Lumia Fitness Inspiration Competition

Written by: Helen

I was recently contacted about the Microsoft Mobile Fitness Inspiration competition.  There are £1000 worth of goodies up for grabs and, to be in with a chance, you have to answer the question – what is your inner fitness inspiration? This has to be shared in the form of a photo.  You can find out more details about the competition here.

My entry is below and it’s not particularly glamorous; in fact it’s not even sunny.  It was a pretty grey and miserable day.  This is me finishing my run for Sports Relief.  The reason it is my Fitness Inspiration photo is that the experience was so rewarding and it encouraged me to take up running.  It was a fun day out with some work friends which also raised money for a good cause.  I wasn’t ‘in it to win it’, so to speak, and so didn’t do any preparation beforehand, and yet I found that I did surprisingly well.  It had been so long since I’d done any proper running and yet my stamina was much better than I anticipated.  The most surprising thing was that I found that I actually enjoyed it.  After this day I took up running as a hobby.

The other great thing about this run was that I raised money for a worthy cause.  That makes an excellent motivational tool and can make the experience more rewarding. So – although it may not be glamerous and although I’m hot and sweaty and about to be rained on – this is my Lumia Fitness Inspiration photo. If you want to check out other entries then you can follow on Twitter with #LumiaFitnessInspiration

Sports Relief

What photo would you use? What’s your fitness inspiration? Thanks for reading 🙂

4 Reasons You Should Go Vegan

Written by: Helen

Today I have a guest post from Alena at Nutriciously.  Alena is a vegan and has written an interesting article about why she chose a vegan lifestyle and why it is good for your health.  If you want to find out more be sure to pop over to her website.

 

vegan diet

Ever since early childhood, I had been a dedicated vegetarian. One day, I asked my mom what the meat on my plate really was, where it came from and what people did to that animal in order for me to consume it. The mere thought of this was so horrifying to me that I decided to stop eating any animal flesh at the age of 5. It has coined me until this day and I have never looked back once – it just became second nature to me.
The problem was that I bathed myself in the righteous certainty that I would never contribute to any animal harm whatsoever simply by avoiding meat. What I found out in my late teens was devastating to me! The egg and dairy industry didn’t treat animals any different than those raised for their meat. The same abuse and killing for pleasure and taste was going on there as well.
Almost instantly this made me take a leap of faith and go on a fully plant-based diet. Though this wasn’t the easiest thing to do, I was determined and kept on trying to cut out every single animal-based ingredient – until I found all of my favourite replacements for dairy, cheese, chocolate, and ice cream (YES, you can eat all of them on a vegan diet).
But it didn’t stop here. Being an ethical and environmental vegan at that time, I recognized how my body was changing for the better as well! Even though I was still consuming processed vegan food, I had unintentionally shifted towards more whole, fresh foods like fruits, vegetables and grains. Without even recognizing, I had lost a few pounds and my skin cleared up.
I wanted to look into the topic of good nutrition a little further and did some research on different ways and theories on how to eat a healthy plant-based diet. What I found was astonishing: the powerful effects of natural, fresh foods could heal just about any ailment – and they also work without me having to risk anything, like it would be the case when it comes to pills and medicine.
So I decided to shift my way of eating more and more towards fresh, whole and raw foods, while trying to avoid overly cooked and processed ones. Some of the first benefits I could reap after only a few weeks, others took a little longer to fully unfold. Flash forward 4 years and this is what I can tell you about what’s changed:

1. Weight Loss
Back when I cut out animals products from my diet, it helped me to greatly reduce saturated fat from dairy, eggs and meat. This alone made me drop a few pounds without even recognizing. But adding in a lot more whole fresh foods upped my game a lot! They are full of fibre and water, filling my stomach with a lot less calories while having a higher volume. Plus their amount of micro nutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients) nourished my body on a cellular level and reduced cravings.

vegan diets

 

2. Improved Fitness
Despite the common belief that vegan diets would make people weak and tired, I actually improved my game. Getting more than enough protein from plant-based milk, beans, legumes, whole grains, and vegetables wasn’t hard at all! Plus I could keep my body in an alkaline state, since I avoided acidic animal protein. You may not be aware of just how many great and successful athletes are vegan – especially long endurance runners or bikers. All these nutrient-dense plant foods help your cells recover much faster and you feel lighter, more energetic throughout the day. Especially eating lots of fruit and starch makes you want to move around all the time since every one of our cells requires that glucose to be active.

 

3. Healthy glow
Nurturing my body not only helped me to avoid chronic and detrimental diseases, but the little helpers found in fruit and vegetables also make every part of my body become firmer, tighter and glowing. No more dry skin, thin brittle hair, or acne on my face. This saved me a lot of worrying and money on beauty products! My body finally got the chance to detox all of its accumulated toxins, which made me lose my former puffiness (along with most of my cellulite!). On top of that, my hair loss stopped and today, my hair looks and feels very silky.

 

4. Immunity boost
Since a lot of people in my family suffer from chronic and deadly diseases, I am aware of the fact that I might have a higher risk of developing one myself. So I do what I can do to prevent this from happening. Cutting out animal products is a huge step away from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, and all-cause mortality. I don’t consume any unnatural growth hormones any more, which makes our bodies prone to cancer – I stick with what’s optimal for human digestion and assimilation of nutrients. Over the past years I’ve barely gotten sick since all these phytonutrients support my immune system perfectly. Especially if you are at risk of getting type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or high cholesterol: switching to a plant-based diet will be of great help.

 

About the Author

Alena from nutriciously

Alena is a food lover and health enthusiast from Germany who spends most of her time studying, writing, playing and meditating. Having read every book imaginable on healthy living, she is excited about spreading this powerful message and reaching out. When she’s not in the kitchen creating awesome meals, she likes to travel, make music or enjoy the world outside. Together with her partner, she created nutriciously where she loves to help other people to thrive on a healthy plant-based, whole food diet full of raw foods and constantly puts out new content. You can check out their free course on transitioning to a high raw food diet, get the free recipe ebook and follow them on social media via Facebook, Pinterest, GooglePlus or Twitter.

 

7 Fantastic Health Benefits of Sweet Potato

Written by: Helen

sweet potato

Welcome to another Fit Food Friday.  Apparently another title for sweet potato is yam.  Personally, I’ve never heard it called a yam so I’m wondering if this is particular to certain places.  Do Americans call them yams? (If anyone can shed any light on this please comment below and enlighten me).

Sweet potatoes are the cause of a long running feud in my household.  I love them and could quite happily eat them at most meals.  My husband isn’t so keen, it’s not that he doesn’t like them but more that he groans when he sees them, says he doesn’t like them but then does eat them all up (I think for him it’s one of those foods that you don’t really like but then don’t quite dislike either, do you have foods like that?). Anyway, as long as he keeps on eating them I will keep on buying them because they are so nutritious.  If you don’t eat sweet potato currently, here are 7 reasons why you should be:

1)Carotenoids

The orange colour shows us that they are high in carotenoids such as beta carotene.  Carotenoids are precursors to vitamin A and are very beneficial to our health.  They benefit our eyesight and are powerful antioxidants.

 

2)Diabetes

The natural sugars in sweet potato release slowly into our blood stream.  This provides a steady source of energy and avoids blood sugar spikes.  The dietary fibre also helps regulate blood sugar levels.

 

3)Antioxidants

I’ve already mentioned beta carotene but there are other antioxidants in sweet potato too, such as vitamin C and anthocyanin pigments.  Antioxidants help to protect our bodies from free radical damage (you can find out more about that here).

 

4)Heart

Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin B6 which reduces the chemical homocysteine.  Homocysteine is linked with diseases such as heart disease.  They also contain potassium (see point 5).

 

5)Blood pressure

The potassium in sweet potato helps to lower blood pressure by getting rid of excess sodium.

 

6)Cancer

Studies show the nutrients in sweet potato can play a protective role in cancers including prostate, breast and lung cancer.

 

7)Digestion

The high fibre of sweet potatoes helps prevent constipation and promotes healthy bowels.

 

Here are a couple of sweet potato recipes that I like the look of and plan on trying out soon (just click on the titles)

 

Sweet jacket potato with piri-piri prawns

Sweet jacket potato with piri-piri prawns

 

 

Sweet potato & lentil soup

Sweet potato & lentil soup

 

Do you eat sweet potato?  Any recipe tips? More importantly do you call it a yam? Thanks for reading 🙂

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