Are you dreaming BIG?

Are you dreaming BIG?

Wow, what a weekend! Inspiring, uplifting, moving are just a few words to describe it. On Saturday afternoon I made my way to the O2 Arena with some family and friends in tow to perform with Rock Choir. I joined my local Rock Choir last September attending weekly rehearsals where we sing uplifting rock, pop and Motown songs. I have found it to be a great opportunity to unwind, connect with a community, raise endorphin levels and just have some fun! These rehearsals culminate in the ‘Big Sing’ at the O2 where Rock Choirs from around the country gather to sing together and WOW, what a show it was. To sing in unison with 16,000 other ‘Rockies’ was just amazing, needless to say there were several goose bump moments.    Then on Sunday Andy Murray finally realised his dream of winning Wimbledon, amazing! What I drew from both these events was about passion and dreaming BIG. Rock Choir started in 2005 by a lady called Caroline Redman Lusher. Passionate about music she wanted to bring people together in their local communities and reawaken their love of singing. At first she taught weekly rehearsals in Farnham, Guildford and Godalming. 8 years later she has 60 Rock Choir Leaders running over 240 groups across the country and as a result she was able to bring together 16,000 people to sing in unison and established the UK’s favourite contemporary choir. That’s not and easy thing to do but she had passion and a BIG dream and she said there are bigger plans for Rock Choir over the coming years. It certainly wasn’t...
The Spice of Life: The Health Benefits of Spices

The Spice of Life: The Health Benefits of Spices

Spices are widely used in cooking for flavouring food, particularly in Asian and Middle Eastern dishes, but did you know that they also come with loads of health benefits? So, pile your food with plenty of … Cinnamon Not only does cinnamon win the award for best supporting role in a hot chocolate, it’s also great for weight loss (though perhaps not when you’re having it with your hot chocolate …). The inner bark of the cinnamon tree is peeled off and rolled into a tube and then dried (and sometimes then glued to your Christmas ornaments!). Used a lot in Indian cooking, cinnamon enhances your metabolism by helping to regulate your blood sugar. It was used by the Chinese to treat fever, diarrhoea and menstrual problems, and in medieval Europe to relieve sore throats and stomach trouble. Ginger Speaking of Christmas ornaments … we’ve all got that uncle who comes around for the festive meal and we rather wish he wouldn’t because … well, you know! After the brussel sprouts, he has all of that pent up wind to release and he’s downed enough beer that he thinks it’s hilarious, right? Sneak as much ginger as you can into his meal this year! Used fresh or dried, ginger can help to digest fatty food, breaks down proteins and is excellent for reducing wind! It also helps to relieve nausea (including motion sickness and morning sickness), as a cold remedy and in India it was made into a paste to treat headaches. Turmeric – king of all spices You probably know this one as the spice that makes your...
Carbohydrates needn’t be a swear word

Carbohydrates needn’t be a swear word

Do you eat too many carbs? Toast or cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and maybe pasta for dinner! I’ve found this isn’t uncommon, in fact I used to be a bit of a carb fiend myself. But don’t panic, I’m not about to tell you stop eating all carbs, after all they are an essential food group. It’s more about the kind and quantity of carbs you eat. Carbohydrates are a chemical compound made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that converts to glucose when eaten. This is what gives the body its energy to function, from our brains to our central nervous system. We can get some energy from protein and fats too but carbs are the most efficient form and our brain relies solely on carbs for energy. There are different types of carbohydrates! Simple = refined such as sugar, potatoes, white flour. They are of a simple chemical makeup and are quickly turned into glucose in the body. These are good if you are experiencing an energy slump and need a quick boost but beware, you’re more likely to have another energy crash not long after. Complex = brown rice, wholemeal bread, pulses. These take longer to digest which means you have a more steady release of energy. You won’t get an excessive release of insulin which means you’ll be fuller for longer and fewer carbs will be stored as fat. The third type = Ingestible carbs in other words fibre. So your fruits, vegetables and some of the complex carbs like wholemeal bread and brown rice. Fibre slows the absorption of carbs so you...
Do you fear fat?

Do you fear fat?

For every scientific paper that says eating fat causes high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, stroke and obesity, there are as many that say they are not the cause. Here is an interesting fact though, fat intake in Britain has fallen by 50% in the past 10 years but obesity and diabetes are rising. Our belief that fat and saturated fats in particular, are unhealthy and make us obese, are deeply entrenched and we really need to get people thinking differently about their health as clearly that school of thought is not working. Macadamias nuts are the most nutritious nuts to eat but they do have a lot of calories so people tend to stay away from them. Oily fish such as mackerel is high in saturated fat but it is micro nutrient dense so you get a lot of nutrients per calorie. All natural fats have functions for health, they are not inherently bad, for example, they are needed to carry many vitamins that can not be absorbed any other way. Eating the right types of fats is absolutely vital for optimal health. Essential fats reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, allergies, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, eczema, depression, fatigue, ADHD and the list goes on. They are essential for the healthy cell membranes, brain and nerve cells and hormones. Fat is not our problem, but rather the type of fat we consume. It’s the processed fats that you want to stay away from. Man-made trans fats in margarines and processed foods such as cakes, biscuits and pastries are made from artificially hardened, partially hydrogenated fats. They have been banned in...
Is it worth choosing organic?

Is it worth choosing organic?

Our health depends on us consuming a diet full of fresh vegetables and fruit but when those fruit and veg have been smothered in chemicals does the negative out weigh the positive? Well it’s important to eat fruit and veg for many health reasons but if we don’t want to consume the toxic soup that has been sprayed onto them then going organic is the way forward. Now I appreciate that organic food can be more expensive but look out for offers as I have found that many times the organic fruits and vegetables have been the same price in some of the supermarkets. Also the organic box schemes are great too! But if cost is an issue then here are some of the foods that you should strive to go organic on and some that aren’t as bad on the pesticide front. Go organic on – Apples These can be sprayed up to 18 times in one season. They are top of the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2012 dirty dozen list. 98% of more than 700 apples tested positive for pesticides used to kill fungus and insects. 92% contained 2 or more pesticides.   Potatoes 9th on the EWG’s dirty dozen list. 44% of samples tested by PAN detected pesticides. Switch to Sweet potatoes, they are better for your health and EWG’s research shows they carry less pesticide residue. I would say go organic on all root veg as they seem to pick up more pesticide residue from the soil or grow your own in large buckets. Salad Greens Spinach is number 11 and lettuce number 7 on...

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