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Tothetable.co.uk reviews our Healthy Cooking & Nutrition Workshop

Alice from tothetable.co.uk reviews our Healthy Cooking & Nutrition Workshop and discovers the joys of coconut oil in cooking!

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Why Is It So Hard to Eat Healthily?

Here at Wellbeing Escapes I’m proud to say we eat fairly healthily on the whole. But obviously even though we know the importance of healthy eating, waft even the idea of chocolaty snacks under the nose of a hungry and stressed-out person at 4 in the afternoon on a busy work day and watch them zip to the shop faster than you can say carrot sticks.

Turns out we’re not alone. I asked a few friends what they though the biggest barriers to them eating healthily were. The range of responses I received included ‘being too busy’, ‘not having time to cook and prepare healthy meals’, ‘I don’t know where to begin’, that it ‘feels too much like ‘work’ to prepare good food’, that healthy or organic food is ‘too expensive’, and my personal favourite – that ‘pizza, cakes and chocolate just taste too damn good!’.

I can completely sympathise. Most people know that they shouldn’t be eating the convenience food that’s so readily available in shops and supermarkets, but they don’t know how to break the habit. You don’t need someone to tell you the damage that putting away numerous biscuits and chips will do. You want someone to show you how it’s done.

First let’s address some of these hurdles to healthy eating:

“I’m too busy”

It’s true that when your schedule gets super-busy it gives you limited time to prepare healthy meals. You’re more likely to skip meals when you’re running around juggling various projects then end up snacking on foods that you don’t even like because this point you’ll eat anything. Sound familiar? The truth is that when you make healthy eating a priority you will be more focused, more productive and more efficient. Eating healthy will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to leave you feeling satisfied and will actually give you more energy and help you manage stress. You’ll be the one in control of your schedule – instead of letting your schedule rule you!

“It feels too much like hard work”

In our days of microwaves and takeaways it’s easy to see how this has become the case. Food companies have laced their ready-meals with addictive chemicals and added sugar. Look on the back of most pasta sauces, soups and ‘low-fat’ food options and you’ll be stunned by the amount of sugar, not to mention other substances in them. As a nation it’s no surprise we’re hooked. Even if you’re not burdened by a busy schedule, planning a healthy meal can seem an overwhelming task when there’s a microwave and an episode of Homeland beckoning. If you think of eating healthy not as a sacrifice, but more as an opportunity for self-improvement, it can make life a lot easier.

“I don’t know where to begin”

Knowledge is power my friend. You probably already know that the majority of your diet should include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, some dairy or dairy substitutes, whole grains, beans and healthy fats from nuts, avocado, olive oil and fish. But you need some healthy eating strategies. One that works well for many people is to include a protein food with meals and snacks, especially at breakfast. This will keep you feeling fuller for longer as you slowly release the energy from your food. Try to sneak a fruit or vegetable in with each meal and snack. And change up your whole-grain intake to include brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, barley, spelt and oats. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day – sometimes people mistake hunger for thirst.

“It just tastes too good!”

Thanks to the erroneous genes of our cavemen ancestors we have a biological propensity towards food high in fat and sugar. Again, food companies have exploited this state of affairs making irresistible tasting snacks that leave us wanting more. This has lead to widespread obesity in the UK and America. The only way is to break the habit. Wean yourself off sugar slowly and watch as your taste-buds come alive to new flavours and textures from healthier foods – we promise the will start to taste better! Always be prepared and have something on hand to combat temptation when it rears its delicious head.

“It’s a lot more expensive”

The jury is out on this one and this debate could be the subject of a whole blog in itself! It’s true that bad quality meat is cheap (because it’s pumped full of hormones, and comes from animals kept in very cruel conditions). But we’re eating far more meat than we ever have and we really don’t need to. I’ve had people tell me they don’t think they are eating a proper meal if it doesn’t have meat in it! If people spent the same amount on less, better quality meat I’m convinced they’d be healthier for it. Loading up on vegetables at good famers markets or grocery shops is relatively inexpensive compared to stocking your fridge with loads of ready-meals. It’s impossible to deny that organic options are more costly (as anyone who has wandered around whole foods can testify!). However, even ‘normal’ fresh fruit and veg is a step up from convenience food. I think in the end it comes down to perspective and knowledge. If you know how to prepare healthy meals from scratch you’ll see that they really aren’t any more expensive. Plus if you cook in bulk you can freeze down – et voila the convenience problem is sorted! In the long run although it might seem expensive to spend a bit more on buying healthy ingredients, but you might save yourself the greater expense that can come from poor health further down the line. And that is definitely worth it.

If you want to learn more time-saving tricks to eating healthily why not try one of our healthy cooking and nutrition workshops? You’ll learn how to make some delicious and nutritious lunch-boxes which will leave you the envy of all your colleagues, plus some great quick and easy breakfasts, snacks and loads of healthy lifestyle tips to take away with you afterwards. Check them out here.



Stuart Bold talks to 'Your Healthy Living' magazine about mindfulness


Have a look at our Life-Enhancement & Mindfulness workshops to learn more. Or Visit Wellbeing Escapes to see our range of stress management holidays for more ways to deal with stress 



Our Meditation Workshops: Why everyone should try them

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Travel tips from yoga-loving, wine-drinking holiday guru Stella Photi

Stella Photi is the founder of Wellbeing Escapes, which provides healthy holiday experiences.

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Where did you go on your last holiday? Last month, I combined a business conference in Delhi with seven nights at the Ananda (www.anandaspa.com , doubles from £356 per night), a well-being retreat in the Himalayas. It specialises in Ayurveda, the ancient form of Indian medicine, as well as yoga. It also offers active pursuits, so my husband spent fivehours a day trekking with a guide while I woke early for two-hour yoga classes.

I was blown away by its Ayurveda programme, which is adapted to your individual needs. I felt a completely new woman: entirely de-stressed. I find it hard to switch off while on holiday because I’m constantly stimulated, so I found my time at Ananda really soothing. One afternoon, my husband and I did a 14km white-water rafting trip in the Ganges. Once we got through the rapids, we jumped into the waves and let them carry us down. It was freezing but so invigorating. 

We ended up in Rishikesh, which is a holy city about an hour from Ananda. We had to change out of our wetsuits in a tent in one of the town squares. It was bizarre and very funny, too. The locals were walking around the tent wondering what on Earth we were doing. We also attended a sacred Hindu ceremony, called Aarti, on the banks of the Ganges. It was such a perfect end to the whole experience, watching people being blessed with candles and we were able to do it, too. It was beautiful.

After our stay at the Ananda, we drove to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. It was exhausting because Agra is a madness of traffic and noise. We went on a sunrise tour and every view was breathtaking.

Do you have a pre-flight ritual? I certainly have an anti-ritual. I grew up in a household where my mother insisted the house was spotless before she left and it would cause so much stress I vowed I would never do that. The night before I travel, I eat by 7pm. People are stressed before they go away, so eating late will overload your digestive system and hinder a good night’s sleep.

I stretch for ten minutes in the morning – a simple calf, shoulder and neck stretch – and drink at least half a litre of water an hour before I get on the plane. This means I’m running to the loo the minute the seatbelt sign is switched off but that’s better than being dehydrated. 

What’s on your travel bucket list? As I get older I’m really connecting with nature, so the Galápagos Islands are my ultimate destination – the epitome of a place that’s bursting with life. It is a group of tiny volcanic islands that form a national park and biological marine reserve, and it just buzzes with natural life.

I would fill my days exploring, walking and diving, marvelling at the rays and sharks, and the various species of
turtles. For culture, I’d like to go to Florence for the beautiful renaissance art. It is one of the best-preserved centres of art and architecture in the world.

I’d visit the Uffizi Gallery and the Galleria dell’Accademia, where Michelangelo’s David is exhibited. I’m beginning to get more into my wines too; I would like to know more about vintage wines, so I’d love to spend some time in the Loire Valley.

What has been your most memorable travel moment? I love Africa. My last trip was over three weeks and every part was incredible. We started off in Cape Town and went on a four-night steamboat cruise on the Zambezi, where we saw elephants and buffalo. After the cruise, we went to Victoria Falls, which was very special, but my favourite country was Mozambique. We went to a place called Ponta Mamoli, on the border with South Africa and not particularly well-known.

We flew in on a four-seater plane and landed in a field before driving along a sand road to White Pearl resort (www.whitepearlresorts.com, doubles from £276 per night), which has just 20 rooms. I have never seen a coastline so beautiful. You could walk for miles and not see a soul. It was so wonderfully underdeveloped and it’s quite rare to find places like that.

Top travel tip? I take a vitamin B complex supplement for about a month before I go anywhere because I have read it might keep mosquitoes at bay. I also avoid potassium-rich foods such as bananas, which are said to attract them. If I do get bitten, I apply essential lavender oil to stop the itching and irritation.

If you’re a nervous traveller, get some Bach Rescue Remedy. It really helps calm you down. To avoid jet lag, when you arrive, get some sun on the back of your knees – a traditional Chinese doctor gave that tip to me and it seems to work.

Interview published in Metro written by Polly Humphris. To read the original version, please click here.

 




 

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