. “Eating no-carb, high-protein can lead to the production of potentially harmful compounds called n-nitroso produced in the gut,” says Dr Johnstone. Indeed, studies have found that very high protein diets may increase the risk of colonic disease thanks to their production of such compounds. “Eating slow-release carbohydrates, can act as a buffer to help protect the gut from these.”

Nutritionists and health care professionals will always advise that eating the right types than none at all could be the key to keeping us more satisfied, increase our energy and actually aid weight loss.

For these experts, white and processed carbohydrates such as sugars, pasta, commercial breads, rice and potatoes should be replaced by slowly digestible complex carbohydrates, served in their most natural states.

These types of carbohydrates are low on the Glycaemic Index (GI) which relates to how quickly they turn to glucose in our blood stream; low is usually considered 55 or less (you can find a list at glycaemicindex.com).

Along with slow release carbohydrates comes the famous and fashionable quinoa, a healthy grain much loved with many foodies. These super grains are high in fibre, meaning you're likely to get fuller with smaller portions, very useful for weight loss! Not only that though, they're higher in nutrients for example - a sweet potato contains more betacarotene than a white potato.

Here are a few other top complex carbs that you're most likely going to start seeing a lot this year of..

complex-carbs

Amaranth

A tiny grain – whose colour can range from white and beige to deep red and black – is gluten-free, high in protein, calcium, potassium and magnesium. Great in stews or salads, it boils like rice and can be popped to achieve a popcorn-like effect. When cooked with coconut milk, it makes for a soothing porridge – as recommended by Hemsley & Hemsley.

Farro

Similar to barley. Rich in fibre, magnesium and vitamins A, E and B, its wholewheat kernels are sweet and chewy, with a higher carb content than quinoa but with more calcium. Simmer on a low heat to make a nutty risotto.

Spelt

An unprocessed form of wheat but higher in protein and B vitamins, the high-fibre flour is great for general baking.

Buckwheat

Wheat and gluten-free, with all essential amino acids, high in protein and magnesium. The flour makes great pancakes and studies have found it helps lower blood sugar so might be helpful for diabetics.

Freekeh

A young green wheat that tastes smoky and is great used as a stuffing for poultry or side dishes.

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Lastly, don't forget fruit and veg are carbohydrates too - aim to eat 5-7 varied portions of fruit and veg combined a day and ensure when consuming fruit you remember fruit is high in sugar too but in moderation this type of sugar is much better than having refined, processed sugared foods.

Try our Giving Tree fruit and veg snacks in 7 different varieties!